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|January 28 2013, 08:38 PM||#106|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
He paused and let that sink in. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is up to you to make certain that the coordinates are checked, double-checked, and checked again. I have no intention of losing any ship on this operation,” Mathias said. “We will not leave behind any ship on this operation. Is that understood?”
He waited until each commander nodded in turn.
“We will make one jump every day and perform a full system diagnostic on the FTL drives between jumps. While the Cylons routinely do jumps of this length, the Colonial Fleet has not. I want to be damned certain that everything is functioning properly. Scorpia, Aurora, and Anubis will deploy a rotating CAP at twice the normal strength on each leg. If all goes well,” Mathias said with a smile, “then in nine days we will be rejoining the remainder of humanity’s survivors.”
He raised his glass, and first Colonel Jayne stood, and Major Caldwell, then Commander Adama, and Colonel Foeswan, and Jon Namer, and all the rest.
“Who dares—wins!” he snapped.
“So say we all!” thundered Tom Jayne.
“SO SAY WE ALL!” the others shouted in answer.
|January 28 2013, 09:56 PM||#107|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Suddenly, one pilot’s face drained of blood and Mathias bared his teeth—if sharks could smile, it might charitably be called such. “The rest of you . . . OUT,” he commanded and the other pilots and ECOs quickly departed; Mathias closed the hatch behind them.
“Lieutenant Jarrell Kief,” Mathias said as he walked up to the pilot, still showing his teeth. “How did you get that call-sign of Fuzzy, Mister Kief?”
“M-my mustache,” he stammered as he stood at attention, his gaze fixed on the far wall. “My flight instructor said it looked like a fuzzy caterpillar, Sir.”
“You don’t have a mustache now, do you?”
“Still have problems growing a mustache, Fuzzy?”
“Then where is that mustache, Mister Kief?” Mathias asked in a very quiet voice.
“I-I shaved it off, Sir.”
He looked down, and mumbled something.
“What was that?”
“The girls didn’t like it,” he said quietly.
“I see. Would that be the civilian girls or the ‘girls’ that wear the uniform of a Colonial officer, such as my niece?”
“I-I . . . ,” he stammered, and his voice trailed off.
Mathias leaned in close to him. “Yes, Mister Kief, I believe it would be in your best interest to think about your answers to my questions. What are your intentions regarding my niece, Mister Kief?”
He looked up and there was pure horror in his eyes. “My intentions?” he yelped.
Mathias just stood there.
“Oh, we aren’t in a relationship, Sir, we were just blowing off steam,” and then he closed his eyes as he realized just how that sounded.
“So you decided to crawl into a rack with my niece, not because you love her, but because she was a good lay?”
“Well, we never actually finis- . . .,” he began.
“Are you saying that my niece isn’t a good lay, Mister Kief?” the Commander snapped.
The poor pilot just groaned and sweat began to pop out on his forehead. Mathias stepped back and he put his hands on his hips.
“My niece is a grown woman, Mister Kief. And she has every right to have intercourse with any man she chooses. Of course, given her limited options for partners, that gave you probably your best chance to have a one-night stand with my niece. Because otherwise, I would imagine she wouldn’t give a scrawny, fuzzy, miserable, ugly-ass pilot such as yourself a second glance. Am I correct, Mister Kief?”
“Sir, she’s had worse!” And then his eyes grew even wider and he began to sway.
“Did you just mean to imply that my niece is a slut, Mister Kief?” Mathias asked in a pleasant sounding voice—that was utterly and completely belied by the coldness in his eyes. “That she is a loose woman of no morals who will hop into bed with anyone for any reason? Tell me that you did not just imply that slur upon her character to my face, Lieutenant. And for the sake of all the Gods, unlock your knees before you pass out on my deck.”
Mathias waited and he got only silence. “Ah. You are learning that sometimes there is no right answer and that sometimes the best thing to do is keep your fracking mouth shut and your fracking trousers zipped—is that correct, Mister Kief?”
“Yes, Sir!” he barked.
“Good. Now, I have a piece of advice for you. You will be going back to Galactica soon—but until then, you are on my ship. Which means . . . what, Mister Kief?”
“I’m not to touch your niece in any way whatsoever, Sir?”
Mathias smiled. “See, you do learn. Mister Kief, I will promise you this—you hurt Margaret in any way, shape, or form, and I will make certain that Admiral Adama gives me your ass as part of my air group. And I will make you pay for those sins until Tarterus is closed due to ice. Do you understand me?”
“Good. Now get out of here and stay out of my sight while you remain on my ship,” Mathias growled—and the pilot literally bolted from the berth.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 28 2013 at 10:27 PM.
|January 29 2013, 12:00 AM||#108|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
She marched up to his desk and stood at attention in her flight suit—and her expression reminded him oh so much of her mother Sara when she had been pissed.
“Personal business or official, Lieutenant Edmondson?” he asked.
“Personal, Sir,” she answered. “Request permission to speak freely and off the record.”
Yep, Mathias thought. She is pissed. “Permission granted.”
Her posture relaxed, but her muscles were still tense and she leaned over and pocked a finger across his desk. “My love life is none of your concern, Uncle Mat!” she barked. “Fuzzy is shaking like a leaf—and he won’t even talk to me about what you said to him! What the Hells did you tell him?”
“We had a little chat about what is and is not allowed on this ship, Margaret—and no, your love-life isn’t any of my concern. Do you love this man, Kief?”
“That isn’t relevant!” she snapped.
“That wasn’t an answer, Margaret. I’m . . . concerned about you. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut—perhaps Sidewinder shouldn’t have told me—but I would have found out anyway. Clearly it is open scuttlebutt on Galactica, at least from what my sources have gathered. You are a Colonial officer and you well know the regs against fraternization.”
“Regs? Regs? You have no idea how many people I’ve seen die in the past year, Uncle Mat! None! How many people that I called my friends go out there every day and not come home again! No idea how it feels to know that sooner or later your time is going to come and you are going to be the one to go down in flames. We comfort ourselves how we can, when we can—because that is all we have left.”
“No, Margaret, it’s not,” Matt said as he stood and then opened a refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of Scorpia Necrosia. He popped the tops off of both of them and handed one to his niece and took a sip from the second. And then he pointed to the sofa and two chairs. Margaret hesitated for a moment, but then she sat down and Mathias sat down across from her.
“That is why I’m concerned, Margaret—that attitude. I knew that you would hear about what I said to Mister Kief and that if you were anything like your mother when she was your age, you would come barging in here to set me straight. ‘Abuse of authority and position’, ‘conduct unbecoming a Colonial officer’, and ‘undue influence to nepotism’. Right?”
Racetrack’s eyes narrowed and Mathias grinned. “Instead of me coming to you and you automatically getting your hackles up and walking off when I try to raise this issue, you came to me. Margaret, I don’t care who you decide to frack—although I will say your taste in men has gone downhill if Mister Kief is your choice. But I am worried and concerned over this . . . this death-wish you seem to have. Thoughts like that, they tend to come true for pilots, because they become convinced that something bad is going to happen, then sure enough they make a mistake—and something bad does happen.”
“I’m not . . . ,” she began.
“You are, Racetrack,” her uncle interrupted softly, using her call sign to emphasize the point. “You are stressed, you are grieving for your friends and your lovers and your family—the whole world has ended. And you—and some of the other pilots—genuinely believe that your time will come. That you are going to die out there in the cockpit of a Raptor; and baby-girl, that is what is concerning me. Not as a Colonial Fleet officer, not as your higher-ranking superior, but as your uncle. This jumping around from rack to rack and going through partners like crap through a goose is just a symptom of what is bothering you—and you need to work through that before you wind up transforming that belief into reality. I don’t want to attend your funeral because of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Margaret.”
