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Old January 23 2013, 01:05 AM   #69
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“Guess the honeymoon will have to wait, eh, Digger?” asked Chief Sinclair as he tightened the restraining straps on her ejection seat.

She chuckled. “Been there, done that, got the hickie,” she answered lightly, her face still glowing after the ceremony that had concluded fifteen minutes—just fifteen minutes!—ago.

Sinclair laughed. “I double-checked the bird, myself, Captain,” he said quietly. “She’ll get you home, Sir.”

Hope swallowed and she made herself smile and give him a thumbs up. “No doubts, Chief—no doubts.”

“Everything’s good, Digger,” he said as he stepped back and she reached forward and yanked the cockpit backwards. It slammed into place and a moment later the lights on the board turned green. She gave him another thumbs up, and he dropped down to the deck and saluted. The machinery pulled her Viper forward into the launch tube and the blast door closed shut behind her.

And then she waited.

************************************************** **

The massive angular form of the Resurrection Ship floated in the void, two smaller vessels keeping it company as they drifted in formation. A sudden burst of light heralded the appearance of Scorpia—and the Cylons took note. Raiders began to launch from the escorts and the Hybrid aboard the Resurrection Ship spun up the FTL drives, even as the colonial Battlestar altered heading to ignore the escort ships and began firing torpedoes at their charge. And from the launch tubes and flight decks both, a swarm of Vipers and Thunders accelerated to meet their foes.

************************************************** **

“Torpedoes One through Six are away—running hot, straight, and true,” Paul Cook snapped out.

“Commander, DRADIS confirms one Styx-class Resurrection Ship,” Joan Danis reported, using the new designation that Mathias had assigned. “Both escorts appear to be Cuttlefish-class,” she continued.

And Mathias smiled. From the descriptions that Cavil and Anders had given, the smaller Cylon ships he had assigned the name Cuttlefish were dedicated escorts—one-third the size of a Nova-class Basestar with less than a hundred Raiders apiece. Unlike the purely missile armed Novas, these warships carried heavy kinetic weapon batteries for their size, but not heavy enough, he thought. In appearance, their ventral dome resembled the old Geminis, with an eight-armed upper lobe; hence the name.

“Guns,” he said to Paul, “forward KEW batteries on the Styx when we enter range—broadside batteries on the Cuttlefish; we will let the pilots handle the Raiders today, but keep point-defense standing by to deal with missiles and kamikazes.”

“Yes, sir,” the tactical officer replied, passing the orders.

“The Styx is spinning up FTLs for jump,” Danis barked out.

“Time to torpedo impact?”

“Twelve seconds . . . MARK,” Paul answered.


“Forward guns will range on target in thirty seconds.”

Mathias nodded and he exchanged a look with Tom, who shrugged. “She’ll be gone by the time the guns range,” the XO whispered.

“Only if she can tank the torps, Colonel Jayne,” Mathias said quietly as he stared at the DRADIS.

************************************************** **

The Resurrection Ship carried no weapons—not even point defense. And this sudden unexpected attack had arrived too quickly, too close, and she almost managed to jump away. Almost. Her ECM fooled three of the six incoming torpedoes, which went wide—the others slammed home just two seconds before she could have jumped away to safety.

And the Hybrid screamed as the heavy warheads struck home and explosions ripped through the engineering and command sections on the stern of the lattice-like frame. Explosions which damaged, among other things, both of her FTL drives.

************************************************** **

Captain Simon “Hunter” Tarkin snarled as the Raiders closed. “Listen up, Blackhearts,” he called out to the crews of his squadron aboard the new Thunder fighters. “Let’s blow through these toasters and line up for an attack run on the Styx—time to show the Viper pukes how it’s done, people!”

He armed all eight of the forward cannon—but kept the four Hydra’s in the under fuselage bays safed. “Time to show the Vipers what steel rain really is!” he snarled. And then he switched from the squadron net to internal—“EW up, Vandal?”

