Missions - Truth Be Told

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Chapter Synopsis

Location: CIC
On: Mission Day PCH 28 at 0000

When a developing crisis causes tension and mistrust, Commander Hanson is left with no choice but to share classified information with the fleet. But when a leak aboard ship threatens to leave the fleet floundering, the crew must find the traitor before more information is made available, information that would decimate all trust in the fleets commanders...

Pulling teeth at fall of night.

Location: Pod 2
On: Mission Day PCH 29 at 0000

A grumble left the Solaria's new chief of the boat as he drew a line on the diagram and flicked over to the next one. It was bad enough being short on supplies for repairs, but now having to draw up a list of parts that could be salvaged from the civilian ships. Combined with the fact that half the vessels had been converted, sent wrong blueprints or were going to just flat out lie about what they had available this would be a very hard task.

The familiar sound of the lift lowering made him look up placing the marker back in his belt. Another patrol coming in. One of the lifts did not sound healthy even after they'd done there best to get it repaired. A complete refit was probably out of the question.

" Okay everyone lets get the birds checked over and back in the launch tubes," he yelled to his crew who nodded as they went about there duty. They'd taken to being lead by him rather well even if they did whisper to him behind his back.

Dianna climbed from her Viper and did her customary self check before heading to the new Deck Chief, CPO Mitily. "So...you got drafted! ", she laughed. Patting her still warm engine, "when did you get here? I didn't see you earlier...but I'm glad you are here. My Vipers and Raptors need complete checks after all the crap we have put them through. Think your people can get it done?", Dianna asked, putting her hand on his shoulder.

" Cleared a few hours ago. Been looking through what supplies and spare this ship had in storage while you've been gone. Don't worry your birds will be airborne as soon as possible. Any birds you think need immediate attention." asked the old war dog.

"Yep mine and Bounty's. Check the DRADIS in both and check my right turbo, she's running a bit hot", Dianna said smiling. "I need a good chief here and I know I can count on you correct?", she added, patting him on the back.

Asond let out a grin as he replied. " Don't worry Lieutenant I was running a flight deck before you were even born. "

"That is good to hear", Dianna said laughing. Asond sounded like her friend from Caprica. "Well then I will let you to your job, but if you would like to join us later for a drink you are always welcome to do so", she added.

" I'll see if I can make it, but some of these landing bay needs a serious going over. " Asond said with a polite nod as he remembered the long list he needed to look at.

"Well our rec room door is always open", she said as she left him to his job.

" Talk to you later. " The old wardog said as he got back to his job yelling at a few of his staff to get back to work.



ECO and Pilot Meet

Location: Hangar deck
On: Mission Day PCH 29 at 1000

Brent sat in his raptor cockpit with a clipboard. It was that time again. Doing his checks while watching vipers get loaded for action. "I swear. I'm gonna take this thing for a joyride. Prove I can still fly." He laughed to himself.

"Ok. Gotta get moving." He said, not noticing much of anything.

Jaramillo slowly plodded across the Raptor deck with no real destination. He had been cleared for active duty again not long ago, and was trying to get reacquainted with the post apocalypse world. No physical object was different, yet it felt different to him. He heard the commotion and open hatch to a Raptor and turned his self in that direction. Leaning against the wing, he looked into the open hatch, "Hello," he said simply.

"Hi there." Brent said. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Brent." The pilot said, glad for company.

"Nick," He replied simply. "Just got cleared from medical. I don't believe I've been assigned anywhere yet." He hopped up into the Raptor and stepped inside to the ECO's chair. "Need an ECO?" He chuckled a bit while looking around the controls.

"I wouldn't mind." Brent said. "Need a pilot?"

"Yeah. I still need to find CAG and the Raptor Wing Leader. I'll see if I can get myself onboard with you. Sooner I can get back up in the air the better. Sickbay is as boring as anything," He said the last part chuckling to himself. "So what's going on out there? We only got tid bits of information in that black hole of a medical place."

"I've mostly been making little flights around the fleet. So you know as much as me really." Brent laughed. "Dang Vipers getting all the glory." he jokingly shook his fist at a nearby mk2.

Nick chuckled, "All image and strength. The real problems get fixed here," He said patting the side of the raptor. "Ah well, let them have their glory and egos. I'll go find someone with more brass than us and see what can be done."

"Good deal." Brent said

----

Let Battle Commence

"Rattler, this is Actual. Intercept that Raptor and find out what the hell is going on."

"Understood Actual", Dianna said switching frequencies. "Strike Fighters and Demon Fighters return to Actual and take up defensive patterns. Keep your eyes open and watch DRADIS! Nothing it to get near 'Mother'. Bounty, your with me. Lets check out this Raptor. I got a very bad feeling...like the kind that says trap. Stay on point, watch for anything, Rattler out", hitting her turbo jets she headed for this Raptor.

Logan matched Dianna's course and speed. He kept alert as they approached the wireless silent Raptor. He had an uneasy feeling that no matter what they found, he wasn't going to like it. Then something clicked in his mind. He adjusted his scanning equipment, his face went white as it confirmed his suspicions. "Rattler, Bounty, Abort approach. I am getting a radiological warning from that Raptor. There's a live nuke on her." He pulled on his stick to come about and hit full thrusters.

"Fraking Cylons, good looking out Bounty", Dianna said as she hit the retros and nosed her viper 180 degrees and hit her turbos hell bent for getting out of range. Mid fire she cut the turbos, "Bounty hold on a micron, lets stay midway between Actual and that Raptor. I have a gut feeling about this and usually I am right", she added.

"Roger that." Logan brought his Viper up on Dianna's portside and held position next to her.

