Chapter 60: 10 jumps through hell

Chapter 60: The Cylon “Peace”

The day after she was promoted to Admiral Commander Lawson, rather Admiral Lawson was greeted with a wireless call in her office on the Mercury. The buzzing was annoying so she answered it immediately.It was her executive officer Major Simmons.

“Do you have a conference call with Commander Ramirez and Admiral Cobb. Corey Brooks is also on the conference call.” He reported.

“Who is it?” She asked.

“It’s audio only but he says his brother cavil a model number one humanoid Cylon. Everyone is waiting for you to join the call.”

“Don’t let me slow you down put them on.”

“Them sir?” He asked.

“A little Cylon joke,” she smiled.

“We have an announcement for you humans. We have decided that the attack on the colonies was a mistake. We lowered ourselves to the level of humans and committed atrocities. We are going to leave the colonies now. They are yours to inhabit again no harm no foul.”

Corey Brooks answered him, “No harm no foul? You exterminated billions and left our worlds to be irradiated for hundreds of thousands of years. You’re just calling that even?”

” Funny that’s what Adama and said when we told him. President Roslyn promoted him to Admiral weeks before you got your new job. Funny. I think he’s your senior officer now by a few weeks.”

“Are you in contact with him can you take a message to them?” Asked Cory Brooks.

“Well we’ve temporary lost track of them. They’ll probably do something self-destructive and put us back on the trail. We’d rather not they join forces with you. Five Mercury class vessels and 2 Jupiter battle stars is a little bit too much firepower for you.”

“Good try,” Ramirez said softly.

“Anyway,” the model number one continued. “Just a some political crisis for you Baltar has been elected president of the colonies. You see they don’t know you exist. Do you think he’s going to be very helpful to us as your peoples leader?” he asked. “I do.”

“Well thank you for nothing,” Admiral Lawson remarked.

“Please let us finish,” the humanoid model continued. “There was a rebellion on all 12 of the colonies. They no longer have us to fight. They also no longer have access to anti-radiation medication. There were about 30,000 of them are all 12 colonies. Are you going to let them die a horrible death of radiation poisoning? Or you could surprise us and rescue your fellow humans.”

“Why did you tell us this?” asked Brooks.

“Well we’re not as bad as humans we can’t just leave them to be slowly killed. We prefer killing people quickly with nuclear weapons.”

There were some interference at some grumbling on the human side of the conference call.

“You should be careful we’ve lost track of some of our brothers in some relics from the first war with the humans. I now declare that the second war between the Cylon and human is over. Good luck and safe travels.”

“Admiral Lawson,” the executive of the People’s Council ordered. I would like you to send recon into the colonies and validate this models words. We will prepare rescue missions as soon as you let us know it safe.

The intel did not look very good. It would take ten jumps to get the refugees from their home colony to an assembly point where they could be transferred to other ships.

There was a convention of obsolete Cylon ships jumping from place to place, looking for a fight. This was peace, Cylon style.

Admiral Lawson walked up to the lectern in the pilot ready room of the Athena. She had reluctantly given her XO command of the Athena. Crews were pretty thin and they were pulling pilots out of training to put them to work.

Though this was the pilots ready room, there were several knuckle draggers present. This was acknowledgment of the important role that would be played by the maintenance team.

“During the first Cylon war, they called this the Anabasis run. Ten jumps to get refugees from outlying outposts back to Caprica. This time we will be taking them from the Colonies to our new homes. It will take 10 jumps and it will be hard.”

“The Cylons left a large number of older ships and Cylons behind, with the intention of making us spend resources of blood and treasure to recover these people. The average run could bring us 15,000 refugees. These people have fought the Cylons for nearly a year. A lot of them will be available for us to crew some more ships and strengthen our defenses for when the war resumes.”

“These people are running low on radiation meds. They need our help. We are going to do our best for them and minimize our losses. It will be approximately one jump per day. We may have to keep this up for twenty or perhaps 30 days.”

“Your are going to be exhausted. You will need to do more than your best. We have 318,000 souls under your protection. If we increase that a lot, we will get stronger. Any questions?”

“If the Cylons left the Colonies, why can’t we just move back in?” An orange suited viper maintenance technician asked.

“The radiation from all those nukes has left the twelve colonies uninhabitable,” Ramirez took the question. “It may be a hundred thousand years or more before these worlds can be safe. They may never be safe.”

“It is going to be one jump per day. You need to keep the freighters and the Celestra’s safe. You will be drawing your supplies off one and parts needed for repairs off the other,” Lawson said forcefully. “Jump off tomorrow 0600 hours. Lets do this!”

A chorus of “So say we all” echoed through the room.

