The Day the Bombs Fell

The arrogance of the Colonials in re-equipping their military with technologies vulnerable to Cylon interference proved to be their undoing. Forty years after the first Cylon War, Cylon infiltrators subverted Dr. Gaius Baltar's Command Navigation Program, allowing an advanced Cylon armada to destroy the Colonial fleet with impunity.

The attack resulted in the nuclear bombardment and occupation of the Colonies and the enslavement of most of the few isolated survivors in a series of Farms. Altogether, less than one hundred ships (mostly civilian) survived the attack.

These are the stories of our crew on the day of the Cylon Holocaust.

Read more about the mission premise and proceedings »


~ Too far away to make a difference ~

Ensign Ranulf MacCloud and Ensign call sign 'Jestor'
Deep Space on Mission Day 1 at 0350 Hours

Ranulf was pleased as they launched.  The thrill of being hurtled out into the black always was a thrill for him.  As soon as they cleared the ship he banked to Port and accelerated out into deep space.  =/=This is Scout all lights are green and moving to assigned CAP sector.  Will report when we arrive at location.=/=

Jestor was not as pleased, in fact he was down right annoyed.  He was on Scout’s starboard wingtip as he closed into a loose deuce formation.  He stayed on the ship to ship frequency so just Scout would hear him.  =/=How come we get this long range sweep?  We just came aboard after all?  I had plans, there was a cute tech on the flight deck when we came aboard and I was going to ask her out for dinner tonight.  By the time we get these old boats back and serviced I will be lucky to have time to even see anyone at dinner.=/=

Scout shook his head laughing =/=Jestor you would have struck out with her anyway.  Besides these are not old boats.  These MKIII’s are almost new in fact.  Besides I like them and they can do about anything the new MKVIII can in the right hands.  These MKIII’s are just not the new shiny toys.  You know why we got this mission as well, crappy jobs go to the newest people.  This area only gets randomly patrolled as it is a long range patrol.  Just enjoy getting stick time.  We could have been stuck on some planet garrison after all.=/=  Scout checked his course and his sensors.  He shifted his flight path minutely every few seconds as he had been trained.  He was a firm believer in never taking unnecessary chances.  Flying straight and level was an invitation to being shot at, if anyone had a mind to do such a thing.

Jestor growled under his breath.  Why did he have to be stuck with Scout?  There he was jinking again.  Who did he think was going to shoot at them out here in the middle of the deep black?  Jestor shrugged after his momentary temper.  He knew why he was paired with Scout, after all the conniving he had done to be his wingman.  He knew Scout was the best shooter in the training unit.  Jestor had learned to put up with the boring, quiet, big fella as he suspected being around Scout was a good way to stay alive.

It had been over an hour just to get to their patrol sector.  Scout had enjoyed the flight, mostly because after the first fifteen minute check in Jestor had not bothered him.  There was just something to be said for racing through the seemingly empty blackness of space.  =/=Jestor you want to call it in we are beginning our CAP.=/=

Jestor switched channels and called the Ship =/=Headhunters CAP, Jestor and Scout we have arrived and are beginning CAP=/=  There was a brief affirmative reply and silence returned.  Jestor hated the quiet and told himself jokes as he flew.  He did not bother telling them to Scout any more as he had learned Scout neither answered or laughed at even his best jokes.  Telling a joke to his wingman was just simply depressing.

They had not been on station long when a large number of bandits appeared on their sensors.  Scout narrowed down his scan to focus on the inbound craft.  Even as he did so three broke formation to race toward the pair of vipers.  =/=Jestor call this in we have multiple bandits moving coreward?  Three are coming at us.  Those are Cylon raiders..  Call it in now!  They are weapons hot, Jestor break low to Starboard.=/=  Even as Scout was speaking her went into a high barrel roll to port putting himself closer to the now firing Cylon Raiders.  Their kinetic energy rounds slicing through the space the vipers had just vacated.

Jestor tried to call out and got nothing but static, he broke starboard hard and accelerated and still tried to raise the ship.  He tried to contact Scout to warn him they were being jammed but he just got static!  He had other problems now though as a Raider was on his six low and shooting.  Jestor jinked and jumped into a low YoYo hooking turn causing the Cylon to overshoot and loose his position.  Jestor noted the Cylon was responding quickly and he had to think fast on what do do next.

Scout finished his barrel roll with a Cylon Raider almost head to head and nearly already in his sights.  Scout popped up in an elevator move using a cobra style maneuver to keep his nose on target and fired rapid short burst into the Raider as it closed.  The 30mm shells bounced off, glanced away but enough punched through to crack the Raider’s hull.  It came apart in a brilliant explosion forcing Scout to snap his nose back up and inline with his flight direction.  He broke away diving low to starboard.  He saw Jestor was in trouble but could not make contact as he was being jammed.  He accelerated toward wingman to help.

Jestor was screaming into his comm for help as he jinked and rolled trying to evade the pair of cylons shooting at him.  It was a mad run and he knew his luck could not last forever.  Just like he knew screaming at Scout over a jammed comm was a useless gesture but it helped him cope just the same.

Scout slipped his viper in under the Cylon Raiders so he would be firing up into their six.  He positioned his LOS so he did not need to worry about an overshot hitting Jestor.  He locked on and fired lighting up the backside of the targeted Cylon.  The cylon broke off its attack but Scout stayed with the Raider move for move.  The Raider blew apart on the fourth burst.  The remaining Cylon Raider broke away and raced off to escape.  It saw the trap forming as he would be caught between the two vipers if it remained on the attack.

Jestor saw the explosion behind him then spotted the other viper on his sensor.  He realized the third Cylon was trying to get away and pursed.  He locked on and fired both missiles he was carrying but the Raider jinked and they both missed.  He was closing and suspected the cylon Raider was trying to lure him into an overshoot.

Scout had moved onto Jestor’s wing and was now just flying.  When the Raider turned to his side though he jumped in front and since he was already locked on loosed both his missiles at the Raider.  It jinked causing both to miss but in evading it flew into Jestor’s gun range.

Jestor fired longer burst then he should have in his endeavor to destroy the Raider.  he missed more then he hit but the number of canon shells that hit were enough.  The Raider lost a wing and went into a tumble with bits and pieces flying off as it tore itself apart.  One last burst from Jestor’s canons were enough to cause the remaining shell to breach and explode.

Scout tried to make contact again =/=Jestor did you get through to the ship=/=

=/=No we were jammed.=/=  Jestor tried to raise the ship but comms were still being jammed.  =/=Still no joy Scout?  What the frak is going on?=/=

=/=No frakking idea but we need to get back to the ship asap.  Whatever is going on it just is not good.=/=  Scout took the lead as he turned back toward the ship, and accelerated.  They were at least an hour away and way too much could happen in that amount of time.

