PHD #119: Full Colors
Full Colors
Summary: After the events surround the whole Leonis Operation, the men and women of the Cerberus are honored for their service.
Date: 25 June 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Tillman Karthasi NPC 
Hangar Deck — Starboard
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world.
Post-Holocaust Day: #119

With the number of people able to attend, its standing room only in the Starboard Hangar Deck. At the far end from the civilians, the members of Cerberus able to attend or asked to attend are lined up in military ranks in two blocks with a center left open for people to approach the front. The dias at the head is a raised platform with a single wooden podium, the same one that usually inhabits the Ward Room. On the front of the freshly polished stand is the Cerberus’ fleet logo and insignia. To the rear of the dais are the flags of every colony in alphabetical order from left to right. There are no chairs up there, only a long area to people to stand. Off to the side are the fleet’s current ranking officers, all in their Dress Grays: Commander Laughlin, Colonel Ionis, Colonel Pewter, and Major Tillman. They’re talking quietly until a yeoman is given the nod.

“Group! Atennnn-SHUN!” the yeoman bellows over the din of mixed voices, his call echoing down the long hangar deck. Talking ceases almost immediately and everyone comes to the stance as they are called. Laughlin nods to Tillman and the Major approaches the podium.

“Crew of the Cerberus. Officers and Enlisted. Men and Women.” Tillman looks out over the assembled faces. “At ease.” With the call, the lines of officers and enlisted fall back with their hands behind their backs. “We are here this afternoon to decorate the members of this crew that participated in a hazardous mission that turned out far worse than any of us could have imagined. Yet, it is situations like this that produce the finest behaviors from our race. It is situations like this that cost us so much. It is situations like this…that prove how much we mean to each other. The sacrifices that have been made since Warday go beyond measure. The sacrifices that were made on Leonis, both physical and emotional, are even harder to accept. As much as this is an occasion to celebrate those of you who returned, we recognize those who gave everything they had so that others may live. The men and women who did not return from Leonis should live in our hearts and minds forever.” He pauses there and glances to Captain Karthasi near the front. “Captain, if you could come up here and say a few words for the fallen, please.”

The Sister steps carefully from the crowd and moves to the podium as Greje begins:
"Ariadne's screaming to the wind
that carries forgetful Jason home again.
'Currite'que 'currite fasi,' dicebant Parci.
And Thetis is delighted by the couch
on which she'll bear a thousand pains for men.
'Currite'que 'currite fasi,' dicebant Parci.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
sorrow's born from joy and joy from sorrow.
'Currite,'que 'currite fusi,' dicebunt Parcae."

As Captain Karthasi steps down, Tillman takes his place once more at the podium. Eyes move across the faces once more. It is a brief pause before he begins again. It is not quite singing, but the next words are definitely lyrics. Perhaps a poem? They come slowly, the man earnest with each syllable.

“Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lords”

He takes a long breath and places both his hands on each side of the podium. “Now, we decorate ours who never made it home. Those who have slipped the surly bonds.”

“Captain Anton Laskaris: For gallantry and bravery above and beyond the call of duty, for selflessly giving his life, for showing no fear in the face of the enemy to protect others. Having survived on Leonis with the rest of the team for nearly six weeks, the operation culminated in a desperate battle of Colonial Armor versus Cylon Tin. Under thick clouds and driving rain, the Raptors landed to extract our personnel and those civilians who had managed to survive. The first ones out, per orders of the on-site commanders, were these civilians. Captain Laskaris placed himself between the civilians and the incoming fire, using his rifle to defend them the whole time. He was killed by Cylon fire while protecting people he didn’t even know. For his actions, he is awarded the Silver Cluster, posthumously.”

“Major Michelle Bartholomew: For gallantry and bravery above and beyond the call of duty, for selflessly giving her life, for showing no fear in the face of the enemy to protect others. When the initial landing zone came under fire from a Heavy Raider, Major Bartholomew ordered everyone into the shelter of the bunker. A Raptor jumped in at almost the same time and immediately came under fire from the Heavy Raider. When it became apparent that the Raptor crew was being forced to eject from their stricken bird, the Major braved incredible enemy fire to close the distance and distract the Raider from the ejecting crew. Succeeding and damaging it, she was cut down moments later. For her actions, she is awarded the Silver Cluster, posthumously.”

