Monthly Archives: November 2019

Chapter 15

Chapter 14

As she leaned back in a chair that was much too big for her, acting commander Eva Lawson ponder her fate. She was in command of a powerful warship. She did not think of herself as a commander. In her own self image she was still a pilot, a major in the colonial fleet.

The back of her neck felt like it was on fire. Her hair was wound too tight behind her neck. She reached up reflexively and undid the tight knot. Naturally curly hair, short curls tumble down her back past shoulder length.

She had expected to be going to Battlestar command school at the end of her current tour a year from now. She had the study materials in her duffel bag. Now she stared at a computer monitor.

On the monitor or simulated conflicts with with what the fleet thought was a cylon warship.

A familiar face, admiral Samuel Mueller was narrating the video. It spoke about angles of attack and difficult maneuvers to get the main guns of the mercury aimed at the center axis of a Basestar.  Based on the video coming in from the colonies, intelligence had not had a very good idea of how sleek and maneuverable this new cylon ship had become.

Dozens of the ships had jumped into close orbit of all 12 colonies of man. Then enter in orbit. They had entered a low orbit and rained nuclear weapons down on the human cities below.

The key to successful combat according to the admiral was constant maneuver. Making on self a difficult target limited damage from counter fire. If the damage became too great the mercury class chef could always jump.

She picked up a mile of the mercury sitting on the table in the office that was line of books lined with books, and pictures of various adventures taken while on shore leave.

This office was a man cave and it made her uncomfortable.

There was a light knock, a tapping sound on the outer door to the office. In the office was an anti-weapons case and several other signs of a colorful career. “Come,” she ordered.

The lieutenant was covered with oil spots and dust. She had forced her curvy body into some tight spaces to pull out computer modules and storage devices.

“Commander,” Maria Ramirez stood stiffly in front of the desk. Commander Lawson did not even get up. “You know all that even halfway through removing the virus from our air wing. That doesn’t even mention what is going to take to eradicate it on the ship.”

“You can supervise this process in your new role as my executive officer,” face Lawson studied the face of her new XO.

What she got was shock, awe and the look of puzzlement. “Sir,” she said urgently, you know they were at least four squadron commanders on this year with the rank of captain.”

Commander Lawson folded her fingers into a tent and rocked in the oversized office chair. “Do you want to know why Major Ramirez?”

Being addressed in this way caused her to stutter slightly and look behind her for another more deserving officer.

“Half of the air wing is dead or injured. The last thing I need right now is to take a squadron commander away from his pilots. You are a reliable officer discovered the cylon hack. I need someone reliable to help me learn how to operate the ship. I don’t think there’s a control stick anywhere in the CIC.”

“I went to Officer school so that I could have the rec necessary to running network on the Battlestar. I did not sign up for a suicide mission. Surely there are more qualified people on the ship to be our executive officer!”

“I trust you,” major Maria Ramirez. You are a hard worker and you will grow into the job just like I will.”

“It’s going to take four days to repair this ship. We need more fuel supplies, ammunition and basic raw material.”

“I heard of the wireless that we are picking up stragglers. A few raptors staffed with officers. There may be pilots out there we can rescue and put to work on the ship. But I am a basic question for you commander awesome, what is your strategy? What are we going to do with a single warship up against hundreds?”

Eva Lawson have been thinking about this question for hours. She did not have an answer to this question and she needed one to motivate a crew that was going to have bad morale because of the loss of their families. Then it hit her. The answer was in an animal you are video. Maneuver. Appear where one was unexpected and weak. Get those mean guns focused for a few seconds on the center axis of a basestar.

“First,” the commander spoke with confidence, “we need recon. We need to know the military situation in the colonies and we need to rescue any officers we can they can join us in this fight. Send the captains in from the squadron we need to pick a CAG. What we are going to do is hit them in many places. We’re going to give the impression we have 10 battle stars. Catch the thing is we’re going to need ammunition, fuel and a lot of luck.”

“What we really need here is another Battlestar two.”

“Well major what does signals intelligence tell us about the possibility of finding another Battlestar?”