Scout and Jestor were closing on the ship when they finally could hear what was going on.  None of it was good.  Despite surviving his first combat in style, Scout felt useless as he returned to the ship.  They had been too far away to make any kind of difference.  Being pragmatic Scout contacted the ship to recover.  After all they needed rearmed if they were to be useful.

 

~ Holding for Salvation ~

Lieutenant J.G. Ayesha Myers
Enroute to Rendezvous on Mission Day 1 at 0450 Hours

Ayesha gripped tightly to the stick as her Viper rattled towards what she hoped was salvation and not another Cylon trick, towed by a Civilian Ship, already overloaded by pilots who had ejected and found themselves rescued. The Olympia was gone. Her friends were gone. All she had was the Viper she rode in and a small rag tag group of Raptors and Vipers. Cylons. Myth, Legend, horrible reality.

There were other Vipers in tow, and being reeled in as close as they dared to the Freighter. Their systems had been sliced into. Their power gone. No ability to fight back. Some had been shot out of the sky as soon as they had lost power. Others, had been… lucky… hidden in the floating debris as the Cylon fleet soared over and around them. Many around her, like her, had played dead as the cylon fighters had zoomed by. No use in destroying what was already dead. Her head hurt, and her forehead was sticky. Her viper was badly damaged and it luckily was NOT leaking air. Though she knew her weapons were completely useless and she had no real steering.

All she had was the grip on the rudder and it was more for comfort then anything else. A flash of light signalled as another Viper was reeled in so the pilot could disembark. It would then remain in tow until they got where they were going… hopefully…. salvation. This had been going on for hours. A raptor jumped into the combat zone, hooked a Viper, jumped out and they were placed in tow.

But that had soon ended and now the Raptor had gone, jumping off to the rendezvous while the Civilian Freighter hauled in those who had been meant to save the colonies. Hours passed, her O2 reserves were low as she popped the hatch in the cargo bay of the freighter known as Cyclops. She pulled off her helmet and climbed out of the cockpit with help from several deck hands. She looked around. Pilots were slumped against walls. She sighed. They had to reach salvation soon…..

 

~ Welcome to Hell ~

Commander Mitchell Hanson, Major Amaris Kendall, Lieutenant J.G. Ayesha Myers, Captain Jonathan Kilmartin and Lieutenant Darius Kendall
Solaria Actual, Cyclops Bridge, Hanger bay on Mission Day 1 at 0830 Hours

Cyclops. Such a grand name for such a rather nondescript freighter. But Ayesha was not about to complain as she took a seat in the cramped cockpit at the Radio Station. Out the slim view port she could see a small gathering of ships, and a Battlestar. A Battlestar. Such a welcome sight. Taking a breath she opened up the comm, “This is the Freighter Cyclops contacting Solaria Actual. I am Lieutenant JG Ayesha Myers, formerly of the Olympia. Come in Solaria Actual.”

 

Then she waited. She knew they were busy. And there was probably a queue.

 

“Cyclops, this is Solaria. Confirm your identification code,” the responder called out sharply.

 

Ayesha tapped in the code carefully. She didn’t want it to be incorrect. After her own code she then got the Radio operator to transmit the Cyclops’ as well.

 

[CIC, Battlestar Solaria]

 

Standing around the command table at the heart of the Solaria’s combat information centre, the new commander of the old girl was stood staring at the DRADIS console, looking at the different icons on display. He lifted the receiver in front of him as he looked over at the XO near him. “Cyclops, this is Solaria Actual. Go ahead,” he spoke firmly.

 

Amaris stood on the other side of the table. She was experiencing a flurry of different emotions. On one hand, she liked being in charge; on the other hand, she was extremely relieved that all the pressure now rested on Hanson’s shoulders. She was too young to be the “Old Lady” anyway. Holding the other phone up to her ear, she listened closely.

 

Ayesha held back her sigh of relief. “Sir, Lieutenant JG Myers reporting. The Cyclops is currently housing 16 viper pilots with 16 dead birds.”

 

Commander Hanson held his hand over the mouthpiece of the handset and whispered in the XO’s direction. “Make arrangements to begin transfer of the vipers,” he ordered before talking via the telephone again. “Major Kendall will liaise with you to begin the transfer of all vipers to the Solaria immediately via the starboard hangar. Have the ship’s Captain bring the Cyclops into the field so she falls under our CAP,” the older man instructed.

 

Ayesha replied with “Aye Sir” And then turned to the Cyclop’s captain who was already moving to give the order. She sagged back into her seat and waited for the next round of orders.

 

On the order, Amaris, turned, the phone still at her ear, and waved an Ensign over. Once the younger woman had arrived at her side, she stood there patiently while the conversation was going on. Once the exchange had advanced to a place where Amaris felt that she’d heard everything she needed to know, she reached down, dialed in the hanger bay and the CAP line, and spoke on a different line.

 

“This is the XO. A cargo vessel, the Cyclops is entering the field under our CAP. She’s carrying 16 dead birds that need to be transported to Solaria. I want them brought over with all of their pilots and Colonial Officers on the double.”

 

With that, she hung up and turned to the Ensign. “Go down to the hanger and get a count on the pilots coming aboard as well as their information.”

 

Slowly, the Cyclops moved into position. Ayesha stood, thanked the captain for his assistance and help getting here and shook his hand. She then headed down to the Cargo bays to get everyone ready for departure.

 

About 30 minutes or so later, the two raptors, ferrying the pilots to Solaria touched down in the hanger bay. Ayesha was the last out of the second Raptor, glad to be once more on a colonial vessel. An ensign stood taking names and checking credentials. Ayesha waited her turn quietly. Now they were back on a Colonial vessel, someone else would give the orders. Someone else could rally the troops and she could take stock. Allow herself a chance to think of other things, other than her job.

 

When the Ensign got to her and asked she replied with “Lieutenant Junior Grade Ayesha Myers, Service number 465-SQ-8675443”

 

The Ensign wrote down the information she was given as quickly as she could. When she was done, she gave a sad smile. “Welcome aboard, ma’am.”

 

Just as the Ensign had finished talking, a loud voice boomed from nearby. A tall brown skinned man was on the approach, handsome face and flight suit told the whole story. The smile on his face seemed out of place. “Just what we need.” he said, loudly. “More stick-jockeys to fire into space.”

 

He smiled at Ayesha, clearly taking note of her as the Ensign moved on to the next pilot.

 

She tilted her head and curiously gave him a look. “Lieutenant.” She said somewhat warily. “Unfortunately we are stick-jockeys without birds.” She said calmly. And with a wave of her hand, indicated the inoperable Vipers being towed into the bay.

