by AJ Mark
Part 36: A New Mission
Troy made his way down to where Ares’ office was. The group had decided that he should be the one to talk with the commander about what they had come up with in regards to contacting the Colonies. Many thought that it was something that they needed to do.
“Come in,” Ares’ voice said as the door opened and Troy walked in.
“Captain, what can I do for you today,” Ares asked.
“Well commander, we were talking about contacting the Colonies,” Troy said.
“We cannot risk sending a message to the Colonies that might be intercepted by the Cylons,” Ares said.
“I know commander, but we could send a ship,” Troy said.
“I cannot afford to send any ships at this moment captain,” Ares said.
“What about the Hermes,” Troy asked. “The ship is fast and doesn’t have any weapon systems. It could transport a group to the Colonies and back.”
“That sounds good but the Hermes is doing an important mission in transporting men and materials from Centari One and Earth. As it is we could use more of them,” Ares said but thought about it some more. “There is a scout class ship on the drawing boards though. We could modify one for a long range trip to the colonies.”
“That would work,” Troy said. “I know that many of us don’t have families back at the Colonies but it would be a boost for the moral.”
“I know,” Ares said. “Who would you suggest to lead this group,” he asked fully expecting an answer.
“Well, we don’t know,” Troy replied. “We thought that we would leave that up to you.”
“Captain Scott and Gunther would work,” Ares said quietly after a few seconds of thinking. Captain Scott was a man who was not highly educated in academics but was in life. The man was genuine in almost everything he did. And he could afford to lose Gunther to a mission like this long term.
“Perhaps,” Troy said.
Ares reached over pressing a button waiting for the reply.
“Doctor Weaver here,” they heard his voice.
“Weaver, I need for you to modify the scout ship for a long range trip,” Ares said. “Back to the Colonies.”
“Are you sure commander,” Weaver asked.
“Yes,” Ares replied. “I think it’s time we sent a message back to them.”
“I’ll get on it commander,” Weaver said as the link was disconnected.
“How is the building program going,” Troy asked after a few more moments of silence.
“We have the Panther started,” Ares said. The Panther was to be the sister ship of the Tiger. “And two destroyer class ships, going to be called Ant and Fireant.”
“Interesting names,” Troy said.
“When they are complete it will give us two Tiger class and three destroyers to go with the Argo,” Ares said. “Only the Argo, Tiger and Puma will have the s-metal though.”
“Still having trouble with it,” Troy asked.
“Yes,” Ares replied. “I plan on having a scout fleet or a stealth attack fleet while the others are made up of regular ships.”
“Sounds good,” Troy said. “I wonder how long the Arbus will wait before attacking us again.”
“That is anyone’s guess,” Ares said. “I have the Puma patrolling the quadrant from where the Arbus have come from. I hope they find something that we can use soon or at least spot an incoming fleet before it arrives in either Earth’s or Centari One’s orbit.”
“That I can understand,” Troy said.
“How are the new recruits coming,” Ares asked.
“Doing fine,” Troy replied. “They are nervous about flying in space but many are professionals.”
Ares nodded knowing that many new recruits were from the remnants of the Earth’s military forces. They would already have the discipline that was required and would bolster their forces quickly.
“Let me know if there are any problems,” Ares said.
“Yes sir,” Troy said then walked out.
Troy met up with Nall and Jax knowing that it would be a while before Bri joined them. She was currently working with a group of trainees for another hour.
“So what did the commander say,” Nall asked knowing where Troy had been. Jax looked at the two of them with a question in her eye.
“He said basically what we thought he would. He is having Weaver’s team modify the scout design for the travel back to the Colonies and sending Gunther along,” Troy said.
“Gunther, didn’t think about him. Anyone else,” Nall asked.
“Yeah, Captain Scott,” Troy said. They had both had dealings with the man who described himself as ‘an old sea dog’.
“Interesting choice,” Nall said as he thought about it. He wondered what type of impression he would make to the Council of Twelve. “Wish I could be there when he meets them.”
“I know,” Troy said. Scott had a way of telling things the way they were and calling people lad.
“You are planning a trip back to the Colonies,” Jax finally said after being quiet for a while.
“Yeah, I figured that they needed to know what we’ve found and what is going on,” Troy said.
“Why not just send a signal instead, it would be quicker,” Jax asked.
“And tell the Cylons were we are and what we are doing. Not a good idea,” Troy said.
“Forgot about that,” Jax said before turning to Nall. “So how are things with Rebecca going?”
“Very well,” Nall said with a smile. “I’m going to be meeting with her parents soon. We were finally able to find out they survived the invasion. Things are still a mess on Earth.”
“Good news,” Jax said. “I have a feeling they will be rebuilding for a while still.”