If the CIC was already in a state of combat readiness, the tension levels increased significantly at the mention over the comm channel of a radiological signature. Hanson glared across at the XO and then gave his orders. "Have the CAG take the Raptor out. I don't want that nuke anywhere near this fleet," he ordered sternly, his hands grasped on the table tops edge.

"Aye sir," Colonel Wolf nodded before picking up her own handset and opening a channel to the Vipers. "Rattler, this is the XO. Take out the Raptor. I repeat, take out the Raptor," she commanded over the comm.

"Actual, this is Rattler, understood", Dianna said, "See Bounty my gut was right. We are green to destroy. Let's go!", and she once again turned for the drifting Raptor.

Measuring the distance from where she sat waiting to the Raptor, "Bounty distance is good firing missles, I am not going any closer. I want to have kids you know. Radiation and me don't mix!", Dianna said chuckling as the missiles sped towards their target.

Logan kept his eyes on the DRADIS screen. He had a feeling this was just the prelude to something even more dangerous, like squadrons of Cylon Raiders jumping in and reeking havoc on the fleet.

Dianna watched the missiles do their job, "Bounty, Rattler, don't wait lets get the frak out of here. I still have that bad feeling like we are sitting ducks. Carefully watching her DRADIS screen, she flipped her ship around and hit the turbos, "Actual, Rattler, target destroyed. I still have that bad feeling that this was a ruse. Coming home hot. DRADIS still clear but...", Dianna never finished her sentence.

Ethan "Blinder" Hartley sat in his raptor, hovered just above the ship in case things went wrong. He and his ECO staring hard at DRADIS.

Right at the moment of the explosion of the Raptor there was a sudden flash of light and a squadron of Cylon fighters appeared. "Bounty lets boogie...Cylons!", Dianna yelled.

"Actual, we got a Cylon patrol appeared on top of that frakking Raptor. Launch Vipers!", Dianna hollered as she raced back to Mother. "Blinder get yer ass moving incoming Cylons. Watch your DRADIS and your six", Rattler out.

"Oh frak me!" Blinder said in the internal comms. As his DRADIS filled with cylon fighters as Rattler call filled the comms. He banked hard right and dove using Solaria as cover. Before disappearing behind the ship let off two decoys hoping they would draw any fire from Solaria. "Ok Hawk call out bogies." Blinder said to his ECO.

Logan looked at his DRADIS as Dianna and he met up with the rest of the Vipers that had launched with them. Though still outnumbered by the Cylon force by more than two to one he knew they had to act now. It may not be his call, but he was going to make it anyway. "We have to buy Solaria time to scramble the rest of the Vipers. Flip a bitch on my mark. Three, two, one, mark." He used the RCS thrusters on his Vipers nose to flip 180 degrees to face the oncoming Raiders.

Over the communications channel, the Commander's voice once again rang out, but this time across the fleet. "This is the Commander. Civilian fleet jump to emergency evacuation coordinates. All Vipers, stay out of Solaria's firing solution," he demanded sternly. Within seconds, flashes of light began to signal the emergency jump of the Solaria's civilian fleet whilst streams of flak fire opened up on the Cylon raiders that had appeared out of nowhere.

In the CIC, the Commander watched the battle unfold on the DRADIS console, the magnitude of the small engagement (and it was small in comparison to what they had undergone in recent months) was not lost on him. He looked across at Colonel Wolf, knowing exactly what was on her mind. "We have to wait it out, whatever happens, to give the Achilles a chance to return. If we jump away, they'll never find us..."

===Medical===

Demetria was livid. No CMO anymore. She grumbled and set about throwing her weight around. She gave orders and didn't care when the Military personnel objected. They were just sitting around, so she took charge. Medical response teams were sent to the landing bays, and to the CIC and to join with the damage response teams. And Demetria ordered, a lieutenant to keep a line open to CIC so they could respond where needed.

Any patient that could be moved was in preparation for incoming wounded.

"Sickbay, CIC. Incoming Vipers with injured pilots," an unfamiliar voice soon echoed around the sickbay.

===CIC===

"Sir, we've got to go!"

Commander Hanson gripped the edge of the situation table as the ship shook again under the bombardment of another cylon warhead, glancing across at the concerned expression of his XO before looking back at the DRADIS. "If we go, Achilles will have no way of finding us!" he barked back at his first officer.

"We don't even know if she's still out there," Wolf argued from across the table. "If a Basestar or three show up we're done for!"

Hanson watched the battle unfolding on the massive console above their work space and frowned as another set of red logos appeared and began closing in. With a sigh, even he had to admit that he knew it was time. Giving the nod to the Colonel, he watched as Wolf sprung in to action.

"Thaddeus, get our planes home," she barked, "weapons! Have all flak cannons targeted to cover their retreat."

An 'aye sir' signalled the confirmation of orders as Major Scott picked up his telephone receiver and spoke clearly into it. "Rattler, Solaria. Bring your planes home. Combat landings are authorized," he called out, "I repeat, combat landings are authorized."

"Frak! Bounty orders return to Solaria! Combat landings authorized. Get going NOW! I think I know what's going through the old man's head. He's gonna jump," Dianna said as she flipped her viper. "All Vipers return to Solaria. Combat landings authorized. All Raptors follow suit lets move!", she said as one of the vipers nearest to her exploded. "Fraking son of a bitch.....!" she yelled. To see her people getting killed or wounded grabbed her the wrong way. Nobody knew just how bad she wanted... no needed to kill Cylons after what they did on Caprica.