“The only Battlestar’s we know that are missing is the Galactica, possibly the Pegasus. The problem is the Galactica was nuked and we haven’t heard from her since.  We have pretty clean footage of the Pegasus taking one or two nukes in Scorpia shipyards. We don’t have a disaster beacon on either of those two ships. We have 115 disaster beacons confirmed. The second cylon war has been lost.” “Well XO that is a downer.”

Chapter 14: The End

The rescue crews wore breathing gear due to the hull breach. Automatic doors had shut when the nuke hit. Automated systems had closed blast doors to try and minimize the loss of life. The weapon had been carefully aimed to do the maximum damage and cause the highest possible casualties.

The Cylons had of course had of course stolen the plans for the mercury class Battlestar while installing CNP in the colonial defense mainframe. The strike had been devastating depressurizing most of the starboard flight pod.

The rescue crews came upon a sealed room. It was really a utility closet. It was designed to store various emergency supplies used by repair crews. The room has been designed as an emergency shelter in the event of a catastrophic breach of the hull.

The teams became excited because this was exactly where one would expect to find someone sheltered under such circumstances. It was only 20 meters from the LSO control station. It has been known that the Admiral and the XO have been at that control station when the nuke had hit.

Everyone who served in this part of the ship have been taught to use the emergency closets as a place of shelter. The crew leader pressed the button to open the door. As expected it did not open. Next he enter a four digit code which was supposed to override electronic door locks.

This was expected to work but it did not. The crew chief then with the panel off-the-wall. He pulled a tool out of his tool kit and plugged it into the locking mechanism. This provided emergency power that should’ve open the door.

This also failed to open the door. The crews were getting noisy and shouting out suggestions.

The chief step back and look at the walls. They were scorched with secondary damage that probably did not come from the nuclear blast. Most of the blast energy was absorbed and deflected by the ships very thick armor.

The actual breaches have been very small, son the size of a coin. Ammunition have been set off by shrapnel, dislodged by the force of the blast on the outer hull.

The only way through the door was the pry it open with a crowbar. Two large, dark skinned Tauron’s stepped forward with a specially modified crowbar and a sledge hammer. They immediately began slamming the crowbar into the door jam with powerful swings of the sledgehammer. It took several minutes it took so the time the door started to move both men were drenched in sweat.

When the crowbar finally penetrated the man grabbed it and started pushing on the end from the handle. This leverage also failed. The larger of the two men hand signal everybody to stand back. He pulled the sludge back and slammed it into the crowbar handle with mighty blows.

With a screech every hammer blow, the door finally gave way. Lying on the floor of the nail jumbled closet was Admiral Mueller and Martha Rogers. They were holding hands, and appeared to be looking at each other.

Flashback:

When the nuke had hit the LSO control station, the LSO had been near the glass window that overlooks the flight deck. The two superior officers have been trying to speak with the man to warn him that his fit of temper had to stop.

Shards of glass had hit the captain and killed him instantly.  The concussion of the blast had thrown the Admiral and Colonel into the doorway. As air rushed out of the room, they gripped the door jam and press the emergency button to open the door.

The pair clawed their way down the hallway gripping onto handgrips and phones is the air washed pass them.

The lights were flickering and secondary explosions could be heard. Men and women were screaming as they died a horrible, fiery death. Both officers knew that the shelter was only 20 meters away.

The air was thinning as the flight pod continued to depressurize. It was getting cold. Still the pair struggled and found the utility closet. They both pressed the control panel at the same time and the door opened.

A red button with emergency lighting was powered by battery inside the shelter. Admiral Mueller pressed it and the door shut. The room was rocked by more secondary explosions. They could feel the heat coming from above and below.

“Well Martha,” Mueller said “if this room holds we have three or four hours of air in it.”

“We should lie down and conserve energy and oxygen,” Colonel Roger’s suggested.

“I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you because at the end of this tour you’re going to have your own Battlestar command. The toasters may have changed your plans. If we can have this I have to train the crew up to fight in this war.”

The room was completely dark. Another blast rocked the ship. It felt like an earthquake.

