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Old February 19 2013, 02:20 AM   #182
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Pegasus shook hard, and Saul grabbed hold of the center console to avoid winding up on the deck beneath him.

“Direct hit on the starboard pod by a nuclear weapon!” Sam snapped out as she received the damage report—and then she nodded. “The armor held—minor structural buckling and fires in Hangers Two and Four. Chief Laird reports fires are contained.”

“Port and starboard batteries on Gemini One and Two!” Saul barked. “Forward batteries concentrate on Wishbone Three!”

Galactica Actual on the line, Commander,” reported Lieutenant Hoshi.

Pegasus Actual, go ahead,” Saul said as he picked up the phone.

“Rousing speech, Saul,” Adama chuckled grimly. “But why don’t you give the rest of us a chance to get into range before you take on the whole Cylon Fleet by yourself?”

“And how did you hear my speech?” the new Commander Pegasus asked as the Battlestar shook again—not quite as violently this time.

“I had Hoshi pipe it over to us—after all, I wrote it. You made changes to it, though.”

Saul snorted, and he glared at the Lieutenant who didn’t meet his gaze. “Damn straight, Bill. Had to add my own touch. And I can’t help it if the Bucket can’t keep pace with my new Battlestar.”

Adama laughed. “Hold the line, old friend—help is coming.”

A cheer went up from the CIC crew as one of the four Wishbones pouring fire into Pegasus suddenly vanished from DRADIS in the flare of a nuclear explosion.

Scorpia’s torpedo strike!” snarled Sam. “Direct hit on Wishbone Two—clean kill, Commander. Galactica and Anubis have entered range and opened fire!”

Saul racked the phone and he stood tall. “Maximum fire rate on all batteries! Damn the ammunition reserves and the barrel life—pour it into the frackers!”

Pegasus slid between two Gemini-class Basestars and the heavy guns set into the trenches along her two flight pods belched a nearly constant stream of heavy kinetic shells—even the light point-defense guns were firing non-stop into the two older Basestars and warhead explosions sheathed the Guardian ships in a corona of flashing lights and escaping atmosphere—of shattered hull plating and ruptured fuel lines.

And her forward guns—the extremely heavy forward guns—flashed flame and fire again and again and again as her shells went home into the structure of a Wishbone.

“All Basestars are launching shuttles!” Hoshi cried out. “Inbound for Beowulf.”

“Have point-defense engage!” Saul ordered.

But Sam shook her head. “Out of range, Commander—nine hundred inbound for the planetary surface,” she reported and Saul winced.

Nine hundred Cylon shuttles—that meant anywhere up to ninety thousand Cylon Centurions would be hitting dirt very soon.

“Our fighters?”

“Still entangled with two thousand plus Raiders,” Sam said quietly as she shook her head. And then she grinned. “Sir! The Guardian command ship has just jumped away!”

“The rest of Alpha?”

“Holding position in reserve—scratch that. They are moving in to engage.”

The DRADIS display buzzed with static again as a second Wishbone erupted in the heart of a nuclear detonation—and then both Geminis exploded under the pounding of Pegasus, Anubis, and Galactica.

Come on Bill, Saul thought. Now is the time—and then he smiled as the single icon for a Raptor vanished in an FTL jump. He bared his teeth. “Help is on the way, people—let’s keep their attention glued to us!”

And Pegasus rocked hard as multiple missiles and the shells from scores of heavy kinetic cannons impacted against her hull.

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

Changzheng was surrounded by a nearly unimaginable number of the Raiders—but she and her four escorting destroyers were spitting out laser bursts from the point defense emitters causing the Guardians to explode like kernels of corn dropped into boiling oil. Zheng Bao snarled as despite that wealth of fire, impacts still drove home against the sides of his ship—and he could not fault the valor and gallantry of the pilots of these Colonials—or the Imperials or even the bedamned Americans.

And he groaned when Martadinata exploded as seven of the Raiders kamikazed into her amidships—the once-proud destroyers back broke and she shattered, moments before her fuel and munitions detonated.

