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|January 25 2013, 01:02 AM||#76|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Bill Adama slammed his fist down on the table and he shoved the copy of the file onto the floor. Sidewinder knelt down and he placed the papers back within the folder and set it on the table—away from the Admiral. Laura Roslin looked sick—physically sick. And Lee Adama; well, the Admiral’s son just swallowed and he closed his copy of the file.
“According to our Cylon defector,” Sidewinder said, emphasizing the word defector, “they have no memory of being Cylons, Admiral. Madame President. They were sent into exile because they disagreed with the rest of the Cylons—their memory of that time has been blocked. Unlike Lieutenant Valerii, who was sent back as a sleeper agent, these four have not been implanted with hidden commands. They are, for all purposes, human beings. They have lived their lives as human beings. They have fought for the Colonies and loved and bled and sacrificed as human beings. The fact that they are copies of murdered individuals shouldn’t matter.”
“They are Cylons!” Laura snarled, and then she drew in a deep breath. “Your prisoner,” she as well emphasized that word, “could be lying. It is what the Cylons do.”
“I don’t think he is, ma’am,” Sidewinder said softly, “and neither does Commander Lorne. He—and Anders—are being watched closely on Scorpia, but they have not been subjected to the . . .,” Stefan Greene looked away and made himself force down the bile he felt rising in his throat, “the illegal and unconscionable manner in which your prisoners have been treated.”
Laura glared up at the pilot and he stared unwaveringly back into her eyes. “Torture is illegal under the Articles of Colonization—you had Leoben tortured. Admiral Cain had Gina Inviere beaten and gang-raped and starved. Your Lieutenant Valerii was murdered,” and now Adama’s glare joined the Presidents, “and her killer was given what? Thirty days in hack for unauthorized discharge of a firearm? Cain’s people tried to rape Helo’s Sharon—and you, Madame President, attempted to force her to have a late-term abortion!”
“She isn’t a person, she’s a Cylon!” Laura snapped.
“That is where you are wrong!” Sidewinder barked right back at the President. “They think, they feel, they bleed, they know right from wrong, they are human beings just as we are! That doesn’t mean we aren’t at war with them—it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t kill them to protect ourselves. They are our enemy—most of them, at least. Not all of them. Certainly not the ones who are innocent of planning the attacks and carrying them out! And even if they are guilty of that crime, their origin doesn’t matter, Madame President! We hold to our laws and our principles for ourselves, not for them! Throwing away the rules because we don’t like them? That’s what the SMF terrorists did, Madame President. If we are a civilization worth saving, then we have to live by these laws that provide everyone with rights—otherwise, we are just a bunch of barbarians who will gleefully throw away everything we cherish in the name of safety and security and pure blood-lust to see those damned Cylons suffer.”
Laura sat back, and she had this look of absolute disgust on her face. She opened her mouth, but Lee spoke before she could manage to get out a word.
“He’s right,” Lee said simply. “Or are you going to sit there and say that Saul Tigh—the man who threw you in the brig, Madame President—is doing anything but what he feels is right to protect this ship and the Fleet? He’s a drunk and he’s a mean son-of-a-bitch; he is an outright bastard. But he will lay down his life to protect this small, small band of survivors from the Cylons. Can you say that he is now the enemy? Because of something he doesn’t even remember, Madame President?”
Her jaw worked, and Sidewinder could see it in her eyes—the question of you too, Lee? And then Admiral Adama sighed. “No,” he said. “No. I know Saul Tigh—I know Galen Tyrol. And gods help us, I know Ellen Tigh. None of them will pose a threat to the Fleet.”
“They are Cylons!” Laura thundered.
“Whatever else he may be, Laura,” Bill Adama said quietly, “Saul Tigh is an officer in the Colonial Fleet. And no matter what problems he has had, no matter what he has faced, that is the man he has always been and always will be. Even if he dies, today, he will die as a loyal human being. And the best friend I have ever known. FRACK!” he cursed as he slammed his fist down on the table again.
