by AJ Marks
Part 76: And So It Begins
Ares walked into the war room on the Argo glancing at the dots which represented the Cylon fleet and the Earth fleet. He briefly thought that if the Colonials had this type of information during the war it might have gone differently, or at least the holocaust might have been prevented. He realized that also meant competent commanders got that information as well.
“This report just in commander,” Troy said. Ares took the information wondering if it might clear the picture up slightly.
“Hmm, Baltar is sending more basestars retreating back into the core of Cylon territory,” Ares said.
“We’ve managed to decrypt the latest messages to the outer part of the Cylon empire,” Troy said. “Seems all warships are being recalled.”
“We’re that much of a threat it seems,” Ares said, feeling both better and yet it disturbed him that so much firepower had been gathered by Baltar. He probably had some sort of plan, now it was Ares’ turn to figure it out.
“The Enterprise is on track to engage the latest convoy, but there is a couple of small basestars nearby,” Troy said. “Should the commander continue to engage?”
“Yes, reports from their dockyards indicate construction has been brought to a halt,” Ares said. “Tell Richelieu to head to intercept that group.”
“Okay, anything else?” Troy asked.
Ares glanced at where his battlestars were. Richelieu was close to Enterprise, Argo, Galactica and Pegasus were at the Colonies and the Warspite was in position to engage a group of small warships headed towards the Cylon homeworld. Scattered around were the cruisers doing hit and run raids all over causing damage to everything from Cylon cities to their fleet.
“No, rotate the Leopard and Moscow, they need a break,” Ares said.
“I’ll inform them.”
“Oh, have the scout ships keep their patrol rounds, they are doing a good job. The standing order remains, avoid combat and contact if possible,” Ares said.
The patrol ships had given him most of his information, and good information it had been. They had kept track of the Cylon fleet’s movements enough to allow him to plan ahead to the next strike. However now, he had a feeling events were about to move in a different direction.
“What I wouldn’t wish for a spy in the Cylon Empire right now,” Ares said.
“Well, one thing I’ve learned about Baltar is he’s a coward,” Adama’s voice said interrupting Ares’ train of thought. “He retreated when he had numbers against us at Gamoray, and if he thinks he has the advantage he’ll use it, only after securing his safety.”
Ares thought about that for a few seconds before realizing what he was seeing. “Everything’s headed to the Cylon homeworld.”
He stood there looking at the map before Adama spoke up. “Possible. Also seems like something he’d do.”
“He’s playing defense, still trying to figure out what he’s up against,” Ares said. It confirmed one thing for him, he had the Cylons on the defensive. Now he had to use that knowledge to form an attack plan.
“Seems like it,” Adama said.
“Troy, tell all units to hold after they’ve completed their current missions. New orders will be coming in shortly,” Ares said.
Baltar watched Lucifer walk into the throne room on his basestar. He had returned there feeling more secure around those who he knew were loyal to him.
“Report Lucifer,” Baltar said.
“By your command Imperious Leader,” Lucifer replied. “Reports still come in on attacks on the supply ships. Our dockyards have no supplies for new construction. They can barely do repairs now.”
“Damn, are the warships staying with the supply ships?” Baltar asked.
“We are having some difficulty in convincing the commanders to do that,” Lucifer said.
“It’s not something to be discussed, it’s an order, tell them either they either go along with it, or they are replaced for scrap,” Baltar said.
“By your command,” Lucifer said, hesitating.
“What is it Lucifer?”
“The fleet moves to our homeworld, several ships have been destroyed in the process though. There are also reports of several outlying cities being destroyed by Colonial ships. The outer governors are worried about this. The moving the fleet back leaves them vulnerable,” Lucifer said.
“Tell the governors that if the ships were there they’d have been destroyed. No, they will attack here, where the power is. That’s when we’ll crush them once and for all,” Baltar said.
“Are you sure Baltar,” Lucifer asked.
“Of course I am, and remember who I am,” Baltar said. “In smaller numbers our fleet has been devastated, now with the largest collection of Cylon ships in yehrens we finally have an advantage. Have the patrols picked up anything?”
