Captain Jonathan Kilmartin, callsign Sunbeam, had been given the task of commanding the Solaria Air Group by the ships XO and it was a challenge he was ready to give his all to, despite being ready to jack it all in at the start of the day and start a new career in the civilian sector. Things had drastically changed and it was for that reason he found himself happily standing at the podium at the front of the pilot rec room. Before him was a sea of seats, mostly occupied by people from the Solaria and some newcomers who had been fortunate to survive the conflict currently raging across the Colonies of Kobol.
He stood silently and waited for the last stragglers to enter.
Ayesha had found her way from the showers, in a clean borrowed flight suit while hers was ruthlessly cleaned. Entering the briefing room, she scurried into a seat in the second row. The CAG stood silent. So different from her old CAG.. she blinked her eyes and shut the memories of her former crewmates away for later to digest.
Ranulf had been working on getting his Viper rearmed and ready to launch when a tech bumper his arm. “You must not have got the word but the pilots are all meeting in the pilot rec room. It is over that way.” Ranulf was in the same uniform he had landed in. He washed his hands and dried them as he trotted toward the room. He slipped inside the door like a shadow and saw Jestor was already seated with the Headhunter group. He moved quickly in taking a seat in the next to last row behind his wingman. He noted Jestor had gone and changed while he was working. Jestor had a smug grin on his face.
Lieutenant Darius Kendall entered the room, having spent the last few minutes haggling back and forth with a deckhand about his viper. He had come over with a few pilots from the Atlantia during the initial battle. He’d lost a lot of people, but he was more than happy to have his sister onboard. Looking around, he searched for a familiar face in the sea of flight suits. He noticed Ayesha in the second row; they had only just met, but she was the closest thing he had to a friend at this point. He slid past several people and plopped down into a seat next to her roughly.
“You didn’t get caught showering on the job, did you?” he asked in a hush, a handsome smile on his features.
She gave a soft laugh. “not this time. A first time for everything I guess”
Brent Rivers, callsign Bargain, walked into the room. He nodded to all the pilots, most of whom he didn’t know quite yet. Something he was sure would be rectified pretty soon. He still wore his flight suit from before his arrival on the battlestar, it still being relatively clean.
He looked at everybody’s Viper patches and laughed slightly to himself as he sat in the next empty chair.
Navan entered silently, offering nods and friendly smiles to any of the faces that met his. He nodded to the Captain as he took his seat near the front of the row. In his mind, he was still processing all that had transpired over the last few days and he didn’t know when he would be over that.
“Alright people, let’s kick this shindig off shall we?” Kilmartin declared from behind the podium as the chatter in the room seemed to die down at last and allowed him to begin the briefing. “Right, those of you that don’t know, my name is Captain Jonathan Kilmartin, callsign Sunbeam. I’m the new CAG in town, but you can all call me God,” he smirked as he stepped down from the podium and stepped closer to the front row of pilots. “What can you call me?” he asked as he looked around the room, expecting the trademark response from the gathered mass of people.
Ranulf winced as he listened to the CAG speak. He responded as he knew was expected. “God” He felt like he would choke on the word. He supposed it would help morale which seemed to him to be battered but defiant. Still having a Commander with a God complex did not seem a good thing to him.
Darius offered the expected response in coordination with the other pilots, a smile on his face. He’d hoped the CAG had a sense of humor and it seems he just might. Darius knew what it looked like when someone really did think they were God; there were no smirks to accompany the commands.
Ayesha also replied the same way. She was quiet though in her response, fatigue was pushing at her.
Brent offered the expected response, a smile forming at his own lips.
Navan let a boyish smile form on his lips. He knew exactly what Kilmartin was doing, he was not only instilling discipline, he was also offering it out in a jovial way so as to build comradery.
During this time, the door opened and Major Kendall walked into the room, stopping short of stepping into the sight-range of the pilots. The CAG would be able to see her, but no-one else. She folded her arms and leaned against the wall. Their viper situation was one that could do with some observation, so she took the time before she went over to the depot.
“Right,” the CAG started to pace at the front of the room, back and forth until he threatened to wear out the carpet covering the deck plating. “The powers that be have ordered me to dispatch an entire CAP to patrol the area here,” he pointed to a zoned area of the asteroid field that surrounded the depot. “I want communication darkness with Solaria and other pickets unless absolutely necessary. If there is any chance the Cylons are listening in, I don’t want my Jocks being the reason for the end of humankind. Stick to your patrol areas. First sign of trouble, contact us for orders.” He stepped away from the map on the board and back to the front of the room. “Every pilot possible will get in a Viper. I’ve posted Squadron assignments and wingman updates. Anyone without an active Viper, get your asses to the hangar deck and work with the Deck Gang to figure out what is rendering them useless. Questions?”
Ayesha straightened in her chair. “Sir.. if I may?” She asked politely. “I was over Caprica when my Viper went down… it was electronic. I am going to hazard a guess sir, they loaded a virus or something into it.”
“Right now your guess is as good as mine but I am assured the more technically minded on this barge are looking into it,” Sunbeam replied as he focused on the owner of the voice. “All we know for certain right now is the less technically dependent craft are the ones for the fight,” he then opened up the floor again to anyone else with questions.
