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Beacon

Posted on 10/21/2019 @ 9:06pm by Colonel Celeste Porter & Lieutenant JG Katrana Harbeck & Alinder Hart & Lieutenant Colonel Tyrus Craine & Major Hamilton Stockwell & Captain Arthur Theron & Captain Jamie Perth & Lieutenant JG Finn Kidane

Mission: 1 - Twilight
Location: CIC
Timeline: MD 02 - 0100 Z

She could pray to all the Gods until her voice was rasp, and sleep would still not come to Celeste. She had tried finding a bunk to lay down on briefly, not even realizing that the Commanding Officer’s quarters were available. She had laid down for 20 minutes staring at the bulkhead before giving up and heading back to the CIC. Adrenaline was a hell of a drug.

“My name,” the wizened but regal looking woman in front of her intoned, “is Alinder Hart. I am an Antiquarian, specifically I specialize in ancient scrolls and artifacts.”

“Like Apollo’s Arrow,” Celeste replied.

“Yes,” Hart said through a smile. “And myriad others. Colonel, I can’t thank you enough for saving us. I know a non-jump shuttle is low priority in any rescue attempt but...”

“This wasn’t a rescue,” Celeste interrupted. “But you’re welcome nonetheless I suppose. Feel free to find a bunk and sleep, if you can.”

Turning to the rest of her assembled crew milling around the CIC, she asked, “Alright, there’s increased chatter about Cylons from ships on the fringes, but...I think we might be it as far as Colonial Militia goes. So as I see it we have two options. We can try to engage them, and probably lose. Or we can run as fracking far away as possible. I may be in command but I’m not leaving this decision just to myself. So: thoughts.”

Tyrus took a deep breath, the first one to speak up. "We aren't going to win against an entire Cylon armada. But there are definitely some people out there that could use our help. We should see what we can do. Escape pods, damaged ships, civilians in trouble..." the colonel trailed off.

"I agree with Colonel Craine," was Lockdown's stiff assertion. "We're bound by oath to protect the Colonies. Maybe we can't save them. But we can save some people, get them out of here. Both preserving lives and preserving assets. There have to be other survivors, other parts of the Fleet, that we can eventually rejoin with, even if we have to be patient." His gaze turned to the DRADIS as if it would offer up a fresh batch of survivors. As if a miracle would happen.

"Alright. I'm hesitant to do it but...let's put out the call. Any survivors, come to these coordinates and we'll take them in. Let's see who we get," Porter said. "And let's do what we can to get the FTL online and on standby. I'm sure Colonial survivors aren't the only ones who'd answer that call."

Ham couldn't believe what he was hearing. Conflicted between wanting to get back into the fight and run away, he honestly didn't know what his heart wanted. He had nothing to live for, or fight for, except himself. So, that, at the moment, was all he could care about. "Hold on!" He yelled from his post at helm control. "We've completed two jumps thus far, and we've got less than a skeleton crew aboard - now you want to just turn on all the lights and beg the Cylons to come at us?" Ham stood up, leaning on the bulky console with his hand. "There's gotta be a better way to go about this."

Finn had remained largely silent, watching those of much higher rank around him try to decide the fate of the decking they stood on. His arms across himself less in a defiant knot than a hug, the youth nodded his silent agreement at Lockdown. "Right now," his soft-spoken voice said, "There are probably dozens of ships trying to make the same choice. Be a voice in the darkness, or wait. The longer we wait, the fewer voices there will be, Sirs." He glanced at the stocky Major, "With all respect Sir I think we need to look at this another way." His dark eyes surveyed the people gathered, "We're already dead. We're dead without them. Lets be a voice and see if we can get enough to live again."

Celeste heaved a sigh. She rubbed her face with her hand, and straightened her posture for a moment before responding.

"What we do when the cards are stacked against us, what we do when the least of us is suffering, what we do in the face of all adversity, that is what defines us as a species. That is what it means to be human. What we do for our fellow sons and daughters of Kobol is what defines us as Colonial Militia. If you think I'm not as abjectly terrified of broadcasting our location to everyone out there listening, Cylons included, you're wrong. The mere idea that we could be attacked almost immediately is enough to give me pause."

Looking around the room at the assembled, haphazard crew, she continued, "But Lieutenant Kidane has it right. I will not stand idly by and let people suffer whatever fate comes to them at the hands of a machine terror. I will stand, with arms open, and say 'come to us, we can help.' If any of you disagree that in the face of an apocalypse, mutual survival is paramount and empathy should never be in short supply, there's a station on the other side of the airlock you can go hang out in until the end comes. Send the fracking message."

