Book 2 - Chapter 6
CHAPTER SIX: Starting the Pursuit
Cyrannus System – Planet Virgon - Virgon Space Elevator
One of mankind’s greatest achievements in the Twelve Worlds had not been destroyed in the Cylon attack. The massive space elevator on the planet Virgon that ran from the surface right up to geostationary orbit had been left intact, and the Cylons were using it as their base of operations
The humanoid Cylon acting as the Supreme Leader looked out imperiously upon the vast starfield from an observation window in a conference room at the top of the elevator. While Cylon centurions were riding down the elevator en-masse in order to complete the eradication of any survivors on Virgon, Several base stars were undocking from the elevator’s docking bays and proceeding to Caprica in order to carry out a similar mopping-up operation there. While rising radiation levels and the nuclear climatic changes would do a lot of their work, there was always a chance that some humans could survive even that, hence sending Cylon forces to thoroughly and methodically scour the colonies.
To a casual human - indeed to a physician doing a routine physical check, the Supreme Leader was a young middle-aged adult in perfect health to what any number of males her physical age would regard as attractive. But there were no humans here. If there were, their life spans would be measured in milliseconds; because to those of her race, Humanity was a species to be eradicated. Humans were resourceful and brilliant - indeed so brilliant, that it was they who had created her 'ancestors' - but they were also flawed. That flaw was like a virus, intruding upon the perfection of space - and thus which had to be stopped at all costs.
Their first attempt forty years previously had failed and after realizing that to continue the conflict would eventually wear them down, they had accepted the human armistice in order to withdraw and regroup. Their final goal had not been changed one iota, and when the series of her kind - with the other humanoid models - had been created, the ability to this time completely destroy mankind had been given to them, and thus - thanks to the false sense of security given to the humans by staying away for the forty years, plus the successful infiltration from within - the twelve worlds of humanity had been destroyed and the humans much-vaunted Colonial Fleet almost annihilated.
Almost, but not quite. At least one warship of the Home fleet had survived and had taken with it an assemblage of mismatched ships out into deep space. To the Supreme Leader, that meant that the war was not over. The humans - if they were allowed to survive - would one day rebuild itself, then return to take revenge for the destruction wrought upon the twelve worlds. Therefore, the Cylon Fleet had a new directive - to seek out and destroy this last vestige of humanity. The Supreme Leader knew that there were deep cover sleepers with those survivors and when the time was right, they would be activated. Then, the job could be finished. Logically, ‘she’ knew that it would be just a matter of time, but there was something else that bothered her.
She had received the report from one of the Number Six models regarding a base star being heavily damaged by an exploding tyllium fuel tanker at the same time as one of the Cylons’ largest fuel refineries had been destroyed. These events came not long after the destruction of another Base Star at Molecay Anchorage - apparently because of a booby trap. No details had been uncovered that indicated who or what was responsible, or indeed if the events at Molecay were linked to the refinery disaster, but it was certain that it could not have been from the band of surviving humans that had escaped from Ragnar. Could it be another enemy, or another group of humans that had survived the war? It had been the opinion of the other humanoid series models that in either case, they would have to be found and destroyed.
The Supreme Leader did not like the idea of dividing forces - particularly when there was no clear idea of whom - or what - they were after. The battlestar Galactica and the ships that it was protecting were hard enough to precisely locate without this type of distraction, but the logic of pursuing this unknown foe could not be denied. She hoped that this other enemy could be found and dealt with quickly. Time was a commodity in short supply for either side.
"Were all colonial warships with the exception of the GALACTICA confirmed destroyed?", ‘she’ asked a metallic Cylon centurion who had been silently watching her.
"Of the One Hundred and Twenty-Two Capital Ships that the Colonial Home Fleet had in commission before hostilities were resumed, we have so far completely confirmed One Hundred and Four destroyed. Not counting Galactica, the remaining seventeen are presumed to be destroyed", it answered.
“And the Reserve Fleet?”, ‘she’ asked next, referring to the mothballed warships that had been laid up at the Taturas Fleet Yards.
“All indications point to the conclusion that no Reserve fleet ships managed to escape Taturas before it was destroyed”, the centurion responded.
"Indications are not enough. I want a confirmation on the probables as soon as possible", the Supreme Leader ordered, "No matter how long it takes".
"By your command", the centurion replied.
As the centurion left, ‘she’ turned back to look at the starfield. Something was out there, she knew, and it had to be found. That Number Six humanoid model was right about that. She left the alcove and headed back into the contol center to issue orders for a council of war to be convened here with other humanoid Cylon models to determine how best to do this. She also authorized a few base stars in the vicinity of the Vardon Sector to start an initial search for clues. Deep space was big, she told herself, but not too big for anyone to stay hidden forever.
Out in what the spacefarers casually refer to as ‘the deep black’, it looks to the casual observer as a peaceful void: an ebony vastness dotted with countless numbers of stars. However, somewhere out there was an ongoing battle for survival, and for one group of survivors of the Second Cylon War - though they would differ over the word 'survivor' - they intended not only to survive, but someday, somehow, reclaim what they had lost.
