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.