Monthly Archives: December 2021

Chapter 69: The standoff

Chapter 69: Stand off.

“Get raptors out to task force Saturn,” Admiral Lawson barked. “Figure out how we are going to fill in the gaps the Cylons just tore in this task force.

“We have an encrypted communication from Cory Brooks of the Peoples Council.” The comms officer looked down and read carefully. “Cylon ships in orbit of every outpost of the new Colonies. A model 1 has demanded that we surrender all armed forces in return for an immediate cease fire. Planetary defense fleets have been destroyed.”

“Don’t answer,” Lawson said coarsely. “Head Geek, come with us we need your hack to get some kind of edge here.”

“Call me HG sir,” he asked.

“HG you are promoted to the rank of captain.”

They marched out of CIC where crews were already replacing the shattered CIC doors.

Minutes later they were in a room with a massive theater sized screen.

“HG show me the schematic of the Cylon communications network,” Lawson ordered.

He clicked some buttons and a spider web came up through much of known Colonial space.

“How do they use this network?” the XO asked.

“Those communications relays we see are signal boosters. They use FTL technology to transmit burst communications across the network. Little communications devices, literally FTL from point to point and upload information on these relays.” He zoomed and showed the relays which really did look like giant can openers.

“How did we hack it?” Lawson asked. “Laymen terms please.”

“When we captured the Cylon supply depot there were millions of these data transfer nodes that FTL all over the place. I reprogrammed them to work for us on the side. We get all their data soon as they do.”

“Do we get force deployments?” Lawson asked.

HG pressed another series of keys and red dots popped up all over the map. There was a legend showing ship types. “Admiral,” he said “they are actually lightly deployed in the new Colonies. The bulk of their forces are in staging areas where they will wait for our deployment before setting up a cross fire,”

A few more keystrokes and what looked like several bee hives full of ships appeared as big red blotches. “How many ships?” asked the XO.

“Two hundred base stars overall. Nearly 900 support ships, gun ships and such,” HG reported matter of factually with no emotion in his voice.

“What are those really big ships larger than their base stars?” Major Peterson asked.

The picture zoomed in on one. “Resurrection ships,” he answered blandly. “When any Cylon dies their consciousness, soul for lack of a better word downloads in a different computer network and can be put in fresh bodies. Galactica ran away so far this network could not be scaled. So these ships make up for the lack of network gear.”

“Okay I have an idea.” Lawson was briefly distracted by hair flopping down into her vision. She brushed it aside. “We give them part of what they expect to see. We lead a new task force to New Picon. Small groups of ships jump to positions where they can defend the Colonies. We build a task force around the other three Mercury class battlestars.”

She whispered to the CAG and the XO. They nodded.

“Can we use the Cylon communications network to contact the civilian government safely?”

“Yes” HG said. “They may eventually detect the hack. For now their only solution is to bring down the entire network.”

“Can we bring down the network?” Peterson asked.

“Yes,” HG answered, “they will figure out it is us and we might stop getting all this cool tactical data.”

“All right,” Admiral Lawson said. “Get the orders out.”

“Admiral,” HG asked, “are we going to comply with the Cylon demand to demilitarize?”

“Not while I have a pulse,” she said.

“Cory Brooks is demanding to speak with you.” A communications assistant walked in the room with a message, printed.

“That’s nice,” Admiral Lawson said. “We will talk to here after we jump to New Picon.”

“Cavil, the model one wants your answer immediately,” the communications assistant said in a grave voice.

“Don’t worry,” Lawson said. “I am going to get a coffee. We jump in ten minutes.”

A weapons assistant came up to Lawson as she headed toward the mess hall and asked her to sign for a bunch of nuclear weapons that were being tasked to be sent out and used.

* * *

“All right people,” Lawson said, walking into the CIC. “Give me your ears.”

It took nearly a minute before the room was quiet and she was set up with fleet wide communications.

“The Cylons think they have us in a tough situation. They do. They are demanding that if we dismantle our fleet, they will let us live on the worlds of the New colonies. Life is tough there. Because we have seen more difficult times, I reject that premise.”

“So say we all,” one young man said forcefully.

“The Cylons are demanding that we jump all our forces to New Caprica for a surrender. We are not going to do that either. Launch the Assault raptors.”

A few seconds passed by and the chatter was low, but Lawson could still be heard.

“Raptors are requesting permission to jump,” a communications NCO informed them.