Logan fought his way through wave after wave of Cylon Raider craft. He twisted and turned his Viper with the skill of an aerial acrobat and fired volley after volley of missile and cannon fire at the oncoming Cylons, doing so while still maintaining cover for Dianna as her wingman. He continued his fight during the withdrawal after the order to return to the barn.

Before she landed she did take out three Cylon fighters and damaging four others. Once she landed she stood in the fighter bay and watched as the vipers and raptors landed. Medics tending to the wounded, fighter mechanics tending to her fighters. It was a disaster in her mind and with each passing minute she got even more pissed off with what happened. Where the hell was this basestar? Finally seeing Logan she relaxed slightly, "Thank the lords of Kobal you're alright. Where the frak did those fighters come from?" she asked Logan.

Logan shook his head as he stepped up next to Dianna. He sighed as he took a long look at her and deciding she was alright. "Ask your uncle that. My job is to fly against those toasters, not to try and figure out where they come from."

"That is exactly where I am headed, to see my Uncle," Rattler said. "This shit stinks of a trap and I am fraking mad!"

Blinder landed with only minor damage, he did his post check before his ECO brought something to his attention. "Check again and again. I want to be sure before I bring this to the CAG."

The CIC was a hive of activity as the crew prepared to pull the final trigger and get the Solaria out of dodge. Thaddeus Scott was at the Navigation console overseeing things when he got the green light across the board. "All fighters aboard Commander and the fleet is long gone," he called down to the command table.

Dianna had made sure that everything was locked down just before, so as the ship jumped, the fighter bay was secured.

Mitchell closed his eyes for what seemed like an eternity as he said a quiet prayer for their friends on the Achilles and hoped, that if the gods were watching, they would reunite one day soon. But with the thought soon expelled from his head and with an exchange of nods between the CO and XO, the old man gave his orders. "Jump the ship!"

"Jump in 5... 4... 3... 2...1... JUMP!"

After the Jump

Emerging into open space once again, the massive flight pods of the Battlestar began to expand away from the ships hull as the bheomoth took her rightful place at the centre of her small fleet of survivors, reunited and for the first time since the exodus, without the added protection of the Achilles.

"All stations, damage report," the XO called over the telephone at the display table as Mitch stood silent and still, watching his crew and their actions.

"Flight decks will be okay though don't let the toasters get in a sneak attack for a few minutes," came the voice of the Chief of the Deck as he looked up at the ceiling where the very obvious leak of what could only be magnetic lock coolant was leaking from.

Dianna looked out over the flight deck to make sure everything was still secured before she made for CIC and her Uncle. True to her word she was going to find out just what the hell was going on.

Logan went to consult with the pilots and check on the status of all the Vipers involved in the engagement. He hoped there was no significant damage to the Viper fleet. More importantly he prayed to the Lords of Kobol none of the pilots were hurt...or worse.

Entering the CIC Dianna looked for the Commander and seeing him marched up to him. "Commander may I have a word with you?" Dianna asked. Her face said it all, she was pissed.

"We're a little busy, Lieutenant, what is it?" Hanson queried, glaring at the CAG who clearly had a bee in her bonnet about something.

"I am wondering why no one listens to me. It was a trap damn it! The raptor, the sudden appearance of the cylons....it was a set up and there is only one explanation for it!", she growled. "Someone ratted us out!!! I lost a good pilot because of it and you lost the Colonel. That is lives lost sir and I have damaged ships as well. Someone is feeding information to the Cylons. How else can this disaster be explained?", Dianna said. Livid at the whole situation she waited for her uncle to blast her yet again.

Well, that caused a commotion as the noise level around the CIC began to increase.

“Get back to work!” Hanson barked as he grabbed the CAG by the arm and forcibly moved her up the nearest flight of steps to the upper level where they could talk in relative peace without anyone hearing.

Tria slid through the doors of CIC with two medics and they began assessing the bridge crew. Not a word was spoken as she did so, her team would be in and out with minimal fuss.

Colonel Wolf took a step away from the Commander as he 'discussed' things with the CAG and approached the CMO. "Doctor," she smiled in greeting, "anything I can do?"

Tria gave the woman a smile as she treated a head wound. "No, just a quick whip round the ship treating injuries. We should be out of your way soon." She stood up a hand on her lower back as she did so. "No major injuries around the CIC, a few people banged up on lower decks."

“That’s excellent Doctor,” Wolf smiled reassuringly. “Are you ok?” she questioned of the Doctor’s own condition.

"yes. I am perfectly fine. It just looks cumbersome." Demetria smiled.

[Elewhere...]

“Are you frakking stupid?” Hanson exclaimed quietly when he and the junior Hanson were in private, “You’ve just panicked the entire command team of my ship with your ridiculous theory,” he exploded angrily. “No one ratted us out for gods sake! Achilles went missing whilst investigating something WAY above your pay grade and, because of that, Cylons inevitably found us.”

When he eventually calmed a little, he spoke again. “Do you understand what talk of a traitor could do to this fleet? It would crumble around us and I would not be able to keep people safe,” he remarked. Taking a moment to compose himself again, the Commander looked at her and shook his head. “You are only CAG because my old one was aboard the Achilles for the mission. If you want to keep the job, I suggest you learn the intricacies of Command and wen to shut the freak up, understood?”

"Fine! You win again as always. Mother said I could never measure up to you. I guess she was right. Maybe that's why I turned down the opportunity to be an XO. I could never measure up to you! And yes I am your CAG and here I stay to fly and fight and die if need be! Permission to return to my fighters Sir!", Dianna said angrily with tears forming.

