Monthly Archives: August 2021

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.

Chapter 54: PTSD

Chapter 54: PTSD

Secure communications:

From: Colonial Fleet Headquarters. Admiral Andrew Cobb

To: Commander Maria Ramirez. Commander Battlestar Saturn

Re: Status Commander Eva Lawson

We are in receipt of the debriefing of the Commando force. We have received nothing on the status of Commander Lawson.

Please send complete medical and psychological profile to this office immediately. We need to plan further operations.

Regards,

Admiral Andrew Cobb

Commander Ramirez thew the printout into the garbage. “Frakking pencil pusher,” she barked.

“What’s her medical status Doctor Jameson?”

“She has 4 broken ribs, a sprained wrist, bumps and bruises. She was sexually assaulted, and brutally beaten.” The middle aged man with white hair, was speaking from memory, not looking at the chart.

“When are we going to get her back? I’ve kind of got something to do here.”

“Can’t really tell,” Jameson answered. “She might have PTSD.”

* * *

Cory Brooks was making a nuisance of herself in Admiral Cobb’s office. She had used civilian authority normally only held by the president to appoint Cobb. She considered him her ‘kept’ Admiral. He was not acting very much like he owed her anything.

“What’s the problem here,” she asked? “Lawson is either the commander or she’s not.”

“Commander Ramirez is refusing to provide any information on her condition.”

“All of us saw the proof of life video.” Brooks folded her arms. “Aren’t you planning a major operation Admiral?”

“I am,” he walked with a cane and unsteadily at that. “We have fresh intel and a real shot at tanking the Cylon’s fuel supply. Our hack of their network indicates that they may have been forced to take forty base stars out of the hunt for Galactica and Pegasus.”

“Why aren’t you ordering the strike?” Brooks demanded.

“Because I take a long term view to this war. I need Commander Ramirez taking over the Saturn and starting the process of taking three hundred nuggets and making them into viper pilots.”

“Can we win the war now if we further decrease their fuel supplies?”

“Yes Madame Executive.”

“Then lets leave Ramirez on Mercury, they are according to your justification for her promotion doing a great job. Lets take a step to win the war today.”

“That video concerns me. It could disrupt that crews focus. That could lead to a disastrous outcome.”

“Everyone knew she was a slut for the past 15 years. The Cylons are trying to exploit that.”

“A situation like this could break a crew.” Cobb’s hand was shaking badly.

“This intelligence is fresh yes?” Brooks pressed her point.

“Yes.”

“It is verified by reconnaissance?”

“Yes Madame Executive.”

“If we wait too long might we miss this opportunity?”

“Yes but our forces are damaged and depleted from 4 weeks of high operational tempo.”

“Win this war Admiral,” Brooks warned, “or I will find an Admiral who will. Even if that Admiral is named Lawson.”

“Yes Sir”

“I never got this military protocol thing,” Brooks said as she briskly got up and left the room. He was once again a ‘kept’ Admiral, obeying her wishes.

* * *

Commander Maria Ramirez was alone with Commander Eva Lawson who stared into space and showed no signs of awareness. Her eyelids shut once in a while, but there was no getting through to her.

The former IT LT (Lieutenant) as she thought of herself held Lawson’s hand and squeezed it firmly.

“You take as much time as you need commander.” Lawson did not respond. An NCO handed Ramirez a printout of some fleet communications.

Secure communications:

From: Colonial Fleet Headquarters. Admiral Andrew Cobb

To: Commander Maria Ramirez. Commander Battlestar Saturn

Re: Status Commander Eva Lawson

Four fleet attack plan “Delta” is ordered to commence at 11:00. Check intelligence briefing Sierra for jump coordinates.

Good Hunting.

Regards,

Admiral Andrew Cobb

“What time is it now?” Ramirez asked.

“1030 Sir” the NCO replied.

Ramirez dropped her mentor’s hand on the bed. “What the frak? Get ready for combat jump. Set condition one.”

“Pilots are in the ready room Sir,” the NCO noted before taking her leave.

Ten minutes later, Ramirez was in the pilot ready room. There was a conference call on the monitor showing three other flagship.

“We have 4 targets,” Ramirez said. “The last four Cylon gas stations in the sector. If we take them out, the Cylon presence in the colonies will be crippled. Don’t expect this to b a turkey shoot. The toasters know we are coming and they know our strategic objective. The future of this war depends on the outcome. Good Hunting.”

“We jump at 11:00|!” Ramirez said firmly.

* * *

“Alpha fleet is on the scene. We see the target moving to attack formation. Launching vipers.”

“We they have defenses up! Do we abort?”

“Negative, engage target. Evade first.”

“We got base stars!”

“Prepare for withdrawal. Lets see if we can hit the target on the way out.

“Heracles locking on main guns!”

“Valkyrie one locking on main guns!”

“Orion one has a firing solution.”

“Valkyrie two has em in our sites.”

“Atlas one firing solution.”

“Splash one base star.”

“CAG! We are taking heavy fire.”

“Firing on the refinery!”

“No joy no joy!”

“We re taking heavy fire!”

“Objective destroyed.”

“Recall all vipers! Combat landings are authorized!”

