Chapter 25: A new phase

The hiding place where they had discovered the Battlestar Solaria Museum turned out to be a good one. It seemed to be well off the Cylon patrol routes. Raptor recon showed that activity of the enemy forces was much reduced.

The intelligence weenies guessed that this was because of the gigantic raid on fuel resources. A lot of Tylium had gone up in fireball’s. The attack plan had used a lot of fuel and they would soon be needing more to maintain operations.

One of the ships that had joined this small fleet was a space construction platform. It was able to set up operations and actually conduct repairs on large ships, even battlestars.

The Solaria was in bad shape. Much of her wartime armor had been stripped off. Battle damage from the first cylon was had never been prepared unless it presented a safety issue for museum guests.

So after doing some relatively minor repairs on the Mercury the platform set to work fixing up the battle damage, recent and decades old to the museum. Designed to be crewed by 5000, with barracks for two 1000 man battalion of Colonial Marines, the museum as she became known was the perfect place to house civilian refugees.

Hundreds more could potentially be housed in the starboard flight pod, but the glass windows had been shattered by basestar fire. After completing the critical repairs to the frame of the ship, the construction platform went to work rehabbing the starboard flight pod.

With a six week time estimate on this project the construction platform had a purpose.

Of course there were problems with the project and plans such as who would crew the ship It literally did take several thousand crew members to run the ship. Gun’s needed to be manned, planes needed to be maintained. Mercury assembled a subset of her deck hands, already culled by the nuking of the starboard flight pod and implemented a plan.

Civilians would be forced to pay rent in return for housing on the battlestar which was undergoing an overhaul. The able bodied had to work an eight hour shift, six days a week. They were trained up for every job on battlestar from cleaning the toilets to maintaining the vipers.

Those with flight experience were sent to the Mercury for simulator training.

“So it will take six weeks to finish making the museum’s starboard flight pod operational?” Lawson asked.

“Minimum,” Ramirez replied.

“If we need to jump?”

“They have a plan to evacuate their crews but the scaffolding will be lost.”

“Define operational. They will be able to recover vipers, not launch them.”

“Okay XO and why can’t they be launched?”

“No launching systems. We have a few raptors tasked to scavenge the wrecks of the battlestars. There is a lot of potential there.”

Commander Lawson shook her head and smirked. It was dangerous work but the payoff was high. “The ship will need a commander. Who have we got?”

“There is this seventy-six year old former battlestar commander. Commanded the Columbia.”

Lawson looked pleased. “Why not ring him up?”

Ramirez sighed and unconsciously ran a hand through her white streaked hair. “Two things really: First he says he has seniority over you and should command the entire fleet.”

Lawson looked bemused as if this were not a deal breaker. “What else?”

“Well,” Ramirez said reluctantly, “his jacket says he was retired for dementia. He seems to have a lot of issues with remembering faces, current events.”

“Oh my,” Lawson said. “Who else?”

“Well the CAG, Captain Atkin’s is going on medical leave for three months. He was wounded in the Tylium strikes.”

“There we have it. Hopefully he has the chops to whip that ship into shape.”

Ramirez nodded and made some notes.