She just stared at Mathias, a tear leaking out of the corner of her eye and he nodded. “Your superiors should have already addressed this with you—but they are torn up as well, hon. I’ve got someone I want you to talk to while you are here on board Scorpia. Erin Hayes—she’s a specialist in stuff like this.”
“A shrink? You want me to see a shrink?” Racetrack said bitterly.
“She’s a civilian—but she knows post-traumatic stress, Margaret. Nothing goes in your file. Nothing goes on your record. What happens between you and her stays between you and her. And I don’t just want you to speak with her. There are several others that Sidewinder noted that are having the same problems—Fuzzy Kief isn’t one of them. He just took the opportunity to get in your pants because you were willing to let him in your rack.”
Mathias snorted. “In fact, if you are like your mother at this age,” he said again, “you probably grabbed him and hauled him into your rack without waiting for an answer.”
Racetrack let out a laugh, amid the tears, and she actually looked surprised at the laugh. Mathias nodded. “That’s my girl,” he said. “I think that is the first laugh I’ve heard from you since you came aboard—there have been no smiles, no joy, just that desperate pain that you keep trying to frack away. Talk to Miss Hayes, Margaret—I won’t make you. I’m asking you. Talk to her, and remember that I’m here if you need to talk to me. Even after you get back to your squadron on Galactica.”
“You aren’t transferring me? That’s the scuttlebutt; that you are going to transfer me here where you can keep an eye on me!” Racetrack said.
“Nope. I’m not having you transferred, Margaret. Scuttlebutt is wrong this time—and Adama won’t treat you any differently because you are my niece; no more than he would expect me to treat Lee differently because he is Adama’s son.”
She sat there and Mathias could see the anger drain from her—leaving just an exhausted and depressed young woman. “I’ll talk to her, Uncle Mat,” she whispered. And then took a sip of the thick black beer—and looked pleasantly surprised. “This is good.”
“Best beer in the Colonies, Margaret,” Mathias said with a sad smile. He picked up the phone from its station on the wall. “Tom, can you page Doctor Hayes and have her report to my quarters?” He paused. “Thank you.”
“You want me to talk her here? Now?”
“You got anything better to do with your time, Margaret? I’ll leave you two alone—or, if you prefer, you can go with her to the office I’ve assigned her. Up to you.”
Racetrack took another slug of the beer and then she nodded. “You . . . ,” she started, and then she paused. She took in a deep breath. “You don’t have to go. But you might not like all the details.”
“I’m from Scorpia, Margaret honey; born and raised. Trust me,” Mathias said with a smile, “I’ve seen worse; I’ve heard worse; I’ve probably done worse. Remind me to tell you what Josie was experimenting with before I left her in the capable hands of Emily to fly this mission,” he said with a snort. “If you want me to stay, I’ll stay. If you want me to go, I’ll go. But either way, Maggie-girl, I’m not going to quit loving you or caring about you.”
“Okay,” she said with a swallow of a sudden lump in her throat.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 29 2013 at 12:30 AM.
|January 29 2013, 04:34 AM||#109|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“He wouldn’t stop, Madame President,” Maya began, but Laura just nodded.
“It is all right, Maya. Gaius, what can I do for you today? I am afraid that my time is short, what with the meeting of the Quorum in just,” she made a show of checking her timepiece, “fifteen minutes.”
“That is Mister Vice-President, Madame President,” Gaius said as he took a seat. And he cocked his head to one side, waiting.
“Mister Vice-President,” Laura said soothingly. And then the humor went out of her voice. “What do you want?”
Gaius adjusted his coat and he leaned forward. “Madame President, I have been giving some rather serious thought to the wonderful news that Captain Greene and Lieutenant Jamussa brought us—the existence of other survivors. If I recall the briefing that Tory gave me on their statements, more than five thousand survivors, Madame President. And thank you again, she has proven a most wonderful chief of staff.”
Laura smiled. And according to her reports, she thought, you are cutting her out of everything—not quite so politically naïve as you want to appear, are you Gaius? “Yes, a wonderful thing indeed.” She cocked her head to one side and crossed her legs. “Did you come here to express your joy over this?”
“No, Madame President,” Gaius said as he removed his glasses. “Having given this matter some long and intense thought, I believe that we must reschedule the elections until after these survivors—more than eleven percent of our existing Fleet—have rejoined us.” He smiled.
“Reschedule the elections? Mister Vice-President, we do not know when these survivors will be rejoining us; clearly acting now is premature and shows . . . uncertainty in the government.”
“That could well be true, but if I understand the briefing that Captain Gaeta provided to myself and the other members of the Quorum, we are expecting Scorpia and her other ships in a matter of weeks—their arrival should occur just before the scheduled election.” Gaius sighed. And then he nodded. “Clearly you will have two choices, Madame President, if the elections are not to be rescheduled and they arrive beforehand.”
“Oh, and what might those be, Gaius?” Laura asked sweetly.
“First, you can allow them to cast a ballot—but at such a late date, there will no great opportunity to instruct them in the issues that are at hand. As such, their votes will be . . . uneducated, Madame President. And quite likely will break along the lines of their own Colonies here in the Fleet,” he paused. “Of course, such a break will only happen once their fellow survivors make their own views on the election known—but then we do have a policy of allowing free communication between the various ships of the Fleet, do we not?”
“We do,” answered Laura.
“Yes, Madame President. We do. And given the demographic breakdown of the survivors in Scorpia’s own Fleet . . . well, you are already losing the Tauron and Saggitaron vote. And if Prince Hamish,” Laura kept all expression from her face, but inside she winced—because no one was supposed to know of that yet, “decides to support my candidacy and that of Tom Zarek for Vice-President, then the Virgons might well change sides. They are one of your strongest supporters, Madame President, and I would hate for you to lose the election on the basis of one man making an uninformed decision just days before the ballots are cast.”
“And the second option?”
“Oh, you can simply declare that they have no vote, Madame President. It would disenfranchise them in this election cycle, of course, but you might be able to cite some . . . residency laws as grounds.”
He smiled again and put his glasses back on and he drew in a deep breath. “However, it is my considered opinion, Madame President, that neither of these options will be satisfactory to the Quorum—especially to the smaller populations that are about to get a great deal larger. That will, unfortunately, cut away at that nearly overwhelming majority of the Caprican and Picon bloc that are supporting you. Although I would imagine that your recent executive order, bypassing the Quorum completely I might add, on the matter of abortion rights will mean that the Gemenesse will be behind you nearly one hundred percent. That order is another matter I plan to bring officially before the Quorum today.”
Laura kept her intense dislike of the man from her face as she continued to smile at him. “Mister Vice-President, rescheduling the elections would be breaking a promise I made to the Fleet. We will deal with Scorpia’s fleet when they arrive. And if they arrive prior to the election, they will have a vote.”
Gaius stood and he nodded his head. “I do admire you taking such a stand, however, I will be bringing this matter to the attention of the Quorum in,” and Gaius checked his timepiece just as ostentatiously as Laura had, “eleven minutes. Until then, Madame President—I have an appointment to speak with the representatives from Leonis, Saggitaron, Scorpia, Tauron, and Virgon on this very matter before we convene the meeting."
He smiled again. “Do not be late, Madame President,” he smiled as he spoke those words to her. And then he left her office and Laura frowned. After Laura heard the outer office door close, she cursed. “Maya,” she called out. “I need to speak with Marshall Bagot and Perah Enyeto, RIGHT NOW!"
|January 29 2013, 03:58 PM||#110|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Quorum, I hereby declare these proceedings opens,” Laura said with a glowing smile. “I was under the impression that today’s session was closed to the media,” she said, looking at Gaius across the long horse-shoe shaped table.
