Word Count: 16,061
Pairing/Focus: Original Characters
Summary: My story takes place in the same realm as Dean Thomas and Kevin Hallesy.
“Twenty minutes until we reach the Leonis Shipyards, Commander,” The executive officer said calmly to Cmdr Tillman.
“Thank you, Mr. Hayes” replied the Commander.
“Helmsman, set course for Delta bay. Comm, inform the shipyard to prepare for mooring.” Instructed the XO.
“Confirmed, Sir” replied the Communications Officer. (Comm.)
Cmdr Tillman slowly moved to his command station, reflecting what has transpired in the past three years. How, when he came aboard the HYPERION, it was as her Executive Officer under Cmdr Martin Quinn. Quinn picked him over ten other candidates based on the recommendation of his C.O. on the PACIFICA. The HYPERION was on an exploratory mission to find habitable planets for colonization. A year and a half into the mission, Cmdr Quinn suffered a cerebral hemorrhage due to undiagnosed condition and passed away two months later. After the death of Quinn, Fleet Headquarters wanted to cancel the rest of the mission. But, it was Admiral Greene who convinced HQ that the mission should continue to it’s scheduled completion. It was also Adm. Greene that told him last week that he would stay in command of HYPERION after her system upgrades.
“Cmdr, One minute till docking.” announced the XO.
“Prepare mooring clamps” instructed the commander.
“Cut main thrusters, let our momentum take us in.” said Tillman as he watched the forward monitor. “Helmsmen, station keeping thrusters in 5…4…3…2…1 NOW and lock mooring clamps.” A small cheer let loose as the mooring clamps engaged. The HYPERION was home early after three years.
The Commander walked over to the Comm Station and made a ship wide announcement “This is Cmdr Tillman, we have just spent three years charting and surveying distant areas of the Cyrannus System for future colonization by the colonies. We’ve seen beautiful new worlds that are breathtaking and stunning, waiting for our return. But, this knowledge came at price for some, we’ve experienced our share sorrow and heartache for those who where unable to make our return voyage. Later on tonight, we will celebrate the lives of those unable to return with a party to honor them and our families for the sacrifices they made during our absence. Make sure that you are in your dress uniforms; we wouldn’t want to give our families the impression that we have lost our manners while we were away.”
At that moment the crew members were looking at each other stunned, and with the realization that their families were at the Leonis Station, a mammoth cheer erupted throughout the HYPERION.
“The entire crew will make sure the ship is shut down in six hours. We wouldn’t want to be late for our own party. All section heads report to the XO when complete.”
The Colonial Service had charted two passenger transports (Colonial Heavy Class) to ferry the HYPERION crews’ families to the shipyard for the homecoming. This was not a common thing for the Colonial Service to do. Admiral Greene must have quietly pulled some strings to get this done. Due to the backlog of various ships at the Aries shipyard, The HYPERION was diverted from its homeport to the Leonis Shipyards.
Later on that night, as with most of his crew, Cmdr Tillman was reunited with his family. Jason Tillman and Anne have been married for over twenty-two years. They first meet when he was stationed on the ATLANTIA as a viper pilot and she was on her first rotation as a doctor out of the academy. They fell in love and married shortly afterwards. Anne left the service shortly after the birth of their first child. Tillman was glad to see all three of his children could attend the festivities. Cassidy was a twenty-one year old nursing student who was the spitting image of her mother. Kayla, nineteen is entering her second year at Aries University to become a teacher. Most of all, Jason was glad to see his fourteen year old boy Kyle. Kyle wants to enter the Colonial Academy like his father when he graduates secondary school. Stories were exchanged by each although the night and into the morning.
At 0830 the buzzer rang at Cmdr Tillman’s door. As he dragged himself out of bed, he gently placed the rest of his bed sheets over Anne. After a minute, Jason made his way to the door.
“Who is it?” he asked still half asleep.
“Captain Marcus, from Shipyard Operations” Tillman opened the door. “Sir, you’ve been requested to report to Admiral Henderson’s office at 0930 hrs.”
“Excuse me?” asked Tillman.
“I have direct orders from Adm. Henderson himself, to escort you to his office.” replied the Captain.
“Why?” responded the Commander?
“You’ll have to ask the Admiral, Sir.” Marcus said crisply.
“Fine, I’ll be with you in few minutes Captain. Please have a seat in my office while I shower.” Tillman walked back into the bedroom and told Anne that he would be back after this meeting.
Cmdr. Tillman strode into the admirals’ outer office and was surprised to see his XO standing by the window in the waiting area. “ I see they asked you here too,” asked Tillman.
“I wonder why?” responded Capt. Hayes.
“ First night back, they probably threw some of the crew in detention” retorted the Commander.
“How’s the family?” asked Hayes as he watched the shipyard technicians work on the Battlestar through the window.
“Older” mused Tillman “Cassidy and Kayla are all grown-up, Kyle is almost as tall as I am and Anne is working at the Academy Hospital again.
Admiral Henderson’s door opened and an Ensign asked the two officers to enter.
“Cmdr Tillman and Captain Hayes of the HYPERION reporting as ordered, Sir.” said Hayes.
“Before I get to what I brought you here for I have a directive from Picon Fleet Headquarters it reads as follows” said the Admiral plainly.
To: Captain Walter Hayes, Acting Second Officer of Battlestar HYPERION
From: Picon Fleet HQ
“Captain, after a review of the preliminary mission report, your Colonial Service Record, and at the request of Commander Jason Tillman. I have the privilege of granting you a promotion to rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Congratulations.”
Admiral Hyman Greene
“Congratulations Colonel. ” said Henderson and then immediately directed him to see the station’s quartermaster for the appropriate attire. That left the Admiral and Commander alone.
“Commander, I’m sure you aware that the Battlestar ORION is in Alpha Bay. Presently she’s over two weeks behind schedule on her refit. She’s supposed to escort a convoy on a colonization mission to the Hatari sector. I need the HYPERION to take over that mission.”
Tillman was taken aback. His crew just returned from a deep space mission they were due a three-week sabbatical before returning to the ship to assist with her upgrades. How could he support something he thought was wrong?
“Admiral, My ship is scheduled to start major upgrades. We’ve just returned from an extremely long mission. My crew needs down time. Three quarters of my crew are leaving in two days to spend time on Leonis with their families!”
“Commander,” said the admiral with a noticeable hint of anger in his voice. “ I have four ships that have been orbiting Leonis for the past week, two of them full of colonist. There is no other battlestars available. The HYPERION surveyed this area three years ago. We have since started colonize the planet. She’s best suited for the mission. Your families will be here when you return.”
Tillman was about to say something when Henderson added “ If you find yourself unable to complete this mission, I can assign the commander of the Orion to complete the task.”
Tillman was silent for a few seconds that seemed an entirety. He chooses his next words carefully “Sir, may I have the mission parameters.”
Henderson explained that the HYPERION would lead a convoy of the four ships in orbit, which happen to be an agricultural and a Tylium refinery ship, with two chartered luxury liners with about three thousand colonists. The convoy will proceed to the neighboring Hatari Sector to join with the existing ships in orbit around the sixth planet. After off-load has started, The HYPERION will escort three ships back to Leonis.
After studying the charts on the table Tillman asked, “Why is the convoy circumventing the nebula on the edge of this sector? If I remember correctly, we spent a week charting the flows and debris currents. If we go straight through it, even at half sub-light it would only take two days.”
“The Colonial Service when chartering the two liners from Intersun Inc., agreed not to put the ships in harm’s way, which means going around the nebula” remarked Henderson.
Jason noted that the Admirals’ response was the same angry tone as a few minutes earlier.
“That is why you are wasting eleven days to go around the nebula. I’ve ordered the ground crews get the HYPERION ready to launch in twenty-eight hours. I suggest you notify your crew and make preparations to leave. A transport will take you to your ship. Dismissed.”
Jason acknowledged the Admiral then turned around and walked out his office. On his way out of the outer office, Captain Marcus joined Cmdr Tillman in his walk. Jason figured Marcus was his escort to make sure he got on the transport when Marcus spoke.
“Sir, I’m sorry about not being able to tell you earlier.”
“That alright Captain, I understand your loyalty to your C.O.”
Marcus responded with a comment that was so quiet, it was almost under his breath. Tillman picked up on it and stopped.
“Captain, What’s going on? Is there something else I should know?” Tillman was clearly agitated now and his frustration was vented on Marcus.
“I have a distinct feeling you know more of what’s going on here and I would like to be clued in!”
Marcus was hesitant in responding, but after another prompt from Tillman he finally spoke.
“Admiral Henderson is near mandatory retirement and he’s been alone since losing his family in the Cylon War. The service is all he has left. If he stays here, he’ll have to retire at the end of the next month when this station shutdown. Henderson is calling in all his markers to find a way to stay in the service. He’s made a deal with HQ to command the outpost on the planet that we’re colonizing in the Hatari System. As you know, that’s the type of assignment nobody in his or her right mind with a family wants! He jumped at it. The HYPERION came back four weeks ahead of schedule, officially, your being kept off the records as returning so Henderson can get to his new command.”
Commander Tillman realized he was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“If those ships aren’t on their way in the next forty-eight hours the mission will be scrubbed. Henderson has made so many changes to repair schedules and redirected resources; it will take a week to get back on schedule! He even had a training vessel escort two ships out to the new colony five days ago. The Admiral is leaving in six hours on the battlecruiser HERMES to oversee the deployment of the civilians when they arrive in your convoy, leaving me here to clean up this mess.”
All Cmdr Tillman could do was stand and wonder at the upheaval that one man could cause. At this point, he could see his shuttle waiting for him on the landing pad. He turned to Marcus and wished him well and walked to his shuttle.
It was one hour since Tillman’s meeting with the Admiral. Jason was sitting in his office speaking with his newly promoted XO.
“With Colonial Marines being reassigned and survey teams quarters completely empty we could take over five hundred people with us.” Hayes posed.
