Garris' PEGASUS (Books 1 and 2)

Book 1 - Chapter 10

CHAPTER TEN: Unwelcome Attention

Battlestar PEGASUS – Combat Information Center

With the time for the expected return for the Cylon patrol approaching, Cain wanted a status check of the provisioning. He walked on over to the dradis console where Sanders was marking items down on a checklist.

"How's the loading going, Comms?" Cain asked Sanders. Sanders looked down at a checklist.

"Major Thyssen reports that we've topped up our fuel tanks and gotten five thousand additional liters of tyllium so far stowed in the cleared areas in both landing bays, Commander", Sanders said, checking his list, "and Magazine One is almost completely filled. Magazine Two should be filled within two hours maximum. The loading of foodstuffs is proceeding smoothly and we should be at full fuel and ammunition capacity around the same time. The extra manpower that standing down Theta watch provided is making all the difference".

Tyllium was the fuel that both the sub-light and FTL drives ran on. It was a highly efficient – though very volatile – fuel which necessitated special handling.

"I'm a little concerned about that much tyllium stowed in the lower bay decks, Comms", Cain remarked.

"Chief Krag's boys have constructed stabilization braces for the pods, plus that area of the bays are pretty well protected", Sanders pointed out.

"Any other problems?" Cain asked next.

"We seem to be missing a crewman: Specialist Wright. He was assigned to assist the civilian volunteers loading up the foodstuffs. He has not responded to any of our commlink inquiries for the past hour", Sanders replied.

"You send anyone out to look for him?" Cain asked next.

"Not yet, Commander", Sanders replied, "Because everyone is committed to the loading of supplies. Some of the folk seem to think that his commlink may be malfunctioning".

"I'd feel better if we could locate him, Comms, so detach a couple of people from whatever they're doing and have them look for Wright", Cain ordered. Sanders nodded and reached for his commlink.

"Commander", Lieutenant Annan reported from Core Command, "It's nearly time for the patrol to re-emerge".

Nodding, Cain walked up to Annan’s console.

"Get me both CAG’s on secure commlink", Cain ordered. Annan passed Cain a headset.

"Bojay. Pointer. This is Actual", he announced, "It's nearly show-time. We still are a little under two hours short of full provisioning, so make sure you take that ship out, understood?".

"Understood, Actual", both CAG’s replied. Cain flipped off the headset and turned to Sanders, who had just finished relaying Cain’s order to search for the missing crewman.

"Let's get our gun crews to stand to, Comms", Cain ordered. Sanders nodded and activated the PA.

"Alert all gun crews. Repeat: Alert all gun crews", he announced, “You are cleared for firing”.

All over the Pegasus, the weapons crews stood to their posts. If the Strike wings were successful, then they would not be needed. If not, then they were liable to be very busy very soon...

Molecay Anchorage – Storage Bay Seven

At this same moment, deep within Molecay Anchorage, the blonde woman had acquired the items that she was looking for. In the rear of bay seven – behind a stack of crates - she assembled a power cell and a converted soil analyzer. She had made the conversions herself, turning the analyzer into a beacon. Now she needed an antenna of some kind. Once she found something that could be used, then she would be able to send out a signal on a specific frequency that her associates would be monitoring.

Above Molecay Anchorage

In Recon Raptor One, Gorde checked his chronometer, and then keyed his communicator.

"Expected emergence in ten seconds, Sheba", Gorde announced, starting the chronometer countdown.

Tricia nodded and monitored her sensors. The chronometer started ticking down...five, four, three, two, one, zero!

With a flash of light, the Cylon patrol craft appeared. Tricia monitored it as it started to close in on Molecay. Within twenty seconds, it would start scanning the complex.

"Battle Plan, Execute!" she announced into her commlink.

Syke and Voight heard Tricia's signal. Syke called out to his wing, "Let’s get him!"

At his command, the fighters of Silver Spar Wing powered up and started heading out around the asteroid.

In the Raptor, Tricia powered up her weapons platform. Gorde immediately sent out jamming signals.

On the screen, Tricia noticed the Cylon ship abruptly change course. At that same moment, Syke's wing flew out from behind the asteroid and started firing at the Cylon ship. The Cylon ship turned and started flashing some kind of a red light beam at the fighters, but none of the incoming ships seemed to be affected. Syke breathed a sigh of relief.