Wallace Gray, elected by the survivors of Caprica to the Quorum after Baltar became Vice-President, stood up. “Madame President,” he said with little expression on his face, “we are an elected body of the people—surely we have nothing to fear from the people to which we are pledged seeing our deliberations. The Vice-President suggested that today’s session be opened to the media, and I endorsed that suggestion—as have a majority of my fellow delegates. Did you not receive our memorandum on this change? It was delivered to your office last week.” He then sat.
Laura kept the fixed smile on her face and she nodded. So this is how Wallace is going to get his revenge on me, she thought. “I think it is a lovely idea, Wallace. But no, the memo seems to have gotten misplaced on its way to my desk.”
“We have quite a full agenda before us today, so let us get started with the . . .,” Laura began, but then she trailed off as Tom Zarek, the Delegate from Sagittaron rose to his feet.
“Madame President, a point of order, if I may?”
“The agenda, as it currently stands, fails to reflect the . . . stunning news we received this past week that another Battlestar has survived the attack on the Colonies. We all realize that the agenda of the Quorum was drawn up well in advance, and it certainly needs to be addressed—but in light of the recent developments within the Fleet, I move that we table the agenda as written in order to address the . . . complications that the reunion of humanity might well bring.”
Wallace Gray stood again. “Caprica seconds that motion, Madame President.”
Laura glared at Tom and then at Gaius and finally at Wallace. But she only smiled. “Having been moved and seconded, how do the delegates say?” she asked.
And not surprisingly, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of tabling the agenda. You orchestrated this Tom, she thought. Not Gaius, you. And he looked directly at her, and as if he could hear her thoughts, he nodded with what could only be described as a smirk on his face.
“Madame President,” Gaius said as he stood. “With the agenda now set aside, I would request the floor.”
“The Vice-President has the floor,” she said.
“Thank you, Madame President. While it is true that we must look to the coming reunion with our lost brothers and sisters with joy and anticipation, there are other issues which we as the elected representatives of our people must address. I refer today to the executive order which President Roslin arbitrarily issued that strips our people of the rights guaranteed to them under the Articles of Colonization—specifically, her outlawing of a woman’s right to choose for themselves whether or not they bring a pregnancy to term.”
“That has been settled!” snapped the Gemenesse Delegate, Sarah Porter. “The imperative to boost our population mandates that abortion be made illegal!”
“And your religious convictions play no role whatsoever in this decision, do they, Madame Delegate?” Gaius asked. “We must address the issue of growing our population—we have forty nine thousand five hundred and seventy nine survivors in this Fleet. That will soon be increased to fifty five thousand and forty three survivors once Scorpia and the ships she is escorting arrive. That will be a joyous, wonderful day for us all. We must address the issue of bringing the next generation into this world and raising them, but we cannot do so by Presidential fiat and the curtailing of civil liberties.”
He looked around the chamber and then stared directly into the cameras of the media. “I know that President Roslin has done what she believes is the right and correct action to ensure the survival of our species, and that her inability to appoint an independent judiciary to rule on the legality of her actions does not result from a thirst from tyranny, but instead because the Fleet is too small to need such a body. Madame President, you are wrong on that—were we here today to gauge the necessity of our government based upon the numbers of the survivors, we would not have a President or a Quorum, but instead a Mayor and a City Council.”
Laura fumed on the inside, but she just smiled at Gaius. “Mister Vice-President, as you are aware, as the Quorum is aware, we have explored the possibility of creating the judicial branch anew—but such matters take time.”
“Yes, Madame President. They do take time,” Gaius answered. “And we have had time. For five months the Quorum has been reestablished,” he told the cameras, “and in all that time has the President and her advisors even once brought to the Quorum a plan for installing a civilian judiciary within this Fleet? I do not question the motives of the President in this, but relying upon military tribunals is yet another blow against civil liberties. We must have an independent Court that can rule on the legality of the actions of this Quorum and the President.”
He paused and he looked at each of the Delegates, and then the President, and then at the cameras. “And it is here, among the elected representative of the people of the Fleet, that we must, together, make the decision on whether or not we strip women of their rights in the name of procreation. That decision is ours, not the President’s alone, and despite what the Delegate from Gemenon has declared it is no settled issue!”
Sarah Porter slammed her hand down on her desk. “At a time when we need every new living person to build up our strength, you would condone the selfish act of caring only how a new baby will affect one life? We are a community—and sacrifices must be made for the good of all!”
“Does that mean that you plan on outlawing same-sex marriages next, Madame Delegate? Such unions cannot produce off-spring, after all,” Gaius said. “What about the women of child-bearing age who daily risk their lives flying Vipers in this Fleet’s defense? Should they be stripped of their duties and impregnated—even against their will—because your Sacred Scrolls demand that we go forth and multiply? Where does it end? Neither your religious beliefs, nor those of the President of the Twelve Colonies, gives either of you the right or the authority to dictate to a woman how she lives her life; whether or not she bears a child; how that child is to be raised!” Gaius thundered. And then he closed his eyes and shook his head, almost as if he were listening to a voice that only he could hear.
He nodded. “Madame Delegate,” he said directly to Sarah Porter. “You support the President in her decision to outlaw abortion in the Fleet, yes?”
“I certainly do.”
“And, while I hesitate to bring politics into this, you support the President against me because she gave you this ban—and I oppose it, yes?”
“Would you still support her if you aware that, as President, she issued an order calling for the termination of a pregnancy against the wishes of the mother carrying the child?” Gaius snapped.
Oh, you son-of-a-. . . Laura thought, and her smile faltered.
And utter chaos suddenly erupted in the Quorum chamber aboard Cloud Nine. In front of the cameras carrying the event live to every ship in the Fleet.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 29 2013 at 04:20 PM.
|January 29 2013, 06:50 PM||#111|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
A murmur danced around the room between the various delegates and the media, but Gaius smiled. “Certainly she was—and is—a Cylon, Madame President. But this Cylon fell in love with a human pilot on Caprica, the very pilot who gave up his seat on a Raptor to save me—me—from certain doom. He was—he is—a pilot who showed his heroism and commitment to the ideal of giving his life if necessary to save civilians. This Cylon abandoned her people, kept him alive on Caprica despite the actions of her fellow Cylons, she fell in love with him, and when you dispatched Captain Thrace to Caprica to recover the Arrow of Apollo, Madame President, this Cylon rescued Starbuck and Helo and flew them safely home. She gave us the map to Earth, Madame President.”
Gaius paused. “And as a reward, she was thrown into the brig. Isolated, held without charges, having no recourse under the law. And when it was discovered that she was pregnant with Helo’s child—the child of a hero-pilot of the Colonial Fleet, a half-human child—you ordered her pregnancy terminated.”
“I am no apologist,” he continued as Laura started to rise again, “for the Cylons. They most assuredly deserve nothing more than destruction for their crimes. And should she have had a say in this? Perhaps not. But you also went against the wishes of the human father—that hero-pilot who nearly gave his life in exchange for my own, just as the other pilots on Galactica and Pegasus do every single day for all of us!—and you tried to murder his daughter in her mother’s womb! For shame, Madame President. For shame!”
Laura glared at Gaius and Tom Zarek smiled with glee, and the rest of the delegates looked stunned.
“If we had a Court in place, they might have been able to stop your plans—we did not. And on the orders of Admiral Adama, that hero-pilot father-to-be was taken into custody so as not to interfere with the medical procedure—the unnecessary and illegal medical procedure—that you had ordered to take his daughter’s life, Madame President. It wasn’t illegal because you had already signed your executive order into law; it was illegal because you abused your power and authority and deprived Captain Karl Agathon of the rights given him by the Articles of Colonization!” Gaius paused and he looked over the Delegates of the Quorum.
“My fellow Delegates, we must—must—for the sake of the survivors of the Colonies and our individual liberty, empanel a Court to review the decisions made by the President whoever she—or he—may be. We must examine this issue in depth, and decide if we want the government to tell young women that they cannot risk their lives serving the Colonies in the Fleet, they cannot enter certain professions, that they must be . . . baby-factories to produce the next generation to the exclusion of all else.”