Finn blinked, "I have one idea... but I'm not sure if it'll work." He looked at Lockdown, "Sirs, can a Raptor broadcast a powerful enough signal that it could be a beacon? Instead of risking this ship, we risk a Raptor as a rally point. That Raptor leads whoever we find back here." He shrugged and looked at the older people around him.

Jamie's head pounded. He couldn't tell if it was a decaf headache or if it came from the concussion he suffered back on the Raptor. Probably the latter, made worse by the fact that he hadn't had any sleep in ages, and suddenly being thrust into the middle of what was essentially a medical departmental disaster and asked to take charge as the Chief.

No time to process what had occurred. No time to grieve his loss and the pain that came with it. And now he'd been given the role of department head, tasked to create order out of chaos amongst a small group of medical staff that have never functioned together before... And he'd only graduated as a specialist less than three months ago.

It was just too much. He was sure most others felt the same as well.

Jamie only heard bits and pieces of what this makeshift command staff was discussing. He glanced up, studying each of their faces. Men and women in uniform, an older lady with some sort of religious garment. And some kid with fuzzy hair, looking out of place. To hear them argue about whether to invite other survivors via wireless caused him to feel conflicted. If it hadn't been for the initial broadcasts, he would've never made it to Rhadamanthus.

Since he knew only the very basics of wireless comms, he stepped in and asked, "Is there, by any chance, a way for us to narrow our broadcast somehow? So that only Colonial tranceivers can pick it up?"

The young doctor knew he sounded ignorant, but under such circumstances he hoped suggestions of any kind would be welcome. Before he could get an answer to his question, the kid with the curly hair provided what sounded like an even more suitable idea. And so Jamie gave the tactical officer a subtle nod before glancing away.

Celeste looked pointedly between the two men who'd forwarded the idea. Her face was a stoic mask while she briefly pondered the idea in her head. She cast her gaze toward Craine for a moment and arched an eyebrow at him. As the man nodded his assent, she turned back toward the rest of the assembled crew.

"Yeah, we can do it," she responded. "Thank you, it's actually a fantastic idea. And I have just the pilot in mind for it. Although she's probably going to fracking hate me for ordering her to do it."

Turning toward the comm box, she pressed the button, and announced. "Lieutenant Harbeck, suit up and find a Raptor to get into. I'll send you a private communication with your mission once you're out of the hangar."

"Aye sir," the dejected voice of the fiery ginger pilot returned. "Who's joining me on what I'm sure is a suicide run, if you're sending me out there and not telling me what I'm doing?"

Celeste stifled a chuckle, but a smirk played across her face as she turned to the rest of the CIC.

"Volunteers?"

Ham crossed his arms. Feeling kind of stupid at this point, he just leaned up against the console sighing. Kid had a point, and not a half bad idea. Still dangerous though, no way he was going to volunteer for that.

Finn, from arms still hugging himself, raised a hand. He felt it was only right: it'd been partly his idea. And he was one of the more expendable people aboard.

"An escort's valid," Lockdown said, voice terse. "Cylons probably have more distress calls to pick on than they know what to do with; it's not unlikely they're sending only small craft, a raider or two, to do recon. If that happens, a couple of Vipers can protect the Raptor and any survivors, then we all jump out before serious company arrives." He swallowed. Hope was a wretchedly small thing in a large galaxy. But hope was all one had, sometimes. "I'll suit back up for that if needed."

“Vipers aren’t jump capable,” Celeste replied. “If you go out there to protect the Raptor, you’ll have to either shoot down anything that comes at your or haul ass back here. If you’re comfortable with that, fee free to suit up and fly combat protection for Harbeck and Kidane. Otherwise, I’m happy to send the Raptor out alone.”

Ham piped in, "So, question is... where do we go?" He said, lifting his arms up in almost defeat.

"I'll send the coordinates to Harbeck," Celeste responded. "I'll recommend starting with Troy though. Kidane, you can figure it out from there."

Lockdown remained silent a moment more. It was uncommonly rash of him to put himself forward for such a prospect, aware as he was that if trouble appeared the Vipers would be sacrificed to cover the escape of others. Under the circumstances it seemed as fine a purpose as any - but not one he could undertake alone. Just one where he'd have to drag someone else down with him. He worked his jaw. "I'll see what volunteers I get on the flight deck."

"If you don't get any other volunteers, Captain Theron, I'd prefer you didn't go alone. If you're itching to get back in your cockpit, you can fly CAP around Radamanthus. Otherwise, you're the best person we have for CAG, so...you're CAG."

Finn, meanwhile, put his hands behind his back and straightened, "Ma'am, permission to withdraw to find Lieutenant Harbeck?" And, he noted, to quick-find himself some quarters. Very quickly.

“Granted,” she replied. “See you again soon Lieutenant.”

Finn nodded, "Gods willing Ma'am, you too." He swayed into quick motion and headed out.

 

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