AWD #525: Blue Axe, Third Act
AWD #525: Blue Axe, Third Act
Summary: The fleet command team discusses how to proceed with the invasion of Leonis. A discussion with the resident skinjobs immediately follows.
Date: 28/11/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: AAR: Battle of Twin Rocks AAR: Rescue of the Threes
Jameson Robin Elias Kaxiras Ceres Knox 
Map Room
The one with the maps.
Thu Jun 15 2006 AWD #525

Condition Two. The ship has taken up station about 15 light years from nowhere with the rest of the fleet. Damage Control is the name of the game while the ships get their wounded and dead dealt with. Its grim work, but necessary. On the Orion, Sickbay is one of the biggest in the fleet and is handling most of the casualties - hundreds of them. Part of the hangar bay has been turned into an aid station for the lightly wounded. Its not a hard sell considering most of the hangars are empty. But just 24 hours after the last action, Jameson called the group together in the map room to go over the next steps and get ideas. There's a lot happening and time is short to make decisive decisions. Jameson is already here with two mugs. One he's drinking out of, the other he has for the Other Reason. He's in his blues but wearing a sling. CIC didn't get hit too badly but one of the missile strikes tossed the ship a little and he pulled his shoulder staying vertical. Perks of being older.

Elias is here, in unkempt blues and sporting a bit of five o'clock shadow. Not exactly regulation personal appearance, but then it hasn't been a regulation week, and he's otherwise no worse for wear. His habitual cigarette is missing, as he's only been able to sneak short smoke breaks over the last forty-eight hours. But the young Major has taken up chewing gum with a vengeance, and it's probably no secret what sort of gum it is. He arrives with a clipboard full of reports and gives the Admiral a quick nod. "Sir." He leans against the table, ready to get start.

Robin is one of the lucky ones. At least the Wing didn't lose its CAG, because it's already lost enough. She shows up to the Map Room in her blues. They're a touch wrinkled, but it's clear she's used tried and true techniques of misting water and smoothing it out to try and get it to be reasonable even if her blues aren't crisp. Her hair is tied back in a low pony tail as per usual, but her hair has lost some of its luster that a fresh wash would provide, and she's got bags forming under her eyes. But she's still got that kind of slightly weathered squint going on, and maybe a few new fine lines around her eyes. She has a notepad and a stuffed folder under her arm when she steps inside. She nods to Jameson, offering him a, "Sir," in kind.

Lt. Sylvie Kaxiras has all of the regulation that Elias seems to have lost. She stands straight and tall, her dark hair pulled back in a precise bun, her uniform sharp and spotless, her hands clasped behind her back. She got here early. She is never late.

Jameson looks at those gathered. "Captain Ommanney is busy putting down his own proverbial fires. Effective immediately he is being promoted to Major and being handed control of the Corps on this ship and through our space-based fleet, with exclusion of the combatant commanders on the Marine landers. Faulkner will notify him." He sips the mug, eyes shifting to each of them while he sips. Once it goes back down to the table, he starts again. "Last count we have sixty-one members of the Air Wing and one is not expected to make it through the night. Colonel, as someone who flew in the first war, you have my sympathies and utmost respect for what you all did and have survived. Pass that along." Stationkeeping, that. "But we need to look forward. Our original operational plan was to grab them by the nose and kick them in the ass at Twin Rocks. Then when they're on the ground stomp in the balls a few times and liberate Leonis. Given our losses I wanted to bring this group together and look at what we have in front of us. Major Gray, want to give us a general tally and your thoughts?" He swings his eyes but not his head to Elias.