Major Tillman pauses after he finishes, taking a moment to let the fallen be remembered and honored by those in attendance. “Eidolon was split into two teams upon landing. One group was to scout a building in the city of Kythera. The other was to secure a store of Vipers at Anadyomene Airbase. When the teams split, Anadyomene came under enemy fire and the Eidolon was severely damaged. The mission was supposed to take forty-eight hours. A rescue was not affected for forty –days-. During that time, this team of volunteers who accepted this risk with heads held high, they were exposed to lethal doses of radiation, horrendous conditions, starvation, animal attacks, and the remains of those who never made it off the planet. This is to say nothing of the constant danger of attack and death from the Cylons. Trapped during this whole time with almost no communication from the Cerberus Battlegroup, they fought hard for each other and for their own survival. Almost nobody made it off that Colony without being wounded somehow. I dare say that the memories of that action are enough to wound the most stoic soul.” The man lets that sink in for all in attendance. “At this time I would like everyone who departed the Cerberus Battlegroup aboard the Eidolon to come forward and stand tall up here behind me. That means you too, Miss Averies.”

The Major steps back from the podium and watches as the thirty-some-odd people drift out of the crowd and slowly make their way up the stairs and onto the dais. They form a solid line behind the XO, scarcely enough room to fit them all on the riser. Tillman waits until they are all in their places before he stands back at the podium. “Every member of the military that you see before you? These men and women standing behind me? They did the unthinkable and they came home. And they didn’t just come home empty-handed. Valuable intelligence was gathered and survivors of the Cylon holocaust were rescued thanks to their actions. Thus, it is my privilege to announce the creation of a new ribbon: The Leonis Campaign Medal. In past services to this Navy and Corps, campaign medals were awarded to anyone who set foot on soil or passed near the combat zone. It meant nothing as far as specific service. The Leonis Campaign Medal requires that anyone who receive it have spent a minimum of forty-eight hours on the surface, be a member of the Colonial Fleet, and have carried a rifle through it. It is an honor that less than six tenths of a percent of this fleet will ever have. Posthumously, Major Bartholomew and Captain Laskaris will both receive this award. Save for Miss Averies, everyone behind me will receive this award. Colonel Pewter? If you could, please, sir?” Behind him, Colonel Pewter begins going up to each member of the group, one by one, and pinning them. A shake of their hand after each. “Miss Sawyer Averies, as a civilian, deserves to be recognized. She fought next to the members of this fleet and volunteered to go simply in a recording and reporting capacity. She ended up carrying a rifle just like anyone else. What she did for this fleet and the members of her team can probably never be measured. Thus, it is my distinct honor to grant her the second highest honor that the government can bestow upon a civilian: The Order of Colonial Valor.”

“Some of the members of this group also distinguished themselves further. Either through action, leadership, or determination coupled with a ‘Never Say Die’ attitude, the Navy and Marines have saw fit to award the following medals to these individuals.” Tillman lifts a piece of paper to the podium and begins reading. “Please step forward as I call your name. Commander Laughlin will be presenting these personally.”

“Lieutenant Calvin Oberlin and Lieutenant, Junior Grade Stephen Kulko: Colonial Medal of Bravery. Both Mister Kulko and Mister Oberlin earned this for their consistent action and leadership while on the ground. After Major Bartholomew was killed in the opening hours of the mission, Kulko assembled his team and lead them – some of them even senior officers – through rough terrain and some of the hardest conditions imaginable in an ultimately successful attempt to link up with the second team. Oberlin, knowing that they were trapped in Kythera, never lost his head. He kept his team together and focused on what had to be done while preventing people from losing their grip. Together, this pair exhibited personal bravery despite physical, emotional, and possibly even professional adversity.”

