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|January 13 2013, 08:08 PM||#46|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Battlestar Scorpia, Cerberus Anchorage. Halt your attack immediately—this is a direct order from the person of Rear Admiral Carson Trahn. Authentication codes follow,” the loudspeaker broadcast, just as Tom walked back into CIC.
“What the frack? Admiral Trahn?” he asked Mathias and the Commander nodded his own unease. Carson Trahn was on the board of the Fleet Advanced Projects Bureau—he wasn’t a line officer and he certainly should not be out here.
“Admiral Trahn’s personal codes are confirmed and authenticated, Commander,” reported Danis.
“Cerberus, Scorpia Actual—we have not yet begun to attack, Cerberus. Your guardship launched an ill-advised attack upon us. The crew aboard Aurora should be grateful that we resolved that illegal and unwarranted attack in a non-lethal manner.”
“Scorpia Actual, Cerberus Actual,” the loudspeaker said after a few moments. “I believe that matters have nearly gotten out of hand—what is your clearance from Picon Fleet Headquarters?”
“Cerberus Actual—seven months ago the Cylons launched an attack on the Colonies. Picon Fleet Headquarters was destroyed. Every Colony was struck with hundreds of nuclear warheads—the Fleet is gone. Scorpia is escorting survivors in an attempt to link up with other Fleet elements.”
There was a long pause. “I . . . see,” the Admiral on the far end of the line said slowly. “Perhaps it would be for the best, Commander, if you were to come aboard and brief me in person. Proceed with your Battlestar to Docking Bay three—all other ships to keep their distance or they will be fired upon.”
“Cerberus Actual, Scorpia Actual. Do you mean to suggest that I should halt recovery operations on Aurora and her pilots in order to dock this ship? I am officially and for the record requesting permission to take a Raptor across instead.” Mathias asked the question with a frown on his face and a small shake of his head.
Once again there was a pause and then the Admiral sighed. “Very well. Complete your recovery efforts and then dock. We will be expecting your Raptor while Scorpia completes the recovery operation. Cerberus out.”
Mathias racked the phone, and Tom swore. “I don’t like this, Commander,” he whispered. “We nearly blow away a Fleet ship and crew, and he doesn’t seem the least bit concerned? Not about our intentions or the lives of the people aboard, but he wants us to hard-dock? Where if we were hostile we could tear out the bowels of that station from point-blank range. And he was just going to leave the people on Aurora and in the Vipers out there to die?”
He sighed and nodded. “Agreed, Tom. Still, he’s an Admiral—I’m a Commander. You have the conn—and stay on full alert,” Mathias added.
“At least ta-. . .,” Tom began, but Mathias chuckled as he unracked the phone.
“Flight Operations, CIC. Have Prince spin up a Raptor for transport—with his guard detachement onboard,” the Commander ordered and then racked the phone.
“My pilot is the monarch of Virgon—and well, Virgon law, enshrined in the Articles of Colonization, requires that he have armed guards at all times, in all locations. Even if Trahn objects, he hasn’t a leg to stand legally to order them back to the ship.”
Tom smiled and he nodded. “Good hunting, Commander,” he said with a salute.
“You have the conn, Colonel,” Mathias answered before returning the salute and exiting CIC.
|January 13 2013, 10:18 PM||#47|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“As you were, Prince,” the Battlestar Commander said as Chief Sinclair and the deck gang readied a Raptor for the short flight. “You can fly that thing, right?”
“Sir. I can fly it quite well,” Hamish answered with a broad grin.
“Technically, he can fly, Gremlin,” added another voice—that of the Raptor Squadron XO, Jester, Lieutenant Andrew Martens. “But he isn’t combat qualified yet—are you, Prince?”
“Not yet, Jester,” Hamish replied in a clipped voice. “Not to worry, I will meet my qualifications within the month.”
“He has been working on it hard in the simulators, Gremlin,” Jester added with a grin. “And he’s not a bad pilot—that I can say.”
“You plan on riding along, Jester?” Mathias asked, taking in the flight suit and holstered sidearm.
“Prince doesn’t have an assigned EWO yet, and since I’m his check officer, that means I pulling that job for the moment. So, yes Sir, Gremlin, Sir, I’m riding along. Your grunts are already loaded.”
“Well, then,” said Mathias. “Time to get moving.”
Prince eased the Raptor into the docking bay aboard Cerberus and he gently sat down the Raptor and engaged the magnetic clamps in one smooth motion. Hamish turned his head—encased in the helmet and he nodded. “Precision is very important for Search and Rescue Operations, Commander—I might not yet be combat qualified, but I know how to set down a Raptor very precisely indeed.”
“That you do, Prince,” the Commander said as the elevator began to lower to the hanger bay located beneath the flight deck. Unlike his previous excursion in a Raptor, this time the Commander wore his duty uniform—not a flight suit. And today, he wasn’t hands-on-stick as the copilot either. Of course, the transfer had taken just two minutes from leaving Scorpia’s deck to landing here, so it wasn’t as if the pilot had needed a second. “Nice landing.”
“Thank you, Commander,” Hamish answered.
Mathias unstrapped himself and walked back into the troop compartment. “Jester briefed you two?” he asked.
“Sir,” answered Colour Sergeant Haast, with Walsh giving a nod as well. “We are here in case things go south—an event to be determined by you, Sir.”
“Exactly, gentle-. . .,” but for the second time in two days a subordinate interrupted Mathias.
“Colour Sergeant, soldier, or troop, Sir, if you please. I am no damned gentleman with a commission from the Crown or the Quorum.”
The Commander glared at the man for a moment, but then he snorted. “I stand corrected, Colour Sergeant Haast. I don’t like this situation and if things do . . .,” Mathias snorted as he repeated the NCOs words back, “go south, then I want good men at my back. Until then, however, keep your mouths shut and your weapons holstered and slung but ready. That goes for you and Jester as well, Prince.”
“Understood, Commander,” the pilot answered as Jester just nodded his acknowledgement. The Raptor jerked as the elevator came to a halt in the hanger deck. “Open her up,” Mathias ordered and Jester unsealed the hatch and swung it open.
A deck crew were already rushing forward with a mounting ladder, but Mathias ignored them and he jumped down from the stubby wing.
“Commander Lorne?” asked the officer of the deck as he came over saluted. “Lieutenant Spence, Officer of the Deck, Cerberus Anchorage. If you will come with me—your crew will be escorted to the pilot’s ready room.”
“That won’t be possible, I’m afraid,” Mathias said as he fell in step with the young man. “Captain Malcolm is my aide at the moment, and the remainder of the detail is his personal security detachement—Virgon law, I hate to say.”
The officer paused and then he sucked in a deep breath as he saw the Prince standing there. “I . . . see,” he said. “Admiral Trahn wanted to speak with you alone, Sir.”
“Well, I cannot violate the law, Lieutenant—nor can the Admiral—simply because it presents an inconvenience. Now, either escort us to the Admiral, or I and my people will return to my ship and the Admiral can pay me a visit onboard her.”
The young man blinked and then he nodded. “This way, Sir.”
“What the . . .,” Jester whispered as they passed through a set of almost sealed bulkhead en route to the ladders up. Mathias echoed that thought himself. The hanger bay was filled with fighters—a very different fighter from the normal Vipers.
Two very large and powerful engines were separated from each other, each capped by a forward assembly ending in a nose cone with cannon muzzles protruding from the four cardinal points—for a total of eight. A lifting body connected the two engine pods with a cockpit—two cockpits, Mathias noted. And outboard of the engine pods, she carried a two pairs of wings—one sharply canted delta wing above and longer straighter wing below.
Lieutenant Spence grinned. “You are the first outside of Cerberus Anchorage to see her, Commander. This is the new Thunder Mk I heavy strike fighter—ready for final acceptance trials as soon as Aurora’s replacement arrives on station and she returns to the Colonies. Do you have word on that? They are overdue.”
