Chapter 19: Planning

The new senior staff of the Battlestar mercury were assembled around a map of table. On the table was a small model of the Battlestar itself, several vipers and raptors representing the squadrons that were now able to fight.

Commander Eva Lawson stood in her ill fitting blues uniform looking over the map. To her right was her new XO Maria Ramirez. Still a bit overweight, she look like she had lost weight quickly in the past few days. She was nervous some of the senior to many of the officers around this table. Her uniform look even worse than the commanders, rumpled just like a computer geek.

The acting CAG, Don Smith, Call sign “pants”, There was a story behind this 44-year-old captains call side. He was tall and lanky, barely able to squeeze himself into the cockpit of a Mark VII Viper.

Next to him was a civilian intelligence analyst tasked to the Ministry of Defense. Dave Parker was 50 and had retired from the colonial fleet as a Colonel. He had refused reinstatement without becoming the XO of the ship.

Bald with a thin ring of white hair on his head, he looked at Maria Ramirez with distain.

“I call the meeting to order,” ordered commander Lawson. “It is day six of the second cylon war. We flown 300 sorties with Raptors to gather intelligence from the colonies and nearby systems.”

Parker, being the one expected to interpret the data cleared his throat and spoke. “Most interesting is six seconds of footage that we have to have a cylon network.”

He picked up what appeared to be a TV clicker and a large monitor mounted on the wall above the table came to life. It showed a Jupiter class Battlestar trying to point its forward guns at a target. Continuous fire was spewing from the underside of topside guns. Cylon Raiders could be seen smashing into the wall of fire and being destroyed. Several missiles made it through the engagement zone and hit the elderly Battlestar.

“Is that the Galactica?” Lawson asked.

Parker pressed his control and a box formed and zoomed in on the main plate on the port flight pod. “No sir,” he answered that is the Solaria war museum.”

“That is absolutely amazing. The old solaria was retired 25 years ago and turned into a museum. It was falling apart and Galactica was lined up to replace it. It was headed to the scrapheap. A friend of Admiral Mueller was commander. Jesse um Black I think it was. No Jesse Green. He was a legend. I heard he was always trying to get ammunition and parts to keep the Battlestar combat ready. I guess he did!” Commander Lawson was quite proud that she remember the man’s name.

Parker spoke annoyed at the interruption. “I asked for recon. I’ve not yet received the data package.”

“Our recon force was attacked while gathering intelligence from the site. The data indicates enough debris and wreckage to confirm that a cylon base ship was destroyed in battle. They were parts of several destroyed vipers in the area. Some of them came from the museum. Two came from task force gamma. This was a forward tripwire base Deployed to act as an early warning if the cylon invaded.” The commander air group was analyzing the intelligence and that serve to annoy their intelligence officer.

“I can surmise than that since the battle took place several hundred clicks from task force gamma that’s the Battlestar combined forces and were interrupted while moving supplies.”

Maria Ramirez finally spoke up. “Do we have any idea where the Battlestar is now?”

“No major,” the former colonial colonel nearly spit out the words.

“Well,” Eva Lawson said. “Let’s make it a priority to find her. We have several problems. We have picked up 500 civilians and are shoving them into quarters normally designated for colonial Marines. We’ve had to jump away from the cylons three times in the past two days because they found us. What can we do to change the situation?”

Parker began to speak again. “Well we know they’re expending a lot of fuel. They were clearly hunting down the Solaria. They were quite surprised when she turned and fought. Hacked signal intelligence seems to indicate their response time was very poor.”

“We should hit their fuel,” major Ramirez suggested.

“That’s ridiculous,” Parker sneered.

Commander Eva Lawson raised a hand to stop the man from speaking. “Tell us why you think that Major Ramirez.”

“Well they aree spending a lot of fuel chasing us and possibly chasing the Galactica and a civilian fleet. Mr. Parkers signals intelligence indicates movements of over 100 Bass stars bass stars in our home solar system and the surrounding areas. That same intelligence indicates they are moving outward away from the colonies. They are chasing something.”

“Their supply lines do appear to be stretched,” Parker conceited. “I don’t think they planned on a resistance or a fleet leaving in the colonies.”

The CAG spoke next. “Fuel is volatile. It is almost as easy to explode as munitions. Munitions are often stored nearby. Assault Raptors can jump in launch missile strikes and then jump back out before the cylons have time to get organized.”

“The mercury has big guns,” Lawson speculated. That can blow up a lot of fuel.”

“I think we should hold back the Battlestar for now. Gun crews need more practice. I need to make sure the automation is free of cylon viruses. This ship can destroy a base star in several minutes. All they have to do to stop us is fly around in packs. If we want a sustained campaign against their fuel production they will have to take Battlestar’s I mean Base stars out of the fight. We need to isolate individual based stars and start knocking them down while minimizing the risk to the ship.”

“Not bad for a computer geek,”Commander Lawson smiled. “You don’t have to go to war College to pick up the basics of tactics here. I want to plan a series of strikes. We will use the Battlestar to delivervipers to higher priority targets. If we are careful we can even give the impression that we were fleet a battle stars. Plan this first strike we launch at 06:00”

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