* * *

Mercury Group “Strike force gamma”

A special tension filled the air aboard the Mercury as this strike against Cylon Tylium refining capacity was supposedly going to cripple their fleet and lead to more strikes similar to those done against idled ships, parked in rows due to fleet starvation.

Word has also spread that Commander Lawson was safely aboard in sick bay. Crew morale was at an all time high. Everybody wanted to get this raid over with and come up with an excuse to visit her in sick bay.

While the entire fleet prepared to jump, there was excited chatter all over the warship. “Did you see that video tape?” One gun maintenance technician asked another member of the same crew.

“I saved a copy on my tablet bud. That was too good to send into the bit bucket.”

Chapter 54

“That is frakking disrespectful,” the other crew member shot back. “She’s our commander.”

“That’s the best porn I’ve seen since the fall. I’m not deleting it.”

In CIC the mood was more serious.

“Jump coordinates confirmed, every ship reports correctly,” The FTL navigation officer reported.

“Communications confirms the numbers,” an Ensign in a wireless headset reported.

“Jump.” Ramirez ordered.

The feeling of this jump was different. A sideways type of motion occurred during the flash of light.

“DRADIS! Collision alarm. Bad jump point. The refinery is almost 80 degrees starboard of our current position.”

“Hard to starboard, all ships, crash turn now now now!”

A large Cylon fleet had greeted them near the jump in point and was in motion in the general direction of the Colonial fleet.

“What do we have?’ Commander Ramirez demanded.

“Three base stars, three Revenant’s and three or four Nemesis. The last seven are all first war throw throwaways.”

The crash turn strained the systems that provided gravity and kept their feet on the floor.

“Those coordinates were way off!” The tactical officer warned.

“Hold your fire until we get an actual firing solution,” Ramirez heard the tactical officer order. She nodded her ascent.

“Launch our birds.”

The DRADIS display showed their course which with the hard turn had them approaching the refinery. There was not a good firing solution at the moment due to the fear of sending the refinery tanks flying into one of their ships.

The two Orion’s were too far forward, out of position, having passed to the right of the refinery.

The DRADIS chirped and suddenly there was a target right under the refinery. All six ships had a firing solution. The commander did not waste a moment. “Fire!”

“More Collision alerts,” warned a navigation officer.

“Bring the nose up or we are going to plow right through that thing!”

“That would mean barbecued Mercury.”

“Shut the frak up and concentrate on your jobs.” Ramirez got that out before the base star, but not the refinery went up in a fireball.

“Splash one base star.”

“Redirect salvo fire to next target,” Ramirez ordered. “Watch your course gamma group, this is already a cluster frak.”

“Another base star and a couple of support ships down Sir,” the tactical officer reported.

“Heavy fire against the port flight pods. We are taking damage.”

“Damage control, report status port flight pods?” The commander ordered. “Helm plot a turn, lets not let them get another hit on that flight pod.”

“Damage control reports hull breaches in the port flight pod.”

“Maintain salvo fire!” Commander Ramirez ordered. “Helm watch for more collisions, the Cylons are scattering.

“Lucky shot just took out the objective. Refinery is history.”

“Recall the birds, combat landings are authorized on the starboard flight pod.”

“Begin jump prep.”

“Jump key is in.”

“Birds are coming in slow,” the LSO warned.

“Port pod took another hit.”

“Hard to port, get those frakking left pods out of their firing arches. Can someone also tell me how our jump coordinates could be that far off.” Ramirez was livid.

All but a few straggling Cylon ships were wiped out. This operation had become a gigantic foobar.

After the normal flash of light the entire fleet, all four fleet groups were at the same rally point,

“Alpha group emergency jump.”

Ramirez looked at there reports coming in. “Look at this. Beta and Delta did not hit their targets. Our intelligence was wrong.”

“It was verified by raptor reconnaissance,” the CAG argued.

“Cylons brought in more forces, more fuel and moved the refinery,” Seethed Ramirez. “The oldest trick in the book. We fell for it.”

“Three ships heavily damaged, we might lose one.”

“We need new intelligence and we need it yesterday.” She walked up to the damage control display and gestured at all the red lights on the port flight pod. “Begin search and rescue operations. Double shifts until we can get those holes sealed.”

The ships engineer, who rarely made appearances in CIC, walked in stroking his goatee and dropped a report on the plotting table. “I recommend against jumping until we inspect and shore up some of the structural members in those pods. We have some pretty heavy damage in there.”

“How long to fix it?” The commander asked wearily.

“Admiral,” he began.

“Commander gods damn it.”

“Just beating the crowd Sir.”

“HOW LONG?” Ramirez looked like she was going to pounce.

“We will need 12 hours to do the engineering survey. That’s after the search and rescue operations are done.”

“What if the Cylons jump in?”

“Without knowing what is going on, an emergency jump could shear off both pods.”

“Get to work,” Ramirez snapped. “Take as many crew as you need.”

“Aye Sir.”

“Get the frak out of here Mendelson.”

The battle was supposed to be before stepping in winning the war against the Cylons.  Instead it was a unmitigated disaster.  The flagship of the colonial fleet was disabled, vulnerable and unable to jump home.

The legendary commander of the Battlestar Mercury was in the ship’s sick bay, catatonic and unresponsive.

With the loss of a single battle, the fate of the colonial fleet fell from the illusion of certain victory to the edge of disrepair. 

