Lieutenant Joe “Squirrel” Davis was 40 years old and still a lieutenant. This was not due to a lack of skill as a Viper pilot, it was due to misbehavior off duty. He was in fact an exceptional pilot who held a type rating on different types of raptor, as well as every Viper ever flown, with the exception of the Mark I which was too old to be flown any longer.
I hard landing and a sore back had relegated him to piloting a raptor. Every pilot on the casualty reduced flight team had performed many more landings than were required to retain their type rating.
So due to the crew shortage, he had drawn a bus flight that was going to be jumping around the Colonies and surrounding sectors. The mission was to locate natural resources from which to sustain this small fleet. Tylium, water and several metal ore’s were on the search list for todays mission.
More often than not, this was the most boring of possible duties. You jumped, you tried to pay attention to the DRADIS display, took some reading and then moved on to the next jump point.
Rookies and insane people were the only ones who craved action these days. You did not want action, you wanted boring.
Today’s exploration route took them into the Promar sector.
This was way beyond the red line, beyond which non-networked navigation computers could not calculate jump coordinates for a single jump. It was about a dozen plotted jumps away from where the Mercury was hiding.
It was time for another jump They had found nothing. Hardly a surprise.
After the white flash of light and disorientation they scene ahead came into focus.
There was a thud as some kind of debris impacted on the Raptor’s hull.
A couple of quick control moves avoided an even more dangerous collision.
“Looks like battle debris,” Spirit, the attractive RIO officer reported.
After pulling a few more levers Squirrel stopped the raptor dead in space.
“Bring up a scan will you Spirit?” Lieutenant Davis asked.
“On nav 1,” she replied after a few seconds.
“Lets pick a few pieces,” Squirrel suggested.
“Roger that,” Spirit said, looking unhappy at the way this operation had turned out.”
* * *
The debris was laid out on the floor of a cargo bay. The paint job was distinctive, it was the color of the Mark VII Viper. Commander Lawson was walking stiffly as if she had exercising recently. Perhaps she had worked out and overdone things a bit.
She looked at the array of debris pieces on the floor and feigned mild interest.
“What am I looking at XO?”
Major Ramirez “Battle debris from the Battlestar Galactica. The Science geek’s say it is about a month old.
Lawson walked slowly along the edge of the samples knowing this represented another dead Colonial pilot. She came to a stop in front of a burned-out box shaped device.
“Is that the,” Lawson paused.
“The voice data recorder,” Major Ramirez acknowledged.
“Anything good on there?”
Ramirez handed over a paper transcript.
“This looks like a page turner,” Lawson yawned sleepily.
“It’s mostly scuttlebutt. Take a look at page six,”
“Jolly and Green bean,” nice call signs.
She furrowed her brow as she concentrated.
* * *
Jolly: “Can you believe it the secretary of education is now President of the Colonies?”
Green bean: “ I heart she was sleeping with the president.”
Jolly: “How the frack does that matter now.”
Green bean: “Nothing. I just don’t understand how a school teacher is going to lead us to earth.”
Jolly: “I don’t think there is an earth. I think the old man just made it up to give us a purpose.”
Green bean: “I’ve been flying for Commander Adama for seven years and he’s always stood up for his men and he’s never lied to me.”
Jolly: “I wonder when we are going to get a break. Every thirty-three minutes the Cylons attack. You can set your watch by them.”
Green bean: “I just hope we don’t draw this patrol too often. Our asses are hanging out here, trying to set up an electronic scan of the toasters.”
There were warning beeps.
Unknown: “Contact right on top of us. Cylon base ship launching raiders.”
Green bean: “Break right we’re on a collision course.”
Jolly: “Taking fire.”
Eva Lawson looked up from the transcript. “Did you find bodies?”
“Negative,” Ramirez replied. “Either the Cylons or the Colonial fleet picked them up. They may be alive. Damage to the raptor was not complete. A larger piece might have been salvaged by the Galactica.”
“What does it mean to us?”
“Well,” Major Ramirez said. “A couple of things. There is a civilian command authority. Laura Roselyn is president as per succession rules. If we happen upon her, we will have to follow her orders.
Commander Adama is a proper commander and is senior to you Commander Lawson. You would have to follow his orders if we were to happen upon him. The difficult part is the information we received about the Pegasus. Rear Admiral Cain committed a war crime and must be removed from command.”
“The diary is enough to make that claim stick?”
“According to the code of military justice, Admiral Cain must be removed from command pending a court-martial.”
“Of course if she happens to meet Adama and he’s not aware of this situation, he will be required to follow her orders.”
“All right,” Lawson said decisively. “We have to prepare documentation and we should be on the lookout for more information. Any idea on where the Galactica was headed?”
“Earth,” Ramirez replied.
“There is no earth,” Lawson answered. Adama made it up.