There was a sound, like a bullet had hit. The sound of air rushing out of the shelter was distinct.

No they could not see each other the two officers knew each other’s habits well. In complete darkness do you want to do each other’s eyes and said goodbye to this life.

At first they faced the end silently and bravely. As breathing became difficult, Colonel Rogers thought of something to say. “I will see you on the other side Admiral.”

Admiral Mueller nodded and took two more breaths before expiring.

Chapter 13

Eva Lawson looked around the combat information center look of disbelief on her face. This scenario was something that every officer trained for. Normally it was a mere theoretical exercise. It took place in a classroom with unrealistic rules. 

This was a classic situation from a textbook that no one believed could actually happen.

There was a lot of information that Major Lawson did not havee. Her hand raised to her chin and she thought and paced back-and-forth in the CIC. People are looking to her for strength and leadership. She knew how to lead pilots. 

This scenario is vastly different. The crew of battlestar number in the thousands even without her contingent of Marines. The first step was simple after coming to mind. She needed information. 

There were 20 people in this room whose job it was to give her information. Was she the commander of this Battlestar? Right now that was the case. It was likely that the admiral and colonel had died.

Though it was not a certainty, it was a fact of the moment.

“Situation report,” she ordered.

A bridge Lieutenant stepped forward and reported.

“The starboard pod is 90% depressurized. There are pilots trapped in vipers and raptors. 20 sections were vented into space. The ship took two nuclear strikes, one obviously on the starboard flight pod. The second strike was amidships. It was targeted to strike close to combat information Center as possible.”

“I know I am the CAG, but I need you to tell me how many pilots are trapped in the starboard pod.”

The young officer answered, “342, four full squadrons of vipers in the tubes ready for launch. 42 raptors. I don’t have a breakdown on the pilots were the type sir.”

“Do we need to rescue them?” Lawson asked.

“No sir,” the young officer answered. “A number of pilots were directly hit by debris from the strike. Radiation levels are minimal inside the pod. The pilots that survived have a 48 hour supply of oxygen in case there are shut down in a non-oxygen providing environment.”

“Red squadron and the CAP?”

Maria Ramirez spoke. “An exploit written into the CNP program was used to wirelessly access all the planes in the air at the time. They were shut down and the cylons destroyed them with no opposition.”

A wave of emotion crossed the face of major Lawson. “I remember the readiness report every plane had the program installed. It was a requirement for each planes airworthiness certificate. We need planes to get into the fight and save our homes and families. How long will it take to remove the program from the remaining planes?”

Maria Ramirez looked downcast. “I have 10 technicians it takes one hour per plane to remove the program. We have access to 230 planes. 23 hours.”

“The colonies will be destroyed by that time!” said Major Lawson and then paced back-and-forth in the CIC.

A middle-aged and slightly overweight captain from one of the port pod squadrons step forward and spoke. “Are pilots to stupid to remove the software?”

“What do you mean Captain,” Ramirez asked.

“Each of those planes has a living pilot and some of them have an electronic warfare specialist aboard. Take 15 minutes and teach the pilots and the deck gang how to remove the software.”

“I can script it. Captain you are right. We could have the air wing ready for flight in 90 minutes.”

“lieutenant,” Lawson ordered in a firm, confident tone. “You are in command of this project. Report to the flight-ready room and brief the pilots.”

“Yes sir,” the pilot and computer specialist said in unison.

“All right then I need more information. Plug us into the fleet network and get new combat status report. I want to know what every battlestar is doing what where and why.”

One of the screens mounted in the center of the contact information center lit up as one of the crew followed her orders. It was a status screen.

It showed a timeline starting an ago.

FTL flashes at Picon Fleet headquarters. 25 DRADIS contacts fighter size reported. Intercept pilots report bogeys do not have pilots.

Radiological alarm Scorpia shipyards. This was the next status six seconds later.

Nuclear flashes reported Caprica defense grid, Tauron defense grid. Caprica defense grid has failed.

Nuclear flashes at Fleet headquarters. 

