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Old January 31 2013, 11:10 PM   #132
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Anubis emerged from FTL just outside of the moon’s orbit around the gas giant. Major Sam Caldwell nodded as the DRADIS display came back on-line and stabilized—just that one strange looking ship. At three hundred and eighty-five meters in length, it was even smaller than Sam’ very ancient Battlestar. But well armed for its size, she thought as the systems high-lighted two twin KEW turrets on the dorsal and ventral surfaces, eight missile tubes along the flanks of the spiky nose, another eighty tubes on the ventral surface—for orbital bombardment, perhaps? No point defense that she could see, but the strange ship carried two very large (even larger than the bow-guns of a Mercury-class Battlestar) structures set outside her hull to the port and starboard. She wasn’t certain of what they were—there were no muzzles, no accelerator coils, no recoil compensators, no magazine feeds—but they just looked like some sort of weapon.

No flight deck, but the images showed five large bay doors on the lower surface—perhaps for their versions of the Raptor.

And she noted why the Raptor had not picked her up earlier. Just like her own Anubis, this Sulaco was apparently designed deliberately to generate a minimal signature on DRADIS. It had not responded to her hails, but it was definitely powered up, retaining its heat. She nodded to her helmsman who held the little Battlestar at a safe distance.

“Ma’am,” said Conner Horn, the Sagittaron who manned her combined tactical/sensor station. “That same message is repeating from the surface—and I am detecting another transmission directed at the ship in orbit.”

“Hail them, Mister Horn,” she ordered.

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

Bishop ignored the raging winds as the gas giant slowly shrank towards the distant horizon and his fingers flew across the keyboard as the dish adjusted itself to align with Sulaco so that he could remote pilot the remaining Cheyenne in her bay.

And the remote terminal suddenly crackled with sound. Words emerged, laden with static from the atmosphere, but words. And Bishop raised an eyebrow. They had spoken in a dialect of Greek.

“Battlestar Anubis to Colonial Marines, we have received your transmission, respond please.”

He activated the comm unit and adjusted the microphone pickup and answered in Greek. “Bishop, responding, Anubis.”

“Bishop, Anubis, do you require assistance?” the voice on the far end of the link asked.

“Eight survivors Sulaco Marine Rifle Detachement require immediate dust-off,” he answered.

There was a pause. “Evacuation?” she asked.

“Evacuation. We need immediate evacuation.”

“I have three Raptors en route to the surface, Bishop. We are detecting a beacon near your location.”

“That is the landing pad, Anubis—we will meet you there,” he paused. “Exercise extreme caution—the area is infested with large numbers of a highly dangerous xenomorph species.”

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

Sam looked at her crewmen and then she shook her head. She understood the components of the word—strange shape—but the context?

“Repeat the last, hostile lifeforms?”

“Animal lifeforms, not terrestrial,” the wireless spoke.

She nodded and Horn began passing instructions to the Marines and crew aboard the three Raptors.

“ETA to Raptor landing is ten minutes,” she broadcast.

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

“Understood. We will meet you at the port,” Bishop said and the transmission ceased. He put down the terminal and changed frequencies on the comm-unit.

“Bishop to Corporal Hicks, please respond.”

“Go, Bishop,” the voice of the senior surviving Marine said.

“A rescue party is en route to the surface, Corporal Hicks—ETA to landing at the port ten minutes and counting.”

“What the . . .,” Hicks started, and then he stopped. “We can sort this out later, I need to get everyone moving. Meet us at the port!” And the transmission ceased.

“I will meet you at the port,” Bishop said to no one in particular. And then he began to cautiously make his way through the rough terrain down the slope of the hill towards the landing pads.
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