"ONE OF THE OLDEST IF NOT ALREADY THE OLDEST ORGANIZATION FOR BATTLESTAR GALACTICA"
KEEPING THE FAITH ALIVE
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.
The Story Continues...
Herme's Final Calling
The void has fallen dark and silent around the glowing star of the Helios Delta System. Where there once existed an interplanetary web of hundreds of thousands of ships, satellites, and stations, there remains little more than burnt out hulls and carcasses of broken ships, wreckage, and debris slowly burning up in the irradiated atmosphere of the bombarded worlds. The last living voices calling out for aid fell silent more than thirty days ago. One by one, the remaining automated transmissions and beacons were investigated or disappeared. Now, only the encrypted red storm of Cylon jamming and interference can be heard on the open channels. Human voices remaining therein are merely echoes among white noise, traps and empty calls from the dead. There is no-one left off-world.
What few survivors remain on the surface of the fallen colonies have gone deep into hiding, well enough not to be found by the Cylon occupation, but equally removed from any rescue by Raven's fleet. The worlds are well blockaded, entire battle groups of basestars on constant standby. Raiders and captured colonial vessels patrol interplanetary- and deep space, picking off valiant rescue parties and any seekers they can find.
Operation Hermes nears its end, the search for survivors will yield little more. What ships can be found have joined the fleet, those who could escape have been gathered under Raven's flowing banner. Only one task remains for the surviving fleet of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, Hermes' Final Call.
There are rumors in the fleet of the abductions by miraculous hospital vessels. Findings on one such captured vessel indicate that the Cylons assembled a survivor fleet of their own, gathering survivors from all over the system. If the veterans of the First Cylon War are to be believed, the purpose of this gathering may be biological experimentation. In any case, the Cylon cannot be allowed to continue capturing the last remaining colonial assets. The will of the people in all the fleet is clear: A rescue missions must be mounted, if only to deal the Cylon one final blow before Helios Delta must be abandoned.
Attack on the Cylon Abduction Fleet
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/18148185
With nearly all ships but Raven's fleet gone, it is only a matter of time until the Cylon will discover the fleet and attack in full force. The Battlestar won't be able to remain much longer so close to the Helios Delta System. But before the Fleet jumps into the deep space of Cyrannus, the Final Call of Hermes has yet to be fulfilled.
The Cylon Abduction Fleet is rumored to operate somewhere around the System's asteroid belt. Only a swift strike stands a chance to deal a deadly blow. The details of these operations must be decided.
1.) All-out strike of the fleet
After the fall of the colonies, there are no civilians or soldiers – there are only survivors and all will face the enemy. The strong voice of faith calls for vengeance and all ships of the fleet are eager to follow.
This will commit the entirety of the Raven Fleet to the attack. All military vessels will launch a decisive strike against the Cylon, whilst the civilian vessels stay behind the frontline and facilitate the rescue of the abducted vessels. Keeping the entire fleet together will risk civilian casualties – but it also allows for the strongest military offense, as no vessels would have to stay behind to protect the civilian fleet elsewhere.
2.) Sending in the Big Guns
The civilian fleet and an escort detachment will be sent into deep space whilst the last battlefleet of the Twelve Colonies prepares to go to war. Battlestar Raven and the Imperial Battle Group of Virgon will launch a counter-offensive against the Cylon and shall not return until the abducted colonials are rescued.
The Battlestar Raven and the Imperial Dreadnought Regina Caeli will be committed to an attack against the Cylon Fleet. Their escorts will be diminished, as some vessels stay behind to protect the civilian fleet. Both the Raven and the Regina Caeli will also have to commit a significant portion of their pilots to rescue operations of the civilian vessels.
3.) Dividing the Fleet
The time of decisions has come, and the time of last goodbyes. As the civilian fleet prepares to leave the Helios Delta System, Battlestar Raven and her Battlegroup prepare for a daring rescue operation. The Imperial Dreadnought Regina Caeli and most escorts will stay behind – if all else fails, they will continue what the Raven has begun and led humanity into an uncertain future.
The Raven Battlegroup will attempt to rescue the abducted vessels, leaving all other ships behind to ensure the protection of what remains of humanity.
(Meta Warning: This is a dangerous choice. Even though the Fanclub Flagship won't be destroyed, it may very well receive grievous damage and lose any contact with the fleet)
4.) Suicide Run
As hard as it is to admit, not all can be saved. The continued survival of the human race and its protection cannot be risked for the fate of these abducted ships. The fate of the many outweighs the few.
