The journey from Picon Fleet HQ and back to the Scorpia Fleetyards would take some time in the Raptor the officers from the Ulysses were currently inhabiting. Hanson had finished several meetings on the surface and and was currently sat in the back of the Raptor going over the reports and findings of the Command course that Major Wolf had taken whilst on the surface. They had picked up a new crewman on the way, a Lieutenant Marcia Byers who would be joining the Ulysses as her communications officer.
Marcia was insanely nervous as she sat next to her new CO aboard the raptor. She’d placed her hands firmly on her legs in order to stop them from shaking. She looked from him to Major Wolf before diverting her eyes to the deck.
“Sorry if I seem a bit distant, sirs.” she said with a forced smile. “I’m honestly a bit nervous.”
“About what Lieutenant?” Hanson queried as he continued to read the report in his hands, opting not to look up.
Marcia tried to swallow the lump in her throat and her forced smile relaxed. She cleared her throat and looked down at the man. “I, uhh…This is a new experience for me, sir. Being the senior Communication Officer is new. Don’t get me wrong, I’m capable and ready, but I don’t feel comfortable.”
Hanson smirked as he placed the pad of papers down on his lap and looked towards the woman. “Comfort comes with experience in the job Lieutenant. I’ve had so many different jobs and it’s taken me several months in each before I felt comfortable in any of them. I’m sure Major Wolf agrees,” he suggested as he looked to the Officer of the Watch.
Wolf looked back at the Commander and the Lieutenant and nodded slowly before turning away again. She was preoccupied with thoughts about the process she had just been through.
It was then that the Pilot called out from the front of the Raptor. “Hey Lieutenant! If you are a communications specialist you best get your butt up here. We’re receiving a transmission but it is a right mess,” the Pilot declared.
That suddenly got the attention of all aboard, especially the Commander. Mitch rose from his seat in the aft section of the Raptor and stood behind the two seated officers in the cockpit.
Lieutenant Byers was already hard at work, listening in to the headset that had been passed her way and trying to make some sort of sense of what they were receiving. She pressed several console buttons before looking up. “I think I have cleared it up enough…” she spoke quietly. A nod from Hanson indicated to play the message.
“This is Admiral Nagala! A Cylon attack against our homes is underway. We do not yet know the size or disposition or strength of the enemy forces but all indications point to a massive assault against homeworld defenses. I have taken personal command of the Colonial Fleet aboard the Battlestar Atlantia following the destruction of Fleet Headquarters. The Battlestars Atlantia, Columbia, Triton and Ulysses are preparing to engage enemy forces near Caprica.”
The occupants of the Raptor looked at each other in disbelief as they listened to the transmission. Many questions were racing through each of their minds, but they had to wait while the transmission continued.
“Any Colonial fleet personnel receiving this message; if you cannot reach Caprica for whatever reason, report to the nearest Colonial base or ship for assignment. Survive. Get back in to the fight, but make sure you…”
The transmission suddenly stopped and Hanson looked towards the younger woman for some sort of explanation. After a few seconds he got it.
“Sorry sir,” she frowned as she removed her headset. “The transmission is being jammed at the source. That’s all there is.”
Hanson nodded and frowned before giving his orders as the most senior officer on the ship. “Wolf, get on the DRADIS and find me the nearest ship or base in an isolated area.”
“But sir… the Ulysses?” the Major protested quietly. Ulysses was his ship, she couldn’t believe that he wasn’t pushing for them to get to her.
“We’re lucky to have survived as long as we have, likely due to our size and the Cylons having bigger fish to fry. It will do no one any good if we jump into Caprica and get blown to smithereens. The best thing is to find something closer that we can assist with,” he told sternly as he looked out of the forward cockpit window. “Judging by those Base ships in the distance, we wont be alone for long. Get to it.”
As Wolf relented and reluctantly got to work, Hanson glared back at her briefly and then turned back to the front view almost as quickly. As he folded his arms across his chest, the Commander couldn’t help but think she was right. It was taking every ounce of his strength not to disregard his own orders and send the Raptor to the Ulysses, but sense had to prevail. All he could focus on was a single word from the Admiral’s transmission; survive. He had to make sure that the rag tag group he was with survived and if that meant going somewhere other than his ship at the minute, so be it. He just hoped he would see her again.
“Commander…” the Lieutenant sat near him spoke up. “I’m receiving more reports sir,” she looked confused as she made them out and began to relay the information to the crew. “Picon HQ, the Scorpia Shipyards and the Fleet Depot near Canceron are all destroyed. Battlestars Concordia, Phoenix, Pegasus and twenty seven others lost.” she relayed.
At that, the Pilot looked at her. “30 Battlestars? That’s a quarter of the fleet!”
“There’s more,” the woman intervened, looking up at the Commander. “There’s a large Cylon force converging on the Atlantia Battlestar Group. Twenty Base ships…”
That was it then. There was no way the four Battlestars, including Ulysses, could possibly hold off that many Base ships. The news made his decision even easier in his eyes now.
The voice of Wolf from behind him took him out of his momentary daze and made him turn and take a few steps back towards her. “What have you got, Major?” he queried.
“We have two facilities within jump range that seem to have not attracted any enemy attention,” she pointed the two areas out on the DRADIS display for him to see as reference. “We have Ragnar Anchorage and the Nogura Fleet Depot. Both are abandoned and no longer used by the fleet.”
Hanson stood with his arms folded across his chest as he tried to recollect any information about the two places. “If memory serves, Ragnar is a weapons supply depot whilst Nogura is, essentially, an old construction facility turned scrapyard,” he mused while looking at the screen.
“Ragnar Anchorage is closer, but not by much. However, we may find some additional ships at Nogura,” Wolf added as she gave her opinion as defacto XO of their little crew. “If we are to get back in to the fight, we are going to need ships, no matter how old,” she concluded.
Hanson nodded and looked at her with a smile and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Well done XO. Pass the co-ordinates to the pilot,” he ordered before stepping back to his position looking out of the forward window. “Pilot. Begin making jump calculations for a jump to the Nogura Fleet Depot. Lieutenant, transmit a message locally and on a scrambled Colonial channel. Tell anyone that receives it that we are headed to the Nogura Fleet Depot. They can regroup with us and we will get back into the fight.”
The two officers both nodded and began to get to work with their orders, leaving Hanson to hope and pray that there would be something at the Fleet Depot to make it worth their while.