Chapter 64: Rolling the hard six

Day 402 after the fall.

As a Major and then a Commander, Eva Lawson did not like morning meetings. No amount of coffee could get the fog out of her mind before 9 am.

As an admiral she despised early morning meetings. This one was in a particularly obnoxious time 5:30 in the morning. All four of her mercury class Battlestar commanders were present as was the head of the fleet intelligence.

It actually amazed Admiral Lawson that with billions of people slaughtered, the whole colonies uninhabitable it was an unlimited supply of large monitors and which display intelligence and battle footage..

She reasoned that if there was a sufficient resources to produce for Mercury class battle star of the month and they’ll probably was sufficient resources to produce enough large screen monitors to keep her busy all day long.

“OK”, she said as she sipped her coffee. At least they were civilized enough to order a decent coffee for this meeting. She had barked at enough people to make sure that the was always going to be met in the future. “What am I looking at here?”

The intelligence chief who held the rank of major have been retired 10 years from the colonial fleet when the war had broken out. With the morning fog in the rain, Lawson could not remember the man’s name. She did remember reading a service record however that he had typed out a major due to a superior questioning his work ethic and thoroughness at vetting information sources.

“I remember when we had the same rank,” he said just audible enough for her to hear. “That sir is a shipyard with the Cylon’s use to finish assembly of their base stars. It is capable of finishing 12 base stars a month. Ships come in as empty shells, and internal configuration occurs at a rapid pace. There are thousands of Cylon skin jobs working this facility.”

“It looks small to me,” lost in remarks. “It looks like he can only work on two base stars at a time.”

“I always said you have a good eye for intelligence,” the major replied. “This one can actually finish three at a time. It takes one week to do this job. Components are coming from several other locations. We are tracking these for future strikes.”

“How do you know this is the only final assembly facility they have?” Commander Ramirez asked.

The major smiled. “Due to the raw data we download from your hack of the Cylon computer networks sir. We now have taps into the physical net work at 12 different locations, each is downloading massive amounts of data. Our current computer capacity is a joke. But by selectively applying the power we have two different intelligence dump we have read the following conclusions.”

He adjusted his uniform pants and then cleared his throat. We have seen was posing for praise. He received nothing but a get on with it look from Admiral Lawson. “We have verified the data has matched at every location by decrypting specific batches in computer systems that are physically isolated. They do not appear to be two data streams, one to fool us and one that they keep a secret. We have been able to randomly crack any file we put our computer resources to.”

“Now with sufficient computer power we could equipped the entire dump and he might find anomalies. As of this moment they’ll all data that we have decrypted is consistent. We also verified the intelligence with human intelligence resources. You approve the classified raptor mission three days ago. We have eyes on the site and we rotate our crews out every 12 hours. Everything that we’ve taken from the computer at work agrees with what our eyes on the scene and reporting back. This is a base ship finishing facility.”

“If we destroy it,” Lawson said. “We can send back their plans. They claim that they have left the colonies and it may be a resolution to leave us in peace. What do they need this kind of manufacturing capacity for anyway?”

Before he could answer, Colonel Simmons who almost never talked at meetings spoke up. “Where is this shipyard? My task force has visited all twelve colonies the past month and not seen it.”

“Besides the two ambushes of your task force,” the major answered. “There has been no evidence of Cylon incursion into any of the original 12 colonies. This facility is deep inside what was Cylon territory after the first Cylon war. I must point out that as tempting as this target is, it would be a huge escalation. It would likely violate the terms of the cease fire we are supposedly operating under. It is the intelligence branches recommendation that we consult the civilian authorities before going forward.”

Admiral Lawson brushed them off. “They are building 12 ships that are capable of firing nuclear weapons on the survivors of our worlds. They are clear and present danger to our survival of the species. I order a strike mission be drawn up to attack this facility and destroy it.”

The major replied quickly. “Consulting with the authorities covers our asses if the strike goes wrong. I estimate it will take to task forces to destroy this facility. We have digital photos indicating three modern base stars and three old Cerebes class carriers protect this facility.”

Ramirez sighed. “Saturn is out of this fight. FTL nav computer and backup are burned out. As I remember Mercury’s drive actuators are being replaced now. That means we have to send the junior team. I recommend we wait until one of the more experienced officers can lead the strike.”

“It’s not going to work,” said the major. He picked up a pointing device and zoom the screen in. The picture clearly showed a sale on FTL Drive. “There are six of them. It would only take three to be able to jump his facility so far away we never find it. From what we can tell Cylon FTL technology enables them to jump 10 to 20 times further than we can. It would be nice if we capture some of the technology and started to figure out how to upgrade our technology.”

“How often does it move?” Lawson asked.

“We have been monitoring the site for 30 days. We visited the site 60 days ago and 90 days ago. The digital images showed no activity until ten days ago. Based on the logistics data we decrypted from the Cylons, we estimate that this facility moves over two weeks. It appeared on our electronic sweeps 11 days ago. We have 3 days to act.”

Colonel Simmons was eager. He stood up and addressed his superiors. “I know you have trouble getting me promoted to commander. I have drawn up a strike plan. As you know the two ambushes that occurred in the colonies were taking care of my forces that I’ve been on my command for two months. My crews acquitted themselves quite well in those two battles. I have been training the hell out of these people. They are ready to step up and do this job. Please let me command the strike. I don’t care about the promotion. I care about damaging the Cylons so they can never hurt us again.”

“This is a very important operation,” and more Admiral Lawson said. “I see here that the commander of the Acropolis has a pregnant wife who is about to give birth. I’m sure he’s eager to participate in the strike but how about I take the conn out of that ship. You will still command the mission. I will just be available in case of surprise. Our ace in the hole.”

“You are asking me or ordering me?” Simmons asked.

“Asking,” Lawson said. “I think a wise battlestar commandeer would want the extra experience available.”

“I agree,” Simmons smiled.

“When do we junp off?” Lawson asked.

“Six hours. The tankers need to be placed to refuel us before he last jump. A safe jump plan will require 18 jumps. We should top off our tanks before the fight.”

You have planned well Colonel. Pull this off and I will frak Corey Brooks if thats what it takes to give you your commanders stars.”

* * *

Admiral Lawson settle down into guest quarters, refusing the offer of the grateful Colonel to use his quarters. She brought an overnight bag and two changes of cloths for the mission. With the precaution of sending raptor force recon ahead to check each jump point, it would take 18 hours to reach the target facility. Lawson curled up with a book and hoped to sleep the whole way. The problem was that FTL jumps while sleeping gave her vivid dreams.

Several times she flashed back to when she was held captive by the Cylons. They had somehow left the biological equivalent of a logic bomb in her brain. She could feel the sensations she had felt while they were assaulting her. It felt real and as ifi t was happening in the present.

She awoke with a start and opened her eyes. The guest suite had a bathroom and a medicine cabinet. She stared bleary eyed into the mirror and examined the choice of pills. A sleep aide was far less effective than natural sleep.

Reporting to the CIC having and no sleep in three days was not an option. Sleep deprivation had the same impact on command performance as alcohol. She read the instructions on the bottle and swallowed two pills with water.

In 15 minutes, she had settled herself int a dreamless sleep that she hoped might help with her symptoms. This time the FTL jumps did not trigger dreams. She woke up an hour before the strike mission. This gave her time to take a long, hot shower, then brushed and combed her air before putting into a tight, military bun.

The admiral noticed that she had felt a bit sluggish when she got out of bed. If you like that go away as it usually did when she prepared for duty. Perhaps the sleeping medication had more affect on her than she expected. She was no stranger to this type of medication. Often pilots how to use it to get sleep between long viper patrols.

Whenever she walked into the CIC of a ship she wanted to project of confidence. She wanted to be there to be a spring in her step. As she walked through the hallways of the Battlestar, she spent felt more and more sluggish.

They were about to do a combat jump into battle. She should be hyped up on adrenaline not feeling like she wanted to get back into bed. As she continued towards the CIC, she stopped and grabbed a cup of coffee off one of the trolleys used to serve crew that due to skill shortages often had to work long shifts. She gulped it down like a runner swallowing cold water, hoping to revive her physical state.

The marine guarding the combat information Center immediately recognized her and ran his access card which open the doors. Nobody who served aboard these ships thought the glass doors were practical. The ships stocked many spare doors to replace those shattered in combat.

The exile of the ship was a major Linda Peters. She was 36 years old, had left the colonial fleet three years before the war to have a baby. She and the child had survived the destruction of the colonies because they were on a on a trip to Tauron.

Miraculously the child’s father had also survived these events and was a civilian computer analyst. The child was with him in the refugee camp on a desolate new colony. He had been offered a military commission due to his skills involving protection of hacking and hacking into the enemy network.

He had turn down the offer to remain in civilian contractor doing the same job. Although there is no actual payment involved the government continue to give them IOUs for the day that might come or currency start to be used again. This time everybody that worked in a civilian job in the colonies basically did it for food and shelter.

Major Peters was about a centimeter or two taller than the admiral. She has platinum blond hair and many male officers found her attractive. After they worked with her for a while they found her to be intimidating. She has a reputation as being one of the meanest XO’s in the fleet. She could smile and tear you apart with words.

“Welcome to CIC admiral,” she said. “We will be in operational command of the ship?”

Admiral Lawson nodded her head and said no. “This is your chance to show me your command skills. I’m gonna sit here quietly, watch the strategic situation and only jump in if necessary.” She then stretched her arms in a long yawn. “Frak, I took a pill to get some sleep and it wont let me wake up.

Peters stretched out her hand and offered a white pill, a stimulant. “I know its not great, but we need you sharp Sir.” a quick gesture had a cup of water in the Admirals hand.

Lawson stared at it for several seconds and then popped it in her mouth and washed it down with water. “I hope this helps. SITREP.”

“All vipers are in the tubes. We are ready for combat jump and immediate launch. Flagship is signaling to jump”

Lawson nodded. Peters ordered the jump.

The jump had an unusual affect on the admiral. She felt a wave of nausea and barely avoided throwing up in the CIC.”

“DRADIS Seven ships in extreme range there unidentified at this time. Based on size they were probably three modern base stars and four smaller fighter carriers as expected. We do not have fighters on the screen yet from the enemy.“

“That will change,” the major said. “Launch all vipers. Form up according to the battle plan.”

Several tense seconds passed. The DRADIS beeped as small contacts started to launch.

“DRADIS, Two groups of fighters are forming again the ranges extreme we can’t get ID from here. The lower group appears to be modern raiders. Three ships just did a tactical jump towards the shipyard. There’s a large group of fighters protecting them. The lower group has formed up and is charging toward our fire formation.”

A Communications officer spoke up. “The flag ship is ordering all the wipers to attack the lower group of fighters. Valkyries are ordered to speed up an approach to get a lock on the vessels that are approaching the shipyard from above.”

The formation had started out tight. There were four large ships in a stack formation. A Mercury class on top. Between them was the solaria Jupiter class. below that was the second mercury and on the bottom an Atlas class carrier. These ships were nicknamed the brick. In this formation, besides adding air power, they offered the ships above them a lot of protection from fire below.

Now the Valkyries were speeding up ahead to try and get a sensor lock and find out what the opposition was flying.

“The enemy Raiders are retreating. They are running. The flag ship is ordering us to pursue.”

Major Peters was concerned. “Signal to flagship. We don’t want our vipers to get too far away from us. If they want to run we might want to let them run.”

“The flagship overrules they have ordered our fibers to pursue and destroy the enemy Raiders and then attack their base ships.”

Lawson knew there was a problem. This tactic been used against her before. While conducting a strike mission before the reunification with the new colonies they have tried to draw the fighters from the mercury out feeding an attack and then running.

Remind was getting foggy again. Her mind was getting foggy again. The stimulant pill was not working. She was confused when she remembered what this meant. The early days after the fall. The Raiders made a feint toward attacking and then run away, trying to draw away the Mercurys fighter cover. Then they attacked from above with. What? She couldn’t remember. Heavy. Heavy Raiders. Attempted boarding.

Lawson tried to speak. She meant to verbalize what she just thought. Words did not come out. Her voice croaked out sound but no words. She fell to the floor of CIC. Someone called for a doctor. Peters leaned down and put her ear next to Lawsons mouth.

“Fighters. Call back. Boarding. From above. Heavy Raiders…” Her voice was barely audible.

Peters got the gist. “Orders to our CAG. RTB RTB. I don’t care what the flag ship says recall all our planes. We are about to be boarded we must shoot down the heavy Raiders. Marines to condition one. Move toward the flight paths and prepare to attack the centurions.”

The communications officer reported. “The flagship has been boarded. Athena has been boarded. All flight pods. Our fighters did not get here in time. Every single heavy raider got here untouched.”

Major Peters jumped into action. “Have the air wing and the Solaria and the Atlas charge the enemy formation. The heavy raiders came from those smaller carriers. They are directing the attack from those ships. If we take them out the Centurions will lose command guidance.”

“All airlocks breached. Our line of defense is crumbling. We are losing subsystems.

Lawson was conscious but immobile on the floor of CIC. She could think. The Cylons had obviously poisoned her with the medication. She had seen this tactic and had defeated it early in the second war. When the enemy found out she was going on the mission, they had made an attempt to neutralize her.

Everyone who graduated the academy knew about Cylon boarding tactics. They would go to auxiliary damage control and open the airlocks and vent the ships. The absolute best marines and weapons were placed there. Lawson heard the reports as they came in competing with screams. The centurions made only a passive attempt to hit auxiliary damage control. 

They did not intend to destroy the ship. They wanted to wipe out the crew and damage the ship so badly that it would be out of action for months. This was a disaster in the making. There were explosions and screams echoing through the ship.

Admiral Lawson could not move. Even if she could move, she would not be able to do anything. She could see the FTL was offline.

The room spun and she lost consciousness. When she came to She could see the status board. All the ships subsystems were damaged. It was a brilliant assault. Rather than destroy the two vessels they Cylons would create enough damage that would force the Colonials to decide between making more Valkyries or fixing the two powerful battlestars.

The resource drain would be enormous. Lawson imagined the hearings and the meetings and how much the political cost would be. The crew complement of the chefs was normal in 2800. They cut a lot of corners to get these ships into battle 1500 people on her crew before this mission.

The centurions were on the bridge. First they shut out the glass of the doors that protected the CIC. Then they raked the crew of the CIC with random gun fire.

Lawson saw the body of major peters hit the floor she felt wounded near where she was lying. Hey centurion looked down in her eyes and saw that she was alive. For a brief moment and pointed his weapon at her head. It’s scanned her face with it moving red eye.

The admiral was curious as to why it left her alive. She felt the effects of the poison start to wear off. She was able to move her arms and then force yourself into a sitting position. If you minutes later she dragged herself to her feet, grabbed a headset and jumped on the wireless.

A lot of the equipment was not working having been shot with centurion bullets. It took her several minutes to get the wireless working. She moved to the control of the ships maneuvering thrusters an tried to adjust course, avoiding a collision with the shipyard. It was not like flying in viper. Most of the controls were unresponsive. She tugged away at the thrusters until she get turn the ship a few degrees to the right to avoid an immediate collision.

Moving and Communications, she played around with radio frequencies, finally getting the battle channel on her wireless headset.

“This is Acropolis actually, scratch that this is the admiral. The air wing is to continue the attack until all Cylon forces are eliminated. Protect the two ships that are on the offensive. We need to get a raptor back to Communications hub. We must report this battle to command. We’re going to require reinforcements to recover these two ships. We are likely going to need a lot of equipment to save these vessels.”

The orders were acknowledged. The raptor pilot made it close pass the Athena.

The digital footage showed combat happening inside the ship visible through some of the larger windows. Evidence of death and destruction was easy to spot on the 30 seconds of video that the raptor collected.

“This is the CAG of the Athena, we have heavy Raiders are leading decks. The enemy forces have been destroyed we need a plan for landing these birds we are almost bingo fuel.”

Admiral Lawson’s voice was husky is if she had been shouting. She click the microphone on her wireless headset. “Pack them in as tight you can on the Solaria and the Atlas. Then put up a CAP to defend this location until reinforcements arrive.”

“Sir this is Solaria actual. This position is deep inside Cylon space. If we bring heavy forces here to protect us during the recovery phase we risk attack on the new colonies. The force big enough to intimidate the Cylons would drain our defenses.”

