The Twelve Colonies of Kobol have fallen.
What is left of the human race is scattered on surviving ships, hiding on the fringes of the Cyrannus System. On their own, the civilian refugee fleets stand no chance to outrun or hide from the Cylon threat. Their only hope lies in the remnants of the Colonial Fleet. For the humankind to live on, the last Battlestars must engage the enemy, harass and weaken the Cylon so they may not hunt down what little remains of the erstwhile colonial civilization.
Faced with the return of humanity's children, the Twelve Tribes have chosen Theomachia – to remain close to the Cyrannus System and built a future for humanity out of the ashes of a fallen era.
Battlestar Raven and her fleets will seek victory beyond vengeance for the Fall. The mission of the Battle Group BFC 002 is to preserve those who fled, rescue those who remain on the fallen worlds and ultimately, to find a future to live in a universe freed of the threat of another Cylon Invasion.
Hope lives on within the hearts of those who fight on. Hope, to regain what was lost and preserve the memory of all those who may not live to see this future.
If any future for humanity is to come to pass, those who remain must stand together. Flung far from the orbits of their fallen homes, the many fleets of survivors, of last battalions and battle groups are isolated, alone. Out far from the inner planets, where our suns appear as no more than faint dots of light, it is easy to become a victim of despair.
As reports indicate, that the communication relays of the colonies have not been compromised, the temptation to call for other living souls is all too great. But most assuredly, it is a trap. Distress calls are nothing but the easiest way for the Cylon to pick off what is left of us.
This much is common knowledge in the Raven's CIC. The comms console is deserted, even the aether among the ships is nothing but white noise. Signals are exchanged via directed light signals, ancient interval code has replaced the high tech communications. Humanity's last survivors need a plan. And to coordinate, they will need a voice. This will be the goal of Operation Hermóðr.
Twenty-Three hours after the battle of Aerilon, things are set in motion for the first campaign of the Second Cylon War.
Hermóðr Phase I
"This is Operation Hermóðr. Its goal is to establish a secure communications network between the remaining colonial assets in the Cyrannus System. This will be vital to restoring our ability to effectively plan and execute operations for the survival of humanity and against the Cylon threat.
The Operation will be spearheaded by the Ravens Seekers Squadron and augmented by any couriers, raptors and other craft we can muster. Our first order of business is to set priorities for Phase 1 of the Operation."
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/16817139
Priorities will be decided by the number of votes. The more votes, the higher the priority and chance of success.
Destroying the compromised Comm system should take second priority
Operation Hermes is underway - the messenger of the gods descends from the cold depth of space onto the inner Cyrannus systems, where the last survivors and strongholds of humanity remain. Where the Cylon detonate the last of their bombs, the eyes and ears of the messenger will not be far, where the ships of civilians and soldiers alike seek refuge, the whispered words of Raptor pilots will reach them. Any and all vessels capable are deployed to find all that remains and bring them back. Under the wings of Hermes, humanity will flock together, regroup and, so the gods of Kobol will it, return to its rightful home.
Silence falls as the lights dim and the projected map gleams into life. The once bustling system of Helios Delta is now little but a black void. Communication channels are dead, the sensor network offline. All news remaining come from the scarce ships arriving at the fleet. Under the protection of Battlestar Raven, couriers and messengers from 24 notable locations have conveyed what little knowledge they have. Their news is uncertain, what little hope they bring is bittersweet. They are faint lights on a pitch black sky.
Operation Hermes will change it all. In the long night which has befallen the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, it'll make the Battlestar Raven a distant, shining beacon of light, far away from the eyes of the Cylon. No encrypted signals, no encoded messages. Words and ink on paper are the only communication way secure enough for the survivors. The Raptor pilots carrying the messages back and forth will soon become emissaries of the future.
Operation Hermes will continue by the end of this week, when the first space-borne assets of Helios Delta will be encountered.
So Say We All!
The story continues...
RUINS OF ALICUDI
- Jump 135 concluded, all systems nominal.