“Admiral!” the tactical officer called out. “Enemy capital ships are now within range!”

“FIRE!” he snarled as he pounded the arm of his command chair.

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

Changzheng was an older ship—indeed, the very first of her class was the oldest dreadnought still remaining in service by any power of Earth. But the Party had not neglected the battle-line of the Congress over the many decades; they had incorporated refits and upgrades, and the latest advances in technology and weapons. Four turrets turned on the CAC Dreadnought and massive banks of capacitors fed their energy into the particle beam cannons. And bolts far more powerful than those generated aboard Sulaco raced outwards.

But three of those bolts were stopped dead cold by Raiders who deliberately flew into their path—the fourth slammed home against one of the enemy and ionization danced over her hull as she careened aside, out of control, her electronics useless and dying.

Thirty-two silo covers snapped open on her dorsal surface—and from each a missile the size of an ICBM erupted on a pillar of fire, stabilizing on a course for the enemy, tracking the two ships designated by her fire control. And a dozen heavy rail-gun turrets began to spit fire towards the enemy as well.

For the moment, Changzheng was alone, as her three surviving escorts fought like lions to keep the Raiders off of their flagship, but help was coming fast from Sir Edward and the American Admiral.

Detonations raced across of the hulls of the enemy as the rail-gun shells impacted and shattered plating and weapons—but his missiles were stopped dead by a wall of flak so thick that the Admiral blinked. And then those same cannons traversed slightly and five Basestars combined their fire against his flagship.

“Concentrate all firepower on the lead vessel!” Bao ordered. “Time to recharge particle beam capacitors?”

“Ten seconds!”

Changzheng shook as the impacts hammered her—and then she lurched as a dozen of the enemy Raiders managed to evade all fire and slammed into her belly. Alarms were sounding, Bao could hear the crackle of fire and the hiss of the suppression system—and the shrill whine of air escaping into the vacuum. “Fire them NOW!” he shouted.

And the gunnery officer nodded and turned the key—just as another kamikaze flew into the flagships hull and exploded—inside the number three main fuel tank.

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

Captain Theodore ‘Teddy-Bear’ Kincaid winced as Changzheng suddenly erupted in an ear-tearing glare that spewed debris and lifeless bodies into the void—and the remaining Raiders began to swarm around the hulls of the three—no, two, he noted sourly as one of the survivors broke apart—escorting destroyers.

“Teddy-Bear, Badger,” the radio broadcast amid static. “RTB back to Constellation and rearm—this is going to be a long day.”

“I’ve still got cannon rounds, Badger,” Kincaid protested, but then he saw the ammo counters and he winced again. All three guns were at less than six hundred rounds total remaining. “Copy, Badger, Jolly Rodgers are RTB to Connie.” What’s left of us, he thought. Of the twelve fighters in his squadron of Bearcats, only six (plus his own fighter) remained on his display.

“Jolly Rodgers, Teddy-Bear. Back to the barn,” he broadcast.

“Teddy-Bear, I’ve got point defense lasers on automatic—but the generator is burning through fuel in a hurry,” his co-pilot said.

“Rodger, Gomer,” Kincaid said. “We’ve got enough to get back on the deck—that is good enough today. Pax, Quarter . . . you guys still with me, back there?” he asked the gunners.

“Gun camera footage should show I made ace three times over, Teddy-Bear,” laughed Pax. “Talk about a target-rich environment!”

“Enjoy it while you can, Pax—we used ninety percent of Connie’s inventory of Harrier AAMs in that strike. Next time it is guns and unguided munitions—or we load up and go for the big boys.”

“Fuck,” whispered Quarter.

“Ain’t that the truth,” added Gomer. And then he smiled. “Raiders are breaking off and not pursuing—they are regrouping on the Basestars.”

“Maybe they short on fuel and ammo as well,” muttered Teddy-bear. “Go buster, Jolly Rodgers,” he ordered. “Time’s a-wasting and we’ve got a shitload of targets still.”

And with that, all seven of the surviving Bearcats lit off their thrusters and accelerated towards the distant carrier.
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