They got ten days “off” between missions. Admiral Lawson led a huge fleet to make the next run to the old colonies as they were now often referred to as.
It took seven days for Rose Carey’s team to get through the viper and raptor repair backlog.
Then there were three days of off shore leave. The shipyard was too vulnerable if they were let off their posts. So while amor was replaced and upgraded on the outside of the ships, the exhausted pilots and deck crews and many others slept in for up to 14 hours a day.
An amusement park of sorts was set up in the port hangar bay of the Saturn. The starboard bay featured a bar and music.
After putting in a few shifts helping with the repair backlog, the pilots felt less guilty about taking time off and started to filter into the amusement setup, for the young and innocent. For most suffering PTSD it was the temporary bar set up on the starboard hanger deck.
There was a pretty good selection of drink mixes. Cruiser, drowning the memory of two dead nugget trainees suddenly thought of Rose Carey and remembered she liked tropical drinks. So he found a pineapple coconut mix had the bartender add in some Tauron rum and unsteadily walked to where the knuckle draggers were still working on the viper backlog.
Carey was ready to tear into him but remembered how fragile he was for that second nugget, took the drink, put it on a maintenance trolly and whispered into his ear. “Bring enough for my entire crew and I will give them two hours off.” She gestured at the trolly.
Fifteen minutes later he and some actually sober pilots were back with a trolly full of drinks and snacks for Carey’s team.
“Two hours down time!” Carey announced. “One drink per customer then its all virgin drinks.” She noted in her logs that the hour before the break they completed repairs on two Mk.7 vipers. The two hours after the break they averaged almost 4 vipers per hour. She smiled thinking she should write a management book.
* * *
Lieutenant Tamar Miller sat across the table from Bruce Jenkins. Miller aged 28 had just been promoted to squadron commander, Jenkins aged 24 had just made Lieutenant was the assistant squadron commander of the same squadron.
The pair had served together on the Mercury and later the Saturn in different squadrons. They had dated for a little over three months. Two weeks ago, Miller’s promotion had brought that relationship to a grinding halt.
“There are other assistant squadron commander slots in the fleet,” Miller said calmly, willing herself not to fidget.
“I like the squadron I’m in,” he replied. “Watching your six,” he smirked looking over the edge of the table. “Is definitely a choice assignment.”
“Regulations are clear. There are no relationships allowed within the same command,” she said. “As much as I will miss it, we are on hold.”
“If we stay discreet, I don’t see the issue. Things have changed. Our home worlds are irradiated and many billions are dead.”
“You know how personal relationships were used against Admiral Lawson,” Miller pointed out.
“So what? They still made her an Admiral.”
“You know she was slut shamed and investigated.”
“Investigated for sleeping with a toaster,” he interrupted. “Are you a toaster? I’m not.”
“Everything we do including whether we decide to frak reflects on her as she is Commander in Chief of the entire fleet. The regulation is in force. I will follow it.”
Jenkins put his drink on the table, making a loud noise.
“Thank you for your time,” Squadron commander, he said angrily.
Sausage, the CAG of the Saturn, James Redding and recently promoted to captain approached Lieutenant Miller. “That was hard,” he said.
“Frak off … Sir.” she briefly considered throwing a drink in his face. “I know that following the regulations that it protects the Admiral. You can stay the frak away from me until we start the operation.”
Day 331 jump 1. Total jumps for Anabasis 11.
Rose Carey in her diary: Jump one is behind us. No pilots lost, six vipers damaged.
Day 332 jump 2.
Vlog of James “Sausage” Redding.
“Jump two was like a training exercise. The toasters know what we are doing and each jump they throw more forces at us. Two minutes of combat. Several missiles did make it through. No pilots lost, very little damage to the birds. Combat landings broke a couple of landing struts. The chief keeps complaining about needless combat landings. Soon they wont be needless.”
Day 333 since the fall. Jump 3.
“This is black hair, we just let through three missiles. That is too many. Get back to your patrol locations. Engage raiders only on my command squadron. They are feinting, making false runs to pull us out of position.”
“Sausage to black hair, engage that Cerastes!”
“Aye! Blue squadron engage!”
“Fleet is taking fire!” Ramirez barked on the channel wanting better performance.
Rose Carey in her diary. “Fifteen birds damaged. Lost two pilots. Frakking toasters.”
Day 334 since the fall, Jump 4 14 total outbound Anabasis jumps.
