Chapter 49: The prisoner

Chapter 49

Commander Eva Lawson as a little disoriented when she awoke in the bedroom section of the commanders quarters. Her left hand reached to the other side of the bed, which she had shared with Cavil the Cylon.

This was the attractive, handsome older man with a rugged intellectual look who gave her everything she needed. Lawson brushed her jet black, curly hair from blocking her eyes. She thrashed slightly and sat up, suddenly aware of the presence of another person in the room.

A voice whispered in her head. It reminded her of her grandmother, the famous first war Admiral. “The Cylons look like us now.”

She turned in a dreamlike state, quickly looking to her right. “Yea,” Cavil the Cylon said, “one of them was frakking the commander.” There was a large, disembodied laugh echoing through out the ship.

Eva Lawson’s eyes snapped open. Then a low quality intercom voice spoke. “Revelry revelry it’s 0500 hours on the Battlestar Mercury.”

She took a breath, suddenly feeling cold. Instinctively she clutched the blankets and pulled them to her chest like a scared little girl.”

A short, skinny dark skinned private was in fact standing at the end of her bed.

“What?”

“It’s 0500 hours Sir. Skids up on your visit to the Battlestar Eagle is in 45 minutes Sir.”

Lawson stretched out in a long, luxurious stretching yawn that seemed to last for five minutes. 

Her mind remembered. The Eagle, on forward patrol. Independent thinking commanding officer who needed to understand why orders needed to be obeyed. “Right,” she remembered the rank pin. Her eye had focused on it for a moment. “Private um…”

“Private Rice Sir.”

“Well. Right. Rice. I am going to need a shower before w fly. Rice you are assigned to me as my aide.”

“Yes Sir.”

“I don’t like having a crew member all up in my business.”

The 18 year old, looked very self confident. “Sorry Sir,” she stood as tall as she could.

“So you are here to make sure I don’t frak another ….”

“Yes answered Private Rice, I am here to make sure you don’t end up in bed fracking the enemy.”

“Good Lords’s” Lawson said. “They are making them pretty fresh right now. Down in front. 

Lawson had moved frog style to the end of the bed. Her legs were draped over the edge. The private was standing right in front of her commander. Lawson look annoyed and gestured indicating she needed some space.

“Do you need any help getting out of bed commander?” she asked earnestly.

A scathing remark came to mind, but Lawson took a deep breath and simply communicated with hand signals. Several seconds later the private stood back a few steps.

Life seemed to speed up after that. Today was the first time in months she had slept in the traditional Colonial Fleet issue tee shirt. She could feel he presence of the private slut shaming her as she peeled off her clothing and slipped into the shower, which of course Rice had running for her at the perfect temperature.

As she woke from a micro nap, strapped into her seat in the back of the raptor, she remembered the long, luxurious shower. She felt an itch, but stopped herself from reaching up and banging her hand on her helmet. Then an idea came to mind.

She needed some flight time anyway. She reached up and went on intercom with her finger. “Hold on sausage,” she said. “Switch seats. I need some stick time.”

Sausage and Farmer looked at each other. Everyone knew the commander maintained her flight rating. There was nothing for them to do except say “Yes Sir” and for Sausage to give up his seat. This mission was punishment for a Viper jock. He knew he needed to learn how to keep his mouth shut.

* * *

Major Maria Ramirez, XO of the Battlestar Mercury feeling pretty good when she walked into CIC at 7 a ships time two hours before she as due. A well built Marine was keeping pac with her stride.

She had set an alarm for 5 a.m. Having met with this Marine, Sargent Johnson and discussed some of the issues aboard ship. She was not a pilot, command officers tended to give their respect to pilots.

From 5 a.m. t 6 a.m she had gone another round with the ships AI in large ship combat. It had gone well for her, before sine trigger happy Nemsis had snuck up and pumped two nukes into the Mercury.

She had learned something from the investment of time. There were a great many lessons to be learned from defeat. The next thing she had done was spend an hour in the VR suite learning to fly Vipers. She was determined to gain the respect of the crew. 

She walked into CIC with her huge marine keeping pace, her uniform hanging loose on her. The stress of losing her entire family on Tauron and the responsibility of command had melted the weight off her once curvy body. Pretty soon it would go to far this weight drop.

“All right,” she approached and focused her eyes on the deck officer who was an injured pilot restrcited from flight duty. “SITREP.”

The pilot looked as if he was ready to make remark. It pained him that this IT geek had been made XO over many qualified pilots. Tradition was being thrown out the door. It was a terrible thing.

Ramirez knew the look, stepped closer to the pilot and whispered in his ear. “Make the frakking report or tiny here will shoot you.”

“We have no Cylon activity at this time. The Cylon relay you hacked two days ago, continues to relay our comms signals and operate normally.”

“Has the commander reached the Eagle yet?”

“Negative Sir,” the pilot replied sheepishly.

“Shift change,” a private said clearly, waiting for people to change the CIC shift.

There was a beep followed by a few more. The ceiling mounted monitor which was showing a feed of the DRADIS display screen from the Eagle went dark.