Chapter 53: Come on home.

Major Maria Ramirez looked totally different that she had the day of the attacks on the colonies. She had lost a lot of weight and had finally had a new uniform issued to her. She looked good in the immaculately pressed blue uniform. She waited for the Admiral’s secretary to escort him into his tiny, barely furnished office.

The Admiral did not look very good. This eyes were sunken and he looked like he was going downhill pretty quickly. His movements were stiff and his hand shook badly as he paged through the report.

“So Major,” he asked after motioning her to a chair. “Do you think our distraction plan is working?”

“Admiral Cobb,” she answered. “We have been at it for three weeks now. We have literally run in excess of one thousand sorties. The Cylon network remains hacked and they have not moved Commander Lawson. What the hell are we waiting for? I’ve got the equivalent of two squadrons of warships waiting in line at the shipyard to get damage repaired.”

“Is the operational tempo too high?” Admiral Cobb asked.

“Not necessarily. Our hack has led us to understand that the Cylons have mothballed sixty base stars because they can’t supply the Tylium. This is a great outcome,” she concluded, “but we don’t have Commander Lawson back and our readiness is dropping every day this campaign drags on.”

“That is my assessment. Take a look at this.” He took up a remote in his quivering right hand and pointed it at a wall mounted monitor. He flicked another button.

Cavil came online. “All right,” he said. “You have made your point. If you stop attacking our fuel supply and our other logistics we will give Commander Lawson back to you. This is a one time offer. If you don’t mind picking up some troublemakers on Caprica, we can make a deal.”

“We are going to do the negotiation, but will launch our daily raids. Your task force will be hitting a shipyard on the Cylon side of the old Armistice line. It has hundreds of first war ships that they were trying to get ready for operations before we squeezed their fuel supplies.”

“Just blow the crap out of it Admiral?”

“Yes and while you are doing that, you will launch a two raptor sortie of elite Marines that will jump in and infiltrate the detention center we believe Commander Lawson is in.”

“No backup?” Ramirez asked.

“We think small is better in this case. We will throw them off balance by attacking during the negotiation. The commando team will meet you at a way point that we will share if the rescue mission is successful.”

He pushed a small jeweler’s box across the table. “You are out of uniform commander,” he said softly.

“Oh no,” Ramirez backed away. “My crew already has a commander.”

“Of course they do,” Cobb smiled. “This is partially to let the Cylons believe we have given up on Commander Lawson. But after this mission, you will have a new job. The Saturn is ready for trials. We believe it is beneath the dignity of a Mercury Class Battlestar to be commanded by a Major.”

“Yes Sir,” Ramirez took the box, saluted and requested permission to leave.

“Good hunting commander,” he said. “Dismissed.”

* * *

The voices canceled each other out as everyone shouted at once when Commander Ramirez gathered the senior officers in the ready room.

“All right,” she thumped a book on the table. “Listen up!”

“Shut the frak up!” Jaybird roared.

“All right, we have a mission, a shipyard to destroy. While we are there, we will be launching an elite Marine commando force that will hopefully liberate the commander.”

“Why can’t we back up the commando force?” Sausage asked.

“Because those are our orders. If a Mercury class ship with a six ship fleet jumps into your neighborhood, you are going to know that something is up.”

“Commander Lawson is our commander,” shouted a voice in the back of the room. “We should have waited for her.”

“First,” Ramirez spoke in a harsh, firm voice. “This is NOT a democracy. We follow the orders we are given. If the Cylons have the same reaction as you knuckleheads then it is perfect. We want the Cylons to believe we have written off Commander Lawson. Finally if this works it will be my last mission as Mercury actual. The Saturn is ready for trials. I have been given my own command.”\

She then pointed a finger at “Sausage” who was in his flight suit. “I get to pick one transfer to bring along for the adventure. “Sausage,” she repeated. “How would you like to be my CAG?”

“Copy that,” he replied.

“You will lead red squadron on this strike. Try not to get yourself killed today. It will take four jumps to get to our strike location. Make sure everything is ready for action. We need to hit those jump coordinates bang on.”

“For Commander Lawson!” “Sausage” shouted thrusting his fist in the air.

“So say we all!”

* * *

Usually after a few FT jumps a colonial officer got used to the feeling. There was often a queasy feeling as the jump began. The feeling never went away, most of the time you just forgot about it as you piled up jumps.

Commander Maria Ramirez was not that kind of person. Every jump made her sick to her stomach. She wanted to lean over an wretch as if began. Soon enough the white flash of light faded and she heard the noise of systems.

“All fleet ships are on DRADIS. We have the Cylon shipyard up and the intel weenies were right, there is not even a CAP up.” The DRADIS officer reported.

“Orion’s exit stealth mode, all ships launch all vipers. Full offensive profile, target the big ships first.”

Now it was the nerves of battle, people risking their lives on her orders. Commander, she thought. I am a frakking IT geek Lieutenant, what is the big idea calling me a commander. Her stomach contracted into a solid ball of lead. They put the chatter of the viper pilots as they talked and announced they were destroying targets.

This was completely unreal to her. She was going to get her own command. That was a big joke. She was still writing code to help further hack the Cylon network.

After about five minutes it was over. It was a turkey shoot. The enemy barely shot back.