“Jump the raptors.”

“FTL spooled. Jump key inserted. All ships report ready to jump.”

“Jump!” Lawson ordered. “May the Lords of Kobols forgive me.” She whispered to herself.

After the thunderous noise and the white flash, the navigational team announced they were in orbit of New Picon.

“Jump complete,” Navigation reported.

“I need a sitrep on major fleet groups and Colonies,” Admiral Lawson spoke softly but forcefully. She had on her best card playing (poker) face.

“How is Athena?” She asked.

“Athena has defeated its resurrection escorts and has weapons lock on their target.

<Athena>

“New Gemenon,” Lawson asked. She had a checklist and a rough idea how much of the depleted fleet was at each location.

“Base Stars are in orbit,” the XO read off a computer print out.

“New Virgon.”

HG pressed a button and a short video intercept played.

“New Tauron.”

“Do we have video?” The XO asked.

HG nodded and keyed in a few commands.

“Caprica 3”

HG hit a single button.

“New Airilon.” Lawson’s expression was impassive, while she wondered if a pistol was still in her quarters.

HG looked confused.

“File index 787,” a dark haired female Ensign with black lipstick assisted.

HG keyed in a command.

“New Scorpia.”

HG pressed a key.

“Get me targeting information on that nuke,” the XO demanded.

“Saturn is reporting in,” HG said in his I don’t care voice. “Here is the video.”

“Acropolis has sent in a confirmation video,” a communications NCO pressed in her password and brought up the file.

“New Delphi,” Lawson asked in the same impassive voice.

“All we have is her orbital defense Artemis being nuked.” HG offered.

Lawson’s voice quaked briefly. “Lets see it.”

“DRADIS has a pair of Cylon base stars,” the DRADIS operator reported.

“I’ve got three more.” DRADIS reported.

“Are any of the new Colonies free of Cylon forces?”

“We have not heard from New Libran,” a communications lieutenant reported hopefully.”

“You are going to want to listen to this,” HG pressed a button and Cory Brooks voice came through over crackling static.

“This is Peoples Council Executive Cory Brooks. I am speaking on the authority of the president. We accept the Cylon offer. All Colonial forces are ordered to surrender and disband immediately. We have got to prove we are not a threat. We surrender.”

“We are going to ignore that surrender,” Lawson said. Her eyes narrowed and there was anger showing through.

“Sir,” the XO warned. “The military situation is dog shit. This may be our only chance.”

“I talked over this scenario with Brooks,” Lawson said. She knows that surrender means the slaughter of the human race. We are going to roll the hard six.”

“Brother Cavil wants to speak to Mercury actual,” communications interrupted.

“That is nice,” Lawson said. “I could do with another coffee. What do you say XO?”

The speaker crackled. “This is Cavil. Admiral Lawson you have not assembled the entire fleet here as instructed. I will destroy New Troy if you do not agree to my immediately and unconditionally follow these instructions. I’ve already given the order for the ships to jump in and start the destruction.”

“That is not necessary. We can move away from this place.”

“DRADIS,” the triple beep made it clear that someone was jumping in. “Cylon base stars.”

Lawson leaned over and whispered to HG. “Get me some information here. How did the raptors do?”

HG wrote a number on a piece of paper. IT showed 75% success rate.

“Seems you are missing a portion of your reinforcements Cavil,” Lawson said in the same, callous voice she had used concerning the mutiny.

“We still have enough to blast your civilization into dust.”

“That may be so.” Lawson’s attention was taken away by another print out.

“You have thirty seconds to comply Admiral,” Cavil warned.

“It’s true, you can rain down fire and destruction on the New Colonies. I can’t stop you. I am not going to even try. If you so much as fire a single shot, your resurrection ships are going to be melted. I’ve got three task forces with guns on the resurrection ships. We have already cleared the protection.”

“I don’t believe you,” Cavil said.

“Check your comms,” Lawson said. Her poker face was on. “If you fire a shot, we will initiate a battle. In that battle each and every death your forces experience will be permanent.”

There was whispered communication between the Cavil’s in the Cylon CIC.

“We have you outnumbered 4 to 1.”

“I believe your original plan called for the odds to be 25 to 1. What went wrong?” Admiral Lawson was clearly frakking with his head.

“We didn’t kill you when we had the chance,” Cavil raged.

