Chapter 55: Saturn Trials

Admiral Andrew Cobb sat in his office staring at the report of the recent battle. He did not know what to do about the situation. Cory Brooks had pressured him into launching the attack before he was ready. The intelligence and I’ve been verified thoroughly.

Although he had come out of the Battlestar before his retirement, Cobb was not a very skilled tactician.

The Battlestar Mercury was disabled and vulnerable. Emergency repairs were taking place on th port flight pod.

Already in engineering estimate was on his desk that indicated it would take up to eight weeks to bring the Battlestar back into full combat readiness. The fleet done significant damage to the Cylon fuel distribution system.

However the intelligence estimates indicated a dire situation within the cylon fleet was not accurate. Clearly they had cooked the data and let the colonials see what they wanted them to see. The long campaign, had damaged a lot of ships. There was a long line of ships at the shipyard awaiting repairs.

Admiral cob had planned to supplement his whole whack of tactical and strategic experience with that of Commander Eva Lawson.

She had done a fairly good job on her own and damaging the cylon war effort. Though she had never been to the war College, she was making war against the cylon with very great effect.

The through back channels gotten a medical report on Commander Lawson. She was suffering from acute PTSD and was judged unfit for command.

This was really a matter of optics. He needed her in her position even if she couldn’t function. He decided that he would go and see the situation for himself. With shaking hands, he wrote a secure email to his local air Commander.

He ordered a force recon to be formed with six Raptors. Four of them would be assault Raptors and two of them would have the best pilots available to get him where he needed to go safely.

The shipyards air commander replied back quickly.

Although he thought the Admiral was crazy he did not say so he simply made sure that his fleet commander knew the dangerous and vulnerable situation that he was flying into.

30 minutes later he was in a raptor, wearing a flight suit and helmet as a precaution.

The jump was hard on his body. He closed his eyes to avoid the dizziness. When he opened them he saw the badly damaged Battlestar mercury through the cockpit window.

It took about 10 minutes to land the raptor detachment and get the admiral off the plane. He was walking very stiffly but you could still see a purpose to his gait.

Cory Brooks Was already looking for him. She wanted an explanation for the battle outcome.

The admiral did not deem her communications worthy of a response. He needed a plan. The only place he was going to get her plan was on the Battlestar Mercury.

* * *

Commander Lawson was resting comfortably in Sickbay oblivious to what was going on around her. She has not gotten a lot of sleep over the the past month.

She had mentally made the decision that she was going to sleep until she felt better. It was very little that was going to get in the way of accomplishing this goal.

She snored softly as she lay on her back.

Admiral Cobb walked into the room escorted only by Commander Maria Ramirez.

“I need to speak to her,” he whispered softly.

“As you can see Admiral,” Ramirez whispered her reply, “She is not taking meetings right now. Her health is my primary concern.”

“This Battlestar is the flag ship of this fleet. We are sitting at a fleet assembly point that is simply not defensible. We cannot afford to lose the ship.”

“The ship is not going to be fighting for quite some time Admiral,” Ramirez reported to her commanding officer. “We are making emergency repairs to the port fight pod. I estimate that in approximately 4 to 6 hours we will be able to jump back to the fleet shipyards.”

“If the Cylons decide to attack before the task is complete? What’s the plan ?”

“You are the commander of this Fleet Admiral Cobb. I’m new to this high level of command but usually the plans come from the top.”

“You have 600 viper pilots on the ship. We need those pilots to keep the war up against the toasters.”

Commander Maria Ramirez stepped away from the Admiral and put my finger on her chin. Obviously she needed to go up with an idea. I think she heard a scratchy voice from the other side of the room.

“What is the status of the Battlestar Saturn?” He asked.

“Ready for trials. There are 300 nuggets on board with virtually no flight experience. They are crashing the virtual reality vipers quite frequently.” Ramirez spoke softly.

“We have six hundred experienced pilots with no ship to fly off of. You Commander Ramirez have three hundred pilots that need mentoring and training. Since this ship is useless until there are repairs, we should just transfer the entire air wing and crew over to the Saturn.”

Cobb contemplated the idea for a few moments and decided it was the way to go. “You will receive orders as soon as I can get them cut. Prepare this crew for transfer to the Saturn.”

“Roger that Sir,” Commander Ramirez tapped some commands into the tablet computer she was holding.

“Unfit for command,” Cobb spoke in an incredulous voice. “Horse manure.” He spotted Doctor Jameson walking into the private room. He made eye contact. “Certify Commander Lawson fit for duty.”

“Are you out of your frakking mind Admiral Cobb?”

“Get the frak out of here everyone,” Commander Lawson whispered. “I’m trying to sleep here.” She curled up and started breathing evenly.