Screening Sector 0358 - no DRADIS contacts.
- See for yourself, Hipshot, nothing here.
The space between worlds is empty. The sky is dark as though the gods themselves have turned away. Of what was a vibrant civilization mere days ago, the attack left nothing but drifting ruins, slowly breaking apart and decaying. Ships have become metal tombs for their crews, stations deadly realms of residual heat and radiation. Fewer and fewer signals call out to the void, the seekers pick up more and more white noise.
With a quick burst of thrust, the Raptor turns over, sensors sweeping across the cold plains of the asteroid belt. Without any FF signals, it seeks echoes of energy in space. Far in the distance, Helios Delta burns unfazed by the near end of humanity. The rocks of the Aeolus Belt are painted in stark contrast by the harsh light of this star. Just a moment longer, and from the darkness emerges what the pilots have been seeking.
- Unregistered mass detected, nine o'clock, bring us around.
It's a mere shadow on their screens, warm shapes amid the light-less cold, slowly rising above the ecliptic of the system. Several thousand clicks away from its anchorage point, the Polis turns aimlessly, shattered into pieces.
What the seekers of the Raven find is a hulk of twisted metal, plastic and broken glass. The burnt out corpses of Tylium tankers litter the sight, held just in place by the faint gravity of the massive station. Buried underneath the wreckage amid fifty thousand souls lies the source of the polises last emergency signal.
VOTE HERE https://www.strawpoll.me/16936779
From within the ruined carcass of the Alicudi station, the Raven's Seekers detected a faint signal two and a half days ago. Ever since then, the signal has been silent. Nevertheless, there might be a slim chance for survivors, trapped deep within the wreckage.
There is little time for the salvage operation to commence before the Cylon will inevitably notice the activity. The Fleet must set priorities.
1. Focus on Tylium
Staying mobile is paramount for all remnants of humanity. With all civilian and military fleets remaining making constant jumps to avoid Cylon Detection, Tylium consumption is critically high. Securing as much of it as possible is highly important.
Focusing on Tylium may yield considerable fuel supplies, which would allow the fleets of the Raven to stay more mobile, rather than having to defend lengthy mining operations.
2. Focus on Agri Domes
If humanity is to survive in the long-term, it will have to preserve the genetic diversity of its crops and plants. There is no telling how much will be left on the colonies – so the rapidly decaying remnants of plants in this stations Agri Domes might be among the last chances for us to gather genetic samples for the future.
Focusing on the Agri Domes will give the fleet a chance to preserve its crops genetic diversity, preventing food shortages in the long run.
3. Focus on Military Supplies
The old dockyards of the Colonial Fleet have been hit hardest of all parts of the Station. Nevertheless, they are better preserved than most military installations. With no way to reproduce nuclear weapons in the near future, salvaging warheads from here might be the only chance to stock up the arsenal in a long time.
Focusing on Military supplies will gain the fleet military hardware and potentially invaluable nuclear warheads.
4. Focus on potential survivors
There are few places aboard the dead station where humans could survive. Seeking them out now would require most of the Fleets attention – but its the very last chance for anyone left on this station to survive.
Rescuing survivors might yield valuable intelligence and more people to aid the fleet. Workers of a Tylium facility will also be invaluable in the future when the Civilian Fleets perform on-flight refining and mining operations.
1 and 3 should take priority
The story continues...
Flickering lights are cast where torches burn through the station's hull. Alicudi is broken in countless places, its structure crippled and crumbling all around. Where the Rescue Raptors detected the origins of the signal, the remains of a gangway terminal loom silently over the broken glass of erstwhile agri domes. Plantlife and trees have been sucked out into the vacuum, crystallized an frozen. Like hands in rigor mortis, they cling to the wreckage amid a storm of debris and atmospheric snow.
“Team Lamed reporting, we've breached the hull. Entering section seventy-zero-five. It's supposed to be a cargo bay.”
“Affirmative, Team Lamed. What do you see?”
