Battlestar Argo – Part 77

Battlestar Argo

by AJ Marks

Part 77: D-Day

Nall walked towards the war room where he knew Bri had gone to talk to Commander Ares. He had talked with Troy about Bri and they both agreed that she had acted slightly strange lately. He didn’t want to say anything, but Troy had noticed it a bit as well. They had decided it might have a lot to do with the fact that they were entering a big battle, and what might be the last large battle between the Cylons and humanity.

He stopped short at the loud voices coming from the war room.

“Are you crazy?” he heard Ares’ voice.

“No, I’m not, but you can’t ground me!” Bri’s voice said.

“I should have you thrown off the ship for even suggesting this!”

Nall’s eyebrows rose at that. He never heard Ares sound mad, especially towards one of the old crew members.

“Ares, you need my skills, especially for this battle, we both know it, and I will survive, we know. I wanted to let you know, not to ground me, but well, for your blessing,” Nall heard Bri’s voice trail off losing its anger.

Nall waited several seconds waiting for Ares’ answer.

“You know you don’t need my blessing for that, I’m happy, really,” Ares said.

“Then allow me this as well, we both know my leadership is needed out there.”

“I know, but this does change some things. After this battle, you will accept grounding then.”

“I’ll do it myself,” Bri said.

“All right, against and with my better judgment, I must be crazy.”

“Thank you.”

Nall decided that he would make his presence known walking into the room. He expected to see the two of them at odds, instead, Bri was hugging Ares, who had a strange look of calmness and, joy? Not what he expected to see at all.

“Nall, good, we don’t have to go looking for you, get the pilots together, we have a debriefing to do,” Bri stated, untangling herself from Ares.

“I need inform the rest of the fleet, I’ll leave the fighters of the Argo to you,” Ares said, walking out of the room.

Nall waited a few seconds before saying anything. “Everything all right?”

“Yep, things are looking up,” Bri said, with a smile.

“You want to tell me what all that was about?” Nall asked.

“A personal question,” Bri said.

“You’ve never kept anything from me before Bri, it’s not bad, you’re not dying or anything. We’ve noticed you acting a bit strangely lately,” Nall said.

“What, no, nothing like that, um, I can’t tell you yet, but I will, after this battle, I promise,” Bri stated. “Come on, we’ve got a group of pilots to debrief.”

Nall stood there for a few seconds not sure if he should feel hurt or not by Bri’s actions. Taking a breath he’d live though this battle to learn what Bri’s secret was.

*****

The Argo and Enterprise arrived at the meeting point right on time. They had received word that the rest of the fleet had arrived in their positions as well. It had taken several days for the positioning of the fleet. But finally they were ready.

Troy glanced over at Ares who had been in a strange mood lately. Even Nall and Bri were acting differently. Troy could only think the pressure of the upcoming battle had a lot to do with it. Ares even had spent time with them at dinner last night.

It consisted mostly of the original crew members from the Argo. Even those who now served on the Enterprise had come over. Ares had proclaimed it a gathering that should have been done more often.

Troy had been amazed that so many of them had done so much. A few were no longer in the military, one retiring after the Arbus war, others having been injured and forced to retire. Jax, Nall and Bri had remained pilots and he learned many of the other original green and red squadron pilots were now leaders of squadrons in the fleet.

Troy looked back at how much fun they had had. The capping of the meal had been Boomer asking Jax to join with him. Troy could remember his own sealing with Bri, on the way to Earth. He felt happy for Jax and Boomer.

“All hands, red alert,” Rebecca’s voice said, cutting Troy off his musings. He watched the Argo go to battlestations. “All vipers prepare to launch.”

Troy glanced back at Ares who stood and firm conviction on his face. Troy understood, he’d allow nothing but victory in this battle.

“Five, four, three, two…”

*****

“One!”

“Launch!”

For a brief second, everything went fuzzy then cleared.

“Report.” A few seconds ticked by before the reply came back.

“We did it, we’re at Centari One,” the report came back.

“YES!” Tommy said, jumping up and down a bit. He glanced around at the excited faces around him. They had made a successful jump from Earth to the base in less than a minute, even faster than he expected. “Let Earth command know the jump went successfully.”