“Engineering was going to need to send crews to do damage surveys. We are going to need several hundred marines co clear these ships of centurions. This ships FTL drive is lightly damaged. The NAV computers were destroyed. This was done to send us a message. We are going to have to recover the damaged ships quickly.”

“This is marine task force two. We have landed on the Athena. We have destroyed the heavy raiders and are now moving into the ship. We are encountering heavy resistance.”

Lawson pressed a few buttons and got on the PA. “This is the admiral. All crew members are directed to shelter in place. If you have weapons, arm yourselves. We are going to retake the ship.”

* * *

A week later, Admiral Lawson was going through a pile of communications. There were a dozen urgent messages ordering her to abandon the two battlestars and return to fleet command. It had taken three days to clear out the centurions. The supplies arrived to make emergency repairs on the FTL drives.

Corey Brooks had blocked shipment of FTL parts from the Mercury, for fear that she was being made inoperable by removing key parts. This was not true. Reserve supplies were drained and sent to the two damaged ships.

The crew of the battlestars had been roughly 1500 each ship. The air wings were under strength and totaled 800 pilots. Losses in the ambush had been low. Of the 2,214 crew that were not pilots, there was a total of about 200 persons to manage the two ships.

Lawson doggedly refused to read communications from Corey Brooks. If she never read the orders, how could she be accused of violating these orders?

When Corey Brooks met the admiral in her shipyard office ten days later, she asked how this had happened.

“It’s my responsibility,” said the admiral. We took a high risk gamble. We tried to take out a high-priority target. We were the sucker. It was a well planned ambush. We rolled the hard six and we lost.” She handed the folder to the leader of the People’s Council.

Brooks opened the folder and read the letter. “This is your resignation?”

“I’m recommending I be replaced with Commander Ramirez. She is young and disciplined. She will make a fine replacement for me.”

“She’s a 31 year old computer analyst forced to a command role. She just learned how to fly a viper. Lose one battle and you start talking about quitting. I may have had some pre-judgments about you but you’ve acquitted yourself well. Stand up and get ready to bounce back from this battle. You have two decades of experience.”

“We’re going to need funding to rebuild these ships.”

“You’ll get everything you asked for,” Brooks reply. “If we plan for six month rebuild, we can spread the cost into budget years.”

Lawson answered. “I thought you want to big budget cuts.”

“Of course I do, I’m a politician,” she answered. “But right now we are at war. These two warships are going to be rebuilt.”

It was a dull thought I heard outside the door of Admiral Lawson’s office. It sounded like a body hitting the ground hard. The door opened and a model number one Cavill walk through the doorway.

With a quick reflexes Lawson reached her hand into a desk drawer and pulled out a military issue pistol. She pointed at the Cylon’s head.

“I come with a message,” he raised his hands as he spoke. “You have violated the cease fire. We are not amused with this course of action. I’m here to send you a warning. Follow the cease fire correctly or we will bring down fire and destruction on your newly re-established colonies.”

Corey Brooks stood up and face the man. “You have violated the cease-fire constantly. We have evidence of your forces scouting location of our new refugee colonies. You continue to build warships and you abuse them against us. Cease-fire must go both ways.”

The model one spoke. “If you limit the size of your military to 100 ships and the colonies are neutral territories. You will need to stay out of them completely if you want to cease-fire to continue.”

“Offer rejected. We will except no limits on the side of our fleet. It is obvious that you have thousands of ships and sent them across the galaxy in search of the Galactica. We will also need to continue visiting the colonies. As you are I’m sure where we are drawing down industrial supplies. We need those for the rebuilding of our civilization. This is not just for military use.”

“All right you may send unarmed ships into the original colonies and they will not be attacked. Will you require anything else?” He sneered.

“We require that you stop building new warships,” Admiral Lawson added.

“Rejected,” he answered we need to explore the galaxy and find earth. That requires a lot of ships. The offer is as it stands. You keep your warships out of the colonies and your supply missions will be left in peace. Do you have 10 seconds to except the offer.”

“We accept,” Brooks answered. “Please acknowledge.”

“We accept your offer and the cease-fire is in place immediately.”

“Kill him,” Brooks ordered.

Admiral Lawson fired two shots directly into his forehead. He had a brief look of surprise before he fell dead to the floor.

“When he resurrects our message movies will be received by the Cylon.”

“Oh I know why you ordered it Leader Brooks. It is just a hell of a way to conduct diplomatic negotiations.” She laid the smoking pistol on the desk, sat down and sipped her coffee as if nothing had happened.

Chapter 63: Skirmish

Day 381 after the fall

Admiral Lawson was in a temporary office in the fleet HQ. Normally she kept her office hours on the Battlestar mercury. However for the past week and a half to ship a been in for repairs and she was forced to use this small office.

The office had a window in through that window she could see her command, the Battlestar. There were some derricks and construction on the flight pods other parts of the ships. The exterior armor was being replaced, along with months of battle damage.

The war with the Cylons had gone cold. The enemy has not made an appearance in 31 days. Apparently the promise made by the model number one was going to be kept. The Cylons had left the Colonies and gone off to pursue a new destiny.

After her capture, Admiral Lawson did not believe that the machines that destroyed humanity would ever give up and destroy what little was left of them. She knew in her heart that they had heart and whatever they called their souls. They were constructed by hateful machines it would not give up until their mission was accomplished.

The armistice line set between the government of Cory Brooks and the enemy excluded the 12 colonies from the new colonial territory. This line extended right up to the old colonies.

The new colonial fleet often violated this line in order to forage for supplies. In the 31 days in the past since the last and a base is mission, no life survivors in about any of the 12 colonies. There were however store houses of industrial equipment and parts that were necessary to keep the fleet going.

Every week the civilian in charge of the economy presented Admiral Lawson with a list of what he wanted.

Each week list was more extensive, and more dangerous to obtain. Every week however the admiral ordered at the list be obtained.

Scientists occasionally asked to go on the mission to take readings. They’ve also percent of the military with reports. These reports or pessimistic. Radiation levels were so high that in some number of years all life would be extinct and everyone of the 12 colonies.

To be perfectly honest with herself, Admiral Lawson to authorize the missions for political reasons. With the threat from the enemy seeming to have a fallen, the military needed to justify itself, to remain relevant.

First priority was always given to the militaries list of requirements. By fulfilling the requirements of the civilian economy, pressure to make cuts in the size of the military were kept at bay.

Admiral Lawson had nearly 25,000 souls under her command. They were four main fleets, each led by a mercury class Battlestar. It was expensive, and represented nearly 10% of the entire remaining number of humanity.

They were nearly 495,000 humans left live in the new colonies. Conditions were harsh and the economy was difficult. Civilians were already calling on people to be released from the military to do jobs that were more economically relevant.

With 25,000 people in the military and 20,000 involved in vital support shop such as shipbuilding and manufacturing of ammunition, the situation was probably unsustainable.

They were 18 different outposts forming a new colonies. Some of them barely habitable by humans. Life was difficult, and the planets that they were inhabiting would never be as easy to live on as Caprica.

The overall goal of the shipping program was not just to build military vessels, it was also the building of transport to take nearly half 1 million colonists off on a space adventure to find a new home.

Admiral Lawson had advocated picking up the entire number of humanity and heading into the stars. Her premise was to go as far away from the cylon as possible.

It was known that that with 50,000 people, President Laura Roslyn and Admiral Adama had done this.

The hack that was used to eavesdrop on cylon communications brought back a very important piece of intelligence. The enemy had not found the other colonial fleet led by Galactica.

There was a special mission on the way. Based hours were being sent in all directions, searching for the escape to fleet. Massive amounts of fuel and ammunition will be expected to sand forces in all directions.

It was because of this that admiral Eva Lawson had wanted to go off in a different direction. The only way she believed that humanity would be safer to be far far away from the machines they had created. Distance was the only hope of survival in her opinion.

The galaxy was a big place, and it should be possible to find a place that was more hospitable and difficult to find. The newly reconstituted news media had openly mocked her testimony in front of the peoples council.

The admirals response I’ve been caustic, even toxic. She did not back down in the civilian government promised to consider our request.

Commander Maria Ramirez was due for an appointment in a few minutes. Finding manners where she thought they were none, Admiral Lawson ordered a tray of coffee and refreshments be delivered for the meeting.

Coffee was her fuel, for Lawson was not able to sleep well. Her dreams were plagued with images from her captivity. She had initiated, or rather tried to initiate relations with a number of civilians and failed to complete a goal so simple.

Before the war, it had been a hobby. It was something she had done for fun. Now she was so messed up that she could not do it at all. The door chimed. She admitted Commander Ramirez, sho quickly grabbed a doughnut and poured herself a cup of coffee. She put a storage device on the desk.

“Colonel Simmons completed the mission to Caprica. He was ambushed by large fleet.”

Colonel Simmons have been appointed to be the commander of the captured Battlestar Athena. His promotion to Commander I’ve been held up by the peoples counsel. They were concerned about costs.

“He wasn’t killed was he?” Asked Lawson.

“Oh no they got through it OK. They were casualties I think they lost a adamant class ship. They were victorious but they did take a hell of a beating. They jumped to Scorpia to grab some supplies and do some emergency repairs. We have a few cargo containers hidden in the shipyard ruins. It enables us to make quick repairs for these kind of circumstances.”

“I did not see that on your last report Commander Ramirez,” Lawson spoken a false accusing tone. She smiled warmly.

“It’ll be on the monthly report,” promised Ramirez. “You got some great footage do you want to see the battle Admiral?”

“Of course I do. Lets watch it in the simulator theatre.

This room was a large movie theater with a massive video screen. It had been built into the shipyards along with simulators similar to those found other mercury class battle stars. It was an enjoyable way to watch the war for footage.

Whenever possible all battles were recorded so the winner lose the military could learn from them.

“That was one impressive performance,” Lawson said. “Simmons is really picking up on big ship tactics. You know I had my doubts.”

“It’s not like we have our halls filled with graduates of the war college,” Ramirez sipped a glass of water. “I graduated but for me it was an exercise in getting a good grade. I did not internalize much.”

“I graduated eighteen years ago. I was never sent to Battlestar University due to my extra-curricular activities.”

“Well, we are going to need a new war college and a new Battlestar-U,” the commander sighed.

“We are barely getting funding for fleet operations. We still foraging in the twelve colonies for ammunition. Some of what we are using has been in storage for fifty years.”

“I get it.”

Getting enough ships together to take half a million war refugees is a pipe dream. Councilman Fredrick has proposed cutting the military shipbuilding budge by 25%”

“That is ridiculous Admiral.”

“We need to pick up and move across the galaxy before the cylons come back. I know they are coming. They will not be satisfied until humanity is extinct.”

“Preaching to the quire Admiral. I need your authorization to send reinforcements to the fleet.” She slid the paper across the desk. Lawson read it and then signed it.

“We will bring them home and make permanent repairs Admiral. I would like to propose some long range recon to try and locate the cylon staging areas. I think we should be prepared to go on the offensive. They have a manufacturing advantage over us. It is about time we took that away.

“Well the attempt to dry up their tylium resources pretty much failed. Shipyard capacity is much more complex and difficult to build.”

“First we take away the capacity to build ships. Then we take away the ships. It’s ambitious Admiral, but we have to think outside of the box to win this war. We are never going to build enough ships to defeat their fleet The New Colonies simply lack the numbers for that.”

“Do you have a plan commander?” Lawson asked.

“I have a draft in my quarters. I will bring it by tomorrow.”

“Copy that,” Lawson poured herself another cup of coffee. She was certain that 5% of her blood volume was coffee.

* * *

It was the middle of the night when the annoying phone ring finally got Admiral Lawson to roll over in bed and answer.

“This is fleet operations,” the voice said. “You are needed in the situation room.”

She yawned loudly. “What the frak is the situation room.

“We will send marines to your quarters and escort you. They will arrive in five minutes.”

Click

“And if I need ten minutes will they take me to the situation room naked,” she growled.

Since it took her more than ten minutes to even find anything in this suite, she elected to put on a “Battlestar Atlantia” robe that she had found in the closet.

“Task force Athena is late reporting in Sir,” the deck officer reported. “We believe there may have been an ambush.”

“Lets see the intelligence data,” Lawson said calmly. Commander Maria Ramirez appeared several minutes later. Of course she was dressed in her blue uniform that looked freshly pressed,

A large, partially digitalized image appeared on the screen. It appeared to show the flight pod of the Battlestar Athena under missile attack.

“Is it authentic?” Admiral Lawson asked.

“The computer is not certain. I have my old digital team from the Mercury checking it out,” Commander Ramirez answered.

“Set Condition one in the shipyard. Patrol Valkyries launch ALL squadrons. Unknown DRADIS contract carom 182 CBDR” Bellowed a youngish sounding man.

“Alert Vipers are on intercept course, three minutes. Its pretty far out there.”

“DRADIS!” More contacts, its a whole cylon fleet!”

“All ships prepare to attack,” Admiral Lawson ordered. “Spool up the shipyards FTL. How fast can we spin up the Mercury and get the hell out of here?”

The nod from Ramirez told her I could take hours and by then the Battlestar might be lost.

“Defense perimeter station Baker has a missile lock. They have a salvo of 300 missiles ready to fire.”

“Verify Identity and then fire,” Lawson ordered, wondering if the first part was even possible.

“We are ready to fire,” DP-Baker replied.

“Weapons hold!” Ramirez ordered. Lawson was ready to object to the protocol violation before she remembered just how much she trusted her former XO. An instant later, Ramirez hit a button putting what she had on headset on the PA speakers.

“This is Athena actual,” Colonel Simmons familiar voice came on the speaker. “We suffered damage to our communications array. We have successfully fought off a cylon ambush. Please do not fire we are Friendly’s. Standby for recognition codes and authentication.”

Admiral Lawson let’s go a sigh of relief. “We damn near shot around forces out of the sky. I hope the mission records aren as entertaining as the first battle.”

Two hours later the Commander, the Admiral, and Colonel Simmons we’re all in the theater watching the amazing news footage of the battle that I just been fought.

“I would have to say,” Colonel Simmons reported. “The enemy seem to know our every move. It was as if you were on their screen and they knew precisely where we were. I think we should come through this ship and see if we’ve missed any cylon electronics or computer code.”

“Agreed,” Lawson said. She leaned back in her seat and sipped coffee.

Battle video Two

Chapter 62: The last Anabasis run.

Chapter 62: Lawsons Anabasis run

Day 1 Day 341 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“I hate these new digital logs,” Lawson said. “I have to have my hair done just to record the musings of my fraked up mind for the sake of history. Anyway, we are at Picon, assembling a refugee fleet with the best firepower we can bring to bear. No cylon activity yet, but count on them to make it hard on us.”

Day 2 Day 342 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“The fist jump was easy. Cylons just sniffed around to get a DRADIS picture of our fleet. They will throw fast small ships at us because we can’t be nible escorting these civilian ships.”

Day 3 Day 343 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Light contact during jump 2. Ammunition use is high. Our forces were on station with quick repair workshops. Fleet is operating comfortable. Every jump there are more toasters.

Day 4 Day 344 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Lost two pilots today. Jump 3 cost us thumper an cueball, two very experienced pilots.”

Sick bay: Doctor Farragut writes in her diary. “Casualties came in after this jump. There are not enough doctors to staff every ship in this fleet. They come in after the jump. Burns and shrapnel wounds from armor and hull breaches. The pilots are getting shot up as well. It’s meatball surgery as we have so many wounded, all we can do is triage and keep as many people alive as possible. We are adding wards for the long term wounded. We will not be able to get some people treatment by civilian doctors. The plastic surgeons are going to be busy.

Day 5 Day 345 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Jump 5 coming up. Jump 4 cost us three nuggets and two from the deck gang. A viper in the repair bay was not secured properly and fell, badly wounding our deck chief. Needless lost. I don’t blame them, those crews are overworked. I went down and did a two hour shift, striping a landing skid damaged in a combat landing.”

Sick bay: Doctor Farragut writes in her diary.

“Doctor Jameson is a petty dictator that remembers everything and he has no problem using his rank to abuse his authority. That is balanced against his skill as a trauma surgeon. He can look at a wounded crew member, take a quick look at vital signs and immediately determine whether the wounded person can survive or not. I’m a psychiatrist, trained in PTSD, but am also a medical doctor and when I check Jameson’s work it never seems to be wrong.”

Day 6 Day 346 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“The entire CIC crew took time helping out the deck gang. Others were turned away because there was not enough space. Damaged bird could dropped from 67 to 21. How many will we damage in jump 6?”

