Chapter 54: PTSD

Chapter 54: PTSD

Secure communications:

From: Colonial Fleet Headquarters. Admiral Andrew Cobb

To: Commander Maria Ramirez. Commander Battlestar Saturn

Re: Status Commander Eva Lawson

We are in receipt of the debriefing of the Commando force. We have received nothing on the status of Commander Lawson.

Please send complete medical and psychological profile to this office immediately. We need to plan further operations.

Regards,

Admiral Andrew Cobb

Commander Ramirez thew the printout into the garbage. “Frakking pencil pusher,” she barked.

“What’s her medical status Doctor Jameson?”

“She has 4 broken ribs, a sprained wrist, bumps and bruises. She was sexually assaulted, and brutally beaten.” The middle aged man with white hair, was speaking from memory, not looking at the chart.

“When are we going to get her back? I’ve kind of got something to do here.”

“Can’t really tell,” Jameson answered. “She might have PTSD.”

* * *

Cory Brooks was making a nuisance of herself in Admiral Cobb’s office. She had used civilian authority normally only held by the president to appoint Cobb. She considered him her ‘kept’ Admiral. He was not acting very much like he owed her anything.

“What’s the problem here,” she asked? “Lawson is either the commander or she’s not.”

“Commander Ramirez is refusing to provide any information on her condition.”

“All of us saw the proof of life video.” Brooks folded her arms. “Aren’t you planning a major operation Admiral?”

“I am,” he walked with a cane and unsteadily at that. “We have fresh intel and a real shot at tanking the Cylon’s fuel supply. Our hack of their network indicates that they may have been forced to take forty base stars out of the hunt for Galactica and Pegasus.”

“Why aren’t you ordering the strike?” Brooks demanded.

“Because I take a long term view to this war. I need Commander Ramirez taking over the Saturn and starting the process of taking three hundred nuggets and making them into viper pilots.”

“Can we win the war now if we further decrease their fuel supplies?”

“Yes Madame Executive.”

“Then lets leave Ramirez on Mercury, they are according to your justification for her promotion doing a great job. Lets take a step to win the war today.”

“That video concerns me. It could disrupt that crews focus. That could lead to a disastrous outcome.”

“Everyone knew she was a slut for the past 15 years. The Cylons are trying to exploit that.”

“A situation like this could break a crew.” Cobb’s hand was shaking badly.

“This intelligence is fresh yes?” Brooks pressed her point.

“Yes.”

“It is verified by reconnaissance?”

“Yes Madame Executive.”

“If we wait too long might we miss this opportunity?”

“Yes but our forces are damaged and depleted from 4 weeks of high operational tempo.”

“Win this war Admiral,” Brooks warned, “or I will find an Admiral who will. Even if that Admiral is named Lawson.”

“Yes Sir”

“I never got this military protocol thing,” Brooks said as she briskly got up and left the room. He was once again a ‘kept’ Admiral, obeying her wishes.

* * *

Commander Maria Ramirez was alone with Commander Eva Lawson who stared into space and showed no signs of awareness. Her eyelids shut once in a while, but there was no getting through to her.

The former IT LT (Lieutenant) as she thought of herself held Lawson’s hand and squeezed it firmly.

“You take as much time as you need commander.” Lawson did not respond. An NCO handed Ramirez a printout of some fleet communications.

Secure communications:

From: Colonial Fleet Headquarters. Admiral Andrew Cobb

To: Commander Maria Ramirez. Commander Battlestar Saturn

Re: Status Commander Eva Lawson

Four fleet attack plan “Delta” is ordered to commence at 11:00. Check intelligence briefing Sierra for jump coordinates.

Good Hunting.

Regards,

Admiral Andrew Cobb

“What time is it now?” Ramirez asked.

“1030 Sir” the NCO replied.

Ramirez dropped her mentor’s hand on the bed. “What the frak? Get ready for combat jump. Set condition one.”

“Pilots are in the ready room Sir,” the NCO noted before taking her leave.

Ten minutes later, Ramirez was in the pilot ready room. There was a conference call on the monitor showing three other flagship.

“We have 4 targets,” Ramirez said. “The last four Cylon gas stations in the sector. If we take them out, the Cylon presence in the colonies will be crippled. Don’t expect this to b a turkey shoot. The toasters know we are coming and they know our strategic objective. The future of this war depends on the outcome. Good Hunting.”

“We jump at 11:00|!” Ramirez said firmly.

* * *

“Alpha fleet is on the scene. We see the target moving to attack formation. Launching vipers.”

“We they have defenses up! Do we abort?”

“Negative, engage target. Evade first.”

“We got base stars!”

“Prepare for withdrawal. Lets see if we can hit the target on the way out.

“Heracles locking on main guns!”

“Valkyrie one locking on main guns!”

“Orion one has a firing solution.”

“Valkyrie two has em in our sites.”

“Atlas one firing solution.”

“Splash one base star.”

“CAG! We are taking heavy fire.”

“Firing on the refinery!”

“No joy no joy!”

“We re taking heavy fire!”

“Objective destroyed.”

“Recall all vipers! Combat landings are authorized!”

* * *

Mercury Group “Strike force gamma”

A special tension filled the air aboard the Mercury as this strike against Cylon Tylium refining capacity was supposedly going to cripple their fleet and lead to more strikes similar to those done against idled ships, parked in rows due to fleet starvation.

