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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:54 pm 
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Civilian research cruiser Satyr
Quarters of Robert Rand
Day 4, late


Robert Rand paced the floor of the living area of his quarters with measured steps that led him in a steady orbit of a low table.

He considered his situation. The Colonies were gone - eradicated by the cylons - and his employer was lost along with them. Though he had never counted the cylons aboard the Satyr as friends or allies, it was now clear that they were true enemies. Rand bent his arms, flexed his fingers, knowing that his access to the technology that had produced his prostheses would be nearly nonexistent from now forward. Added to that, he was unsure if Captain Cherenko was up to the challenge of keeping her ship and her crew alive.

So Rand had no job, no access to Cylon tech, and no confidence in his ship's commanding officer. Thus far he had continued to do his job, holding fast to that small scrap of his former life. Now he had fabricated a lie in order to alert the Jormung station commander to the fact that biological cylons had been aboard the ammunition reserve, a lie necessary to cover up that Rand knew that the two men whose faces he had recognized were not human, not cylon collaborators, but actual cylons themselves.

Rand scowled. D'Augustine deserved to know the truth, but the politics of the situation made it necessary to withhold it. Rand had observed enough to gauge - if the Satyr officers were discovered to have had foreknowledge of the presence of cylon agents in the Twelve Worlds - Colonel Bisby was likely to charge them with treason. He would end up in the Patrocles' brig along with Cherenko and perhaps a few others.

So Rand paced, his mind analyzing the circumstances, checking to see if they'd left any gaps in their cover story, searching out the vulnerabilities that could lead to the exposure of their secret. After a while his steps led him to the storage closet that was his own personal armory. He opened the door, casting his eyes across the weapons and body armor arrayed within. His gaze settled upon a package and he picked it up, carrying it to a table.

He set the package down with a solid thump and once again unfolded the packing slip that marked this as having come from his friend and former co-worker, Michael Perry. The coded message Perry had included had been brief - Robert, you will find this very interesting, and I think it may prove to be useful one day - and coming as it had just hours before the cylon surprise attacks it left Rand wondering what his old friend had discovered. The package contained a shoulder-fired missile, armed with an EMP warhead. It was a weapon that would be extraordinarily effective against cylon centurions, and Rand could not shake the sense that somehow Michael Perry had known what was coming.

It was likely, though, that Rand would never know that for certain. As he placed the EMP weapon back into the storage closet, he wondered as well whether he would ever need to use it.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:27 pm 
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Hospital Ship Chiron
Deck 8 Conference Room
Day 5 0430 Hours


Major Al Davenport stood waiting in the conference room. He was waiting for Colonels Bisby and Mast, and wasn’t at all surprised that they weren’t here yet, even though Colonel Bisby had ordered the meeting for precisely 0430 this morning.

Captain D’Augustine was here, standing to Al’s left. The Marine captain had escorted the other three who also stood there, a few meters away: Major Rattler and his two stone-faced lieutenants. Davenport had offered them chairs at the table, but Rattler had refused with a shake of his head.

When D’Augustine had escorted the mercenaries into the room, Al had given him a quick questioning glance. JD had returned it with a slight shrug; he didn’t know what the meeting was about, either. It wasn’t hard to guess, though. Davenport had heard about how one of the mercenaries had grabbed Lt. Stein’s sidearm the day before… now they were here with the three highest ranking mercenaries. Al doubted that Bisby would order the mercenary unit back aboard the Chiron, the station was a much more secure place for them. But Bisby had some plan, Al knew, and he hoped it would work to keep the Scorpian thugs in line.

Colonel Lawrence Mast of the Bellerophon was the first of the warship commanders to enter the conference room. Mast searched quickly across Davenport and D'Augustine's faces for any sign they knew what was happening, then looked warily at Rattler and his two lieutenants. From behind him came Colonel Bisby's voice giving a curt order - "Wait here" - and then the Patrocles commander strode into the room. Two black-clad Marines took up station in the corridor.

Bisby's demeanor radiated confidence, and his gaze settled immediately on the mercenary leader, Rattler. Bisby's eyes held an unspoken challenge as he addressed those present.

"Captain D'Augustine, Major Davenport, thank you for convening at this early hour. Major Rattler, your cooperation is also appreciated." Bisby's voice was genuine as he spoke to the Colonial officers, but his tone as he directed his words toward the Scorpian made it clear he considered Rattler's rank to be illegitimate, and the Colonel's brief pause before he spoke his final word made it clear that the mercenary's cooperation wasn't appreciated, it was required.

Rattler smiled thinly, an expression that held no amusement or mirth.

D'Augustine kept his face carefully neutral, hiding his irritation at Bisby's manner. No matter what the man thought of the Scorpian mercenaries, treating their leader with anything but respect wasn't a good idea. The Marine sensed Major Davenport's rigidity, next to him, but a quick glance showed that the physician's expression was as unrevealing as his own. D'Augustine took a second to ponder what Davenport's thoughts might be, but then focused his attention on Colonel Bisby.

"The Strike Group will be leaving shortly to begin actions against the cylons," Bisby continued. He met D'Augustine's eyes, and during his brief pause both men's thoughts took the same path - Jormung would be left to defend herself, alone. Then Bisby shifted his eyes to the mercenary commander, and he continued, "You and most of your personnel, Rattler, will remain aboard the Anchorage under Captain D'Augustine's command. I require two detachments, each of a single fireteam, to be assigned to the Strike Group. Your lieutenants will lead each detachment directly." Bisby omitted the merc commander's rank, and his authoritative tone made it clear he would brook no dissension.

Rattler did not speak immediately as Bisby ordered him to relinquish his two most senior officers under terms of their conscription. The weathered mercenary returned Bisby's gaze with his lone eye narrowed, gauging the Colonel's intentions.

Kasan Smith, one of the lieutenants that Bisby referred to, bristled internally at the Colonial's manner toward his commanding officer. He followed Rattler's example, however, and remained still and impassive. He also noted both D'Augustine's and Davenport's lack of reaction to Bisby's pronouncement, but he did see the Marine's neck muscles tense. He wondered, for a moment, at the thoughts behind that tension, but dismissed it as unimportant.

The lean mercenary lieutenant then considered Bisby's order. He immediately understood the purpose for it; he and Nasser would be hostages, held as guarantee that those left behind on the station wouldn't take it over. It was a logical ploy, Kasan acknowledged, but one based on the assumption that Rattler valued his lieutenants more than he valued gaining control of Jormung. Kasan trusted that his commander would do what was necessary for the survival of the group, whether that meant sacrificing the lieutenants or sacrificing the possibility of controlling the station.

Holding hostages went both ways, though, and Kasan knew that Jormung's personnel could as easily be held hostage by Rattler. Either way, being assigned to one of the Colonial ships would also give him a good chance to learn how that ship operated, knowledge that could be used when the time was right.

As the silence stretched out Colonel Bisby cocked his head slightly to one side and raised an eyebrow. "Is there a problem?" he asked, his question directed at all three Scorpians.

"No," Rattler replied, speaking for the first time. His voice was a baritone, with a rasp earned over decades of shouting commands above the desert winds. The mercenary omitted Bisby's rank, causing the Colonel to bristle, then he continued, "You will have no trouble."

"Good." Bisby stretched the word out, shifting his gaze to Kasan and then Nasser and back to Rattler once more. "I want your lieutenants aboard immediately. The detached troops should report within the hour."

"It will be done," Rattler responded. Nasser J'Seelah shot him a look that questioned his compliance with an order that compromised the merc's situation, but Rattler quelled the objection, repeating his acquiescence.