Day 7 Day 347 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Cylons sent in three waves of ships. For some reason we did not get bracketed. Heavy damage to the air wing and the civilian transports. Trying a new formation using the three big battlestars to put up a massive flak wall. Worked well.”

Sick bay: Doctor Farragut writes in her diary. “Hundred and ninety casualties came in after Jump seven. Ten of them came in DOA. The rest, we managed to save, stabilize and transfer out patients to a medical ship with long range jump capability. Jameson is a dedicated doctor. He threatened to castrate the civilian medical personnel if any patients died on the way back to a civilian hospital. He is a bastard, but he fights like a lion for his patients. That mitigates a lot.”

Day 8 Day 348 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Lost 12 pilots today, another dozen wounded. Repair backlog up to 90 Vipers. Some pilots will sit out jump 8 due to lack of hardware. Port pod deck chief begged me no more volunteer knuckle draggers. Quality assurance was dropping and she is afraid a pilot might get killed. I told her check the records and weed out the sloppy mechanics. Like she has time for that. My nickname was changed from Admiral slut to Admiral asshole. Earned that.”

Sick bay: Doctor Farragut writes in her diary.

“Doctor Jameson is always rushing me. Always trying to make me work faster. The wounded come in fast and furious. I know I have to work faster. I find myself fantasizing about murdering him, slowly.”

Day 9 Day 349 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Air wing did a great job taking out the forward Cylon formation. Casualties were pretty low for anti-ship operations against heavy gunships.”

Day 10 Day 350 after the fall.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“We got clobbered on jump 9. Fortunately the pop up repair ships met us after jump 9. All warships repaired. Ammunition was not replenished.

Admiral Lawson vlog.

“Post mission. We lost an Artemis on jump 10. First run to get over ten thousand souls out alive. Dropped the civilian loss rate from 34% to 29%. Yay team. I am going to sleep for ten days. I wish. Pilot losses were heavy, nearly 20% of our forces. This is going to have a major impact on the entire fleet.

Sick bay: Doctor Farragut writes in her diary.

“Over the course of this ten jump Anabasis run, we treated two thousand wounded. A number of civilian ships were destroyed. We saved over 10,00 souls, many of which were suffering from radiation poisoning. We lost nearly 5,000. Time for some sleep.”

Chapter 61: Hell or Anabasis mission 2. 10 more jumps.

Chapter 61

They got ten days “off” between missions. Admiral Lawson led a huge fleet to make the next run to the old colonies as they were now often referred to as.

It took seven days for Rose Carey’s team to get through the viper and raptor repair backlog.

Then there were three days of off shore leave. The shipyard was too vulnerable if they were let off their posts. So while amor was replaced and upgraded on the outside of the ships, the exhausted pilots and deck crews and many others slept in for up to 14 hours a day.

An amusement park of sorts was set up in the port hangar bay of the Saturn. The starboard bay featured a bar and music.

After putting in a few shifts helping with the repair backlog, the pilots felt less guilty about taking time off and started to filter into the amusement setup, for the young and innocent. For most suffering PTSD it was the temporary bar set up on the starboard hanger deck.

There was a pretty good selection of drink mixes. Cruiser, drowning the memory of two dead nugget trainees suddenly thought of Rose Carey and remembered she liked tropical drinks. So he found a pineapple coconut mix had the bartender add in some Tauron rum and unsteadily walked to where the knuckle draggers were still working on the viper backlog.

Carey was ready to tear into him but remembered how fragile he was for that second nugget, took the drink, put it on a maintenance trolly and whispered into his ear. “Bring enough for my entire crew and I will give them two hours off.” She gestured at the trolly.

Fifteen minutes later he and some actually sober pilots were back with a trolly full of drinks and snacks for Carey’s team.

“Two hours down time!” Carey announced. “One drink per customer then its all virgin drinks.” She noted in her logs that the hour before the break they completed repairs on two Mk.7 vipers. The two hours after the break they averaged almost 4 vipers per hour. She smiled thinking she should write a management book.

* * *

Lieutenant Tamar Miller sat across the table from Bruce Jenkins. Miller aged 28 had just been promoted to squadron commander, Jenkins aged 24 had just made Lieutenant was the assistant squadron commander of the same squadron.

The pair had served together on the Mercury and later the Saturn in different squadrons. They had dated for a little over three months. Two weeks ago, Miller’s promotion had brought that relationship to a grinding halt.

“There are other assistant squadron commander slots in the fleet,” Miller said calmly, willing herself not to fidget.

“I like the squadron I’m in,” he replied. “Watching your six,” he smirked looking over the edge of the table. “Is definitely a choice assignment.”

“Regulations are clear. There are no relationships allowed within the same command,” she said. “As much as I will miss it, we are on hold.”

“If we stay discreet, I don’t see the issue. Things have changed. Our home worlds are irradiated and many billions are dead.”

“You know how personal relationships were used against Admiral Lawson,” Miller pointed out.

“So what? They still made her an Admiral.”

“You know she was slut shamed and investigated.”

“Investigated for sleeping with a toaster,” he interrupted. “Are you a toaster? I’m not.”

“Everything we do including whether we decide to frak reflects on her as she is Commander in Chief of the entire fleet. The regulation is in force. I will follow it.”

Jenkins put his drink on the table, making a loud noise.

“Thank you for your time,” Squadron commander, he said angrily.

Sausage, the CAG of the Saturn, James Redding and recently promoted to captain approached Lieutenant Miller. “That was hard,” he said.

“Frak off … Sir.” she briefly considered throwing a drink in his face. “I know that following the regulations that it protects the Admiral. You can stay the frak away from me until we start the operation.”

Day 331 jump 1. Total jumps for Anabasis 11.

Rose Carey in her diary: Jump one is behind us. No pilots lost, six vipers damaged.

Day 332 jump 2.

Vlog of James “Sausage” Redding.

“Jump two was like a training exercise. The toasters know what we are doing and each jump they throw more forces at us. Two minutes of combat. Several missiles did make it through. No pilots lost, very little damage to the birds. Combat landings broke a couple of landing struts. The chief keeps complaining about needless combat landings. Soon they wont be needless.”

Day 333 since the fall. Jump 3.

“This is black hair, we just let through three missiles. That is too many. Get back to your patrol locations. Engage raiders only on my command squadron. They are feinting, making false runs to pull us out of position.”

“Sausage to black hair, engage that Cerastes!”

“Aye! Blue squadron engage!”

“Fleet is taking fire!” Ramirez barked on the channel wanting better performance.

Rose Carey in her diary. “Fifteen birds damaged. Lost two pilots. Frakking toasters.”

Day 334 since the fall, Jump 4 14 total outbound Anabasis jumps.

“This is Cruiser, lead ship is putting fire on Athena. Do we engage?”

“Three enemy ships just jumped in on the fleets six, do we engage?” Miller asked.

“Negative,” Ramirez ordered. “RTB fast we are spooling up. PCM will take care of it. Combat landings are authorized.”

Rose Carey to her diary “21 bent birds between the four assigned squadrons. Lost a raptor and two vipers. 4 more dead pilots. This is peace? We should nuke the Cylon home world.”

Day 335 since the fall Jump 5 total of 15 outbound Anabasis jumps.

“Sausage to Black Hair, missile just got through and hit an Artemis. Another one reports being hacked. Oh frak fireball on my wing. Tornado where the hell are you?”

“That was Tornado,” Bruce Jenkins reported.

“Frak!”

Rose Carey fell asleep her head in her diary, having written nothing.

Day 336 since the fall Jump 6 total of 16 outbound Anabasis jumps.

“Missile wave 1 suppressed,” Cruiser reported. “Mostly PCM.”

“All ships engage lead Nemesis with forward guns. CAG, Sausage whatever second Nemesis broke through. Assign a squadron.” Commander Ramirez ordered. Where was the XO?

“Go get them blue squadron,” Sausage ordered.

“Wilco,” Miller’s voice sounded exhausted.

“Radiological alarm. An Argos just fired a nuke!”

“Second nuke!” Red squadron has it.

“Am I red or blue?” a confused pilot asked.

“Arachne just jumped in close!”

“Firing solution main guns salvo mode!”

“Splash one Nemesis!”

“Saturn just took a salvo in navigation. Who was supposed to intercept?” Sausage asked.

“Athena purple team!”

“RTB all ships show green. Combat landings.”

Rose Carey writes. “We have 30 birds to fix, will only get to twenty. Welcome to my backlogged list ten birds.

Day 337 since the fall Jump 7 total of 17 outbound Anabasis jumps.

James “Sausage” Redding vlog: Heavy air resistance today. Lost another friend.

Commander Maria Ramirez: Written log. “Made it through without losing a ship. Record is what 8 jumps. Three more experienced pilots died today. CAG is sounding unsteady. Got hit on three sides. Considering formation changes. To what?”

Day 338 since the fall Jump 8 total of 18 outbound Anabasis jumps.

Rose Carey in diary. “The enemy upgraded to Revenant gunships today. Where are they getting all this hardware?”

“Nuke! Coming in hot,” Tamar Miller said “I got it!”

“Theres two! One just detonated off the flight pod of an Artemis.”

“This is Avenger, we need help. Lost pressure in the port flight pod.”

“All birds on the deck. ”Keep flak up. All ships jump jump jump.”

Day 339 since the fall Jump 9 total of 19 outbound Anabasis jumps.

“We got base stars. First war saucer base stars!”

“Just took a missile salvo on the bow. Avenger is in trouble.”

“Mark seven squadrons engage. Mark two on defense,” Ramirez ordered on the flight channel.

“More tangos just jumped in!”

“Splash two Nemesis,” Sausage reported.

“Two nukes inbound. They are going for Avenger!”

“Scratch a Revenant gunship!”

“We just lost Avenger!”

“Frak, there are too many of them.”

“DRADIS Arachne just jumped in close.”

“We have boarders. Repeat. First war centurions have boarded us.”

“Scratch another I dunno, it was big!”

“RTB all birds. Combat landings. Flak up jump jump jump!”

Day 340 since the fall Jump 10 total of 20 outbound Anabasis jumps. Hell ends again.

The Captain of the Tiblisi had looked at the recon. The entire fleet was in danger if someone did not lead some of the Cylon forces away.

With no approval he spoke to his crew and revealed his plan. “We will jump on the other side of the Cylon fleet and force them to pursue,” he said.

“Our vipers?” asked his XO who was really an LT junior grade.

“1 squadron on defense. The other assignment will be to protect the refugees.”

“Our civies?”

“Off loaded to the big battlestars.”

“So say we all Sir.”

“Here are a list of nonessentials we are moving to Athena, your name is on it XO.”

“I stand with my shipmates,” he crossed his arms defiantly.

“So say we all!” Said the CIC crew.

Ten minutes later….

“Flak is offline all systems down. Nuke inbound.”

“It’s been my greatest honor serving with you. The captain braced for impact.”

8157 souls saved.

Ramirez put every member of that crew in for a medal.

Chapter 60: 10 jumps through hell

Chapter 60: The Cylon “Peace”

The day after she was promoted to Admiral Commander Lawson, rather Admiral Lawson was greeted with a wireless call in her office on the Mercury. The buzzing was annoying so she answered it immediately.It was her executive officer Major Simmons.

“Do you have a conference call with Commander Ramirez and Admiral Cobb. Corey Brooks is also on the conference call.” He reported.

“Who is it?” She asked.

“It’s audio only but he says his brother cavil a model number one humanoid Cylon. Everyone is waiting for you to join the call.”

“Don’t let me slow you down put them on.”

“Them sir?” He asked.

“A little Cylon joke,” she smiled.

“We have an announcement for you humans. We have decided that the attack on the colonies was a mistake. We lowered ourselves to the level of humans and committed atrocities. We are going to leave the colonies now. They are yours to inhabit again no harm no foul.”

Corey Brooks answered him, “No harm no foul? You exterminated billions and left our worlds to be irradiated for hundreds of thousands of years. You’re just calling that even?”

” Funny that’s what Adama and said when we told him. President Roslyn promoted him to Admiral weeks before you got your new job. Funny. I think he’s your senior officer now by a few weeks.”

“Are you in contact with him can you take a message to them?” Asked Cory Brooks.

“Well we’ve temporary lost track of them. They’ll probably do something self-destructive and put us back on the trail. We’d rather not they join forces with you. Five Mercury class vessels and 2 Jupiter battle stars is a little bit too much firepower for you.”

“Good try,” Ramirez said softly.

“Anyway,” the model number one continued. “Just a some political crisis for you Baltar has been elected president of the colonies. You see they don’t know you exist. Do you think he’s going to be very helpful to us as your peoples leader?” he asked. “I do.”

“Well thank you for nothing,” Admiral Lawson remarked.

“Please let us finish,” the humanoid model continued. “There was a rebellion on all 12 of the colonies. They no longer have us to fight. They also no longer have access to anti-radiation medication. There were about 30,000 of them are all 12 colonies. Are you going to let them die a horrible death of radiation poisoning? Or you could surprise us and rescue your fellow humans.”

“Why did you tell us this?” asked Brooks.

“Well we’re not as bad as humans we can’t just leave them to be slowly killed. We prefer killing people quickly with nuclear weapons.”

There were some interference at some grumbling on the human side of the conference call.

“You should be careful we’ve lost track of some of our brothers in some relics from the first war with the humans. I now declare that the second war between the Cylon and human is over. Good luck and safe travels.”

“Admiral Lawson,” the executive of the People’s Council ordered. I would like you to send recon into the colonies and validate this models words. We will prepare rescue missions as soon as you let us know it safe.

The intel did not look very good. It would take ten jumps to get the refugees from their home colony to an assembly point where they could be transferred to other ships.

There was a convention of obsolete Cylon ships jumping from place to place, looking for a fight. This was peace, Cylon style.

Admiral Lawson walked up to the lectern in the pilot ready room of the Athena. She had reluctantly given her XO command of the Athena. Crews were pretty thin and they were pulling pilots out of training to put them to work.

Though this was the pilots ready room, there were several knuckle draggers present. This was acknowledgment of the important role that would be played by the maintenance team.

“During the first Cylon war, they called this the Anabasis run. Ten jumps to get refugees from outlying outposts back to Caprica. This time we will be taking them from the Colonies to our new homes. It will take 10 jumps and it will be hard.”

“The Cylons left a large number of older ships and Cylons behind, with the intention of making us spend resources of blood and treasure to recover these people. The average run could bring us 15,000 refugees. These people have fought the Cylons for nearly a year. A lot of them will be available for us to crew some more ships and strengthen our defenses for when the war resumes.”

“These people are running low on radiation meds. They need our help. We are going to do our best for them and minimize our losses. It will be approximately one jump per day. We may have to keep this up for twenty or perhaps 30 days.”

“Your are going to be exhausted. You will need to do more than your best. We have 318,000 souls under your protection. If we increase that a lot, we will get stronger. Any questions?”

“If the Cylons left the Colonies, why can’t we just move back in?” An orange suited viper maintenance technician asked.

“The radiation from all those nukes has left the twelve colonies uninhabitable,” Ramirez took the question. “It may be a hundred thousand years or more before these worlds can be safe. They may never be safe.”

“It is going to be one jump per day. You need to keep the freighters and the Celestra’s safe. You will be drawing your supplies off one and parts needed for repairs off the other,” Lawson said forcefully. “Jump off tomorrow 0600 hours. Lets do this!”

A chorus of “So say we all” echoed through the room.

Rose Carey was a level 6 maintenance technician, who had mustered out of the Colonial fleet two weeks before the attacks on the Colonies. She was on a cruise ship with her fiancee when it was damaged during the initial assault on Gemenon. The ship managed with the help of herself and a dozen other former Colonial Fleet veterans to make emergency repairs and reach a muster point set up for refugees.

After three months in a refugee camp, moving twice she was more than happy to get into the service. She served several months on a Valkyrie, before being promoted and sent to the Mercury. She was made an assistant deck chief there and transferred to the Saturn when it was commissioned.

She was bitter, her fiancee had been killed several weeks back and was glad to have a place to sleep and get three meals a day. Sleep was often forgotten during the high operational tempo that was maintained for months.

She got up the morning of the first jump back from Tauron and was very pleased. There was only light damage to a couple of vipers. The enemy force sent to stop them was not very strong.

She made a note in her diary.

Day 310 of the second war.

Easy day. Ten planes damaged, not big deal. If this is all the Cylons can bring we are going to be okay.

