Word Count: 4,295
Pairing/Focus: Original Characters
Summary: This story takes place more or less seven months after the Cylon Attack and is in the same realm as Dean Thomas and Kevin Hallesy.
Over the past months the refugees had begun to settle in a routine. The two Geminon Liners had set up a school for the children in which Jason Tillman’s middle child was a teacher. The Pan Galactic Liner was serving a dual role of hospital ship in addition to housing the families of the HYPERION that were onboard the battlestar at the outbreak of war. All able body civilians in addition to colonial service personnel were working on the MYSTIC, TESTRA and CARPUS.
Commander Jason Tillman was in raptor 594 returning to HYPERION that was being escorted by a pair of vipers. He had just finished inspecting the final round of modifications to the civilian vessels when he glanced through the window and saw the BOREAS, he immediately thought of the TANTALUS and her crew. Over a month had passed since they left Naylor Station to search for the other survivors of the colonies and still no word. What had become of them? Tillman thought to himself as he read through a reconnaissance report that were over two days old. They all stated no sign of activity, Cylon or otherwise in the system. The one thing that interested him were the Cylon communiqués the PROTEUS had recovered from a communication relay satellite. Tillman had sent PROTEUS to the edge of the Cyrannus System a few weeks ago to see if they could pick up any type of communication.
“The Cylons have started to make themselves at home,” Tillman thought to himself as he continued to read.
PROTEUS was able to decipher the “low-priority” encryption sequence the tin-heads were using. The messages state that the Cylons are still having trouble with the few remnants of the colonial service back at the home worlds. These remnants are continuing to inflicted minor damage to numerous basestars and outposts around the system. As a result, the Cylons have had to scale back the search for the GALACTICA again until more reinforcements arrive. McKnight also stated that the I.C.S Array emitted its diagnostic report this month without the Cylons detecting the message we incorporated in its signal.
As the raptor flew passed the BOREAS, Lt Powers lined up for final approach to the HYPERION
“HYPERION / Raptor 594. Beam acquisition lock” Glider started, making sure he followed protocol precisely.
“Raptor 594 / HYPERION. Copy your acquisition lock” Dyson (LSO) responded. “Standby for landing clearance.”
A moment passed and Dyson was back on the wireless. “Raptor 594 / HYPERION. Approach starboard handing bay, checker yellow and call the ball.”
“Confirmed HYPERION, starboard handing bay, checker yellow and I have ball,” replied Glider.
The raptor entered the landing bay and proceeded toward the yellow elevator. After the raptor landed, the elevator slowly made its decent from the flight deck to the hanger deck.
“Nice job Glider, thanks for the ride.” Tillman commented as he unbuckled himself.
“No problem sir, my pleasure,” responded Glider as he saluted the commander.
Tillman returned the salute and headed for the raptor door.
Colonel Hayes was waiting for Jason to exit the raptor to give him an updated status report. It was routine that they had started once Tillman started visiting the other ships in the fleet.
“Lt. Walkers’ team has finished her evaluation of the E.M.P. (Electro Magnetic Pulse) weaponry would like to meet with you regarding their findings,” Hayes began as they started walking towards the crew quarters. “JUNO reports that they have eighty-five percent of the port flight pod repaired. All launch bays are operational. They’re working on the flight deck and elevators.”
“DAEDALUS checked in this morning, CF139 cargo holds are filled and the refinery ship is at ninety percent of capacity and with tyllium. Finding that vein on the planetoid was pure luck. They report that they’ll be at one hundred percent in two days,” continued Hayes.
“How was the survey?” he asked.
“Good, although the civilians are starting to get a little restless. They expressed that they should be involved in any decision made. I finally agreed to let one representative from two passenger liners be present at the general briefing sessions. I also informed them that the fleet could be leaving Naylor Station soon,” Jason responded.
“What was their reaction?” inquired Hayes.
“Not happy, especially after we spent so much time and effort restoring the station. When I told them that sooner or later the Cylons could start searching this area and if they find our ships they’ll return in masses. They seemed to settle down after that,” answered Jason. “Any word from the patrols? The last reconnaissance report I have is over two days old.”
“PROTEUS reported that their probe retrieved more messages from that relay satellite. We haven’t been able to decipher all of them. It seems that the Cylons have multi-layered encryption protocols,” answered Hayes. “I have Ensign McCall working on cracking that code. She hopes to have something soon,” he added as they reached the ships elevators.
“Have they retrieved any more information on the unknown resistance?” Jason questioned.
