Day 21, Mathias thought to himself as he walked into the CIC, nodding towards Colonel Jayne and the on-watch officers and crewmen at their stations. After rejoining the flotilla, Scorpia had executed three rapidly-sequenced jumps—almost at the Red Line—putting some distance between them and the Cylons. And then they had rested to recover their bearings, here in the barren wasteland of a dim red dwarf star. Rest and repair the damage taken.
Tom had been right—their casualties had been incredibly light in view of what they had faced. While the Cuttlefish
had indeed been small and carried far fewer guns than Scorpia
did, the ones those Cylon ships did carry were almost as heavy as the main batteries of the Mercury
-class. Which not only allowed those ships to punch well above their weight class, but the heavy guns had also inflicted relatively heavy damage to the Battlestar, even through armor designed to absorb the wounds of combat.
Yesterday, he had conducted the funeral service for the twenty-one souls lost in the attack—fourteen pilots and ECOs, along with seven hands aboard Scorpia
. Mathias closed his eyes for a moment—Sidewinder had been the highest ranking loss, and the one that Mathias had known best. There was good news, however; it had not been twenty-two dead. One the missing crew had locked herself in a supplies compartment when the port flight-pod had been flushed to vacuum to extinguish the flames—her breathing gear had kept her alive, but the flash-heat of the rushing tornado of fire had welded the hatch shut, sealing her within. But she had been found alive. And in reasonably good spirits.
“Status, Colonel Jayne?” he asked as he stepped up to the console.
“No contacts, Sir. Major Church reports Engine Three is now operational and all tests show green. Chief Sinclair reports that the divots and shell impacts in the starboard flight pod should be repaired by the end of the watch—six hours. Port flight pod fire damage is still being dealt with—Major Church estimates another four days to get every system back on-line. The EVA party reports that all major hull breaches have now been sealed and replacement armor plates welded into place—minor breaches that did not penetrate to the inner hull are now being addressed—ETA on completion is three days, minimum. If they don’t find another hole or two or ten,” he said with a grin.
“All weapons are in the green—magazines in excess of 85% throughout the ship. I’ve got six Vipers deployed flying CAP—Chutes is the senior officer in the air at the moment. Two Raptors as well. Fuel, water, and provision storage is as we projected—all within nominal operating parameters. And . . .,” he grinned widely as the hatch to CIC opened and an officer with her arm in a sling entered.
Mathias turned and he too smiled at Hope.
“Sir,” she said with a nod—her saluting arm was the one that the Cylon put a bullet through the shoulder of—at the Commander, “Captain Fairchild reporting for duty, Sir.”
“Medical has cleared you for duty, Digger?” Mathias asked.
“Deck duty only—not Flight, Sir.”
“Good, Chief Sinclair is still working on trying to put your Viper back together—luckily for you, between our spare parts locker and the machine shops on Aurora
, we should have it ready just about the time that arm has mended. Until then, you are grounded, I’m afraid to say.”
“Understood, Sir. Saint has the Blues until I return to full duty—Spitfire,” Captain Tabitha Atradies, a former pilot herself and in command of Flight Operations aboard Scorpia, “has posted me here in CIC as the Air Group Liaison, Sir.”
“Take your station, Captain Fairchild,” Mathias said. “Sounds good, Tom,” he continued. “Any other urgent matters?”
“Nothing exactly urgent, Sir, but Paul has a suggestion,” he nodded to the tactical officer and Captain Cook stood from his station and crossed the deck.
“Yes, Guns?” asked Mathias.
“Sir, I know that we are short on nuclear ordnance capable of fitted to the Thunderbolts and Hydras—but I started doing some calculations,” he said as he looked down at small note pad in his hand. “We have four Hades missiles remaining in our silos. Now each of them
carries eight reentry vehicles, Sir.” He grinned. “That means we could add another thirty-two warheads—warheads with a larger yield than standard torpedo payloads—to the magazines, Sir.”
“I’ve seen the Hades RVs, Captain—they won’t fit on the bus of a Thunderbolt,” Mathias said, but his tone held a hint of a question.
“No, sir, the RVs themselves will not. What I want to do is disassemble the RVs and remove the actual warhead; after all we don’t need the reentry heat shields or the inertial guidance, since the Thunderbolts guidance system is separate from the warhead. With Aurora
and her machine shops, she can build us a new
bus for the Thunderbolts that will accept the warheads and fit on our existing torpedoes.”
“Interesting,” Mathias said as he considered it. “How long would it take to remove the RVs from the Hades?”
“Twelve hours for each missile—by the book, Commander. I can cut that down possibly, but . . .,” Tom snorted and cut him off.
“Not when you are dealing with nuclear warheads on my ship, Captain Cook,” the XO said sharply.
“I believe, Tom, that Paul was about to tell us that wouldn’t be a good idea,” Mathias said with a slight grin. “Weren’t you, Paul?”
“At the moment, the majority of spare EVA suits are in use—but as soon as the hull teams get through replacing our armor and patching the holes, I will let you start, Captain,” Mathias said, and then he held up one hand. “ONE
Hades, Captain—that will give us fourteen nuclear Thunderbolts along with four smaller warheads for Hydras.”
“Yes, Sir,” he said and then headed back to his console.
“Plus,” Mathias whispered to Tom, “while it is unlikely that we will need those space-to-surface munitions, I don’t feel right about taking them all apart.”
“If we need to hit more than twenty-four surface targets with a megaton-range weapon, we are fracked anyway, Sir,” Tom told him in a light tone.
And the personnel in CIC momentarily turned as Mathias began to laugh.