It is currently Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:22 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 99 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next


 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:51 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Hospital Ship Chiron
Ship Staging Sector, Scorpia Shipyards
Day Zero, Mid-morning


Davenport waited for Captain Jenkins to come on the line, the handset pressed hard against his ear. His knuckles were white around the instrument, but the intensity of his grip didn't register. He couldn't take his eyes from the continuing destruction of the shipyards as the scythe-like cylon Raiders continued their attack, cutting down defenseless Colonial ships.

[Amaryllis... Jenkins...] Davenport could almost hear the tears in her voice as Captain Jenkins responded. Then again, perhaps it was the persistent background of static, a result of the EM pulses generated by Cylon warheads. The commanding officer of the Chiron had not yet reconciled the reality of the attack; he could not imagine the impact upon another human.

"Tatia," Al said gently, responding to the distress he perceived in her voice. "There's nothing we can do right now." He thought of Eglin's words, sound advice, and went on, "We'll lay low and find out how... extensive the attack is. Then we'll see what we can do. For now we need to wait and not draw any attention to ourselves." And hope like hell that the cylons don't decide to take pot shots at us. A thought occurred to him, and he turned to look at Eglin as he said to Jenkins, "Power down as many of your systems as you can. Keep comms to a minimum--for now, just tight beam with me."

Eglin nodded acknowledgement to Davenport, immediately giving the order to kill IFF broadcast and initiate EmCon protocols. He joined the officer at the Damage Control station, his eyes searching across the multi-function console to find anything he could idle or shut down. He hoped it was enough, and not too late. Inwardly he cursed at himself for not thinking of the response, especially shutting down the IFF signal.

On the wireless Davenport could hear as Jenkins mirrored his orders. When she came back online, some of her confidence seemed to have returned. [Done,] she said, pausing for a beat. [The other ships in the Staging Sector are scattering, Al. This is our best chance to disappear as well... but to where?]

"The shadow of one of Scorpia's moons," Davenport said slowly, "Jinii D'ten isn't far." He named the larger of Scorpia's two moons, the 'blood moon'--literally, 'Blood of Aten'. The prevalent mineral on the moon gave it a reddish hue. Al's thoughts turned to rescue and escape. "Do you think the Am would hold together if we have to jump?"

[She'll have to,] Jenkins countered emphatically. [If we take a Cylon missile, or FTL shock force causes the ship to fail, the result is the same.]

Davenport grimaced, thinking of the damage he'd seen on the Amaryllis. "Hang tight for a few minutes. We'll plot a course for Jinii D'ten and I'll have my XO send it over to you." He knew that Jenkins would be taking all possible safety precautions, so he didn't even bother to mention it. "Davenport, out."

Eglin didn't make Davenport repeat the order - he was calculating a trajectory to the Blood Moon almost before Davenport was off the wireless. The relatively simple plot took only seconds. "Destination at 224 000 klicks, course laid in, sir," Eglin stated, nodding to the communications officer.

At the XO's nod, Specialist Tamati spoke up. "Course transmitted and acknowledged by Amaryllis, sir."

"Engaging at 750 KPS gives us a 5 minute transit," Eglin announced.

"Very good," Davenport said to both Eglin and Tamati. He was about to tell Lt. Abberaugh to start them on that course, but the expression on Specialist Tamati's face caught his attention. Tamati again had his hand to one earpiece, and his expression was the blankness of total shock.

"What is it, Specialist?" Davenport asked with foreboding.

"Sir," Tamati croaked. He stopped and cleared his throat. "Sir, a message just came in from Scorpia Shipyards HQ... from Major Richard Denning in the Command Post on the planet." He swallowed and went on, "The message was in the clear, sir. Major Denning reports that Picon Fleet Headquarters has been completely destroyed. Admiral Nagala has taken command of the Fleet... the cylons have attacked all the Colonies, sir."

"All..." Al repeated in a whisper. He stared out the viewport at the wreckage that had been Scorpia Shipyards, and beyond, the unnatural billowing clouds rising up from the surface of the planet. For the space of a heartbeat, his thoughts were frozen and then he gazed at Frank Eglin. Quietly, he said to his XO, "I think this is far beyond any help we could provide here. We need to follow the Pegasus. We need to rejoin Battlestar Group 62 at our emergency rally point."

Eglin's vision traversed the ruin of the shipyards, his eyes settling on the still burning Ramses. "If anyone's left..." he voiced quietly, his manner detached. A moment later he seemed to shake himself, and some of his usual steel returned to his face. "Aye sir, then," he said, his manner crisp. "Plotting a course to Jormung Ammunition Depot... stand by!"

Al knew that Tatia must have heard the same message that he had, because she replied to his tight beam call right away. "We need to re-group with the rest of the Battlestar Group, Tatia," Davenport said grimly. "My XO is plotting a course to Jormung now."

[Acknowledged,] Jenkins responded, then she was silent for a long moment. Davenport knew she'd be weighing the risks of jumping her damaged ship. [I want to see some of this for myself... verify the extent of the attacks. Libran's a short jump from here, and then another short one to Sagittaron. We plot our arrival points at a discrete distance, and stay only long enough to assess damage and check for surviving ships. Then we can jump out near the Ophion gas giant, and after that it's one long jump to Jormung.]

Davenport relayed Jenkins' words to Eglin, by the expression on the XO's face seeing that he'd already had a similar idea. "We're working out the course now, Tatia, you'll have it in just a few moments," he told Jenkins. He breathed in and out a moment, wondering if it would be wiser to just bring the Amaryllis' crew over to the Chiron and abandon the damaged ship. He dismissed the idea at once; if the Am could be repaired, its services would be greatly needed. The thought reminded him, though, that he needed to let his crew know what had happened. And those frakking mercs. "May the gods be with us, Tatia," he said softly. "Davenport out."

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:00 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Hospital Ship Chiron
Ship Staging Sector, Scorpia Shipyards
Day Zero, Mid-morning


“This is Major Davenport,” he began, his words echoing throughout the understaffed ship. “Just minutes ago, we were witness to a devastating attack on Scorpia Shipyards and Scorpia itself by cylon forces. Picon Fleet Headquarters has also been destroyed, and cylon attacks are underway against all of the Colonies.” He paused a moment, knowing that it would take some time for the news to sink in; he knew that he himself still couldn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of what had happened. “Battlestar Pegasus has jumped to safety, and we will shortly begin our journey to join her at Jormung Ammunition Depot. Our trip will be a slow one as we assess the extent of the enemy attack."

"Never before has your dedication and skill been as important to the Fleet as it is now. Stay steadfast. Have faith in the gods and in each other. I will relay further news as it becomes available.” Davenport eased his grip on the handset with an effort, and with two hands he gently put it back in the cradle. He looked over at Eglin and nodded.

"Comms, give the jump warning," Eglin ordered, then stood ready with a hand on the jump key. When the PA fell silent again, he turned the key. The Chiron vanished in a flash of light.

A few seconds later, Specialist Tamati reported, "The Amaryllis has checked in, sir, all systems nominal."

"We are holding position at Libran, maximum DRADIS range," Lt. Paul Tolbert stated from the DRADIS station. "Sir, I have multiple enemy contacts closer to the planet."

Davenport glanced at the DRADIS himself, then gave Tolbert a nod of thanks. They were far enough out to stay undetected for the time being, he gauged, and looked at Eglin gravely.

Eglin held Davenport's gaze for a long moment. We are at war now, he thought darkly, though if the Shipyards are any indication, it may be a very short war. For Frank Eglin, this changed a lot of things. His days would no longer be spent plotting how to make his next cubit; now each one would likely be an exercise in survival. Abruptly the welfare of the Chiron and her crew had become much more important to him. His mind turned to the two-hundred-odd Scorpians in the mass casualty ward. Eglin had no idea how the mercenaries would respond to the scale of the Cylon attack. Pitching his voice just loud enough for Davenport to hear, he asked, "What about our uninvited guests?"

Grimly, the Major replied, "That partially depends on them--or rather, their leader. Gods only know what he'll want to do now."

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:29 pm 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Hospital Ship Chiron
Near Libran
Day Zero, Mid-morning


Rattler, the leader of the Scorpian mercenaries, strode resolutely through the corridors of the Chiron. He followed the same course along which an SP had guided him once before, to his meeting with Major Davenport. This time there was no guide, but he was accompanied by his two platoon commanders, Kasan Smith and Nasser J'Seelah. Rattler was accoutered much as he had been on his previous walk - desert uniform, with his combat knife and sidearm easily visible. His companions were armed as well. The crew members that observed the mercs march through the ship had no doubt of the seriousness of their purpose, and scuttled out of the way quickly.