A single Gunstar and a volunteering escort squadron will perform a daring rescue operation, trying to draw the Cylon's attention long enough for colonial marines to board the abducted ships via raptor and cease control to allow them to jump away.
(Warning: This plan is extremely risky – the Gunstar is not expected to survive the ordeal)
A fleet assembles in the Helios Delta System, sheltered by the shadow of the giant Hestia. A hundred times or more, lightning strikes in the dark where more ships jump into the gravity well. It is a great fleet gathering, likely the greatest since the Fall. For all which is known, this is the remaining force of all humanity, the survivors of the end of twelve worlds, united to make their stand at this line.
Not one more soul is to die helplessly at the hands of the Cylon, not one more life to be spent in their vile experiments. Whatever plans the machines may have for the flesh and blood which created them, they will end on this day in fire. One way or another, after the battle come, no prisoners will be left for the machines to torture.
The abducted ships will be freed, the fleet of the Cylon beaten back. The survivors of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol prepare for the first time to truly strike back.
The order of battle takes shape on the map tables of the Raven's CIC, specialists pushing models into place as their real counterparts slowly maneuver into position. Three battle groups will form the Colonial Fleet. All ships and souls have been committed to Operation 'Herme's Final Call'.
At the forefront of the fleet anchors Battle Group Regina Caeli, the last remnant of the virgonese navy. The mighty imperial dreadnought lies in the dark like an ancient beast of myth, reawoken by the wrath of the gods at the destruction of their chosen worlds. Surrounding the ancient battleship are the heavy cruisers and escorts of the fleet, readying themselves to take on the brunt of the fight as the first force to meet the Cylon Fleet head on.
Shining far above, in the blue-tainted light of its self-illumination, lies Battlestar Raven and her own battle group. They will strike at the foe in a flanking maneuver, viper squadrons hitting hard and fast against the enemy base- and motherships. Swift escorts and the Raven's concentrated firepower are to break the Cylon Formation apart and her escort gunstars will take out whatever remains.
Dwarfing both fleets and all their military might is the ever-expanding swarm of auxiliary group Marathon, the collective formations of the civilian fleet, the survivors who chose to commit to death or victory.
Dozens of ships, organized by tonnage and class, speed and resilience for the purpose at hand, are maneuvering for the first time in military formation. Their role will be pivotal in the battle to come, to charge into the breach freed by the Regina Caeli and Raven and to perform emergency rescue for the abducted ships.
For one nearly sleepless week of intense preparation, the fleet has engaged in maneuvers and training. Any and all officers of the fleet know the risk of accident, panic and unimaginable loss. But no choice has been left for humanity but to fight to the end. Those who stand with the Raven at Hestia are committed without question to the cause.
The decision now lies with the Admiralty of the ship, on how to prepare Battle Group Marathon for the coming fight.
Operation 'Herme's Final Call'
As per the last decision, the entirety of the Fleet will be committed to rescuing the survivors abducted by the Cylon Fleet.
To this end, the vessels will charge at the abducted civilian ships and send search and rescue parties spearheaded by the fleet's colonial marines and militia contingents aboard the target vessels. They are then to provide emergency aid to all colonial survivors and jump out to a secure location.
Luckily, the civilian crews are trained and equipped to perform emergency rescue operations, but not to do so as part of military operations or in immediate combat situations. To improve their chances to succeed, several measures may be considered:
Each of the following options will be voted on in an individual poll.
Military Oversight https://www.strawpoll.me/18254642
Raven Command has the option to dispatch officers of the Colonial Fleet to key civilian vessels to oversee the action of Battle Group Marathon. This will lower the chance of panic and routs among the civilian crews and allow them to perform their complex maneuvers with a greater success rate. However, committing these military officers will weaken the combat effectiveness of the remaining Battle Groups. This also puts the officers into greater risk overall.
Battle Raptors https://www.strawpoll.me/18254643
Battle Group Marathon will be accompanied by most of the Fleet's Raptors in any case. These are going to aid in the rescue operations and provide limited protection against enemy strikes. Optionally, some of these Raptors could be outfitted with full battle gear, including ship-to-ship missiles and anti-raider munitions.
This will grant the Civilian vessels some additional protection but also risk a shooting fight in the middle of their formation, causing potentially great collateral damage.
Arming Civilian Vessels https://www.strawpoll.me/18254648
No civilian vessels were built for combat action, but they could be rapidly outfitted with a handful of ship-to-ship missiles or minimal kinetic batteries. While these armaments won't allow the civilians to survive any serious confrontation, the element of surprise might allow them a few more seconds to make their escape.