“No, except for some odd spikes but that only occurred before battle, so it’s not a way to track where they are,” Lucifer said. “But that’s only for the ships we can’t see. We know they have at least one other battlestar besides the Galactica. It’s the most powerful battestar we’ve ever come across. It seems to have an advanced armor as well that we can’t penetrate.”
Baltar sat back at that news. Now he wished he had an Improved Basestar, but that had been destroyed along with the dockyard not long ago.
“I want all scout ships to patrol at maximum range. If anything suspicious comes in report it that might be the information we need to destroy Adama once and for all,” Baltar said.
“By your command,” Lucifer said, then walked out of the room. Baltar thought about what had gone on and tried to figure out where Adama had received such a tremendous advantage. That question had bugged him since the appearance of the new ships. He had patrolled the nearby planets with no luck. It seemed that everything he thought of, or tried failed to produce an answer to that question.
A new thought entered his mind, perhaps this group was a group warriors, who found a high tech planet after being damaged in battle. Given a long enough time, they could have built a force this large. He would dig though the records of the Cylons to see if any fleet had managed to escape destruction.
Nall glanced over at Bri who appeared slightly tired, not normal for her he thought.
“You all right?” Nall asked.
“Fine, guess I’m still getting used to Troy’s schedule lately,” Bri said.
“Yeah, I could see that, he’s a lot more erratic now that’s he a colonel,” Nall said. “I’ll never make it there.”
“Yeah, they’d slap in the bridge for harassment,” Bri said, with a chuckle.
“That’s be after Rebecca get’s though with me,” Nall replied.
“True, she does keep your leash short,” Bri said.
Nall opened his mouth before closing it realizing that Bri was right. Not that he minded at all. He’d found the one of his dreams and who understood him.
“Hear from Mary?” Bri asked.
“Yeah, Troy’s parents are lifesavers. I think they’re spoiling her too much,” Nall said. “She told me about how they watched the construction of a nearby house. Every evening Troy’s dad and her would go though it to see what changed. She’s started classes, kindergarten, and so far she likes her teacher. That’s good news.”
“Funny how time flies,” Bri said.
“Yeah,” Nall replied.
“Hey, have you heard the latest?” Jax’s voice said, as she sat down next to them.
“Nope, but I guess you’re going to tell us,” Nall replied.
“Seems Ares has stopped all missions lately,” she said.
Nall frowned at that statement. “Sounds like he’s got a new plan.”
“Yeah,” Bri said, suddenly going quiet, glancing around the room.
“Now what?” Nall said.
“Just looking around, Troy’s vision still hasn’t come true yet,” Bri said.
“What vision,” Nall asked. He hadn’t heard anything of importance lately.
“No, we’ve kept it a secret, but he’s seen the destruction of the Argo,” Bri said.
“The Argo? Is he sure, I mean he’s seen other visions, the Pegasus, Pacifica, is he sure it’s the Argo,” Nall replied, concerned over Rebecca suddenly.
“Ares orders everyone to abandon ship,” Bri said.
“Anything else?” Nall asked, wanting to know more.
“Well, he has one vision of most of us, your there along with Rebecca, and me and Troy, I don’t know about you Jax,” Bri said.
“Eh,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. Nall could see her try and be calm about it, but her face gave her away.
“Well, you might have been somewhere else, so I don’t know,” Bri said adding it quickly.
“Nah, you’re too good,” Nall said. “I think we’ll all make it. Anyways, it could be some time from now, it might not even be a battle.”
He waited for Bri to say something, but she remained silent. He hoped she thought about it, but from her face he knew the answer already.
“I suppose you’re right, no sense thinking about it when it could be years from now,” she finally said.
“I heard that the Cylons have consolidated their strength around their homeworld,” Jax finally said.
“Hmm, seems like Baltar is scared,” Nall finally said. “Doesn’t know what’s hitting him, or the fact we know what he’s up to.”
“It’s a good situation then,” Jax said. “We have the advantage, something I don’t ever remember having. I hope we continue to the end of the war.”
“I think that’s the plan,” Bri said. “I can’t imagine the commander stopping halfway, or Adama allowing that to happen either. Too much has happened for us to stop now.”