"Good to see you, Colonel," Elias greets the CAG as she arrives, in a tone that sounds more genuinely pleased than usual. It is good they haven't lost the Air Group commander, after all. Then there's a polite greeting for Kaxiras when the Intel Officer arrives. "Lieutenant." But once the Admiral starts in, Elias turns to listen. He shows little reaction to Amos' promotion, and certainly isn't surprised. Then there's a grim nod for the losses in the air wing. And then he's up. "Sir. Enemy losses are 29 Basestars, estimated 5-6000 raiders. That's a total of 51 confirmed Basestar kills since the war began. The bad news on that front, is that there doesn't seem to be any sign that they're running out." He looks down to double check his notes. "Beyond the air wing losses, we lost the escort carrier Rubaul, the heavy cruiser Subic Point, light cruisers Cygnes, Serdontis, Meloni, and the flak frigate Courtney Selenz. One light cruiser and one flak frigate are out of action until they receive major repairs." He pauses there before adding this thoughts. "We're going to need to replenish the air wing as best we can — I have some thoughts on that — but time is of the essence. If we're going to hit Leonis, we can't wait too long. And if we are going to do it, I think we're going to need the skinjobs. Openly, Sir."

"Thank you sir. I will be sure to do that." A new layer of grimness has settled over Robin, but it isn't doubt or fear. It's more steely than that. She uses it. "Good to see you too, Major," she says, as if agreeing with his possible reasoning for sounding more genuine. "Oh, he isn't promoted yet?" Robin arches a brow and smiles a touch, to show she's joking. "That's good news." Leadership voids are a real thing. She listens to Jameson and nods as he reviews the original plan, and then turns her attention back to Major Gray for his report on the numbers. "I agree. It's even more important that we strike as soon as possible, before reinforcements have a chance to arrive in the time we bought for ourselves. I honestly think, that with how the Wing is now, if we don't capitalize on our advantage back in the Colonies, we won't be able to deal with what may be coming. We need more people. They don't grow on trees, but skinjobs do."

"Has anyone considered what the sudden skinjob influx might do to morale?" Kaxiras asks, dark eyes scanning the room. "And I mean beyond just pushback at the idea of working with them. That is not a concern," she says, her not-quite-Caprican accent rolling around the words. "One of the things that bonds soldiers together is their mortality. For skinjobs, dying is just an inconvenience. Having one or two around is a novelty. Suddenly being the minority?" She takes a breath through her nostrils. "I am not arguing that the move is unnecessary. I just believe we should be prepared for morale issues and figure out how to prevent them."

Jameson lifts the other mug and spits into it. He then looks to Elias and lofts a brow. "You'll have lines fighting their own lines for a bit. That's a pitched war that could go either way. They'd have to kill a lot of their own before they go public. And the canners are going to shit robotic kittens. That could go nuclear, fast." As if it hadn't already. The other mug is lifted for a sip and he looks down, thinking. "How do we get more pilots? Short of scrounging every pilot off Aerilon and Picon. Even if we had more Nines, we don't have the aircraft out of mothballs from Crandall. So, I'll say, you have my attention." But the words from the Lieutenant bring Jameson's attention around and he looks over at the woman. Eyes look her over. Silence lingers. "The Lieutenant has a point, Major." He looks back over to Elias.

"Cohesion will be an issue," Elias concedes. "Having the skinjobs operate in their own units, with at least the appearance of being under our command, may mitigate that … to some extent. And part of my reasoning for having them strike openly /is/ to cause confusion and disorganization among the Cylons. One, Five, and Ten are the only lines not awakened at this point. For all the others, every one that's killed is another one that comes to our side. And the skinjobs are in a … unique position to help us get more ships. They can take them when they turn." He glances down at his clipboard, turning over a sheet of paper to scan a report. "The APF on Aerilon has several squadrons operational. Thanks to sigint, we know where they are based." The TACCO looks across to Kaxiras here. "They're likely operating Colonial equipment on other worlds as well. So we have the skinjobs focus on the APF. Eliminate their personnel, and take their vipers and raptors. Along with any heavy raiders they can get. Or even a basestar, for that matter." Elias rubs at his face, considering for a moment before concluding. "Of course we'd need to get them to agree to this, and on a very short timeline."

"If I may say something to the Lieutenant's concern…Morale is already negative infinite." So much for numbers. "Even if all our pilots shuttled down to Pireaus and decided to never fly again in protest, we'd still have a better shot with one hundred skinjobs in whatever craft we can find. It's a cold hard truth. We're fighting for humanity's physical right to exist, and the price is getting higher and higher. I agree, it'd beyond less than ideal, but we don't have a choice. We need the lines to protect humanity, as they were intended to do," Robin says, looking to each of the others, her expression a shade gentler around the edges. As for Elias' idea, the irony of it and the fact that it's something maybe they can actually work with earns a ghost of a smile.

