Battlestar Argo – Part 78

Battlestar Argo

by AJ Marks

Part 78: The Final Battle

Ares glanced at the scanner once more. His forces were engaged in a battle not seen in yahrens in this sector of space. He would have to look at the history logs for a long time before he found such a battle. Now with the majority of Cylon forces engaged with Colonial and Earth forces the tide of the war could suddenly shift in ways no one could have expected.

“Commander, Leopard is heavily outgunned in sector seven,” Troy said.

Ares looked at the scanner before answering. “Can Galactica’s blue squadron help out?”

“I’ll ask,” Troy said. Ares waited the few seconds before the answer came back. “They are on their way now commander.”

“Inform the Leopard’s captain,” Ares said.

Ares calculated the distances to the next basestar. The scanners indicated it had suffered damage in many places, probably one of the ones hit heavily in the missile barrage. Now he felt certain the time had come to use another missile.

“Fire the second missile at current target,” Ares ordered. He waited a few seconds as Troy executed the order and turned to the screens. He watched the missile streak out of the missile tube headed towards the target. He focused his attention back on the scanner watching the missile quickly cover the distance before impacting on the basestar.

“Basestar hit,” Troy’s voice said.

Damage lit up on the basestar from the missile’s impact. Ares knew from experience the damage sustained had been more than it could take. Even though it took only a few seconds for the basestar’s engines to explode Ares felt he watched a slow motion build up of power before the final explosion.

“Scratch another basestar,” Troy said.

Ares knew Troy had relayed that back to Earth. He turned his attention back to the scanners to find the leader, Baltar.

*****

“Report Lucifer,” Baltar said. His basestar had not been hit that badly, but he waited to see how the battle was going.

“We’ve lost two basestars, and now seven other smaller ships,” Lucifer said.

“And their losses?” Baltar said, hoping to hear good news.

“We have destroyed one gunstar, and two smaller ships,” Lucifer said.

“Three ships to nine, we must do better Lucifer,” Baltar said.

“The vipers are proving most difficult for our raiders to engage successfully Baltar,” Lucfer replied.

“How many battlestars have engaged so far?” Baltar asked.

“We count four, but there could be as many as eight based on rough estimates of vipers,” Lucifer said.

“Eight battlestars, and we either can’t see four or they are keeping them in reserve,” Baltar said.

“It would be the wise decision,” Lucifer said. “Wait for our forces to expend supplies and fuel before engaging.”

“Yes, or they are throwing everything they have in a one hope to destroy us,” Baltar said.

“That would be a dangerous situation though, lose and you might lose the war,” Lucifer said.

“No more than what my predecessor tried at the Colonies, with my help of course. If I had double crossed him we’d have had the Cylons at our mercy,” Baltar said.

“Of course Baltar,” Lucifer said.

“And no one said humans make the logical choice, at least not in war and still win,” Baltar said.

“Of course, I’ve learned humans are quite flexible in their decisions,” Lucifer said. “I await your orders then.”

“Prepare to pull back,” Baltar said.

“Are you sure?” Lucifer said.

“Yes, we are still at a disadvantage with their vipers,” Baltar replied. “Until we cancel that, we are at their mercy.”

“And the fleet?”

“After we have begun to pull away, order the rest of the fleet to pull away as well,” Baltar said.

“And the homeworld?” Lucifer said.

“It will take quite a bit of force to destroy the capital, and the battle damage we inflict will ensure it remains until we return,” Baltar said.

“I will prepare our retreat then,” Lucifer said.

*****

Bri blinked slightly having been looking at the basestar when it exploded. She mentally shook her head knowing better than that. She brought her viper around destroying another raider.

“Thanks, didn’t see him,” Nall’s voice said.

“Yeah, well better stay focused then, otherwise Becca will kill you for sure,” Bri replied.

“You too, otherwise I’m sure Troy won’t be too happy,” Nall’s replied back to her.

“No, he wouldn’t,” Bri answered, not saying anything else but concentrated on the next raider. She had her own reasons for staying alive today, and nothing would interrupt that. “Still with me back there?” she asked her wingman.

“Still here, though I haven’t fired anything since the opening shot,” he replied.

“Not all battles are going to be that easy,” Bri stated. She looked down noticing that red squadron was about to be hit with more raiders. “Green seven, eleven form up with me.”

She waited until the two joined her then went to help out Jax and her squad with the latest newcomers.

