The DRADIS console began alarming. SSgt Loza’s attention was immediately drawn towards it, as several blips appeared on its screen. Colonial signatures, just adjacent to the gas giant Hera, on the side of the asteroid field. Those blips were a welcome indication of hope amidst the despair.
“Sir,” she reported to SFC Matheson. “I’ve got friendlies. Beyond Iris.”
He looked at the screen, then out the cockpit canopy. They’ve had to complete three FTL jumps in order to arrive at Helios Beta – their first landed them several hundred stellar units off of Ragnar. Their next jump brought them close to Virgon, thankfully far away enough to remain undetected by the Cylon forces already present there. And now, they were finally near the supposed rendezvous.
“Confirm identification,” he said quietly. Solemnly.
She tapped away at the comm controls, as Jamie came up from the cabin behind. The young medic looked out the canopy as well, taking in the sight of the enormous gas giant, its red-brown hues, the glimmering of the asteroid field which, from this vantage point, seemed to spread out forever.
“Received and confirmed, sir. It’s… the Battlestar Solaria.”
Matheson’s hopes were raised even further. Having a Battlestar hidden this far out from the colonies was a good sign. Perhaps other large ships had made it out of the Cylon onslaught as well. He opened a voice channel. “Solaria, this is Colonial Raptor Medic-One-Six-Niner. Please respond.” He relaxed his grip on his headset to end his transmission, and a quiet static came through the speakers. The pause that followed felt too long. None of them knew what to expect.
An unknown female voice came over the communications channel swiftly in response. “Colonial Raptor Medic-One-Six-Niner, Solaria. Submit transponder codes for verification. Remain in position and await further instructions.” The voice was clear, blunt.
Matheson did so immediately. He nodded over to Loza as she complied with the flight orders as well. She pulled down on the engines and adjusted the RCS thrusters to keep their Raptor static. Jamie waited anxiously behind the two pilot seats for further communications from the Battlestar.
“Raptor Medic-One-Six-Niner, this is Solaria LSO. You are cleared to approach the port side flight pod,” the Landing Signals Operator instructed. “Hands-on approach, speed one zero five, checkers green, call the ball.”
Loza sighted the amber lights of the battlestar’s optical landing system. “Roger, Solaria control. Hands-on, speed one zero five. Ball. Fuel’s at six-point-two.”
The landing had been slightly bumpy. A sense of security washed over when the mag-locks engaged, and the Raptor was finally completely still, many hours after its initial departure from Scorpia Fleet Shipyards. At the start of their trip, none of them had expected to be landing on a battlestar by the end of their journey. Their destination was supposed to be Glenvale Hospital, and then home. But now home was no longer.
As the Raptor was one modified for medical transport, it had a specialised rear door, which slowly opened to reveal the cabin. Jamie looked out – ahead of him were several members of the deck crew scurrying about the shuttle with their usual jobs, while a few stood quietly in anticipation, as if ready to move forwards to welcome the new arrivals.
But without delay, the young paramedic said, “We’ve got a critically-ill patient on board. He needs to be moved to sickbay as soon as possible.” No formal introductions, no salutes. There was no time. Crewman Lewis’ intracranial pressure had been slowly creeping up since their last jump, despite mannitol to counter its effects. He and Matheson moved quickly, and began organising for the gurney to be wheeled off onto the deck.
Aside from pointing out the hangar’s exit doors that led into the ship proper, none of the deck crew were particularly helpful from a medical standpoint. A few had good intentions and tried to help, but ended up simply getting in the way.
Unlike almost all patient transfers Jamie has ever done, this time there was no doctor to receive them. No nurse. Not even a medic. Having never stepped foot on a battlestar before, he felt awfully disoriented. The lingering emotions surrounding the sudden loss of everyone and everything he knew back home made things worse. The permeating smell of exhaust and industrial oil throughout the deck was becoming overwhelming. Focusing on his next step was effortful.
“I’m sorry, but where’s sickbay?!” he raised his voice at one of the deck crew. One he didn’t even realise was an officer. A junior officer, but an officer nonetheless.
His mind swam through a tide of confusion, fear, uncertainty, anguish. So much that he had let his guard down, allowing his innate, over-confident yet flustered civilian self to take over. To him it felt as if desperate times – not unlike a multi-colony nuclear holocaust – should demand less less military stringency, when in reality it ought to be the exact opposite.
“Sir,” the officer stated in a matter of fact way, refusing to shift. Upon seeing the look on the medic’s face, the man spoke again. “I think what you meant to say was ‘Please sir, can you direct us to sickbay?’ don’t you?” the Lieutenant suggested.
Jamie was quick to feel the knot tie in his stomach. At least it didn’t feel like the ice-cold rock he had in the same spot when he’d seen the nuclear detonations over Scorpia, the mushroom clouds rising. He reckon nothing would ever compare to that.
He straightened himself. “I’m sorry, sir.” But he could see the small alarm on the monitor’s display from the corner of his eye, flashing on the gurney. “Can you please direct us to sickbay, sir? Crewman Lewis’ intracranial pressure is dangerously high, sir.”
The officer at hand clicked his fingers and two nearby pilots, with no ships to fly, walked over to them. “These two officers will take you to sickbay,” the Lieutenant told with a frown and then walked away, leaving the medic to his patient and his guides.
The two pilots nodded and walked over, giving both Perth and Matheson oddly stern glares, before advising them to follow. Both were again junior officers, but of course still of higher rank.
Jamie looked back at Matheson, not saying anything more than a curious expression, before reaching out to grip on the side of the gurney and pulling it with him towards the exit.