“I cannot believe you volunteered us for this shit detail,” Skulls said from the ECO station in the troop bay of the Raptor. “Right now, Scorpia
is the place to be—hell, any
ship in the Fleet is going to be party central, Racetrack. But no, you go and volunteer us for long-range patrol. Thanks.”
“Can it,” Racetrack snapped. “I need to get my head clear, Skulls, and I can’t do that back in the Fleet.”
“Touchy,” he murmured and then he went back to examining his board.
The mission was simple—survey the systems that surrounded the nebula currently hiding the Fleet and see if there were any Cylons around. Simple and boring. Well, with the exception of if they actually discovered Cylons, in which case it might become rather terrifying. And coincidentally, scan for new sources of tylium, water, and breathable air.
Currently, the Raptor was in a dispersed binary system with two yellow suns. Both well within the range of having inhabited planets. But the first of the pair had been a bust—and now this second appeared to be the same. And then Skulls jaw dropped.
“I’ll be damned!” he cried. “Racetrack—that gas giant! One of its moons as a breathable atmosphere!”
She looked down at her equipment and she grimaced. “Barely breathable. Not pleasant, though.”
“Oxygen and argon, we can do worse and if the Fleet runs out of air, you won’t care how it smells. This is . . . oh, FRACK!”
“There is a ship in orbit.”
“Nothing like any Cylon ship I’ve seen,” he answered. “Small thing. Can’t be a warship.”
“You never know,” Racetrack said. “Get it on tape.”
“Recording. Wait,” he said. “I’m picking a transmission from the surface. Garbled.”
“See if the system can clean it up,” Racetrack ordered.
Skulls played with the broadcast for a few moments, muttering to himself. “Wrong frequency for the Colonies—or the Cylons. Damn, that’s weird—it’s repeating.”
“Like an Emergency Broadcast?”
“Yeah, I can’t make any sense of the words.”
“Tie in the translator—maybe it is some obscure dialect,” Racetrack said.
“That did it,” said Skulls after a moment. “I’m playing it.”
"Mayday, mayday, this is Colonial Marine Rifle Detachement Sulaco
. Heavy casualties suffered. Immediate evacuation required on Acheron. All ships. Mayday, mayday, this is this is Colonial Marine Rifle Detachement Sulaco
. Heavy casualties suffered. Immediate evacuation required on Acheron.” And the message kept on repeating.
Racetrack swallowed. “Did they just say Colonial Marines?”
“What are they doing so far out here?”
“Spin up the FTL, Skulls. I think we need to get this back to Galactica