It was now time for the second jump. During the second shipyard they would release the commando force that was due to jump to the detention facility that had Commander Lawson in it.

* * *

She had planned it for a long time, even before she had lost count of the number of times she had been assaulted. She was kept in a five point chain set up. Both ankles, both wrists and the steel collar on her neck.

Just as the Cavil model was getting to the height of his pleasure, she reached up with her chained right wrist and wrapped it smoothly around his throat. So many times had she practiced it. She yanked down with all her strength expecting that she would have to strangle him. There was a very loud and satisfying crack as his neck snapped.

Commander Eva Lawson pushed her hips forward getting the dead toaster out of her. She carefully rolled him off of her, the body needed to come to rest within the very short reach of her hands. It did. This one was a regular. He assaulted her nearly every day. He kept a ring of keys sometimes unlocking a limb to enable him to try a new position.

It took ten seconds to find the keys, nearly thirty to unchain her wrists and ankles. Next the lock that chained her neck to the floor. Swearing in frustration, she could not find he key to the steel collar on her neck. “Frak it,” she whispered, walking carefully out of the room.

* * *

The negotiation meeting point was on a snow covered icy world, four plotted jumps away from the Colonies. It had been a resort before the first war, gradually falling further away from Colonial influence as the battle line moved closer to the colonies.

The hotel lobby was shabby, having been left idle for five decades. There was a table and a Cavil model seated at it.

Admiral Cobb had taken the meeting against all advice. He wanted to measure the human toaster model with his own eyes.

Cavil did not get up or offer to shake hands. “Lets skip the pleasantries,” he demanded. “What is your response to our offer.”

“We are not interested in making your occupation of Caprica easier. He have a Cavil model in custody. We will trade him for Commander Laws.”

“You have proof of life Admiral Cobb?”

The Admiral dropped a mobile phone on the table. It lit up showing the glaring face of a Cavil model.

“About the cease fire?” Cavil asked.

”Leave the Colonies and we will consider it,” Cobb said.

“You aren’t negotiating in good faith?” The model number one put his finger on his ear, manipulating a device inside.

“I’m not negotiating at all. The People’s Council Executive made it quite clear. Trade the Cylon for Lawson, on the off chance you have not extracted every secret from her.”

“It’s not good faith to attack our defenseless shipyards during a negotiation.”

“Frak off toaster,” the Admiral banged the table.

“Racist!” replied the Cylon.

“Proof of life.”

“It’s in your in box at your base. You really should upgrade your firewall.”

“Where will the exchange be?” Cobb pressed.

“You can pick her up this time tomorrow, right here. Bring the Mercury. I wonder what her crew will think of a pornographic proof of life tape. Oh, I forgot to tell you we sent copies to every ship in your fleet. Those firewall’s really need some work.”

Cavil shut his portfolio, turned and walked out of the room. He waved an arm. “Don’t forget to close the door on the way out.”

* * *

Commander Eva Lawson dispatched the Cylon woman with a swift grab of her chin and a hard wrench to the right. Dripping with sweat, she dragged the dead woman and dragged her into a dark corner. It took seventy five seconds to relieve her of her clothing and other possessions.

The Battlestar Commander had memorized the path she had been walked from the landing pad and a self satisfied grin came over her face as she saw a heavy raider was sitting on the pad unoccupied. The former CAG made a bet she could fly the thing. First she used the keys she had taken from the black haired Cylon and took some choice items out of an arms locker.

One thing was certain, they were not going to get her alive this time.

* * *

The Elite Marine commander had been told to expect heavy resistance, but their jump had been very precise. They were low in the atmosphere and there was no way they could have been detected. When their pilot swore and jerked the ship hard, the commander caught a glimpse of a Cylon Heavy Raider flying straight at them.

“Ranger one, this is ranger two. Get a lock on that key and kill him before he calls the other toasters.”|

“Firing.”

* * *

Not thirty seconds after pulling the ship out of the landing bay she was face to face with a raptor. She dodged it as quickly as she could when her ship started to take fire. A warning came on showing a pair of raptors bearing down on her. Since they were firing she assumed that this was her long awaited rescue party.

Where was the communications gear on this toaster contraption, she thought as she dodged and then tried to move the ship into a higher orbit.

She felt the deck fall from under her feet. System warning barked out. She found the communications gear as she struggled to keep the raider aloft. “This is Eva Lawson, Mercury Actual to colonial raptors. I am a friend. Do not fire. I repeat, I am a friend, do not fire.”

“How do you know that you are you,” came the challenge.

She recognized the voice. Where had she met this guy. On a drunken shore leave no doubt. Suddenly the name came to her. “Vince? Vincent Roberts. We met on shore leave three years ago on Picon.”

“God’s damn it I knew I remembered you. We stayed up until 3 am drinking and then we….”

“Yeah that’s me,” she interrupted. “I’m losing altitude pretty fast. That was some damned nice shooting there. Top of the class. I’m going to put down and you can rescue me properly.”

The Cylon craft was very unfamiliar to her. There were warning sirens and flashing lights everywhere as she desperately tried to land the doomed heavy raider. Just a few meters off a relatively flat field, she lost control and the heavy raider plowed into the dirt.

