The Solaria had suddenly become the focal point of several new vessels who had been guided to her location, survivors who had received their coordinates or had been guided there by a SAR mission. One such vessel was a Colonial government vessel.
The hatch of the Colonial Shuttle opened sending the personnel working on the hangar nearly onto the floor out of shock looking at 8 drawn weapons, a mix of PDWs and automatic rifles. The weapons however where swiftly lowered upon spotting humans and not Cylons. Tanya jumped onto the floor. “Who is in charge?” was her simple question.
“Welcome on board the Battlestar Solaria. Commander Mitchell Hanson is our commanding officer,” The reply came from a worn out looking face.
“I see. Levante, Davis with me – rest of you stay here and keep watch until I return and find out what the frakking hell is going on.” Tanya said. “Okay crewman, take me to your leader,” she requested as her two bodyguards fell in to line behind her and the obliging military officer led the way off the hangar deck.
The passage was quite easy going until they reached the CIC which was locked down. “I am here to the see the Commander. Minister Tanya Cousteau, Colonial Government,” she said and waited.
The Marine tasked with security on the door of the CIC looked the woman up and down before nodding slowly. “Your people will have to wait out here though Minister. No armed personnel in the CIC,” the Marine instructed as he shuffled his stance and tightened the grip on his much larger assault rifle. When the bodyguards seemingly moved aside, the Marine spun the handle on the door until it released the pressure lock. He reached for the handle, pulled it until it clicked, and the door started to open.
Inside, it was a mess. There were wires and bits of technology all over the place. People were swiftly moving around the command centre as they worked around the clock to ensure they were ready for the eventuality that the Cylons detected them. They were also working feverishly to rid any trace of modern computer programs that could force them to succumb to the Cylon war machine.
Lounging on the situation table, one hand holding the telephone to his ear and the other clasped to his forehead, the Commander was looking quite stressed. “No. The XO wants your detail aboard the Depot and to round up all the big gun ammunition you can. Small arms can wait. If the Cylons come calling, we’re going to need the gun batteries first and right now we’re going to be down to hurling rocks at the bastards! Get it done and don’t call me again until you have some proper news. Actual out!” He slammed the phone down and placed both hands on the table top as he glared at the recent update put before him. With a deep breath, he looked to compose himself, only to catch a glimpse of a marine and a civilian nearby. “What do you want?” He snapped.
“Commander Hanson sir, I am Minister Tanya Cousteau. I am a Junior Minister in President Adar’s cabinet,” Tanya informed as she glanced around the somewhat chaotic command centre. “We were aboard our ship, Colonial Heavy 679 when the Cylons struck near Virgon. We took some damage before we jumped away. Lucky for us we were small fry to the Cylons,” the woman revealed as she finally got the Commander’s full attention.
Hanson looked the woman over and couldn’t help but actually feel a little sense of relief. There were people alive out there, other than Military officers, and they were finding ways to save themselves. Then it occurred to him what she had actually said. “Adar? Is he with you?” the Commander queried.
Tanya shook her brunette locks slowly. Her dress was still somewhat dirty and her face marked as it suddenly became clear to the Commander that she was struggling to cope with what had transpired, just like so many others. The poor woman was young though and had no military training and judging by the look on her face, the answer to his original question was no long before she composed herself enough to elaborate.
“He was… was on Caprica. I should have been with him,” she trailed off before he placed a hand on top of hers in a way to reassure her that she was safe now. “He was killed in the initial attack. He offered them our surrender and they didn’t even respond. We were listening when they jumped in, tried to destroy us, but the Battlestar Triton jumped in and saved us,” the younger woman revealed as her emotions seemed to get the better of her again. She lifted a shaky hand to her lips as she desperately tried to stay composed in front of the military officers of the Solaria.
Hanson stepped even closer and whispered some words of encouragement into her ear resulting in her nodding slowly and taking a deep breath before looking at him with her tear soaked cheeks and mustering the best smile she could.
“Marine,” the Commander called out to the waiting soldier who had taken several paces back to allow the two some privacy. The soldier stepped forward and listened to his orders. “Escort Miss Cousteau to guest quarters. Give her people somewhere to freshen up,” he smiled as he reassured her again with a gentle hand on her shoulder.
The Marine nodded and gestured for the younger woman to accompany him on his journey to guest quarters. The woman mouthed “thank you” to the Commander before exiting.
Once the door was sealed again, he called out to Lieutenant Byers who had been with him on the Raptor and who he had swiftly installed as a Communications Officer, freeing up Captain Scott to take over Navigation and DRADIS duties. “Lieutenant, get over to Colonial Heavy 679. Take a marine detachment and see what state she is in,” the Commander ordered.
“Do you want me to spare some engineers to fix her up, sir?” the Lieutenant spoke as she made her way down the few steps from her raised position.
“No,” the Commander told bluntly, his previous caring demeanour long since evaporated. “I want you to assess whether we can salvage her and if not, what we can take from her. This is a dog eat dog world now, Lieutenant.” Hanson could see the look of disapproval on the younger officers face as he placed both hands on the side of the situation table. “Look, if we are better off with everyone here, on this ship, then I want to get it done sharpish. I do not want to be scrabbling about fixing a ship that isn’t worth it when they come calling. If she is capable of surviving for the long haul, we’ll take her with us into the fight,” he revealed.
This was perhaps the first time his new crew had seen such a ruthless, pragmatic side to the Commander and in truth, it scared most of them a little. Maybe they had got him wrong?
“Sir,” a deeper male voice called from nearby as a man in Military greens approached the situation table. Gunnery Sergeant Malik DeVos had been given the job of Master at Arms and was the senior most Marine at present.
“Ah, Gunny!” Hanson smiled and welcomed the man to the room. Nearly fifty marines and six Raptors at his disposal was a much welcome weapon in his arsenal if he had any hope of getting the Solaria into the fight. Most of the Marines were doing grunt work on the Depot with the XO, but there were still some aboard the ship itself. “You’re people are going to be on security duty I’m afraid and, as the most senior Marine aboard as of now, you’re in charge of ship security. I want you to post guards at every armoury and key location on the ship. I want any new troops to supplement what we have in place and I want a round the clock guard on the hangar decks.” Hanson instructed as he offered a hand out to the man. “Welcome to hell!” he smirked as it appeared as though DeVos was suddenly not looking forward to his new job.