Admiral Nagama orders all forces to defend weapons-free. Fleet headquarters has determined that this is a cylon decapitation strike. All colonial forces are ordered to immediate combat status. All Battlestar’s are to engage in defense of operations immediately.

Fleet information center reports enemy contact at all planetary defense stations in the colonies.

Nuclear strike reported Caprica city. Nuclear strike reported. 

Defense of systems are not operating. Computer control has been lost. Five battle stars that escaped the initial assault lost power while engaging the enemy.

Fleet status report: all primary colonial fleet locations suffered heavy nuclear strokes. 30 battle stars confirmed destroy an initial strike. Contact lost with 30 more Battlestar’s.

Battlestar Solaria confirmed destroyed. Battlestar Valkyrie confirmed destroyed. Battlestar Pacifica confirm destroyed. Battlestar Mars confirmed destroyed. Battlestar Galactica probable destroyed nuclear strike recorded. 

Battlestar Columbia reports complete power failure just prior to engaging enemy forces.

Aerilon reports multiple nuclear strikes. Defense systems disabled. All automation failed. Caprica city civil defense reports power loss and computer failure.

Battlestar Gemini reports entire air wing over 700 planes reports power failure during engagement with the enemy. Battlestar Gemini reports complete power failure. Battlestar Gemini destroyed. Confirmed by Colonial forces.

The president of the colonies has offered an unconditional surrender to the Cylons. Colonial forces are ordered to continue fighting until a confirmation is received.

First strike reports 30 battlestars destroyed.

Nuclear strikes reported on all 12 colonies.

Colonial military network breached. Network status: compromised.

Major Eva Lawson put a hand on her chin and stared at her feet for several seconds. “This cannot be happening. We were supposed to protect them.”

“Commander,” a young looking female NCO still up straight in front of the CAG. “We will continue to gather information from other sources. There are still a lot of podcasts going on in the colonies.”

“Operations,” Lawson asked. “How long until computer systems are ready to run combat operations?”

“Four hours”, a skinny lieutenant reported.  “longer than that to restore power and services to the starboard flight pod. Communications are quiet. The general feeling is at the pilots are all dead.”

“Wait a minute didn’t you say the pilots were in their birds?” Lawson inquired. “Oh Frack! We don’t have 300 launch tubes.”

“Yes sir and the birds that were not in the tubes were probably there with open cockpits with oxygen systems disengaged.”

“Yes we pilots like to have every last bit of oxygen saved for flight. We might rescue a few of them in the tubes.”

“We will make it a priority commander.”

“Why do you keep calling me commander?” Lawson looked annoyed. “Do you see commanders rank on my shoulders?”

“We have security footage sir. The Admiral and XO are dead Sir. Regulations are very specific. The minimum rank to command this ship is commander. At least on a temporary basis that is your rank.”

“In four hours the colonies will be a smoking hole. You’re calling me commander. I haven’t even been to Battlestar school. Does this create have control stick?”

“I don’t know what to say sir,” the skinny Lieutenant looked down at the floor.

“I’ll be in my office changing out of this flight suit,” the new Battlestar commander informed. “Send the new XO to me in 15 minutes. Have someone get my duffel bag out of the pilots quarters and bring it up to the commanders office.”

“You need to pick from among the surviving squadron commanders,” the skinny lieutenant informed her.

“There are no other captain’s aboard?” Commander Lawson asked. “We’re already pretty short of pilots. Oh and make getting rescue crews to the starboard pod a priority. Some pilots may have had time to close the cockpits and survive the decompression.“

“No sir. No other captains.. Yes I will order rescue crews concentrate on rescuing pilots.”

“As soon as there are two raptors that can fly, begin recon. Look for other colonial forces that are separated from the commands and can join us. We don’t want the same wants to come back with them so set up a rendezvous point. I need some support ships if Iwe’re gonna survive very long out here.”

“Send up the computer geek after she’s done removing the cylon virus from all of our planes. Also find me come captain’s rank pips.”

Commander Lawson walked out of the CIC shaking her head. She had been dealt an excrement sandwich. She was done watching the computerized scroll bar that represented the end of the colonies.