A single Shore Patrol ensign stood at the entrance to the hospital ship's command deck. The sound of the mercenaries boots on the metal deck alerted him to their approach only a moment before they appeared. The SP released the snap on his sidearm's holster and turned to face Rattler, trying futilely not to appear nervous.

"Stand aside," Rattler ordered as he approached the sliding doors that lead to the Chiron's nerve center. "I will see your commander." Rattler's words were delivered with authority and it was evident he expected them to be heeded.

The SP, however, waited for the three Scorpians to come to a halt before him. Rattler regarded him with a scowl but made no threatening moves; behind him J'Seelah rested one hand on the hilt of his knife. "There is no need for you to die today," he cautioned the SP, though his menacing grin suggested that J'Seelah would enjoy that alternative. The SP swallowed tensely, then keyed the microphone clipped to his shoulder epaulette.

"Call the CO to the CIC entrance," he transmitted. A few moments later the doorway slid open, revealing Major Davenport.

The Major wasn't surprised that the mercenary leader was there, but he was slightly taken aback seeing Rattler's two lean and deadly looking lieutenants with him. "Gentlemen," he said, acknowledging all of them, but nodding to Rattler. "We'll talk in the Plot Room." He turned and led them there, glancing at Captain Eglin as he did. Davenport answered his XO's unspoken summons with the barest of nod, and Eglin fell in behind the mercenaries. The two Chiron officers stood to face the mercs once the Plot Room door slid closed.

"The Cylons have assaulted the Twelve Worlds," Rattler began, "and your fleet is destroyed. What are your intentions now, Major?"

"Not all of our Fleet is destroyed, Major," Davenport replied evenly. "We are proceeding to Jormung Depot to rendezvous with Battlestar Pegasus, in accordance with our Emergency Contingency Plan."

Lt. Kasan Smith watched the ship's commander and executive officer expressionlessly, but part of his attention remained on Rattler. He was prepared to kill the two Fleet officers if Rattler wished. It would take him no more than three seconds to release his forearm knife from its sheath and slit both their throats.

"Return us to the desert first," Rattler said evenly. The words were not a request. The mercenary read Davenport's answer in the lines of his face, before he could give it voice. "The transport is wounded," the mercenary commander stated, "and you have no Colonial troops. It will only burden you needlessly. Evacuate its crew, and allow us to return to Scorpia in the dropships. In return, your pilots will become clan-brothers and have our protection."

"We have already started for Jormung Depot," Davenport said evenly, "and are far out of range of Scorpia. Even if we were within the dropship's range, the cylons would shoot them down before you broke atmosphere."

"Jump back," Rattler said, his tone brusque. "We'll take our chances, to return to our desert."

"We will not jump back," the Chiron's commander stated flatly.

Rattler regarded Davenport closely, his stare seeming as if he still possessed both eyes. "We can take this ship, Major. You have to realize that."

"Yes, but can you fly it?" Davenport's voice and face were nearly expressionless, but he conveyed that his question was rhetorical. He knew the mercenaries didn't have the skills to operate as complex a ship as the Chiron.

Give him credit for courage, Smith thought, although I'm sure it's partly out of ignorance. He doesn't realize who we are and what we can do.

To Smith's left side Nasser J'Seelah broke into a toothy grin, but there was no mirth in it. "Perhaps not," he said, glancing momentarily at Rattler. The mercenary commander made no motion to stop J'Seelah, who fingered the handle of his knife. "I think we can convince your crew to be reasonable."

Davenport himself had by now been able to grasp a little of what the future held, and he had no illusions about the possibility of survival, on any of the colonies or in space fighting the cylons. Frak it, he thought, and returned J'Seelah's gaze with a cold one of his own. "You may find that more difficult than you expect," he said. He looked back at Rattler. "At any rate, unless you have a long-term supply of anti-rad medication still intact on Scorpia, you'd all die of radiation poisoning in weeks."

"Bawa!" J'Seelah infused the epithet with derision. "Do you think the clans are not prepared for the fall of our Colonial oppressors? Do you think our dakare are not likewise ready?"

Rattler held his left hand up, in front of J'Seelah. "Enough!" he barked, his gaze locked on Major Davenport. "This will not be settled with words, Major, but with steel. Do not throw your life away needlessly. Return us to the desert, and you will need concern yourself with us no more."

"Do you think by killing me you'll be able to control my crew?" Davenport's words were calm, but his return stare at Rattler was cold as ice. Some would go along, but not all, I'd bet.

At that moment Rattler's attention was diverted to Davenport's side, and the Chiron's commander felt a firm hand on his shoulder. "Al, I've got this," Eglin said. Davenport glanced at his XO, and was surprised by what he saw. Eglin was always firm with the hospital ship's crew, sometimes even stern; but the steely look the XO was giving Rattler, the hard set of Eglin's jaw, this was a show of strength that Davenport had never witnessed.

"Rattler," Eglin addressed the mercenary commander, "under the Articles of Colonization and within the Provisions of the Colony of Scorpia, of which you and your men are resident, I call you to serve as civilian militia in this time of war; and to answer to, and submit to the command of, the ranking Colonial Fleet officer now present." Eglin delivered the words with conviction, then stood with his eyes locked on Rattler.

The mercenaries were silent for a long moment, Rattler's expression unreadable, while J'Seelah watched the back of Rattler's head, obviously expecting his commander to ignore Eglin's legal wrangling. Smith, however, was intrigued. We have a common enemy now, he considered. And a paymaster who has undoubtedly been killed by the cylons. We are warriors... I would like a chance to face this enemy.

"Your laws mean nothing to me," Rattler said, his mouth twisting into a frown. Still, there was a hesitation in his answer that had not been there before.

Unconsciously, Davenport's words reflected a little of what Smith had been thinking. "The cylons have attacked us all, Major," he said. "Laws aside, we both have a duty to defend what remains of our people and our homes." He paused and added, "At the very least, we can take what revenge we can get."

Rattler made a noise in his throat, a dismissive growl, yet he remained focused on Davenport. "There is no 'our' here, Major. The clans walked the sands of Scorpia before you gave our world that name. You are interlopers." Rattler paused, considering his words before speaking again. "The first war with your Cylons did not touch the desert," he observed, "but the wind favors no man - nuclear fallout will rain across our home as well as yours." He looked to Eglin, a touch of a feral grin reaching his face. "You are a wily opponent, though your counterattack was flawed. Still, I will accept this commission, with one condition... when we are no longer at war with the Cylons, you will bring us home."

"If we live, Major, we will bring you home," Davenport agreed.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:17 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Hospital Ship Chiron
Near Libran
Day Zero, Mid-morning


After Rattler and his two lieutenants had departed, the Chiron's commander and executive officer both stood in silence for a long moment. Thoughts went through Davenport's mind at FTL speed: ...Sandra... oh, Thomas. The cabin on the lake... Maureen Lathrop. What of our search? With an effort he pushed the thoughts away and looked at Frank Eglin.

He found Eglin already looking at him, the XO's face somber. Eglin let out a relieved sigh and his squared-off shoulders relaxed a bit. "That," he began, "was a dangerous dance. I still can't believe he accepted conscription... I thought sure we were both dead men."

"That was a bold move, Frank," Al said, acknowledging Eglin's actions with a respectful nod. "It bought us some time. But I don't trust Rattler, or his henchmen, one bit. He accepted conscription because it was the best option he has right now. The instant he thinks he can turn events to his advantage, he'll do so. We're between a rock and a hard place... cylons and Scorpian mercenaries. I'm not sure which is the greater danger."

Eglin gave him a grim nod. "You should keep tabs on the scuttlebutt... you have some trusted ears among the crew?"

Davenport gave a vague nod and asked, "Do you?"

Eglin gave his commander a solemn look and did not answer. Instead, he said, "Regs say we can carry a sidearm, in time of war. I think I'm going to take advantage of that rule."

Davenport debated if he, too, should wear a sidearm. As a Fleet officer he had the right, but as a physician he felt some hesitation. Then he thought of Rattler, and the two lieutenants with him, and assessed his ability to defend himself against any of them. Not a chance, he thought sourly. Even if they only had those knives of theirs, they'd cut my throat before I could think of drawing a pistol. To Eglin, he said, "Go ahead, but I'm not going to at this point."

Eglin nodded his understanding, but the expression on his face showed he doubted the sense of Davenport's decision. "You'll change your mind," Eglin warned.

"It wouldn't be the first time," Al conceded. His voice held only a touch of the weariness he felt when he said, "We have a ship to command, Frank. Let's get back to work."

