Skirmish over the Red Moon
|Skirmish over the Red Moon|
|Starbuck's damaged Viper and the Cylon Raider are caught in the Red Moon's gravity field|
|Conflict:||Second Cylon War|
|Place:||An unnamed red moon|
|Result:||Colonial victory, Patrol destroyed, Capture of a Cylon Raider|
The Skirmish over the Red Moon takes place when eight Cylon Raiders surprise a group of nugget Viper pilots being instructed by Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace above an unnamed red moon circling a gas giant.
After an accident on the flight deck of the battlestar Galactica, Lieutenant Thrace is assigned to train new pilots to replace those killed in the accident. Although she at first allows her feelings to get in the way of training, she eventually reinstates the pilots and takes them on a training flight. During the flight, a patrol of Cylon Raiders is detected.
Upon coming into contact with the patrol, Thrace orders her squad to return to Galactica while she engages all eight enemy combatants simultaneously. Disobeying direct orders, and adhering to the general rule that a pilot must always have a wingman, Cadet Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza reverses course, and follows her into combat. His tactics disorient and scatter the enemy, opening a window for Lt. Thrace to shoot down six Raiders. Additionally, Costanza manages to destroy one Raider (his first kill in a Viper) before suffering damage from incoming fire, forcing him to pull back from the engagement. His Viper gives out shortly after.
With only one Raider remaining, Lieutenant Thrace re-orients herself into a combat position and charges the enemy. As the two combatants close in on each other, Lieutenant Thrace's Viper experiences sudden electrical problems that cause her communications and transponder to go off-line. Nevertheless, she manages to exchange fire with the Raider and finishes it off with a direct hit to the head-canopy.
The disabled craft immediately spirals out control, and eventually collides with the Viper. Damage inflicted by the Raider's impact disables the Viper's flight controls, and both fighters tumble into the gravity well of the nearby red moon. The Raider crashes intact on the moon, but Thrace is forced to eject from her Viper after it goes into an uncontrollable flat spin towards the satellite's surface and disintegrates.
After successfully ejecting, Thrace parachutes onto the moon, but is injured. As this is happening, a search and rescue Raptor deployed by Galactica recovers Costanza and his critically damaged Viper in the moon's orbit. SAR teams are sent out to retrieve Thrace, but the moon's thick atmosphere prevents them from making contact, and buildup of organic deposits from the air in fighter and Raptor engines cut short the rescue effort. On the moon's surface with a broken wireless handset and no other means of establishing communication, Thrace comes across the downed Raider, replenishes her own oxygen from the Raider's supply, and eventually flies the Raider off the moon and into open space. Thrace is able to avoid being shot down and lands aboard Galactica, giving the surviving human Fleet its first captured enemy spacecraft (TRS: "You Can't Go Home Again").