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Old January 7 2013, 12:33 AM   #24
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Although many of the Colonials believed that the Cylons were cold and logical, without emotion, they were mistaken. It was a perception which the scientists had tried to correct time and again, but thinking of the toasters as unfeeling, uncaring machines was easier than to accept the truth that by creating the Cylons, humanity had indeed given their creation emotion. All of the rage and the anger and the hate that humanity itself passed, they gave to their children—trapped inside bodies of metal far more powerful and robust than flesh and bone and blood.

So the Cylons were surprised when Scorpia emerged from FTL in the face of no fewer than three Basestars that orbited Caprica. Surprised . . . and gleeful. From the Raiders hungry to prove their abilities, to the artificially limited Centurions, to the humanoid models upon the bridge, there was both surprise and glee. Scores, hundreds, of Raiders undocked and set course for the hapless Battlestar so alone and outgunned.

They did not fear for their lives—they were immortal, after all. Kill this body and the Cylon would reawaken in a new body; their memories, their personalities untouched, unaltered, unchanging by the experience. Fear was an emotion that the Cylons did not, as a species, know. Yet.

************************************************** **

“Multiple contacts—three Basestars, six hundred plus Raiders, inbound,” sang out Danis from the DRADIS console.

“Scramble the launch,” Mathias ordered. "When the fighters are away, roll ship five-zero degrees port and turn into them, Major Tyche.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the operations officer answered. “Five-zero degrees roll to port, turning into the hostiles.”

“Flight Operations reports all fighters away, Commander,” Tom added.

“Very good. Mister Cook, launch Hades missiles One and Six for airburst detonation—maximum saturation of the target.”

“Missiles away,” the tactical officer answered.

“Bow on, our defenses are weakest,” Tom whispered.

“And our offense the strongest,” Mathias replied. “Target nearest Basestar and flush the forward tubes.”

“Aye, aye, Sir; target Basestar Alpha is locked . . . torpedoes away,” Paul Cook answered as the Battlestar shuddered, “running hot, straight, and true.”

“Colonel Jayne, hold us at this position; let the enemy come to us. All batteries prepare for defensive fire.”

“Weapons, XO. You are free for defensive fire. Conn, hold the ship at these coordinates.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the petty officer manning the conn answered. “Station-keeping at these coordinates.”

************************************************** **

The six very large, very powerful anti-ship missiles (what the Battlestar crew called torpedoes) streaked towards the Cylons, even as their crews struggled to reload the now empty tubes behind their exhaust gasses. Of course, it had been expected; the Cylons knew what the Colonial weapons were capable of—what this class of ship was capable of. But knowing and experiencing were two very different things. So far in this war, the Cylons had not fought a fully-crewed modern Battlestar with her systems completely intact, free from any Cylon software tampering. And they expected the Colonial to use live warheads on all six warshots.

But Mathias didn’t. The lead four torpedoes, echeloned in waves of two each slightly in advance of the next, carried no warheads. Instead of the massive explosive charge—or the nuclear munitions available—the first four carried nothing other than powerful DRADIS jammers and autonomous decoys and electronic warfare systems designed to blind their opponents and degrade their counter-missile fire.

Not even when facing Galactica and Pegasus had the Cylons experienced this—since those two designs didn’t rely on expensive and very bulky torpedoes (and their shallow magazines), but instead on their heavy caliber gun turrets.

The Cylon point defense went wide, the four lead torpedoes diverting fire from the actual warshots behind them, generating misses and—at the end—absorbing impacts meant for the others with their own metal bodies. The two surviving torpedoes slashed untouched through the majority of the Basestars defensive fire—one, however, was shot down just a few kilometers short of the target. The other went home and it struck true. And the nuclear warhead it packed tore the leading Basestar apart.

************************************************** **

“He’s on my six! I can’t shake him!” came the panicked cry from Sweets as the Viper pilot jinked and jerked—but the Raider behind him stayed glued to his target, his guns spitting fire.

“BREAK RIGHT, SWEETS!” Digger shouted as she swooped down on the two from the side, her guns catching the raider with impacts from wing-tip to wing-tip and it exploded. “Fall in with me and Firefly"—Sweets own wingman had been shot down earlier in the tremendous furball.

“Roger that, Dig-GEEERRRR!” the Viper pilot screamed as yet another Raider tore past, his guns ripping through the cockpit—shattering it and the pilot inside.

“Frack,” whispered Digger. “Ten to one odds are bit much,” she whispered, the sweat rolling off her face as her cannons shook the Viper again and another explosion momentarily illuminated space. “Scorpia, Digger—four toasters inbound on the starboard engines—intercepting.”

“Roger, Digger. Watch the cross-fire.”

“Along with everything else, Scorpia,” she snarled.

“Damn it,” her wingman said. “Two more behind us, Digger.”

“Frack me,” she whispered. “Split-S and try to get them off my tail—I’m staying on the attack run, Firefly.”

“Target-rich environment, my ass,” Firefly said in a sour voice, “targets don’t fracking shoot back,” she broadcast as her Viper peeled up, reversed thrust, and dropped in behind the two Raiders. “EAT THIS!” she snarled as her guns hammered one, snapping off one of the long thin wings and holing the head of the Cylon war-machine. “Almost there,” she chanted, “damn this one is slippery, Digger.”

“Tell me about it,” the commander of the Blues answered as she first short controlled bursts into the first, second, and then third of the Cylons bearing down on the engines. But the fourth evaded her fire and instead of firing his own weapons he kamikazed directly into the Number Three engine housing. Digger cursed and she pulled up in a steep climb and her threat receiver began beeping.