“To my shame,” Gaius said, with a tear glistening in his eyes, “I stood by and almost let this extra-judicial murder of an innocent child take place. It was the Gods themselves that intervened and led me to discover that in that child’s blood were the stem cells necessary to put the President’s cancer into remission. And when she discovered that, well, she withdrew her order to terminate the pregnancy. I have not mentioned this until now, because for all her faults, Laura Roslin has always done what she has felt was right. She has led us out of the grasp of the Cylons and preserved us—and she must be applauded for that herculean effort made for all of us. But I must question the basis for some of her decisions, decisions which, on the Colonies before the attack, would have been condemned by the people and the courts.”
“I was silent for too long, my fellow Colonials,” Gaius said. “I can remain silent no longer. I only ask that you forgive me for holding my tongue until now.”
And he sat.
Laura gathered herself but before she could stand—before an almost gloating Tom Zarek could stand—Oswyn Eriku of Libran rose to his feet.
“Libran agrees with the Vice-President. I have in my possession a list of all qualified legal experts remaining in our Fleet. Delegates to the Quorum, I move that we act—today—to seat a Court to prevent such an abuse of power and privilege in the future!”
“Sagittaron seconds the motion,” Tom Zarek called out, nearly stamping over Eladio Pusasha of Scorpia’s hasty, “Seconded!”
|January 29 2013, 07:34 PM||#112|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“That would be closing the barn door after the horses escape, Saul,” sighed Bill Adama. “I do not want to have to salute Gaius Baltar and call him Mister President. But the way he ambushed Laura today? Gods damn it.”
Saul smiled and he sat down in the chair opposite his commander and his friend. “Actually, I think we might be able to prove something worse for Gaius fracking Baltar,” he said in a very hungry tone.
“I don’t like the man, Saul, but we aren’t going to set him up,” said Bill.
“While this was happening live,” the two had watched the recording of the event to make certain they hadn’t missed anything, “I, on my own initiative, ordered Mister Kelly to inventory the contents of Baltar’s lab here on Galactica. Guess what came up missing?”
“I’m not in the mood for games Colonel,” Bill growled.
“We can’t find hide nor hair nor any element of that warhead you gave him, Admiral. Now that makes me wonder—where is it?”
Adama sat back. “It was disassembled—the explosives were removed, Saul. He just had the plutonium . . .,” and the Colonel snorted.
“And the beryllium coatings and the tungsten cradle that held the suspended plutonium sphere and the diamond cutters that he was going to need to work with the sub-critical mass. Not to mention the lead shielding case—none of it is there.”
“When was the last time Mister Gaeta recalls seeing it?”
“I asked him—he does not recall actually seeing the device or the case in the lab for the past . . . six weeks. However, he has not been assigned there full time, and he presumed that it had been moved into safe storage somewhere—he was quite shocked that it appears missing.”
Adama sat up. “Is the Vice-President coming back aboard before the Quorum reconvenes?”
Saul shook his head. “I’ve got Marines and a Raptor on standby, Bill.”
Bill Adama stood. “They can come with me—I think it is past time that Mister Baltar answered a few of my questions.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 29 2013 at 07:50 PM.
|January 29 2013, 09:17 PM||#113|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“You hammered her, Gaius, oh, but for the love of the Gods, you hammered here in there. And it went out live to the Fleet—that woman is done . . . Mister President.” And he raised his own glass.
The door to the private suite opened and Laura Roslin walked in, trailed by Admiral Adama and a team of black-clad Marines. Tom’s face grew still and Gaius almost dropped his glass.
“Ah, Madame President, Admiral Adama. Laura, I do want to apologize if I came off as . . . overly hostile, but I have a duty to the people who elected me,” Gaius said. “Don’t you knock by the way?”
“Why would I be offended, Gaius?” Laura asked. “You just accused me on live video and in front of the Quorum of being a monster—what would possibly make you think that would in any way offend me? Although I will note that you did not tell the Quorum that it was your data—and conclusions—that finally convinced me to issue that order.”
“So this is how you are going to play it, Laura?” asked Tom, jerking his head at the Marines. “Which one of us are you planning to arrest?”
“Oh, I have questions for the Vice-President here, Tom. Or rather, Admiral Adama has some questions for the Vice-President.”
“This is a civilian ship, Admiral,” Gaius said trying to show no fear on his face—and failing. “And I am the elected Vice-President of the Colonies.”
“Where’s the nuclear warhead you needed for your Cylon detector, Doctor Baltar?” Adama snapped.
Tom’s eyes grew wide, and the blood drained from the face of Gaius as he bolted to this feet and dropped the cocktail on the expensive carpet.
“In my lab, Admiral,” he stammered. “It’s in my laboratory on board Galactica!”
“Your lab has been searched and inventoried, Doctor—you told me eight months ago that you needed the plutonium for your Cylon detector which failed to identify any Cylons in the Fleet after we left Doral at Ragnar Station. You tested Boomer and she came up clean—and I want to know where the rest of the plutonium and all of the other pieces of that warhead are—NOW.”
“You searched my lab? Without a warrant? This is an invasion of privacy! It is a blatant disregard of the campaign I am waging for President! I had every right to be present as you searched that area!” Gaius stuttered and sputtered.
Laura smiled at Gaius and then at Tom Zarek. “Gaius, Galactica is a military ship of the Colonial Fleet. No one onboard her has a right to privacy—the Commander . . .,”
“And Executive Officer,” Adama interjected, and Laura nodded.
“. . . and the Executive Officer have the right to search any compartment at any time. Without a warrant—it’s part of the Fleet Regulations, is it not, Admiral Adama?”
“It is, Madame President.”
Gaius gaped like a fish out of water, and he seemed to be looking away, looking at someone that wasn’t there and he nodded, then blinked. “It should be in the lab, Admiral—that is where I left it!”
“Secured, in the safe, Doctor Baltar?”
“Yes, yes, it is always secured in the safe!”
“Actually it wasn’t always secured in the safe,” said Felix Gaeta as he walked in. “Admiral, Doctor Baltar left the case and the fissile material sitting on his work bench on numerous occasions—I had to secure both in the safe when he just walked out and left them.”
“This is,” Gaius said and he shook his head, “you are attempting to frame me. Someone on Galactica took the warhead, and you are trying to frame me!” He turned to Laura and he clasped his hands. “Laura, please, don’t do this—don’t let them do this. I told the Quorum nothing but the truth, and now you and the Admiral here just want revenge—that is it isn’t it? You want to frame me, throw me in the brig, and make it seem as if I am a terrorist!”
“Gaius,” Laura laughed. “Who would ever think that you of all people would associate with terrorists,” and she cast her gaze on Tom Zarek.
Who backed away and held up his hands. “I didn’t know he had a nuclear device, and I certainly do not have a nuclear device—I have given up that part of my former life. Feel free to search my suite here and search the Astral Queen.”
“That is already being done, Mister Zarek,” Adama said in a very stern voice. “Doctor Baltar, I have a missing plutonium core, a lead-shielded case, a tungsten cradle, and the very toxic beryllium coating that covered the plutonium—where are they?”
“THEY WERE IN MY LAB!” he yelled.
“Put him in the brig!” Adama snapped and the Marines stepped forward and grabbed his arms. “Madame President, I request permission to perform chemical interrogation of the Vice-President of the Colonies.”
“Granted, Admiral,” Laura said.
And Gaius’ eyes grew wide as saucers. “It was stolen, Admiral!” he blurted out. “It was stolen six weeks ago!”
Everyone stopped and just stared at Gaius in dawning horror. Adama stepped up and grabbed him by the chin and he drew in a deep breath and stared him right in his eyes. “You didn’t tell me, for SIX FRACKING WEEKS, that someone has stolen a plutonium core for a fusion warhead?”
