Book 1 - Chapter 6
CHAPTER SIX – Arrival and Assimilation
Battlestar Pegasus – Starboard Landing Bay
The rescue shuttle containing Gorde was cleared to land on the Pegasus while the other rescue shuttle headed over to the port bay. The pilot expertly brought the shuttle down onto the immense flight deck. After landing, the lift that the shuttle had alighted on lowered down to an empty hangar bay. The ceiling above the lowering lift closed and the bay started to re-pressurize. Gorde did not notice the landing bay pods starting to retract.
After re-pressurization was complete, the shuttle's external hatch opened. Several medical orderlies from the Pegasus’ sick bay brought gurneys on board and started loading the most seriously injured on them. They would be taken to Sick Bay for immediate treatment. Gorde hoped that all of them would survive. Some of them were in worse shape than they looked.
Just then, a feeling of nausea and disorientation came over him. He realized that the Pegasus had just made an FTL-jump. He also realized that the Pegasus must have been waiting for his shuttle to land and did not waste any time after they arrived to do so.
"Cadet Gorde?" an ensign who walked up to him asked. He had just exited the shuttle after the emergency medical cases had been removed.
"That's me, Sir", he replied with a salute.
"I'm to escort you up to CIC. Commander Cain is expecting you", the ensign informed him, returning the salute.
Nodding, Gorde stood up and followed the officer off the hanger bay deck. Thanks to the first aid rendered to him, he was able to walk okay. The Ensign climbed into a transport car and Gorde sat down beside him. A quick trip to an express elevator followed, and within a few minutes, Gorde found himself in CIC.
Battlestar Pegasus – Combat Information Center
"Flight Cadet Second Class Jason Gorde reporting to Commander Cain as ordered", he said, saluting the middle-aged individual wearing the insignia of Commander. Cain did not return the salute. Instead, he held out his hand. Gorde dropped his salute and shook the offered hand.
"Glad to have you aboard, Cadet", Cain replied, "Sorry for the abrupt jump, but we have a few things that we need to do. I would like to know what you were doing down there on Caprica though".
Gorde took his time explaining about the last few days down on Caprica. He explained about the circumstances of the arrival of Lieutenant JG Agathon on Caprica when the raptor he was in had to land in order for repairs to be carried out. He informed Cain that several civilians had been taken on board the raptor once it was fixed, and that Agathon had given up his seat to Dr. Gaius Baltar, as he thought that the Galactica could use his expertise. After Gorde had finished his debriefing, Cain nodded.
"Well, I have some good news for you, Cadet. The Galactica evidently survived its battle with the toasters at Ragnar Anchorage, and has FTL-jumped out of this system with a number of other ships", Cain informed him. "For the bad news, after our rescue shuttles had picked up all of the persons with your party, one of the escort fighters did a quick fly-around of the vicinity of your ground co-ordinates. No other persons have been found alive. No trace of your Lieutenant Agathon either, unfortunately".
"Where are we now, Commander?" Gorde asked, wanting to change the subject.
"We've just made an FTL-jump to the vicinity of Aires in order to do a quick check for survivors, rendezvous with our raptor probes, plus to salvage any usable material from some destroyed ships while we have the opportunity", Cain said matter-of-factly.
"Well Commander, We’re all glad that you came along. I'm glad Lieutenant Agathon left me his PSB. I only hope that his raptor got back to the Galactica as well before it jumped", Gorde replied.
"Agathon gave up his seat for Dr. Baltar himself, eh?" Cain asked rhetorically. "That was most gallant of him, but if he had known that it was Baltar's CMP navigation program installed in our fighters and warships that the Cylons had evidently tapped into, would he have still done so?"
Gorde did not answer. Cain looked at him for a few seconds more, and then turned as Tolen came up to him.
"Commander, our salvage shuttles are commencing picking up what useful debris from the destroyed ships in our vicinity as they can. They are reporting that there is enough useable material, but it's still an unpleasant business with all the corpses they are encountering", Tolen reported.