Mathias and his men stopped and stared at the officer of the deck. Damn, he thought. They haven’t been told. “Lieutenant,” he said gently, “there will be no replacement from the Colonies—the Cylons attacked in force and destroyed the Fleet . . . and all twelve Colonies.”
Spence blinked. “That is not a very amusing joke, Commander,” he said after working his jaw.
“Son,” Mathias said as he laid a hand on his shoulder. “That wasn’t a joke—those ships of mine out there? They carry all the survivors I could save. I am en route to rendezvous with other survivors—but the Colonies are lost.”
The young man swayed and the blood drained from his face, but Mathias’s strong hand kept him upright. He stared into the Commander’s eyes, hoping that he could see that Mathias was lying—but the eyes filled with sorrow and rage told him it was true. Spence swallowed.
And then he ran over to a refuse can and vomited up his morning meal.
|January 14 2013, 01:22 AM||#48|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“My apologies, Commander,” he began, but Mathias cut him off.
“None needed, Lieutenant—trust me,” he said with a smile, “I know the feeling of receiving it suddenly. These fighters,” he said with an appreciative grin, “are they ready for service?”
“Trials, Commander. They have been flight-tested, their avionics are installed, and all weapons are functional—but until Picon Command completes a one-year testing program, they won’t enter the Fl-. . .,” he grimaced. “That is to say, they still may have glitches in their systems that haven’t been found yet.”
“Lot of firepower,” commented Jester, “but with two engines they’ve gotta a lot slower to accelerate than a Viper.”
“Not as much as you might think, Lieutenant,” Spence replied. “The Thunders engines are larger and more powerful than those on a Viper—she can’t match a Viper for acceleration, but she’s got plenty of power and she is maneuverable. Eight guns forward and she carries the same ammo load as a Mark VII Viper for each of them. She’s got a longer range—bigger tanks, and having two engines eats less fuel than three—and she is equipped with four recessed hardpoints for standard Viper and Raptor ordnance,” he knelt and smiled. “Or each of those wells can hold a full sized Hydra.”
Mathias whistled as he crouched as well. “That gives her some options, all right. Why two cockpits? Vipers have always had one pilot—except for trainers.”
“The second cockpit is for an EWO, Commander. She carries a larger and more robust DRADIS system than even the Mark VII—not as long-ranged or capable as the one on a Raptor, but better than anything on any Viper in service. And she has the full jamming system of a Raptor. The EWO controls both and is responsible for DRADIS-guided long-missile locks,” he shook his head, “and the counter-measures pod.”
He stood and walked to the back of the fighter and nestled between the engines was an series of jettison ports. “She carries chaff pods, decoys, and flares, Commander. Damn shame she won’t ever get to the Fleet.”
“I don’t know about that, Lieutenant,” Mathias said as he laid his hand on the cold metal skin of the fighter. “You have crews for these aboard station?”
“Yes, sir. They sent out pilots and EWOs to learn how to handle these for the upcoming trials—a lot of it is simulator time though.”
“Good,” Mathias whispered. “I think we can find a use for these aboard Scorpia—work out those glitches and bugs, while we are it, Lieutenant.”
Spence looked down and then he shook his head. “I don’t think Admiral Trahn will let you take them—you aren’t on the list for them, Commander. And he is just a little bit,” Spence paused and he sighed, “a little bit set in his ways.”
“We will see, Lieutenant,” Mathias said with a sudden nod. “What is the complement of the Anchorage?”
“Three hundred Fleet personnel and two hundred civilians working for the government,” he answered promptly.
“Well, we are a classified research station, Commander,” the Lieutenant answered lightly. “I’ve kept you here too long; if you would follow me, I am certain that the Admiral is waiting.”
And following the Lieutenant, the five officers and men from Scorpia began to ascend the ladders.
A stout man dressed in the uniform of Colonial Fleet was ushered into CIC by the Marines. Colonel Jayne glared at the newcomer, who returned his gaze with fury in his own eyes.
“What the frack did you do to my ship!?” he bellowed.
“We prevented you from making a major mistake, Colonel Foeswan,” Tom said in a measured tone. “I am glad that it worked, because otherwise your ship would be a pile of expanding debris and five hundred eighty-three Colonial officers and crew would have lost their lives.”
Tom ignored the Colonel for a moment and he turned back to Marius Tyche. “Have the engineers reported any problems with removing the CNP and replacing it with the pre-update program?”
“No, sir. It should be completed in one hour and then the ship can power back up—her batteries are good for that long, Colonel.”
“Thank you, Mister Tyche,” Tom said as he turned around and planted both hands on the central console. “And now, Colonel Foeswan, why the Hells didn’t you get authorization from the station before you attacked us?”
The other ship commander blinked and then he sighed. “What makes you think I didn’t, Colonel? By all the Gods and Goddesses, this whole situation is just so fracked up,” he swore, running one hand through his thinning hair.
Tom inclined his head to one side. “The station ordered you to attack?”
“Admiral Trahn ordered me to disregard what you said about the Colonies and destroy you—with authenticated confirmation of that order, Colonel,” Foeswan said quietly. “What you said about the Colonies—is it true?”
Tom just nodded. “I thought as much,” the commander of Aurora said in a whisper. “Our relief is two months overdue, but the Admiral refused to even let us send a Raptor back to find out why. The man is a fanatic about security over his projects, Colonel. I’ll wager a hundred cubits that he is giving your Commander orders right now that this ship has now just joined the Cerberus Defense Fleet,” he finished in a sour tone.
“Like hell,” Tom snorted. “We’ve got Cylons on our ass in pursuit, Colonel—five Basestars. They will at least check this system,” he snorted. “The radiation takes time to work, and they don’t need that long to kill us.”
Mark Foeswan looked up, and his eyes were squinted. “Trahn isn’t going to let you go—he won’t authorize it.”
“So? He’s a pencil pusher, Colonel—never had a field command in his life. I looked up his record. He might have the rank to order us to stay, but you know the first thing I learned at the Academy a long time ago? Never give an order that will not be obeyed. Colonel, Scorpia and the ships we are riding herd will not be staying. It’s up to you if Aurora wants to come along—or stay here and wait on the Cylons.”
“He’s an Admiral,” Mark said through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, he is. But you know what? Putting a star on someone’s shoulder doesn’t make them as wise as Athena or as courageous as Herakles. I’ll trust Commander Lorne long before I trust this Trahn. And you’ve got a choice to make, Colonel. Come with us—where you and your ship might make a difference—or stay.”
Tom stood straight and he nodded to the Marines, who removed the shackles. “Either way, I think you need to get that ship back in fighting condition, Colonel. If you aren’t planning on attacking us again.”
“No. Not again, Colonel,” he lowered his head and he swore. “There are five hundred people on that station—forty percent of them civilians.”
Tom nodded. “How many can you accommodate?”
The man blinked. “Aurora can load almost all of them—but Trahn . . .,” and Tom cut him off.
“Don’t worry about Trahn, Colonel. Just get your ship fixed and ready to load those civilians—and any supplies we need.”
Foeswan nodded and then he came to attention and saluted—a gesture which Tom returned with equal gravity. And then he left, trailed by his Marine escort.
Tom picked up the phone. “Captain Aisne, CIC,” he said.
“Go, CIC,” the Marine answered after a moment.
“How long to draw up a plan to take that station by force, if it comes to it?” he asked.
“You’ve got ten,” and he racked the phone. “Captain Danis. Inform Cerberus we have completed recovery operations and are moving to dock as ordered. Major Tyche, set a leisurely course—ten minutes should be adequate.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” both officers answered.
And Tom Jayne put his hands behind his back and stared at the DRADIS display.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 14 2013 at 01:47 AM.
|January 14 2013, 05:26 PM||#49|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” a voice came from within. “You may wait outside—I will speak with our guest alone.”
“Commander?” Spence said as he held the hatch open.
Mathias nodded. “He doesn’t post Marines on his hatch, Lieutenant?”