Rose Carey was a level 6 maintenance technician, who had mustered out of the Colonial fleet two weeks before the attacks on the Colonies. She was on a cruise ship with her fiancee when it was damaged during the initial assault on Gemenon. The ship managed with the help of herself and a dozen other former Colonial Fleet veterans to make emergency repairs and reach a muster point set up for refugees.

After three months in a refugee camp, moving twice she was more than happy to get into the service. She served several months on a Valkyrie, before being promoted and sent to the Mercury. She was made an assistant deck chief there and transferred to the Saturn when it was commissioned.

She was bitter, her fiancee had been killed several weeks back and was glad to have a place to sleep and get three meals a day. Sleep was often forgotten during the high operational tempo that was maintained for months.

She got up the morning of the first jump back from Tauron and was very pleased. There was only light damage to a couple of vipers. The enemy force sent to stop them was not very strong.

She made a note in her diary.

Day 310 of the second war.

Easy day. Ten planes damaged, not big deal. If this is all the Cylons can bring we are going to be okay.

Bruce Jenkins was a 24 year old viper pilot, having graduated from the VR school on the Saturn and doing actual flight training on an old Artemis class battlestar. He was assigned to the Saturn and then promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to help new pilots assimilate.

On his first mission of the Anabasis run, he had intercepted some inbound ordinance and assisted on a kill in his Mark seven viper. It was a pretty good day. He did not keep a diary, but he made sure to give Rose Carey a high five as she checked his viper. “Nice one,” he said.

Day 311 of the war. Jump 2. Resistance had been stepped up. A couple of viper pilots had gotten blotted out of the sky today. Another dozen had gotten shot up pretty good. There was smoke coming out of his high engine when he did the final checklist. Rose Carey sniffed and checked the undercarriage of the Mk.7. There was damage and hydraulic fluid was leaking.

“Can you get it ready for the next op?” Jenkins asked, apologetically. “Yeah probably,” she said, wiping grease off her forehead. “It’s going to take a while.”

“You can’t take them at too sharp an angle nugget,” Jenkins, call sign ‘Cruiser’ warned the youthful pilot as he tried to bring down some inbound missiles.

“Heads up,” warned another pilot. “You got a raider on your six!”

“Break! Break! Break!” Jenkins ordered. “Don’t worry about the missiles, don’t get killed.”

“There was a flash and a scream.” The nugget, who had not even gotten a call sign was gone.

“FRAK!” Jenkins shouted and banged a fist on his arm rests.

“Cruiser break right, you have a raider on you. Classic type.”

Jenkins heard something snap and his Mk.7 became difficult to control. He avoided the raider, jinked his Viper, grunting as he did it and put a killing shot in three consecutive Cylons.

“Nice kills Cruiser!” congratulated one pilot.

“Shut the frak up. We lost a nugget today.”

“RTB RTB RTB all vipers. Combat landings are authorized.” On landing, he realized that he had hit too hard, damaging his gear.

He looked sheepish at Rose Carey and apologized as his Mk.7 was dragged into the bay. “It’s gonna take me all night to fix that,” she complained. She gestured helplessly at the damaged landing strut.

“I’m really sorry booster,” he said using her call sign. “Let me help.” He stripped off his flight suit and grabbed a wrench.

A smart assed remark was on her lips but she accepted the help and let him start stripping the landing strut after she locked the Mk.7 into place and lifted it half a meter.

Day 312. Diary Entry. Sleepy. Fixed lots of bent birds. A mark went down the page where she fell asleep while writing.




_________________________


Day 313. Jump 3.

Carey wrote in her diary. “Cruiser came back nearly in tears. His squadron commander was killed. We now have a back log of 30 damaged Mk.7 vipers. We are working around the clock. Several convoy ships got hit by enemy fire today. They tried to thin out my crew today to get people to assist in the repairs. Chief Carlson stopped them in their tracks.

Day 314 Jump 4. While in the maintenance bay they put the feed of the squadrons on the speakers. It was scary.

“Splash one, splash two.” One pilot said.

“We have six inbound missiles, guided bearing down on that Artemis.”

“No don’t spin up flak you idiot, we have it under control,” Cruiser warned.

“That Valkyrie just took a missile in the port pod.”

“Hey whoever is firing those mines, not through a squadron configuration.”

“Oooeee!” A pilot shouted. “Just say a Revanant eat two mines. She’s breaking up.”

“All batteries switch to target two,” Ramirez’s voice interrupted. “Salvo mode.” She sounded tired.

“Three bent birds touching down on the port ventral pad,” the announcement from the LSO warned.

“Which pod are we in?” Rose wondered. “Starboard, that means right. Good. I don’t have to fix those birds.”

“All vipers RTB now now now. Combat landings are authorized.”

“Damn it!” Carey grunted. “Those frakking combat landings bang up the birds and keep my crews up all night.”

“Prepare for jump in five, four, three, two, one seconds. JUMP!”

