Cylon Fleet, unnamed star system
Outskirts of Terran space
The massed Cylon fleet had assembled, the greatest force they had ever fielded for a single target. The fleet was formed into three rough squadrons; the first contained the twenty-four Basestars that had been searching for the Colonials, these were the same force that had laid waste to the Colonial Fleet and the twelve worlds.
Second were the twenty-four Basestars Ba’al had upgraded in the shipyards of Dar’Mok. These were more dangerous vessels, they carried rudimentary shield grids and arsenals packed with naquada warheads. They would yield about a hundred megatons, ideal, in Ba’al’s mind at least, for battering down the Colonial shields. They would have been, individually, more than a match for the Galactica or Pegasus before their upgrades.
Finally, there were six ships in the heart of the formation, acting as the command ships. One was an otherwise normal Resurrection Ship, a replacement for the one the Colonials destroyed, although this one carried the strongest shields possible. The other five were something special Ba’al had created.
They were the remnants of the Cylon fleet that had rebelled against the Colonies forty years ago. Their huge double-disc hulls sheltered vast hangers for Raiders, while the outer surfaces carried heavy weapons, missile silos and heavy armour. Ba’al had both improved the armour and provided shield generators, making them potent combatants in a brawl. The shields were almost as strong as those on a Ha’tak, and the armour was a new composite of trinium and naquada, a material virtually unparalleled as protective plating.
The weapons too had been improved. The missiles carried heavier naquada warheads, whilst the original kinetic weapons had been replaced with modified Goa’uld plasma cannons. Ba’al had tweaked and improved the standard design, so that instead of a bright golden hue, the bolts were now a vivid electric blue. Coupled with slightly increased damage and a higher fire rate, these Basestars were easily a match for Ha’taks, and although Ba’al did not know of their existence yet, they would prove an equal foe for the Terran Lionhearts.
The fleet waited for their scouts to return, as it had so often in recent months. They had been unable to detect the small Terran sensor buoys, so they proceeded with the haughty arrogance of one who assumes his location is secret. It was only a matter of time until they found the Colonials again.
Terran Commonwealth Navy Fleet Operations, Olympus Base,
In orbit of Terra
“So they’ve found us. And in such strength too.” Despite his years of service and professionalism, there was no hiding the undercurrent of fear and uncertainty in the Terran Admiral’s voice. Around him were gathered the senior officers of the Combined Fleet. Admiral Adama, acting as second in command, Commander Jellicoe, Commander Adama, Captain Davies, Captain Pendragon, Captain North and Captain Stewart, in command of the destroyer squadrons.
In front of them was a large holographic map showing the data from sensor buoy 900. The Cylons had arrived. Everyone was on edge. Even Bill Adama, the only veteran of the First War, had never seen so many Basestars at once. Or even Battlestars, despite the size of the post-war Colonial Fleet, such massed gatherings were unheard of. Fifty three enemy capital ships in perfect formation was enough to chill the blood of the sturdiest soldier.
“This data shows one of those Resurrection Ships at the heart of the fleet, along with these five other contacts that the warbook can’t identify.”
Admiral Adama leaned forward, squinted at the images, then reached down and zoomed in. The five original Basestars were an unwelcome sight in a day full of them.
“First War Basestars Alistair, they must be pulling out everything they have for this fight. Those bastards carry nearly five hundred Raiders and unlike the newer models carry armour and heavy guns as well. One of them was an even match for Galactica during the last war, even with the wartime weapons refits we had back then.”
Jellicoe nodded along as the Admiral spoke, his mind churning over some of the non-optical sensor data. He reached a decidedly unwelcome conclusion.
“Sirs, I think we have an even bigger problem. This squadron here,” he pointed to the first group of twenty four new-model Basestars “show up as ordinary Basestars. Even with their numbers, our six Battlestars should be able to take them on and come out on top.”
Kate Stewart spoke up. “I sense a “but” coming Commander.” She had a bad feeling that she knew where Jellicoe was going with this.
“But this second group of Basestars show up quite differently on the sensors. We get the same kind of interference we’d get looking at a shielded Battlestar. Those five First War ships give the same readings, as does the Resurrection Ship. I think those ships have shields.”