“Captain Malcolm,” Mathias said. “Your detail will remain—for the moment. You are in command until I return,” he smiled slightly. “Hopefully, I won’t need you to come rescue me.”
“Aye, Sir,” Hamish answered as the Commander stepped over the coaming and the hatch shut behind him.
Rear Admiral Carson Trahn sat behind his desk and he didn’t look up at Mathias’s entry. “Commander, I have new orders for your command—effective immediately your Battlestar is now assigned to this station. Have you supply requirements that need to be met?”
“No, Sir, Admiral; nothing pressing, that is; however, I think you are laboring under a misconception—Scorpia is not here to serve as your guardship. The Colonies are gone, Sir. The Cylons are in pursuit and they will eventually find us—probably quite soon. It is our duty as Fleet officers to safeguard what is left of the human race . . . not to defend a station full of secrets that no longer matters.”
Trahn looked up and his eyes narrowed. “Commander, it is not my habit to issue orders a second time—be warned I can have you thrown in the brig.”
“Admiral, with all due respect, Sir, you are a staff officer—not a line officer. And regulations stipulate that in a combat situation, which this situation is liable to result in when the Cylons do locate us,” if not sooner, Mathias thought to himself, “command devolves upon the senior Flag Officer of the line, or lacking such, the senior Battlestar Commander on scene. Which would be me. Admiral Trahn, Sir.”
“Except that the Cylons will not be attacking us, Commander. They are well aware of the effects of this star’s radiation output. Only shielded vessels and stations such as this are safe for Cylon technology.”
“The radiation effects are not instantaneous, Sir. Tests at Ragnar showed that beyond all doubt more than forty years ago. The radiation takes time to degrade the Cylon effectiveness—time in which they can and will launch an attack to destroy my ship and the civilian vessels that are under my protection.”
Trahn snorted. “None of which matters, Commander. I have taken measures to ensure that this Anchorage will remain safe from Cylon predation.”
“Sir?” asked Mathias as he felt his skin crawl at Trahn’s words.
“Did you think that Cerberus went unnoticed for seven months, Commander? No, I am quite aware that the Colonies have been destroyed, but to protect my people, I have established a . . . dialogue with the Cylons. My research interests them greatly,” he said as he removed one glove to reveal a gleaming chrome prosthetic limb. “We can no longer fear the integration of man and machine, Commander,” and from the shadows at the rear of the office, a single red-eye woke to light—and a Centurion, an old-model Centurion, stepped forward.
“You will remain here—or you will die.”
|January 14 2013, 07:07 PM||#50|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
The Admiral snorted. “Cylons are not embodiments of evil, Commander—they are sapient creatures capable of individual thought and action. They have nothing to fear from the few of us that remain—so long as we show them that we are willing to have peace.”
“A peace bought with thirty-one billion dead human beings, Admiral?”
“Tragic—but it cannot be changed. It is my research that is buying you and your men a second chance at life, Commander. I urge you, do not make the wrong decision—my assistant here, he is not as . . . forgiving, as I.”
The Cylon raised his assault rifle, and Mathias shook his head. “If he shoots, my people will be in here—and yours, Admiral. How many of them know you have a Cylon on this station? How many of them know about the deal you have made?”
Trahn frowned. “Put down the gun,” he ordered, and the Cylon looked at him. “Put down the gun,” he growled, and the Admiral sighed as the Centurion lowered the weapon. “By far the majority of the people assigned to this station are short-sighted fools willing to die for the honor of the Fleet, Commander. They would condemn humanity to extinction out of pride and fear, whereas I will save our species. Even without his gun, the Centurion can kill you with his bare limbs—you know that.”
“Live as slaves,” Mathias snapped. “And only as long as the Cylons are willing to keep us alive—don’t you see that, Admiral?”
“You are like all the rest,” Trahn spat as he walked around his desk. “You ignore the big picture; you are blind to how our fear of technology has constrained us! I have developed limbs that can be interfaced with human neural systems—I can feel with this arm, Commander! Why should we be afraid of using this technology to allow those who have been crippled and maimed to live full and productive lives! The Fleet refused to allow these experiments—and we lost the technological high ground to the Cylons. THREE MONTHS! It took three months with Cylon aid for me to develop this!” he thundered, gesturing towards his arm.
“And how did you lose that arm, Admiral?”
“Lose? I didn’t lose my arm, Commander—the technology had to be tested. I allowed my Cylon assistants to remove my arm so that I could prove this technology worked,” and he smiled. “And I restored my own flesh by grafting it onto one of the Centurion Commanders. We are on the verge of being not two species—but becoming one merged race of both organic and artificial life, sharing among ourselves the best of both worlds.”
“You are insane,” Mathias whispered.
“And you are blind—our deaths will be the end of humanity, Commander. Is that better than ensuring the survival of our people? Than seeing us evolve and thrive? I will end this war, because in the end there will be no Cylon and no human—only what will come from this merging. A new lifeform will come into being, stronger, smarter, more resilient. And we will know peace.”
Only the thrum of the Cylon could be heard in the office and Mathias shook his head. “Captain Malcolm, did you copy that?”
“Yes, sir,” emerged the voice of Hamish from the wireless hidden in Mathias’s uniform jacket, as the hatch opened and he led Jester and his guards—and Lieutenant Spence—inside with their weapons drawn. “And Lieutenant Spence had it piped through to the entire station along with Scorpia, Anubis, and Aurora.”
Trahn’s jaw worked and his eyes went wide. “You fools—you are throwing away our only chance at survival! Kill them!” he barked at the Centurion.
“By your command,” the Centurion answered as he raised the weapon—Mathias dove behind the cover of the desk as the two body-guards of Hamish’s detail squeezed their own triggers. The heavy bullets slammed into the Centurion, Jester and Hamish and Spence adding their own pistol fire. The Cylon’s gun barked, tearing up a line in the carpet of the office as he raised his weapon, but his eye sensor shattered under the storm of slugs and the weapon went quiet; the Cylon fell over to the deck.
“I am in command here!” bellowed Trahn, as Mathias stood. “You will stand down, now, before you ruin everything!”
“I don’t think so, Admiral,” the Commander said as he held out his hand and Jester placed a sidearm there. Mathias chambered a round. “Admiral Trahn, I hereby find you guilty of aiding and abetting the Cylons, of multiple breaches of Colonial law, and of treason against the human race.”
“You have no authority over me,” Trahn snarled, and then his facial expression changed as the bullet caught him in the chest, and he looked down at the spreading red strain in astonishment.
“Debatable, Admiral,” Mathias answered. “Captain Malcolm—have you the wireless,” he paused as Hamish held out the portable system. “Thank you. Colonel Jayne—I want this station searched for Cylons. Get the staff aboard our ships and grab what we can. We may not have much time.”
“Marines are boarding the station now—Colonel Foeswan is with us, Commander.”
Trahn looked up. “They will hound you to the far corners of Hell, Commander,” he whispered. “You have doomed the human race today.”
“Admiral, I’d rather die a human being fighting for my freedom than to live as a half-Cylon slave. And so would these people,” Mathias placed his pistol muzzle against the Admiral’s forehead, and without another word, he squeezed the trigger; Trahn fell back against the deck, his legs twitching, but otherwise dead.
Mathias turned to Lieutenant Spence. “Lieutenant, let’s get your pilots in those birds on the hanger deck—I want them on Scorpia in the next ten minutes. Have you a manifest of the ordnance storage here?”
“I can pull it up on the system,” the Lieutenant answered as echoes of gunfire began to bark along the corridors.
“Commander, this is Captain Aisne—we are engaging Centurions on Deck Six—Communications. They killed the on-duty crew and have transmitted a message.”
Mathias winced. “Time is running out people,” he broadcast. “Get the staff and civilians aboard and what we can grab—where is that manifest, Lieutenant?”