Commander Lawson blacked out. The next thing she remembered was Vince Roberts a conquest she thought she had forgotten cleaning dirt and mud from her face.

“You didn’t have to steal a heavy raider and crash it to get my attention. I’d frak you again any time.”

“Just get me the frak back to my Battlestar. That’s an order.” She closed her eyes, not feeling her limbs blacking out.

His orders had been to take her to a meeting point and he followed them. In thirty minutes he was putting down on the flight pod of the Battlestar Mercury.

“This is Marine one,” he interrupted on the wireless. “We have the commander. She is pretty busted up. She escaped, stole a heavy raider and we kind of shot her down.”

Chapter 52: A better rescue plan

Chapter 52: Operation misdirect.

Admiral Cobb sat in a chair at a rectangular table with six of his “senior” commanders. Though Major Maria Ramirez did not feel senior, she was there because se was he XO and temporary commander of the most powerful warship in the fleet.

When he cleared his throat to speak, everyone immediately became silent.

“I have received confirmation that as of today, day seven of the third month of our exile from the colonies, that all information hat was in Eva Lawson’s head is useless to the Cylons. All codes, encryption and communications protocol have been changed. All tactical plans have been changed.”

“In addition it has become obvious that our strategy has gradually moved from one of causing maximum pain to the Cylons to one of defending fixed points. Major Ramirez was able to guess the location of 11 of our refuge locations merely by analyzing communications traffic and scientific scan data a various jump points that had become unstable due to over use.” He nodded acknowledgment to

her and she smiled back.

“If our hackers can figure this out then the Cylons can as well. We are going to move all the refugee centers during the next three weeks. We have formed a civilian fleet with approximately 70,000 souls to head into deep space, to be mobile, hard to strike and to search for a new home, away from the Cylons.”

“We are going to return to our roots,” he continued. “While continuing to compromise the Cylon network while we assault their weak points. Tylium mines, refineries, shipyards, everything will be hit while we make them think we have forgotten about Eva Lawson. When we have them distracted that is when we make the strike and get her back. Our plan is to use a small, agile strike force. We are not going to announce ourselves with the spectacle of a Mercury class ship jumping in.”

“What will be our operational cadence?” A young looking man with viper wings on his uniform blues, asked.

“We have divided the fleet into nine operational squadrons. Three will be assigned to defend the mobile shipyard, the civilian fleet and the grounded civilians. That duty will rotate every week. The six squadrons assigned to hit the Cylons will have operational independence to plan and execute their strikes. Each squadron will be expected to conduct 14 operations a week. My staff here will pick half the targets. The rest will be at the discretion of the squadron commanders.”

“Won’t this take a toll on readiness and equipment Admiral?” Ramirez asked, echoing the complaints she had heard on the wireless.

“We will assign the ships most in need of repair to defend the shipyard,” Cobb answered. “The Mercury will undergo hull repair and replacement of damaged armor as it is assigned to the shipyard the first week.”

“But Sir,” Ramirez protested, “the crew want to be out in the fight making a difference in the battle to recover Commander Lawson.|

“The chain of command is not a democracy,” Cobb replied, changing his position with obvious pain and effort. “We have 90 pilots assigned to flight training in your VR suites. You will do the most for your commander, getting rest and letting us restore your ship to peak readiness. Understood?”

Ramirez stood and saluted. “Yes sir!” For a moment, she felt motivated.

“Go out there and frak the Cylons up!” Cobb roared with uncharacteristic vigor.

“So say we all!” The nine squadron commanders said in unison.

“So say we all!” Cobb answered.

* * *

Squadron two strike mission Day 10 of the forth month of the second Cylon war.

“Valkyrie one reporting jump ready.” The radio crackled in Admiral Cobb’s spartan office.

“Valkyrie two. Board is green. Jump key inserted, ready to jump.”

“Apollo, last of the Minerva class reports jump ready.”

“Defender one reports jump ready.”

“Jump!”

The five ships disappeared off the DRADIS screen on Cobb’s desk. His hand shaking badly, he reached for a bottle of pills.

* * *

On the bridge of the Valkyrie named Blackbird, Sheila William’s a thirty-eight year old former raptor pilot who had left the Colonial fleet three years ago, stared at the DRADIS screen seeing the other four ships in her strike group. Absently, she had her right hand fiddling with the pony tail in her light brown hair.

She was a draftee to this new fleet pondering her remarkable good luck. Three weeks ago she was in a refugee camp being overrun by the Sun Spot virus, hiding in her tent, not even going out for food. A Colonial officer, with a representative from the peoples council had showed up at her tent and made clear to her she was rejoining the Colonial fleet.

She had made a good living as a civilian pilot after leaving the service.

“Nothing on DRADIS,” the DRADIS officer reported before three triple beeps announced the arrival of three Cylon ships. “Three Talon class ships. On an intercept course to the refinery.”

“Let’s intercept them. Flank speed ahead. Launch all vipers. Ready nuclear weapons.” Williams was feeling like the job fit a little better. She had lost a husband and a toddler to the Cylons. Now it was time to make it hurt for them.

“We have five refineries on DRADIS!”

“I’ve got another trio of Talon carriers jumping in. This is a high traffic zone,” This was Apollo actual over the wireless.

