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Flight of the Raven
This is the story of how the Battlestar Raven escaped the Fall of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol.
High above the Colony of Aerilon, two fleets are intertwined. The planet's vibrant colors outline the stark silhouettes of two Battlestars, accompanied by escorts and trainee vessels. Between the two imposing giants, squadrons of vipers are caught in the intricate dances of battle. Markers flare up, blank shots explode on impeccable armor, where the most daring pilots compete not a wingspan apart.
During the war-game exercises, the CIC of Battlestar Raven remains calm and silent. The occasional chatter of pilots is interrupted by orders and maneuvering directions, as the course of battle unfolds on DRADIS screens. For the purpose of maneuvering exercises, all networked systems have been deactivated and run a complex simulation under the close supervision of the admiral. It takes a printed note, handed to her from the communications officer, to relay news addressed to her from beyond the battlefield.
She is the first to learn that bombs have fallen.
By the time the admiral has read these lines, the pilots are blinded by a cascade of flashing light far below. Explosions like red, blossoming flowers, erupt from within the atmosphere. Sirens howl, the chatter of the simulation dies, there are screams from those few who see it with their own eyes – Aerilon is burning.
Through the aether echo panicking messages from the Guardian Fleet, then suddenly, their voices fall silent.
Humanity's children are returning home.
" Trireme to raven..we're picking up bandits on long range DRADIS....Sparrows,200+......about 3 turkeys.... standing by to check for radiological alarms...........all trireme weapons systems manned and operational.."
The poll to choose where the Raven will retaliate will remain open until the weekend. Once again, thank you to all who already participated – everybody else is cordially invited to do so!
Like a beast alive with the raw emotions of all souls aboard, the Battlestar Raven rises through the clouds of Hestia. Fear, anger, mourning – the shock of the ongoing invasion has taken hold in the few hours past, as news of the destruction of all twelve worlds reaches the fleet. No longer is their hope of a safe retreat, no longer a way for this war to end in victory. There only remains retaliation, the last chance for humanity's survival. This realization sobers them all, from the deckhands to those in command. On all ships of all colonies, listening to the last transmissions of their dying civilization, the people come together.
Gods be with us say some as they pray, for themselves, loved ones and all who vanished already. Others seek solace in their duty, even in menial immediate tasks, polishing the squadron's emblems, straightening uniforms, clearing the deck.
During these minutes before the final jump, they are all in purgatory. The fate of humanity hangs from a thread and more than any time before in history, the future is an uncertainty.
The story continues...
The Decision of the Group: AERILON'S VENGEANCE
The images of burning Aerilon are met without a word in the situation room. Nobody speaks on the recording. The Seeker Squadron sent to the colony are running silent, penetrating the Cylon blockade. They brought information on deployment plans and invasion forces, a map of the planet as a whole. The lower east quadrant of the map is empty – two Raptors did not return.
Population centers and military installations are drowned by the glaring red icons of deadly radiation. Fallout shrouds the most populous continent where one billion lie slaughtered by the Cylon bombs.
The Admiral waves the red away, her eyes fixed on the few symbols remaining yellow and green, where casualties are presumed not total. Hidden missile silos and aerospace weaponry installations, the Colonial Marines HQ Alpha Site, nuclear bunkers of the inter-colonial wars and the fall-back positions of the corps - they are few, and far between. But they are the seed of Aerilon's Vengeance.
The clock is set in CIC.
At thirteen hundred hours, the Raven and a selected strike fleet will perform a high-altitude jump and deploy strike teams bound for the surface. Every last able body in the scrambled fleet will be deployed. The Raven's air-wing will provide immediate firing support, identify all those who remain to join the fight. They all know those stranded on the burning world, their brothers and sisters in service. They must not – will not let them down.
This is the Admiral
We have seen the end of our worlds. Reports indicate the decimation of military installations and population centers on all Twelve Colonies. There's no more word of the Fleet. For all we know, the Cylon plan the complete and utter genocide of the human race.
From this moment on, your duty is no longer to the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, but humanity as a whole. Our actions will decide the fate of our species, our civilization, the memory of every life in history.
We have not yet fallen. Before us lies perhaps the last battle this planet, this ship – any of us will ever see. Let us make sure it is one humanity will remember.
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Thunder roars throughout Raven's hull, moments after the Jump is concluded. All around the mighty ship, the skies are set ablaze. Lightning flares where escorts jump into position, from the launch tubes Viper Squadrons race into battle. Within seconds, the Raptors are away, jumping deeper into the atmosphere.
As the invasion commences far below, the battle for Aerilon has begun.