“Here, Sir,” he said as the computer monitor on Trahn’s desk pulled up the screen. Mathias ran his finger down the screen and then he nodded. He lifted the wireless to his lips again.
“Colonel Jayne, have a transport crew meet us at Ordnance Storage Four—Deck Three,” he ordered and began to jog out into the corridor.
“And what are we going to find in Ordnance Storage Four, Commander?” asked Hamish as he ran alongside the Commander.
“A dozen nuclear weapons, Captain Malcolm. And I want all of them.”
|January 14 2013, 09:10 PM||#51|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Mathias cursed. Sinclair and his men were emptying the Ordnance Locker quickly—but it was still taking too long. “Understood, Captain. Destroy the controls in Primary Life Support and fall back on the ship,” he ordered. “Lieutenant Spence, just where are they coming from?” The ‘and how the fracking hells did they get aboard?’ went unsaid.
He pulled up a schematic of the Anchorage on a portable monitor. “The lower twelve decks are restricted areas—isolated from the normal crew and accessed only by the Admiral and hand-picked research personnel. Most of them were on duty when you came aboard, Commander,” the young reported. “That section has their own Raptor hanger—the Admiral must have ferried them across a few at a time.”
Mathias looked at the schematic and then he blanched. “Is that an industrial fabrication complex?”
“Yes, sir. We are equipped to produce our own parts.”
“How long has that area been restricted?” he asked with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
“Over half a year, Commander,” Spence said, his face turning a pasty white. “You don’t think . . .?”
“Can we pull up the security footage from the recorders in that area?”
“I’ll have to override the Admiral’s codes,” the Lieutenant said as he frowned and began to access different files. “Got it, Commander.”
“Oh frack all of us,” Mathias whispered as the camera began to transmit. “That bloody madman allowed the Centurions to build a Cylon construction complex down there!” And the camera suddenly jerked and went dead.
Mathias picked up the wireless again. “All personnel, this is the Commander! We are leaving! Get aboard ship ASAP!”
Daniel Sinclair nodded and he barked orders. “We’ve got all of the nukes, Commander—there are still plenty of shells and missiles in there, though.”
“No time, Chief,” Mathias answered. “Is that the last warhead?”
“Yes, sir—waiting on a pallet for it.”
“Go ahead and get the rest back to Scorpia and stand by to separate from the station, Chief—leave that one here with me.”
“With you? Commander, the Colonel will have my hide if I leave you behind.”
“I’ll be right behind you, Chief. First thought, I need to arm this warhead for detonation.”
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Sinclair sucked in a deep breath and then he nodded. “Holmes! Give the Commander your tools—everyone else move! See you onboard, Sir.”
“Arm it?” asked Spence. “Commander we don’t have the codes to arm it—only the Admiral had those.”
“The codes are a fail-safe, Lieutenant. But if you know how the weapon is designed, you can,” Mathias grunted as he triggered the auto-wrench and ratcheted off the bolts that held the access panel in place, “bypass the entire lock system and arm it manually.”
“The thing is, you still need codes only Battlestar Commanders have access to override the normal arming procedure—any mistakes, any at all, and the system locks down and the weapon won’t initiate fission upon detonation.”
Mathias peeled of the cover and he took out a pair of heavy wire cutters. “Here goes,” he said as he cut three wires and pulled free the code box. Underneath the box lay another panel, a covered key-pad, and a count-down timer which flickered on, showing 0:30, then 0:29, and 0:28. And three red lights slowly pulsed to the side.
“Is it supposed to do that?” Spence asked as he held a light shining down on the access port.
“Thirty seconds from removing the code box until lockdown, Lieutenant,” Mathias said as he pried up the key cover and tapped in a fourteen digit code then hit enter. One light turned green. He tapped in a second code, and the second of the three lights turned green. And then a third one—and the countdown timer suddenly blanked.
Mathias sat back and sighed. “Colonel Jayne, I’m setting the self-destruct on ten minutes—we need to be aboard ship and clear of the station by the end of that time. Make it happen.”
Without waiting for an answer, the Commander reached back in and pressed delay, one, zero, zero, zero, and arm. And the counter display spooled up to read 10:00, and then 9:59, 9:58, 9:57, as the green lights started to strobe.
“Time to go,” Mathias ordered as he stood.
|January 14 2013, 11:47 PM||#52|
Location: The varied and beautiful Chicagoland suburbs.
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!
|January 15 2013, 08:00 PM||#53|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“The command, flight, and personnel decks are heavily shielded from all radiation,” Lieutenant Spence answered. “As are the research labs and manufacturing plants on the lower decks. Only the ship docks, fuel tankage, general stores, and ordnance lockers on the mid-decks are permeable to the radiation.”
“Exactly,” wheezed Mathias as he rounded another ladder and paused at a hatch to catch his breath. He checked his timepiece—five minutes to go, but Scorpia was docked on this deck. “Their systems will begin degradation upon exposure—but it takes prolonged exposure to render them inert. Let’s go,” he said.
Hamish opened the hatch, and immediately the sounds of gunfire echoed through the access ladders. The pilot and his guards checked left and right, and then Prince called out, “Clear.”
The six of them began moving fast and steady—not running headlong, but not tarrying either. Finally, the corridor opened into a large docking bay with the open air-lock on the side of Scorpia’s bow facing them.
The Marines were deployed around the airlock, with two machine-guns thundering away at the Cylons trying to force through a passage. Mathias ducked low and he ran across, halting behind Captain Aisne.
“Board ship, Captain!” Mathias yelled. And he got a thumbs up in reply. The Marines gave him covering fire as he sprinted for the airlock and entered his ship again. The Commander lifted the phone. “Colonel Jayne, prepare to disengage from the station on my command.”
“Standing by,” the XO replied. Mathias looked at his time piece again and he frowned. Four minutes and counting. Come on, Liam, move your ass. At that moment, there was a massive explosion from the dock—the Marines had used a anti-tank rocket to clear the passageway, and a stream of Marines came running through the lock, carrying their weapons and gear. Last among them was Liam Aisne, who pulled shut the outer hatch behind him and sealed it.
“Go, Tom!” Mathias barked. “Push the engines to max—but get us clear!” And he looked down at the panting Marine next to him as a mighty CLUNK signaled that the clamps had been disengaged.
Liam Aisne nodded. “Had to break out the heavy weapons—but we held them, Commander,” he said wincing. And Mathias saw the red stain on the shoulder of his uniform.
“Corpsman!” he snapped, and a medic came over.
“I’ll be fine, Sir,” the Captain said. “We lost some good men, and there are others hurt worse than me.”
Lieutenant Shiro Gian stepped up and pressed a compass onto the wound. “I hate leaving all that stuff behind, Commander. There were three years worth of parts and supplies—food and air!—aboard that station.”
“Can’t be helped, Lieutenant,” Mathias answered. “How much did we secure?”
“Enough ordnance to fill our magazines—on all ships; well, except for those two Hades we used on Delphi. Aurora has a full load of tylium, and we managed to get some parts and provisions loaded in her cargo bays.”
“The station crew?”
“Aurora has three hundred twenty-seven onboard—we got sixty. The rest?” The supply officer shrugged.
Mathias nodded. “Get that shoulder treated, Captain Aisne. I’ll be in CIC.”
“Colonel,” Danis called out, “we have a Raptor departing the station from the lower flight decks.”
“Vector CAP to engage,” he ordered, but she was already shaking her head.
“He jumped immediately after launching, Sir.”
Tom nodded and he glanced at the DRADIS display. Scorpia was clear of the station and now all four of the powerful space-normal thrust drives were on-line and at full power. Slowly—oh, so slowly—she was opening up the distance between her and the station. Aurora had a head-start, almost at the coordinates where Anubis rode herd on the civilian ships. He checked the clock again and double-checked the range—and he relaxed. They had cleared minimum safe distance.
The Commander walked into CIC. “Time?” he asked.
“Eighteen seconds, mark,” answered Tom.