Lieutenant Caroline ‘Vandal’ Falls snorted. “Up, up, and away, Hunter. All systems are green—and those fighters are closing fast.”

“Good,” the test pilot growled. “The faster they come in, the less time they have to realize how fracked they are,” and he bared his teeth as his HUD suddenly changed color—they were in range.

He squeezed the trigger and eight kinetic energy cannons began to spit projectiles at the oncoming Raiders. Eight from just HIS fighter—one hundred and sixty cannons from the rest of his squadron flying in tight formation. And the wall of tracers and explosive tipped shells slammed into the oncoming Raiders.

************************************************** **

“Frack me,” Hope whispered as the new fighters opened up and thirty Cylon Raiders exploded in flames at the same moment, and she broke hard left unto the tail of two Raiders that swerved away.

“You’re spoken for,” her wing-mate Firefly answered as she stayed glued to her wing. “But if that was an offer, I’m good for a ménage a trois,” she continued.

“In your dreams, Firefly,” Hope chuckled as she squeezed her trigger and three streams of tracers reached out and connected with the wing of the first Raider—she altered course slightly as the second began to take very high-g evasive maneuvers.

“Every night, love,” Firefly cooed. “Every night, but it ain’t real. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

“Digger, Scorpia,” the wireless broadcast, “six Raiders inboard on starboard flight pod with radiologicals—gun batteries are engaging the Cuttlefish. Intercept soonest.”

“I see them, Scorpia. Saint, Dutch,” she ordered as the second Cylon in her sights exploded, “Let’s go get them.”

“And that’s why we named you Grave-digger, Digger!” Firefly laughed.

Hope didn’t reply as she altered her vector and then stood on the thruster controls—and her Viper streaked forward back into the flight.

************************************************** **

“Hunter is requesting permission for a pass on the Styx, Commander,” Captain Malcolm reported from his station in CIC. He was sitting this one out—neither Jester nor Sidewinder had yet certified him as combat-ready; so for today, at least, he was the eyes and ears of the air group in CIC.

“She hasn’t jumped,” Tom said quietly as Mathias thought. “The torpedoes must have taken out a piece of her drives—and eighty Hydra’s aren’t spitballs.”

Mathias nodded. “Permission granted, Prince. Tell him to launch his attack run—Guns, break off engagement as the Blackhearts enter the danger zone.”

“Aye, aye, Sir—forward batteries prepare to halt fire on my command,” Paul repeated into his phone.

Scorpia lurched to one side as a salvo of gunfire from the closer of the two Cuttlefish slammed home. “Multiple impacts on starboard flight pod and engineering—armor holding,” Tom reported as he continued listening to the reports. “Engineering reports a fuel line rupture in Engine Three—she’s taking it off-line. Moderate internal shock damage on all decks.”

He turned back to the blinking damage control board and frowned. “Those small ships hit hard, Commander.”

“That they do, Tom,” Mathias whispered as he examined the damage reports himself. “Guns, load a nuclear-tipped Hydras in Turrets Three and Four—your targets are those Cuttlefish. Let’s show them we aren’t playing around here.”

“That will leave us with ten warheads, not counting the ground-attack RVs on the Hades, Mat,” Tom whispered as he stepped up close.

“I know, but we can’t keep taking that hard of a pounding, Tom,” Mathias answered just as quiet and his XO nodded.

“Hydras and loaded and locked, Commander,” Paul sang out from tactical.

“Release of nuclear weapons is authorized and confirmed,” Tom snapped. “Fire the weapons!”

“Firing one! Two! Three! Four! All Hydras from Turrets Three and Four are away.”

Scorpia shivered and shook again, and then she jerked hard to one side—nearly knocking everyone in CIC off their feet. “Three kamikazes impacted port flight pod!” Prince barked out. “Fires in the hanger deck, port launch tubes off-line!”

************************************************** **

Scorpia was wreathed in flame and fire—from her own guns and the detonations of the Cylon weapons, but Hope ignored that as she swung in behind the six Cylons bearing down on the ship’s starboard flight pod from dead astern.

