Battlestar

Artemis

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Breathe

Posted on 08/04/2019 @ 11:39am by Captain Arthur Theron

Mission: 1 - Twilight
Location: Flight Deck - BSG Artemis
Timeline: MD1 - 2115 hours

Lockdown sat in his cockpit a full minute longer than he'd expect before the ad hoc deck crew developing out of maintenance staff on Artemis' flight deck made it to his Viper. He should have been frustrated, eager to get out, chomping at the bit to sort his pilots and their birds and this fracked up situation. In truth, it gave him a heartbeat to sit. Focus. And think.

He wasn't sure it was a good idea. His helmet off, Lockdown yanked off his gloves and tugged at the collar of his flight suit, loosening it at the neck enough to grasp the chain from which his dog-tags hung.

And his wedding band.

No telling where Iris was. Setting off for a medical conference on Leonis was all he'd heard the day before, dropping off the children with family on Virgon. That could mean anything; separated from his son and daughter as nukes fell? Blown out of the stars en route? Trapped and gone to ground somewhere?

The husband and father insisted they were only just getting news, that to call this the end of all things was premature. The officer and pilot demanded he plan for the worst.

The worst meant he would never know more than he did now.

"What a hunk of junk! She's going to breach the moment the Cylons spit at her!"

Normally, Lockdown was left deeply irritated by Connor 'Hijack' Doyle, the irreverent wingman he'd been saddled with on the Battlestar Bellerophon. She was not an auspicious posting, a home for second-rate officers and screw-ups, and Hijack's ego exceeded his talent to the point Lockdown had put him on report so many times for bad landings and risky manoeuvres the only choice had been to take him under his wing directly. But this time, the interruption was more than a little welcome.

Lockdown hauled himself out of his seat, swinging his legs over the canopy and looking at the long drop down to the flight deck. There wasn't much choice but for an undignified lowering and leaping at this point, but the sound ringing out on the deck at least got the attention of the gaggle of Outrider squadron who'd begun to assemble.

"You better hope you're wrong, Hijack," he said as he straightened. "Or I'll cram your ass into the first breach to seal it." He looked around the gathered pilots, naturally dour expression giving away little of what he was feeling. "This flight deck is a mess."

"Like I've been saying -"

"Taxman." Lockdown looked at his XO, the pilot with the perpetually hangdog expression way too close to middle age for a lieutenant. Callsigns like that normally got given out as some sort of reference to the certainty of both death and taxes, but people who earned that kind of acknowledgement didn't end up on Bellerophon. "Artemis isn't going to have more than maintenance staff on her, not a whole flight deck. Rally them up, put one together. Outriders, you're helping, whatever it takes. Get our birds refuelled and ready to launch."

"So, what?" Hijack pressed. "So we can jump into the black and watch these hulks become fireworks?"

"Hijack," Lockdown said as if he'd not spoken. "We've got more pilots here, the Raptor crew from Pollux, other crew inbound. Get me a roster of who we have and what they're flight-rated for."

"This isn't gonna -"

Lockdown rounded on him, grabbing a fistful of his flight suit and yanking him in close. His voice was low, without anger, and his expression remained flat. "You're a Viper pilot. Find your nerve. Do your job." Hijack's jaw worked wordlessly, until Lockdown pushed him away and gave the ragtag pilots of Outrider squadron he'd been forced to whip into shape this last year a level look. "That goes for all of you. I'll be in the CiC."

He left without waiting for a response, marched away from the flight deck to hear Taxman's uninspiring voice rising over the crowd. And again, only now when he was out of eyeshot of anyone else, his hand came up to brush against the wedding band.

 

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