“Fine, we’ll do it. Notify all crew members of the recall, inform them if their families can take the time, they can be entered in the lottery to come with us.” instructed Jason
“I sure hope Fleet HQ doesn’t get wind of this. If they do, we’ll be lucky to pilot sewage transports” said Hayes with a chuckle.
“Hey, on paper we haven’t even returned from our deep space mission.” Tillman responded with the same chuckle.
“I want a status report in eight hours. In the mean time, I need to speak with my family.”
Eight hours later, the CIC was full of activity getting ready for launch; Col. Hayes was looking over status reports when Cmdr. Tillman walked over to him.
“Status report Colonel,” asked Tillman.
“Commander, all crew members are present and accounted for. We have almost five hundred guests down below. They have been instructed on protocol for this trip. The ship’s provisions are presently at seventy-eight percent. We expect to be one hundred percent in ten hours. Most of the system upgrades have been put on hold until we return”
“Good, make preparation to get underway in twelve hours and we’ll meet up with the convoy and head for the Hatari System,” he said as Hayes handed him the reports.
“Commander” Hayes asked “What about your family? Did you talk with them?”
Jason looked up with a smile and told Walt that Anne and the kids will be onboard in two hours and he told his XO that he would meet him in CIC upon departure.
“Sir, all four ships have cleared orbit from Leonis and are reporting they’re be ready for FTL jump in twenty minutes.” reported Ensign McCall from the Comm Station.
“Good, notify the convoy we jump in thirty minutes.” “XO make preparations for jump and recall the escort fighters.” Tillman ordered and Hayes acknowledged.
“Notify me when we reach the nebula. I want to check the charts to see if were we can cut time off our trip.” said Tillman as he exited to CIC.
One hour after the convoy jumped to the designated coordinates, the HYPERION laid in its course for its eleven-day journey around the nebula.
It had been ten days since the convoy had started its trip around the nebula; remarkably the convoy was on schedule. Duty shifts were maintained at a minimal level so crewmembers whose family came long on the trip could spend time with each other. All that was going to change.
Tillman and his family were finishing dinner when the intercom buzzed.
“Tillman here, go ahead CIC.” Jason responded.
“Sir, this is Lt. Walker, we’re receiving a message from the Agro-Ship they are reporting a problem with the secondary energizer.”
“How bad is the problem?” Tillman inquired.
“Bad enough they need to stop to repair it,” responded the tactical officer.
“Alright, I’m on my up. Get a message ready to send to the other ships.” Tillman out.
At that point Jason turn to his family and said “Duty calls” and proceeded out of his cabin.
Tillman walked into the Command Center and was greeted by Colonel Hayes and Lt. Walker. Hayes explained that the agro-ship “MYSTIC” secondary energizer had a power spike, which basically “fried” the environmental control and relay circuits and not to mention damaging the energizer itself.
“Why can’t they switch environmental to the primary energizers?” Tillman asked while scanning the specs for the MYSTIC. Jason had noted the different configuration of the ship when they left Leonis orbit. The ship used the conventional spine of a normal agro, but did not use the standard circular domes as its predecessors but five massive cylinders that were connected to the spine at each end. A more detailed review said that the cylinders could rotate one hundred and eighty degrees so they could be protected from outer space during an emergency.
“They said that the MYSTIC is a prototype. Environmental circuits would overload the primaries so they were given its own independent power source. The back-up power systems can only sustain environmental systems for a short time.” Hayes answered.
“It would take at least a full day probably more,” said Hayes.
Tillman was not pleased with that bit of information. He was not looking forward the contacting the Admiral on the HERMES to inform him of the delay. Jason was also not very keen on the idea of having the convoy stop while close to the nebula.
After a second to take everything in, the Cmdr Tillman spoke.
“Walt, inform the MYSTIC to start repairs. See if they need a repair crew to help.”
He then turned towards the Communication station
“Ensign McCall, notify the other ships of the situation and tell them to hold position.”
Jason finally walked over to his tactical officer and told her to start sending patrols out to monitor the area. He also wanted a raptor to scout the area ahead towards the colony and behind the convoy and report their status every thirty minutes.
Lt. Walker acknowledged and started to complete the tasks assigned to her. Her first order of business was to inform the LSO up to speed on what the mission was and then contact the Senior CAG and get his Vipers launched.
Thirty minutes later, Commander Tillman returned to the CIC and motioned to Hayes. He finished is conversation with Ensign McCall and meets the commander at the Dradis center. Hayes asked how his conversation with the Admiral.
“Thank the Lords of Kobol that we only have to deal with him for a few more days.” muttered Tillman
“I take it that went well.” Hayes said quietly.
“I haven’t been treated that way since the academy. Anyway, what’s our status?” Tillman asked.
The XO handed Cmdr Tillman a status board, but summarized what it said. “Raptors 1 and 2 are deployed, Omega squadron is launched, Silver Hawks is on stand-by and we also dispatched a repair team to the MYSTIC to assist repairs.”
“Very well” Jason responded “I’m going to turn in for the night give me a call if anything happens”
“Very well, good evening commander.” Walt responded not looking at Jason but at the Dradis center.
Twenty-eight hours later a raptor is patrolling an area forward of the HYPERION. Inside two men, one is sleeping the other watching his Dradis screen. Lt. Chris “Glider” Powers is sleeping while his ship is on autopilot. Ltjg. James “Blinky” Hanson is monitoring the sensor package when a buzzer on his panel lights up.
“Glider, get up!”
“Come on, wake up!”
“What’s up?” Glider responded while attempting to wipe the sleep from his eyes.
“Two contacts, course 294-090, speed one quarter sub-light. Time to intercept eight minutes.” Blinky stated.
“Blinky, identify friend or foe,” asked Glider as he disengaged the autopilot.
“Getting a reading…. ship identified…talk about relics…. Colonial Vipers Mark II’s” exclaimed Blinky.
“They must be from the TRINITY,” stated Glider as he opened a wireless channel to the inbound Vipers.
“Colonial vessels this is Raptor 594 please identify?”
“I repeat, colonial vessel please identify… do you copy?”
After a moment the lead viper responded.
“Colonial raptor this is Viper 207, we have your signal.” responded the female viper pilot.
“Viper pilot, this is Glider, it looks like you’re along way from your mother.”
“Glider this is Angel, Mother is coming up on my six and bringing the family home.”
The two pilots were surprised to hear the TRINITY had left the planet with two of the three ships that the HYPERION were suppose to escort home.
“Angel, We’ll inform the family you’re coming for a visit. Raptor 594 out.” said Lt. Powers then he turned to Hanson and ordered him to advise HYPERION of the impending arrival of the TRINITY. Afterwards the raptor continued its patrol assignment.
An hour had pasted since the HYPERION received the message from the forward raptor. CIC was very busy. The MYSTIC had just finished its final test on the rebuilt energizer and is in final preparation to get underway after thirty plus hours of repairs. The fact that the TRINITY was less than half a click off the port bow did not help matters. The TRINITY was the second of twenty tri-hulled (Protector Class) configured battlecruiser ever built (Smaller version of a battlestar.). She was built twenty-five years ago and is over 975 meters (3,200ft) long and has two non-retractable flight pods at are attached by a massive single strut which makes her vastly different than her mono-hull predecessor. The TRINITY was removed from active duty five years ago and designated a training vessel. Tillman also knew her commander, John Roberts.
Roberts was Tillman’s A.T.T. instructor back at the academy on Picon years ago. Commander Roberts was a highly decorated viper pilot during the cylon war. The TRINITY has been under his command for the past ten years.
“McCall, open a VID link to the TRINITY and transfer the signal to dradis monitor three.” requested Tillman.
A moment later the image of a tall burly man with mostly gray hair appear on the monitor.
“Dodger, heard you had a little trouble out here!” exclaimed the image on the screen with a grin. All Tillman could do was smile. It had been a long time since the two friends had seen each other.
“Not really.” responded Tillman “We’ll be heading out in a few minutes.”
“Lucky you. Hope you get there soon for your sake” grinned Roberts
“I know.” Tillman said.
At that moment Tillman’s XO had a headset on over at the Communication station. Col Hayes could not believe what he was hearing. He was in total disbelief.
“Commander!” shouted Hayes. “We’re receiving a distress call from the HERMES, They’re under attack from what they believe are CYLONS!”
The CIC was totally quite. Everyone was looking to the commander.
“Confirm the message.” Asked Tillman as he turned to dradis monitor three to see the reaction of Cmdr Roberts. Tillman could see Roberts conferring with his staff.
“No response” stated McCall. “I think the signal is being jammed.”
Tillman looked at a different monitor and saw that a raptor was still in a forward patrol pattern. He turned to Hayes and asked who was in it.
“It’s Glider,” said Hayes.
“Get him out there and have him report immediately on a TAC channel.” Said Tillman as he turned back to CMDR Roberts on monitor three.
“What do you make of it John? Could it be real?” asked Tillman
“I don’t know? It’s been a long time since we heard from the cylons,” said Roberts
“Sir, I have Raptor 594,” McCall said.
“Put them on the box, ensign” ordered Tillman “Glider, What’s going on out there?”
“Sir, I’m reading multiple impacts on the surface of the planet, high amounts of radiation. The HERMES is engaged with a ship I’ve never seen before. She’s taking a pounding. We’re reading multiple debris fields, it appears to be destroyed vipers!”
Tillman turn to his XO and ordered condition one. Hayes then turned to his tactical officer and nodded.
Suddenly the klaxon sounded throughout the ship and the voice of Lt. Walker came over the internal ship speakers.
“ACTION STATIONS, ACTION STATION SET CONDITION ONE THROUGHOUT THE SHIP. THIS IS NOT A DRILL”
Tillman turned back to monitor three and asked Commander Roberts his battle capability. Roberts asked Tillman to go private. Tillman picked up a headset.
“Jason, the ship is battle capable, other than fifty officers, I have all third and fourth year cadets. I have forty Mark II Vipers. Only the CAG’s and her deputies have any extended experience.” Roberts explained.
