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Old February 3 2013, 11:01 PM   #151
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Admiral Adama stood as the hatch opened, and with him stood Saul Tigh, Lee Adama, Elias Thorean, Mark Foeswan, Samantha Caldwell, Thomas Jayne, Laura Roslin, and Tom Zarek. He kept the expression from his face—but if there had been any way to keep Zarek out of this meeting, he would have. Unfortunately, thanks to the President’s jaws being wired shut, and his standing among the Quorum of Twelve—added to the current lack of a Vice-President—his presence was mandatory.

And at that thought, he looked again at Lee—still in uniform, but his son had already told Adama that he was resigning his commission to seek office. The Admiral exhaled deeply. As if he didn’t have enough problems on his plate! But there hadn’t been time for a proper discussion of that, not after Anubis had arrived.

Seeing who sat at the very end of the Colonial side of the table, now his expression hardened in a frown. Gaius Baltar. Once again, the need for his scientific knowledge meant that Adama would have to tolerate his presence, although at least this time, the Admiral thought with a snort, looking at Neil Sarris at the other end—as far as it was possible to get from the more famous scientific advisor—he had something of a counter-weight.

The two scientists also came to their feet as Galactica’s guests began to file in. Maya and Sharon had agreed to watch the little girl Rebecca—Newt, as she preferred to be called. And Bill snorted. He had actually feared that Sharon—Athena—would kill Maya, but Helo and Sidewinder had convinced her that she had known nothing. Along with Maya’s utter crushing despair at losing the girl she thought was her own. It surprised him, the way Helo—and Athena—had reached out to the woman, agreeing to keep her in Hera’s life, and even adding the name that Maya had given the child—Isis—to her official name. Hera Isis Agathon. Adama smiled. If that could be overcome, maybe there was still some hope for humanity after all.

Ellen Ripley entered the room, along with Carter J. Burke. The Colonial Marine—and Adama snorted in amusement—officer William Gorman came next, followed by the one they called Bishop and Corporal Dwayne Hicks. The other two—William Hudson and Jenette Vasquez—were being fested by Galactica’s Marines and pilots. All of them had seen the video images from the rescue Raptors; the Admiral shook his head and he sighed. Those two—these eight, including the girl—had gone through an utter hell that he was only starting to understand.

“Welcome to Galactica,” Adama said, motioning with his hand for the guests to sit as he did so, followed by his own officers and scientists—and the politicians. “I am Admiral Adama. I understand that you claim to be from Earth.”

Ellen Ripley nodded. “We are from Earth, Admiral Adama. But after speaking with your Major Caldwell, I fear that you are likely to be gravely disappointed.” She paused. “We have no records, no myths, no legends, of your Twelve Tribes—until we met, we had not imagined that other human cultures and civilizations existed out there.”

“None?” asked Elias. “I am Colonel Thorean.”

Ripley and Burke exchanged a look and then she nodded. “We recognize your Gods—as myth. But no one has worshiped them in nearly two millennia. And we most definitely did not come from any . . . Kobol.”

Laura looked sick, and she scribbled something on a piece of paper.

“I’m Tom Zarek,” the politician said. “A Delegate to the Quorum of Twelve—a legislative body—that approves laws and advises the President. If you didn’t come from Kobol, then where did you come from?”

“Earth,” said Burke. “We evolved on Earth—the fossil record is quite clear. And it shows that it wasn’t gods that created us, we evolved just like all of the species we share the planet with.”

“Then how . . .,” Lee started to ask, but he shook his head. “It isn’t important—not right now. What is important is that you need to know about the Cylons.”

Burke smiled. “Major Caldwell has briefed us on that—and I can assure you that our military can easily handle these . . . machines. What is important is that we begin discussions on how we are going to get you people settled and make certain that you are not being taken advantage of by our competitors.”

And Burke ignored a warning growl from Ripley to grin at their hosts.

“Your competitors, Mister Burke?” Adama asked. “What is your role here?”

“I am just a liaison assigned to this expedition to ensure that Weyland-Yutani, one of the largest and most successful corporate entities on Earth, had its interests in Acheron looked after. We were the ones terraforming the surface—and running the mining operations.”

“And other corporations are your competitors, Mister Burke?” the Admiral asked.

“Yes, and the national governments, I will admit. You people seem to have a united government of all Twelve of your Colonies. If I am understanding the briefing right, you had a dozen fully industrialized worlds with a total population of more than thirty billion, yes? That is rather impressive.”

“Earth is not united under a single government?” Lee asked.

“No, Sir,” said Lieutenant Gorman. “If I may?” he asked, holding up a small case.

Adama nodded.

“Thank you, Admiral,” he said laying out the case and pressing a button. A three-dimensional holographic projection sprang into life, showing the Earth. “This is Earth. We are members of the Colonial Marine Corps, a military branch of the United Americas Alliance,” and as he said those words, a large section of the land area flashed light blue, encompassing the full stretch of a southern continent, the connecting isthmus, and more than half of the northern continent, along with scores of islands near the isthmus.

“Other governments include the Three Worlds Empire,” Gorman continued, and the rest of the northern continent turned gold, along with an extremely large and isolated island continent in the southern hemisphere, and more islands in both the southern and northern hemisphere—along with a triangular piece of land almost in the center of the largest land-mass and the southern third of the continent south of the large one.

“The China-Asian Congress,” and virtually all of the remaining islands in the wide ocean blinked crimson, along with most of the eastern portion of the largest land-mass, “and the Soviet Pact,” a long swath of territory reaching from the eastern-most tip of the largest land-mass and running along its northern shore almost all of the way to the next ocean turned orange.

“The Federated European Union,” and the western tip of the that same large land-mass turned green, “and the Pan-African Assembly,” and the rest of the of the continent south of the largest one turned purple.

“Finally, the Persian-Arabian Caliphate,” and the remaining central portion of the large continent flashed silver.

Burke nodded. “That is the major players and they all have their own armed forces and extra-solar colonies. Some are,” and he smiled, “well, let’s just say they are not as important as others. The PAC and PAA and Pact have lingered behind the UAA, CAC, TWE, and FEU in technology and overall power—but governments are not your only option. Think about it,” he said as Ripley ground her teeth. “They are used to taking what they want,” Burke continued with a smile. “Just like governments always do—but Weyland-Yutani? We don’t need to take from you—we can buy. Or barter. You want a world to settle? We’ve got dozens! Take your pick.”

“All for the low fee of everything we have, Mister Burke?” asked the Admiral, a frown upon his face.

“You know real life Admiral—everything is for sale. Everyone is for sale. The Company can offer you your own world, colonization equipment, provisions and medical supplies, education materials . . .,” he snapped his fingers, “a line of credit. And in exchange, we would only ask that we be allowed to have the exclusive rights to . . . distribute your technology. You win—you get a planet to settle, along with the protection of Weyland-Yutani and our friends in the UAA; and we win—we get a chance to get a leg up on our competitors and turn a profit, that will incidentally enough make you people rich beyond all dreams of avarice. I did mention that we would be willing to offer a royalty to you as well? Yes?”

“I was under the impression,” said Tom Zarek after he looked down at what Laura had written, balled it up, and threw it over his shoulder (causing the President’s cheeks to burn red!), “that none of you were authorized to negotiate?”

“We aren’t,” said Ripley. “Not even Mister Burke.”

“Why can we simply not settle on Earth?” asked Lee, who had read the note Laura had scrawled down before Zarek threw it away. He looked back up. “A lot of people are going to be expecting to see Earth for themselves; that is one of the few things that has kept them going has been the promise of Earth as a new home.”

“Out of the question,” answered Lieutenant Gorman—and this time Hicks stabbed Burke hard in the ribs as the Company Man began to open his mouth.

Hicks leaned over and he whispered in Burke’s ear. “Another word, and I will throw you out the airlock myself, Burke,” he warned.

Gorman continued, “The ICC—Interstellar Commerce Commission—would never allow it. Earth is very crowded and has a high level of pollution and damage to the biosphere. They never allow immigration to Earth—only emigration away. And there are the only international agency that is formed by all of the major states. They keep Earth—and the fifteen billion people there—safe from contamination by any alien lifeforms or diseases.”