The footsteps of marines echo through the vast halls where air and pressure are still present aboard. They are not far from the shelter, the armored box deep inside the structure, where the last four hundred survivors sought supposedly sought shelter. Trunks and suitcases line the walls, ditched by travelers in a hurry to make it inside. Occasionally, there are shoes and jackets, a pair of glasses left in the middle of the room. Their flashlights are reflected by the broken glass.
“I don't like this. Something is off about this place.”
“Keep it calm, they need us.”
Slowly, they approach the shelter. As the faint light beams illuminate the final passage, the soldiers halt, aghast. The shelter's doors are open. Light burns inside, the light of a single lantern set on the floor by the lone man standing at the entrance.
In any other place, he would seem almost unassuming. Almost, safe for the piercing blue eyes framed by short, blonde hair and the stubble of a beard. One side of his face is bloodied, nevertheless calm. Only when the soldiers shout, a wicked grin distorts his features.
“Why are the doors to the shelter open? What happened to the people?”
The man's voice rings serene through the corridor, echoes from the walls of the massive, empty room.
“They've all gone into rapture. You will go with them, as it was written.”
The words are conveyed to the Raptor crew outside, relayed to the coordinating survey cruiser of the fleet. A snapshot, an image of the man starting to talk about the holy scripture, makes it to the CIC.
“And when she died, the Gods of Kobol ignited a flame as bright as a second sun in the sky, lest her soul find a way into the heavens and take all those with her, who were true believers. Thus they ascended, to the great caravan of the skies.”
Something glints in the preacher's hand. Following pure gut instinct, the soldiers shoot. Bullets riddle the man who continues the verses of Pythia in silence as he loses his voice.
The detonator falls. Not a second later, all of broken Alicudi is enveloped in light. Nuclear fire erupts from the wreckage, igniting all remaining Tylium reserves. The Cascades of fire and secondary explosions fall toward the former center of the station, shrapnel, and debris thrown into all directions. Hailstorms of wreckage rain down on the rescue shuttles and craft, like projectiles they penetrate even the surveyor's hull.
Amid a deadly struggle, the thrusters of the surveying cruiser try to compensate the impact of a large chunk of the station. Seconds later, the hull is split into two, engulfed in burning atmosphere.
VOTE HERE https://www.strawpoll.me/17025956
The lone preacher of Alicudi planted at least one nuclear warhead at a critical position in the Tylium refinement system of the devastated station and detonated it, once rescue arrived.
Before the entire rescue flotilla was lost in the blast, his words and image were partially transmitted to the Raven.
There's no hard proof of how or why the man set this trap, but there are rumors of Cylon infiltration. Sympathizers, brainwashed agents – perhaps even Cylons looking like us – no-one is sure what to believe.
The loss of the rescue flotilla was a devastating blow. One question remains: how to proceed?
1. Keep the events a secret
Looking to rescue survivors in the Cylon-occupied systems is dangerous in any case – the rescuers know the risk they are taking. There is no sense in sowing panic by revealing any details about this tragedy.
Keeping the disaster of Alicudi a secret will quell rumors about Skinjob Cylons and sympathizers, maintaining order for a while longer among the general population. But there will be no further insight gained from these events.
2. Search on a need-to-know basis
We must find out more about this lone preacher – how or why he would go to such lengths to cause such devastation. But without any hard facts, there is no sense in disturbing anybody who doesn't need to know – especially no civilians. The investigation will be held under wraps until we know exactly what happened.
A secret investigation may or may not lead to significant discoveries about the nature of the lone preacher and his attack.
There is a chance information will be leaked and cause an extreme outcry.
3. An open search
Revealing this atrocity committed by a human – or something looking exactly alike – will undoubtedly sow panic among the population. But we need all the resources available to make sure this does not happen again. We need answers – and the survivors of the colonies deserve to know the truth.
An open search for answers is most likely to reveal something of significance about this attack, but it will definitely also create considerable unrest and perhaps even chaos in the civilian fleets.