“Colonel Hayes, What squads are in the tubes?” Tillman asked
“Omega in the port and Silver Hawks in the other.” responded Hayes
Tillman didn’t like the fact that his two of his best viper squadrons were next in the rotation. He had no choice, it would take too long to pull one of them out and reload with a different squad. Jason walked over to his tactical officer and ordered her to launch Silver Hawk squadron and fly cover for the other ships staying behind. Lt Walker called down and instructed the LSO to launch the squadron.
Back in the CIC, the crew was making final preparations for their FTL jump to assist the HERMES when over the speaker they heard Raptor 594.
“Glider we have two hostiles closing on our position!” shouted Blinky
“I see them!” snapped Glider “Engines at full throttle. I’m heading for the planet, maybe we can lose them in the atmosphere!”
“Hostiles launching missiles, they’re locking on us!” screamed Blinky.
“Drop decoys now!” shouted Glider.
The last thing CIC heard was Blinky acknowledged that he dropped the decoys when the comm channel from the raptor was lost.
“Silver Hawks are deployed and escorting the convoy into the nebula and launch tubes reloaded.” reported Walker.
“I want all remaining vipers launched after the jump is completed.” Tillman informed his tactical officer.
“All hands prepare for FTL jump.” Lt Walker instructed the crew over the internal address system.
“All sections report ready for FTL jump and flight pods are retracted,” reported the XO.
“Make the jump!” ordered Commander.
The HYPERION made the relatively short jump behind the planet’s second moon and launched its four remaining squadrons hoping to surprise the enemy.
“Commander, All squadrons launched Panther, Eagle and Omega heading for the HERMES and Spitfire is establishing a parameter around the HYPERION,” stated the tactical officer.
“Colonel Hayes, plot an intercept course to the hostile and engaged at flank speed,” ordered Tillman
“Yes, sir!” replied Hayes.
As the HYPERION came up to speed, sixty of her vipers were closing on the HERMES when the twelve-cylon raiders spotted them.
“HYPERION this is Eagle Leader, in range in thirty seconds. We have twelve confirmed hostiles inbound moving to intercept!”
At that moment, the lead cylon raiders lowered a door on the nose of its ships and emitted a red beam towards the incoming vipers.
“This is Eagle leader, my viper is losing power. Its shutting down, we need assistance!”
Forty of the sixty vipers lost power and were helpless.
“This is Omega leader I’m not affected by that beam I’m assuming command, all vipers attack incoming raiders and protect the dead vipers.”
Before the remaining vipers could engage the raiders they launched missiles at the powerless vipers and hit thirty-nine of their helpless targets.
Back on the HYPERION tactical was scrambling to find out why the vipers lost power, but that would have to wait they we’re less than two minutes out. By the time the HYPERION reached the battle scene the HERMES was dead and floating in space and the basestar had resumed bombarding the planets surface.
As the vipers were defeating the outnumbered cylon raiders, Omega actual headed for the HERMES to assess her damage.
“HYPERION this is Omega actual, I have a visual on the HERMES, she’s has multiple scaring and ruptures from missile impacts, engines look intact, most of the starboard pod is missing. There’s a huge hole on the primary hull, possibly from the destroyed flight pod. The port side doesn’t look to bad, its pod looks intact.”
“Helm, drop to one quarter sub-light, retract the flight pods and present minimal aspect to target!” ordered Tillman.
“All forward batteries are locked on target! All missile tubes are primed and ready,” reported the XO
“All weapons open fire!” the commander said calmly.
The first volley hit the lower half of the new unfamiliar basestar. The basestar returned fire but most of the missile we’re intercepted by defensive fire from the battlestar and its vipers. Two missiles hit the battlestar with minimal effect. The HYPERION launched a second and third volley that rocked the basestar but it still returned fire. Then the battlestar turned ninety degrees to port and launched a barrage of missiles that connected with the basestar. The cylons suffered major damage to the lower half of the basestar but manage to limp behind the drifting battlecruiser, which forced the battlestar to stop firing.
In the Command center of the crippled battlecruiser the emergency lights flickered on. Admiral Henderson was trying to pull himself to his feet using the plotting table as he looked around he could see that most of the crew were dead including the commander who was crushed under a part of a dradis console that had fallen during the last explosion. Only the tactical officer and one of the two helmsmen were alive, both of them trying to put out fires in the around the command center. Henderson asked for a status report and the news was worse than he feared. Weapon systems and FTL was beyond hope, starboard flight pod destroyed and atmosphere was venting through an enormous hole on the starboard side of the primary hull just forward of where the flight pod should be. Henderson knew the ship was done without the FTL system.
“How’s the other pod?” asked Henderson as he tied a makeshift bandage around his left leg.
“The port flight pod is intact sir, pressure is holding for now,” responded the tactical officer. “Admiral, engineering is reporting that we might be able to get one quarter to maybe a third sub-light from the port engine in a few minutes.”
“Sir, before we lost the scanners, I think a battlestar entered the system. They could be out there,” informed the tactical officer.
“See if you can open a TAC commline to the HYPERION” ordered the Admiral as another small explosion shook the ship.
“Sir, we’re getting an audio signal from the HERMES on TAC-6!” shouted the comm officer onboard the battlestar.
Commander Tillman ordered Ensign McCall to put the signal on the CIC squawk box.
“This is Cmdr Tillman, go ahead,” stated Jason.
After a few moments, which seemed an eternity, a raspy voice was heard.
“This is Admiral Henderson, what’s the status of the hostile?”
“Sir, the hostile has suffered heavy damage and is in a low orbit above the planet, but it’s using you as a shield. We also have raptors deployed jamming all communication frequencies. What’s your status Admiral?”
“The HERMES is done, most of the crew were killed when they took out the starboard pod. The FTL drive is offline as well as the weapon systems, What about TRINITY” asked the Admiral.
“She’s safe sir, she’s watching the others with support from us.” Jason said vaguely not wanting to say more than he had to.
“Understood,” replied the Henderson “Commander, if the Cylons were so bold to attack this outpost, I fear for the colonies back home. You need to get back.”
“Yes, sir” responded Tillman
With that, a klaxon was heard in the background of the open channel with the damaged battlecruiser.
“ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP REPORT TO THE PORT FLIGHT POD. FIVE MINUTES TO SHIP TERMINATION!”
“Commander, eventually the tin-head will come looking for that basestar and they’ll know that we couldn’t have inflected all that damage and they’ll assume that another ship was involved. Prepare to receive survivors.” Tillman acknowledged the Admirals’ orders.
“Sir, what going on?” McCall whispered to the Colonel
“The Admiral is going to make sure that there’s no sign of us being here,” replied Hayes.
The HERMES used its maneuvering thrusters to turn the cruiser towards the heavily damage basestar.
“Commander, HERMES sub-light engines are powering up, one quarter sub-light. She’s heading for the basestar!” stated Hayes.
When the basestar noticed what the battlecruiser was going to do. It started to fire on the HERMES.
“Tactical, have Omega and Spitfire Squadrons lay down suppression fire to take some heat off the HERMES,” ordered Commander Tillman.
“Commander,” stated Henderson “I sent our tactical officer to eject the weapon coils. You might find them useful. Watch your back and get home.” With that, Henderson killed the comm channel.
Jason stood by the dradis center and watched the monitor.
“Sir, the HERMES have ejected her weapon coils,” announced Walker
“Send two shuttles to retrieve the coils,” replied Tillman while watching the monitors.
“HERMES is closing on the basestar, one minute to impact,” announced Colonel Hayes.
“I’m reading two Mark II shuttles and a colonial transport launching from the HERMES port pod,” stated Lt Walker from the Tactical station.
Tillman looked to Capt Dyson (LSO) who made preparations to receive the HERMES survivors.
“Fifteen seconds to contact,” informed Hayes.
“Ten raiders have detached from the basestar and are making a run for it!” announced Lt Walker.
Commander Tillman grabbed a headset and opened a commline to the vipers. “ALL VIPERS INTERCEPT THOSE RAIDER BEFORE THEY CAN JUMP!”
Just as Tillman made that announcement, the HERMES rammed the damaged basestar. On the dradis monitors the CIC watch as the HERMES ripped into the upper half of the basestar. The two ships were spinning toward the planets surface.
The remaining vipers including the group assigned to cover the HYPERION shot out after the fleeing raiders. They were able to intercept nine of the ten raiders. The tenth raider had used the basestar and battlecruiser to shield itself from the vipers and headed for the planet’s northern pole to escape.
“This is Omega sixteen, that last raider is to far ahead, it’s going to escape!” reported the viper pilot.
“Frakk” exclaimed Colonel Hayes.
The raider was about to exit the planets atmosphere when it exploded. Omega sixteen was the first to spot the two vipers heading on an intercept course.
“The planet’s gravity has a hold on both of them. They’re in a spin and starting to break up. Impact less than one minute” reported Walker.
As CIC watched as the two ships descend to their fate, the HERMES survivors were on final approach to the starboard pod. Colonel Hayes ordered the medical center to prepare for survivors and have med techs waiting on the lower deck of the flight pod.
“Sir, I’m reading three additional targets in addition to the two unknown vipers closing from the northern region of the planet. They must have used the magnetic pole to hide from our sensor sweeps,” reported Lt. Walker.
“Identify those ships Lieutenant,” barked Colonel Hayes.
“One mark VII viper, one Celestra class electronic ship and a colonial raptor. Transponder id code identifies it as raptor 594.” said a surprised tactical officer.
“Colonel Hayes, recall Omega squad and all raptors and keep Spitfire squad on patrol. Find out the status of the electronics ship and have tactical find out what happen to Eagle squadron. Report to me in fifteen minutes with a damage and casualty list,” ordered Tillman.
Colonel Hayes entered Tillman’s office and handed him a status report. The report stated that one hundred and three survivors were being treated by med teams that included his wife and daughter and that the HERMES weapons coils were secured in cargo bay three. The electronic ship TESTRA is low on fuel, but has enough to FTL back to the nebula. The TESTRA needs sixty minutes to prep for the jump. The figure that stood out to Tillman was the loss of forty-six viper pilots. All of Panther squadron and nineteen of twenty pilots were from Eagle Squadron. The only survivor was Ensign Thomas Sanders. Hayes recommended that Sanders be transferred to Omega Squadron, which Jason approved. Eagle squadron and the rest would be mourned later. HYPERION had to get back to the colonies. Tactical was still looking into why the vipers shutdown. Jason asked the colonel to stay on top of Tactical and get answers soon and make preparations for the crew’s families to excavate to one of the colonist ships with that, Hayes exited the C.O. office.