Nasser J'Seelah watched as Colonel Bisby left the room, flanked closely by Colonel Mast. He steeled himself to follow, but stopped short when he found Kasan Smith intent upon Rattler, stopped by a look from the merc commander. The old Scorpian glanced to Nasser, including him, then held Kasan's gaze. "Tsayà," he said to the younger lieutenant, then to Nasser, "k'yallan." Rattler nodded, releasing the two nomads to go, adding "Sunà in zo ajàli." Wait, watch. Our time will come.

Rattler observed as his lieutenants stepped through the hatch and two Marines in full gear fell in behind them. He paid no heed to Davenport or D'Augustine, evidently unconcerned as to whether they had understood his words.

Captain D'Augustine took his gaze from the mercenary commander and glanced at Davenport. It was obvious from the expression on the physician's face that he had no idea what Rattler had said, either. With an internal shrug, the Marine said to Rattler, "Shall we return to the station, Major?"

The mercenary commander turned his head then, settling his gaze upon D'Augustine. The Marine could swear that Rattler could see with both eyes, though the darkness within the Scorpian's empty left socket said otherwise. Rattler said nothing, and a heartbeat later he swept out of the room, walking ahead of the two Colonial officers and turning unerringly on the path to the docking bay.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:28 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Deck 2, Command Conference Room
Day 5 0800 Hours


Captain Joseph D'Augustine swept his gaze slowly along the length of the Command Conference Room. It was a large room, easily accommodating the twenty or so personnel who would be attending the briefing. The central table could seat fourteen, with a row of seats along each of the two long walls increasing the room's capacity to thirty. A screen stretched the width of the wall opposite the room's entrance, the projection equipment tested and ready. D'Augustine had conducted briefings in this room only twice before; once, when he'd first been assigned to the station to introduce himself to the station staff, and another time during a battle group exercise with three battlestars participating.

"If it wasn't for the table, we could play rugby in here," Specialist Stone said with his characteristic irreverent humor, standing at the far end of the room.

"There are plenty of open spaces on the station to play rugby," the Captain replied with amusement.

"Yes, but this place is posh," Stone bounced on the balls of his feet on the thick carpeting. Then he said, "I put an extra dozen bottles of water on the side table, sir. Do you think we'll need more?"

D'Augustine shook his head. Stone had already put a bottle of water at each place on the table. "I'm sure that's plenty," he assured Stone.

"Are you positive we shouldn't have donuts?" Stone asked.

"Positive," D'Augustine said.

"The whole dog and pony show," Stone said. He ticked off on his fingers, "All the COs. All the XOs. Mardet and Seabee commanders. Air wing commanders and senior pilots." He paused and grinned at D'Augustine. "And you."

"And you," the Marine Captain added.

"I'm just a gopher, not a dog or pony," Stone grinned.

D'Augustine responded with humor, "A regular farmyard."

Stone nodded, his expression growing serious as he wandered down to stand by D'Augustine. "They're going to go after the cylons, aren't they, sir," he murmured.

D'Augustine nodded calmly.

Stone gave a single nod. "Good," he said, the word imbued with fierce satisfaction. He went to stand by the entrance, waiting as personnel from the small fleet began arriving.

D'Augustine greeted each as they filed in, the atmosphere in the room subdued, tense anticipation in the quiet exchanges as each found a spot, waiting for Colonel Bisby to arrive.

Colonels Mast and Bisby filed in on the heels of the last attendee to arrive. Mast quickly surveyed the room and then took the seat deferentially left for him at the front right of the conference table. Bisby accepted D'Augustine's salute, then formally thanked the station commander for the use of the room. Bisby then stepped to the front center of the room, before the video screen. He too cast his gaze across the assemblage, then turned to Specialist Stone and gave a curt nod. Stone's face registered a moment of confusion, then realization. He snapped to rigid attention and barked, "Attention to orders!"

Colonel Wallace Bisby looked solemnly across the assembled officers and enlisted, taking a long moment and meeting the eyes of each and every warrior present. "We," he began, "are all that is left of the Colonial Fleet, to the extent of our knowledge. We are the last hope of the Colonies, the only fighting force capable of defending whatever civilian population remains." Bisby fell silent for a moment, intently watching the occupants of the room. "We will fight the cylons. We must. It is the duty we swore to uphold on the day we each donned these uniforms."

"It will not be easy, and it will not be quick. We are one task group against an array of mechanized forces the extent of which we do not yet know." Bisby paused again, watching as some present shifted uneasily in their seats. "But we will prevail. We are smarter than our foe, more cunning, more adaptable. We will fight them as we must, as our limited resources dictate - striking from hiding, harrying their fleet, disrupting their supply lines. If we can find other operational fighting units, we will gather them to ourselves. We will leave nothing for the enemy."

"I am committing us to this course, likely for the remainder of our lives, for the liberation of the Colonies from the cylons will be an undertaking measured in years, not days. But it is our duty, and we will stand to it."

Bisby stepped to one side, activating a video screen and darkening the room. "Now," he said, "let me show you where we will strike the first blow."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:25 pm 
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In the darkened conference room Colonel Bisby touched a key and an image appeared on the screen on the front wall. Centered in the image was a small station bedecked with parabolic dishes and spindly antennae. It looked almost human-made, but it had sweeping curves and a symmetry of design that marked it as alien. Cylon.

"This," Bisby said, his voice breaking the pregnant silence, "is where we will strike first." He touched another key and the still image began moving, the camera panning outward and then shifting to focus on a flight of raiders that stormed toward it. "This was recorded by one of our reconnaissance Raptors and has been identified as a cylon communications station, possibly even a listening post. The enemy presence here appears to be light. We will conduct a surgical strike here, eliminating the comm station and any fighter cover that chance delivers into our flak barrier and then withdraw. We will be studying the cylon tactics during the attack, and watching their response in the aftermath. This is as much about announcing our presence, though, as it is about intelligence gathering."

"We're going to show these metal bastards that the Colonies are not defeated," Bisby stated with finality. Murmurs sounded throughout the room. The tone, though hushed, seemed to echo satisfaction.

As the voices died away, Colonel William Trafford sat forward in his chair, his clasped hands resting upon the conference table. He looked past Bisby with narrowed eyes, regarding the image of the communications station. "Colonel Bisby," he began, his tone respectful and his words unhurried, "how confident are we that this is just a comm relay?" As he finished his question, his eyes moved to hold the Patrocles' commander.

"The Raptor crew who discovered the station also detected a significant amount of EM traffic in the vicinity, so I believe our conclusion is sound. Because of the facility's position, at a libration point, I think it may have served as a cylon listening post prior to the attacks. In fact, I believe this may have been the cylon 'gateway' into the Helios Delta system."

As Bisby concluded, a noise from behind Trafford caused the repair ship commander to look past his shoulder. Several seats behind him Major Al Davenport traded a nod with Trafford, Davenport clearing his throat before he asked, "Are we going to stage somewhere before the final jump to the target, Colonel? And where do you want the Chiron?"

"Prep for combat will occur prior to our jump to the target, Major," Bisby replied, his tone suggesting that the matter was obvious. "This will be a stand-off attack, utilizing the full capabilities of our strike group and forcing the cylons to come to us if they want a fight. The comm relay is small and can be destroyed with a single conventional missile. The Patrocles will close to maximum range for a full burn, high speed missile launch. Bellerophon will stand ready to prosecute any major targets which may be present. Chiron will remain at the jump advent point."

His voice completely emotionless, Davenport responded, "Thank you, sir."

