Chapter 48: Hope in the ashes of victory.
Cory Brooks, Executive of the Peoples Council sat in Major Martin’s office on the largest of the shipbuilding platforms. It was a giant office with a humongous wide window overlooking half the shipyard platform.
Commander Eva Lawson had not invited her. Major Martin had tendered the invitation. He said his desk has warships one moving in the window behind him. Dozens of people were spaced walking and working on repairing battle damage.
The meeting was here because the Mercury was in a gigantic “dry dock”. It was surrounded by scaffolding and cranes. Workers were crawling all over it, replacing damaged hull and armor sections. More crews were polishing and painting the sections that were already repaired.
The meeting was here because it was neutral ground.
Major Ramirez was sitting next to Lawson clearly having lost weight. Her uniform was very loose on her body. She tried to stay busy looking at notes in a portfolio. She had a pen in her hand and was ready to write down anything that was important.
In fact, the former computer systems analyst did not even know why she was at the meeting. She had not been informed of the topic and had a hard time convincing her commander to attend. She wondered if it was going to be a catfight like the last meeting.
She had consulted with the two lawyers from the Judge Advocate generals branch of the military. Since this was a military emergency in the lines of authority on the civilian side were unclear, it seemed that orders from the Peoples Council might not have the force of law.
The problem there was in order to ignore civilian authority it would be necessary to declare martial law. The reaction I’m on the 120 thousand survivors of the colonies could not be predicted. Military was responsible for their safety, food and all their physical needs.
So it made sense to us find out what the civilian authority wanted, before considering ignoring that authority.
Major Rick Martin spoke first. “I called this meeting because the military and civilian authority needs to cooperate in the first meeting did not go well. It was interrupted by the battle which we determined was caused due to a security breach in our facility. Further, systems aboard the Battlestar Mercury we’re not completely cleaned up after the CNP virus to the lack of time and near constant combat that occurred during the six weeks have passed since the colonies were destroyed in occupied by the Cylons.”
Executive Cory brooks spoke next, “I saw from the battle scene from the CIC that Commander Lawson has skills besides sleeping with Cylon agents. The leader ship skills were impressive chaotic battle.”
Lawson squirmed in her chair, maintaining her cool. Her expression hid all emotion.
“The peoples counsel will approve the promotion of Commander Lawson with the following nonnegotiable caveats. She will cooperate with a full investigation of her relationship with the Cylon agent. If she is found to have been in collusion with him, she will face the death penalty. We need military leaders, but they must have integrity.”
Major Martin spoke next: “The military position of fleet commander is normally occupied by an Admiral.”
Eva Lawson him a surprise look. This was not on her agenda. She never expected to make Colonel.
“We will deal with that after the investigation,” Brooks said. “We are going to implement a system where by military is not aware of where the civilian population is. My intelligence chief will be a liaison to the military and we will put together a system to provide a quick reaction force with jump coordinates to our mobile location.”
“We have scouting parties looking for habitable planets far away from the Cylons as is practical. We will provide encrypted access keys to the commanders and executive officers of key military ships.”
“All military ships have been equipped to stop logging their FTL jumps. A very select group will be in charge of providing updated coordinates on a daily basis to the military,” said Major Martin.
“Do you agree to my conditions Major Lawson,” Cory Brooks asked.
“According to my estimates,” Lawson replied, we are short almost 9000 persons to operate the fleet that we have. We are also according to these reports building more ships. We have a warship factory with nobody to crew the warships. We need crew.”
“The military will no longer be allowed to draft people without civilian authority agreement from the peoples council.” Executive Brooks spoke carefully. “We recognize the need to provide labor for this facility and pilots for the military. We are going to start with a voluntary program and offer people incentives such as better living conditions more privileges in return service to the Colonial military. It will be a campaign and a training program. I understand that on the first day of the war you lost almost half of your fighter pilots.”
Lawson nodded her head in the affirmative.
“We have a class of 200 support personnel and 100 pilots ready to report to your battlestar as soon as you are promoted to commander. The council wishes to summon you for questioning about our military situation. Do you agree Commander Lawson?”
Lawson gave a deep sigh. “I know my record of personal misconduct off the job gives a lot of people doubts. My own crew is not fully confident that I can lead them. Before this was I was a leader of pilots. I took that job seriously and did it well. I do not know if I am truly qualified for this job. But I see it as an obligation to give it a try. I agree to your conditions Mrs. Brooks.”
Brooks sighed. “I lost my entire family the day the Cylons started this war. I know I will never that back. But I am going to try and rebuild this society. I understand there are confirmed reports of three hundred survivors on Scorpia. They are young people, and they would appear to be good candidates to join our military. But first we need to get them here without significant military casualties. What is your plan?”
Lawson looked at Maria Ramirez. She opened per portfolio. “We plan to conduct some high frequency FTL jumps, both raptors and reliable Battlestars to get the enemies attention before sending the rescue ship. I am recommending force recon but only 4 raptors escorting the rescue ship. We need it simple and clean.”
“Show us your presentation,” Lawson ordered.
With the military precision of an admiral, Major Ramirez walked through a short slide presentation. “I believe our CAG, Jaybird is the right pilot to lead this mission.”
“Let me know what support you need. The Peoples Council will contact you for a hearing.” Brooks stood up and left the room.
“Wow that is one hard headed bitch,” Lawson commented when she had left. “It seems as if she is cooperating with us though. We are desperate to get some crew for these warships. When do I get Mercury back?”
“She is being towed out of the dock right now,” Martin turned and showed the scene. Mercury was not perfect, but it was mostly free of black marks from weapons impacts.
“What ship are they bringing in now?”
The nose of a large Battlestar began to be visible in the enormous window. There were a lot of pieces missing. Whole sections of the flight pod were exposed to space. The name plate became visible. “Saturn”
“The Saturn was destroyed by the Cylons. The entire Scorpia shipyard was nuked. How the frak is this possible?”
“The Cylons nuked Scorpia shipyard, but we found her, under construction surrounded by the debris from destroyed junk. We towed her out the day after the attacks and used the same FTL system we use to make the shipyard platforms mobile to jump her out. We are quite proud of this salvage operation.” Major Martin turned and leaned back in his chair, designed for a civilian shipbuilding executive.
“How long until she is ready?” Ramirez was mesmerized.
“Two months,” Martin replied. “If we can maintain operational security and keep the Cylons from jumping in and nuking her.”
“Major Ramirez,” Lawson said. “That is going to be your first command, when its ready.”
Ramirez dropped her cheap pen on the floor. Her jaw dropped. She wanted to object, but words would not come out of her mouth.