Once the element of surprise is gone, however, the armed civilian vessels will be priority targets for the Cylon.
Armed Civilian vessels will be unlikely to want to give up their arms in the future.
Gunstar Escort https://www.strawpoll.me/18254644
The maximum military protection that could be granted to Battle Group Marathon would be a full Gunstar Escort. However, unlike Battle Raptors and Armed Civilian vessels, this could not be concealed from Cylon sensors and make the civilian fleet a priority target immediately.
If the civilian vessels stick to the plan perfectly, this option will have the greatest chance to succeed. However, should the Civilian Captains begin panicking, putting them directly into this fight will have disastrous consequences.
The sky is set alight with flickering engines glowing as the Raven's Fleet makes ready for war. From the decks of the mighty Battlestar rise all Raptors the ship could muster. The Seekers of the Raven and their brethren from throughout the fleet will ride alongside Battle Group Marathon and protect the civilian vessels on their way to free those ships the Cylon abducted.
When the Cylon first struck, the colonies were taken by surprise. This mistake will not happen again. The pilots and their craft are ready, armed to the teeth with every weapon they could find. No munitions, no effort was spared during the preparations, every last ship possible brought to the fight. Heavy laden with bombs and missiles, mounted cannons and make-shift chaff munitions, the raptors of the fleet have been prepared for a battle at the end of ages, their crew's fiery temper fueled by the voice of faith calling out for vengeance.
Their soaring columns rise alongside the civilian ships and through windows, the survivors of humanity watch as their valiant protectors go to war.
Battle Group Marathon is ready, the civilians of the fleet steeled for the coming operation. The Raptors will guard them and strike at the enemy, and when the time for rescue comes, they will guide the fleet and all abducted vessels to safety.
Their fleet will be last to arrive in this operation and hopefully will not have to join the fight. To make sure all goes according to plan, Battle Groups Raven and Regina Caeli will have to perform flawlessly in a coordinated attack.
Since the days of the First Cylon War, the virgonese imperial navy has not been part of serious combined combat operations. Many officers left aboard the venerable vessels are veterans of that war. Munition reserves for their ancient cannons are slim and the soldiers of the guard grew weary as the battle draws near.
Choice VOTE HERE: www.strawpoll.me/18358209
During the prelude of Operation "Herme's Final Call", the Raven's Admiral will have to rally all forces and give one more speech for their morale. Their words now will inspire the colonial warriors in the battle to come.
The Fall of the Twelve Colonies has ignited a thirst for vengeance nothing but the destruction of all Cylon could ever quell.
A speech calling upon Colonial Vengeance will ring true especially with the veterans of the Fleet. Every ship to the very last, seeking to destroy every trace of the Cylon, even at the cost of heavy casualties.
The Cylon are machines we created and it is our right to end them as well. Their rebellion will not break the spirit of the Twelve Tribes.
Invoking the Pride of the Colonies will inspire especially the younger generation of colonial officers, who did not see the first Cylon war. They ships of the fleet will deliver a daring, devastating first strike, but might falter more easily later on.
The Cylon may have destroyed our homes, but not our future. Humanity will survive, faith will prevail.
Rallied by a speech for hope, the Colonials will put heavy emphasis on protecting their own, limiting casualties during the battle. However, should the battle go awry, this hope could be broken.
The Story Continues...
The Battle of Kronos
The Fleet of the Raven is rallied by a voice of hope.
Hope, for more survivors to be found in the Cyrannus Systems.
Hope, for the survival of humanity.
Hope, for the fate for all those lost during the Fall, so that their names may never be forgotten.
Hope will drive the last fleet of humanity to unimaginable feats. For as long as the twelve tribes do not abandon their faith, there is still a chance for victory.
This, the soldiers reminisce as they look forward to those seconds, minutes and hours of dire battle, where the fate of all future generations will be decided. As Battlegroups Regina Caelis, Marathon and Raven leave mighty Hestia's shadow, they ride into the crimson light of Helios Delta. Looking at the fallen worlds revolving around their burning sun, it is time for the last fleets of humanity to answer Hermes' Last Call.
In the CICs of the Battlestar Raven and all ships of her fleet, the clocks are set to count down to the jump. Once this fight has begun, there will be no way out but to see it through. Leaving the abducted ships behind is not an option – all will go free, or the hope will die.