Lt. Malcom McFarland had been sitting next to Lt. Nyberg. Now he stood, his posture nearly full attention, and he questioned, "Sir, will you be sending recon Raptors to the site right before the rest of the fleet jumps in to attack?" He'd heard about Bisby's dislike of Scorpians, so he took care not to let any trace of a native accent show in his voice. He held little regard for anyone who would paint an entire group of people with the same brush, but he knew about fleet politics. He didn't want an officer's biased opinion affect his chance at fighting the enemy.

Bisby regarded McFarland with a critical eye. The Lieutenant was new to the Patrocles and to his position, but Bisby himself had made the assignment. McFarland's colony of origin had gone unnoticed by the Colonel, and his Khouri heritage was not as obviously Scorpian as many other clans. Bisby gave no indication of distaste. "No," he responded to McFarland's question, "but Raptors will provide standard tactical support for the missile strike." The Colonel swiveled his head to take in the whole room. "Now, if we are done picking at the details of this plan...?"

McFarland sat, wondering if it was a wise decision not to do a pre-attack recon. Bisby's final comment about 'picking at details' of the plan irritated him. Lack of attention to details was what could invoke the first rule of combat... once the shootin' starts, the plan is out the window.

Though the room remained silent, Colonel Bisby scowled momentarily at what he perceived as a general lack of respect from his subordinates. "Specific mission briefs have already been transmitted to your ships," he said crisply as he reviewed those present once more. "Dismissed." With that command, he turned on his heels and left the conference room with only a nod to D'Augustine. Colonel Mast followed closely behind.

Following the departure of their commanding officer, the room slowly erupted as small knots of personnel began to discuss the announced operation. Once such knot included Staff Sergeant Lynden of the Patrocles' Marine detachment and his counterpart from the Bellerophon, Staff Sergeant Jenna Walker. Walker regarded Lynden with a bemused grin. "Not much chance for a boarding action on this one, eh Ken?"

Lynden shook his head. "Doesn't seem like it, Jenna," he replied quietly. He shot a glance in the direction of Bisby's departure. "We're not up against an enemy who thinks like we do, though." His unspoken thought was clear to Walker: I hope like hell Bisby has taken that into account.

Walker's mouth drew into a thin line, and her shoulders rose slightly in a noncommittal shrug. "Bisby was in the fight the first time..."

The dark-skinned Marine nodded slowly. "True," he said thoughtfully, and raised an eyebrow. "I wonder how much the cylons have changed since the last war. They seem to have taken all our experienced military experts by surprise this time."

"Yeah," Walker breathed out, a resigned scowl forming on her face. "I saw some of the combat footage - those raiders are a lot different now." She paused a moment, then continued, "In forty years, our tech has advanced a lot... so theirs? Cylons building new cylons..." Walker shook her head. "It can't be good."

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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."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Destroyer Matthew T. Ayers
Battle of Tauron
First Cylon War


Smoke hung in the air of the Gunnery Control room, so thick that JRLT Bisby could taste it with every breath. On the console before him, three of the four gun cameras of Battery Alpha were dark, the fates of their gun crews unknown. The fourth monitor showed only static, but the ammunition counter was still clicking off rounds - the turret was still firing. The comms specialist relayed messages as they poured in; amidst reports of cylon boarders, Colonel Vartan was demanding they get their guns back online.

"Enemy suppression barrage, range 1000 meters!" the comms specialist relayed.

Bisby grabbed the handset and punched a button to pass on the order to all guns, but the circuit was dead. "Battery Alpha unable to respond," he barked at the specialist. The lanky young officer searched his status panels, unable for a moment to decide what to do. He had already dispatched a damage control team to his guns, a deck above and 40 meters outboard from Gunnery Control. Just as he decided to take his standby gunners and form a second DC party, the forward hatch cover began ringing with the impact of enemy rounds. The hatch wheel spun and every soul present drew their sidearm.

When the hatch swung open, a Marine nearly fell through, his arm around the chest of the wounded man he was dragging. A third Marine backed through the hatchway, firing bursts from his rifle down the passageway. Enemy rounds pinged off the bulkheads, several finding their way into the Gunnery Control room. By some miracle the incoming fire seemed to miss the Marines. Then as one Marine and a standby gunner shouldered the hatchway closed there was a resounding explosion. The pressure wavefront rolled down the corridor, blowing the hatch cover open violently. Flames jetted into the control room, consuming the oxygen, searing lungs. The last thing that JRLT Bisby saw were the pipes on the overhead as his body crashed to the deck and he lost consciousness.

JRLT Bisby, and one gunner, were the only survivors of Gun Battery Alpha.


Destroyer Matthew T. Ayers
In orbit of Scorpia
Four Months Later


Junior Lieutenant Wallace Bisby surveyed the status panel before him, then grabbed a corded handset that hung from a panel on the overhead. "Battery Alpha reports at the ready!" he said crisply, then hung the handset up. On the console four screens flickered, displaying the views from gun cameras on the four turrets of Alpha Battery. The light KEW emplacements were arrayed on the port side dorsal hull of the destroyer Matthew T. Ayers, and comprised one-fourth of the warship's anti-aircraft defense.

"Toasters have some sort of mobile base set down on the small moon," reported the specialist at the comms station. "Admiral Mecklenberg has ordered us in to support a Marine assault."

From the standby seats at the bulkhead behind him, JRLT Bisby heard one of the gunners' mates say, "Colonel Vartan will give 'em hell, he will. Those boys on the ground won't find anything left when they get there!"

"Colonel Vartan is reckless, and prosecutes targets with complete disregard for the safety of his crew," Bisby said officiously, never taking his eyes from the status panel. "The time the Ayers just spent in the shipyard attests to that."

"He gets the job done," the gunners' mate countered.

Bisby silenced the man with a withering stare. "He gets people killed."



Walking with Colonel Mast in the corridor of Jormung Anchorage, Colonel Wallace Bisby's thoughts turned to the deceased. Bisby did not consider himself a nostalgic man, given to dwelling upon old memories, but in the wake of the conference Bisby thought back forty years to the Cylon War. The First Cylon War, he corrected himself. People under his command had perished then, and it was a certainty that he would add members of this battle group to the ranks of the dead. He had committed them to fighting the cylons with only a remote hope of liberating the Colonies.

When Colonel Mast commented, "So now we go to war," Bisby's reply was not based solely on their current situation.

"War came to us, Lawrence."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:03 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Deck 24, Shuttle Bay 3E
Day 5


The shuttle receded from view, its path a curving vector away from the station. It was the second of two, taking mercenary fire teams to the Bellerophon and the Patrocles. Captain D'Augustine watched it for a moment, his hands clasped behind his back, then he glanced at the mercenary commander standing next to him at the viewport. Rattler's face was impassive, giving the Marine no clue what the Major was thinking.

D'Augustine wondered what he could learn from the lean and weathered nomad, if they had been allies and not enemies united against a larger common enemy. Decades of desert warfare had certainly given the older man a vast knowledge of tactics and strategy that would be invaluable against the cylons. The Marine was a pragmatist, though, dismissing his musings and taking a step away from the port. Without speaking, he looked more directly at Rattler, waiting.

The Scorpian warrior stood with arms folded across his chest, regarding the empty wasteland of stars beyond the viewport. Sensing D'Augustine's eyes upon him, Rattler spoke without turning. "You have questions, Marine?"

The undertone of respect that D'Augustine heard in Rattler's voice impelled him to say, "It's too bad we couldn't have met under other circumstances, Major." He gazed out the port for a moment, then looked back at the Major and asked, "The circumstances are hardly ideal, but are your accommodations here adequate?"

Now Rattler took a step aside to regard D'Augustine, the slight incline of his head hinting that the Marine's question may have surprised him. "My men miss the warmth of the Sun," he said, the admission seeming appropriate coming from the leathery warrior. Rattler dipped his head in a nod, continuing, "Our accommodations are sufficient, Captain."