“No more than we already knew, an old battlecruiser has engaged in a few hit and run skirmishes near the home words and that at one point, an unknown battlestar was spotted near Sagittara.
“What about GALACTICA and TANTALUS?” Tillman asked.
“Still nothing other than what we know. The Cylons initially chased GALACTICA and the civilian fleet around for almost a week after the attacks and then lost them shortly afterwards” responded Hayes. “We’ve had no contact with TANTALUS since she entered the Cyrannus system.”
“Give a copy of what we have to JUNO and ADELPHIA, have them work on it as well. We have other resources at our disposal. Lets use them.” Jason said as he entered the elevator by himself. “Inform Lieutenant Walker We’ll meet with her after the morning watch has begun.” Hayes acknowledged Jason’s orders and the doors closed.
Jason entered his quarters and was surprised to see his wife. Anne was in the middle of her rotation onboard the hospital ship, which was nicknamed “HAVEN”. Anne had picked up a regular rotation on her once the fleet reach Naylor Station. Due to the demands of running the fleet, Jason had spent little time with his wife and kids.
“I thought you had a another day left in your rotation?” he inquired.
“I was able to switch shifts. I figured I’d surprise you and Kyle is staying with the girls until tomorrow.” Anne said as she brought him dinner.
As Jason started in on his dinner he asked how her rotation went and how the girls were. Jason’s daughters were living on the HAVEN for the last two months. They had decided share a room there since they were working so much.
“Five more died from radiation poisoning. Which brings it to a total of one hundred and twenty three. We released over a two dozen patients including a couple of pilots and Colonel Edwards has shown signs of emerging from his coma,” she began. “He has had waking moments. Dr. Chapman feels that he’ll could eventually return to duty with extensive rehabilitation.” Anne sat down next to Jason and continued, “Cassidy been working in the Rehabilitation Center on a regular basis. She’s also been seeing a pilot,” she added.
“Who?” inquired Jason?
“Lt. Ryan McMillan.” Anne started. “He was on the HERMES.”
“How long has this been going on?” The surprised father said.
“They’ve been seeing each other for about six weeks. They meet when he was rehabbing his fractured legs. Kayla let it slip a few days ago. I promised I wouldn’t say anything. Anyway, he’s been cleared to return to duty.” She finished as she stared at her husband and saw for the first time since the war started, he looked like a surprised father, rather than a person with the responsibility of ten thousand refuges.
“How were your inspections?” Anne asked trying to change the subject.
“They went well,” he started, still thinking of Cassidy and her new boyfriend. “We’ve upgraded the defensive capabilities of the civilian ships. One of the liners recently adapted its arboretum to grow its own fruits and vegetables. They want to try and augment what they’re receiving from the agro-ship. A few of the other ships have started similar projects.” He finished, as they moved from the table to the couch. The two continued to talk for the next few hours before retiring for the evening.
After the morning shift had begun Lieutenant Walker and her team were called to the pilots briefing room. When they arrived they were surprised to see most of the senior officers of the fleet waiting. Commander Tillman was standing at the podium and motioned for Walker to come forward. As Walker took the podium, her team members passed out a report on their finding.
“Good Morning, I would like to introduce my team at this time. To my left are Lt. Kirby of TRINITY, Lt Barnes and Capt Clark of JUNO and Kendrick Ralls. When we inventoried Naylor Station we found thirty creates from the Colonial Weapons Division. Inside these creates we found cutting edge technology, from what we’re able to surmise; they were working on Electromagnetic Weapon Systems. The effect is characterized by the production of a very short (hundreds of nanoseconds) but intense electromagnetic pulse, which propagates away from its source with ever diminishing intensity, governed by the theory of electromagnetism. The Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is in effect an electromagnetic shock wave. This pulse of energy produces a powerful electromagnetic field, particularly within the vicinity of the weapon burst. The field can be sufficiently strong to produce short lived transient voltages of thousands of Volts on exposed electrical conductors, such as wires, or conductive tracks on printed circuit boards, where exposed. It is this aspect of the EMP effect, which is of military significance, as it can result in irreversible damage to a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment. The damage inflicted is not unlike that experienced through exposure to close proximity lightning strikes.” Walker stopped for moment to direct a team member to turn on the monitor and continued. “What you see is the three types of delivery systems, a prototype pulse rifle, a small portable case about the size of a briefcase, and a warhead that may be fitted to a missile frame. What you are now seeing is footage taken from KALLIOPE, as a test, we launched an EMP missile on a unmanned MKII shuttle.” Everyone watched as the missile impacted the shuttle causing an electric surge throughout the shuttle and then a total lose of power. Lt Walker then open the meeting to questions.