"Stop with the bull shit and do your frakkin job," Mitch argued back through gritted teeth. "It's not about who can measure up to who! It's about keeping my people safe!" When he again calmed down, he tugged on the bottom of his uniform jacket and composed himself. "Get to the flight deck. I want an update on all combat capable ships and pilots. Get me a gods damn CAP in the air and get me your Raptor pilots in the briefing room. I'll be there in fifteen," and with that, the Commander turned his back on the Lieutenant, exiting the private space and entering back into the main CIC.

Looking at his retreating form, "You fraking son of a bitch! Your people....they are my people too.....oooooooo", she muttered angrily as she turned and fled to the fighter pod, tears running down her cheeks.

Search and Rescue in the Offing

Location: Colonial Heavy 679
On: Mission Day PCH 30 at 1400

“Madam Minister. It’s a pleasure to have you back aboard.”

Junior Delegate Tanya Cousteau smiled gently as she placed a hand on the shoulder of the ship’s Captain and gave it a squeeze. “Orpad, how many times must I tell you to call me Tanya?”

“At least once more, as always ma’am,” the much older gentleman smiled sincerely as he stepped aside and gestured for the young woman to walk beside him. “How was your stay on the Solaria?” he asked with sincere curiosity.

“Oh you know, very… formal,” Tanya frowned as they walked the short corridors of Colonial Heavy Six-Seven-Nine. The vessel, a small government passenger ship, had become the official government vessel for the small fleet that had been surviving under the protection of the Battlestar Solaria. Whilst it wasn’t as glamorous as Colonial One, or other Government vessels, she was nimble, had some defences and had served them well so far. “Truth be told Captain, I’m glad to be back aboard. Too many military types on Solaria, all tripping over themselves at the sign of a woman who isn’t one of their kind,” she looked frustrated as they entered the small room that had previously been the Captain’s private on duty rest room but had become the office of the three most senior people in the Colonial government, or at least what was left of it for now.

“This is the end of humanity as we know it,” the senior man let out a tired sigh as he slumped into his chair and looked across at the youngster, “people will be looking for people to spend what is left of their lives with,” he told honestly. “Besides, you never know who you will meet over there,” he smiled naughtily, which drew a laugh from the woman, but it didn’t last long.

Her counterpart, and man that was only her junior by three days of service, stormed into the room and was looking very flustered. Dressed in his trousers and slightly unbuttoned shirt, Delegate Gora Byram was followed by their joint Chief of Staff, Keso Ida.

“Did you know about this?” Gora fumed as he shoved a piece of paper in the face of his fellow Delegate.

Tanya let out a sigh and rolled her eyes as she took the piece of paper and reviewed its contents. “I more than knew about it,” Tanya responded, “I approved it.”

“You approved Solaria’s use of civilian vessels in the search for the Achilles?” Gora asked, somewhat exasperated as he sat on the arm of a spare chair. “Neither you, nor Hanson, have the right to dictate what civilian ships do. You aren’t the president and he isn’t the Admiral of the Colonial Fleet!”

“Look around you Gora,” Tanya spoke with a raised voice, “this IS the Colonial Fleet and he is the senior military officer in it. Without him, and the Solaria, this fleet would have died weeks ago back at the Colonies,” she argued.

“Folks,” Captain Rhokan interjected with raised arms, “the fact is, the crew of both the Solaria and Achilles put their lives at risk on a daily basis to defend what is left of our race and they do it without reward, without consideration for themselves. I don’t think it’s much to ask the civilians to help out every so often,” he concluded quietly.

“The problem is, this isn’t asking,” Keso Ida chimed in at last, “this sounds more like a Presidential decree that Adar would have made. It gives the ships Captains no right to say no, or to dictate how their ship is used.”

Cousteau rose to her feet slowly and walked over to the intercom device on her desk, pressing the button once. "This is Delegate Cousteau. Get me Commander Hanson," she spoke into the machine, glaring across at the others in the room.

Orpad looked at the two who had stormed into the middle of his private conversation with his friend and shook his head slowly. "You've done it now..." he whispered before leaving the room just in time to hear the voice of Hanson.

"This is Hanson. Go ahead," the slightly distorted voice of the fleet commander spoke.

"Commander, this is Cousteau," Tanya remarked as she sat down. "I have Delegate Byram and our Chief of Staff, Keso Ida, here. It appears they have an issue with your request for the use of civilian ships to assist your search for the Achilles," she told, relaxing in her chair as the two began to look uncomfortable.

"Tell them that I hear their concerns and no civilian ship will be required to take part that doesn't want to," the Commander remarked, causing a smug look to appear on Byram's face. A premature one at best. "Of course, any vessel that doesn't will be left behind without the protection of Solaria or her Vipers," Hanson continued, "my Vipers will only protect those ships that can serve a purpose in this fleet and are prepared to do their bit for the safety of humanity."

"Commander Hanson, that is outrageous!" Gora argued back, stepping towards the communications device.

"Maybe so," the crackled voice of the Commander responded, "but I'm here to protect the human race, people that WANT to survive. Not people who are prepared to sit back and enjoy the benefits of the protection my people provide but wont lift a finger when one of our own needs help," he protested.

"You don't even know where Achilles is, or if she is still out there," Gora added.

"No shit Sherlock," Hanson smirked over the comm, "there would be no point searching for her if we knew where she was," the senior military official scoffed. "Gods damn it! Adar really was scraping the barrel with some of you people wasn't he? Look, if you don't help, you go it alone. It's that simple. Now, if you don't mind, I have a SAR mission to plan," and with that, there was an audible crash and the line went dead.

"I'm going to help look for the Achilles," Tanya remarked as she rose to her feet again, "... and I'm pretty sure that Orpad will be taking the ship too. So, if you don't want to come along, I'll arrange for your transfer to any vessels that wont be partaking in the search. If there isn't a vessel for you, we'll give you a shuttle to travel in."

