Chapter 5: Battlestar Mercury – Exodus “Task Force Acropolis”

Commander Julia Dash, was a 31 year old Viper pilot on the Battlestar Mercury when the second war started, nearly two years ago. The grand daughter of the famous first commander of the Battlestar Galactica.

She was slightly shorter than average, of slender build. When her light brown hair was down it was straight and shoulder length.

Soon after the fall of the colonies she was promoted to captain. A fairly good pilot with good shooting and leadership skills, she became commander of green squadron in the Mercury.

When the fighting remnants of the Colonial Fleet were re-united with the Mercury, their mobile shipyard was putting the finishing work on the Saturn was nearly done. Captain Dash was transferred with her squadron to the Saturn as CAG.

When the Acropolis was captured and put into service, Dash was transferred again as CAG. After the near disaster wiped out the crew of one of the 4 Mercury Class ships, there was a re-shuffle.

Julia Dash was now a Major, assigned the duties of CAG and XO due to the shortage of qualified officers. During her three weeks doing two jobs it came to Admiral Lawsons attention that Dash was trying to fulfill her executive officer duties from the cockpit of a viper.

Major Dash was grounded and given command of the large battlestar, having barely browsing the operation manual of the Acropolis. Colonel Yeager was diagnosed with cancer and removed from command.

Commander Dash had been given her rank by the Peoples Council in a military spending bill that was called a crime against democracy two months before. She was a good leader, admired by her crew. In a meeting with the Admiral, she complained about not having time to learn her new job.

Lawson had smiled and told her she would learn on the job. The forty-two year old Admiral had done her best to provide fuel for training and bodies to man the battlestar. The Acropolis had approximately one third of the people needed to crew her.

Once the automation was made secure from Cylon hacking, the crews shift rotations were reduced from twelve hours a day to 8, with most crew manning two workstations. Staffing was only adequate at condition 1.

Life was so harsh on the new Colonies, Dash had taken to making training visit on a regular basis. On average these visits yielded 50 or so people who found crewing a warm and dry battlestar with 3 square meals a day preferable to freezing ones ass off, sleeping in a tent.

Barely able to handle basic combat maneuvers, her command would have been a disaster were it not for James Danson, a 48 year old civilian professor the war college.

Danson stood beside Dash in the CIC, overweight with thinning white hair. His engineering knowledge was vast, and he had been offered command of a smaller battlestar. It was decided since he had no military experience it was best not to command troops. His engineering knowledge kept the Acropolis going.

Julia Dash inspired the pilots and Danson kept the ship combat capable.

When news of the Cylon fleets jumping in on the new colonies, they were given jump coordinates and ordered to do a combat jump. The Cylons had run away with their fleet and for the past few hours were probing for weakness.

Communications with the Admiral were spotty, using a hack into the Cylon communications grid that could end at any time.

Dash looked nervously at her XO. He smiled back. “We will do okay, because you concentrated on training. Try to look confident.”

Communications spoke. “New orders and raptor recon. We have to jump in then.” Dash nodded agreement.

Commander Julia Dash,”Combat Jump. We launch all birds immediately after the Jump.”

“LSO reports all birds ready.”

Tactical: “All guns ready to fire.”

Commander: “Jump!”

# 1

DRADIS: “Cylon fleet has jumped away.”Communication CINC fleet:

“We are ordered to destroy the resurrection ship.”

DRADIS: “New contacts. Heavy. 5 ships.”



DRADIS: “3 Old Cratus and 2 even older Argos class.”


“Radiological Alarm. They are launching raiders.”

Commander Dash:”Fire offensive missiles.”

In the chaos of CIC the academic in Doctor Major James Danson began to wonder why the Cratus was spotted so frequently. Heavily armored the design was made obsolete by the Jupiter mark 2 upgrade in the latter half of the Cylon war.

An academic at heart he held a security clearance. Though very little was known before the second war about modern technology, wreckage of the Cratus and Argo class was collected by Colonial Fleet and studied for decades.

Cylon shipbuilding capacity had been cut by the Ghost Fleet offensive, late in the war. Still with forty years to prepare and a nearly total victory over the Colonial Fleet on the first day of the second war it did not make sense that the Cylons would be out of ships,

More curious still was the frequent use of the Phobos. That ships FTL drive was as likely to explode as make a tactical jump in battle. Yet a report had just come in from the Athena noting the use of a squadron of Phobos.

Danson shook his head an ended his reverie. He had almost lost situational awareness during a combat situation, People could die from such a lapse.

DRADIS: “3 Old Cratus and 2 even older Argos class.”

“Radiological Alarm.They are launching raiders.”

Commander Dash:”Fire offensive missiles.”

Danson had spotted the contact several seconds before DRADIS resolved the contact. He had guessed it due to the side.


DRADIS: “Inbound missile Salvos.

“Commander: “Flak right. All batteries.”

Tactical: “Cratus is exposed.”

“We’re taking fire!” an excited male voice shouted before the lights dimmed, Then there was a crashing sound and the deck seemed to fall from beneath their feet.

Commander: “Concentrate on the vulnerable Cratus. All batteries!

All offensive ordinance.”


Tactical: “Cratus is Down.”

XO Danson: “Find us another one and hit it!”


Tactical: “They may be easing off.”


Tactical: “That makes no sense.”


Dash: “Unless they have something else to throw at us.”

Danson barked an order into the wireless with a voice that might have startled Saul Tigh. Acting was part of leadership. XO: “CAG. Vanilla. Hit what you can.”

