Chapter 63: Skirmish

Day 381 after the fall

Admiral Lawson was in a temporary office in the fleet HQ. Normally she kept her office hours on the Battlestar mercury. However for the past week and a half to ship a been in for repairs and she was forced to use this small office.

The office had a window in through that window she could see her command, the Battlestar. There were some derricks and construction on the flight pods other parts of the ships. The exterior armor was being replaced, along with months of battle damage.

The war with the Cylons had gone cold. The enemy has not made an appearance in 31 days. Apparently the promise made by the model number one was going to be kept. The Cylons had left the Colonies and gone off to pursue a new destiny.

After her capture, Admiral Lawson did not believe that the machines that destroyed humanity would ever give up and destroy what little was left of them. She knew in her heart that they had heart and whatever they called their souls. They were constructed by hateful machines it would not give up until their mission was accomplished.

The armistice line set between the government of Cory Brooks and the enemy excluded the 12 colonies from the new colonial territory. This line extended right up to the old colonies.

The new colonial fleet often violated this line in order to forage for supplies. In the 31 days in the past since the last and a base is mission, no life survivors in about any of the 12 colonies. There were however store houses of industrial equipment and parts that were necessary to keep the fleet going.

Every week the civilian in charge of the economy presented Admiral Lawson with a list of what he wanted.

Each week list was more extensive, and more dangerous to obtain. Every week however the admiral ordered at the list be obtained.

Scientists occasionally asked to go on the mission to take readings. They’ve also percent of the military with reports. These reports or pessimistic. Radiation levels were so high that in some number of years all life would be extinct and everyone of the 12 colonies.

To be perfectly honest with herself, Admiral Lawson to authorize the missions for political reasons. With the threat from the enemy seeming to have a fallen, the military needed to justify itself, to remain relevant.

First priority was always given to the militaries list of requirements. By fulfilling the requirements of the civilian economy, pressure to make cuts in the size of the military were kept at bay.

Admiral Lawson had nearly 25,000 souls under her command. They were four main fleets, each led by a mercury class Battlestar. It was expensive, and represented nearly 10% of the entire remaining number of humanity.

They were nearly 495,000 humans left live in the new colonies. Conditions were harsh and the economy was difficult. Civilians were already calling on people to be released from the military to do jobs that were more economically relevant.

With 25,000 people in the military and 20,000 involved in vital support shop such as shipbuilding and manufacturing of ammunition, the situation was probably unsustainable.

They were 18 different outposts forming a new colonies. Some of them barely habitable by humans. Life was difficult, and the planets that they were inhabiting would never be as easy to live on as Caprica.

The overall goal of the shipping program was not just to build military vessels, it was also the building of transport to take nearly half 1 million colonists off on a space adventure to find a new home.

Admiral Lawson had advocated picking up the entire number of humanity and heading into the stars. Her premise was to go as far away from the cylon as possible.

It was known that that with 50,000 people, President Laura Roslyn and Admiral Adama had done this.

The hack that was used to eavesdrop on cylon communications brought back a very important piece of intelligence. The enemy had not found the other colonial fleet led by Galactica.

There was a special mission on the way. Based hours were being sent in all directions, searching for the escape to fleet. Massive amounts of fuel and ammunition will be expected to sand forces in all directions.

It was because of this that admiral Eva Lawson had wanted to go off in a different direction. The only way she believed that humanity would be safer to be far far away from the machines they had created. Distance was the only hope of survival in her opinion.

The galaxy was a big place, and it should be possible to find a place that was more hospitable and difficult to find. The newly reconstituted news media had openly mocked her testimony in front of the peoples council.

The admirals response I’ve been caustic, even toxic. She did not back down in the civilian government promised to consider our request.

Commander Maria Ramirez was due for an appointment in a few minutes. Finding manners where she thought they were none, Admiral Lawson ordered a tray of coffee and refreshments be delivered for the meeting.

Coffee was her fuel, for Lawson was not able to sleep well. Her dreams were plagued with images from her captivity. She had initiated, or rather tried to initiate relations with a number of civilians and failed to complete a goal so simple.

Before the war, it had been a hobby. It was something she had done for fun. Now she was so messed up that she could not do it at all. The door chimed. She admitted Commander Ramirez, sho quickly grabbed a doughnut and poured herself a cup of coffee. She put a storage device on the desk.

“Colonel Simmons completed the mission to Caprica. He was ambushed by large fleet.”

Colonel Simmons have been appointed to be the commander of the captured Battlestar Athena. His promotion to Commander I’ve been held up by the peoples counsel. They were concerned about costs.

“He wasn’t killed was he?” Asked Lawson.

“Oh no they got through it OK. They were casualties I think they lost a adamant class ship. They were victorious but they did take a hell of a beating. They jumped to Scorpia to grab some supplies and do some emergency repairs. We have a few cargo containers hidden in the shipyard ruins. It enables us to make quick repairs for these kind of circumstances.”

“I did not see that on your last report Commander Ramirez,” Lawson spoken a false accusing tone. She smiled warmly.