*****

Gunther continued to listen to the reports coming in from all over his ship. So far they had yet to receive any major damage, he didn’t dismiss the fact his ship could receive damage. Even with the s-metal he had to be alert to everything.

“Another basestar heading towards the Galactica,” his second in command said.

Gunther glanced down noticing the situation as well. The Galactica currently was engaged against one basestar, a second could be too much for the old Colonial warship.

“Disengage current target and re-engage the basestar heading towards the Galactica,” Gunther said. He knew that such a tactic could be dangerous to his ship, but two on one was better than three on one.

“Yes sir.”

He watched on the screen the shifting dots that represented the ships. In seconds the Enterprise had engaged the other basestar.

“Sir, Delta squad coming aboard to rearm,” his flight controller said.

Gunther nodded relying on his crew’s abilities to rearm the s quickly even in the middle of the battle. Even though delta squad actually was from the Warspite, they were the closest battlestar to the squadron.

He noticed that his squadron was now closer to the Galactica than his battlestar. Such procedures were fairly common during the war. No wasting time with flying back to your battlestar eating up precious time and fuel during a battle. This saved time and fuel for everyone involved, though a transfer of fuel might be needed afterwards.

“The Argo is headed towards two basestars.”

Gunther wondered exactly what Commander Ares was thinking.

“Richelieu reporting another basestar destroyed.”

Gunther felt better about that. Looking down he noticed that now three basestars had been destroyed. The Galactica the only battlestar engaged against two, the Pegasus was engaged with several smaller warships helping out several cruisers, and the rest of the battlestars engaged one basestar except for the Argo which was heading towards two. That left one which appeared to be acting strangely. The basestar appeared to be strangely enough closer to the Argo and Enterprise than the other four battlestars.

Gunther turned his attention back to his ship, feeling it rock from a hit and waited for the report of damage. He hoped it was nothing major.

*****

Adama glanced around as the damage on the Galactica mounted. The two basestars had been undamaged entering the duel with the Galactica. Another hit rocked the ship as a new report of damage came in, this one not good.

“Sir, engines are losing power,” Tigh said.

“Can we pull back?” Adama asked.

“Not with those two basestars right on top of us,” Tigh replied.

Adama glanced down noticing the Pegasus engaged against several ships. He could expect no help there. Perhaps it was poetic justice that the Galactica be destroyed here.

Another hit causing one of the bridge supports to collapse. He watched as Athena and Rigel quickly put out a fire before continuing their jobs. No one complained, or even seemed to fear that the battlestar might be destroyed. They all did their jobs.

“I see you need a bit of help,” a voice said. Adama glanced at the screen to see Kim’s face there.

“A bit, we seem to have developed basestar trouble,” Adama said.

“We’re on it, the Richelieu took over fighting our basestar so we could help you out,” Kim said.

“That means the Richelieu is fighting two basestars,” Adama said.

“No problem for that ship,” Kim said. “I only wish we had a fleet of them.”

Another hit rocked the Galactica.

“Forward lasers are down commander,” Tigh said.

“We’ll come in and cover you,” Kim said. “Be there in a few, um, microns I think.”

“Thanks,” Adama said. “Pull us back and towards the Warspite if you can.”

He hoped the Galactica had enough in her to survive this one last battle.

*****

“Commander, we’re in range,” Troy said.

“Launch the remaining missiles,” Ares said. He hadn’t wanted to waste them so quickly, but if the Argo could knock out or destroy these two it would leave the Cylons with seven basestars instead of nine remaining. And with the Warspite and Richelieu, and the stealth of the Argo and Enterprise, he had faith they could win the battle.

“Galactica is pulling back from the battle,” Troy said. “Warspite covering. The Galactica appears to have suffered engine damage.”

Ares looked at the scanner noticing that the Galactica indeed moved away from the battle. The last battlestar Ares needed to lose was the Galactica, the symbol of the Colonial struggle for so long. Such a lose could be devastating even if they won this battle.

“Missiles have hit,” Troy said again. Ares’ eyes moved to the two basestars watching the indicated damage swarm on the screen. One basestar the missile appeared to strike the heavy armor plating but still inflicted serious damage. It had stopped firing back for the moment. The other basestar he noticed high internal damage. It wouldn’t last long and Ares figured it had been hit in the hanger allowing the missiles to bypass the heavy armor.