“I understand,” growled Adama. “We will need to establish contact with these governments—and your corporations, Mister Burke—to see about starting negotiations. Where would be the best place for that?”

Ripley sighed and she slid a chart across the table. “Beta Virginis is the nearest. It is a major core world colony that has a sizeable Fleet presence. It has a UAA, TWE, and CAC presence there. We call the planet Beowulf.”

“One jump,” Adama said as he glanced down at the chart. “This is where you sent your message, Lieutenant Gorman?”

“There and a copy to the Corps HQ on Earth, Admiral.”

“Very well, I think we have some things to discuss among ourselves,” Adama said. He started to rise, but then sat back down as Ripley held up her hand.

“One last thing, Admiral; we are well aware of your—justifiable—fear and hatred of the Cylons. However, you need to realize something. We,” and she pointed to her fellow Terrans, “aren’t part of your culture and civilization, nor are we bound by your laws. And we have our own Synthetics.”

Jaws dropped. Well, except for the Presidents, whose eyes bulged and strangled sounds emerged from her throat.

“You have developed your own Cylons?” Adama asked.

“Not the same as yours,” Burke said. “Major Caldwell told us of how they are machines that desire flesh, but our Synthetic actually resemble human beings—but they are programmed only to serve mankind. Right, Bishop?”

“Yes, Mister Burke,” said Bishop. "Our behavioral inhibitors prevent any such rebellion as you Colonials suffered from the Cylons. It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being," he paused, "I should add that I prefer the term Artificial Person."

Everyone on the other side of the table stood. “THAT is a Cy- . . . synthetic?”

“Is that going to be a problem?” asked Bishop.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 3 2013 at 11:43 PM.
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Old February 4 2013, 02:00 AM   #152
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Gorman waited until the hatch had closed behind them and then he grabbed Burke by his jacket and slammed him around against the bulkhead.

“What the HELL was that?” he barked in English. “We agreed to tell them about synthetics in general—NOT to piss them the fuck off by telling them Bishop was one!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Burke said quickly. “I just asked Bishop to confirm that synthetics are harmless—he’s the one who slipped up.” And he cocked his head to one side and grinned. “And watch the jacket, Marine; it cost more than you will make in three months.”

Gorman snarled and drew back his fist, while he held Burke off his feet with one hand.

“Lieutenant,” Hicks said. “You don’t want to do that. He’s not worth it—and if you hit him, he will frag your career.”

The Marine snarled and dropped Burke. “You knew exactly what Bishop was going to say. You gave him that leading line and just let himself walk right off the deep end, Burke. Doesn’t it bother you that he is now in their brig?”

Burke adjusted his jacket and shirt and shook his head. “He’s a piece of property—Company Property—Gorman,” the young exec said with a smile. “They damage him in any way . . . well, Weyland-Yutani owns the local courts, and you better believe the ICC will side with us—especially if we give them cut. And a Hyperdine Model 341-B Synthetic Life Form with full Marine Support and Flight Programming is an amazingly expensive piece of equipment. That is why we generally lease them.”

He looked at Ripley and Hicks and Gorman and he smiled. “Trust me, I know what I am doing.”

“And what if they just decide that anyone that is using what they call Cylons is a threat and just space all of us, Burke? Alter course and head away to avoid Earth?” Ripley asked. “Did you think of that?”

The company man laughed. “They are obsessed with Earth—did you see the face of their President? Their officers? That politician? They aren’t going to just turn around—they need to have their dreams come true. And I’m the man who is going to make that happen.”

“You are going to sneak more than fifty thousand people onto Earth? How?” asked Hicks.

“The ICC will allow immigration—if the UAA and Weyland-Yutani and few of our corporate allies such as Hyperdine push for it; purely for humanitarian reasons, of course. And I believe that after those problems that Argentina and Chile had the Company owns Tierra del Fuego in full.” Burke smiled. “We can evict the current population and settle them there if Earth is really what they want—of course, they will have to disarm and dismantle their ships. And that will give us a chance to examine their FTL technology.”

“You are a real piece of work,” Ripley said as she shook her head. “How do you think they are going to react to disarming?”

“They might not like it,” answered Burke. “If they want to keep their ships and guns we’ve got other worlds. But if they want to land on Earth and make a home,” he smiled. “Then they have to play by our rules.”

The hatch opened, Hudson staggered in as he struggled to hold Vasquez up.

“Oh, shit,” said Hicks. “Don’t tell me she found a fucking still!”

“They got a whole damned bar on this ship!” Hudson answered; his own nose a bit rosy. “We didn’t have to buy a round!”

Vasquez hiccupped, and looked up at Hicks and smiled. “I’s saying good-bye to Drake. And Apone. And Dietrich. And Frost. And Crowe. And Ferro. And Spunkmeyer. And Wiz-wiz-wiz-,” she stammered, looking for waste can.

“Wierzbowski,” said Hicks as he held one out.

“Him,” she agreed before she threw up.

Ripley stepped back and turned the ventilator on high, waving the air around her.

“Hey, where’s Bishop, man?” asked Hudson. “He saved our asses by crawling down that pipe.”

Hicks sighed and jerked a thumb at Burke. “Asshole got him thrown in the brig because he outed him as a synthetic.”

“Shit, man. That’s . . . wrong,” he said as he sat back in his chair. “You don’t snitch on your buddies, man. You know what they do to toasters on this boat?”

Vasquez looked up from the waste can and wiped her mouth on Hudson’s shirt.

“HEY!” he yelled.

“He’s not one of our buddies, Hudson. He’s a corporate big-shot who just wants to get his and FUCK the rest of us. And as soon as this room quits spinning, I’m going to hit him. And then I’m going to break Bis-HICK-hop out from lockup.”

And then she fell forward on her face and passed out. “Lieutenant, you want to give me hand getting her in her bunk?” Hicks asked.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 4 2013 at 02:40 AM.
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Old February 4 2013, 03:28 AM   #153
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“Thank you,” Bishop said as the cell door closed. The brig was full—there was a blonde woman in the cell to his left and an older dark haired man (with much grey) to his right.

The guard smirked. “Damn polite for a toaster,” he snorted. “The Admiral said you ain’t going to be hurt—and on this ship, that means you are safe in there.” The guard stepped back and Bishop examined the small cell and sat down on the bunk. He noticed both of the others staring at him.

“Hello,” he said. “I am Bishop.”

“D’Anna,” answered the woman.

“Cavil,” said the man. “Why do they think you are a Cylon?” he asked.

“I am not a Cylon,” Bishop answered. “I am, however, an Artificial Person.”

Both of their eyes narrowed and their faces grew tight. “An artificial person?” Cavil asked.

“A Synthetic Humanoid Android Model 312-B manufactured by Hyperdine Systems of Earth.”

EARTH!” Cavil thundered, as D’Anna stood and grabbed hold the bars.

“Earth. Are you two Cylons?” Bishop cocked his head. “I ask because the first Colonials we met said that they were mechanical, but then after I told them I was an artificial person, they revealed that you could take human form.”

“Yes, we are Cylons,” said D’Anna. “You hide your emotions well, Bishop.”

“I do not experience emotions as humans do—that is one difference between. And a second difference is that I am content with who and what I am. It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being.”

“Could you harm us?” asked Cavil warily.

“She had admitted that both of you are Cylons—but I would reluctant to harm either of you based solely on that, at least until medical tests revealed that you are not, in fact, humans.”

Really?” asked Cavil. “Why don’t you tell me about Earth?”

“You are a prisoner,” Bishop answered. “A prisoner who is an avowed enemy of the people whom my companions are negotiating with as we speak. I am afraid that I cannot comply with your request in regards to military or technology or stellar cartography.”

“Well, tell us something,” said D’Anna sweetly. “We have been rather bored here—which is better than the alternative of being tortured . . . maybe. At least it would be different.” She smiled. “So your masters are the Thirteenth Tribe?”

“The Thirteenth Tribe does not exist—my creators are human beings indigenous to Earth. It is the planet where that species evolved.”

