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Old March 5 2013, 07:17 PM   #192
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Galen Tyrol came to a halt outside the main briefing room aboard Galactica. Saul and Ellen Tigh, Sam Anders, Tory Foster, and Brother Cavil stood there—but they were not alone. Number One, D’Anna Biers; Leoben Conoy, Simon O’Neil; Aaron Doral, and Caprica Six were there as well. And Sharon Valerii—the original Sharon, Boomer.

“Hello Chief,” said the badly scarred woman in a quiet voice—and Galen’s heart skipped a beat. He didn’t say a word, but he walked up to her and he took her in his arms and held her tight against him—and Boomer sobbed as she put her arms around him.

Neither one was certain of how much time had passed, but at last, Saul Tigh cleared his throat. “Admiral Adama is waiting, Chief—or are you and Boomer going to find a supply closet while we wait?”

Galen and Sharon stepped back, and Boomer looked up to see her own tears mirrored on the Chief’s face. “I’m hideous now,” she whispered.

“No,” Galen said in answer as he shook his head, “no, Boomer, you are not.”

“I’ve missed you,” both whispered in unison, and then they laughed.

“For frack’s sake, Chief!” snarled Saul. “The Old Man is waiting!”

And at the same time, One shook his head. “Always with the personal before business, eh, Boomer?”

The two men turned to glare at each other, and Brother Cavil from Scorpia chuckled, even as Ellen Tigh nudged Saul in the ribs with her elbow. “We have time, brothers and sisters—let these two celebrate their reunion,” he said softly. “Of course, we do not have unlimited time,” he continued with a smile. “Shall we join the Admiral?”

One by one, the remaining Cylons nodded and they filed in through the hatch, to see Admiral Adama, Commander Jayne, President Adama, Vice-President Zarek, and several members of the Thirteenth Tribe awaiting them.

William Adama waited until all of them took their seats and then he nodded at one of the guards. The guard stepped outside and ushered in Sidewinder, then he closed the hatch.

“Captain Greene has completed a recon pass over the several worlds which Weyland-Yutani has made available to use as their part of our bargain,” the Admiral said. “Sidewinder?”

“Of the six worlds whose coordinates we were given, three were . . . barely habitable, although possessed of a relatively high level of mineral wealth. The remaining three were far more suited to colonization,” he continued as pictures of the worlds appeared on the various monitors. “This one,” he said as he highlighted and enlarged one picture, “is probably the best choice that we have. It is a cooler world than Caprica or Scorpia—but not as cold as Aquaria was. Gravity and atmospheric pressure are well within the comfort range and the planet has liquid water in abundance—around 70% of the total surface area. Most of the oceanic ranges are salt-water, but there is ample inland fresh water and the vegetation and native life are edible. Furthermore, this system has large deposits of tylium ore in two separate asteroid fields.”

He sat and Adama stood again. “On behalf of the President,” he said with a nod to his son, “I have informed Director Sinclair of the ICC and Mister Weyland that we will accept this world. The civilian Fleet, escorted by Galactica and Aurora will be moving out to begin settlement within the next twelve hours.”

And murmurs of excitement carried around the room.

Adama nodded. “We have already begun discussing future operations against the Guardians, and Commander Lorne has some suggestions.” Adama nodded at the remaining guard, who opened the hatch—and Mathias Lorne was wheeled in, his face still looking wane from his recent surgery.

“Gentlemen, ladies,” he said softly with a slight wince. Saul Tigh shook his head—the man was tough, of that there was no question. But the bullet fired on Pegasus had severed his spine. This would be his final operation wearing the uniform of the Fleet.

“Once the Fleet arrives at Ophiucha—as the President and Quorum have decided to name our new colony—our primary objective will be to get the naval forces of the Thirteenth Tribe—of Earth—able to match our FTL capability to coordinate actions against the Guardians. I have suggested to the Admiral and the President that we remove the FTL drives from twenty of our civilian ships,” and gasps rose from across the room, “and refit them into Earth vessels of similar size.”

James Alistair Sinclair nodded. “The majority of our vessels are designed so that the engineering section can be detached in the event of catastrophic damage to the drive—the engineering modules can be replaced in a matter of days with the proper support elements, which the Admiral assures me that your Aurora can handle. Once we have tested the drives and ensured that the modifications are successful, that will give us a powerful mobile fleet able to respond instantly to any Guardian incursions—while at the same time, Weyland-Yutani will begin production of drives designed for Earth ships.” Sinclair smiled. “And that will also give us time to locate these . . . tylium deposits . . . and arrange to mine them, extract the ore, and refine them into usable fuel.”