Jason had Ensign McCall open a commline on secured TAC channel to the TRINITY and transfer it to his office. He needed to inform Commander Roberts of his passengers, the fate of the HERMES and the new colony. McCall noted that the signal would be a bit “grainy” do to the distance. Jason put on a headset.
“Dodger, what’s going on?” asked Commander Roberts.
Jason took a deep breath and then exhaled. “Shaker, the Cylons have wiped out the colony on Equellus.”
“What about the HERMES and TESTRA?” responded Roberts.
“TESTRA is with us. She hid in the planets magnetic pole. The HERMES was badly damaged, her final act was to eject her weapon coils and ram the basestar and drive it into the planet’s surface. She got off about one hundred of her crew.”
Commander Roberts was speechless. Before he could say anything Jason spoke up again.
“Henderson feared for the colonies and I might agree with him. This could be the start of something.”
Roberts agreed with that assessment. He also stated that since Tillman’s vessel had the tactical advantage, he is in command. Jason tried to defer to Roberts seniority. Roberts reminded him that his crew were cadets and had no more of it. Jason also informed Roberts of his passengers in addition to the HEMRES crew. Roberts was surprised but he understood Tillman’s reasoning because his daughter and grandchild were on the TRINITY. It seems that Roberts had visitors too, when the late admiral changed his plans.
Jason told Roberts of his plan to evacuate his passengers when his tactical officer disturbed him. She handed him a report and then left. Jason read it over quickly and informed his counterpart on the commline that somehow the Cylons were able to shutdown the viper’s computer system through a beam emitted from the cylon fighters affecting a newly uploaded navigational program. It seems that CNP was being uploaded during the aborted upgrade at LSTC. The squadron from HYPERION flying cover for the TRINITY was also affected by this upgrade and it would take about eight to ten hours to purge and reinstall a previous version of the navigation program in the affected vipers. Roberts suggested that he would start the ships for home directly through the nebula at one quarter sub-light and he could rendezvous after he jumps. The two men discussed another idea and the signed off.
On TRINITY Commander Roberts informed the convoy about the cylon attack and that they would be heading back to the colonies. Commander Roberts then notified his executive officer, Colonel Matthew Jones to recall the raptor that HYPERION deployed with his squadron to protect the convoy. The raptor had a special mission to perform.
As the pilots departed the raptor they were greeted by Colonel Jones and escorted to CIC where they meet Cmdr Roberts stand at the plotting table. Jones introduced Lt Paul “Flapper” Brock and Ensign Damon Harrison to his commander.
“Gentlemen, as your aware, the Cylons have destroyed the settlement on Equellus. Due to the nebula, we can’t get a signal to the colonies to warn them. HYPERION will be jumping to us in little less than one hour. Then we’ll get underway but it’ll take us eighteen hours to exit the nebula. Our only option is to get a ship in range to signal the fleet headquarters as soon as possible.”
“And we’re the transmitter,” spoke the pilot of the raptor.
“Yes, you are Lieutenant.” Jones confirmed. “Your raptor is being fitted with external fuel tank. You need to fly at full sub-light and then jump out of the Hatari Sector and get a signal to fleet command on Picon”
Ensign Harrison was going to say something when Lt. Brock stopped him. Brock spoke up. “Sir, how long until we launch?”
“I have two crews working on your raptor, they’ll be done in fifteen minutes. You launch five minutes after,” informed Roberts.
“Understood,” responded Brock. “Sir, we would like to clean up before we go.”
“I’ll have a officer show you to the crew quarters and have a meal sent down to the raptor,” Roberts told the two pilots.
“Thank you, sir” replied Brock “I really didn’t want to start on the rations right away.”
With that the two pilots saluted and followed an ensign to the pilots quarters where the quickly cleaned up and then proceeded to the port flight pod where their raptor was. Brock noticed that Harrison was quite. Brock finally spoke. “I know you’re concerned about fuel consumption.”
“We won’t have enough to fuel to return,” stated Damon.
“That doesn’t matter, our mission to inform HQ, the lives of the twelve colonies depend on us,” replied Brock.
It had been seventeen hours since the raptor left the battlecruiser on her mission to warn the colonies. As they were emerging for the nebula the two pilots were amazed at what was in front of them.
Jason Tillman was in his office going over pilot debriefs and tactical assessments of the fight with the cylons when the XO knocked and entered his office.
“All civilians are off the ship and have been relocated to the two star liners. All vipers navigational programs have been loaded with previous versions. Silver Hawk and Omega are in the launch tubes and Spitfire is on standby. We’ve intergraded the vipers from The HERMES and Ensign Sanders into Omega Squad and the leaves them with seventeen for now, MCPO Perry has pulled three vipers from storage and should be up and running in a few more hours” reported Colonel Hayes.
“How long until we exit the nebula and the status of the convoy?” Tillman asked.
Colonel Hayes informed the commander that the two star liners are at ninety-two percent capacity with HYPERION’s guests, The MYSTIC, TESTRA and two military freighters haven’t reported any problems. But, the refinery ship used a third of its stores to refuel the convoy. TRINITY reports condition two is set and they’re running battle simulations. HYPERION is also at condition two; the first shift will relieve the third shift in ninety minutes. The battlestar should be out of the nebula in two hours and ready to FTL back to Leonis shortly after. TRINITY will stay will the convoy and hold position about a 500 kilometers inside the nebula until they are sent for.
Jason acknowledged the report given to him by his executive officer. The two men were talking about what had transpired over the last fourteen days since they left Leonis Station when the tactical officer called them to the bridge.
“Report Lieutenant,” inquired Tillman
“Sir, picking up a raptor on a intercept course its transponder code identifies it as raptor 616.”
“How could they make it back?” asked Lt Walker.
“How long to communication range?” the XO asked.
“Due to the interference from the nebula, not until they’re right on top of us,” responded Ensign McCall.
“Open up a channel when in range and get a security team to the port pod.” instructed the commander.
“Yes, sir!” responded the Colonel Hayes.
“Sir, opening a channel to Raptor 616.” announced McCall.
“Lieutenant Brock, report your status!” inquired Cmdr Tillman.
“Sir, I am under orders to report to you directly! In person, no open channel!” replied Lt Brock.
“Flapper, (referring to Brock’s call sign) Who’s orders?” requested Tillman.
“Sir, I am under orders not to discuss anything further,” responded Brock.
Commander Tillman was irritated at this point. He told his pilot he would meet him in the port flight pod and he better have answers.
Fifteen minutes had passed and Commander Tillman and his XO were standing with a security team waiting as blue elevator was lowered from the flight deck to the hanger bay. As the lift came to a rest on the bay floor, the hatch to the rafter opened. Exiting first was Lieutenant Brock followed by Ensign Harrison, as Commander Tillman made his toward the pair, Ensign Harrison who was standing in the doorway helped a third person who was injured out of the raptor. Commander Tillman was stunned to see Admiral Hyman Greene.
As a medical team checked the Admiral, Tillman turn to the pilot for answers.
“When we emerged from the nebula, we picked up multiple contacts, a battlecruiser, at least a half dozens guardian class ships, several colonial heavy transports and a few commercial vessels. And that’s when they told us the Cylons attacked the colonies.”
“Which ones?” inquired Hayes?
“ALL OF THEM, SIR! They nuked every planet, over twelve billion people,” replied Brock in an angry tone.
Commander Tillman dismissed Brock and Harrison after they relayed the coordinates for the other ships to Colonel Hayes and ordered them to say nothing about the Cylon attack on the colonies. He would inform the crew and the rest of the original convoy later. One of the medics that tended to Admiral Greene walked over to Cmdr Tillman and his XO an informed them that he was suffering from severe radiation poisoning and that we was also blinded by one of the nuclear flashes during the attacks. The medic also told Commander Tillman that the Admiral wanted to speak with him. Jason told Colonel Hayes to have the rest of the convoy set course for the other survivors. Commander Tillman walked over to the Admiral who by this time was on a gurney getting ready for a trip to sickbay.
“What happened Admiral?” Tillman asked quietly.
“Fourteen days ago the Cylons launched a sneak attack against the home worlds. Somehow they bypassed our security protocols, they were able to shutdown all of our capital ships and planetary defense platforms. The planets were easy targets after that. Someone dragged me on a shuttle and we were able to make it out of Picon HQ to the battlecruiser JUNO. I immediately ordered what ships were able to jump to Leonis as a last stand. We had a few hours to prepare for them,” stated the Admiral. “ When we got there I expected to find the HYPERION, but you were gone.”
“I know,” replied Tillman. “We were ordered to escort a colonization mission. We should have been there, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be, you would have been destroyed like the others,” returned the Admiral. We were able to get the battlestar ORION online. We had the ORION, two other battlestars, battlecruiser JUNO and about two-dozen guardian class ships. JUNO covered the civilian and military transports used to save whom we could and hid behind one of the Leonis moons. We evacuated the station and offloaded what we could. “LSTC’s commanding officer booby trapped the station. He placed a refinery ship, half full of tylium, in delta bay and put the station in a decaying orbit around Leonis. When the basestars broke through the perimeter, LSTC used an open channel to make it seem that the HYPERION was in delta bay and having an overload with one of the sub-light engines. Just as the first wave of cylons missile hit the station, he detonated the refinery ship and made our escape. To my knowledge none of three battlestars survived. We also lost almost all of our vipers.”
Tillman looked at the medic and knew that he wanted to take the Admiral to sickbay. Before they left, the Admiral told Jason that the idea to hide HYPERION and destroy LSTC was a Captain Marcus.
“Is Marcus still alive?” inquired Tillman.