“In hind-sight . . . ,” Gaius began, but Adama cut him off.
“GET HIM OUT OF HERE!” he roared.
Zarek sat down and his mouth hung open. “Laura, Admiral Adama, I had no idea,” he said as he poured a glass of whiskey with a shaking hand.
“We have to keep this quiet,” Adama said. “How do we do that without telling the Quorum? They will automatically suspect you and I did something if Gaius does not attend the session.”
“Your Marines are using the service corridors—cleared corridors, Admiral?” Zarek asked.
And Adama nodded.
“Okay, if no one sees him being hauled off, I might—might—be able to head off any inquiry,” and Tom snorted. “I will inform my fellow Delegates that Gaius was . . . distracted someone young and nubile and willing,” he swallowed the entire glass in a single gulp. “But that will hold off their inquiry only so long.”
“Admiral,” Laura began, but Adama was already nodding.
“I have a team from Galactica searching her from stem-to-stern—Captain Gaeta, get back to Pegasus and very quietly inform Major Shaw of what has happened. I want an armed detachement on every ship to conduct a full search and I want it yesterday. Coordinate with Colonel Tigh.”
“Demand Peace?” Laura asked, and Tom winced.
“I was a terrorist—in your view, Admiral. But these . . . idiots aren’t fighting for freedom or equal rights or representation; they actually believe that the Cylons will just let us go despite all the evidence to contrary. None of my people were behind this—and if they have a nuclear weapon . . .,” his voice trailed off.
All of them knew well just how far they had already gone.
“They do not have a functional weapon,” said Adama. “I stripped the warhead of the explosives and electronics required to initiate a detonation—but they still have almost six kilograms of plutonium. If they are very, very good and have access to the right explosives, they could rebuild a weapon—but right now, they don’t have one.”
Laura released her breath and so did Tom. “That’s a relief,” she said.
“But they could also reduce the plutonium to a powder and introduce it to the atmosphere circulation system aboard any of the ships in the Fleet—which wouldn’t be an as fast or dramatic as an explosion, but would be just as lethal for those who inhaled the plutonium particles, even if it takes them weeks to die.”
He shook his head. “Madame President, Delegate Zarek; I need to get back and coordinate this search.”
And he left, leaving Laura and Tom alone.
|January 29 2013, 10:46 PM||#114|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Captain Marcia Case—known to her fellow pilots on the Battlestar Pegasus as Showboat—frowned at the instrument she held in her hand. And then she slapped it.
“HEY!” barked Technician 2nd Class Eduard Cairnes. “Don’t be so rough on it. These things are delicate!”
“Quiet,” Showboat hissed. “Is the needle supposed to be doing that?”
The tech looked at and he frowned. And then his face went white and he nodded. Showboat handed him the detector and lifted the phone to the wireless that one of her Marines wore on her back. “Galactica, Showboat,” she transmitted. “I’ve got plutonium traces on Cloud Nine.”
That was the only scanning team on the fifty-nine civilian ships of the Fleet that reported any traces of the fissile material, Tigh thought as he lifted the phone. So far, at least. “Showboat, Galactica,” he said. “Try and isolate the source—additional personnel including EOD are en route to Cloud Nine.”
And he racked the phone as Bill Adama walked into CIC. “Do we evacuate the President and the Quorum?” he asked.
The pained look in Bill Adama’s eyes made Saul wince and then the Admiral shook his head no. “If they have managed to rig up a means to light off the plutonium—we don’t dare give them a warning, Saul. No evacuation—but let’s put some distance between Cloud Nine and the other ships of the Fleet.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” he said. “Petty Officer Dualla, raise the commander of the Cloud Nine. I want her to alter course to heading 122 carom 14—maintain current velocity.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” she answered and passed along the information. “Cloud Nine requests the reason for the course change, Sir.”
Saul blinked and then he snarled. “Tell that . . .,” but he caught himself. “Inform Cloud Nine that we have decided to begin refueling operations from Pegasus—she is proceed on that course immediately or will forfeit her place in line.”
After a few moments Dee looked back up. “Cloud Nine altering heading to 122 carom 14—they report needing fourteen hundred and seventy-two tons of tylium to top off their tanks.”
Saul snorted, but he watched the DRADIS as the luxury liner slowly thrusted away from the rest of the Fleet towards the distant bulk of Pegasus. “Petty Officer Dualla—when they reach the half-way point, inform Cloud Nine that Pegasus is experiencing technical difficulties with the fuel transfer systems—the vessel is to maintain their current station at that time until further notice.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
“Bloody hells,” one of the Marines whispered and Showboat narrowed her eyes as well. “Is that . . . ?”
“Yes,” she snarled. “Follow me—but at a distance,” she ordered.
She moved through the crowd in her flight suit—keeping her eye on the woman with dirty-blonde hair in a pony-tail, wearing glasses and dressed in clothing that concealed her frame. But Showboat knew her. She was certain that it was her. And she walked through the open-air market as the crowd began to thin out—and then she drew her weapon.
“GINA INVIERE!” she barked as she raised her sidearm. “STAY PERFECTLY STILL!”
The woman flinched and half-turned, and then she broke into a run, pulling a sidearm of her own from beneath the coat.
Showboat exhaled and she squeezed the trigger as she settled the sight picture on the Cylon’s chest—and the bark of the pistol surprised her. Gina staggered, and Showboat’s pistol barked again and again and again, and three more bullets impacted her, sending out fountains of blood.
The woman collapsed to the ground, dropping the pistol from a hand that no longer had the strength to grasp it.
The crowd screamed and scattered in a panic. Showboat—and her Marines—approached the Cylon cautiously, it—she—was still breathing.
“Finish it,” Gina begged. “Kill me,” she whispered as she coughed up blood.
“Frack you—you are going back in the hole on Pegasus, bitch!” Showboat snarled. “And this time you are never coming out! Not until you rot!”
The Cylon began to moan horribly and Showboat realized that it was a strangled incoherent scream, and she swallowed at the wail of pure misery, kicking away the weapon that Gina had dropped. “Get a corpsman,” she barked at the Marines. “We’ve recovered the prisoner. The one that killed the Admiral."
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 29 2013 at 11:23 PM.
|January 30 2013, 12:51 AM||#115|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
She would have to be questioned, of course—if she recovered. Despite the desire of the pilot and Marines who had taken her down, the medical flight had come here—on Adama’s direct order. He snorted. Major Shaw wasn’t dumb enough to repeat history, and the Cylon—Gina Inviere—required immediate medical care anyway . . . but, there was always the possibility that someone on The Beast would try and unilaterally arrange for justice.
So, instead of Pegasus, she was now aboard Galactica. Along with the other two Cylons Adama still had in his brig. Although according to Cottle, it would be a while yet before the third one would be able to join them.
Turned out when her quarters had been searched, this Cylon was the leader of the Demand Peace movement—and they had released that information, complete with Gina’s pictures both in her disguise and from Pegasus (before she tortured and raped). To say that her cohorts were shocked would be an understatement—perhaps now they would actually stop their campaign to terrorize the Fleet into trying to make peace on Cylon terms.
He massaged his fore-head and he sighed again.
Laura and Tom Zarek just sat there and the President shook her head. “Her gun came from where?” she asked.
The Admiral leaned forward. “We checked the serial number of the weapon—it is a standard issue Fleet sidearm. Ballistics have confirmed it is the weapon used to murder Admiral Cain. But it was not issued from Pegasus—according to the serial number, this weapon was issued to Lieutenant Alex Quartararo from the small arms locker on Galactica. Lieutenant Quartararo—Crashdown—was killed in action on Kobol, six months ago. His weapon was never recovered.”
Tom Zarek started to say something, but then he sat back and shut his mouth—and Adama snorted.