“Interesting in a blasphemous sort of way,” said Cavil with a snort.

“Very much so,” answered D’Anna with a frown. “You do still worship the Lords of Kobol?”

“The Greek Gods? That religion died out millennia ago. Others have replaced it, but by far the majority of humanity holds either an atheistic or a deistic view of theology. Exceptions exist, but the majority of mankind religion is only a reflection of one’s cultural traditions.”

D’Anna looked absolutely horrified, and Cavil began to laugh. “I was born among the wrong people,” he said looking at the ceiling. “Tell me more—nothing military or classified, just tell me about the people and culture, as you said.”

Cavil and D’Anna exchanged a very long look as Bishop began to tell them of the people of Earth—the Thirteenth Tribe.
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Old February 4 2013, 05:01 AM   #154
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Ripley woke with a start. The bunks were full, and the Marines were snoring—Newt was sleeping curled up with a stuffed bear that the Agathons had somehow scrounged up for her.

She rubbed her eyes.

“Where’s Burke?” she asked.

************************************************** **

“So what does this place have?” asked Burke with a grin on his face.

Joe looked at the guest and he shook his head. “I’ve got moonshine . . . and moonshine,” he said throwing a towel over his shoulder.

Burke cocked his head—with that smile fixed on his face. “Now that is a difficult choice . . . I’ll have the moonshine.”

“Good selection,” the bartender answered as he put a glass on the bar and poured a clear liquid into it. “Chase?”

“Water,” answered Burke as he reached into his pocket.

“Nope. The pilots and Marines started you folks a tab—this is your first. You’ve got plenty more coming if you want them. Besides, your money isn’t any good here, remember?”

“Thanks,” Burke said as he picked up the two glasses and made his across the dirty, dank, ill-lit hole in the wall on Galactica’s decommissioned flight deck. “Mind if I join you?”

Tom Zarek looked up. “Mister Burke,” he said as he stood, his smile as sincere as the one that the Company Man wore. “Have a seat.”

“I couldn’t help but notice that you and the Admiral don’t seem to care much for each other.”

“That obvious,” Zarek said with a snort.

“Not obvious, but I’m good at reading people. Just like, you and the President don’t care too much for each other either.”

“We don’t. What do you want, Mister Burke?”

“Well, it occurred to me, Mister Zarek, that perhaps I am setting my sights too high. I mean, Weyland-Yutani would to assist this entire fleet . . . but I fear that Adama and Roslin will reject our offer and you are not going to like dealing the squabbling governments. It might even precipitate a war on the colonies and Earth.” Burke shrugged. “But of course, maybe we do not have to deal with the . . . entire fleet.”

Tom Zarek didn’t say a word—he smiled. “What are suggesting, Mister Burke?”

“Well, I heard on Anubis that a number of people there and on a ship called Leonis Pryde and another called Astral Queen, and maybe two or three more want to see you in charge. My offer stands, Mister Zarek, whether or not it is to the entire Fleet—or a portion thereof. I will make certain that your people get to settle on Earth and enough funds to set you up for life. If, that is, you agree to provide Weyland-Yutani with exclusive rights to your technology.”

Zarek sat back and he nodded. “You realize that Adama and Roslin would be furious—and they will probably protest heavily against one ship captain signing such an agreement.”

“Oh, certainly. But by the time they know it will all be said and done, Mister Zarek. And once Weyland-Yutani files the paperwork with the ICC, well, neither Laura Roslin nor William Adama will be able to sell it to anyone else. It will legally belong to Weyland-Yutani, as far as Earth courts are concerned.”

“I see,” whispered Zarek. “Adama will be furious,” and he smiled. “Can I have some time to think this over?”

“Of course,” and Burke laid a fancy printed card on the table. “Just don’t take too long—other captains might be willing to jump ship, so to speak.”

“I won’t take that long at all, Mister Burke. But I need to speak with some . . . associates,” Zarek said as he lifted his glass.

Burke stood. He beamed a smile upon the Sagittaron. “Good. I will leave you to enjoy yourself. Good night, Mister Zarek.”

“Good night, Mister Burke.”

************************************************** **

It was strange to see Admiral Adama in a robe and slippers Zarek thought. Adama, on the other hand, glared at the former terrorist and member of the Quorum. And at Saul Tigh, whose expression was rather . . . pensive.

“This had better be good, Mister Zarek—you are the wrong gender and far too ugly to be waking me up at two in the morning,” he growled.

“You think I would have woken you up if it weren’t, Bill?” Saul asked. “Now fracking let us in, Admiral, Sir.”

Adama exhaled deeply, but the look on Saul’s face—and his use of his given name in front of a man that Saul absolutely hated—made the Admiral nod. He stepped aside, and they came in and Adama closed the hatch.

“What is that could not have waited until . . . later in this morning?” Adama asked as he sat, motioning the other two to take a seat.

Zarek leaned forward and he quickly explained his meeting with Carter J. Burke. The Sagittaron took no appreciation at seeing Adama’s anger being redirected—in fact, he made a note for future reference exactly what a true fury looked like on the man.

Why did you bring this to Colonel Tigh?” Adama asked, leaving unsaid that Zarek had also come to him—but his eyes acknowledged that.

“We don’t agree on a lot, Admiral Adama,” Zarek said bleakly. “But despite my past, I do want what is best for the Fleet. Not just my people, but all of the Fleet. But if Burke was telling the truth about their laws—and if so much as a single officer jumps away with him to Earth, accepting his offer—then all of the rest of us are well and truly fracked.”

“You could have gone to Roslin.”

She hates me more than you do, Admiral. And I realize that I took my life in my own hands waking Colonel Tigh—but he did give me a chance to explain and delayed the beating until another night. And then we came here,” Zarek shook his head. “There are elements in the Fleet that will sign any document Burke puts in front of them, if it means they can settle on Earth—and to Tartarus with the rest of us.” He paused. “I have some experience—before the Fleet—with making problems like this vanish. I won’t . . . unless you ask me.”

Saul sucked in his breath, and he looked at Bill Adama, and Bill looked at him. And both of them knew the other was seriously thinking about the offer.

“I think,” Adama said, “we might be able to handle this without arranging an . . . accident. A fatal accident, I presume, Mister Zarek. But you were right to bring this to my attention—and I will not forget it.”

Zarek sighed and he stood. “My offer stands. I was in prison as a political captive, Admiral, but I have gotten my hands dirty before for what I believe in. And if you need me, I have no qualms whatsoever about making Carter J. Burke vanish from the face of universe. Good night,” he said, and then he turned to go as Adama and Tigh stood.

“Mister Zarek,” Adama’s voice stopped him and he turned around. To see the hand that Adama was extending towards him. He drew in a breath and he took it, and they shook.
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Old February 5 2013, 05:56 PM   #155
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Episode 16: A New Dawn

Mathias stood as Admiral Adama came through the hatch of the brig aboard Pegasus. He saluted, but Adama just glared at him, and then turned to the guards. “Out,” he ordered.

The two guards left quietly and closed the hatch behind them and the two men—one inside the locked cell and the other outside—stood there.

“You’ve put me between a rock and a hard place, Commander Lorne,” Adama growled. “What you did was unacceptable—and by all rights I should have you stripped of your rank, your commission, and sentenced to hard labor.”

“I wonder how that will play among the Fleet—the guilty parties aboard Pegasus get a pass for their crimes, while I am broken for punching the President who kidnapped a child,” Mathias said with a narrow smile on his face.

“By the Gods, you just want to push this don’t you?”

“What I want, Admiral, is justice,” answered Mathias.

“What you want will tear this Fleet apart—and with the Guardians out there chasing us down, and the Thirteenth Tribe being so very different than some had hoped,” Adama said, “I cannot let that happen.”

Adama walked up to the control board and he unlocked the cell. Mathias raised an eyebrow and he stood there.

“So that’s it? No trial, no real punishment; just everything swept under the rug again?”

“Oh, you are going to receive a sentence, Commander Lorne—one that you will despise. Lee has given me his resignation—apparently because you put the idea in his head that he might make a good politician. That means that I need a Commander for Pegasus . . . Commander.”

“Now, just a damn minute, Admiral,” Mathias snarled.

“Save it. You don’t like how I’ve handled Pegasus and her crew? Fine. She’s yours. I am putting you in command of her effective today. Since you are likely to jettison Major Shaw from an airlock, I am sending Samantha Caldwell aboard as your XO with a promotion to Colonel, and transferring over the remaining three hundred and fifty-five officers and men from Cerberus Anchorage—you will still be undermanned, but not quite as much. You have a problem with Pegasus and her crew, Commander? Now it will be your responsibility to solve that problem.”

“What about Anubis and Scorpia?”

“I am promoting Colonel Jayne to Commander,” Adama smiled grimly. “I thought of giving him Shaw as his XO, but then he wasn’t the one who punched the President in the jaw . . . and Shaw is likely to suffer an accident onboard either Scorpia or Anubis; she’s going to Galactica. Instead, I am putting Elias Thorean in as the commanding officer aboard Anubis.”

“And if I refuse this transfer?” asked Mathias?

“Then you can rot in this cell, Commander!” Adama snapped. Then he released a deep exhale of air and his shoulders fell. “Mathias, I need you here—we may have done the Thirteenth Tribe a grave disservice by leading the Guardians to their doorstep. And for the moment, I need my best officers leading—not sitting on their ass in hack.”

“Permission to make a few transfers from Scorpia—with Commander Jayne’s approval—of course?”

“Within reason, Commander,” Adama answered.

“And I will have a free hand in ridding this Battlestar of the shame she has brought upon herself?”

“Once again, within reason, Commander,” Adama said with a sigh. “Now, if you will come with me to CIC, Commander Adama and Colonel Caldwell are waiting for the hand-over. I had Jayne box up and ship over all of your belongings, so you can start your job on this ship immediately.”
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Old February 5 2013, 07:50 PM   #156
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Laura Roslin stepped forward to the podium on Cloud Nine. She smiled at the reporters (and the members of the Quorum who stood in the audience), but the smile did not reach her eyes. The guests from the Thirteenth Tribe had managed to repair her jaws (over the objections of Doctor Cottle!) and remove the wires that had kept her silent—their ‘bone-fusing’ gear had repaired the fractures, but she was still in desperate pain. And she was beginning to feel the first symptoms of withdrawal from the chamalla.

She and High Justice Lampkin had met earlier, along with Admiral Adama and Lee; together, the four of them had come up with a solution. Not a good solution—and she cursed Baltar, Zarek, and Lorne again silently. She had done her best . . . despite what anyone else might think of her actions, it had always been for the Fleet. But she was so tired, so very, very tired, and this solution would give her a chance to lay down her burdens for a short while.

“Thank you for coming,” she told the journalists and spectators. “Before the Quorum convenes, I have a number of announcements to make. First, as you are already aware, Vice-President Baltar has resigned from the government and withdrawn his nomination for President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. His reasons are personal, and he will address them later. I have already accepted his resignation and informed the Quorum thereof. He is present today,” she smiled at Gaius, who nodded back and gave a half-hearted smile, “and will answer your questions on that subject later.”

And he had best stick with the cover story—the Fleet will tear him apart if the truth that he let a nuclear weapon slip out of his hands and into those of terrorists emerges, she thought.

“Second, I have decided against continuing my campaign for President,” she said. And immediately the flash-bulbs began popping and reporters jumped to their feet shouting questions. Laura held out her hands and slowly, the shouted questions and exclamations of shock faded, and she smiled. “As all of you know, I have cancer. It is in remission, but for reasons of health, I—and my physicians—feel that I should concentrate on recovery, not subject to the stresses of my current post.”

And that was the second part of the solution, she thought bitterly. Lampkin had given her a choice—a way to retire in honor or publication of the entire Hera affair, along with criminal charges. The Agathon’s were furious—but between the Adamas and that meddling Lorne, they had agreed to bury the issue, if she stepped aside. Which led to the third point.

“While the elections are fast approaching, we must have a Vice-President in place. Today, I will be submitting the name of a candidate to the Quorum and ask that they confirm him as my Vice-President. Upon his being sworn into office, I will be resigning the office of the President and stepping aside.”

Utter shock resounded through the crowd—even the journalists were stunned. Laura nodded. “I have given this much thought, and selected a man whom I believe will be able to lead this Fleet. He has shown in the past principle of character, leadership ability, and the dedication to our laws to stand against Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh when those officers have been in the wrong. He is a decorated and highly-skilled veteran of the Colonial Fleet, who earlier today resigned his commission in order to seek this office. I endorse him, not only for the post of Vice-President, but as a candidate for President in the up-coming election. His name is Lee Adama.”

The curtains to one side of the stage parted, and Lee—dressed in a business suit—marched out onto the stage and waved at the reporters with a wide smile on his face. Laura turned to face him and she took his hand, and then kissed him on the cheek. But Lee could see the cold fury in her eyes, even as she anointed him in front of the media and the Fleet.

“He will be speaking to you and the Quorum later today,” Laura continued. “But there is a fourth announcement which must be delivered at this time. I promised you—Admiral Adama promised you—a very long time ago that we would find Earth. Discover the Thirteenth Tribe. It is with relief and joy such as I cannot express in words, that today I inform you we have established contact with men and women of the Thirteenth Tribe.”

Absolute silence fell over the crowd as they literally gawked at Laura and she nodded.

“We are but one jump away from a major colony of Earth. And when we arrive there, we will be beginning negotiations with our long-lost cousins to find for the Fleet a new home. I cannot tell you everything we know at this time—but the end of our journey is drawing to a close. I have kept my promise to you; I have brought this Fleet, our family, home to Earth.”

And the resounding thunder from the crowd was as if a bomb had just gone off.
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Old February 6 2013, 12:14 AM   #157
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“This is not a happy ship, Commander,” Sam said as she took the bottle of Necrosia that Mathias offered her in his quarters.

He snorted. His quarters. The incredibly spacious suite of compartments had been designed intentionally to accommodate a Flag officer, not a ‘mere’ Commander, and his belongings had not come close to filling up the bulkheads and space. The décor was far . . . darker . . . than Mathias preferred. And he wondered: had Helena Cain had expressed here, in her private space, the darkness that lay within her soul? And did no one notice?

He sat down and took a sip from his own bottle. “No, Sam, she is most definitely not a happy ship,” he answered, and then he smiled grimly as he rubbed his aching left arm and hand. “But on the bright side, you made XO on a Mercury-class Battlestar after all, Colonel Caldwell.”

“At the tender age of thirty-one,” she answered with a smile of her own. “Only things wrong with the world at the moment are that I couldn’t kill Adar myself and this crew is seriously fracked,” and she clinked her bottle against his.

“We will get to that,” Mathis said in a grim tone. “Material status?”

“The main magazines are at sixty-five percent of capacity—point defense is at sixty-two. We have eighteen Hades in the dorsal silos, and eight-seven Hydras—eleven of them with nuclear warheads—for the four missile launchers. Fuel stores at fifty-two percent on all tanks, we have plenty of water, reserve air, and provisions. Medical is fairly well stocked and we have a good supply of spare parts,” and both of them winced as she said that because they knew where some of those parts had come from.

Sam paused, and then she continued. “Current air wing strength is eighty-four Mark VII Vipers and twenty-three Raptors—with trained pilots and ECOs. The flight crew includes almost every single trained pilot in her crew—Cain transferred as many, if not more, trained flight crew from deck assignments to the air wing to make up for her losses. In addition,” Sam continued, “there are forty of the older Mk VI Vipers and ten Raptors that we do not have pilots for—even after the raiding that Admiral Cain did of the roster.”

Mathias winced. Normally, at full-load, a Mercury-class ship carried two hundred Vipers in eight combat and two reserve squadrons, plus fifty Raptors. And at full strength she would have an additional eighty flight trained personnel assigned to various ship-board operations. Right now, his Flight Operations and LSO (Landing Signals Officers) were at the bare minimum.

“I’ve heard rumors that Admiral Adama is reorganizing the fighter squadrons,” Sam continued. And Mathias nodded.

“That one is true. Right now, across the Fleet, we have one hundred and twenty-four Mk VIIs, ninety Mk VIs, sixteen Mk IIs, sixteen Thunder Mk Is, and seventy-one Raptors; with enough pilots and ECOs to man one hundred and sixty fighters and forty Raptors,” and he shook his head.

“We—Admiral Adama and I—have sat down and there will be a complete reorganization, including revamping our fighters into sixteen-vessel squadrons. Scorpia will have two squadrons of Mk VI Vipers—the Green Goblins and the Red Arrows. Galactica will have one squadron each of Mk VII, Mk VI, and Mk II Vipers—the Gold Dragons, the Silver Shields, and the Bronze Lancers. Pegasus will have six squadrons—the Scorpia’s Blues, the Yellow Shrikes, the Orange Blazers, the White Angels, the Grey Wolves and the Blackhearts with a mix of Mk VIs, Mk VIIs, and Thunders. Aurora will carry a single squadron of Mk VIIs—the Purple Knights.”

Sam nodded. “That will give use one hundred and ninety-two fighters—we are short thirty-two pilots. And you had to tack on those names to squadrons, didn’t you?”

“Would you rather have plain names like Blue and Yellow and Orange?” Mathias said with a grin. “Adama signed off on it. As for pilots,” Mathias said with another sigh. “We are going to get them by raiding the decks of Aurora, Galactica, and Scorpia, along with survivors from Cerberus. I don’t like it, but we are going to cut the LSO and Flight Ops down to a bare minimum. We are also reorganizing the Raptors. Anubis and Aurora get four each, Scorpia and Galactica eight each, and Pegasus sixteen. That will give us fifty-four spare fighters and thirty-one spare Raptors we do not have flight crews for at this time, and will also spread out our assets across the Fleet.”

Sam nodded her agreement. “With the personnel from Cerberus, we will be at around eight-three percent of full complement—just over ninety percent outside of the air wing.”

“Good enough,” Mathias snorted. “What is your opinion of Stinger?”

“Captain Taylor?” Sam said with a wince. “He’s got a chip on his shoulder, Mat,” she answered softly. “And he is angry. Man had just made squadron commander when the attack happened, and Cain promoted him to CAG when their attack on the comm station when south. Then she sacked him, and put Thrace in command—then he went back to CAG, and then Garner sacked him, and then Lee Adama reinstated him.” She shook her head. “He’s pissed.”

“I know,” whispered Mathias. “And I can’t afford a CAG like that. He’s getting a transfer to Aurora to take command of the Purple Knights and be her CAG. Smaller ship, fewer responsibilities, and Mark has just the temperament that I think Stinger needs in a CO right now. I don’t.”

And Sam snorted her agreement. “Who are you bumping to CAG then?”

“I’m promoting Digger to Major and putting her in command. Saint will command the Blues until Hope is back up to speed with that shoulder. Hunter will be Digger’s deputy,” and Mathias shook his head. “And I’ve already spoken with Tom and Liam. We are integrating the Marine details throughout the Fleet—and formally incorporating your SMF buddies and the former army person from Caprica, Tauron, and Virgon. That will allow us to post four short companies—one each on Aurora, Galactica, Pegasus, and Scorpia, with one platoon on Anubis,” he smiled. “Liam is getting a promotion to Major and will serve as the overall Fleet Marine commander. His HQ team will be posted here on Pegasus.”

Sam smiled. “And that will let you—just by coincidence—spread out the bad apples away from Pegasus?”

“Exactly. With Liam here, I don’t think you and I have to worry about someone deciding to frag our asses late one night.”

“What about Chief Laird? And the other people that Cain impressed?” Sam asked sourly.

Mathias took a deep pull of his beer. “I spoke to Laird and the others—I let them know that we gave their loved ones a proper funeral service,” he said quietly. “This is all they have left, Sam. If they want to stay—they are welcome. I’m not going to throw them overboard with the trash.”

“So what are we going to do about the trash? Sir?” Sam asked just as quietly.

“We are going to roll up our sleeves and kick this Battlestar in the ass until they start behaving like the Colonial Fleet again, Sam,” he slid a note pad across the table. “That should be a good start. Right?” and he smiled.

Sam scanned over the piece of paper and she snorted.

“Action stations drill at 0215? Two hours of PT for all off-watch personnel at 0500? Full shipboard inspection beginning at 0800? Commander, they are going to hate you.”

“It comes with the job, XO. Are you up to kicking some ass and taking names?”

“Damn straight, Sir.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 6 2013 at 01:05 AM.
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Old February 6 2013, 02:48 AM   #158
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“Thank you for coming here, Madame Ripley,” said Admiral Adama and he waved a hand at one of the stuffed chairs in his quarters.

“Just Ripley, Admiral,” Ellen said with a laugh as she took a seat. “What do you want?”

Adama sat down and he examined her. And then he nodded. “You are the one that I cannot fathom. Burke, I know well his kind. Newt is a child that you rescued. The rest are Marines—there is little difference at their core between them and my own. But you? What is your story? Why are you here?”

“Oh, Admiral. Do you have a few hours? Long story short, I was on a ship that was diverted to LV-426 by the Company—under the excuse of a distress signal. We were the first ones who found the xenomorphs—and everyone except me died. My escape pod malfunctioned and I spent fifty-seven years in cold sleep. To find out that they had put a colony there and no one believed my story. Except Burke, who sent out a message for the colonists to investigate “abnormal mineral core samples” from the location of the derelict ship. He sent them there, he didn’t warn them, he didn’t tell what to expect—and when they lost contact with Acheron, he came to me for help as a consultant.”

“I am aware of that—but the Marines seem to defer to you: why?” Adama growled.

Ripley paused, and she stared at Adama for a moment. “I was the second-officer on the freight—a certified pilot. I took charge when someone had to—they respect that.”

Adama nodded. “So do I, Ripley. I’ve got a problem with your Mister Burke. The man is trying to make deals with ships in this Fleet—trying to basically steal our technology and keep all but a small fraction of us from ever benefiting.” He paused. “I am not going to let that happen.”

Her eyes turned flashed with heat and then turned ice-cold. And then she sighed. “He sees dollar signs and profit margins, and nothing else matters to him. I’ll make sure he isn’t a problem.”

“I don’t want him dead, Ripley,” Adama said quietly—suddenly realizing that this woman was probably the most dangerous of his guests.

“No, that would be bad for all of us. I will make certain he isn’t a problem.”

Adama nodded again. “Will that make a problem for you?”

Ripley laughed. “My life is nothing but problems, Admiral. I’ll live.”
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Old February 6 2013, 03:43 AM   #159
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Tamara Mayne looked up as the visitor to the surgery stopped at her bed. And she smiled. “Hello, Hamish,” she said.

“Leftenant Mayne,” he replied as he clicked his heels together and gave a slight bow. And then he looked over his shoulder and leaned close to the bed. “Doctor Bako wouldn’t approve—medical diet and all that nonsense—but since your wounds are on your legs, here,” he whispered and held out a box.

Tamara cocked an eyebrow and she cracked it open—and she grinned. Virgon confectioneries! “How?”

“I had a couple of boxes stashed away, Leftenant. Speaking of those legs of yours, how are they?”

Her grin vanished, but then she nodded. “With all the morpha as they have pumped into me, I can’t feel a thing. But Jester got the acid neutralizer on me quick enough that I still have legs,” she whispered. “Burns will heal, but at least I still have flesh and skin to heal,” and a look of sadness passed over her face. “They won’t be pretty to look at anymore, but I’ll have them. And that’s something.”

Hamish nodded and he sat down on the edge of her bed. “That it is, Leftenant. So, you will remain able to stay in the Corps?”

“Captain—Major!,” she corrected with a grin, “Aisne has already told me that he wants me in command of a platoon on Pegasus.”

The Prince smiled. “Pegasus, eh? That means we are no longer officers aboard the same ship, Leftenant Mayne.”

She leaned back and smiled. “No, I reckon we’re not.”

“Good. I was willing to go to the brig for your affection, but now I do not have to,” and he leaned down and kissed her—a kiss that she returned.

************************************************** **

Carter J. Burke opened the hatch and stepped into the berth on Galactica that had been cleared to make space for Terrans.

“Man o man, this stuff is great!” said Hudson as he held a steaming cup in his hands, lowering it from his lips. “What do they call it?”

“Damn if I know,” Hicks said after he took a sip of his own and made a sigh of pleasure. “Damn, that is good.”

“What’s that?” asked Burke as he caught the strong scent that was faintly reminiscent of a sweetened coffee—with caramel?

“Just one of their native drinks,” said Gorman. “That pilot was telling me they have the seeds to these trees in storage—this will be a major sensation,” and he took a long pull from his cup.

“Want to try one, Burke?” asked Ripley, holding her own mug.

“Sure,” the exec said. Ripley unscrewed a thermos and steam rose and she poured a dark and milky liquid into a cup.

Burke took it and he inhaled and it was heaven—sweet, hot, and with just the right amount of bitters. And a sizeable caffeine load, that immediately satisfied his need for coffee. He took an exploratory sip and he sighed. “This is . . . they have the seeds to grow what goes in this?”

Vasquez snorted. “Just like Gorman said, man; the Corps is going to ape over this if we can get a contract.”

“The Corps might not be able to afford this—this is the type of product that becomes a luxury good real fast. You know,” he said as he took another sip, “I think this whole expedition is going to be extremely profitable.”

“You would think about that, Burke. And not about the lives of these people fleeing before rampaging monsters that are about to overrun your colonies,” said Ripley.

“We took insurance on them,” Burke answered with a laugh and then he staggered. “Whoa, this packs a punch too,” he swayed and dropped the mug and then smashed face-first to the deck.

“How long will he be out, Hicks?” Ripley asked.

“With that dose? Burke-the-Jerk will be sleeping for the next seventy-two hours,” Hicks answered as he poured the doped liquid down the drain—and brought out the clean thermos. “Refill?”

“Sure,” said Vasquez.

“Right on,” answered Hudson.

“I think I will,” laughed Gorman.

“Aren’t we going to get him in his bunk?” asked Ripley. “I mean, I don’t mind leaving him passed out on the floor—but he is a trip hazard.”

“Give me a hand, Hudson,” Hicks ordered and the two of them picked up Burke and threw him into his bunk.

“Seventy-two long enough, Ripley?”

“I hope so,” she said. “At least it will slow things down. And can I get another cup?”
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Old February 6 2013, 06:40 AM   #160
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Rear Admiral Jenna Hayes pursed her lips as she considered the extremely large fleet of ships centered in the projection. Seventy-five ships in total. She shook her head in disbelief—it was unprecedented. There had been no warning, no hyper-space distortion, just a gamma-ray burst when each ship had arrived in the star system named Beowulf.

And then she grimaced at the other icons. Beowulf was a divided system, after all. Her own United Americas Alliance held claim to one continent, the Three Worlds Empire to the second, and the China-Asia Congress to the third. And none exactly trusted the other—which was why all three had a naval station here and complied with the long-standing tradition of limiting the ships on station.

Like the UAA and TWE, Rear Admiral Zheng Bao of the CAC had five ships under his command—including the single largest in Beowulf at the moment, the Wanli Changcheng-class Battleship Changzheng. One of the oldest ships in the CAC fleet, Changzheng was still one of the largest dedicated warships ever constructed—and her four escorting Mutsu-class Destroyers were all modern designs, even if they were far smaller. Chakri Narubet, Dae Jo-yeong, Martadinata, and Nagato were excellent ships, although they were too small to carry strike craft or Marines. Of course, the CAC didn’t rely on strike craft nearly as much as the UAA—or even the TWE.

Commodore Sir Edward Morton commanded the Royal Space Command detachement for the Three Worlds Empire. As usual for the TWE, they hadn’t sent any especially large ships, but Morton had at his disposal the Warrior-class Heavy Cruisers Rodney and Southern Cross, escorted by the Indomitable-class Frigates Courageous and Dauntless and the lonely Cape Town-class Destroyer Montreal. As was TWE practice, each of the cruisers and frigates carries a single squadron of strike fighters, giving Morton’s Force B excellent reach and striking power—and while smaller in scale than the CAC’s Changzheng, Rodney and Southern Cross packed in their hulls a punch that could not be ignored.

And that left only Jenna’s own Task Group 23, built around her flagship—the America-class Strike Carrier Constellation. Nearly as large as the Changzheng, Constellation was no heavily armored and gunned dreadnought, but instead carried six squadrons of strike craft in her massive bays. For close and distant escort, she relied on her escorting cruisers—the Simon Bolivar-class Franklin and Randolph—and destroyers—the Helena class Asuncion and New Orleans.

Now, all three of the naval detachments had hastily undocked from their respective stations and closed up—weapons manned and strike craft crewed. Which, Jenna thought with a sigh, means that they probably weren’t expecting this either.

“Admiral?”

“Yes,” Jenna turned to face the comm officer.

“Sir Edward is asking to speak with you,” he answered.

“On speaker,” she ordered. Unofficially, the UAA and TWE often worked together—but they had fought two wars in recent memory over the Dominion of Canada. Short wars, almost immediately forgotten save by those who fought and the families of those who died.

“Admiral Hayes,” the crisp accented voice came over the speaker. “This is certainly exciting—or were you expecting such a convoy? Bao assures me that he was not.”

“Nor am I, Sir Edward,” she answered. “Were you?”

“My dear, if the Empire had seventy plus additional ships at our disposal we would be Thirty Worlds Empire,” and she could see that aristocratic twits mustache twitch with his smile in her mind’s eyes.

“Well, they aren’t mine, they aren’t Bao’s, and they aren’t yours—so who are they?”

“Whom, my dear. Whom are they, indeed? I believe that perhaps we should work togeth- . . .,” but he was interrupted in mid-word.

“Ma’am! We are receiving a transmission from the unknown vessels!”

“On speaker,” she barked and took her seat on the command deck of her flagship.

“Earth vessels, this is Admiral William Adama of the Battlestar Galactica. We are escorting a fleet of civilian vessels that represent the sole survivors of our civilization—a human civilization long separate from Earth. We wish to negotiate with your governments for a world where we may settle—our enemies pursue us and they will soon find you. I will hold my current position until your reply. We mean you no harm and wish to begin negotiations as soon as possible. Adama out.”

Hayes squinted her eyes at the display. “Are they holding position?”

“Yes, Admiral,” an officer answered, and then he looked back up. “Ma’am, we confirm the presence of the alien vessel Sulaco encountered in their formation.”

“Same class?”

“Same vessel, Admiral—all emissions match 100%,” the officer replied in disbelief.

A disbelief that Jenna Hayes shared. She had reviewed the report of Lieutenant Gorman—but there had been no answer to her follow-up request; indeed, they had received a second report even as her request was en route, that they were under attack and taking refuge on the alien fleet, sending back Sulaco on automatics. For that same ship—no two vessels had identical emissions—to be here was flatly impossible. Unless . . . Gorman’s report had mentioned a claim of exceptional FTL capabilities; and he had insisted that his hosts were human.

“Comm. Send a reply,” she said.

“Galactica, this is United Americas Alliance Ship Constellation. Hold your position and we will inform our governments. Do you have one of my officers onboard?”

There was a pause. And then a voice came over the comm. “Lieutenant William Gorman, reporting Admiral Hayes,” and he recited his serial number and the proper authentication code.

“I cannot wait for this report, Lieutenant,” Jenna broadcast. “Inform your host that he is to hold his position. We will contact you.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Admiral,” the harried comm officer said as he looked up. “Both Admiral Bao and Sir Edward are hailing us—and they have charged weapons.”

Jenna winced. “Tie both of them in—let’s defuse this while we can,” she said and she carefully thought about just how to do that.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 6 2013 at 06:51 AM.
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Old February 7 2013, 12:41 AM   #161
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Just an update: I may not be so prolific in the days to come. I have an interview for a new job on Friday morning which I found out about earlier today. So no writing so far today as I am getting my stuff in order and preparing for the meeting.

But I will have an update soon.

MA
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Old February 7 2013, 05:09 AM   #162
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Jenna Hayes glanced at her two counter-parts—and she was somewhat relieved that the shock on their faces mirrored her own. Zheng Bao just shook his head and Sir Edward whistled as the three ranking officers in Beowulf space gazed out of the portholes of the shuttlecraft.

These . . . Colonials, as they called themselves, clearly they had developed a strike fighter doctrine much like the UAA and the FEU—and the TWE to a lesser extent. But, the size of the five warships! And the sheer number of what had to be rail-gun turrets which they mounted! The smallest warship—the one that Sulaco had encountered at Acheron—was larger than any destroyer or frigate in service. The next matched Bao’s Changzheng in length (if not mass) and the other three were even larger. The truly massive one was a monster of a ship—she dwarfed all but the largest and most fragile of bulk carriers.

And while there was no sign of lasers or particle beam cannons, Jenna could see the grim twin barrels of heavy rail-cannon on turrets—in unbelievable numbers. And hundreds of smaller clusters of what had to be kinetic point defense. And if those weren’t heavy missile silos on the dorsal surface, Jenna would eat her hat.

“Big bastards, aren’t they?” asked Sir Edward quietly. “At least they come in peace.”

“We have only their word for that,” snapped Bao. “And it was your marines, Admiral Hayes, who informed these people of the location of Beowulf. My government will be most displeased if those who are in pursuit of these refugees find their way here—we must consider how much culpability your government bears if one of our people is harmed.”

“Save the threats, Admiral Bao,” Jenna said softly. “It could just as easily been your marines—not mine. And you are well aware of that.”

“Of course he is, my dear,” drawled Sir Edward. “He’s just staking out his position ahead of time—never waste a crisis, eh, Bao?”

The CAC Fleet officer didn’t answer; he just looked at the other group of men and women in the spacious passenger compartment—the civilians in exquisite business suits.

“What are they doing here?”

Jenna grimaced. “They are doing the same as your own watchdogs from Kurisaka Dynatronics and Hainan Heavy Engineering Corporation,” and Bao bristled at the term watchdog, but he didn’t correct her. All three of the officers knew who the true powers that be on Earth were. They didn’t like it—but they were well aware. “They are jackals, savoring over the chance to walk away with signed contracts that will leave these people paupers.”

“A pack of jackals, yes, Admiral Hayes—but one lion there in the midst that the jackals fear,” Sir Edward said quietly, nodding at the isolated man standing alone. James Alistair Sinclair, the head of the Interstellar Commerce Commission. It was the influence of the corporations that ignited brush wars—but it was the authority of the ICC that kept those conflicts from expanding. No mere CEO dared to openly challenge the Board of the ICC—on which Sinclair had a seat.

Jenna snorted. A century ago, the ICC had been nothing but an advisory board—the sole remaining international entity that mediated between corporations and national state governments. But slowly, inexorably, the ICC had become something more than the corporations had ever intended. Concerned only with the protection of humanity, the ICC had recruited . . . fanatics. True believers. And with each successful arbitration, with every regulation that prevented a new plague, with every circumvention of their rules by the corporations highlighted for the teaming masses of mother Earth, the ICC gained more and more power unto itself.

Today, it was the ultimate authority whose anger no one, corporation or national state, wanted to awaken. That had been shown forty-three years ago when the ICC had black-listed General Atomics after the CEO had violated ICC quarantine. No ICC bonded freighter loaded any of GAs products, their raw materials inbound to the Earth factories were seized, their assets were assaulted by cyber-attacks and drained. Two weeks after the ICC ruling, the entire company went bankrupt—leading to a major global recession until the components of GA were auctioned off.

No mere CEO wanted to provoke the ICC into repeating that with their corporations.

Jenna smiled. Yes, Sinclair’s presence made the jackals nervous. After all, they never knew if the lion would simply accept their feeding at his table—or if he would eviscerate and consume them instead.

The shuttle banked, and Jenna blinked as she got a good look at the escorting fighter.

“Damn,” muttered Sir Edward, his upper-class pretentions forgotten for the moment. That fighter was far smaller than Earth’s strike vessels—and her own sensor readings on board Constellation had shown that the lithe little craft’s performance envelope exceeded that of Earth-build strike vessels. It exceeded them by a large margin. Of course, the tiny fighter could not carry the ordnance that UAA Hammerheads carried—or the Cheyennes.

Then the pilot nodded and rendered a hand-salute, and the fighter veered sharply away as the shuttle passed through the massive bulk of the twin landing decks three of these warships carried. It was different from any Earth design—but Jenna could see the utility of such an expanse of deck to launch and recover strike vessels from. The shuttle set down gently and an expanding gangway emerged from the bulkhead and clamped against the airlock.

She drew in a deep breath, and with her two companions, fell in line behind the corporate liaisons as the airlock opened—with James Sinclair of the ICC walking behind, and watching, all of them.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 7 2013 at 05:32 AM.
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Old February 7 2013, 06:33 PM   #163
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Adama exchanged a glance with Ripley as the delegation from Beowulf filed into the conference room. He noted that only three of the eleven wore military uniforms—the rest, as she predicted, wore expensive suits. He kept any expression from his face as he, Commanders Lorne and Jayne, Colonels Tigh, Thorean, and Foeswan, High Justice Lampkin, and the newly sworn in President and Vice-President of the Colonies stood.

He caught Lee’s eye and the President nodded—as did Tom Zarek. And Caprica as well, who was here representing the Cylons that had joined the Fleet. Adama scowled at her presence—but Lee had insisted. After all, this meeting would affect them just as it would the human refugees.

Lieutenant Gorman was the twenty-third man at the table, sitting between the two sides . . . and for such a junior officer he was remarkably composed. Which is too say, he looked nervous and out of place. Bishop, sitting at his side, on the other hand, was stoic and at ease.

Adama waited until the guests had all taken their place and he nodded at them.

“Welcome aboard Galactica,” he said. “I am Admiral Adama—may I introduce you to the President of the Twelve Colonies, Lee Adama?”

Polite nods were exchanged—but the Admiral (and Lee and the rest) caught the slight smirks on the faces of most of the civilians. Just as Ripley had said, they automatically assumed nepotism was at play.

The uniformed woman nodded her head. “I am Admiral Hayes of the United America Alliance; this is Admiral Bao of the China-Asian Congress and Commodore Sir Edward Morton of the Three Worlds Empire,” she paused. “And this is Director James Sinclair of the Interstellar Commerce Commission.”

Adama smiled politely and nodded his head at each of them in turn—and just as Ripley had said they would, they had brought the ICC with them, he thought.

“Please, be seated,” Adama said and everyone sat. “Are these gentlemen and ladies representatives of your government?”

“No,” spoke one of the civilians. “We represent a number of corporate interests here in Beowulf—all major players in interstellar markets.”

“Such as Weyland-Yutani,” Adama growled. “We have already met an executive of that corporation.”

Several of the executives bristled, but one smiled broadly. “Yes . . . where is Carter Burke? He should be here for this meeting to . . . assist us in processing this event.”

“He is sleeping off an alcohol-fueled bender,” Adama answered in a sour voice. “We are quite . . . displeased with Mister Burke.”

“Oh?” asked the same executive—his face now set and emotionless.

“Yes. Are we not going to wait on diplomatic officers from your governments?” Adama asked.

The same executive just smiled. “Why don’t we get started—these officers will confirm that any arrangements made here today will be binding on the national governments.”

“I see,” Adama answered. “We had not planned to begin negotiations today—I was going to take you on a tour of my ships and give you a short briefing on the Cylon threat. Mister President—if the government is prepared to proceed, we can adjust our schedule.”

Lee waved one hand. “Certainly, Admiral,” and he leaned forward with a smile on his face. “We are seeking a home—a place where we may rebuild our civilization. We had hoped to avoid leading the Cylons to you, but we have been unable to slow their relentless pursuit. Before we discuss that, however, I would like to file, formally and on the record, a complaint about your Carter J. Burke.”

“A complaint, Mister President?” the Weyland-Yutani rep said with a slight smile. “I am certain that . . . given the difference in language and culture, any misstep by Mister Burke was unintentional.”

“One would hope so,” Lee answered. “But I am afraid that is not the case here. Mister Burke has been trying to divide this Fleet in the hopes of gaining exclusive access to our technology—we will not permit such an action.”

All of the CEOs smirked momentarily before their faces blanked. The Weyland-Yutani rep just smiled. “A misunderstanding, I am sure.”

“As the President says,” growled Adama, “we hope it was merely a junior executive pushing his authority too far. I mean, I doubt that he had the authorization to promise this Fleet that he would settle them on Earth.”

Excuse me?” asked Sinclair—and the corporate execs got rather quiet.

“He assured me,” Tom Zarek said with a smile, “that his corporation could arrange for the ICC quarantine of Earth to be waived—and promised nothing less than the title to a place known as . . .,” Tom paused.

“Tierra del Fuego, wasn’t it, Mister Vice-President?” asked Lee with a smile.

“Thank you, Mister President,” Tom smiled back. “That was it, Director Sinclair. In fact, he promised the entire Fleet a new home on Earth if we wanted it—but only in exchange for exclusive rights to all of our technology for Weyland-Yutani.”

No one breaches ICC quarantine protocols,” Sinclair growled, casting at glance down the table at the Weyland exec.

“That wasn’t the first time he said he could . . . circumvent the ICC,” Admiral Adama added with a smile. “From the reports I have read on the . . . incident on Acheron, Mister Burke attempted to convey two specimens of the alien species encountered there back to one of my ships for shipment to Earth.”

A deathly silence fell over the table, and the blood drained from the Weyland exec’s face.

Ripley sat forward. “I was there, Director Sinclair,” she said, “along with Lieutenant Gorman and Bishop and the single survivor of the colony and the four Marines from Sulaco who managed to escape with their lives. When we protested and told him that he would never get those specimens through ICC quarantine, he brushed aside our concerns and said there were ways. And since they were worth millions to the Bio-Weapons Division, he ordered us to load them. We didn’t. He was rather upset over the entire matter.”

Sinclair glared at the Weyland exec, who swallowed. “None of this was sanctioned by the company, Director—it was one junior executive exceeding the boundaries of his authority.”

“This matter will be investigated—thoroughly,” Sinclair said, turning his attention back to the Colonials. “Settlement on Earth is out of the question.”

“We understand,” Lee said with a smile. “And we are open to trading some of our technology with you in exchange for a world to call our own,” and his voice hardened as he looked at the corporate execs. “But we are not naïve, nor are we innocent children to be taken advantage of. Accordingly, to protect our own interests, we have formed our own corporation—Twelve Colonies Limited—with one voting share held by each and every member of this Fleet. Twelve Colonies Limited owns outright all technology possessed by this Fleet, and only the board of Twelve Colonies Limited, of which I as President am the chief executive officer thereof, may negotiate for any licenses to our intellectual properties.”

“Well, I am certain that this is all quite legal in your home civilization, Mister Adama,” said one of the execs, “our laws only recognize corporations properly filed with the ICC.”

“That was a fact which Madame Ripley and Bishop brought to my attention,” said High Justice Lampkin. “I have prepared the documents required under your laws, and since you are present here and now, Director Sinclair, as the direct representative of the Interstellar Commerce Commission, I would like to file these documents with you . . . to ensure that Twelve Colonies Limited has all of the rights and responsibilities entitled under the law,” the lawyer smiled and he slid a thick document across the table.

James Sinclair returned that smile and he tapped his fingers on the document. “There is a . . . significant filing fee, you realize.”

Lampkin nodded. “We understand that it has been delayed in the past—although the ICC will be owed interest on any delay. We would be willing to offer to the ICC a royalty on all technology licenses until the fee—and a reasonable rate of interest—is paid in full.”

“I will have my staff look over this document,” Sinclair said, “but as of now, I officially confirm receipt of your filing. Should there be no errors within the document that would cause it to be voided, we will consider Twelve Colonies Limited a registered corporation under the auspices of the ICC Board.”

And the blood drained from the face of every corporate exec in the room. In contrast, the three Terran military officers were fighting to keep smiles off their own faces.

“Now, until my staff determines whether or not this document is indeed legal and in the proper format, I believe that we should suspend further negotiations,” Sinclair stood. “For myself, I would love to take that tour you spoke of, Admiral Adama.”

“Mister President?” the elder Adama asked of the younger.

“By all means, Admiral. But I do believe that Lieutenant Gorman and Madame Ripley also have a document—a report on the events that occurred on Acheron; with copies for Admiral Hayes and Director Sinclair both.”

Sinclair’s eyes twinkled as he was handed two more bound reports, and he passed a copy down to Jenna Hayes. “And Mister Burke’s report?” he asked.

“He hasn’t assembled one, Director,” Ripley said sweetly.

“Ah,” replied Sinclair. “Shall we begin the tour, Admiral?”

“After you, Director,” Adama answered.

Last edited by MasterArminas; February 7 2013 at 06:51 PM.
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Old February 7 2013, 08:48 PM   #164
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“So, the Thirteenth Tribe sees our oppressed brothers as property,” muttered Cavil after Caprica had returned to her Basestar. “And will they treat us the same?”

“So far, Adama—both Adamas—have not informed the Thirteenth Tribe of our existence. I believe that the good Admiral will be speaking with their military leaders and this Sinclair later today on that subject,” Caprica said quietly. “And speaking with this Bishop,” she shuddered. “He looks human—but he is very, very different. Both in temperament and physiology,” she whispered as she remembered the demonstration with the knife that Bishop had made to her. She shuddered again.

But then she smiled. “Apparently though, the Thirteenth were just as shocked at our mechanical brethren as I was at their . . . synthetics,” she enunciated the unfamiliar word carefully. “They seem to accept human-form creations, but not mechanical.”

Cavil snorted. “Creations? Try slaves.”

Boomer sighed. “Look, we are not going to have this argument again—what was their decision?”

“It was as President Adama said,” replied Caprica, “they have given each of us human replicant Cylons one equal share in this Twelve Colonies Limited scheme they have dreamed up to stave off the scavenger corporations. However,” she said, “two-thirds of any profits generated by our shares are going to . . . be withheld are a token of reparations for our actions against the colonies.”

“Two-thirds?” snarled Cavil. “What next? They are going to settle us on this Acheron?”

Caprica shook her head. “No. Their offer is fair—and they released the Cavil and D’Anna who they were holding. As a sign of good faith,” she nodded to two replicants who stepped forward. “They have gained much information on the Thirteenth Tribe from Bishop, and I believe that you should all pay attention to their words.”

“What of Gina?” asked Boomer.

Caprica sighed. “I was permitted to see her—she suffers. As a result of the abuse done to her on Pegasus,” the woman swallowed a lump in her throat. “She wants to die—to not resurrect. And I have agreed,” she said to the horrified shock on the faces of her fellow Cylons, “to instruct the Resurrection Hybrid to purge her from the system when her time comes. She will not be uploaded into a new body.”

“They broke her,” whispered Cavil. “And you two want us to cooperate with them?”

“What we want no longer matters, John!” snapped Boomer, her scar tissue twisting with her emotion. “Now, we do what we must to survive.”

“For how long? We cannot procreate! Only one of us has managed to conceive or impregnate even a human being—much less ourselves!” Cavil thundered.

And Caprica smiled. “Actually, the synthetic Bishop believes with the Thirteenth Tribes medical technology, he can correct that . . . defect in our genetic code. If he can, then we will be able to continue our race—even without Resurrection.”

All nine Cylons in the command center stared at her without a word.

Cavil was the first to regain his composure. “Do the humans know?”

“Not yet, John. It might be . . . awkward. This revelation can wait until after we forge an agreement to fight the Guardians.”

And one by one the human replicants began to smile and nod their agreement.
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Old February 8 2013, 08:29 PM   #165
Tribble puncher
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Still enjoying the story, while I'd love to see xeno's fighting cylons, I def. understand why they wouldn't be added given the direction of the story. Hope your Job interview went well b.t.w.
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