And just like that, the woman - who rightly felt rather smug by this point - left her colleagues to consider their fates because, just like the Commander, she had a search and rescue mission to plan.

Scout of the Raptor

Location: Raptor-2-4-5
On: Mission Day PCH 30 at 1425

Raptor 245 had been on patrol for a good bit, but wasn't really finding much but rocks and dust. So Brent was troubled just a little bit. He turned to the back.

"Hey. Got anything on DRADIS? All I got on visual is rocks and a big red planet."

Hunched over the console, Jaramillo stared intently at the DRADIS as his hands effortlessly touched knobs and buttons. The silence after the question slowly grew, almost to the point of awkwardness before Jaramillo piped up, "Maybe, not sure yet. Weak abnormalities. Head 0-1-1 carom 0-0-9, 11 carom Oh 9," he finished repeating the bearing.

"011. 09. Right." Brent nodded. "Turning to match. Keep pinging, Nick. Watch our six for toasters."

"I can always go for a toasted bagel with cream cheese," Jaramillo responded absent minded. The sensors continued to shift and change as he zeroed in on the signal he was trying to track. "Coordinates sent to your computer. I believe we might have stumbled on debris, Colonial debris."

"Colonial?" He said, more or less to himself. "Any Cylons around? Last thing we need is a trap."

"No Cylon FTL residue, power sources or other signatures I can find. Just the debris and some decayed energy signatures that could be anything. Maybe you can make out something visually. It's definitely Colonial debris, Not enough or right signature for Achilles though. Auxiliary craft I suppose?" Jaramillo spoke as he quickly tuned in and out of different settings to compare the information to known signatures.

"We'll soon find out. That's for sure." Brent grinned as he kicked in thrusters. "Heading towards the planet." He said.

Jaramillo closed his eyes and leaned back from the console for a moment. He needed a fresh look at the screen. He glanced forward at the physical objects he had been watching on the screen, putting a face to the blips on the screen. Turning back to his job, the debris came close into the DRADIS, and he switched over screens to analyze the energy surrounding them. "Anything on the debris? Looks like the energy has different patterns here, but there might be more down on the planet."

Brent nodded. "What the frak?!" Brent said. "Nick come up here!"

Nick sighed, not wanting to get up. "I'm trying to analyze..."

"Unless my eyes decieve, that seems to be a reasonably intact colonial ship. Right?"

His ears perked at the statement, to which he turned in his chair and glanced past the pilot's station. Nick got up and slowly made his way up as he took in the damaged but quite identifiable colonial ship. "I was trying to decipher the energy trails to the planet, this is big news. We might want to get back to Solaria. We're gonna need a team."

"Spooling up FTL. I agree. The Commander needs to know about this." The pilot replied.

Raptor Returns

"=/=Pass the word for Commander Hanson. Commander Hanson to contact the CIC immediately. Repeat, pass the word for Commander Hanson to contact the CIC immediately."

Hanson had been walking along D deck when he heard the ship wide call put out to grab his attention. He'd been taking a stroll to stretch his legs and clear his head after the events of earlier in the day, but it seemed something else had come up that required his attention. Stopping by the nearest wall mounted telephone, he lifted the receiver and spoke into it. "CIC, Hanson. Report?"

The voice on the other end of the line was muffled, and quiet, but the Commander heard enough to really grab his attention. "Bring her aboard and have the XO meet me and the CAG on the hangar deck in five minutes," the Commander ordered before placing the receiver back in its holster and heading back the way he had come.

As he let the brief conversation run through his head, the ship wide comm came to life again. "Pass the word for Colonel Wolf and Lieutenant Hanson. Report to the port side hangar deck immediately. Repeat, Colonel Wolf and Lieutenant Hanson to the port side hangar immediately.

Hearing the order Dianna made for the port side hanger pod at a jog. 'What the hell now', she thought as she slowed down entering the hanger deck. Seeing her Uncle and the Commander there she walked over to where they were. "Ok I'm here, what's going on?', she asked.

Colonel Wolf arrived just in time to hear the CAG ask her question and, just like the senior pilot, she wanted to know exactly what was going on too.

Hanson shifted on his feet. "I'm told Lieutenant Rivers and Ensign Jaramillo found something during their search," he revealed as he gestured to the two waiting members of the air group. "Care to elaborate boys?"

Brent spoke up. "First, we found a Colonial debris field. Ensign Jaramillo can give you exact coordinate info." Brent began. "He found it on DRADIS, so I adjusted heading."

"A red planet came into view. That's when I caught a glimpse of the ship."

Nick glanced at Brent, taking the queue to jump into the conversation. "Damaged but clear as day colonial vessel. Multiple energy signatures, couple that go to the planet. We might have survivors sir. Coordinates for jumps, planet, and debris are already downloaded. No Cylon presence that we could detect."

Dianna broke the silence, "Oh my lords of Kobal the Achilles! Or worse", she said. "But care must be taken especially after what just happened. It might be another trap...."

“We’re going to jump in, launch every Raptor we have which has an ECO and we are going to scour that planet for survivors. Solaria will remain in orbit until we know for certain what we are looking at,” the senior Hanson told quietly, so as to not draw too much attention to themselves. “The Fleet will jump to emergency evacuation coordinates, along with a Squadron of pilots. They will stay there until we return,” he directed at the CAG.

"I'll work with you on the data to approximate the best known position for the planet so we don't lose any time hunting," Jaramillo stated to Dianna, already trying to do some rough math in his head.