“Commence attack pattern,” Williams ordered. She stared intently at the DRADIS display. The ship shook as heavy fire was exchanged between the five Colonial ships and the six talons.

“This is Eagle actual. We have a missile lock on refinery three. Firing.”

“Splash one Talon class,” interrupted a voice on the wireless.

“Apollo is taking heavy fire. Taking evasive action.”

“Contact,” DRADIS announced. “Three base stars, CBDR, but they are really far off.”

“Inbound unguided missile salvo,” reported the tactical operator.

“Evade left. Full defensive profile. Turn on flak.” Williams looked up and saw something she did not like in the air wing’s formation. “CAG pull back, stay out of the Talon’s broadside firing zone.”

“Splash refinery target number five.” A voice crackled with static.

“This is Vulture, we have a shot at the closest base star. Releasing nuclear weapon.”

“Eagle taking heavy fire.”

“This is Apollo actual. Armor bravo. We have damage and casualties. Request….”

“Jump now!” Williams ordered.

“Top guns bearing on refinery number 3.Firing,” the weapons operator reported.

Seconds later a camera went white as the Tylium detonated.

“We have more base stars jumping in. Now they are jumping out. Take that toasters, your gas station is closed.|”

“Refinery two splashed!” An excited voice declared.

“All targets destroyed.”

“Recall all vipers.”

“Combat landings are authorized,” the LSO announced over the wireless.

“Spool up FTL!” Williams ordered.

“All warships are showing board is green,” William’s XO, who was actually an NCO, a Master Chief.

“Vipers are recovering,” said the LSO. “We need another two minutes to recover our birds.”

“Cylons are jumping away,” DRADIS reported. The board was suddenly clean.

“Stand down condition one,” Williams’ shoulders relaxed. “All ships send damage assessment to the flagship.”

‘Flagship’ she thought. ‘I like the sound of that.’

Chapter 51: The simulation


Andrew Cobb was an older man, the years had taken their toll on him. He was tall, with an athletic build. What little hair he had on the sides of h is head were white.

He stood up when Major Ramirez walked into his office at the busy mobile shipyard. He moved slowly, as if every physical task was causing him pain. The first impression on the Major was that she had lost a lot of weight. Her uniform, immaculately pressed hung very loosely on her small frame,

“Commander,” she snapped to attention and saluted crisply.

“At ease,” he gestured toward a chair which Maria Ramirez sank into gratefully. She had not slept in days.

“The first question everybody has is ‘where did they dig this guy up?” From the looks of me, many guess the cemetery.” 

Ramirez barely suppressed a chuckle because she had been thinking that exact thing.

“I have a neurological disorder, its incurable and progressive. The Colonial fleet discharged me, a forced retirement two years ago.” 

“Sorry to hear about your condition sir,” she said politely

“My doctors say I could live another twenty years, but I doubt the Cylons will let that happen.”

Maria Ramirez had read his dossier and was impressed. He was a decorated first war Viper mk.2 and mk.3 pilot. He had risen to the command of the Battlestar Columbia, a Mercury Class built twenty years after he end of the first Cylon war. His file had not given the reason for his medical discharge. He had been teaching at the war college when he had failed his physical and been forced into retirement.

“Let me start by commending you on the way you frakked up the Cylons after your commander was abducted. It was great work for an IT professional. There were some gaps in your command, but you clearly demonstrated a command of the basics. I will assign someone to go over your tactical decisions at a later time.”

“Yes Commander.”

Looking like an absent minded professor, with slow, painful movements, Andrew Cobb took a look at the desk. There was a rank insignia there. 

“Please excuse me Admiral,”

“It’s not a problem. That gasbag housewife who runs the peoples council wants to make sure I can give Eva Lawson orders.”

“I am sure you did not read the XO handbook, but letting your commander go out to visit a patrol ship was a pretty serious mistake. Remember that when you XO puts you in the brig to keep you on your Battlestar.”

“Now that rescue mission you launched was quite foolish. You deliberately ignored my orders and you lost nearly a hundred marines when that Cylon base star jumped away.”

“Yes Admiral,” Ramirez replied sheepishly.

The elderly man’s eyes narrowed, his expression harsh. “If you ever ignore my orders again, you will end up peeling potatoes in your ships mess hall.”

“:Yes Sir.”

“When we get her back, you will be transferred to take the Saturn out. We need another few months to finish that ship.”

“Thank you Sir.|

“Don’t thank me yet Major,” his hard angry look softened to a grandfather’s smile. You have a fully trained crew on Mercury. Everyone has at least graduated from basic training. We have been given a pool of 10,000 recruits to help crew the Colonial fleet we are building. Many of those people are pretty pissed off they got drafted. One of them tried to beat the crap out of her highness Mrs. Cory Brooks.”

“If you don’t mind my saying so, sir” Ramirez gulped.”You don’t seem to have a lot of respect for the civilian government.”

Cobb literally roared as he leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily “Of course not. They picked me to command this fleet. It takes me a half an hour to get out of bed and go to the head.”

“Oh I see.”

‘If we are going to win this war, we need to get your commander back. That being said, we are getting a lot of data from your hack of the Cylon network. That was great work.I am assigning you five hundred marines, two Valkyrie class ships and the Solaria. We just got her out of dry dock. She has two working flight pods again. We have unloaded the civilians and had her scrubbed from end to end for this sunspot virus. The sanitary conditions on board that ship were horrendous. I’ve got a captain in charge of that ship.”