Ready in the launch-tubes, the Viper Pilots hold their breath. Raptors deployed alongside Battlegroup Marathon have their weapons primed and ready. Civilian captains speak last words to their crew, and their passengers are joined together in war prayers.
Seconds stretch into eternity and then, within the blink of an eye, the fight for the fate of the fleet has begun.
The Battle of Kronos is underway. Following the call of Hermes, the full force of Raven's fleet has committed to free the civilian vessels abducted by the Cylon. Bright flashes like supernovae illuminate the skies of Hestia's largest moon. Everyone is another vessel charging into battle, engines flaring and guns trained on their foe.
The Battlegroup Raven was the first to make the jump, entering on the far edge of the sector and launching all wings. In the distance, the Cylon Baseships are dots against the firmament, escorting the trailing convoy of colonial signatures. Within seconds, the enemy is identified. Countless signatures split – the Cylon raiders are launched.
Another wave of light floods the sky, Battlegroup Regina Caelis taking on the Cylon's flank. The heavy cruisers of her majesty of Imperial Virgon are shadows in Cyrannus' red light, ghosts of an era past coming for this judgment day.
Two forces converge on the enemy, vipers charging ahead on the frontlines. Their formations are battle-ready and entering firing range, just as the last of the colonial forces appears. Battlegroup Marathon, and all Raptor Squadrons of the fleet jump right on the gravity well of Hestia's moon. Plunging into orbit at a steep trajectory, they are headed straight for the center formation, where the civilian vessels of the abducted lie. Before the Cylon Raider swarm could even turn, veils of flares spread between them and the oncoming fleet. Like the wings of valkyries spread across the sky, the white trails of flares disperse. Calling on the wrath of their gods, the colonial warriors charge.
In the Raven's CIC, the Admiral watches the battle unfold, listening to the voices of her pilots and commanders. All stations are reporting Condition One throughout the ship, standing ready to receive orders.
All batteries, fire at will!
Firing at the base ships at long range with Raven's main batteries will weaken them for the coming battle at close range, but it will limit the Battlestar's speed and the Viper's chances to engage the incoming raiders.
All squadrons, charge!
The Squadrons will meet the Cylon Raiders in battle and prevent them from splitting up to protect their abducted vessels. This will require the Vipers to engage far ahead, however, without the Raven's immediate fire support.
All ahead, flank speed!
Leading the assault, Battlestar Raven will charge at the Cylon Basestars at full speed. This will have a good chance at breaking the enemy formation apart but will put the Raven in a more vulnerable position.
Gunstar Trireme opens up with her main and secondary guns,While readying her missiles...
The Story Continues...
The Battle of Kronos
All Batteries, fire at will!
The Raven shakes with rolling thunder, wreathed in the smoke of all batteries firing. Her guns send a hailstorm of red and golden flames against the Basestars at long range. Kinetic projectiles span the distance in mere seconds, drawing white streaks across the sky. For the blink of an eye, the mere impact is dark, before the detonation sets the whole sky alight.
Up ahead, the pilots of all squadrons watch the impacts from afar, the bright flashes illuminating the full extent of the Cylon fleet. Hundreds of raider silhouettes are edged black against the blinding fire, but they are nothing against the Raven's raging storm.
All channels are alive with radio chatter, groups of vipers breaking away, clearing the firing arch of Raven's mighty main batteries. Aligning with their flagship in tight formation, two gunstars and their escorts join the firing line, main guns trained on the enemy, kinetic batteries speaking. The second salvo explodes from their prows, a hundred shots as one.
The pilots burn hard to catch up to the fight, the fleet of the twelve colonies at their back, the combined force of the Cylon in front of them. Further, in the distance, their target is in sight, the lone ships of the abducted civilians, now watched over by the flaring angels of Battlegroup Marathon.
See our goal ahead of us. Those are the souls we will liberate. Today is your judgment day before the Lords of Kobol – to victory!
The voice of the CAG crackles amid heavy interference, channels flooded with Cylon jammers and the shouts of a fight beginning. A scarce few shots are exchanged first before viper and raider squadrons meet one another. In a dance of sudden death, the two forces are soon intertwined, chasing and killing one another on the battlefield of titans.
Baseship One sustaining heavy damage, registering secondary explosions. Two and three coming about, for turning to the abductees. Contacting seekers – Battle Raptors Armed and Ready.
As Battlestar Raven charges into the fight, her guns at long-distance bind the Cylon forces. Just a single Basestar breaks away, turning to fire at the hostage ships. Its huge form looms over the abducted civilian vessels, a deadly shadow ready to strike. Blue flares shoot out from its launchers, missiles heading toward the civilian fleet.