CHOICE: Target Priorities
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/16572745
Our forces are insufficient to hit all targets at once, so we must prioritize. Priority will be decided by the number of votes – the more votes, the higher the priority.
The target receiving most votes will succeed definitely. The target receiving the second most votes will have a 50% chance of success. The target least voted for will only have a 25% chance of success.
1. Col. Marine Corps HQ Alpha Site
According to Colonial Marine Corps contingency plans, an alternative command site off the grid is to take control should Aerilon HQ be destroyed.
Success in securing this Site undetected will grant us access to all remaining Colonial Marines on Aerilon to help retake planetary defenses and in the evacuation.
Should we fail to achieve this objective, the Alpha Site will be destroyed and our invading strike forces will have to attack alone.
2. Promethea Port
Unlike the Capital Goath, Promethea has not been bombed directly. Its major spaceport holds the greatest number of remaining spaceships on Aerilon, including fields of mothballed old military vessels.
Success in taking Promethea Port will secure our means of evacuating as many civilians as possible once the blockade is breached, plus we stand a chance at getting a few more fighting ships.
Failure in taking Promethea Port will result in its destruction, forcing the Raven to dispatch part of its own fleet to evacuate civilians.
3. Aerospace Weapon Installations
The Cylons effectively destroyed the command and guidance systems of the planetary defenses – but due to their decentralized nature, many missile silos and other installations could be manually reactivated.
Success in reactivating the planetary defense will significantly disrupt the Cylon fleet, relieving the pressure on the Raven and its fleet while breaching the blockade.
Failure in reactivating the planetary defenses will leave the Cylon fleet intact, forcing the evacuation to take place under fire.
All sound like the best choices;However,we don't have the resources for all three.
The PRELUDE Chapter of Battlestar Raven Adventures will draw to a close next weekend. Until then, take the opportunity to VOTE on target priorities for Aerilon's Vengeance: https://www.strawpoll.me/16572745
I want to thank all those who have participated so far and made this project possible. We are looking forward to bring this first chapter of our journey to the grandiose finale and continue more exciting stories in the future!
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-Batteries Koppa, Jupiter, Sampi, switch to counter fire.
-Affirmative targets acquired.
The harsh, guttural crescendo of firing KEW batteries rings as deep as the CIC at the heart of the fighting ship.
White, blinding fire engulfs the first Baseship to rise from Aerilon's burning atmosphere. In the throes of death, the ship unleashes missiles like shooting stars, crossing the black void between it and the relentless Raven. Warheads of the Cylon attack have torn chunks of armor from the Battlestars prow, nevertheless, the charge cannot be halted.
As explosions cascade along the first Baseships spine, the Ravens main batteries turn to the next enemy above the horizon.
The last of the strike teams have departed, all troop transports are deployed, their fate is in Ares' hands.
SO SAY WE ALL
The story continues...
BATTLE FOR AERILON
Black rain, ash, and cinder are descending on Promethea. The ancient city crumbles under the ever-growing mass of debris falling from the sky. Blanketed in the smoldering remains of Aerilon and its people, every sound is stifled and the world falls silent.
Promethea Port is besieged by the huddled masses. Hundreds of thousands, burnt and scarred from the initial blasts, have overrun the terminal and airfield. What few vessels remain are without hope to break free. Scattered remains and wreckage tell of those who tried to flee and were shot down immediately by the Cylon blockade. On these open fields, watching the city burn, the last of Aerilon feel the end is nigh. Hope arrives with the thunderclap of a sonic boom.
The Raptors descend like falling angels, spreading wings of white smoke and hot glowing flares. In their wake ride the Viper Valkyries of Battlestar Raven and a convoy of armed troop transports escorting them. Soon the sky is aglow with Gunfire, the voices of Raptor pilots echo above the port. Within seconds, each and every soul on the ground looks up to see the arrival of their salvation.
The Colonial Fleet has come at last.
Raven Actual, this is Strikeforce Aleph Leader – Promethea Port is secure, I repeat, Promethea Port is secure! Our defensive Grid has been deployed, we have the toasters outgunned. Commencing evacuation!
Aerospace Weapon Installation Bellerophon
The fields of Aerilon are already wilting. The last harvest will never be brought in. Amid rural ruins far from any major city, Raptors land in seemingly random locations. On this world, they say, the land is as far as the sea. Nothing but fields and fire until the horizon. But buried in this fertile soil are secret instruments of grand destruction. Strike teams swarm the hidden facilities, many carried over from times of Inter-Colonial War. This technology is ancient, immune against the Cylons Plan. It only needs a human hand to activate the doomsday devices.