“This is Cruiser, lead ship is putting fire on Athena. Do we engage?”
“Three enemy ships just jumped in on the fleets six, do we engage?” Miller asked.
“Negative,” Ramirez ordered. “RTB fast we are spooling up. PCM will take care of it. Combat landings are authorized.”
Rose Carey to her diary “21 bent birds between the four assigned squadrons. Lost a raptor and two vipers. 4 more dead pilots. This is peace? We should nuke the Cylon home world.”
Day 335 since the fall Jump 5 total of 15 outbound Anabasis jumps.
“Sausage to Black Hair, missile just got through and hit an Artemis. Another one reports being hacked. Oh frak fireball on my wing. Tornado where the hell are you?”
“That was Tornado,” Bruce Jenkins reported.
Rose Carey fell asleep her head in her diary, having written nothing.
Day 336 since the fall Jump 6 total of 16 outbound Anabasis jumps.
“Missile wave 1 suppressed,” Cruiser reported. “Mostly PCM.”
“All ships engage lead Nemesis with forward guns. CAG, Sausage whatever second Nemesis broke through. Assign a squadron.” Commander Ramirez ordered. Where was the XO?
“Go get them blue squadron,” Sausage ordered.
“Wilco,” Miller’s voice sounded exhausted.
“Radiological alarm. An Argos just fired a nuke!”
“Second nuke!” Red squadron has it.
“Am I red or blue?” a confused pilot asked.
“Arachne just jumped in close!”
“Firing solution main guns salvo mode!”
“Splash one Nemesis!”
“Saturn just took a salvo in navigation. Who was supposed to intercept?” Sausage asked.
“Athena purple team!”
“RTB all ships show green. Combat landings.”
Rose Carey writes. “We have 30 birds to fix, will only get to twenty. Welcome to my backlogged list ten birds.
Day 337 since the fall Jump 7 total of 17 outbound Anabasis jumps.
James “Sausage” Redding vlog: Heavy air resistance today. Lost another friend.
Commander Maria Ramirez: Written log. “Made it through without losing a ship. Record is what 8 jumps. Three more experienced pilots died today. CAG is sounding unsteady. Got hit on three sides. Considering formation changes. To what?”
Day 338 since the fall Jump 8 total of 18 outbound Anabasis jumps.
Rose Carey in diary. “The enemy upgraded to Revenant gunships today. Where are they getting all this hardware?”
“Nuke! Coming in hot,” Tamar Miller said “I got it!”
“Theres two! One just detonated off the flight pod of an Artemis.”
“This is Avenger, we need help. Lost pressure in the port flight pod.”
“All birds on the deck. ”Keep flak up. All ships jump jump jump.”
Day 339 since the fall Jump 9 total of 19 outbound Anabasis jumps.
“We got base stars. First war saucer base stars!”
“Just took a missile salvo on the bow. Avenger is in trouble.”
“Mark seven squadrons engage. Mark two on defense,” Ramirez ordered on the flight channel.
“More tangos just jumped in!”
“Splash two Nemesis,” Sausage reported.
“Two nukes inbound. They are going for Avenger!”
“Scratch a Revenant gunship!”
“We just lost Avenger!”
“Frak, there are too many of them.”
“DRADIS Arachne just jumped in close.”
“We have boarders. Repeat. First war centurions have boarded us.”
“Scratch another I dunno, it was big!”
“RTB all birds. Combat landings. Flak up jump jump jump!”
Day 340 since the fall Jump 10 total of 20 outbound Anabasis jumps. Hell ends again.
The Captain of the Tiblisi had looked at the recon. The entire fleet was in danger if someone did not lead some of the Cylon forces away.
With no approval he spoke to his crew and revealed his plan. “We will jump on the other side of the Cylon fleet and force them to pursue,” he said.
“Our vipers?” asked his XO who was really an LT junior grade.
“1 squadron on defense. The other assignment will be to protect the refugees.”
“Off loaded to the big battlestars.”
“So say we all Sir.”
“Here are a list of nonessentials we are moving to Athena, your name is on it XO.”
“I stand with my shipmates,” he crossed his arms defiantly.
“So say we all!” Said the CIC crew.
Ten minutes later….
“Flak is offline all systems down. Nuke inbound.”
“It’s been my greatest honor serving with you. The captain braced for impact.”
8157 souls saved.
Ramirez put every member of that crew in for a medal.