"Okay, Silver Spar", he called, "Looks like their dirty tricks aren't working this time. Take him out!"

The various fighters started firing their guns, forcing the Cylon ship to fly evasive. As long as they continued to do so, the Cylon ship could not make an improvised jump.

"The jamming is working, Sheba", Gorde announced, "He's not sending out anything".

"Great", Tricia replied, “Keep at it”.

Tricia noticed that the Cylon ship was trying to get to the pre-set co-ordinates since it could not do an improvised FTL-jump. She keyed her commlink to Captain Voight.

"Fox is heading for the coop", she announced.

In his viper, Voight heard the signal. "Black Knights, Power up and engage!"

At his command, the forty vipers which were all that was left of the Battlestar Pacifica powered up and converged at high speed on the fleeing Cylon ship.

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Down on the Pegasus, Cain watched the dradis view-screen as the two viper wings squeezed the patrol ship into a pincer. It looked like the plan was working. The view-screen showed two missiles launched from one of Silver Spar's vipers. The first missile missed the Cylon ship. The second didn't.

With a blazing flash of light, the Cylon Patrol ship disintegrated. Cain keyed his commlink.

"Nice shot, CAG", he communicated to Syke.

“Chunks deserves the credit, Actual”, Syke replied, “So he gets the first kill of the strike wing”.

"Thanks, Bojay", Lt. Hayes acknowledged.

Cain nodded to Annan, who keyed her communicator.

"Recon Raptor One”, Annan ordered, "send out the all-well signal".

Above Molecay Anchorage

"Acknowledged, Home Plate. Sending", Gorde answered. To Tricia he whispered, "let’s hope that the codes they used before are still the current ones".

"So say we all", Tricia replied. Gorde activated his console, transmitting the fake all-clear. Gorde then keyed his communicator.

"This is Newguy to Silver Spar Group Leader. The message has been sent", Gorde reported to Syke. Syke clicked his communicator twice acknowledging Gorde’s signal, then he spoke to his pilots:

"Okay, everybody", Syke communicated, "let's hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We converge and fly in a screening pattern over Home Plate. Keep your eyes peeled. Trouble can emerge at any time".

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

At the dradis console, Cain turned to Tolen. Both had been listening to the pilot chatter.

"Well, we just unzipped our fly, Geoff. Let’s hope we can finish up before the toasters smell a rat", he commented.

Tolen nodded and keyed his commlink to communicate with Krag.

"Chief, this is Alternate", he communicated – ‘Alternate’ being a code-term for the Executive Officer - "we've taken out that patrol ship, but you'd better expedite".

"Understood, Alternate", Krag replied, "Oh, and please let Actual know that his ‘surprise package’ has been prepared".

"Right, Chief", Tolen nodded, “Alternate out”.

Inside Molecay Anchorage – Bay Seven

Back down in Bay Seven, the blonde woman heard about the destruction of the Cylon ship. She had taken the dead crewman's commlink and had listened in to the battle. Now, it seemed that her efforts would be the last chance to stop the Pegasus. She clipped in a long length of cable to the improvised beacon. Next, she started a timer, made from the dead crewman's wrist chronometer. The timer would activate the beacon within twenty minutes. This would give her time to mix back in to the crowd. If the effort was a failure, she would still be with the rest awaiting another opportunity. If it was successful, then she would awake in another body, ready to help hunt down other human escapees.

She stood up and exited the bay, removing the jacket and cap she had taken earlier from the now-dead crewman Wright.

While she was quickly but quietly joining the rest of the volunteers in Bay Three, two crewmen were looking around for Specialist Wright. They passed by the main group of workers and headed over to the next bay area.

"This place is huge", Specialist Warner said to Petty Officer Brook, "Where would Wright goof off to?"

"You know him better than me", Warner, Brook commented. He didn't really care to do a search for a person who was likely goofing off work and he would enjoy reaming him out when he found him...

"Weird smell", Warner commented a few minutes later while walking past some crates outside a disused office near Bay Five, "it smells like someone didn't make it to a bathroom in time".