“How? How in the Gods name did a weapon from this ship, lost SIX MONTHS AGO, wind up on Pegasus in the hands of an escaped prisoner to kill Admiral Cain?”
Adama sighed again. “I spoke to Tyrol,” he said and Roslin tensed but Bill made himself ignore that. “He was on Kobol with Crashdown—the events that took place down there are not ones that the Fleet can be proud of. Crashdown was killed by Gaius Baltar to prevent the Lieutenant from summarily executing Petty Officer 2nd Class Callandra Henderson. He shot the Lieutenant with Crashdown’s own pistol that he had given to Doctor Baltar after the crash-landing.”
“Why didn’t this ever come across my desk?” asked Laura.
“It was a Fleet matter—I didn’t want to have his memory tarnished in the eyes of those who had not been down there, Madame President,” and Adama sighed again. “Tyrol cannot remember if he collected the pistol upon returning to Galactica or not.”
Both Tom and Laura were absolutely silent. “However, the last person known to have visited the Cylon—Gina—aboard Pegasus prior to her escape was Doctor Baltar. The coincidences here are staggering. If they are coincidences,” Adama said in a very soft, very angry voice.
“I’ve known this man for six months now, Admiral,” Tom said. “He’s narcissistic, consumed with his own destiny, he’s arrogant, he feels superior to anyone and everyone because he knows there are none in the Fleet that can compete with his intellect—but a Cylon collaborator? No. No.”
And Tom’s voice trailed off and he shook his head.
“There is another possibility,” Laura said, with a glint in her eyes.
And Adama exhaled deeply through his nose. He knew exactly what she was thinking. Galen Tyrol had also been aboard Pegasus and on the surface of Kobol—and she knew that he was a Cylon.
“Madame President,” Bill began, but he was interrupted by the klaxon sounding and Tigh’s voice over the 1MC. “This is the XO. Sound General Quarters throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Spin up FTL Drives One and Two.”
The Admiral was off the desk and he grabbed the phone before it began to buzz. “Report!”
He listened and then he spoke three words “On my way” before racking it again.
Laura and Tom were standing as he walked towards the hatch. And he stopped as he pulled it open, “The Cylons have found us. I’m on my way to CIC,” and then he left.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 30 2013 at 02:29 AM.
|January 30 2013, 02:29 AM||#116|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Unusual,” growled Bill. “But if they are willing to let us go without a fight, I’m willing to oblige them. Inform Stinger to stand by to execute combat landings on Galactica and Pegasus—we will sort out the wings after the jump.”
“Admiral!” snapped Dee. “We are being hailed by the Cylons.”
“On speaker,” Adama replied.
“Galactica we wish to speak in peace, please respond.”
The Admiral lifted the phone and twisted the cord in his hand. “This is Galactica,” he said. “Identify yourself.”
There was a pause. “Do you recognize my voice, Admiral?” a woman asked.
“I should, a copy of you flew Raptors off my flight deck,” Adama answered. “And put two bullets in my chest.”
“Not a copy, Admiral. This is Boomer.”
Tigh’s lips tightened as he walked up and Adama lowered the phone. “All ships away except Galactica and Pegasus, Sir,” the XO said.
“Recover our fighters, Colonel,” Adama ordered and he raised the phone again. “Say your say, Boomer—we are about to leave.”
“We would like to discuss the terms of surrender.”
Silence hung over the CIC. And Adama breathed deeply for a second before he reply in a cold, cold voice. “Boomer, you must not have known me at all—we will not surrender today, tomorrow, or ever.”
“You mistake me, Admiral—we want to discuss the terms of our surrender to you.”
|January 30 2013, 04:22 PM||#117|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Trailed by the two Marines assigned to watch over her, she finally found what she had been looking for. Or rather, she hoped that she had.
She passed through the hatch—and her guardians did not stop her—was surprised that it opened up to a narrow corridor about a dozen meters in length with another hatch at the far end. She exchanged a glance with the senior of her two escorts—Lieutenant Tamara Mayne—and the woman nodded with a thin smile. So Athena walked down the corridor and opened the hatch—and before her was the forward observation deck.
Dimly lit and as wide as the two flight pods on either side of the Battlestar, observation deck featured a massive armored glass face, nearly a meter in height that stretched from the port bulkhead to the starboard—some forty meters across without so much as a single support strut or structural brace. The view was . . . breathtaking, but unlike the similar deck on both Galactica and Pegasus, this one was almost empty.
Mathias Lorne stood in the center to the observation deck, his hands crossed behind his back as he stared out at the naked stars with his own eyes. He turned his head, and the corner of his mouth twitched as he saw her—and the two Marines.
“My apologies, Commander,” Athena said. “I will return some oth-. . .,” but the Commander interrupted her.
“Join me, Lieutenant,” he ordered, turning his gaze back outward again. “Buried in CIC beneath all of the decks and armor, it is so easy to forget the splendor, the majesty of space. Enjoy this while you can, Lieutenant,” he said. “Soon enough, duty and rank will take from you your time in the cockpit. Cherish what you have while you still have it—because the universe seldom grants one a second chance.”
“I was given a second chance,” she whispered.
And Mathias snorted. “You are the exception to the rule, perhaps,” he replied. “I have watched the stars since I was a child, Athena—are you as wise as your namesake?”
“Are you as mischievous as yours?” she retorted.
He laughed. “Sometimes, Athena. Not so much these days as in the past,” his voice got softer. He turned to face her. “My offer stands—I will endorse any request you might make for a transfer. Your husband as well.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Athena said. “You don’t know what that means to me, but the Admiral has given me a chance to prove myself—and I don’t want to abandon him.”
“Just how much of a buzz-saw are my people walking into, Athena? I know what Sidewinder and Kaboose have told me they saw—I know what Lee and Margaret have said. But they have left other thins unsaid. Matters where Sidewinder and Kaboose were did not have the expertise to pass a judgment. I was never good at politics—that is one reason I was selected for such a long-duration mission. The officers who played at the political game stayed where they could advance their careers—I have never cared for that,” he whispered.
“This President—this Quorum? Are they worthy of our service?”
Athena paused and she swallowed. “I don’t like the President, Commander. I believe that she does not know how to let go of her hate—I cannot and I will not forgive her for what she tried to do to me,” and Athena smiled. “But we could have had worse in command.”
“Not exactly the answer I was looking for—but an answer nonetheless,” the Commander said. “You have finished plotting and distributing the coordinates for Jump Sixteen?” he asked.
“Yes, Sir. Colonel Jayne is making certain that all ships have verified the final coordinates for our last jump—if Galactica and the Fleet remains at the rendezvous. Circumstances may have changed over the past three weeks since our departure.”
Mathias snorted. “Circumstances always change—remember that, Lieutenant, and plan accordingly.”
And with that, the Commander walked forward and he pressed a control—slowly, a solid and massive blast shield slid up along the entire length of the transparent panel. It locked into place, cutting away the stars and the sky, and the lights increased their illumination to compensate. “Then let’s wait no longer,” he said. “It is time for us to find out how much has changed in your absence—or how little.”
|January 30 2013, 05:33 PM||#118|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Very well, Colonel. On speaker,” he ordered as he lifted the phone. “All ships, this is Commander Lorne. We will jump to FTL in sequence at thirty second intervals—Scorpia, followed by Anubis, Leonis Pryde, Scylla, Umino Hana—Colonel Foeswan, Aurora has the backdoor. Is Bounty secured on your deck?”
“She is, Scorpia,” the wireless crackled.
“Very well. Start the clock—sequenced FTL jump begins in . . . one minute . . . MARK,” Mathias said.
“Spin up FTL Drives One and Two,” barked Colonel Jayne. “This is the XO,” he said, lifting his own phone, “Sound General Quarters throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Prepare for FTL jump in forty-five seconds . . . MARK.”