Bruce Jenkins was a 24 year old viper pilot, having graduated from the VR school on the Saturn and doing actual flight training on an old Artemis class battlestar. He was assigned to the Saturn and then promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to help new pilots assimilate.

On his first mission of the Anabasis run, he had intercepted some inbound ordinance and assisted on a kill in his Mark seven viper. It was a pretty good day. He did not keep a diary, but he made sure to give Rose Carey a high five as she checked his viper. “Nice one,” he said.

Day 311 of the war. Jump 2. Resistance had been stepped up. A couple of viper pilots had gotten blotted out of the sky today. Another dozen had gotten shot up pretty good. There was smoke coming out of his high engine when he did the final checklist. Rose Carey sniffed and checked the undercarriage of the Mk.7. There was damage and hydraulic fluid was leaking.

“Can you get it ready for the next op?” Jenkins asked, apologetically. “Yeah probably,” she said, wiping grease off her forehead. “It’s going to take a while.”

“You can’t take them at too sharp an angle nugget,” Jenkins, call sign ‘Cruiser’ warned the youthful pilot as he tried to bring down some inbound missiles.

“Heads up,” warned another pilot. “You got a raider on your six!”

“Break! Break! Break!” Jenkins ordered. “Don’t worry about the missiles, don’t get killed.”

“There was a flash and a scream.” The nugget, who had not even gotten a call sign was gone.

“FRAK!” Jenkins shouted and banged a fist on his arm rests.

“Cruiser break right, you have a raider on you. Classic type.”

Jenkins heard something snap and his Mk.7 became difficult to control. He avoided the raider, jinked his Viper, grunting as he did it and put a killing shot in three consecutive Cylons.

“Nice kills Cruiser!” congratulated one pilot.

“Shut the frak up. We lost a nugget today.”

“RTB RTB RTB all vipers. Combat landings are authorized.” On landing, he realized that he had hit too hard, damaging his gear.

He looked sheepish at Rose Carey and apologized as his Mk.7 was dragged into the bay. “It’s gonna take me all night to fix that,” she complained. She gestured helplessly at the damaged landing strut.

“I’m really sorry booster,” he said using her call sign. “Let me help.” He stripped off his flight suit and grabbed a wrench.

A smart assed remark was on her lips but she accepted the help and let him start stripping the landing strut after she locked the Mk.7 into place and lifted it half a meter.

Day 312. Diary Entry. Sleepy. Fixed lots of bent birds. A mark went down the page where she fell asleep while writing.




_________________________


Day 313. Jump 3.

Carey wrote in her diary. “Cruiser came back nearly in tears. His squadron commander was killed. We now have a back log of 30 damaged Mk.7 vipers. We are working around the clock. Several convoy ships got hit by enemy fire today. They tried to thin out my crew today to get people to assist in the repairs. Chief Carlson stopped them in their tracks.

Day 314 Jump 4. While in the maintenance bay they put the feed of the squadrons on the speakers. It was scary.

“Splash one, splash two.” One pilot said.

“We have six inbound missiles, guided bearing down on that Artemis.”

“No don’t spin up flak you idiot, we have it under control,” Cruiser warned.

“That Valkyrie just took a missile in the port pod.”

“Hey whoever is firing those mines, not through a squadron configuration.”

“Oooeee!” A pilot shouted. “Just say a Revanant eat two mines. She’s breaking up.”

“All batteries switch to target two,” Ramirez’s voice interrupted. “Salvo mode.” She sounded tired.

“Three bent birds touching down on the port ventral pad,” the announcement from the LSO warned.

“Which pod are we in?” Rose wondered. “Starboard, that means right. Good. I don’t have to fix those birds.”

“All vipers RTB now now now. Combat landings are authorized.”

“Damn it!” Carey grunted. “Those frakking combat landings bang up the birds and keep my crews up all night.”

“Prepare for jump in five, four, three, two, one seconds. JUMP!”

Day 315. Jump 5. “Ten birds were not ready for launch today from this deck when the Cylons jumped in. We are dead tired. One of my guys fell asleep in a cockpit, while he was replacing some circuit breakers. Rose was was short and thin, with dirty blonde hair. Her eyes were red from lack of sleep,

“What the FRAK!” she said when she saw Cruisers viper. “It’s going to take ten hours to have that thing ready for the next fight. Cruiser, you are white as a ghost.” She was suddenly concerned. His windshield was cracked. He collapsed, while climbing down his ladder.

He was grounded for the next mission. A light wound, he put on coveralls and helped get the vipers ready for those who were flying.

Day 316 of the war Jump 6. Rose wrote in her diary.

“I really appreciate Cruisers help with the grunt work. He is crappy as a knuckle dragger, but he does help us get things done. We worked through the battle and got all the backlogged vipers back in action.

“Twenty more came in after the jump. Will this ever end? I’ve had seven or eight hours of sleep this week. What the frak.”

Day 317 of the war Jump 7

Rose writes in her diary.

Cruiser got back in the air today, two days after being wounded. He is a hero in my book, getting up every day to defend this fleet and the civies we protect. He is also good looking athletic build, 1.8 meters tall with light brown hair.

I could live with that. It would not be settling. I hear he is dating a pilot from red squadron, Tamar Miller. She landed on our deck today as an emergency, due to a combat landing collision. She is a beauty, perfect figure. I wish she had picked someone else.

We jump, we launch all our birds, they shoot down missiles, then raiders. Then my team fixes up the birds for another jump. This pace is terrible on people and equipment. Every day the freighter drops us off more spare parts, sometimes entire vipers to replace our losses. That is why we surround them like a cocoon.

Cruiser brought his viper home today without a scratch. He gave me a high five and then a huge hug when he reached the bottom of the ladder. I will remember this day for a long time.

Day 318 of the war. Jump 8.

Rose writes in her diary.

Lieutenant Tamar Miller call sign “Black hair” due to her long mane of perfectly black hair was appointed blue squadron commander yesterday. She is Cruiser’s boss. I wonder if they will continue to date.

She and the commander stopped by to encourage us. Turns out “Black Hair” started out in the fleet as a cook after washing out as a pilot. She baked the entire deck gang cookies as a thank you. They were great.

I saw Commander Ramirez stuff a few cookies in her pocket. She should eat them. She looks gaunt. I hear she started the war as an overweight computer geek.They both made speeches. I fell asleep. My gang says they were great speeches.

Day 319 of the war

“Cruiser watch that bunch on the right, they are busting through and going to try and kill a Valkyrie.”

“Roger that Tamar, I mean black hair. Nugget! On my lead, hard right, we are going to do the fancy move we tried in the simulator.”

A nervous voice came on the speakers. Rose paused for a moment and looked up at the speaker. “I’m not sure I can do it skipper.”

“Nonsense,” Cruiser encouraged. “Just like we practiced. Stay on my wing.”

There was some garbled communication and a screech of a female voice. “Kryptor, I’m hit. I’m …”

Viper one niner two seven was hauled in by a SAR bird.

The Ensign, Ruth Jacobs was still inside the shattered cock pit.

Tamar Miller and Bruce Jenkins were nose to nose and arguing while Rose Carey looked over the badly damaged Viper.

“I told you that rook was not ready for that move. It took me three months to get it down.”

“She was ready Black Hair.”

“She was NOT!” the squadron commander spat back.

“She did it right. I blew the move. I clipped her viper, knocked her off course. It was MY fault. I killed her.” He took off his wings and smashed them into her hand. Then he stormed off the flight deck.

“Cruiser, no, don’t do this.”

Her eyes met Rose Carey’s. She almost shouted “What the frak are you looking at knuckle dragger.” She stopped herself. The woman looked so worn down, with smudges of grease on her forehead and both cheeks. “Can you fix that bird?” she asked, gesturing toward the one with the nuggets remains still splattered around the cock pit.

“No,” Rose answered, “that will have to go to the viper factory and be remanufactured. Those civilians whine a lot, but they make good vipers.”

“I have a favor to ask.”

“Yes Lieutenant.”

The squadron CO draped an arm over Roses shoulder. “Its just us, call me Tammie.”

Day 320 of the war. Rose Carey and Bruce Jenkins alone in a launch tube.

“We need you to take these,” she handed back the wings. “I know you did your best to protect us and that nugget.”

“I killed her,” he sobbed.

“No that was the toasters.” She stood up on tip toes and gave him a peck on the cheek. She was so nervous. “Honor her memory. Protect us for one more jump.”

The last jump cost the fleet a Valkyrie, but all the pilots at least got home safe.

End of mission 1. 8561 refugees saved.

Chapter 59: The battlestars

Heracles in the videos a gift from Joker of the BSG Deadlock discord,

Commander Maria Ramirez was looking positively thin in her blue day uniform. She was immaculate. Every button was polished, All her uniforms have been altered to her new more svelte physique physique.

She knew the hallways of this Battlestar very well having served on it for a year under Admiral Mueller before the fall of the colonies. She checked him in CIC I’ve been told the commander was in the Virtual Reality suite.

Now I command are starting out the war as an information technology Lieutenant, she was remarkable and how she’s adjusted to a new role far above her former rank. Her CAG, call sign “sausage” has been a malcontent Lieutenant disrupting his squadron commander on the mercury.

With the responsibility of command and a promotion pressed upon him he had grown into the role immediately. He was flying sometimes 18 hours a day training as pilots. He gave individual attention to those that needed it and now have three other pilots doing flight training along side him. The Air wings performance in recent battles had been magnificent.

This Battlestar is hallways were long and monotonous. She found her legs were getting a little bit tired and she made her way to the VR section of the ship.

Her mind wandered ass at the origin of her CAG call sign. She was pretty sure it was not because he like to eat homemade sausage which was not available in the current climate of late. She wondered what was so special about him to get a call sign named after a part of his anatomy.

“You’ve got to get yourself a man,” she said she reached Commander Eva Lawson’s location. She gently knocked on the door heard some kind of a noise from inside and then announced her self.

Commander Lawson did not look like she been taking care of herself. Her hair was unkempt, she was in her undershirt with no rank inscription on display. She pulled her head out of the virtual reality computer and looked up at Commander Ramirez.

“Good morning Commander Ramirez, ” she said. “What brings you to my neighborhood on this fine day. Bored from the lack of activity except for those to Battlestar’s attacking remote outposts?”

“Well actually your crew especially your XO is very concerned about you. Looking at you I can see why. What simulation are you running that it so important that you don’t eat for three days?”

“I’m trying to figure out how to take those Battlestar’s away from the Cylons. I am absolutely positively obsessed with this. If we can’t figure a way to take those Battlestar’s away from them we’re going to have to destroy them. That represents a doubling of our capital ships heavy fire power.”

In spite of her physical condition, commander loss and did not sound maniacal. She did not sound like she was crazy or going mental. She was actually focusing very hard on the problem and trying to solve it on her own without getting help. This was her way throughout her career.

There was a fight and over early in her career that was difficult to do correctly on the mark seven viper.

It was a difficult move and it was a requirement to get advanced status and get promoted be on the rank of Lieutenant. She spent hours upon hours in the simulator, trying to figure out how to do the maneuver and continually lost control of her viper. She refused to reach out to other pilots for help and it wasn’t until she missed a rotation and CAP and the flight surgeon decertifying her first flight status that her commander took her aside and asked what she was doing.

She explained sheepishly he got into the simulator with her and told her to maneuver in about 15 minutes. It was a death when she learned the lesson to reach out for help. Apparently as commander she had fewer resources so she could trust but she has seemingly forgotten this important role that it saved her career.

“Tell me how you’re trying to do this,” Ramirez pressed. “What fleet and tactics are you using?”

“Well you know only 4 Atlas carriers and I wanted to maximize the size of the marine force. I equip them at all Raptors. I have 4 Janus class cruisers because they have an amazingly large ammunition and fire capability.”

“What’s the munitions loud I know Janus cruisers?”

Dealerships are outfitted with mostly proximity mines and EMP minds. Each ship has at least one EMP generator. Dealerships have two EMP generators and one EMP mine load out.”.

“What else?” asked Amanda Ramirez.

“The two air wings and both of our mercury glass Battlestar’s. We need the air power so it’s very problematic to attack the vipers on the other side due to confusion and the fact that we’re having an air battle right within close range of their mercury class PDC’s”

“What does the other side have?”

“Recent intelligence shows they stopped using the Heracles probably because our fleet that they massacred took out five of them. They using Minataur class cruisers. Looks like maybe eight. Great gunships.”

“What happens when you run a simulation?”

“Most of the task force is destroyed, usually the Battlestar’s are taken. But we lose either the mercury or the Saturn every time. I need a new tactic but I can’t think of any other way to conduct a mission.”

“All right I’m gonna go into the second suite and we’re going to do the simulation again you’re running the entire show I’m just watching and observing. Set up I’ll take five minutes do you need a coffee break?”

“My blood is 5% caffeine right now,” Lawson joked.

#####

Simulation

After the exercise Ramirez gently took her former commander by the arm and walked her back to her quarters. “Dr. Farragut contacted me about you. You were going to sleep after you eat a complete and balanced meal. If you do not I will talk to the doctor and get you relieved of duty until you do.”

“Yes mother,” Commander Lawson sat down at her desk and begin consuming the least spoiled food trays left in her office area.

Maria Ramirez did something she did when she was under Lawsons command, which was clean up this messy office. She got on the wireless and ordered a cart. She emptied all the meal trays that it accumulated into the cart. She went through the entire office and cleaned everything up while Lawson slowly consumed her meal.

“What next mom?” She stripped off her underwear and was completely naked in front of her last senior officer.

“You were going to get eight hours of sleep, 12 if you can. I’m going to take my crew and change the nature of this battle. I’ll be back to you with a new battle plan in 12 hours. I will not discuss it with you until you have slept.”

Lawson slipped on a nightgown and climbed into her bed. She pull the covers up to her chin and was in spite of the amount of caffeine in her bloodstream asleep within two minutes.

The colonial fleet had realized there was a technology gap concerning the Cylons. During the war which it ended 40 years prior the best the colonials could do is put up strong firewalls. They never made a real attempt to hack the Cylons. What good would it do to try and out hack a machine?

The problem had vexed colonial admirals for decades after the war. The Cylons have not made an appearance in decades it seems to be an issue. But it was an issue, it was a problem that needed to get solved.

In spite of the ban on artificial intelligence the cyber corps of the colonial fleet have been created a decade earlier. It rained thousands of officers in the art of defending information systems. It also trained in the art of offensive use of computer technology. In essence they were going to try it out hack the Cylons.

During the shuttle ride back to the Saturn, Ramirez ponder the problem. Suddenly it was very simple. All they have to do to change the course of the battle was take the cruisers out of the battle. The way to do that would be to take over their systems and crashed into each other at the exact opportune moment.

Her only other modification of commander Lawsons battle plan was too slow the rate in which they went into battle.

It was the 250th day since the destruction of the colonies that Commander Maria Ramirez came back to the mercury and showed her plan in a graphical slideshow.

“I call it operation turn around. We turned around the tables on the enemies instead of waiting to get hacked by them we hack them. Since the toaters are using obsolete Colonial vessels, the hack is quite simple.”

“I determined where the ships are coming from. As it turns out the Virgons had a contract to dismantle Colonial warships. For about 50 years they failed to fulfill the contract and sold parts from the systems on the black market. Some of the technology got back to the Cylons.”

“Our enemy has been doing part of the shipyards for decades. That’s how they mastered the technology of the mercury Battlestar. The prototype, built before the ship for the class got a name was dismantled. Except it was never dismantled.”

“Operation turn around has two components what is your conventional attack with 1000 Marines to take those to Battlestar’s. The second equally important operation is we’re going to go to the shipyard I’m gonna take as many steps as we can out of there and we’re going to nuke the rest of them. Admiral Cobb is going to lead that fleet.”

“We already have the intelligence in our database that shows over 300 ships are nearly completely assembled at the junkyard. Our estimates as we have enough crew to take out 100. The rest are going to mine and destroy. “

“As far as the assault goes I have changed a few things. We are going to put the marine Raptors in a fighting and vulnerable position above our fleet. We’re going to use electronic interference to mask the presence of Mark seven vipers in the same formation.”

“We are going to slow our approach speed slightly and when their writers engage we are going to ambush them. The battle will occur within range of our point defense cannons not theirs. During the ambush the Raptors bring 500 Marines each to the Athena and the Acropolis.”

“At the moment we enter optimum firing range, I take over the systems of the cruisers and they slam into each other with the mines we have laid in their path. Boom boom boom, the colonial three cats two new battle stars.”

