Chapter 23: From Mercury CIC

Lawson’s eyes bugged out for a brief moment. “Another three hundred civilians?” Ramirez nodded in the affirmative.

“We have no place to put them,” the commander noted. “Our marine quarters are full.”

“One hundred twenty percent,” the XO replied.

“We’ll deal with it after the strike,” Commander Lawson said. “Make sure we cull these civilians for pilots. We have three hundred vipers in the starboard pod and nobody to fly them.”

“We are doing well, recruiting for any job that gets civilians out of those quarters. We should be able to begin new viper fabrication once we find some ore.”

“Civilian fleet?”

“Eight FTL capable ships,”

The timer on the wall chimed. “Start the strike. Spool up FTL. Vipers launch after the combat jump.”

The weapons officer spoke up. “We have triple A weapons on full automatic ready for jump.”

“The board is green.”

“Jump the ship. Launch all vipers on the other side,” Lawson ordered. Her eyes wandered over to the damage control status board. They had a lot of FTL jumps planned and the FTL had been glitchy during simulations.

The DRADIS stablized after the jump and the targets were where they were supposed to be. Little green dots representing vipersappeared on the screen as the depleted air wing launched and followed the plan.

There were a lot of status reports as the vipers lauched a volley of fire cutting into the raider dots. The raptor force moved in on their target which several seconds later flickered and disappeared from the screen.

Ramirez looked at her notes and spoke softly as she was not a pilot. “The vipers should start veering off now, clearing a path for our guns.”

“Main engines ready for operations,” reported an NCO from the engineering console.

“Start the burn,” Lawson ordered.

There was a short shudder as the engine kicked in.

The sound of the weapons fire soon rumbled through the ship as a firing engagement zone was set up.

“Turn the nose starboard and bring the main guns to bear on the inbound cylon raiders,” Commander Lawson ordered.

“Aye, engines are responding.”

Thirty seconds passed. “Guns have a target.”

“Recover the air wing,” Lawson ordered. “Fire the main guns. Spool up FTL as per the plan.”

“Aye sir,” came three voices in unison.

Another two minutes passed as Eva Lawson snapped her fingers and tried not to start pacing around the CIC.

“Air wing is aboard,” reported the flight operations officer.

“Target two jump,” Lawson commanded.

Ramirez picked up a phone and barked an order. “Start recovering and re-arming the vipers on the landing decks. Blue squadron is in the tubes ready to launch. Raptors should be a our jump in point in fifteen seconds.”

“Jump the ship. Launch blue squadron on the other side.” Lawson squeezed her pen while she waited for the jump to finish.

“Blue squadron is launched,” flight operations reported.

DRADIS chimed. “Two base stars jumped in. They are launching raiders.”

“Vipers are diverting to intercept. Raptors are engaging the target.” Ramirez strained her neck while she stared at the tactical board.

“They should not have had base stars on scene so fast,” Commander Lawson looked concerned.

“Targets destroyed,” air operations reported.

“As per the plan blue squadron peel off, make a hole for our guns. Engines full power head for the base star on the right. Carom zero niner zero.”

“Recovering the air wing,” Major Ramirez reported. “Next stop is the recovery rally point.”

“Hold jump,” Lawson ordered. “I’ve been studying the tactics books. Best tactic here is to charge at a base star before we jump. Target her center axis.”

“Thats not in the plan,” Ramirez noted.

“We need to be agile like a cat,” Lawson smiled. “Hit her center axis for thirty seconds and we should split her in two.”

“Inbound missile fire, two hundred inbound,” tactical reported.

“Another hundred missiles inbound from behind. Weapons on full automatic.” The missiles appeared on the DRADIS display and most of them were blotted out. The cylon base star directly ahead began to flicker on the screen. Then it blinked out.

“Splash one cylon base star,” the tactical officer reported.

“Jump to the recovery point,” Commander Lawson said. She was rather pleased with herself as this plan was going pretty well. A few explosion noises shook the shift from missile impacts.