Scorpia, Digger, be advised incoming Raiders include two Heavy Raiders—repeat two Heavy Raiders,” she broadcast biting off a curse.

“Copy that Digger,” the voice of Commander Mathias broke through the static. Marines en route to starboard pod.”

“Take the Heavy Raiders first?” asked Saint. And her voice was uncertain—and Hope knew why. The other four were carrying nukes—the Heavy Raiders carrying a boarding party of Centurions; frankly she didn’t which was worse.

“Let’s compromise—shoot them all down!” she broadcast.

The four veteran pilots swooped in behind the Raiders and tracers streaked out again—one of the Heavy Raiders began to trail smoke behind it as the engines took a hit and three of the fighters exploded. But the two untouched and the damaged one continued to bore in. Damn if these Cylons aren’t smart, Hope thought. An approach from this vector was the most vulnerable of the Valkyrie-class ships—only a handful of point defense batteries could bear on this attack. She bit her lip and slid the targeting sight on the last Raider and she squeezed the trigger just as its missile bay opened—the fireball destroyed the Raider as well as both of the missiles it fired.

“YES!” she snapped.

“Was it good for you, Digger?” Firefly purred as she poured tracers into one of the Heavy Raiders—flashes of light as her shells impacted upon the heavy armor of the Cylon transport vessel.

“Almost got it,” Hope chanted as she slid behind the damaged one, and then she cursed as she broke hard to her right. “FRACK!” she yelled as she rolled out of the line of fire of two more Raiders that had slipped behind her—where they hells had they come from?

“On them, Digger,” said Saint calmly, “bastards just jumped right in.”

Firefly broke off as her target exploded, leaving just a single heavily damaged Heavy Raider that sailed into bay and slammed into the flight deck.

Scorpia, Digger,” she snarled, “boarders in the starboard pod!”

“Copy, Digger,” came the answer. The two Raiders on her own six evaded fire and her Viper shook as one of the engines took a hit and she spun—but Saint and Dutch were there and before they could finish her off, both exploded, and Hope struggled to stabilize the damaged Viper—for the longest time it didn’t want to obey her, but then it settled down.

“Number Two engine is dead,” she reported, “fuel lines are flooded with fire suppressant; no loss in tank pressure. Starboard cannon off-line,” she noted, “and DRADIS is dead. Positive flight response,” which was good, she thought. “Saint, you’ve got the squadron, I need to get this bird on the deck.”

“Digger, Scorpia, be advised there is a fire in the port pod—negative on recovery at this time,” the calm voice of Flight Operations came over the channel.

“Copy, Scorpia—but correction on the tank pressure. It’s dropping now. Coming about on approach for landing in starboard pod.”

“Digger, Firefly,” her wingman said in a tense voice. “It’s not instrumentation; you are streaming tylium from a hole in the belly.”

“Digger, Scorpia, starboard flight pod has been boarded—advise you enter a holding pattern until Centurions have been eliminated.”

Scorpia, Digger, my fuel is dropping fast—if I hold we lose the Viper. Coming in for landing on starboard deck.”

“I’ll clear the way,” Firefly said as she dropped her Viper directly in front of Digger and sailed through the flight deck opening—her cannons erupted in streams of fire as she ripped into the Heavy Raider and the Centurions flooding into the interior of the ship. “I think that got the ones that were left,” Firefly reported, even as the radio suddenly erupted with protests over what she had just done. But the Heavy Raider didn’t explode. Thank the Lords of Kobol, Hope thought.

She came in fast—too fast—but the rate at which the fuel was leaking meant to do otherwise would mean running out of fuel completely. She shot past the wrecked ship and couldn’t see any active Centurions—but just to be safe, she rotated around so that her cannons were trained on the hulk. And then she punched the engines, killing her velocity and slamming down on her skids. “Magnetic grapples . . . ENGAGED! I’m down,” she broadcast. That was when a Centurion emerged from the wreck facing directly towards her.
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