“Who’s commanding the CAP?” Nightlight called out from his placed next to Ayesha in the second row. “Sounds from what you’re saying like you’re staying here.”
“The XO has decreed that I stay here and work with the Deck Gang on prioritising repairs whilst coordinating efforts from here. So, I’m going to give you guys a chance to shine and since you asked, you get first dibs Nightlight,” Kilmartin told with a smirk as he pointed at the Lieutenant. “How do you think that sounds, XO?” The Captain called out, drawing everyone’s attention to the woman at the back of the room.
Amaris gave a mildly displeased expression that didn’t relay any surprise; she’d know there was a chance this would happen. “I think that sounds fine, as long as the Lieutenant remembers this isn’t a game.” she said clearly, looking over at her brother with a stone-cold expression. She loved him very much, but she couldn’t afford to seem as though she favored him in any particular way. It helped, of course, that she certainly wouldn’t have picked him for the job. He was an excellent pilot and an effective combat leader, but he represented the death of seriousness and duty, two things she held very dearly.
“In fact,” she continued, walking forward and taking a position next to the Captain. “Let that be a reminder for all of you. This is not a game. Humanity has been brought to their knees and you are now the last line of defense. Solaria is not capable of defending the growing fleet right now. Take your responsibilities seriously and don’t get sloppy. If you do, it might be the end of us all.” With that, the woman turned and walked toward the exit, the door slamming loudly as she left.
Darius smiled as his sister left. “Well, at least I have her support.” he said, rubbing his hands together.
“Okay. You Raptor jocks in the room,” Kilmartin called out to get the attention of those few precious raptor pilots he had. “We are lacking in ECO’s, so some of our Viper flyboy’s here are going to double up with you to go on some SAR’s. I want you to go into combat dead zones and ping for survivors and bring them back here,” the Captain ordered loudly as hi attention drifted to his clipboard. “Lieutenant Rivers, you’re up for the first SAR. Take MacCloud with you as ECO. Questions?” he called out.
“Just glad to have the help CAG.” Brent said.
Ranulf had been in thought as to how soon he would be ready to launch. He had sustained minimal damage during the CAP and was nearly rearmed when he left to come to this meeting. Jestor’s tail was shot to hell and back so he would not be going in his own bird this trip. His plans were dashed as he heard he was riding shotgun in a Raptor? What the hell? Didn’t they just say they needed every Viper that could fly? He looked up deciding it was just his luck. He looked around for the Lieutenant named Rivers he would be matched with? He sighed as at least he was going to be doing something useful. If you could not be where you wanted to be there was consolation in doing something that needed to be done. Still Jestor’s ride was not going to be ready to fly for at least a day, well under normal circumstances. Maybe? Ranulf stood to speak “begging your pardon Sir, but my Viper is ready to launch and there are other pilots here who could back up Lieutenant Rivers in his Raptor.” He glanced down at Jestor with a smile but did not name him as being more available.
The CAG looked up at the speaking owner of the voice and noticed the rank insignia on his collar. “Tell me Nugget,” the Captain spoke, “if you were me and you had a handful of birds but too many pilots, would you send out the Ensign in the room or one of the pilots with more experience to fight our sworn enemy?” Kilmartin folded his arms across his chest as he glared at the Nugget pilot and awaited his response.
Ranulf stood straighter with a defiant expression “being new to the game Sir I would not question your experience in judging your people’s skills. I happen to believe I am as good as anyone else in this room when it comes to flying a Viper Sir. My skills are not so well tested but they are sharp none the less.” Ranulf was emboldened by his recent skirmish success beyond his normally quiet personality. He wanted in the fight and he was confident he was as he said, as good as any other pilot present.
“You’ve got balls kid. I like you,” Kilmartin smiled, “but my decision stands this time. At least you are not grounded like some of your colleagues here,” the Captain added. “But fear not people, your time to give the Cylons a good pasting will come, I’m sure of it.”
Ranulf saluted then sat down, he had said his piece, made his point. There was nothing more to be said and he did not wish to appear as a petulant kid! After all he had sort of gotten a compliment and if nothing else the CAG had noticed him. That might work to his advantage getting stick time.. Or end up getting him grounded? The Captain had mentioned that as well!
Jestor slipped an arm behind the seat as he knew Ranulf was speaking about him not being ready to launch. Jestor was no hero and this was supposed to be a get-girls-easier gig as a viper pilot. Now he was in deep and he had no desire to get any deeper. He flipped Ranulf the finger between the seats low so no one else would see. One skirmish a day was more than enough as far as Jestor was concerned.
As interesting as this was, Ayesha was struggling to stay awake. “Sir, I would like to request to stay on board the Solaria. I think I can assist with the Viper repairs.”
“If you aren’t well enough to be in a Viper you aren’t well enough to be on my hangar deck – period,” Kilmartin scolded in response to the request. “I suggest you go see a doctor or get some rest and then report back to me,” the CAG added.
Ayesha would rather take the stims. But she didn’t reply to the CAG other than a nod.
“Right, get to it. Happy hunting!” the CAG called out as he dismissed the gathered masses.
Navan nodded and stood up, opting to head out silently and head below to the hanger deck where his Viper was awaiting.
It was time to get this show on the road.