Battle for the Tylium Asteroid
|Battle for the Tylium Asteroid|
|Conflict:||Second Cylon War|
The Battle for the Tylium Asteroid takes place when Galactica attacks a Cylon tylium ore refinery. It marks the first time that Galactica makes an offensive strike against Cylon forces in nearly forty years.
After exhausting much of its fuel reserves fleeing from Cylon forces, Galactica sends Raptors to outlying star systems in search of tylium, a fuel source used by all ships in the Fleet. They locate an asteroid saturated with the mineral, but also occupied by Cylons and fortified with Raider squadrons. Commander Adama decides to take the asteroid with a daring plan, utilizing the unconventional thinking of Lieutenant Kara Thrace to draft the attack strategy and Captain Lee Adama to implement it. (TRS: "The Hand of God")
Galactica pulls a double-feint; using a cargo freighter to lure away patrolling Raiders, the battlestar deploys a Viper squadron to approach the unprotected asteroid. The Cylons deduce the freighter to be a diversion and turn their fighters on the approaching Viper squadron. Additionally, they release all of their base's reserve Raiders to make a run at Galactica. With all Cylon craft engaging either the Vipers or Galactica, a second squadron of Vipers emerges from inside the cargo freighter and heads for the now unguarded Cylon base.
As the squadron reaches the surface of the asteroid, guided anti-aircraft missiles are launched and Fireball is killed in his Viper - while Kat and Stepchild launch their guided missiles, a powerful jamming signal appears and causes the Colonial missiles to lose guidance and veer away from the refinery
Captain Adama determines that any attacks they attempt will have to be completed manually. For that to be possible they must be able to approach the base at a close range - something which the anti-aircraft artillery makes unattainable.
Captain Adama orders the other fighters to pull back as he searches for an alternative way of approaching the refinery. He finds a conveyor duct that runs from an un-defended canyon adjacent to the base, and ends below a tank storing highly unstable tylium precursor. After successfully maneuvering Viper 2220 through the duct, Adama detonates a pair of explosive charges underneath the tank, then makes his escape.
The ignition of the tylium-precursor results in a chain-reaction that destroys the refinery with a force equivalent to that of a three kiloton nuclear warhead yet leaves the underlying tylium unaffected. Moreover, the force of the explosion heavily disorients the overflying Raiders, leaving them unable to re-arm or refuel. With no means by which to escape the space surrounding the asteroid, the scattered fighters are destroyed by Galactica and its Vipers. (TRS: "The Hand of God
Shortly after Galactica's victory over the enemy, ships from the civilian fleet mine a large quantity of tylium from the asteroid (gathered by the mobile mining ships and processed on a refinery ship). The mining yields enough tylium reserve to last the Fleet for several years.
Extraordinarily, this battle was prophesied in the Sacred Scrolls, which mention a victory "led by serpents numbering two and ten" (the twelve Vipers). The scrolls warn, however, that "though the outcome favored the few, it would lead to a confrontation at the home of the gods" (TRS: "The Hand of God").
Without the replenishment of the tylium, it is highly probable that the Cylons would have caught up with the Fleet and destroyed it. Nearly three years later, tylium ore was still in supply (TRS: "Dirty Hands"), suggesting that success in this battle may have removed what would have been a major concern for the Fleet for several years.