 

“That’s ok.” he said with a charming smile. “If you stick around, I can teach you how to take out raiders with a flight suit, a rifle, and a bottle of Ambrosia.” He gave her a wink and then extended his hand. “Nightlight.”

 

“Echo” she replied. “Ayesha Myers, Caprica.” Ayesha added with a smile as she shook his hand.

 

A second man, a little younger, strolled over to the group and made his first contact with them. “Welcome to hell Lieutenant,” the man smiled as he offered out his own hand. “I’m the CAG. Captain Jonathan Kilmartin. My friends call me Sunbeam,” he added.

 

“Echo. Sir, Sorry to tell you but Hell was over the colonies” Ayesha shook his hand and straightened her shoulders. “I am formally from the Olympia Sir.”

 

Darius watched the woman meet her new boss; he couldn’t help but smile. It had always made him laugh to see how most people perked up when someone “bigger” than them came into the room. He was the son to one of the fleets most famous, or notorious, Admirals. He’d spent his whole life watching people near pee themselves when old Ironhide gave them a look. He never had.

 

“And..” he spoke up, escaping his own thoughts. “My real name’s Darius Kendall, from Atlantia.”

 

“Well, looks like we have an air wing shaping up at last,” the Captain smiled at both the newcomers. “The XO has tasked me with setting up a CAP for the system. Freshen up and meet me in the Pilot Rec room in ten minutes,” the CAG told with a nod before doing an about face and making himself scarce.

 

Ayesha watched him go. “Okay so… standard lay out for a Battlestar right?” she asked Darius.

 

“For the old buckets, yeah.” he said with a nod. “More rusty than I’m used to, honestly.”

 

He was, of course, exaggerating. The Battlestar, though old, had been well maintained. There was no rust and, in many ways, it looked the same as it had when it was first

commissioned.  “Looking for the head?” he asked with a wink.

 

She rolled her eyes with a smile. “Hey you get stuck in a viper cockpit for hours on end and then a cargo ship with limited supplies… I need a shower I smell,… and it’s not a good look.”

 

He nodded and gave a chuckle. This is what he was good for. He grew up in a humorless household and he made a silent promise to himself that he would never be like that. They called him Nightlight because he made people smile, even when times looked dark. Well, things had never been as dark as they were now.

 

“Come on, I’ll show you the way.” he said with a grin. “We’ll have to hurry though, before anybody starts looking for us.” In his mind, he could see his sisters face when she learned that he was looking for the showers instead of working at a time like this. She was no fun; never had been.

 

“Thanks”Ayesha replied honestly. “Appreciate it”

~ Conversation ~

Lieutenant J.G. Ayesha Myers and Lieutenant Darius Kendall
Lower decks, Solaris on Mission Day 1 at 0845 Hours

The Port Flight Hangar was quickly becoming a hive of activity the likes of which the Solaria hadn’t seen for perhaps a decade. Deck Crew, Pilots, and the odd crewperson from other places were running back and forth, welding vipers, telling jokes, and getting things operational. Darius had been doing the same for a few hours before this very moment, but now he was in the company of a beautiful woman and, like his school days of old, he was playing hooky. Things were just disorganized enough that they would be able to slip out of the room without too many questions being asked.

 

“Just don’t look like you’re having too much fun.” he said to her as he lead toward the exit.

 

A smile flitted across her lips as they walked. “Fun? Sure walking to the pilot rack and head area is such a fun adventure.” Ayesha slanted a look at him as they walked. “Things are bad aren’t they?”

 

His smile started to fade ever-so-slightly. All his life, he’d fought with his fists, with his words, with his viper; that smile was his most effective weapon. He let it fade now, and the realization of the gravity of the day returned to him. “Things are….over.” was all he managed as they walked across the bay.

 

Ayesha nodded in silence and then they were in the corridors beyond. “Then we will have to fix those Cylons good won’t we.” she was firm in her resolve. No Cylon was going to beat her. And maybe they could rebuild one day…

 

He also gave a nod, but didn’t’ respond immediately. “Just about my entire family is…was in the fleet.” he said. “Frakking toasters have alot to answer for.”

 

“My family is the same. My mother was commanding a battlestar…. they do indeed have a lot to answer for but there is still hope that people survived.” and Ayesha needed that hope. “And when this is finished we will see what is stronger… my money is on flesh and bone over metal and computer chips.”

 

He looked at her as she spoke and, when she was done, he offered a broad smile. He liked her spirit. Sometimes even the optimist needed reminding. At this point, he decided he would talk in the present tense. “My father’s an Admiral and he commands Columbia. My brother commands a battlestar too…My sister’s the XO here.” his smile broadened even more. “And I’m the fun one.” he finished.

 

She studied him. “Kendall…. I think I met your father once. My father is at the Caprica military academy, my mother commands the Trident. Two of my brothers are on the Galactica, one on the Pegasus, as pilots one on the Atlantica as an aide to the Commander and my last brother is the secretary of Agriculture.” she smiled. “I think I met your father at the Academy when I visited my father there. Scary man.”

 

“Yeah, people tell me so.” he said, clearly avoiding the conversation. The truth is, in his household, his father had been God. He understood very well how scary the man was. He offered a smile, however, and looked over at her again. “We’re a pair of well connected military brats, huh? We should be in charge around here.”

 

“oh no thank you!” Ayesha laughed. “I will stick to my viper thanks.”

 

He also laughed, walking beside her until they ended at an alcove with a ladder. “We’re going up one level.” he said simply, gesturing with his right hand. “Ladies first.”

 

With a nod Ayesha climbed up the ladder. Battlestars were pretty much the same even if it was older.. she got to her feet at the top and waited for him to join her.

 

Darius followed after, taking two rungs at a time. When he was on her level again, he spoke. “So, why do you fly, Miss Myers?” he asked, making the assumption it wasn’t a “Mrs.” He assumed she would have mentioned that when she was talking about her family. “Are you flying toward something or flying away from something?”

 

“For the fun of it.” she admitted. Ayesha smiled. “I love the thrill of flying. And flying takes you so many fun places.”

 

One might have thought that would have been a common answer, but Darius honestly hadn’t heard it very much. “Well, at least your doing what makes you happy.” he said with an affirmative nod as they walked. He knew that the pilot racks and the head were close-by. He said nothing else, just thinking about her words. He imagined who she might be and he looked forward to getting to know her more. He didn’t express these sentiments, of course; he did learn some things from his father after all. Don’t get so close they can hurt you, no matter who it is.

 

Ayesha didn’t need to talk as they walked. But after a moment of silence she asked. “What about you Mr Kendall? Why do you fly?”