“They found that some towns were completely wiped off the map. Nothing left except a barren land,” Troy said.
“Nothing left,” Jax said.
“Nothing. If it wasn’t for the fact that people knew a town had been there you would never know,” Troy said.
“Incredible,” Nall said. It was something he had heard about but was not sure of until just recently.
“What is the Arbus plan here? Why destroy everything,” Jax asked the question they were all thinking. So far no one had a good theory about it.
“That is as the Earthers say, the million dollar question,” Nall replied. There was still a lot about the Arbus that they did not know.
“Well, I need to go prepare my next class lessons before I go into the class,” Nall said getting up.
“Guess I better go with you,” Jax said. “After all we are teaching the class together.”
Troy watched the two of them walk away. He decided to head on over and see how Bri was handling her class.
Bri let out a breath as she once again went over what she was teaching the group of pilots. They were all veteran pilots who all seemed to know everything regardless of what she said.
“But that doesn’t make any sense,” one of the pilots. It goes against everything that we’ve been taught,” he said.
“And it might save your life,” Bri said. “You have to stop thinking in two dimensions.”
“I’ve been flying for twelve years and have logged more flying time and combat time than you probably have and you’re telling me to stop thinking in two dimensions,” the man said.
“Yes, it could mean the difference between life and death out there,” Bri said but she could tell that he was not listening to her.
“When was the last time any of you flew in space,” a male voice rang out. Bri turned to see Troy standing in the door way.
“Doesn’t make any difference,” the man said. “We’re used to flying.”
“In an atmosphere with gravity and a limited space. In space you don’t have any limitations. If you do a loop it will feel the same at the top as it does at the bottom of the loop and if your attacker can turn quicker than you you’re dead,” Troy said. “There are two things you need to remember in flying in space, speed and maneuverability. Forget these things and you are dead.”
“I think more time in the simulators is needed then before I send you out in real vipers,” Bri said. “Meet back here in an hour for simulator practice with simulated combat,” she said an idea forming in her mind.
Troy noticed the small grin on her face and did not want to be in any of her student’s position. He waited until everyone was gone before approaching her.
“Why is it I think you’re students are in trouble,” he asked her.
“Because they are,” she said. “Most of them don’t think women can do a man’s job which is why they are questioning me so much. But I want to get the female pilots together to fly against them.”
“You mean from the Argo,” Troy said wanting to clear that up.
“Yep,” Bri said with a grin.
“Those poor guys,” Troy said. Bri and Jax could probably take on her entire group but add in a few others and he did not think they stood a chance. They were very good. “I think I’ll watch,” he said with a grin.
“Now who’s getting pleasure out of other people’s pain,” Bri said.
“I can’t help it. Besides I want to watch how they are coming. It might help with the training,” Troy said. He did not have that type of problem in his class. They were a mix of male and female so they listened to what he had to say. They would be taking their first flying mission tomorrow.
“So how did it go with the commander,” Bri asked.
“He’s thinking about it. Probably be a modified scout ship with Gunther and Captain Scott commanding it,” Troy said.
“Good,” Bri said as the door opened and one of her students walked in.
“Ma’am,” he said waiting. “I was thinking about what you said. What do we do if our enemy is faster and more maneuverable than we are?”
“That’s what your wingman and training is for,” Bri said. “A good pilot will probably hit reverse thrusters and try for a quick shot while going by the enemy fighter.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” he said. “There are a lot of different rules,” he said thinking about it.
“Yes there is,” she said. “You’re going to up against my group.”
“You’re group,” he asked.
“Men against woman,” Troy said.
“Oh boy, is that wise,” he asked knowing how some of the group were acting.
“Yep,” Bri said. “Now go get some lunch.”
Nall stood next to Troy as they watched as several woman stood next to Bri. The groups were uneven Troy noticed but not that that mattered very much. Bri’s group consisted of twelve people and she had gathered six including herself.
“Now for this simulation it will be you twelve against the six of us,” Bri said indicating the woman standing around her.
“But you’re women and we outnumber you, that’s not much of a challenge,” one man said.
“Don’t worry, we’ll go easy on you,” Jax said watching as the man’s eyes narrowed at her.
“Everyone to their simulators,” Bri said as they walked into their simulators.
Troy waited until everyone was in the simulators before throwing the switches. It was going to be an interesting thing to watch as he and Nall looked on the monitors.
The two groups engaged and quickly two of the students were ‘killed’ in the engagement. Nall could see that this was going to end very quickly as Bri’s group quickly made short work of the students. Troy shook his head at the numerous mistakes the students were making. When it was finally over a few minutes later Bri’s group had not suffered one loss.
“I thought you said this would be a challenge,” one of the girls said to Bri.
“I thought they were listening,” Bri said with a shrug. She had destroyed three of the students.