Adama nodded. “We have enough tylium to support operations for several months and our refinery ships will begin processing additional fuel in the Ophiucha system—but that will be the bottleneck.” He scowled and glared at his son, before he shook his head. “Which is why the President has agreed to license tylium production to companies other than Weyland-Yutani.”

“In the meantime,” Lorne continued, “we may have an opportunity to slow down the Guardians. They have but a single Resurrection Ship remaining—and thanks to the Hidden Five we may well be able to locate it.”

The Cylons looked up in shock as Saul Tigh smiled. “We will shut down the replicant Resurrection Ship—and a volunteer will be killed and resurrected in the Guardian’s Fleet. We believe that we can trace the signal—and jump into those coordinates to attack and destroy that vessel. Should we be successful, Zoe will have no choice but to withdraw until she can rebuild the technology.”

“You are mad,” gasped One. “Shut down Resurrection? Our last Resurrection Ship? And one of us must commit suicide to appear in the metallic claws of the Guardians to be stripped of our flesh and bone?”

Sam Anders shook his head. “A Centurion or a Raptor will serve as well, John,” he said. “And yes—the Five of us have decided that we will not be restoring Resurrection or cloning technology. It cheapens our lives—makes each of us dispensable and disposable; we must learn to live our lives as humans, not as machines.”

One swayed, the blood draining from his face. “You condemn us to extinction! You cannot do this!”

“We have, John,” said Ellen. “And the Thir-,” she paused and smiled at Sinclair, “the people of Earth have agreed to correct the problems with our kind conceiving children. We will reproduce in the old-fashioned way—we will become human beings in truth, not just copies.”

“And how do you plan on getting to the Resurrection Ship?” Leoben asked. “Zoe will not leave it unguarded—her Fleet will be there in full force.”

“I’m counting on that,” growled Lorne. “Pegasus and Scorpia will jump in with full flight decks—our own Vipers and Raptors and Thunders as well as every fighter that Earth can spare. The Resurrection Ship is our primary target, but if we can also get a shot at Zoe’s Command Basestar,” he smiled very coldly. “Then we are going to send that bitch straight into the arms of Hades.”

“I have already agreed that we will support this attack with our own Basestar,” added Caprica Six—and Ones face turned a brilliant shade of crimson in shock. “Only a minimum crew will be aboard—the remainder will start our colony on Ophiucha. All available Centurions and Raiders will support our attack,” she added as she shook her head. “The President and Admiral Adama both will not allow either to land on Ophiucha—only human-form replicants.”

One started to protest, but Leoben laid his hand on his brother’s forearm. “We are all—other than you—in agreement, brother. The day has come to start a new course in truth. This is our chance to earn redemption.”

“And with the supplies onboard our five freighters,” added D’Anna, “we will be able to quickly begin our colonization efforts on Ophiucha.”

“Added to which,” chimed in Sinclair, “Earth will be providing support in exchange for your drive technology—among other technologies that you possess which will be very much desired by my people. And I believe that some of our technology will be sought after by yours.”

“This is madness,” One sputtered, throwing off Leoben’s hand from his forearm. “Even if you destroy Zoe’s Resurrection Ship, she still has the force advantage—she can press the attack!”

“Only at the cost of final death for every Guardian who perishes thereafter,” Boomer snapped. “No, John, they will withdraw. However, they will return and when they do so it will be in force.”

“Which is why we have to take this chance now,” Mathias said quietly. “We may not get another shot where we can cripple them in this manner.”

“Agreed, Commander,” said Adama. “If we could afford to wait until the Earth ships were refitted with our drives, we would—but we will get this opportunity only once. Mister President?”

Lee Adama nodded. “Approved. If it buys us even a year . . .,” and his voice trailed off.

“Then our losses will be worth it,” finished Mathias.

“When are you departing?” asked Tom Zarek—and Mathias and Adama exchanged a glance, and then Adama nodded.

“As soon as we load up as many fighters as we can on the decks of Pegasus and Scorpia,” he said. “And every single nuclear weapon we—and the Earth forces in system—can spare.”

For a moment no one said a word, and then Adama sighed. “It is said that fortune favors the bold,” he whispered. “Rear Admiral Lorne,” he said, stressing the first two words, “will command the operation from the command center aboard the Rebel Basestar. May the Lords of Kobol be with you. With all of you.”
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