“Prepare the ship for rejump back to Earth,” Tommy said. They now had a few successful jumps and he wanted a few more with the Orion.

If this technology had been available during the war things might have been very different. Tommy let his mind wonder slightly at that thought before his assistant brought him out of it.

“The engines will require an hour or so to cool down, but no damage,” she said.

“Good,” Tommy said. The next stop back would be Earth.

*****

Baltar sat on board his flagship of the Cylon Empire. So far things had not been going smoothly. Of course it also didn’t help that there was still some resistance to his being Imperious Leader. He had managed to get a loyal group of Cylons and from there consolidated his power.

“Any word on new reports Lucifer?” Baltar asked.

“No Baltar,” Lucifer replied. “I find it most puzzling that we have not heard from them in two days now?”

“Yes, it is puzzling, and it means trouble,” Baltar said, resting his chin in his hand.

“Then it puzzles even you?” Lucifer said. “Our intelligence suggests that the fleet we’re up against isn’t as strong as we think it is. And that they are far from home and are in need of resupply which explains their constant attacks on our shipping. It is very much like what Commander Cain did at Gamoray.”

“Yes it does, but there are at least three or four battlestars out there wrecking havoc on my empire,” Baltar said. “And I’ve heard nothing about any of them being destroyed, have you Lucifer?”

“No Baltar, I have not. It is a puzzle to us,” Lucifer said.

Baltar started to reply when a gold-plated centurion entered the room.

“By your command,” it said.

“Speak,” Baltar ordered, waiting to hear what it had to say.

“Specter has reported an increase in Colonial communications back at the Colonies Imperious Leader,” the centurion said.

Baltar sat back thinking about that for a few seconds. The new communications had yet to be broken, which worried him. Increased communications he figured meant only one thing.

“Alert all commands, prepare for a strike,” Baltar said.

“And where is this strike going to be?” Lucifer asked.

“What’s the closest shipyard or mine to the Colonies?” Baltar asked.

“Our XL-7 shipyard and the ore mine on Yelloc 2,” Lucifer said.

“Then alert those two command, and any convoys in the area, they are closest to the Colonies. The increase in communications must mean they are about to strike,” Baltar said.

“But there was no increase when they attacked our largest dockyard not long ago,” Lucifer said.

“Are you sure, we were busy with a civil war at the time, remember Lucifer,” Baltar said, then turned to the Centurion. “Is there anything else?”

“We’ve picked up more communications around homeworld as well,” the centurion said.

“Why wasn’t I informed of this first, alert all basestars to increase patrols, they might be attacking here,” Baltar said. “Do it now!”

“By your command,” the Centurion said, turning around leaving the room.

“Is that necessary Baltar, with the amount of firepower assemble here it would be foolish of the human fleet to attack,” Lucifer said.

“Which is exactly why they would, it’s something you wouldn’t do because the odds are not in your favor, or so you think,” Baltar said. “Yes, we’re the target.”

*****

Bri accelerated out of the launch tube and quietly watched the squadrons form up. The pilots tried to use hand signals more than anything else. The less the Cylons knew about an upcoming attack the more the advantage held for the warriors.

Green and red squadrons now in formation headed towards the Cylon warships. Enterprise’s squadrons formed up beside them leading the spearhead into the battle. She hoped that the squadrons from the other four battestars were on time with the attack. Glancing at the time it indicated another two minutes before they’d open fire.

She noticed a patrol approaching them, and motioned for a group of vipers from red squadron to intercept. She looked at the time hoping they could wait another minute before destroying the patrol. The vipers were told to line up behind the Cylon patrol and wait for the signal, then open fire. She lined up her target, one of the basestar’s hangers and would launch one missile there, and a second at the alternate target, an anti-ship weapon on the same ship. Her computer indicated it had acquired both targets, waiting for her to press the trigger and launch the missiles.

Bri waited as the seconds ticked away before finally she could use the communicator. She spared one more glance on her scanner to the areas where the Argo and Enterprise were. Already barely visible on the scanner. She returned her attention back to her task at hand.

