“Baseships are opening fire!” Wolf declared in a panic as she looked about at the suddenly terrified faces of the people in the CIC.
“Order the fleet to jump to emergency coordinates!” Hanson beckoned from his stationary position as he watched on the screen. “All batteries open fire. Clear a path for our Vipers. Combat landings authorized,” the commanding officer instructed as he eventually looked away from the Tactical officer.
Demetria Shaden called out from her console “Estimate we need another 60 seconds to cover all civilian ships.” Her hands flicked over the keys. “Impact in 45!”
Persephone responded. “Fifty percent of the fleet has jumped.”
Demetria considered this as her fingers moved. “Impact in 30!” She had a feeling they were not going to cover everyone. “Fighters are coming in for combat landings!”
The entire Battlestar shook as the first of several missiles pelted her upper hull as they managed to avoid the flak fire from the Solaria’s gun batteries. The explosions threatened to send people sprawling but somehow the Commander managed to maintain his position, albeit it with damaged fingers as he grasped the side of his command table so hard to avoid face planting the tabletop.
Demetria muttered curses and began calling out damage reports. “We have power out on decks 2 and 3.”
[PATROLSTAR ACHILLES/ALERT FIGHTERS]
“Combat landings authorised,” came over the radios as the vipers hurtled in towards the Solaria. “Combat landings authorised.”
“Patrolstar Achilles to all craft. Baseships launching Raiders. Get home now!” came an unfamiliar voice over the communications array as the smaller command ship began to move in to position, drawing some of the flak from the Solaria as she began to unleash her forward gun batteries. Whilst the ship stood no real chance, all she had to do was help defend the Solaria long enough to get the Vipers aboard and complete the jump. Major Kendall was a bad ass for sure.
“Okay everyone, that’s it. Back to the barn!” Sunbeam called out as he held his thumb down on the trigger and unleashed a barrage of fire in the direction of two missiles heading for the Solaria, watching in gless as they blew into a million pieces.
Sunbeam was last towards the bucket of bolts that he was sure would now be his new home, as any good CAG would have been. First into the fight and last out, but he was still some distance and now the flight pods were being retracted to save time once the fighters were aboard. He pushed his small fighter to full throttle and then some – naturally he had no desire to be left behind at the mercy of the cylons. The gap for entry was getting ever smaller…
Persephone spoke again. “Five ships remaining. Frak, I’m picking up additional EM spikes indicating jump activity.”
“XO!” Hanson called out in frustration at the prospect of more vessels incoming. The Cylons sure as hell knew they were there now, the battle alone would have been enough to signal to them from half the system away. “Where are my Vipers?!”
“Viper’s are inbound Commander. Flight Pods are retracting so that we can make a clean getaway the mean the last is aboard,” Wolf revealed.
[VIPERS IN BOUND]
ECHO was almost in line with the POD and could see her entryway clear. A voice called out “ECHO on your portside… Look out!”
She didn’t have time to look, as a smaller missile, clipped her tail rudder and sent her Viper spinning nose over tail into the flight pod. Her reflexes had her slapping at the eject which didn’t work and moments later her Viper crashed heavily into the back wall of the flight pod as others landed around her. Ayesha, callsign ECHO was slumped in the wreckage, unconscious.
Scout was in the holding pattern awaiting his turn to land. He watched as Vipers raced into the landing pod sort of grading their approaches in his mind. As he finished the loop it was his turn and he lined up with the landing pod as he came to the end of the line. He watched as the tiny opening grew into a rather large maw. It was bucking around much more than he would have expected. The Solaria was taking hits from the Cylons, that was a scary thought? As if in answer to his thoughts he saw Echo get hit and tumble down the entry runway! It was a horrific sight to any pilot. He focused his mind though letting the shock wash around him. He knew he had to concentrate on his own actions or end up in a similar place.
Entering the open bay he lifted his nose slamming reverse thrust and lowering his atmospheric flight flaps. At the last second he dropped his nose and skidded to a halt only a few feet from Echo’s crashed Viper. Ranulf shut down his Viper even as his own canopy opened. Crash crews were running in toward Echo’s Viper. Ranulf hopped up and out landing on the deck and running to the Viper as well. Everyone had to help when the unexpected happened. The Deck crew-hand was struggling with the jaws-of-life.
Ranulf took them “I got this buddy, help with the fire extinguishers. Ranulf was strong, having worked handling freight since he was twelve and the heavy tool was familiar to him. He jammed it into the fire retardant foam already sprayed to reduce sparks and worked the device spreading then popping the canopy open.
She had blood on her face and was unconscious, but she was breathing. Ranulf reached in and unbuckled her flight harness. “Backboard! Are the medics here yet?” He held her still supporting her head. “Hang in there Echo, help is on the way.
Ryan was one moments behind the rest of the flight. HE gripped the controls tightly, as he brought his bird in. He flew past the Echo’s wreckage, reversing thrust and flaring at the last moment before his landing skids stuck the deck and he skidded to a stop several meters away from the rest of the vipers. He powered down his viper, before turning to see the emergency personal running to the damage viper.
[CAG FINAL APPROACH]
“Stay open, for the love of gods stay open…” the CAG whispered to himself as he kicked in the afterburners and aimed for the ever decreasing entrance way to the flight pod. He had witnessed Echo’s crash from a distance but if he wasn’t careful he would crash himself; straight into the outside bulkheads if he didn’t make it to the gap on time.