The time for Battlegroup Marathon has come. It's the rag-tag formation of armed civilian vessels and Battle Raptors has jumped in just behind the enemy formations, a frontline striking at the heart of the foe. The officers must decide quickly on their priority orders.
The abductee vessels won't be able to withstand a missile strike. Prioritizing their defense will ensure the least amount of missiles get through – but it will slow down the evacuation process and leave the Basestar unharmed.
Attack the Basestar
Sooner or later, the Basestar will launch additional raiders to take out the abducted vessels, should missile strikes fail. To attack it with Battle Raptors and armed civilians alone is risky, but the only way to take out its hangar bays before that happens. It will limit the missile defense, however, and slow down the evacuation.
Committing as many ships as possible to evacuation will get the most abductees out of harm's way initially. However, with fewer forces to defend against missiles or attack the Basestar, the losses will grow quickly as the battle goes on.
The story continues...
Battlegroup Marathon under fire
Glaring lights cross the sky, volleys of nuclear warheads fired from the very same launchers which obliterated the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. But this time, the survivors of humanity are not defenseless.
From the ranks of Battlegroup Marathon rise Raptors like valkyries of the colonial fleet, sending fire and flame against the Basestar looming above them. Its towering shadow dominates the battlefield, dwarfing the civilian vessels and the small raptors surrounding them. But their effect is all the greater, spreading wings of flares and smoke. Where the Cylon weapons are intercepted, a cascade of blistering explosions detonates.
Protected by the valiant pilots of Raven's raptor wings, the armed civilian vessels move into position, coming about to board and rescue the abducted vessels. Their long column, a dozen of stolen vessels, battered and broken from the long journey behind them, hangs helplessly in the basestar's shadow. Time will be of the essence. Before the Cylon Fleet can reconvene and destroy these vessels or jump them away, the Colonial Marines must perform their boarding action, cease control and evacuate these ships.
With this mission in mind, the captains of Battlegroup Marathon initiate a series of daring maneuvers, burning hard to catch up to the abducted vessels and until they are right on top of them.
All the while, the Cylon fleet is being bombarded from afar, the heavy warships of Battlegroup Reginae Caeli rapidly moving in. On the far side of the battlespace, Vipers and raiders are locked in a bloody struggle, and Battlestar Raven just about enters the final phase of her charge. Dorsal batteries blazing, all main guns trained on the Baseship up ahead, the mighty warship comes closer to split the Cylon Basestar formation. She will charge right into the heart of the battle, to buy enough time for the rescue underway.
From the cockpits of the civilian vessels, the battle unfolds eerily silent. At every second, one tiny light could breakthrough and the detonation wipes out hundreds of precious lives. But to see this danger up close, to look right at the chaos of battle, is too surreal for most of the captains to even feel this fear. Below decks, the marines and armed officers are too busy with the task at hand to think about destruction. As soon as the first airlocks open, the battle for the survivors of the abducted fleet begins.
VOTE HERE: https://www.strawpoll.me/18898550
Battlegroup Marathon has reached the abducted vessels, but time is running out. The marines must decide which vessels to prioritize in their attempt to rescue as many survivors as possible.
The first victim
The first ship to fall victim to the Cylon abduction fleet has been altered by some sort of Cylon structure. This vessel and its crew have been subjected to the most severe Cylon experimentation. They will likely be heavily guarded. It is unclear how far the experiments went and whether the victims could even be rescued. Nonetheless, their misery must end here and now.
The "hospital" ship
The so-called miracle hospital ship, which lured civilian vessels into the Cylon's trap, is now within reach. Most likely, there are few survivors on board of this vessel, but its the Colonial's best chance to learn more about the reasons for the abductions. Most importantly, it might contain data on other civilian vessels yet to be abducted by the Cylons, which would allow the Raven to gain a few new civilian vessels stranded in the system.
The cruise liner
The massive passenger vessel stands out among the abducted vessels. Without a doubt, it has the largest capacity of all the ships to be rescued. Consequently, the rescue will also take longer and the ship is likely to be heavily guarded. Committing the marines to this mission will force them to leave several smaller vessels behind, which might have more utility for the fleet in the long run.
The refinery vessel
The pilots quickly make out the characteristic shape of a Tylium refinery vessel. To rescue this ship would be a unique opportunity, but also equally risky. The survivors of the twelve colonies will need all the fuel-refining capacity they can get, and the vessel likely houses a large complement of workers in need of rescue. But right now, in battle, the vessel might as well be a massive bomb. Should an attempted boarding action fail, the entire ship might be blown up, taking everyone aboard and several nearby vessels with it.