Brook noticed the bowel-ish odor too. It seemed to be coming from behind those crates. Any strange smell in a station was something to check out. He looked behind the crates, and then drew back rapidly, pulling out his commlink in a hurry.

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Sanders was conferring with Annan at Core Command when his commlink beeped.

“This is Comms”, Sanders said into the commlink.

"This is Brook. I've found Wright. He's dead!" he sounded. At that, Warner paled. He looked around the corner of the crates, and then abruptly tore away his glance, looking deathly pale.

"Where are you, Brook?" Sanders asked.

"Down near Bay Five", Brook answered, "His neck has been broken and his body was hidden behind the crates. His cap and jacket is missing. This is no accident, Sir".

Sanders turned to Colonel Tolen, who had been listening in. His expression was grim.

"Comms", Tolen said, "get a security detachment down to Petty Officer Brooks' position now".

"Brook", Sanders communicated, "We're sending down some security personnel to you. Stay where you are. Home Plate out".

Tolen picked up his own commlink and communicated to Cain, who had gone down to the airlock in order to check on the loading progress.

"Commander", Tolen reported, "We have a problem".

“What is it?” Cain asked. Before Tolen could answer, he was distracted by a shout from Sanders:

"What?" Sanders had exclaimed loudly into another commlink, "Find it now!".

Pale, Sanders put down his commlink and said "Colonel, Sheba is reporting that a signal is being transmitted on the Cylon patrol frequency. It's in the form of a beacon and its originating from within the Anchorage!"

"Correction, Commander", Tolen clarified, "we have a big problem". Tolen quickly repeated what Sanders had said.

"Get the security detail in the anchorage to find that beacon. Get it shut down!" Cain tersely ordered. This wasn't good, he knew.

Inside Molecay Anchorage

The civilians looked up in surprise as a heavily armed detachment of crewmen ran past them and headed over to Bay Five. The blonde woman realized that the body of the dead man must have been found, but it was too late, she thought to herself. The beacon would be transmitting by now and it should be responded to very soon.

The security team rushed into Bay Seven. They had a signal locator with them and quickly found the improvised transmitter. A quick burst with a rifle silenced the beacon.

"Commander", the security chief reported to Cain through his commlink, "the transmitter has been silenced. It was an improvised device".

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Cain was relieved that it had been found, but since it had already sent out its signal, trouble could arrive at any moment. He made his decision:

"We're out of time, so let’s get everyone off the anchorage, now", Cain ordered, "Comms, sound the evacuation order!"

As the announcement came over the PA system, everyone in the anchorage started moving toward the airlock, taking whatever extra they could in their hands. The civilians were escorted on board the Pegasus first - where a head count was taken. Next, Krag's men came on board, dumping their last-gotten goods just inside. While all this was happening, the alert went out to both Strike Wings' fighters. Trouble could be expected at any moment.

"The moment that we cast off, we get our fighters back and immediately jump to those co-ordinates", Tolen informed Sanders, passing him a piece of paper. Sanders nodded and headed over to FTL control to program in the new spatial co-ordinates. There was no time to lose.

Cain joined Tolen back in the CIC and while they were awaiting confirmation that the anchorage had been evacuated, they kept their eyes glued to the scanners. Tolen was still talking to the security officer.

"The security detachment wants to know if we should take Wright's body", Tolen said to Cain.

"We don't leave our dead behind, Colonel", Cain replied, "tell them yes".

Tolen relayed the order. The detachment had quickly wrapped the body in a piece of plastic and now four of them were carrying it with them back to the docking bay.

"We get enough stores on board?" Cain asked Tolen next.

"According to Chief Krag and Comms, we have gotten pretty well stocked up on consumables, fuel, and materiel", he replied, "I only hope that we haven't left it too late".

“Have Theta Watch man their battle stations once they board”, Cain said, “Condition One is now set”.

Battlestar Pegasus – Main Airlock

Down in the docking bay, the security detachment quickly got on board. After dropping Wright's corpse in the airlock, the head of the detachment gave Krag a thumbs-up. Krag pressed the control panel that shut the hatch.

As the status panel flashed its SEALED message, Krag picked up his commlink.