The orders were relayed and Mathias stood there, his hands clasped behind his back. As the countdown passed fifteen second, he turned to Danis. “Take DRADIS off-line and secure for FTL.”
“DRADIS is now off-line and all electronics are secured for FTL,” she responded.
There was an electricity in the air as Major Tyche started his final countdown. “Five, four, three, two, one, JUMP!” he barked.
And Scorpia jumped.
“Bring DRADIS on-line, Captain Danis,” Mathias ordered. “Digger, have Flight launch the CAP.”
“Aye, Sir, DRADIS is now . . . on-line,” she said, and then her head snapped up. “MULTIPLE CONTACTS! Reading transponder beacons from . . . Galactica and Pegasus! Sir, they are spinning up FTL drives for a jump.” Her smile faded. “HOSTILE CONTACTS, ESTIMATE TWO DOZEN! Bearing 012 carom minus 44—Sir, they are between us and the Colonials.”
Hope didn’t wait for an order, “Flight, CIC, scramble the launch.”
Marius Tyche looked up from his console, “Confirm two Nova-class Basestars, six Gemini-class, four Wishbone-class, and multiple support/auxiliary vessels—they are engaging each other. Correction, Raiders now inbound!”
“Guns, all weapons free—load nukes in the forward tubes and fire as you bear!” Mathias snapped. “Captain Danis, order the flotilla to recharge FTLs and jump to the secondary coordinates—we are the roadblock!”
Tom Jayne looked up. “Galactica and Pegasus are now launching Vipers and are reversing course to engage.”
Mathias stared at him for a second as he realized that he had almost missed them—and then he nodded. “Raise Galactica!”
“Galactica is hailing us.”
“Scorpia, Galactica Actual—you picked a devil of a time to make an appearance!”
“Galactica Actual, Scorpia Actual. My civilian ships need,” he looked at Jayne who held up five fingers, “five minutes to recharge FTL.”
“Copy, Scorpia Actual—help is on the way. Do not engage Nova- or Obelisk-class ships or Scimitar-class Raiders,” the wireless suddenly crackled in static. “But the older ships are fair game.” Adama’s voice came through again.
“Copy, Galactica Actual,” Mathias said as he racked the phone. And he nodded at Digger.
“Flight, CIC. Do not, repeat do not, engage Nova or Obelisk class vessels or Scimitar-class Raiders; engage only Geminis, Wishbones, and Ellipses.”
“Vipers and Thunders away, Commander,” reported Digger from her station. “Moving to engage incoming Raiders.”
“Forward tubes are locked and loaded, Commander!” barked Captain Cook. “Target Wishbone-class Basestar . . . locked!”
“Flush the tubes!” Mathias ordered and Scorpia shuddered.
“Anubis is launching her Vipers,” Jayne reported, “Major Caldwell is moving to interpose her ship between the Raiders and the incoming civilians.”
“Maintain station alongside her, Major Tyche. Guns, expand point-defense envelope to cover Anubis and the civvies as well as Scorpia,” Mathias ordered. The old First War era Battlestar had never had a very substantial point-defense suite—and many of her guns had been removed when she was mothballed. She still had her eight twin main-guns on the upper surface, but barely half the number of lighter point-defense batteries she had carried in the War. And the civilian ships had no point defense at all.
“Vipers from Pegasus and Galactica are engaging the enemy,” Digger reported.
“Have Flight inform the pilots to watch their targets—I don’t want any reports of blue-on-blue incidents!”
Scorpia shuddered as her heavy kinetic energy cannons began to fire in sequence, setting up a flak barrier against the Raiders—and a moment later, the guns of Anubis joined the fray.
“Torpedo impact on Wishbone Alpha!” snapped guns. “She’s breaking up!”
“Aurora has emerged—she’s bringing her guns on-line and launching Vipers!” reported the red-headed slender Aquarian DRADIS and comm officer.
“Pick another and do it again!” Mathias ordered. And then he drew in a sharp breath as three Geminis and two of the larger and more powerful Wishbones broke off their engagement against the Novas—and began to advance on him.
“I think we got their attention, Sir,” whispered Jayne.
“You think?” answered Mathias.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 30 2013 at 06:37 PM.
|January 30 2013, 07:57 PM||#119|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Not exactly, Madame President,” Admiral Adama said. “Our Raptors discovered an interesting nebula nearby—it absorbs artificial emissions at all but the shortest of ranges. The gas clouds are too thin to present a hazard to the civilian Fleet, so they are now hiding within that nebula. And they are accompanied by a full squadron of Pegasus’ Vipers and ten Raptors. The Cylons would have to stumble blindly across them in order to discover their presence. And that, Madame President,” he continued, “means that both Galactica and Pegasus can be here for these negotiations.”
“Negotiations!” she snorted. “They’re fracking Cylons, Bill! This is a ploy, a ploy to destroy your Battlestars and leave the Fleet defenseless.”
“Which is why we are keeping our FTL drives spun up and our pilots are ready to make combat landings, Madame President. You agreed to speak with their representatives.”
Laura shook her head and here, in private, she did not bother to keep the angry expression from her face. “After Zarek informed the rest of the Quorum of their ‘offer’? I didn’t have a choice—these two Cylons are smart ones, by offering to ‘surrender’ to us, they play us against each other, raising hope that perhaps they can be reasoned with. They are machines—programmed machines, and they will never change.”
“Look on the bright side, Madame President,” Adama said as he walked her out of his quarters and down the corridor towards CIC. “At least this has taken the minds of the Fleet off of Baltar’s accusations against you—or questions as to where exactly the ‘recovering’ Vice-President is.”
“You always seem to find that silver lining, Admiral,” Laura laughed and then she held her hand before her mouth. “Shall we?”
“Why not?” he asked in answer and the Marines opened the hatch for their Admiral and his President.
“DRADIS confirms three Nova-class Basestars—two match the signature of those we met earlier, the third is heavily damaged, Admiral—and three Obelisk-class Freighters; they are holding range as agreed. So far, no additional ships or Raiders on DRADIS,” Saul reported as the Admiral entered CIC. "CAP is deployed, and I've got the whole gods-damn airwing sitting in the launch tube on plus One."
“At least they are punctual,” Laura said as she nodded to Tom and the other members of the Quorum who were gathered in CIC.
“Madame President,” the former terrorist said and then he stepped in close and offered her a sad little smile. “I don’t trust them any more than you, Laura, but on the chance that their offer is genuine, we have a responsibility to hear them out.”
“Mister Zarek, I do not need you to lecture me on my responsibilities—and we are here. Against my better judgment, but here nonetheless as the Quorum has decided.”
Tom stepped back and he shook his head. But he didn’t say a word.
“Admiral,” said Dee, “we have the Cylons on wireless.”
“Madame President,” Adama said and he offered her the phone.
“This is President of the Twelve Colonies Laura Roslin. To whom am I speaking?”
“Caprica—my brothers and sisters have decided that I shall conduct these negotiations. As a gesture of our good faith, I am willing to release the POWs which we currently hold—provided that we can come an agreement on transferring them,” she chuckled in a sad tone. “I somehow doubt that you will allow any Raptor or Heavy Raider to land on Galactica’s deck.”
“You are holding prisoners?” asked Laura, her expression grim.
“We are, and we are willing to release them into your custody—no parole, they will be free regardless of the outcome of these negotiations.”
“Admiral,” Laura began, casting a glance at the Quorum and Adama picked up the phone. “Your doubts are correct. Have you environmental suits for the prisoners?”
“And how many are there?”
“Sixty-four in total.”
“I will send a shuttle, two Raptors, and four Vipers to rendezvous with your Heavy Raider half-way between the fleets. They will not dock. We will extend a line between the shuttle and your Heavy Raider, and the POWs can cross over in that manner. Any attempt to infiltrate a Cylon among them will result in the immediate end of these negotiations.”