Those pain killers must be really good, as Commander Laws did not feel the 4 broken ribs or the wounds all over her body. She absolutely stroked the steel color that was still locked onto her neck. The engineering crews had not reached agreement with the doctor and how to remove the device that was made of an alloy it was unknown to the colonies

* * *

The Battlestar Saturn pulled out of the shipyard, construction nearly complete. The ship which had been under construction at the time of the second cylon war have been overlooked and the damage done by the first attack on the Scorpia shipyards.

Now complete and ready for trials, the massive warship moved serenely away from the mobile shipyards set up by the remnants of the colonial fleet.

She was fully equipped with 10 squadrons 75 each of Mark seven vipers. In addition she had to squadrons of assault raptors and two squadrons of reconnaissance raptors.

Since the start of the second cylon war, the enemy had never faced a fully equipped mercury class Battlestar. The Mercury have been badly damaged losing half their squadrons on the first day of the war.

Flight operations wrapped up slowly as the crews were not used to operating for flight deck’s at full capacity. Raptors were taking off and landing on all four landing decks. Vipers were being catapulted some right side up some upside down.

Pilot training was being conducted away from the Battlestar. Basic formation flying was followed by target practice and then touch and go landings I’m all for landing decks.

This was a site not seen since the large training exercises done months before the fall of the colonies. The attitude was professional and serious nobody wanted to be the first accident during flight operations of this new warship.

* * *

In the CIC, Commander and Ramirez was standing 2 feet away from the plotting table, her eyes darting from various displays including DRADIS And measurements of the engine and other critical systems of the Battlestar. Everything looked to be going by the book so far, working by precision very close to the normal operating standards.

Now in a properly fitting uniform she looked slight, less than average height. However she had intellectually mastered the operations of a mercury class Battlestar. Everyone knew she knew her job. Everyone respected the combat operations she had managed during the absence of Commander Lawson.

She felt oddly comfortable in the ship which she had never set foot in prior to three days ago when the transfer from the damaged mercury began. This place felt like home. She felt that she belong here. It was strange because she had still not completed the check ride for basic flight.

Colonial law before the fall had required the commander of any Battlestar be a licensed pilot. You could fly vipers or you could fly raptors. Do you have to hold the pilots license in order to come out a battle star.

The peoples Council passed legislation shuffle weeks ago to resend that law at the urging of Admiral Cobb. He insisted that the law be adhered to. It was important however that since Maria Ramirez was undergoing flight training both in the VR suites and carefully guided flight operations, with the best tutors available.

As opposed to the prior Jupiter class Battlestar’s, the CIC of the mercury class was quite cramped. There’s barely room for 20 people and often times elbows were bouncing off each other.

When the doors of the CIC opened and in a wheelchair with a scarf around her neck, Commander Lawson Was wheeled in next to a place next to Commander Ramirez, people turn their began to clap.

Commander Eva Lawson was high on painkillers. Still when she moved in the chair it was obvious that she was in a great deal of pain. The medicine cannot mask her extensive injuries. She motioned to the crew and spoke in a soft voice. “Get back to work you lazy bastards,” she smiled and hope that attention will go back away from her.

She was wheeled to a place next to Ramirez. The younger woman laying down to her former commander and whispered. “How to make an appearance up here did you?”

“That fracking engineer wants to saw this thing off my neck,” she said. “I’m going to try and avoid that experience for as long as possible. It’s not like I have to go through metal detectors to get on board my ship.”

“True enough,” Ramirez smiled as he answered softly.

“So what are we doing today,” Commander Lawson asked and she shifted painfully in her chair.

“We’ve got an old atlas class carrier that suffered a massive internal radiation like 40 years ago. The shipyard weenies could not figure out how to clean her out so we’re going to blow her into pieces. Target practice.”

“Well let’s get on with it,” Lawson smiled. “You never know when Tool master Thomas from engineering my catch up with me.”

“This is Saturn actual,” Ramirez said in a forceful voice. “Commence target practice and demolition exercises. Vipers first, followed by assault raptors, finally a salvo of torpedoes and then our main guns if it’s anything left over.”

“Will she should back?” Lawson asked.

“Simulated rounds,” Saturns commander answered. Our people will be using live ammunition. Hardly seems fair.”

“Those atlas class ships has much armor is the mercury class. They are hard to kill.”

As the exercise progressed, Lawson’s mind wandered. She was impressed with the squadrons of remote controlled Mark 1 vipers that presented themselves for target practice for the Saturns Vipers. Suddenly she was back in detention. The assaults she had enjoyed, always coming up with new insults to spit out.

What was terrible was the long cold nights, chained and exposed to the cold. This was true torture for her. When the exercise was over, tears were streaming down her face. Ramirez caught the flashback first. Seeing that Lawson was unresponsive, she wiped her face with a white handkerchief. She began to guide the wheelchair out of CIC when the sick bay orderly got the clue and took over.

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