“Destroy new Tauron,” Cavil ordered.

“Order the Athena to destroy her resurrection ship.”

“Now wait just a minute Admiral,” Cavil remarked, apparently taken aback.

“Get the orders to the other three task forces and order them to destroy the resurrection ships,” Lawson said in a cold, heartless tone. She hoped she was selling it here. “Then shut down the Cylon network.”

Cory Brooks had appeared on a video feed, but there was no audio. She was gesticulating wildly, trying to get some kind of point across.

“Cylon nukes are going active all over the New Colonies,” the XO reported.

“Mister Peterson, Lawson ordered. “Get ready to launch all squadrons to intercept nukes.”

“Copy that,” he said.

Armageddons had arrived.

Full battle video

End of book 1. Shmuel Bogomolny’s Battlestar Mercury. A fan fiction non-commercial story, purely for the enjoyment of Battlestar Galactica Fans.

Chapter 68: The Shipyard

The mutiny story was a suggestion of Mullroy234 from the BSG Deadlock discord.

Solaria:Commanders Quarters

Solaria

Lockheart, Ward, Wilson and the representatives of six other ships all agreed that Zack “Sniper” Anthony should be their leader. His record with the Colonial fleet was not tainted like the others. He was on leave the day the Cylons attacked and had turned down offers from Lawson and Ramirez to take command of the Athena and Acropolis to remain CAG on a Valkyrie, due to his opposition to their leadership style and willingness to submit to budget cuts.

Thirty years old, with a handsome, athletic build, with the olive skin common on Tauron, he looked the part of the hero, saving the Colonial fleet from doom.

“They will be back from the refinery grab and in a good mood. We line up our forces to salute their victory and when Mercury passes, we hammer her topside. We want to knock out her fire control and FTL and demand Lawsons surrender.”

Everyone in the group of 8 nodded agreement. Ward and Wilson were snickering.

“If we do the right damage, she will go along. If she is weak, she will offer a meeting, which we will accept on the shipyard. No compromise there. She will come over by raptor. We surround it with marines in the repair bay. She either resigns or we end her command, starting with her. We announce my promotion to Admiral backed up by three allies on the Peoples Council.”

“Then what?” Lockheart asked.

“We move swiftly. We jump the three big battlestars to New Picon and we eliminate the Council and declare martial law. We take any resources we need and prepare for the offensive to eliminate the Cylons.”

“Do we have to destroy the civilian government?” A Marine officer asked. “Won’t the people rallying around us give us the authority we need?”

“We have to be strong. We can return to civilian rule after the war is won. We need 20,000 human resources to get ourselves into offensive shape. The people will rally around success.”

“Perhaps if we make demands of the civilian government,” Ward suggested. “They might be willing to listen.”

“If we do not act boldly we will get mired in negotiations, the toasters will get wind of it and wipe us out. You have asked me to be your leader. Now take an order. We do this my way or I am out. I have the moral authority of having a good record in the Colonial fleet.”

“Also not being a whore!” Wilson added.

“Call her any name you want,” Anthony ran a hand through his dark brown hair. “She is a gifted officer who will kill you where you stand if she gets the chance. Ramirez is a geek. She is not sure of herself. She might submit to us.”

“Copy that.”

* * *

There was a failed jump drive that had to be repaired at the midpoint of the journey back to fleet headquarters, the shipyard. It took 45 minutes to repair. They sent raptors ahead to alert the command to the impending Cylon threat.

“All ships report ready to jump,” the communications officer reported.

“All right,” Admiral Lawson played with her hair, which was falling out of the tight military bun in bunches. “We’ll set up a perimeter and get the ships in need of repairs taken care of first. Commander Ramirez, are you ready to take task force Saturn back to base?”

“Ready and eager.”

“Make the jump.” Lawson ordered.

Fleet headed for base

After the jump, music blared on the communications channels. The DRADIS showed some ships moving in their direction.

“This is Solaria actual,” the voice crackled on the speaker. “We are here to congratulate Admiral Lawson on the successful mission to seize the Cylon refineries.”

Rebels set up Task force Mercury

“Was this mission classified?”Lawson asked rhetorically. She knew that there was no such thing as a secret on a warship. “Tell them to get the hell out of the way so we can get our damaged ships into the repair berths.”

“They are not replying to our orders Sir,” communications reported. Crews were sweeping up the remains of two shattered CIC doors.