Word has also spread that Commander Lawson was safely aboard in sick bay. Crew morale was at an all time high. Everybody wanted to get this raid over with and come up with an excuse to visit her in sick bay.

While the entire fleet prepared to jump, there was excited chatter all over the warship. “Did you see that video tape?” One gun maintenance technician asked another member of the same crew.

“I saved a copy on my tablet bud. That was too good to send into the bit bucket.”

Chapter 54

“That is frakking disrespectful,” the other crew member shot back. “She’s our commander.”

“That’s the best porn I’ve seen since the fall. I’m not deleting it.”

In CIC the mood was more serious.

“Jump coordinates confirmed, every ship reports correctly,” The FTL navigation officer reported.

“Communications confirms the numbers,” an Ensign in a wireless headset reported.

“Jump.” Ramirez ordered.

The feeling of this jump was different. A sideways type of motion occurred during the flash of light.

“DRADIS! Collision alarm. Bad jump point. The refinery is almost 80 degrees starboard of our current position.”

“Hard to starboard, all ships, crash turn now now now!”

A large Cylon fleet had greeted them near the jump in point and was in motion in the general direction of the Colonial fleet.

“What do we have?’ Commander Ramirez demanded.

“Three base stars, three Revenant’s and three or four Nemesis. The last seven are all first war throw throwaways.”

The crash turn strained the systems that provided gravity and kept their feet on the floor.

“Those coordinates were way off!” The tactical officer warned.

“Hold your fire until we get an actual firing solution,” Ramirez heard the tactical officer order. She nodded her ascent.

“Launch our birds.”

The DRADIS display showed their course which with the hard turn had them approaching the refinery. There was not a good firing solution at the moment due to the fear of sending the refinery tanks flying into one of their ships.

The two Orion’s were too far forward, out of position, having passed to the right of the refinery.

The DRADIS chirped and suddenly there was a target right under the refinery. All six ships had a firing solution. The commander did not waste a moment. “Fire!”

“More Collision alerts,” warned a navigation officer.

“Bring the nose up or we are going to plow right through that thing!”

“That would mean barbecued Mercury.”

“Shut the frak up and concentrate on your jobs.” Ramirez got that out before the base star, but not the refinery went up in a fireball.

“Splash one base star.”

“Redirect salvo fire to next target,” Ramirez ordered. “Watch your course gamma group, this is already a cluster frak.”

“Another base star and a couple of support ships down Sir,” the tactical officer reported.

“Heavy fire against the port flight pods. We are taking damage.”

“Damage control, report status port flight pods?” The commander ordered. “Helm plot a turn, lets not let them get another hit on that flight pod.”

“Damage control reports hull breaches in the port flight pod.”

“Maintain salvo fire!” Commander Ramirez ordered. “Helm watch for more collisions, the Cylons are scattering.

“Lucky shot just took out the objective. Refinery is history.”

“Recall the birds, combat landings are authorized on the starboard flight pod.”

“Begin jump prep.”

“Jump key is in.”

“Birds are coming in slow,” the LSO warned.

“Port pod took another hit.”

“Hard to port, get those frakking left pods out of their firing arches. Can someone also tell me how our jump coordinates could be that far off.” Ramirez was livid.

All but a few straggling Cylon ships were wiped out. This operation had become a gigantic foobar.

After the normal flash of light the entire fleet, all four fleet groups were at the same rally point,

“Alpha group emergency jump.”

Ramirez looked at there reports coming in. “Look at this. Beta and Delta did not hit their targets. Our intelligence was wrong.”

“It was verified by raptor reconnaissance,” the CAG argued.

“Cylons brought in more forces, more fuel and moved the refinery,” Seethed Ramirez. “The oldest trick in the book. We fell for it.”

“Three ships heavily damaged, we might lose one.”

“We need new intelligence and we need it yesterday.” She walked up to the damage control display and gestured at all the red lights on the port flight pod. “Begin search and rescue operations. Double shifts until we can get those holes sealed.”

The ships engineer, who rarely made appearances in CIC, walked in stroking his goatee and dropped a report on the plotting table. “I recommend against jumping until we inspect and shore up some of the structural members in those pods. We have some pretty heavy damage in there.”

“How long to fix it?” The commander asked wearily.

“Admiral,” he began.

“Commander gods damn it.”

“Just beating the crowd Sir.”

“HOW LONG?” Ramirez looked like she was going to pounce.

“We will need 12 hours to do the engineering survey. That’s after the search and rescue operations are done.”

“What if the Cylons jump in?”

“Without knowing what is going on, an emergency jump could shear off both pods.”

“Get to work,” Ramirez snapped. “Take as many crew as you need.”

“Aye Sir.”

“Get the frak out of here Mendelson.”

The battle was supposed to be before stepping in winning the war against the Cylons.  Instead it was a unmitigated disaster.  The flagship of the colonial fleet was disabled, vulnerable and unable to jump home.

The legendary commander of the Battlestar Mercury was in the ship’s sick bay, catatonic and unresponsive.

With the loss of a single battle, the fate of the colonial fleet fell from the illusion of certain victory to the edge of disrepair. 

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