Battlestar Mercury Book 3 “Logistics” Chapter 26: “Halted”

Day 789 of the Second Cylon war

The situation on the Mercury felt like the early days after the annihilation of the Colonies. Lawson was working with Ramirez. They were finishing each others sentences. They seemed to be working with an unseen telepathic network.

Times were more desperate than they had been 780 or so days ago. Supplies were plentiful, that was a blessing. The problem was they were being consumed at an an alarming rate because the strategic plan was an offensive against Cylon logistic and supplies. This made operating the fleet that much more difficult.

All of these thoughts were going through Admiral Lawson as she was in the weightless, fuzzy world of an in progress FTL jump. She had been through so many jumps by now, nothing could phase her. Her memory flashed back to the pre-jump briefing.

Commander Ramirez was directing the briefing. “We have located a fully active, combat ready Cylon fleet. We have reconnaissance on site, rotating raptors to that location.” She motioned with the pointer and then clicked to zoom in on pictures of the ships.

“We are going for a quick raid. We want to jump in and nuke this fleet, and get out. 5 jumps further down the road is an enormous Cylon manufacturing and supply facility. Combat jump in 30 minutes. Any questions?” asked Commander Ramirez. This was becoming very routine and that was probably not a good thing.

Admiral Lawson stood up. “Good hunting,” she said. The room exploded with applauds and pilots jumped out of their seats and got moving.

The noise of the DRADIS broke Lawson’s reverie. “Jump complete,” DRADIS reported. “5 Cylon contacts. They are further away than we calculated before the jump.”

“Damn it,” Lawson muttered. The combat launch was happening, the pilots began to chatter on the wireless. They always tried to keep the pilots wireless feed on the CIC speakers.

Ramirez: “This is XO Mercury to task force, initiate turn starboard. All triple A and flak guns on standby port side screen.”

“Athena Actual acknowledged.”

“CIC Apollo no targets at this time.”

Ramirez “This is Mercury XO. Release of nuclear weapons is authorized.”

“This is wheelchair mercury to toddler what you gonna do without Queen to harass you?”

“This is Toddler Athena CIC first of all wheelchair, shut up and do your job!”

“This is Kitty. Oh, I bet you’re sensitive.”

“This is Toddler To all players, keep the talk on the channel, professional, and remember your roles in this plan.”

Lawson: “Order Athena to yaw left with us we have inbound fire.”

Ramirez: “Athena, this is Mercury yaw left we have inbound targets.”

“This is XO Athena acknowledged, yawing left.”

“DRADIS mercury to air wing you have Cylon fighters engaging you.”

“Air wing, Acknowledging, we have them.”

“Toddler to all players engage the war-drivers first!”

Ramirez: “Mercury to all task force ships flak screen left. Tracking inbound ordinance, conventional and nukes.”

“Mercury, Athena you have inbound, nukes, radiological alarm!”

Nuke sound effect.

“Weapon detonated!” There will be splash damage.”

CIC Mercury. Everyone in the Mercury combat information Center held onto the nearest table as the blast wave shook the ship. Rap and not directly hit the ship, however, both be close that nation was felt throughout Battlestar. To the crew it felt like they were riding on a roller coaster.

Lawson and Ramirez made eye contact, wordlessly exchanging their concerns. The Cylons had not been where the reconnaissance had indicated and seemed very well prepared for this attack.

“Toddler. Cylon’s have squadrons tasked to shoot down, nukes hold fire hold fire!”

“This is the Admiral Athena mercury is breaking, right improve our flak performance.”

“Athena actual, breaking right, maintaining formation.”

“This is HG. Enemy has hacked the guidance system on one of our outbound nukes.”

“Team Valkyrie here. We just got hit by one of our nukes. Amor bravo. Internal damage to fire control.”

“Direct hit on mercury port part. Damage control teams standby.”

CIC Mercury: A direct hit on the flight pod shut the entire ship. sparks showered from the ceiling down into the site CIC. Lights were flickering. One of the glass doors was showing cracking. Red lights started showing up on the port flight pod on the CIC damage control display. The wireless was jammed with people making emergency calls.

“This is actual, all flight pod crew get into your breathing gear,” Lawson ordered. “Right fracking now!”

Mercury CIC: 9:23 Ramirez “Nav hard to port, we need to show the Cylons another armor face. One where we still have armor.”

“This mercury engineering out of control fire on the STL Drive lower side.”

“Artemis to air wing, we are getting hammered in fire control. We need help.”

“This is Playboy CAG Mercury to Artemis, we are doing the best we can.”

“This is wheelchair, watch out Mercury, you have a base star trying to collide with the port flight pod.

“This is the port flight pod, we just took another salvo of missiles.”

“This is wheelchair, Cylon base star is trying to make a collision with you.”

“Collision port flight pod.”

11:55 “Collision port bow. Collision port bow!”

Most of the CIC crew were thrown to the floor by the two collisions, which effectively ping ponged the giant battlestar, sending it out of formation. Lawson shouted into her microphone.