Bellerophon Sites reporting in. God's be with us - So Say We All!
Cleansing fire illuminates the sky and sweeps away the clouds, as a thousand warheads detonate and proclaim the fighting spirit of Aerilon one final time. The silhouettes of Baseships, edged black against the glowing sky, break apart and fall toward the horizon. Countless eyes are raised toward the blinding light to see the Lords of Kobol wage war in the heavens.
Then and there, they witness the last battle of Aerilon, fought among the fleets of Cylon and the Humankind. In the fading light around them, they see little hope, but the wrath of a dying people.
Raven Actual, Strikeforce Beta confirms the launch of all nuclear devices. We are registering mass explosions in the higher atmosphere. The Blockade is in disarray.
This is Raven Actual to all ships of the fleet: Jump in Attack formation. Action Stations!
Colonial Marine HQ Alpha Site
White fire drowns out the sun, black smoke swallows the light and in the end, a gray tint envelops the world. As the battle for Aerilon rages on, the last of Raven's strike teams arrive at the valleys far into the mountains. Here, buried under layers of granite and slate, lie the last positions of the Colonial Marines Corps.
The Raptors approach at low altitude, under the DRADIS of any invading force watching. Far beyond the horizon, the clouds still burn and Battlestar Raven commences a full-scale attack. And yet, not all Cylons have been drawn to the fight.
Enemy contact approaching! It just jumped in!
The lone raider barely clips the trees, making a suicidal run at the strike force approach. The response Vipers are quick, a first blast rips one thorn from the Cylon's hull. Yet, before the vessel falls, it rips through time and space with another jump.
Less than three minutes pass before bombs are detected on an approaching vector. No time for a warning, none for an evasive plan. In a hasty retreat, the Raptors withdraw, just in times, to see the white strikes descend.
The site is destroyed in mere seconds, lost with all souls, hundreds if not thousands of them. The mountains themselves are reshaped by the ensuing bombardment, leaving no hope for rescue of the troops left behind.
Strike Leader Gamma is not responding. Reported mass casualties at the MCHQ Alpha Site. The Marines are lost, command, repeat, Marine Corps Alpha Site has been lost!
For seven hours, Aerilon wages war.
Seven hours of fire, of death and retribution.
Seven hours in which heroes and traitors are born and die.
Seven hours, an era of which no tales will tell.
At the end of it all, every field is burnt, every city turned into dust, every last soul dead on the surface of this world. There is nothing left but cinder and fading memories.
That is the price for Aerilon's Vengeance.
And yet, on this day, the humankind claimed an unlikely victory. A single number is printed on the Admiral's final report, submitted to all the rest of the fleet. One hundred and seventeen ships - Plus all atmosphere-capable vessels left to the Raven's Group, are packed with survivors of the fighting colony.
Humanity lives on. The colony lives on.
Those who lived look out the windows a final time, as the Raven and the remnants of its fleet set a course toward the outer Cyrannus system. Through the corridors of many vessels sounds a song played on the fleet-wide radio.
It's a soldiers tune well known among them all, a song called Farewell Aerilon...
So Say We All!
THIS CONCLUDES CHAPTER 1: THE FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN
A final report on all decisions and consequences will be filed shortly. And then, the next adventure awaits!
I want to thank all members who participated and enjoyed partaking in this journey. Feel free to post your feedback, opinions, and suggestions below!
A special Thanks goes to the artists Keyser94 and Kelso363 who kindly offered assets of various vessels for use in this project. I also want to give extra credit to the work of the late CanisD, who's responsible for the wonderful Cylon assets we've seen.
For detailed information on all artworks, follow the (full-sized image) links below each artwork.
Fantastic job to all who are contributing!
If there is any appropriate music for this,here it is:
Be advised: Cylon model zero has an agenda.....
..she wants to exact revenge for what the Raven Battlegroup has been doing......
"......prepare to send reconnaissance raiders to plot and track Raven Battlegroup...............The Bird of Prey shall be the hunted..........all Nuclear Weapons to standby status............"
"......They shall fall by the Sword.............All Basestars ready to launch assault on the Colonial Fleet Shipyards at Scorpia...................They shall pay the piper...End of Line"
The PDF is now available here:
PDF + preview
I look forward to the next few chapters! It looks like an exciting read! Good job so far.
Thanks a lot! It's been great fun working on the project so far. The next Chapter will start this weekend.
Jay Timmerman said:
I look forward to the next few chapters! It looks like an exciting read! Good job so far.