After the flash the ship began to shake. The DRADIS blinked and flickered and four large targets appeared.

“Four cyloin base stars and more raiders than we can count are at the rally point.” The ship began rocking from weapons impact.

“Recover the raptors that are here ane spool up for the backup rally point,” Lawson ordered.

“They should not have had time to set up an ambush at our recovery point,” Maria Ramirez repored looking up at the DRADIS and then down at her planning document.

“The pilots know what to do. Jump to the auxilary rally point.”

“Spooling, green board. Jumping,” the FTL team reported.

After the flash and queasy feeling the DRADIS chimed and this time it was only green targets appeared.

“I have twenty six raptors,” flight operations reported.

“Combat landings,” Ramirez ordered. “Spool up for another jump. Cylons should be here soon.”

Commander Lawson looked confused. “You thinking they are getting signals intelligence?”

Ramirez just nodded. The DRADIS chimed and three red globes appeared. “Three cylon base stars just jumped in. I have nearly a thousand inbound raiders.”

“Frack me,” Lawson snapped the pen in her right hand in two. “We are infiltrated.”

“The next rally point is the last one and some of the raptors will be critical on fuel,” flight operations reported.

“How many vipers do we have in the tubes ready for relaunch?” Laswson queried.

“Fifty five,” flight ops reported back.

“Launch on the other side. Plot a course, a giant oval we are going to have to fight or lose the forty raptors we have not recovered.”

“We’re ready Sir.” Maria Ramirez was over at the FTL console.

“What are you doing,” Lawson asked.

“Plotting a new jump point,” she answered. We will need some time to get reorganized. I’m thinking we need to pick a spot the cylons could not download from a destroyed raptors navigation computer.”

“Good call XO,” Laswson smiled slightly.

“Recovery operations complete.”

“Jump!” Lawson ordered with an urgent voice.

After yet another flash and queasy feeling the DRADIS reported what was expected. This time there were six base stars. Missiles began to bound them almost immediately. It was too much for the triple A systems to cope with.

“We are taking significant damage,” engineering reported.

“Engines full pwer, get us up tp maximum,” Lawson ordered. “We need to junp in motion. We can’t recover raptors here.”

“Encryption protocl Beta. Comms transmit new jump coordinates to the raptors.”

“Some of them might not be able to make the jump!” Flight operations warned.

“We have to recover the fighters,” Lawson was conflicted.

“Vipers are recovered. Commander if we stay here too long we may lose the ship.”

Weapons reported. “We have a firing solution.”

“Fire main guns,” Lawson ordered. “Then jump the ship.”

The lights flicered and the ship shook, taking heavy fire.

“We are at maximum speed,” engineering reported. “Jumping at high sublight speeds is dangerous.”

“Jump the ship,” Commander Lawson reported. We need to be moving, harder to ambush.”

“Jumping,” engineering reported.

Jumping from a fixed point, not while in motion gave those present in CIC a queasy feeling. Jumping at high velocity made several people wretch. The flight officer was doubled over throwing up on her shoes.

“Target, large may be a base star,” the DRADIS operator reported.

“We are on a collision course!”

Eva Lawson was a viper pilot again. This was just a very big viper. She looked at the navigation displays. Then she made a split second decision. “Thrusters up right full power.”

Instinctively the operator of the thrusters followed the command. They felt the G forces as they rapidly re-oriented a battlestar.

“Ten seconds to impact,” warned the navigation officer.

“Now engines ahead full. We need less thrust to avoid a collision.” Lawson was not sure this was enough but it was similar to avoiding a collison in a fighter. She felt the force as the engine operator implemented her orders.

There was a sense of anticipation as the countdown went on.

“Missed it by fifty meters,” navigation reported.

“Missed what?” Maria Ramirez reported.

“Looks like a battlestar sir’s” the scanning officer reported.