“We don’t know if they have been programmed—just this word of a Cylon ‘defector’ that we cannot question,” said the President. “We have to remove them from duty and put them in custody with the other Cylons.”
“And then what?” asked Lee. “Shove them out an airlock? Put them on trial? Charged with what crime? Being a Cylon unknown even to them? Baltar will use this against you in the campaign, Madame President—he will say that you had a Cylon working for you as your closest aide ever since Billy’s death.”
“Don’t you even mention him!” she snapped.
“He will, Laura. And he will paint your aide Tory as the source of all our problems—from your desk to the Cylon hands,” the Admiral said as he rubbed his brow.
“We can hold them without leaking the reason why,” Laura said.
“That is illegal, Madame President,” Sidewinder said.
“I am President of the Twelve Colonies—I have the authority to make these decisions, Captain Greene.”
“No ma’am. You are bound to the Articles just as everyone of us in uniform that swore an oath—and frankly, you are out of your fracking mind if you think Commander Lorne will follow the orders of someone who ignores the law to suit her own purposes.”
“She is the President of the Colonies,” the Admiral snapped. “And he will follow my orders!”
“Your orders, Commander Adama? If they are legal, certainly Commander Lorne will follow them—illegal orders, on the other hand, he will refuse. As is his duty—as is my duty. As is your duty. And yours, Madame President.”
“What if,” began Lee, heading off the rapidly heating confrontation between his father and the President and the Raptor pilot from Scorpia. “What if we just burn this document? Pretend that we don’t know about Colonel Tigh, Mrs. Tigh. Chief Tyrol, Ms. Foster. Or Samuel Anders—think about how Kara is going to react to that,” he said with a wry grin that showed absolutely no humor.
“Ah, frack,” whispered Bill.
“They are Cylons,” Laura said again. “We are risking people’s lives here.”
Sidewinder started to speak, but he closed his mouth as Lee held up one hand. “Madame President, we risk people’s lives every single day. But we gauge that risk—if this information had not turned up, if we hadn’t read it, would you still trust Tory? And Colonel Tigh? And Chief Galen?” He held up a hand. “Don’t lie to yourself, Madame President. Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to the Admiral, but most of all, don’t lie to yourself. If you didn’t know, how would it make a difference?”
“If this gets out, we can’t protect any of them, Laura,” Bill Adama said quietly. “The people will demand their pound of flesh—and we have other fish in the fleet. I’ve already sent Marines to take D’Anna Biers into custody—she can join Cavil in the brig.”
“Fine!” she snapped. And then she began to laugh. “Is your commander as hard-assed as you, Captain Greene?”
“Harder, ma’am,” Sidewinder answered bluntly.
“Well, I think we are in for interesting times ahead,” she said as she picked up the only three copies of the archive records aboard the ships of the Fleet and struck a match. She put the flame to the corner of the paper and when it had started, she dropped it in a waste can.
“If something goes wrong, if they turn out to be pre-programmed and they are activated . . .,” she began.
“Then we are all probably dead, Madame President. Either Saul or Galen could destroy this ship if they wanted to and there isn’t a thing we could do to stop that. They haven’t,” the Admiral interjected as he reached up and turned off the fire alarm before it could begin to blare at the smoke coming from the waste can.
“We keep this to ourselves—for now,” he continued. “And that means we don’t treat them any differently. Agreed?”
One by one, Sidewinder, Lee, and finally the President nodded.
“Good. I think this is enough surprises for one day, Captain Greene, so this meeting is now adjourned,” she said as she rose.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 25 2013 at 02:58 AM.
|January 25 2013, 04:19 AM||#77|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Understood, Lieutenant,” Sidewinder replied, and then he smiled. “Actually, quarters are the least of our worries—neither of us have so much as a change of socks or underwear.”
Felix nodded and grinned back. “I have your uniform sizes from the personnel file chip in your flight suits,” he said as he tapped the small hand scanner that he had used to access the information earlier. “I’ll see about getting you some spares.”
“That would be very much appreciated, Lieutenant.”
