Book 2 - Chapter 11
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Settling back into a Routine
Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center
Glen Sanders was at this time acting as the Officer of the Watch. Both Commander Cain and Colonel Tolen were not present - hopefully getting some sack time - and as both fighter wings were on stand down, that made him the acting commander of the Pegasus. Even though there was one other officer who outranked him – Chief Engineer Wyatt Thyssen – Sanders was number three on the battlestar’s command staff list and that meant regardless of whatever rank one held, the chain of command was clear. The engineering staff – like the support services staff – was subservient to the Command Staff.
The dradis console staff had reported absolutely nothing in the vicinity of the battlestar and the few patrol craft that had been deployed had reported no contact either. This was indeed a good time to catch up on things before jumping to the next sector. Thyssen had reported that 'A' Energizer was ticking over on full power and Chief Petty Officer George Krag's deck crews were catching up on their maintenance backlog. In approximately twenty hours, the next jump would take place, and hopefully, they would be able to find something more than what this barren part of space was offering.
"Captain, The memorial service for the killed pilot has been completed", one of the duty technicians had informed him.
"Thanks, Specialist", Sanders quietly replied. He had initially been a little bit annoyed that none of the command staff had been invited to attend, but traditions differed from wing to wing and battlestar to battlestar. Black Knight Wing was from the Pacifica and under their tradition, only officers from the home battlestar could attend. Captain Voight was the senior surviving officer from the Pacifica and felt that in order to pay homage to the now-destroyed battlestar, and crew he had to keep the Black Knight Wing tradition alive.
Sanders decided to take his mind off the service by putting his attention onto something that needed addressing. The fact that there was likely a traitor on board was a knife pointed at the throat of every other person on board. At Commander Cain's insistence, very few people knew about it. Only the senior command staff – Cain, Tolen, and himself - and the search party who had found both the murdered crewman’s body and the jury-rigged beacon back at Molecay Anchorage knew the details, and all of them had been sworn to secrecy. Sanders had been charged with trying to find out who was responsible, but so far, nothing much had been unearthed.
It seemed certain that one of the civilians had been responsible. One hundred and seven of them had been helping to load up stocks from the anchorage. The size of the storage silos meant that they were all scattered so accounting for ones whereabouts could not easily be ascertained. And while there was no concrete proof, Sanders agreed with Krag's and Thyssen's supposition of someone tampering with those control circuit boards on the energizer.
In order for maximum efficiency, Commander Cain had ordered that the civilians be trained to help run the battlestar, but in light of the recent circumstances, the civilians could now only be employed in non-critical areas of the Pegasus, and be with a crew member at all times. If Condition One was ever called, then the civilians would be escorted to a holding area - ostensibly for safety reasons, but in reality so that the traitor could not do anything more to compromise the safety of the battlestar. So far, these measures seemed to be working, but the sooner that the traitor was caught, the better...
Battlestar Pegasus – Quartermaster’s Department
The Cylon humanoid on board the Pegasus had been feeling rather frustrated - or as frustrated as a Cylon could feel - at the recent turn of events. Commander Cain and his senior officers were very smart, she thought. Ever since Molecay, the civilians that the Pegasus had retrieved from Caprica, plus the others picked up from stranded short-range inter-system space ships, had been under close watch. All of them had been interviewed and medically examined, and were now helping out the crew members in routine, non-critical tasks - she had ended up in the Quartermaster Department working on uniforms - but never alone. This had meant that she could not at this time make any move against the Pegasus, but she reasoned that sooner or later, an opportunity would present itself. It meant being patient.
Battlestar Pegasus – Silver Spar wing maintenance shop
Patience was a virtue that was in rather short supply on board the Pegasus, but it was a quality that had to be cultivated, if the battlestar was going to continue to efficiently function. This down-time was necessary for the pilots to stay alert, Geroge Krag thought as he was supervising a support crew service one of Silver Spar's vipers, but he also thought that his deck crews should be getting the same amount of rest. The forty vipers of the wing however needed constant upkeep and while the pilots had taken full advantage their down-time, it enabled the crews to carry out the necessary maintenance of the wing en masse. That meant that all available technicians had to make full use of the available time in order to service, fuel, and arm them all so that when they made the jump into the next sector, the patrol rotation could resume.
Krag knew that Captain Syke really respected the efforts of the support crews in keeping his wing functioning at peak efficiency. Sometime later, Krag would talk to him about getting some of his crew members some down-time as well, but for now, that would have to wait.
While working on Captain Syke's viper, Krag took the time to admire the sleek and deadly 'package' of the Mark VII viper. The designers were clearly told not to beat around the bush when they were given the assignment to design a craft capable of dogfighting, interception, and striking hard and fast at a long range. Still, despite the viper's sole purpose to make life as miserable as possible to the enemy, the designers did manage to make the viper VII a sweet-looking bird. No wonder the pilots loved it.