Major Ramirez was a bit surprised as the display remained dark.

“We have lost contact with the Eagle Sir.”

Ramirez knew the next trick would be to try and send some fake symbol to make them hesitate to engage.

The were three sets of warning beeps. “DRADIS contact, Ramirez replied knowing what came next, if not how many.

“Three Argos class base stars, three support ships. War book says Hydra.”

“Condition one now.”

With the press of a button everything went dark, red combat lighting came on. The klaxon began waiting a second later.

“CAG wants to know when we are launching.”

“Prepare to jump the ship. Hold launch.”

The pilot walked towards Ramirez spoke forcefully as the command to insert the jump key sang out. “I don’t want to get shot or anything but the Peoples Council lists thirteen thousand refugees at three locations in this system.”

“Signal fleet command for help. Hard to port, lets get ready to show them some flak.”

“We have six hundred raiders inbound,” the DRADIS NCO reported. “The CAG wants to know why we aren’t launching.”

“If he asks that question again I will send tiny here to shoot him in his cockpit.”

“Three more contacts. Colonial transponders. Two Janus cruisers and a Ranger. Munition manifest on screen.”

“Tell command to send a Battlestar. Direct the Janus to put maximum firing rate on the nearest target that is slow and large.”

“Aye Major,” a young NCO with short blond hair acknowledged.

Ramirez grabbed the plotting table in CIC as the centrifugal force of a crash turn nearly knocked her off her feet. Several camera feeds showed missiles going out toward the Cylons along with inbound munitions. “All batteries auto fire. PCM fire right detonate at minimum distance to detonate inbound munitions.”

Someone then shouted, repeating her orders. At that moment Major Maria Ramirez computer geek from Tauron knew she was in command of the Battlestar Mercury.

The ship shook as the three ships poured munitions into the flak field, hoping to overwhelm it and get some shots in. First the flight pods would be hit, then the right side armor would be stripped.

“Order our friends to open fire on the slowest biggest target and not to stop until it melts.” Ramirez was tapping a pen on the console, waiting for a response.

“They are firing Sir.” 

One of the auxiliary monitors showed the trail of heavy missiles moving across the sky from the two ancient Janus type cruisers toward the enemy force. It looked like a powerful response.

“Major! More inbound missiles!” Shouted a nervous NCO.

“Right twenty degrees,” Ramirez said in a steely voice. “Lets gradually get the big guns to bear.”

“Argos down!” shouted a tactical officer.

“Target, Center axis. Soon as we have a firing solution.” Ramirez ordered. She looked down at a tactical display on a tablet computer she cradled in her hansd.

“Aye solution in 38 seconds.”

“Two more salvos’s inbound!” 

“Full defensive posture,” Ramirez ordered.

“Brace!” someone shouted. The deck rolled under their feet and the echo of shrapnel hitting the outer armor of the Battlestar, rose steadily until nobody’s voice could be heard. As the salvo ended, the noise abated and people stopped shouting.

“Argos down,” announced an unseen voice. There was cheering until two more salvos were unleashed from the remaining two Argos carriers.

“Another 15 degrees right,” Major Ramirez ordered.

“Starboard,” someone whispered.

“Starboard, ready the main guns,” the major ordered.

For another 29 seconds, the roar of another pair of salvos drowned out verbal communications.

“Weapons free,” Ramirez ordered.

“Firing solution!”

The roar of the forward guns filled their ears. Another inbound missile salvo joined it.

“Armro bravo!”

“We are taking some hull damage.”

“Argos down. One to go.”

‘”Adjust course to how him a different armor face,” Ramirez ordered.

“Argos down.” Just like that, the noise ended. The silence was interrupted by cheering and clapping.

“We need to plot a jump to patrol station echo,” Major Ramirez walked her navigation officer to the small plotting table in the crowded CIC.

The young lieutenant, a brown skinned Tauron pointed to the map. “Its going to take two jumps. We can either use waypoint tiger or waypoint Kilo.”

The intelligence officer spoke up. “Both are known to have regular Cylon patrols.”

“We can avoid those two choke points,” the skinny navigation officer advised. “It will take 4 jumps.”

“No,” Major Ramirez said. “Begin jump prep. we are using Kilo. We have to intercept the commanders raptor.”

“Okay we spool up for another jump immediately,” a raptor pilot opined.

“Whats the fastest jump turnaround ever on the Mercury class?” Ramirez asked.

“Admiral Samuel ‘Mercury’ Mueller, 181 seconds.”

“I want to do it in a hundred twenty,” Ramirez urged.

“Insert jump key,” shouted the officer that controlled the FTL.

“The board is green. Recon raptors on the deck.”

“Jump!” ordered the XO.

The FTL activated with its uncharacteristic unsettling whine. Then there was the disorienting white flash.

“We are at Kilo,” the navigation officer announced.

“Lets spool up,” Ramirez ordered.

“FTL actuator three is offline. Circuit breaker trio. Five minutes to repair.”

There were wo triple beeps from DRADIS. “Two base stars.”