"Lieutenant," Hanson turned to his namesake, "I want you with the fleet. If we don't return, you'll be all there is to protect the fleet and you are now our senior most pilot," the Commander instructed without hesitation, almost coldly and without feeling. He didn't have the right to prioritise family over the well-being of the human race anymore.

Brent just looked on. He had to admit to a certain level of curiosity as to how that ship wasn't blown to dust by the Cylons already.

Dianna's heart stopped and started again as her Uncle's words rang through her head, "You are our most senior pilot". He was leaving her with a squadron to protect the whole entire fleet! In a hushed tone, "Uncle I can't tell you what to do but I will say this, watch your six.....this smells of a trap.Lords of Kobal protect them from harm. So say we all", Dianna finished solemnly.

"Right, lets get to it!" the senior Hanson ordered sternly with a single nod, turning on his feet to disappear. They had a lot to do in a short amount of time.

Like a Dream...

Location: Unidentified Planetary System
On: Mission Day PCH 30 at 1540

Commander Hanson paced back and forth as he awaited word from the SAR mission to the planets surface, the silence deafening as the team watched and waited. There had been no indication of who the survivors were or where they had come from other than the debris in orbit but it was enough to draw the Solaria away from her fleet in the hope that, perhaps, they had news on their colleagues.

Thaddeus and Catherine stood opposite the Commander and stared up at the DRADIS console as they, too, awaited news.

Hanson looked at them, his facial expression mimicking their look of concern as he stopped to look at the sensor device above their command table.

[CIC, Patrolstar Achilles]

Lieutenant Colonel Amaris Kendall stood behind the command table within the small room. The command center matched the ship in which it was housed. Her typically stern expression was lined with worry, though not as much worry as those around her. For the last three hours, they had been hiding behind a very small moon waiting for the Cylon patrol to pass and praying that they wouldn't spot them. All were praying, that is, except the acting commander.

“Tactical,” she called out, authoritatively over the din of those who were anxiously working. “Report.”

“We’re not detecting any Cylon patrols ma’am,” the officer at Tactical revealed, “but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there…”

Amaris looked across the table at the handsome man standing across from her. He fiddled with a piece of paper sitting on the table in front of him, but otherwise, he projected confidence.

“XO?” she inquired, looking at him with lowered head.

“I say we run for it, Colonel. No need to sit around here waiting if they aren’t there.” Kovak said, his face sure.

“Mr. Travis?” Amaris asked, looking over at the Officer of the Deck.

Alexis Travis was stood near the navigation console and reviewing the readings from it and the DRADIS device when the Colonel addressed him. “I’m with the XO sir,” Travis nodded.

“The XO is known to be foolhardy.” she said, looking at him judgmentally. “What’s to say they aren’t just waiting for us?”

“Respectfully, Colonel, if we sit around for too long we may never find the Solaria again,” Travis responded as he joined them at the command table. “The risk of that far outweighs the risk of running the gauntlet now,” he added.

Amaris crossed her arms under her chest and looked at Travis. She had to admit he made a very good point, one that deserved to be considered. She looked at the XO again, wordlessly indicating she was waiting for him to speak.

“We need to be 200,000 kilometers away from this moon in order to safely jump. There’s interference that will make the process….unpredictable otherwise.” Kovak said, hiding his annoyance at her comment on him being foolhardy.

“Plot us the best possible course to the needed distance, Mr. Travis.” Kendall said.

“Understood,” The Officer of the Deck nodded as he turned on his heels and walked back to the navigation station. He worked alongside the Petty Officer at the console and began to plot the best course possible. “Helm,” he called out eventually, “bearing four three carom six two.”

The sleek patrolstar turned as if on a dime and began a full-speed run for the coordinates. For several seconds, there seemed to be no problems at all, though tension was high in CIC. A brief blip on the DRADIS above the command signal caused the officers who watched it to blink in confusion. Something had appeared and then, as quickly as it had come, disappeared.

“What the hell?” Kovak asked, looking at tactical.

“For a second then it looked like a Colonial signature,” the Tactical officer told before the DRADIS console again drew their attention, this time beeping repeatedly as several signatures appeared.

“DRADIS contact,” Travis declared, nudging the Tactical Officer out of the way and taking control momentarily. Then the signals vanished.

“Well where the frak did it go?” the XO asked, looking bewildered and concerned.

The console above the command table blared in to life as the signals appeared again, this time to stay. “DRADIS CONTACT!” Travis bellowed anxiously as he tapped away. “Unidentifiable Colonial signatures…”

“Colonial signatures?” Kendall asked, her brow furrowed. “Read again, are you sure?”

Nodding, Travis re-ran the identification sequence but was unable to ascertain their transponder codes. “They are Colonial alright, but we’re struggling with ID’s,” he advised his superior.

“We should head for them, ma’am.” Zach said, looking relieved. “If it’s the fleet or, Gods be good, someone else, we don’t want them to miss us.”

Amaris didn’t acknowledge what he was saying at first, but only processed the information that was coming to her. After several seconds, she gave the order.

“Spool up the FTL Drive and prepare to jump.”

“Ma’am?” Kovak asked, raising a brow.

“They’ve been looking for us, Major, and the cylons may have figured out how to fake our transponder sigs. I’m not interested in losing lives because we were too trusting.”

“The larger signal is coming about sir,” the Tactical officer declared loudly, “and they’re headed this way…”

“They’ve detected us,” Travis frowned, bowing his head as he put both hands on the edge of the console nearest to him. As he eventually looked up in dismay, a low, crackling noise began to permeate the air until a voice echoed around the CIC.