 

“You can call me Darius, or Nightlight.” he answered smoothly and amiably. Just as he said so, he realised that he had set the precident by refering to her by her last name. There was a moment where he felt slightly uncomfortable, but he just chuckled through it and moved on. “But, uhm…” he continued. “I joined because I wanted to make my father proud. He was an ace pilot back in the Cylon War….Well, I guess the First Cylon War now. They called him Ironhide because he was unflappable. There was a running bet for anyone who could get him to smile. And his body counts on Cylons was ridiculous.” he spoke with some pride, looking over at her as he did. “I wanted to make him smile too, I guess.”

 

Ayesha nodded. Parental approval was something she understood. “You are here alive and ready to kick Cylon arse. I bet he is very happy about that.”

 

Darius gave an open laugh, but didn’t respond verbally. After a few seconds, he raised an eyebrow with a friendly expression. “You might deserve my nickname more than me today, Echo.” he said just as they came to the corridor with the pilot racks. He spun the metal circle on the door before them  and opened it to reveal the head. “We have arrived at our destination, please put your seats in the upright position.” he said, smiling but not laughing at the joke in particular.

 

She laughed cause she enjoyed his sense of humor. “Thank you very much for the escort Nightlight, I appreciate it greatly.”

 

“You’re very welcome.” he said, clapping his hands together gently and then holding his fingertips. “Oh, you’ve got supplies, right? Towels, washcloths, soap, a change of clothes?”

 

She shrugged. “Yeah in the bottom of my viper.”

 

He lifted both his brows and then shook his head, laughing a bit. “Didn’t think of that one, huh? Well, unless you wanna dance around here, naked, we better find you something..”

 

He turned toward the nearest rack, opened the door, and walked in. He was new to this ship too, so he had no idea who’s way he was about to get into. He looked at the racks until he found one that clearly belonged to a female. He opened it up, grabbed the uniform and their toiletries bin, and walked back out into the corridor.

 

“I come bearing gifts.” he said, handing the materials over. “If the person who owns that stuff asks, tell them I took it and ask if they wanna fight about it.” He gave a bright and handsome smile.

 

Ayesha smiled. “Thank you. And I’ll keep that in mind. I should let you get on so you don’t get into trouble.”

 

“That would be nothing new.” he said, as he started back down the corridor, walking backwards. “Save some water for the rest of us.”

 

She laughed as he walked away, allowed herself one casual glance at his backside then headed in to shower.

~ Shoreleave Cut Short ~

Captain Cooper Yates and Adam
Myrus Beach - Virgon on Mission Day 1 at 0900 Hours

<< Myrus Beach – Virgon >>

Cooper “Coop” Yates sat at the table on the patio of the villa, a cool sea breeze rolling in the sun still low in the sky. The blue air hung heavy this morning, the summer had been sweltering so far. Coop sipped his coffee, enjoying the last few days of his shoreleave before he was due to report back aboard Polaris.

“Good morning.” A voice came from behind him.

“Good morning.” Coop replied with a small smile. He turned to face the man who had emerged from the bedroom.

He was standing in a pair of loose cotton sleep pants, they were actually Coop’s, when he had met the man two days earlier Adam hadn’t been intending to stay in Myrus that evening, let along the following few days. Both knew very much that the trisk wasn’t anything serious.

“How’d you sleep?” The man asked Cooper as he moved to kitchen and poured his own cup of coffee.

“Alright, I don’t usually sleep late. Life of service does that.” Coop replied with a smirk.

“Most people wouldn’t consider,” He started glancing at the clock on the display. “0910 late, especially on a vacation.”

Coop smirked and took another mouthful of coffee. “You have to head back tonight don’t you?”

“Yes,” he replied nodding slightly. “I have meetings in the capital tomorrow I can’t push, unlike the last two days.” He said with a smile, closing the distance between them a kissing Coop. “It’s been fun, but the real world awaits.”

Coop nodded, “I can fly you back to the Capital this evening. I’m suppose to try to see my sister before I’m due back on the Polaris.”

Adam smirked, “You did say you would take me flying before left.”

“Well go today, the ship let me borrow an old raptor. She can’t do FTL, but she’s still got a few years on her sunlights left. I was thinking we’d go down South, the coral reefs are pretty beautiful from the air. Then loop back up to the Capital late afternoon.” Cooper said.

Adam smiled, “Sounds like a plan, but for now.” He started, setting his cup down. “I have other ideas.”

<< Several Hours Later >>

The slightly battered raptor sat on the pad a about 200 meters from the villa Coop rented for his leave. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the cities or starships. The pair were sitting in the front of the Raptor, Coop at the controls as the craft rumbled to life and lifted off.

The early afternoon sun was high in the sky. The Raptor was cruising south along the coast, the sunlight reflecting off the shallow water over the brilliant corals. Coop was considering finding a quite atol for them to set down on when the comms suddenly came to life.

=/\= All Colonial Fleet vessels we have multiple Cylon contacts in systems. Set condition throughout the Fleet. Battlestar Groups to engage enemy hostiles. =/\=

Cooper felt his stomach drop. He grabbed the headset and put in, pulling the communications traffic off the speakers.

“What, what’s happening?” Adams said, clearly scared.

=/\= Polaris Raptor 447 to Polaris come in. =/\= The Battlestar was due to be in orbit for a few days, his shore leave timed to their assignment here.

He couldn’t get anything back. Suddenly, the sky began to fill with bright lights. Orbital bombardments. The radiological alarm went off.

“My gods, they’re nuking the planet.” Coop said in disbelief. He glanced over at Adam he could see tears in the corners of his eyes. “We’ve got to get out of the atmosphere and away from the radiation.”

He said, putting the craft into a steep climb and clearing the atmosphere moments later. As the blue sky faded to the cold dark of space the gravity of the situation struck. He could see at least half a dozen basestars in orbit. Thousands of raiders filling the sky, and the Colonial forces floating dead in space. Vipers being piked off by raiders and heavy bombardment on crippled battlestars.

However they did the Cylons had disabled almost the entire fleet. =/\= Polaris Raptor 447 to any Colonial unit come in. =/\= There was tons of comm traffic, none of good.

“Can, can we get out of here some how?” Adam asked, knowing they would quickly be picked off if they remained.

“No, this raptor is old, she doesn’t have FTL.” Coop said, eyes glued to the DRADIS trying to find some glimmer of hope out of the situation. Then he saw it, Fleet transponder code for a patrolstar, the Achilles, tiny compared to Mercery-class battlestars being savaged by the Basestars. Her energy levels were low, but not as low as the other crippled ships.

