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Mortal Wounds

Posted on 10/24/2019 @ 5:10am by Colonel Celeste Porter & Lieutenant Colonel Tyrus Craine & Major Hamilton Stockwell & Captain Arthur Theron & Lieutenant JG Finn Kidane & Lieutenant JG Citro Pitcairn

Mission: 1 - Twilight
Location: Battlestar Artemis; Battlestar Tyche: Orbit of Radamanthus Yard, Zeus
Timeline: MD 02: 0345 Z

"Get the fires out, get the fires out!" There was panicked chaos- people were threading by Engineers standing at their console posts. There was pushing. There was shouting. The entire ship was shaking like it was going over rutted dust roads. "Radiation protocols, people! Seal off fusion generators four through seven!"

"Impact, in twelve seconds, Sir! The Basestar is turning directly for the Agamemnon!"

The Engine Room of the Battlestar Tyche was aglow in orange fire and the murkiness of gray smoke. "Oxygen levels are approaching toxic, we've gotta get out of here! We're also at 26,000 mrems and rising!"

"Seal it off, get out of here!" The Chief Engineer waved her arm toward the containment doors, a crew of radsuit clad crewman pivoting and advancing on console fires with carbon dioxide emitters. They sprayed ghostly white which only built up the murkiness of the room. "I'm making the jump!"

"Major, we've gotta go!" Shouted her Lieutenant. She grabbed him by the banded collar of his uniform, shifted him and shoved him toward the containment door.

"Impact in--!"

Snap. Crackle.

Her hull was pockmarked and blackened, the alligator head clipped, sheared and rough-edged. It glowed deep within from gaping crater wounds. The Battlestar Tyche was listing on to its good side, one of its flight decks completely missing: the glowing wound left where it should have been looked like angry, glowing blood. But what was left of the Jupiter-class rippled into real space from it's jump to FTL.

The DRADIS of the Battlestar Artemis lit up with a single contact, sculling and squawking as sweeps of oval DRADIS scan lines flexed over the single red contact.

Tyrus immediately shot up from his chair at the command and control station so he could get a better view of what was going around him. No sooner did he reach his feet did words he thought long gone from his ears echo through the Artemis.

"Action stations, action stations! Set condition one throughout the ship, this is not a drill! Repeat: action stations, action stations! Set condition one throughout the ship, this is not a drill!"

The accompanying alarm klaxon was enough to wake Tyrus up from his exhausted slouch as well. "What do we have?" he asked pointedly.

"From the size of it... Cylon baseship would be the best guess," the relief tactical officer reported. "Let's get some fighters out there to see what we're dealing with. We've got ships everywhere and I'm not going to get caught with our pants down."

"Sit rep?" Colonel Porter asked as she entered the room, still groggy, but not any more so than the rest of the crew at that point.

"DRADIS contact. Huge. It doesn't look like its moving, though. I'd suggest we make visual confirmation before we do anything else," Tyrus looked up at one of the DRADIS screens to confirm what he had just said.

"Agreed," Celeste said, casting her gaze up to the DRADIS as well. "If they were Colonial, they'd be sending friendly ID at bare minimum."

Turning to the helm control station, she shouted, "Stockwell, we're without a tactical officer for the time being. I need you to prep us for a jump, and standby for a hard maneuver."

Ham was already deep into studying piles of manuals that he found going through a storage locker. Once he heard the klaxon sound off and felt the familiar rise in blood pressure, he had knocked the pile over accidently onto the floor around him. He was quickly trying to clean things up when he heard the Colonel mention his name. "Roger that!" He yelled out from the floor.

Let's see who's come to pay the ghosts a visit," Celeste sighed.Turning her gaze back to her Executive, she muttered, "So much for a fracking nap. Comms, get me a direct line to Captain Theron."

She put the receiver to her ear, and as the woman at the comm station pointed to her, she asked, "Lockdown. What do you see?"

"We're not close enough for more information yet, Artemis," came Lockdown's clipped voice. "But if it's a basestar I'm not making out any movement of raider launch. Outriders heading in for visual; Madhatters, keep with Artemis." The dots on the DRADIS for the colonial fighters began to split; Outriders joining Lockdown on the approach while the pilots from the Pollux remained on defensive detail.

Back in the CIC, Ham piled the manuals back onto the console and started to go through his mental checklist. It had been a while since he piloted something as big as a Battlestar, but he assumed it was like riding a bike. He started flipping switches, turning on essential systems, routing power to the engines. There wasn't a ton of time to have properly 'warmed her up' but, whatever they had would have to do.

Next was the FTL drive. Ham peered over at the tactical station across the room and beelined over to it. Picking up the console table and securing it into place to start jump prep, Ham realized there was one important thing they may be missing. The key. He started to sweat... he started patting his pockets looking for the damned key that the curly haired kid left him.