“Lieutenant, how many of these warheads do we have?” ask Commander Jones.
“Our present inventory of warhead type is one hundred sixty, eighty of the portable, and six pulse rifles.” Walker responded.
“What could these do to a Cylon basestar?” asked Colonel Walsh.
“It’s unknown, we could disable all of it or a section. The closer the target, the higher the probability increased damage.”
“So do we have the capability to build replacements?” asked Commander Roberts.
“Yes, we can.” She began. “There is one problem. Do the limited resources at this time; we would need to cannibalize a good segment of our standard warheads.”
“Mr. Ralls, what is your connection to this briefing?” Hayes asked, wondering why a thief was included in Walkers’ briefing.
Ralls stepped forward and began. “The Lieutenant wanted to know how I was able to get my hands on this weaponry. Nine weeks before the Cylon attacks I was contacted to appropriate certain containers located at the Aries Shipyards. My contact stated that I was to take only those containers and deliver them to the Tairac system. They heard that the Weapons Division was ready to conduct testing on radical new systems that they wanted it. I was given access codes to storage areas and the Shipyards’ mainframe.”
“Who was your contact?” inquired Tillman.
“I don’t know her name. She was definitely a looker. I could never forget a tall blonde.” Ralls added.
“Thank you Mr. Ralls,” Tillman began, “Could you please wait in the mess hall. I would like to speak with you on a different matter.”
Tillman waited for Ralls to exit before he continued. “This morning I spoke with Colonel Walsh. They were able to decode one of the older Cylon messages intercepted a few weeks ago. It seems that while an unknown battlestar was sighted in some type of recovery effort over Sagittara, another was engaging the tinheads over Caprica.” Tillman could hear the chatter level raise from murmurs to normal voices around the room.
“The Cylons destroyed the battlestar over Caprica,” Tillman declared, which quieted the chatter among the officers. “The message states that it was the ITHACA.”
“ITHACA?” questioned Roberts “She was stripped down to a target vessel. There’s no way she could have been turned around that quickly. She must have been a decoy,” he concluded.
“Someone used her. Judging by the communiqués it was used as a diversion. For what purpose we’re not sure. Until we have further information this is strictly classified.” With that, Jason dismissed the meeting. Only Commander Roberts remained and the two continued privately.
“What are you thinking?” asked Roberts.
“With what we have now, the more I’m convinced that there are two separate resistance cells and one is definitely around the home worlds. It’s tempting to go back and see what’s going on,” started Tillman. “But, we also have to consider what we have now. We can’t just leave the civilian ship out here alone. We need to find either GALACTICA or somewhere out of Cylon reach. We should continue looking until we know more.”
“I agree, the tinheads could come anytime,” answered Roberts.
“What’s your status? Is TRINITY ready to start surveying nearby sectors?” asked Jason.
“We’re good to go. All systems are up to specs. Blackjack Squadron is a little green, but Jackson is confident,” replied Roberts.
“Good, have TRINITY start scouting the Tairac System. Schedule your departure in twelve hours and take a couple of the EMP missiles.” ordered Tillman.
As Roberts headed for the hanger bay, Tillman was off to his office he had a few things to attend to.
Cmdr Jones was inspecting the restored launch bay in the port hanger pod with his XO.
“It’s hard to believe the repair crew could get these bays operational this quick,” said Colonel Brice.
“They pulled doubles for the last two months along with the teams from the other ships” began Jones. “They were able to appropriate the components from the Naylor Station. Its launch bays were similar to ours. In a week or so, we can start to move vipers to this pod.” Matt continued
“Clark (Capt. Todd “Woody Clark CAG) said that the squadron integration of the survivors from Leonis, Spitfire Squadron is probably the most experienced squadron in our fleet, although one could argue for Omega squad from HYPERION.” started Brice as the two crossed into the service bays and were greeted by CPO Conner Marshall.
“Hello Sirs,” followed the salute by Marshall. “ All launch tubes are now online and hopefully we can scavenge some paint and have them looking tiptop,” stated the CPO.
“That’s fine Chief,” started Jones. “Once the flight deck is complete we’re scheduled to get some vipers for our pilots from HYPERION,”
“Well, we might not need as many as we thought. The deck crews have something to show you.” Marshall started walking toward the rear of the Service Bay Three (SB 3). “After we restored life support and gravity, we were able to get in the launch bays and storage areas to access the damage. Two suicide runs by Cylon raiders caused most of it.”