=/\= Patrolstar Achilles this is Raptor 447, Captain Cooper Yates. What is your status. =/\=

=/\= Raptor 447 this Achilles, our main systems are unresponsive, we’re trying to jump but we can’t get our FTL to spin up. The fleet is falling aport, we have orders to jump. =/\=

=/\= Achilles, got room for a raptor? We have no jump ability. =/\=

=/\= We can take you in our port pod, but we have no OLS, you’ll have come in visually. =/\=

=/\= Copy the Achilles =/\= Cooper said over the comm, “Hold on this might get bumpy.”

Keeping an eye on the DRADIS to make sure no Cylons decieded to take them out he maneuvered the Raptor to an approach vector with the Achilles. Reducing speed as the distance closed he landed moments later on the deck, not quite as hard as he expected.

“Let’s go.” He said grabbing Adam who was sitting stone faced in the co-pilot seat. Jumping out of the Raptor the deck was a mess, clearly he wasn’t the first to do a hard unguided landed.

“Captain Cooper Yates.” He said, half wishing he’d at least grabbed his uniform jacket out of his bag. His civilian clothing out of place in the sea of jumpsuits.

“Sir,” a young officer said snapping to attention when he identified himself.

“Adam, see what you can do to help out.” The other man looking completely lost, he nodded and walked off without another word, like Coop he had hailed from Virgon, and had seen enough to know his family, and most of his planet had been wiped out.

“Ensign what’s our status.” He said heading off the flight deck, the young man falling into step next to him.

“We don’t seem to be effected as bad as most of the fleet, but we were having issues with our nav computer before the attack started. With all the battle stars we must not have looked like as big as a threat. The COs asked you go to CIC.” The Ensign said.

“Copy that, thank you Ensign.” He said leaving the officer on the deck and heading to the CIC.

<< Patrolstar Achilles – CIC >>

Cooper entered the CIC and found it as chaotic as the flight deck he left. “Captain Cooper Yates.” He said coming up to a Major who appeared to be in command.

“Major Sandrina Hyatt, I served with your mother.” She said with a solemn face. “We need any help we can get at the moment. We can’t seem to get our nav computer to ininatilize, we’re trying to restore FTL capacity and jump. From what we’ve decreed the fleet is all but destroyed. Fleet HQ, Ngala and just about every flagship. Word is a few of the older Battlestar are still trying to put up a fight, but received orders from a Commander Hanson to jump to Nogura Fleet Depot.”

“Ma’am, engineering reports the FTL should be back up momentarily.” Someone shouted.

“I recommend a manual jump.” Coop said, looking down at the command table.

She nodded looking to the young JG navigation officer. “Ma–Ma’am, I’ve never done a manual jump, except a simulation at the Academy.” He said looking as if he was about to vomit.

“I can do it.” Coop said, turning his attention back to the Major. She nodded.

“I relieve you Lieutenant.” Cooper said moving to the Navigator position.

<< Nogura Fleet Depot – A Short Time Later >>

=/\= “This is Patrolstar Achilles to any Colonial Fleet Vessels….

~ Escape! ~

Lieutenant Naven Rhodes
Shipyards on Mission Day 1 at 1030 Hours

The Phoenix had been docked a supply station several thousand meters from Caprica. It was in sight and it looked gorgeous from space. Navan knew he had some leave coming up and whilst he intended on visiting home, he knew he wanted some R&R on Caprica. He had only 2 weeks left before his leave started, which was when his current trainee pilots would graduate.

“Squadron, Skyfire. Lets run this again. Remember, be aware of where the other is, if you have that spatial awareness, you’ll end up swinging into one another. Rely as much on your instrumentation as actually looking. Run it again guys.” He instructed through the comm system from his own Viper.

The replies came in, one by one, in the order he had given them. That at least, they had finally gotten. It had taken him a while to get them used to speaking in their turn, usually dictated by rank and seniority, but as trainee’s they were the same level. He had them run the excerise three times. This particular excerise from the main curriculum was about building awareness. Fortunately, they had been given several old mark three vipers to train with, which meant that the scrapes that kept occurring weren’t going to cause the Deck Chief to flip when they landed back on the Phoenix.

On the third run, he was satisfied they had it. But, he wanted to ensure that it was embedded and he intended on having them now run the excerise another two times. “Squadron, Skyfire, okay lets-” He began but he stopped talking. His DRADIS suddenly lit up with a contact he didn’t recognise. Instinct kicked in and he spun his Viper, to get a visual. It was colossal Cylon Basestar. The radio went wild, the Phoenix had begun ordering the Squadron back but before Navan could give the order, the Phoenix lit up in what his instruments confirmed as a radioactive explosion.Â

Navan was shocked for a moment, as he watched the Battlestar crack and crumple but that did not prepare him for the sight he next beheld, several radioactive explosions all across Caprica. Everything appeared to pause, he couldn’t his trainee pilots screaming for orders. The only sound that broke his revere was his DRADIS, showing multiple contacts. Navan’s training kicked in. He didn’t need a visual confirmation to know these were Cylon Fighters. He spun the Viper round, as he glanced quickly at this DRADIS.Â

“Squadron, Skyfire, push your engines and head to the Civilian ship just on the outskirts of our DRADIS, maintain radio silence until I have established contact.” He instructed as he gunned his engine, pushing the throttle to the max, hoping that the Chief had probably stress tested the aging Vipers.

“Picon Traveller this Lieutenant Navan Rhodes of the Colonial Fleet, open your hanger and spin up your FTL for an immediate jump. Please wait for us to land, I repeat wait for us to land.”

The response was not immediate and Navan half expected the ship to disappear in a flash of light, signalling that they had jumped. But after several moments the reply came.

“This is the Picon Traveller. Confirmed, but please make it quick.” The voice instructed. The man on the other end sounded terrified and inside Navan felt it too. But he knew that he couldn’t show it. He needed his trainee’s calm and collected and hearing the Officer in Command had been shaken wouldn’t do them any good. He took a deep breath. He needed to give them instructions for landing. It would be hard and fast. He cursed himself for changing the ammunition on all the Vipers to blanks, including his. There was no defending themselves like this.

“Squadron, Skyfire. Right we need to come in hard and fast and this won’t be like any landing we’ve done on the Phoenix. As approach 300 meters, ease off the throttle, the forward motion will maintain much of the speed. When you go through the doors reverse thrust for…” He paused for a heartbeat as he thought. “2 seconds, but get your Vipers on the deck. Just like emergency landing scenario 8.”

He received the affirmatives one by one. Discipline had remained, even if they were severely shaken up. The race to the Picon Traveller seem to take forever but fortunately with the speed they were doing they Cylon Fighters were not gaining on them too fast. As the civilian ship started to get closer, he reduced his speed slightly, so he could get a good view of his pilots as they went in.

“Squadron, Skyfire. Easy does it now.”

