Chapter 20: Pre-strike

Commander Eva Lawson paced outside the pilots ready room, awaiting her invitation to speak. She was vary familiar with this room, but not her role. She could not overstep boundaries and act like the CAG. She had a CAG, though she barely knew the man, he had planned the strike details.

She went over the details again. It was a complex plan, but it was a good one. It was designed to make the maximum impact while the cylons were still thinking that they had won the war outright.

Raptors would form into 20 strike groups averaging 4 raptors per group. They would jump at the same time, a dangerous close to target strike. If they encountered resistance, their orders were to jump back to one of 4 way points. These were spread out to make sure the cylons did not simply follow them home and jump in three basestars.

The Mercury would deliver two larger strike groups to larger, better protected fuel refinery bases. A squadron of vipers would launch at each after a combat FTL jump. They would then jump the battlestar to a second higher priority target.

A squadron of vipers and ten raptors to each target would deliver maximum firepower, leaving the battlestar with a squadron strength air protection. Nearly three hundred pilots had died in the starboard flight pod and their squadrons could not fly, their ships standing in the maintenance bays, waiting for a reason and a pilot.

This ship was also equipped to produce still more vipers. If they were not so short on people power, they had pilot simulators and could produce pilots in a matter of weeks.

With nearly six hundred civilians crammed into the marines barrack’s there was a possible source of new pilot trainees. Getting their numbers back up was the key to using this ship to deliver real strategic damage to the cylons.

She got the signal. In a proper fitting daytime blues uniform she walked to the podium. As was often the case she had to adjust the microphone lower to adjust to her petite stature.

She began nervously, clearing her throat. “You know the mission. You know the plan. It’s complicated but if we succeed we will send a message. We are outnumbered, and must be careful with resources, both human and machine. It is very important that all my pilots come home today.”

She went on feeling more confidence as she made eye contact with Maria Ramirez. “Our objective is to make a splash and that is up to you. We know the Galactica escaped with a civilian fleet. If we cripple their fuel supplies they will be forced to pull back forces to deal with us.”

“Man your planes. Show me the courage I always knew you had. This mission is for the three hundred pilots an a hundred and seventy five deck hands that perished in the initial attack. We owe it to them to light up the skies with Cylon fuel.”

“For the pilots and crew of the starboard pod,” one voice cried out.

“For the Admiral and the XO!’ another female voice exclaimed.

“So say we all,” Lawson said with raised voice.

The reply was thunderous. “So say we all!”

In unison. As a team.