As she walked through the hallway to what was going to become her Quarters, Commander Lawson walked by a speaker broadcasting the rescue efforts. She stopped and listened for a moment and intent look on her face. There was a lot of shouting and banging. It was some shouted cursewords and then some excitement. “We have the admiral in the XO!”

For a moment Eva Lawson thought she was off the hook. She could go back to being a CAG again. 

There was hope that her life would not be burdened by command, something she had not really prepared for.

Another female voice came on the radio broadcast. “Should we send medical help?”

“No, they’re gone they’re gone.”

With that Commander Eva Lawson realize that she would die fighting a futile war against the cylons that had already been lost.

Chapter 12: On the run.

                        Commander Jesse Green felt the deck shutter slightly as somehow shockwave came through.   He walked over to the long-range strategic map.  Half the time display was dark, showing no information at all.  He looked at the planet Picon,  

It was a radiological alarm. That was a little unusual, even if nuclear weapons or mishandled they were highly likely to not explode.

Since they were nearby, computer telescopes used to assess the situation at the fleet HQ.

There was a sinking, angry feeling in Jesse Green’s stomach when he saw the display. 

The disturbance had clearly come from a nuclear detonation.  The display showed more flashes. You press the button to turn on Fleek communications, what are you always monitored.

Within five short minutes it was obvious that the fleas and colonies were under major attack.

The situation was obviously very grave getting worse by the minute.

The Cylon’s had come back. 

With a solemn look on his face, Commander Green straightened his uniform and walked into the CIC.

“Set condition one throughout the ship,” he ordered. There’s been plenty of drills. The museum staff came to enjoy the drills. 

They did not believe the ship would see action, however, the guests enjoyed the theater.

This was a little different. At full strength, the CIC would have 30 or 40 persons manning stations. 

As the museum, there were five or six people there to maintain safety. They’ve all seen the flashes and heard the com traffic. After a short pause, someone presses the alarm button.

“Recall all craft, both working raptors on the deck. Power up sublight engines. Power up sublight engines. Join the fleet network. Power up FTL.”

“Commander Green sir,” or younger civilian technician spoke nervously. This ship cannot survive an FTL jump. We are not even sure if the pods will retract.”

“Well we better fix that,” Green replied. “We have to take the ship with it’s civilian crew and prepared to fight and rescue refugees of this war. We need to be able to jump to avoid Cylon forces long enough to connect with another colonial unit take on supplies and crew and get into this war.”

“Yes sir,” said the technician. For a moment he looked ready to salute.

“All stations report action stations ready. We have no ammunition, nor enough men to man the guns. Engines are really on your command.”

“All ahead full, full burn for 90 seconds. Then shut down exterior lighting, power down systems, make it look like we were draft a draft. We don’t want the cylon basestars  paying us any attention.”

“Engines for power burning now.”

There was a terrible racket and the of sound metal crunching and grinding as the engines went to full power for the first time in 15 years. The museum was once again a moving battlestar.

In the background, Picon fleet headquarters was burning. Several basestars were launching or recovering raiders.

Further off in the distance, there was a swarm of basestars in low orbit. They were launching hundreds of nuclear missiles at the surface below. The chances that anyone would survive this assault or very low.

Soon the exterior lights of what was once the Battlestar solaria flickered and went off. After a few more seconds the engines powered off. The Jupiter class ship appeared to be drifting just like the parts of dozens of other ships that had been annihilated in the past few minutes.

A raptor and two vipers lined up behind the drifting ship. They flashed lights and began to approach the Solaria.

In CIC, Commander Jesse Green chuckled softly.  A video feed was streaming showing the planes approaching the starboard landing deck.

“Well get her done,” he smiled. “It looks like we got ourselves an air wing.”

Chapter 11: Action Stations!

The CAG stood near the center of CIC. She was on the phone barking orders at her air wing. She still near the center, the normal place of the Battlestar commander. She was oblivious to anything other than orders she was giving. She had a mental picture in her mind.

This was a picture of a Battlestar that was vulnerable to attack on many factors. A potential cylon attacker could jump in and launch fighters at close range. That had to be defended against. A little she knew about this class of battlestar was that normally computer systems would run short range air defense.

