A brilliant flash of light preceded the appearance of a Colonial Raptor inside the Helios Beta system. The small Colonial craft seemed to steady itself before using its engines to thrust towards the target location that the crew had travelled there to visit. The Gas Giant known as Hera, on the edge of the system, was orbited by two moons; Euboea and Iris, and it was Iris the Colonial survivors had come to see, or at least the Ouranos asteroid field a few thousand kilometres away.
“According to the fleet archive, the Nogura Fleet Depot should be on the largest asteroid in the field. It is static, about three thousand kilometres from Iris,” Major Catherine Wolf spoke from the aft controls of the Raptor the small team occupied.
Commander Mitchell Hanson had remained behind the pilot and co-pilot, watching their every move and monitoring the ongoing situation. He was not used to running missions from a Raptor, much more at home in the CIC of his much larger Mercury-Class Battlestar, the Ulysses. Or at least, he had been until now. Everything had changed of course.
Suddenly the ships DRADIS console began to beep wildly and that drew everyone attention.
“I’m picking up a ship… Colonial signal,” Lieutenant Marcia Byers confirmed, looking at the Commander for guidance.
“It’s about two thousand kilometres away Commander, other side of Hera to us,” the Pilot informed, having looked over the readings himself. “We should order them to transmit their identification code,” he added.
Hanson nodded in the direction of Byers and then looked back at Wolf. “Are you picking up any other Colonial signatures?” he queried, more in hope than expectation. The shake of her head and the accompanying frown told him all he needed to know for now.
Hanson turned on his heels and looked back into the cockpit and to the voice that had called out. “What is it?” he asked.
“We’ve received and confirmed their I.D. sir. Colonial Raptor Eight-Six-Three. Survivors from Picon Fleet Headquarters sir,” the Lieutenant revealed with a smile.
“Are they within voice range?” he asked, some relief in his voice at the thought of their being some more survivors out there. A nod and smile from Byers gave him confirmation. “Get them on the horn,” the older man ordered.
“Raptor Eight-Six-Three, this is Colonial Raptor Four-Niner, come in please,” she spoke. There was nothing at first, no response of any kind and as Major Wolf stepped up beside the Commander, aking the cockpit more cramped, the Lieutenant repeated her message. “Colonial Raptor Eight-Six-Three, this is Colonial Raptor Four-Niner, come in please,”
Eventually the silence turned to static and then a lone voice. “=/=Colonial Four-Niner, this is Raptor Eight-Six-Three, receiving you loud and clear. Damn glad to find you,” the male voice remarked, an audible smirk heard in the cockpit as the fleet officers relaxed a little and exchanged smiles.
Hanson took the headset from Byers and placed it on his head and began to address the other craft. “Eight-Six-Three this is Ulysses Actual. I’m ordering you to meet us at the Nogura Fleet Depot, is that understood?”
There was a moments silence and then the response. “Wilco Actual, see you there. Raptor Eight-Six-Three out.”
With the termination of the communication between the two Colonial craft, Hanson handed the headset back to Lieutenant Byers. “Okay Pilot, take us in. Find a hidden landing spot that won’t draw any attention to us if the Cylon’s come calling,” Hanson ordered with a pat on the Pilots shoulder before retreating to the aft cabin. An “Aye sir” signalled the Pilots confirmation of his orders as the Commander took his original seat and shared a glance or two with Major Wolf. “Survivors…” he whispered.
“Survivors,” she echoed with a nod and a smile.
[Raptor Eight-Six-Three, Approaching Nogura Fleet Depot]
The euphoria aboard the Raptor had yet to subside at the news that they had successfully located Commander Hanson of the Battlestar Ulysses and his team. Whilst it was clear that they were so far the only survivors to arrive, unless some had already made it to the Depot, the crew of the Raptor couldn’t help but feel a little more optimistic than before. They were no longer alone!
For Captain Jonathan Kilmartin, Sunbeam to his friends, the man who had conversed with the Commander, it was a privilege to be able to lead this small group to the safety of the Depot and then hand over command to the man from the Ulysses. He had loved commanding his own Squadron at one point, but commanding what could have been the last group of survivors from the human race? No, that was too big of a responsibility for a lowly Captain.
A voice distracted Sunbeam from his daydream and his thoughts and pulled him back to reality. He looked over at the Pilot with a raised eyebrow. “Hmmm?”
“We’ve received a set of landing co-ordinates from Four-Niner. Want me to take us down?” Arnold spoke quietly, the others now in the back rejoicing somewhat.
“Sure thing Lieutenant,” the Captain nodded. “Lucky we found them at the first attempt, huh?” he grinned as he made conversation with the Pilot, who so far had been the least animated of the group.
“Never in doubt,” she eventually smiled. She was a confident little thing,
The Raptor adjusted course and began hurtling towards the largest asteroid in the field.
“=/=Raptor Eight-Six-Three, this is Raptor Four-Niner. Course correction. Turn to vector four-one-mark-one-eight-zero by order of Ulysses Actual,” a voice suddenly called out over the communications grid.
Lieutenant Arnold and Captain Kilmartin exchanged confused glances until the computer indicated their new heading. “We’ve received a new set of co-ordinates, but they aren’t down at the Depot. They are for an area of the asteroid field…” Lieutenant Arnold informed with a look of confusion on her face.
“=/=Raptor Eight-Six-Three, this is Raptor Four-Niner. Confirm receipt of message, over.”
“Raptor Four-Niner, Raptor Eight-Six-Three. Message received and adjusting course,” Kilmartin confirmed, indicating his orders to the Lieutenant beside him with a nod.
Sure enough, manoeuvring thrusters soon kicked in and the small Raptor adjusted its course. It soon became clear that the craft would be doing a manoeuvre around the back of the large asteroid, but nothing could prepare them for what awaited them.
Once they had cleared enough of the asteroid, the Captain’s eyes widened, as did those of Lieutenant Arnold beside him. They again exchanged glances and then Arnold called out to the people at the aft of the craft.
“You two are going to want to get up here!” she called.
Keziah and Maxie, who had been exchanging pleasantries in the aft compartment swiftly made their way to a position where they could see what the commotion was about.
“No frakking way…” Maxie Schneider exclaimed as it quickly began to become more apparent.
There, smack in their way was the emerging form of four aft engines, eventually two enormous flight pods and countless weapons emplacements. It was beautiful, a sight that none of the occupants of Raptor Eight-Six-Three.
A Galactica-type Battlestar in all her, admittedly old, glory, sitting among the asteroids and stationary, seemingly in hiding behind the Fleet Depot.
“=/=Raptor Eight-Six-Three, this is the Battlestar Solaria. You are ordered to land on the port side flight deck.
After exchanging some high fives and some back slapping, the three junior officers looked at the Captain as he responded to the message. “Solaria, this is Raptor Eight-Six-Three. Message received, loud and clear. Out.”
The Captain looked over at Arnold who immediately began the process of landing the Raptor on the port side hangar deck. The mighty vessel was a sight to behold, a welcome one at that.