Right now, to reveal that the cylons are taking human form would cause unwarranted panic among the survivors;Until there is A plan on how to detect and deal with them, the word should only be on A need to know basis.
Struck the terrible blast of the dying station city Alicudi, the lone survey cruiser is limping home. Aboard, the crew numb with shock holds vital information. Information presenting them with a terrible dilemma.
Should the people know of the traitorous act? What will become of humanity if the people learn of the dangers from within?
The weight of this question is added onto the loss of so many lives and hope for all those aboard. Yet, a decision must be made.
Vote here: https://www.strawpoll.me/17025956
The story continues...
Awaiting word from their many rescue ships, the remainder of the Raven's Fleet grows more restless with each day. Condemned to in-action aboard their overcrowded vessels, the survivors of humanity find themselves wanting for purpose in the aftermath of the end of days. They are barred from seeing what has become of their worlds, isolated since the last communications ceased. In the darkness of space, far-flung from all worlds and the life-giving star, they are alone.
In these times rumors easily stir, old grudges re-emerge and uncaring anger erupts among the masses. As the first shock of their loss subsides, people seek answers any way they can.
Even without news of the traitor preacher, who is investigated in secrecy, it does not take long before the first accusations are said aloud of sympathizers and agents working for the enemy. How else could the fleet have fallen? How else could the end have come so swiftly?
Any and all such rumors are collected and sifted through aboard the Raven herself, in an attempt to gain whatever kernel of truth may lie within them. It is a long and tedious work which yields little results and strains morale. In this way, the fleet cannot go on for long.
The people need a voice to speak to them, to provide answers to their pressing questions. Perhaps no definitive answer, no good answer can be given, but nevertheless, the fears and anxieties of the fleet must be assuaged.
What voice does the Fleet need the most?
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/17186384
1. A voice of faith
For all the differences between the Colonies, the Lords of Kobol are of great importance to all of them. Perhaps solace and hope will be found in their scripture and remind the people to hold together for the future of their kind.
A speech will be held by the high priestess of Hephaestus.
2. A voice of authority
From the moment the bombs fell, humanity has been at war. It has cost us too much already and more sacrifices lie ahead. In times such as these, a strong voice is needed, to remind all of their duty to the colonies and humanity at large.
A speech will be held by the highest ranking veteran of the Aerilon Colonial Marines Corps.
3. A voice of rational
If humanity is to survive this peril, it must adhere to its strength of mind. The reality of the Fleet's situation must be confronted and ways to survive must be found in a methodical fashion.
A speech will be held by the last surviving member of the Physics Symposium Canceron.
4. A voice of defiance
Considering the situation, only one who can truly speak to the horrors we endured should speak. Somebody who understands the value of life for its own sake, whatever the cost.
A speech will be held by an anonymous survivor who's fallen ill with radiation following the attack.
5. A voice of a new age
If we are to survive, we must look to the future. A future that, for better or worse, will be different from our past. As dangerous and extreme such a voice may be, it may be the only one providing a path forward.
A speech will be held by an activist who was in the media spotlight as self-proclaimed revolutionary before.
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/17186384
The story continues...
A Voice of Faith
Chimes sound idly in the tranquil garden.
On a bleak hill, there is set the oracle stone, adorned with rough rope and glyphs, a few pressed flowers and figurines. The gods are guarding this last stone, the last piece of rock of the Twelve Colonies standing on the last patch of soil saved from the nuclear fire.
All around it, the fantasy has wilted. Like the old world, the flower patches and cherry trees, and the flowing paths of the garden have gone, sucked into the void through a broken sky. Under a patchwork dome of glass, there is now only grass and stone, the perfect atrium for the temple, a new beginning for Valinor.
Many have come to see the consecration, heeded the call of the high priestess of Hephaestus. Clad in red robes she stands, the holy scrolls in her hands, and with open arms bestows the blessings of Kobol onto those who have come. There are the faithful and desperate, those restless and doubting, and those full of the fire of the Gods.