Nall realized Bri was right. They would end the war, finally after a thousand yehrens of war, it might finally be over.
The Colonial Bound continued watching the Cylon homeworld for anything that might be unusual. So far the ship hadn’t encountered anything strange, only the continued arrivals of ships.
“Well, the latest ship puts the Cylon fleet at eight Hades basestars, about two dozen smaller basestars, and about the same number of destroyers,” his second in command said.
“Aye, that there are laddie,” Scott said. He didn’t like that at all, and the fact that not all the ships were there yet. The only thing Scott felt relieved about had to be the fact the Cylons had all their ships in one place.
“Patrol coming around,” the scanner operator said.
“Pull us back then lad, we’ll keep an eye on the patrol and return when they leave,” Scott said. A general game they were playing with the Cylons. The one advantage they had, the Cylons kept a regular schedule for their patrols.
“Any word from the Fire Ant?” Scott asked.
“Prepare for a transmission back to the fleet then, we’ll report in what little we’ve found out,” Scott said. The only good thing about the patrol, it allowed them to report in quite regularly when they moved position.
Gunther waited on the bridge of the Enterprise. The battlestar had finished another attack on a convoy destroying all the ships this time.
“Orders commander?” his second in command, Yvette asked.
“Back to position alpha,” Gunther said. The position where the scanners could watch several supply routes at once. A couple of times a Cylon ship would be stationed there but lately there hadn’t been anything. That worried him more than the easy attacks on the supply ships.
Then he also had to wait for the next mission from fleet command. He had the feeling something was up, but had no idea as to what.
“Any news from Commander Ares?” Gunther asked.
“Not yet commander,” Yvette replied. “Any idea what’s going on?”
Gunther seriously thought about the question knowing most of the bridge crew could listen in on the conversation.
“Not really, a few ideas and it has to do with the fact the Cylons are consolidating their forces in one area,” Gunther said. “Beyond that I have no idea.”
“Could be raids, to lure their fleet out?” Yvette said.
“Could be, but knowing Ares it’ll be something either complex or very simple,” Gunther replied.
“Yeah, simple, going in guns blazing,” Yvette said
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Gunther said. True he had the same thought, but he also knew Ares wouldn’t go in just like that. The attack on the shipyard had been slightly different. Ares knew that the Cylons were gathering their forces for a while now, and the fact the Richelieu had done two such attacks already with no movement from the Cylons meant they were up to something as well.
“What were our losses?” Gunther asked, hoping for few losses.
“We lost four vipers, two more damaged, but the repair crews state they will be back up and running in a few hours,” Yvette replied.
“Well, better than expected,” Gunther said. He didn’t like the loss of live, but he had the replacements on board and still had a full complement of fighters. Now they would wait.
“Commander, Enterprise and Richelieu are done with their missions,” Troy stated, relaying the message to Ares. He watched the commander nod at the information. He still appeared deep in thought.
“When will the last of the basestars arrive at the Cylon homeworld?” Ares asked.
Troy looked at his screen which had that information before replying. “Another day sir.”
He watched Ares get up and walk over to the map staring at it for several seconds. Troy almost saw the light go on in Ares eyes, his entire appearance changed slightly and Troy knew that Ares had made his decision. Now everyone would wait to see what would happen next.
“Assemble all commanders in the war room, and inform the Richelieu and Enterprise, they’ll have to link in,” Ares said. “I’ll be in the war room waiting.”
Troy nodded before turning to Rebecca who started sending out the communications to the battlestars. He glanced once more back at Ares who strode off the bridge.
“Hey good looking,” another voice said. Troy turned to see Bri approaching him. She had a smile on her face.
“Thought you were in the rec room relaxing with the others,” Troy said.
“Was, but it gets boring in there without you,” Bri said.
“I guess Nall’s not enough company for you then,” Troy replied.
“Nah, he is, but he’s not my husband,” Bri stated. “We haven’t seen enough of each other lately.”
“Things have been hectic on the bridge,” Troy replied, knowing that he really should spend a bit more time with her. But looking at her she appeared quite healthy, and even more beautiful than usual. Shaking his head he refocused his attention back to what she said.