He heard Rebecca give a quick message back to Earth on the latest. He felt slightly relieved that Pratt had not contacted him at all. He also had no idea who else might be listening in on the communications.

“All hands, brace for impact,” Troy’s voice suddenly said.

Ares came out of his musing to see debris coming towards the Argo from the last basestar to explode. They had no chance to avoid it this time. The Argo rocked as the debris slammed into the outer hull and armor knocking him off his feet.

For a few seconds an unreal silence seemed to grip the bridge as Ares stood and glanced around. Alarms flashed indicating the damage to the warship. Then as if someone had turned up the sound the alarms rang to life and damage reports came in.

*****

“Captain, trouble!”

Scott looked over at his second in command waiting for whatever had happened.

“The Argo was hit by a large piece of debris.”

“Damage?” Scott asked.

“Unknown, we’ve lost contact with her at the moment.”

Scott thought about that for a few seconds before finally coming to a conclusion. The Colonial Bound wasn’t involved in the combat, she didn’t have the firepower to engage, but her scanners and equipment were being used by many in the fleet to relay signals to each other.

“Do we have a feed to Earth?” Scott asked.

“Yes captain.”

“Put me though laddie,” Scott said, watching his communications officer work quickly before nodding to him. “This is Captain Scott of the Colonial Bound, we’ve lost contact with the Argo at the moment, it was struck by a large piece of debris. It’s still intact though.”

He paused, almost waiting for a reply before remembering that the delay would be several seconds or more.

“All right laddies, let’s keep them informed back home, we’ve got the eye in the sky to do it,” Scott said. “And keep trying to raise the Agro.”

*****

Troy made a quick glance around the bridge noticing that everyone appeared all right. He saw some damage to the computers but everything appeared to be coming back on line. He glanced at his own screen thankfully that it hadn’t shorted out by any power fluctuations.

“Damage report?” Ares asked over the sound of the alarms.

Troy quickly brought up the screen which slowly brought up the damage to the ship.

“Appears it hit aft of the bridge, engines still operational, weapon systems are on manual, low power scanners are still working, and bringing communications back on line,” Troy said, glancing back up at Ares. For a brief second Troy hesitated then continued on with his job.

“All right, nearest basestar then?” Ares said.

“One of the ones we attacked, reading power fluctuations, no return fire,” Troy said.

“Some good news then, when will we have communications?” Ares asked.

“Their working on it,” Troy said. “Having to reroute some wires, but the chief says a few minutes.”

Troy glanced over to see Rebecca who had returned to her work station. He knew without communications she could do little in the battle. A brief thought went to Bri and Nall and if they knew what had happened to the Argo. They probably did considering communications had gone silent. He only hoped both of them would remain in combat and not worry about the battlestar.

He looked over the rest of the damage and realized that it would take a while in dock to repair the damage. The battlestar had taken some structural damage aft and on the beta landing bay. He hoped the battlestar held together for the rest of the battle.

*****

“Report Lucifer?” Baltar said.

“We’ve discovered a battlestar along out path, but it appears to have been severely damaged during the battle,” Lucifer replied.

“A battlestar along out path, but you said there wasn’t any when we left,” Baltar replied. He didn’t like the fact that a battlestar had appeared so suddenly.

“It appears battle damage has destroyed its ability to hide itself from our scanners,” Lucifer said. “Shall we change course?”

The order stopped on Baltar’s lips for a second while he thought about that. He had an opportunity that might not come along again for a while. No, he had to destroy a battlestar while he still could.

“No, we’ll destroy it on our way out,” Baltar replied.

“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer said. “Any other orders Imperious Leader.”

“Yes, when we’re clear of the fighting order the retreat of the fleet,” Baltar said. He watched Lucifer turn and carry out the order with the other Centurions.

He now had more information about the invisible battlestars that had plagued him for a while now. He knew there had to be more than what the intelligence had told him. He now had proof that some sort of stealth protection protected the ships. But there had to be a reason why only a few ships had it. It must be expensive or dangerous to make. Which meant few ships had it, maybe all this was done by one battlestar. Get rid of it, and their advantage is gone.

He felt a grin come to his lips at the thought of neutralizing Adama’s advantage. But he still had to think of where the ships had come from. He knew of no construction yard which could build a battlestar in such a short time. That would be his next mission.

*****

Bri lined up another raider quickly destroying it but she felt her worry increase with each passing second. No one had heard from the Argo now in several minutes. Reports came in that the ships still returned fire, and it’s engines still functioned but no communications. Vipers that had been heading to it for refueling turned to other battlestars. Every pilot knew that to land without communications was dangerous.