“We got intel on the location of Commander Lawson. It is unverified but she will be transferred to a prison on Caprica in three days.”

“I understand,” Admiral Cobb said. ‘The other reason we did not fire you is we don’t have anybody to take your place. You have 60 new pilots aboard. You should have enough supplies to reactivate vipers for them.”

“Thank you Sir.”

“We are sending an elite team to try and verify the information provided by the hack. Until then to the simulator with you.”

“Yes Sir.” Never being much on military protocol, she stood up and saluted.

* * *

Major Mria Ramirez huddled with the three other captains just outside the simulator room/ None of them had any significant combat experience since the first Cylon war.

“Okat, Major Ramirez said, “We have got to get ID on the base star that is holding the commander. Then we hit the others with everything we have. 

The Cylons want a prolonged, viscous attack because they are taking the long view. They want to fight a war of attrition because they have the resources and replacements and we don’t. We have to inflict massive destruction and high casualties.           

The simulations were normally one or two ships captains, with an illegal AI interface running the Cylons and smaller Colonial ships.              

This strike force consisted of 1 Mercury, 1 Juipiter, two Valkyries and two Orion class, recently rehabbed and brought to duty.

The commanders of each of the six ships were in Mercury VR suites designed to train pilots.

The computer took care of executing air operations. The commander controlled the course their ship, toggle flak on and off along with weapons fire.

The Orion was a stealth ship which could run on battery power and sneak up on the enemy and ambush them with huge torpedo salvos.

“Jump complete,” Ramerirez reported and then ordered the check in. “All ships check in.”

After this was done taking entirely too much time, Ramirez began executing her tactical plan. 

“DRADIS” droned the computer voice, “contact. 4 base stars, two smaller carriers.”

“Launching raiders,” announced Orion commander 1.

“I have 4 squadrons of heavy raiders,’ Solaria’s commander announced. “Expect borders. Wait also wardrivers jamming squadrons, looks like 4 and 16 squadrons of raiders.”

“Oriions maintain stealth and dive rate. All other ships make a  left turn and prepare for enemy ordinance. Launch all vipers and the Marine strike teams aboard raptors.”

The Launch reporting also took too long. The VR suite did not provide her the same information as the CIC. She found it very difficult to follow the course of the battle. The computer announced that the boarding party had landed on the target base star.

The VR suite did a fair job making noise and confusion when enemy ordinance struck. The room shook and communications were interrupted during heavy missile salvos. Both the Mercury and Solaria were damaged and hull integrity was compromised at a number of locations.

The Damage control protocols were realistic as well, then the heavy raiders boarded the Mercury. The Marines put up a spirited defense, but eventually every subsystem was damaged. Communications were garbled.

The pair of Valkyries joined the Orion’s and the air wing in taking out the Cylon base stars. In the end, two of them jumped out of weapons range, a pair of fresh base stars jumped in and the Marine strike force was killed in action.

:”All right,: Ramirez ordered. “Out of the VR suites.”

Everyone talked at once, a cacophony of voices all spoke at the same time.

“Listen up” Major Ramirez stomped a foot loudly to get their attention and silence. 

“We need surprise to make this work. We need better intelligence. This operation can not be allowed to risk a large portion of our fleet. I am going to propose a totally different plan to get her back. I am not giving up, let me make that clear. We need to distract the Cylons’ focus and make this operation come as a surprise. Prepare for new operations. Stand down and get your crews ready for action. Train for this. Get ready.”

* * *

The Interrogator Cavil walked into the cell, carrying a chair with him. He slammed it to the ground, stirring Commander Lawson, causing her fitful sleep to come to an end.

“Your friend’s have stopped trying to rescue you,” he taunted. 

Lawson raised her head off the floor and stared at the Cylon through eyes barely open, She had ugly infected bruises under her eyes. “How long have I been here?” She asked.

“Nine days,” Cavil replied. “You have been far from the model prisoner.”

“By now, all the access codes have been changed. The shipyard has been moved, and all the plans strategic and tactical are new. I don’t know anything that can help you. So kill me or send me back.”

Cavil smiled and laughed. “So your shipyard is mobile. We were not sure. Thanks.”

Lawson was angry with herself, until she remembered Cylon warships had witnessed the  last  jump. This was all part of the psychological game the toaster was playing.

Cavil took a white terrycloth robe and dumped it on the ground in front of her. “Put that on, we have decided to let you shower and clean up, so we can get some food in you. That way when we put you back it will be a bigger psychological shock.’

“No thank you,” Lawson raised her head, causing the chain connected to her steel collar to shake.

“What the frak?” He got down  on his knees and raised her chin and stared into her bruised and bloody face.

“This is like a resort for me. I like how you are treating me. I get off on being forced and helpless.” A slight grin spread on her face.

“Nobody can like what we;ve done to you.”

Lawson coughed and then let a bit of bloody spittle drip on to his hands. “I will admit, getting my head bashed and my face beaten is not exactly pleasant. But the other stuff  is a turn on. I haven’t been faking it.”

“You are a sick frak,” Cavil replied.