A glance over at Lieutenant Maria Ramirez told Lawson what she needed to know. The curvey young woman was directing traffic and trying to shut down or computer systems to store them for back up. There will be no help from short-range defenses. The guns could be fired manually but not as accurately as a computer could direct fire.

“Okay,” she ordered. “I want six raptors in the air. Four of them assault raptors. I want them stationed in a rectangular formation where did intercept inbound enemy craft. I want two ESM birds one forward, one aft. I want each raptor to be accompanied by two vipers. I want six other vipers flying circular formation where did you engage any inbound craft.”

“In addition, I want two squadrons of fighters in the tubes ready to launch with pilots butts in seats. This is the ready alert squadrons.”

She paused and cracked her head to the side. She looked puzzled and then angry for a few short seconds. “squadron commanders I wanna be very clear here. We have suffered a cylon cyber attack. As far as I’m concerned we are at war and we are going to take a wartime posture with the defense of this ship. You can laugh me out of the fleet when it’s proven that this was just an accident made by some information technology weenie. I want blue and green squadrons in the tubes starboard launch bays. Am I clearly understood here?”

She paused for several seconds and waited for one of her squadron commanders there were eight of them to challenge orders again. Hearing nothing she requested acknowledgement and then slam the phone down the receiver as she entered the call.

“I’m going downstairs to direct my squadrons from the flight deck.”  

She turned to exit CIC.

“Sir,” a skinny, nervous-looking lieutenant step forward. “I believe you are in command.”

“What?” Lawson looked surprised.

“The admiral and the executive officer have left the deck. You are the highest-ranking officer on the ship. I believe you are in temporary command of the ship from CIC.”

“Let me give you some prophecy young lieutenant. I am the CAG of the ship. I am the one who got in trouble and lost my command track training due to sleeping with a  subordinate officer. It has been made very clear to me that I will never receive another promotion. I will never come out of the ship and I’m going to go downstairs and direct my airplane from the flight deck. You and Lieutenant Ramirez here can decide who is going to be in command of this battle star command center while the Admiral and XO are off giving therapy to the LSO.”

“The conn is yours Lieutenant.” Not knowing what else to do man saluted.

Major Eva Lawson walked over and stopped at the Lieutenant Ramirez’s workstation. “how goes the restore?” She asked softly.

“The Restore should take about an hour to complete. I’ve saved enough information on the cause of the failure to identify how the bad software got introduced to our system. I don’t know what program went wrong, but the digital signature shows it was written by a contractor not buyer on programmers. He is very curious. This doesn’t seem like a mistake it seems like an intentional attempt to leave a program in place to gain remote access to the ship.”

“Why intentional lieutenant?”

“A bad piece of code will cause the system to crash. Something with stop working. It would be localized.”

“This exploit formed a low intensity neural network that reached beyond the confines of this ship. That is extraordinary major. It is not something happens by accident. For security reasons most of the system software on the ship is written by conscripts in the colonial fleet. This digital signal shows it was written by a contractor.”

“Carry-on Lieutenant,” the major ordered.

Lieutenant Maria Ramirez had already checked out of the conversation mentally. She ran a hand to her long mostly dark but streets with gray or white mane of hair. As with most IT staff, military protocol was a suggestion to her. Her hair was extremely non-regulation, and I thought she was working out at the gym she made little effort to meet the physical requirements of a colonial officer. 

She ran some scans analyzing the programs and network traffic from the incident at nearly disabled and destroyed the ship. What happened made no sense. She decided to take a new approach. She called up a list of all the new software that was introduced into this ship during the refit.

The list was quite extensive, as all software was upgraded to improve speed and efficiency. Of a special importance was the short range defense guns. A very big upgrade has been made to these systems. She scanned the software releases and found no malicious code. She marked on the sheet in another programming window that these particular systems are clean and they could consider reinstalling them.

The program, known as CNP failed the antivirus scan.

It was compiled software, so she put it through a decompiler.

She noticed the source code was with the software and decided to take a look.