"With Colonel Bisby taking the fight to the cylons, that will leave us here at the station with only our point defense weapons," D'Augustine stated calmly. He glanced at Rattler and added, "I'm sure you've heard that a cylon patrol attacked us here, and was destroyed." Although the mercenary battalion wasn't included in any of the Fleet briefings, the Marine was certain that they had methods of finding out what had happened, and what was planned.

Rattler nodded acknowledgement. "Do you believe your enemy will wish to capture this citadel intact?" the merc commander asked.

"I'm positive they want to," D'Augustine stated. He looked out the viewport, his jaw muscles clenching, and said, "Cylon collaborators tried to sabotage the station. Before the attacks, two of them planted a remotely activated biological weapon that probably would have killed all the station staff. Purely by chance we discovered it and destroyed it, but that cylon patrol's mission may have been to activate the weapon. Jormung's location and the armament we store would be a coveted prize for the cylons."

"The infiltrators would almost certainly have reported the strength of your force, Captain." Rattler's manner was that of an officer assessing a threat, and he spoke to D'Augustine as an equal. "It would be reasonable to assume they would come with sufficient troops to crush you, but machine efficiency would suggest that they would use no more." The nomad ended his statement on an up-note, making it a question for the Marine to affirm or refute.

The Marine looked at Rattler with a grimace. "We didn't detect any transmissions from that cylon patrol before we destroyed them, but that doesn't mean there weren't any. At the very least, the absence of those three ships will be noticed." He turned his gaze out the port again, as if actively looking for enemy ships. "The cylons built this station, so they know the limits of our weaponry... and they also know our storage capacity, although not how much armament we currently store. I agree that they'll return to try and capture the station. If they know that we have capital ships here, they'll probably have a larger attack force than that just to take Jormung. So..." His shrug held frustration. "Who knows? And when they'll reappear is another question. If they don't need this position tactically, if they don't urgently need any of what we have stored, they may not show up for a while." He turned his head to look at Rattler again. "Or they may show up in the next minute."

"Regardless of their timing, Captain, they will come with numbers greater than your dozen builders could stand against," Rattler stated, referring to the SeaBees. "You have arms, I have men. It would be foolishness for us not to cooperate."

"Agreed, sir," D'Augustine replied. "We must work together to defend this station, or none of us will survive."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:23 pm 
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Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
Day 5, 0900 Hours


Kasan Smith stood next to the bunk he'd been assigned on the Colonial ship Bellerophon. Also in the cramped berthing compartment with him were two of his platoon members, PFC Jery S'Elend and Cpl Tanah S'Bara. He'd selected them because they were both wily, observant, and could keep their mouths shut. S'Bara had the added advantage of being attractive and unafraid to sleep with anyone who could advance her goals. The outcast scar over her left eye was thin and didn't detract from her beauty, which was more typically Caprican than Scorpian. Smith was betting on her ability to seduce any of the ship's crew members to get information--and possibly gain access to restricted areas.

S'Elend could also help them learn more about the Bellerophon and this motley Colonial fleet. His wavy brown hair and easy grin hid a sharp and rapacious intellect that he used to get whatever he wanted. He had originally been loyal only to Rattler, but several months after Smith had been assigned as his platoon leader, he'd learned something about Smith that caused him to extend his loyalty to the lieutenant as well. His extension of loyalty to Smith had been obvious, but when pressed by his fellow nomads, he refused to say what made him do so.

One other reason that Smith had selected S'Elend and S'Bara was because they were thinkers. Neither would risk their mission here by allowing themselves to become angry or greedy. Both would follow his orders without question, but would expect an explanation later. Both understood the big picture and the precarious position they, and all humans, were in.

"Do you think they've forgotten about us?" S'Bara asked with curiosity. She was sitting cross-legged on her bunk, playing with her knife. She looked up at Smith, who'd been standing nearly motionless for the past hour.

"No," he replied calmly. "I imagine they're passing down the responsibility for who's going to be our caretakers here." His voice conveyed slight amusement at the thought.

S'Elend was laying flat on the upper bunk opposite, and he chuckled softly. "Do you think they'll go for rank, or size?" he asked in a lazy tone. "Or both?"

"Rank will probably pass it down to someone with size," S'Bara responded, smiling. "As if it matters."

S'Elend flashed his knife and then put it away without speaking.

"Rank or size mean nothing," Smith said. Then the lean lieutenant repeated what his commander had said to him earlier: "Tsayà, k'yallan. Sunà in zo ajàli." Wait, watch. Our time will come.

Both mercenaries nodded, S'Bara's smile one of a cat luring a mouse, S'Elend's boyish grin concealing conspiratorial thoughts.

The Bellerophon crew member who stepped into the compartment a short time later was not particularly high-ranking, nor especially large. His manner, however, showed that he wasn't easily intimidated, nor was he afraid of the Scorpian mercenaries. Petty Officer Second Class David Lyon was fair-haired and blue-eyed, although his tanned skin revealed that he'd recently spent a good deal of time outdoors. He had just come from the hangar deck and wore the orange maintenance coverall.

Before he could speak, S'Elend slid down off his bunk, and S'Bara stood also, her knife no longer visible. Both took positions to one side and slightly behind their lieutenant. Lyon studied the three for a brief moment, then said, "I'm PO2 Lyon. I'm a maintenance tech and in charge of the damage control team you've been assigned to."

"I am Kasan Smith," the mercenary lieutenant deliberately didn't state his rank, and neither did S'Bara and S'Elend when they said their names.

Lyon studied Smith for a second, noting his lack of disavowal scar and also that the man was unmistakably a Scorpian nomad. He didn't remark on his observation, merely saying, "I need to show you where to report and what to do in case we need to do DC, and also brief you on our normal safety procedures. If you have any questions, ask." He turned and led the small group out of the compartment.

As they walked through the passage to the hangar deck, Lyon pointed out the emergency storage lockers where environmental suits were stored, as well as the alcoves containing the heavy cylinders of fire retardant. The mercenaries were silent, but they made note of everything Lyon said--as well as sharply surveying all around them. Once they were on the hangar deck and Lyon had closed the hatch behind them, he told them, "Here, just starboard of the hatch, is where my team would rally. I've got two of the deck crew on my team, too."

Smith did a slow half-turn, his gaze taking in everything on the deck. "And if the passage to get here is blocked, or the hatch won't open?" he asked.

"We have secondary and tertiary rally locations," Lyon explained. "I'll show you on the way back to your quarters." He headed across the forward end of the deck, slowing as he saw that the Scorpians had fallen back. "The Belle normally has four Raptors and two shuttles assigned," he said, stopping so they could watch as a pilot did a preflight walk-around of one of the planes.

Smith gave him an interested glance, but didn't speak. Interpreting the look, Lyon shrugged and said, "Not everyone hates Scorpians as much as Bisby and Mast do."

"That's nice to know," S'Bara finally spoke, her voice revealing no trace of nomad accent. She favored Lyon with a friendly smile.

"My girlfriend is from Scorpia," Lyon smiled back, then his expression grew somber. "Or... was."

S'Bara touched his arm gently. "We've all lost people we cared for," she said softly.

Smith was inwardly amused at her artfully sympathetic expression.

Beside his Raptor, Lieutenant Jack Mayer listened as bits of Lyon's conversation with the nomads carried across the deck. He smiled privately as he signed off his checklist, the expression feral and predatory. There's a group who'll bear no allegiance to the Colonies, he thought, or the Fleet. Mayer had already heard that the Scorpians were coming aboard - the grapevine was abuzz with the news. He stood for a moment, regarding the small group, a chuckle escaping him as S'Bara attempted to play Lyon.