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:31 pm 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Advanced BioResearch Cruiser Satyr
IHC Space
Day Zero, 1130 Hours


The Satyr had returned to the Plaka Asteroid Field from the rendezvous with the Atraeus, and slipped back into a position from which Captain Cherenko could monitor the salvage of the Herodotus. Cherenko had guided the cruiser to a new vantage point, but nevertheless they were back surveilling the military vessels and Gabriel Kyros felt a certain satisfaction that he'd been right.

Now, with the ship holding position in the shadows of a stable planetoid, Cherenko and Kyros repaired to the officers' wardroom for a meal with their guests, Ditaan Mayer and Abraham Maxwell. The four sat at a well-dressed table, eating a dinner salad with shrimp fresh from Picon and enjoying a Leonine vintage from Cherenko's private stock. The pinot blanc was an obscure label, but its palate danced with the flavor of apples and pears grown in mountain orchards. The quality of the food and wine made a good icebreaker for conversation among strangers.

Abraham Maxwell regarded the piece of shrimp impaled on his fork. "Had I known," he began, "that such were sequestered among the freighter's cargo, our voyage out would have been more pleasant."

"Were your accomodations aboard the Atraeus not satisfactory, Doctor?" Captain Cherenko queried.

"Oh, no!" Maxwell sputtered, "er, I mean yes! They were excellent!" He smiled ingratiatingly at Cherenko and lifted his wine glass toward her. After taking a sip, he explained, "Seafood is one of my weaknesses, Captain, and shrimp is chief among them."

Cherenko smiled and nodded. "You may call me Mischa," Cherenko stated, adding, "in private company."

"Abraham," Maxwell rejoined, lifting his glass again. "Though Gabriel tends to call me 'Max'," he added with a grin, his glass still held aloft.

Kyros lifted his glass as well. "Max," he echoed the older man, and the two drank at once. "Are you still profiting from the Colonial war machine?" Kyros asked. Cherenko shot him a dark look, but Maxwell took no offense to the question.

"Not as much," Maxwell responded. "My work on advanced FTL systems has seized my faculties, Gabe." Maxwell winked at Cherenko when he used the familiar form of Kyros' name and the captain relaxed a bit. "In truth, though, my latest work may have applications as a weapon system, as well."

"This wine is excellent, Mischa," Ditaan Mayer interjected, her comment coming sharply on the heels of Maxwell's statement. Kyros regarded her curiously, his head tipped slightly to one side. Cherenko smiled at the complement, appearing not to notice its suddenness.

"Thank you, Ms. Mayer," the captain responded. "This is from my private stock, as well as from a winery in my home valley on Leonis. I am pleased that you like it."

"The wines and spirits of our homelands reflect the nature of our culture," Mayer stated, her manner reflective. After a moment's pause, she looked more directly at Cherenko. "This speaks of orchards and mountain peaks, of cold winters and brief, beautiful summers."

Cherenko lifted her glass, inhaling the aroma of the wine. Meeting Mayer's gaze, she nodded acknowledgement to the other woman's small smile. "You are quite poetic," she said, "but quite accurate as well. You are going to make me homesick."

Kyros rescued his commander at that point, recalling stories about Maxwell from their shared past. Dinner moved from the salad, to the main course, and soon the four found themselves conversing quietly over a fruit parfait paired with a dessert wine.

Captain Cherenko had paid close attention, even asking a few questions, as the dinner discussion had turned to Kyros' and Dr. Maxwell's shared past. Now she listened to Ditaan Mayer with equal interest, as Ditaan related stories of the Scorpian desert. Cherenko had noted the ghost of a vertical mark through Mayer's left eye, a mark she knew as the sign of a desert clan outcast. The much-lightened tatoo sparked Cherenko's curiousity, but she was not so rude as to ask Mayer about it directly.

That was not the only thing about which the Satyr's commander was curious, however. "So," Cherenko said, switching the course of the conversation, "what brings you to this untamed region?" She did not try to sugarcoat the question with a smile, instead her expression was one of serious interest. Maxwell looked up from his dessert, then immediately back. Ditaan Mayer regarded the captain, her face expressionless, clearly choosing to think before she answered.

They were interrupted at that point by the door intercom, and Maxwell breathed a silent sigh of relief. Cherenko looked toward the door, her eyebrows drawn in consternation. From the intercom the deep voice of Robert Rand, Satyr's chief of security, filled the room. "My apologies, captain," he began, "but it is urgent that I speak with you."

Cherenko rose from the table, swiftly moving to the wardroom's exit and activated the door. The man who stepped into the compartment was large and muscular, his obviously receding hair trimmed almost to his scalp. He wore a form-fitting long sleeve black shirt with the ABR logo emblazoned upon the breast in red. The look in his pale blue eyes immediately telegraphed that he bore bad news.

Cherenko and Rand conversed briefly, their voices audible though the others in the room could not make out their words. When Cherenko turned her attention back to her guests, fire flashed in her eyes and she conveyed the sense that she had urgent matters to which she must attend. Her eyes centered on Doctor Maxwell as she spoke an explanation.

"The Cylons have attacked the Colonies," she stated, her voice carefully calm. "I must see to my ship. Please remain here - I will send an orderly to take you back to your quarters. Mr. Kyros, you have the conn."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:58 am 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
IHC Space
Day Zero 1138 Hours


Midshipman Aban El-Azadhi was monitoring a cluster of small asteroids on the DRADIS display when he heard the Bellerophon's communications officer draw a sudden sharp breath. He looked across to the comms console, regarding the officer quizzically. Ensign Makenzie Seward's light brown skin had turned almost white; the young woman held one hand on her headset while the other worked furiously at the wireless controls. She was evidently replaying something, and it seemed to El-Azadhi that whatever it was had her seriously frightened.

"Colonel Mast!" Ensign Seward spoke, her voice carrying a hint of that fear. "Priority One-Alpha message from Scorpia Fleet Shipyards, sir. It was transmitted in the clear... the originating officer identified as Major Richard Denning in the Shipyards Command Post on the planet." Seward touched a few controls and the overhead speakers crackled with static, then a voice rang out.

    ...Scorpia Shipyards is under attack by Cylon forces. Scorpia Colony attacked as well. Nuclear detonations reported over several cities. Have received word that Admiral Nagala has assumed command of the Fleet after the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters. The voice paused, the gap filled by static and a wavering electronic whine. Military and civilian transmissions indicate that the Cylon strike is a simultaneous attack upon every Colony. I will...

Seward flipped a switch and cut off the voice, then looked at Mast and Goldsmith, waiting for their response.

Mast's expression hardened. "Cylons," he spat. "In the clear, Ensign--was there no authentication of the message at all?"

Goldsmith was still processing what he'd heard in the message, squashing an odd urge to laugh. Cylons? Is this a joke?

"No sir, no authentication," Seward replied, seeming to regain her composure. "It was on the proper One-Alpha channel, though, and there is a Major Richard Denning listed in the Fleet database for the Scorpia Command Post."

"Who is he?" Mast asked, his eyes narrowing.

"CO of the Electronic Systems Division, Fleet Materiel Command, sir," Seward responded.

"I wonder if Colonel Bisby has also received this message?" Goldsmith said to Mast, then looked back at Seward, giving her a nod.

It took only a moment to raise the Patrocles on the wireless; Colonel Bisby's gritty voice sounded over the CIC's speakers. [Patrocles Actual,] he stated flatly. [We just heard, Lawrence. The Cylons are back.]

"We need to confirm the report, Wallace," Mast said tensely. "One of us should jump back and verify if this is accurate."

[No,] Bisby countered. [We'll send Raptors, and scout multiple locations.]

Mast nodded to himself and said aloud, "Yes, excellent idea." He paused a moment. "Two of mine, and two of yours? We still need to keep a few here." In case the separatists, or, heavens forbid, the cylons show up here.

[I want recon on all our Colonies. We'll send three each, and scout two Colonies per Raptor.]

Mast turned to look at his XO. Goldsmith was already considering the Raptors and crews available for the mission, and he nodded at his commander.

"Agreed," Mast replied to Bisby.

[Very good,] Bisby said. [Give the orders, and then I want to see you aboard the Titan directly.]


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:04 am 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Superheavy Vessel Retriever Tauranian Titan
IHC Space
Day Zero 1145 Hours


Colonel William Trafford stood silently on the command deck of the Titan, awaiting the arrival of Major Cavanaugh, the commanding officer of the Titan's SeaBee detachment, and Master Chief Samuels. On one of the overhead screens played a recording of his homeworld, Tauron, spinning slowly in its orbit. He had requested the playback moments earlier, identifying the file by name to his communications officer. It was apparent that he was very familiar with the video, yet he watched it now with a new melancholy - not as one homesick for a world left behind, but for one destroyed.