“I believe he’s on one of the guardians, but I’m not sure,” replied the Admiral. “After we rendezvous with the others, plan a meeting with all the military ship commanders on the HYPERION. I also want to meet with Commander Roberts, the XO of the TRINITY, Captain Brice of the JUNO and yourself before then,” the Admiral ordered before going to sickbay.
As Tillman walked back to the CIC, he couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of the twelve colonies. He kept thinking about his family members that were murdered by the cylons. The only thing that comforted him was the fact that like most of his crew, his immediate family had survived. He also knew that COLONIAL HEAVY 760 was the transport that was scheduled to return the rest of HYPERION’s families back to Aries was among the survivors. When Tillman finally returned to CIC he was told that the convoy would rendezvous with the others in ninety minutes. He then asked Ensign McCall to contact the Cmdr Roberts on the TRINITY using a TAC channel and send it to his office. The two men spoke for about ten minutes and Roberts said he and his XO would come over. After the conversation ended Tillman asked McCall to contact the JUNO, MYSTIC, and all of the guardian class ships and have the commanding officers report to the HYPERION in three hours with a complete status report. Tillman also had Hayes send a two security detachments to the MYSTIC. Tillman’s first thought was to protect the only source of food for the survivors. In the meantime, Jason informed the rest of his staff of the recent events.
It had been an hour since Commander Roberts had arrived and went to see Admiral Greene by himself. Colonel Jones the TRINITY’s XO was meeting with his counterpart and Lieutenant Walker in CIC when, along with Cmdr Tillman, they were sent for by the Admiral. As they stood around the examination room in the medical center, the Admiral who was wearing dark sunglasses to hide the bandages over his eyes started the meeting.
“As you’re aware, JUNO has suffered heavy damage and a good amount of causalities including her command staff. Her commander is among the dead and the executive officer in a coma. Captain Brice is a good young officer but inexperienced. After discussing this with Commander Roberts we have decided that she needs a experienced officer, I have decided to grant Colonel Matthew Jones a field promotion to Commander of the JUNO.”
“Thank you Admiral, we’ll get JUNO up to specs as soon as possible,” a surprised Jones responded.
As the rest of the officers gave a somber congratulation to Cmdr Jones on his promotion, the Admiral softly cleared his throat to get everyone attention.
“I will inform Captain Brice before the meeting with the others. Brice will make a fine XO. He got us out of that mess over Picon,” Admiral Greene began. “The others should be arriving soon we’ll reconvene in one hour in the Pilot’s Ready Room. I need to speak with Commander Tillman. If the rest of you could excuse us.”
The Admiral sipped a glass of water and then spoke “As you’re aware, I’m in no condition to command. I’m giving you command of this fleet of survivors.”
“What about Commander Roberts?” asked Tillman?
“We’ve discussed this. Roberts feels that he could best serve by staying on TRINITY with his cadets. He also has to deal with the lost of his son. Ensign Michael Roberts was a viper pilot on the PACIFICA. Your ship has the tactical advantage and that designates you being in charge. I believe your ready,” answered Greene.
“Thank you sir,” began Jason. “Admiral, what about other survivors? Is there anyone left?” as he looked at some of the pictures of his crew on the wall.
“Yes,” responded Greene softly. Jason’s head turned toward to the Admiral. “Shortly after the first wave of attacks took out most of our fleet, Commander Bill Adama of the GALACTICA sent out a message, that with the death of Admiral Nagala and the rest of ATLANTIA’s task force he was assuming command of the fleet and to regroup at Ragnar Anchorage. By that time we had jumped to the other side of the system to defend Leonis. After we escaped Leonis, we learned that GALACTICA escaped. The tinheads lost two basestars a short time later, One at Tarturas Shipyards where a battlecruiser broke out of the old section of the shipyard after the first wave of the attack and escaped. The other basestar was lost at Molecay Anchorage a day or so later. We’re not sure what happened.”
“What about the civilians?” Jason asked, as he was staring at a picture of his parents whom at last he knew were on Aries.
“Well, we were able to tap into some of the tinheads communications, the best we figure, a good amount of non-military ships made their way to Ragnar and then jumped out of the system with GALACTICA after a brief fight. We have the KALLIOPE just outside the nebula monitoring cylon channels hoping to pick something up,” replied Greene.
“Any idea about that battlecruiser?” Tillman asked.
“There’s one possibility, it could be GOLIATH, she’s old, but was one hell of a ship in her day.” Greene began. “She was decommissioned a short time ago and sold to Militech Corporation as scrap. If they hadn’t started to strip her down right away, it is possible.”
At that moment, CIC buzzed down to the examining room. Tillman picked up a headset and grinned, he told the Admiral that another military ship had arrived with a star liner, it was the battlecruiser DAEDULAS and her commander was on her way over. The Admiral gave a brief nod and told Tillman to have her come down to the Med Center.
Shortly after the DAEDULAS shuttle landed, Commander Donna Peterson wanted to meet with Admiral Greene. When she arrived, Admiral Greene informed her that Commander Tillman was in now charge of the task force. Tillman asked her how they survived the Cylon attacks. Peterson told them they were detached from active duty and assigned to investigate recent thefts occurring at Colonial depots throughout the sector by the Cyrannus Trade Syndicate. They had tracked a freighter to the Crodus Sector and took out their FTL drive. DEADULAS had seized the freighter when they first received the emergency distress from the colonies. By the time they jumped back, everyone was gone.
“What about finding us?” Tillman inquired.
“We sent boarding parties to the wrecked hulks near Leonis.” Peterson began somberly. “We found a jump point keyed into one of the FTL computers. We had started salvage operations when a Cylon patrol returned. Our fighters engaged them but were disabled quickly. Before we could do anything the cylons destroyed our patrol. My second officer knowing they were cut off ignited the tylium tanks on the wrecked battlestar and wipe out the cylon raiders. I lost over a hundred twenty people. Afterwards we jumped here and found KALLIOPE and they pointed us in this direction ” Peterson finished.
“I’m sorry about your crew. What’s the status of your ship?” Tillman inquired.
Peterson took a deep breath and responded, “With what we salvaged, were plus twenty percent on ammunition for our rail guns and missile systems. We’re down twenty-five percent on tylium; I have twenty pilots but only eleven Mark VII Vipers and two raptors left. My crew compliment is at eighty-five percent ”
“What’s the status of the fleet??” asked Cmdr Peterson.
“Right now, other than a few stragglers scattered around the system, we’re all that’s left. We’re low on ammunition, food, and vipers. We have no short-term solution of restoring our reserves. There are other survivors out there, but until we can get reserves up, we can’t go looking for them.” Tillman stated. “What about that freighter? What were you able to find out?
“My tactical officer and a security team were able to find that they were heading for a rendezvous somewhere in the Crodus System. My final orders were if they didn’t here from us in to in ten days repair the freighter and go. That was twelve days ago.” Peterson responded.
“Commander, I’ll have my XO arrange to send over nine vipers that we have in storage to at least fill out your remaining squadron.” Tillman began,” Please see my tactical officer and give him a list of needs and what you can spare. I’ll be giving a status briefing in the Pilot’s Ready Room shortly.”
After the meeting Tillman made his way to his quarters. Jason wanted a few minutes to think about the to do next and he was surprised to see his wife resting on the bed. They had not seen each other since the attack on the colony almost two days ago. Anne had been with a trauma team working on the injured being sent from the other ships. Jason walked over to Anne and the embraced. After a few minutes Jason spoke.
“Where are the kids?” he asked softly.
“Cassidy and Kayla are in the Medical Center and Kyle is helping out a officer doing inventory in Cargo Bay One,” she responded. Anne wiped her eyes that had started to tear up.
“Jason, what happened? We heard bits and pieces from the ones we treated. Are all the colonies gone?” she asked looking at him.
“Yes, all the colonies and surrounding outpost are gone. The cylons attacked the colonies almost two weeks ago and wiped out almost everyone. The battlestar GALACTICA and over two-dozen civilian ships jump out of the system. They could be all that’s left of the colonies.” He told her as he walked over to his desk looking over the status reports from the remaining ships that was given to him by Lt Walker.
“Is that all that remains of the twelve colonies? What’s Admiral Greene going to do? Anne asked.
“It’s not up to the Admiral, do to his condition, he has stepped down and given command of the group to me. Protocol stated that the ship with the tactical superiority should be in charge of the fleet. Greene feels that I’m ready for the task, ” he stated as Anne was stunned by the news knowing the Commander Roberts was senior officer. “I’m trying to figure out what to do next. We can’t stay here much longer. The Cylons will eventually come looking for that basestar on the planet back there, so the question is where do we go?” Jason explained.
“Where do we go?” Anne wondered aloud.
“Somewhere they won’t find us. We need to repair our ships and get them battle ready to defend what’s left of humanity” Jason replied as he was leaving his quarters to attend the meeting with the commanders of the other ships.
Inside the pilot’s briefing room all the commanding officers were stirring about. Jason was standing just outside of the door; he was trying to get a feel of the officers he was placed in charge of just a few hours ago. There were young and old, men and woman, some he knew and some he didn’t. One person he did recognized was Captain Marcus, the man he met a few weeks ago at LSTC, although he was wearing an eye patch and had a bandage that covered the right side of his face. At that point Jason was tapped on the shoulder. Tillman knew it was Commander Roberts because he asked him to meet him before so they could enter together. Roberts knew that Tillman would be on the hot seat and wanted to show support for his friend.
“Sizing them up?” Robert asked.
“Yes I am” Tillman responded, “I need to know how they’ll respond with me being in charge.”
“I know almost all of them. They’ll be fine. They won’t challenge you, make your decision and stand by it. The same that you do with your own crew,” Roberts told Jason with a confidant smile and a pat on the shoulder.
Tillman and Roberts entered the room from the back and headed to the podium. Tillman was standing in the center and Roberts was a step behind and to the right.
