Chapter 4: Battlestar Mercury – Exodus “Task Force Athena”

Steven Evans was a recently retired captain who had been a CAG when he left the service at age 42 two years before the second Cylon war. He stood in the small but efficient CIC of the Mercury Class Battlestar Athena. He was average height, slender build with a sprinkle of white in his dark brown hair.

Born on Gemenon, he had escaped poverty at age 18 by joining the Colonial fleet as an enlistee. After taking the aptitude test, he had been sent to the academy where he graduated 3 years later and began flying Vipers.

His wife Amelia, ten years younger than he had begun their relationship on the Battlestar Blackbird, where she had been posted as a CIC weapons and navigation officer on the Valkyrie class ship, She had light brown hair and a similar build as her husband.

The couple had mustered out together and started a business on Picon, hoping to start a family.

The day the Cylons attacked, they had been hiking in the mountains on Leonis, hoping the time away from work would bless them with a family. Upon seeing the mushroom clouds they hat retreated further into the wilderness. Ten days after the war a patrol picked them up and transferred to a refugee ship.

Just prior to the Mercury becoming the flagship of the new Colonial fleet, the couple had been interviewed, their skill noted and they were given the choice of rejoining the military or losing their quarters. How Steven and Ameilia Evans were the CO and XO of task force Athena.

“DRADIS is clear commander,” the DRADIS officer reported the obvious. “One resurrection ship on long range DRADIS.

“Comms,” another officer interrupted. “CINC fleet, authenticated. We are ordered to destroy the resurrection ship and protect the evacuation of New Picon.”

Evans frowned, but gave the order. “Fire when you have missile lock.”

The warning chime of the DRADIS ended the quiet as several large targets appeared on the display. “Lots of targets sir,” Amelia sighed. They had just recovered their air wing 30 minutes ago. “We are ready to launch.”

“Missiles inbound 150, no 300 inbound!”

“Launch Vipers,” Evans ordered. “Signal the fleet to go to condition one.”

“The lighting went to battle red and the officers waited their turn and made their reports. There was a lot of firepower out there.

“I have nine Phobos class and six modern base stars,” the DRADIS officer reported. “Readings firming up, Four, no five modern base stars.”

“Radiation alarm!” Warning chimes chirped. “Nukes!”

“How many?,” the XO demanded.

“Over a hundred, I have a first war Cratus firing nukes!”

“Support forces deploy right, shoot down the inbound nukes,” Commander Evans, weapons free.”

“Commander!,” the XO warned. “Multiple detonations. Support ships are taking damage!”

“Second wave of nukes, looks like cluster munitions,” Tactical reported.

“More hits, damage reports coming in from the escort ships,” the XO warned.

“Wave 3 inbound!” Tactical reported as the Athena began to shudder.

“More impacts, damage and casualties,” the XO reported as the ship shook more violently.

“What the frak is that Commander Evans demanded in a steady voice.”

The radio chatter grew more frantic.

“There is a break in the salvos,” tactical reported. “It wont last long.”

“Inbound missile salvos,” reported the XO, “ two directions. Aimed at Athena. We are taking armor damage.”

“FTL spools,” tactical warned. “Tactical jumps, mostly port side.”

“Batteries weapons free,” ordered the commander.

“Nukes and missiles!” Tactical warned.

Commander Evans was watching tactical, “Brace for impact.” He grasped the the table in front him with both hands.

The ship quaked, the deck falling out from under their feet.

“The Cratus is making a run at us,” warned the tactical officer.

“Starboard turn, bring the bow batteries salvo fire!” the commander ordered.

“It’s working! The Cratus is taking heavy damage. The vipers have engaged the Phobos. Firewalls are under assault,” Amelia Evans reported.

“Maintain firing rate!” Commander Evans ordered.

“Three salvos hitting the ship,” engineering reported. Little read lights stared to flash on the damage control panel. “Armor is holding. It can’t hold up long with this volume of fire.

“Base star is closing port side.”

“Hard to port,” Commander Evans ordered. “Driver her like she is a viper!”

“Batteries are engaged. Bow batteries will have a firing solution in thirty seconds.”

There was panic in the voices from the other ships. Damage reports and decompression alerts were occurring on several vessels.

“Bow batteries have locked. The central axis of the Base Star is collapsing,” Tactical reported.

“Another base star has jumped in short range. Missile salvo inbound.”

“First base star is history,” tactical reported.

“Engineering reports damage to the steering feedback. We are pushing the navigation beyond tolerance.”

“Keep pushing,” Evans ordered. “Get us that bow battery lock,” Ordered Commander Evans.

“More nukes inbound. Several support ships are taking hits.”

“Order the vipers to try and intercept the nukes!”

“Thumper,” the radio crackled. “We are setting up a missile screen.”

In his viper, Thumper shouted an order into his wireless, “In my lead!” he ordered. He jerked the controls of the mark vii and engaged full turbo.

“Thumper,” the CAG’s XO reported urgently. “Two base stars are engaging the Athena. A few more seconds and they will eat through the armor.

“Thumper. CAG. Red Squadron engage the base stars.

“Roger that.”

In the CIC, the tactical officer was frantic. “The vipers are holding off two base stars, they are on the wrong side, can’t intercept the missiles.”

“Oh frak,” Evans took a deep breath.

“More salvos hitting the armor,” engineering reported. “We are starting to take internal damage.”