As the trio finally made their way to the service bay Jones and Brice were stunned to see ten vipers.
“After we cleared the debris, we were able to get to the launch tubes. The vipers in tubes sixteen to twenty were salvageable and the explosion didn’t touch two of the five in storage bay,” continued Marshall as the senior officers inspected the vipers. “The other three were rebuilt from vipers that escaped Picon.”
“What’s their status?” asked Jones.
“A few of them need more work, but should be able to go in a week. Once this pod is fully operational, we can transfer another ten that were rescued and restored from Picon and Leonis. That will give us forty total vipers,” replied the chief.
Brice kept walking around the vipers giving them the once over when he noticed a table with the viper nameplates; he knew each and every name very well especially his bother. Marshall walked over to the table and spoke. “We planned to place a plaque above each launch tube as a memorial to the pilots who were killed before they could launch.”
“Make sure there’s one for the deck crew as well.” Brice spoke softly.
Colonel Marcus was late for the senior staff meeting on TRINITY. The Doctor had just removed the bandage over his eye. As predicted, his vision was normal. Only a three-inch scar above the eye and some slight discoloration remained. When he finally arrived, he took his seat. Present at the staff meeting were Lt Kirby of Tactical, Capt Lisa Jackson CAG Blackjack Squadron and CPO Peter Dunbar of Flight Deck Operations.
“I’m sorry to call this meeting at the last moment. We’ve been assigned to scout the Tairac System for any activity and possible destination for the fleet.” Roberts began. “Before we do that. I would like an section report from all of you first.”
Marcus was the first to speak. “With the integration of experienced personnel over the past few month our battle simulations have improved to ninety three percent. All the communication system and navigational program have been removed from the main network.”
“All weapons are fully operational and security teams are ready,” reported Kirby.
“All vipers and raptors are online. My flight crews are ready,” added Dunbar.
“My pilots are good to go. We’ve had plenty time to coordinate with the raptors,” stated Jackson.
“How long the scouting mission was scheduled for?” asked Marcus.
“A week to ten days,” responded Roberts. “Prepare the ship for departure. I want to rendezvous with CF 157 (Colonial Freighter) in two hours to obtain a few of those EMP missiles and get under way shortly thereafter. Dismissed.”
A few days after TRINITY left to scout the Tairac system, DAEDALUS and her group returned loaded with tyllium.
“Enter,” responded Captain Nix to the knock on his door.
“Sir, Lt. Ryan McMillan reporting as ordered,” spoke the young officer as he saluted.
Nix returned the salute and asked him to take a seat.
“Lieutenant, I understand you were cleared to return to duty,” Nix stated.
“Yes, sir. I was cleared yesterday. I haven’t received an assignment yet,” answered McMillan.
“Tell me about your injuries? What happened?” questioned Nix.
“We were in the port launch tubes when CIC called to scramble all remaining vipers. I was getting into my plane; a massive explosion rocked us and I was sent flying out of the cockpit. I was out cold and the next thing I know I’m on a makeshift hospital ship. I later found out that a deckhand dragged me to sickbay,” recounted McMillan.
“How long were you deputy CAG?” inquired the CAG.
“Sir, I was deputy CAG for the last five of the nine months onboard HERMES. Prior to that, I was on battlestar COLUMBIA for over two years,” replied McMillan.
“I just reassigned my former second-in-command to training new pilots and in some cases, recertify old ones that have come forward within the fleet. I’m in need of a deputy. I need an experienced officer who knows how to run a squadron. I spoke with Lt Ashley (surviving senior officer from HERMES) he spoke highly of you. Are you interested in the position?” asked Nix.
“Yes sir,” responded McMillan.
“Good, you’ll be charge of beta wing. There’s a recon patrol scheduled for 0500, I would like you to tag along with them as an observer, and it’ll give you a chance to log some flight time.” Nix ordered.
McMillan acknowledged the order and thanked Nix before leaving. As Nix watched him leave, he hoped this would be the last reassignment to his squadron. “To many changes lately, they need more time to gel as a unit,” he hoped as he sat down to review the viper maintenance logs of his squadron.
The PROTEUS was drifting near the edge of the Cyrannus System. It was her rotation to sit and listen for any signs of activity coming from the home colonies. McKnight liked this assignment it made him feel useful. He was down in the cargo bay inspecting repairs to raptor when he was paged.
“Colonel McKnight, please report to CIC.”
McKnight exited the shuttle and proceeded to a intercom
(To be continued)