Garris' PEGASUS (Books 1 and 2)

Book 2 - Chapter 9

CHAPTER NINE: Return and Reprieve

Survey Probe One – Theta System

"All right", Tricia announced, "We're both loaded up, so let’s get off this rock and get back to Home Plate".

With that order, Tricia and Gorde strapped into their seats while over in the other raptor, Dutch and Watt did likewise. Both raptors powered up smoothly and quickly started their ascent into orbit.

"It was good to be on a planet rather than a ship, even if it was just for a little while", Gorde said.

"True", Tricia answered, "but maybe we will do so again sometime soon. Let's get back to the Pegasus".

"Jump co-ordinates punched in", Gorde reported, "so as soon as we clear the atmosphere, we can jump anytime you're ready".

"You got that, Razor?" Tricia asked Dutch, who was flying slightly above and behind her.

"We're all set, Sheba", Dutch replied.

Both Gorde and Watt looked back at the secured panels stowed in the instrument bay of their raptors. They were well tied down.

"Okay, we're out of the atmosphere now", Gorde reported, "we're good to go. Jumping in 5...4...3...2...1...jump!"

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Just before Tricia ordered the probe to jump, Sanders received an ominous message from one of the patrols keeping tabs on the base star.

"Uh-oh", Sanders said as he listened to the recon patrol's transmission. He put down his headset, and turned to Cain.

"Commander, the base star has increased speed. Other raiders are being launched and are heading this way", he reported, "The estimated time for the raiders to pick us up on their sensors is seven minutes.

'Recall all of our patrols", Cain ordered, “Have them get back here pronto and make a combat landing. We're going to jump the instant we get them back on board".

Sanders nodded to Annan. She put on her headset and thumbed the commlink.

"All patrols, expedite back to Home Plate. Abort patrol and expedite!" she communicated.

The patrols acknowledged and headed straight back in. Sanders turned to Commander Cain.

"All patrols are on their way back. Estimated recovery time of the fighters in four minutes", he reported.

"That's cutting it fine", Tolen remarked, "Four minutes to recover the fighters, plus one minute to retract the landing bays".

Cain did not reply. He had to do it, but he was also thinking about his daughter. As he did not know what was in that system Tricia had been sent to scout out, he could not risk discovery by jumping directly there. Just then, Annan stood up.

"Commander!" Annan called, "Survey Probe One has just jumped back. They are reporting that they have milginite on board!"

"Quiet!" Cain roared as the crew members in CIC cheered at the news. As they quieted down, Cain turned to Annan.

"Get the Survey Probe on deck immediately! We have to make the jump and we can't delay the countdown", he ordered.

"Survey Probe One", Annan communicated, "Expedite your landing. Repeat, expedite your landing. FTL jump is imminent".

Both raptors went to full speed as their thrusters were turned up by their pilots. As they closed in on the Pegasus, Tricia noticed that several vipers were coming in fast to land on deck. She knew that something urgent was happening.

"All fighters down", Sanders reported, "both raptors are coming in fast and hot".

"Estimated time to Cylon sensor contact in three minutes", Tolen reported, looking at the countdown clock.

"Start retracting the landing bays", Cain tersely ordered. The crewman responsible for that task operated his controls.

Survey Probe One

“They're retracting the bays", Tricia remarked, "We have to hurry. They'll be fully closed in one minute".

Dutch saw likewise and pushed the raptor to a higher speed. The entry ports into the bays were getting smaller and smaller, but Tricia ignored that.

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Up in CIC, Cain, Tolen, Sanders, and most of the other duty crewmen were holding their breaths as the raptors bore in. Would they make it? With the Cylon ships getting closer, they could not stop the retraction if they wished to avoid discovery.

With very little room to spare, both raptors hurtled into the bays. Both Tricia and Dutch hit full reverse thrust on their controls. Gorde and Watt were flung around in their seats and the lashings securing the cannibalized panels strained at the pressures of inertia, but they held. The landing cycle then kicked in.

