Chapter 15: Command

Burden of command

As she leaned back in a chair that was much too big for her, acting commander Eva Lawson ponder her fate. She was in command of a powerful warship. She did not think of herself as a commander. In her own self image she was still a pilot, a major in the colonial fleet.

The back of her neck felt like it was on fire. Her hair was wound too tight behind her neck. She reached up reflexively and undid the tight knot. Naturally curly hair, short curls tumble down her back past shoulder length.

She had expected to be going to Battlestar command school at the end of her current tour a year from now. She had the study materials in her duffel bag. Now she stared at a computer monitor.

On the monitor or simulated conflicts with with what the fleet thought was a cylon warship.

A familiar face, admiral Samuel Mueller was narrating the video. It spoke about angles of attack and difficult maneuvers to get the main guns of the mercury aimed at the center axis of a Basestar.  Based on the video coming in from the colonies, intelligence had not had a very good idea of how sleek and maneuverable this new cylon ship had become.

Dozens of the ships had jumped into close orbit of all 12 colonies of man. Then enter in orbit. They had entered a low orbit and rained nuclear weapons down on the human cities below.

The key to successful combat according to the admiral was constant maneuver. Making on self a difficult target limited damage from counter fire. If the damage became too great the mercury class chef could always jump.

She picked up a mile of the mercury sitting on the table in the office that was line of books lined with books, and pictures of various adventures taken while on shore leave.

This office was a man cave and it made her uncomfortable.

There was a light knock, a tapping sound on the outer door to the office. In the office was an anti-weapons case and several other signs of a colorful career. “Come,” she ordered.

The lieutenant was covered with oil spots and dust. She had forced her curvy body into some tight spaces to pull out computer modules and storage devices.

“Commander,” Maria Ramirez stood stiffly in front of the desk. Commander Lawson did not even get up. “You know all that even halfway through removing the virus from our air wing. That doesn’t even mention what is going to take to eradicate it on the ship.”

“You can supervise this process in your new role as my executive officer,” face Lawson studied the face of her new XO.

What she got was shock, awe and the look of puzzlement. “Sir,” she said urgently, you know they were at least four squadron commanders on this year with the rank of captain.”

Commander Lawson folded her fingers into a tent and rocked in the oversized office chair. “Do you want to know why Major Ramirez?”

Being addressed in this way caused her to stutter slightly and look behind her for another more deserving officer.

“Half of the air wing is dead or injured. The last thing I need right now is to take a squadron commander away from his pilots. You are a reliable officer discovered the cylon hack. I need someone reliable to help me learn how to operate the ship. I don’t think there’s a control stick anywhere in the CIC.”

“I went to Officer school so that I could have the rec necessary to running network on the Battlestar. I did not sign up for a suicide mission. Surely there are more qualified people on the ship to be our executive officer!”

“I trust you,” major Maria Ramirez. You are a hard worker and you will grow into the job just like I will.”

“It’s going to take four days to repair this ship. We need more fuel supplies, ammunition and basic raw material.”

“I heard of the wireless that we are picking up stragglers. A few raptors staffed with officers. There may be pilots out there we can rescue and put to work on the ship. But I am a basic question for you commander awesome, what is your strategy? What are we going to do with a single warship up against hundreds?”

Eva Lawson have been thinking about this question for hours. She did not have an answer to this question and she needed one to motivate a crew that was going to have bad morale because of the loss of their families. Then it hit her. The answer was in an animal you are video. Maneuver. Appear where one was unexpected and weak. Get those mean guns focused for a few seconds on the center axis of a basestar.

“First,” the commander spoke with confidence, “we need recon. We need to know the military situation in the colonies and we need to rescue any officers we can they can join us in this fight. Send the captains in from the squadron we need to pick a CAG. What we are going to do is hit them in many places. We’re going to give the impression we have 10 battle stars. Catch the thing is we’re going to need ammunition, fuel and a lot of luck.”

“What we really need here is another Battlestar too.”

“Well major what does signals intelligence tell us about the possibility of finding another Battlestar?”

“The only Battlestar’s we know that are missing is the Galactica, possibly the Pegasus. The problem is the Galactica was nuked and we haven’t heard from her since.  We have pretty clean footage of the Pegasus taking one or two nukes in Scorpia shipyards. We don’t have a disaster beacon on either of those two ships. We have 95 disaster beacons confirmed. The second Cylon war has been lost.”

“Well XO that is a downer.”

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