Admiral Adama stared at the DRADIS display as he waited and waited and waited; then when he was almost convinced that the human-form replicants had abandoned him, two new icons suddenly appeared.
“New contacts!” sang out Captain Felix Gaeta. “Two Nova
-class Basestars—they are launching Raiders . . . and engaging Force Alpha with missile strikes!”
A cheer went up through CIC, and Adama bared his teeth. “Major Shaw, Galactica
will advance—take us into their teeth and give the Guardians the boot, don’t piss on them.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” Galactica
’s new XO answered as she passed along the orders.
“SIR!” Gaeta shouted in horror, and Adama looked back up at the display. Two of the ships in Force Alpha were like nothing any Colonial had ever before seen. Each had four arms on the dorsal and ventral surfaces and were the size of the Wishbone
class, but so far they had done little to contribute to the battle. Until now.
Now, each locked missile tubes on target and a salvo of two hundred missiles streaked away—bracketing Anubis
in a halo of nuclear and conventional fire. Adama closed his eyes as that small Battlestar simply vanished in the holocaust that swept over her. Goodbye, Colonel Thorean, Adama thought in prayer as he opened his eyes once more. And then he smiled grimly—Anubis
had flushed her own missile tubes just before the Guardian strike had destroyed her.
Only a dozen missiles, but this new class lacked heavy point defense. Ten went home and shattered plating—unfortunately Anubis
had not been equipped with any nuclear warheads of her own.
“Mister Gaeta, order Scorpia
to shift fire to the new ships—designate them as Longbow
“Admiral, Commander Jayne has already launched on those vessels,” Felix reported, holding one hand over his ear piece as he repeated what he was hearing.
lurched as a heavy kinetic strike went home against her hull. “Pegasus
will concentrate on the two remaining Wishbone
s in Force Beta; Scorpia
, and the Nova
s deal with Alpha. Where are our Vipers?”
“Harrying surviving Raiders that are attempting to return to their ships, Admiral,” answered Shaw. “Kat reports that they are getting low on fuel and munitions.”
Adama nodded. “Begin recovery operations squadron by squadron ASAP. I want them refueled, rearmed, and launched as fast as Tyrol can get them turned around.”
“INCOMING!” yelled Gaeta, and Galactica
heaved as the Longbow
s shifted their targeting to the old Battlestar. The point-defense guns stopped all but forty of the incoming missiles—but two nukes got through. Luckily, both impacted on the unused starboard flight pod, and while the lights flickered and red damage icons appeared on the board, the old girl’s armor held.
Then the DRADIS crackled with static as Scorpia
’s strike went home in retaliation—and the fury of planetary bombardment warhead erased one Longbow
from the universe. A third Wishbone
exploded under the combined fire from Pegasus
, and then the last ship in Force Beta jumped away, joined in retreat by the four survivors of Alpha and the three from Gamma. And then the Raiders—those eleven hundred that survived, that is—jumped away as well.
Another cheer went up, but Shaw’s voice cut through it. “Belay that shit! Get damage control teams moving to the starboard pod! NOW! I need fire crews on decks 7 and 8, aft of frame 40.”
Adama’s lips twitched, but his incipient smile died as he looked back up at the DRADIS. Anubis
was gone—so was one of the two Nova
both had taken heavy damage. They had lost forty-two fighters. And those losses were tiny compared to what the Thirteenth had taken.
The CAC contingent under the late Admiral Bao had one surviving destroyer, Nagato
. Sir Edward’s flotilla had lost the frigate Courageous
and the destroyer Montreal
; the UAA the cruiser Franklin
and the destroyer Asuncion
. Every surviving ship of the Thirteenth Tribe had suffered damage—except for the carrier Constellation
. On the fighter side, out of the one hundred and twenty fighters that they had put into action, thirty-eight were gone.
And despite the desperate defense—despite killing nine Basestars and more than forty-three hundred Raiders—still, the Guardians had managed to land on the surface below.
“Begin SAR operations,” he ordered. “Instruct all ships not equipped for search and rescue to proceed to Beowulf orbit and prepare to give support to the planetary defense forces operating there.”