Three of the old-style Raiders—dubbed as the Ellipse
-class by the crew of Scorpia
—erupted after the next in flame as Hunter squeezed the trigger on his guns. There was something to be said for overkill, he thought with a smile—which faded as his threat receiver began to beep in his ear.
“Hard a-port, Hunter,” Vandal called out from the rear cockpit. “Two more on our tail—releasing flares and chaff—NOW.”
Hunter pulled the stick hard to his left and chopped the throttle and the Raiders shot right past him—barely over the cockpit canopy. She squeezed off another burst from the eight forward guns and one of them exploded.
“Gods on Olympus, I love this fighter,” he whispered as he pushed the throttle forward again in pursuit of the survivor.
“HARD A-LEE!” yelled Vandal and Hunter immediately complied—and narrowly missed getting rammed by two more Raiders streaking in from the side. Rammed
. He shivered at the sudden realization of just how alien these Cylons actually were. And the third had flipped end for end and his tracers were now tracking in from the nose. Hunter squeezed the trigger again, even as the Thunder shuddered with a hit—but the armor held. His opponents, however, didn’t.
“They’re coming around again,” Vandal warned from the backseat.
“Talley-ho!” sang out another voice as both the Raiders exploded and another Thunder swept past.
“Jolly!” Hunter called out. “Was wondering where you were.”
“I was having elevenses in the mess when the alert sounded—you guys left me!”
Hunter smiled. “You’re going to eat Lorne out of house and home, Jolly,” he said with a chuckle.
“What I wouldn’t give for a full load of nuclear-tipped Hydras right now, boss,” Vandal said as this wave of Raiders petered out—and the DRADIS showed the Basestars closing in fast. And then Jolly gave out a whoop of joy as second Wishbone
erupted in nuclear fire as Scorpia’s torpedoes drove home.
“Well,” the Aquarian pilot said as he rocked his wings beside his wingman and squadron commander, “since I was already running late, Sinclair gave me two. They are signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered.”
“Jolly, you fat bastard,” Vandal exclaimed, “I think I want to kiss you—mustache and all.”
“Sorry, Vandal, love, you aren’t my type—too skinny. Which target, boss?”
“Let’s make a clean sweep—that third Wishbone
is looking a little lonely back there behind the Gemini
s,” Hunter answered.
are engaging the four left behind—those Nova
s have taken a pounding, boss,” Vandal chimed in.
“No shit,” Hunter muttered. The old First War Cylon ships had heavy armor protection and were armed primarily with heavy guns and point defense—few carried many missile launchers. But the new model Cylon Basestars, those were finesse weapons, forgoing all armor except over the most vital of locations and armed exclusively with long-range missile batteries and extremely short-range point-defense weapons.
But these First War Gemini
s and Wishbone
s were exactly
the kind of ships that the designers of Pegasus
and her sisters had in mind when she was built. Already, the fourth Wishbone
was reeling under the impact of the very heavy nose cannon that she carried—and the old Galactica
, fondly known as The Bucket by most of the Fleet—wasn’t being a slouch either. Under the pounding of those heavy guns, one full arm of the Wishbone
broke off—and then she exploded.
The four Basestars advancing on Scorpia
and her civilians began to split up—to flank the Battlestar . . . but Hunter smiled. They had just opened a gap for him to fly directly through.
“Follow me in, Jolly, I’m ploughing the road,” he said as he settled his sights on the next wave of Raiders launching and squeezed the trigger, holding it down as the guns thundered away and clearing his wingman a path.
“Tone, I’ve got tone,” Jolly said. “Hydras away!”
Hunter pulled up—and he winced as he saw his ammunition reserves were now at 15% on all eight counters. The missiles flew true and straight though—two nuclear-tipped and two carrying nothing but jammers and ECM.
is away,” Vandal called out, and Hunter sighed. Anubis
, and Scorpia
remained—now in gun range of the Basestars—and so did Galactica
, but the civilians were safe.
Wing, Rambler,” the wireless broadcast. “Bring ‘em in to the barn post-haste! Our dance card is getting a bit full!”
“YES!” Jolly yelled and Hunter bared his teeth as another nuclear explosion tore into the last Wishbone
. . . but then he cursed as it sailed through the fireball, huge ruptures in the hull, blackened and scorched all over, but still under power, and her remaining guns still coughing shells. “I think we are going to need a bigger warhead, boss,” the Aquarian said bluntly.
“Thunder Squadron,” he broadcast, “you heard the man—find a deck and let’s get the frack out of here.”
s and Obelisk
s have jumped—Galactica
are landing fighters and spinning up drives,” Vandal reported. “Scorpia
is spinning up FTLs and she looks busy, boss.”
“There goes Anubis
,” reported Jolly as they screamed down towards Scorpia
s flight deck and the two smaller Colonial vessels vanished in the implosion of folding space.
“Crowded flight deck, people—watch yourselves,” he said he banked for a hands-on combat landing on the port deck. And then he snarled as the third salvo of torpedoes from Scorpia
tore one of the three Gemini
s tearing her hull apart and sending debris spinning wildly.
are away,” said Vandal. “Flight reports Scorpia
will jump the instant we are down.”
“Gear down,” Hunter said as the remaining Cylon ships concentrated their fire on Scorpia
and she staggered under blows—but her own guns were firing back at maximum rate. “Magnetic grapples on automatic.” Hunter passed through the flight deck housing and he cut his thrust and slammed down on the deck—Jolly right beside him.
“ALL THUNDERS DOWN!” he barked into the helmet pickup—and Scorpia