"Yeah, cohesion will be an issue. The Lieutenant is right. We can't expect the people on the Colonies to graciously accept, blindly, that the Lines have turned. They don't know what we know. though my guess is that seeing a whole shitload of Lines running down the main drag in Cap City, dressed in combat gear, slaying Centurions, might bring a few questions. That's dicey, at best." But the idea of raiding Aerilon does get a small smirk from the Admiral. Oh, that's an intriguing idea. "I like it. Fueled and armed craft waiting to be stolen. And if they can take a few basestars…" The Admiral tilts his head away in consideration. Those eyes flick to Robin, though. "Too soon to tell that, Colonel." He's terse, but without malice. "I've been in their position. I've seen what it does. It could go either way. They need to know they are needed and the time is now. Not tomorrow. Get them out of their bunks and get them all flying. Put them in the sims. Finesse them. Remind them that they are the hunters and killers, not the hunted. This is Orion. It is an aircraft carrier, not a hospital ship." The Hunter. "But I take your meaning."

"It will be … messy. Revolutions are, or so I'm told." Other than that, Elias simply nods for the Admiral's concerns, and offers a faint smile for the irony of flying captured APF vessels back against the Cylons. The issue of air wing morale he leaves between the Admiral and the CAG, spending a moment checking notes while they discuss. And at the first opportunity he tries to turn the focus back to operations. "Assuming we can convince the lines that it's time to turn, sirs, here's my proposal: We send a message to Resistance Command, let them know what's happened, and get them running recon to the Colonies. Get a count of basestars. When we go, we concentrate the fleet, sweep the Colonies one by one, and assuming the Cylons fleet is still deployed in small groups, we destroy the basestars while they're scattered. If the skinjobs turn, we'll be creating a window for them to get their ships and get away, and we pick up whatever non-jump-capable craft of theirs that we can. Then we hit Leonis."

"With your permission, sirs, I would like to request a pamphlet-dropping run as part of the attack," Kaxiras tosses to Elias, Robin and Jameson in turn. "Counter-propaganda," she explains, perhaps unnecessarily.

"Too true Sir. I'll keep working on it so that we can have as many pilots mobilized as soon as possible." Robin doesn't sound like she disagrees, perhaps revealing that her cold tactical side isn't exactly devoid of any warmth or understanding. She nods to the Admiral respectfully. There's a time to speak and a time to listen. She returns her attention to Elias and the other business at hand. "And if we find out from recon that they are not scattering but gathering remaining forces to come and put us back in our place before we gain more ground? Hypothetically speaking?"…At the Lieutenant's suggestion, she looks to the others to handle. It's certainly more in their wheelhouse to address.

Jameson wants to lean forward on the map table. He's about to, but the arm being in a sling stops him. He reaches for the mug and spits into it, setting it back down. But he keeps his gaze down. There's been a lot of conversations in this room about a lot of hard topics. This is weighing on him heavily. Robin's questions have him lift a hand, staying responses from the others. Long seconds pass while he considers it all. Steeling a breath, Jameson eventually leans forward on the balled fist and knuckles of a hand. "Then we stand our ground, Colonel." The words are gruff and said quietly. "If we give them reprieve then they will only rebuild their strength. We're all in. Full sweep. We kicked them in the ass, lets stomp their balls." He rocks off the fist and looks to Elias. "We hit Leonis in eighty-four hours. Full Marine landing. Tell the Lines they have that long to get us Vipers and pilots. Its up to them to get their brigades off Caprica. Either they stand with us and fight or they're stuck. If they help us, they can have Piraeus and live among us on the Colonies. Anyone who doesn't fight has chosen their side. Permanently. Its time to take a hard line. We can't frak around anymore," he growls quietly. "Get it done. Now." He then turns those cold eyes on Kaxiras, "We have no ability to fly it. If you can get the Lines to drop it, design something." He looks back to them. "Let's go to war."