“New contact—three Basestars, launching Raiders!” Danis sang out. “Gemini-class Basestars, Commander,” her surprise at seeing relics of the First Cylon War plainly evident.
“Recover the CAP, have all ships spin up FTL drives for emergency jump,” he ordered, and Tom repeated the commands.
“There she goes,” whispered Marius Tyche as the icon of Cerberus station suddenly vanished in a glare—the wash of radiation from the explosion sending static across the DRADIS.
“All guns free and ready to engage, Commander—Aurora requests permission to support,” Paul Cook reported.
“Denied. She jumps after the civilians—Scorpia has rear-guard,” Mathias answered.
“New contacts! FIVE Basestars—the type we saw over the colonies, Sir,” Danis quickly informed Mathias. “They are launching Raiders . . . Sir! The two groups are engaging each other!” And a cheer went up across the CIC.
“Time to jump?”
“Ten seconds until the first civilian is away,” answered Marius.
Tom stepped up close. “We could turn around and add to the chaos, Mat,” he said.
Mathias grinned, and then he winced. “No. Our duty is to the civilians—let the Cylons kill each other today, Tom. Let’s jump out of here as soon as they are all away.”
“Civilian vessels have begun . . ., correction, they have completed jump. Anubis and Aurora are away,” Marius sang out from his station.
Tom nodded his sad agreement with Mathias, and then the Colonel stepped back and turned to face the operations officer. “Engage FTL drives, Major Tyche,” he ordered. And Scorpia jumped.
|January 16 2013, 02:42 AM||#54|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Sinclair shook his head. “I don’t care if you have an entire ground wing of people assigned to pull maintenance on these, these . . . things,” he spat, waving a hand at the Thunder fighters parked on his flight deck. “On my deck, everyone works on what needs to be worked on—that means my folks need to get up to speed, and that your ground crews need to recheck their certification on the Viper Mk VI!”
“Look, Chief,” Captain Simon Tarkin said through clenched teeth, “the Thunders are cutting edge—our people know the systems. Yours don’t. So there ain’t one of you who is pulling a wrench on these birds.”
“My rank is Senior Chief!” Sinclair bellowed. “And this is my deck, Captain! Down here, I’m in charge—and you bet we need to get up to speed so that none of my people are put in danger by an untested aircraft operating on this deck! I want the aircraft maintenance manuals for these birds—and their maintenance logs—and I want them now, or this whole fracking squadron is grounded!”
“Like HELL!” Tarkin yelled right back . . . and he backed down as a third person stepped up between them.
Colonel Jayne glared at both of the men. “You two want to settle this with fisticuffs, head on down the gym—but the flight deck is not a place for two senior officers and NCOs on this Battlestar to go head-to-head, gentlemen. Now what is the problem?”
Both men began to talk at once.
“THAT IS ENOUGH!” roared Jayne.
“Senior Chief Petty Officer Sinclair, what is the problem?”
The deck boss worked his jaw and glared at the pilot that was new to the flight deck of the Scorpia. “Captain Tarkin claims that my people aren’t qualified to do our job on those . . . imitation . . . fighters,” he growled, “that he landed on my deck. My deck!”
“And he is right,” Tom said calmly. He held up a hand and smiled as his hot-headed chief of the deck started to wind himself back up. “YET, Senior Chief. Captain Tarkin, I want the aircraft maintenance manuals and logs for those birds handed over to Senior Chief Sinclair ASAP—is that understood?”
“Sir, I,” Tarkin began, but Tom cut him off.
“The only words I want to hear come out of your mouth, Hunter, are ‘Aye, aye, Sir.’ Care to try that again?”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” he answered.
“Good. Now, that being said Senior Chief Sinclair, until your people come to up speed—to MY satisfaction—they aren’t laying their hands on those new birds. So I would advise you to light a fire under your people. In the meantime, we do have personnel from Cerberus who are trained to perform maintenance on the Thunder Mk I—we are not grounding them so long as they can keep them flying.”
“And we need to have people cross-trained in these birds, Hunter. I want you to make certain that Rambler gets several copies of the aircraft flight manuals—you have a simulator program?”
Hunter winced. “We do, Colonel. This isn’t a good idea—my entire squadron is built around test-qualified pilots, Sir. The Thunder is going to be a good fighter, but it hasn’t been proven yet—nor have all the bugs been worked out.”
Tom snorted. “I’m the XO aboard this Battlestar, Hunter. That means my ideas are always good ideas—as far as a Captain and a Senior Chief Petty Officer are concerned. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Sir!” barked Tarkin and Sinclair in unison.
“Good. Now, exactly how ready are your pilots, Hunter?”
“My crews,” he answered, putting stress on the second word, “are supposed to be testing this aircraft back on Picon right now. They are 100% familiar with the aircraft, Colonel, and are all highly trained specialists. They can fly CAP no problem, if that is what you are asking. Heck,” and Hunter smiled, “we wouldn’t mind flying a strike against a Basestar to tell you the truth.”
“I don’t doubt that, Hunter,” Tom said quietly. “Nor does Senior Chief Sinclair. How long to get them back up to speed on Battlestar Flight Operations?”
“We’ll be ready by tomorrow—they all have at least five hundred flight deck landings on their jackets. They know the drill, Colonel.”
“Good. Senior Chief Sinclair, do you have any further issues?”
“Only that the damn birds are too wide,” he grumbled. “There is just four centimeters of clearance between the wingtips and the launch tube—four fracking centimeters! That’s cutting it a bit close, Sir.”
“They cut it close,” Hunter agreed, “but a properly aligned magnetic catapult will—should—still operate nominally and allow a launch without kissing the tube.”
“With no margin for error, Captain,” the deck-boss snarled, but then he sighed and scratched his scalp. “We’ll make it work, Colonel.”
“Good. See to it that both of you—and your people—do. I’m not about to let twenty brand-new fighters rust and their pilots get out of shape because the squadron commander and the chief of the deck are at odds,” Tom said.
And then Sinclair began to chuckle. “You find something humorous, COD?”
“I was just thinking, Sir. How two days ago I was thinking how fracked we were with just fifty operational Vipers. Now we’ve got seventy and twenty of these abominations. Don’t worry, Sir—don’t let the Commander worry. We’ll get it done.”
Tom nodded at the two men and then he headed back up the ladder, to complete his mid-watch tour of the ship.
|January 16 2013, 06:09 AM||#55|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Two years, Sir,” she said. She nodded. “I’m sure, Sir—we’re sure. We were wanting to wait until this assignment . . .,” her voice trailed.
And Mathias nodded. “And then the world ended,” he said softly.
“I want to make it official with Irina, Commander. I want to bind myself to her before the civil authority of the Colonies and all of the Gods—I want to make sure that if I die out there,” Hope said, as a tear leaked down her cheek, “that she knows I loved her, that she gets my flag and my wings.”
“Well, then,” the Commander said. “You have my permission—and my approval, Digger,” he said with a wide grin. And then he laughed. “You know, I have never actually performed this ceremony—I can’t think of a Battlestar Commander who has. You might need to give me a few days to reread the service; I’d hate to get something important wrong.”
Hope wiped her cheek and she beamed a brilliant smile back at the Commander. “Thank you, Sir. We had hoped to have a religious ceremony on Aerilon before . . . before we found out what had happened. My parents wouldn’t have approved, you see—they might have been from Scorpia, but they were very conservative . . . about sexuality and station, both. Irina being from Aerilon—and a woman—they . . .,” she sniffed, “in time they would have accepted it, but not soon.”
“Even with her being an accredited scientist?” Mathias asked. He knew well that Scorpia’s hedonism wasn’t exactly as the other Colonies had portrayed it—no world fit every stereotype, including his own homeworld . . . and Hopes.
She smiled. “In time, to be sure. But that lower class twang in her voice, oh, I can see them in my mind just grinding their teeth.”