"Colonel Trafford?" a female voice queried and Trafford looked up to find Cavanaugh standing before him, the Master Chief just behind her. He had not heard them enter.

"Major Cavanaugh," he acknowledged, then with a nod added, "Master Chief." The two stood at attention for a moment while Trafford studied the deck between them. When he looked up he quickly said, "At ease." A frown of regret crossed his features as he began detailing the news of the Cylon attack. Neither Cavanaugh nor Samuels expressed surprise, though Cavanaugh's brooding eyes took on a note of sadness while the Master Chief returned to a stance of stiff attention.

"We await Colonel Bisby's decision as to our next step," Trafford stated. "He has called a command conference here, aboard the Titan. I want both of you to be available as I'm certain the status of the Herodotus will figure in his plans." Trafford held their gaze for a long second, then his face brightened slightly. "I'm betting Bisby will want to press a counterattack, though he's likely to try to rejoin the Pegasus as his first step. If I'm wrong, I've wasted too many evenings playing cards against the man."

Cavanaugh swallowed, nodding; while the Master Chief stood stiffly silent.

"Go, make the announcement to your battalion," Trafford ordered, "though I see from your lack of surprise that the news is already in the grapevine. Then report back to CIC. Dismissed."


Fleet Tanker Distant Sun
IHC Space
Day Zero 1145 Hours


Captain Jason Paul Ames sat at his desk, pushing aside the tray on which his half-eaten lunch lay. His XO, Lieutenant Daniel Coulter stood quietly at the hatchway to his commander's quarters, having just delivered the news of the Cylon surprise attacks. Ames was expressionless, though his jaw was set hard. He reached out, picking up the framed photo of his wife that sat upon his desk. He held the picture, studying it as though seeing it for the first time - the lines of her face, the flow of her hair, the curves of her body. Joyce! he thought, his eyes glassing over. Gone, dead in a Cylon nuclear blast, or at the robotic hands of invading Centurions... No, likely she'd died in the blast, as Theseopolis was the home to the Shipyards Command Post and other military targets. If only... If only she hadn't come... No, Caprica was attacked as well... Frak! This is pointless! Get yourself back to the here and now, J.P.

"Daniel," he looked up at his XO, "wake the third watch, gather everyone in the main corridor. I'll make the announcement."

An attention signal sounded from the ship's intercom at that point, and Ames picked up the handset. [Sir, Colonel Bisby requests your presence for a command conference aboard the Titan. A Raptor from the Patrocles will pick you up in 15 minutes.]

"Thank you, Ensign," Ames said, then looked up thinking to tell Coulter to double-time it. His XO was already gone.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:03 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Frigate Patrocles
Patrolling salvage area
Day Zero, 1145 Hours


Private Nikol S'Jahar listened to the announcement with incomprehension at first, wondering if he had just dreamt being awakened, and this was part of a dream-turned-nightmare. He saw the expression on SSgt Lynden's face, though, and realized... it was true. The cylons have destroyed Scorpia.

He stood in shocked silence, listening to the Marines around him. Some were swearing, some were praying, some were expressing disbelief, but only Staff Sergeant Lynden and Nik himself were silent. My father, Nik thought, my brothers, if not already dead, will soon die from radiation poisoning. He hoped they'd been killed outright by the first nukes. In his military training, he'd learned about the effects of rad poisoning, about the slow painful death that followed if anti-radiation medication wasn't administered. Better they die instantly than slowly, he mused, or, if Aten wills, that they live far beyond the reach of that slow death. From what the message had said, though, the attack on Scorpia was total, and the winds would carry the poison over all the planet's surface. Over sand and rock...

Nik blinked and looked around at his fellow Marines. All of the colonies will be gone, he knew. He was a child of the desert, and had lived with death more closely than most people, more closely than the Marines he served with. He'd known death since his own mother had been killed by a warring clan when he'd been a child. He had killed others before he'd joined the military, and he knew only two or three of his fellow Marines had seen combat and also killed.

He squared his shoulders and looked back at SSgt Lynden. The older man met Nik's gaze and held it for a long moment. Lynden gave a single nod, a gesture of recognition, an acknowledgement of a common past. Aten gives, and He takes away, Nik thought.

"Ra’iten," Nikol S'Jahar murmured.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:06 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Jericho System
Patrocles Raptor 775
Day Zero, 1155 Hours


The Raptor's DRADIS showed first one, then a second, Raptor disappear off the display. Lt. Kacey Hawkins looked out the front of the Raptor at the asteroid field in front of them, then turned her head to regard the Herodotus off the Raptor's port side. She scanned the ship's gauges automatically and then asked her ECO, "Ready to go, Hobo?"

Her ECO didn't respond immediately, and Hawkins turned to find him staring out the forward canopy, his eyes distant. She spoke his name, sharply, and his attention returned. "Yeah, sure," he mumbled, busying himself at the electronic warfare console. "Let's go."

"Dylan," she said gently. "I need you here with me. Do the mission now and think later." She stopped, clenching her jaw a moment and then relaxing it with an effort. She finished, "That's what I'm doing. The mission. Just the mission."

"Sorry," he said. "I just can't... Frakkit! I can't get my head around this thing! You're right, focus on the mission. Focus..." His voice trailed off.

Calmly, she asked, "Are we ready to jump?"

"Yes, ma'am," Herlihy replied. "FTL coordinates laid in, destination is high orbit at Picon. We should arrive above the northern hemisphere, day side. At this hour, Fleet HQ and the Orbital Dockyards will be below us."


Jericho System
Bellerophon Raptor 585
Day Zero, 1157 Hours


Lieutenant Jack Nathaniel Mayer had watched as the flight of three Raptors from the Patrocles had jumped away, the first two in quick succession and then the third, after a brief delay. He led another flight of three, from the Bellerophon; the other two Raptors were formed up behind him and waiting for his command to jump. Mayer was seldom one to delay any action, yet he found himself in no hurry to begin this mission. Colonel Mast's words echoed in his mind: the Cylons have returned, the Colonies are destroyed.

"All Raptors, verify FTL coordinates laid in," Mayer transmitted on the wireless. To his ECO, he added, "Bantam, are we set to jump?"

Lieutenant Vanya Shartava took one more look at the FTL board, verifying the jump vector. When she spoke, there was a catch in her voice that might have been a sob. "Scorpia Shipyards staging sector," she said. "Laid in and ready, sir."

Mayer registered Lieutenant Shartava's reply, though his thoughts were again elsewhere. The Cylons may have turned the worlds upside down, but Jack Mayer would land upon his feet, godsdamnit! Old opportunities were closed, but a whole host of new ones lay ahead. He had only to identify what those opportunities were, and claim them. And eliminate whoever stands in my way....

Mayer thumbed the transmit button, a wicked grin playing across his features. "All Raptors, jump when ready."

Jump, indeed, Mayer thought. Seize the day.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:56 pm 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Superheavy Vessel Retriever Tauranian Titan
IHC Space
Day Zero 1211 Hours


    Conference, Task Group Commanders
  • Colonel Wallace Bisby, CO FFG Patrocles
  • Colonel Lawrence Mast, CO DDE Bellerophon
  • Colonel William Trafford, CO ASVR Tauranian Titan
  • Captain Jason Ames, CO AT Distant Sun

Colonel William Trafford stood on the command deck of his ship, with his task group commander beside him. They were waiting on the arrival of Colonel Mast and Captain Ames. Colonel Wallace Bisby had spoken no more than a dozen words since coming aboard; even now he was silently inspecting every visible inch of Trafford's vessel. "Under other circumstances, Bill, I'd demand you gave me the full tour," Bisby said without warning, his voice low and rough.

"Bah," Trafford responded, "she's a fine ship, but it's a lot like walking around in an empty warehouse. A really big, empty warehouse." The Titan commander allowed himself a small smile at the quip.

"Ah, but trading Shipyard Traffic Control for a command of your own certainly looks like a wise decision, now." Bisby looked aside, regarding Trafford with a raised eyebrow.

"Truth told, it was a good decision then as well," Trafford assured him. "I'm no more suited to life in port than you are, Wally."

Bisby affected a mock grimace at Trafford's use of the diminutive. "I don't allow anyone to call me by that name anymore," Bisby said, his dark tone at odds with his expression. The grimace had given way to a slight smile that resided more in his eyes than the curve of his mouth.

It was Trafford's turn to regard his companion with a raised eyebrow. "The Flight Louie I served with was known by a few other monikers, as I recall. I would imagine you'd prefer 'Wally' to any of those."