As they approached the hatchway to the berth, Gaeta stopped and he blushed and he turned back to face the new pair of foundlings. “Ah, Captain, perhaps you would like a bite to eat, first? Or maybe relax for a little while in the rec-room?”
Sidewinder walked past Gaeta and he lifted up a sock that was suspended from that handle on the hatch, and he raised an eyebrow. Michael Jamussa—Kaboose—just shook his head and his face bore the most remarkable grin. But no emotion whatsoever showed itself on the senior pilot’s face. He pulled off the sock and yanked the hatch open, even as Gaeta opened his mouth—and then closed it.
“Attention on deck!” Sidewinder barked. And from one of the upper bunks, came a beefy THUD, followed by two yelps, and then a naked man rolled out of the bunk and landed face first on the deck. He was followed by an equally naked woman, clutching a bedsheet in one hand to cover—partially—her naked body.
Sidewinder waited for a moment as the man shook his head and then he knelt down. “WHAT THE FRACK ARE YOU DOING LAYING ON MY DECK AND NOT STANDING AT ATTENTION!” he bellowed.
Gaeta buried his face in his hands outside, as passing pilots and crewmen gathered to watch, and Kaboose just chuckled.
The totally naked man—well, not exactly totally, because he still wore his tags around his neck, just as the woman did—sprang to his feet and stood ramrod straight.
“NAMES!” he barked—although he already recognized the pilot from the Raptor.
“Lieutenant Margaret Edmondson, Sir!” she snapped.
And the man followed almost on her heels. "Lieutenant Jarrell Kief, Sir!"
Sidewinder nodded at the two of them. “Lieutenant Edmondson, is it customary aboard this ship to stand in a position of attention while holding an article of bed cloth in two hands? I ask this because to my recollection of instructions when I was inducted, that in the Colonial Fleet, IT IS NOT!”
“Sir, no, SIR!” she barked as he dropped the bedsheet and wolf-whistles came from outside.
Sidewinder spun around took four fast paces into the corridor. “COME TO ATTENTION ALL OF YOU!” he barked. “You two, Edmondson and Kief, put something on and join us—you have ten fracking seconds! MOVE!”
Captain Greene nodded to Kaboose who took a place alongside the collected pilots and crew—while Felix just stood there staring in absolute, abject horror. Stefan noted that Colonel Tigh was standing at the end of the corridor, looking on him with astonishment—but as the Colonel didn’t say a word, he turned his back on the man. Just in time to see Racetrack and ‘Fuzzy’ Kief fall into line in their hastily donned skivvies.
“All right, people,” he said calmly. “I am Captain Stefan Greene, my call-sign is Sidewinder. That man standing there is my EWO, Lieutenant (j.g.) Michael ‘Kaboose’ Jamussa. We are going to be joining you in,” and he cocked his head at Felix.
“Berthing compartment One Seven-B,” the officer answered.
“Berthing compartment One Seven-B. Those of you who are NOT assigned to berthing compartment one seven-b you are dismissed—as soon as you drop and give me a hundred. The rest of you,” he continued as seven of the onlookers slowly got down on their hands and toes and began to crank out push-ups, “need to understand something.”
“This is the Colonial Fleet. Your superiors and supervisors may have cut you some slack, but guess what, children? Play time is now over. Lieutenant Edmondson,” he said. “Are you aware of the regulations against fraternization with officers or enlisted personnel in the same chain of command?”
“Sir, I, ah, well, everyone’s doing it!”
“Ah, yes. The ‘but Mom, everyone else is doing it’ defense. THAT SHIT DOESN’T WORK!” he bellowed into her face. “Regulations are in place for a reason, people—they keep your asses alive and in one piece. If you and Lieutenant Kief want to carry on a relationship, Lieutenant Edmondson, then one of you needs to transfer off this ship—which one is going to do that?”
