Battlestar Mercury Book 3 “Logistics” Chapter 11: “Shakedown surprise.”

Admiral Lawson was alone in her quarters. The stylists had left, her uniform was perfect. She sat in front of her tablet computer, readying to record a log message.

The commanders quarters on a Mercury class Battlestar, were luxurious, when compared to all the lodging for the commander of a Jupiter class. Vessel. Before the war, Lawson had difficulty keeping a pilot bunk neat. Until help had been assigned to her, her quarters were strewn with piles of papers, USB sticks, and partially functional tablet computers.

There would’ve been piles of clothes, had she had any of her clothes. She reported to the Mercury weeks before the war with one duffel. When a lieutenant was assigned to her as an assistant, one of the first things she did, was ask for an inventory of clothing.

Lieutenant Emily Wilson was appalled at how few of everything that Lawson possessed. Immediately Wilson had ordered standard supplies, T-shirts, military issue, bras, and underwear for the commander.

Wilson had been with Admiral Lawson for nearly 2 years now. She slipped into the commanders quarters, while Lawson was asleep, neatened up, collected laundry. Twice a week she came in the Lawson’s laundry, neatly folding it and putting it into drawers.

This level of service bothered Admiral Lawson. She was a grown woman. She knew how to fold her underwear and put it in drawers. At first, she chafed at the level of service. Ramirez had reminded her that admirals had more important things to think about than where to put the laundry.

If people are willing to fight and die on her command, hoping to survive a Cylon onslaught, the least she could do is accept the service with a minimum of bitching. Only Ramirez could talk to Lawson like that.

Lawson walked through the door from her residential quarters to the adjacent office, carrying the tablet computer under her left arm. She sat it on her desk. Wilson had cleaned it up overnight as well. Due to the fear of technology, springing from the first Cylon war, many reports and orders were still printed on paper and required wet signatures. Her aide made sure that the paperwork moved to her office and requisitions were signed and approved. In the inbox with a USB stick when she could attach to the tablet underneath a pile of papers, but she had to sign these papers by hand.

The Colonial fleet would probably never become all digital, due to the fear of Cylon hacking.

Setting it up on her desk, Lawson sat down and looked at the tablet screen.

An app had been devised to record her logs, and go voice to text with what she said. On the screen was a red button when she pressed with her thumb, which started the recording.

“Admirals log day 660 of the second Cylon war.”

“The Mercury is finally ready for action once again. Weeks ago, during our first attempt to raid a Cylon supply depot, we took several nuclear hits and we’re out of action, waiting for a structural repairs, and armor replacement.”

“Even though the Mercury class was usually first in line for repairs at the mobile shipyard, it took several weeks to fabricate the parts that were necessary to repair the damage. During this downtime, many pilots were assigned to squadrons and other battle stars. The core leader ship of the air wing remained aboard. They were spending a great deal of time training pilots in the VR suites.”

“After the flight pods were repaired, flight operations resumed, even while we were in space dock. Quite a number of pilots were required to remain to rebuild the squadrons. They were grumpy, they did their duty, and they are ready for action.”

“Damage was repaired to the FTL systems as well, which needed to be tested. Lots of parts were replaced while we were in space dock. Worn gun barrels were replaced, along with many other parts that have been worn over the year. So we are off for a shakedown mission to a planet intelligence has assured us has no enemy presence.”

“The combat teams need time to work together, so we’re going to do a combat jump, explore an unexplored system, and become a team again. End log entry.”

* * *

Admiral Lawson walked into CIC, tablet computer in hand. Major Jones was waiting for her and took the computer when offered. “Major. Are we ready for a little pleasure cruise?”

“Yes Sir,” call sign Whiskey responded. “The board is green, birds are in the tubes and ready to execute a training combat jump.”

Admiral Lawson smiled at her latest executive officer. “The ammunition is real just in case right Whiskey?”

“Yes, sir,” he answered. “May I give the order, sir?”

“You may,” Lawson ordered.

XO: “This is whiskey. Execute combat jump.”

DRADIS: “Contact. Single Cylon base star. Launching raiders. No radiological activity detected.”

CAG: “Playboy engaging defensive positions.”

“This is Whiskey crash turn starboard. Repair left, side, flak”

CIC: “Flak up left side. Inbound missiles, 100.”

DRADIS: “Inbound salvos every six seconds!”

Actual: “How do they sustain such a high firing rate?”

Admiral Lawson: “Shakedown becomes a real battle. Gun crews repair for salvo mode.”

There was a crashing sound, that echoed throughout the ship. There was a power surge, followed by a power drop. The lights dimmed I did not give out completely. Some of them are less important monitors went dark for a few seconds.

“Took a hit top side near fire control. The armor stopped it. No internal damage.” announced a new officer taking damage control duties. He looked so young, Lawson wondered if he had to shave.

HG walked into CIC quietly and stood next to the Admiral. She took her attention off the overhead monitors and looked at him, and he whispered something in her ear. She nodded affirmative and he walked over to a specially set up station to monitor the firewall of the ship.

“This is Wheelchair blue squadron, we have them on the run!”

“This is Kitty. hey there wheelchair man, getting a little bit squeaky!”

Truth be hold, Lieutenant Jacobs felt like his body was not taking commands very well. He jerked his stick harder to maintain formation before coming out of a barrel roll and eliminating a raider.

“This is Playboy where are you little toaster friends? Seems we’re putting holes in your armor!”