"You utter any one of them, Bill Trafford, and I'll have you swabbing this ship from stem to stern. We may be equal in rank, but I'm still the Task Group commander." Trafford gave a low chuckle at the threat, and Bisby responded in kind. Their levity, though born of old association, was tempered by their constant awareness of the surprise attacks. The knowledge that the Cylons had returned overshadowed everything.

Colonel Mast entered the Titan's CIC at that moment, Captain Ames trailing just behind him. Despite the seriousness of their purpose here, Mast still found himself looking around the ship, fascinated by its size and function. Ames, already familiar with the vessel retriever, met Trafford's eyes and nodded, then faced Colonel Bisby. He spoke the Colonel's rank and name, by way of a greeting, then glanced at Mast.

"Colonel Bisby," Mast joined in, coming to attention.

"Gentlemen," Bisby said, his voice stronger now. "Shall we repair to the plot room?" he asked, though he meant it as a command. Trafford turned to leave the command deck, leading the other three officers. Less than a minute later they arrived at the room used as the Titan's chart library.


In the plot room, Colonel Bisby stood at the chart table, but he did not activate it. Trafford and Ames each seated themselves on stools drawn up to the table, while Colonel Mast elected to stand between them, a pace back. Bisby wasted no time on pleasantries, launching directly into the matter at hand.

"We don't know much," he began, "beyond that the Cylons have returned." The venom he felt toward the Cylons was evident in the way he spoke the word, as well as the expression on his face. "All indications are that they conducted a coordinated attack upon every Colony simultaneously, and achieved complete surprise. Wireless traffic has been scattered and confused, with reports of multiple malfunctions that I would attribute to Cylon electronic warfare. We will know more when our Raptor scouts return; for now, we need to establish our battle plan."

"You mean to carry the fight to the Cylons?" Colonel Trafford asked, managing to sound both surprised and doubtful.

"Yes I intend a counterattack!" Bisby said without hesitation. "As soon as I know the fate of Admiral Cain and the Pegasus," he added. "If our flagship survived the surprise attack, we will endeavor to rejoin her and let Cain lead us against the Cylons. If not, we will seek revenge against those metal motherfrakkers on our own."

"It's highly unlikely that the Pegasus survived," Mast stated. "She was in dry dock, with most of her systems off-line. We would be wasting time trying to find her--time better spent taking the fight to the cylons. Once our Raptors report back on the enemy activity, we should jump in and take them by surprise." He paused a second and then added, "If Cain did manage to escape, that's what she would be doing."

"I'll not write off the Pegasus so quickly," Bisby responded curtly. "And Cain won't wait long to engage the Cylons, but she'll check Jormung Anchorage before she does. She will want every able ship of her battle group with her when she attacks."

Mast considered Bisby's words and finally gave a grudging nod. "We shouldn't delay, then," he responded sharply. "As soon as our Raptors return, we must head directly for Jormung. If Cain makes it there, she won't wait long." He turned his head to regard Trafford and Ames, wondering how long it would take them to disengage from the Herodotus.

Colonel Trafford shared a knowing look with Captain Ames, then looked back to Mast and Bisby. "We've no use for the carrier now," Trafford stated. Ames scowled, his thoughts on the time invested in defueling the wreck, time wasted now except for the tylium that had been recovered.

"Ah," Bisby said, "yes, the carrier. Start disengaging from her immediately." Bisby faced Trafford as he gave the order, but looked aside at Ames to include him as well. "Cut her loose as soon as possible... or faster."

"Aye," Trafford responded, and Ames echoed him.

"I wonder what our Raptors will report," Mast mused to himself, then he stood, saying to Trafford and Ames, "I'll let you get on with your duties, gentlemen." He glanced at Bisby, and added, "We'll let you know what our survey of the Colonies finds."

"We're all wondering," Trafford answered, the words low and meant for Mast alone. "I fear we may be unprepared for its extent," he added grimly.

"Given how the politicians have dismissed any cylon danger and reduced the Fleet since our last war," Mast replied just as quietly, "I fear the same."

Trafford gave a resigned nod, then watched as Mast turned and left, moving at quickstep to catch up to Colonel Bisby. Captain Ames had already departed, so Trafford stood once again alone with his bridge crew. He looked around the small group, both satisfied that he had good people and horrified that they were each perhaps the last of their family. He wondered briefly what would become of them all, if the Cylons had truly overrun the Colonies. Then he pushed those thoughts aside and concentrated on giving the orders needed to cut the Herodotus loose, so the Titan could make her escape.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:11 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Helios Alpha System: Picon
Patrocles Raptor 775
Day Zero, 1200 Hours


The Raptor appeared in a blink of light, and immediately Angel powered down the engines, reducing the ship’s emissions as much as possible. They’d jumped in at a distance from Picon, planning to avoid detection by the cylons, and at the moment they were alone.

Nearer to Picon, arching formations of small, curved ships were the first evidence of the enemy. Even at this distance, however, the devastation was evident. Angel could only stare wordlessly, her heart pounding, at the skeletal remains of the Colonial Fleet HQ’s massive orbital shipyard. Wreckage of ships and debris of the shipyard’s structure drifted in and around the ruins lifelessly.

The pilot tore her eyes from the main shipyard, searching for the Fleet’s smaller station that would normally trace an orbital path perpendicular to the much larger shipyard. She couldn’t see it, but wasn’t sure if it was on the opposite side of Picon—or if it had been completely destroyed in the attack. Even at this distance, she could clearly see the corpse of one of the Fleet’s destroyers, orbiting the planet like a mindless moon. Already it was glowing from the friction of atmosphere as it fell toward Picon, pieces breaking off and flaring like fireflies.

The planet itself was far more cloud-covered than Hawkins had ever seen it. Places glowed under the clouds, and she wondered about cities and nuclear firestorms… and the Fleet’s Headquarters. She turned her head to look at her ECO, unable to find words.

Hobo sat in front of his electronic warfare console, but his eyes were tightly closed. All his attention was locked on the wireless signals sounding in his helmet earpiece. There wasn't much he could hear - the interference generated by dozens of nuclear explosions wiped out most of the signals. What little he could hear was confused, disconnected transmissions. Most of the traffic seemed to be information being traded about restarting shipboard systems and rebooting computers. No one was calling for rescue, at least not within his listening range.

Herlihy's intense expression jolted Hawkins out of her trance, and she asked, "Hobo? Dylan?" Given his earlier state of mind, she wasn't sure if he'd seen the devastation and didn't want to look at it any longer, or if he was listening to krypter transmissions.

"Yeah," Hobo snapped, but he instantly regretted it, grinning weakly and swallowing as he met Angel's eyes. Then his view was drawn to the scene beyond the Raptor's canopy and his face went dead, losing all expression and color. He quickly turned away, back to the DRADIS screen and his other instruments.

"Nothing from the destroyer, except static," Hobo said flatly. "I'm picking up about three squadrons of fightercraft... gotta be Cylon."

"We need to go in closer," Angel said, surprised at how even her voice sounded. She breathed in and out and reminded herself: The mission. Do the mission. She debated whether to jump in, or fly conventionally, but thought that the brief energy burst from a jump might be harder for the cylons to detect. Go right in under the clouds, she thought. "Hobo, I want to jump close enough to Fleet HQ to see what's happened there. Plot us a location where we'll come out in the clouds a couple kilometers away and then I'll fly us lower."

"Yes, ma'am," Hobo replied, reluctance in his voice. "It'll be rough." Jump advent within an atmosphere was a violent event, though the Raptor was built to withstand it. He pulled up a terrain map of HQ and the surrounding area. He thought for a moment about jumping in above the ocean, figuring the Cylons might not pay much attention to that approach vector. They were machines, though, and if he was wrong the sea offered no cover. Instead, he plotted an FTL vector that put their arrival over the foothills, giving them an escape route if they were seen right away.

"Plot laid in," Hobo said, steeling himself for the jump. "On your order, Angel."

"Go," she simply said, bracing herself.

Even before Hobo's warning, she'd been prepared for it to be rough--rougher than other jumps into atmosphere that she'd done. She was also prepared in case she had to take immediate evasive action. Still, though, the tumult threw her against her tightly cinched harness, and she fought with the controls for a moment until she could smooth out their flight. They'd jumped out into the midst of dense clouds, and she nodded to herself, saying aloud, "Good plot, Hobo."

Gradually, she flew the Raptor lower, keeping her eyes on the gauges, the ship's controls jolting under her hands from the turbulence in the atmosphere. "Come on, girl," she breathed softly to the ship. They broke out of the clouds over the foothills and Angel darted her eyes back and forth between the console and the scene before them.

