“You know,” Jon Namer loudly, his hearing (everyone’s hearing!) still not quite back to normal from the explosion, “if I don’t wind up having to kill you, Commander, I think I might come to like you.”
Mathias snorted. “Does that mean you are in?”
“I want to see your plan first,” said the terrorist. “Anton was an ass, but if you are just looking for a way to suicide, my boys and girls will stay home.”
“Fair enough. Sam, you folks don’t have any Vipers you said. How many Raptors and Shuttles do you have on-hand?”
Jon nodded and Sam sighed. “I’ve got ten Raptors and one Shuttle on Anubis
, Mat. Anton’s ship—the Leonis Pryde
—has another shuttle. My Raptors are old—only two are the Mk IVs that the Fleet is using; the rest date back to the Cylon War—but they work.”
“That gives us eighteen Raptors and six Shuttles,” Matt said as he considered. “Around a thirteen hundred in total lift capacity all together, right Sidewinder?”
“Give or take, Commander,” the Raptor squadron commander said as one of the medics of the SMF terror cell dabbed burn cream on the pilot’s chest where the heat of the flare had bled through his flight suit. “But we will be packing people into the shuttles like sardines—at two hundred each, they will have standing room only.”
“Better to live standing than to be dead and buried,” Mathias answered. “Okay. You want the plan, Jon?”
“I need the plan if you want my people, Commander.”
“How much do you know about the Cylons? The first war?”
“Not a lot,” he said.
“No, most people want to forget it—and so did a good portion of the Fleet. But there was always a program researching Cylon weaknesses. Towards the end of the war, when we began rolling them back from their occupation of the various colonies, the Fleet noted that once a certain number of causalities had been sustained by the Cylons, their effectiveness and coordination decreased.”
“Yes, I remember reading about that research back in college when I was given access to the secure stacks,” said Doctor Sarris. “It was an interesting proposal that a sudden massive loss of tremendous numbers of Cylons might send them into a sort of ‘psychic shock’ that might momentarily immobilize them. But nothing ever came of it,” he frowned. “At least nothing that has been published
in the past thirty years,” he added.
“The problem was that in order to trigger such a cascade overload of their networks, a tremendous number of Centurions had to be destroyed in a very short time-frame. Far more than the complement aboard a single Basestar. But, Fleet research believed that such a cascade could be triggered.”
Sarris shook his head. “On Cylons from the first War, certainly. They have made improvements, Commander—this research might well not function against current models.”
“True. But it is our best hope of incapacitating them long enough to allow Anubis
and Leonis Pryde
to jump into orbit and evacuate the survivors, while Scorpia
holds the Cylons at bay.”
Jon shook his head. “How do you intend to even trigger this cascade, Commander? You said yourself, it requires more of the toasters be toasted than are carried by any single Basestar.”
Mathias shuffled through the recon images and he withdrew one specific one, laying it on the table. “What do you see?” he asked.
“The city of Delphi—almost completely intact,” Jon said in an exasperated voice.
“Look at the attached sensor data, Mister Namer,” Mathias ordered. Jon shrugged and he did, and then he sat back, stared at the Commander, and leaned over the data with a magnifier once again.
He put down the image and the magnifier and sat back, lighting a cigarette; then he offered the Commander one. Mathias took it and a light before he sat back as well. “You’ve got balls, I’ll grant you that,” Jon said. “Are there enough of them down there?”
“Signal intercepts during the recon passes show a high
concentration of Centurions and Raiders in Delphi—perhaps numbering in the millions of the bastards. Maybe they find it ironic to make our former capital their
capital. But whatever the reason, they are there, and the survivors aren’t—not from the intercepts we made.”
Mathias looked at each of his officers, at Doctor Sarris, and at Sam and Jon. “Scorpia
will jump in and engage their guardships; at the same time, we will open our silos and fire two Hades-IV space-to-surface missiles each loaded with eight independently targeted nuclear warheads—annihilating every last Cylon bastard in and around Delphi simultaneously.”
Everyone—even Jon Namer the hard-bitten terrorist—blinked.
“Commander, you are going to use nuclear weapons
?” Sidewinder asked in an incredulous voice.
“I am,” Mathias answered. “And if our researchers were correct about the cascade effect, Sam—you and Jon will have the window to get the survivors free and clear.”
“I’m in,” laughed Jon as he shook his head. “Blowing the hell out of Delphi, to save the colonies; Lords of Kobol, I’m in,” he laughed.
Sidewinder shook his head, but it wasn’t in negation, it was just clearing away the shock. “We still might not have enough transport—not for Caprica, Tauron, and Virgon; or the other colonies if there are survivors.”
Sam nodded. “As I said earlier, if you’ve got spares for the FTL, we might have some functional ships—enough to lift two or three or maybe even four thousand people, in addition to what our own can carry.”
“We’ve got . . . a few FTL spare components, Commander,” said Gian. “Depends on what the ships in question need.”
“And where they are, Sam. How far away they are and how quickly can our engineers get them on-line.”
“Not far, Mat. But you won’t like what you find there; trust me, you won’t like it one fracking bit more than I did. And if you have parts, getting the ships back on-line will take just a couple of hours—at most. They are missing the FTL initializors and power regulators. Rest of their systems are good.”
The Commander looked at Gian and he nodded. “Those two are the most likely to go bad—I’ve got spares on hand; enough for two, maybe three, ships at least while retaining a reserve for our own drives.”
“All right, then, people. Sounds like we have a plan—an outline, at least. I want a full list of what your people need—especially what you need to get Anubis
in full working order, Major Caldwell.”
“I resigned my commission, Mat,” she said.
“I’m recalling you to service and placing you in command of Anubis
—Major. Don’t argue with me on this. Mister Namer, I’ll make sure that Scorpia
sends down food for these people—some of them look mighty hungry.”
“That would be appreciated; in the mean-time, my boys will find out just where Anton’s escape ship was—and the good stuff he hid.”
“Let’s get moving, people,” Mathias said as he stood up. “Time is not on our side here.”