“You should read my service record. I was transferred off the Atantia and made CAG of Mercury because I frakked one of my subordinates. Admiral Nagumo’s son I believe.

“We have taken you off birth control. You could get pregnant.”

Lawson, feeling control for a moment went on the verbal attack. “I would cut any sick hybrid toaster out of my womb with my finger nails if I had to.”

Cavil, let go of her head, expecting her chin to fall on the cement floor. “Lets see how you feel after another  five hundred frakkings!”

“Bring it on.” She lunged at him, quickly being stopped by her chains. He jumped back, reflexively.

“Why you.”

“Got you toaster. Lawson one, appliance store reject zip!” She glared at him.

Chapter 50: Rescue attempt

“We are at the communications hub Major,” the technician who was a glorified geek that used to work for her when she was head of IT.

“Break in,” she ordered.

The man, in his early twenties with a non-regulation earring in his left ear lobe, was typing for about 55 seconds before he leaned back and announced success. “We are in.”

“Activate the hack,” Ramirez ordered.

“Aye aye skipper,” he announced. “It could take hours to get anything useful.”

“Get something useful sooner,” she ordered, knowing she might be asking the impossible.

A corporal, a young, dark skinned native of Scorpia stood at attention, waiting for the acting commander to finish.

Major Ramirez sighed, her rapidly thinning frame looking lost in her uniform. “What is it Corporal Ashley.”

“Ashman Sir,” she corrected gently. “We are being ordered back to fleet HQ.”

“Signal them that we are on a rescue mission for the Eagle.”

“Sir,” she corrected. “The Eagle jumped away when she was ambushed. She is at fleet HQ undergoing emergency repairs.”

“Send the signal. Stop acknowledging. Have someone go manually interrupt the cable into the computer network.”

“Sir,” she said, preparing to protest an illegal order. “Fleet Commander Andrew Cobb has ordered us back to fleet HQ.”

“Pay dirt,” the computer geek reported. “A base star with the same transponder as the one we think took the commander has orders to jump to a rally point.”

“When?” Major Ramirez asked.

“In ten minutes. We can get there first, get the drop on them.”

“CAG, prepare for combat jump and launch. I want recon birds out there in 3 minutes. They will jump ahead and make sure its not an ambush.”

The CAG, who was standing quietly in the commanders quarter because her superior officer was standing, spoke. “I’m sending force recon. Five assault raptors and two rescue.”

“Marine,” she gestured to her Marin shadow. “Prepare a strike force. We are going to assault the base star and get our commander back.”

“Yes Sir,” he turned and exited the commanders quarters.

“We are going back to CIC.” Everyone followed her. It was a three minute walk to CIC.

“Action stations,” she ordered. “Set condition one through out the ship. All vipers in the tubes, prepare for launch following a combat jump.”

Everyone went to work. They watched the screen anxiously as the recon force jumped away.

“How long” Ramirez asked, pacing impatiently. “Spool up FTL.”

Two very long minutes passed, before a single raptor showed up on DRADIS.

“This is Sausage. The way is clear. No base stars at the moment. The assault raptors are moving through the area to paint targets.”

“Jump back Sausage.”

“Combat jump. Now.”

When the dizziness wore off, Major Ramirez grabbed the table to keep from keeling over. These jumps were not having a good effect on her. She was more unsteady with every attempt.

“If the hack got good data they should be jumping in about now.” The hacker, who had followed the crowd into CIC reported.

Just a few seconds later the DRADIS emitted a series of triple beeps and showed unknown targets, which seconds later showed up as base stars. There were no squadrons, so it was unlikely the Cylons knew they were coming.

“Five base stars, they are launching raiders. Our target base star is with them.” Announced the tactical officer.

“They are in weapons range.”

“All batteries weapons free. Give us a course to bring the forward guns to bear on the base star nearest to our target. Launch the marine strike force.”

“We are taking heavy fire,” the tactical officer reported.

“Radiological alarm. Inbound nukes.”

“Flak full automatic,” Ramirez ordered. The roar from impacts on the armor drowned out voice communications.

“Three more base stars just jumped in.” DRADIS reported.

“The Marine strike force has entered the base star. They are encountering heavy resistance.” A marine was making reports while he monitored the communications.

“Two more nukes inbound.”

“Turn thirty degrees to port,” the acting commander ordered.

“They are jumping around trying to make it hard to track the ship we want.”

“Have the marines blow a hole in the side, so we don’t lose track.”

“Marine commander reports he has been stopped short of the objective.”

“Tell him to try harder.,” Ramirez snapped.

There was thud and a sickening sound from the frame of the ship.

“Near hit from a nuke Sir. Splash damage to the forward hull.

“We are bracketed Sir.” the tactical officer reported. “They can launch missile strikes from both sides.”

“Marine commander reports they have the detention block of the base star. Nobody home. Commander Lawson is not aboard.”

“Order an orderly withdrawal,” Ramirez ordered.

“Base star is spooling up.”

“Hit her center axis,” Major Ramirez ordered. “Try not to destroy her. Knock out her FTL.”

“That is not were the FTL drive is on this ship,” tactical replied.

“The base star has jumped away. We had sixty marines on her.”

“They are all jumping away,” DRADIS reported.

There was silence. “Recall our birds and prepare to jump home.”

It was time to meet Commander Cobb.