Chapter 28: 20 minutes later …

Twenty minutes later Commander Eva Lawson strode in to the command ready room. She was showered and her uniform was perfectly pressed straight from the cleaners. There was a spring to her step and she was ready for the first big operation in three weeks. It was well planned and would be a devastating surprise after three weeks of launching pin prick assault raptor attacks. Half of those micro-operations were aborted due to the presence of large, defensive Cylon forces.

Waiting in the planning room was Major Maria Ramirez, looking haggard as if she had stayed up all night. That was because she had, dealing with getting the starboard flight pod operational with a skeleton crew. Nobody wanted to transfer to starboard from the port pod, those that were forced were unhappy about it.

The bottom line was that todays operation called for a fast viper launch after a combat jump and the starboard pod deck crew needed to get its act together. Two dozen civilians with no military experience had been drafted due to having experience as civilian flight mechanics. They were very unhappy having to work for their billets. 

“You look like a raptor landed on you XO,” Lawson commented.

“You look like you got laid last night,” came the tart reply.

“Don’t I have any fracking privacy?” the commander replied tersely.

“If I learned one thing from working for Martha Rogers it was she knew everything about Admiral Mueller. She knew every detail of his day and knew who he was fracking on the side behind his wife’s back.”

“Your point in discussing this Maria?”

“There are no secrets on a battlestar. You showed good judgement bedding a civilian. We are going to do as thorough a background check on Brother John as we can under the circumstances.”

“I’m not some cheap whore,” Lawson blustered.

“Permission to speak freely and off the record?” She left off the Sir.

“So now you ask permission? Granted.”

“Sir you are here today alive and commanding this ship because you are a slut.”

Lawson started to speak but was stopped by her XO’s hand.

“I’m not judging. You like sex. I LOVE it myself. You were assigned to this ship and survived the destruction of humanity due to a chain of events that included getting drunk and sleeping with Admiral Nagama’s son. It is divine providence, the plan of the gods. Just understand we are going to keep an eye on him and anyone else that sleeps in your quarters. It is important to our relationship that you know what you can hide and what you can’t. Though unrelated you making me XO has had a substantial negative impact on my pretty darned good sex life.”

“Message received. Do you know how we?”

“No. There are no security cameras in your quarters. I had them removed two weeks ago. Next agenda item. Our very unhappy former CAG Captain Adkins.”

“Roger that,” Lawson opened a leather folder and began reading the mans jacket. An NCO walked into the room pushing a breakfast cart.

“Ooo! Coffee.”

Captain Brad “Reptile” Adkins wore a shoulder cast and walked with difficulty. His viper had taken a near direct hit in the big fuel operation. His ejection system had triggered, thrusting him into solid debris from his own viper.

He knew he was lucky to be alive. He knew he could not fly a viper right now. He just did not want to get stuck babysitting two thousand whining civilians. A tall man he stood over 180 centimeters and had unkempt blond hair, curly and a bit too long for regulations.

He walked into the commander’s ready room and was shocked at how together the Commander looked. Every detail of you appearance was precisely up to date. She turned from Major Ramirez who took a clipboard from the commander after she signed it.

“So you don’t like your next assignment Reptile?” she asked referring to him by his call sign.

“I’m a pilot,” he said. “I don’t want to get stuck on that oversized barge.”

“That barge took out a Cylon base star with less than a five percent crew,” Commander Lawson interrupted and stood shoulders squared.

“It’s not a battlestar Sir,” Adkins replied.

“It is, and we are lucky we can house our civilians on a ship that can protect them.”

“Commander even with the transfer’s we have a ship meant to be crewed by 5000 being run by 150 Colonial officers and about 500 civilians drafted against their will. They’ve lost everything and now we are making them join the military. They are not cohesive and there is very little chance they are going to wake up one morning and suddenly function like a team.”

“Your job is to motivate them. To mold them into a crew.”

“Commander Lawson,” he retorted. “I don’t want to command a battlestar I never did. I like flying Sir. Please send someone else.”

“The only officer’s with the rank and experience to take this assignment are in the air wing. We are down 50%  and we can not afford to promote another squadron commander.”

“I don’t want the rank or the hassle.”

“Well,” Lawson put a finger on her forehead for no particular reason. “It’s a temporary assignment so you can do it without rank. I’m sorry you were wounded, but I’m glad you survived. We all have to make sacrifices. You have to deal with a couple of thousand civilians and hope they don’t break anything as they have free run of the ship.”

Adkins looked down, staring at his feet. He took a deep breath and looked up. “I get the air wing back when I return? They really need me.”

“As it stands now I would be inclined to put you back as CAG. I can’t promise that three months into the future. I need you to do this Reptile. I’d send Ramirez but we have things working pretty good here for a computer geek.”

Adkin’s sighed.

“Dismissed,” Lawson said softly.

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