He winced, his eyes closing partially as he took a deep breath and felt his left wing take a slight nick, the craft rocking from side to side before he aimed straight for the decking and slammed on the breaks swiftly. The nimble fighter caused sparks from her landing gear to shoot up into the air as the craft skidded to a halt just feet from Echo’s downed Viper.
With no medics showing up just yet, Ranulf waved the backboard from the first aid station over. “I have her head and shoulders. I will lift her straight up. You and you, walk the backboard behind her. Then we need three people to a side to lower her and the backboard onto the deck.”
Deck hands moved with a sort of controlled chaos as the NCO’s named names and told people where to be. Ranulf braced his feet on Echo’s seat and lifted slowly with his legs not letting her upper body move. Once he had her clear of the seat, the backboard was slid into place. Her torso secured to the backboard more hands took the weight and lowered Echo to the Deck. Ranulf looked up as he hopped down beside Echo and saw the CAG. One of the NCO’s placed a neck collar on her and then put splints where he thought her bones had been broken.
Ranulf suggested moving her away from the viper, but the NCO shook his head. “The threat of fire is minimal and moving her might be more of a danger. So they waited.
Jamie Perth had arrived with fellow paramedic Richard Matheson from sickbay. They stepped into the hangar deck, immediately exposed to the rather chaotic environment amidst smoke and sparks. Several of the deckhands pointed out where they were needed, and they wheeled their stretcher, over which lay a heap of equipment, through a small crowd and towards Echo’s Viper. They found their casualty on the floor, lying over a backboard with a cervical spine collar already in place. Clearly there’d been some rudimentary medical care provided, but Jamie would still run through his assessment from scratch. What worried him the most, at least initially, was that his patient appeared unconscious. Unconscious, but breathing.
“What’s her name?” he quickly asked, kneeling down beside her while Matheson opened his large backpack, pulling out equipment.
Ranulf did not reply but he moved away from Myers as the medics went to work. He actually did not know her name, just her callsign. He sort of figured that was not much help so he felt saying nothing was better. He moved away as he did not want to be in the way. He could check on her later in medical. He moved back to his own fighter to do a post-flight.
“Callsign Echo,” one of the fire/damage control crew said, before clarifying further, “Lieutenant Myers.”
“Lieutenant Myers!” Jamie shouted over her. He reached out and pinched his gloved thumb against her shoulder to see if it would elicit a pain response. “Open your eyes, Lieutenant!”
There was a low moan from the pilot but her eyes remained closed.
The medic tried again, but got the same response. Attempts at getting her to squeeze both of her hands on command were somewhat successful, and she appeared to bring an arm towards any painful stimulus applied over her breastbone. Jamie made a quick calculation in his head.
“Airway’s patent, spontaneous ventilations. GCS of eight, I reckon,” he looked up at Matheson. “E1-V2-M5.” He forced her eyelids open one at a time, checking for pupillary responses. “Equal and reactive.”
Captain Kilmartin had joined the chaos but had opted to stay out of the way so as to let the medics do their job. He would be of no use right now. Instead, he directed several crewmen to disperse and make more room for the team working. The best thing they could do would be to get her Viper back on the hangar deck repair bay and get it ready for her. If they could.
Matheson pulled out a pair of trauma shears and began cutting away at the pilot’s uniform. Her flight suit was unzipped, sleeves cut apart. He then quickly placed monitoring leads, clipped a pulse oximeter over her finger, and read the vital signs off the screen. “Blood pressure’s holding, sats in the low 90s, tachycardic to 130. I’ll get IV access.”
With the help of several of the deckhands, the medics managed to lift her off the floor on the backboard, and secured her onto the stretcher. Jamie performed a quick head-to-toe assessment to identify the most obvious injuries.
Bruising over her left cheek, a closed deformity of her left forearm, and substantial swelling over the right ankle. The lieutenant had also clearly suffered a concussion, lucid at times but mostly drifting back into drowsy disorientation. Gentle pushing against her chest wall also made her grimace in pain, specifically over a single spot on the left, which may indicate a rib fracture. They couldn’t be sure without imaging.
“EFAST is negative,” Jamie said, manipulating the ultrasound probe over the pilot’s abdomen while carefully studying the images displayed on the small screen. “No obvious intra-abdominal free fluid, no pneumothorax.”
“Not much else to do here, we should go now,” Matheson decided, placing an set of oxygen prongs that sat just underneath Ayesha’s nostrils. He turned to the patient and tried to get more a response, “Lieutenant Myers! Try to stay still, we’re taking you to sickbay.”
She could hear them but all she could manage was a weak groan.
“Hold on tight. You’ll do just fine,” Jamie said as they left the hangar deck.
“FTL ready in 10 seconds sir! Last of the Vipers entering now. We can jump as soon as they are aboard and the civilians are clear,” Demetria called out. “Civilian vessel status?” she asked Persephone.
“Viper Wing aboard! Flight pod’s fully retracted,” the XO called out with a smile on her face as she looked towards the Commander expectantly. It was time to get out of there.
“The fleet has jumped safely.” She stated. “Get us out of here!”
Hanson looked at the scientist and once the confirmation had been received that every jump capable vessel had done so, the Commander looked straight at Cooper Yates. “Jump!”
“Jumping in 3, 2, 1. Jump.” The Captain said from his station across the table from Commander.
What would await the ship on the other side of the jump?