Lawson “Fire control, you now have a target dead ahead. Open fire salvo mode.”

Everyone was dragging themselves back to their stations. The damage control system board was lit up like a holiday festival tree. There were big splotches of red in the port bow and flight pod sections.

Ramirez “Damage control teams to the port flight pod.”

“This is playboy. Blue squadron protect the Mercury. Read squadron, protect one of the two Artemis class ships. Green squadron, protect the other Artemis class ship. Move, move move! Now, now, now!”

“This is Mercury engineering. We have an out-of-control fire in engineering building outta control fire on the lower side of the sub-light drive. We have a compression of the port flight pod. Also, out-of-control fire in the port flight pot.

“This is Athena actual. Lets get some guns on these nearby base stars and take some pressure off the Mercury.”

“This is the Artemis squadron. Both are fire controls are offline. We are still taking fire and need at least 60 seconds to restore fire control.”

“This is Athena. Actual. We’re having some comms difficulty with Mercury. Will run task force comms through this CIC until we restore communications with the Mercury.”

“This is Albany actual. Team Valkyrie has a firing solution and is proceeding to clear space around the Mercury, then the Athena. Lookup from below toasters.”

Mercury CIC.

Sparks were falling from the ceiling and spewing from two workstations in the Mercury CIC.

Ramirez “I need an ER56.71 circuit board to restore communications with the fleet.”

A lieutenant looked up from an equipment box with a dear in the headlights look. An NCO pushed him away from the supply box and handed Ramirez the requested part.

“Here you go Sir, nice to have you back.”

“Booting up comms. 30 seconds.”

Lawson “Tell flak and fire control to maintain firing rate.”

“This is CIC Athena to Mercury. Come in Mercury. Come in Mercury.”

Lawson: “Use flash signals if you have to. Acknowledge the Athena and keep everyone fighting. Fire control, maintain firing rate!”

“This is team Valkyrie! We maintain a firing solution, and continue to fire salvos. Lighting up the sky with Cylon fireworks”

“Admiral. Fire control has a Cylon Base star dead ahead just below us”

“Weapons free. Melt it down!”

“Admiral. Communications have been restored.”

“Signal the fracking fleet! Don’t wait for the Admiral to pat you on the ass.”

“This is CIC Mercury, we want credit on that base star kill.”

“This is Apollo actual we have a firing solution on the antique Base Star. We’re taking the shot.”

* * *

Two hours after the battle had concluded, Lawson and Ramirez were in Lawson’s quarters changing their clothes. They have been soaked with perspiration and dust from the internal damage. There had been no free bed prior to the battle due to overcrowding.

The door buzzed. Commando Ramirez answered it. A non-commissioned officer, handed her a report. It was on paper. “The computers are still down sir,” he explained sheepishly.

“Give me the bad news, commander Ramirez,” Lawson asked in a soft voice. “This did not turn out the way it was supposed to do it?”

The Commander read from the printout. “219 dead. 762 wounded. Both port flight pods were decompressed. Casualties are pretty light, for the circumstances. The chief of the deck ordered his crews into breathing gear after the first near miss. Without orders. He saved many lives.”

“If we promote master chief Perry, again, he may have to make him an officer,” Lawson quipped her voice weak.

“Doesn’t matter anymore,” Ramirez said. “He was one of the casualties.”

“That is going to hurt, Lawson said. How long is it gonna take to fix the ship?”

“We won’t be sure admiral till we get back to the shipyard. Damage is pretty similar. Just the other flight pod. Estimate on Saturn is 60 days.”

“Frak me,” Lawson said.

“You know you are not my type,” Ramirez playfully threw a pillow at the Admiral, missing on purpose.

* * *

According to the text books at the Colonial War College, an advance was considered halted when there was no way the offensive force could continue the battle plan. With every ship in the task force save the Athena, damaged, the options for continuing the offensive were limited.

The Solaria was available, and its flak shield was the best of any ship in the fleet. Due to operational needs, the Jupiter mark 2 battlestar was flying mark 2 vipers. The squadrons assigned to the Saturn and the Mercury needed to be tasked to the mobile shipyard. Loss of that facility would doom the Colonial fleet.

“All right,” Admiral Lawson said, bringing the meeting back to her control. “We will assign the Solaria to this main force. Apollo will remain. We have two Valkyries coming off the line today, we will take them. We will need to utilize some of the Adamant class and Bezerk class ships to put the air wing back to adequate force levels.”

“It is not going to be the same Admiral,” Athena’s commander, Steven Evans pointed out.

“Indeed not,” Lawson said, pushing her hand up past her forehead, moving imaginary bangs out of the way. “Put together 4 more task forces. We need fast and agile. We are also near the end of our supply of nuclear weapons. Assign a priority two locate some Cylon nukes we can hijack. I will issue operational objectives in the morning.”

In her mind, the plan was to go out in all directions and resume the creation of havoc. Making havoc had become more difficult.

“Sir yes Sir!” Everyone in the pilots ready room theater on board the Athena.

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