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Old February 2 2013, 07:27 AM   #143
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Hamish sighed and he shook his head. “I picked up survivors from the Thirteenth Tribe and discovered the stuff of my worst nightmares all in the same day, Major,” he said, lifting a cup of tea towards Sam, who sat behind her desk in the very small office accorded to her as commander aboard the old Anubis. “You are going to let them go back to their ship and rain fiery death down upon those creatures?”

Sam snorted. “They don’t need to for the colony if these projections are accurate—forty plus megatons?” She shook her head. “That’ll take of the infestation. But this ship, this derelict that they found with eggs?” She sighed. “Yeah, I think I’m going to let them do it.”

She picked up her own china cup and took a sip. “I cannot believe how slow their ships are in FTL,” she mused. “I mean, their computer and medical technology is an order of magnitude . . .,”

“At least,” said Hamish.

“. . . greater than our own,” Sam finished with a slight look of exasperation on her face. And that ship carries directed energy weapons—lasers and particle beam cannons. Working DEWs,” she shook her head again. “My gods, it is the holy grail that the Fleet has been pursing for decades.”

“To tell the truth, Major,” Hamish said after he placed the cup on its saucer, “I was even more impressed that their ship basically operates itself. That level of computing technology is something that the Colonies have forsaken since the creation of the Cylons. Now, of course, from speaking with them, it operates better with a crew, but even so, at full strength that ship requires just ninety. And that . . . cryogenic hibernation,” he sounded out the unfamiliar word, “technology they have allows them to carry up to two thousand troops for a brief spell. Impressive.”

“And worrisome,” Sam said. “What happens if the Guardians—or our allied Cylons,” she said with a snort, “decide to launch a cyber attack on that ship’s computers?”

“Actually, I think these people could probably give the Cylons a run for their money in that area. Consider what they were doing down there on the surface, Major. Terraforming the lunar atmosphere. The sheer audacity involved in that, and for them? It’s just routine. Breathtaking . . . and terrifying.”

“Well, it’s not all doom and gloom, Captain,” Sam smiled. “Our FTL is much faster for cross long-distances. To get from here to the Colonies in their ships would take them fourteen years, not eight months. They haven’t discovered tylium, and our ships are much more responsive in normal space—and other than those energy weapons, our kinetics and missiles are at least on par with their own. Not to mention our EVA and flight suits are far less burdensome than theirs.”

“True, but they also have FTL comm,” Hamish pointed out. “That is worth a hell of lot right there.”

“Only if you can move ships to exploit it—which they cannot, Captain. At least not quickly.”

She sat back and took another sip of the tea. “I think I am going to let them go back over there—you feel up to flying them, Captain?”

“Certainly, Major. If that means I have an opportunity to tour that ship, most definitely.” Hamish took another sip and then he sat down the cup and saucer and leaned forward. “Major, it may be none of my concern, but what are you doing associated with the SFM? I mean a decorated officer of the line—scuttlebutt says you were up for an XO slot on a Mercury-class. What happened?”

Sam winced. And then she sighed. “Admiral Adama and Commander Lorne—a few others in the Colonial Fleet—already know, as does the crew on this ship. None of them have spilled the beans?”

“Not one, Major.”

She snorted. “Will wonders ever cease? Okay, you want the nitty-gritty? Four years ago I was a rising star in the Fleet. Made Major on my 27th birthday and was assigned to Fleet Headquarters, Picon. It was supposed to be a six-month tour, to be followed by assignment as Operations Officer on a Battlestar—and then early promotion to Colonel and XO,” she smiled. “Those were the days, I was going to make Colonel before my 30th,” she said. “I had already served under Commander Lorne—only he was Colonel Lorne at the time—on the old Athena, so I knew him well. Everything went fine, until Admiral Corman brought his staff to Caprica seventy days after I began working for him.”

“We went to the Presidential Retreat to meet with Adar and we were staying for the entire weekend. Long story short, Captain, the President got drunk and he got rather too friendly. I wound up kicking him in the balls.”

Hamish blinked. But Sam didn’t stop.

“His security took me into custody and held me without counsel for four days—no food, no visitors, no showers, nothing. They didn’t even question me. And on the fifth day, Admiral Corman came in with a list of charges filed against me, for assaulting Adar.”

“I told him what happened, and he shrugged. He said there were no witnesses to any impropriety on the part of the President, and conversely about a dozen affidavits stating that I had made sexual advances to him and been rebuffed, which is when I attacked him without provocation.”

“He gave me a choice. I could press charges against the President and they would be dismissed. Whereupon I would be charged in full and spend the next twenty years at hard labor. Or, I could resign my commission and forfeit all pay and benefits and the incident would be forgotten.”

She lowered her head. “I demanded to speak with an attorney—that was denied. I told Admiral Corman that I would go to the media, and he laughed. He said that my tribunal—military tribunal—was already assembled and if I did not resign then and there and sign a non-disclosure agreement, then I would be tried, convicted, sentenced, and shipped off world that same day.”

“So I signed,” she said. “I signed the paper and I resigned my commission and then I found out that Adar used his political connections to have every application I made for employment black-balled. My bank accounts had been seized for tax evasion and I was denied credit from anyone except a loan shark—apparently his people wrecked that for me too. I was working in a waitress in the slums outside of Caprica City—only legal job I could get—when I met Jon Namer. And we talked. And that was my last shift in that greasy spoon where customers felt that they could fondle my ass if they left me a quarter-cubit tip.”

“I never looked back, Captain Malcolm,” she said. “Does that surprise you?”

“Based on what I come to expect from you, Major, the only thing that surprises me is that you left Adar alive,” Hamish answered.

And she chuckled. “I had some faith at the moment it happened that the system would work—it doesn’t. It didn’t. In the end though, it probably saved my life. Otherwise I would have been on one of those Battlestars and not at Charon.” She sighed again. “Now, unless you have more questions that do not concern you, Captain, why don’t you fly our guests back to their ship so that they can nuke those creatures and grab their tooth-brushes. I have some work to finish.”

Hamish stood and he gave a slight bow. “The Major commands, and I obey,” he said with a smile.

“Damn straight,” Sam answered.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 07:44 AM.
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