One by one they landed, some with more scrape and bumps, and one landing on their side, but they landed safely. He quickly followed suit. “We’ll all aboard, JUMP!” He shouted down the comm line as the ship landed and the hanger bay doors closed behind. Before the doors shut, Navan saw the white streaks of missiles heading directly for them.

~ Interim Assignments ~

Captain Cooper Yates and Major Catherine Wolf
Patrolstars Achilles on Mission Day 1 at 1300 Hours

The Patrolstar Achilles had moved into formation with the spattering of ships that were holding around the Battlestar Solaria. There had been an order for any rescued Fleet personnel to report to the Solaria for intern assignment. The Raptor he had arrived in had been readied, and there were a few others assembled on the flight deck.

The Captain who’d managed to track down a spare uniform and pull it on, he found he was the ranking member as he climbed into the cockpit of the Raptor and took the controls. Minutes later it was cruising towards the Solaria.

=/\= Solaria to Raptor 447 you’re clear to approach the port pod. Call the ball. =/\=

=/\= Raptor 447 copy that. I have the ball. =/\= The craft landed with a light thud, his flight skills certainly more refined when there wasn’t a fleet of Cylons trying to eradicate him.

Exiting the craft he returned the salute of the Petty Officer who was waiting. “Sirs, Ma’am, welcome aboard the Solaria.  The PO said to the group. “Please follow me to CIC.”

The group travelled in relative silence. The ship was a little worn around the edges but Coop had served on an old Galactica-class before. The bird still had plenty of fight in them.

<< CIC >>

“Major Catherine Wolf, Officer of the Deck.” The woman who was currently ranking officer in CIC. “Welcome to the Solaria, I’m sorry it’s not under better circumstance. All serving members of the Fleet are being reassigned to needed roles aboard the Solaria or other ships in the fleet. Captain Yates.” She said, glancing at a paper on the table. “I understand you’re a Nav Officer. We’re short staffed in that department, you’ve been assigned to the Solaria in that capacity.”

Coop nodded to the woman, as her gaze returned to the paper. “Lieutenant JG Mallinace, you’ve been assigned to our areospace group, report to Captain Kilmartin our CAG on the flight deck. Petty Officer Kassini, you’ll report to Engineering. Ensign Halia, you’ll be working under Doctor Power in medical. I’m sorry we don’t have time for more pleasantries, but we will all have time to get to know each other in the future. Dismissed.”

The other three saluted and headed off in their various directions. “Major,” Coop said  as she turned her attention back to the centre table. “What’s our status?”

“Making repairs and trying to get the ship combat ready. The Commander and XO are preparing our action plan. I’d like you to take your station. We’re not expecting to go anywhere right away but I want an experience navigator at the ready should that plan change.”

“Aye ma’am” He said, taking his station, and looked around at his new crew mates. It had been a long day and it wasn’t over anytime soon.

~ Oblivious ~

Specialist Jamie Perth
Scorpia Fleet Shipyards on Mission Day 1 at 1630 Hours

It took nearly three quarters of an hour of planning before Jamie and senior paramedic Sergeant First Class Rick Matheson began moving their patient out of sickbay. Even for a simple 30-minute flight from the shipyard to the planet’s surface, preparation was key for any inter-facility transfer of a critically ill patient.

The process involved a full handover from the doctors and nurses, swapping one-by-one from sickbay’s equipment over to their mobile gear, rearranging the massive tangle of lines, tubes and wiring, ensuring all pressure points on the patient were well-padded, running through the multiple drug and fluid infusions, discussing their plans for any potential mid-flight emergency, and updating the receiving hospital of their imminent departure.

The patient was young. Early twenties, like Jamie himself. Fresh-faced Crewman Lewis, who had unluckily lost his footing while performing maintenance work at one of the hangar bays, falling eight metres from a mezzanine deck. Spinal and pelvic fractures, a broken leg, but most concerning of all was the head injury. The surgeons did what they could – placing an external ventricular drain to reduce the pressure inside the poor kid’s skull – but with sickbay’s limited capacity to care for someone this seriously injured, the decision to to transfer him to a hospital on the planet’s surface had been made well in advance.

“So we’ve got everything we need?”

Jamie’s eyes ran over the gurney in front of him. With all the life support machinery, wires, tubes and monitoring equipment, one could be forgiven for not spotting the patient at all on first glance. “I reckon so,” he said. “Let’s go.”

The trip from sickbay, to the hangar deck, and then onto the Raptor was uneventful. Jamie hoped the rest of the journey would be the same. It was his last job for the day, and things have been moving a bit too slow for his liking. As the clock crept into late afternoon, he wondered if he’d make it back home on time for dinner as promised. Jamie was both excited and anxious at the prospect of introducing Ollie to his father over a pub meal – his dad’s choice, of course, which made for a more relaxed setting than a fancy restaurant. But like many approaching his age, the old man had booked the table for 18:00.

“Six is a bit early, hey?” Ollie had commented the other day.

“Sorry. He likes to wake early, eat early, sleep early.”

“You’ll get out of work by then?”

There’d been a moment’s hesitation. “Yeah, should be fine,” Jamie had said.

And now he was glancing at his watch every minute. They climbed into the Raptor, after having pushed the large gurney through. They spent a brief while setting up the cabin perfectly, to allow for any situation mid-flight where they’d have to unbuckle and move around the patient. A quick hello to their pilot, SSGT Samantha Loza, and they were soon on their way back to Scorpia.

The Raptor shuddered slightly as they began skimming over the planet’s outermost exosphere. Jamie looked down the cabin and out the cockpit’s glass bubble canopy, seeing the thin blue halo of atmosphere approaching. He never liked re-entry – the thought of nothing more than reinforced hull plating separating him from thousands of degrees of heat was unnerving. And so he turned away and sat back, resting his head firmly against the headrest, one hand discreetly pulling on his seatbelt strap to tighten it.

He glanced at his watch again, but was interrupted when Matheson said, “Keep an eye on his MAP, Specialist. It’s been trending down a little. Systolic’s 110. You’d want to avoid hypotension and keep his CPP consistent, in order to avoid secondary neuro-ischemia.”

“Yep, sorry,” he snapped to attention, reviewing the numbers on the monitor, displayed alongside a colourful set of graphical spikes and waves. “Bringing his norad up to 10 mils per hour.”

After a pause, the sergeant said, “Got somewhere to go, son? You look pressed for time.”

Jamie hadn’t realised his watch-looking had been that obvious. “Uh… Oh, no, sir. Not really.” He lied, which he quickly decided was a bad idea. “Well… just hoping to make it back home in time,” he admitted.

“In time for what?”