A raptor pilot walked into CIC and stood next to Admiral Lawson who was leaning over HG’s shoulder as the fleet’s technology officer whispered into her ear. “They got through the old firewall defenses and started doing some damage to the armory and hangar subsystems. Then they hit my trap. It was written to look like fire control. They wasted 3 minutes trying to take down fire control. The new firewall acted like it was being taken down but just wasted their time.”

“Do you have to let them damage real systems before you start setting the traps?” Lawson asked quietly.

“The long term goal is to have them go after the traps we set up. It is going to take some time. Their code is good. It tries to adapt when we did this do them.”

“Keep up the good work Captain,” Lawson urged in a quiet voice. “Can we clobber this bastard now?”

“Yes Admiral, I have quiet enough data.”

Admiral: “All batteries weapons free. Helm, continue to try and improve the forward gun bearings.”

Mercury Actual: “Set condition 3. Damage Control teams deploy.”

They held an after action meeting before they left the planet they had visited as part of the shakedown.

“Looks like there was a pretty vast reserve of Tylium ore on that planet,” a civilian scientist reported. “It seems the Cylons nuked it to make it inert. The obvious reasons to do I asked these resources. How did they know we were coming here?”

“Why would they do that?” Admiral Lawson asked. “They know we are trying to run away. It would make more sense if they just let us go by and hope we don’t find this place.”

“I do not have a good answer Admiral,” answer the civilian scientist. “There seems to be data that we are unaware of that is influencing the behavior of our enemy.”

“Well then,” Admiral Lawson ordered. “Let’s get an order out to all ships and all task forces. We need more intelligence on the strategic movement of the Cylon forces.”

The galaxy was a very large place. Finding a specific Cylon ship or determining their intentions, was not the easiest thing to do. Giving up such a large reserve of fuel in a situation in which fuel and all of the supplies were being threatened by her forces, seem to be quite the illogical move. Eva Lawson was curious what objective could take higher precedence than defeating her current campaign.

The communications system between the task forces engaged in what was generally referred to as the logistics war were patchy and sometimes painfully slow. However, supply convoys were sent out to meet the various offensive operations fleets. Damage ships were brought back for repairs, and intelligence was generally in her possession within a week or so of it being obtained.

Admiral Lawson was in possession of the latest intelligence report from the supply depot. It has been confirmed that the Galactica and the Pegasus had survived initial assault in the colonies. Small bits of data were found in pieces of destroyed vipers, and raptors. Some navigational data was charted as to where they had been a year ago.

It became quite obvious that both Galactica and Pegasus thought they were alone in a galaxy. That a climactic battle soon after they met and for some reason the Cylons had throttled back their pursuit of this smaller fleet.

Information leaked by the Cavil Cylon was considered quite unreliable. A few small bits of data seemed to indicate that Laura Roslyn had lost a presidential election to Gaius Baltar. Reports that the Cylon’s had wiped out or captured this colonial fleet were obviously discounted based on the source since that was the aforementioned brother Cavil model.

Admiral Lawson had thought that it was the presence of her much larger fleet, and larger number of colonial survivors that was driving the enemy actions. Now the intelligence was being gathered during the current hit and run campaign, the picture had changed somewhat.

The enemy forces were larger number however, the assumption that they were only focused on Eva Lawson, and her fleet was obviously incorrect. Hacking the Cylon network had provided some movement patterns of enemy ships.

The admiral had asked her technical guru, HG to put together a 3-D map of all movements the past two years that they were aware of. Taking into account captured, Cylon data, not necessarily reliable, it was decided to use manipulate the data and try and come up with a picture.

She had the map in displayed on a powerful laptop computer connected to one of the monitors in the office. She stared at it and rotated it around with the mouse, sometimes for hours when she couldn’t sleep. Recently added resources to the equation, mapping out supply, depots, and deposits of orders in minerals and fuel that were necessary to continue their journey to the other side of the galaxy.

Yawning, she shut down the map and walked into her residential quarters. The admiral was well trained by now, and she peeled off her jacket and pants and deposited them in the hamper placed near the bathroom for that purpose.

Exhausted after a battle and another 18 hour day she soon drifted to sleep.

He thought she woke up to two men in her bedroom. It was Admiral Mueller and brother Cavil.

Cavil turned to the Admiral after waving a hand at the disheveled Admiral Lawson, who was rubbing her eyes in disbelief. “She is pretty stupid, after her lover was executed the memories of his tryst with Lawson was downloaded and shared with all of us. I bet she blushes when she thinks about how many people know what it feels like to frak her.”

“That’s not why we are here,” Mueller spoke softly. “The Cylons captured and occupied New Caprica today. The time will come for the unification and possible elimination of human kind is at hand. Admiral Lawson, you have enough data to locate New Caprica. It is important that you not go there.”

Lawson was overcome by anxiety. “Adama? Galactica, Pegasus?”

“Safe for the moment. If you find New Caprica, why not try and save your fellow Colonials. It will save us the trouble of hunting you down and destroying you,” Cavil taunted. “You don’t think your logistics war is making any progress do you admiral slut?” He laughed creepily.

“We have all the supplies we need. Soon Galactica and Pegasus will be destroyed, trying to save New Caprica from occupation. Then we will have time to kill your fleet, but not you, we have plans for you Admiral Lawson. They don’t even know on New Caprica that your fleet exists. They think if they die humanity dies with them. It should be very interesting.”

Eva Lawson awoke with a start. She was bathed in sweat. Her T-shirt was drenched. It was only a dream. Somehow she felt the information she was given was true. Her hands shook as she took a pen and a pad from her night stand and jotted down the details of her dream.

She realize she would need a shower for she’s gonna go back to sleep.

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