“They are coming in too close,” warned an NCO at the DRADIS console.

“This is damned odd.” Lawson remarked. “Repeat message.”

“Missile lock. Missile lock. The Apollo and Solaria have missile lock!”

Chaos broke out and everyone was talking at once. The sound of battlestar guns impacting on the hull was next.

Mutiny opens fire

“Inbound missiles. We have inbound missiles coming in topside..”

All the glass shattered on all the remaining CIC doors.

All the lights went dark and emergency power kicked in. Red lights were flashing everywhere.

“This is Admiral Anthony of the Colonial preservation league. Admiral Lawson you are ordered to surrender your command. You are charged with consorting with the enemy and allowing the destruction of our war effort.”

“Who the frak is that?”

“Fire control is down. FTL is offline. We can’t get away.” Engineering painted the grim picture.

“I am going to stall for time. Get that fire control back online. FTL is a must as well. Get me repair estimates, but put them on paper, don’t speak them aloud. Give me the frakking phone.”

“This is Mercury actual. Who am I speaking to?”

“This is Solaria actual. Admiral Zachary Anthony of the CPL. You are ordered to surrender your ship and board a raptor for the Fleet HQ. There you will formally give up your command.”

“You should be aware, Mister Anthony,” she deliberately avoided mentioning the man’s rank while someone dug through the personnel database. “That the refinery operation failed. It was a Cylon trap and they are on their way right now to attack this shipyard.”

“Nice Try Admiral,” Anthony said. “You have two minutes to get in the raptor and fly to HQ.”

“Or what?” Lawson asked as a repair estimate was waved in her face. FTL would take an hour to repair. Fire control required ten minutes to be brought up. The topside armor was gone and there was severe hull damage. “You planning on opening fire on the flagship? That is not going to do the war effort any good. I’ve got lives at stake here. I will be on that raptor in fifteen minutes.”

“Ten,” Anthony warned.

“Ten it is,” Lawson agreed. She ran a hand across her throat indicating that she wanted the transmission cut.

“Have our forces gather at the shipyard. We will kick in the burn when we need. Where is Ramirez? The Saturn?”

“They did not make the jump.”

“We need them. Have the Apollo send a force recon, two assault raptors, one recon bird.”

“DRADIS. Contacts. Three base stars seven support ships.”

“Full burn. We need to get to Athena and the rest of the fleet.”

“You won’t fool us with those DRADIS hacks,” Anthony’s voice rattled on the monitor.

“Should we tell him?” The XO whispered in her ear.

“No.” Lawson said harshly. “Either they figure it out or the Cylons solve our mutiny problem for us.”

“They are moving away from us and preparing to battle the Cylon fleet,” the tactical officer reported.

“Leave them to fight for themselves,” Lawson said in a cold voice.

“We lost the Apollo” a faceless voice reported.

Apollo destroyed

“Aren’t we going to need those ships for the battle against the Cylons,” the XO suggested.

“They just made themselves into cannon fodder.”

“Losing the Ascension, a Artemis,” reported a female voice thick with emotion.

The Ascension

“Radiological alarm,” tactical reported. “They have nukes!”

“Aimed at us or Anthony’s fleet?” Lawson asked stone faced.

“Not us Sir.”

“Aren’t we going to help them!” blurted the XO. “They made a mistake but they have fought on our side for two years now!”

“XO damage report. How many dead and wounded did we take?” Lawson’s face could have been carved into the side of a mountain.

“We took 21 dead and 200 wounded according to sick bay,” the XO said.

“No we are not going to help them,” Lawson said. “First there are more Cylons headed our way. Second, they opened fire on Colonial forces in an act of mutiny. They sentenced themselves to death, I am just applying it in an special way.”

“Another Artemis Sir,” said an angry voice.

Another mutinous Artemis

“The mutineer’s are getting slaughtered,” the XO another new one Major Brett Peterson, about aged 35. He was a Major now, the talk, skinny blond haired man had been a CAG with the rank of captain a week earlier.

Longer view of the mutineers slaughter

“Better to use Cylon ammo,” Lawson said in a cruel, callous tone.

“Solaria is spooling up FTL, getting ready to jump.”

“Jump the shipyard to emergency coordinates,” Lawson ordered. “Those Valkyries that stayed out of the battle, tell them they are in our task force.”

“Shipyard reports they have damage, could be an hour before they jump.”

