Chapter 4 : Attention on Deck

“Attention on deck,” said the pilot at the podium.” Over three hundred viper and raptor pilots dressed in flight suits stood up in theater seating. “Commander Air Group on deck.”

Eva Lawson was dressed in a perfectly pressed blue uniform. Her black hair was tied into a tiny knot behind her head. She moved with precision and stood at the podium.  She clasped her hands on the podium.

Pilots began to squirm, expecting to be told they could sit. Lawson glared at them and made eye contact with a few of the fidgeting pilots who froze in place.

“When I got this job, the first thing I thought was frack, I’m not going to war college and don’t get to drive a battlestar.” A few pilots chuckled softly at the joke.

“Then I said okay, I got drunk and fracked up but I get CAG of one of the few air wings in the Colonial Fleet that had higher ratings than my air wing on Atlantia. Not a bad detour before battlestar driving school.”

She looked stern and severe. “Then I got the efficiency reports and the seventy transfer requests. I was disgusted. Captain Ben “trainman” Watkins is a good pilot and he is going to continue to run red squadron. You guys let him down.”

“Major Julia Travers was a great CAG and a good stick. An green lieutenant flipped the wrong switch, got behind his CAG in an exercise and pressed the trigger. Sniper took two dozen shells and died instantly.”

She took a deep breath and stood up even straighter. You could hear a pin drop. “I knew her too. She was a great competitor. She kicked my ass last year at squadron exercises. I cried. I got drunk. I slept with a civilian for once. I stole her training guide and scored 15 points higher than her six weeks ago.”

“I honored her memory. You guys fracked up and your score dropped twenty fracking percent. Did that performance honor Sniper?”

She paused. “Answer me!”

There was a cacophony of no’s.

“Frack no!” shouted a lieutenant junior grade with a brown pony tail.

“That’s right,” Lawson shouted. “Frack no! What are we going to do yo honor her memory?”

“By being the best fracking air wing ever!” shouted pony tail.

“That’s your call sign pony tail. We are going to double are flight time and get back to being the best fracking squadron in the Colonial Fleet.”

“So say we all!” Shouted pony tail and a dozen others.

“So say we all,” shouted the new CAG.

“So say we all!” they all shouted.

“Break up into squadrons and memorize the plan of the day. Dismissed. Get the frack to work.” She pounded the lectern and waited for the squadrons to huddle up.

Admiral Mueller was standing with his XO Colonel Marth Rogers. She was fifty, taller than average, slightly overweight with short, salt and pepper hair. They were standing off in a corridor adjacent to the huge pilot ready room where they could observer unseen.

“That’s why I told you to grab her Sam,” she whispered. “She is going to give them their pride back.” He nodded acknowledging the statement.

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