He suddenly felt a little queasy, either from the direct questioning or the increasingly bumpy ride through the atmosphere. “A dinner, sir,” he said honestly. “I haven’t been back home for a while, so it’ll be the first time seeing my father in almost a year now. He likes to have dinner early.”

“Huh.” Matheson kept his eyes down on the patient’s chart he held, jotting down a few numbers and notes. “Haven’t seen many kids your age keen for a good father-son…”

“And he’s meeting my partner for the first time, sir. Whom I haven’t seen in a few months as well. A little nervous about it all. I’d like to make sure I’m there.”

That seemed to pique the Sergeant’s interest. He looked up. “How sweet,” he said, in a bit of a monotone that made it difficult to decide whether there was sarcasm in his comment. He looked back down at the chart. “What’s her name?”

“His name’s Oliver, sir.”

The pause lasted only about a second. “My apologies.” He then added, “I remember when I first introduced my wife to my parents. I was Sagittarian, and she’s Caprican. Needless to say, things turned out just as you might expect. I gave up my original citizenship to become Caprican. Joined the Fleet, moved to Argentum with her, and haven’t looked back.” The Sergeant’s voice became somewhat despondent, but not for long. “So being nervous is normal. You’ll do fine.”

Jamie hadn’t expected Matheson to open up the way he did, and didn’t quite know what to say. “Thank you, sir,” was all he could think of. More note jotting and chart reviewing.

“What does he do?”

“Sir?”

“Your sweetheart.”

Just the thought of Oliver brought a smile to Jamie’s face. “He’s a Corporal with the Marines, sir.” Then without thinking, he felt the need to further clarify, “On another unit. Visiting while on leave from Picon.”

Matheson nodded, failing to hold back a smirk, which progressed to a chuckle. “So he’s a Marine, hey? Bet you fell for him the moment you found that out.”

The Raptor began to shake and heave more. “Pushing into re-entry,” SSgt Loza said from the cockpit. “Buckle up tight, boys. And make sure Crewman Lewis doesn’t fall off his gurney. I’m talking to you, Specialist Perth.”

Matheson smiled and let out a short laugh as Jamie rolled his eyes. The young paramedic then second-guessed himself, reaching out to check the straps securing his patient.

The Sergeant snickered some more. “It’s the end of the day, Loza. Give the kid a break. And make it quick, will ya? He’s got a special someone waiting for him back home, and so do I.”

Little did any of them know that as their Raptor hurdled towards the surface engulfed in a fiery streak, Cylon battle stars made their first surprise arrival in orbit.

——————————

Spc Jamie Perth
Critical Care Paramedic
Colonial Fleet Reserve

~ Early Sunset ~

Specialist Jamie Perth
Scorpia's Atmosphere on Mission Day 1 at 1640 Hours

“What the frack?”

The bumps and shaking of re-entry had only just settled, when SSGT Loza uttered those words. Jamie looked towards the cockpit, watching her tap against the DRADIS screen, flicking switches and turning knobs over the communications panel with her gloved hands.

“What’ve you broken this time, Sam?” SFC Matheson asked.

“Gimme a sec, Sarge,” she said, checking the dashboard again. From what Jamie could see through the cockpit’s windshield, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. Blue skies with only a few wisps of cloud. Perfect weather for atmospheric flight.

“It’s… like we’re in a comms black out, sir. That, or we’re being jammed. But I can’t detect any disruption signal. SNR’s over 40, margin’s good. Bandwidth is good…”

“Give the frequencies a scrub,” Matheson suggested. Then, jokingly, “Have you tried turning the wireless receiver on and off again?”

But the pilot didn’t smile. “Okay. Starting to pick up a bit of chatter. A lot of chatter, actually. But signal strength’s not quite good enough to get a good reading.” She momentarily looked out the canopy, as if something outside might give her an answer to her problem. “Argentum ATC, Backspin. Requesting clearance to enter control zone.”

There was no response.

“Argentum ATC, Backspin. Acknowledge.”

Out of absolutely nowhere, a shockwave of pure force suddenly slammed against the Raptor, sending Matheson off his feet, having just unbuckled himself from the chair and making his way to the cockpit to assess the situation. His entire body smacked sideways against a set of seats, and he fell to the floor. Alarms blared, the sound of engines overcompensating, and the awful dragging sensation in everyone’s stomachs as the craft went into an uncontrolled plummet.

Jamie’s heart had risen to over twice its usual rate, and the first thing that came to his mind was how this would be the final minutes of life he had left. Trapped in a Raptor, falling out of the sky, smashing into the ground or sea below. Pure fear gripped him, paralysed him, and for the briefest of moments he wondered if the harrowing terror alone would be enough to kill him right then and there. The slightest relief came when the Raptor seemed to stabilise somewhat, settling into a steadier course, albeit still turbulent.

Sergeant Matheson lifted himself off the floor, his back clearly aching from the impact moments ago. “What the frack was that?!” he shouted.

Instinctively, Jamie’s first priority was the patient. He looked over at the monitor displaying the vital signs. Stable so far. The unconscious crewman was perhaps the calmest out of anyone in the cabin, but only because of the anaesthetic drug being infused into his veins. He slept soundly in a deep coma, eyes closed shut by adhesive tapes, breathing tube pulling slightly at the corner of his mouth.

“My… Gods!” Loza said. She had her eyes fixated at the horizon ahead.

The cloud cover they’d been in the midst of had cleared completely, blown off by a blast wave to reveal a massive mushroom cloud climbing up into the sky, a toroidal fireball rising from the surface. A glowing semi-spherical cap formed its upper height, with gas vortices curling around the base, appearing just over where the great city of Argentum used to be. A distribution of energy from a single weapon, so vast and so sudden, obeying physical laws of nature which cared not of the intentions of its Cylon manipulators.

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps well over a million lives, gone in a single instant.

Families – mothers, fathers and children. Brothers and sisters, young and old. Lovers and friends, rich and poor, the innocent and the guilty. Everything that represented the best and worst of human society on Scorpia ceased to exist, obliterated in a billowing shroud of destruction.

Unbeknownst to its victims, the same was occurring in the skies over Scorpia’s many other cities, and on inhabited planets across all four Colonial star systems. Never had death struck so many in such a short time, in just one of many fractions of a second, shorter than the smallest unit of time recognisable by any human nervous system. Every person within a five-kilometre radius of the low-altitude nuclear explosion’s hypocentre hadn’t had the chance to notice a thing. Huge bursts of gamma rays and X-rays had soaked into the bones of the now-dead, those closest to ground zero, heating them into fluorescence, their bodies disintegrating almost instantaneously with the detonation itself. Victims that had been further away were not spared a similar fate, vaporised by the searing energy front radiating in every direction.