"We might be able to broadcast a message," Elias suggests to Kaxiras. "Caprica arguably the best target for that. Where there are a lot of civilians in a position to hear it." Then he is ready to make his own answer to Robin's question, only to hold off when the Admiral lifts his hand. The TACCO spends the next few seconds silently chewing his nicotine gum, and then his mouth goes tight as Jameson makes his call. Mental calculations are being made and remade, even as he listens to their marching orders. "Eighty four hours?" Elias muses, though it is a rhetorical question only. For his part, there's no attempt to question the Admiral's decision. "Yes sir."

Robin looks pleased at the Admiral's answer, as if it fullfills something she was expecting or hoping to hear. It's always a luxury to have colleagues that are on the same page, and hearing the Admiral and the Major circle in on the sticking points just makes her job easier…a hell of a lot easier. /This/ brings a real grin to her lips, not just some faint smirk. "Yes sir." She's got plenty of work to do on many a front.

"Good. You all have work to do and the clock is ticking." Jameson looks at each of them in turn, then heads for the hatch. He has his own work to do.

The call went out, not just for Rance to wait more, but also for a few others. Ceres. Knox. They're all told to wait outside the Map Room. Once Elias signals for them to come inside, they're all brought in. Marine guards, two by two, in each corner of the room. This is sacred space.

Knox looks like shit. He was wounded last night and he's using his strength to move on a crutch. Knowing him, he'll be walking tomorrow. Rance and Ceres both look fine, though the latter is still dressed in her flightsuit and survival gear. Rance? Piraean camo. They all make their way in and stand off to the side of the map table.

"Damn, Coop, you look like shit," Rance tells him.

"He usually does," Ceres remarks before looking to Elias. "Sir."

Knox gives them both a middle finder before nodding to Elias. "Major."

Rance gets there with a nod also.

With the initial meeting over and the Map Room cleared of other officers, Elias finds time for an actual smoke. And he is enjoying the moment, leaning on the edge of the map table, when the Six, Seven, and Nine arrive. The Major takes a drag and exhales as they file in and exchange a few words, then greets the military personnel by rank. "Captain. Staff Sergeant." The Seven by name. "Rance." And without further ado, he gets down to business. "You all know the events of the last few days. We plan to keep the pressure on and hit the Colonies, but the losses in the air wing are … problematic." Understatement. "I think if we're going to succeed, the Lines in the Colonies need to act — openly. And soon." There's a pause as Elias inhales from his cigarette, then exhales aside. "The question is, will they?"

You could hear a pin drop. Even despite Knox being in his state, he knows what that means. As it all starts to settle, their eyes go wider. "Holy shit, you want us to go live? Now?" Rance asks, nearly whistling the words.

Ceres seems the most composed. She's one of the few surviving of the Air Wing. "The ones we have turned will fight to their dying breath. But we only have so many. There is a near army who have not."

Coop just looks at Elias, leaning on his crutch. "Ours will fight."

But it isn't a total answer. And they know it. The three Lines look at each other, bewildered at the idea. So soon. Knox and Ceres end up looking at Rance, the 'child' line of the group since they are so recent. The guy lets off a soft "Hoooo," and stands off, taking a few steps back. "Man, Major, are you for frakkin real? You need us to turn now? We've only turned maybe a hundred, just in the Sevens and Twelves. Yeah, they're all curious but are takin their time. Then you got the Fours. The Two's are doin soul searchin'. Eights, hell, I don't even know what the Eights are doin but I'm pretty sure they're in a debate. I can't guarantee shit. What're you plannin?" he asks, almost exasperated.

The Six and Nine look on, focused. Elias already knows. The primary combat lines will fight to their dying breath and kill anyone who gets in their way.

Elias waits, as impassive as he can be, while the three react. He knows exactly what he's asking. "We're planning to continue the offensive and liberate one of the Colonies," he says, coldly matter of fact. It's no secret where this plan has been headed since the main briefings, even if the specific target hasn't been revealed. "But more specifically, we need craft that can clear out raiders and support a ground war. Heavy Raiders are fine for the lines, but we need Vipers and Raptors. The APF has them, on Aerilon if not other words — armed, fueled, and ready to fight. What I'm proposing is that the lines focus on the APF — eliminate their personnel and fly out in their ships. The Fleet will provide a window for escape and pick up." He doesn't bat an eye at asking it, straight out. "Can it be done?"