"If it's a basestar," Hijack complained on the Outriders' long flight, "then they're just going to blow us -"

By now, Lockdown just had to clear his throat for a hint of static to make Hijack shut up. That was something, at least. Still, he had to set the nerves of the rest of his pilots at ease. "There's nothing else on DRADIS and I don't see any sign they're launching raiders. If it's the Cylons, they've not come bristling with force. I don't -"

But his voice trailed off as he peered through the canopy, up at the big greyish shape that was nothing but a dot on his DRADIS. And while his throat tightened at what he saw, it wasn't with the kind of dread he expected. "Artemis; Lockdown. This isn't a basestar; this is a battlestar. Jupiter-class. And she's completely dead in the water." Had sound carried through space, he imagined he might have heard the creaking of the hull, the groaning of metal. It would be better than the imagined screams of the souls that had to have been lost upon a vessel - no, a hulk as dead as the one hanging in the void before them.

Hijack's low whistle almost made him jump. "How the hell is anyone alive on that thing."

"Assumptions, Hijack," came Taxman's gentle chide.

In the CIC, Celeste turned her head quickly to her Executive, eyes wide. "Good Gods...Lockdown, pull your birds in closer. See if you can tell if there are lights on, or if you can read the markings. Anything!"

Please, gods, let there be someone alive in there... she thought to herself, maintaining a stoic expression.

"Acknowledged, Artemis," said Lockdown. "Taxman; take second flight and scout the prow. Cambion, third flight and swing around the starboard. First flight, stick with me and we'll sweep the port."

Long moments dragged out. Long, fat moments, where air in throats felt too thick to fit, where the pulse was the closest sound out in space.

"She's the Tyche," Lockdown reported at length. Only half of the name was visible on the burnt-out hull, but he knew enough ships of the Fleet to make an educated guess with the information he had. "Port landing bay isn't fully retracted; must have given them a hell of a time on the jump. We'll flash some signal lights, see if anyone in Control or in a bird in there is in any position to reply."

As the lights went out, the comms chirped up with the other flights' assessments.

"She's lost her nose, Lockdown," reported Taxman. "Anyone alive on this thing isn't near the prow, she took a real beating up front."

"Someone left their other flight pod wherever the Frak they came from," Cambion called over the comm as he passed over toward starboard. "Someone's insurance is getting jacked to Caprica," in the earpiece he hmmed, "I bet those frakkers on Caprica don't pay up either."

Lockdown gritted his teeth. "Someone had to make the -"

"I got lights!" Hijack for once sounded not his usual derisive self, his voice shining with a hint of youthful exuberance. "Lockdown, Artemis, at least one poor bastard's tucked in alive on the flight deck!"

Cambion banked his Viper around the other side, "This side's more of a looker," he said, "And hold on." His comm scrambled with static, "I've got active lifepods on this side. Engineering section. One has a medical ID."

“Copy all, Lockdown,” Colonel Porter replied through the receiver. “Maintain CAP with whoever’s the least tired in the Outriders. I’m sending over a Raptor.”

Hanging the phone back in it’s holster, and turning sharply on her heel, she called out, “Stockwell, I’m gonna need you to fly a Raptor over there and assess the rescue situation. Finish spooling up the FTL drive, pass the key along to Colonel Craine, and head for the hangar. I’ll send a team along to join you shortly.”

Under a pile of manuals, Ham found the key he so desperately was looking for. Just as he heard Porter give him some orders he held the key flush against his chest and smiled. "My pleasure, ma'am." He said. Making eyes with Craine, he gave a good underhand toss of the key to him. "Might want to put a bell on that." Ham said, grinning as he secured the FTL station.

Craine took the FTL key from Ham, something he normally held his entire career. Turning to Porter he commented, "Key secure."

Turning to Craine, she said, “Recall the Madhatters, stand down to condition two.” Placing both hands on the tactical table, she exhaled deeply. Looking back up at the man, she said, “I know you’re going to tell me to send someone else to rescue them but...I need a glimmer of hope right now. So unless you have some really strong objections...”

The Tauron laughed, "... and here I thought I was done being in charge for a while. Just do me a favor?" He put a firm hand on her shoulder, "Be careful over there."

"Of course," Celeste replied emphatically, through a soft smile. "Hey, while I'm over there, meet with that priest, will you? I brushed her off, but it sounded like she was trying to say something important. Take the tactical kid with you too. He's religious, he can probably suss out whatever she's trying to get at."

Turning to the comm station, she ordered, "Lieutenant, tell Lockdown and Cambion to hit the deck on that Battlestar, and meet me. I'm gonna need some muscle. And page that Doctor who just came aboard. We're gonna need him too."

Cambion meanwhile, did light flash toward the escape pods trying to break away. A couple of them responded and seemed to try to get the attention of the others. "Lockdown," Cambion reported in, "My positions over their DRADIS dome and the CIC. It's completely gone. Direct tactical nuke is my guess."

"Lockdown, Cambion: Artemis actual orders you to hit the deck on that Battlestar, and provide assistance with the rescue. Stay suited up, you're not likely to have elevators. Gods' speed."


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