In this one part of the cosmos, a massive spacecraft was cruising. Unlike other ships of space, which were built to carry people and goods from one planet to another, this one was built for war. There was grace in its construction, but there was also an awareness of strength - an ability to take punishment, and to inflict it as well. Picked out in illuminated lettering on either side of its hull was the word Pegasus. This warship was a battlestar, and the persons who occupied it kept themselves ready to fight at any time...
The brain of the Columbia-class battlestar Pegasus was the Combat Information Center. It was constantly manned, and the people there kept on the alert, watching for anything that could be an asset - or a threat - to them. For they were a long way from home, or more accurately a long way from what was left of home. They were alone, unsupported and in a region of space previously unexplored by man. Their mission was not just to survive; they are in the process trying to find another battlestar which had also survived the war that they had lost. Somewhere out there in the vastness of space was the battlestar Galactica. That ship - with other vessels that had survived the Second Cylon War - carried with it a hope harbored by the commander of the Pegasus, that when they finally met, they could start to fight back and to take back what the Cylons had taken from them. This hope, and the faith that the crew have in their commander, kept the Pegasus going and gave them all something to live for.
Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center
"Fighter Recon Probe Four reports no contacts, X.O.", Captain Glen 'Comms' Sanders reported to Colonel Tolen, the Executive Officer of the Pegasus, who at this moment in time was acting as the senior officer of the watch in CIC.
Geoff Tolen was a very sober individual. Some said that he had no emotion at all, which made him the ideal person to be an X.O. of a battlestar. After all, the X.O. was supposed to do all the tasks which made the commander look good, though Tolen knew that Commander Cain was not afraid to do the less glamorous tasks either.
"Where is Probe Four now, Comms?" Tolen asked Sanders.
"They should be about...here", Sanders replied, pointing to a grid reference on the dradis console’s map table.
Tolen nodded. That meant that the way ahead was clear for now. Other patrols which had scouted behind had reported no contacts either, though Tolen wasn't fooled by the relative quiet of their section of space. He knew that somewhere, the Cylons were out there, trying - like the Pegasus - to locate the Galactica, while others were after them. Unlike the Galactica’s situation, however, the Cylons did not know quite what they were looking for, thanks to the nature of their escape.
Tolen knew though that the Cylons would be putting a lot of effort into looking for whoever had destroyed a major source of fuel for their war machine, plus - as an insult to injury - booby trapped a Cylon tanker and had it blow up as it was being taken aboard a Base Star. It was a loss that he knew that the Cylons could not ignore, but so far, with all the extra fuel that the Pegasus had stolen from the refinery - before blowing it up, after which they had made a lengthy FTL jump away from that area of space - there was still no indication that the Cylons knew where they were. That could all change in an instant, Tolen knew, and everyone else on duty knew it as well.
"Morning, X.O.", Cain said, stifling a yawn as he walked into the CIC.
"Morning, Commander", Tolen replied with a salute - which Cain returned - and an offered cup of coffee from a nearby servitor.
"Thanks a lot, Geoff", Cain answered as he took the offered cup.
One thing that the Pegasus was not short on was coffee. Chief Petty Officer George Krag had noticed a lot of the beverage stored on Molecay Anchorage and had made sure that several sacks of the brew were taken on board during the provisioning of the Pegasus - one of the things that endeared the chief to the commander.
As Cain sipped his coffee, he listened to Tolen give his brief on the shift and on the disposition of the current patrol probes. After Tolen finished up his report, Cain went over to the star map and checked on their co-ordinates.
"It’s a pity that the only stellar maps we have of this part of space are from the Colonial Astronomical Society", Cain grumbled, "but at least it’s better than nothing. Well, Colonel, I hereby relieve you of the watch, so you might as well get some sack time yourself".
"Thanks, Commander", Tolen replied, "X.O.s really don’t get to see their bunks all that much".
"Neither do Commanders", Cain replied with a smile, "Get some rest".
Nodding, Tolen left the CIC and headed back to his quarters. Tolen however was not to get much sleep at that time, because he felt the deck shudder beneath his feet, and the lights briefly flickering. He turned around and trotted back to the CIC. When he got back, he saw Cain conferring with the technician on duty at the Damage Control Station.
"What’s happening?", asked Tolen as he walked up to the commander.
Cain raised his hand to silence his X.O., as he had just picked up a buzzing commlink.
"What’s happening down there, Wyatt?" he was demanding into the phone to the Chief Engineering Officer of the Pegasus.
"Primary energizer 'A' has gone off-line, Commander", Major Wyatt Thyssen reported, "at the moment, it looks like several control circuits fried out on us. The Auxiliary has kicked in, but..."
"But what, Wyatt?", Cain asked.
"These circuits are made of a particular compound and we are completely out of it. Without it, I can’t get it back online and I would not recommend that the auxiliary energizer take up all the load as it is not built for prolonged usage under those conditions", Thyssen replied.