Jamie looked out the window, frozen in complete disbelief. A weight of emotions assaulted him and the rest of the Raptor crew with such power, more so than the physical force of the shockwave that had struck their craft less than a minute ago. The horizon turned an incandescent yellow, then a violet-red so bright it seemed to outshine the sun itself.

And as the mushroom cloud drifted further up, the sky began to darken.

——————————

Spc Jamie Perth
Critical Care Paramedic
Colonial Fleet Reserve

~ Evasion ~

Specialist Jamie Perth
Scorpia's Atmosphere on Mission Day 1 at 1642 Hours

The city laid in utter, flattened ruins.

Jamie’s Raptor and its occupants had survived the shockwave, continuing on its course towards Glenvale Harbour, which was a smaller urban area 30 kilometres southeast of what was once Argentum. The immensity of Mount Conara stood stubbornly ahead, seemingly undisturbed by the nuclear blast, save for a few slabs of impacted snow that had been shaken off.

Chaos reigned within the Raptor. Both Jamie and Matheson had rushed up to the cockpit, joining Loza in pure shock as they watched Argentum burn.

Profanities and other similar utterances filled the inside of the cabin, cried out by all three of them. Fear, confusion, devastation. Jamie was hit with a torrential onslaught of thoughts and feelings, all of which were agonisingly distressing. Despite the hot and fiery havoc he saw with his own eyes, what materialised in the pit of his stomach felt like a massive ball of ice, violently tugging at his insides. He immediately became nauseated, reaching out with both hands to steady himself against the bulkhead separating the cockpit and the cabin, turning away in case he had to spew over the deck. He managed to hold it in, but only just.

He thought of Oliver. He thought of his father. Everyone he grew up with in Glenvale. Everyone he knew who lived in Argentum. Tina, Wesley, Samir. Jordan, Fiona and their daughters. His friends from school, his teachers, everyone who had helped make him who he was today. Was he trapped in some sort of a sick nightmare? Did someone accidentally set of one of the Fleet’s nukes?!

Rushing over to the cabin side window, he peered out and looked along the coast, one that would eventually trace towards his home city. They were high enough for him to spot the familiar aerial view of Glenvale Harbour’s compact central business district, some 30 kilometres away. No nuclear detonation there, but tiny flickers of explosions instead. Conventional weapons fire. Cylon Raiders, swooping in.

Forty years of silence from them, and now they were back. It was almost two decades before Jamie was even born when the armistice was agreed to, and the Cimtar Peace Accords signed. And now this was happening in his lifetime.

“Holy shit! Frackin’ Cylons!” he said, his voice breaking. “They’re attacking our cities!” Then, without any clear plan in mind, “We have to help!”

Pilot Sam Loza seemed more capable of containing her emotions than Jamie was. “No! Wait! We can’t… We aren’t equipped with weapons of any kind. We’ll be shot down by Raiders the moment we fly close. Our re-entry must’ve masked us from detection. We have to take this opportunity to escape.”

Jamie stormed clumsily back into the cockpit, having felt the Raptor bank away. “What’re you on about?! Where the -frack- are we gonna escape to?!”

“I… I don’t know. But I know if we head to Glenvale, we’re as good as dead!” She fumbled with the comm panel, before quickly giving up. Her mind was already scrambled enough with having to process the event that had just unfolded. “Sarge!” she called out to Matheson. “I need your help, sir.”

He complied, knowing exactly what he was being asked to assist with, even if the request came from a more junior NCO. He sat down at the co-pilot’s seat and began flipping through the wireless, sending out emergency calls. No doubt the channels were being inundated.

All that could be heard were cries of help on civilian frequencies. Nothing from Scorpia Shipyards. Nothing from the other colonies. Silence from all military comm lines. “I’m not getting anything,” he said, trembling hands turning on the dials. “Nothing from the Fleet…”

Jamie shook his head. “No, no! We have to turn back! We can’t leave all those people behind!” he protested, reaching forwards, as if trying to take control of the joystick in Loza’s hand. But his intrusion was forcefully blocked by Matheson’s arm.

“Pull yourself together, Specialist!”

The Sergeant wondered if the younger paramedic’s usual role as a Reservist made him more prone to emotional volatility during catastrophes as extreme as this. Matheson had a wife, children and other family on Argentum, all of whom were now presumed dead. The loss he felt tore him at the very core, but there was an immediate need to confront the reality they were facing.

He tried to suppress any expression of despair that struggled to break free from within, but a few tears made their way through and flowed down his cheeks. His voice wavered. “They’re gone, Jamie! They’re all gone!” The words were directed at the young reservist just as much as they were for himself. “Consider yourself on full active duty, son. You’re a soldier, and the Fleet expects you to act accordingly in times of war. We regroup with what remains of the Fleet… And once we’re in a safer position, only then can we mourn in private.”

Silence filled the Raptor, as all three of them took a moment to absorb the situation they were in. Nothing but the sound of the engines, and the air flowing past its vertical stabilisers.

Then, suddenly, words breaking through the static from the wireless speaker: “… Attack… All Colonial Fleet and civilian… Rendezvous at Nogura… Depot…

Matheson tapped on the comms panel, trying to clear the transmission: “… Repeat… Forces are… rendezvous at Nogura…” According to the readings displayed on the screen, the signal came from afar. Certainly not from within the local Helios Gamma system.

The Sergeant made a swift decision. “We follow those orders. Loza, spool the FTL drive. We’re going to Hera. Calculate the furthest distance we can jump from our current atmospheric location.” His voice was stone cold, calculating. Focused on survival.

“Sir, Hera is in the Helios Beta system. We’ll need several jumps to go that far,” the pilot said.

“Then several jumps it is,” he replied. “Spool the drive.”

He turned back to look at Jamie, who still appeared emotionally wrecked from having just lost everyone he knew back home. He couldn’t blame the kid, but there was work to be done. As awful as it sounded, the patient they were transporting to Glenvale Hospital had plunged to the bottom of his list of priorities, so perhaps it was best to assign the young Reservist that particular job.

“Specialist Perth. Keep an eye on Crewman Lewis. Make sure he’s stable.”

Jamie was tried his best to compose himself, something that felt impossible. “Yes, sir,” he nodded, admitting defeat and returning to the cabin. He sat down on his seat, staring blankly ahead at the gurney where his patient lay peacefully, motionless in an induced coma, without any idea of the events transpiring around him.

“Computer calculations complete, FTL ready, sir.”

“Make the jump.”

Jamie looked out the window once more, catching a final glimpse of his home from afar, suffering a relentless enemy bombardment. A flash of light, followed by the thunderous clap of spatial distortion, and the Raptor disappeared from Scorpia’s atmosphere.

——————————

Spc Jamie Perth
Critical Care Paramedic
Colonial Fleet Reserve