“Tell them they might not have an hour,” Lawson retorted.

Ensign Darryl Winston, a short, overweight brilliant DRADIS operator spoke next. “I have an energy surge. Cylons will be jumping in any second. Could be up to ten ships.”

“Get organized,” Lawson barked. “Be ready to take command of mutinous squadrons once the base carrier is destroyed. Athena send recon, find out where the frak Ramirez and task force Saturn is.”

One of the Ramirez hackers, who had been promoted to IT chief after her elevation, Lev Warner cleared his throat and go Lawson’s attention. “We have the toaster attack plans,” he said in a voice that sounded routine.

“Tell us Head Geek,” The XO said softly, using the man’s call sign.

“Three waves. The first wave is designated to take care of the mutiny, which the toasters knew about. The second wave is going after the shipyard. The third will come only if the second fails. In the next five minutes, if the shipyard is still year its going to get smoked.”

“You have the attack deployments?” Lawson asked.

With a click of a button they came on screen.

“All right, get these assignments out. Set up a pair of ships to hit the jump in positions of the base stars.

A wave of of ordinance struck the ship, causing a thunderous echo that was felt through out the ship.

Cylon assault, wave 2 part 1

Everyone did their jobs professionally. The damage to the fire control systems limited how much Mercury could participate in the battle.

“We have a three gunships coming in low, trying to smash through our lower fleet!” Tactical warned.

Second wave part 2

“Have the Valkyries give them a broadside. Crash turn starboard,” the XO ordered.

“We have in bounds. We have five base stars coming in high!”

“Get me a status on the shipyard FTL Gods damn it!” Lawson barked.

The engineering CIC officer who was on the wireless with the shipyard nodded his head in the negative.

“Recon raptor is back Sir. Task force Saturn has been engaged by a large Cylon task force,” the deck flight officer shouted to be heard after the chaos.

“I’ve got more on the Cylon attack plans,” Head Geek reported. “They have several task forces assigned to hit the new Colonies. This is the big one Sir.”

There was nothing Admiral Lawson could do but crack the pen in her hands in two and drop the pieces to the deck, where they mingled with shattered door glass.

There was a small recording probe above the fleet. An alert person put this feed on the largest monitor in the cramped CIC. It showed the Cylons above the station and an Artemis, trying to use its hull to shield the shipyard.

Second wave part 3

“The second wave is getting ready to pull out,” Warner reported. “We have inflicted heavy casualties. Estimate one or two minutes before the final wave comes in.”

Second assault wave ends, two Valkyries join the fleet

The Cylons jumped away, and two Valkyries jumped in announcing their loyalty. The XO ordered them to form up with the remaining elements of the fleet and prepare for the next wave.

They did not have to wait long.

“Five Base Stars just jumped in. They are out of gun range and are spooling up for a tactical jump.”

It was really all over in about 30 seconds. A Base Star sacrificed itself, jumping into a collision with the shipyard.

Cylon wave 3, the end of the shipyard

“That is it for the shipyard.”

Lawson stared at the burning debris as the Cylons turned their remaining ordinance on the smaller ships of this task force.

“Sir the FTL drives themselves are salvageable. We can build a new mobile shipyard,” the engineering officer reported in a skeptical voice.

“Cylons are jumping away,” tactical reported. “The salvage teams will have the FTL drives secure in fifteen minutes.

“That is just frakking great. Plot a jump to New Picon,” Lawson ordered. The second fall, that of the new Colonies needed to be averted.

“We’ve lost most of our task force,” the XO growled. “I have emergency repairs on the fire control and the FTL drives. We could really use a couple of hours to deploy replacement armor topside.”

“Do we have time Head Geek?” Lawson asked.

“Probably not.”

“We’ve got a raptor in from New Picon,” Communications reported. “Cylon base stars have jumped into orbit. They have radiological alarms.”

Complete battle footage

Chapter 67: The Cylons have a plan

Chapter 67: Fleet Headquarters Battelestar Solaria Ready Room

Herman Wilson’s grandfather had commanded a battlestar in the first Cylon war. He had fought under the command of Eva Lawson’s grandmother, also Eva Lawson. Also an Admiral by the end of the war. She had used several flagships, the most famous of which was named Mercury, nicknamed “Mighty Mercury” a Jupiter Mark ii.

The Solaria had been badly damaged several times during this war. Right now it was next in line to receive the Cylon FTL upgrade.