“So, what’s the next mission?” she asked.
“Don’t know, but Ares called a war council with all the commanders,” Troy replied.
“He’s got a plan,” Bri said.
“Looks like it, now we’ll wait to hear it,” Troy said. He hoped it wasn’t what he thought it was, what he and Ares had discussed a short time ago. The scene of Ares calling for the evacuation of the ship, and the other vision, the one on the hangar deck, he couldn’t figure what they were doing, either celebrating or sorrow. Whatever the cause, he knew he’d find out soon enough.
“We’ve done it!” Tommy said with excitement and with good cause. All around him whoops of joy sounded at their success. He had found the mathematics on board the Orion, after looking at the strange engine alignment. He added a bit of several old Earth theories he had finally managed to do it.
“Sir, should we contact Commander Pratt?” Sally, his red-haired assistant asked.
“By Kobal yes, he’ll want to know,” Tommy said, walking to the communications screen. A few seconds later the bald commander’s face appeared on the screen.
“Tommy, I assume you have news?” Pratt asked.
“You bet I do,” Tommy said. “It works, it really does work. We just did it.”
“Oookaaaay,” Pratt said, drawing out the word. “Um, I haven’t been keeping up with the reports from the Colonies things have been quite busy around here.”
“Oh, we jumped!” Tommy explained.
“Yes, it’s where you actually bend space, thought you’re really not, the entire space is flexible, forever bending and folding…”
“Doctor, just tell me what you’re saying?” Pratt said.
“Oh, sorry, well, we can control it, the bending and folding space as we want, we just did it.”
“And, remember I haven’t been reading the reports Tommy,” Pratt said.
“Right, sorry, excited, we can use it to move ships from here to anywhere in the universe in mere seconds to hours depending on a few factors,” Tommy said. He watched as Pratt opened and closed his mouth for several seconds in his shock.
“Are you saying we can use this to transport ships, people and supplies to the colonies in less than a day?” Pratt said.
“Yep, though the test engine wasn’t that big, we’re going to test it on the Orion, it seems like they were already working on it, and it’s almost complete. Such a device would have given them a huge advantage over the Arbus,” Tommy said. “However it was actually an Earth scientist, Einstein who, though a bit flawed, ironed out a bit of the mathematics I needed.”
“How long would this take?” Pratt asked.
“Dunno, a couple of days, or months depends on how the engine goes,” Tommy said.
“I’m giving you first priority, anything you need, get it working, we can use that,” Pratt said.
“Okay,” Tommy said, not expecting such a reaction.
“I also want a report on how quickly we can refit the fleet with such engines,” Pratt said.
“Ah, there’s a problem there, it’s not so much modifying the engines, but adding another engine. You see it’s separate from the regular engine. It takes both to do this, the time the trip takes depends on how fast the propulsion engine is,” Tommy said.
“Could we use this to send other ships with it?” Pratt asked.
“No, the field is too localized for that,” Tommy said.
“Okay, but the Orion is almost ready, I want the test as soon as possible, If need be take one the dock at yard one, I’ll inform the dock commander you get first priority, twenty-four seven work, got me,” Pratt said.
“Okay,” Tommy said, ending the conversation. He then turned to the rest of his ‘crew’, mostly scientists and techs. The Orion had become a science ship in the past couple of years and had been Tommy’s lab as well, in a way his command. Now he had orders to finish the engine. “I guess you all heard this, lets head for the dockyard and get working.”
Sam Harvey sat back in the meeting room, the transition between the two Presidents had just occurred and he sat watching it along with many of the other advisers.
“Wonder if he’ll keep us on or not?” one said.
“If he’s half as smart as many think he is, he will,” Sam said. “But I’m not counting on it.”
“Incoming message,” one said, sighing as the screen flickered over to Commander Pratt. Sam noticed he had a look on his face of almost joy, or something very close to it.
“Commander, what’s the news?” Sam asked. He didn’t know anything else that would require their attention.
“Thought I’d give you an update to a couple of things, both at the colonies, and in research,” Pratt said.
“Something new in research?” Sam asked.
“Yep, Doctor Leaver is testing a new jump engine which would make the trip to the colonies less than a day,” Pratt said.