"War is unpleasant", Cain retorted, "and I think given the choice, they would rather stay alive and able to feel unpleasant than be dead. What about our reconnaissance scouts?" he asked.
"Recon patrols are picking up no more PSB signals either in space or on any of the other colonies", Tolen announced. "We have picked up a handful of people from small interplanetary craft that were adrift - air taxis and private sky-yachts mostly - with perhaps forty civilians in all - but no major intact vessels, military or otherwise anywhere nearby. The good news though is that there are no indications of any Cylon presence here either".
"For the moment", Cain finished for him. "I can only surmise that the toasters are letting the fallout from their attacks finish off any planetary survivors while they are busy elsewhere, then they'll start to occupy the colonies and eradicate any remaining survivors".
"You mean with the Galactica, Commander?" Gorde asked. Cain nodded.
"It makes sense. Depending on how many other ships made the Ragnar rendezvous and escaped from the Cylons there, it means that the toasters will want to try and hunt them down", Cain explained.
"But what about the Pegasus? Won't they be after us as well?" Gorde asked. Cain seemed momentarily annoyed at a flight cadet going outside the chain of command by directly asking him such questions, but realized that the current situation and the time this young man had spent down-planet not knowing what was going on with the war made things rather different…
Cain briefly explained how the destruction of the Battlestar Pacifica had masked his escape from the Cylons. It meant that for the moment, the Pegasus was presumed destroyed, plus if any Cylon ships suddenly appeared nearby, the debris from the destroyed ships nearby should camouflage their presence. That gave them a short-term tactical advantage. But Gorde wondered how long their luck would last.
"Commander", Gorde said. "Judging from what you have told me, the Cylons have rendered the Twelve Worlds unlivable. There's nothing left for us here. With the exception of the Galactica and whoever else met up with her, our Fleet has been annihilated. So with all due respect Sir, what are we going to do now?"
"We're going to make the Cylons pay, that's what we are going to do", Cain replied evenly. "But we can’t do it alone, which means we are going to need to find the Galactica first and foremost. Besides, that's where we'll find the Cylons, since they're not here at the moment".
Cain turned to his helm officer. "Helm, once our shuttles and the raptor probes return, set a course for Molecay Anchorage". As Helm replied to the order, Cain turned to Tolen and Sanders, who had listened to Cain’s exchange with Gorde.
"We used up a fair amount of fuel going from here to there to here again. To find the Galactica, we’re going to need every additional drop of fuel, and every extra round of ammunition from Molecay to support this ship indefinitely. Once stoked up, we head out to find the Galactica, and then we’ll start dealing with the tin-headed toaster bastards who destroyed our colonies", Cain announced.
"Any idea where the Galactica is, Commander?" Gorde asked. It was Tolen who answered.
"We had intercepted Cylon transmissions during the long-range scan of Ragnar and decoded enough to find out that the Galactica and the other ships that had made the rendezvous had FTL-ed well past explored space. It is out there that we have to go. But for the moment, I need to ask you what training level you reached in ROTC", Tolen said.
"I was just starting my senior year, Colonel", Gorde replied, "I have been trained in Raptor Systems Operations, and after the field exercise that I was on was completed, I was then to be reclassified as a First Class Cadet and to start pilot training on the raptor".
"Well, as of now, Cadet Gorde, you are now assigned to Silver Spar wing. We have need of your RSO skills. You're about to experience the reality of service life a little sooner than would otherwise be the case. Report to Captain Syke. He's the Silver Spar CAG. Dismissed - and welcome aboard, Midshipman Gorde", Tolen said.
Gorde looked surprised at the new title. Cain nodded confirmation.
“Field-promotions are one of the few perks I have in wartime, Midshipman”, Cain said with a smile, “Better get going to Life Station. I’ll have CAG call in on you there”.
Gorde nodded, said “Thank you, Commander”, saluted, and then left CIC.