“Captain Ibrahim Sitka, Lieutenant Kal Trask, and Junior Grade Lieutenants Evandreus Doe and Tisiphone Apostolos: Colonial Medal of Bravery. This is awarded to you all for your actions during the rescue operation. At great risk to your own lives, you all fought valiantly to fend off wave after wave of a Cylon attack that led directly to the successful evacuation of personnel and civilians. Not only this, but such defenses were waged from tracked armored vehicles – something that I believe falls a little outside their professional training.”

“Lieutenant Jesse Stavrian: The Bronze Asklepios Medallion. This particular medal is awarded and available only to Corpsmen. It is specific to combat action and is awarded to those of the services who distinguish him or herself through extraordinary heroism. Additionally, for service on occupied soil, Lieutenant Stavrian is also hereby awarded the Colonial Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.”

“Lieutenant Penelope Paris and Lieutenant, Junior Grade Haeleah Parres: Fleet Commendation Medal. This is awarded for their diligent work under heavy pressure for intelligence and information recovered from the MolGen facility in Kythera and their dedication to their jobs under rough conditions.”

“Lieutenant, Junior Grade Raine Lunair, Petty Officer Second Class Preston Croke, Corporal Corinna Miko, Corporal Samuel Blaime, Corporal Ryker Hawkins, Corporal Nora Walker, Private First Class Van Sholty, Private Kaja Zaranj, Private Charles Diesel: Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal for service on occupied soil. Fleet Commendation Medal: For meritorious service to the battlegroup and the mission under extremely hostile conditions.

Tillman turns to the side smartly as the last medal is awarded and walks to the side to stand by Colonel Pewter. He faces back towards the group of assembled officers and enlisted on the dais. In a barking, Marine tone, the XO belts out: “Groooup! Preee-zent ‘arms!” Across the hangar deck, hands lift in a crisp salute to the men and women who have been decorated. With the Commander’s hand dropping after a moment, that’s the signal for everyone to drop theirs. “De-tail! Diiiiis-missed!” the XO barks once more and the dais begins to empty as those awards step down and mingle back into the crowd. There’s a few smiles, backpats, and handshakes before everyone comes back to attention while Tillman returns to the podium.

“Our next round of business pertains directly to the rescue operation.” Tillman takes a long breath. “When I first planned this strike, it was supposed to go smoothly. I worked for weeks to be sure that I had thought of everything – even some really insane things. However, as the popular axiom goes: ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy.’ Or, if you’re blessed with a CAG like we are, it usually doesn’t survive first contact with her. Plans had to be revised and some last minute suggestions were made. As it turns out, we didn’t just need thirty pilots crazy enough to jump out of a Raptor at more than twenty miles above Leonis. We also needed six men and women willing to jump out of a Raptor the night before to ensure that these pilots had aircraft waiting. With no promise of survival, an extraction, or near workable options, this group jumped in on the hunch and hope that there were some salvageable Raptors at Anadyomene and that maybe one could be made to fly. Maybe. They went anyway. Their orders were simple: Prep the birds and defend your position if necessary.” He pauses. “That, they did.” He looks out over the crowd again. “When the pilots landed almost twelve hours after the planned execution, they found Vipers warmed and ready while this six-member team of Deck and Marine personnel vigorously defended the bunker entrance against a Cylon onslaught. One gave his life. Two more very nearly did.”

“After consultation with Commander Laughlin and Colonel Pewter, I have an honor for the men and women who risked their lives. This is something usually reserved for the Marines who have completed an eighteen-week school – something that doesn’t even cover what these men and women did. And I’m not just talking about the Advance Team.” Tillman looks over the audience. “Those of you who performed a HALO jump during the rescue operation at Leonis, please join me on stage.” Tillman steps back to let the thirty-some odd members file up. Two of the last look like they are still injured – a man and woman. Once on stage, Tillman returns to the podium. He takes a long breath. “For having completed a jump that is singularly longer than all five jumps combined that are required in Marine Corps Paratrooper School, for having performed a jump higher than any required during normal combat operations in history, for landing in a combat zone behind enemy lines and having to fight for survival once on the ground, I present each and every one of you with Airborne tabs.” Commander Laughlin steps out to move down the line, handing out a set to each. “Commander Laughlin has authorized these for wear on every single uniform except for Dress Grays, the banner to be affixed to the left shoulder.” Tillman is quiet for a moment while the Commander finishes passing out each set.