Herman Wilson was a malcontent, with a record of failure. He had washed out of Viper pilots school, and barely passed his check ride for the raptor. He had been cut during a downsizing 2 years before the fall only to be drafted and shunned to the Solaria, which required 24 by 7 maintenance just to keep it from falling apart.

He and a few buddies were in the ready room with an open bottle of whiskey and a serious case of attitude.

“I can’t believe Lawson just sits there while the politicians cut the budget,” Wilson, a Major and nearly fifty years old. “I just missed being cut again.”

Barry Lockheart, also a three time loser in the Colonial fleet, was overweight, and bald. His uniform was shabby, showing sings of wear on the elbows. “Then who would they get to command this barge?” He asked.

“They should turn this into a whorehouse and station them here to take care of the real men of the Colonial fleet,” Jim Ward, A Captain and the XO of the Solaria laughed. “The stories I hear are so wild, you’d think they were fiction.

Ward had managed not to wash out of Colonial Fleet but this was only due to political connections. He had been working in the mess hall on the Valkyrie class battlestar, the Blackbird which had survived the assault due to a fire in the data center that had taken its entire network offline the day before the fall.

He was a braggart and boasted often. He had never laid eyes on Lawson from afar, much less had personal contact with him. It was well known her exploits in the fleet favored pilots. “It was about three years before the war. We were on liberty at Tauron and she came on to me like a Viper pilot on a target drone. She was a wild one,” he laughed.

“I bet she knew tricks that your mother didn’t know,” Lockheart took a drink on his Whiskey.”

“His mother knew tricks that Lawson didn’t know,” Ward let out a disgusting belly laugh.

“I’m serious though,” Wilson tried to stop laughing. A couple of off duty Marines were taking in the scene, but were not drinking or participating in the discussion. “She is not fit for command. Toasters captured her and probably put that Cylon software in her head.

“You guy’s are full of it. You don’t have the guts to do anything about this,” Ward remarked.

“There is no chain of command,” Wilson said, “no honor. They had out ranks like candy. But I’m serious, we have to find a way to put men of action in command of this fleet.”

“Everyone knows Lawson whored her way to the rank of Major,” Ward laughed.

“I heard she was a frakking great pilot and an excellent CAG, who earned her rank,” A Marine remarked finally joining the conversation.

“That’s what she said to me after I frakked her,” a previously quiet officer spoke up. “He stepped forward standing up straighter as he spoke. “What you are talking about is a mutiny. That carries the death sentence in a time of war. Now if you fellows are serious, I’ve got the connections that can pull it off. So are you a frakking bunch of losers, or do you want to keep Admiral slut from giving away the entire second war?”

There was silence for a few seconds.

“I knew it,” he snarled. “A bunch of frakking losers. Enjoy the unemployment line when they lay you lazy frakkers off.”

“I got the guts to take action,” Wilson said while puffing out his chest.

“I am with you,” Lockheart said.

“So say we all,” a single forceful voice in the back of the room shouted.

“So say we all!” The combined voices sounded like thunder. Energy swept through the crowded map room.

Task force Saturn

“Commander,” Wilma Jennings, an enlisted technician reported. “All ships show ready to jump.”

“Combat jump is ordered,” she said firmly. It was at these moments she least believed she commanded not only a battlestar but a task force. It sank in as the jump key was inserted, the nav computers and coordinates were confirmed and the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach she always felt during the FTL jump.

Rock Star and Streak got the assignment to relay the orders to the task force led by the Saturn and Commander Ramirez. They arrived just after the jump in, which had been delayed a few minutes by some technical issues.

“This is raptor two niner one niner, we have a change in orders for the Saturn ask force. Abort abort abort. RTB.”

“What the frak? Why? Ramirez asked on the wireless. This is Saturn actual.”

“This package is a distraction to take us away from the home systems. These orders are authenticated.”

“Launch all vipers,” Ramirez ordered. “Execute defensive plan delta.”

Ramirez paced around the CIC, which did not really have room for pacing on the Mercury class. “Okay

“We are going to try and contain this situation and get out of this with minimal damage.”

“Salvage team has jumped away,” tactical reported. “The base stars are trying to bracket us.”

“All ships hard right,” Ramirez ordered. “Concentrate our fire on the nearest base star.”

“The base stars have jumped further away with tactical jumps,” DRADIS reported.