Her wingman next to her waiting for her move. He had instructions to follow her no matter what. She wondered briefly how much Troy had talked with him. She felt sure Commander Ares probably did if she knew him as well as she thought. It really didn’t matter, and it would be her last battle, though no one else knew that except Ares.

Returning her attention back to the battle she watched the final seconds tick by.

“All vipers, fire!” she said, pressing down on the trigger launching the first missile. She switched targets then launched the second missile.

She saw the faint glow of the engines as both missiles streaked to their trails quickly lost among the other missiles all heading to different targets.

*****

Ares stood on the bridge watching the range come down. The Argo and Enterprise were the only ships with the s-metal and could approach so close. The other battlestars would close in quickly as well. In this battle even the scout ships would engage.

“Thirty seconds,” Troy’s voice said.

Ares looked up knowing that everyone had been synced to the same time to attack.

“Target locked on commander.”

“Positive shield now commander.”

Ares watched the shielding come down over the viewport on the bridge. The Argo now entered battle, for what Ares hoped was the last time against the Cylons in a war which had gone on way too long.

“All batteries, open fire!” Troy said.

Ares watched the scanners and screens for the information coming in. The Argo had begun the engagement and now he remained calm listening to the reports. He heard the details of the first strike by the missiles, the damage caused to the Cylon basestars. He also expected the Cylons to return fire very quickly.

Behind the Argo the Enterprise also engaged, and he hoped the rest of the fleet had begun their approach. Either way the next few minutes would be the worst for the Argo and Enterprise. The Cylons outnumbered his fleet but everyone was used to that. No, the biggest difference, the first shot and how much damage they inflicted upon the hangers.

“Prepare remaining Solimite missiles,” Ares said. The toggles for the massive missiles were thrown preparing the attack. The Argo bore down on the Cylon homeworld ready for battle.

*****

Baltar pulled himself into a standing position after being thrown from his chair. The alert sounded on board the basestar causing him to wonder if he had acted too late.

“Lucifer report!”

“By your command Baltar. It seems that the Colonial fleet is attacking,” Lucifer said.

“Tell me something I don’t already know Lucifer, what are their numbers, where are they attacking from?” Baltar said, anger tinting his words.

“I’m afraid that they didn’t show up on our scanners, and there was no increase in detectable scanner emissions,” Lucifer said.

“Our patrols showed nothing?” Baltar asked.

“Obviously not Baltar,” Lucifer said. “What is the course of action?”

“Launch raiders, destroy anything not Cylon,” Baltar said, returning to his chair faltering slightly as the basestar took another hit.

“By your command,” Lucifer said.

Baltar watched Lucifer relay the orders and received word that two of five hangers had been damaged along with several weapon systems. He made note that the engines were unaffected and most of the weapons were still operational. The loss of two of the hangers put a hamper on launching the raiders not that it mattered in the long run. They’d still launch just take a bit longer.

*****

“Positive shield now,” Adama said watching the shield come down on the bridge viewport. The bridge bathed in red had been a familiar sight to Adama over the yehrens. Maybe he wouldn’t see it for a long time after this, or so he hoped.

“Approaching firing range,” Tigh said to Adama. Even now Adama could see the mess of Cylon ships in chaos trying to identify their attackers. “Pegasus is ready to fire as well.”

“Open fire the moment we’re in range,” Adama said, he didn’t want to waste time relaying any more orders. Every micron in firing range the Galactica didn’t fire was a micron the Cylons could attack him.

On the screens he watched the batteries of the Galactica open fire. He felt a bit shocked when the Cylons didn’t return fire right away. He understood that wouldn’t last long. The Galactica didn’t have the stealth metal the Earth ships had. As a result the Galactica and Pegasus were more likely to be spotted. Even the Richelieu had a slightly modified design to minimize scanner contact despite not having the s-metal.

“Commander,” Adama heard Tolan’s voice say. “We have only two basestars in our sector, the Pegaus will take the one in sector eight.”

Adama glanced at the scanner. True enough they had only two, several smaller ships which the cruisers and destroyers could take care of. He also noticed that Tolen had taken the right basestar, as it was closer to the Pegasus.

“Understood, we have the other one,” Adama said.

He ordered a slight turn to engage the basestar.