“My name is Commander Jason Tillman of the battlestar HYPERION and to my right is Commander John Roberts of the Battlecruiser TRINITY, per order of Admiral Hyman Greene, I have assumed command of the group. By the lords of kobol, you survived this malicious attack by the Cylons. To put it bluntly, the colonies are gone. The Cylons have made sure that the planets will be uninhabitable for generations to come. Our focus must be to survive and save our race. Somewhere out in space, other humans have survived this attack. Valhalla Station has disappeared without a trace. We know that the battlestar GALACTICA has escaped with numerous civilian ships. We also know that others military ships are out there causing problems for the Cylons, possibly buying time for the GALACTICA. We need to find GALACTICA and join her.” Tillman expressed with confidence. “Before we can do that we need to repair our ships, heal our wounded and replenish our stores. As you’re aware, JUNO has suffered heavy damage to her port flight pod and sub-light drive system; luckily her FTL system wasn’t damaged and she still can defend herself. Her best sub-light speed is two-thirds. Due to the fact we’re without a shipyard to repair her we estimate about six to eight months before she’s fully operational. Another issue that we need to contend with is our injured. Presently, we have counted over nine hundred injured from the attack including military and civilians. In an effort to combat this problem, Pan Galactic Passenger Liner 0993 will be used as a hospital ship as well as a civilian transport.
The final issue I would like to address is ship staffing. As you know TRINITY is a training vessel other than about fifty officers, third and fourth year cadets man her.
We need to augment her with experience crewmembers. All non-commissioned enlisted personnel will be subject to crew rotation between all colonial vessels. Shortly after the onset of the attacks, fleet headquarter issued an emergency personnel recall. All retired and inactive military personnel were recalled for active duty. We have presently recalled over three hundred civilians from the two passenger transports and survivors picked up by the other ships, thirty of them are former viper pilots ranging in age of 24 to 40 years old.” Jason looked around can could feel the tension in the air, he knew their would be questions. Then a hand rose and Jason acknowledge that person.
“Colonel Walsh of the ADELPHIA,” she began “Commander, most of us have been out of the loop since the attack began. How were the Cylons able to shutdown the capital ships but not the smaller ones?”
“From what were able to surmise, the Cylons used the CNP to compromise our defensive systems on the colonies and in the fleet. Any colonial ships that had the CNP systems upgraded in the last two years were affected. All known Guardian Class vessels were using a navigational program developed by Militech Corporation. DAEDALUS, HERMES, JUNO and two other Protector Class Battlecruisers were beta testing a NAV program also developed by Militech. It seems the Cylon weapon had no effect on them. TRINITY is in the process of updating to the new program.” Tillman responded while another hand rose.
“Colonel McKnight of the PROTEUS, Sir, what about food and fuel? I noticed a refinery ship along side what’s her status?
“The agro-ship MYSTIC has said that in a little more than sixty days she’ll be able to produce fruits and vegetables to distribute among the fleet. She also has a limited livery stock. I have also spoken with the commander of the MYSTIC, we have decided to shutdown her automation system and tender her crops manually. Hopefully this will keep the civilians busy and give them a purpose. The fuel situation is difficult. The refinery vessel CARPUS is at thirty percent of capacity. She has the ability to mine and extract tylium, which is a positive but, also, a consuming project.
“Colonel Madden of the BOREAS, Sir, Will the Cylons come looking for us? Most of the guardians are low on ordnance. How are we going to replenish our supply?
“It’s unknown if the cylons have accounted for all the missing ships. Sooner or later, they will start looking for the basestar the HERMES took out. They’re probably going through Picon HQ trying to figure what’s left. DAEDALUS was listed on inactive list, TRINITY is a training vessel, and JUNO was near Picon at the onset of the attacks but moved off after receiving heavy damage. HYPERION was listed on a deep space mission slated to return in two weeks, when we came home early we were quietly assigned temporary convoy duty. Captain Marcus also set a decoy in motion by destroying LSTC before the Cylons could get close. It is not known if the Cylons have accounted for the others engaged in hit and run tactics around the colonies. I would not know how the Cylons classify the guardians, it seems they were not worried about them. Commander Peterson will answer the second part of the question.” Tillman answered as he stepped down to have a private conversation with his X.O.
Commander Peterson walked towards the podium. “DAEDALUS was on the inactive list because we were assigned to track recent thefts to military depots by the Cyrannus Trade Syndicate. We found a freighter in the Crodus System loaded with missing ordnance. That freighter was heading for a rendezvous somewhere in that system. We believe she was going to offload the stolen ordnance at hidden base. I left a team on that freighter when we responded to the Cylon attack. We will find the base they were heading for and replenish with what we can.” Peterson step down from the podium and while she returned to her seat as Tillman returned to the podium.
“Colonel Wright of the TANTALUS, What about contacting the remnants of the fleet? Shouldn’t we get a signal to them or send a ship and let them know we’re alive?”
“Our concern right now should be the survival this group numbering almost ten thousand in military and civilian lives. If there was a way to do this without revealing our survival I will.” Tillman began before Commander Roberts interrupted him.
“There might be a way to signal the others.” Roberts said looking at a map of the Cyrannus system.
“We could use the old I.C.S. (Inter-colony Communication System) Array,” supposed Roberts.
“That communication array hasn’t been used in over forty years!” said a surprised Colonel Walsh.
“True. It’s used more of a navigational point between Picon and Libra. The array does power up its transmitter once a month to send a system diagnostic report to Picon HQ. During that cycle we could piggyback a broadband signal,” responded Roberts.
“The cylons have probably most of our secure commline frequencies and TAC channels by now,” added Captain Timlin of the ZEPHYRUS.
“We could use the Prisoner Tap Code!” said a voice in the rear of the room.
Everyone turn around to see it was Admiral Greene sitting in a wheelchair. At some point he entered without anyone noticing. He continued. “My father was a pilot during the last civil war. He was captured after being was shot down over Libra and placed in a prison camp. He was not allowed to talk with other prisoners. One night while tending a to injured prisoner he was taught the tap code. He taught that code to me. Basically the alphabet was broken into groups of five letters. The first tap was grouping the second was position. The whole camp would talk to each other using this code. The code wasn’t used during the first Cylon war because they do not take prisoners. When I was teaching Planetary Survival Tactics at the academy, I taught that code to many of my top students if any are still alive they could decode the message.”
“Then we’ll go ahead with that plan immediately. I will notify one of you shortly to carry out this mission.” Jason informed the commanders. He also asked Captain Timlin to stay after the meeting ended. Tillman wanted to know why the junior officer was commanding the ZEPHYRUS.
“Commander, you wanted to see me?” asked Timlin.
“Yes,” started Jason. “Your listed as the second officer on the crew roster. What happened to Colonel Matson and the Executive Officer?”
“We were docked at the Aries Shipyard when the attack started. All vessels were ordered to evacuate immediately. We were closest to the starboard bay doors. I gave the order to seal the ship and leave once we had full power. We waited as long as possible,” Timlin responded while still at attention.
“Where was Colonel Matson?” asked Jason again.
“The last we knew, they were on a shuttle exiting the shipyard trying to catch up when a basestar appeared and launched all of its raiders. A second basestar joined the first. We jumped to Picon to get orders. That’s when we rendezvous with JUNO and jumped to Leonis.” Timlin retorted. “If we swung around to try and pick him up the basestars would have picked us apart.”
Jason was slowly walking around the ready room and asked her when she was promoted to Captain.
“almost two years ago,” She responded. “I was CAG on the RYCON prior to this assignment.”
“I’m sure you understand as well does Lt. Col. Madden, if a qualified senior officer who was looking for a command came forward they would have seniority and you could be replaced as C.O.”
“Yes, sir” answered Timlin.
“Very well,” replied the commander. “Dismissed!”
After Timlin left the briefing room, all three battlecruiser commanders and Colonel Hayes returned. It was just the five of them. It was close to three hours since Jones was named commander of JUNO.
“How did Brice take the news?” Roberts asked his former first officer.
“I think he was a little disappointed but didn’t let on,” started Jones. “He is hoping that they can get the flight pod pressurized in a couple of weeks so they can get crews in there around the clock. My other concern is that JUNO lost both her viper squadrons and raptors.”
“Matt, we’ll transfer one of our squadrons to JUNO. That’s the best we can do for now,” Tillman began. “While JUNO makes repairs, she also is responsible for protecting the MYSTIC.”
“Yes sir” replied Commander Jones.
“What we’re going to put in that message,” asked Hayes.
“It should be brief and to the point but not reveal numbers. Maybe some type of general statement” volunteered Roberts
“DODGER AND OTHERS SURVIVE” announced Tillman referring to his call sign. “Hopefully, someone will get this and know they’re not alone.”
“Who will get to send the message?” Peterson asked hoping Tillman would select her.
Tillman informed the others that he was going to use a raptor and the PROTEUS. He was quickly interrupted my Commander Peterson.
“I would like to volunteer the DAEDALUS to deliver the raptor!” proclaimed Peterson.
“A battlecruiser would draw to much attention if it was spotted. PROTEUS will jump to a nearby sector and then a raptor would jump close to the array. Besides your going to take us to the Crodus System and find that freighter and their base,” answered Tillman.
Tillman dispatched Hayes to find Lt. Walker, Lt. Powers and Colonel McKnight of the PROTEUS and report back here in twenty minutes as Peterson and Jones returned to their ships to prepare their crew for what was to come. Tillman and Roberts were left alone to discuss setting up a shuttle system within the fleet.
By the time Hayes returned with the others, Commander Roberts had left for his ship. Tillman quickly explained the mission to McKnight and Powers. He told them that if they detected any Cylon activity that they abort the mission and FTL to the Anotian System where they would be escorted by another ship to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet. Tillman also instructed them that in the event of contact with the cylons they should “wipe” the memory of the PROTEUS to conceal the existence of the fleet. McKnight and Powers knew what Tillman really meant and they would do it if necessary. Tillman informed them that mission would begin in one hour. Before Tillman was able to dismissed them Colonel Hayes spoke.
“Jason, I would like to discuss another problem that could be solved during this mission,” Hayes started. “As you’re aware, our task force has lost almost fifty percent of our vipers. MCPO Perry and Captain Nix have come up with an idea to address the issue. Perry was able to reactivate Ensign Sander’s viper when they bypassed the primary computer hard drive and replaced the secondary hard drive with an existing one from another viper. The whole procedure takes about twenty minutes. The only downside is no weapons and no computer guidance.”
