Episode 8: The Fallen and the Damned
“You know, we can just show you our Colonial IDs,” Kaboose said, and Sidewinder nudged him in the side with his elbow. The four Marines riding in the Raptor and aiming their weapons at his chest made him more than a little nervous.
The Raptor pilot—Racetrack—had sent the second one back, and it had returned in the company of two more. And then, once both he and Kaboose had put their sidearms on the deck—and their survival knives—then, they had been allowed to board. To be greeted by an EWO named Skulls and these four humorless jarhead Marines.
Sidewinder had insisted that someone go retrieve their flight recorder—they had been just going to leave it over there!—and just to make him shut up, Racetrack had sent Shark across to get it. The pilot hated leaving the Raptor just floating out here—even with the damage her systems had taken, a good deck crew should be able to salvage it. But apparently, Galactica
wasn’t going to be sending a shuttle to haul her back home. And that made no sense—she still had tylium in the tanks and compressed air onboard, and with a little work she could fly. But no, they had thrusted away from his bird—the bird he had flown for two years straight—and then they put a missile into her.
What a waste, he thought.
He felt the thrusters reverse—they had turned off the wireless in the helmets of both the him and his EWO—and then he saw the grey-metal struts of the flight deck fly by, followed by a THUD as the Raptor landed heavily atop an elevator. He shook his head slightly—that kind of a landing was hard on the landing struts that supported the Raptor atop her skids. It was sloppy and just plain bad flying.
The elevator jerked and slowly the Raptor began to descend down into the hanger deck. And still, no one said a word to him, not since they had told him and Kaboose both, “Sit down, shut your fracking mouth, and keep it shut.”
Another THUMP sounded as the elevator halted then dropped the last foot into its well in the hanger deck. Sounds like the old girl needs some maintenance, Sidewinder thought with a wry grin. These Jupiter
-class ships were getting long in the teeth—and Galactica
had been the oldest surviving one of them. Last he had heard, she was being converted into a museum ship destined for Caprica orbit—it was no wonder that her gripe sheet must be full to the brim and beyond.
The hatch opened and a hard-faced man, bald, wearing the uniform of a Colonel stepped inside. And Sidewinder pursed his lips together tightly. He knew that face, because he had been briefed on the Thirteen human Cylon models—Saul Tigh.
Joy. This is going to be fun.
“So what the frack do we have here?” the Colonel asked—which Sidewinder barely heard through his helmet, since they had also turned his external pickups off.
“They say their Colonial officers, Sir,” Racetrack answered as she squirmed her way back from the cockpit—a petite girl, dark-haired and pretty enough without her helmet. But Lords of Kobol, she was young! She must have been assigned aboard just out of basic flight, Sidewinder thought. “They claim to be from the Battlestar Scorpia
—Shark has their flight recorder from their Raptor,” and she blushed. “They were the ones that reminded me to grab it before we blew their ship—it was damaged. The Raptor, not the recorder.”
“And they can’t talk?” Saul snapped. “Get their fracking helmets off!”
Sidewinder took a deep breath—the canned air in the suits wasn’t the best, after all—and then he caught the smell. The hot ozone of too many electrical shorts, the stench of grease on overheated bearings, the thick cloying odor of sweat, the faint musty trace of mildew and mold—this ship had fought, and she had not come out unscathed.
“Captain Stefan Greene, Colonial Fleet, Commander—Raptor Squadron, Battlestar Scorpia
, Battlestar Group Twenty-Five, reporting, Colonel, Sir!” he snapped, but remained seated as the Marines hadn’t moved their weapons.
?” snorted Saul. “I don’t know what you skin-jobs are thinking coming here and trying to pull that crap—Scorpia
was destroyed at Aerilon, with the rest of Fourth Fleet.”
was assigned to Second Fleet, Colonel, not Fourth, and we have been on a long-range scientific mission for the past two years—not in orbit over Aerilon. We just returned seventeen days ago.”
Saul shook his head. “Now I know you are telling a lie, son; we’ve been running for nearly eight months now; you can’t cover that distance in just seventeen days.”
“Check the flight recorder, Colonel—we had a misjump that put us way the hell over the Red Line.”
“Oh, I’ll check the recorder. Anything else you want to add?”
“Commander Mathias Lorne is in command of Scorpia
—Thomas Jayne is his XO.”
Saul stood up. “You could have got from the Fleet records on Picon.”
“The Cylons nuked Picon, Colonel—I flew recon over it when we returned.”
“Well, tell me this, Captain Stefan Greene of the Battlestar Scorpia
—Tom Jayne has a tattoo on his right arm. What is that tattoo of?”
Sidewinder snorted. “He has a tattoo on his left
bicep, Sir. It is the head of a black bull, snorting, with ivory horns, their tips coated in blood.”
Saul nodded. “Okay, you might just be who you say you are—you might not
, but you could
be. That means you don’t go out the airlock right the frack now. But both of you are going to the brig until the Old Man decides what to do with you.”
He stepped back and nodded at the Marines, who motioned for Sidewinder and Kaboose to stand up. And when they did so, the Marines clamped irons on their hands and ankles and then hauled them away.