“Incoming raiders,” Tigh said. “Blue squadron is engaging.”

Adama nodded hoping that his warriors would destroy the raiders.

*****

“Come on Starbuck, let’s go,” Apollo said over the communicator. He had spotted the squadron of Cylon raiders forming up and deduced they would head for the Galactica or Pegasus. His squadron was the closest one there.

“I know, you think I came all this way to see my baseship destroyed here and now,” Starbuck said. “Besides, Cassie would kill me if I allowed that to happen.”

Apollo chuckled slightly launching another missile before switching over to lasers. His squadron had finally received the viper eights, and in experienced hands were very deadly.

He spared a brief thought to Sheba and Bojay who were even better than he was. Apollo lined up another raider, pressed the trigger and watched it explode. This close in the stealth effect of the vipers disappeared not that it mattered, the maneuverability surpassed anything the Cylons had.

“Anyone want to hear about my latest pyramid plan?” Apollo heard Starbuck say.

“No,” the voice of Jolly said. “I’m trying to stay alive here.”

Apollo shook his head at the timing Starbuck seemed to have. Of course he never knew anything to really stop Starbuck from planning a new scheme.

Apollo lined up another raider watching it explode again.

“Blue leader, be advised new raiders are approaching your position,” Rigel’s voice said.

“Blue leader copy,” Apollo said quickly relaying the information to the rest of the group. He hoped that they could defeat this group quickly before the new arrivals could swing the tide of battle.

“Looks like you could use some help,” another voice said who he recognized as Sheba.

“A bit,” Apollo said. “Can you engage the group coming in.”

“Silver spar squadron already engaging,” Sheba replied.

“Thanks, stay safe,” Apollo said.

“You too hotshot,” Sheba replied.

*****

Troy kept an eye on the scanner making sure that nothing went unnoticed that had the chance of surprising them. He didn’t need some unseen basestar slip behind them to attack a weak spot on the battlestar.

“Damage to several basestars, minimal damage to our fleet at the moment,” Rebecca’s voice said.

Troy understood that to be good news even though a lot could still happen in the fight. Taking a glance he spotted Bri’s on the scanner taking out another raider, her seventh of the battle. He knew she was just warming up in this fight. He then noticed movement in the Cylon warships.

“Commander, Cylon ship, escort class moving closer towards us, probably trying to locate us,” Troy said.

“Concentrate fire on it,” Ares said.

“We have missile lock on one basestar commander,” Troy heard one the weapons officer say.

Troy thought for sure that Ares would order the missiles fired and his hand hovered over the trigger which would be needed to launch the missile.

“Standby, I don’t want to waste those shots,” Ares answered.

Troy understood, though the missiles were fast and could destroy a Cylon basestar, the further away they were fired, the more time it gave the Cylons to intercept it. It had been a painful lesson learned on the battlefield by the Colonials. A surprise attack had been foiled by the destruction of the missiles and the ambush had failed. Now the missiles were used as short range weapons.

The Argo’s main weapons had changed to the smaller Cylon escort which appeared to be closing in. Troy knew the Cylon ship would prove to be no match for the Argo’s weapons. He quickly kept up with the reports coming in from all over the battle.

“Richelieu and Warspite have engaged,” Troy said. “Several basestars have broken towards the two battlestars.”

Troy glanced down once more at the scanner noticing something slightly odd about the formations. Only one basestar didn’t appear to be heading into battle, but instead maneuvering to a point where it was out of the line of fire. He decided that he’d keep an eye on the ship in case it started to move.

The Argo rocked slightly from another hit and he waited for the damage report, slight damage to decks ten and eleven aft. Nothing critical hit and the Argo continued into the battle. Troy decided to send repair crews, but only until something more critical appeared.

“Escort ship destroyed,” Troy said, noticing the scanner indicate the destruction.

“Target the Cylon basestar again, and fire,” Ares said.

The main lasers of the Argo once more shifted targets to the closest basestar which had begun to move in the direction of the Pegasus. Troy concluded this was logical, as the Cylons would attack what they could see, not what they couldn’t see. Troy did see the basestar stop after receiving fire from the Argo. For a brief second it hesitated.

