Carter Papers 1

Taken from Major Reed Jameson Carters personal logs.

Stepping onto the Bridge of the Pandora is unexpected. Since I first heard the name of the Assaultstar, I've sent reports, received reports, sent my men to assist Rhea in her reconstruction and repair, but to have the first time I step foot on her to be taking command of her, even if only for an afternoon, it's hard to express the feelings.

Simple mission, really. Jump out, Jump back. Seems I've gotten a reputation as the go-to man when you need a CO to test out an FTL. Funny that. Still, I have time to familiarize myself with Pandoras systems, capabilities, and how she's shorthanded on this little shakedown cruise. Nothing too terrible. She's already a run in, well honed ship. I don't know what the Marines think of me taking the big chair on her, even for this little jaunt.

I pass a few words with the Bridge crew. Just a jump out, download a Coms buoy logs and jump back. Make jokes about getting the Coloniel his Pyramid score updates, then I'm back to the PAS. My station. No, don't be worried, I'm not going to sissify up your big green death machine.

Go time. Jump systems are readong perfect. Thanks, Rhea. Excellent as always. Do the count and jump. On target, FTL smooth, no problems at all. Launch the CAP, let the pilots play in the black while we ping the Buoy. Download comes back wrong. Well, it's not wrong, but there's something wrong, the log stopped 28 hours ago, where it should be up to the minute. I exchange words with the Coms officer and three possabilities exist.

1. Everyone in Colonial space shut up at the same time and stayed quiet for 28 hours.
2. The download is corrupted, the file gibberish. Doesn't look like it, File integrity is secure.
3. The buoys emitters have ionized and at this range the signal isn't spreading properly at close range. We'll need full line of sight with the buoy. One of the Vipers flew through the signal space, blocked the signal and we lost the last 28 hours of transmitted data.

Answer's pretty clear to me.

I call the CAP tell them to keep it up while I order a retry. If we have a similar problem with gap in the download, I'll broaden the CAP out so they're not between the Buoy and us. Not a big deal.

DRADIS contacts. Pair of unidentifieds. CAP goes nuts. They've been cooped up in the Project space for so long it's like having hyperactive dobermans on a leash. They go racing off, and Coms reports the Unidentifieds are still that. Not carrying ID transponders. Well, that's illegal. I call the CAP and tell them to intercept and follow Protocol, issue a hostile challenge. Likely smugglers, or Pirates. Likely as soon as they realize they're facing a full Assaultstar they'll crap themselves and jump away. In that order.

Lead Viper does not issue Challenge. Settled into formation and racing at the unidentifieds, she asks permission to engage. Pilots. No, the punishment for flying without an ID transponder is not Death. Fraks sake. I order Pandora to issue the challenge on Open Channel and get on TAC1 myself to tell them to not fire until fired upon when DRADIS reports they did just that. Missile launched from Bogey. I do a hard 180 mid sentence and clear Weapons Free, then order Helm to bring us around into firing solution of the battle.

What the frak is happening? I'm halfway through ordering missile suppression barrage when I realize I'm talking to someone who isn't there. I vault the Weapons console and heat it up, listening to the battle beginning. Listening to one of the hostiles shooting up one of my pilots. Athena, let my simulator time on Capital Armerments be worth it as I Alert the Vipers, and take aim on the second target. I let fly and vaporize a quarter of it, sending it right into the guns of another Viper. Good work, son. I pop up, watching the Vipers tear the first bogey apart like wolves, and confirm the DRADIS is clear.

I order the Vipers home while I start scrolling back through the data, checking the Pandoras weapons cameras. What the frak was that about? I finally find a clear set of images and stare at a fighter with no cockpit. No pilot. No one flying it. But in the center of the fuselage is a domed buldge with a slit scanner and a red light offset in it. I can almost see that light sliding back and forth, back and forth.

I stare at it till I hear the last Viper, the damaged, wounded bird is making final approach, then lock down the cameras for the Colonel. I pass the Coms station and look at the download status. We got the second download, and.. it's identical to the first. Last 28 hours missing.

Colonial communications ended abruptly 28 hours ago.
And we were just jumped by Cylons.

I move to the command console and as soon as the wounded bird is in the nest, count down the jump.

I think we're all in trouble now. Now I'm scared.

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