“Surely we have a priest or priestess among the civilians?” Mathias asked. “If it is important to you—Hope, it is your day, yours and Irinas. If you want a priest, I won’t mind.”
Hope sighed. “There are four—all from Gemenon. Two who worship Hera, and one each for Athena and Artemis. They were attending a conference on Virgon and were saved by Captain Malcolm’s men. Unfortunately, all four of them are from the strictest Gemenon sects—they absolutely refuse to condone a marriage between two women.”
Mathias nodded sadly. “And I’ll bet all four of them are clamoring with their ship captains to see me and demand that stop this—probably citing that the marriage will remove two women of breeding age from society.”
Hope snorted. “That was almost their words exactly, Commander.”
“They can moan and groan all they want, Captain, but I’ll be damned if let them turn back the clock and deny a woman’s rights—you have my word on that.”
Hope gave a small nod. “Thank you, Commander. So, despite what we want, it looks like you might have dust off that old manual of regulations, Sir.”
Mathias laughed. “That depends, Hope—does your priest have to actually believe in the Gods, or is it enough that he has been ordained?”
“You want me to what?” asked Brother Cavil a short time later. He sat down in the small, but actually quite pleasant little stateroom that the Commander had moved him to. Two guards were posted on the doors—and two more on those of the adjourning quarters assigned to Sam Anders—but those were more for Cavil’s protection than for anything else. Cavil had been astonished, to say the least, when the Commander had come down into the brig and ordered that he and Sam be removed.
“Mister Anders,” he had said, “is an innocent in this and he will not be locked up with that . . . person,” pointing at Daniel Graystone. “And you, Brother Cavil—I am giving you a chance to prove that you are willing to live alongside humans. I think you have might actually have a soul; a trait that Doctor Graystone appears to lack.”
His wound had been treated, and the rations were certainly much better—the Commander had even sent him six bottles of Scorpia Necrosia after he had shut down Aurora and her fighters at Cerberus. He had books, and a bed with blankets, and clothing that wasn’t bright orange; a head that was private, and he was not being observed every second of every unending hour in a room where the lights were never dimmed.
Cavil shuddered. That was his first experience with a brig—and he hoped it would be the last.
Of course, the computer station had been removed, along with the phone hard-wired into the ship’s internal communications. But he had a music player and many selections—and it was better than that sterile brig, imprisoned next to Father Daniel who had tampered with Cavil’s mind! He felt a chill at that thought—his mind was sacrosanct; how dare Father Daniel do that? Now, he questioned all of his experiences, his memories, his thoughts, trying to discover what was true—and what was a fiction.
It was maddening. And yet, he was still enough of a One that he found it amusing and ironic that his own line had chosen to remove the knowledge of the Lost Five from the others. Perhaps he and Daniel were closer in spirit than either Cavil or Lorne cared to admit?
But, Brother Cavil shook his head again and he set aside the wool-gathering. “You want me, a Cylon who doesn’t believe in a God or Gods, to conduct a religious wedding ceremony on a Battlestar fleeing the total holocaust of your Colonies? Can’t you find a single surviving Gemenon priest? They were like the most common profession on the planet.”
Mathias grinned at Cavil and then he nodded to the Marine standing inside the hatch. He knocked, and the hatch opened, and Hope and Irina came in, holding hands.
“Ah,” said Cavil. “I just bet the Gemenesse loved it when you asked them to marry two women. Why don’t you do it, Commander? That is a traditional power of a ship’s Commander, is it not?”
“These two want a proper ceremony—a religious ceremony officiated by a priest. Even if the priest in question doesn’t appear to believe in the Gods or Goddesses after all.”
Cavil sighed and he shook his head again. “Sit, you two,” he ordered and then he snorted. “You two want an ordained apostate Cylon prisoner to marry you?”
“To conduct the ceremony, Brother Cavil—you aren’t our type even if a Scorpia-legal three-partner marriage would make the Gemenon priests even madder than they already are,” Hope answered tartly.
Cavil snorted again.
“The Commander says that you had nothing—personally—to do with the attack on the Colonies. And that you seem different from the other Cylons in that you might be willing to let humanity live in peace,” she continued. “You aren’t our first choice, but yes. Irina and I are willing to let you conduct the ceremony that will wed us,” and she squeezed her fiancée’s hand, which Irina returned.
“Will it be a private ceremony, then? Here? Now?”
Both of the women looked shocked and Mathias chuckled. “A few days yet, Brother Cavil. And it will be a small ceremony—just a few friends and senior officers; that is, if I am invited to the festivities?”
“Certainly, Sir!” Hope answered quickly.
“We would delighted if you would attend, Commander,” added Irina with a smile.
Cavil sighed. “You should know that I take my responsibilities quite seriously. If you want the full ceremony,” and both nodded, “then it must be done right. Which means, I need to interview each of you alone,” he sighed again and nodded to Mathias, “a guard can be present, yes, and determine for myself that this union is what you both want. Demeter or Dionysus? The Dionysian ceremony is certainly more exciting. Especially when performed in the traditional nude.”
Hope and Irina looked at each other, and then Irina nodded. “Aurora—the Goddess of the Dawn to signify that a new day has begun for us both.”
Cavil’s upper lip quivered and he canted his head to one side and nodded. “I know her ceremony. Very well, I accept. I have one last question, however—which of you is dominant in this relationship?”
Irina chuckled as Hope blushed. “That would be me, Brother Cavil,” the Aerilon scientist said.
“Good. Then I know whom to address the masculine part of the ceremony towards, and the feminine.”
|January 17 2013, 08:35 PM||#56|
Location: The varied and beautiful Chicagoland suburbs.
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!
|January 19 2013, 03:57 AM||#57|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Denise chuckled. “It will be good to have a full crew taking care of the gripe sheet, XO,” she said. “I was about to start impressing Deck personnel for maintenance.”
Mathias nodded from the head of the table. “Getting back up to full strength is good, but we have problems on the horizon, ladies and gentlemen. With the exception of this ship and Aurora, none of these vessels were designed for long-term deployments. For the moment, we are good on fuel, water, provisions, and parts—that will not last,” he said in a sober tone. “We need to start looking ahead. Furthermore, we have a large number of civilians aboard this flotilla; civilians that need to be told everything is going to be all right, that we will one day return to life as normal, that have something to do.”
The Commander looked at the faces of his senior officers—including Sam and Mark Foeswan, as well those he had selected to command the other ships—and he sighed. “I understand that we have had three suicides aboard Leonis Pryde?”
Namer scowled. “One suicide—and two murders. One of the civilians managed to get hold of a gun and killed his wife and son before taking his own life. He left behind a long note ‘explaining’ how the future was hopeless and that it was better to end it now before they suffered more.” He shrugged. “Most of these people are not used to the cramped environment, the lighting, the odd smells—at least when they were fighting the Cylons on the Colonies, they felt like they a purpose. Now? They are cargo.”
“And we are going to change that,” Mathias said grimly.
“How?” asked Paul Cook. “Our ships have full crews—anything we give the civilians to do will be make-work, at best.”
“We will train those that are willing in operating these ships, gentlemen. We will take casualties—that is a given. And what we have here, today, is all that we are ever going to have.”
“Until we find Galactica, you mean,” Dr. Sarris added.
“If we find Galactica, Doctor,” corrected Mathias. “It is a very large galaxy out there.”
“Commander,” Marius Tyche said, “not all of these people are suited to the Fleet. Not by far.”
“No. But those that are, gentlemen, we are give them assignments and we are going to teach them, and we are going to keep them occupied—keep their minds on doing and not sitting. And for those who aren’t willing or qualified to learn electronics or mechanics or engineering; well, we need to have clothing cleaned, food prepared, compartments scrubbed—people, I don’t want anyone sitting around on their backside feeling sorry for themselves. With this many people, there is no excuse for having any gripes on the sheets of your ships—NONE.”
“What about the children? There are nearly four hundred children among the survivors.” asked Sam.
