“Thumper, Sidewinder,” the Raptor command pilot broadcast. “Watch the debris here—looks like the toasters had themselves quite the disagreement.”
“Copy that, Sidewinder,” came the answer. “Maybe we will get lucky and they will wipe each other out.”
“There’s one,” Sidewinder said to the Cy- . . . man
sitting in his copilot’s seat.
Anders shook his head. “That’s an old Gemini
-class—I can’t interface with her systems. She designed for the old-style Cylons. No, we need one of the ones your Commander designated as the Nova
-class, one of the new designs they had at the Colonies. Or . . .,” and his voice trailed off.
“Or?” asked Sidewinder.
“Did the Colonies have just one type of Battlestar, Captain Greene?” Anders asked.
“No—and call me Sidewinder.”
“And you had ships other than Battlestars. Support, auxiliary, escorts, scouts. Right?”
“So, what makes you think that the Cylons have just one kind of capital ship?”
“Okay, so what kinds of ships do your people have?”
“They aren’t my people, Sidewinder,” Anders answered softly, with just a hint of anger in his voice. “And I don’t know. I do know that there six separate designs in the pipeline when my memory was wiped and I was put back onboard that damned Joyita
“Well, so far, all we have seen are those big bastards—and the old Gemini
’s,” Sidewinder said. “Any idea what they may look like?”
“I can sketch a few out—but none had had been built at the time I was returned to the Colonies. Cavil might know more, but he hasn’t had much more contact than I.”
Stefan Greene—Sidewinder—turned his head and he stared at Anders. “He’s the original Cavil?”
“He’s the first copy—the original Cavil died, just like the original Anders. He spent fourteen years living on Caprica, only his memory wasn't fully wiped like mine. He knew he was a Cylon the entire time; thing is, living among humans for so long, he came to see you as having more value than any other Model One will admit. He disagreed with the decision to attack the Colonies—but he was only told after the bombs fell. And he kept his mouth shut,” Anders snorted. “The other sanctimonious bastards of his line would have boxed him right quick if they knew what he was really thinking.”
“There—that’s what we want,” Sam said as he spotted the light of the red star glinting from the broken hull of a Nova
“Got it. Thumper, Sidewinder—we have located the target. Follow us in and keep your eyes peeled for Raiders.”
“They are long gone, Sidewinder,” Anders whispered. “I can feel the radiation working on me even now—now that I am outside of the shielding of the ship. The Raiders wouldn’t have stayed any longer than absolutely necessary—and not even the Ones could have made them,” he paused. “There is a landing bay at the junction of the upper and lower arms—it was designed to accommodate Raptors, if my memory is right.”
“I see it,” Sidewinder said, nudging the nimble vessel forward with squirts from his thrusters. “Lots of damage here—and a frack load of debris. Are those gun strikes?”
“Yes. The Nova
s rely entirely on missile launchers and Raiders, but the Gemini
s had a heavy kinetic battery as well. Looks like the outer hull was penetrated—but maybe the interior still has atmosphere.”
“Well, that is why we have pressure suits, Mister Anders. Not a problem.”
“I have to physically touch the computer console to make interface, Sidewinder,” Anders said. “With my bare hand. So if there is no internal atmosphere, then problem we have.”
Sidewinder grunted as he swerved past three old-style Raiders and two newer models—and a lifeless gold-plated Centurion floating in orbit of the Basestar. He maneuvered the Raptor through the open hanger bay and set it down gently—and then a second bird ghosted into the bay alongside.
“Magnetic grapples engaged . . . and holding.”
“Time?” asked Anders.
“Forty-four minutes since we arrived in system,” Sidewinder answered.
“Okay. Let’s see if we can get to the command center,” the Cylon said as he began to rise from the seat—but Sidewinder raised one hand.
“Mister Anders, there might be Centurions aboard that are still operational. And,” Stefan winced and bit back a curse, “I can’t have dead weight on this team. Commander Lorne trusts you,” he continued as he handed Sam a sidearm. “Don’t make his trust be misplaced.” And don’t make me have to kill you if go homicidal toaster on us, he thought.
Sam nodded and Stefan could see his eyes through the visor of his helmet. “Understood,” he said as he took the weapon, ejected the magazine, checked it, and cracked the chamber to make certain there wasn’t a round already present—there wasn’t. He seated the magazine and chambered a round, engaged the safety and slid the weapon into a holster on the flight suit he wore.
“Open her up, Kaboose. Let’s see how these new-fangled Cylon ships look on the inside.”