"This is Chief Krag", he communicated to CIC, "everyone is off the anchorage, and the airlock is sealed!"

As he said those words, he looked around at the crates that had been quickly dumped on board, and the out-of-breath personnel who had rushed on board. He hoped that they didn’t leave it too late…

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

"Helm", Cain ordered, "Disengage now, get us away from here!"

The Helm officer manipulated his controls, undocking the Pegasus from Molecay. As the battlestar climbed away from the anchorage, Cain nodded to Annan, saying, “Issue the recall to the CAG’s”.

"This is Core Command. All fighters, return to base. Commence immediate combat landing", Annan communicated.

As the fighters - and Tricia’s Raptor - started heading back to alight on the PEGASUS, Cain turned to Sanders.

"Comms, keep the gun crews on full alert until we jump", he ordered, "and the instant the last fighter lands, retract the landing bays and prepare to make the jump".

"Yes, Commander", Sanders acknowledged.

So far, there was no sign of any hostile craft heading into the area, but Cain knew that it was only a matter of time. He turned to see Chief Krag, who had just arrived in CIC.

"You got everything set, Chief?" he asked Krag.

"Yes, Commander", he replied, "Here is the activation device", he said, handing him a handset.

"The first switch fully arms the warheads", Krag explained, "The second starts a thirty second countdown. Once started, it cannot be aborted. All six warheads will detonate at that moment".

Cain turned his attention to the monitor screens and watched the Strike Wings land upon the landing bays. All of them had come in fast and landed hard, but there were no mishaps or crashes. Both wings had practiced combat landings repeatedly. The pilots would remain in their fighters until after the jump.

When all of the vipers - and Tricia’s raptor - had landed, Cain activated the arming switch. The thermonuclear warheads sitting in the anchorage were now primed for detonation.

The Pegasus was rapidly pulling away from the anchorage. Cain was about to issue an order when the proximity alarm klaxon sounded.

"We've got FTL-emergence directly over the anchorage", One of the technicians at the dradis console announced, "My lords of Kobol, it’s a Base Star!".

Beneath them, approximately eight klicks away, directly above the anchorage airlock, a large six-pronged leviathan emerged from its FTL. Cain didn't hesitate. He thumbed the detonation button on the handset, starting the countdown. He then turned to Sanders. Sanders knew immediately what Cain wanted…

"All bottom-side batteries, open fire!" Sanders ordered. At his command, the missile launchers and main bottom-side guns started firing their ordinance at the base star. The base star immediately started firing back.

"Landing Bays retracted", Sanders announced, "we're all clear to jump!"

"Twenty-Five seconds to detonation", Krag reported.

"We make the jump at T minus two seconds", Cain announced, "Hold relative position to the anchorage. We have to keep that base star close to Molecay. Jam their transmissions".

As the Helm officer carried out his command, Sanders noticed that a missile had penetrated the suppression fire cordon. It was homing in on the Pegasus.

"Incoming missile", Sanders shouted. Two seconds later, a Cylon missile impacted on the hull of the Pegasus. The battlestar shook as it absorbed the impact.

"Stand by to jump", Tolen announced as he saw one of the missiles from the Pegasus impact on the base star.

"They are launching fighters", Sanders announced from his station. "At least seventy so far".

On the Dradis console, the close up views of the base star showed wave after wave of the scimitar-shaped Cylon fighters deploying into attack formation.

"Ten seconds to detonation", Krag announced.

"Stand by to make the jump. T minus two", Cain announced.

The base star was firing more missiles as the fighters started to close in. As the chronometer reached '2', Cain sounded, "Jump".

With a flash, the Pegasus made the FTL-jump.

Two seconds later, another, more spectacular flash occurred as the six twenty-megaton nuclear warheads detonated directly beneath the Base Star, which had hardly moved from its position over the anchorage.

The electromagnetic pulse immediately knocked out the fighters that had launched from the base star. The base star itself was caught and bathed in the fireball of the massive nuclear explosion. The outline of the base star was momentarily visible, and then the base star blew apart, unable to resist the massive conflagration of the detonation. The debris of the base star flew out, impaling the helpless fighters. Molecay Anchorage - and the Cylon Base Star that had responded to the beacon - had ceased to exist.

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