"I may have to make some new friends," he commented to himself as he turned to board the Raptor.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:12 am 
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Guided missile frigate Patrocles
Hangar Deck
Day 5


The knuckledraggers on the hangar deck were busy, preparing for the upcoming mission, and only spared Captain Thompson and Engineering Petty Officer First Class Drew McAdams brief curious glances. The two stood to the side, out of the way, waiting for an arriving shuttle.

"What have you heard about this Scorpian mercenary group?" the blonde Captain asked McAdams calmly.

He gave her a quick glance, but thought for a moment before he replied. He was tall, with dark curly hair, and had a steady, calm demeanor no matter the circumstances. New engineering recruits were often assigned to him because he was both patient and painstaking, all characteristics that Thompson thought would help in dealing with the assigned mercenary fireteam. "Heard all sorts of things, sir," he finally said pensively. "Some say they're a bunch of crazy criminals... others say they're victims of too-harsh clan justice."

Smiling inwardly, Thompson asked, "And what do you think about them, Petty Officer?"

McAdams gave a slight shrug. "Don't think much until I get to know them, sir," he said calmly. "Figure they'll need a close eye either way." Satisfied with his answer, he gave a small nod.

"Very good, Petty Officer," Thompson replied.

Nasser J'Seelah stopped in the shuttle's hatchway, surveying the scene before him. When his eyes lit upon Thompson and McAdams, he sneered inwardly. Only two? He strode forward, down the shuttle's ramp, three other mercenaries following. Two were male, seeming copies of Nasser with desert-lean, muscular builds; the other was female, though her boyish figure and short-cropped brown hair almost disguised that fact. All four walked with confidence, their manner alert.

J'Seelah assessed that Thompson was the ranking officer and stopped before her. He did not salute, but afforded her a predatory smile. "Reporting as requested," he stated, a trace of derision in his voice.

Inwardly, Thompson was amused, resigned, and slightly worried. That's right, boy, show us how big your balls are... and I'm sure you'll be glad to cause trouble. She showed no indication of her thoughts, however, replying without inflection, "I am Captain Thompson, executive officer of the Patrocles. Petty Officer McAdams commands the damage control team that you and your troops have been assigned to."

Taking his cue from the Captain, McAdams said, "My team is responsible for damage control in the auxiliary engine control compartment and the adjoining passageways." His steady, stoic manner was evident in his words.

Nasser kept his dark eyes locked on Thompson as McAdams spoke, not acknowledging the Petty Officer in any way. The nomad lieutenant's pause was the only indication that he'd heard McAdams at all. Nasser maintained his smile, and one eyebrow crept higher as he voiced a question. "Of what use will four desert mice be, to repair this flying metal box?"

"As much use as they wish to be, keeping in mind that the survival of their desert mice asses depends on the survival of this ship," Thompson answered pleasantly.

Nasser cocked his head to one side. "Perhaps all the more reason," he said, "to assign us some other duty."

The Captain regarded him a moment. Finally, with a slight smile, she replied, "I don't think your commander would approve of action--or inaction--that would cause your own deaths and result in the destruction of this ship. Do you have a name, or shall I refer to you as desert mouse number one?"

"My commander's approval means nothing when I go to face my god," Nasser spat out, his smile fading. After a heartbeat he answered Thompson's question, some of his sudden anger remaining to make his words and his expression into a challenge. "As a Colonial," he said, "you may refer to me as Nash Seals."

"Very well," Thompson's manner changed as quickly as the mercenary's, her tone now cold and impersonal. "Do you have a rank, Nash Seals?"

"I am Rattler's nabiyu, commanding a platoon," Nasser replied. His expression softened, and took on an air of curiosity.

Thompson made an educated guess, recalling the little she'd learned about the mercenary battalion. "So your rank would be equivalent to lieutenant," she stated. She paused, then asked, "Is your goal to face your god, or to survive and return to Scorpia?"

"I will face my god, this is certain - it matters not when. My kyafk’i seeks our return to the Mother, and that is therefore my goal."

"Then you would be wise to learn from Petty Officer McAdams, who is an expert in damage control," the blonde officer said, again professionally calm. "The barrenness of space is as harsh a Mother as the desert. The fate of the ship, and everyone aboard, can lie in the hands of one person."

"Such a tenuous grasp on life?" Nasser made the question an observation and a smile ghosted across his face. Louder, he said to those accompanying him, "Come, dakare, we have much to learn."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:09 am 
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Hospital Ship Chiron
Chief's Wardroom
Day 5 Late Afternoon


Major Davenport stepped into the the Chief's Wardroom, closing the hatch and pausing just inside the door. As he expected, Chief Pardo was already here, standing nearly at attention with her hands clasped behind her back. Lt. Coulter--the only other surviving Order member that they knew of--would be arriving shortly, but Davenport had agreed to meet with Pardo before Coulter arrived.

"Sir," the thin Master Chief acknowledged his arrival with a nod.

"Master Chief," he replied, walking into the Wardroom. The room was smaller than the Officer's Wardroom, although not by much, and held several small tables as well as a longer conference-type table that could sit six or eight people. The longer table was made from a slab of highly polished wood, a variety of metal insignia and coins embedded in its surface. In the center of the table was the stylized sunburst and winged symbol of the Colonial Fleet. The entire table was covered with a gleaming coat of smooth varnish.

Pardo was standing at the head of the the conference table, and she said, "Shall we sit, Major?" Without waiting for his reply, she sat at the head of the table.

Davenport sat to her right, folding his fingers together in front of him on the table. Briefly he wondered if he was sullying the shining surface with his officer's hands, then turned his attention to the Master Chief. "How much do you propose we tell Lieutenant Coulter?" he asked her, knowing she'd appreciate skipping any small talk.

"As little as possible," she stated evenly.

He regarded her thoughtfully for a moment. "Don't you think it might be a good idea to let him know about the Chiron's hidden system?" he asked, referring to the Ophiuchus.

"No," she stated. Seeing the beginnings of Davenport's frown, she added, "Vice Admiral Lathrop specifically named those who are permitted to know about it. Lieutenant Coulter is not one of those listed."

With a sigh, the Major said, "I doubt that Vice Admiral Lathrop anticipated our current circumstances." He didn't add that Vice Admiral Lathrop was probably dead.

"Orders are orders," Pardo said firmly.

What if you and I are killed, but the Chiron and Lt. Coulter survive? Davenport thought, but he didn't have the energy to face Pardo's rigid certainty.


Passageway, Crew Quarters

Lieutenant Daniel Coulter walked briskly down the passageway that led to the Chief's Wardroom. His commanding officer had given him a pass to come to Chiron for only ninety minutes, and likely would have denied his request if Colonel Bisby had ordered the Distant Sun along on the mission to kill the cylon comm relay. Flight protocol had chewed up a fair amount of time, and would do so again when he returned to the tanker, so Coulter was hustling to make the most of what he had left.

Daniel Coulter had another reason for his urgency, though. Two days before, while working with Major Davenport and Master Chief Pardo on the Command Navigation Program problem, Pardo had noted the dragon image coiled on the bezel of Coulter's watch and had queried him with the centuries-old recognition phrases used by the Order of the Dragon. Coulter had been surprised to learn that both Pardo and Davenport were members of the Order, and surprise grew to amazement when Pardo revealed herself to be a Knight Commander. Though he'd had little time to consider it, the thought had crossed his mind that after the cylon attacks he might have been all that was left of the secret organization. He was relieved to find that he was not alone.

Coulter reached the wardroom door and drew himself up to stand at attention before entering.

