Chapter 42: Jump 7

The Solaria was barely keeping up. The outbreak was much less contained there and the population was mostly civilian. Gun crews infected or not isolated themselves by living in their stations. It had taken six jumps to get where they thought the civilian convoy might be.

Lawson was alone in the commander’s quarters looking at the impressive array of monitors. She saw departments taking readings and got real-time intelligence. This did not give her more information with which to make better decisions. It merely gave her a headache. She had too much information and needed less clutter.

“We are green for jump seven,” reported Lieutenant Garner. “The board is green. Museum reports green. Awaiting your orders, commander.”

“Jump,” she replied. It hardly seemed necessary for her to say jump every time. The flash of white light. The disorientation seemed to feel normal now.

“Contact!” Garner was probably alone in CIC. “Two maybe three Colonial transponders. We have them sir.”

The DRADIS display in CIC chirped and the monitor dedicated to it in the commander’s quarters flashed red. Enemy contact.

“Transmitting instructions,” the XO reported. “It is going to be a big fuel burn to get them inside the overlapping flak zone we planned.”

“How long?”

“Forty seconds, if they comply,” Garner answered.

They complied.  It was the longest forty seconds ever.

“Activate triple-a” Ramirez ordered.

“Raider launch,” Garner reported.

“DRADIS target ID heavy cruiser,” another voice cut in.

“Focus fire on the cruiser,” the commander ordered.

“They are pressing us to hard!” Atkins warned.

“Execute defensive maneuver beta,” Lawson ordered calmly.

“Spooling up FTL!”

“We lost the Celestra!” Garner reported.

“Jump on my mark,” Lawson ordered.

“Jump!”

“DRADIS!” New contacts Garner reported. There are four, maybe five Cylon contacts. There is a new friendly trying to make for our coordinates.

“Launch all squadrons,” Lawson ordered. “Have the vipers protect the new friendly.”

“Prepare to engage the enemy capital ships. It is going to be combat landings for the vipers.” Lawson was clutching a pen, twisting it in her hand.

“Focus on the big ones,” Lawson ordered, indicating to the guns to target the larger capital ships.

“New contacts, enemy ships. Big ones,” Garner reported.

“They were waiting for us.” Lawson thought out loud.

“Changing the emergency jump coordinates,” Ramirez shouted. “Acknowledge!”

“I am calculating new coordinates,” Lieutenant Garner answered. There was an endless pause during which they could hear their own weapons fire echoing through the structure of the ship.

“They were waiting for us.” Lawson thought out loud.

“Changing the emergency jump coordinates,” Ramirez shouted. “Acknowledge!”

“I am calculating new coordinates,” Lieutenant Garner answered. There was an endless pause during which they could hear their own weapons fire echoing through the structure of the ship.

“Ready to jump civies have the coordinates,” the XO reported.

“Lets do it,” Lawson ordered, waving her hand forward.

The white flash hardly made the commander nauseous now.

There was a falling sensation and life seemed to start up again after a short freeze frame.

“DRADIS,” Garner tried to be loud, “five new targets. Three Cylons and two colonials.”

“We are receiving a challenge signal”, reported an NCO at the communications station. Amanda Washington was back in CIC having survived the virus and being certified as immune to a second infection.

“Answer it,” the commander and executive officer said at the same time.

“They are from BSG-34!” Garner said with excitement. “Two Valkyrie class.”

“Tactical plot,” Lawson ordered completing a fifteen second calculation in her head. “Turn Solaria and Mercury left. Have the civilians break left. The two Valkyries can put up a flack screen after they launch their vipers.”

“Our birds?” Jaybird sounded eager from wherever he was at the moment.

“Hold them for now. Let’s see what we are dealing with.”

A few more seconds passed. “Flak screen facing the Cylons,” Eva Lawson ordered.

“All ships report no damage ready to jump, Lieutenant Garner confirmed. “The Valkyries are recalling their birds. Combat landings. Ready to jump in 20 seconds.”

Lawson was impressed with their training. They executed quickly.

“Jump when the birds are recovered,” the commander ordered.

“We have a new civilian ship,” Garner reported.

“Launch squadrons, escort that ship into the fold,” ordered the commander. “Begin spooling up FTL drives. We need the change up the coordinates again.”

“We are getting a signal from the Valkyrie CIC. Jump coordinates that they say will take us into a hidey hole and the Cylons won’t follow.” Garner reported. Ramirez nodded agreement.

“Do it!” Lawson ordered.

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