Even though they were no longer in the clouds, the air was thick with smoke and dust, limiting visibility. In spite of that, Angel could see that Colonial Fleet Headquarters wasn't much more than a smoldering hole in the ground. The glow she had seen from above the planet was fire raging in a wide circle around where HQ had been. There was nothing recognizable from ground zero outward for several kilometers. Of course, she thought. This was probably their first, and primary, target. The degree of destruction was numbing, and she said calmly, "You got the cameras recording, Hobo?"

"Affirmative," Hobo replied hollowly. "Cabin radiation levels already approaching 80 rads, Angel. They must have dropped some really big stuff here."

"Yeah," she agreed slowly. "Our next location to check is Coraeda Air Base. Take us there, Hobo... same thing if you can, get us in the clouds."

"It's usually sunny out there..." Hobo began, then stopped as he remembered that was nothing usual about their situation now. Gathering his thoughts, he went on, "I'll put us in low over the salt flats. We'll have to trade cloud cover for haze in the distance."

Herlihy plotted the jump, and again on Hawkins' order the Raptor blinked out of existence, reappearing thousands of miles away across the surface of Picon. As soon as Angel recovered from the turbulence of their arrival, she had the Raptor diving toward the ground. Soon they were rocketing across the salt flats with the sun at their back, watching as the crosswinds drove waves of dust sideways across their path below, like so much greyish-white surf.

The airbase was a sprawling facility built in the center of an immense depression that must have once been an inland sea. Its natural, level surface had lent itself perfectly for making landing strips for winged atmospheric craft. The oldest part of the base was laid out around two long, parallel runways, pointed into the prevailing wind. "Nothing on DRADIS," Hobo observed, "and no sign of any nuclear detonations. Navigation beacon is still active, but other than that the wireless is silent. It's like no one's home...." His voice trailed off.

"No nukes, but no one is home?" Angel repeated with puzzlement, her pilot's vision catching sight of several damaged hangars. "What happened to everyone... do they have underground bunkers here?"

"There's a couple of squadrons of Raptors here, stored underground," Hobo replied. "Fleet runs a Search and Rescue school out here."

"Maybe they're on wireless silence," Angel mused, thinking of their own actions to escape cylon detection. Her eyes sharpened on a strange craft at one end of the airfield. "What's that?" she asked her ECO sharply.

Rising half out of his seat, Hobo peered out the front of the Raptor, then dropped back to his seat. Punching a few buttons he brought up the nose camera view, then grabbed its joystick and zoomed in, panning across the tarmac to center on the unidentified ship. "Nothing I recognize. Probably Cylon, of course," he paused, scrutinizing the magnified image. "No obvious weaponry... maybe a transport? Looks big enough for a full battalion." Even though the landing craft appeared unarmed, Hobo's voice had taken on a cautionary tone.

"Let's get the frak out of here, Hobo," Angel said without expression.

The next jump took them back out into space, facing Picon. Angel was beyond emotion, regarding the once-turquoise planet, and she scanned the scene beyond the canopy automatically. Her survey stopped short and she sharpened her gaze on another strange ship at some distance from them. "That must be one of their..." It took a moment for the memory of history lessons of the past cylon war to surface in her mind. "One of their baseships," she stated. "Get a good picture of that, Hobo."

It took only a few seconds to record an image of the Cylon capital ship, and then Hobo busied himself with the FTL computer. Shortly he announced, "FTL jump to Caprica's orbit plotted and laid in, Angel."

"Let's go," she said crisply, and the Raptor disappeared in a flash of light.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:48 pm 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
Helios Gamma System: Scorpia
Bellerophon Raptor 585
Day Zero 1202 Hours


The Raptor emerged from its hyperlight jump into the space once designated as Scorpia Shipyards' traffic staging sector. The tiny craft winked into existence unobserved, her arrival witnessed only by the twisted carcasses of vessels that had waited here for clearance to approach the shipyards, only to be destroyed by swarms of Cylon Raiders.

"Nothing but wreckage on passive DRADIS," JRLT Shartava reported. "No enemy contacts, no Colonial IFF... only debris. DRADIS returns are showing significant interference - a lot of nukes were used here." Shartava's voice carried a sense of defeat as she detailed the bad news. When she pulled her attention from her electronics console and looked out the forward canopy, she drew a sharp breath. "Ohmygods...."

Before them hung the remains of the Scorpia Shipyards, the twisted and blackened structure only barely resembling the magnificent orbital repair facility that it had been. Scattered around the structure drifted the remains of the ships that had been docked here when the Cylons attacked, their hulls shattered and broken, their crews dead.

"Comm traffic is nil," Jack Mayer said from the cockpit. His jaw was set hard, and his eyes were angry as he rotated through the wireless frequencies. "Just a lot of residual noise." He pushed a red button on the face of the wireless, auto-tuning to an emergency channel. Only an electric whine came from the speakers, its frequency wandering crazily across the spectrum of sound. The second, and then the third emergency channel yielded the same result.

"The 'yards are out of position," Shartava announced. "They're already nearly two klicks below normal altitude. The planet's gravity is claiming the wreckage..." Lt. Shartava switched displays, adding a touchscreen calculator on which she did a quick computation. "The descent will accelerate over the next ten hours. The remains of the shipyards will burn up in Scorpia's atmosphere in the early hours of tomorrow."

"Frakkit!" Mayer responded. "Gods damned frakking Cylon sons-of-bitches!" he continued to curse. "How can there be no survivors? No one calling for a rescue?" Jaw still set and eyes narrowed, Mayer scanned the planet, rotating the Raptor so he could view the entire disc of Scorpia. "They didn't blanket the planet with nukes... they couldn't... Even if they had that much ordnance, they... No, there are still survivors, even if its just out in the deserts." He looked over his shoulder at his ECO. "We're going to have a look."

"Sir?" Shartava queried. "We still have to jump to Libran."

"We'll get there," Mayer snapped. "Right now, get me a plot of the Shipyards Command Post, and the rest of Theseopolis. We're going down there and have a look around."

During the minutes that followed, Lieutenant Mayer guided Raptor 585 on a fiery descent toward the planet below, while Shartava nervously scanned the known Cylon frequencies - four decade old intelligence - through the interference of hull ionization. She heard nothing, and no Cylon fighters appeared to attack them, but that comforted her little.

Mayer brought the Raptor in high, approaching the ground facility of Scorpia Shipyards from a vantage point where he could see the entire base. The planet-side facility was home to several Viper squadrons and an advanced aerospace combat school, but Vipertown was now just a smoking crater ringed with flattened buildings. Oddly, the remainder of the base seemed untouched. Mayer cycled through the wireless channnels once again, and again heard nothing more than static.

He throttled up the Raptor and made a pass over the rest of the base. On closer inspection he could see blast damage, but it appeared limited to the less durable structures and equipment. "They used an enhanced radiation weapon, Bantam," Mayer observed. "A neutron bomb."

"Meant to kill people, and leave the structures mostly intact," Shartava whispered. "But why?"

"Frak if I know," Mayer responded. He canted the nose of the Raptor upward and gunned the engines. "I'm heading for the city."

The city of Theseopolis lay nearby, sprawled along the coastline in an expanse of green hills that quickly gave way to the interior desert. As the Raptor cleared the intervening highlands, both occupants gasped involuntarily. Pillars of smoke rose from across the city, rising into the sky until they were dispersed toward the desert by the winds the blew in from the sea. The skyline, though, was substantially as Mayer remembered it.

"Radiation weapons, again," Mayer concluded. "Fires must be from the aftermath, gas lines and such."

"All the colonies were attacked?" Shartava said, her words only half a question. "It'll be like this everywhere?"

"We'll know for certain when we get back," Mayer replied, his attitude toward his ECO softening somewhat.

The Raptor quickly crossed the residential portion of Theseopolis, houses built on verdant hillsides with a view of the ocean. Mayer watched the ground as much as he could, and though he could see that the houses were nearly all intact, with cars parked in driveways and along streets, he saw no indication of human life. Shortly the houses gave way to commercial buildings and offices, and Mayer had to gain altitude to rise above them.

"There," he said as a skyscraper of black granite and iridescent blue glass loomed ahead of them. At its peak, over one hundred floors above the streets, the roof prickled with a collection of antennae. Rising above them, though, was a commuter landing platform. Mayer aimed the Raptor toward it, and moments later they were touching down.

As the side door of the Raptor opened, Lieutenant Shartava handed Mayer a pair of binoculars retrieved from a cabinet in the rear of the craft. She had a camera with a long telephoto lens hung around her neck. They stepped out onto the landing pad, and for a moment it was as though they were alone in the sky. Then they strode toward the edge and looked down into the city, the wind tugging at them as if it wished to sweep them off the top of the building.