Day 315. Jump 5. “Ten birds were not ready for launch today from this deck when the Cylons jumped in. We are dead tired. One of my guys fell asleep in a cockpit, while he was replacing some circuit breakers. Rose was was short and thin, with dirty blonde hair. Her eyes were red from lack of sleep,

“What the FRAK!” she said when she saw Cruisers viper. “It’s going to take ten hours to have that thing ready for the next fight. Cruiser, you are white as a ghost.” She was suddenly concerned. His windshield was cracked. He collapsed, while climbing down his ladder.

He was grounded for the next mission. A light wound, he put on coveralls and helped get the vipers ready for those who were flying.

Day 316 of the war Jump 6. Rose wrote in her diary.

“I really appreciate Cruisers help with the grunt work. He is crappy as a knuckle dragger, but he does help us get things done. We worked through the battle and got all the backlogged vipers back in action.

“Twenty more came in after the jump. Will this ever end? I’ve had seven or eight hours of sleep this week. What the frak.”

Day 317 of the war Jump 7

Rose writes in her diary.

Cruiser got back in the air today, two days after being wounded. He is a hero in my book, getting up every day to defend this fleet and the civies we protect. He is also good looking athletic build, 1.8 meters tall with light brown hair.

I could live with that. It would not be settling. I hear he is dating a pilot from red squadron, Tamar Miller. She landed on our deck today as an emergency, due to a combat landing collision. She is a beauty, perfect figure. I wish she had picked someone else.

We jump, we launch all our birds, they shoot down missiles, then raiders. Then my team fixes up the birds for another jump. This pace is terrible on people and equipment. Every day the freighter drops us off more spare parts, sometimes entire vipers to replace our losses. That is why we surround them like a cocoon.

Cruiser brought his viper home today without a scratch. He gave me a high five and then a huge hug when he reached the bottom of the ladder. I will remember this day for a long time.

Day 318 of the war. Jump 8.

Rose writes in her diary.

Lieutenant Tamar Miller call sign “Black hair” due to her long mane of perfectly black hair was appointed blue squadron commander yesterday. She is Cruiser’s boss. I wonder if they will continue to date.

She and the commander stopped by to encourage us. Turns out “Black Hair” started out in the fleet as a cook after washing out as a pilot. She baked the entire deck gang cookies as a thank you. They were great.

I saw Commander Ramirez stuff a few cookies in her pocket. She should eat them. She looks gaunt. I hear she started the war as an overweight computer geek.They both made speeches. I fell asleep. My gang says they were great speeches.

Day 319 of the war

“Cruiser watch that bunch on the right, they are busting through and going to try and kill a Valkyrie.”

“Roger that Tamar, I mean black hair. Nugget! On my lead, hard right, we are going to do the fancy move we tried in the simulator.”

A nervous voice came on the speakers. Rose paused for a moment and looked up at the speaker. “I’m not sure I can do it skipper.”

“Nonsense,” Cruiser encouraged. “Just like we practiced. Stay on my wing.”

There was some garbled communication and a screech of a female voice. “Kryptor, I’m hit. I’m …”

Viper one niner two seven was hauled in by a SAR bird.

The Ensign, Ruth Jacobs was still inside the shattered cock pit.

Tamar Miller and Bruce Jenkins were nose to nose and arguing while Rose Carey looked over the badly damaged Viper.

“I told you that rook was not ready for that move. It took me three months to get it down.”

“She was ready Black Hair.”

“She was NOT!” the squadron commander spat back.

“She did it right. I blew the move. I clipped her viper, knocked her off course. It was MY fault. I killed her.” He took off his wings and smashed them into her hand. Then he stormed off the flight deck.

“Cruiser, no, don’t do this.”

Her eyes met Rose Carey’s. She almost shouted “What the frak are you looking at knuckle dragger.” She stopped herself. The woman looked so worn down, with smudges of grease on her forehead and both cheeks. “Can you fix that bird?” she asked, gesturing toward the one with the nuggets remains still splattered around the cock pit.

“No,” Rose answered, “that will have to go to the viper factory and be remanufactured. Those civilians whine a lot, but they make good vipers.”

“I have a favor to ask.”

“Yes Lieutenant.”

The squadron CO draped an arm over Roses shoulder. “Its just us, call me Tammie.”

Day 320 of the war. Rose Carey and Bruce Jenkins alone in a launch tube.

“We need you to take these,” she handed back the wings. “I know you did your best to protect us and that nugget.”

“I killed her,” he sobbed.

“No that was the toasters.” She stood up on tip toes and gave him a peck on the cheek. She was so nervous. “Honor her memory. Protect us for one more jump.”

The last jump cost the fleet a Valkyrie, but all the pilots at least got home safe.

End of mission 1. 8561 refugees saved.

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