“It’ll be on the monthly report,” promised Ramirez. “You got some great footage do you want to see the battle Admiral?”

“Of course I do. Lets watch it in the simulator theatre.

This room was a large movie theater with a massive video screen. It had been built into the shipyards along with simulators similar to those found other mercury class battle stars. It was an enjoyable way to watch the war for footage.

Whenever possible all battles were recorded so the winner lose the military could learn from them.

“That was one impressive performance,” Lawson said. “Simmons is really picking up on big ship tactics. You know I had my doubts.”

“It’s not like we have our halls filled with graduates of the war college,” Ramirez sipped a glass of water. “I graduated but for me it was an exercise in getting a good grade. I did not internalize much.”

“I graduated eighteen years ago. I was never sent to Battlestar University due to my extra-curricular activities.”

“Well, we are going to need a new war college and a new Battlestar-U,” the commander sighed.

“We are barely getting funding for fleet operations. We still foraging in the twelve colonies for ammunition. Some of what we are using has been in storage for fifty years.”

“I get it.”

Getting enough ships together to take half a million war refugees is a pipe dream. Councilman Fredrick has proposed cutting the military shipbuilding budge by 25%”

“That is ridiculous Admiral.”

“We need to pick up and move across the galaxy before the cylons come back. I know they are coming. They will not be satisfied until humanity is extinct.”

“Preaching to the quire Admiral. I need your authorization to send reinforcements to the fleet.” She slid the paper across the desk. Lawson read it and then signed it.

“We will bring them home and make permanent repairs Admiral. I would like to propose some long range recon to try and locate the cylon staging areas. I think we should be prepared to go on the offensive. They have a manufacturing advantage over us. It is about time we took that away.

“Well the attempt to dry up their tylium resources pretty much failed. Shipyard capacity is much more complex and difficult to build.”

“First we take away the capacity to build ships. Then we take away the ships. It’s ambitious Admiral, but we have to think outside of the box to win this war. We are never going to build enough ships to defeat their fleet The New Colonies simply lack the numbers for that.”

“Do you have a plan commander?” Lawson asked.

“I have a draft in my quarters. I will bring it by tomorrow.”

“Copy that,” Lawson poured herself another cup of coffee. She was certain that 5% of her blood volume was coffee.

* * *

It was the middle of the night when the annoying phone ring finally got Admiral Lawson to roll over in bed and answer.

“This is fleet operations,” the voice said. “You are needed in the situation room.”

She yawned loudly. “What the frak is the situation room.

“We will send marines to your quarters and escort you. They will arrive in five minutes.”

Click

“And if I need ten minutes will they take me to the situation room naked,” she growled.

Since it took her more than ten minutes to even find anything in this suite, she elected to put on a “Battlestar Atlantia” robe that she had found in the closet.

“Task force Athena is late reporting in Sir,” the deck officer reported. “We believe there may have been an ambush.”

“Lets see the intelligence data,” Lawson said calmly. Commander Maria Ramirez appeared several minutes later. Of course she was dressed in her blue uniform that looked freshly pressed,

A large, partially digitalized image appeared on the screen. It appeared to show the flight pod of the Battlestar Athena under missile attack.

“Is it authentic?” Admiral Lawson asked.

“The computer is not certain. I have my old digital team from the Mercury checking it out,” Commander Ramirez answered.

“Set Condition one in the shipyard. Patrol Valkyries launch ALL squadrons. Unknown DRADIS contract carom 182 CBDR” Bellowed a youngish sounding man.

“Alert Vipers are on intercept course, three minutes. Its pretty far out there.”

“DRADIS!” More contacts, its a whole cylon fleet!”

“All ships prepare to attack,” Admiral Lawson ordered. “Spool up the shipyards FTL. How fast can we spin up the Mercury and get the hell out of here?”

The nod from Ramirez told her I could take hours and by then the Battlestar might be lost.

“Defense perimeter station Baker has a missile lock. They have a salvo of 300 missiles ready to fire.”

“Verify Identity and then fire,” Lawson ordered, wondering if the first part was even possible.

“We are ready to fire,” DP-Baker replied.

“Weapons hold!” Ramirez ordered. Lawson was ready to object to the protocol violation before she remembered just how much she trusted her former XO. An instant later, Ramirez hit a button putting what she had on headset on the PA speakers.

“This is Athena actual,” Colonel Simmons familiar voice came on the speaker. “We suffered damage to our communications array. We have successfully fought off a cylon ambush. Please do not fire we are Friendly’s. Standby for recognition codes and authentication.”

Admiral Lawson let’s go a sigh of relief. “We damn near shot around forces out of the sky. I hope the mission records aren as entertaining as the first battle.”

Two hours later the Commander, the Admiral, and Colonel Simmons we’re all in the theater watching the amazing news footage of the battle that I just been fought.

“I would have to say,” Colonel Simmons reported. “The enemy seem to know our every move. It was as if you were on their screen and they knew precisely where we were. I think we should come through this ship and see if we’ve missed any cylon electronics or computer code.”

“Agreed,” Lawson said. She leaned back in her seat and sipped coffee.

Battle video Two

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