“Bri, we could have taken them on ourselves,” Jax said to Bri loud enough for the men to hear. “There were only two of them who even tried.
“I know,” Bri said walking over to look at the results. The last person to be ‘killed’ was the man who had talked to her and he had made normal rookie mistakes that any viper pilot might make when they had no wingman.
“You set us up,” the one man who had been the most vocal in her class said.
“Perhaps if you had listened to what I had said you might have done better,” Bri said. “The only one who listened was Mark here.”
“But you still set us up,” he said.
“Of course she did,” Mark said. “You think you’re better than her, well she proved that she is much better than we are even with all our training. We need to learn the rules of space combat. They are different than atmosphere combat.”
Bri noticed that several of the men were agreeing with him. Perhaps this is what this group needed all along. Several were looking at her with a bit of a different look. They were looking past the small woman with green eyes and blond hair to an experienced pilot that was actually better than they were.
Troy looked at the group and noticed that most were now at least listening to her now. That was good news. He hoped for her student’s sake they got the message this time. He would not want to be on the other end of her temper. If the group continued to learn then they might just make good pilots. It was not the first time he had noticed a bit of prejudice towards women in the groups from Earth. They would need the cooperation of everyone to survive probably.
At the Colonies the only way you did not make it was if you were not capable of doing the job. Otherwise people did not care what the person looked like or their personal thoughts as long as it did not endanger the group. Troy figured that is what happened after centuries of fighting an enemy other less important things were pushed to the side.
He looked back over to where Bri was talking to the group and telling them what they had done wrong. He knew they still had a long way to go before everything was cleared up.
The door chimed to Ares’ office and he gave permission for the person to come on in. Doctor Weaver walked into the office looking rather pleased with himself.
“Doctor, what can I help you with today,” Ares asked looking up from the papers on his desk.
“We’ve finished the design of the scout ship you wanted,” Weaver said.
“Ah, good,” Ares said taking a look at the design.
“We incorporated improved engines for fuel efficiency and added space for fuel and supplies and decreased the number of people on the ship to thirty,” Weaver said. “I estimate that the trip would take about nine months round trip. They would be able to refuel once back at the Colonies hopefully.”
“That is part of the plan,” Ares said. “I think if they made contact with either Commander Cain or Backus they should be in good position to get supplies.”
“That would probably be wise. It’s probably not a good idea that the council knows about our mission just yet,” Weaver said.
“No, they would probably go ballistic,” Ares replied. “I’ve got my hands full with the Earth council already. I don’t need the Council of the Twelve either.”
Weaver chuckled at that. Many of the people he worked with were very professional and many talked about the Earth council. A lot of people did not know what the problem was in developing a fleet to help protect the planet. Since Senator Sam had taken over as the interim president things were moving smoother than before.
“Things are better recently though,” Ares said. “At least I’m not being asked about a hundred times a day what I’m doing I can concentrate on my job.”
“Oh, I almost forgot,” Weaver said. “We are almost done with excavating the Atlantian ship on Centari One.”
“Find anything interesting on it yet,” Ares asked.
“Not yet,” Waver said. “We’re hoping to get it out of the ground and level so we can find more about it. Some translations have yielding nothing else other then ‘enter’ and ‘exit’ signs.”
“Typical,” Ares said. Such signs were all over starships. He would have to wait to see what else went on with that ship for a later date. “What about plans for a stardock big enough to begin construction on a battlestar,” he asked.
“The design team just finished that one. It can build either a battlestar, one Tiger class gunstar, or two destroyers,” Weaver said.
“That would be a nice addition for the fleet construction. Any ideas as to where to place it,” Ares asked.
“We were thinking on the other side of Centari One. There are some more metal deposits on that side of the planet,” Weaver said.
“What about fuel,” Ares asked.
“We have a tylium mine set up on one of the planets we passed. All we really need a tanker to transport the fuel. We are already designing it right now,” Weaver said.
“Go for a few ships quick to build first then design a tanker,” Ares said. “We don’t know how long we have until the Arbus attack again.”
“I understand, it’s been a quite three weeks since we last heard from them,” Weaver said.
“Yeah, and we’ve only managed to replace the loss of the destroyer Cheetah,” Ares said. “I’m sure that they have shipbuilding facilities that we do not have.”
“Should we concentrate on building the facilities then,” Weaver asked.
“No, keep on doing what you’re doing,” Ares said. “We’ll rely on the viper squadrons for the moment for most of the protection.”
“The factories on Earth on doing quite well at that,” Weaver said.
“For that I’m thankful,” Ares said knowing that the vipers could make up a lot when attacking other ships. A few bombers were starting to be developed against capital ships which would increase their defensive potential for the planets.