“The raiders are alternately running in a different direction, trying to disrupt our formation,” Saturn’s CAG announced on the wireless.

“Keep it steady,” Ramirez ordered in a low voice, barely audible from the noise of the DRADIS console.

Ramirez had come to ely heavily on her DRADIS operator. Lieutenant Junior Grade Sam “Radar” Kensignton was one of the few bridge officers with a call sign. He had developed a protocol and then a computer program that combined DRASDIS and other signals intelligence to predict Cylon tactics such as tactical jumps.

He had an instinct for Cylon tactics and could predict their next move, sometimes just based on squadron deployments. He was twenty years of age, born on Gemenon, with wild brown hair that nobody made him cut out of superstition.

Ramirez settled in behind him and gently rested a hand on this thin shoulders. “Talk to me Radar,” she said softly. What do you hear.”

“Nothing but the DRADIS Sir,” he answered. “Their tactics do not make sense. They had an opportunity due to our deployment to possibly hit our fire control but they did not take it. Normally they raise their base stars and move towards us looking for that fire control shot. Today I don’t know they are drifting away trying to draw us in.”

“They are not going for a win here?”

“No Sir, he answered. They just want us to stay here.”

Something caught the commanders eye on a screen installed especially for Radar that flashed through various sensor images including the feed from telescopes which he had used to pick up battle recon. “Can you put telescope 4a on a bigger monitor and zoom in?”

A few seconds later he had an image of the refinery they were supposed to capture in a grainy zoom image. Rigged on crucial areas were explosives with communications gear connected. “They knew we were coming and they knew the mission objective Sir. They want to keep us here.”

“But why?” Commander Ramirez was stumped. “Okay everybody for 20 seconds let the battle take care of itself. I need your brains. They Cylons want to keep us here as long as possible. They have guessed our mission or knew our mission and the refinery is rigged for remote detonation.”

“Are you sure?” Jim Preston her 34 year old XO asked. “Their tactics have been bad before.”

“Assume I am. This refinery is much more valuable to us than them. They probably have fifty more. Why do they want us here?”

“Toasters don’t need a reason,” quipped the fire control officer. These sessions, which Ramirez had adapted from her IT days were anything goes. The only stupid statement or question was the one not made.

“They have bigger fish to fry Sir,” Communications a woman who looked like a teenage video game junkie said. “They are wanting us here to let them hit something else.”

“Lawson’s task force?” engineering proposed.

“No,” Ramirez directed the conversation. “Admiral Lawson sent orders by raptor for us to extricate ourselves from here. Rock Star and Streak made that pretty clear.

“They are after the shipyard or the new Colonies Sir. That is the only reason to drag this battle out. They are wasting obvious ways to cause us casualties.” Radar, opined.

“Missile salvo coming in high,” the tactical officer warned. Soon there was the crash and noise of a barrage that had gotten by the defensive fire and hit the armor.

“A base star just jumped into a Phobos attack ship,” the tactical officer reported staring up at a s creen that showed two ships burning.

“Massive missile salvo inbound targeting the support battlestars,” tactical reported urgently.

“Their gunship is history!”

“Good shots,” Ramirez praised.

“Valkyrie in trouble!” Tactical reported.

“Radiological alarm.”

There was a flash and one of the communications channels went dark. “We lost a Valkyrie,” the 24 year old tactical officer reported, her voice full of emotion.

“Two hundred missiles inbound from port,” warned tactical.

The entire ship shuddered as flak took out most of the missiles and a few snuck through. The power flickered.

“Phobos is trying to hack the Acropolis,” one of Ramirez’s lead geeks reported. “They have activated counter measures.”

“Cylon base star I making a run for Acropolis!” tactical reported urgently.

“They know what to do,” Commander Ramirez replied.

They held their breathes and watched the screen while continuing to make sure Saturn was dealing with their attackers.

“Massive inbound fire!” warned two officers in unison.

“Turn starboard, get the forward guns on our base star,” the commander ordered. “Salvo fire as soon as there is a solution.”

After a very tense two minutes, they say the last base star and an ancient first war Argos go up in balls of flames.

“Recall the vipers,” the commander ordered.

“New batch of ships just jumped in,” DRADIS reported.

“As soon as the birds are recovered we jump back t o fleet HQ,” Ramirez said, ending the discussion. “We will jump under fire. Combat landings are authorized.”