The moss-covered log next to Samuel T. Anders literally exploded as it absorbed the fire coming from the Centurion further down the slope. He hunched up behind the section that was left, trying to keep out of the line of fire . . . come on guys, he thought to himself. A different tone of gunfire—Sam had learned during the occupation that different weapons make very different sounds — barked off to his right and he clenched his fist.
The Centurion twisted his torso, just as a three-round burst struck him; unfortunately, the light bullets did little to penetrate his armor. Leaving his first target behind, the Cylon took one step, firing both arm-mounted weapons as he advanced. He took a second step. And on the third step he triggered the IED that Sam had planted. A shower of soil and parts of the Centurion came raining down around Sam. He waited until all the debris quit falling and he carefully looked up—the Centurion was in many small pieces; no way he was still operational. But if Sam had learned one thing over the past seven months, it was that if there was one Centurion, there were others.
Still, the woods were still so he took his chance and sprinted up the hill towards his fellow members of the Resistance. And sure enough, a line of bullets gouged divots out of the hillside right behind his steps. Of course, that was what his anti-Centurion team had been waiting for—from a hide further up the slope, the gunner with the long hollow tube over his shoulder laid the sights on the Cylon and elevated the weapon adjusting for range. Over eighty years old, this weapon was an antique from a military museum dating back before the first Cylon was even a dream. But it still worked, and the museum had a box of rockets—live rockets designed just for it.
He pulled the trigger, and the rocket streaked away with a WHOOSH, leaving behind a thick smoke trail. He missed the Centurion of course—but the Gods were with him because he hit a tree and the falling tree then crashed atop of the Cylon.
Sam paused at the top of the slope after he got behind the cover of a rock—a BIG rock. And he caught his breath. “Nice of you to wait so long,” he said finally.
“Come on, pyramid-man; you must be smoking too much. Back in the day, you could have made it to real cover before that chrome-dome had you pinned in his sights—maybe we need to start you on an exercise regime,” his second-in-command said with a smile.
Sam’s only answer was a very vulgar hand gesture, but he nodded his head. “Time to go,” he said—and then a tremendous flash of light the south erupted in the corner of Sam’s vision. He hit the ground—Caprica, occupied Caprica—had been a survival of the fittest training ground for the Resistance. The dumb ones and slow ones were already dead.
The ground beneath them literally HEAVED as waves—actual waves—rolled through the forest. The CRACK of the explosions—even miles away—was deafening, and Sam’s jaws dropped as he saw eight mushroom clouds rise through the tree tops.
Delphi! That was Delphi! Those damn Cylons—but then he stopped. Why would the Cylons nuke their own city?
And then another point of light erupted—far far away—and this one was high in the sky. Sam grinned, he grinned and he jumped and he shouted. “I’ll be damned! She came back! She came back!”
He stopped—their temporary camp was three kilometers away. “Let’s go. We need to get them ready to move!” he shouted. Throwing caution to the wind, they ran through the woods, and the base camp was already celebrating, as the wireless broadcast.
“This is the Colonial Fleet. We have engaged the Cylons and driven off their ships—we have also disrupted their command and control in the city of Delphi,” Sam shook his head. Disrupted, yeah, that was one
word for it. “Shuttles and Raptors are en route to take the survivors to safety. Set up a homing beacon on any radio transmitter—frequency 222.”
Then the message repeated. “Sam,” one of the fighters said. “I’ve got ours broadcasting, already.”
The former pyramid player frowned—could it all be a Cylon trick? And then two Vipers streaked by low overhead. Wagging their wings in passing.
“Attention survivors,” the wireless broadcast. “Transport is on the way—request your number.”
“Damn glad to see you, Galactica
!” Sam shouted into the transmitter. “Tell Starbuck, I never doubted her.”
“Negative on Galactica
, survivors—this operation is being handled by Battlestar Scorpia
. Repeat, we need to know how many of you are down there.”
“About a hundred,” Sam said woodenly as the Vipers circled—close enough that he could make out the pilots. Human pilots, not Centurions and not any of the skin-jobs he had ever laid eyes upon.
“Copy that survivors—one zero zero passengers for transport. Shuttle will land in three minutes. Be ready to move, we don’t have all day.”
Sam just stood there, holding the wireless as the men and women he had led quickly gathered their things. Then he felt a hand on his arm. “Are you well, Sam?” Brother Cavil asked. “This is a good day, son. A good day.”
“I’m fine, Brother. Thank you for asking—can you help with the wounded,” Sam said as he snapped back to the present.
“Certainly. For it is written that we get by with the help of our friends. So say we all,” said Cavil with a sardonic smile on his face.
“So say we all,” Sam laughed. “And wasn’t that a song?”
“I didn’t say where
it was written, Sam,” Brother Cavil said with a wink. “Come, we must prepare to go to our new home—the Battlestar Scorpia