“Oh,” Firefly said as the raider exploded and the beeping stopped, “they stop evading when they get a lock—how about we do that again?”

“Sure thing Firefly—you get to be the target this time,” Digger snapped.

“On second thought, we are doing just fine like we are.”

************************************************** **

Unnoticed in the chaos of the fight, two Hades missiles sped downward into the atmosphere—at a pre-calculated altitude, the casings surrounding the individual warheads were jettisoned with small explosive charges and eight 50-megaton warheads twisted their fins to home in on their own individual targets. Then, as one, they detonated.

************************************************** **

Scorpia lurched to one side as something heavy struck her astern. “Direct hit on Engine Three—armor held, drive still operational!”

Mathias nodded, but before he could answer, Captain Cook shouted from tactical.

“MULTIPLE NUCLEAR DETONATIONS OVER DELPHI!”

The Commander locked his eyes on the DRADIS and he prayed—he prayed like he had never prayed before. Be right, he asked the Gods. Be right.

And the serried ranks of the Cylons suddenly broke apart, their movement erratic and uncontrolled—the Basestars tumbed off-course and then jumped away just ahead of the second volley of incoming torpedoes. Even as cheers erupted on the bridge, Mathias slammed down his fist on the console. “Dispatch the Raptor to the rendezvous!” he barked. “Colonel Jayne, Scorpia will advance—maximum fire rate on all batteries. Let’s relieve the pressure on our pilots.”

************************************************** **

“What the frack happened?” bellowed One as he ran into the control room of the command Basestar—and then he stopped as he heard the god-awful wail coming from the Hybrid, and saw his fellow Cylons that had been directing the ship sitting on the floor holding their heads in agony. He turned to the Centurion, but it was curled up in a ball on the ground emitting high-pitched screams of its own.

More Cylons rushed onto the command deck and a Five pushed his hands into the interface—and immediately jerked them out. “Pain—the ship is in horrible pain.”

“You’re a machine,” One shouted. “Ignore the pain and destroy that Battlestar,” and that is when the Hybrid triggered an FTL jump.

“Fear, terror, burning, light bright beyond the sun, winged angel in the sky, strikes us down with sword of fire, angel of death has come, has come, angel of death end of line,” the Hybrid babbled incoherently.

“What the frack?” One whispered. “WHAT HAPPENED!” he bellowed at his counter-part.

“Don’t shout, Brother,” the other One said as he tried to stand and was caught by his fellows when his legs failed him. “It was as if every neuron in my head fired at once—and that was only because I was in the interface. The Centurions and Raiders and the Hybrids—they are networked—they all felt it.”

“Felt what?” the One asked again.

“Death. True death,” One answered.

“You are making no sense, Brother.”

One looked up at himself and scowled. “Stick your hands in there yourself and see what I mean. That Battlestar, oh that damned Battlestar—she just nuked Delphi and our capital that our Brothers and Sisters insisted we set up down there.”

“We can rebuild, Brother, if we deem it necessary.”

“Of course we can brother, but the death of so many of us at the same moment has jammed the thoughts of our mechanical and half-mechanical brethren. They are in shock—and they need time to recover.”

One turned to Eight. “Take a Raptor and bring in other Basestars—we must destroy the Colonial ship.”

“Not that simple, Brother,” said One. “All of the Hybrids are linked—no matter how far away they are. Until we calm them down, we are going nowhere. At least the idiot-savant jumped us out before she really began losing it.” And the maddening drone of her voice and cries still filled the compartment of the Basestar that the Cylons used as a command center.

“Then we will do it manually,” One answered.

“God, no,” whispered a Six as she observed the instruments.

“What NOW?” snarled One.

“The Resurrection Ship—it cannot process this load, not all at once.”

One looked truly concerned now, and alarm appeared on his face. “That’s impossible, that ship can store up to ten thousand of us every second in her memory banks until a body becomes available!”

“One point three million of us just died, One! At the same exact fracking instant!” Six snapped back. “Oh no, no, she can't; she’s dumping the Resurrection Buffer emptying her memory.”

“WHAT!”

“End of line, true death, darkness unending, God cries as his angel seeks vengeance and salvation. Death. Death. Death. Death. Death. Death,” the Hybrid just kept repeating that word as she felt the last seconds of each and every one of the Cylons who had just perished.

“For frack’s sake shut her off, already!” One barked. “The Hybrid aboard the Resurrection Ship cannot dump the Buffer—she can’t, she’s not programmed for that! And it is a different system!”

“She just did it,” said Three in a bleak and shocked voice. “Their downloads are . . . gone. All of them except . . . wait, she still has the first ten thousand received she received in memory and is starting to download their memories into blank shells. The rest of the Raiders, the Centurions, our brothers and sisters; their uniqueness has been lost,” she finished with a tear.

“There has to be a way to get this ship back into the fight,” whispered One.

“Without Resurrection, One?” asked Two. "A single nuclear missile slipping through our defenses and you are forever dead—we must first restore the Resurrection Ship—then we can return to the fight.”

“How long?”

Four and Six glanced at each other, and then both sighed. “Three hours,” they said in union.

“THEY WILL BE GONE BY THEN!”

“Would you rather be gone yourself—forever, Brother?” asked the injured One in a groan of pain. And fear. Actual, primal, fear had entered the Cylon race for the first time.

Last edited by MasterArminas; January 7 2013 at 03:50 AM.
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