Both Davenport and Pardo stood when the Lieutenant appeared at the door, but it was Master Chief Petty Officer Pardo who welcomed the officer into the Chiefs' inner sanctum. "Good afternoon, Lieutenant," she said formally. "Please, come in and have a seat."

Coulter relaxed as he stepped into the wardroom, greeting first Davenport and then Pardo with their rank, following military protocol. Briefly he wondered at their relationship, given that Pardo outranked her superior officer within the auspices of the Order of the Dragon. He put the thought aside, though, as he took a seat at the burnished table. A glance at Major Davenport showed him that the Chiron commander was watching Chief Pardo, so Coulter focused on her. When she didn't immediately speak, he chose to do so.

"I am Daniel Orrin Coulter, Scribe in the service of the Dragon," he began. Chief Pardo regarded him thoughtfully, pleased that he would identify himself first by his position in the Order.

"This is not a formal meeting, Scribe Coulter," Pardo stated, allowing herself a rare, thin smile.

Coulter had been prepared to complete his introduction, following the traditional form - naming his sponsor and his chapter house. He had practiced the words in his head as he'd traversed the passageways from the Chiron's dock to the wardroom. Now he merely choked them back, nodding to Knight Commander Pardo. He pushed a pang of regret aside and waited silently.

"Scribe Coulter, you've served under Colonel Bisby far longer than we have. I'd like to know your opinion of him," Davenport said. "We," he paused to nod at Chief Pardo, indicating the 'we' he was referring to, "have discussed the possibility of telling him about the Order's search for Earth, in the hopes that he'd consider it as an alternative to fighting a war against the cylons that we're not likely to win."

Coulter frowned momentarily, his reluctance to critique a senior officer ingrained by his military training. After clearing his throat, however, he sat forward and began speaking, his words chosen carefully. "Colonel Bisby is rigidly traditional," Coulter began, looking from Pardo to Davenport and then back. "He's unlikely to abandon his commission to seek our Brothers, regardless of how convincingly we present our argument." Coulter paused, again looking back and forth between the two Order members. He sighed, then added, "And I'm not sure how convincing we can be, now. The majority of our proofs lay back on the Colonies, beyond our reach now."

Pardo nodded, unsurprised at Coulter's assessment. "He does seem rather inflexible," she said dryly.

'Rather inflexible' is an understatement, Davenport thought, toying the medallion on the chain around his neck. He said, "I have a small collection of Order artifacts and manuscripts safely in storage here on the Chiron," he said, "so not all our proofs are beyond our reach. I doubt they would be enough to convince Colonel Bisby, however."

Coulter knitted his eyebrows at Davenport's assessment, vexed that the Chiron's commander felt that they lacked enough proof to sway Bisby to seek out the Thirteenth Tribe. He folded his hands before him on the table and his eyes focused there as he spoke. "Is there enough left to find our path?" he asked, looking up at Pardo.

"You must trust in the work of the Order members that have come before us, Scribe," Pardo said firmly. "We may not have the proof to convince Colonel Bisby, but we do have sufficient data to eventually lead us to Earth."

"Yes," Davenport agreed decisively, thinking of the Ophiuchus. "I have no doubt that given the chance, we will find Earth."

Coulter was not comforted by their certitude. He kept his expression neutral though, and stood. "Captain Ames has given me only a short while here, and I am afraid that time is up. With your permission," he said, nodding to Pardo and Davenport in turn, "I must return to the Distant Sun."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:50 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Operations Center
Zero Hours, Day 6


Marine Captain Joseph D'Augustine watched through the armorglass windows of Jormung's Op Center as the frigate Patrocles and the destroyer escort Bellerophon left the anchorage and moved swiftly to the staging area where the Chiron and Tauranian Titan awaited. The vessel retriever and hospital ship were accompanying the warships on this mission, but the tanker Distant Sun was not. Colonel Bisby's mission plan called for the four ships to jump to a staging point from which the frigate and destroyer would proceed to their intended target at sublight speed. Assuming that the attack proceeded as planned, each of the ships would jump back to Jormung Anchorage once the cylon outpost was destroyed.

As D'Augustine watched, Patrocles and Bellerophon fell into formation with the great vessel retriever. The Titan was longer than the other three ships combined, though only slightly wider. The frigate took up a position above the supertug with its bow slightly ahead, while the destroyer escort fell in alongside the tug's port side abeam of the spherical hull section that housed the Titan's crew. Chiron was already alongside to Titan's starboard.

As he watched the four ships, a cascade of images passed through D'Augustine's mind. Images from the cameras on McFarland's Raptor of a vastly outnumbered Colonial group helpless under the barrage of cylon weaponry... images from reconnaissance missions of devastation too catastrophic to be described in words... images of the target of this mission, an enemy communications station... or a lure to entice Colonial warships?

"Sir?" PO1 Getty asked, hearing his quiet sigh.

"Let's hope this mission doesn't become more difficult than Colonel Bisby anticipates," the Marine murmured.

Getty grimaced slightly, her eyes also on the small group, magnified on the viewscreen. As the two watched, the characteristic flash of jump brightened the screen as the Patrocles jumped, echoed milliseconds later as the other three ships followed.

"Let's hope they all return in one piece," Getty 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."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:54 pm 
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Helios Delta System, orbit of Hestia
29,000 km from L3 Libration Point
Day 6 0015 Hours


The four ships of Expeditionary Strike Group 62 winked into existence in the barren darkness of space. The system's orange K2 star blazed brightly, washing the new arrivals in harsh light. For a moment the formation remained motionless, then two of the vessels began moving away, accelerating quickly.

In the Tauranian Titan's CIC, Colonel William Trafford watched on a viewscreen as the Patrocles and Bellerophon receded into the distance, their pace building as they began their attack run on the cylon listening post. He spoke aloud, to no one in particular, "Good luck and gods speed, Colonels." A murmur of agreement rose from his assembled officers.

"DRADIS, report," Trafford ordered.

"Passive DRADIS resolving a medium target at twenty-nine thousand two hundred kilometers," Lieutenant Keppler replied. "Plot agrees with the computed libration point. Regional clutter is present, but without an active ping I am unable to resolve the returns."

"Thank you, Lieutenant."


Frigate Patrocles, CIC

Aboard the Patrocles Lt. Davisson reported the frigate's status. "Accelerating at one Colonial Standard Gravity, constant. Time to target twenty two hundred fifty eight seconds. Velocity at launch window seventy nine thousand six hundred KPH."

"Very well, helm," Colonel Wallace Bisby replied, pacing deliberately across the bridge. "We have thirty-seven minutes - be prepared." Bisby turned to face the communications officer. "Get the missile Chief on internal comms."

Specialist Tere made the connection, telling Bisby, "Chief Kraemer is on comms."

As Bisby spoke into the handset he fixed his eyes on Thompson. "Get two Goblins up for simultaneous fire. Optical targeting package, full fuel load."

Captain Thompson stood at the tactical station, the plotter screen's glowing output giving her skin a greenish tint. Her gaze moved smoothly from the DRADIS, to engine status readouts, to the tactical plotter, but feeling Bisby's gaze on her, she met his eyes calmly. Her slight nod conveyed her readiness to follow his orders.

"Exec," Colonel Bisby snapped off the word. "Oversee EM monitoring, and DRADIS as well. Notify me immediately of any additional targets."

"Yes, sir," Thompson replied, her voice unruffled.


Frigate Patrocles, Forward Missile Magazine

Chief of the Boat Barb Kraemer watched sharply as her missile crews moved the two five-meter-long Goblin missiles into position. The missiles were the lynchpin of this mission and Chief Kraemer had been made aware of their planned loadout before the Patrocles had undocked from Jormung Anchorage. Accordingly, she'd had their optical sensor packages mounted prior to the FTL jump into the combat area. That left only fueling to be done during the attack run, by the book.