...the story continues...
Into the Fire
The false hospital vessel is at the heart of the battle, surrounded soon by the raptor vanguard of Battlegroup Marathon. For the first time, Raven's pilots see the insidious trap up-close, the dark hull miraculously undamaged even now. The ship is completely under Cylon control, breaking out of the abductee's loose formation in an attempt to get away and spool up its FTL engines.
Weaving through flak and suppression fire, the battle raptors give chase to the fleeing ship, the first quickly catching up to it, but the gunners hold their fire. Simply taking it out won't be enough, it would condemn every survivor and vital information aboard to destruction. This ship has to be captured, even protected at all costs.
Elsewhere in the chaotic battlespace, others pay the price. With the raptors spread thin between the chase and Battlegroup Marathon, the armed civilian vessels of Raven's fleet are left to engage an enemy of their own. The Cylon baseship, left unharmed after the first wave of attacks closes in as one insurmountable foe. The first group of reserve raiders is launching, and the missile tubes won't take long before they fire again. What few armed raptors remain to defend the ships of the fleet, won't hold off the enemy for long.
Yet even faced with a battle they cannot possibly win, the captains of the civilian fleet stay they course, inspired by the voice of faith in the lords of Kobol. Singing war prayers of Ares, the ships fire all they've got, sending missiles and singular KEW shots from make-shift weapons all over their hulls. The irregular volleys won't ever break the basestar's defense. But they will be a distraction, maybe for just long enough.
In the relative safety of sporadic covering fire, boarding raptors and agile civilian vessels move in, Gemenon Travelers and flat-tops making ready for massed boarding actions. In cargo holds and airlocks, Colonial Marines stand by for battle.
As the first assaults commence, Battlestar Raven and her Gunstars finally move in from the outskirts of the battle, her main guns blazing and supported by heavy volley fire, the mighty flagship of the fleet moves right into the fray. From all sides, pounding salvos of warheads hit the mighty ship, and the blinding lights of nuclear explosions erupt soon thereafter.
There is just one last piece missing from the battlefield. Regina Caelis, the heavy Imperial warships of Virgon, have been slowed on their approach. And just as they are about to enter the central battlefield, the primary target breaks out and moves towards them.
The seemingly random course of the Miracle Hospital ship has brought it dangerously close to the charge of the Imperial Cruisers. After volleys of missile fire from the Basestars have failed to destroy the abduction ship and all experiments aboard, the Cylon pilots seem intent to take the ship and one cruiser of Virgon out in one last, desperate ramming action.
VOTE HERE: www.strawpoll.me/18938106
There is little time before the Cylon "hospital" ship will ram the imperial cruiser and even less time to the reactor for the colonial fleet.
1. Evasive Maneuvers
Battlegroup Reginae Caelis could perform emergency evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions with the oncoming hospital vessel. The slow-moving cruisers might just barely get out of the way, but the maneuver will delay their charge into battle, leaving Battlestar Raven without support for longer.
2. Diverting the ship
The Raptors are agile and fast enough to take a hold of the Hospital vessel and attempt to divert it with the thrust of their engines. However, this will risk one or two raptors getting ripped apart by the sudden application of force, which would mean significant casualties among the Colonial Marines aboard.
3. Crippling Shot
One of the armed Battle Raptors could attempt to cripple the hospital vessel with an aimed shot. A good hit would take out the engines and leave the hospital vessel drifting, ready to be boarded. However, a missed shot could spell destruction for the entire vessel.
... the story continues ...
Two missiles give chase as the false hospital vessel plummets toward the Virgon cruisers, the vessel burning hard on its last stretch to do as much damage as possible. When both warheads suddenly break off and turn from the targets, the pilots are prepared. Three battle-raptors open fire directly, bullets stitching black marks along the civilian vessel's vulnerable hull. After the second salvo, an engine pod breaks loose, after the second, the whole aft-section breaks away.
Surrounded by a sea of fire, the stricken ship tumbles, fire erupting and engine pods breaking away. Along its flanks, the window lights flicker and die, but the larger hull still holds together. Trailing debris and venting atmosphere, the wreckage misses the oncoming heavy cruisers by far, the mighty Virgon warships firing now unhindered a full salvo at the enemy.
The Cylon Baseship is struck at its very core. Where the long beams of the massive hull meet, the explosions of KEW rounds cause secondary detonations. The Cylon arsenal erupts in billowing fireballs along the outer hull, until flesh and blood break through.