Both Ceres and Knox turn to look at Elias. "Yes, sir." There's no hesitation. They know it. They are well aware of the stakes. Knox has been fighting well over a year. Ceres died and then never stopped recruiting. For him, its the moment he dreamed of. For her, its the moment she's been preparing for. For Rance?

"Whoa! WHOA!" He lifts his hands to slow them both if he could. "Hold the godsdamned phone!" He walks away for three steps then paces around the table a quarter way. Hand runs through his hair, then strokes his beard before turning back. "Yeah, it can sure as hell be done. But Major, you are talking about open frakkin' warfare. The Cylons will know. They will start killing us right away if we've rebelled. You have not thought this through. If you want armies, you need resurrection facilities, man." He backs off and takes a few huffed breaths. But he thinks on it. "Oh shit. You, you know we couldn't come back. We'd be frakked. You're talkin' total war, brother. We'd have to kill as many of our own as possible and force this. Thousands. Like on a frakkin coin, man." Both hands run over his head. "This is heavy. You need this. Now." And as he thinks about the past few days, it begins to sink in. Knox and Ceres both look at him. He looks at them. "Shit. Backs to the wall. Man." The guy stands very still for a moment and stares at Elias. "Yeah, it can be done. But you better sweeten the pot, brother. Eight is going to look at this like blackmail. Two is going to look at this like- like- like betrayal. If we go along with this, as-is, we're frakked. You're talking permanent sides." And then it dawns. Elias knows this. Its written on his face.

He may have been counting on Ceres and Knox, but the fatigue and stress don't allow Elias to hide the relief on his face when they both agree without hesitation. He smiles at the Nine and Six, a thin, strained sort appreciation. But Rance goes off before the young Major can speak up himself, and he doesn't even try to interrupt. He waits, smokes, and listens impassively as the Seven works it out. "Yes I am," he confirms the Rance's final point. "It's time to be bold." And now he gets his chance to turn to Ceres and Knox to express his gratitude. "Thank you. And as for sweetening the pot," he shifts his gaze back to the Seven, but delays to take a hit from his smoke. "The lines get Piraeus and can live among us on the Colonies, if they choose. The Lines who help."

Coop and Ceres just nod. They've been in on this since the bombs dropped. Supposedly. But there's been no hesitation for their lines thus far. Especially Ceres. Many of her own died a permanent death in the nebulae. Her own eyes are harder than Knox's. But then again, they always had been. Honor lives without pretense.

Rance aims two fingers at Elias. "Frak you." Its said with purpose, but with humor. Rance just got called out. The hand drops and he stares. The offer is made. The Seven looks to the Six and Nine, their minds already made up. The primary warfighters of their people are going to war with or without the rest. "I feel like a fish with a weighted line, shits draggin' my ass towards the surface." He then looks back to Elias. "I make no promises. Get a godsdamned Raptor spooled. What do you want from us? Just hit the APF bases on Aerilon?"

Ceres looks over at Rance. "Inform them that we will need multiple resurrection ships. Get those before the basestars." Resurrection ships? "Find Fives. Force them to watch the video. Our time has come, brother."

Coop watches the exchange and looks over to Elias. "We need guns. The Sixes on Cap have the ability to get off world, but they need weapons. Are they to scavenge their own?"

Rance finally speaks up again. "How long do we have to take the APF bases, Major?"