Tillman nodded to Hayes to continue.
Hayes opened a folder and placed three or four pictures on the desk. “These photos were taken by C.D.S. (Colonial Defense Satellites) near Picon at the onset of the Cylon attack. JUNO downloaded the telemetry before the network went offline so this information is over two weeks old.” Hayes pointed to one of the destroyed battlestar. “The LYSANDRA, she was one of the first battlestars affected by the Cylon weapon and was unable to launch her vipers that were in the launch tubes. She suffered most of her damage to her primary hull and starboard mid-ship. Her port flight pod looks intact. If we clear out the hanger bay of a guardian, it can hold eight vipers. If we send an additional guardian with the PROTEUS they could grab fifteen vipers. We would need to send the raptor in first and scan the area for cylon activity, then signal the guardians to send in a one-way shuttle with the pilots. The whole procedure shouldn’t take more than two hours.”
Tillman always values the opinion of his subordinates. He asked each one of them their opinion of the proposal by Hayes. They all agree that it’s a very risky idea to send fifteen experienced pilots but deemed it necessary since they had no other way to replenish their supply of vipers. Tillman asked Perry how long it would take to pull the parts needed from existing vipers and was told it would take about thirty minutes. He then turn to Captain Nix and told him to have his team assembled and in the hanger bay in twenty minutes and make sure to use a shuttle recovered from the attack survivors so if the tin-cans decided to look around afterwards it couldn’t be traced back to the HYPERION. Tillman then asked McKnight to pick a second guardian for the mission. McKnight decide on Colonel Walsh and the ADELPHIA because of her experience. Tillman deemed McKnight the mission commander sent them on their way.
Twenty minutes later, Colonel McKnight was meeting with the raptor crew, fifteen viper pilots including Captain Nix and Colonel Megan Walsh. McKnight instructed that the shuttle would return Colonel Walsh to the ADELPHIA and deploy from there when signaled. He would return to the PROTEUS in the raptor. Before they pilots entered the shuttle McKnight spoke.
“There is nothing I could describe to prepare you for devastation of what you find in the LYSANDRA. All I can say is focus on the task at hand and know those vipers will help protect us in the future. Dismissed.” Everyone turned and headed for their ships.
In CIC, Capt Dyson (LSO) acknowledged that they were ready for launch and turn to await a signal from Commander Tillman. After a moment Tillman gave the signal.
“Raptor 594 and Shuttle 217, you are cleared for launch, all systems are go.” Dyson announced.
After the two ships cleared the fight pod and reached their destinations. The two guardian class vessel changed course and head for their assignment.
“Sir, we are receiving the all clear signal from KALLIOPE,” announced the communication officer.
“Very well, signal the fleet to exit the nebula and jump to the coordinates provided by Cmdr Peterson. Inform TRINITY that once the fleet has started to jump, recall her escorts and meet us in the Crodus System,” Tillman ordered.
At the same time the fleet was jumping to another system, a raptor emerged from its own jump point.
“Powering down, passive scanners only!” Hanson announced.
“What do you see?” asked Powers as he gazed at the massive debris field.
“Everything looks clear no signs of Cylon activity,” Hanson began as the raptor coasted through the hulks of the wrecked vessels. “Lets find the target so we can get out of here,”
“Their she is!” Hanson announced, “Look fifty degrees to port!”
The raptor changed course and headed towards the hulk. The raptor quickly coasted along the port flight pod and found it was intact and without any signs of life.
“Send the signal and prepare to set course for the I.C.S Array and ready to jump in 3…2…. 1, MARK” instructed Powers.
Suddenly as the raptor disappeared a colonial shuttle emerged from its jump and headed for the LYSANDRA. The shuttle slowly made its way down the length of the port hanger pod towards its rear entrance.
“Looks like they were able to open the launch bay doors before they lost power,” observed Ensign Sanders.
“At least we won’t have to climb in and do it manually,” responded Captain Nix who was piloting the shuttle.
Raptor 594 emerged from its FTL jump near the array and immediately powered down all systems with the exception of its passive scanning system. As they moved closer to the array, both pilots could see Libra in the distance. Hanson noted that the array was about the size of a Colonial Heavy. They quickly determined that there was no Cylon activity in the immediate area.
“I’m moving us towards the stern access hatch, prepare to depressurize raptor,” announced Lt Powers to which Hanson confirmed.
When the raptor was close enough Powers shut it down and opened the hatch. Hanson exited the raptor and proceeded for the service access, which he reached after a few minutes. Hanson reached in a side pocket of his flight suit and retrieved a handheld motorized crank and inserted into the door and retracted the slide bolts to unlock the door. Once opened, he entered the access chamber and checked the service log as he made his way up the access cylinder to the primary console. The last time the array was serviced was seven years ago.
“Damn thing is older than half the admirals!” Hanson muttered under his breath.
“Repeat that Blinky?” Glider said not sure what was radioed.
“Nothing, I’m accessing the diagnostic systems” replied Blinky.
The shuttle adjusted its pitch to match the flight deck before it entered the hanger. Once inside, the shuttle turned on their forward floodlights.
“Why is the flight deck empty?” said Ensign Griggs
“Explosive decompression must have pulled every thing out,” replied Ensign Sanders.
“Sir, red elevator is down,” said Griggs as he pointed forward.
“We’ll set down right in next it.” Nix began “Everyone, button up your suits. Once we set down we’ll depressurize the shuttle and proceed down the open elevator to the launch bay and start working. Remember we’re on a tight schedule.”
Captain Nix set the shuttle down and engaged the magnetic clamps on the landing struts to hold the shuttle to the flight deck. Shortly after the hatch opened, fifteen pilots in single file floated down the opening. Ensign Griggs was given the additional task of restoring emergency lighting to the launch bay. Griggs made his way to the back wall and removed a shielded access panel. Behind it was two large back-up batteries, one connected and on not. Griggs switched the leads from one to the other and the emergency lights flickered on.
As the pilots made their way to the vipers they found most of them still had their pilots strapped in them. Slowly and with as much respect as possible under the circumstances the pilots of Omega Squadron removed their fallen counterparts and continued on their mission.
As the rest of the fleet secured from the FTL jump to the Crodus System, Tillman ordered the remaining Guardians as well as DAEDULAS to search for the black market freighter. Tillman was not fond of this sector due to its history. During the first war with the machines, the cylons attack three outposts, inflicting major damage and loss of life to all. As a result, knowing that they couldn’t adequately protect the bases, the colonies withdrew from the system. It only took an hour before the ZEPHYRUS was able to locate the missing freighter at sub-light speed. It wasn’t long before HYPERION rendezvoused with the two ships and a shuttle containing Tillman and a security team was heading to the freighter via a shuttle.
A buzzer went off on the aft console of the raptor. It indicated that a cylon raider had emerged in the vicinity and it was heading this way. Powers radioed Blinky that a raider was approaching and to go silent and wait. Powers sat and watched as the cylon raider passed the array and continued towards Libra. It was twenty minutes before the cylon was out of sensor range.
“Blinky, all clear. How much longer? No telling when the cylons will come back,” Glider radioed.
“It shouldn’t take long maybe a few minutes,” Blinky replied
“GOT IT!” yelled Ensign Sanders as the display panel in the viper flickered on. “She’s powering up!”
“I’m up!” another shouted. All the pilots made similar statements as the dormant vipers awoke.
“Listen up, remember the catapult system is offline but the bay doors are open. We will use thrusters only to give us enough momentum to slide down the tube. You will have to disengage the catapult slider manually! Ten minutes to ADELPHIA and PROTEUS return,” barked Nix.
“Sir, still no sign of the raptor!” the XO of the PROTEUS began, “Do we wait?” he asked
“No! We cannot leave those vipers out in the open. We jump on time!” replied Col McKnight knowing how important those vipers were to the fleet.
“I’m locking the hatch now, raptor door secured, ” yelled Blinky as he move to his station at the rear of the raptor. “Set course to rendezvous with the PROTEUS before she leaves.”
“No time, I’m setting course back the LYSANDRA maybe we can catch them there. Get ready to FTL in one minute.” barked Glider
Colonel McKnight ordered both Guardians to FTL to the pick-up point.
“Omega Squadron” Nix started “Launch!”
When Cmdr Tillman exited the shuttle he was meet by a young colonial officer who immediately saluted and spoke “ Sir, Ltjg. John Carter from DAEDALUS.” Tillman returned the salute and let the young officer continue, “This is Kendrick Ralls commander of this freighter. Mr. Ralls understands the situation and would like to cooperate.”
Tillman studied him for a moment and then spoke “Mr. Ralls, I’m going to get right to the point. We are at war. The Cylons have wiped out most of humanity and we’re fighting our survival. I’m willing to take you and your crew on the condition you tell us where your base is located. Or you can stay on your freighter and try to survive with a crippled FTL drive.”
“I understand the situation. A lot of us had family on Caprica. If I tell you where it is, I want immunity for my crew and the people on the base.” Ralls bartered.
“I agree,” Tillman began. “I need the location of the base!” he demanded.
“Naylor Station” replied Ralls
Tillman was surprised at the revelation. Naylor Station was one of the colonial outposts repeatedly attacked by the cylons in this sector during the first war.
“It was thought it destroyed by the cylon after it was abandoned,” inquired Tillman
“My brother told me that after the colonial forces retreated, the cylons tried to use it as a base of their own but had problems. They kept malfunctioning.” Ralls began. “It’s not well known but the cylons are vulnerable to hyperonic radiation. It does something to their chips after a while. The asteroid the base was constructed on contains low amounts of the stuff.”
Tillman knew about the Cylon problem with hyperonic radiation that is why they stayed so long in the nebula in the Hatari System.
“The Cylons haven’t returned since,” added Ralls.
“Lt Carter, please use the shuttles transmitter to contact the HYPERION and relay the coordinates to them. Have them send the ZEPHYRUS to rendezvous with Colonel McKnight,” Tillman ordered.
