Book 1 - Chapter 4
Chapter Four - Assessing and Planning
Batwah Debris Field – One Day Later
The Pegasus, after using the one day of down-time in order to get the damaged primary energizer fixed, and the older navigation programs retrofitted into the battlestars and the fighters’ onboard computers, was ready to proceed. After Major Thyssen reported that the primary energizer was fully operational again, and that both CAG’s reported that their vipers had the recent software upgrades purged from their systems, Cain had the battlestar brought to Condition One. He gestured to Colonel Tolen, who was with Captain Sanders at the dradis console. Tolen turned on the PA system.
“All personnel, this is Actual”, Cain announced over the PA, using the code term for the commander, “We are now going back into battle. I know that all of you are worried about friends and loved ones in the fleet and back home, but I need your attention on the here and now. Mourn the dead later. Let’s go and get some toaster payback!”
At that last sentence, cheers erupted all over the battlestar. They were all ready to fight, and to avenge all that had happened…
“About time”, Ginnie Annan whispered to Tricia Cain, who was still helping her out at Core Command. Tricia grimly nodded. Both she and Annan had been listening to the numerous civilian SOS signals that had been coming in over the wireless, but given Cain’s strict injunction, they had not responded to any of them. Over the last few hours, the number of SOS’ had steadily diminished… most likely due to the Cylons homing in on the transmissions and destroying them. Now they were hearing nothing.
In the launch tubes in both landing bays, the vipers of Silver Spar and Black Knight wings were manned, fueled, armed, and ready to go. Both CAG’s relayed their readiness to Core Command.
"When we make the jump, don't jump straight to Ragnar", Cain reminded Tolen, "Have the Pegasus jump to just within passive sensor range of the anchorage instead". Tolen nodded.
Colonel Tolen had Sanders plot the new course and fed it to the helm console’s navi-comp. After the course plot was punched in, Colonel Tolen signaled Sanders to commence the jump.
Sanders commenced the automatic sequencing to activate the FTL, announcing loudly: "Navi-comp sequence started. FTL activating. Jumping in 5...4...3...2...1...jump!".
Vicinity of Ragnar Anchorage
The familiar uncomfortable feeling washed over the crew as the Pegasus FTL-ed to the selected co-ordinates just within passive sensor range of the Anchorage in order to get a first look at the situation. It was fortunate that Cain did so because of what Tolen saw on the dradis console’s screens.
"Dradis telemetry shows what looks like two capital ships – most likely base stars - and a lot of what seems to be fighters at Ragnar, Commander", Tolen announced. "It looks like at least a hundred and fifty deployed in all. And that’s outside the Ion storm. I can’t see the anchorage itself though. The passive sensors can’t see into the storm so I don’t know if there are any other ships docked at Ragnar".
Cain silently breathed a sigh of relief. That piece of caution had paid off. If they had jumped straight to Ragnar, the deployed fighters would have attacked en-masse before the Pegasus could have launched a single fighter in response.
“Get a visual on-screen”, Cain ordered. As a picture came up on the dradis console’s primary screen, all could see what the Cylon ships looked like. It was plain to see that a lot had changed since the last war.
“Those fighters are different to what the toasters used in the last war”, Sanders commented as he walked over to the dradis console, “Their old raider design was shaped like a big elliptical disc. These ones look kind of like scimitars”.
“Don’t forget those base stars either”, Tolen added, “No more double spinning-top layout. These ones look like two letter ‘Y’s jammed together. And if their ship designs have changed so much since the last war, what would the toasters themselves look like now?”
"How are they deployed, X.O.?" Cain asked Tolen. He still needed to know why the base stars were there, putting any questions as to Cylon design changes aside for the present time. “Did they catch the Galactica or any of the ships that had made the rendezvous?”
"Those scimitar-shaped raiders look to be in a defensive screening pattern over their base stars only, Commander. No communications intercepts on the dradis indicating a higher state of alert. Evidently, they have not picked us up on their scanners", Tolen reported.
"Check your screens, Comms”, Cain ordered Sanders next. “Any sign of the Galactica, or any other Colonial forces?" As Tolen had just pointed out, the passive sensors would not be able to penetrate the Ion storm and see the anchorage itself, but Cain reasoned that if the Galactica was still docked at the anchorage, the Cylons would either be launching attacks through the storm, or would be deployed in a siege-formation, awaiting any ship emergence.
"There are signs of a recent battle, Commander. Debris is from both sides, but mainly fighter craft - mostly Cylon. Looks like signs of some missile hits on the hulls of those base stars. Apart from that, there are no signs of any other ships or any large debris fields from destroyed capital ships", Sanders replied.
"So it looks like the Galactica got away with whomever made the rendezvous, Tolen theorized".
"It looks like it", Cain agreed. "Are you sure that the Cylons have not detected us?" Cain asked Sanders next.
"I'm sure, Commander", was the reply from Sanders. "There is absolutely no sign of redeployment of their raiders, and no increase in their communications transmissions. So, do we engage these forces? If they have not detected us yet, it gives us the element of surprise"
Cain did like the idea of attacking those base stars a lot, but he realized that even if he did succeed, that would alert other Cylon forces to his presence; and one battlestar - even with two strike wings on board - would not last long in battle should Cylon reinforcements find them. Those double-Y-shaped base stars looked like they could inflict a lot of damage…
"No", he finally announced. "We need to see if there are other survivors from the fleet first. The Pegasus won't last long alone if we engage, even with surprise, and were going to have to get a better picture of what’s been happening throughout the system before we think about taking on those base stars”.
There were some obvious disappointed expressions from various CIC personnel at Cain’s decision not to engage, but what Cain had said was true. While wanting to exact revenge on the toasters for the shock attack was very much on the minds of the crew, the current priority was to get more information so that the odds of their successfully inflicting payback would improve.
“Ginnie”, Cain called to Annan, “Tell both CAG’s to stand their wings down from Condition One launch status. Condition Two is now in effect”. Annan nodded.
Cain then turned to the helm console where another officer had taken Sanders’ place, ordering: Set an FTL-course for Caprica, Helm. We’ll start there".
"Yes, Commander", the helm officer acknowledged, "inputting plot co-ordinates for Caprica now".
"What if the toasters are still there, Commander?", Tolen asked.
"We'll jump to passive sensor range”, Cain answered, “If the dradis picks up no hostile contacts, we'll head in on sub-light drive, then launch raptors to recon the nearby colonies. Have the CAG’s prepare the raptors for launch", Cain ordered.
As Tolen went over to Core Command in order to have Annan relay the order to Captain Syke, the helm officer reported, "Caprica co-ordinates punched into the navi-comp. Ready to jump at your order, Commander".
“Make it so, Helm”, Cain confirmed. With that, Helm started to activate the FTL.
"FTL coming online”, Helm announced, “Jump commencing in 5...4...3...2...1...jump!".