Gorde headed down to Life Station. He had absorbed a fair amount of radiation while he was down-planet which needed to be properly tended to, but the fact that he had been field-promoted to Midshipman was a positive boost in itself. Normally, a ROTC cadet had to finish all four years before being appointed to the rank of Midshipman, but he found himself promoted faster than he thought! War is hell, but can also be quite good for promotion, he thought wryly...
Battlestar Pegasus – Life Station - Triage.
Life Station was busy treating a few of the civilians who had come up with him on the shuttle, but a Triage med-tech found time to get him promptly got him seen to. As he was letting the meds give him stronger medication to counter the effects of the recent radiation exposure, he noticed an officer wearing Captain’s insignia in flight uniform walking in. He was accompanied by another officer- a female lieutenant. The captain talked with a med-tech in Triage. The tech pointed to where Gorde was sitting. Both officers walked up to him.
"You must be Midshipman Gorde", Syke said by way of greeting. As he still was wearing his ROTC cadet fatigue uniform, Syke didn't have to be a mind-reader.
"Yes, Captain", Gorde replied. "I take it that you're the CAG, Sir?" he asked. Syke nodded.
"Sorry for not standing or reporting to you earlier, Sir, but as you can see..." Gorde said apologetically, gesturing to the med-techs.
"I see. Well, according to the meds, you'll be fit for duty very soon. And we do have a Raptor berth ready for you in the wing". He gestured to the female Lieutenant who was with him.
"Midshipman, I'd like to introduce you to the pilot assigned to your raptor", Syke said, "Mr. Gorde, meet Sheba".
"Sheba?" Gorde said as he shook her hand. "Is that your name or call-sign, Ma'am?"
"It's my call-sign", was the answer. "My name is Tricia Cain".
Gorde picked up on her last name. "You're not related to...?", he asked.
"Yes, I am", Tricia confirmed, "And like you, I'm on wartime TDY as well", she mentioned, pointing to the ROTC patch on his uniform.
Gorde noticed the Battlestar Triton patch on her uniform.
"Commander Cain told me that the Galactica survived", Gorde replied, "but what about your ship, Ma'am?"
"The Triton no longer exists”, Tricia answered quietly, "along with the remainder of the fleet. We lost a lot of people over the last couple of days".
"The Commander told me", Gorde replied, "Helo...I mean, Lieutenant Agathon also told me about what he saw earlier before his raptor landed".
"Time enough to mourn the dead later", Skye said quietly, but firmly. "We all lost a lot of friends and family, but the best thing that we can do right now is to get ourselves ready to fight. Sheba", Syke ordered, "As you're the most senior of the raptor pilots, you are now the officer commanding the wing reconnaissance section. After you go to Quartermaster and draw a new uniform, you will need to get brought up to speed on the other raptors and their crews".
"Yes, CAG", Tricia replied, "but why a new uniform?"
"You're now part of the Battlestar Pegasus, which means you'll need to start wearing the appropriate unit insignia. I'm sure you know that Commander Cain runs a tight ship", Syke replied dryly.
Tricia nodded. Given the new circumstances, it made no sense to continue wearing the insignia of the Triton. And Syke was right: her father ran things VERY militarily…
"As for you, Mr. Gorde, Syke said, "as soon as you're discharged from Life Station, draw a new uniform as well and get settled into quarters. When you're settled, report to Sheba. Oh, and try to come up with a call-sign by then as well", Syke suggested.
"Yes, CAG", he acknowledged. Syke offered his hand to Gorde, who shook it.
"Welcome to Silver Spar wing recon, Mr. Gorde", Syke said. He turned and left Life Station. Tricia offered her hand to Gorde, who shook it as well.
"Looks like we're definitely part of the Pegasus now, Mr. Gorde", Tricia said, "I'd better get going. I'll see you later".
With that, Tricia turned and walked out of Life Station.
Gorde idly wondered what kind of pilot Lt. Cain was. Sooner or later, he would find out. He would also be finding out very soon just how well he remembered his RSO instruction...