With a 'thump', both raptors grounded on the deck amidst the recently landed vipers. At that same instant, the landing bays fully closed in the retracted position.

"The raptors are on board, Commander", Sanders reported.

'Execute jump!", Cain ordered.

Cylon Raider Patrol

With a flash of light, the Pegasus FTL-ed. About five seconds later, the Cylon search patrols picked up the missing patrol ship on their sensors. The ships converged on the wrecked raider and started taking detailed scans of it, and the surrounding area. One of the raiders then turned and FTL-ed back to the base star to report on the find.

Cylon Base Star – Control Deck

A few minutes after the reporting raider returned, the information was relayed up to the Cylon Humanoid in command. He read through the data, and then looked at the centurion who had brought it to him.

"So our missing patrol has been destroyed?" The humanoid asked.

"Affirmative", the centurion confirmed, "the raider had definitely been destroyed by hostile fire".

"Hostile fire from whom?" The humanoid wanted to know.

"Uncertain", the centurion answered, "there was other debris nearby, but it was too badly incinerated in order to provide a positive identification".

"Anything else?", The humanoid asked next.

"There were indications of an FTL entry by something sizeable reported by another one of our forward patrols just before the missing raider was located, but it was only an indication. Nothing definitive as it was at the extreme end of the patrols' sensor range", the centurion answered.

"Have other patrols scan the nearby systems", the humanoid finally ordered after considering all that he had heard.

"By your command" the centurion acknowledged.

The Number Seven model did not think that whoever had destroyed the patrol ship would be anywhere nearby now, but the sector still had to be checked. He knew though that he had come close. The pursuit would continue and someday, their quarry would be found. He would send out a report to the Supreme Leader though...

Battlestar Pegasus – Quartermaster’s Department

For her part, the Number Six model on board the Pegasus knew that the humans had gotten away again. She was annoyed that there had been no opportunity this time to try and sabotage the humans' efforts to escape. For the duration of the emergency, all of the civilians had been confined to non-essential areas of the battlestar under guard, so there was nothing that she could do.

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, she thought. Someday, their guard would be let down enough and she would be able to take advantage of it. Until then, it was a matter of keeping a low profile and lulling them into a false sense of security. Then, she would strike again.

Battlestar Pegasus - Mettalurgy

A couple of decks below the Quartermaster’s department was the metallurgy lab. The salvaged panels had been removed from the raptors and the panels had been smelted down. Enough pure milginite had been extracted and now the extracted metal was being used to fabricate the replacement circuits for the 'A' Energizer. Chief Petty Officer Krag had no trouble constructing the necessary components which Major Thyssen was so eagerly awaiting.

Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center

Captain Sanders received the latest damage control report from Major Thyssen.

"Major Thyssen reports that the parts made by Chief Krag are perfect and the deactivated energizer will be back up and fully functioning within two hours", Sanders reported to Commander Cain.

"Very good, Comms", Cain replied. He turned to Colonel Tolen.

"X.O.", Cain said, Now you can go and have your rest. I think that this time it will be uninterrupted.

"Let the record show that I willingly obey the orders of my commanding officer", Tolen formally said while saluting.

Cain chuckled and returned the salute.

"I'll see you in sixteen hours, Colonel", Cain replied, "Have a good sleep".

Cain watched Tolen leave CIC, tand hen turned to Sanders, who was carrying the debriefing report from Survey Probe One.

"It's a pity that we had to leave the seeded planet", Sanders remarked to Cain, "perhaps if the seeding had been completed, we could have made a new home there".

"No home is safe while the toasters are around, Comms", Cain admonished quietly, "but when we find the Galactica and the others, then we can start thinking about taking on the Cylons. Then perhaps humanity can have a home that we can be safe. Project ‘Seeder’ sent out several hundred probes before it was cancelled, so one day perhaps, one of those worlds will be our new home. Until then..."

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