“Nall, you heard anything yet?” Bri asked.

“No, I’m sure their fine,” Nall replied back, but she could hear the nervousness in his voice as well. She understood he was afraid for Rebecca as much as she was for Troy.

“Bri, a Cylon basestar heading towards the Argo,” Jax’s voice said.

Bri glanced down seeing the basestar in question. No doubt the ship was headed in the direction of the Argo and no other battlestar could head over to help. The vipers would have to do. She quickly looked at the squadrons before making a decision.

“Green and red squads, follow me,” she said. “We have a basestar to destroy.”

*****

“Adama, take a look at this,” Tigh’s voice said.

Adama walked over glancing at the scanner. The Argo had been damaged and now scanners picked it up rather well. That wasn’t good news for the battlestar, but the basestar which had held back had started to move.

“It’s got to be him,” Tigh said. “Only Baltar would make such a cowardly move.”

Adama looked at the scanners thinking about what else he knew about the man. He then realized something else.

“There’s nothing else between him and leaving the battle once he gets by the Argo,” Adama said.

“No,” Tigh said, a few seconds later also looking at the scanners.

Adama turned to Athena, “do we have communications yet with the Argo?”

“No father, hold on, yes, sketchy but it’s there,” Athena said.

“Good, get me Commander Ares, “Adama said. He had a message for Ares, one he knew only the Argo could do.

*****

“Commander, incoming message from the Galactica,” Rebecca said.

Ares turned to the screen to see a fuzzy image of Adama appear on the screen. He could see in the background the damage the Galactica had taken by the crew’s work to remove a beam in the background.

“It appears that we’re in a similar boat Adama,” Ares said.

“Almost, you still have weapons,” Adama said.

“And you still have landing bays,” Ares said.

“So between us we have a fully functioning battlestar,” Adama said, smiling.

Ares chuckled at the comment. “True, though I doubt you called to see about the weather over here,” Ares said.

“Ah, no, Colonel Tigh and I were thinking, we know who’s on board that basestar,” Adama said.

Ares knew the moment Adama said anything. “Baltar.”

“Yes, it has to be him. It’s my belief that he’s going to make a run for it,” Adama stated.

“If he escapes this war won’t end here,” Ares said. “He’s also responsible for millions of deaths. We won’t let him leave.”

“Green and red squadrons have moved to engage the basestar,” Rebecca said.

Ares nodded knowing that with everyone engaged the Argo was the only battlestar that could stop Baltar. That would be a challenge seeing the damage the Argo had taken recently. The weapon systems were damage and he had fired the last of the Solimite missiles. Perhaps he could slow down the basestar enough so another one could join in. Either way, Ares swore that Baltar wouldn’t be leaving the battle so soon.

*****

Gunther glanced down at the scanner knowing that the Argo would enter battle at a disadvantage. The Enterprise would be too far away to help, and it meant disengaging the current target. Something he didn’t want to do.

The battle still seemed to be balanced, or slightly tipped in their favor. Allowing a basestar to escape however wasn’t in the plans for the battle. They would destroy as many basestars as possible, and then destroy the cities on the planet below.

“The Galactica has successfully withdrawn.”

Gunther glanced at the scanner which indicated the Galactica moving slowly away from the battle. The Warspite and Richelieu were currently engaged, and from the looks of things they were winning the battle. The Pegasus had pushed closer to the planet and currently had engaged several of the smaller ships.

His attention focused back on the Enterprise when another hit struck it. “Damage report.”

“Slight damage to beta landing bay, shouldn’t interfere with operations though.”

Gunther nodded slightly relieved. Unlike the Argo, when damage occurred to the Enterprise it remained stealthy as its armor was comprised solely of the s-metal. The battle damage the Argo had taken had knocked off a large portion of the stealth metal rendering the Argo visible.

“Continue firing,” Gunther ordered. “That basestar doesn’t escape.”

*****

“Report Lucifer,” Baltar said. He had felt the basestar take a few hits but not the shaking hit from a battlestar.

“We are currently under attack from Colonial s,” Lucifer said.

“And where are our raiders,” Baltar asked. He had thought his fighters would have protected him.

“Our raiders are still engaged and losing heavily Baltar,” Lucifer replied. “Our targeting scanners have a hard time locking onto the s.”