Lawson asked, “are you sure we can hack those cruisers?”

“Before the war you were a fighter jock and he didn’t have much concern about information systems. My cyber team was a board the mercury figuring out how to defend it from the enemy. Further our mandate was to offensively use technology against the enemy. My crew did a demonstration for Admiral Mueller. With no route passwords or any other administrative access we want if we exercise against the mercury with three Artemis class battle stars.”

“As a matter of fact I’ve already cut software on all the ships in the enemy fleet. Last night they attacked one of my remote listening stations. They hauled it right into the landing being connected it to ship systems on the Acropolis. CNP was a very great accomplishment by the enemy. I’m going to give them that back to the third power”

Commander Lawson’s eyes lit up like a kid on colonial day morning. Commander Ramirez had a self-satisfied grin on her face.

“Commander Lawson,” Ramirez said “all you need to do is get the order and we jump off in six hours. We know exactly where the Cylons are. We’re going to take those battle stars away from them.”

“Is the Admiral ready to go?”

“Yes sir he is,” Maria Ramirez clasped her hands and looked confident.

“The order is given!” Commander at Lawson said emphatically. “I’m ready to sign the tactical orders.”

“Admiral Cobb signed them while you were sleeping sir.”

* * *

The FTL jump went smoothly. The enemy ships were in formation exactly where they were supposed to be. The colonial fleet was clumped together in a way that protected the valuable mercury glass ships from taking too much fire from the cruisers.

“Everything shows green,” said major Simmons. “Shall we launch the vipers and raptors?”

“Launch all aircraft,” Lawson ordered.

Her mind did not wander. Her consciousness remained in the presence. She listen to the radio chatter as the mark 7 vipers launched and formed up with the Raptors high above the fleet. She gave the orders for the mines to be laid in front of the enemy cruisers.

Lawson watched the various camera feeds as the mines shut out and took a course tour the picket line of the enemy which was composed exclusively Minataur cruisers. The enemy knew how to fly the ships but was not completely familiar with some of the details of the process. Commander Ramirez’s virus reported back to settings of weapons and other important details through an encrypted channel.

A surprisingly detailed status report was displaying based on the transmission sensor to the cylon command. They were less than 200 centurions aboard each of the two massive Battlestar’s.

The squadrons reported inbound enemy aircraft and sprung their ambush. Crowded with Marines the colonial raptors went into maximum priced to close distance on the two mercury class ships.

The air battle was going well. It took less than three minutes to eliminate the mark seven vipers flown by the cylon pilots which apparently were humanoid models.

Apparently they have not had sufficient time to obtain their viper wings! They were clearly skilled pilots, however they did not show the experience of having flown hundreds if not thousands of hours on the colonial viper. It was a slaughter.

With the sound of bullets deafening in the background there to Marine expeditionary forces an ounce that I had control of one of the landing base of the target ships. There was a shooting in confusion and the marine commander report he was going to blow the hatches and move into the battle star.

This was the tenses portion of the battle. If the Marines failed, hundreds would be killed and the mission would be a failure.

Commander Ramirez’s voice appeared in the chatter. Her words were crisp and clear. “”Operation turn around now now now.” There was an ominous pause and then she spoke again. “Take over navigation systems is complete. Changing course of the cruisers.”

A sea fire was displayed on the monitors. Where they had once been eight cruisers, they were now three badly damaged and burning ones.

“This is marine force Acropolis. We have the CIC. We have the Battlestar Acropolis!”

“Prepared to jump to safety,” Lawson ordered after pressing the microphone button on her wireless headset.

“DRADIS five base stars jumping in ad launching raiders. Radiological alarm nuke inbound to both Battlestar’s.

“This is Commander Hernández on the bridge of the Athena. The ship is ours. We are beginning jump preparation and we have inbound nukes!”

“CAG! All vipers to intercept nuclear weapons. Priority One. Begin jump prep. We’re getting out of here.

Lawson’s orders were confident. She still out direct without the aid of a crutch.

“Hit! It hit! Acropolis is hit. Fire warning! Armor bravo armor bravo! We have structural integrity. Jumping!”

“This is Athena we have taken a nuclear hit on her forward armor. We have structural integrity and we are jumping now 3….2….1 jump!”

Her voice sounded gravelly, as if of an older man. “Recall our birds. Combat landings are authorized!”

“We have lost a Janus!”

“All birds are in. All birds are on the deck. All lights are green ready to jump!”

As she spoke, Lawson heard Ramirez’s voice on the wireless. “Jump!”

As the FTL affect gathered, she saw one of the atlas carriers explode under fire. The rest of the ship seesaw jump away before the Mercury was the last ship out. The mission has been successful. On day 250 at the second cylon war, a major victory has been achieved.


Raid on the Virgon ship junkyard

* * *

Seizing the battlestars

Two days after the battle: The model number one known as Cavil had a chain on his neck. His feet were shackled and he shuffle along very slowly. He was brought into the CIC in the Battlestar Athena to a strange looking device, filled with goo and lit up by red and white lights.

The interrogator pointed to it and spoke roughly to the Cylon humanoid model. “What is this?”

“It’s a hand sanitizer,” answer Cavil. “Your human ships are such a disgusting germ factories we decided we needed to keep ourselves clean when we operated the ships.” He dipped his hands in to the goo and demonstrated. He made the motions with his hands as if he was washing them.

“You’re such a freaking liar,” the interrogator snarled. These are all wired into the communication network of the ship.”

“You’re right you caught me,” the model one said. “I just transmitted our coordinates to the Cylon empire. They will be jumping to this location to destroy you as soon as they receive the signal.”

“Frack you!” The interrogator slapped the model one across the tour and ordered him dragged out of the room back to the detention center.

“You neglected to tell him that all the Communications gear on the ship is shut down,” the engineer in charge of the refit smiled.

“He thought he sent this message, and I got quite a confirmation that this is a Cylon data network. We are going to rip these out of both ships and take them to the lab for study.”

______________________________________________________________

The Cylon model number one was developing a very large bruise on his face when he was brought into the laboratory with Commander Lawson. He smiled when he saw her enter the lab. For all these days she was still wearing the Cylon jewelry he called it. The metallurgy was beyond human science.

“Can you take this off me?” She asked in a shaky voice and she commanded herself to remain calm.

“What’s in it for me?” He asked with a sneer on his face.

“We can improve your conditions in prison.”

He laughed hardly at that remark. How about this,” he continued He laughed hardly at that remark. How about this,” he continued “how about I get the Frack you again?”how about I get the Frack you again?”

“As I’m sure you know your people fuck with my body and my mind quite enough. I moved on to other challenges in life.”

“Well then we have an impasse. You could take me off suicide watch and let me kill myself and then I wake up in a new body full of intelligence for the Cylons.”

“Does that process hurt?” She asked curiously.

“I’ve been through it twice,” he said see me to be honest in his tone. “I was killed during war games preparing for the assault on the colonies. The process was pretty painful. Then I was unlucky during the attacks and killed again on Sagitarron. It felt like a white hot poker going through my skull. Why do you ask?”

“I was wondering if it was more painful than if we tortured you do every day for 12 hours a day what kept you alive.”

“We are programmed to resist such measures,” he said in a matter of fact tone.

“Well we will be testing my theory very shortly if you don’t cooperate and get this freaking thing off me. We’ve studied it we know it’s got a thumbprint reader or fingerprint reader. Question is is a keyed to your fingerprint? I wonder if it works if we cut your fingers off?”

“All right I’ll take better food and a larger cell if I take it off you right now. You were right it is key to my fingerprint only my model can release you. It’s also in collecting data all your conversations and transmitting it surreptitiously to the Cylon command.”

“It did not seem to help you when we took those to Battlestar’s away from you.” That was looking pride on her face.

“I want to get up slowly and reach up and put my finger on the fingerprint reader of the device. Please tell your goons not to shoot me.”

She motion to the Marines in the next room behind one way mirror to remain calm. “Do it slowly” she said.

He reached up and he put his finger print on a seemingly flat section of the metal of the collar. He held it there for five seconds and he put a second finger on the reader. The device made a noise and cracked open.”

“Take your hand away,” she said sharply. He immediately withdrew.

Completed the process of removing the device and laid it down on the table. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell us how this thing works?” He asked.

“For that I’d have to get a promise of being resurrected back home. Not part of our initial deal here.” He moved his hand and touched her on the nape of her neck.

The motion was so casual the Marines were not alerted until she collapsed onto the floor. Her eyes were vacant she look like she looked and we got PTSD flashback episode. Wislie put his hands in the air and step away from her.

The Marines hit him in the face and shoulder with the rifle butts. In 30 seconds they tuned him up and broke his jaw. They were very protective of their commander.

Commander Lawson woke up in her quarters two hours later with Dr. Farragut by her side. Her voice , “what happened?”

“Most likely some kind of post about suggestion program into you while you were in captivity. We can work on this together and find out what the trigger is what appears to be being touched in certain parts of your body.”

“There may be some things I’m never going to enjoy again doc?” she asked.

“Your work on it together” she said.

* * *

Commander Lawson groused and she struggled to get into her dress gray uniform. What possible reason that the peoples counsel want her to testify. She made a request for additional manpower to crew the ships that have been taken from the enemy. The word manpower was a phrase that had been dropped centuries ago but that’s how she thought of it. It was the way they talked on Tauron.

She had asked Cory Brooks so she needed to bring a lawyer. The leader of the peoples counsel clearly had negative thoughts about Lawson. But she just laughed laughed and smiled and said just come and we will listen to your case.

The lights were hot, and Commander Lawson stood stiffly in her dress gray uniform at the podium. This was her opening statement. “The capture of the two mercury class Battlestar’s, the Acropolis and the Athena along with nearly 100 abandoned warships from the Virgon junk yards was a significant military achievement.”

“I would remind you though that due to corruption and failure to fulfill military contracts stretching over five decades, these junkyards were available to us together in the warships. For decades they were being used by the enemy to collect information on our technology. Our corruption was being used to kill us.”

“The current colonial fleet consists of 70 warships, and two mercury class battle stars. We have approximately 15,000 persons under arms. What we have taken from the enemy will double our firepower. Our fire power will only be increased if we find conscript the people we need to crew these ships.”

It was then the commander Lawson realized she was in a auditorium. This was not where Council meetings normally occurred. There was an audience. She looked around and she paused and fumbled with her notes. There must be 10,000 people in this room. That makes this room at target. His ideology idea was it assembled as many people in one place?

“It will take six months to get all the ships ready for battle. At that moment we need 15,000 or more likely 20,000 persons in the colonial fleet to crew ships. I urge this council to give appropriate funding and resources to the colonial fleet, and to extend the draft to give us the people we need to fly the ships. We have the opportunity to watch an offensive against the enemy and drive the Cylon from our home systems. I know these worlds are not habitable, but they belong to us!”

The peoples council composed of 50 representatives chosen by population districts. The majority leader stood up spoke with Lawson concluded.

He was an older man, between 60 and 70 years old with a patricians look and snow white hair. “The Council has voted on extending the draft and has rejected it,” he said. “The reason for rejection is a draft is no longer necessary. I believe we have sufficient volunteers in the assembly Hall. Well at least half of what we need.”

His gestures were grand, the consummate politician. “Do we have any volunteers to join the colonial fleet and win the war against the Cylons?”

One high voice from the bleacher seats rang out. It was a young woman perhaps twenty years old. “I volunteer to fly wipers or do any jobs that the colonial fleet needs from me!”

Another voice rang out, “I volunteer to join the colonial fleet!” The second voice was that of a shockingly built middle-age man.

Then the room shock as every other voice chat in near unison. “So say we all!”

Again. “So say we all!”

Cory Brooks stood up and walked to her lectern. “I have reluctantly excepted the resignation of Admiral Cobb due to health reasons.”

“I am happy to announce on this the 283rd day of the second Cylon war the commander in chief position at the colonial fleet is being given to Commander Eva Lawson. The commander of the colonial fleet should not be a commander. Colonial law is that if we commander should have the rank of Admiral. Admiral Lawson you are out of uniform kindly step down to the lectern and receive your admiral stars.”

Lawson was so shocked she remain frozen at her lectern for nearly a minute. She felt like she was floating and she walked down and received her admirals stars.

She whispered to herself. “I’ve given up on these along time ago.”

Far across the galaxy, Baltar was elected president.

Chapter 58 Resume the war

Chapter 58

It had not pleased anyone in the chain of command that Commander Lawson had ordered the ship yard moved. The location was picked to be convenient to the resources that were required to build ships.

The :big three” as Lawson, Ramirez and Cobb were referred to as were concerned that the Cylons had guessed the location of the shipyard by tracking the ships that brought in raw materials for ship building.

A worse possibility was that the Cylons were tracking the mining ships and other cargo ships that routinely visited the facility.

What put fear in their hearts was the possibility the Cylons were tracking the station itself. This jump was designed to eliminate some of the possibilities.

The facility has been designed to jump with ships under construction. All material shipments were stopped temporarily. Ship production suspended for a few days. Some retooling was necessary because they wanted to build civilian transports. The idea was to get the population of the colonies mobile so they could be moved out of the range of influence of the Cylon military.

The workers were happy for some time off building. They kept working but we’re dedicating themselves to maintenance of equipment. It’s been almost 6 months since the colonies have been destroyed and the shipyard have been running at full tilt ever since it was assembled. The workers needed some time to work on their tools and complete deferred maintenance.

The fleet that had beaten the Cylon force designated as the virus fleet run through the shipyard for a quick repairs on armor and major issues.

Commanders Lawson and Ramirez took the their forces out of DRADIS range of the shipyard. Their intent was to ambush the fleet that jumped in. For several days they continued doing maintenance and repairs inside most of the ships. They maintained a high level of readiness. Instead of the normal alert five vapors maintain an entire squadron flying combat air patrol known by the acronym CAP.

The Mercury and Saturn jumped away periodically to take on ore and raw materials.Staffed by nearly two hundred unhappy civilian draftees, the ships Viper manufacturing facilities were put to work, building Mark seven vipers for the entire fleet.

When five days after arrival the DRADIS began to chip, announcing the arrival of the Cylons, they were ready. Ramirez looked at her readiness screen, she had three Valkyrie class support battlestars and an aging Manticore in her fleet.

Lawson’s group consisted of the Mercury, the Solaria Jupiter mk2 ship, a defender and two Celestra;s equipped with extra ammunition an drones to strengthen armor.

Lawson and Ramirez were on the wireless chatting on the DRADIS announce the arrival of the cylon fight.

“That’s twice as big as the flight we took last week,” Ramirez warned.

“Natural vipers order the shipyard to jump immediately.” The commander froze for a moment as if she was not present. She quickly shook her head and she looked at Dr. Farragut who was in the CIC observing her price patient. “Second issue on throughout the fleet attack plan alpha. We’re gonna do this the same way that we did last time. I set up a flak wall for they’ve never imagined and let them waste their missiles on it.”

As well as their hair but they have the wireless transmission of the wipers and capital ships on speaker. They heard the announcement of the Valkyries formed up and began to target incoming cylon Raiders and muscles with a very solid defensive flak field.

At least 20 Salem squadrons what identified. Missiles came in by the hundreds missiles came in by the hundreds. Several points over 1000 missiles were inbound.

Nearly a dozen nuclear weapons came in, but with slight course corrections the colonial fleet managed to detonate them with their flag fields.

The fight or battle continued until most of the papers were out of ammunition. As planned they were recalled and that relaunched as the remaining Cylon Raiders were easy to pick off with the point defense guns.

Seven minutes into the battle one of the Valkyries was hacked. She began to lose defensive systems in Commander Ramirez did not hesitate. “Have that ship jump out of here immediately” she said emergency jump now!”

DRADIS operator reported. “Two Cratus ships spotted. They are targeting the Solaria.

“Turning on them for 90°. Port 90° bring the fruit cans to bear switch to salvo mode.” Lawson looked little bit confused as she was having trouble focusing.”

Minutes later the Solaria it was targeted. “Solaria reports heavy damage armor bravo in forward and several sections. There they believe they might lose the ship.”

“Execute emergency jump now. Solaria actual this is mercury actual jump now. Do not hesitate jump now!”

The commander began squeezing a pain in her right hand until it cracked in two pieces.

The destruction of the first gigantic base star was announced. Alone now Lawson ordered another gradual turn to meet the second beefy ship. She saw fire pouring in from the three Valkyries and the Saturn as seconds later the second giant ship not seen since the first Cylon war went up in a fireball.