A pause. “That is acceptable. How long will you requi- . . .,”
“ADMIRAL! MULTIPLE CONTACTS ON DRADIS!”
“It’s a trap!” snapped Laura.
“Saul, beginning spinning up FTL to rendezvous with the Fleet—inform Pegasus and recall the fighters. Talk to me, Dee.”
“Galactica, Kat,” the wireless crackled. "Multiple Gemini- and Wishbone-class Basestars have jumped in near the Cylons—they are launching Raiders . . . HOLY FRACK!” she cried. “They are firing into the Cylons! They just killed one Nova!”
“Confirmed, Admiral,” said Dee. “Six Gemini- and four Wishbone-class Basestars.”
Bill and Saul looked at each other and then the Admiral sighed. “Madame President, we do not have the firepower to intervene.”
Laura smiled. “This is not our fight, Admiral. I trust the Quorum agrees?”
“It also corroborates—in part—their story, Madame President,” said Zarek. “But I agree—engaging this number would be foolhardy.” And one-by-one, the others also nodded.
“Admiral,” Laura said in a formal tone. “Withdraw to join the civilians.”
Adama put his arms behind his back and he stared at the DRADIS icons, the icons so familiar to him from so long ago. They had returned.
“Combat landings, we are leaving as soon as all fight-. . .,” but again he was interrupted.
“NEW CONTACTS! They appeared beyond the Cylons, right at the edge of maximum DRADIS range. I’m reading Colonial transponders!” Dee cried and then her face fell. “Admiral, its Battlestar Scorpia,” and then she blanched. She looked up and said in an unwavering voice clipped of all emotion. “Admiral, she’s moving to engage the enemy.”
“BELAY THAT ORDER!” Adama barked. “Launch everything we and Pegasus have on the deck and move closer to engage the enemy!” He looked at the President. “Madame President they will require time to recharge their FTLs, if we leave now . . .,” and his voice trailed off because no one present—military or civilian—failed to understand the consequences of leaving now. And more icons began to appear as Scorpia’s civilians jumped in behind her.
“Major Shaw is asking for confirmation, Sir.”
Saul Tigh snarled. “Inform Major Shaw that The Beast is to close and engage hostile Cylons—and if she doesn’t, I’ll fly over there myself and kick her ass the length of her flight deck!”
Dee blinked and she activated the comm. “Orders are confirmed, Pegasus—advance into the attack. Launch all available Vipers.”
“It never rains but it pours,” the Admiral whispered to Saul.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 30 2013 at 08:11 PM.
|January 30 2013, 10:01 PM||#120|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Hard a-port, Hunter,” Vandal called out from the rear cockpit. “Two more on our tail—releasing flares and chaff—NOW.”
Hunter pulled the stick hard to his left and chopped the throttle and the Raiders shot right past him—barely over the cockpit canopy. She squeezed off another burst from the eight forward guns and one of them exploded.
“Gods on Olympus, I love this fighter,” he whispered as he pushed the throttle forward again in pursuit of the survivor.
“HARD A-LEE!” yelled Vandal and Hunter immediately complied—and narrowly missed getting rammed by two more Raiders streaking in from the side. Rammed. He shivered at the sudden realization of just how alien these Cylons actually were. And the third had flipped end for end and his tracers were now tracking in from the nose. Hunter squeezed the trigger again, even as the Thunder shuddered with a hit—but the armor held. His opponents, however, didn’t.
“They’re coming around again,” Vandal warned from the backseat.
“Talley-ho!” sang out another voice as both the Raiders exploded and another Thunder swept past.
“Jolly!” Hunter called out. “Was wondering where you were.”
“I was having elevenses in the mess when the alert sounded—you guys left me!”
Hunter smiled. “You’re going to eat Lorne out of house and home, Jolly,” he said with a chuckle.
“What I wouldn’t give for a full load of nuclear-tipped Hydras right now, boss,” Vandal said as this wave of Raiders petered out—and the DRADIS showed the Basestars closing in fast. And then Jolly gave out a whoop of joy as second Wishbone erupted in nuclear fire as Scorpia’s torpedoes drove home.
“Well,” the Aquarian pilot said as he rocked his wings beside his wingman and squadron commander, “since I was already running late, Sinclair gave me two. They are signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered.”
“Jolly, you fat bastard,” Vandal exclaimed, “I think I want to kiss you—mustache and all.”
“Sorry, Vandal, love, you aren’t my type—too skinny. Which target, boss?”
“Let’s make a clean sweep—that third Wishbone is looking a little lonely back there behind the Geminis,” Hunter answered.
“Galactica and Pegasus are engaging the four left behind—those Novas have taken a pounding, boss,” Vandal chimed in.
“No shit,” Hunter muttered. The old First War Cylon ships had heavy armor protection and were armed primarily with heavy guns and point defense—few carried many missile launchers. But the new model Cylon Basestars, those were finesse weapons, forgoing all armor except over the most vital of locations and armed exclusively with long-range missile batteries and extremely short-range point-defense weapons.
But these First War Geminis and Wishbones were exactly the kind of ships that the designers of Pegasus and her sisters had in mind when she was built. Already, the fourth Wishbone was reeling under the impact of the very heavy nose cannon that she carried—and the old Galactica, fondly known as The Bucket by most of the Fleet—wasn’t being a slouch either. Under the pounding of those heavy guns, one full arm of the Wishbone broke off—and then she exploded.
The four Basestars advancing on Scorpia and her civilians began to split up—to flank the Battlestar . . . but Hunter smiled. They had just opened a gap for him to fly directly through.
“Follow me in, Jolly, I’m ploughing the road,” he said as he settled his sights on the next wave of Raiders launching and squeezed the trigger, holding it down as the guns thundered away and clearing his wingman a path.
“Tone, I’ve got tone,” Jolly said. “Hydras away!”
Hunter pulled up—and he winced as he saw his ammunition reserves were now at 15% on all eight counters. The missiles flew true and straight though—two nuclear-tipped and two carrying nothing but jammers and ECM.
“Umino Hana is away,” Vandal called out, and Hunter sighed. Anubis, Aurora, and Scorpia remained—now in gun range of the Basestars—and so did Galactica and Pegasus, but the civilians were safe.
“Scorpia Wing, Rambler,” the wireless broadcast. “Bring ‘em in to the barn post-haste! Our dance card is getting a bit full!”
“YES!” Jolly yelled and Hunter bared his teeth as another nuclear explosion tore into the last Wishbone . . . but then he cursed as it sailed through the fireball, huge ruptures in the hull, blackened and scorched all over, but still under power, and her remaining guns still coughing shells. “I think we are going to need a bigger warhead, boss,” the Aquarian said bluntly.
“Thunder Squadron,” he broadcast, “you heard the man—find a deck and let’s get the frack out of here.”
“Novas and Obelisks have jumped—Galactica and Pegasus are landing fighters and spinning up drives,” Vandal reported. “Scorpia is spinning up FTLs and she looks busy, boss.”
“There goes Anubis—and Aurora,” reported Jolly as they screamed down towards Scorpias flight deck and the two smaller Colonial vessels vanished in the implosion of folding space.
“Crowded flight deck, people—watch yourselves,” he said he banked for a hands-on combat landing on the port deck. And then he snarled as the third salvo of torpedoes from Scorpia tore one of the three Geminis tearing her hull apart and sending debris spinning wildly.
“Galactica and Pegasus are away,” said Vandal. “Flight reports Scorpia will jump the instant we are down.”
“Gear down,” Hunter said as the remaining Cylon ships concentrated their fire on Scorpia and she staggered under blows—but her own guns were firing back at maximum rate. “Magnetic grapples on automatic.” Hunter passed through the flight deck housing and he cut his thrust and slammed down on the deck—Jolly right beside him.
“ALL THUNDERS DOWN!” he barked into the helmet pickup—and Scorpia jumped.
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