"Mmmm," is Elias only response to being told off by the Seven. He doesn't have any more energy to spare for it. "I know how you feel." Events have been dragging all of them along since War Day. He delays a moment, letting Ceres and Rance discuss what the lines need to do to prepare, and the TACCO's brows go up at the mention of 'ressurection ships.' Knox's request is answered with a quick nod. "We have a weapons cache in place on the target world, and if that's not enough, we'll bring in everything we can beg, borrow, or steal." As for their goals, Elias comes back to that last. "Spread the awakening to as many of your people as you can in the next Eighty Six hours. There is an intact ressurection site on Picon, if that's any help in your planning. The APF and their craft are our primary objective, on Aerilon or whever they can be taken. I'll give you the intel we have for their bases on Aerlion." A thought occurs, and Elias makes a brief aside, "If you have access to the incapcitating agent the Cylons used on War Day, that might be worth employing on the APF. If practical." And then back on task. "But any Cylon you can destroy, any Basestar you can disable, or better yet, pirate? That's one less we have to deal with later." He pauses to smoke, mouth set in a determined line. Then he leans over the map table to bring up a chart of the Cyrannus cluster. "I recommend all jump-capable ships, and all craft in the Helios Alpha system, rendezvous at Picon. In the other systems, we'll pick up everyone we can, then make recon runs to locate craft that can make it to the outer gas giants — Hera, Hestia, Ophion. Anyone who can't get off planet …" And here he turns to look to Knox and Ceres, "… can they download to these ressurection ships, if the Fleet protects them in orbit?"

Knox and Ceres look to the points about weapon. Warfighters are like that. They need the tools and their own skills. Those two lines are on lockdown. The only question is Rance and the Sevens. They will all remember this conversation. Likely every other line will have to also if he projects it. "Eighty-six hours." He looks on with wide eyes. "Major, you know what light speed means over a lot of distance, right?" Its rhetorical. he lets it sit there. "Give me every bit of godsdamned intel you've got. And I mean frakkin everything, Major." Rance finally seems to step into it and move towards the table. He'll have 90 minutes to look everything over on the jumps back to the colonies. "You — Shit you want the E — Oh damn, major, you gettin nasty. Yeah we'll use it." He looks over to the Nine and Six and points. "Get your people in MOPP gear. We're gonna be dropping that shit by the truckload." Rance looks back to Elias, "Roger that shit. Helios Alpha, Picon. We'll grab everything I can convince them to bring. Kitchen sinks, too." He's busy, his mind trying to process evrything that needs to be done in the next — frak, three days.

Knox looks over to Elias, leaning on his crutch. "If this is what I think this is, aye sir. Floating bays for resurrection. Two or Three with a couple more Lines, we've got an army, sir. Just need to guns."

"I realize we're trying to do the impossible in a hurry," Elias confirms in a level tone. "And that it will likely be … less than perfect. So I suggest we use everything we have." Including chemical weapons to knock out the APF. "There's also a counter agent to the chemical weapon. I can send you with our current stock — such as it is — and the details on synthesizing more. Fortunately the main ingredient is native to Aerilon." Then Elias nods to the point about the ressurection ships. "I was thinking of them more as an efficient way to get all your people off a planet — by suicide. Or homicide."

The Sixes and Nines look on at Rance. he just shakes his head. "No, not worth it. Keep it. You might need it. Assuming these two can get the word out. We shouldn't need it." Rance looks over at both. "Kill yourselves. Please. We need this out there." He gathers up all the intel he can on the bases. He's already heading for the door, "Yeah, I figured! This won't be boring!"

"Very well," Elias isn't going to protest keeping the counter agent, which they have little to none of in any case. But he offered. So he sends the Seven on his way with a list of the Aerilon APF base locations and all the information they have on the layout and security of these ex-Colonial facilities. "Best of luck," he calls after Rance. And after the man is out the dooor, Elias turns to Knox and Ceres, frowning to himself as he considers the pair. "I'm sorry," he says carefully, inhales from his cigarette, then lets it slowly out. "But this is where we are."

Knox and Ceres watch the Seven depart at a run. There's some satisfaction there. The silence sits, then Elias speaks. They both look back at him. There are Marines everywhere in this room but in the moment, they seem so extraneous. Unneeded. As strong as Ceres is, she just looks over to Knox, then down. Coop? As injured as he is, he nods slowly in the end. Twice. "Respect others and their views, and demand that they respect yours. Love the life you are given and seek to protect that life." He looks to Elias. "Seek to make your life in service of your people." He looks at Elias directly, eye to eye. "Thank you, sir." He looks over and nods to Ceres and they begin moving for the hatch, her helping him.

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