Chapter 3: Battlestar Mercury – Exodus “The Heist”

Call sign Bouncer was the pilot of raptor 677 from the Battlestar Saturn. He has been trained on the Mercury while she was alone battle star in the fleet.

He was of athletic build and had a handsome face and a commanding presence. He had never wanted to fly vipers and was happy with his current job. He was about 40 years old and had left the colonial fleet several years before the fall of the colonies.

He was now a captain in the reconnaissance raptor squadron aboard the Saturn. He was in charge of training the other pilots. For the previous 9 FTL jumps he had taken the first jump scan for a Cylon presence.

His electronic warfare officer, call sign Amber, was 22 years old, her callsign came from her long flowing red hair. A college student when the colonies fell, she had been planning and training to become a civilian pilot. Once the government got a hold of her profile she was given a choice: she could fly Raptors reconnaissance or she could go to vapors school and fly combat shooting at the Cylons.

It was not certain of her abilities so she chose the role of reconnaissance electronic warfare officer. The previous nine jumps had been without incident. No Cylon forces were detected. After three minutes and second raptor jumped

in, did a quick file transfer, spooled up and jump back to the Battlestar Saturn. Five minutes after the fleet jumped in.

Jump number 10, to the probable location of the junkyard was a different kind of jump. Bouncer and Amber were accompanied by another reconnaissance raptor and three assault raptors. Every hard point on the assault raptors had weapons hanging on them.

“FTL is spoiled and we are ready to jump Bouncer ,” Amber reported from the FTL consul in the back of the spacecraft. “All of the Raptors in this flight are reporting ready to jump.”

“TLl jump in three seconds counting down,” Bouncer ordered, speaking into his headset so all the other members of their flight or aware of it.

“Three, two, one, jump,” White flash was familiar and it still made bumper a little sick to his stomach. There was a moment of weightlessness followed by a feeling of falling that made his stomach flip every single time. The normal chirping and beeping in the whining sound of the DRADIS scanner filled the cockpit.

Bouncer watched the display on the center console and held his breath he was certain that they would be a Cylon ambush at this location. He was not correct. DRADIS display was clean. There were no contacts.

“I’ve got an automated beacon,” Amber reported from the rear of the cockpit. “It’s a repeating message automated indicating the ownership of this property. It’s warning everybody to stay away and saying that they are not responsible for the automated defense systems that might kill you.”

“Any sign that it’s actually active?” Bouncer asked his tone incredulous.

“Negative boss,” Amber answered. “There are no electronic emissions.”

“Signal Rain Man to jump back and inform the Saturn that we have arrived at the scrapyard.”

The young electronic warfare officer let out a sigh of relief, and clapped gloved her hands loudly. “Transmitting status report to raptor 787,” her voice smiling she hit send on the communications console.

A small raptor

A small raptor signal on the A sma DRADIS display disappeared. After a long week of 180 seconds the large Ftl flash of a mercury glass Battlestar temporally attract their attention. Several other support ships followed and disgorged many small shuttles. A Dozen raptors came out of the four landing decks of the Saturn and headed toward the scrapyard.

A day later, the engineer of the mission was in Commander Ramirez’s office making a verbal report to the commander, the XO and the ships chief engineer.

“I suppose it could have been worse,” the middle-aged woman with unkempt shoulder length blond hair reported. “There are six hundred ships divided equally between military and civilian scrap. We have a list of 87 that can with minor repairs be ready to jump now. We have compiled a list of approximately 145 ships that can be made safe for transit by scavenging parts from other ships.”

The engineer looked down at her tablet computer, stabbed at it with her forefinger, wanting to be certain of her facts. “We will focus on engineering systems like FTL and do what we can to make sure the military ships have working weapons systems. That is the good news.”

“The bad news,” Ramirez squirmed in her chair customized for a very tall man. She hoped she did not look bored.

“The bad news is, the weapons magazines are empty. We have not found a single shell anywhere in this scrapyard. Apparently the ammunition was sold off decades. That may not be the worst case either. Have you ever tried doing gunnery practice with fifty year old shells?”

“No Captain,” Ramirez stopped shifting her position. “I have only ordered firing real live shells that are quite a bit younger.”

“I have seen footage of main guns on a Jupiter class ship exploding outward from a shell that was too old. We are better off bringing in our own ammunition. I will leave it to you to provide security for that operation. The request is in your inbox Commander Ramirez.”

“See that all of that stuff gets to the XO,” Ramirez ordered. “Anything else?”

“Of course,” the engineer beamed, happy to talk about the details. “There is a plan in both of you in boxes. We will try and get the 250 ships ready to travel, stuffed with as many spare parts we can tear out of the ships we are dismantling. We will be able to get replacements for most engine parts, even a fair amount of armor that will allow us to make repairs on our Valkyries and Artemis class ships.”

“So what is the really bad news?” Ramirez asked.

“There are simply not enough ships to onboard our entire civilian population. To make everything fit, we are going to have to think about enclosing one of the landing bays on the Artemis class ships. That will make using the Vipers kind of difficult.”

“Vipers?” Ramirez asked.

“Twenty-five Artemis ships, we will be breaking down forty others. Every one of them has a full complement of Mark II Vipers. We are going to have a hard time finding people to fly them.”

“Holy frak,” the XO whispered.

“That is a problem we want to have,” Ramirez smiled, leaning back in her chair. “How long do you need to get ready?”

“Twelve weeks,” the engineer frowned.

“You have two. We will get you more workers and more cargo ships. I’m going to confer with the Admiral. I think we are going to keep this find secret and minimize the traffic in and out until we are ready to leave.”

“Sir,” the engineer sighed. “I would like to get to work.”

“You let me know if you need anything,” Commander Ramirez said. “If you need me you get through, doesn’t matter if I am sleeping or frakking. Understand?”

“Yes Sir.”

The engineer saluted and left the commander and XO alone. “I would like some more of her bad news,” The XO quipped.

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