“Now, there are a few distinctions to be awarded to members of these two different teams. Please step forward to be decorated as I call your names, please.”

“Sergeant Eleftharios Constin: Silver Cluster. After being on the ground and coordinating operations while cut off from Command, Sergeant Constin directed the layered defense of the hangar doors at Anadyomene Airbase. He also arranged for the construction of a minigun emplacement on the wreckage of the Eidolon, an exposed position that provided an excellent field of fire from which to defend the landing zone. During the landing, he held his position against the oncoming Cylons and coordinated the use of explosive fields to prevent the over-run of their position. He did this all while severely wounded. Through it all, Sergeant Constin never stopped returning fire until the last survivor of his team was aboard an evacuation Raptor. Sergeant Constin was wounded a total of six times during this action. Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal: For service on occupied soil.”

“Crewman Lauren Coll: Silver Cluster. After leading the initial HALO drop and then using explosives found on-site, Crewman Coll blasted open a hangar that revealed two Raptors. After being wounded the prior night, she worked through the night with two other Deck technicians to ready the Vipers and Raptors for the following day. Finding extra time, she constructed the bombs used during the layered defense during the rescue. After the pilots had begun their HALO drop, Crewman Coll, risking her own life, exposed herself while returning fire to signal the incoming pilots to a landing zone. She stayed in her position to draw fire from the pilots while they attempted to man their aircraft, refusing to leave even after being critically wounded. Crewman Coll was also wounded a total of six times during this action.”

“Lieutenant, Junior Grade Psyche Athenos: Distinguished Airman’s Medal. For the valor and warrior’s skill shown against the enemy during the retrieval of Vipers from Anadyomene and the subsequent rescue operation. Lieutenant, JG Athenos was the only ship lightly hit during the Viper defense against Cylon nuclear bombardment during the rescue. She never wavered and fiercely defended her comrades during an attack of Raiders, her indomitable courage and determination saving the lives of Lieutenants Sophronia and McQueen, and Major Hahn. During this action, Lieutenant Athenos downed no less than three Raiders with a partial on number four.”

“Ensign Ethan Weber: Colonial Medal of Bravery. This is awarded not just for his personal courage displayed during the HALO jump, but his swift and dutiful action while under intense enemy fire while evacuating the advance team of Deck and Marine personnel. His steadfast dedication to duty saved the lives of at least two heavily wounded members of this team.”

“Corporal Cadmus Maragos and Private Lawrence Jenkins: Colonial Marine Corps Medal. For actions that uphold the highest traditions of honor, bravery, and valor in the face of enemy action. Both of these enlisted men fought in heavy action on the ground at Anadyomene to provide for the safe landing of our pilots and provide them with support fires. Like the other members of the Advance Team, these two volunteered for this operation without a guarantee of extraction.”

“Petty Officer Third Class Jennifer Peters: Fleet Commendation Medal. For meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty, for volunteering for a mission that was dangerous beyond any doubt. Specialist Leeroy Cambell will also receive this honor posthumously.”

Tillman turns to the side smartly as the last medal is awarded and walks to the side to stand by Colonel Pewter. He faces back towards the group of assembled officers and enlisted on the dais. In a barking, Marine tone, the XO belts out: “Groooup! Preee-zent ‘arms!” Across the hangar deck, hands lift in a crisp salute to the men and women who have been decorated. With the Commander’s hand dropping after a moment, that’s the signal for everyone to drop theirs. “De-tail! Diiiiis-missed!” the XO barks once more and the dais begins to empty as those awards step down and mingle back into the crowd.

Tillman doesn’t return to the podium. Instead, he calls his words loudly so that they might carry across the deck without aid of speakers. “Tonight, we honor those who are still with us and lift our glasses to those who are not. The level of pride that the Command of this battlegroup has for our crews is beyond measure. You are among the finest men and women that history has ever known. Whether they stood up here tonight to receive medals or remained with the group at-large, know that you will go down in history for your actions. Gods be with you all.” He lifts a salute to the group that is dropped quickly. “Group! Dismissed!”

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