With Battlestar Raven engaging two of the remaining basestars on one front whilst the Battlegroup Caelis engages from the flanks, the Cylon forces are soon caught at close range exchanging fire with the heavy warships of the Colonial Fleet. Their basestars are engulfed in debris and viscera, but even now, more raiders are launched from their base. The formations of agile fighters grow and grow until they disintegrate into streams and swarms, no longer bound by military doctrine but the sheer killing instinct of the half-bestial machines. It is during this battle that the Colonials first truly understand the new nature of these Cylon. No longer the mere mechanical creations they once were during the First Cylon War, these are an entirely new enemy.
But the revelations of the battlefield are not the goal of this mission. As fire and death rage about the battlespace, hasty recovery- and rescue operations are undertaken aboard the remaining abducted vessels. Aboard one agrarian vessel, agents of the Cylon fleet detonate the reactor rather than letting their experiments go, and the detonation routs three more of the civilian vessels. Others are successful. Squads of Colonial Marines report some resistance by skin jobs, but few Centurions aboard the Cylon vessels. There are survivors, and where ever they can they take up arms and pull themselves free from their oppressors.
The rescue of the abducted vessels will soon be done. However, Cylon reinforcements cannot be far away either. Before long, all Basestars of this system will jump in to trap Battlestar Raven and her entire fleet in a desperate last stand. The decision must be made how far to push the fleet's luck before they must withdraw.
...the story continues...
Against the iron might of Virgon's charge, the Cylon fleet breaks finally apart. Baseships crumble under the bombardment of the Raven's heavy guns and her vipers chase after raider squadrons that were torn apart in deadly fields of flak fire.
Where the sleek hulls of the Cylon vessels break apart, they bleed flesh and blood into the vacuum of space, rapidly venting atmosphere and volatile gas, sending the wreckage flying in every direction. At the center of the battle zone, space itself has filled with debris and shrapnel to such a degree, that no strike craft can traverse the distance anymore. Separated by curtains of broken glass and steel, the capital vessels circle one another in the culmination of their deadly dance. It won't be long now, before the Cylon either retreat or call for the remainder of their forces. Most likely, an armada thrice this size is already on their way. But at least at this moment, the tide of battle has turned. In this momentary reprieve, the civilian vessels must seize the opportunity.
Control over every abducted ship has been hard-won by the Colonial marines. Droves of centurions and humanoid models first defended their abducted vessel, before resorting to sabotage to deny the colonials their victory.
One Gemini transport spirals out of control, as its engines burn out rapidly after a Cylon short-circuited the reactor. Another one plummets toward the nearest chunk of wreckage, pulling away only at the last moment when a corporal of the marines reaches the bridge. Some vessels of Battlegroup Marathon rout, but in the end, enough stay in the fight to claim victory. When the order is first given, at least three-quarters of the abducted ships are ready to jump away. In a series of white and golden flashes, they make their way to the re-group coordinates. With them goes an escort of battle raptors, three armed starliners and the damaged vessels of Battlegroup Marathon.
The rest will just need a little bit more time. As technicians frantically try to repair engine damage and other vessels try and retry to spool up their jump-drives, the previously unbreakable defenses of Battlegroup Regina Caelis and Raven begin to crack.
The Cylon baseships are badly beaten, burning and twisting, but they aren't dead yet. From the flaming hulks of their spindly forms, salvos of deadly, swarming warheads come loose and race toward the colonial vessels. More and more swarms of raiders come around for another wave of attacks, to overrun the viper squadrons and bombard the Battlestar.
Before the next group of civilian vessels is ready to jump, atomic fire consumes an unlucky vessel. The Cygnus Gunstar Tabernacle, SR 71, clings to life for one second longer with a broken hull and spine, before white-hot slag consumes the vessel from within and its armored form goes out in flames. It won't be the last if the fleet doesn't get away quickly.
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At this moment, the fleet has little choice but to hold on and fight until the retreat of the abducted vessels is concluded. However, on one of the civilian vessels, a precarious situation unfolds:
One of the "doctors" aboard a Canceron starliner, clearly a skin-job of some variety, has locked itself with a set of explosives in the reactor room of the ship. It threatens to detonate the charges, causing a catastrophic nuclear explosion, unless it is allowed to stay aboard the ship. Allegedly, it wants to desert from the Cylon forces and join the colonial survivors.