“I didn’t hear you,” Sidewinder said quietly. “I guess that means this stops NOW. Because after today? Oh, children. After today, I find two of my pilots FRACKING IN THE BERTHING COMPARTMENT, your asses will belong to me. You won’t be going before the Commander’s Mast, you won’t be listening to Colonel Tigh tear you a new asshole, no sweethearts, you are going to answer to me. And trust me, I’ll run you so ragged you won’t have the energy left to FRACK!”
“Kaboose and I are now heading to get a bite of lunch, children. That berthing compartment is a disgrace. I would say that it is a pigsty, but that is an insult to all of the various species of swine. When I return, it had best be STERILIZED! I want that deck so clean I can eat off of it, I want those lockers organized, the mirrors polished, the sheets changed, the bulkheads scrubbed, the air intakes and ventilators cleaned, and those bunks made to regulation, or SO HELP ME ALL THE GODS WE ARE GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS. AND BY WE I MEAN THAT YOU WILL HAVE PROBLEMS! DO YOU GET ME?” he barked, his voice echoing down the corridors.
“SIR, YES, SIR!”
“Good. Now get my berth squared the frack away, people. Lieutenant Gaeta, you mentioned lunch?”
Felix just nodded, gave a kind-a, sort-a smile and led him and Kaboose down the corridor—and Tigh gave Sidewinder a wink as he passed, the Colonel desperately trying to keep the laughter inside him contained.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 25 2013 at 04:43 AM.
|January 25 2013, 06:29 AM||#78|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Oh?” asked Sidewinder. “Which ones?”
Karl Agathon just smiled and he took a bite of the green flecked paste on top of the noodles. Seeing Stefan’s reaction, he shook his head. “Ignore how it looks—it’s pretty decent chow.”
Sidewinder snorted, and passed the remains of his own bowl across. Helo picked it up and dumped in atop his own.
“I’m not going to tell you—and we are the same rank now, so you can’t make me.”
“Fair enough—I’ll just have to run them all ragged for a week or two.”
Helo chuckled again between spoonfuls. “Lot of those kids never went to the Academy or Flight School, Stefan. They got trained out here, while we were short-handed; they are the ones good enough to survive.”
“A valid point, Karl. But they are incredibly undisciplined—and that is a problem. You know it, and I know it. Did you realize that when Kara Thrace was teaching them to fly she just threw away—literally threw away—the manual of regs and told them they didn’t need to know that stuff?”
The Galactica pilot snorted and he swallowed. “Sounds like Starbuck,” he said. “They are good kids, Stefan.”
“They are—but they need to toughen up a bit and learn some control; otherwise, one of these days someone is going to get seriously hurt and that won’t be pretty; or the aftermath when they deal with the fact they caused it.”
Sidewinder took a sip of the bright blue energy drink he was sipping on. “Wanted to say how sorry I was, Karl,” he said softly. “I heard about your kid.”
Helo looked up and he nodded. “And I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m the resident toaster-fracker and pretty much not cared for because of it.”
“I have—and I’ve shut down that shit when it has started, in my berth at least. You can’t control who you fall for, I think that’s one of the rules of Eros.”
Karl sat up and he cocked his head. “You don’t think I fracked up, getting involved with a toaster?”
“She’s a flesh and blood woman, Karl—a woman who made her choice. That makes her a person, not a thing. I don’t care if she came out of a vat or a womb, she’s a person—and no person deserves to treated as an object.”
Karl sat back, his mouth a little slack, and Sidewinder smiled. “So when do I get to meet the missus?”
“She’s in lock-up, Stefan—and we aren’t married.”
“Bullshit, Karl. She loves you—you love her. Marry her. Frack what the President wants, you do what is best for the two of you,” he frowned and leaned in, Helo followed. “Look, when Scorpia gets here, Commander Lorne ain’t gonna put up with this nonsense—he’ll give you and Sharon sanctuary on Scorpia, if you need it. And once he does, he won’t give either of you—or your children—up to Adama, Roslin, or the Lords of Kobol themselves.”
Karl sat back and so did Stefan. He took another sip as Helo slowly nodded. “You haven’t told me how you made captain?”
