Chapter 40: The hunt for the second force.

“Major Ramirez,” commander Lawson asked, “what have we got off the Valkyrie class Battlestar’s computer.”

“Well they made an effort to keep the toasters from doing what I have tried to do,” Ramirez answered. “I’m having to correlate some video data from their telescope observatory with some very heavily encrypted information on that computer. I also cannot discount the possibility that the Cylons put data on that system in order to lure us into an ambush.”

“They have a fleet that escaped the Colonies” the commander ran a hand through her hair. “If we can meet up with them I can end this command disaster and maybe go back to being a CAG.”

The major smiled when she heard those words. “I would like to go back to working on technology as well. I would not count on that happening any time soon. I have learned about how the fleet may have escaped the attacks. Their IT guru, on another ship did not like process by which CNP was shoved into every ship in the fleet. There is some correspondence.”

“Let’s look at it.”

The XO changed the video screen to an electronic mail message. It showed a man in his late forties in a standard profile photo. The message was directed to a commander Robinson.

To: Commander Simpson Robinson, Commander Battlestar Frode

From: Major James Carver Chief IT Officer Battlestar Group 34.

Commander,

It has come to my attention that the CNP program that fleet command is demanding be installed has been exempted from several stages of the code review process. Further very little if any penetration testing was done before or after the order that made it mandatory.

I have raised by objections to the Ministry of Defense and received vague reply from Gais Baltar the head of the project. 

His reply merely raised my concerns further. This is Information Technology 101. It may be a simple navigation update, but if it is not fully vetted, it does not belong on any warship. Please approve my request to conduct a full penetration test when the installation is complete on the Battlestar Gemini.

Regards and congratulations on the birth of your second granddaughter. I am looking forward to the day when my son does something with his life and gets the process started. 

Major James Robinson

Chief IT Officer Battlestar Group 34.

“Was there a reply?” Lawson asked.

“Yes,” the major answered. “The request was approved,”

“Results?”

“He totally compromised the Battlestar and shut down the FTL nav computers.”

“How long before the attacks?”

“Three weeks.”

“Frack!” Lawson said. “What happened when they sent the results to Fleet Command?”

“There is another email message.”

She tapped some keys and another email came up with another message with a different profile picture. Apparently Carver liked to rotate his profile picture.

To: Commander Simpson Robinson, Commander Battlestar Frode

From: Major James Carver Chief IT Officer Battlestar Group 34.

Subject: It is negligence to ignore the results of the pen (penetration) tests and install CNP.

It is dangerous and reckless to go forward with the installation of CNP. It has been proven to have vulnerabilities and I will not sign off on its installation on any ship in this Battlestar group.

How do you suggest I proceed with regards to fleet command?

The reply showed that Robinson was dealing with fleet command and the IT Chief was directed to backlog the software installation. Carver replied there were a few broken down supply raptors that would get the program first.

“If fleet command had listened to him, the destruction of the Colonies could have been averted. Did Carver survive the war?”

“Yes commander,” answered Ramirez. “He was demoted to Lieutenant before the war by a direct order from fleet command. He was a former pilot, switched to tech after a crash landing. Someone promoted him to Captain after the attacks. I think he was a XO on a battlestar. There is a video log recording I have pretty well cleaned up.”

“Let’s see it.”

“This is Captain James Carver, Executive Officer if the Battlestar Venus.” The scene was in the heavily damaged commanders’ quarters of a smaller Battlestar. There was damaged wing hanging out of destroyed monitors. Still two of the monitors were rolling through status screens of a damaged Valkyrie Class Battlestar.

“The fact that I have been promoted to XO is illustrative of the situation we are in. Battlestar Group 34 was attacked by a fleet of a dozen Cylon ships. Modern base stars and a collection of ships dating back to the beginning of the first Cylon war.”

He wiped his forehead and left a streak of grease on it.

“Once they figured out we had never installed CNP they dug deep into their inventory. Commander Robinson quickly realized that the battle was lost. We were on a mission to deliver forty cargo containers to the Scorpia shipyards. We never got there.”

“Commander Robinson fought a delaying action and we got away with enough gear to add capacity to Scorpia. We have enough gear to set up a mobile repair yard. We have been sending out missions to get FTL drive parts so that we can take this shipyard on the road with us. Every one of the eight ships that survived the attacks on the Colonies was damaged. We are picking up civilians and civilian craft every day.”

“The civilian council set up to provide the civies self-government has demanded wages be paid to the workers in our little traveling circus. I am glad I am not in command of this clown show. But as XO of the Venus I am perilously close to the top of the current chain of command….”

The video ended,

“No more footage Sir.”

Eva Lawson was lost in thought. Something had triggered a memory from a course where they had Colonial Fleet try and track down a wayward Cylon that was causing simulated havoc in a third of the Colonies.

“Zoom in on those two displays behind Captain Carver. Go slow,”

“Yes sir,” the XO complied. The resolution was not great and the picture was fuzzy.  Halfway through the third run, Commander Lawson spoke up.

“Stop!” She stood up and pointed. Remembering they were still on quarantine, she used her electronic pointer.

“Those look like FTL jump coordinates to me,” Lawson smiled. “See if you can clean it up and get us some places to look at.”

* * *

Twelve hours later the computer had cleaned up the image enough that they had a list of fifteen coordinates to look at.

“We are perilously short of raptor pilots,” Ramirez reported. “Lieutenant Samantha Jones died of complications of the virus late last night.

Lawson had known Jones and she tried to hide her feelings but failed. A single tear was released from her right eye. “Very carefully. Send force recon, three assault raptors, two SAR. Take it nice and slow. No mistakes. We have to get through this virus outbreak before we enter a major engagement with the Cylons.

* * *

Three days later Ramirez came on the monitor at 4:31 a.m. “Sorry for the time sir,” she said. “We have a battle site recon. It was on jump point twelve. Lots of Cylon wreckage. There may be a lot of salvageable parts. It will give us a chance to study Cylon technology.”

“We can’t do it with a raptors?”

“Negative,” Ramirez reported. We will have to store some of this cache on the right-hand flight pod of the Solaria. We can spare some room on starboard as well.”

“Set condition one throughout the ship. Get anyone that can fly butt in the cockpit. We are going toaster dumpster diving.”

“Aye sir.”

“This is junkman to Mercury actual. Junkman flying a bus. Come in.”

“What is it,” Lawson found the viper jock annoying but effective so tolerated some chatter. She picked up her phone handset and repeated herself. “This is Mercury actual.”

“I’ve got me a shiny, slightly singed orange flight recorder. I believe that entitles me to a weeks leave after the air wing is at full strength.”

“Junkman get your ass and that recorder onto the flight deck immediately. You will get your leave when I have more than 19 viper jocks not infected.”

“Roger that.”

“Mercury actual out.”

Comments are closed.