“=/=Patrolstar Achilles, this is Solaria Actual. Come in please,” the deep voice spoke loud and proud, “I repeat, Achilles, this is Commander Hanson - come in please.”

With a wave of relief she hadn’t realized she had needed, Amaris quickly reached for the phone, placing it to her full lips with a shallow sigh of relief.

“Solaria, this is Achilles Actual reading you loud and clear.” All around the Patrolstar’s CIC there were shouts of both relief and joy, but Amaris only allowed herself a small smile. “It’s good to hear your voice, sir. We were expecting someone else.”

“Thank the gods you are okay,” Hanson breathed his own sigh of relief down the phone line. “We thought we would never find you again…” he trailed off.

“It seemed that way..” Amaris said, a look of concern crossing her features. She looked around the CIC, watching everyone as they watched her. “We lost some people during the Cylon ambush. I’ll get you a list when I return. I’m sure Major Wolf will want to honor them well.”

There was a moment of hesitation before the Commander answered her. “The Colonel is looking forward to getting her ship and crew back, just as much as I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to getting back here,” he spoke.

Amaris’ eyebrows raised before she could control them and, suddenly, the difficulty of the last five days was being measured with the profound feeling of annoyance she felt at having acquiesced to any arrangement that left Wolf in her position. Had he assumed she was dead after so long? Either way, she knew that Wolf was her enemy and she was getting closer.

“We’ll all be happy to have things back to normal, sir.” she responded professionally, masking her anger.

“Colonel Kendall; this is Major Scott ma’am. Do you need any immediate assistance?” Solaria’s Officer of the Deck soon chimed in.

Did everyone get bumped up while she was gone? She felt, for a second, like Achilles had been missing for a year. “All serious injuries have been treated and we’ve sown up major repairs. Some maintenance and resupply is in order, but nothing that shouldn’t wait until we are safely away.”

“Yeah… about that,” Hanson interjected, “we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, he spoke sheepishly, “you better get over here ASAP so that we can fill you in.”

She furrowed her brow and looked up at Kovak again. “Pull us into fleet formation await orders from Solaria.”

Once he’d turned and began to carry out her orders, she pulled the phone back to her lips. “I’ll jump in a raptor and be there as soon as I can,sir

“Excellent. Actual out.”

Hanging up, she looked up and watched the crew work, a huge weight lifted from their shoulders, but not completely gone. They had gone from certain death to probable death, and they knew it.

“Captain, You’ve got Achilles, I’m heading over to Solaria.” she said, turning and walking out of the room. Something told her he might be getting a shiny new insignia on his collar as well; tis the season.

Back in her old stomping ground

Flanked by two of the Solaria’s finest marines, the commander of the fleet made his way onto the port flight deck and came to a halt just feet from the advancing Raptor that had landed and was now maneuvering into the landing bay to deliver the Achilles commander to the Solaria.

He was somewhat giddy as he stood waiting impatiently, tapping his feet on the deck plating with his hands clasped together behind his back. Was it possible that he was actually EXCITED to see his XO again? Mitchell Hanson EXCITED to see Amaris Kendall? Who would have guessed that just under a month ago when they had met in the most horrific of circumstances?

Amaris had managed to get to the Solaria in record time, and as the raptor landed in the bay, she felt a sudden sense of familiarity. She was quite glad to be away from the confines of the Achilles. As the door opened, she looked out and saw the welcome party with Hanson at the head. She had to admit, she was glad to be under the certainty he provided. Being in charge suited her, but there was something special about his leadership.

She offered a salute and waited for him to speak.

Mitchell returned the salute before taking a step forward and offering her a welcome hand. “It’s great to have you back Colonel,” he grinned.

She took his hand, but didn't use it as support to step down. She stepped down in her own strength, and when she was on the deck, she looked up at him confidently.

"It's good to be back, sir." She said with a nod. "I trust things went better for Solaria than they did for us?"

“Possibly,” the Commander nodded as he gestured towards the exit and began to walk, the two marines following a few steps behind. “We’ve dispatched all of our raptors to survey the planet,” he began, “one of our SAR birds detected colonial debris in orbit and signs of survivors on the planet. We’re looking for them now,” he told.

"Survivors?" She asked, a look of confusion crossing her face. "You mean...human survivors?"

“Yes indeed,” Hanson answered as they strolled down the corridor. “We were concerned that the debris may have been from the Achilles at first but it soon became apparent that it wasn’t.”

"We didn't detect any life signs." She said with a curious expression just as she was remembering some of the officers on-board Achilles had asked to explore the planet several times. She had said no, seeking to avoid possible detection by the Cylons. "How many do you think are there?"

“We’re not sure, but we have a chance to find out,” the Commander told as they approached the steps to the Deck the CIC was on. “If there are any we are obligated to retrieve them.”

"If you say so." Amaris said, adopting a skeptical expression. "I'm assuming I'm officially re-assigned to Solaria?"

“That depends,” Hanson grinned cheekily. “Do you want to stay aboard the Achilles?”

Amaris looked at him, her beautiful brown eyes reflecting a subtle hint at a playful smile, but her face didn't comply.

"We haven't know each other very long, sir, but you know me better than that."

“Then consider yourself XO again,” he advised before ascending several steps up the ladder towards the CIC.

Amaris followed him up the steps, looking left and right and the familiar surroundings. She eyed the side of the Commander’s head, but said nothing for a while. She wasn’t quite sure how she should say what she wanted to say.

“”I’m sure Colonel Wolf is thrilled about being able to return to Achilles…” she said, watching his expression carefully.

Hanson stopped in his tracks and turned to face the Lieutenant Colonel before waving away their marine escort. “Okay Colonel,” he frowned, “out with it.”