The young officer acknowledged the command and made his way to the shuttle.
“Mr. Ralls, Tell me about Naylor Station and what in it.” Tillman inquired.
“We’ve used it for storage for nearly nine years. The main complex and reactor was damaged from years ago but the hanger and storage areas were never touched. It was perfect hiding spot because the colonies always feared the cylons were here,” opened Ralls. “Though the years we’ve hit many depots throughout the systems. Some of it stored here and rest elsewhere by others in the syndicate. There is enough armament stockpiled at Naylor to arm two battlestars.”
One by one each of the vipers made there way down the launch tubes and out to space. As planned the two Guardian vessels were waiting under the wrecked battlestar.
“PROTEUS and ADELPHIA this is Omega actual prepare for emergency landing,” radioed Nix.
“Omega actual this is PROTEUS, commence landing sequence,” replied McKnight.
As the last viper made final approach, an alarm sounded in the command center of PROTEUS.
“Sir, a ship has just emerged to starboard and is closing on our position!” shouted a young tactical officer. “It’s raptor 594!” he added.
“PROTEUS this Raptor 594 requesting permission to land,” asked Glider.
“Raptor this is PROTEUS actual, what happened?” asked the colonel.
“A Cylon patrol passed by us and we had to wait until they cleared,” replied Glider.
“Upon landing prepare for immediate FLT out of this system,” responded McKnight.
“Understood, Raptor 594 clear,” Blinky confirmed.
No sooner than the raptor was secured did the two Guardian vessels FLT out of the system.
“I need to return to my ship.” Tillman began. “ I’m leaving the security teams in place. One of our freighters will dock with your ship. After the ship is offloaded take what personal things you can and then scuttle her.” Tillman knew those word are not what a commanding officer like to hear, but Ralls understood the situation he was in and acknowledged the command given to him.
As the shuttle cleared the hanger bay Tillman radioed the HYPERION and asked Hayes to check the library for anything on Naylor Station and he wanted Military Heavy 713 docked in one of the hangers as soon as possible. He also told him to have DAEDULAS stay to provide cover for the two freighters and have the fleet set course at sub-light speed. Only the Hyperion would be jumping to Naylor.
After the Hyperion secured from the jump, Military Heavy 713 exited the hanger bay and headed for the station. Aboard the transport was Colonel Hayes along with fifty Colonial Security Officers that had escaped on the transport from Leonis. The unit was part of a special tactical assault team and their training would be put to good use, they would be sent in to secure the station by force if necessary.
“HYPERION / CM713 we are on final approach to the hanger bay doors, no signs of activity” relayed Hayes.
Tillman stood in CIC watching the transport on the dradis center.
“Transmitting access code on designated frequency,” informed Hayes hoping the codes they received from Ralls worked.
A few seconds went by and lights on the hanger doors flickered to life and then the bay doors slowly opened. “Slow ahead,” ordered Hayes the pilot.
“We’re heading in the nest.” Hayes radioed
When CM713 entered the bay, Hayes noted the design; the main deck was twice as a long and wide as battlestars’ flight pod and the four wide doors on each side of the deck lead to storage areas. As the transport made it way across the deck, they spotted a large shuttle at the far end of the bay. The hanger doors began to close and the stations emergency lighting came on. Hayes instructed the team to not to open fire unless fired upon.
When they received the signal that the hanger had pressurized, the troops exited though a ramp located on the dorsal side of the transport running to each side of the hanger against the wall with weapons unlocked. Colonel Hayes exited and walked towards the back of the hanger and looked around he decided that he was going to get someone’s attention.
“My name is Colonel Walter Hayes, XO of a Colonial battlestar that is outside this station. I know you’re aware of what has happen to the colonies. We found the freighter that was supposed to come here. The crew was offered immunity took it, they also provided us with the access codes to enter this station. We are extending that offer to you only if you come out and give yourselves up. The deal is good for five minutes!” offered Hayes who stood in by the ramp of the transport.
“Where is the crew of the freighter? A male voice said from the darkness.
“They’re assisting us unloading their ship. They’re safe and cooperating. You should do the same,” retorted Hayes.
A man who looked to be in his thirties came out from the shadows with a sidearm drawn at his side. The man looked around and the dropped his weapon. Two women who looked about the same age as the man came out with eight children by their side. The woman spoke.
“I’m Julia Ralls, my sister, her husband and our children. How is my husband?” the woman asked.
“He is well, as I said he’s helping offloading his ship.” Hayes started. “How long have you been here?”
“The freighter we were on was attacked by a Cylon patrol over a week ago. We were a little more than they bargained for; we were able to hold them off until we got our FTL drive up. We sustained heavy damage and were able to make it to the shuttle before the freighter exploded. It took us eight days to reach here,” she answered.
“We’ll have a shuttle take you and your family to your husband when they arrive with the rest of the survivors,” Hayes informed the woman. He then motioned to an Ensign to escort the group to the transport.
Once that problem was solved, Hayes turn to finding out what exactly was stored here. He ordered the squad to conduct a through search of the station. The search was taking over three hours. Hayes opened a commline to Cmdr Tillman.
“Jason, there’s enough fire power for two battlestars alright. We’ve found hull armor, weapon coils, numerous missiles and a dozen vipers. There’s also a lot of high tech prototype stuff I’ve never seen or heard of before.”
“That’s good news” Tillman opened. “Any idea what it is?”
“No, It reads E.M.P. on the box it. It looks like it was from the Weapons Division,” replied Hayes.
“We’ll examine it later. What else? Tillman inquired.
“We can’t get into the main section as predicted due to the damage. We found a something that wasn’t on the blueprints. In one of the storage areas there’s a pressure door, behind it we found a service tunnel that leads aft about six thousand meters to a docking collar hidden in a cavern, its big enough for the military freighters. We could offload the station from there,” informed Hayes.
“When the fleet arrives we start offloading the station.” Tillman responded feeling this was the first break they had since the attacks.
A week had past since the fleet arrived and began offloading and distributing the station contents. During that time Tillman had assigned DAEDALUS to escort the refinery ship CARPUS to surrounding asteroids where small amounts of tylium had been located. He also sent the KALLIOPE, BOREAS and TANTALUS within the system in search of water even though it’s not an issue now, Tillman wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t be in the future.
Commanders Tillman and Roberts were discussing crew rotation in Roberts’s office on TRINITY when there was a knock on the door.
“Enter,” answered Roberts.
Captain Marcus entered.
“Captain Andrew Marcus reporting for duty,” said Marcus.
“How’s the eye?” asked Tillman referring to the patch covering his eye.
“The doctor says the sight could come back in time,” responded Marcus.
“Good,” Roberts began. “Captain, I’m sure you know that TRINITY is in need of a executive officer. Based on the suggestion of Admiral Greene, I’m offering you the position.”
“I accept,” replied Marcus.
“Good, I’m glad to have you on board. Recently with the crew rotation our crew is still sixty percent cadets. Your first assignment is to get this crew to act as one. Its your responsibility to see that happen,” informed Roberts
“Captain, as a result of your position I’m promoting you to Lt Colonel. Congratulations,” announced Tillman.
“Thank you, sir.” Marcus responded as he saluted his superiors.
“Please see Lt Barnes, she’ll get you situated. Dismissed.” Roberts instructed Marcus as he walked him to the door.
Roberts closed the door behind Marcus and he sat back down at his desk. Tillman could see that thoughts were elsewhere.
“How’s your daughter?” asked Tillman.
“Amy?” replied Roberts catching him off guard. “Her husband was a lawyer on Virgon, She’s trying to keeping Beth occupied,” referring to his granddaughter.
“I’m very sorry about Michael. I heard he was recently assigned to PACIFICA,” engaged Tillman knowing that Roberts was trying to repress his feelings.
“Do you know I left active duty for them?” Roberts started. “Their mother died over ten years ago, I decided I wanted to be with them. I didn’t want them raised by other family members, so I asked that TRINITY be reassigned to the academy as a training vessel and I’ve been teaching ever since.”
Suddenly the door opened and a child ran though, “Grandpa” she yelled as she ran to Roberts. Roberts scooped her up and gave her a hug. A moment later, Roberts’s daughter ran in looking for her.
“I’m sorry we went for a walk and the next thing I knew she was running down the corridor,” apologized Amy.
“Don’t be I was just leaving anyways, I need to return to my ship.” responded Tillman.
Tillman excused himself and left for his shuttle. He had decided it was a good idea to keep the ships around Naylor Station hoping that the Cylons would not venture out this far near the rim looking for survivors right away. It would give them time to repair fleet, strengthen their defenses and the chance to start living again.
It had been a quiet four months since they arrived at Naylor Station and there were no indication of Cylons or other humans near the system Tillman thought to himself. Over the last few months they had learn through intercepted and deciphered cylon transmissions, that GALACTICA was somewhere in the Promar System and no less than two resistance groups had formed back in the home system. One of those factions included one unknown battlestar. But, still there was no sign that anyone noticed the message in the old I.C.S. Array. That’s why Tillman sent for Colonel Wright of the TANTALUS.
“Reporting as ordered,” announced Wright.
“Please have a seat,” Tillman pointing to the chair. “A few months ago you made a statement about sending a ship to try to contact the other survivors. Do you still feel that way?” Tillman inquired.
“I do,” replied Wright.
“You do understand that we could go at anytime,” asked Tillman.
“I understand the possibility that this is a one-way mission. If we could make contact with those other survivors we would stand a better chance of survival,” responded Wright.
He agreed with what was said. “Other than fuel, do you require anything else? Tillman asked.
“A couple of vipers for protection, I have qualified pilots onboard.” answered Wright.
Jason mulled over request for a moment and spoke. “TRINITY has refurbished some of the Mark II’s that were on Naylor. You can have four over them.”
“Yes, sir” replied Wright. “We’ll be ready to leave in about twelve hours.”
Both men stood and saluted. Tillman wished Colonel Wright luck as he exited. Later that day Tillman watched the Dradis monitors as TANTALUS broke formation and headed towards the system they once called home.