Sidewinder looked up as Mathias slid into the copilot’s seat, even though he was not today wearing a flight suit—and he, the Commander, looked pissed
. So did the passenger.
“Flight has cleared us to return to Scorpia
, Sir,” he said.
“Negative, Sidewinder,” Mathias answered in a clipped voice as he put the auxiliary wireless headset on his head. “Set course for Colonial One
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the pilot answered softly as the elevator lifted the Raptor from Galactica
’s hanger deck to the flight deck.
, Gremlin,” the Commander broadcast.
“Put Torch on, Scorpia
There was a pause.
“Gremlin, Torch. Go.”
“Get Captain Marsden and Special Agent Von aboard a Raptor, along with Master-at-Arms Juris and some of his people—and I want them armed,” Mathias ordered. “Tell them to bring their evidence kits. They are to meet me aboard Colonial One
, ASAP. Gremlin out.”
Sidewinder stared at Mathias. Ann Marsden was the senior (of two) Judge Advocate General personnel stationed on Scorpia
—and Special Agent Francis (he normally went by Frank) Von was the civilian head of the Fleet Criminal Investigation Service assigned to the Battlestar.
Mathias did not look at Sidewinder, but he motioned forward. “Deck is clear, Captain Greene—why are you waiting?”
“Sir,” the pilot answered and shook himself. “Galactica
Flight, Raptor 107,” he called out. “Request permission to depart.”
“Raptor 107, Flight. You are clear for departure.”
Sidewinder nudged his throttles forward and the Raptor lifted up and began to accelerate down the flight deck before hurtling into open space.
“Kaboose,” Mathias spoke into his wireless.
“I want all transmissions from Colonial One
to the rest of the Fleet jammed.”
There was a pause, and then a very quiet “Aye, aye, sir,” in answer.
“I’m not launching a coup, Sidewinder, so you might as well quit staring at me,” the Commander said in a matter-of-fact voice. “However, if the President returns while we are there, I am going to have Frank arrest her ass and throw her in Scorpia
’s brig hopefully until she rots.”
“And that isn’t a coup, how? Sir?” Stefan Greene asked.
“Because she has committed a felony—she kidnapped a new-born babe, faked the child’s death, told the parents it was dead, and has someone else raising it on that ship, Sidewinder. This isn’t a coup—it is a hostage rescue. And the President is on Galactica
at this moment, but if she shows her face before we are done, I will
have her arrested.”
Sidewinder released a deep breath that he was holding. “Okay,” he said. “Totally not
a coup; got it.”
“Miss Foster,” Mathias continued. “You know where the documents are stored?”
“I do,” she answered bitterly.
“You are not to touch them or remove them or examine in any way until Marsden and Von arrive to take proper custody—is that clear?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Good. You understand that you will have to stand trial for this as well, correct?” Mathias asked.
“I do. And I am willing to do so.”
“And that I have no control over what—if any
—deal the Court makes for your testimony?”
“I don’t want a deal, Commander,” Tory answered in a very bitter voice.
“No, I don’t imagine that you do. She’s wrong you know,” he continued. “About the Cylons; the human-form replicates: you and the others.”
“Thirty minutes ago, I thought she was right
, Commander. What does that say about me?”
“It says you are human and can hold grudges, Miss Foster. But I am not going to damn you because of what the Cylons did to your original body. Your mind is the same—you
are the same. That makes you a person, not a thing. And that means you have rights . . . and responsibilities
under the law, as well.”
“I understand, Commander,” Tory said softly.
“Coming up on Colonial One
,” Sidewinder reported, and then he paused. “They are asking for our reason to board ship.”
Mathias adjusted the frequency on his wireless. “Colonial One
, Raptor 107—we are carrying members of the Presidents staff; request immediate landing authorization.”
“Affirmative, Raptor 107. Stand by,” the wireless crackled. After a moment, the voice resumed. “You are clear to land in the main hold—cargo doors open.”
“Copy, Colonial One
,” answered Mathias and he switched frequencies and he smiled as he saw the sunlight glinting off the canopy of a second Raptor.
“Gremlin, Arclight,” the wireless spoke, “I’ve got the package.”
“Copy, Arclight,” said Mathias. “Follow us in. Put me on internal speakers.”
“Gremlin you are live.”
“Gentlemen, there is a possible hostage situation—a month old child who has kidnapped from her parents. I have all the information and a person who can identify the woman and child in question—they are not to be harmed. We will be collecting evidence of this crime,” and others, Mathias thought, “and if the crew of Colonial One
interfere you are hereby authorized to use non-lethal force to make them comply. Rules of Engagement Four Daggit are in place—lethal weapons are to be used only
if you are threatened with a lethal weapon—understood?”
He heard faint echoes of people stating their assent, and Mathias nodded. “Full briefing on the deck—gentlemen, let’s get this done.”