Samantha Caldwell frowned as the DRADIS stabilized—the images were broken and filled with static, and while she had expected that, it still troubled her. Commander Lorne had chosen this system for a reason . . . it turned out that the bloated Red Giant at its heart radiated the same of type of radiation that had been discovered in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant Ragnar. And like Ragnar, the Fleet had constructed an outpost here.
“DRADIS on-line, ma’am,” her sensor operator sang out. “All ships accounted for except Scorpia
—wait, there she is.”
Sam sighed. She and Mathias had decided to allow her original crew to remain aboard—although most of them were ex-Fleet, many had not used their skills in years. Jon Namer had done his best to assemble a crew; but the Cylon attack had caught them completely off-guard and no one had the true proficiency that Sam desired. Yet. She was working hard on fixing that, but for now, she and Commander Lorne had decided that it be better for morale to keep the two crews separate. She snorted. And probably good for the medical supplies. Ex-Fleet a majority of this crew might well be, but that was because most of them had come to see the Quorum as a tyranny. No, they and the crew of Scorpia
would mix like oil and water—that is to say, not well at all.
“Very good, Miss Tyrell,” she answered. “Inform Lieutenant Piak to put up a CAP, and get me two Raptors airborne to extend our DRADIS coverage,” with exceptions, she thought to herself with a grin; exceptions such as the Viper pilots transferred aboard and the handful of desperately needed engineers. So far, she and Jon Namer had managed to keep the more vocal and physical SMF members from overly antagonizing the transfers—but it was only a matter of time, she feared. Unless she and Jon managed to get those freedom fighters head’s screwed on straight.
“Ma’am!” the sensor tech snapped. “We are being challenged!” The tech listened to her ear-bug and then she said in a calmer voice, “Scorpia
“Stand by the guns,” she ordered as the icon of a large (very large) station slowly appeared on the screen—and her jaw dropped at the sight of a smaller capital ship icon next to it.
“IDENTIFY!” she barked.
“Transponder is Colonial, ma’am. Reading . . . Fleet Support Ship Aurora
-class. CAP reports they have spotted Vipers launching from her flight pod.”
She picked up the phone. What the . . . this system was supposed to be abandoned! “Scorpia
Actual. Are you seeing what I am seeing?”
Actual” Colonel Jayne’s voice paused and then he spoke again. “Set comms to frequency 237-Delta,” and with that his transmission ended.
“Switch frequency to 237-Delta,” he whispered. “On speakers.”
“. . . and I don’t care who the frack you are or what your rank is! Unless you have the proper authentication and confirmation codes from Fleet Command, you have sixty seconds to leave this system, or we will open fire!”
Mathias’s voice was smoldering with anger and cold as ice as it came through the speaker. “Aurora
Actual. Firing upon us will be the worst
decision you could possibly make—this is a Battlestar, and your vessel is a Fleet auxiliary. Stand down! The Colonies have been attacked by the Cylons—they have been destroyed by the Cylons! Why do you think you haven’t received any supplies in the last seven months?”
Sam stood upright. “Transmit orders to the civilian ships to put some distance between themselves and the station—hold Anubis
between them and that ship!”
As her people began to rush to their tasks, Sam picked up the phone again. “Chutes,” she said to the Viper squadron commander on board. “I want the rest of your birds ready to go—there might be a furball out there shortly.”
“Copy that, all Vipers are manned and ready for launch, Major,” Gian Piak, the CO of Green Squadron said calmly.
Actual, you have thirty seconds to withdraw or we will engage you,” the loudspeaker broadcast.
is launching all Vipers.”
“Scramble our launch,” Sam ordered, “get the birds in the air.” Damn fools.
“All Vipers away,” the tech replied.
And from the loudspeaker, came Mat’s voice again. “Colonel, I suggest you request instructions from the station commander before you engage—I don’t want to kill your people.”
, my orders are clear—NO ONE without a valid authenticated code is allowed in-system. Will you withdraw?”
“No, Colonel, we will not withdraw. STAND DOWN.”
“Ma’am,” the tech looked up from his panel. “Aurora
has ceased broadcasting and her fighters are assuming attack formation.”
Lords of Kobol forgive us, Sam thought as she closed her eyes. “All pilots, all batteries—you are free to engage if fired upon.”