“Fire one missile,” Ares said.

Troy pressed the trigger which would launch the missile. He assumed Ares had seen the same thing he had. The missile streaked away from the Argo towards the Cylon basestar. In seconds it had covered the distance impacting on the basestar exploding against its armor.

“Heavy damage indicated to the basestar,” Troy said.

“Helm, change course by thirty degrees,” Ares stated.

The battlestar quickly changed course leaving the position where it had fired the missile in case the Cylons had managed to track the path.

“Power levels on the basestar are dropping, it’s crippled,” Troy said.

“Good, change target, have the Leopard finish that basestar off,” Ares said.

Troy heard Rebecca relay the orders even as he lined up the next closest basestar. He took another glance at the remaining basestars. One crippled by Argo, and another seven currently engaged, allowing four to be unengaged. Of those four, one appeared to be purposely hiding from battle. He’d wait and see about that basestar, though he had an idea about it.

*****

Commander Pratt sat in his office along with his second in command, Eric, listening to the battle. Due to the huge advances in technology the lag was less than a minute. He glanced at his desk where the latest report from Doctor Leaver and the test of the Orion lay all but forgotten.

“Scratch one small basestar,” he heard the report come in.

Eric stood and walked over to the board, scratching off a number then wrote a new number.

“Still a lot left,” Eric said.

“Yep,” Pratt said. He wished he could be there, in the battle but he had other duties to worry about.

He knew that the numbers that Eric posted was transmitted all over the ship. Pratt also had the feeling that if anything was being done at all, it was a small miracle. Many on board had friends or d ones on that fleet.

“Savanaha, pull back, we’ll cover for you,” he heard another voice. It seemed one of the destroyers was in trouble. A static reply came back then silence.

“Savanaha destroyed.”

Pratt exhaled knowing they had lost a ship now.

“Scratch one basestar.”

Pratt felt slightly more relieved, now the fleet only faced eleven basestars.

“Commander,” Jackie’s voice said.

“Go ahead,” Pratt said, turning his attention to her. He had left her in charge on the bridge and wondered what had happened.

“The President just landed,” she said.

Pratt frowned glancing at Eric who shrugged his shoulders. Neither of them knew about a visit from the new president.

“Send him to my office, I’ll be here,” Pratt said.

“Understood commander,” Jackie said, signing off.

“You’re not going down to meet him?” Eric said.

“And miss possibly the most important battle in human history,” Pratt replied. “I think not.”

He heard Eric chuckle slightly at that. Pratt had to agree, that blowing off the President like this could be a major faux pa, but at the moment, he just didn’t care. This battle could determine the future of Earth and the Colonies. A few more brief updates came though that they could easily make out. The communications was set up to come from the Argo. A few times he heard Commander Ares’ voice, but mostly it was either Rebecca, or Troy’s voice.

“It’s going to be one hell of a battle,” Eric said.

“That it is,” Pratt said. In a strange way he felt like he was listening to a football game over the radio. A sport he had come to actually like.

The door opened and the President walked into the office. Pratt stood up to greet him.

“Sir, welcome aboard,” Pratt said.

“I see, I’m so welcome that I don’t even rate a greeting on the hangar by you,” President Osla said.

“Sir, you came aboard without advanced warning and there is something quite important going on,” Pratt replied.

“I thought maintaining a sense of respect was part of that order commander. Surely whatever it is can’t wait the five minutes it would take to greet me,” Osla said.

“Sir, in five minutes, everything could change,” Pratt replied.

“Another older basestar,” Eric said, updating the numbers.

“What’s that?” Olsa asked.

“That is what’s more important, a battle halfway across the galaxy that could end the war against the Cylons forever,” Pratt said.

“We’ve lost the Hornet,” Pratt heard Troy’s voice say.

Pratt sank back down watching Eric scratch off the cruiser’s name.

“Are you saying we’re listening to this battle right now?” Olsa said.

“There is a slight time delay, but yes, we just lost the cruiser Hornet, and several hundred good men and women,” Pratt said. He needed to say no more. Everything to say was already said. All he could do was listen to the fight.

End part 77

Continued in The Final Battle

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