“They are going to school—starting in three days. Vacation is over. Doctor Sarris, between your people and the handful of researchers from Cerberus we saved, I think we have enough qualified academics to teach these children.”
“We don’t have text books, or assignment books, or . . .,” Doctor Sarris started to argue, but Mathias cut him off.
“So? You have your minds—so do the children. I don’t care if you use chalkboards—Scorpia has several hundreds of kilos of chalk aboard that we use for various purposes. Major Caldwell and Colonel Foeswan have even more on their ships. If we have to use slate and chalk they will be taught. They will be educated. In math. In science. In history. In government. In literature. In the arts. We will not condemn the next generation to grow up ignorant due to the needs of the moment. Is that understood?”
One-by-one, the officers nodded.
“Good. Now, next measure of business—currency.”
Jon Namer grinned—he had already had several rousing discussions on this very subject with the Commander.
“Mister Namer is correct. Our people are used to have money. Starting today, the machine shops will be minting our own cubits. Every civilian will receive a stipend—those who are willing to learn will receive a greater one than those who aren’t. Our crews will be paid with these faux-cubits. And,” Mathias sighed. “Those cubits will be used to establish a means of buying the luxury goods we seized from Mister Laveride’s little ship. Get your people used to the idea because their pay is going to take a drastic cut—crew and pilots and officers will not have enough cubits to get cigars or booze anytime they want. But hopefully,” Mathias nodded to Namer, who nodded right back, “this will manage to cut off the incipient black market at its knees. Don’t kid yourself—it’s out there and if they don’t have money they will trade other things.”
“Guns, ammunition, sex,” said Tom in a sour voice.
“It’s human, and we need to cut that off before it begins, people,” added Mathias. “On our ships, we will take a zero-tolerance policy to black market deals—I know that some of Laveride’s people are still aboard. I don’t care. There will be no loan sharks. There will be no pimps. There will be no drug dealers. There will be no organized crime. And if need be, we will enforce that with Marines.”
“I’m not sure it can be done, Commander,” Namer said, shaking his head. “I ain’t gonna be fighting you on it, because I agree, but I don’t know if we can stamp it out completely.”
“If we don’t try, Mister Namer, then we will never succeed. How is the search for Kobol coming, Doctor?” Mathias asked, moving on to the next topic.
“Actually, we may have coordinates,” Neil answered. “Sam Anders has begun working with us—he is furious that he is a Cylon; technically a Cylon. But he has opened up with every bit of information that they downloaded into his brain. Give us a few months and I think we might be able to double the range at which you calculate a jump. But that is beside the point—Anders has been able to identify many of the local stars that the Cylons have explored and we have not. Between his knowledge and the descriptions in the religious texts, we may have found the location of Kobol,” Neil paused. “Mister Anders has suggested something that we might have to consider as well. We are all aware of how Brother Cavil interfaced with our systems at Cerebus—according to Mister Anders, he is able to interface with a Basestar. If we can manage to get him aboard one, we might be able to find out where Galactica and Pegasus are operating—and coordinates to get there.”
“Sounds simple enough,” Tom said in a sarcastic tone, “just find a Basestar, hold them and their Raider complement off long enough to board them, fight through their internal Centurion defenders, raid their computer databanks, fight their way back out again, recover the team—including one rather indispensible Cylon agent who will be the only one carrying the data we retrieve—, and get them back aboard to jump away before a single Raider can summon help. Does that about sum it up, Doctor?”
Neil Sarris sighed. “I did not imagine it would be an easy task, Colonel Jayne. But it is my duty to bring up that it is a possibility that we need to consider.”
“And we will take it under advisement, Doctor Sarris,” Mathias said. “If an opportunity presents itself, we may well take up Mister Anders on his offer—how far distant are those coordinates you have managed to discover?”
“That close?” Mathias mused. “Very well, then. Provide Colonel Jayne with the coordinates and we will get Navigation to give them a double-check. If everything works out with the equations, then we will head for the home of the Gods. Is there anything else?”
No one spoke. “Then we are adjourned, gentlemen. There will be a wedding ceremony in the chapel aboard Scorpia tomorrow at 1400 hours; dress uniforms for those attending. Off-duty personnel only.”
And with that, Mathias stood.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 19 2013 at 04:25 PM.
|January 19 2013, 06:05 PM||#58|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Before Jon Namer could reply, another older man—a Tauron by birth, but a well-regarded member of the SMF regardless—snorted in derision. “Kurt, look at where we are. The Cylons have utterly gutted the Colonial government—including those tyrannical bastards on Saggitaron we fought against. That government is dead and gone—and so will we if refuse to adapt. We’ve got six hundred men, women, and children from the SMF left alive; six hundred!”
He glared at the individual leaders of the SMF cells that had gathered together under Namer’s command. “Not all of them are fighters—heck, we don’t have a hundred fighters left, Kurt. And we are divided between Anubis and Leonis Pryde. Now, I don’t like the Fleet bully-boys any more than you do, but Jon has a point—this Commander Lorne has a point. We need to police ourselves, both to make sure our people stay alive and to keep us free. You don’t want to learn from the Marines? Kurt, they don’t want to teach us—but they will, because they have been ordered to do so. You don’t think there is anything they know that we can’t use? And if we say no, if we refuse to cooperate, then others will form this new Fleet Police.”
“So? We fight them if they decide to crack down on our folks,” Kurt said stubbornly. “I’m not afraid of mixing it up, Callan; are you?”
“Callan has proven his bravery many times over,” Jon said as he stepped between the two men. “That was uncalled for, Kurt. And he is right—we either step it up and police these two ships ourselves or we get actual Fleet Marines in here to do it. Which would you rather have?”
“I’m not arguing against that, Jon! But we don’t need to have them train us—we’ve fought the black-legs for years and held our own!”
Jon glared the younger Saggitaron down until he subsided. “So we don’t need to be taught how to use non-lethal tactics? Close-quarters combat? What you can—and cannot—safely shoot on a ship? Folks, we aren’t on planet. We cannot go around and plant bombs without killing ourselves and our people in the process! We aren’t going to have the luxury of blending into a civilian population. We are going to have to step up and lay down the law, or someone else will do it for us.”
He waited until all of his top leaders nodded—some grudgingly, others more enthusiastic. And then Jon sighed and he ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t like this more than you do, Kurt—but what other option do we have? So far, Lorne has kept his word. He has left me in command of Leonis Pryde and Sam Caldwell in command of Anubis. He hasn’t split us up between the rest of the ships—with both these vessels, we are in the majority. He’s even given me—me and Sam—authority to decide who he assigns to the ship’s crews. But unless you want to see Laveride’s people get a stranglehold on ours again, what other choice do we have? Scorpia can blow both of our ships apart in a single pass; hell, he can take us with his Marines if he has to.”
“We aren’t ending the fight by surrendering, Kurt. The fight is over because there is nothing left worth fighting for—Saggitaron is gone. All that is left of our people are here, now, aboard these few ships. We’ve got a new fight, and for this we cannot rely on terror and bombs and assassination. We need to prove—not to Lorne, not to the Fleet, but to ourselves—that we are not some nihilist group that only wants terror and bloodshed. That we did all that we have done for a higher purpose. That we are willing to step up and see to it that our people—all of our people—can raise their children in safety.”
“I won’t wear a Fleet uniform—I won’t swear no fracking oath to the Quorum,” Kurt snarled softly.
“Who the frack is asking you to do either? The Marines are going to be training us—we aren’t going to join the Colonial Marine Corps, Kurt! We are going to be police, and if they need us to defend these ships from a Cylon attack, we are going to do that. We aren’t going to be used to break people—I won’t let us be used to break people!” Jon snapped. And then he stood up straight. “Unless you think I’ve gone soft? That I am willing to sell out my people for three hots and a cot?”
Kurt held up his hands as he winced. “Never said that, boss.”