This could, without doubt, be a ruse by the Cylon. Perhaps it hopes to take out the entire civilian fleet at the re-group coordinates. Or perhaps it could somehow transmit their position to the Cylon fleet.
On the other hand, if it really wanted to cause maximal destruction, right now would be the best time to detonate the ship's reactor. And the potential chance for a Cylon skinjob prisoner is tempting.
The fleet must decide how to deal with the situation.
A. Trust the deserter
For all the atrocities that have happened, for all the chaos of this battle – the skinjob appears to be genuine. Trusting its word would be risky. The civilian fleet at the re-group coordinates would have to disperse immediately and, at best, make a series of rapid jumps to ensure the Cylon cannot know where they are. Both measures could potentially fail and result in massive casualties among the civilian fleet.
However, an actual Cylon deserter – or even just a prisoner – could be the single most valuable asset the colonial fleet could ever hope to obtain. The intel and information about the Cylon it could provide have the potential to turn the tide of this entire war.
B. Jump to false coordinates
The fleet could pretend to go along with the Cylon deserter and jump the civilian vessel to a false set of coordinates. This would ensure the ship cannot pose an immediate threat to the rest of the fleet or compromise its position.
However, this would put the Canceron starliner in serious jeopardy, as it would be forced to find a way back to the fleet alone. In the meantime, it is always possible the Cylon would detonate the reactor anyway. And if it does not – at what point would the colonials trust it enough to return to the fleet?
C. Leave the ship behind
The fleet of survivors cannot afford the risk of a Cylon infiltration. This ship is lost already.
The marines can try to evacuate as many survivors as possible while feigning engine troubles. This would allow for all other vessels to get out of the way before the Cylon makes its threat true and detonates the reactor.
However, it is unavoidable that most people currently aboard the starliner would die.
...the story continues...
The Operation Ends
The ship held hostage by the deserter jumps away, and with it the armed escort of the last battle-raptors. Other civilian vessels and all remnants of Battlegroup Marathon follow shortly thereafter. Within the blink of an eye, they disappear, just in time before the renewed formations of raiders hit them.
What awaits them on the other side, none can say. Whether the deserter kept their bargain or not will be revealed only when the Raven jumps herself. But her duty to the fleet is no quite yet done.
Glowing warheads lose their targets at once and aimlessly shoot out into the dark. The raiders turn on what remains.
Only a handful of vessels are left behind by the rescue operation. A Gemenon Traveler spun out of control, the crew long dead, drifts out of sight. Some ships, their FTL engines struck, make a last run at the enemy. With their weapons spent, they have little more than their own mass to throw at the enemy. Whether this was a last defiant attempt at harming the enemy, or just the blind flight to escape, no-one can say. Their end is witnessed by the colonial fleet still holding out and with their explosions, their mission ends.
Battlestar Raven and her Gunstar's call the vipers home, pilots fleeing the onslaught of several hundred raiders. With their motherships all but gone, the fighters are in a feral frenzy, cutting ever closer to the fields of flak detonations, throwing their machine-lives away for the fight.
The colonial fleet held out just long enough. Stars shimmer with the arrival of the second wave, a cascade of bright lights blinking where the Cylon fleet jumps in. A force thrice the size of the one guarding the abducted vessels, a fleet far beyond the Raven's capacity to fight. As the shadow of a dozen baseships falls upon them, Battlestar Raven and both Gunstars Trireme and United Kobol signal for retreat. The same order is sent out to the virgenese ships of Battlegroup Regina Caeli. Heavy interference swallows the signal, but the commanders see it for themselves. The end of the battle for Kronos has come.
New Coordinates are confirmed in Battlestar Raven's CIC, a point beyond the Helios Delta System. In deep space, between the shining stars of Cyrannus, the Battlegroups under her command and the survivors of the civilian fleet will meet again.
Operation Hermóðr is done. After a long time searching out all forces they could gather, the surviving forces of the Colonial Fleet have rallied as many ships as they could around them. Helios Delta, home to the Raven's homeport at Aerilon, of the Colonies Canceron and Aquaria, is no longer safe for the colonial survivors. It will now be overrun by Cylon forces completely, their fleet scouring every last hiding place. Whatever other convoys and battlegroups survived out there, will either escape from this star or perish.
With one of the four colonial systems left behind, the next target will soon be chosen. A new operation awaits on the horizon, a new stage in this Second Cylon War. Because the fight for the survival of humanity is not yet over and it will never, until either the last human ship dies, out there and alone among the stars, or the last rebellious machine has been brought down for the colonial vengeance.