Most of the Cylon fleet were out of missiles now. Two ships continue to pump out missiles educational nuclear weapon. Commander Lawson marked those two ships on her display. “Those would be Argos they seem to have a huge ammunition supply. All ships concentrate your fire and the two targets wee just designated. Priority one.“

“Splash Argos number one. “Someone in the CIC announced. A minute later at the second Argos and it’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of nuclear weapons and missiles ceased to be a threat.”

“All we have left our Cerebes carriers and base stars with no missiles. We’re taking heavy fire from the carriers sir. We’ve got a hull breach, scratch that several hull breach and internal casualties. Whole integrity 80% sir.”

Commander Lawson glanced at where Dr. Farragut have been standing. She noted that the doctor had the good sense to get a sick day or a casualties would be coming in by the dozens and she would be needed to do triage and what was described by many surgeons as a meatball surgery.”

Suddenly as it began the battle was over. The Cylon fleet was devastated and completely destroyed. Casualty reports came in. They have lost a Defender class worship and one of the Celestras. A few minutes later the report came in that the Solaria had suffered over 200 casualties when its armor had been breached. The ship was saved and undergoing emergency repairs.

* * *

Lawson and Ramirez watched the civilian chase camera feed of a battle. Two battlestar’s, Mercury class and seven relics Heracles class met in battle.

There were ten ships on the Colonial side. They were initially confused by the Colonial signals, but formed up and launched vipers when they realized the transponder codes were fake.

“Why the frak didn’t they jump. Our standing orders are to jump when faced with a superior force?” Ramirez lamented.

“They are taking the wrong course. The dive is good, but they need to remain out of the firing arch of the Heracles.” Lawson was angry. She had taught them better than this.

It was a spectacular end for the nine warships, three Minataur, three Adamant’s, three Valkyries and an aging Atlas carrier.

“Frak me! I want every ship pulled off the line and I want a meeting with every CO and XO in the fleet.”

“Stagger it?” Ramirez asked. “Three shifts.”

“Send my frakking orders. You see a superior force, you bug the frak out.”

* * *

News footage of the new cylon fleet

The entire front calm down the next few days waiting for the official end of the cease fire.

Commander Eva Lawson shut her self up in her room.

She skipped duty in CIC for three days. XO Simmons gently press the door buzzer in quarters and surprisingly he was allowed in.

“Commander,” he said gently you have been missed in CIC.

She was dealing with the utmost concentration at the footage the civilians made of the battle that had destroyed 10 precious warships and several thousand crew. She went through the footage frame by frame looking for clues.

“Is this what you’ve been doing the past three days?” Simmons asked.

“Pretty much,” she said. “Dr. Farragut has been down to see me every day for an hour of therapy. She seems to think I’m kind of crazy.”

What was clear is that the commander was not taken care of herself. Her hair was not washed, meal set not eaten on the desk. The monitor showed several different angles from several different civilian ships that captured excellent footage of the battle.”

“Has this ever happened before? The Cylons using colonial worships?” My grandmother was an admiral in that fleet but I just don’t have a firm grasp on every tactical operation that was fought for a war that lasted over 10 years.”

“I minored in history of the Academy,” Simmons replied. They did use colonial vessels for a number of decoy operations some military some civilian. But they apparently never captured something on the scale like to Mercury class Battlestar’s.”

“Athena and acropolis were under construction at scorpion shipyards. So is the Saturn for that matter. None of those three shifts are ready for action. Therefore the reason we found the Saturn intact was because the enemy intended to use it. What if they plan to use all three?”

“What can we do about it now asked the XO?”

“Well I guess we have to destroy it, that entire fleet.”

“I’ve actually been wondering commander,” he thought out loud, “why has there been a standstill between our two forces.”

“Well,” Lawson said. “They may be licking their wounds. They did not expect our task force to take out five of those Heracles. I can’t give the order to start planning the destruction of those two ships. I’m not exactly sure why.”

“Well they’re not bothering anybody right now.” Simmons forgot himself and started to pace around the messy quarters of her of his commander. “I mean we could it would destroy them.”

“What are the alternatives to destroying those ships?” Lawson’s eyes lit up.

“If we ignore them they’ll use them again and ambush another one of our flights. So ignoring them is not an option. We can’t take the ships away from the Cylons we just don’t have enough Marines.”

“What did you say Major Simmons?”

“I don’t know what did I say?” The blonde 30-year-old looked dumbfounded.

“Repeat the last sentence you just said word for word.” She ordered. She began to pick through them play the food on her desk and start eating for the first time in days.”

“We can’t take the ships away from the Cylons we just don’t have enough Marines.”

“I just read a report that said we had two thousand marines. Was I hallucinating?”

“No Sir,” Major Simmons replied. “We have 2976 active duty marines scattered throughout the fleet.”

“Do we have enough raptors Major?”

“I know why I can’t order the destruction of those two Battlestars Bill.”

“Because you want them. In our fleet.”

“Because I want them in this fleet.”

Chaper 57: Cease fire? Ends?

Chapter 57: Cease fire?

The admiral argued against it, Commander Ramirez argue against it. Nothing could stop Cory Brooks in her desire to go forward with the cease fire. Truth be told the colonial fleet, disorganized and undermanned needed some time off. They need to repair their ships. More than that they needed to train their people.

The heavy casualties at the battle with the base star fleet were attributed to a lack of training especially of the crews on the doomed adamant frigates.

As it turned out they were substantial number of berserk carriers and adamant frigates that have been converted for civilian use. These were very easy to upgrade and arm.

Spare parts were very easy to retrieve, because the cylons never attacked the junkyards. In the first 30 days of the cease-fire, a lot of training was done a lot of missions were run to retrieve spare parts from the junkyard around the colonies.

The cease fire agreement was surprisingly detailed and one of them allowed and did not allow.

A line has been drawn three dimensionally conceding that the cylon had control of the 12 colonies. This was designated as occupied territory. The colonial fleet was allowed to run recon missions, so long as they were lightly armed and did not include heavy warships. Everyone knew that the colonies was a good source for spare parts.

There was a prohibition against movement of heavy ships in and out of the colonies. From the tiny berserk all the way up to the mercury class Battlestar all heavy war ships were restricted from the colonies.

A fierce argument a fierce argument broke out over the patrols that the cylons were allowed in the 12 colonies. They claim to be facing a rebellion on several worlds. Peoples Council Executive Cory Brooks allowed the enemy they have two base stars per colony to defend against incursions.

The admiral was very angry about this provision, because it allowed the enemy to concentrate their forces and wipe out the rebellions that were known to exist on Caprica, Scorpia, and several other Colonies.

He argued that this was a sell out to the brave souls that stood up against the cylon might. Unfettered, the enemy would be able to wipe out these rebellions without fear of retaliation from the new colonial fleet.

She successfully argued that if the enemy did not get any benefit from the cease-fire, there would be no cease-fire.

An enormous amount of territory was designated off-limits to all cylon fleet movements. Both sides realized that the other would violate the agreement. In order to rest and repair their forces, they agreed on rules of engagement.

The colonials were allowed to attack any vessel in their territory. The amount of territory was large enough that the executive felt it was possible to hide the civilian settlements. The supply runs to the colonies of unarmed, lightly protected salvage ships was tolerated. Both sides were building up to the next confrontation.

Commander Eva Lawson was nowhere to be seen. She left her ship in the command of her new XO William Bill Simmons. She was in a military hospital that was set up a location that the civilian government was not aware of.

She had promised her friend Maria Ramirez that she would get help. She was not judged the most cooperative patient. She didn’t want to talk about her flashbacks. She didn’t wanna talk about her indiscretions before the war. She really doesn’t want talk about anything.

Psychotherapy sessions sometimes consisted of her staring into space. She could easily fall into a PTSD flashback. Sometimes during the sessions with the psychotherapist, she would come out of a flashback in tears, drenched in sweat.

Finally, two weeks into the cease-fire fire, Lawson gave in and started talking about her experiences. The cylon’s were particularly concerned with the mis treatment of one of their model sixes that was captured about the Battlestar Pegasus, early in the war.

They had wanted Lawson to feel the same punishment physical, and psychological as their six was undergoing on Pegasus.

This had involved a lot of physical abuse. Sometime she was assaulted a dozen times a day. To mess with her mind they change the cycle of days and nights. She had no idea how many hours were in a day. She knew that for about 12 hours a day she was left alone in the cold.

Some of the cylon models and argued against this torture. They had said this because the humans had done this to the sex, it did not justify stooping to their level. The sixes and the eights were very angry about this and there was this unity among the cylon.

Model number one, the Cavil, would not hear of any change in the regimen. The long cold nights sometimes lasted 18 hours.

Sometime she would be continually assaulted for 24 hours. Memories came back to her of her screaming and begging for mercy. She had been very angry with herself for giving in and letting them force of the beg.

She was angry with herself for not being strong enough to resist. After all these assaults were no different than when she done consensually and she had ruined her career many times over prior to the fall of the 12 colonies.

Her therapist tried to tell her that although the assaults we’re often sexual in nature, but they were not about sex. They were about control and domination and the cylon attempt to break her.

She realize they have been completely successful. Their goal has been to send her back to the colonial fleet broken. Perhaps that even program triggers into her through manipulation of her memories. She remembered sessions being connected to resurrection equipment.

The memories of her time in cylon custody may have been false. Although she had a physical scars of assault it was possible that they have changed her memories of the time in custody and perhaps even her 41 years of life before being captured.

She asked her therapist how could she be sure of any of her memories. The answer came she could not be sure but much of it could be verified. A copy of the colonial fleets database has been taken. They were written and visual records.

She encouraged to look at the visual records. As these verified her memories of her time in the colonial fleet, she felt less broken. Her confidence came back. By the third week of a cease-fire, she was having less frequent flashbacks. Surprised she was talking about the flashbacks helped.

There was a training incident that happened when she was very young. This memory was very strong in her. It involved off duty mis-behavior.

She had remembered being written up for her behavior. She had earned a demerit. There was no record in the colonial database of this incident. Her service record made no mention of it.

The psychotherapist had made it clear that the memory was a strange thing. People often remember incidents in the way they understood them. People experiencing the same thing at the same time came away with very different memories. It was part of the human condition memory it was not precise.

There was no reason to be upset about inaccuracies in the memory. Entire incidents could’ve happened and not been documented. As it turned out there were several incidences during her career that she knew have been written up. As a matter fact it has never been entered into the database by commander who wished to cut her a break and did not want her to be slut shamed.

One of the flashbacks involved her turning over the tactical details of how a mercury class Battlestar operated in offensive mode. It upset her greatly that she would have even thought about discussing these things. It was possible that this memory was planted in her.

The resurrection technology that they used to alter her memories was designed for cylon synapses not human. There could be damage, there could be conflicting memories and there’s nothing to do about it other than deal with it. The psychotherapist at the end of week three so that they would be daily sessions for the rest off the cease-fire.

The therapist had actually done a four year stint in the colonial Fleet. She was technically in the reserves and she arranged for her self to be called up. She was also a medical doctor and will always be useful on the Battlestar.

She thought the doctor Jameson was a hack, but pledged to work with him as she was given the rank of captain. He was a major and was in charge of his sick bay.

The sessions will continue until both parties agreed that we needed to stop. The doctor put her self on 24 x 7 availability. Anytime that commander Lawson needed to talk Dr. Farragut would be available. Commander Lawson wondered how the doctor would do during triage after a battle.

It was a cozy arrangement that seemed just like a bolstering of the medical corps.

“Why would you give up your practice?” Asked Lawson.

“Well to be honest with you I’m not getting paid anyway. There is no currency system right now. There is no economy other than the black market. At least working for the colonial fleet I might get some money in my account when this war finally ends.”

“The outcome of this war is not likely to be good,” said Lawson.

“I have faith that if we’re going to survive you’re gonna have a hand in it commander Lawson,” the doctor answered. “We created this mess don’t forget.”

* * *

Day 218 of the second cylon war. Day 25 of the first cease-fire.

The early morning meeting was disorienting because the shipyard was hidden in a dark corner of a solar system with no life in it. It was called for 5 o’clock in the morning, which disrupted ships routine. After the capture of Commander Lawson several months ago, commanders travelled with a bit of an escort.

Today’s escort was five assault raptors. There were two recon raptors further confuse any attempts to kidnap a senior colonial officer.

“There had better be coffee at this meeting,” Amanda Ramirez remarked as she walked through the door into the admirals office.

Is it for which should become a command a table was set out with pastries in the finest coffee available in the colonial fleet. Ramirez dug in, securing two pastries for herself and a cup off coffee with generous portions of sugar and creamer.

Commander Lawson yawned and stretch your arms in the air. This is not the most professional way to enter a meeting, but she was not trying to act professional. She was trying to express her annoyance at a 5 AM meeting.

“I am sorry I had to schedule this meeting so early. The situation has developed rather quickly. We are spotted a cylon fleet that is moving through our territory under the cease fire. It is a big one. Under the terms of the cease-fire we have a right to destroy it.”

“If you’re asking my opinion I think we should slam it. It’s obvious to me that the fuel shortage that we thought we were creating was an illusion presented to us by the cylons. If they are moving fleets around, they are setting up for an attack, probably after he cease-fire expires.”

“Wait a minute,” Lawson ran a hand thorough her black, tightly curled hair. “This is what we have spotted. They could already have other fleets in our sector.”

“Wouldn’t we have spotted it?” Asked the admiral.

“Space is vast and inhospitable. There is no way we can set up a sensor network that they can spot the enemy ships. Plus with FTL technology they can jump a considerable distance into our territory without our knowing it.”

“How is this possible?” Asked the admiral.

“The cylons possess superior jump technology. They can jump further than we can with our technology. It takes much fewer jumps to get to the colonies using their technology than ours,” said Ramirez.

Admiral Cobb sighed, “What are the implications of us breaking the cease-fire?”

“That is a political question. The agreement allows us to attack silent forces and motion on our side of the armistice line we spotted at four so we need to eliminate that force.” Lawson was not liking the stress of this meeting

“We need to know the scope of the problem. We need to get a massive recon net out there so we can find and see how much trouble we are in. We may need to pick up and run if they have infiltrated us with superior forces.” Admiral Cobb ended his statement.

“Let’s hit the fleet we are tracking while we escalate the search for any fleets we missed.” Lawson suggested.

“This is going to require approval from Cory Brooks,” Admiral Cobb said. “I am going to have the intelligence bureau write up an assessment. You two interview our Cylon prisoner.”

* * *

“Absolutely not,” Corey Brooks said emphatically. She brought her hand down on the desk making a very loud bang. “I am not going to be the first to break the cease-fire.”

“We are not the ones that broke the fire. The toasters did that when I sent this week across the line. Our doing is enforcing the conditions of the cease-fire agreement.”

“Did you ever stop to think that maybe the cylon perceive themselves as injured party here?”

“No I didn’t. They destroyed our civilization and left our worlds a nuclear wasteland they massacred billions of people. Why should they be the aggrieved party here?”

“We created them,” Books began. “We created them as slaves and did not understand when they became sentient.”

“When your washing machine breaks down,” the admiral answered. “We don’t send it out for therapy. We throw it away we buy a new one. The Cylons are no different.”

“Our washing machines did not rebel spark a 10 year war and then 40 years in exile only to return and destroy us. The Cylons may have had grievances as to how they were treated. Perhaps if we can come to an understanding with them and stop the killing.”

“Peoples council executive Cory brooks you are insane. Battlestar wears out we destroy it or make it into a museum. We don’t ask it how it feels about being taken apart and melted down we just do it.”

“He’s appliances,” Brooks continued “Have evolved and taken human form. They walk they talk they breathe they bleed. Things are different than they were at the beginning of the cylon war.”

“If you weeks ago, you were in favor of exterminating them. You ordered a raid to deprive them of fuel and destroy their fleet as they sat in shipyard unable to move. That was the right call then. unfortunately we weren’t ready to do the job. It is the right call now.”

“No,” Brooks said forcefully. “You may not attack. You may send a force to intercept them and order them to comply with agreement and return to cylon territory. If they refuse then you can attack them.”

“That is asinine,” The admiral replied angrily. “We have to be used both of the mercury glass Battlestar is to be able to overcome this force. To announce ourselves takes away the element of surprise. We need to pounce on them like a lion on prey.”