Task force Athena segment 18-19

“They are making a run at us!” DRADIS reported. “Two missile salvos coming in port side.”

“Flak left,” ordered the XO. “Adjust our position to block the inbound missiles with flak. She glanced at her husband, who nodded back his agreement. The deck shook as cracking and metal twisting sounds echoed through the ship.

“Breaking left,” navigation reported.

“Five seconds until a firing solution.”

“STL unit six has failed. The ship is starting to get difficult to control,” navigation reported.

“Nuke! Short range! Aimed at our top side.”


Evans felt is stomach drop as a roar filled the ship. The lights went dark. The glass doors of the CIC shattered.

“Base Star! She has nukes.”

“Adjust course. Bow batteries fire when ready!” Commander Evans ordered.

“Another nuke!” someone in CIC shouted.

“Roll the ship,” XO Evans ordered. “Show it a fresh armor face.”

“Impact!” The lights went down again and acrid smoke filled the CIC. Anyone that stepped made noise as glass crunched under their feet.

The lights flickered back unsteadily. The damage control display showed several hull breaches and damaged subsystems.

“Another turn to port,” Evans ordered.

“Navigation is damaged. If we turn to hard, we could crack the ship in two,” Engineering cautioned.

“Do it!” Both Evans ordered.

In his Viper, Thumper spotted the Cylon resurrection ship. “Send the assault raptors after that ship. Do not let it jump.”

He paused to look out his of the cockpit, seeing the bow guns of the Mercury class Athena pounding another base star. It lit up in a fireball.

The commander of the assault raptor wing reported. “Firing missiles”

In the CIC, they were able to watch from the gun cameras of a nearby viper. The resurrection ship exploded in a fireball, before its FTL could finish spooling.

Task force Athena segment 28

“The board is clear,” DRADIS reported with a long sigh.

“Recall Vipers. Set up a CAP. Begin damage control. Make armor replacement a priority,” XO Evan’s ordered.

“Communications,” Commander Evans ordered, “report status to the Admiral.”

“The Cylon network we were using is shut down. None of our communications are getting through,” the communications officer replied.

“Deck Chief Richards reports Peoples Council Leader Brooks came in on a raptor ten minutes ago. She reports that there are 40,000 residents on New Picon and she has civilian ships capable of carrying 4 thousand souls.”

“How is this my problem?” Commander Evan’s asked.

“Our orders Sir,” his executive officer, his wife Amelia reminded him. “Our mission is to protect the evacuation of New Picon, New Airilon and New Gemenon. That’s about a hundred K of civilians.”

“So if we fill every marine rack and every crew rack we have on all our ships that we have been operating shorthanded, where does that get us?”

“Assuming we don’t care about stretching resources on our ship’s some of which are fifty years old, we can squeeze in another five or six thousand.”

“So we can take one of ten refugees?” Commander Evan’s mood was dropping faster than a stalled raptor.

“The math, in case that is too difficult for you Commander Evans,” Council Leader Cory Brooks stood hands on hips with two crewmen trying to sweep up shattered door glass. “We have to leave 90 thousand to be slaughtered by the toasters.”

“Council Leader,” Evans took a neutral tone. “Perhaps we should meet in my quarters.”

“As per the Presidential succession act passed by the Quorum of twelve,” Brooks spoke sternly. “In the absence of President Baltar missing and assumed dead on the other New Caprica, I assert presidential authority. Your orders are to provide me protection from the hordes already walking around this ship. I want quarters for me and my two staffers. Then we are going to have to plan to stuff 90,000 civilians in this war fleet. We will give priority to the able bodied who can actually improve military readiness. I don’t care if we have to enclose three of your landing decks, we will not leave anyone behind,”

Amelia Evans turned and stepped, glass crunching under her boots, taking position between the commander and the Council leader. “This fleet has just been attacked with a thousand missiles and two hundred nuclear missiles. We have nine other ships in this fleet making emergency repairs. This battlestar can accommodate ten full squadrons of Vipers and two squadrons of raptors. We need four landing decks in order to execute a combat landing of the air wing and an emergency jump. Assuming we even had the materials to enclose a flight deck, the military readiness of this ship would be impaired severely. Assuming we managed to squeeze half of those ninety K of civies, we would be unable to conduct military operations quickly getting every single person in this fleet killed.”

Cory Brooks did not miss a beat. Closing her eyes as one with a photographic memory often did, she began to speak. “According to the latest military readiness report,” she began. “Which we jokingly refer to as “Yevka” Lawson’s terrorist requisition report, this and all the 4 Mercury Class Battlestars are operating at 28% of capacity, can you tell me why you can’t run military operation on one flight deck? Lets say two so you have redundancy? Your mission is to protect the people. I would like to commend you on the excellent job the military did protection the original twelve colonies and the fifty billion the Cylons have already slaughtered.”

Commander Evans spoke softly but was easily heard as ever speaker in the CIC was muted. “I have to points right now. “The first is that I was a civilian two years before we lost the war. The second is I take orders from the command authority, which is defined as Admiral Eva Lawson and her XO Maria Ramirez. Unless you want to write a review of the five star accommodations known as the brig, you will shut the frak up and continue this conversation in my office.”

For once Council Leader Cory Brooks, was without words. She nodded agreement as two very imposing Colonial Marines stood at attention behind her.

Full length video with part of the chapter dialog.

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