Krag thought about the transcripts of the intercepted transmissions received from the Galactica during the opening round of the war. He had been mildly surprised to learn that on the Galactica, his friend Chief Tyrol had gotten a whole squadron of older Mark II vipers into the fight - and that they had more success than the Mark VII's! Krag knew that the Mark II's were easier to maintain and upkeep than the VII's, so Tyrol would probably be having things a little easier on the Galactica than he was on the Pegasus. He hoped that Tyrol was doing okay. It would be good to meet back up with him again...
Battlestar Pegasus – Judge Advocate General’s Office
Meanwhile, Colonel Tolen was not in a good mood at the moment. He wanted to make full use of the down-time in order to relax and catch up on some overdue sleep, but there was a small matter of discipline to attend to first. An inspection of crew quarters by the junior officer of the deck had turned up something that under normal circumstances would not have been regarded as a transgression, but with the realities now existing, was something that could not be condoned.
Now, he was in the JAG offce – which doubled as a courtroom, presiding over a hearing as Magistrate-Martial: one of the less glamorous tasks for an X.O. to do. A crewman was in front of him at attention. He was looking rather pale. The J.O.O.D. had presented the evidence of what he had found and now Tolen had to pass judgement.
"Specialist Coleman", Tolen said to the defendant, "Do you have anything to say before I pass judgement?"
"It was something that I had forgotten about, Colonel", Coleman said quietly, "otherwise I would have passed it on earlier. Honest".
"As you know", Colonel Tolen said dispassionately, "Commander Cain had ordered that any private supplies of food and drink had to be surrendered to the commissary department. Due to the fact that we have no certain sources for re-provisioning, that order was an eminently sensible one. And now, the Junior Officer of the Deck discovers in your possession a food basket and a supply of alcohol. What kind of example is that to show to your crewmates?" he asked.
"It was a present from my family at my last birthday. I had put it away in the rear of my locker and completely forgotten about it", Coleman pleaded.
Tolen looked at the basket. It was not large and the protective wrapping around it had not been opened. He was inclined to believe Coleman, but still, since the other crewmen in his barracks had seen the basket when it was discovered by the J.O.O.D., something had to be done.
"Do you then show willingness to surrender the foodstuffs and the two bottles of ambrosia with it to the commissary department?" Tolen asked. Coleman nodded.
"Very well", Tolen answered, "but if I don't do something to address these circumstances, then others may get the same idea that this kind of thing will be tolerated. I take no pleasure in it, but discipline under the conditions that we are in at the moment must take priority. You are therefore sentenced to seven days E.M.D. Dismissed".
The escorting guards took Coleman out of the briefing room. Coleman breathed a sigh of relief. True, he had to do a total seven days of external (that meant outside on the hull of the Pegasus) maintenance detail whenever it was called for, but he considered himself lucky. Colonel Tolen could very easily have thrown him in the brig for a month.
Tolen signed off on the appropriate forms detailing the sentence awarded to Coleman. Handing the forms to a yeoman who had been acting as the recorder for the hearing, he decided to get back to his bunk before the J.O.O.D. came up with something else for him to decide on. An X.O.'s life is not an uneventful one, he thought to himself.
Battlestar Pegasus – Silver Spar wing crew quarters
Down in the flight crew dormitory, Gorde was stretched out on his bunk trying to relax. He had been thinking about a number of things, mainly about Helo back down on Caprica and hoping that he was okay. He had to admit that he was extremely lucky to have made it off Caprica, and to get back into the fight - even if it was in uncharted space away from the colonies.
Gorde thought that he had been extremely lucky to be paired up with Tricia Cain. Like him, she was along for the ride, although unlike him, her home battlestar no longer existed. Despite the circumstances of their being together, they made a great team and had played no small part in getting the Pegasus out of immediate danger.
He was dressed in t-shirt and shorts, reading one of the piloting manuals for the raptor that Sheba had given him. Thanks to the drug regimen given to him from the Pegasus' medics in Life Station, the radiation that he had been exposed to down on Caprica had been fully dealt with. He was alive and healthy, which was more than can be said for all those who had perished in the attack.
Gorde was not a philosophical type, but he found himself wondering why he had managed to survive when so many others didn't. The Lords of Kobol move in mysterious ways, he thought to himself. After all, he only joined the ROTC program to help him through college and not through any yearning to have a lifelong military career, yet he survived while so many 'lifers' had perished. Perhaps one day, he would find the answer, but for now, he had to get some sleep so that he would be alert and ready for the next mission.
All over the Pegasus, people rested, worked, or otherwise tried to ready themselves for the next time that they would be called to duty. When it was time for the FTL-jump to the next sector of space, Commander Cain will expect nothing less than for everyone on board to be ready to do their duty. So far, Commander Cain had kept the crew together as a cohesive and disciplined group. Hopefully, sometime soon, the Pegasus would meet up with the Galactica, and then perhaps things can change for the better. This hope, as well as the iron will of their commander, kept the Pegasus battle-ready. As what another battlestar commander had said: It was not enough to simply survive, you had to have something to live for. In the case of the commander and crew of the battlestar Pegasus, it was the hope of reuniting with others of their race, and to start inflicting serious payback on the race which had forced them to be refugees.
END OF BOOK TWO
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