The call sign Vanilla was some kind of backwards reference to the 39 year old captain;s sexual preference. That was what went through Julia Dashes mind as she listened to the exchange. Something about this battle was peculiar. These tactics seemed to making her believe she was winning this battle.


“This is CAG! Scratch another heavy.”

“Combat. Black squadron hit the target at youR one O’Clock”

“Combat this is Fancy.Darned if those old

first war ships blow up real good.”

CAG: “Fancy. Vanilla! Go get another one.”

Doctor Danson (that was his self identity more than executive officer) noticed the downward facing guns on the Mercury class had a solution. The tactical officer was distracted by a different monitor, so he made the announcement himself.

XO: “Downward guns have a firing solution.”


Dash: “Hit them with salvo mode.”

DRADIS: “No contacts! The board is clear.”

Dash: “Wait a few seconds.

CAG! Vanilla! Get your birds back in a defensive formation.”

DRADIS: “9 new contacts. Smaller.”


Now this would be Phobos class, the XO guessed correctly.

XO: “They did not jump in.”


Late in the war, the Cylons seeded battle areas with Phobos, which would then do short tactical jumps to attack the Jupiter Class fire control, which was up on top.

TACTICAL: “FTL’s spooling.”

XO: “running?”

Commander Julia Dash remembered the conversation over dinner with Professor Danson. He had written a book about Cylon tactics late in the war. She spoke quickly but calmly.

“CO: No. They will jump tactically.They want to nuke us.”

Dason knew what was coming. He barked into the microphone again.

XO: “All vipers, all ships.Move to defend the flagship.”


“Frak us,” opined an anonymous voice.

Tactical: “Looks like Phobos.Maybe two squadrons.”


That was too many. Danson looked at one and other and realized this was an old first war tactic.

XO: “10 just jumped into point blank range.”


XO “Spool up FTL?”

CO: “Leave our pilots?

XO: “If we’re alive we can jump back and recover them.”

DRADIS: Base star jumped in right on top of us.”

This was an ambush pure and simple. It was well planned. The only option to save the ship was to jump away as a fleet,

CO: Get us out of here.”

The Cylons still used network hacks, designed to break into wireless and spread a virus. This had long since been countered. There was still some signal leakage from the wireless portion of the Acropolis. The FTL coordinates were in memory, not at rest. This was a flaw in the encryption programs that had been introduced by the Cylons while they were completing the ship build for the purpose of attacking the Colonial fleet.

The white flash and familiar feeling of queasiness was starting to bother the XO less.


XO: “Most of our birds did a quick combat landing on the Valkyries and Artemis.”


From a tactical point of view, this was a bad situation ready to get much worse. The spool time on the Artemis class battlestar was ten minutes on a good day.

“Squadron of Phobos, jumping in!”


The Acropolis could turn around more quickly, however there was a shortage of key FTL components. Add to that a chief engineering department that was short on experience and an overwhelmed chief engineering officer and the situation could become quite grim.

Prior to the fuel grabbing debacle that had exposed the New Colonies to attack, there had been adequate downtime for everyone to learn their jobs and get everything working.

If there was one thing that Commander Julia Dash believed in it was training. The weapons teams and air wing were under strength, but very well practiced both with flight operations and in the VR simulators.

Though she still thought of herself as a Viper pilot with the rank of Lieutenant, she was certain of one thing. Working for Maria Ramirez and Eva Lawson meant there was an adequate supply of tylium, bullets and the parts needed to train what pilots they had.

If it meant frakking the quartermaster and half her NCO staff, Admiral Lawson would do it, enjoy it and keep the fuel and bullets flowing.

The ship shook violently as multiple nuclear blasts from small cluster munitions punished the ships armor. Power dipped, though it did not cut out After some more shaking, the critical combat computers synced up and displayed the situation, which seemed for the moment better than expected.


CO: “Get them back in defensive position.” Dash grabbed the table to steady herself.


XO: “Well I’ll be darned.We survived the nukes.”

DRADIS: “300 bombers inbound. More Phobos jumping into point blank range.”


That was a mood killer if ever there had been 10 milliseconds allowing for optimism.


Anyone that had ever attended a class at the war college knew this situation was grave. It would probably end badly. Still, Julia Dash, granddaughter of Galactica’s Commander Dash had lived this long by not panicking.

300 Vespid bombers meant they needed to give air orders, if the CAG had not already done so.

“All Vipers hit the bombers.”

“All ships. Acropolis is in trouble.”


These two sentences were an understatement. Still, if they flakked right and did not destroy half their air wing, this might be survivable.

A glance at the FTL status monitor did not show green. Oh well, maybe the toasters would not knock the FTL offline.

“Two Phobos on a collision course!” tactical announced.

“My Gods!”

Julia Dash was ready to chastise someone mentally, when she realized it was her own voice.

“All ships and vipers charge the toasters.”

“There is no tomorrow.”

“300 bombers, 270 are bombing.”

That meant the air wing had only managed to take out ten percent. Not nearly enough. Danson remembered reading a classified document on the destructive power of the Vespid bomber.


In his peripheral vision, he saw Commander Dash steel herself for the end and felt something. Love? Respect? Admiration?

Their lives were now measured in milliseconds.

Crying and screaming on the wireless.”We’ve lost the Acropolis.”

“All Friendlies. Make them pay!”


A week later, Lawson and Ramirez.Watching on a big monitor

in Lawson’s Office.


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