“What do you mean?”” she asked, furrowing her brow. She knew what he meant immediately, but there was very little chance of her admitting it. She feigned mild confusion and crossed her arms under her chest.

“Cut the crap,” he whispered frustratedly. “I thought we had got to a point where we could at least be honest with each other. Something got your back up, what is it?” he asked more forthright than before.

Amaris turned her head and narrowed her eyes slightly, her mind racing as she directed a wave of unintended resentment in the older man’s direction. Before she could speak from her feelings, her father’s words began to ring in her head. Where was her self control right now? Where was her strategy and objectivity? She was about to show her hand, and for what? Because she’d have a couple hard days on the Achilles. Slowly, she fixed her face and lowered her guard, physically.

“I just want to make sure she remembers her place, sir.” she said, colder and less self-conscious than before. “It’s difficult for me to do my job when it feels like someone’s gunning for it.”

“Her place, like yours, is at my side making sure we get this fleet to safety so that we can start to build some sort of life somewhere,” Hanson countered with a frustrated sigh. He had hoped this petty dislike between the two would have subsided by now given their predicament, but he was clearly wrong. “Fine. You think she’s gunning for your job. From now on, no more cross ship missions. Achilles will maintain her own staff and Squadron, as will we. Wolf will keep command of the Achilles and you will remain here as XO of the fleet,” he told in a calm, matter of fact manner before heading off for the CIC again.

“I understand.” she said, falling into step beside him. Most assuredly, she had gotten what she wanted. She expected he knew that as well. There was no further need for drama at this point.

Soon enough, the two officers entered through the massive bulkhead door and left their marine escorts at the threshold. Taking a few steps down towards the main level of the command center, those there present noticed the woman beside the Commander and began to clap. A slow ripple of applause at first until a loud crescendo filled the room, including from the two officers stood at the command table awaiting their arrival.

Amaris gave a grateful nod, but otherwise gave no response to those who were clapping. Once it had died down, she parted her lips to speak.

“Alone and separated, the cylon’s couldn’t destroy us. Now, we’re together again. That means the search is back on. That means the fight is back on.” she said, looking from eye to eye at those in the CIC. “Get back to work. The vacation’s over.”

As the team got back to work, Colonel Wolf looked across the table at her nemesis and after what appeared to be an age, she offered a hand in greeting. “Good to have you back Colonel,” she nodded to the woman.

Amaris accepted the hand and gave it a firm shake, even going as far as to offer a smile that was dripping with fakeness.

“Thank you, Colonel. Congratulations on your promotion by the way.” she said, releasing the hand unceremoniously. “I brought your ship back. I’m sure we can buff those scratches out.”

“Thaddeus,” Hanson called out before there could be any awkwardness between the two women, “enter in the ships log that both Colonel Kendall and Captain Graystone are resuming their roles as XO and CAG of the Solaria effective immediately, and that Colonel Wolf will be returning to command of the Achilles and will be joined by Lieutenant Hanson as CAG,” the senior most officer ordered with a nod to Major Scott who swiftly departed to follow his orders. Hanson turned his attention back to the two women. “I have decided, now that Achilles has returned, that my previous orders to combine our resources very nearly backfired. We need two ships, with clear structures and personnel assigned so that we do not risk the safety of the fleet again,” he told. “Colonel Wolf. I need you back on Achilles and reunited with the fleet. Once there, consult with Major Kovak on the Achilles and submit a list to Colonel Kendall of personnel you require to bolster your command. We’ll do our best to accommodate. The Achilles CAG will work with Captain Graystone to ensure that her squadron is sufficient to support her future operations. Solaria will wait here until the SAR teams report back.”

Amaris nodded as orders were given, taking her position on the other side of the command table. She understood his rationale and believed this course of action to be the best option for the fleet, or at least the best option for her own power. She looked over to Westbrooks, who towered at the entrance to CIC, and gave him a knowing nod. He responded back to her with his typical loyal humility, offering a salute and returning to his position.

“If you’d permit, sir, I’ll coordinate with our teams on the surface and organize the ongoing search for human life.” she said, looking across the lighted surface.

“I’ll see you soon,” Wolf told, looking rather pissed as she stomped off.

Major Scott watched the two roles of the women change hands yet again and shook his head ever so slightly. When were things ever going to stabilize?

“The teams are not yet on the surface,” Hanson spoke up as he pulled across the transparent map on the table and started pointing out locations to the XO. “This is where the debris was located that drew us to the system and, ultimately, to you. We have Raptor’s conducting aerial sweeps looking for signs of survivors.”

“Well, it seems we're doing all that we can at this point." She said, looking down at the map. "Have you had time to visit Skyport? That remains a huge unknown in the fleet, especially if we're preparing to add more people to our numbers.”

“No,” Hanson shook his head slowly with a smirk, “I have had other priorities. Why?”

"The owner keeps a rather large security detail on-board and, according to Catherine's report, he hasn't agreed to follow our lead and has a standing request to meet with you." She said with a somewhat concerned expression. "Only you can offer the carrot, sir...but if you wish to offer the stick, I could fly over for a chat."

Hanson pondered her statement for a minute before nodding. “As soon as we are reunited with the fleet, we’ll both pay the ship a visit. In the meantime, let me know when the Achilles is ready to jump back to the fleet,” the Commander ordered before letting out a sigh. “I’ll be in my quarters filling out my report. You have the CIC Colonel.”

"Sir." She said as a closing expressing as she rounded the table and replaced him on his side. Looking around the vast room, her hands pulling the map close to her and letting out a deep sigh. Being back in wide open spaces was a relief after her time away. "Home sweet home."

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