"Ordnance for tube one, Goblin ASM, optics mounted, fueled at maximum," the port side missileer reported. On his heels the starboard crew gave the same report for tube four, then the Petty Officer 2nd who had the watch turned to face Kraemer. "Magazine stands ready to load, Chief."

"Very good," Kraemer responded. "Proceed to load, tubes one and four." The Chief smiled inwardly at her missile crew's smooth and efficient work. Despite having the leisure of the long run-up time that Bisby's battle plan afforded them, they had prepped the conventional warhead anti-ship missiles with speed, a skill that would serve them well should the Patrocles engage the cylons in toe-to-toe battle.

As the hatches banged shut behind each missile, the officer of the watch reported again to Kraemer. "Tubes one and four hot. Magazine stands ready to fire, Chief."

"Very good, Petty Officer," Kraemer said, then picked up the intercom to report their readiness to CIC.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:47 pm 
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Helios Delta System, orbit of Hestia
4,500 km from L3 Libration Point
Day 6 0051 Hours



"Sixty seconds to powered flight threshold," Lieutenant Davisson reported, referring to the point at which the Patrocles' missiles could reach their intended target with fuel remaining.

Colonel Bisby raised a corded handset and as he spoke into it he wore a look of grim satisfaction. "Chief, launch our birds."

In the forward missile magazine, Chief Kraemer acknowledged the Colonel. Without even hanging the handset she relayed the order, "Tubes one and four, open outer doors." Above the two loaded tubes, red warning beacons began to rotate, giving the light in the compartment a pulsing, ruddy hue.

Seconds later, the PO2 leading the missile crew reported, "Launch-ready on tubes one and four, Chief."

"Fire all," Chief Kraemer responded.

"Birds away," the PO2 called out, then stepped to the telemetry station. "Ignition confirmed, missiles accelerating at 20 gravities. Time to target, one hundred fifteen seconds."

Kraemer nodded, saying, "Very good, Petty Officer. Close outer doors and stand ready for orders."


Patrocles CIC

Colonel Bisby stepped around the plotting table, traversing the path faultlessly despite his eyes remaining locked on the overhead DRADIS display. "Go to active targeting," he ordered briskly.

"Active targeting, aye," Specialist Tere responded, her hands moving swiftly across the controls of the DRADIS console. "Standing by for active pulse," Tere said, looking to Captain Thompson.

Thompson held her gaze and gave a single nod. "Send active pulse, Specialist." Tere pushed a button, and on the overhead display a cloud of DRADIS contacts resolved around the comm array. Tere instantly reacted, calling out her analysis as she reviewed the DRADIS data. "Raider cover, estimate 60 strong. Accelerating from zero. Ninety seconds to close."

"Three squadrons, more than enough cover to shoot down our missiles," Thompson said, turning to face Colonel Bisby, "and it's a lot more than I'd expect at a communications relay."

Bisby scowled at the DRADIS screen, then shot a dark look at Thompson. "Bring point defense online," he ordered. "Stand by for enemy suppression barrage."

"I have additional targets on DRADIS," Tere broke in. "Cylon baseship, bearing one-seven-zero off our beam, course one-ten carom thirteen estimated. Speed 10,000 KPH, range 12,500 klicks. Two other contacts trailing close, probable auxiliary ships."

Lieutenant Davisson's voice rang out. "Colonel Bisby, Bellerophon Actual on comms." Bisby shot him a scowl that could peel paint, but picked up a handset and answered Colonel Mast.

[Wallace, shall we take advantage of our speed and engage that baseship?]

"No," Bisby said vehemently, garnering furtive glances from the CIC crew who could only hear his side of the conversation. "Those raiders are likely to intercept our missiles. We remain on target for the comm array."

[And if that baseship intercepts us we'll have no chance at all to destroy the comm array,] Mast's voice was both calm and emphatic.

"We've no fighter cover, sir," Thompson pointed out, her voice steady and even.

Bisby glared at his executive officer. "Very well. Lawrence," he said into the handset while his eyes remained locked on Thompson. "Engage the baseship." He lowered the handset and barked, "Exec, plot an intercept vector on the baseship, minimum time to closure. Helm, report current speed."

"83,700 KPH, sir," the helmsman replied.

"Cut acceleration to zero," Bisby ordered. "Maintain current speed."

As soon as Bisby finished speaking, Thompson stated, "Colonel, baseship intercept vector at one-five-seven carom zero, six-one-zero seconds." She'd had several intercept vectors plotted, for the incoming Raiders, the comm array, and the baseship, and had been constantly updating them as the Patrocles maneuvered.

Bisby's eyes did not leave Thompson as he spoke, "Helm, hard about. Make our course one-five-seven carom zero. Exec, relay to the Chief I want a full spread of Threshers in the tubes, fore and aft."

Calmly, the Captain repeated Bisby's order to the missile magazine.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 2:01 pm 
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Frigate Patrocles
Forward Missile Magazine, CIC


"Threshers, all tubes," Chief Kraemer called out, relaying Thompson's missile order. Raising her handset, she transmitted, "Aft Missile, load Threshers, both tubes."

The missile crew immediately took action, rapidly transferring ordnance from the storage racks. Threshers were solid-fueled short-range anti-ship weapons, smaller than the Goblins the Patrocles had just fired. Equipped with a firing jacket that fell away after launch, Threshers could be fired from the same size tube.

It took only moments for the crew to load four of the missiles into the frigate's firing tubes. While the crew readied the Threshers, the PO2 monitored the Goblins. As their run time neared two minutes, the crew leader turned to Kraemer with disappointment. "Telemetry lost short of target, Chief. Both birds."

"Understood, Petty Officer." Kraemer took the failure in stride, keeping her focus on the loading process. This time the starboard crew finished faster and had the honor of making the first call-out. "Thresher ASM, tubes three and four!" On the heels of that announcement, the port crew echoed the same for tubes one and two. The PO2 leading the crew reported to Kraemer, "Launch ready on all tubes, Chief."

"Open outer doors and stand ready to fire," Kraemer ordered.

In the Patrocles' CIC, Captain Thompson continued monitoring the cylon movements. Specialist Tere reported, "DRADIS locked and tracking all targets, sir. Baseship holding course and speed. Auxiliaries have accelerated to flank."

Surveying the DRADIS console, Captain Thompson gave her analysis. "Closing at 73,700 KPH delta-vee, Colonel. Four-eight-zero seconds to missile range. Raiders will need twice that long to intercept us."

Specialist Tere added, "Preliminary ID on the auxiliary ships. DRADIS returns are consistent with cylon tankers."

The Bellerophon had out-turned the Patrocles as the Colonial warships changed course to intercept the baseship. Now the destroyer escort led the frigate slightly, off to the Patrocles' starboard side. Ahead of them the baseship stayed with the tankers, allowing them to slip ahead while placing itself between them and the pursuing Colonials.

"Lieutenant Davisson, tactical analysis?" Colonel Bisby watched Davisson expectantly, while a collective hush settled over the CIC.

Captain Thompson wasn't surprised that Bisby would put the junior officer on the spot, but she privately wondered about his timing. They were in the midst of a battle, the cylons breathing down their necks--a difficult time to formulate an analysis, especially when reporting to someone like Bisby. She had faith in Davisson, however, and calmly waited for his answer to the Colonel.

"Yes, sir," Davisson replied, swallowing hard. "The baseship is likely to continue to fall back in order to engage us before we achieve missile range on the tankers. It will launch raiders in sufficient time to intercept our missiles. Raiders will then engage us directly..." Davisson paused for a moment, stealing a furtive glance at Thompson, and added, "...if they still fight like they did forty years ago."