“All right,” she said. “How about this. Intercept him with a force recon. That’s like a squadron of assault raptors. Let them know they face attack if they don’t return to their territory.”

“Do you know Miss Brooks in time of war I don’t need authorization to attack a threatening target. You are not president of the colonies. You’re the executive of the People’s Council. However I don’t want to cooperation between the military and the civilian government just end. So will send our force recon and see what the Cylons do. My guess is they’re going to shoot at us.”

* * *

On day 219 of the second cylon or a force recon consisting of five we can Raptors 30 assault Raptors jumped in the location of the cylon fleet. They broadcast on all frequencies a warning to return to their own territory or face destruction.

There was no reply. I did not shoot. They activated their FTL drives and jumped. The entire fleet disappeared in under 10 seconds. Commander air group (CAG) Of the mercury, call sign Jaybyrd was at a loss to explain behavior. They were caught red-handed. They had more than enough Raiders to wipe out the weekend for us. They did nothing.

This led to a 9 AM meeting on a decrepit old freighter, The council of three they were called, the Admiral and commanders of the mercury class Battlestars.

* * *

“So do we know where the jumped?” Admiral Cobb.

“No,” Ramirez” replied, “but we do know where they didn’t jump. We have Monitoring in about 150 systems. We tagged one of the base stars with a tracker. They are not currently in the 12 colonies or the 150 systems we currently monitor.”

“How are we sure this track or even worked?” Cobb asked.

“We tag the nemesis cruiser that the Cavil that negotiated with Miss Brooks. We’ve tracked it through 15 jumps. It’s currently at Caprica. The device is very small, penetrates the armor. It’s about the size of a bullet from a hand weapon. I can’t say for sure they didn’t detect it.”

On cue there was a beeping sound that sounded like a mobile phone. Commander Ramirez called what looked to be a mobile phone out of her pocket and check the message on it. “We have located the cylon fleet. It is at Scorpia.”

“That’s technically a violation of the seas fire agreement,” Commander Lawson noted. Jumping to the colonies is not an option. It’s too far away from our logistics hubs to support a battle.”

Admiral Cobb handed over a small USB disk. “This is technical data on the cylon FTL technology. You should be able to predict their maximum jump range. Draw a sphere on the map and see what systems are close to the line.”

Always the information technology wizard, Ramirez attached to drive to her phone. Then she input some instructions. “Admiral what is the encryption key to your workstation?”

He worked a keyboard for several seconds and answered your question. A three dimensional map came up on the monitor which he turned around to show the two commanders.

“Our most valuable asset is the shipyard,” Lawson said. “If this date is correct they can do it in 1 Jump straight from Scorpia.”

“Then that is where we will set our ambush,” the admiral said. “Put together a heavy fleet and be waiting for them when they arrive.”

* * *

Day 221 of the second cylon war. Day 28 of the first cease-fire.

They jumped in as two distinct fleet groups. One was led by Commander Lawson, the other by Commander Ramirez. After they both jumped in they saw the DRADIS was clean.

“This is Saturn actual calling for Mercury actual.” The speaker crackled with static.

Lawson picked up a headset and put it on her head. “This is Mercury actual.”

“You know when I was a kid I could used to pretend to be a Battlestar commander,” Ramirez said on the wireless. “I never dreamed with a career in IT that I would actually achieve that childhood goal.”

“Same here,” Lawson replied. “Which Battlestar?”

“Galactica. I was always Galactica actual.”

“Galactica was my first choice also. Sometimes my brother made me take the original Pegasus the Jupiter Mark one version.”

“Commander Lawson,” Ramirez asked “What is our readiness profile going to be?”

“I’m going to rotate a squadron of 75 vipers with pilots in their seats ready to launch.”

“That is what we should do as well. We each have six squadrons now so we can minimize the fatigue on the pilots.”

“Also lets put some distance between the jump in point and our deployment,” Commander Lawson suggested. “I have noticed it is easier to take their fleets apart if we force them to send their fast ships forward without enough backup.”

“Yes Sir,” Ramirez answered.

Six hours passed. Then 12 hours, then 18 hours, then 24. During hour 26, the DRADIS lit up with 10 targets.

“All right all birds in the air.” Lawson ordered. “Form a picket line and let the cylons get hammered by flak before they join the fighter battle.”

“All ships are launching, coming into formation.” Major Simmons reported.

“500, no 700 missiles inbound.” the tactical officer warned.

The new XO started to take the initiative. “All ships confirm full defensive posture and flak configuration.”

“Steady,” Lawson said softly.

For the next four minutes the radio chatter reported inbound missiles, nuclear weapons and pilot chatter. The pilots took out a few nuclear weapons, but mostly battled the Cylon fighters. There were several remarks about older Cylon ships being identified.

The raiders were suddenly gone, all destroyed and the pilots started goin after the warships. There was a Nemesis destruction, followed by a few Phobos. When a Cerebes carrier was engaged, Lawson gave the order.

“Break formation, keep flak up, start offensive operations with the Battlestars.”

Ten minutes later the last Cylon ship a first war Argos was demolished.

“Recall all birds,” Lawson ordered. “Damage reports to the XO.”

The Commander clicked on her wireless. “Give me Saturn actual.”

“What next?” she asked. There were a lot of voices shouting in the background.

“They may be tracking the shipyard,” Lawson said. “Jump it to a new location. We will set up another ambush.”

“So say we all.” Ramirez replied.

Chapter 56: Decisive battle?



Chapter 56

The meeting gave new relevance to the word clandestine. Admiral Cobb had to take two raptors in order to get to the meeting Place and a dark wind swept plain on a forgotten world that no one had bothered to chart.

Walking with a cane he slowly exited the raptor and shuffled up along path to the coordinates of the meeting. It was almost a kilometer walk which was very hard for him with his neurological condition. At the top of the hill was a shack. It was colonial military issue but might’ve been here for at least 50 years.

He saw a raptor parked closer to the shack I noticed in the sky they were two assault Raptors patrolling overhead.

As instructed he knocked three times in the door and waited for the answer. A very large man, the typical military muscle contractor open the door and I see him in to see the executive other peoples counsel seated at the table a cup of hot tea in her hand. Cory Brooks was dressed for a meeting with a fashion executive.

Cobb recognized a designer blouse that his wife could not have because it was out of their income bracket. He made a mental note of this fact because it was obvious that she was benefiting from the perquisites of political office. That might be something he could use in the future. She had appointed him to his position and that’s why there was nothing stopping her from demanding anything she wanted from him.

She was a known quantity and that gave him some advantage. The silence that bit of news filter from the second front which was followed by Galactica and Pegasus became obvious that there was a president of the colonies as per the succession act on the day of the attacks.

Nobody knew how to reach out to or communicate with Laura Roslyn, but it was theoretically possible. Perhaps the cylons would let slip a detail that would allow the reunification of the Colonies.

During the repair of the mercury and the trials of the Saturn, military operations were scaled-back. They return to the hit-and-run style that we got the rebellion during the days after the military destruction of the 12 colonies.

The admiral was deep in thought as the executive of the peoples council offered him a cup of tea which he gladly accepted it in the cold.

If there was just some way of reaching the real president of the colonies, Cory Brooks would lose her power to make military appointments.

“You called this meeting Miss Brooks,” the admiral said after a sip of tea.

“We are waiting for other guests,” she responded. Her face was unreadable. She must be very good at pyramid.

On que, there were three knocks on the door. The contractor opened it and two women in military uniform we’re standing at the door. In front of them was Commander Lawson, still in a wheelchair a month after her return from captivity. A designer scarf, a gift from the executive of the Peoples Council did a bad job of hiding the piece of cylon jewelry that still adorned her neck.

The lock had resisted all attempts to pick it. The metal very much concerned the military science bureau to due to its resistance to normal cutting tools. Even diamonds did nothing against it. If the cylons found a way to incorporate this into their armor it could upset the military balance.

It was a constant reminder of her captivity and those long cold nights that never seem to end. These were book ended by viscous assaults what she could still see when she closed her eyes. She was barely able to function in her role as commander, the most senior officer still commanding a Battlestar.

Granted there was not a great deal of work to do supervising the repairs of the left flight pod and the armory of the entire ship. Still eventually she would need to come out in combat and her long silences during when she withdrew it to her self disrupted her crew.

Commander Maria Ramirez has finally passed her check ride in the Mark seven viper. The legally questionable rule which has been passed by the People’s Coucil was allowed to expire. Every Battlestar commander was a certified viper or raptor pilot once again.

As temporary commander of the Battlestar mercury she had an impressive record against the cylons.

It was well known that our military record was under 10 years in length, as opposed to Commander Lawson who had recently turned 42 years old and been in the military for 24 years. As damaged as she was, she was a figurehead that everyone needed to maintain confidence in the colonial military. This military had been stripped of all the senior officers on the day of the attacks on the colonies. The most senior officer was nowhere to be found.

The Cylon’s had leaked word of Adama’s promotion precisely because it undermined the authority of the People’s Council.

It was day 190 since the fall of the twelve colonies.

“What I’m about to reveal to you is not to go beyond this room.” Cory Brooks waited for them to acknowledge by nodding.

“I have been negotiating with a Cavill cylon model. We are close to instituting a cease fire that will last for 30 days. We may choose to extend it, we may not.”

Commander Lawson had an impassive of look on her face. It was impossible to tell whether she was connected to the meeting or off in some flashback.

Admiral Cobb spoke first. “What makes you think you can trust the cylons?”

Brooks cross their arms and spoke carefully. “Nothing at all. Self interest. They’ve been hammered lately. They passed some intelligence to me about a battle very far off. He told me that when the humanoid models die they don’t actually die. They get their souls or core memories uploaded to a server and then download it into a new body.”

“That is the story our Cavil told us while he was in detention, before the civilian government forced us to surrender him.” Commander Ramirez added.

“You mean the one that was freaking Commander Lawson?” Brooks clarified venom quite evident in her voice.

Commander Lawson gave her a dirty look proving she was still connected with the conversation. She didn’t speak up however. After a few seconds her eyes glazed over and she was somewhere else.

“Do you know the committee did not know he was a cylon,” Commander Ramirez defended her mentor and colleague.

“I know nothing of the sort,” Brooks replied angrily. “But I do know is she has a history of bad judgment throughout her career, leading in her relationship with the Cavil.”

Commander Lawson, speaking at a whisper got everybody’s attention with her first words. “Then why don’t you fire me?”

“There are a couple reasons for that commander,” she said “the first of which we still believe is justice. There needs to evidence to convict you of a crime in there isn’t any. Secondly you are rallying point for a lot of the people were fighting in our command.”

“It’s pretty obvious to me that you’re not fit for command. You’re having flashbacks and you’re not getting treated for PTSD. That being said your unit cohesion is of more important then your physical or mental state. Admiral Cobb is going to appoint each of you an XO. He is vetting candidates right now.”

The admiral not at his acknowledgment.

“Cavill has convinced me that a cease fire would be of mutual benefit. We have done substantial damage to the cylon refinery network. We have hit several fleets that had to be taken out of service for lack of fuel.”

She continued. “The obvious advantage to us is that our forces have been degrading steadily over the last three months. We need a cease fire in order to make repairs and build up our fleet.”

Admiral cob spoke next. “A cease fire will only be of benefit to us if we give attention to our problems. We have far too few fighters in the colonial fleet right now.”

“I will institute a universal draft of our men and women who are fit and under the age of 40 and over the age of 18 the first day of the cease-fire.” Brooks said.

“Will the peoples council approve?” Ramirez asked.

“Honestly,” Brooks said. “I’m not sure. The colonial military let us down 191 days ago in the colonies were wiped out and nuked. Our own scientific surveys tell me that even if we were to drive to cylons out of the 12 colonies we would not be able to inhabit those worlds. We are going to have to pick up and find a new home. The colonial military while being praised for its bravery is also blame for this failure.”

“It is my belief,” said Admiral Cobb. “The benefits of a cease-fire far exceed the risks. Our forces are tired. Our readiness is degraded by damaged ships. We need more like six months to build our forces up and train the recruits this draft law will give us. Why are we here? We don’t need all this cloak and dagger to simply agree to a cease fire.”

“Because the cylons are planning a double crossing us.” She pulled a roll of paper out of her bag next to her chair. She placed it on the table pushing aside several cups of tea. It was a map of the sector with a photograph of a cylon fleet.

“Why did it’s not coming through our military intelligence channels?” Commander Lawson asked. Her eyes were suddenly focused.

“Because it came in from a civilian survey that was looking for new worlds to spread our people out. This was a test for a new ship to make sure it’s instrumentation was working correctly. This is what we got.”

“If you know they are going to double process why are you going to agree to the cease-fire?” Lawson asked eyes focused intensely now.

“I’ve got enough intelligence from you and my own sources to believe that the enemy has a very severe fuel shortage. Militarily we have inflicted high casualties upon their forces. I think they need a cease-fire because of the breakdown in their network they use to transfer their souls are CPU cores into new bodies. I think they need to rebuild this network to make sure that when they die they don’t just die.”

“So you want to destroy this fleet so they can’t ambush us?” Admiral Cobb asked.

“Indeed I do,” says the council executive. “I also want to hit every single cylon force anywhere near the territory we currently hold. I want to hammer their fuel system again and make sure that it’s going to take them six months to put it back together. Then we will announce the acceptance of the cease-fire.”

“What makes you think they will honor it after we hit them so hard?” asked Amanda Ramirez.

“It’s a gamble. A lot of their fleet is out after Admiral Adama or wherever the Frack he is.”

“Our force readiness is under 50% right now,” Admiral Cobb pointed out.

“I’ve got a group of former colonial officers and NCOs about 2000 of which are willing to help crew ships,” Brooks answered. “That should help a bit with readiness. It’s up to you how many ships you send I think you’ll need most of them though to pull this off. I think right now cease fire with them ready to ambush us it’s a bad idea.”

“We need it either way. On the other hand if we give them a good shellacking and really pound them hard it might give us the breathing room to build a colonial fleet they can actually defend us. I’m hoping that 30 days to come 60 days comes 90 days or more days. We have nearly 300,000 survivors from the 12 colonies. If we find world that can be inhabited and kept secret from these appliance store rejects and I am in favor of disappearing and hoping the cylons never catch up.”

Commander Lawson Who looked shaky now spoke with an angry whisper. “We’re going to need to send them all.”

The admiral stood up from his seat took out what look like a mobile phone and click the button on it. “Intelligence this is the admiral. I’m gonna send you some survey coordinates. I need a detailed stealthy military survey. I need to know if the forces we find at this location will stay there. I need to know how long.”

He turned to Commander’s Lawson and Ramirez. “We’re going to need both mercury classes to take a fleet of the size. We’re almost done with the repairs on the mercury. We need to divide up the airway and be ready to strike possibly within 24 hours. Can you do this?”

“Yes admiral,” Ramirez answered for the two of them. “I believe we can. We need to get the Intel down perfectly. We cannot have the jump coordinates be wrong like they were the last time we tried to take out their fuel network.”

“So say we all,” Eva Lawson said in a scratchy voice.

“So say we all!” The other three answered.

* * *

Commander Lawson was absent. The rest of the officers in the fleet group assigned to attack the cylon task force were in the map room of the Battlestar Mercury. Four other fleets had been formed. Their commanders were dialed in conference call.

Commander Ramirez gave the briefing. “We have raptors at the site of each fleet. They’re in staff mode but they have managed to get back to us but we believe are accurate jump coordinates. There’s a lot more going on here that we don’t understand. The suite is well supplied and ready to strike us.”

“We have gotten some close readings and their fuel reserves are low. We believe they are waiting for a fuel shipment to come from the refineries before launching an attack on our shipyards. We are going to intercept that fuel shipment and hit that fleet at the exact same time.”

“We are taking a huge risk here. There are no reserves. There are no reinforcements to help us at this battle goes south on us. ceae-fire is about to go into place. We have to make sure they need to cease-fire more than we do. Are there any questions?”

A bald, middle-aged commander with absolutely no hair on his head spoke up first. “We are going to Frack them up.”

“So say we all!” said a shrill female voice.

A large strong group answered. “So say we all!”

* * *

Commander Lawson was sitting on the floor of her bedroom naked except for a towel draped across her chest. “I can’t do this,” she said emphatically. “I need you here.”

“All you really need to do is be in uniform in your wheelchair in the CIC. This is a scripted battle. If it goes right you will need to do is follow the plan. We all know the plan.”