“We’re already working on a new design for the destroyers based on the experience we gained from the Cheetah. We think we can increase the firepower of the ship with the addition of a few more gun emplacements,” Weaver said switching the topic a little bit.
“What type of firepower,” Ares asked.
“Additional anti-fighter support for the larger ships. There simply isn’t room for additional heavy weapons without redesigning the whole ship,” Weaver said.
“All right keep me posted,” Ares said. “Anything else that I should know about?”
“That’s it commander,” Weaver replied.
“All right, let me know when you have the new shipyard up and running then,” Ares said.
Gunther walked up to Commander Ares’ office and waited until the door opened. He walked in and took a seat.
“Ares, what’s going on,” Gunther asked.
“I’ve got a new mission for you,” Ares said.
“All right, I’m listening,” Gunther said wondering what it was going to be this time.
“Work has begun on a new patrol ship that is intended to head back to the Colonies,” Ares said. “I want you to be in charge of it.”
“Me,” Gunther said. He was sure that there were others who would want to go back to the Colonies.
“Yes, you’ve shown that you can command a ship effectively and you know much about the mission that we’re on. I only want you to contact a few people,” Ares said.
“Commander Backus or Commander Cain,” Gunther said.
“Right,” Ares said. “They will know the real reason as to your mission and will be understanding as to what is going on. They also should be able to resupply you for your trip back here.”
“There and back, huh,” Gunther said. “You know that we’ll be gone for about a year don’t you?”
“Yes, that’s why you will be on a modified scout ship with s-metal to be able to hide from anyone,” Ares said.
“Are you sure that one scout ship might not made a difference in this war,” Gunther said.
“Yes. Besides we need to get a message out to the Colonies without risking the message be intercepted by the Cylons,” Ares said. “If they know about Earth then if the Colonies fall they will make a bee line right for us.
“I understand commander,” Gunther said.
“You will be able to assign you’re crew but I would like Captain Scott to captain the ship with you in charge of the overall mission,” Ares said.
“He’s a good man,” Gunther said having worked with the man several times.
“Yes, and when you get back there will probably be a ship waiting for you,” Ares said.
“No more flying around in a viper for me,” Gunther said with a slight smile.
“It happens to all of us eventually,” Ares said. “Besides, I want to promote the best officers to the command position.”
“Especially since we don’t know who are clones and who are not,” Gunther said.
“Right,” Ares said. “With your crew try to take a mixture of people. I still need to know who I can trust and who I can’t.”
“Got that,” Gunther said as he got up and walked out of the office.
Ares sat back in his chair thinking that it had been almost two years since they had left the Colonies. So much had happened in that time that he was not sure what to make of it all. He had discovered the legends were true, visited the ancient home world of Kobal, and was not involved in another war. It was not what he was expecting but he was here and would deal with it to the best of his abilities.
Commander Pratt looked across the bridge of the Tiger to make sure that everything was still going along fine. The ship had been involved now in several battles against the Arbus. Now the ship was undergoing some repairs. It seemed odd to have a ship being repaired for a ship that had just been completed. The one thing that he was glad about was the fact that the ship appeared to be working just fine.
“How are the repairs coming,” Pratt asked his second in command.
“We should be finishing up the repairs by the end of the day,” the reply came back to him.
“Good,” Pratt said. He did not like having his ship guarding the planet and being repaired at the same time.
“Sir, the Puma has entered our scanner range,” the scanner operator said.
Pratt looked down to see that the destroyer was right on time. Now they see how the ship did and if any modifications would need to be done to make her fully operational. It was something that Pratt had discussed with Commander Ares. The ships needed a shakedown cruise to make sure that all systems were operational. It was decided that the best way was to have the ship fly to Earth and back while performing some system checks. Once back at Centari One it was going to perform a weapons test.
“Have the targets prepared for the Puma,” Pratt said to the crew. Now they would find out how accurate the weapon systems were. Several of the targets were remote controlled drones that would simulate attacks on the ship.
The destroyer was supposed to have a superior anti-fighter weapon system. This would be the big test for it. The Cheetah which had a scaled down version was destroyed before they could adequately test the ship.
“Everything’s ready commander,” the second in command said to Pratt.
“Good, inform Captain Reliy that the targets will be ready whenever he is,” Pratt said. With Gunther going to be commanding a new scout ship and heading towards the Colonies they needed captains that they could trust. Reliy had earned that trust at the ambush not that long ago. They were fortunate that he was commanding the Tiger and not Captain Ben. Otherwise they might be down a capital ship.
If the weapon system on the Puma worked it would be a great improvement against fighters that could be used later on against the Cylons. That was one think that was always in the back of his mind. It was a bit ironic, they were fighting a war to fight a war against two different enemies. He just hoped that this war against the Arbus did not last long.
End of part 36