"You weren't even alive then, Lieutenant," Bisby stated, but still he gave the young Lieutenant an interested look before turning to Thompson. "Exec... opinion? We still have six minutes."

"I expect that the enemy will launch missiles against us, sir," she said evenly. "It's apparent to them that we don't have supporting fighters, and our point defense can't neutralize all the missiles in a barrage--that baseship and its Raiders have far more ordnance than we can defend against."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Pursuing Cylon Baseship
Day 6 0053 Hours


"Range to target 2,500 klicks, sir," Lieutenant Davisson reported. "Thresher range in 24 seconds, 195 seconds duration."

"Goblins both destroyed, Colonel," Specialist Tere added.

"Helm, keep us pointed down their throat," Colonel Bisby barked. His face was dark, his hatred of the cylons seething just beneath the surface. "Exec, stagger fire all forward tubes at 1000 klicks, 5 second intervals. Relay that order and then get the Chief of the Boat on comms with me." Almost as an afterthought, Bisby looked at Thompson directly and added, "Oversee point defense personally, Captain."

"Yes, sir," Thompson replied, doing as Bisby had commanded. Interesting, she thought. I wonder what tricks he has up his sleeve...

[Chief Kraemer,] the Chief Petty Officer's voice announced herself in Bisby's handset. Once again, Bisby fixed Thompson with his gaze while he spoke to the Chief of the Boat.

"Chief, remove safety interlocks, both aft missiles," Bisby ordered.

[Sir?] Kraemer's voice wasn't hesitant or fearful, but carried a note of caution born of years of experience. Colonel Bisby was asking her to nullify the system that prevented a missile from acquiring the frigate as a target. If all other systems worked properly, it would not be a problem. If a malfunction, enemy countermeasures, or just bad luck interfered then the missile could target the Patrocles with possibly disastrous results.

"Cancel safety interlock protocols, Chief Kraemer," Bisby repeated. His words were precise and clipped, his displeasure at being questioned quite evident. "Stand by to fire the moment we pass that cylon bastard. Make sure that's clear to Aft Missile, or double-time it down there and put a finger on the button yourself."

[Aye, sir,] Kraemer replied. Then the line went silent.

Thompson nodded to herself, understanding the Colonel's tactics. At point-blank range, the missiles might not have enough time to arm with the interlocks on. Any danger from our own missiles targeting us is going to be much less than the enemy missiles targeting us.

Lieutenant Davisson spoke again, his words coming quickly. "2,000 klicks, Colonel. Raiders from the baseship accelerating at two point five gees, intercept in 30 seconds."

Colonel Bisby leaned forward over the plot table, his arms locked, hands grasping the edge. On his face was a look of intense concentration, his lips curled almost into a death's head smile. "Be ready," he said to the room, his voice strong in the near-silence of the CIC. "With our speed differential, we'll have one shot at this. So will they. We'll take the missile barrage from the raiders, then fire our own. Then we'll have to absorb the barrage from the baseship. Bellerophon will pound them with forward guns on approach. As we pass, we'll feed those cylon sons-of-bitches two more missles." He paused for a moment, looking at Thompson. "That'll kill them." he said with confidence.

"Yes, sir," she agreed, her hatred of the cylons shown in the cold, flat tone of her voice.

Bisby straightened, his eyes moving to the overhead DRADIS display. "Stand by, enemy suppression barrage," he ordered. "Ready on Point Defense, Captain Thompson."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:39 pm 
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Guided Missile Frigate Patrocles
Engaging Cylon Baseship


"Range to baseship, 1500 klicks," Davisson stated. "Raider squadron within missile range - no launches detected, Colonel." Though his attention was locked on his instruments, Davisson's face registered puzzlement.

Specialist Tere's console lit up then, and she began reporting even as she analyzed the data. "Wireless pulse from the lead raider. Alerts issued by mainframe firewall, multiple active ports. External comms are down."

The specialist looked to Colonel Bisby, but it was Captain Thompson that identified the cylon tactics. "That was the shutdown command - they tried to activate the CNP backdoor."

"Raiders launching missiles, sirs," Lieutenant Davisson announced.

"Overconfident bastards," Colonel Bisby spat out, his grin feral. "Thought they were going to shut us down, so they only sent one squadron. Stand down the guns, Lieutenant, we're not going to waste the ammunition."

[Cancel enemy suppression barrage,] Davisson spoke into his headset, holding Bisby's gaze as he did. An alert tone from his status board drew his attention away from the Colonel. "Range 1000 klicks, first Thresher away. Multiple launches from the baseship, sir."

"Point defense active and tracking." Captain Thompson said, her focus tight on the anti-missile controls.

"Second Thresher away," Davisson noted.

"Engaging missiles," Thompson announced. Across the surface of the Patrocles' hull the point defense guns blazed briefly, spewing clouds of small, high-speed projectiles into the paths of the incoming cylon missiles. Only one squadron of raiders had engaged the Colonials, and they had split their missile load between the two ships. As a result each warship had only a few missiles against which to defend. Their automated defensive weapon systems handled the light attack with ease, turning the enemy ordnance into myriad pieces of metal that impacted harmlessly onto the Colonials' armored hulls.

"Third Thresher away. DRADIS showing thirty-two medium anti-ship missiles inbound from the baseship, Colonel," Davisson announced. "Fourth Thresher away."

Specialist Tere spoke on the heels of Davisson's report. "Bellerophon commencing KEW fire."

The Patrocles and Bellerophon flashed across the last five hundred kilometers to the cylon baseship at twenty kilometers every second. The final moments of the engagement were a tense flurry of action as each member of the Colonial crews carried out their duties with precision. On the bridge of the Patrocles, reports came rapid fire while Colonel Bisby stood in the center of the bridge, watching and listening as his plan reached its crux.

"Enemy point defense active. Thresher One destroyed."

"KEW hits on baseship."

"Point defense engaging cylon missiles."

"Thresher Two is down. Additional KEW hits, baseship venting atmosphere."

"Missiles strikes, portside bow, portside amidships."

"Bellerophon has been hit."

"Thresher Three detonation on target."

"Range 200 klicks. Collision alert."

"Roll port twenty degrees, bow angle up five."

"Thresher Four destroyed."

"Missile strike, ventral engine housing. Shutting down Engine Three."

"Passing baseship, clearance 17 klicks. Aft missile battery firing. Threshers Five and Six away."

"Bellerophon breaking starboard."

"Helm, break starboard and follow the Belle."

"Colonel, Threshers Five and Six have impacted the cylons. DRADIS indicates baseship is breaking up."

In the Patrocles' CIC a sense of quiet exultation was shared by the crew, a feeling that they held in check because Colonel Bisby would brook no self-congratulatory outbursts. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Davisson could not completely suppress his smile as he reported that the Bellerophon was firing upon the cylon tankers and that the Patrocles' forward missile magazine had two more Threshers loaded and was asking permission to launch.

"Tell the Chief of the Boat to stand down," Bisby replied to Davisson. "Leave the tankers to Colonel Mast."

"Aye, sir," Davisson acknowledged.

"Colonel Bisby, raiders from the comm array have abandoned pursuit," Captain Thompson reported. "Baseship suffered critical damage. Both tankers have been destroyed. Raiders from the baseship appear to be diverting to the array." Her gaze settled on the Colonel. The cylons aren't going to underestimate us again. This has been an easy victory.

"Very good, Captain," Bisby replied, his face implacable though his voice carried a clear note of satisfaction. "Comms, alert Titan and Chiron to stand by for jump."

"Comm subsystem reboot nearly complete, Colonel," Tere replied. "Stand by..."


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