Around them, Theseopolis alternated its appearance; in some places it seemed as if the city had merely paused, freezing all activity for an extended moment. Elsewhere fire raged, consuming sections of wood-constructed housing, blazing up through the interiors of tall buildings, fed by broken gas pipes, consuming everything but the structures' steel and concrete skeletons. Shartava pointed her camera north, taking in the longest view of the city, and recorded a picture. Then she sank to the surface of the platform, unwilling to photograph more.

"Here," Jack Mayer said, holding out his hand. Almost without looking up, Shartava removed the camera strap from over her head and gave the camera to him. He walked around the perimeter of the landing platform, the strap loose in his hands, flapping in the wind. When he'd taken shots from every angle, he trotted across the decking and onto the wing of the Raptor, calling Shartava to mount up.

As she was settling into her seat with the side door closing behind her, Mayer was already strapped in and cycling the engines up. "Be ready to plot a jump to Libran," he said. "We're going to make a high-level pass over a couple more places, then get out of here."

"Aye, sir," Shartava replied, then turned her head away. She sniffed, softly, then busied herself with the FTL plot.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:10 pm 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Helios Alpha System: Caprica
Patrocles Raptor 775
Day Zero, 1253 Hours


The FTL jump toward Caprica brought them just inside the Erebos asteroid belt that encircled the system, and Lt. Hawkins smoothly flew the Raptor into the edge of the belt, taking cover amidst the rubble. Not much different than the asteroids in the Jericho system, the thought arose in her mind, but her gaze was toward Caprica.

From what she could see at this distance, Caprica didn't seem quite as devastated as Picon had been. The cloud cover wasn't as extensive, allowing a little of the planet's blue-green hue to show. There was clear evidence of the nuclear strikes, though, and Angel thought dispassionately, I'm glad I don't have any family here. Then she realized that she had no idea where Hobo was from, and she glanced over her shoulder at him.

Herlihy, for the moment, was focused on his EW board. "No hostile contacts in the immediate area," he said. "Residual interference is still strong, indicating massive nuclear detonations. Wireless is overwhelmed." He looked up, catching Hawkins' glance, then looked past her to the planet. He swallowed, hard. "Here... the same..." Hobo's words came out measured, slow. His grief was evident. "Now what?" he asked.

"The spaceport at Delphi," Angel said. She sounded calm and she felt calm, but a detached part of her knew that she was denying her feelings as a tactic to deal with the overwhelming emotional impact of the attacks. Later, she thought, later I'll deal with it, when I'm alone and not on duty.

The skies above Delphi were surprisingly clear. Clouds from nuclear strikes at nearer cities had started to infiltrate the atmosphere, creating a thick band of haze over the area, but Delphi itself could be seen from altitude. "It doesn't look like they nuked here," Angel murmured, taking the Raptor lower, keeping a sharp eye out for enemy ships.

"Change pitch so I can use the Orbital camera," Hobo suggested, and Angel leveled out so that the belly-mounted surveillance optics could be employed. Hobo brought the live image up on his main screen, and sent a feed to the cockpit video monitor. At first look, the city seemed unaffected by the Cylon attacks, then both Angel and Hobo saw row upon row of surface vehicles clogging the roadways out of the city. Sitting still in both the outbound and inbound lanes, thousands of cars covered the open ground. From their current altitude it wasn't clear if this was an active traffic jam, or endless ranks of abandoned vehicles.

Angel scanned the long line of vehicles, flying lower to get a better look. "What the frak?" she muttered. "Hobo, look down the road there... was there some sort of multiple-vehicle accident?" She was indicating a place further along the traffic jam, where it appeared that many vehicles were resting haphazardly off the roadway.

Hobo looked. Toward the limit of his vision, the rough order of vehicles abandoned on the roadway degenerated into a massive pileup that spanned the roadbed. Vehicles had evidently poured out around the deadlock, crossing into the open fields on either side, their trails through the grass and dirt still evident from Angel and Hobo's aerial vantage point. Many of the cars appeared to have taken light arms fire, possibly from Cylon fightercraft. Some still burned, bright fires that fed off spilled gasoline, or guttering flames that rose from burning tires, pouring thick black smoke into the air. Scattered around, small even in their magnified camera view, bodies lay still in the grass. Though it seemed that many people must have fled their trapped vehicles during the attack, no living soul stirred within view of the Raptor.

Angel overflew the scene without speaking, knowing that Hobo was getting it all on video. They went on wordlessly, both watching the DRADIS as they approached the spaceport.

The spaceport was a sprawling complex of hangars and low buildings, but what predominated the area were long concrete runways and large landing pads, the latter scorched by ship engines. At the edge of the cluster of buildings was the control tower, several stories taller than any other structure in the area. Unlike the line of cars strafed by gunfire, there was no evidence of damage, making Angel uneasy. She slowed the Raptor, her gaze alternating between the DRADIS screen at her console and the view out the cockpit.

Hobo shot a few looks out the forward windscreen, but his view of the spaceport was far better on the camera monitors. He panned and zoomed, switching cameras frequently, searching the sea of concrete that surrounded the spaceport complex. "What's that?" he blurted, then added, more calmly, "West side of the North Concourse, there's a vessel parked there. I don't recognize it."

Angel took her eyes from the DRADIS and looked at the video monitor for a long moment. She mentally sorted through the multitude of craft silhouettes that she'd memorized in flight school, finally deciding, "Not Colonial. It must be a cylon ship." She resumed her alternating scan of the skies outside and the DRADIS. "I don't like how this feels, Hobo. Do you see anything else down there? I think we need to bug out."

"Agreed, let's scram before we get spotted."

"Next stop, Caprica City," Angel stated. "Jump us there, Hobo, but... not too close."

"Yes, ma'am," Hobo replied. He busied himself with the intra-atmosphere jump plot, referring back to the surface map of Caprica several times. When he sensed Angel giving him a nervous glare, he quickly said, "Plotting... almost there." A moment later he announced, "Jump vector laid in, standing by for your order."

Angel gave the order and a moment later they were riding out another rough arrival. They were low over the hills of Caprica Heights, south of the main city where the flatland between the Bay and the hills was narrow. Angel pointed the Raptor north and gunned the engines. Already the two officers could make out columns of smoke rising from the collection of broken towers that marked the center of Caprica City.

"Uh, Angel?" Hobo said hesitantly as her navigation monitor beeped. A positional marker pulsed on the display and Hawkins glanced first at it, then back at her ECO.

"Yeah?"

"That's Jaxon Harbor, one of Cap City's suburbs. My parents live there..." Hobo swallowed hard, watching Angel's face intently. "Can we put down and check on them?"

A thousand thoughts flashed through Angel's mind in a split second. "That's not on our flight plan, Hobo," she said steadily.

"But it's under our flight path," Herlihy countered quickly. "We can drop down..."

"And do what, Dylan?" Hawkins asked. "If they're not okay, there's nothing we can do, and if they are okay... there's nothing we can do. We're on a military mission." She was thinking, though about the position he was in. If they were surveying Libran, would she want to check on her family? Yes, she thought, I'd want to, but I wouldn't. There really is nothing we can do, except pray.

"Screw the mission!" Herlihy shot back. "They're down there. Right down there!" He looked at her, his eyes pleading. "Angel, I've got two kid sisters... how can I not help them?"

"We can't help them, Dylan," Hawkins stated, trying to sound firm but understanding. "There's nothing we can do. We have our orders."

Herlihy turned away from Hawkins, angrily punching the button that brought up the view from the Raptor's forward camera. As he did, he dropped his right hand onto the grip of his sidearm, thumbing the snap open on his holster. Frak! he thought, I don't want to do this! How can I be here, though, and not check on Mom and Dad?! He slipped the pistol halfway out of the holster, then paused, his eyes locked on the camera monitor. Ahead of the Raptor the sea curved around a stretch of low hills, forming a bay. The expanse of water was encircled by a wall of flames, a firestorm raging through a community of wood-frame houses.

Beyond the conflagration lay the blackened remains of neighborhood after neighborhood, stretching back to the main city where the fires had begun, ignited by the nuclear blasts. Too late, Herlihy thought. Too late... by what? An hour perhaps? He let the pistol slip back into the holster as his shoulders sagged. His head fell, chin resting on his chest and he closed his eyes. Slowly the fingers of his right hand found the strap that secured his gun and pressed the snap closed. Herlihy let out a long, slow breath and said a mental prayer for his family.

"We have our orders," he echoed Angel, his voice defeated.

