Missiles, bullets, nukes. Colonial forces exchanged fire with their Cylon creations, explosions all around the hot zone of activity. Eight basestars surrounding the assembled fleet of Admiral Nagala. A brilliant flash of white signalled the arrival of a new ship into the combat zone and thankfully for the Colonial forces, the emerging ship was one of their own, even if it was older than all of the other ships in the fight.
“Bring weapons to target bearing! Target the basestar nearest the Atlantia,” Commander West declared loudly over the sound of action stations and the voices in the room.
Amaris walked back to her own side of the command table and placed her hands on its lighted top. She observed the DRADIS readouts and noticed the configuration of the combatant vessels. “Fire main batteries at selected target.” she ordered commandingly. “Helm, keep our starboard broadside acclimated toward Cylon Capital Ship 3.”
She looked at the CO from across the table. “Should we launch vipers, sir?”
“Co-ordinate with Atlantia’s CAG and have them join their squadron. We don’t have enough to be effective alone,” Martin nodded as he looked over the DRADIS console. “Helm. Raise bow ten degrees…” he trailed off as his own tactical training came in to play. His first major engagement. “Ventral turrets. Make a perimeter to protect our Vipers,” he ordered. If he could protect them long enough to meet up with the others, they would be able to make an impact. Alone, as they were, they would be nothing more than a fly buzzing near ones ear.
Major Kendall lifted her phone and spoke clearly and concisely. “Launch all vipers. Rendezvous with fleet vipers and take your orders from the Atlantia CAG. Repeat, launch all vipers.” She put the phone back in its place. Observing the readouts and doing quick math in her head, the XO blinked and issued another order. “Our firing solution is too low. Our vipers will have enough trouble getting through as it is. Rotate us 7 degrees to port and clear them a path above the ventral batteries.”
The appropriate officers nodded and she felt the slight roll of the Solaria to one side. In one sense, she was excited. This was the first time she would get to put her tactical skills to the test against the real enemy. In another sense…. She looked across the table at Martin. She knew he felt the same.
As Martin watched the battle unfold, a Petty Officer ran up to him and delivered a note in to his hand. The Commander eventually looked down at it and took a minute to read. “Scorpia Fleetyards has been destroyed. The Battlestars Pegasus, Odysseus and Phoenix too,” he called out over the din, temporarily silencing everyone. “We’ve got to do all we can to make the sacrifices of our people worth it!” he cried out. “XO. Have the armory break out the nuclear warheads. We’ll launch every nuke we have until these bastards are gone,” he told sternly, utterly resolved to win at all costs.
The ship rocked massively under the barrage of three conventional missiles impacting the upper hull of the ship.
As the CO spoke, Amaris’ hand moved up toward her mouth. “Helena..” she whispered under her breath. Admiral Helena Cain of the Pegasus had been the closest thing she’d ever had to a big sister. She looked up toward the DRADIS display to make sure that her father’s ship was still there and, at that moment, it occurred to her that her brother was serving as a viper pilot on the Atlantia.
“Aye sir, she said.” walking over to the nuclear launch station and inputting her code. “Sir,,” she asked from her position. “Is there any news on the Battlestar Megeara?” she asked. She knew that Martin understood that her eldest brother was the commander of that vessel.
Martin walked over to the nearby nuclear launch station and input his firing key. He shook his head as he looked at Amaris and placed a hand on top of hers and squeezed. “Prepare to fire nuclear weapons in five… four… three… two…”
His attention was quickly diverted away towards Captain Scott at communications, looking for answers and reasons for the interruption of the nuclear launch.
“Atlantia…” Scott spoke, “she’s gone. Nagala, dead.”
“Confirmed,” another voice called out. “The fleet is breaking down. We’re receiving orders to pull back,” the voice called out.
West glanced at Kendall next to him and then withdrew the tactical firing key, dropping it into his pocket before swiftly making his way to the command table again. With the commander of the fleet dead, it was no surprise the colonial forces were beginning to fracture.
Amaris followed him back to the table, her concern visible. She was going to speak, but a voice cut her off.
“We’re receiving an encrypted message from the Columbia, sir.”
“Put it on.” Amaris said without waiting for the CO to respond.
“This is Columbia Actual.” boomed her father’s even voice. “All vipers are ordered to fall back to the nearest ships. The Colonial Fleet has been brought to its knees by the Cylon threat, but this is not the time to give up. Fall back to safe positions and heed this order: Survive, be strong. Live to fight another day. Columbia out.” It had been given in the concise and simple style she had grown accustomed to; with a stone face and a voice to match.
Several nuclear signatures appeared on the DRADIS display. Sounds of the panicked and inexperienced junior tactical officers rang across CIC. “Commander West, the Cylon Baseships are launching nukes!”
“Combat landings! They have until the flight pods are retracted,” the Commander ordered. It was then that he had an idea. West sprung into action, moving around the table towards the navigation station. “Lock in the co-ordinates for the Nogura Fleet Depot and jump. Frak preparations, just get us out of here the minute those pods retract,” he ordered, channeling his partner in crime. It was time to forget the fleet and focus on surviving, just as Columbia Actual had ordered.
FLEET AIR GROUP
Nightlight listened on his headset as the Admiral’s voice drowned the melancholic order to survive. He gave a deep sigh, but the smile never left his face. He was the jokester afterall, and when his father spoke seriously, it was his habit to crack a joke.
“Well, boys. Looks like the fun’s over..”
The line was silent. No one spoke and he new that the time for playing around had come to an end. Lieutenant Darius “Nightlight” Kendall was a master in the viper and a master at screwing up; he couldn’t decide which persona he liked best. As the Atlantia CAG ordered the Air Group into combat landings on the old rustbucket in front of them, his face sank from the crass smile into a miserable frown. As he landed his bird hot in the hanger bay and removed his helmet, he had a rare moment of seriousness and wondered if he’d ever see his family again.
“Prepare to jump!”
West rejoined Amaris at the command table after working with the navigation officer to locate the Nogura fleetyard co-ordinates and input them into the FTL computer. The essential preparations had been completed and the ship was about to jump.
“3… 2… 1… JUMP!”
But just as the ship was about to jump, tragedy struck. A rogue nuclear warhead got through the defensive perimeter created by the different remaining vessels out there in the hot zone and smashed into port side bulkhead, just above the flight pod, at the exact moment that the ship began its jump.
The explosion magnified the visible flash of the FTL and made it look like the Solaria had erupted in a ball of flames, but in reality, she somehow managed to complete her jump and arrived at her intended target. The Commander and his team had done it, but at an alarming cost. CIC, like much of the ship, was in chaos- lights out, smoke filling the air, explosions from consoles and main power out.