“Crash turn to port, launch the squadrons, starboard point defense cannons on auto fire.”

“All birds have launched,” an injured pilot announced.

“Push her hard,” Ramirez ordered. “Keep changing our posture. We should be seeing some missiles inbound any moment. We can move in three dimensions. Lets see if we can evade the dumb, unguided missiles by flying this Battlestar like she is a big, slow raptor.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Evade up.”

“Yes Sir.”

The roar of an incoming salvo drowned out all speech.

“Gentle to starboard lets give those main guns a salvo firing solution.” Ramirez had a stony, hard expression on her face.

“PDC’s have a solution,” a thin, slightly built woman in the green enlisted uniform reported.

“Weapons free,” The XO said in an angry voice.

“FTL actuator is on line.”

“Spool up,” Ramirez said. “Lets kill these toasters before we jump.”

The skinny weapons officer reported. “Main batteries engaged, salvo mode.”

In another forty five seconds it was over.

“Splash base star number one.” A cheer erupted in CIC drowning out the sound of the weapons fire.

“Splash Base Star number two.”

“Recover the birds and jump.” Major Maria Ramirez was suddenly feeling a pattern. The crew and ship had transitioned from another ambiguous status to that of a killing machine.

The executive officer was okay with that. They were only machines after all.

The pit of her stomach turned into a ball of molten lead when she looked up at the DRADIS display.

“Looks like seven base stars,” the officer tasked to that grim job reported. “Wait! I have the commanders raptor.”

“Launch SAR bird,” Major Ramirez ordered.

“The base stars are scattered, moving to put us in a bracket.”

“Three close ones are opening fire!”

“SAR bird is away. Making its way to our raptor.”

“The three closest base stars are opening fire,” the weapons officer reported.

“Flak starboard,” Ramirez ordered. “We need a little more time to get the commander.”

“We are doing counter battery fire,” weapons reported. “Heavy damage to the nearest base star.”

“Line up the forward guns.” Ramirez ordered.

“Splash one base star. Firing on next target.”

“SAR bird has jumped to the commanders raptor.” The CAG was in CIC as it was obvious they were not going to launch another fighter battle. “The squadron is ready for launch.”

“SAR bird has the raptor. It’s empty.”

“Frak!” Ramirez did not know what to do next. 

The tactical lieutenant spoke up. “They are moving to surround us on three axis’s. They will be able to knock out our FTL and kill us.”

“Prepare for a nuclear strike,” Ramirez ordered. 

“We don’t know which base star she is on,” the tactical officer urged. “We have to get out of here.”

“I will NOT leave the commander behind,” the XO stomped her foot and crossed her arms defiantly.

“We can’t do her any good if we are dead,” the CAG urged.

“Communication from on of the Cylon base stars,” a tall, lanky enlisted man spoke up.

“On speaker.”

“This is the Cylon commander,” the voice crackled on the speaker, barely audible with all the weapons fire.

“We have your commander. She is going to be our guest for a while. Admiral Cain is holding one of our people on the Battlestar Pegasus. We will trade your commander for her.”

“We are not in communication with the Battlestar Pegasus,” Ramirez answered. The deck shook as some weapons fire impacted the hull. “We can’t make that happen.”

The CAG leaned in and whispered in Major Ramirez’s ear. “You have managed to hack the Cylon network a dozen times. We can break in, locate the commander and turn this situation around. But we have to get out of here now.”

“Who is this?” The voice sounded like Commander Lawson’s Cylon skin job lover.

“This is Major Ramirez, the XO of the Battlestar Mercury.”

“The computer geek?”

“The computer geek that is going to blow you out of the sky.” With hand signals she pointed at the FTL officer and ordered her to spool up.

“You should stick to software Major. We are going to jump away now. Get hold of the Battlestar Pegasus and get us our colleague. You have two days.”

“We will find a way,” Ramirez gambled. “Don’t harm her.”

“She will be treated exactly as our colleague has been treated,” the Cavil laughed, more like a cackle.

“They jumped away,” reported the DRADIS officer. “The remaining four base stars have a firing solution on us.”

“Jump!” Ramirez ordered. “Make sure the SAR bird has the coordinates so they can meet us.”

The noise and the flash of light made her sick.

“Frak! Frak! Frak!”

* * *

Commander Eva Lawson woke up and tried to move. Her wrists were shackled together. The last thing she remembered was being slammed by a Cylon concussion blast and losing control of the raptor. She must have blacked out.

She tried to raise her head. The clanking of a chain stopped her from moving. There was a steel collar on her neck. “Uh oh” she thought. She tried to move her legs. Her ankles were chained to the floor. She realized how vulnerable she was. She could not feel any clothing on her body.

“Commander Lawson,” the voice of Brother Cavil, her former Cylon lover whom she thought was in detention at a military facility echoed off the metal walls.

“We are going to have some fun,” the Cylon’s voice sounded like he was smiling.

Commander Eva Lawson knew what was coming next. They would try and break her. She steeled herself for what was to come. She felt the lash of a leather whip on her exposed back. She gritted her teeth and tried not to make any sound.

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