The video monitor on the console in front of Angel showed the scene from the forward camera, and out the windscreen she could see the fires and smoke. There's nothing we can do, she thought sadly. "I'm sorry, Dylan," she said softly.

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:08 am 
Site Gunslinger
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm
Posts: 8181
Location: The Dark Side
Offline
Jericho System
Herodotus Salvage Op
Day Zero, 1410 Hours


Lieutenant Jack Mayer's Raptor emerged from FTL jump about five klicks from the Tauranian Titan, above the asteroid field where they'd located the Herodotus almost 36 hours earlier. The task group still maintaining EmCon, with the exception of active DRADIS, so his craft wasn't squawking IFF. Mayer waited roughly ten seconds as a result, giving the group members time to register his arrival on DRADIS before he moved. He didn't wait to use the wireless, though, calling the Patrocles' flight control officer almost immediately.

"Task Group Flight, Raptor 585," Mayer called out, his words coming out quickly. He was still feeling the affects of his recce of Scorpia and Libran; his heart rate still raced from slipping around Cylon patrols to assess the damage to each colony. He breathed deeply while he waited for a response, calming himself slowly.

[Five Eighty-Five, Task Group Flight,] a young male voice responded. [Welcome back. All recon birds are home now, Lieutenant.]

Mayer raised an eyebrow; he had not expected his return to be the last. "Very good, Flight," he responded, his voice more casual now. "Request hand-off to Bellerophon Flight Control."

[Negative, Five Eighty-Five. You are directed to Patrocles for debrief, sir. Please recover your craft forward.]

"Affirmative, Flight," Mayer responded, glancing back at his ECO. "Redirecting to Patrocles, recovering forward.] Mayer fired the Raptor's engines, working the joystick to angle the craft toward the bow of the frigate, where the flight deck made a 'notch' in the nose of the warship.

Ten minutes later six Raptor crews stood at attention in the pilots' ready room of the Frigate Patrocles, facing Colonels Bisby and Mast. Bisby consulted a list briefly, then looked up at the assembled officers. The mood in the room was somber, each crew having to handle the impact of their recon missions, facing the evidence that the Cylon attack had been brutally effective and had touched every colony.

"At ease," Bisby ordered. "Lieutenant Mayer?" he addressed the flight crews, drawing out the rank and turning Mayer's surname into an interrogatory. Mayer took a step forward, awaiting Bisby's expected command. JRLT Shartava stepped up beside Mayer. "Your recon included Scorpia, and the Shipyards," Bisby continued. "Did you find any sign of the Pegasus?"

"No, sir," Mayer responded crisply. "The Shipyards were already slipping out of orbit, and there were multiple wrecks surrounding it, including the Ramses," Mayer answered, identifying one of the Pegasus' battle group's Columbia-class battlestars. "The Pegasus was not there, sirs. And there was no wreckage to indicate she'd been destroyed."

"Thank you, Lieutenant Mayer," Bisby said.

"And what about Fleet Headquarters on Picon, Lieutenant Hawkins?" Colonel Mast asked.

Without expression, Hawkins reported, "Sirs, Fleet HQ was completely destroyed, as were both the orbital Shipyards." She paused and then continued, "The Fleet planetary facilities were heavily bombarded by cylon nuclear weapons; nothing remains for several kilometers outward from ground zero. Fires were still burning when we surveyed the area."

Mast's expression was grim as he nodded to acknowledge her report.

To Colonel Mast, Bisby said, "We must make for Jormung Anchorage with all haste."

Under his breath, Mast muttered, "If Cain made it that far." Then he replied to Bisby in a normal tone, "I agree, we should go to Jormung first."

Over the next ten minutes the Raptor crews gave brief reports of their findings, with Mast and Bisby asking occasional questions. The room grew quieter with each account, as the immense magnitude of the Cylon assault unfolded in words and photos. When the final crew finished, deathly silence had settled over the group. Silently, Colonel Bisby bowed his head and each individual present did the same. Bisby allowed a long moment to pass, then his gritty voice broke the silence.

"Lords of Kobol, hear our prayers. Gather the souls of your sons and daughters lost this day and bring them unto Elysium." Bisby paused for a moment again, then intoned, "So say we all." The room echoed him. Bisby raised his head, meeting the eyes of those present and nodded once. "Dismissed," he barked, and then turned to leave, Mast following close behind him.

Very softly, Mast repeated, "So say we all."

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:03 am 
User avatar
Site CyberBiker
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 4430
Location: The Grid
Offline
IHC Space
Frigate Patrocles
Day Zero, 1445 Hours


As the Raptor crews filed out of the ready room, JRLT Dylan Herlihy waited on his pilot, LT Kacey Hawkins. Thoughts raced in his head, and though he wasn't sure what he'd say, he felt he had to talk to Hawkins about what had happened over Caprica. All the while, he saw images in his mind of people he knew, and he wondered for each one if they'd survived.

"Angel!" he called out as she emerged from the debriefing.

Hawkins quickened her pace, unexpectedly feeling glad that her ECO had waited for her. After the briefing, hearing what the others had seen, she felt numb--the kind of numbness you feel right after you've been beaten up. "Hey, Dylan," she said. "How are you doing?"

Herlihy had not anticipated the query, and for a moment he stared blankly at Hawkins. When her question registered, he felt a sudden surge of anger and he let himself go with it. "How do you think I'm doing, Kacey?" He glanced nervously from side to side, as though seeking anything to focus on but her face, then he looked up and met her eyes, resolve steadying his voice and his gaze. "The worlds are frakking ended! Everyone I know is gone!"

"Yes," she replied in a low voice. She realized she had a stabbing headache, and she suddenly felt very, very tired. "Yes," she repeated, and added even more quietly, "all of my family is dead, too." She looked away, wishing she could cry, or scream, or... or anything besides feel as if she was nearly dead, herself.

Herlihy was immediately sorry for his outburst, and Angel's downcast expression made him feel worse. "Damnit, Angel," he began, "I'm sorry. It's just so frustrating... I feel so helpless." He drew his eyebrows together, his face taking on a look of concentration. His lips were drawn into a thin line. "What do I do now?" he asked, "What do we do?" He met her eyes, his expression becoming plaintive. "And don't tell me 'we go on living', because there's gotta be more than that!" he cautioned.

She rubbed her eyes with thumb and forefinger. "I don't know, Dylan," she sighed. "I guess... we do our duty." She looked down the passageway, her gaze unfocused, thinking of the two Colonels. She looked back at Herlihy and said, "If we're lucky, they'll let us take the fight to the cylons."

Herlihy considered her words, trying to formulate a response to her suggestion of carrying the fight back to the attackers. He couldn't settle his mind onto whether he truly wanted to do that... for him, as a warrior, it made sense... but with the Colonies gone, for what would they be fighting? Revenge?

Nearby, Jack Mayer had lingered in the corridor, talking to another pilot. Hawkins' words caught his ear, though, when she said 'take the fight to the Cylons'. He excused himself from the discussion he'd been carrying on, and stepped nearer to Angel and Hobo. "I'll tell you what we do now, we find a way to survive. Not just the few of us, but us as the human race. We leave those dead worlds behind, and find a way to go where the Cylons can never follow." Mayer recalled Dr. Maxwell's FTL research, and immediately wondered if the man had survived. He may already be here, in IHC space, Mayer mused.

Hawkins looked at Mayer blankly. Survive? Survival, as an individual or as the human race, hadn't occurred to her. "We are still the Colonial Fleet," she stated. "We follow the orders of our superior officers."

"Our superior officers are gonna get us killed," Mayer responded, his voice lowering. "It makes no sense to blindly follow when the Colonies are gone." Mayer leaned close, his voice becoming a harsh whisper. "How can there be a Colonial Fleet, when there are no more Colonies?" he asked.

Hawkins stared silently at Mayer for a moment. It was obvious to her that he was just stating his opinion, not bringing up the topic for discussion. "Whatever," she finally said wearily, and she turned away. "C'mon, Dylan, let's get some chow." She started down the passage without waiting for a response from either man.

Herlihy started after Hawkins, his response almost automatic - a result of long association. Still, the pilot from the Bellerophon had a certain magnetism that made the young ECO look back as he departed. Mayer was still regarding them, his face inscrutable. Mayer's words echoed in Herlihy's mind, leaving a lasting, dangerous impression. Herlihy turned, loping after Hawkins in the direction of the mess deck. His thoughts remained with Mayer, though, and he wondered at the future of a fleet without a homeland.

Jack Nathaniel Mayer watched the young ECO scramble after his red-haired pilot for only a moment. As he turned away, he discounted them both. Those two won't find their way in this new order, he thought. Who will, besides me? Who will...?


Top
 Profile  
 

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 99 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron