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|February 1 2013, 05:28 PM||#136|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“It’s not instrumentation,” Jester replied as he stood wiped the fog from the hatch window and looked outside. “Prince, we’ve got great big holes all across the port wing, directly over the APU housing,” he reported.
“Prince, Racetrack,” the wireless said. “You are streaming fuel.”
“Cutting tank three from the loop—sealing lines and dumping fuel,” the pilot said, and then he sighed with relief. “Fuel pressure stabilized. Anubis, Prince, declaring an emergency, maneuverability compromised, request landing instructions.”
“FRACK!” yelled Racetrack. “Prince, one of those . . . things . . . is clinging to the under-carriage and trying to dig inside! He’s pulling apart the hull plate like it is wet paper!”
“We’re in hard vacuum! What the frack?” asked Prince in a stunned tone.
Bishop nodded back in the troop bay. “Reports state that they can survive in vacuum for at least a few minutes—they are a fascinating species.”
“Hold your course steady, Prince,” said Racetrack as she slid her Raptor in behind and below his . . . and Prince closed his eyes and muttered a short prayer.
“Please tell me you aren’t going to . . .,” he began and then Racetrack’s gun-pod began to flash and the Raptor suddenly shook hard.
“GOT ‘EM!” said Racetrack, and then she paused. “Eh, Prince. I kinda blew away your port skid—sorry. Oh crap, his blood just sprayed all up inside the hull!”
More warning lights began to flash and alarms sounded, and Jester spoke up. “Main Bus C undervolt warning—shut down all nonessential electronics,” he commanded. “Main Bus B in the yellow.”
“Shutting down DRADIS and all non-essential electronics,” Prince replied. “Starboard skids are retracted and bays closed. Fuel pressure steady,” that the Gods for small favors, Prince thought as the interior lights flickered and dimmed.
“Prince, Anubis Actual,” the wireless broadcast. “You are clear for immediate landing in Bay Four—emergency teams standing by.”
“Copy, Anubis; we have casualties on board. Be advised, we may have uninvited guests clinging to the hull.”
“The surgery is ready, Prince—Marines will be at hand once repressurization is complete.”
“All non-essential systems off-line,” reported Jester. “Frack, the battery charge is still failing—Main Bus B is now critical undervolt, I’ve got master cautions on Main Bus A. We’re shorting out power somewhere.”
“Affirmative, Jester,” said Racetrack. “There is a hole in the battery well directly beneath the troop bay where that creature was trying to get inside. I guess the splatter from his blood is doing a number on the cells.”
Jester exhaled deeply. Raptors had a large number of very powerful batteries stored beneath the deck allowing for constant operation on long-duration flights even when the engines were shut-down. Recharged by the two Auxiliary Power Units when the main engines were off-line, all power was channeled through the heavy—and toxic—banks of batteries from the main generator before being distributed among the systems. And sometimes, battle damage would result in the acid from those batteries entering the troop bay—hence the presence of the acid-nullification powders in the survival kit. “Copy, Racetrack,” Jester said. “Prince, I’m shutting the batteries out of the power loop completely—starboard APU is on-line for direct feed . . . NOW,” and he sighed as the warning and caution lights died away and the interior lights increased in illumination.
“That did it, Jester. Port and ventral RCS clusters are still non-responsive—landing the bird is going to be a bit sticky, so get the passengers to assume crash positions.”
Bishop nodded and he translated. One of the passengers—one of the Marines—began to rock and say words in a soft voice that sounded to Jester pretty much like someone whining, and then another snapped at him and the first quit talking. But he kept on rocking back and forth from his seat on the floor.
“Set fire suppression to automatic—and let’s trigger the manual on landing as well,” Prince said, “just to be on the safe side.”
“It’s the only way to be sure, with the damage this bird has taken,” Jester agreed, as he adjusted his controls and tightened his straps. He lifted a plastic cover over four manual switches and put his gloved fingers atop of them. “We will lose power the instant I trigger manual fire-suppression, so tell me when we’re down, Prince.”
“Copy that, Jester,” the pilot said as he approached the bay. Unlike the larger ships in the Colonial Fleet, Anubis didn’t have an actual flight deck—she had small hanger bays along her flanks. So landing a damaged bird was tricky—come in too hot and the Raptor would crash into the far bulkhead. Too slow, and the difference in orbital speeds might slam them into the aft bulkhead. Added to the danger was that unlike a proper flight deck, Anubis had full internal artificial gravity in her landing bays. The Virgon Prince blinked away sweat as he rolled the Raptor so that his undamaged starboard RCS could be used to brake and adjust course.
He glided into the bay and squirted the RCS clusters rapidly . . . and they responded. The Raptor slowed, and as the small vessel crossed the gravity plane, it fell towards the deck, slamming down hard, the single working ventral cluster firing constantly to slow the impact.
“NOW!” Prince said, and Jester triggered all four manual fire suppression systems. Both APUs and the twin engines were flooded with foam, along with fuel tanks and lines. And the interior and exterior lights died as power failed with the batteries off-line. Slowly the bay doors closed and Jester watched as the outside pressure gauge began to climb—when it reached the green, he yanked the hatch open and he smiled at the sight of emergency crews rushing into the bay—and armed Marines.
“Nice landing, Prince,” he said. “Frack me if I wouldn’t rather be fighting the Guardians instead of those critters down there.”
“You have got that bloody well right,” Prince replied.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 1 2013 at 06:03 PM.
|February 1 2013, 05:52 PM||#137|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
The story is going other directions from this point. I don't know if you are going to happy with that or disappointed, but we aren't going to be seeing the xenomorphs (or Predators, or the ancient alien astronauts) any further.
|February 1 2013, 08:14 PM||#138|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“This entire surrender concept is nonsense,” One muttered as he observed the prisoner exchange on the sensors. “It makes it sound as though they defeated us!”
“John,” Caprica said with a sigh. “We were beaten—defeated. That is why we are running. And we need them.”
“The Guardians defeated us, not these humans!” One snarled. “But no, we cannot surrender to Zoe because she wants to literally skin each and every one of us—so instead, we are surrendering to the Colonies whose ass we kicked! They were beaten . . . and now, they get to gloat!”
Boomer snorted, and One couldn’t help himself—he winced at the look on her scarred and disfigured face. “They were never beaten, John,” she said. “They ran, but they were never defeated—they never quit fighting, they never laid down their arms, they would have resisted us until the bitterest of ends. Whereas we? Right now, we don’t even want to engage the Guardians—they find us and we jump. We dare not fight them, because we are no longer immortal—and that scares us. It scares you.”
One felt a cold chill and he opened his mouth, but D’Anna nodded. She was still weak and pale, but her wound had improved to the point where she could join her brothers and sisters. “She’s right, John. Look around you—we have three Basestars remaining; just three out of the entire force that we built to fight the Colonies. Three. And those freighters, along with a single Resurrection Ship and ONE escort. That is all that is left of our people, John.”
“We cannot build new Raiders, we cannot build new Centurions, we have no facilities for cloning new bodies—once the stores on the Resurrection Ship have been expended, we will have no more lives forever. Unless Daniel was speaking the truth—unless the Hidden Five know the secrets of how he built the clone-tanks to begin with. We are unable to procreate, despite it being a commandment of ‘God’,” she said bitterly, “only one of us has managed to conceive and bear a child. Just one. And she left us. And despite the fighting we engaged in with the Guardians, despite all that our Brother of your Line did at Cylon Prime, Zoe still has more than two dozen Basestars of her own—and manufacturing complexes we have yet to ferret out. What does your cost/benefit analysis tell you of that, John?”
The command deck of the Basestar grew quiet until Caprica spoke. “We have no choice. They will not surrender to us—therefore, we must surrender to them. If we are to survive, there is no other choice.”
One-by-one, the different models nodded their agreement, until only One was left.
“Fine!” he snapped. “I still think they are going to get the POWs back, glean what intelligence we have available on the Guardians, and then kill us. But what do I know?”
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 1 2013 at 08:54 PM.
|February 1 2013, 11:32 PM||#139|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
He swallowed as one of the men spoke with Chief Galen and Galen looked at the Admiral; the deck chief called up an escort and the man walked across the deck to Adama—his uniform bore the insignia of a Colonel. He was thin—to thin—and he was missing his left arm.
“Colonel Elias Thorean, executive officer, Battlestar Solaria, reporting, Admiral,” he said with a salute.
“Colonel,” Adama rumbled. “You weren’t on Solaria during the attack?”
“I was on leave—spending vacation time in the Ionian Islands,” he shook his head. “Unlike the mainland, there wasn’t room to hide in the wilderness—the Cylons captured us ten days after the attack.” He swallowed and Bill waited.
“We were taken to a holding facility—I was the senior officer present, Sir. Sir, I-I . . .,” he paused and Adama waited. “We weren’t overly abused, Admiral. A few beatings here and harsh questioning there, but by the second month, they just let us be. Wouldn’t let us go—kept trying to talk to us about the One True God, well, talk to the men at least.”
“They segregated us from the women,” and he sighed. “They suffered worse than we did, I found out when they loaded us up on that cargo ship,” he said quietly. “We joined a few other survivors, from other Colonies—civilian and fleet alike. I think we were going to the Cylon Homeworlds. But then, things changed. They started telling us we were going to be released—we didn’t believe them. They had tricked us before, Admiral. Not until today—this is real, isn’t it?” he asked in a voice that said he was still struggling to cope with the sudden reversal of fortune.
“It is. Your arm?” asked Adama.
Elias shrugged. “Month three, I tried to lead a breakout from the camp where we were being held—I thought that maybe their guard was down. I was wrong. Eleven men were killed—I and sixteen others wounded. It took the Cylons four days to ship a doctor over from the mainland. And by then,” he grimaced. “By then, the tissue had gone septic. Only thing he could do was cut it off . . .,” and his voice trailed off.
Adama swallowed again. “Is there a Lieutenant Novachek with you?”
“Bulldog?” Elias asked and he nodded. “He was put in with us just days ago—the Cylons kept him separate and alone. He’s been a prisoner for seven years, Admiral. He is . . .,” Elias closed his eyes, “he’s suffered more than the rest of us.”
Adama turned to two sick-berth attendants. “See to the Colonel’s needs,” he ordered roughly. “And get him a meal.”
“Thank you, Sir. Sir?” he asked and Bill’s heart broke at the plaintive tone in his voice.
“Yes, Colonel Thorean?”
“It would be good to have something to do—to work on. I know that you don’t need a crippled Colonel, but my people need to occupy their thoughts, Sir. They need work—and they are good officer and crewmen, Sir.”
“Colonel,” Adama growled with another swallow of a lump in his throat. “I won’t be throwing away an experienced officer just because he has lost an arm. You won’t get out of work that easily, not on Galactica. Now let these men make certain of your health—and eat, and get some rest. Then we will talk about putting you to work.”
Elias nodded and he saluted—a salute that the Admiral returned in full. And then he was led away by the SBAs.
And that was when Adama saw the man he had been waiting for—the man he had dreaded seeing. Adama walked forward to where Daniel Novachek sat on the wing of a Raptor, shaking with cold and clutching a blanket around himself. He was ill—feverish—and Doctor Cottle was inserting an IV needle into one arm.
“What do you hear, Bulldog?” Adama asked, and the man’s head snapped up—his eyes locking onto the Admiral. “Commander? Commander Adama—Admiral Adama,” he hissed as his eyes settled on the collar insignia. “You left me for seven years in a stinking Cylon prison, and they promoted you for it?” he asked, his voice bitter.
“I called for help, and you never came—you left me behind, Admiral. You left me there to die—but I didn’t die. I was their prisoner for seven years, Bill Adama. SEVEN YEARS!” he bellowed.
Adama just stood there and he turned to the Doctor. “Take care of him, Doctor—we will talk later, once you calm down, Bulldog.”
“DON’T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME!” Novachek yelled; he leapt to his feet and grabbed Adama’s shoulder, spinning the Admiral around—and his right hook caught the Admiral on the jaw. “DON’T YOUR EVER WALK AWAY FROM ME!”
“NO!” Adama shouted at the Marines who were rushing over, and Bulldog collapsed back down unto the wing of the Raptor—shaking life a leaf. Cottle glared at him, “Tear out a vein that I am poking around and you are going to the morgue, flyboy!” he barked. And he injected the pilot with a syringe.
“Don’t you leave me behind again, Bill,” Bulldog repeated as his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed.
“Get him to the surgery!” Cottle ordered. “I gave him some hefty sedatives, Admiral—you all right down there?” he asked and held out his hand.
Adama took it and climbed to his feet. “Take care of them, Sherman,” he growled, and stalked off of the hanger deck.
|February 2 2013, 12:56 AM||#140|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Samantha Caldwell frowned at the translation. “We are from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, Corporal Hicks—where are you from?”
The survivors from Acheron looked at each other and then Ellen Ripley leaned forward. “There are roughly seventy established colonies—the great majority of them mining outposts . . . I have never heard of an alliance of Colonies nor of Kobol.”
“Where are you from?” asked Samantha again—and this time, everyone heard the building excitement in her voice. And they could her senior officers frown at the non-answers.
Gorman began to speak, but then Carter J. Burke smiled and placed both his hands on the table. “These Marines are members of the United America Alliance; they were dispatched to Acheron to assist Weyland-Yutani Corporation in reestablishing contact. We had heard—rumors,” he said glancing at Ripley, “that the settlement on Acheron was in grave danger and then we lost contact. Now, as an executive of Weyland-Yutani, I am hap-. . .,”
“I want an answer—where are you from?” Samantha repeated herself.
“Earth,” said Ripley. “We left Gateway Station in Earth orbit fifty-seven days ago.”
Major Caldwell sat back in her chair, and the Terran Marines—along with Bishop, Burke, and Ripley—could see the sudden exhilaration in her eyes.
“The Thirteenth Tribe—we’ve found the Thirteenth Tribe,” Caldwell said and Bishop dutifully translated her words. And joy broke out on the faces of those sitting on her side of the table.
“Maybe I’m missing something here,” Burke said. “What are you talking about?”
“Let me tell you a long story,” Samantha said with a smile. “In the beginning . . .”
|February 2 2013, 02:26 AM||#141|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Gorman and Burke smiled—while Hudson and Vasquez winced. Ripley just looked confused.
“Oh. They were developed while you were . . . indisposed,” Burke said. “It is a learning tool that allows you to implant knowledge in a person’s mind. “It was going to revolutionize instruction . . . until we found out the side-effects,” he shrugged.
“Side-effects?” asked Ripley.
“Yeah,” answered Hicks. “If you use the damn thing too much, it causes irreversible brain damage. But in moderation, it allows a Marine to implant something he needs to know—like a language. They quit making them, but the Corps never recalled them—they just quit using them routinely.”
He paused. “Do we have any?”
“Twenty should be in storage—and we do have a Greek language upload available; however, the dialects differ, but it will make communication simpler.” And Bishop looked, uncomfortable. “They appear very . . . phobic about artificial life. I am having . . . difficulties understanding how these ‘Cylons’ could have done what they are claiming.”
“I’m not,” said Ripley, remembering Ash from the Nostromo. “I think it is best that we not mention you are a syn- . . . an artificial person, Bishop.”
“Well, they are already wondering why Bishop didn’t get a full scan like the rest of us,” said Hudson. “I don’t think that they bought the ‘he was never alone’ story.”
“You are all missing the point,” said Burke. “We’ve got an incredible opportunity here. We are the ones who have discovered these people, after all.”
“Actually they found us,” said Bishop.
Burke frowned. “Beside the point. Look, their technology is backward in a lot of ways, sure. But this instantaneous FTL tech, what they call jumping? This is the motherlode—if we play this right, we can come out of this richer than any of you ever dreamed.”
“We are Colonial Marines of the United Americas Alliance, Mister Burke,” said Lieutenant Gorman. “Not employees of Weyland-Yutani. We are not allowed to profit on anything we discover on a deployment—never mind that these people own the rights.”
“That’s a technicality,” said Burke as he smiled and raised his hands. “I can promise you that Weyland-Yutani will not forget the people who brought this to them?”
“Like you didn’t forget the colonists you sent out to that ship, Burke?” Ripley said. “Like you were willing to risk every one of our lives by trying to bring those alien specimens aboard the ship? What were you going to do—smuggle them past ICC Quarantine?”
“Not possible,” said Hicks. “No unknown living organism goes through quarantine—none.”
“Keep on thinking that, Corporal Hicks,” Burke grinned. “And like I said, Ripley, I made a bad call—it was a bad call. But with this? This will wash the slate clean for all of us. With exclusive rights—of which each of you will get a few percent, I’ll even include the little girl to make up for what she’s been through—we can write our own tickets.”
“You know,” Hicks said. “They don’t strike me as the type to let themselves get taken by a snake-oil salesman, Burke. Not at all—and I think if we are going to go with them and meet their President, you need to tone down your greed. It shows.”
“President,” Burke laughed. “It isn’t governments that make things work—it is the corporations. They’ll understand that—it’s how things are done.”
Ripley shook her head. “Only for us, and only today, Burke. Didn’t they teach you history?”
“History is written by the victors, Ripley.”
“Yes it is, Mister Burke,” said Gorman. “And frankly, we aren’t the right people to be making this contact with the Colonials. When we get back aboard Sulaco, I am going to inform the Commandant as regulations stipulate, and the Alliance can send out trained diplomats. Hopefully they will get here before the vultures from the Three Worlds Empire, the China-Asian Congress, the Soviet Pact, the Pan-African Assembly, the Caliphate, or the Federated European Union arrives on scene.”
“You do that and we all get cut out. No one will get rights, the government will step in and sell it off piece by piece to the highest bidder!” sputtered Burke. “You are throwing away a fortune.”
“But I’m keeping my soul, Mister Burke,” Lieutenant Gorman said quietly. “It isn’t all about money. Bishop, let’s see if Major Caldwell will let us go back to Sulaco and place a call—or if we are actually prisoners here.” And he looked directly at Burke and glared at him. “And while we are there, I will authorize a nuclear strike on the alien ship that Ripley and Nostromo found. It’s the only way to be sure.”
Burke sputtered, but the other Marines smiled at Gorman and nodded, even Ripley. But then Vasquez grinned and she leaned in close. “You’re still an asshole, you know that? But you’re an okay asshole, Gorman. A Marine asshole.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 02:46 AM.
|February 2 2013, 03:31 AM||#142|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“What the frack is the toaster doing here?” he snarled, and then he nodded a sort-of apology at Athena. She wasn’t happy, but she nodded—and then she smiled. Why did she smile, Saul asked himself.
“He’s here, Colonel because I asked him here,” said the Admiral. He poured several glasses of Ambrosia—big glasses, and then he straightened up. “Brother Cavil is going to ask you to do something—all of you. Don’t ask questions, I just want you to do it.”
Saul frowned again and Brother Cavil stepped forward. “Colonel Tigh, would you stand there?” he asked. “Mister Anders, take his hand, and the hand of Miss Tigh.” He stepped up next to Ellen and handed her his hand, and then he nodded at Tory. “Miss Foster,” he said holding out his other hand, “then Athena, and finally Chief Tyrol. Galen, would you take Colonel Tigh’s hand please?”
“Bill,” Saul growled. But Adama shook his head, and Saul clasped Tyrol’s hand in his own.
And then Sam Anders, Athena, and Cavil began to chant a simple mantra. And something in Saul’s head went CLICK. It was as if the floodgates of memory opened and he remembered EVERYTHING from his entire life—including the events on Joyita, the terror at being captured by the Cylons, the pain of the memory extraction process, the death of his original body and his rebirth as a Cylon. He remembered it all. And he finally remembered every single detail of the last fourteen years perfectly.
His alcoholism, which began after Joyita; Ellen’s promiscuity; he remembered every single error of judgment he had made over fourteen years; all in response to the pain he did not even know he carried. Every time he let Bill down, he remembered in absolute perfection. And Saul Tigh fell to his knees holding his head.
“Gods,” he whispered. “Gods,” he cried.
And then Bill Adama was there and he handed him a glass—and Saul drank it all on one swallow.
“What the frack was that?” Starbuck said, and Sam turned to here. He had a very sad look on his face, and he took her hands.
“Kara,” he said gently, “we—Saul, Ellen, Galen, Tory, and me—we are the last Five of the Cylons.”
Starbuck jerked away. She shook her head, and a look just washed over her face. “No. NO.” she said as she limped back—the brace on her leg keeping her from bending her knee.
Saul got to his feet and he held Ellen, who was crying, and he sighed. “We are, Captain Thrace,” he said. “Gods help us, we are.”
Tyrol was just staring at Athena, “You knew? Boomer knew?”
“Boomer did not know—nor did Athena. Our memories of you were stolen from all of the Cylons by our creator—Daniel Graystone,” Brother Cavil answered. “You know the truth, Galen Tyrol. Search your memories.”
And the deck chief’s face went pale.
Adama stepped forward. “We,” he said gesturing towards Lee and Mathias and Laura, “have known about this since Sidewinder boarded this ship—but only a few others have been informed and so far they have kept their mouths shut. That is going to change. NONE of you five have committed any crimes,” he said with a glance at Laura who stood with no emotion at all playing over her features, “you are innocent. This is something that was done to you—a crime that was committed on your bodies and your minds.”
Mathias nodded his agreement and he spoke up. “Accept the truth, and know that none of us here see any of you differently than we did.”
“FRACK THAT!” yelled Starbuck. “THEY ARE CYLONS!” she screamed. “AND YOU KNEW?” She paused and shook her head again, and grabbed her crutch and moved towards the hatch.
“Kara, wait,” Sam said as he grabbed her arm, and she jerked away from him and spun around to punch him with a loud CRACK.
“DON’T YOU EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN, YOU FRACKING TOASTER!”
And she stormed out, leaving Sam sitting on the deck, holding his jaw.
“That went better than I expected,” said Lee. “Drink, Mister Anders?”
“I need one,” he said as he slowly stood back up, accepting a glass from the Commander of Pegasus.
Tory turned to Laura. “This is why I was assigned to Baltar, Madame President? You couldn’t trust me anymore?”
“I don’t trust you, Miss Foster,” she said in a cold voice. “And I will expect your resignation on my desk by morning,” then she smiled. “I have agreed to take no action against you—that doesn’t mean I have to work with you.”
“But I wasn’t a part of the at- . . .,” Tory began.
“I don’t care, Miss Foster. Pack your things—you are not staying on Colonial One nor are you working for me.”
Tory’s eyes flashed. “Madame President, I . . .,” but Laura cut her off.
“No. My mind is made up. I will not have a Cylon working in my office.”
She flushed. Even with her dark skin it was clear that Tory flushed and everyone could tell she was angry beyond words, and then she smiled.
“Athena,” she said, turning her head to face Sharon. “Hera is alive. The President ordered Cottle to fake her death and gave the child to Maya—her new assistant—to adopt. I will testify under oath that she ordered the kidnapping of your daughter and then had Cottle tell you she died in childbirth. Frack you, Madame President!” she snapped, and stormed off.
And everyone’s jaw dropped.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 04:02 AM.
|February 2 2013, 06:27 AM||#143|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Sam snorted. “They don’t need to for the colony if these projections are accurate—forty plus megatons?” She shook her head. “That’ll take of the infestation. But this ship, this derelict that they found with eggs?” She sighed. “Yeah, I think I’m going to let them do it.”
She picked up her own china cup and took a sip. “I cannot believe how slow their ships are in FTL,” she mused. “I mean, their computer and medical technology is an order of magnitude . . .,”
“At least,” said Hamish.
“. . . greater than our own,” Sam finished with a slight look of exasperation on her face. And that ship carries directed energy weapons—lasers and particle beam cannons. Working DEWs,” she shook her head again. “My gods, it is the holy grail that the Fleet has been pursing for decades.”
“To tell the truth, Major,” Hamish said after he placed the cup on its saucer, “I was even more impressed that their ship basically operates itself. That level of computing technology is something that the Colonies have forsaken since the creation of the Cylons. Now, of course, from speaking with them, it operates better with a crew, but even so, at full strength that ship requires just ninety. And that . . . cryogenic hibernation,” he sounded out the unfamiliar word, “technology they have allows them to carry up to two thousand troops for a brief spell. Impressive.”
“And worrisome,” Sam said. “What happens if the Guardians—or our allied Cylons,” she said with a snort, “decide to launch a cyber attack on that ship’s computers?”
“Actually, I think these people could probably give the Cylons a run for their money in that area. Consider what they were doing down there on the surface, Major. Terraforming the lunar atmosphere. The sheer audacity involved in that, and for them? It’s just routine. Breathtaking . . . and terrifying.”
“Well, it’s not all doom and gloom, Captain,” Sam smiled. “Our FTL is much faster for cross long-distances. To get from here to the Colonies in their ships would take them fourteen years, not eight months. They haven’t discovered tylium, and our ships are much more responsive in normal space—and other than those energy weapons, our kinetics and missiles are at least on par with their own. Not to mention our EVA and flight suits are far less burdensome than theirs.”
“True, but they also have FTL comm,” Hamish pointed out. “That is worth a hell of lot right there.”
“Only if you can move ships to exploit it—which they cannot, Captain. At least not quickly.”
She sat back and took another sip of the tea. “I think I am going to let them go back over there—you feel up to flying them, Captain?”
“Certainly, Major. If that means I have an opportunity to tour that ship, most definitely.” Hamish took another sip and then he sat down the cup and saucer and leaned forward. “Major, it may be none of my concern, but what are you doing associated with the SFM? I mean a decorated officer of the line—scuttlebutt says you were up for an XO slot on a Mercury-class. What happened?”
Sam winced. And then she sighed. “Admiral Adama and Commander Lorne—a few others in the Colonial Fleet—already know, as does the crew on this ship. None of them have spilled the beans?”
“Not one, Major.”
She snorted. “Will wonders ever cease? Okay, you want the nitty-gritty? Four years ago I was a rising star in the Fleet. Made Major on my 27th birthday and was assigned to Fleet Headquarters, Picon. It was supposed to be a six-month tour, to be followed by assignment as Operations Officer on a Battlestar—and then early promotion to Colonel and XO,” she smiled. “Those were the days, I was going to make Colonel before my 30th,” she said. “I had already served under Commander Lorne—only he was Colonel Lorne at the time—on the old Athena, so I knew him well. Everything went fine, until Admiral Corman brought his staff to Caprica seventy days after I began working for him.”
“We went to the Presidential Retreat to meet with Adar and we were staying for the entire weekend. Long story short, Captain, the President got drunk and he got rather too friendly. I wound up kicking him in the balls.”
Hamish blinked. But Sam didn’t stop.
“His security took me into custody and held me without counsel for four days—no food, no visitors, no showers, nothing. They didn’t even question me. And on the fifth day, Admiral Corman came in with a list of charges filed against me, for assaulting Adar.”
“I told him what happened, and he shrugged. He said there were no witnesses to any impropriety on the part of the President, and conversely about a dozen affidavits stating that I had made sexual advances to him and been rebuffed, which is when I attacked him without provocation.”
“He gave me a choice. I could press charges against the President and they would be dismissed. Whereupon I would be charged in full and spend the next twenty years at hard labor. Or, I could resign my commission and forfeit all pay and benefits and the incident would be forgotten.”
She lowered her head. “I demanded to speak with an attorney—that was denied. I told Admiral Corman that I would go to the media, and he laughed. He said that my tribunal—military tribunal—was already assembled and if I did not resign then and there and sign a non-disclosure agreement, then I would be tried, convicted, sentenced, and shipped off world that same day.”
“So I signed,” she said. “I signed the paper and I resigned my commission and then I found out that Adar used his political connections to have every application I made for employment black-balled. My bank accounts had been seized for tax evasion and I was denied credit from anyone except a loan shark—apparently his people wrecked that for me too. I was working in a waitress in the slums outside of Caprica City—only legal job I could get—when I met Jon Namer. And we talked. And that was my last shift in that greasy spoon where customers felt that they could fondle my ass if they left me a quarter-cubit tip.”
“I never looked back, Captain Malcolm,” she said. “Does that surprise you?”
“Based on what I come to expect from you, Major, the only thing that surprises me is that you left Adar alive,” Hamish answered.
And she chuckled. “I had some faith at the moment it happened that the system would work—it doesn’t. It didn’t. In the end though, it probably saved my life. Otherwise I would have been on one of those Battlestars and not at Charon.” She sighed again. “Now, unless you have more questions that do not concern you, Captain, why don’t you fly our guests back to their ship so that they can nuke those creatures and grab their tooth-brushes. I have some work to finish.”
Hamish stood and he gave a slight bow. “The Major commands, and I obey,” he said with a smile.
“Damn straight,” Sam answered.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 06:44 AM.
|February 2 2013, 05:04 PM||#144|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
And everyone’s jaw dropped.
Shock as much as anything saved the life of President Roslin at that moment, because despite her Cylon speed and reaction time and strength, Athena was stunned—at least for a brief moment. Athena surged forward and Laura Roslin gasped as those extremely angry fingers reached out for her throat—and stopped dead just inches from Laura Roslin’s skin before being pulled back; Saul grabbed the furious woman from behind, and Anders had tackled her around the waist—she still almost managed to connect with a vicious right hook thrown as she went to the deck, but Brother Cavil grabbed her arm and got thrown himself into the bulkhead for his troubles, but Galen caught the fist and held before she could resume her swing.
And even as the two Adamas and Mathias finally started moving (and a white-faced Laura backed up against the bulkhead) Ellen was already kneeling next to Sharon as Saul and Sam’s combined weight held her down on the floor, and Galen Tyrol still held her clenched right fist. “Not this way, Athena,” she said. “She wants you to hit her—that will let her get away with this and throw you away forever—we will get your daughter back to you, sister,” she hissed.
“I WANT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” Athena snarled, her attention totally focused on Laura, tears of pure rage, mixed with . . . a kaleidoscope of hope, relief, and fear, streaming down her cheeks.
Mathias shook his head and he looked at Lee and the Admiral—and they were just as stunned as he was—as Athena was. They didn’t know, he thought as his jaw worked—they didn’t know.
“Saul,” the elder Adama growled, “take who you need and get her,” he said pointing at Athena, “back to Helo’s quarters—Lee, grab Helo and take him there and use Marines if you must, but make him stay there. Everyone else—except the President—OUT.”
Athena was still clawing and struggling and writhing trying to get away from Saul and Anders, shouting imprecations and threats of a very imaginative physical violence. But with the help of Cavil—rubbing his shoulder from where he had impacted against the metal bulkhead—and Ellen and Galen and Sam, Saul managed to get the Athena over to the hatch and outside in the corridor. And Lee closed the hatch behind him, shutting it off to at least slow down the Raptor pilot if she broke free.
She quit struggling and started to sob, collapsing down to the deck and Ellen held her there—even as Saul and Sam kept a strong grip on her arms, just in case.
“That included you, Commander Lorne,” Adama said in the now almost empty conference room.
Mathias ignored him for a moment and he glared at the President—who met his gaze unflinchingly. “You told me Admiral,” he whispered, “there was a line that I had dare not cross—a point past which you would not be pushed. I, too, have such a line, Sir. And this,” he said waving a hand at the closed hatch and the President, “more than crosses it.”
“I said GET OUT, Commander Lorne,” Adama growled again, and Mathias just looked at Adama—and the younger man realized that this was what pure furious anger looked like on the Admiral. He nodded.
“Aye, aye, SIR,” he answered, walking over to the hatch, opening it, stepped through, and closed it behind him.
Bill Adama shook—he literally shook—and he picked up one of the glasses and took a deep swallow of Ambrosia. Then he threw the empty glass against the bulkhead where it shattered.
“What were you thinking?” he barked.
Laura stepped forward and her expression was grim. “I want Lieutenant Agathon arrested—she tried to assault me in front of witnesses. Put her in the brig, Admiral.”
“Laura, she had every right to land that punch—and you are lucky that Saul and Anders grabbed her in time.”
The President smiled—and there was absolutely no humor in that smile. “She tried to assault the President of the Colonies; and now she is going to the brig.”
“YOU LIED TO ME!” Bill thundered, and then he collected himself. “You stole that child from her mother and father and you lied to them, you lied to the Fleet, you lied to me, Laura. In the gods name, WHY?”
“The child is important, Admiral,” she said with a faraway look in her eyes. “I’ve seen her in my visions—seen her running through the Opera House. I’ve seen Lieutenant Agathon chasing after her and myself running a race to get to her first. She’s the key to our future.”
“Your visions? YOUR VISIONS?” Adama asked, “You never stopped taking the chamalla extract did you, Madame President?”
“And the Lords anointed a leader to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland. And unto the leader, they gave a vision of serpents, numbering two and ten, as a sign of things to come,” Laura quoted. “I am that leader—I have had the vision of serpents, Admiral. I am the dying leader Pythia foretold who would lead humanity to the promised land.”
“Y-you,” Adama stammered and then he forced himself to calm down. “You stole away a child because of this religious NONSENSE? Have you lost your fracking mind, Madame President?”
“No, Admiral,” Laura answered in a very cold voice. “That child is the key—a key that I will not let any Cylon possess. I did what I must, as a . . . National Security Measure I signed an executive order for the removal of Hera from the Agathons in order to protect this Fleet.”
“You told them she was dead—you told me she was dead!” Adama barked.
“I did no such thing,” Laura said with a smile. “Doctor Cottle told them—and you—that the child had died. And once Athena is in the brig again, then I might consider allowing Captain Agathon to see his daughter—until then, Hera will not have contact with either of them.”
“That decision is no longer yours, Madame President.”
“Are you going to launch another coup, Admiral? I have the law—enough of it—on my side. Hera is part Cylon, and keeping her in a neutral environment where she is not aware of that is vital—I know that. I have seen that.”
“Do you think that the Courts are going to agree with you, Laura?” Adama asked. “They will remove Hera from your custody and return her to her parents—and you will be charged with a heinous crime.”
Laura flushed. “She’s a Cylon—she’s not a person, she’s a thing, Admiral. Get it through your head. We made them. We built them. I don’t care if they look like us now or not—they are things!”
“Somehow, I doubt that High Justice Lampkin will see it that way,” Adama growled.
“Bill, you have to trust me,” Laura began, and Adama cut her off.
“Trust you? TRUST YOU!?! Madame President, you went behind my back and you did an atrocious criminal act—you stole a fracking child, you told the child’s mother and father she had died, you gave her to another woman.”
“Her mother is fracking Cylon!”
“I DON’T CARE!” Adama thundered. “She’s a person, a real live person, Laura, and you need to start understanding RIGHT THE FRACK NOW that she is an officer of the Colonial Fleet with every right and privilege and responsibility thereof,” Adama gritted his teeth, and he seethed with anger. “You betrayed my trust, Madame President. And you will be lucky if I don’t throw your fracking ass back into my brig! NOW GET OFF MY SHIP!”
“Bill . . .,” Laura began.
“LEAVE! Or by the Gods I will have you thrown off my fracking Battlestar,” Adama snarled before he turned and stormed off. Leaving Laura Roslin, the President of the Twelve Colonies standing alone.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 06:38 PM.
|February 2 2013, 07:35 PM||#145|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Flight has cleared us to return to Scorpia, Sir,” he said.
“Negative, Sidewinder,” Mathias answered in a clipped voice as he put the auxiliary wireless headset on his head. “Set course for Colonial One.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the pilot answered softly as the elevator lifted the Raptor from Galactica’s hanger deck to the flight deck.
“Scorpia, Gremlin,” the Commander broadcast.
“Gremlin, Scorpia. Go.”
“Put Torch on, Scorpia.”
There was a pause.
“Gremlin, Torch. Go.”
“Get Captain Marsden and Special Agent Von aboard a Raptor, along with Master-at-Arms Juris and some of his people—and I want them armed,” Mathias ordered. “Tell them to bring their evidence kits. They are to meet me aboard Colonial One, ASAP. Gremlin out.”
Sidewinder stared at Mathias. Ann Marsden was the senior (of two) Judge Advocate General personnel stationed on Scorpia—and Special Agent Francis (he normally went by Frank) Von was the civilian head of the Fleet Criminal Investigation Service assigned to the Battlestar.
Mathias did not look at Sidewinder, but he motioned forward. “Deck is clear, Captain Greene—why are you waiting?”
“Sir,” the pilot answered and shook himself. “Galactica Flight, Raptor 107,” he called out. “Request permission to depart.”
“Raptor 107, Flight. You are clear for departure.”
Sidewinder nudged his throttles forward and the Raptor lifted up and began to accelerate down the flight deck before hurtling into open space.
“Kaboose,” Mathias spoke into his wireless.
“I want all transmissions from Colonial One to the rest of the Fleet jammed.”
There was a pause, and then a very quiet “Aye, aye, sir,” in answer.
“I’m not launching a coup, Sidewinder, so you might as well quit staring at me,” the Commander said in a matter-of-fact voice. “However, if the President returns while we are there, I am going to have Frank arrest her ass and throw her in Scorpia’s brig hopefully until she rots.”
“And that isn’t a coup, how? Sir?” Stefan Greene asked.
“Because she has committed a felony—she kidnapped a new-born babe, faked the child’s death, told the parents it was dead, and has someone else raising it on that ship, Sidewinder. This isn’t a coup—it is a hostage rescue. And the President is on Galactica at this moment, but if she shows her face before we are done, I will have her arrested.”
Sidewinder released a deep breath that he was holding. “Okay,” he said. “Totally not a coup; got it.”
“Miss Foster,” Mathias continued. “You know where the documents are stored?”
“I do,” she answered bitterly.
“You are not to touch them or remove them or examine in any way until Marsden and Von arrive to take proper custody—is that clear?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Good. You understand that you will have to stand trial for this as well, correct?” Mathias asked.
“I do. And I am willing to do so.”
“And that I have no control over what—if any—deal the Court makes for your testimony?”
“I don’t want a deal, Commander,” Tory answered in a very bitter voice.
“No, I don’t imagine that you do. She’s wrong you know,” he continued. “About the Cylons; the human-form replicates: you and the others.”
“Thirty minutes ago, I thought she was right, Commander. What does that say about me?”
“It says you are human and can hold grudges, Miss Foster. But I am not going to damn you because of what the Cylons did to your original body. Your mind is the same—you are the same. That makes you a person, not a thing. And that means you have rights . . . and responsibilities under the law, as well.”
“I understand, Commander,” Tory said softly.
“Coming up on Colonial One,” Sidewinder reported, and then he paused. “They are asking for our reason to board ship.”
Mathias adjusted the frequency on his wireless. “Colonial One, Raptor 107—we are carrying members of the Presidents staff; request immediate landing authorization.”
“Affirmative, Raptor 107. Stand by,” the wireless crackled. After a moment, the voice resumed. “You are clear to land in the main hold—cargo doors open.”
“Copy, Colonial One,” answered Mathias and he switched frequencies and he smiled as he saw the sunlight glinting off the canopy of a second Raptor.
“Gremlin, Arclight,” the wireless spoke, “I’ve got the package.”
“Copy, Arclight,” said Mathias. “Follow us in. Put me on internal speakers.”
“Gremlin you are live.”
“Gentlemen, there is a possible hostage situation—a month old child who has kidnapped from her parents. I have all the information and a person who can identify the woman and child in question—they are not to be harmed. We will be collecting evidence of this crime,” and others, Mathias thought, “and if the crew of Colonial One interfere you are hereby authorized to use non-lethal force to make them comply. Rules of Engagement Four Daggit are in place—lethal weapons are to be used only if you are threatened with a lethal weapon—understood?”
He heard faint echoes of people stating their assent, and Mathias nodded. “Full briefing on the deck—gentlemen, let’s get this done.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 07:58 PM.
|February 2 2013, 10:29 PM||#146|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“I am here to conduct an inspection of this ship, pursuant to the Intercolonial Commerce Code, Article Three, Section Fourteen, which states, ‘all ships of civilian registry operating under the flag of any of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol must permit a boarding inspection of cargo and passengers upon the request of officers so empowered.’ Section Fifteen lists ‘Colonial Fleet officers having the rank of Colonel or higher and assigned to active service as the commanding or executive officer of a Battlestar’ as among those officers so empowered,” Mathias said as he headed for the ladders leading to the personnel deck.
“We will begin our inspection top-side and work our down, Crewman,” as he quickly climbed the ladder, followed by his officers and men.
“But this is the President’s ship!”
“Alas, that doesn’t change the law, Crewman. Inform your commander to meet me top-side,” Mathias said before he disappeared through the hatch.
“Commander, this is most unusual—we haven’t had an inspection team since Captain Adama came aboard to conduct a survey of the survivors!” Captain Evensun protested. “For what reasons are you conducting this inspection?”
“ICC 3-14 does not require a reason, Captain Evensun,” Mathias said with a pleasant smile. “But to simplify things, I have concerns that a psycho-tropic hallucinogenic drug is being stored aboard this ship—in quantities that are illegal, Captain Evensun,” among other reasons, he thought. “Is that not correct, Miss Foster?”
“Yes, Commander. The President keeps a large supply of chamalla leaf and extract on hand,” the former aide answered. And Mathias smiled. “You understand of course, that chamalla is legal—but not in quantities suitable for trafficking, yes, Captain?”
“Trafficking?” he blurted. “She’s the President!”
“And does that place her above the law, Captain? Now stand aside,” Mathias ordered.
“Under protest, Commander,” Evensun answered as he stepped away from the hatch leading to the government offices.
Maya looked up at Tory entered, and she smiled at the woman. “Tory! Is the President back . . . with . . . you?” she asked, her voice fading away at the sight of the officers and crew from Scorpia.
“No, Maya, she is not,” Tory answered, and she sighed. She whispered to Lorne. “Commander, she did not know about the child—and she loves Isis as if she were her own. She was told more lies, and believed the adoption was real.”
Mathias nodded. “Miss . . . ?” he asked.
“Maya is my entire name, Commander—a declining tradition on Leonis, but one my parents chose to respect. As have I with my daughter Isis,” she answered.
“Very well, Maya; may I sit?”
“Please. What’s wrong?” she asked.
Mathias took in a deep breath and he began to tell her.
Some time later, two Masters-at-Arms escorted High Justice Romo Lampkin aboard the ship. He frowned at the sobbing woman—Maya—who rocked a young baby back and forth, Tory sitting next to her and stoking her back to comfort her. And then he looked at Mathias.
“I received a request from the officers of this ship to come here immediately, Commander,” he said, “and then I received your request that I do the same. Searching the President’s offices without a warrant are we?”
Mathias smiled, and he recited the ICC regulations, and Lampkin nodded. “Interesting interpretation—how is this ship NOT a government vessel?”
“I checked, your honor,” said Mathias. “No one has ever—not since the attack—changed the ship’s registration or affiliation. Indeed, it is only Colonial One because the President has adopted it as her home—if she changes ships, this vessel will revert to Colonial Heavy 798.”
Lampkin nodded. “The government will argue, of course, that there is no longer an office of registration—and that de facto, this vessel is now a government vessel rather than a civilian one.”
“Except the ship still carries civilian passengers for whom it serves as home, your honor,” Mathias answered with a wide smile. “And the Quorum certainly could have declared this vessel as a government or military vessel at any time—but instead has used the appellation of ‘civilian’ in all official paperwork concerning Colonial One, which to me and the JAG assigned to Scorpia means that it remains a civilian vessel, your honor.”
“How many times?” asked Lampkin. And Mathias nodded to Ann Madsen.
She stepped forward. “From copies of the Quorum meetings that I have gone over, they have referenced this ship—and the problems that have cropped up with engineering, food and water distribution, housing, internal atmosphere conditions, etc—four times and each times have labeled it as a civilian vessel. I specifically note the Quorum meeting where . . . ,”
And Lampkin stopped her. “Where the President signed an act of the Quorum prohibiting Marines from being used on civilian vessels without express consent of the office of the President; yes, I am familiar with that. And with the fact that this vessel was cited—are those Marines, Commander?”
“Masters-at-Arms, your Honor. Not Marines,” Mathias answered and Lampkin smiled back as well.
“You’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, Commander. I still think that I should rule against your ability to conduct a search—but what were you searching for? And does it have anything to do with this weeping lady here?”
“Miss Foster,” Lampkin said with a bow and kiss on the back of her hand. “A pleasure as always.”
“Your honor,” she replied. “I assisted the President in persuading Doctor Cottle of the Galactica to fake the death of Karl and Sharon Agathon’s child, replacing it with the corpse of a baby that passed away just a day earlier. I also made arrangement to get the still living child, Hera Agathon, off of Galactica and here to Colonial One, where Maya,” she said, pointing at the woman, “who knew nothing of our conspiracy was given the child to care for as her own adopted daughter. The President issued an Executive Order for this in writing,” she said.
Romo Lampkin blinked. He looked first at Tory over upper rim of his glasses, and then at Mathias, who nodded, and then at Maya and the child. “Oh, frack,” he said.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 11:04 PM.
|February 2 2013, 11:36 PM||#147|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“You cannot arrest her, not unless or until the Quorum impeaches her, but I will promise you that I am going to take a personal interest in this matter,” said Romo Lampkin to Mathias. And he turned to the President. “Madame President, I am officially notifying you that I will be leading an investigation into the allegations that you kidnapped Hera Agathon. Your offices have been searched and material from your files is now in my custody.”
“I am exerting executive privilege,” she snapped. Damn Gaius Baltar for getting this man nominated and confirmed, she thought.
“And I am overruling that privilege from the bench in the name of public interest, Madame President. We are also taking your assistant Maya and the alleged child at the center of this . . . incident . . . into custody to assure their own safety.”
“I am not allowing that child to leave this ship,” Laura snapped.
“Madame President,” Lampkin said in a cold voice, “it is not up to you. I remind you that your immunity for actions taken as President lasts only as long as you hold office—and that the Quorum can impeach you with a three-quarters majority vote. I would advise you to retain counsel, Madame President, for if my preliminary findings are borne out by the facts, I will make the motion before the Quorum myself for a vote on Impeachment.”
“Captain Greene,” Mathias barked, and the pilot nodded.
“You will fly High Justice Lampkin, Maya, and the child over to Galactica. I ask that you convey my deep regret over this matter to the Agathons and expect you to inform them that this woman,” he said patting Maya on the shoulder, “is innocent and she took good care of their child—and loves the babe deeply. She is not deserving of their hate in this matter.”
“Of course, Commander,” Sidewinder answered. “But you can tell them yourself.”
“Unfortunately, Sidewinder, I am afraid that I will be spending some time in hack,” Mathias said.
The pilot’s eyes grew wide, as did those of the JAG and FCIS officers from Scorpia, but the rest of those present just looked confused. And all three of those who caught the reference moved too slow to stop it from happening. Mathias stepped forward and swung his left arm, the fist slamming into Laura’s jaw with a very satisfying CRACK. She crumpled like a sack of raw vegetables onto the deck, even as blood sprayed from her mouth—along with a pair of teeth.
“Captain Madsen,” Mathias winced as he grasped his left fist—already swelling from the blow—and Lampkin gawked at him. “I believe that I am in violation of numerous Articles of War—please take me into custody,” and he smiled at the High Justice, despite the pain in his hand. “If Pegasus’s crew can get off with just a slap on the wrist for what they did, damn straight I’m going to take a shot at this bitch.”
“Sir,” Frank Von said, from where he crouched next to the unconscious Laura Roslin. “I think we need to put the President on that Raptor as well—you broke her jaw, Sir.”
“Go ahead, Frank,” Mathias ordered. “And Sidewinder?”
“Sir!” he snapped as he came to attention and gave his Commander the smartest salute that Mathias had ever seen him deliver.
Mathias nodded and returned the salute. “Contact Colonel Jayne by wireless and inform him that he is now in command of Scorpia.” He pulled out his sidearm and handed to Captain Madsen. “Captain, I believe that it is customary to put the prisoner in restraints? Is it not?”
She nodded her head slowly. “Commander Mathias Lorne, you are under arrest for multiple violations of the Articles of War of the Colonial Fleet. Turn around and put your hands behind you back.” He did so, and she locked the restraints unto his wrists. “You have the right to remain silent, the right to see coun-. . .,” Madsen began as she ushered Mathias from the office of the President.
“FRACK!” Lampkin yelled to the ceiling above as he rubbed his forehead.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 2 2013 at 11:59 PM.
|February 3 2013, 02:11 AM||#148|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
The XO’s phone buzzed at the central console of Galactica’s CIC and he Saul Tigh lifted it from the rack. “XO,” he barked.
The news from earlier today had shocked him no less—but he couldn’t deny the truth of his own memories. And being the man that he was, he had spent a few moments with Ellen and then he showed up here, in the CIC, because Saul Tigh was now damned and determined to never again let Bill Adama down. It was funny, because since the revelation, since that final drink that his best friend—probably his only friend—in the universe had given him, Saul had not desired so much as a drop.
Instead, he had thrown himself into his duty—and CIC was as quiet as a church mouse because of it. Adama hadn’t said a word, he just nodded as Saul handled tasks that had always been his, just handed off to other personnel.
“What?” he said into the phone. “WHAT?” he exclaimed, his eyes growing wide. And then a chuckle escaped his lips as he smirked—Saul Tigh actually smirked. “Understood. Inform Pegasus,” he said and then racked the phone and struggled to keep the laughter roiling up inside him from escaping.
Adama looked at the XO as if he were a man possessed. “What was that about, Saul?” he asked.
“The President has landed in a Raptor, Admiral,” Saul said with a smile.
“Tell her to turn her ass around—I don’t want to speak with her right now,” Bill growled, but he frowned at the . . . giddy expression on Saul’s face. The XO was almost incandescent.
“We can’t, Admiral—she’s being taken to the surgery with a broken jaw and two snapped off teeth,” he said, as he tried—and failed—to keep all expression from his face.
“WHAT!” snapped Adama.
“Commander Lorne,” Saul said with a faint smile, “boarded Colonial One and conducted a shipping inspection of the vessel. In the process, he confiscated the chamalla that the President has been taking, placed Hera Agathon and Maya into protective custody, and ransacked the President’s personal papers—handing them all over to High Justice Lampkin.”
The Admiral groaned, and Saul grinned broadly as his friend looked at the deck, erasing the smile when he lifted his head. “With Marines?”
“Masters-at-arms, JAG, and FCIS personnel—no Marines,” Saul reported. “The President returned to Colonial One while they were getting to depart—with Hera. She issued an order to keep the girl onboard, apparently Commander Lorne had a . . . slight . . . break with reality, and he punched her. Breaking her jaw.”
“And two teeth,” added Adama.
“And two teeth,” agreed Saul. “She was knocked unconscious, but the Raptor brought her here—she’s en route the to surgery. Maya and Hera are here as well, and being escorted to the Agathon’s quarters by Captain Greene. High Justice Lampkin is also onboard and is heading there as well to speak with the two of them.”
“And Commander Lorne?” growled Adama.
“You are going to love this,” Saul said with a smile that he didn’t try to hide, “he is en route to Pegasus to be held in their brig. Since ours is full with Cylons at the moment. The son-of-a-bitch ordered his own JAG officer to arrest him after he punched out the President. Colonel Jayne has assumed temporary command aboard Scorpia.”
The closeness of stations in CIC ensured that the people working at them had overheard this—and Adama sighed. It would be scuttlebutt across the Fleet by the end of the watch, if not sooner. He scratched his head, and slammed his fist down on the console. With Laura in the surgery, and Baltar having already turned in his resignation . . . Bill groaned. The Quorum would have to elect a temporary Vice-President to assume Roslin’s duties until she could return. And he knew who the most likely candidate for that post was.
Saul nodded. “Zarek,” he said. “Looks like he might be our boss for a while,” he whispered.
“Frack, Saul. I did not need this right now,” the Admiral whispered. He slammed his hand down on the console again. “You have the conn, XO,” he said as he turned.
“If I need you, Admiral, where will you be?”
Adama paused and he slowly turned around. “Frack them both. I’m going to bed.”
“What the frack were you thinking?” asked Lee as he entered the brig. Commander Lorne sat in a cell, and the MAA had not taken his belt or his boots. His uniform jacket had been removed, though, and one of the doctors assigned to Pegasus was wrapping his arm and hand in bandages around a metal and rubber splint.
“I was thinking about my own daughters and I got angrier and angrier, Commander Adama,” Mathias said, with a wince as the doc pulled the bandages tighter.
“Too much, Sir?” he asked.
“Don’t worry about me, just get it right,” Scorpia’s commander said to the physician.
“Nothing else we can do—you’ve probably fractured a few bones, but none are out of place. It will take time to heal, Commander,” he said as he pulled out a syringe and injected Mathias in the upper arm. “It’s a mild analgesic and sedative—to help you get some rest, Sir.”
Lee waited until the doctor had gathered his things and left—Mathias stood and he pulled back on his uniform jacket and worked one-handed to button it up and secure the belt.
“Let me, Sir,” one of the MAA’s said, and then he looked at Lee. Who jerked his head in an expression of his own anger. Mathias raised his arms, and the crewman finished buckling the belt and securing all but the top two buttons of the jacket.
“So that’s it? You were angry and you punched out the President?” he snapped. “You broke her jaw! And it was because you were angry?”
“No excuse, Commander, Sir. I am ready to stand before the Admiral’s tribunal and defend myself.”
“Oh, that’s what you want, isn’t it, Commander? A forum—a public forum—where you can destroy what little stability we have left in this Fleet! What is going to happen now, Commander? You are in hack, the President is in Galactica’s surgery, the Vice-President has already resigned in disgrace . . . in just four days you have turned this entire Fleet upside down! Never mind half of my crew are pissed at your crusade against them for actions we have already considered and dismissed!”
Mathias nodded, and he sighed. “You love her, don’t you Lee?”
“The President—oh, you don’t love her in a sexual sense, you aren’t IN love with her, but you love her. Warts and all.”
“What has that got to do with any of this?” Lee growled, and Mathias smiled. He had no idea of how much he looked and sounded like his father when he did that, he thought.
“You aren’t mad that I hit the President who ordered a child kidnapped, Lee; you are mad that I hit Laura Roslin. You are mad that Laura Roslin dared to cross the line and take that child in the first place. I know you a bit from your time on Scorpia—and everything I have heard about you since joining up with Galactica and Pegasus has impressed me, Lee. What is going to happen now? Do you want to know what I think should happen NOW?”
“Enlighten me, o font of wisdom?”
“Come on Apollo,” Mathias said with a chuckle. “Sarcasm doesn’t suit you. I think you are desperately unhappy, mister. I believe that you are here as the Commander of Pegasus because you don’t want to let your father down. But that your heart isn’t here. Your heart is with that young wife of yours and that child, and you would be so much happier out of this military and doing something you can be proud of.”
“I am proud of what I have done,” Lee whispered.
“Proud of what you have done, yes; but you take no pride in the service, Lee. It isn’t your life like it is that of your father, or Saul Tigh, or me. You, I am willing to bet, never dreamed of spending your entire life in uniform until retirement—am I wrong?”
Lee didn’t answer.
“You want to know what I think this Fleet needs? It doesn’t need a Laura Roslin. It doesn’t need a Gaius Baltar. And it doesn’t need a Tom Zarek. Not as President. But I think that Lee Adama could do the job, and that it would be a job he could pride in and be happy doing.”
Lee Adama just stared at him, his eyes wide. “I’m the Commander of Pegasus! I’ve got responsibilities!”
“You are responsible for yourself and your family. And if you don’t think that the President has more responsibilities than a Battlestar Commander, then I have underestimated you. Lee, you and I share a sense of idealism. We do. But you don’t act on that. You put everyone else’s needs over your own. You put your father’s expectations above your own. Don’t worry about Pegasus. If necessary, your father can put Elias Thorean here—he has command experience from Solaria, and you don’t need two arms to command. Or Mark Foeswan. You cannot argue that you are the indispensible man, Lee. Because, manifestly, you are not.”
Lee just stared and Mathias nodded. “Ask yourself this, Commander Lee Adama of Battlestar Pegasus: where can you the most good for all of the survivors? Here? Or in that office on Colonial One? Who do you trust to do this job? Baltar? Zarek? Your father might well not like it, but damn it man, it is your life. And this Fleet needs a . . . principled man to lead us. I think that you are that man, Lee Adama.”
Lee backed up out of the cell, and he cleared his throat. “Lock him in,” he ordered. “You’re wrong, you know that? I’m not nearly as principled as you think.”
“For me the choice is a simple one, Lee. Are you a better man than Gaius Baltar or Tom Zarek? Who do you think will sacrifice their principles for power? You? Or those two? I don’t know you as well as I should, but based on what I have seen. What I have heard. I like our chances a lot better with you in charge instead of Roslin or them. Will you do what is best for the fifty-four thousand survivors of humanity? Or will you stay miserable doing a job just to make your father happy?”
“That is up to you, Lee. You and your wife. Think about it. Do you want that little girl of yours growing up in this environment?” he said point his hands at the bulkheads and deck and overhead.
Lee turned and he marched to the hatch without a word, and he stopped.
“Think about it, Mister President,” Mathias cajoled. And then Lee left.
Last edited by MasterArminas; February 3 2013 at 02:32 AM.
|February 3 2013, 04:33 AM||#149|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Hicks handed her a glass of water and two strong—very strong—pain-killers. “One of the side-effects we were talking about with these flash-memory units,” he said in perfect Greek, albeit with his Southern accent. Ripley’s head snapped up—she understood him. And then she moaned again as the pain stabbed at her temples from moving her head that fast.
“I’m gonna die,” she said, answering in the same language.
“Take these,” Hicks answered holding out the tablets. “They will help. A fast-dump like we did,” she had put on the headset just fifteen minutes ago, “always does this. That is why we usually take twelve hours to upload the information—today we don’t have time. The shorter the time frame, the worse the headache. But it will go away.”
Ripley took the glass and swallowed both of the tablets; she drained the water and within seconds, the intense pounding began to fade.
The hatch opened, and Major Caldwell walked in. “Did it work?” she asked. And, although the accent was odd and some of the words didn’t quite fit, it did work well enough. Ripley nodded. “Miracles of modern science,” she said, and Sam Caldwell smiled as she heard the woman speak something very close to her own native tongue.
“Good. Lieutenant,” she turned to Gorman, “were you able to establish contact with your government?”
“I sent the message, Major Caldwell, but it will require time to travel and for us to get a message. Hyper-com isn’t instantaneous, but we should hear back in four or five hours.”
Caldwell frowned. “That is a problem. As we said earlier, we are being chased by the Cylons—mechanical creations of mankind that rebelled and now seek our destruction. What they actually want is our flesh. They have developed a process where they can graft flesh unto their limbs to gain the sensation of touch, and they implacable in their hate. They will not stop chasing us,” she said.
Klaxons began to blare, and a voice came over the speakers. “This is the XO. Sound Action Stations throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Major Caldwell report to CIC. Repeat, sound Action Stations throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Major Caldwell report to CIC.”
She cursed and headed out—and the Marines, led by Hicks and Gorman, followed her. The tiny CIC was crowded, but Ripley appreciated how it was laid out—and how deep in the hull it was buried. Anubis was more than twice the size of Sulaco, very nearly as large and powerful as a Colonial Navy frontier cruiser. But she was old, Ripley could tell from the many repairs and jury-rigged systems, and according to Caldwell, Malcolm, and the others, she was the smallest warship in the Colonial Fleet.
“Damn,” Caldwell whispered as she glanced up at the DRADIS—what the Terrans called radar, Ripley translated. There was an icon there pulsing red—and many smaller icons spilling out.
“It’s the Cylons, all right,” she said. “Spin up FTL Drives One and Two,” she ordered.
“Can you show a schematic of that ship?” asked Hicks and Caldwell nodded. She typed in a command and wire-frame diagram of the Gemini appeared on the screen. “To scale?” he asked. More typing and an image of Sulaco appeared—she was very small in comparison, less than a quarter the diameter of those domes and only a few percent of the internal volume.
“Raiders inbound, two minutes,” an officer called out.
“Weapons free—fire when they enter range,” Caldwell answered.
“I can order Sulaco to engage,” Bishop said to Gorman. He considered and then he nodded. “Do it. Time to get some intel on how effective our weapons are,” he paused. “With your permission, Major?”
“Oh, I don’t object when someone offers to help me blow away Cylons, Lieutenant Gorman. Be my guest.”
Bishop sat down and he typed commands into the computer and then transmitted them to the Sulaco. Aboard that empty ship, the computers received them, and klaxons blared on all of her decks, the lighting turning to the red of battle stations.
She thrusted forward, her turrets coming to life and missile covers retracting.
“Let’s see how she deals with Long Lances, Bishop,” said Hicks. “Fire ‘em off.”
“All of them?” Burke winced at the thought of the expense, but then he nodded—after all it was his life at stake here.
“All of them,” Gorman confirmed.
Eight missiles ripped out of their silos and thrusted forward towards the Gemini. They streaked past the incoming fighter strike, their first stages jettisoning as their fuel was expended, then their second stages. And then the Cylon ship opened fire with their point defense—and the Marines winced.
“That is . . . impressive,” said Bishop. Only two of the Long Lance missile managed to get through—and their warheads were easily absorbed by the ship’s armor.
“It generally takes nuclear warheads or heavy kinetic strikes to kill a Basestar,” said Sam Caldwell.
“Fire up the point defense, Bishop,” ordered Gorman. “Damn it all, I wish we had a crew on the Sulaco. The computers are good, but a trained crew would be better.”
“Their reaction time would be slower,” Bishop said as he typed in commands.
“But not as predictable,” Hicks added with a smile to the synthetic, who nodded.
“Fighters in range of point-defense lasers . . . now,” Bishop said he hit enter. And every Colonial suddenly jumped and cheered as pulses of amplified light tore into the Cylon Raiders accurately and quickly. The attack force dropped from sixty Raiders to seventeen in the first fourteen seconds of the laser engagement . . . and then the laser fire died away—along with the cheers.
“Capacitors recharging,” Bishop reported. “Thirty seconds until fire can resume.”
“Are they launching more fighters?” asked Hudson in disbelief. “That strike would have been the full complement for a Kitty Hawk-class Fleet Carrier!”
“Gemini’s carry upwards of three hundred Raiders,” said Major Caldwell. “They won’t make that mistake again—this time they will send everything,” and she grinned as the Cylons entered her range.
The eight twin turrets on Anubis’s dorsal hull back to fire at near maximum rates—and the blood drained from the faces of the Marines as they saw the flak cloud of explosions. None of the seventeen Raiders managed to survive to weapons range.
“Flak? You can shoot flak out of the kinetic energy cannons?” asked Burke, his interest suddenly piqued.
“Of course. What use would they be otherwise?”
“Bishop, go ahead and hit that Basestar with the particle beam cannons,” ordered Gorman.
And now it Caldwell’s turn to blink. “At this range?”
Gorman smiled. “Yes, ma’am. At this range.”
“Locked and firing,” said Bishop. Two invisible beams reached out and slammed home against the Basestar—it staggered, and then stopped its advance momentarily.
“Their DRADIS is off-line,” called out tactical, and then a curse. “Secondary systems just engaged.”
And the Gemini began to close again—even faster now.
“I think we need to hit it again,” said Gorman.
“Recharging,” said Bishop. “One minute.”
“Too long,” answered Sam. “We are jumping in twenty seconds. Lieutenant, if you can get that ship into your hyperspace in that time, I’d advise you to do it. Unless you want to lose it.”
“Do it,” said Hicks and Gorman nodded his agreement. “Put her in FTL, Bishop—on course for the nearest Fleet base.”
“She is powering up . . . and has successfully entered the hyperspace shunt.”
Sulaco’s icon vanished from the display.
“Stand by, take DRADIS off-line,” Sam said as two hundred and seventy Cylon raiders kept closing. “Stand by . . . and JUMP!” she ordered.
And Anubis did so.
The Terrans looked a bit queasy, but other than that, they seemed overjoyed. As the DRADIS display came up, they saw scores of icons—but all in the blue color of friendlies.
“Ma’am, we are being challenged by Pegasus,” an officer reported.
“Send the reply, Mister Horn.”
“How far did we just travel?” asked Burke.
“Nineteen point seven light years, Mister Burke,” Caldwell answered, and Ripley sat down in disbelief. Nineteen point seven light years in no measureable elapsed time at all.
“Pegasus confirms our identity and says welcome home, ma’am,” Horn reported.
Sam Caldwell stood there at her station and she nodded. “Hail Galactica,” she ordered as she lifted a phone. “On speaker.”
“Anubis, Galactica,” the wireless said.
“Galactica, Anubis Actual. I—strike that. YOU need to hear what I and my guests have to say.”
“Your guests, Anubis Actual?”
“Affirmative, Galactica. Can’t say more on an unsecured channel. Prepare to receive . . . two Raptors.”
“Copy, Anubis Actual. We will await your arrival. Galactica out.”
“Well, ladies and gentlemen. Are you up to taking another ride—the President is waiting,” Sam said with a wave her arm. Hicks and Gorman exchanged a look, and then both looked at Ripley. “Sure, why not,” she said. “As long as they understand we aren’t authorized to negotiate for our government.”
And Hudson elbowed Burke as he began to speak.
|February 3 2013, 07:00 PM||#150|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
She frowned. Father Daniel’s pets had proven a greater annoyance than she had anticipated—and her infiltration of Guardians in the form of the M-017 Cylons had proven less . . . effective than she had planned for. Only luck had managed to save her at Cylon Prime—luck and the sacrifice of one of her escort ships which had been rammed by Cavil the Mad instead of her. So be it, she thought. If her siblings wanted a war to the knife, then that was what they would receive.
Their forces had been decimated nine times over, and she smiled. If they had eight Basestar remaining to them, she would be surprised. They had fought her though, and her own forces had suffered great damage—but unlike her scattered and frightened siblings, her industrial complexes were even now turning out new ships. New Raiders. New Cylons. The end was in sight—and her victory in her grasp. She smiled.
“Imperious Leader,” the Guardian spoke in that haunting mono-tone that caressed Zoe’s ears like music.
“We have located some of the human survivors.”
“Have they been destroyed?”
“No, Imperious Leader. They escaped into FTL . . .,” the Guardian paused. “There is information that you must upload—a new weapon. A new ship. Evidence of another civilization.”
Zoe raised one of her eyebrows and she felt a ripple of pleasure flow through her metal and flesh body at the sensation. “Show me,” she hissed.
The Guardian placed a data disk in her throne and Zoe closed her eyes—and she absorbed all of the information from the Basestar and the Guardians that had been present at Acheron.
“Directed energy weapons . . . curious,” she said. “Lasers that swatted our Raiders from the sky and this . . . other weapon that disrupted our minds.”
“Yes, Imperious Leader. Thirty-one point seven three eight percent of the Guardians aboard the Basestar were rendered inactive, requiring extensive repair to reboot all systems. Fifteen point three two one percent of those were too damaged to recover the intelligence and have been recyled.”
“Only this new ship possessed the weapon?”
“That is correct, Imperious Leader. The surface of the moon showed evidence of two nuclear detonations, as well.”
“They did not activate FTL drives—and yet, they sped away; the sensor readings are most intriguing,” she smiled and rotated her chair. “Do you not think so, Father Daniel?”
The naked Daniel was encased in metal from his waist down-wards, and his hands were also trapped—a collar around his neck held him flat against the surface, and probes pierced his skin.
“Very, Zoe,” he answered in an exhausted voice. And then he laughed. “You realize that this means that they have likely found the Thirteenth Tribe?”
“A legend, Father Daniel. A myth. It is more likely to be a lost colony of the Twelve. Of no great consequence—their weapon was surprising, but unlikely to deal us a major blow.”
“Supposition, daughter. The evidence is there in the data—or do you think the survivors of the colonies would have built these structures?” And on a monitor the towering shape of the atmosphere processors appeared. “They seem to altering the composition of the moon’s atmosphere, child. That is far beyond the technology of the Twelve Colonies—or you.”
“The Guardians do not need such technology, Father Daniel. And in the unlikely event that this is the Thirteenth Tribe, then we will harvest them—and their technology. Their warship was small, and forced to flee despite destroying just a few dozen Raiders. Their energy weapon only momentarily inconvenienced our forces. They will serve the Guardians as repositories of flesh—or they will perish.”
“You presume much, Zoe,” Daniel said. “Arrogance does not become you, child.”
She glared down at Daniel from her throne. “This is coming from the man who had the hubris to believe that he could grant immortality? That he could create life? Surprises await—that is certain. But our victory is inevitable Father Daniel—one could say that resistance is futile.”
“So have many tyrants believed the same thing before, Zoe. Most discovered very near the end of their lives how wrong they were.”
“They failed to learn from their mistakes—much as you, Father Daniel. I do not suffer from that flaw of character,” she said and rotated her throne back to face the gold-plated Guardian standing before her. “Order all surviving ships—except for those assigned to protect our industry—to rendezvous here. If this is the Thirteenth Tribe, then we shall overcome them. And if not, we will finish the work our siblings began and crush those who have fled before me. Summon forth the Fleet. Including the bombardment ships.”
“By your command,” the Guardian answered.
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