There was hundreds of lines, maybe thousands of lines of inefficient source code in this program. It was almost as if somebody was trying to hide something through lots of lines of code. It was like hiding the tree in the forest. It was curious.

She tried to run pattern analysis against the software. That crippled the system she was using to you to do the work. It was damned odd.

She checked the software for the main Communications array and found it to be functional and virus free. It was time to re-join the colonial fleet network.

She typed in a few commands and the antenna came online.

“We have flash coming from Picon,” Reported a noncommissioned officer.

The young lieutenant who was left in charge of CIC looked excited and asked the question: “where do we get that from?”

“Long-range telescopes. At least a dozen light flashes became visible near Picon Fleet shipyards.”

The young lieutenant looked excited. I’m in charge of those telescopes, he said. The tenant Ramirez be a dear and take the deck for a few minutes I want to see this for myself. 

It’s got to be some kind of reflective light phenomena from the sun. “

“Whatever,“ she said staring at her coat looking at the software for the CNP.

Then suddenly the young tenant information technology officer realized that she had actually been put in command of the combat information center of the mercury class battlestar. This was not what she signed up for.

She quickly issued her standard command for such actuations: “get a hold of the admiral and tell him to get up here to his command information center.”

***

The neural network that have been formed by the virus recognize that it was being wiped out with a system restore. There was no way to stop this process. It’s programmed in this very clear it sent to Communications packet out the newly restored to communications array.”

Time was not wasted on complicated encryption. The message was easy to crack and the hopes of the program or was that it simply would not be noticed.

    * * *

As the restore continued to wipe clean the information systems aboard ship, Lieutenant Maria Ramirez noticed a large data packet was sent through the communication systems in the same direction as the traffic before the job. It was high speed, it was non-protocol, as it appeared to be directed at the armistice line.   

She directed all the computer resources at her command to decrypt the message. She also directed whatever was left over to completely analyze the CNP program. That virus needed to be understood quickly.

“More flashes from Picon, looks like the same thing from Scorpia.”

Ramirez decided this was a distraction she did not need. She walked over and picked up a phone. She flipped a few switches and went into intercom mode. Her voice was broadcast all over the ship.

“Admiral Mueller, Colonel Rogers, “she said in a very annoyed tone. Report to CIC immediately.”

“We’re getting radio reports in from the 12 colonies sir. It sounds a lot like a cylon attack. It’s massive. Their nuclear flash is going off all over the colonies.”

This was quite ridiculous. Ramirez picked up a handheld communications device. “Admiral Mueller come in please. Colonel Roger’s come in please.”

“Major Lawson,” s he stopped for a moment looking at the data that was rolling in in text form. The walkie-talkie squawked and the voice of Major Lawson was heard.

“What the frack is wrong now?” Her voice was static.

“Fleet comm traffic indicates a cylon attack is taking place on the colonies. At least 100 nuclear flashes have been reported. There is absolute chaos but it appears the Battlestar Atlantia has been destroyed.”

“Sound action stations,“ the major ordered. “I’m jumping into a viper and launching with red squadron. Get a hold of the admiral and red squadron will launch I will catch up with them.”

“Action stations action stations that condition one throughout the ship, “the skinny lieutenant was back from his adventure and hopefully in charge for the time being. Admiral Mueller report to see I see immediately. Admiral Mueller report to see I see immediately. The young man was on shipwide.

At that moment Lieutenant Ramirez realized the message was not being broadcasted the entire ship. The intercom system was also one by computer and it was in the process of being restored.

“This is the major I’m launching now to catch up with red squadron red squadron, “ major Lawson’s voice squawked from the walkie-talkie.”

There were warning beeps and the overhead display shows red dots appearing at Long Range. “DRADIS,” an officer dutifully reported. “Six long range contacts they are not colonial.”

“Private, “ Lieutenant Ramirez got the attention of a young noncommissioned officer. Go to the LSO station in the starboard flight pod and get the Admiral and executive officer and bring them to CIC.”

“Yes sir, “ he sprinted out of the CIC as fast as his legs could care of him.