“I have rarely seen a plan survive first contact with the enemy. What’s going to happen if I freeze up at a critical moment?”

“The fact that you’re asking that question makes me believe it’s not going to happen,” Ramirez answered. “If it does happen your new XO who is an experienced officer will tell you what to say.I think your instincts are going to kick in. You will probably go on automatic pilot.”

“I need help,” Lawson said very softly.

“Then during the cease-fire follow the doctor’s orders and get your head straightened out. You are my mentor and my inspiration. I have achieved what I have achieved using you as a role model. I know he went through hell. I’m not gonna minimize what happened. Do I have your solemn promise that you will get help after this battle? Commander Lawson answer me!”

“Yes sir,” she said without much force or conviction.

“I’m going to hold you to that Commander Lawson.”

Commander Lawson looked at the flight roster that they were going to go to battle with her eyes bulged for a few moments.

“What happened to the Solaria?” She asked.

“She was ambushed by escorting a civilian convoy and is at the shipyard.”

“That ship had spunk,” Commander Lawson remarked. “What the hell is this?” she asked. “Three Adamant frigates? What museum did they dig up these ships in?”

“From what I hear there were six of them in civilian service running with the full armor and still with weapons.”

“Look up Mark seven vipers?”

“No commander Lawson,” Ramirez answered “Mark twos.”

“This will require a change in tactics.”

“The fast chips will charge. Most of the vipers will defend them against missiles and more hoping to get range and too heavy damage to the enemy capital ships.”

“That could lead to extremely high casualties.” Commander Lawson opined.

“This is a high-stakes mission commander.”

“Let’s revise the tactical deployment to minimize casualties please,” Lawson ordered.

* * *

The tension was always greatest right before the jump. A lot of things can go wrong. Being off by a few decimals could result in a combat jump that instead of being a good firing position put a fleet in the middle of a fire storm. This was the portion of the battle that relied on good intelligence.

They had been fooled before so this time I kept Raptors on the scene. This of course increase the chance of getting caught and losing the raptor crew. This was a much lower price to pay then using the tire for it.

This mission included both of the Mercury class Battlestar’s and a substantial portion of their fire power. The flight was escorted by three Valkyrie class support Battlestar’s, three adamant class frigates who seen better days. Two stealthy Orion class rounded out the fleet.

The countdown continued from 10 to 9 to 8 finally to zero. The feeling of falling followed by a white flash of light and it with everybody staring at the displays above on the monitors.

“DRADIS is correct. Showing 10 enemy ships three base stars, two a new configuration we’re not familiar with. Three revenant class cruisers and one nemesis class recon scout.”

Commander Lawson was standing in CIC and a pair of crutches. Her new executive officer a bland looking young man nearly 30 years old. He had close cropped blond hair and looked a marine wash out.

William Bill Simmons was his forgettable as his 12 year career in colonial fleet. He topped out at the rank of captain, developed a physical issue and washed out of the viper CAG position he was holding.

He had gone to war College and was nominally familiar with the operations of the various classes of Battlestar’s when he left the fleet five years before. Where they dug up this guy, Lawson did not know. She didn’t care much longer he didn’t give it away or figure out that she was barely able to do her job.

“Launch all fighters except for the Orion class hold him off for 12 more seconds then the clock and launch.”

“Vipers away,” the new executive officer reported. “Looks like two squadrons of heavy raiders is headed our way escorted by modern cylon Raiders. A lot of them looks like 12 squadrons.”

“At least the intelligence was correct on the number of modern base stars,” Lawson quipped, barely able to control her emotions she looked stiff and hopefully like she was in command.

“Lead elements are engaging. The Orion’s, the adamant’s, and the Valkyries.”

There was a white flash blotted out one of the video screens. “What was that?” asked Simmons.

“That was a 50 year old adamant class frigate,” Lawson replied. She motioned for everybody be quiet and listen to the radio frequency is by the vapors and the other ships in a fleet.

It was a good way to follow the battle. Several ships announced they were launching salvos of rockets at the enemy ships. A viper pilot announced they have made kills. They heavy raider squadrons were dispatched and we’re seconds by the mark seven vipers. One of the Viper pilots announced that that was the end of the boarding parties. Someone else announced that he should shut his mouth and continue to shoot at the enemy.

A second frigate came under fire and immediately exploded. Major Simmons stepped up next to Commander lesson and whispered in her ear. “The adamant class has no forward guns, in order to be a effective if we have to give them a broadside.”

“The 3-D screen I’m looking at shows that they got a broad side firing solution and they’re getting demolished. Not doing any damage to the enemy. These crews were simply not trained well enough before they were sent in a combat and 50 year old ships.” Lawson opined. “That goes number three.”

“That’s over 1000 Crew dead in a little over a minute,” he was wide eyed.

The radio communications continued on speaker. A kill was announced on the nemesis class recon scout. Soon after that, a kill was announcing the revenant class. Soon after a second was destroyed and then a third. The pilot that assisted announced scratch three antique gun ships.

“Let’s concentrate on forward salvo on those two new ships that look like kind of base stars.” Lawson ordered. “Signal to Saturn,” she ordered. “Left 20° main batteries fire when you have a solution.”

A base star exploded then two of the new ships it look like modified base stars. One of the two Orion class ships exploded in a fireball a few seconds later, surrounded by hail of missiles.

Commander Lawson ordered a sharper right turn to bring guns to bear in the last two bass stars and assist in their destruction. Most of the work has been done by fighters. Three Valkyrie class Battlestar is fired from below. One of them took a missile hit and exploded.

Finally what seems like only a few minutes the last two base stars exploded in sequence. The last one lasted about 15 seconds longer than the first one.

“Mission complete,” Major Simmons announced.

“What are losses what are our losses?” Commander Ramirez asked over the wireless. An unknown voice answered her.

“Three frigates, one Orion class, one Valkyrie class”

“DRADIS is clear,” another voice announced.

“Order all orphaned fighters to immediately land on our landing decks combat landings are authorized. Holy Frick,” Commander Lawson announced. “These are damned heavy losses.”

“We destroyed the fleet,” Major Simmons said in a questioning voice.

“DRADIS! New contact. Ten ship fleet same configuration.” There was a pause of about 10 seconds and another fleet jumped in, followed by a third. “We’re out numbered about 5 to 1 here sir!”

“Do all ships report FTL ready?” asked Commander Lawson.

Major Simmons leaned over to speak with the communications officer. He then raised his head and answer the question. “All remaining ships show FTL Green. 17 fighters still not on the landing deck. There’s been a collision on a port ventral pod. Redirect fighters to other decks.”

“Reconfirm coordinates,” Lawson ordered.

“All ships ready to jump,” Major Simmons was about to bark out the order to jump.

“Hold jump, I ordered you to reconfirm the jump coordinates of all ships.” Lawson ordered and a calm but commanding voice.

“I don’t know how you knew it sir but the Spartan had the wrong jump coordinates input.”

“Get us the frack out of here major!” Lawson ordered.

After the jump, the commander moved on crutches a few steps to her waiting wheelchair. She motioned to Major Simmons to come closer.

“I want a damage report and complete combat report from all surviving commanders, squadron leaders and commander air group. I will be in my quarters.”

Chapter 55: Saturn Trials

Admiral Andrew Cobb sat in his office staring at the report of the recent battle. He did not know what to do about the situation. Cory Brooks had pressured him into launching the attack before he was ready. The intelligence and I’ve been verified thoroughly.

Although he had come out of the Battlestar before his retirement, Cobb was not a very skilled tactician.

The Battlestar Mercury was disabled and vulnerable. Emergency repairs were taking place on th port flight pod.

Already in engineering estimate was on his desk that indicated it would take up to eight weeks to bring the Battlestar back into full combat readiness. The fleet done significant damage to the Cylon fuel distribution system.

However the intelligence estimates indicated a dire situation within the cylon fleet was not accurate. Clearly they had cooked the data and let the colonials see what they wanted them to see. The long campaign, had damaged a lot of ships. There was a long line of ships at the shipyard awaiting repairs.

Admiral cob had planned to supplement his whole whack of tactical and strategic experience with that of Commander Eva Lawson.

She had done a fairly good job on her own and damaging the cylon war effort. Though she had never been to the war College, she was making war against the cylon with very great effect.

The through back channels gotten a medical report on Commander Lawson. She was suffering from acute PTSD and was judged unfit for command.

This was really a matter of optics. He needed her in her position even if she couldn’t function. He decided that he would go and see the situation for himself. With shaking hands, he wrote a secure email to his local air Commander.

He ordered a force recon to be formed with six Raptors. Four of them would be assault Raptors and two of them would have the best pilots available to get him where he needed to go safely.

The shipyards air commander replied back quickly.

Although he thought the Admiral was crazy he did not say so he simply made sure that his fleet commander knew the dangerous and vulnerable situation that he was flying into.

30 minutes later he was in a raptor, wearing a flight suit and helmet as a precaution.

The jump was hard on his body. He closed his eyes to avoid the dizziness. When he opened them he saw the badly damaged Battlestar mercury through the cockpit window.

It took about 10 minutes to land the raptor detachment and get the admiral off the plane. He was walking very stiffly but you could still see a purpose to his gait.

Cory Brooks Was already looking for him. She wanted an explanation for the battle outcome.

The admiral did not deem her communications worthy of a response. He needed a plan. The only place he was going to get her plan was on the Battlestar Mercury.

* * *

Commander Lawson was resting comfortably in Sickbay oblivious to what was going on around her. She has not gotten a lot of sleep over the the past month.

She had mentally made the decision that she was going to sleep until she felt better. It was very little that was going to get in the way of accomplishing this goal.

She snored softly as she lay on her back.

Admiral Cobb walked into the room escorted only by Commander Maria Ramirez.

“I need to speak to her,” he whispered softly.

“As you can see Admiral,” Ramirez whispered her reply, “She is not taking meetings right now. Her health is my primary concern.”

“This Battlestar is the flag ship of this fleet. We are sitting at a fleet assembly point that is simply not defensible. We cannot afford to lose the ship.”

“The ship is not going to be fighting for quite some time Admiral,” Ramirez reported to her commanding officer. “We are making emergency repairs to the port fight pod. I estimate that in approximately 4 to 6 hours we will be able to jump back to the fleet shipyards.”

“If the Cylons decide to attack before the task is complete? What’s the plan ?”

“You are the commander of this Fleet Admiral Cobb. I’m new to this high level of command but usually the plans come from the top.”

“You have 600 viper pilots on the ship. We need those pilots to keep the war up against the toasters.”

Commander Maria Ramirez stepped away from the Admiral and put my finger on her chin. Obviously she needed to go up with an idea. I think she heard a scratchy voice from the other side of the room.

“What is the status of the Battlestar Saturn?” He asked.

“Ready for trials. There are 300 nuggets on board with virtually no flight experience. They are crashing the virtual reality vipers quite frequently.” Ramirez spoke softly.

“We have six hundred experienced pilots with no ship to fly off of. You Commander Ramirez have three hundred pilots that need mentoring and training. Since this ship is useless until there are repairs, we should just transfer the entire air wing and crew over to the Saturn.”

Cobb contemplated the idea for a few moments and decided it was the way to go. “You will receive orders as soon as I can get them cut. Prepare this crew for transfer to the Saturn.”

“Roger that Sir,” Commander Ramirez tapped some commands into the tablet computer she was holding.

“Unfit for command,” Cobb spoke in an incredulous voice. “Horse manure.” He spotted Doctor Jameson walking into the private room. He made eye contact. “Certify Commander Lawson fit for duty.”

“Are you out of your frakking mind Admiral Cobb?”

“Get the frak out of here everyone,” Commander Lawson whispered. “I’m trying to sleep here.” She curled up and started breathing evenly.

Those pain killers must be really good, as Commander Laws did not feel the 4 broken ribs or the wounds all over her body. She absolutely stroked the steel color that was still locked onto her neck. The engineering crews had not reached agreement with the doctor and how to remove the device that was made of an alloy it was unknown to the colonies

* * *

The Battlestar Saturn pulled out of the shipyard, construction nearly complete. The ship which had been under construction at the time of the second cylon war have been overlooked and the damage done by the first attack on the Scorpia shipyards.

Now complete and ready for trials, the massive warship moved serenely away from the mobile shipyards set up by the remnants of the colonial fleet.

She was fully equipped with 10 squadrons 75 each of Mark seven vipers. In addition she had to squadrons of assault raptors and two squadrons of reconnaissance raptors.

Since the start of the second cylon war, the enemy had never faced a fully equipped mercury class Battlestar. The Mercury have been badly damaged losing half their squadrons on the first day of the war.

Flight operations wrapped up slowly as the crews were not used to operating for flight deck’s at full capacity. Raptors were taking off and landing on all four landing decks. Vipers were being catapulted some right side up some upside down.

Pilot training was being conducted away from the Battlestar. Basic formation flying was followed by target practice and then touch and go landings I’m all for landing decks.

This was a site not seen since the large training exercises done months before the fall of the colonies. The attitude was professional and serious nobody wanted to be the first accident during flight operations of this new warship.

* * *

In the CIC, Commander and Ramirez was standing 2 feet away from the plotting table, her eyes darting from various displays including DRADIS And measurements of the engine and other critical systems of the Battlestar. Everything looked to be going by the book so far, working by precision very close to the normal operating standards.

Now in a properly fitting uniform she looked slight, less than average height. However she had intellectually mastered the operations of a mercury class Battlestar. Everyone knew she knew her job. Everyone respected the combat operations she had managed during the absence of Commander Lawson.

She felt oddly comfortable in the ship which she had never set foot in prior to three days ago when the transfer from the damaged mercury began. This place felt like home. She felt that she belong here. It was strange because she had still not completed the check ride for basic flight.

Colonial law before the fall had required the commander of any Battlestar be a licensed pilot. You could fly vipers or you could fly raptors. Do you have to hold the pilots license in order to come out a battle star.

The peoples Council passed legislation shuffle weeks ago to resend that law at the urging of Admiral Cobb. He insisted that the law be adhered to. It was important however that since Maria Ramirez was undergoing flight training both in the VR suites and carefully guided flight operations, with the best tutors available.

As opposed to the prior Jupiter class Battlestar’s, the CIC of the mercury class was quite cramped. There’s barely room for 20 people and often times elbows were bouncing off each other.

When the doors of the CIC opened and in a wheelchair with a scarf around her neck, Commander Lawson Was wheeled in next to a place next to Commander Ramirez, people turn their began to clap.

Commander Eva Lawson was high on painkillers. Still when she moved in the chair it was obvious that she was in a great deal of pain. The medicine cannot mask her extensive injuries. She motioned to the crew and spoke in a soft voice. “Get back to work you lazy bastards,” she smiled and hope that attention will go back away from her.

She was wheeled to a place next to Ramirez. The younger woman laying down to her former commander and whispered. “How to make an appearance up here did you?”

“That fracking engineer wants to saw this thing off my neck,” she said. “I’m going to try and avoid that experience for as long as possible. It’s not like I have to go through metal detectors to get on board my ship.”

“True enough,” Ramirez smiled as he answered softly.

“So what are we doing today,” Commander Lawson asked and she shifted painfully in her chair.

“We’ve got an old atlas class carrier that suffered a massive internal radiation like 40 years ago. The shipyard weenies could not figure out how to clean her out so we’re going to blow her into pieces. Target practice.”

“Well let’s get on with it,” Lawson smiled. “You never know when Tool master Thomas from engineering my catch up with me.”

“This is Saturn actual,” Ramirez said in a forceful voice. “Commence target practice and demolition exercises. Vipers first, followed by assault raptors, finally a salvo of torpedoes and then our main guns if it’s anything left over.”

“Will she should back?” Lawson asked.

“Simulated rounds,” Saturns commander answered. Our people will be using live ammunition. Hardly seems fair.”

“Those atlas class ships has much armor is the mercury class. They are hard to kill.”

As the exercise progressed, Lawson’s mind wandered. She was impressed with the squadrons of remote controlled Mark 1 vipers that presented themselves for target practice for the Saturns Vipers. Suddenly she was back in detention. The assaults she had enjoyed, always coming up with new insults to spit out.

What was terrible was the long cold nights, chained and exposed to the cold. This was true torture for her. When the exercise was over, tears were streaming down her face. Ramirez caught the flashback first. Seeing that Lawson was unresponsive, she wiped her face with a white handkerchief. She began to guide the wheelchair out of CIC when the sick bay orderly got the clue and took over.