There was silence around the display. A single thought ran through the minds of everyone present, and that was a prosaic oh, shit, followed swiftly by how the hell did they get shields? The silence was broken by a call from the senior sensor operator.
“Sirs? We have additional contacts being reported by buoys 569, 723 and 405. Warbook identifies them as Cylon Raiders and scout ships. Based on their locations and apparent search pattern, I would estimate we have at most twelve hours until they locate the Terran system.”
Lethbridge-Stewart sighed. “At least we have an estimate. Options?”
Adama Senior spoke up. “Two choices sir, we consolidate all our forces in Terran orbit around Olympus Base and wait for them to come to us, perhaps deploying minefields a safe distance out. Or we take the Fleet and hit them now, out in empty space.”
There was another moment of contemplation. The Terran Admiral spoke. “Hitting them now is too risky, with only six Battlestars and fourteen destroyers, two of which are only just completed, we don’t have the numbers for a pitched battle. We’ll need the backup of Olympus and the weapon platforms, not to mention the extra Vipers. I think we have no option but to stand on the defensive.”
Lee Adama spoke next; an idea had been forming in his mind, fulled by the appearance of another Ressurection Ship; “I have a third option sir. We keep the heavy ships here and instead launch a precision bomber strike. If we take out the Resurrection Ship they will be forced to either attack without it and risk being lost forever if they’re killed, or waiting for another ship to arrive.”
Captain North jumped in. “And we have three squadrons of Scimitar bombers ready to go. They have jump drives and can each carry a dozen anti-ship missiles with enhanced warheads. We could program precise jumps; they jump in, ripple off the missiles and jump out. This sensor data shows they haven’t even got a CAP flying at present, and with them so closely clustered, we might take out two or three Basestars per bomber.”
It was an audacious plan, and extremely risky for the bombers. But for the potential price of three squadrons of planes and pilots, they could severely cut down the odds. Lethbridge-Stewart looked around.
“Does anyone have any objections?” Everyone shook their heads. “Very well. Commander Adama, Captain North, you two work up this plan as quickly as you can. The bomber squadrons are to be on plus-five alert. All ships and stations will assume full wartime readiness at Condition Two. Shields are to be kept raised at all times. Battlestars will adopt a defensive hexagon formation around Olympus Base. Captain Stewart, your destroyers will assume station in pairs around the Battlestars. Keep Vendetta and Valkyrie close to Olympus Base as a reserve.”
The officers nodded and departed for their ships. Admiral Adama remained with his Terran counterpart and newfound friend.
“This is going to be a very bloody fight Alistair. Are you sure you want Kate out there leading from the front of her squadron?” It was a quiet remark, father to father.
“I honestly doubt I could stop her if I tried Bill, short of a direct order, and that’s going too far. She’s too much like me for her own good. I’ll be out there on my flagship, so will you, what right do I have to ask her to stay behind? Would Lee stay behind if you asked him?”
Bill closed his eyes and sighed. “No, no he wouldn’t. Gods help me but he’d want to fight as well as I would, him and Kara as well.” That was an even worse thought; he loved Kara like the daughter he’d never had, and she’d be out there leading Galactica’s air wing. Lee at least would be protected by shields, armour and the fearsome firepower of Pegasus, Kara would have only her Viper and her wits.
Lethbridge-Stewart placed a comforting hand on his fellow’s shoulder. “They’re all exceptional officers Bill, we’ll just have to trust in their training and abilities to bring them home safe.”
If there is still a home to come back to was the unspoken, but well-understood addition.
Bill reached down and adjusted the display, showing Terra and it’s orbital space. Icons indicated the fleet base, the platforms, the Battlestars and destroyers, even the Vipers on patrol. Below them all, Terra slowly spun on its axis. On the surface were five billion people counting on the Fleet to protect them from harm. The cities had shield grids that were even now being activated as the wartime readiness order went out, but both Admirals knew they would not stand up to a sustained bombardment for long.
It would be the largest and most brutal battle of Adama’s life. But, he thought, praying to beings he didn’t believe in just this once, Gods willing it will be the last one.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."
Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.