Sam sat up at that news. Such speed was thought to be impossible. Now he was being told it was being tested. “Are you sure?”
“Yep, the Orion will be undergoing testing in the next day or so,” Pratt said.
“Incredible,” Sam replied.
“But, I fear by the time we put them on our warships it will be too late. Commander Ares informed me that he’s going into battle against the main forces of the Cylons,” Pratt said.
“We’ve heard nothing,” Sam stated. Knowing that such a mission would endanger a lot of the warships already there.
“He’s there, and he wants to attack before Baltar gets his plan working,” Pratt said.
Sam looked at the others to gage their reactions. Most had worked with Ares before and now, it seemed they respected the man’s decisions. “Can’t say I’m pleased with the decision, but he’s there with the information.”
“I thought you’d say something like that, it’s about how I feel,” Pratt said. “Say, why are you not outside with the inauguration?”
“Too cold, and we were not invited,” Sam said.
“He’s keeping you on, right?” Pratt asked.
“Haven’t heard yet, but keeping our options open,” Sam said.
“Well, you’ve been on board this since the beginning, so hopefully you’ll be there at the end,” Pratt said. “I’ll let you know about the test results.”
“All right,” Sam said, sitting back thinking back to that day so long ago. His assistant, Rebecca worked for him in the old NASA, or what had been left of it. Then they saw a picture of a viper, of course they didn’t know what it was, but it changed their lives. Then they met the pilots, or more importantly Rebecca had, and brought them to him.
Aside from being one of the first people to work with Commander Ares. Since then he’d also been a senator, and President for a short time of the new government. A shiver went down his spine with that realization that he’d be known in history. That of course understood that humans survived the war against the Cylons.
Ares watched as the commanders of the battlestars entered the room. The tall blonde Tolen, imposing Adama, and finally the commander of the Warspite, Kim, a new commander. She had recently taken over when the previous commander needed surgery for cancer, and was now back in route to Earth space. He noticed the links with the other two battlestars had been established as well. Everyone had arrived.
“Thank you all for coming, I’ve got a plan I wish to share with you all,” Ares said, bringing up the map of space. “As many of you know, Baltar is consolidating his forces. Now we still hold an advantage, and we know where the Cylon fleet is. This presents an opportunity we’ve never had before as I feel Baltar has made a tremendous error in judgment.”
“You want to attack,” Tolen said. “I take you’ve taken into account the number of fighters on the planet’s surface?”
“I figure at least one basestar of fighters, more like three maybe four,” Ares said.
“That’s a lot of fighters,” Gunther said.
“I know, but with careful scanning and a diversion we can cut down the numbers. Also all fighters would attack the hangars first. Our pilots are still better than those tin cans by a margin of ten to one,” Ares said.
“True, the combined fighters of the Pegasus and Galactica took on the equivalent of four basestars, destroying two basestars,” Adama said.
“I don’t suggest the same tactic again,” Tolen said, smiling slightly.
“No, but we have an advantage with the s-metal, and we will use it,” Ares said, knowing that it would place the Enterprise and Argo most at risk. “The fleet won’t be coming in all at once either.”
“What are you planning,” Kim asked.
“Well, three groups, the Argo and Enterprise will make up group one, Pegasus and Galactica group two, and Warspite and Richelieu the battle group,” Ares said.
“Three groups, I take it each has a specific task?” Adama said.
“Yes, each group does,” Ares said. He quickly went over the plan working the details with the commanders waiting for their reactions.
“Well, it’s risky, I like it,” Tolen said. “I’m in for sure, and I know Commander Cain would approve.”
“It is risky, failure is a big possibility,” Adama said. “But I also have to agree that we might not have a chance like this again.”
Ares nodded as the rest of the group expressed caution, but agreed with the plan. “Then inform all ships to stock up, we leave to our starting positions once everything’s ready.”
The group got up and walked out of the room leaving Ares alone to look at the map. He heard the door open, and glanced up to see Bri walk in.
“Just the person I wanted to see,” Ares said.
“Me too, I have something to tell you,” Bri said. Ares noticed a mixture of sadness and joy in her face.
End part 76