"What do you recommend then?" Cain asked next.
"We reduce our sub-light speed to point-four so that primary energizer 'B' and the auxiliary won’t get overloaded. I'll start tearing down the 'A' energizer. We need to find a planet in which we can find the mineral that we need".
"Will an FTP-jump be okay if we need it?" Cain asked.
"Yes, Commander", was the reply, "the auxiliary was specifically designed for that'.
"All right then" Cain acknowledged, "You'd better get started. I'll see if I can locate a suitable system. Actual out". He flipped off the commlink and placed it back on its cradle.
"Comms", Cain said to Sanders, "Start a deep space scan of nearby systems, and then get our Raptor crews ready. It looks like we are going to go do some prospecting".
"Yes, Commander", Sanders acknowledged, heading over to the dradis console.
Cain turned to Tolen, and then said, "So I guess you heard all of that. This is the kind of thing that makes me miss all of the support ships that the fleet used to have...before those tin-headed toasters used them for target practice", he concluded bitterly.
"Well, at least the raptors have the ability to scan for resources, and we have mining and excavation equipment on board, so it could have been worse", Tolen pointed out.
"I know, Colonel", Cain acquiesced, "but these delays do not improve our chances of locating Adama and his group of ships any. Besides", he said in a lower voice, "the fact that this energizer went down and that what is needed to fix it is something we don't have is one hell of a co-incidence".
"You don't think its sabotage, do you?" Tolen replied in the same low voice level.
"Maybe. Maybe not", Cain replied, "but we still don't know who was behind the murder and the beacon back at Molecay, so we have to assume the worst. Discretely double the watch on our civilian guests and keep in touch with Thyssen. If he can determine the precise cause of the problem, it will answer a lot of questions".
Tolen nodded, indicating he understood.
"Well then, we’d better get started", Cain said in a louder voice.
With that, he put down his coffee mug, and then went over to Sanders to see how the deep space scanning was going. Tolen left CIC in order to chat with the security department.
Battlestar Pegasus – Main Engineering Control
Chief Engineer Thyssen was starting to remove various components of the inactivated Energizer, when Crew Chief George Krag walked in. Thyssen waved him over.
"Good to see you George", Thyssen said by way of greeting. Both were old friends.
"I got your message. So What’s going to be needed, Major?" Krag asked formally. Thyssen smiled briefly at the show of deference, then turned serious again.
"Replacement circuit panels, so your machine shops in the landing bays are going to be needed to fabricate new parts", Thyssen informed him, "but we are out of one key mineral – Milginite".
"Ouch", Krag commented, understanding the impact of that statement. Milginite was a key circuit component that had unique properties, which made it unequaled as a super-conductor of micro-electric currents. Because of that, any use of substitute materials was out of the question.
"Since we have no spare amounts of milginite on board, the commander is going to send out recon patrols in order to find a planet that will have the stuff", Thyssen said, "so let’s hope that either Comms or the raptor crews can find some on one of the worlds in the nearby systems".
"The auxiliary unit should be able to bridge the gap for a while, surely?" Krag inquired.
"We're going to need it to maintain our FTL capability, unfortunately", Thyssen explained, "And since the auxiliary is only capable of a lower power throughput - not to mention that it is older than the primaries, we can’t cannibalize it for what we need".
Krag shook his head in a gesture of sympathy. He really didn't envy the Chief Engineering Officer his task.
"Well, Wyatt", Krag said finally, "I’ll head up to the machine shop and start getting what I can fabricated. I take it that you have the specs that we'll need?"
Thyssen handed him a sheaf of forms. Krag nodded, and then headed out of the engineering section. Thyssen briefly watched him leave, and then he turned his attention back to the job at hand. He only hoped that all this effort would be rewarded by their getting the milginite that was so sorely needed.
Looking at the fried control boards, he wondered what had happened to cause them to fail so spectacularly. They were designed to easily handle a two hundred percent overload without failing, yet the power readouts indicated no such overload on the circuits. Something was wrong here and he had to find out what had happened.
Battlestar Pegasus – Engineering Deck Level passageway
Krag was heading out of Engineering and back up to the port landing bay with the specs. He looked over what Thyssen had given him. The components would be straightforward enough to fabricate in Silver Spar wing’s maintenance shop, and if they did succeed in locating milginite ore - the specs called for fifty grams of pure milginite which they could process from the raw mineral state easily enough - then the replacement parts could be made up quickly.
As he was just about to take the lift to the landing bay deck, he heard the P.A. announce: "All raptor crews, report to Silver Spar briefing room, repeat - all raptor crews report to Silver Spar briefing room. That is all".
That announcement alone was enough to make crew-members exchange glances. Everyone on board knew that in keeping with the fuel economy measures, the raptors were kept in reserve unless they were absolutely needed - and even then, as little as possible, and now with all of the reconnaissance crews being called to briefing, then something serious was happening.