Following harrowing days and even longer nights of terror, of hopeless search between the ruins of their burning worlds, so few vessels have come, so few messages arrived of other fleets. The days have grown restless and time seems fleeting. After it all, those who still live have come together to listen to a voice of faith.
The loss of Twelve Worlds rests on her shoulders, the end of all promised in the prophecies. And yet, with her voice still unbroken, the high priestess rises and speaks.
“In the tapestry of the universe, this is a mere chapter of many, one verse in the great songs to be sung of these times, verses written such as those of our beginning, our exodus, and our rebirth."
"So Say We all", the crowd answers the first sermon, low voices mingling with the sound of chimes. The priestess stands, her eyes meeting each and everyone, her silence reaching out to all those listening in the fleet – challenging, accusing, waiting. In this first silence, each and every one of the Fleet is left to consider on their own, whether this is all to stand at the end of their lives. Only then the priestess offers her answer. She raises her arms higher, lets the scrolls of prophecy fall, breaks with the age-old ritual of her ceremony. And her eyes are alight with a zealous fire.
"It is time for the old pantheon to make war, for the lords to pick up arms and stand by the side of their chosen. At the end of the colonies, the twelve tribes are united once more and as one they will rise. Look to your left and your right, see those by whose side you stand. See your brothers and sister s in life and death and know that now, nothing can stand between us. If we are all which is left to remain, then remain we will and hold out for our lives and those of all the future.
In us runs the blood of those who walked among gods. In our hands will Ares once more wield his sword, our eyes will guide the arrows of Diana and Apollo. Ours is the wrath of Zeus and his kin, for we are with them, the children, the chosen."
Loud sounds the voice of priestess through the temple's halls, her words carried by many voices, repeated and retold many times among the fleet. The people rally, invoking the names of their gods, picking themselves up and raising their voice, repeating the chant as though to break from grief and desperation.
So Say We All! So Say We All! So Say We All!
The morale of the colonies remains unbroken, more than ever stand the survivors of the human race united. True believers of Kobol's Pantheon reborn are now the prevalent faction of the fleet and it the duty lies with the Admiralty and Quorum to assuage their fervent desire for vengeance.
The former luxury liner Princess Valinor is newly christened by the High Priestess and the Admiral of the fleet. From now on, she will be a temple to the Gods, a center of faith in this time of Diaspora. Protecting this vessel will be of utmost importance to upkeep the newly awakened morale. Tasked with this duty will be the first ceremonial viper wing of the fleet.
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/17560238
Rallied by a voice of faith, the fleet has found the strength to overcome terror and disasters revealed by the search for survivors in the burning system. Nonetheless, time is running out for Operation Hermes. Soon, the Cylon Fleets will be too vigilant to allow rescue operations.
The fleet's leadership must decide where to direct the new-found strength.
1. Seeking out Holy Worlds
Among the most faithful of the fleet are many colonists of Gemenon and Sagittaron, many of whom want to return to their worlds. Seeking out their holy worlds would solidify the morale of the believers. Furthermore, it would justify leaving the Helios Delta System behind, allowing the Raven's Fleet to seek survivors in another part of the Cyrannus System, where the Cylon vigilance is not as high.
However, a return to the holy worlds could also spark a fanatic schism and unrest with those whose colonies are left behind.
2. A mission of Faith
Rather than abandoning the search in Helios Delta, the Raven's Fleet could launch one last effort to seek out any survivors to be found in this system. This would be a mission of Faith, committing all available vessel to the task, leaving the fleet more vulnerable, but allowing for the greatest chance of gathering any and all survivors from space.
3.A sacrifice of the Few
The voice of faith sparked in the fleet an unyielding desire for vengeance. Enough so, that a small task group could be manned solely by volunteers to lead a highly dangerous, most likely self-sacrificial assault on Cylon Forces, buying the rest of the Fleet more time to gather survivors and hide.