“Fracking right, you never said that, because I’d kick your pale ass from one end of this ship to the other,” Jon barked and the compartment erupted in laughter—even Kurt chuckled and nodded in agreement. “Folks, the movement has moved on. We need to change—or we die out. Now, I’ve fought too long and too hard and lost too many friends to see us die out because we could not take the last step and become legit. Unless you want the Virgons put over us as police?”
“We step up, people, or we lose. And here, today, stepping up doesn’t mean targeting the Fleet and government—we have to become our people’s protectors,” Jon continued.
And his fighters and leaders of fighters slowly nodded. Even the hot-headed Kurt.
“Good. To start, that means we are going to stop harassing the Fleet personnel Lorne has assigned to these ships—I’m not joking around here. This cold war ends aboard our two ships.”
“Shit,” muttered one fighter, and low mumbles in the crowd showed that they didn’t like that.
“You want to add something, Jerem?” Jon asked. But the young man didn’t answer. “I thought not—this shit ends today. Each of you has been entrusted with a group of fighters—make sure your people end this. Fleet and Marines gets treated just like you would treat any good Saggitaron—you got that?”
Slowly each nodded his assent, and Jon did the same. “Even if they are from Saggitaron, people—even if they joined the enemy, we start, today, cooperating and working with them. Not fighting against them.”
Silence hung over the compartment, but they, one-by-one, nodded assent.
Jon sighed. “Good. Starting tomorrow, we begin training. So get it through your people’s heads—the war against the government is over. We didn’t lose, we didn’t win; the game got called early due to the Cylons. And we now have a new game, with new rules—and I sure as fracking hell don’t plan on losing because our people won’t follow the rules.”
He looked at his leadership and nodded. “Get on out of here, and get your fighters to understand what I just said. And enjoy tonight—because tomorrow, Hell’s coming to the Pryde and Anubis.”
|January 19 2013, 10:08 PM||#59|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“We don’t know if the radiation affects human-form Cylons, Commander,” Sam answered. “And even if it does, well,” he shrugged. “I was never asked if I wanted to be a Cylon and until a few days ago, I never dreamed I would be a Cylon. I am not going to be defined by the crimes of Daniel Graystone.”
“I understand that, Mister Anders, and I admire it,” Mathias said. “You have nothing to prove to me, however. You bear no guilt in what transpired with the Cylon attack.”
“Thank you, Sir, but if one of the Basestars was disabled in the attack in Cerebus, this mission represents our best shot of getting access to their data before all their systems become corrupt. The personal risk to me is outweighed by the risk to your pilots and Marines if we were to assault a fully crewed Basestar.”
Mathias nodded and he turned his head to look at his XO, who shrugged. “He’s willing, Commander, and I say never look a gift horse in the mouth—worse case, there aren’t any Basestar remains left and the team comes home. Best case, we get the information we need in a system where the Cylons cannot stay around to disrupt our effort.”
The Commander sighed. “What will you need to do this, Sidewinder?”
“Doctor Sarris, Mister Anders, and two Raptors—Thumper has volunteered to fly the second bird. Two teams of Marines, which Captain Aisne has already put on notice.”
“We need to leave ASAP,” answered Anders. “If the computer database is still intact, it won’t be for long—if everything goes well, three, maybe four, hours.”
Mathias sighed. “Approved. Sidewinder, you are in command—Mister Anders, you come back in one piece. That is a direct order, soldier.”
Samuel Anders grinned. “My coaches said I’m the world’s worst for following directions, Commander—but I’ll do my best to follow that one.”
Mathias stood. “Then Gods-speed, gentlemen. And good hunting.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 20 2013 at 12:24 AM.
|January 20 2013, 04:47 AM||#60|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Copy that, Sidewinder,” came the answer. “Maybe we will get lucky and they will wipe each other out.”
“There’s one,” Sidewinder said to the Cy- . . . man sitting in his copilot’s seat.
Anders shook his head. “That’s an old Gemini-class—I can’t interface with her systems. She designed for the old-style Cylons. No, we need one of the ones your Commander designated as the Nova-class, one of the new designs they had at the Colonies. Or . . .,” and his voice trailed off.
“Or?” asked Sidewinder.
“Did the Colonies have just one type of Battlestar, Captain Greene?” Anders asked.
“No—and call me Sidewinder.”
“And you had ships other than Battlestars. Support, auxiliary, escorts, scouts. Right?”
“So, what makes you think that the Cylons have just one kind of capital ship?”
“Okay, so what kinds of ships do your people have?”
“They aren’t my people, Sidewinder,” Anders answered softly, with just a hint of anger in his voice. “And I don’t know. I do know that there six separate designs in the pipeline when my memory was wiped and I was put back onboard that damned Joyita.”
“Well, so far, all we have seen are those big bastards—and the old Gemini’s,” Sidewinder said. “Any idea what they may look like?”
“I can sketch a few out—but none had had been built at the time I was returned to the Colonies. Cavil might know more, but he hasn’t had much more contact than I.”
Stefan Greene—Sidewinder—turned his head and he stared at Anders. “He’s the original Cavil?”
“He’s the first copy—the original Cavil died, just like the original Anders. He spent fourteen years living on Caprica, only his memory wasn't fully wiped like mine. He knew he was a Cylon the entire time; thing is, living among humans for so long, he came to see you as having more value than any other Model One will admit. He disagreed with the decision to attack the Colonies—but he was only told after the bombs fell. And he kept his mouth shut,” Anders snorted. “The other sanctimonious bastards of his line would have boxed him right quick if they knew what he was really thinking.”
“There—that’s what we want,” Sam said as he spotted the light of the red star glinting from the broken hull of a Nova.
“Got it. Thumper, Sidewinder—we have located the target. Follow us in and keep your eyes peeled for Raiders.”
“They are long gone, Sidewinder,” Anders whispered. “I can feel the radiation working on me even now—now that I am outside of the shielding of the ship. The Raiders wouldn’t have stayed any longer than absolutely necessary—and not even the Ones could have made them,” he paused. “There is a landing bay at the junction of the upper and lower arms—it was designed to accommodate Raptors, if my memory is right.”
“I see it,” Sidewinder said, nudging the nimble vessel forward with squirts from his thrusters. “Lots of damage here—and a frack load of debris. Are those gun strikes?”
“Yes. The Novas rely entirely on missile launchers and Raiders, but the Geminis had a heavy kinetic battery as well. Looks like the outer hull was penetrated—but maybe the interior still has atmosphere.”
“Well, that is why we have pressure suits, Mister Anders. Not a problem.”
“I have to physically touch the computer console to make interface, Sidewinder,” Anders said. “With my bare hand. So if there is no internal atmosphere, then problem we have.”
Sidewinder grunted as he swerved past three old-style Raiders and two newer models—and a lifeless gold-plated Centurion floating in orbit of the Basestar. He maneuvered the Raptor through the open hanger bay and set it down gently—and then a second bird ghosted into the bay alongside.
“Magnetic grapples engaged . . . and holding.”
“Time?” asked Anders.
“Forty-four minutes since we arrived in system,” Sidewinder answered.
“Okay. Let’s see if we can get to the command center,” the Cylon said as he began to rise from the seat—but Sidewinder raised one hand.
“Mister Anders, there might be Centurions aboard that are still operational. And,” Stefan winced and bit back a curse, “I can’t have dead weight on this team. Commander Lorne trusts you,” he continued as he handed Sam a sidearm. “Don’t make his trust be misplaced.” And don’t make me have to kill you if go homicidal toaster on us, he thought.
Sam nodded and Stefan could see his eyes through the visor of his helmet. “Understood,” he said as he took the weapon, ejected the magazine, checked it, and cracked the chamber to make certain there wasn’t a round already present—there wasn’t. He seated the magazine and chambered a round, engaged the safety and slid the weapon into a holster on the flight suit he wore.
“Open her up, Kaboose. Let’s see how these new-fangled Cylon ships look on the inside.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 20 2013 at 05:23 AM.
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