Battle of the Binary Star System
|Battle of the Binary Star System|
|Conflict:||Second Cylon War|
|Date:||8 months after the Fall of the Twelve Colonies|
|Place:||Unnamed binary star system|
|Result:||Tactical Cylon victory|
The Battle of the Binary Star System takes place when the battlestar Pegasus jumps into the system to rescue a pair of missing Raptors, which are used by three Cylon basestars to lure Pegasus into a trap.
Prior to the battle, the Cylons draw two of Pegasus's Raptors into a shroud of electro-magnetic interference (EMI) generated by a binary star system. Once the Raptors are there, the Cylons kill the crews and leave the craft intact and adrift at the edge of the Colonials' DRADIS range, appearing disabled and unresponsive to wireless. The new commander of Pegasus, Barry Garner, disobeys Admiral William Adama's orders and takes the battlestar in to rescue the Raptors, launching a five-Raptor search and rescue mission once there.
Soon after, three Cylon basestars jump in and launch a full salvo of tactical nuclear missiles, making two hits on the battlestar's stern. Pegasus's air wing, already space-borne and commanded by Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, engage the Cylons. The basestars ignore the Vipers and focus their attention on Pegasus, scoring a third nuclear missile hit and damaging the topside heat exchanger.
An engineering officer with no combat command experience, Commander Garner is unable to deal with the situation effectively – at the same time that the heavy Cylon barrage damages the Pegasus's FTL drive, cutting off the only path of retreat. Realizing he is most competent leading the engineering teams, Garner turns over command to his recently-promoted executive officer, Major Lee Adama, and heads below to direct the repairs.
After a moment of hesitation, Major Adama orders Pegasus to head for the nearest basestar, while rolling the ship over to keep its damaged dorsal side hidden from direct fire. He orders Starbuck and Showboat to have the Vipers concentrate on defending the damaged portions of Pegasus from further attacks, and directs the battlestar's forward batteries to fire on the closest basestar. His tactic works and they inflict severe damage on the targeted basestar's central axis, buying Pegasus more time. The wounded basestar hastily withdraws from combat.
Meanwhile, Commander Garner determines that a hull breach prevents technicians from opening an auxiliary coolant valve crucial to re-starting the FTL drive. With time running out for Pegasus, he bravely enters the compartment himself, opens the valve, and restores the FTL drive before dying of asphyxiation. With the FTL drive restored, Major Adama orders a recall of all Vipers and a jump back to the Fleet.
Pegasus suffers relatively minor damage and few casualties, but it has lost its third commanding officer since the Battle of the Resurrection Ship. For his command ability in returning Pegasus against heavy odds, Admiral Adama promotes Major Adama to the rank of commander and gives him command of Pegasus (TRS: "The Captain's Hand").
- This is the first documented occurrence of a basestar diverging from the standard tactic of fighting to the death, perhaps due to the loss of a resurrection ship some time earlier.
- See NASA JPL scientist Geoffrey Landis' description on what happens from vacuum exposure. Garner must have died of asyphxiation, not vacuum exposure, as it takes him more than 30-45 seconds to open the auxiliary valves. Vacuum exposure would cause unconsciousness within 9 to 11 seconds. While his engineers watched the oxygen levels drop, the atmospheric pressure in the compartment was sufficiently high not to be a vacuum, but not sufficiently pressurized to allow breathing.