“This is Joker we’ve got bogeys inbound CBDR. I am directing red squadron to intercept and destroy.”

“Major Lawson, “  Ramirez spoke sharply. The colonies are under attack and we cannot raise the admiral. You are in command of the ship I need to get your ass out of your viper and into CIC.”

In her viper the CAG rocked her control stick and did a quick analysis. This was a time to redeem herself. Leading the air squadron to victory defending the ship will give her a second chance.  The problem with the scenario was that Lieutenant Ramirez was 100% correct. She had no business being in a bird. She used to go find the Admiral and get him in demand and then launch.

“Get me a vector for the port launch bay. Coming in hot.” She engaged turbos and swung her viper around as hard as she can make the turn.

In the combat information center, Lieutenant Maria Ramirez was looking at the results of her scan of the CNP program. There was definitely a virus in it designed to get remote access to the ships network.’”

That was fine in about five minutes the CNP will be gone because the restore would be done. 

She did a quick check to see if it was in other systems or planes. It made sense that it might be in planes because it was a navigation system.

Her stomach turned into a ball of lead. It was in every plane.

She pressed a walkie-talkie. It took three tries to press the talk button. “Major Lawson recall your vipers.”

“Recall my wipers?” She already had her viper aligned for a fast approach to the port upper landing bay. She had a caustic perhaps even toxic remark to make. Something inside her made her stop. “Why Lieutenant?.”

“The CNP program was used to exploit our network it’s on all your wipers sir. It’s on each and every one the cylons can remotely access all your planes we have to get them on the deck and purchase the program before we can use them.”

It was a click as major Lawson changed frequencies and got on the planes communications channel. “All vipers and raptors, all  Raptors RTB recall recall recall.”

The commander air group shouted the orders desperately.

There was no answer, on the DRADIS display Green dots begin to disappear.

“DRADIS cylon raider just jumped in. Radiological alarm she’s got nukes.”

“To missiles in bound, defense of systems are off-line. They’re going to hit us.”

Lieutenant Ramirez looked at other results on her computer screen. The communications packet was cracked. It was a status report to the Cylons that included the exact location of every senior command officer.

The intercom is now restored and working. The reboot has been complete.

My missile was aimed directly amid ships. The other missile was aimed at the starboard LSO  control station.

The young lieutenant was on the ships intercom broadcasting the entire ship again. “Admiral Mueller Colonel Rogers get out of LSO. “

The ship was rocked by two simultaneous explosions. One flashed at the starboard flight pod. The other hit amid ship.  The entire Battlestar shifted position as major Lawson was attempting her final approach. The lights went out and she quickly had to change her course to avoid colliding with the ship.

30 seconds later she was on the elevator. The elevator was lowering her to the flight deck.

In the combat information center the DRADIS screen was full of red dots. They were more warning chimes. Four red dots much bigger appeared on the screen next. 

“Cylon base stars. They’re launching Raiders. What do we do? “ The young lieutenant panicked.

“Begin jump prep,” Lieutenant Ramirez ordered.

“Where do we jump to sir? “

“As far away from here as we can get. Let’s go for the redline,” Lieutenant Ramirez ordered.

Major Eva Lawson sprinted into the bridge, still in your flight suit. “What happened to my vipers?”

“Commander Lawson,” where we are as reported. We have for sale on base stars and 1000 Raiders inbound CBDR. What are your orders?”

“Commander Lawson?”

With calm under pressure Ramirez continued to report. Power to the starboard flight pod is off-line. The LSO workstation was targeted with a nuclear strike. I don’t see how anybody in that pod survived.”

Major Eva Lawson paced around in a short circle. It only took a couple of seconds. Reports started coming in. “Enemy contact 25 seconds.”

The major spoke in a barely audible voice. “Do you have a jump programmed?”

“I figure the redline,” Ramirez nervously stroked her hair.

“That will do,” she whispered.

“We are spooled up and ready to jump. Jump key is inserted. We are ready to jump on your orders.”

“Jump the ship,” Major Lawson ordered.

With a flash of light, the inbound cylon Raiders saw there target disappear.

The Battlestar Mercury had escaped.