“Ready Vipers for launch. Weapons grid t’full power. Railgun batteries t’ target enemy vessels.” Maxwell glanced at the DRADIS. “Notify th’ Sister Josephine t’ dive, she’s in th’ firing solution.”
A chime came over Isabelle’s headset, marking an incoming transmission from the Sister Josephine. “Sister Josephine, this is Orthrus. Go ahead.”
“Hello. Miss Holden, is it?” a warm, matronly voice said. “This is Sister Marion. Please relay the following message to your commander. ‘Commander, don’t you dare fire on those civilian ships.’”
Isabelle swallowed. “Confirmed, Sister Josephine.” She looked to Commander Maxwell and got his attention. “Sir, Sister Josephine seems to think that they are civilian ships.”
“Belay both orders.” Maxwell looked at his communications officer skeptically. “Civilians? How does she kno’ tha’?”
“Sister Josephine, this is Orthrus. Orthrus Actual wishes to know how you confirmed they are civilian vessels. Please respond.”
There was a pause. “Because I am looking out a view port and can clearly see a passenger liner behind us.”
“Commander, Sister Marion has visual confirmation on one of the ships.”
Maxwell looked unconvinced. “Ms. Holden, launch a Raptor t’ verify.”
“Attention, flight deck. Scramble Raptor for launch for visual confirmation of unknown vessels.”
EXT. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
A Raptor flies out of the port flight pod and heads towards camera.
“Orthrus, this is Raptor 777. Making visual sweep.” The CIC was silent as they waited for the report.
“Bogey at 225, mark 20 confirmed civilian vessel. Gemenon Traveller class.”
The Raptor icon moved forward towards the unknown vessel located near the port bow of the Orthrus.
“Bogey at 327, mark 97 confirmed civilian vessel. Looks to be a pleasure liner of some sort.”
The Raptor then flew to the starboard side of the Orthrus. “Bogey at 88, mark 100 confirmed civilian vessel. Another Gemenon Traveller class.”
Completing its circuit, the Raptor flew to the stern of the Orthrus. “Bogey at 179, mark 99 confirmed civilian vessel. Kobol Liner class.”
Major Matthews was nonplussed at the news. “If they’re civilians, why aren’t they showing up on DRADIS as such?”
“Good question,” Maxwell replied. “Miss Holden, hail them.”
Isabelle nodded and switched over to the civilian frequencies. “Civilian vessels, this is the Battlestar Orthrus. Please respond.”
Nothing but static returned over the headset. She hailed again, but got the same response.
“Sir, they’re not responding.”
“Wireless could be out,” Matthews said.
“Or, they’re dead vessels,” Maxwell replied. “Raptor 777, d’a fly by on th’ liner. See if ye kin determin’ proof o’ life.”
“Raptor triple seven. Understood, Orthrus.”
EXT. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
Raptor 777 flies close to the cockpit and shines a light into it. The light plays over several frightened faces.
“Orthrus. This is Raptor triple seven. Confirmed. I have spotted personnel in the cockpit.”
“Relay the following message – ‘Do ye need assistance? Please respond.’” Maxwell tapped his fingers nervously on the Nav table. The situation was not adding up.
EXT. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
Raptor 777 begins flashing the message to the liner. Several moments pass before the liner responds.
The Raptor’s pilot’s voice came over the wireless. This time, he did not sound confident. “Uh, Orthrus? Received response from vessel. They’re essentially telling us to go away and I am putting it nicely, sir.”
“Go away? Why on Caprica would we do that?” Matthews asked.
“Raptor tripl’ seven. Ye giv’n me th’ spirit o’ th’ message. Wot’s th’ letter?”
“They’re telling us to frak off.”
All around the CIC, confused looks were in abundance.
“You’d think they’d be jumping for joy,” Matthews said, shaking his head.
“Orthrus, this is Raptor triple seven. They’re sending a message. Standby.” Several moments passed and the pilot came back on. “Sir, they’re asking if we’re going to finish what the Pegasus started.”
“Wot in th’ Hell d’they mean by tha’?” Maxwell asked, stunned. “Raptor tripl’ seven, ask them t’explain last message.”
“Orthrus, understood.” There was a long pause, then the pilot responded again. “A week ago the Pegasus encountered them. Took all spare parts, including FTL and communications.” Another pause. “Also, they took provisions and any passengers with pertinent skills. Marines killed family of those who resisted.”
The color in the XO’s face drained away. “My Gods.”
The commander rubbed the bottom half of his face. “Nae wonder they tol’ us t’go t’Hell.” He turned to Isabelle. “Miss Holden, order four Raptors on standby. For each one, I wan’ a Marine contingent, an EMT for any injured, an’ a qualified deckhand to assess damage t’ each ship.” Holden nodded and contacted the flight deck. “Raptor tripl’ seven, notify each vessel tha’ we wish t’board with th’ intention t’ give assistance and t’ determin’ if we can get them up n’ runnin’ again.”
“Understood. Notifying liner now,” the pilot responded.
INT. SHOT – STARBOARD FLIGHT POD – CLOSE UP
Corporal Hayes and Private Stine stand on guard on the starboard flight deck, discussing the Triad game.
“Bet you under the table, she got lucky,” Hayes said as he watched deckhands go about their business.
“She got lucky?” Stine scoffed. “I’ll be sure to let her know.”
The PA came alive, and Holden’s voice was heard. “Attention flight deck. Prep four Raptors for emergency assistance to civilian vessels. ETL ten minutes. Repair crews, EMT, and Watch Marine squads on standby.”
Chief Stans walked past the marines with the giddiness of a schoolgirl. “Oooh, I get to see old school birds.” She got to the middle of the deck and then raised her hands. “All right, boys and girls, it’s huddle time.” As ordered, her subordinates crowded around her. “We have four civilian vessels in need of our help. So, I want our best hands available. Who thinks they fall in that qualification?”
A dozen hands shot up. Stans smirked.
“Think highly of ourselves, do we?” She scanned the faces around her. “Miller, Dawnie, Albertson, and Dearlock. Get ready to launch, I want your butts in those Raptors pronto.”
INT. SHOT – ORTHRUS CIC
The crew await a response from Raptor 777.
“Orthrus, Raptor triple seven. Sir, they’re denying our request and they say any Fleet vessels trying to board will be met with armed resistance.”
Maxwell let out a resigned sigh. “I was afraid o’ tha’.”