“Then fire manually,” Baltar replied.

“We have switched over to secondary targeting, but it is ineffective at the moment,” Lucifer replied.

“And the battlestar?” Baltar asked.

“It has taken serious damage,” Lucifer said. “It should be destroyed shortly.”

“Good, when the path is clear get us out of here at the fastest speed,” Baltar said.

“By your command,” Lucifer said.

*****

Troy glanced across the bridge feeling a strong sense he’d seen this before and quickly realized where he’d seen it. He stood frozen for a moment not sure if he needed to say anything or not. He looked over at Commander Ares who seemed calm, relaxed for what was going on.

Another hit rocked the battlestar and a new report came to Troy that he relayed to Ares. “All weapons are now down.”

Ares seemed to take everything in stride glancing across the bridge looking at everyone.

“Very well,” he said quietly so only Troy could hear.

Troy frowned slightly at the statement.

“Get me engineering,” Ares said.

Troy worked quickly a few seconds later the chief engineer reported in.

“Colonel, we’re in a bit of a mess down here, what do you need?” he asked.

“Chief, how are the engines?” Ares asked.

“Being totally honest, not good, that last hit got us good. I say we have a couple of minutes at full power, no more than that, but it might be enough to get us out of the battle,” the chief replied.

“All right, on my mark give me everything you’ve got,” Ares said.

Troy waited, knowing what might be coming next and not a thing he could do to stop it.

“Help, plot a new course, right at that basestar, and then give me control,” Ares said. Troy watched him turn towards him. “Colonel Troy, sound the alarm, all hands, abandon ship.”

Troy swallowed slightly before nodding slightly. Switching the speaker system on he cleared his throat. “Attention all hands, abandon ship, repeat, abandon ship.”

Troy watched as several members began scrambling towards the escape pods. He paused waiting for Ares.

“Course set in,” the helm officer said. He paused, glancing at the now almost empty bridge before heading to the life pods.

“Let’s go,” Ares said, pushing the execute command. They raced to the escape pods getting there with a few others who were making their last-minute escape as well.

Troy watched as Rebecca got on board looking back at him. He noticed a strange look on her face.

“All right, last serviceable pod,” one man said.

“There isn’t enough room?” another said.

“Everyone calm down, file on as much as possible,” Ares’ voice said.

Troy watched as almost everyone got on. Now he saw there was only room for one more. He started to say something when he was pushed into the pod crashing into the person in front of him. He managed to turn slightly to see Ares pull the level.

“It’s where I belong Troy,” his voice said as the door closed. Shocked Troy felt the escape pod leave the bay before he could even say anything.

The group inside quickly looked out the window. There they could see the Argo’s engines burning brightly speeding towards destiny.

*****

“Baltar, a development has occurred,” Lucifer said.

“What type of development?” Baltar asked.

“The battlestar has turned right for us,” Lucifer replied.

“Well turn you idiot, turn,” Baltar said.

“At the battlestar’s current speed we cannot avoid being hit,” Lucifer said.

The blood drained from Baltar’s face at the knowledge.

“Then I must get to an escape pod,” Baltar said, almost frantic.

“I’m afraid, basestars don’t have escape pods,” Lucifer replied.

*****

Ares stood back on the bridge, making a few course changes when the basestar had changed course. The frantic firing of the Cylon ship wouldn’t be enough. The communicator came to life for one last time.

“Ares, you’re not doing what I think you’re doing?” Pratt’s voice said.

Ares smiled before hitting the reply. “Yes I am my friend. Take care of everyone, I know you will.”

He flipped a switch causing the shield to swing up giving him a view of space. In a brief instant he saw a vision of Bri, Troy, Nall and Rebecca, older, their hair grey, surrounded by loved ones. He knew he had done the right thing. They would survive. He could go peacefully now, knowing his job had come to an end.

The barest brush against his arm caused him to turn. He looked down into a pair of brown eyes he had not seen in yahrens before looking back at the viewport.

“I wondered if I’d meet you now, once more Jewel,” Ares said.

“I have always been with you,” she replied. “Only now are you calm enough to hear me.”

Ares chuckled at that.

“They are lovely, I’m proud of you.”

The basestar filled the viewport now. The last time he could recall such a sight, he flew a viper. He felt Jewel wrap an arm around him. He felt no fear, but instead leaned towards her. He was coming home.

End part 78

Continued in Remembrance

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