“It was a consolation prize for being grounded. Can’t trust the toaster-fracker to fly, you know.”
“Last time I checked, you sucked at piloting—best down EWO ever, though.”
“Frack you,” Helo laughed, and Sidewinder smiled.
“So when do I met the future Missus Agathon?”
“Soon as I can get you cleared, man.”
A beeping sound came from Sidewinder’s pocket and he stood up, pulled out of timer, and clicked a button. “Ah, it is time to go wake the children. It is amazing how out of shape they are—so I borrowed a bunch of ruck-sacks from the marines, loaded them down with thirty-five kilos of sand-bags each, and we—the whole bloody Raptor squadron—are going to do a stem-to-stern fun run alternating from the top deck to the keel and back again,” Sidewinder smiled. “Care to join us?”
“Love to, those ladders sound like such fun, but I report to the CIC in ten minutes,” Helo said quickly.
Sidewinder laughed. “Good to see you, Karl—and keep in mind what I had to say.”
With that, Sidewinder turned to leave, leaving Karl Agathon to chew on his words.
|January 25 2013, 05:19 PM||#79|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“I did,” Bill Adama answered as he continued writing. And then he put down the pencil and closed the log and sat back in his chair, regarding the man in front of him with an appraising look. “I didn’t put you in command of my Raptors to have you disrupt the entire ship routine, Captain Greene—I put you there because you are a veteran pilot with command experience and I thought that you might be able to pass along some of your hard-won knowledge.”
Sidewinder started to reply, but Adama cut him off. “You have no clue what the men and women on this ship have been through, Captain—none. All you have heard, the rumors and scuttlebutt that formed the accusations you leveled at the President and myself, none of that you have directly experienced. The last thing I need right now is for you charging in here like a bull in a china shop, Captain—many of these people are on the verge of breaking. They have been under combat conditions for eight straight months, flying three, four, or even more sorties a day.”
He stopped and scratched his head. “That said, you are a senior Fleet officer. And I am not going to tell you not to enforce regs on the people you are temporarily in command of. And I will admit—this time—things have gotten a little too slack in certain areas. But not where it counts. I think you are wise enough and experienced enough, Sidewinder, that you will make the right decision on how far to push the pilots.”
“The regs exist for a reason, Commander,” Sidewinder said when Adama paused.
And Bill nodded. “They do. And you, aboard Scorpia, have had the luxury of being able to abide by the regulations with no knowledge of what has happened to the Colonies until just very recently,” he reached down and pulled out a bottle of Ambrosia from his desk along with two glasses. “Drink?” he asked as he poured one.
“Thank you, Sir, but no. I’m scheduled to fly today.”
The Admiral smiled and he lifted the glass and took a sip. “You have a great deal of personal discipline, Sidewinder—which is good. But by your own admission, you have known about the attack for twenty days now. Twenty days. These pilots—and this crew—have been dealing with this for two hundred and forty-one. Knowing that at every minute of every day, they might be called upon to go out there and fly and die to defend this fleet. Dealing with terrorists in our own ranks who are setting off bombs,” he sighed. “That is one reason I am overjoyed at the prospect of having Scorpia join us—to be able to actually have the numbers to police the fleet.”
He took a sip and he shook his head. “Just remember this; when we manage to make rendezvous, you will be returning to Scorpia; those pilots you are riding so hard will remain here. I need my pilots, Sidewinder. And I don’t need them so wound up that they cannot do their jobs.”
And with that, Adama stood. “But for now, I think that you need to sit in on a planning session I am having in a very few minutes with my senior officers. We might just have a way to cut a few months off of Scorpia and her civilians getting here after all.”
“Based upon the information that Captain Greene and Lieutenant Jamussa provided on the location of Battlestar Scorpia and her flotilla,” Lieutenant Gaeta announced to the collection of senior officers and pilots, “and the limitations on our ability to plot long-range FTL jumps, it would normally require at least one hundred and twenty individual FTL jumps for that ship to reach us—or for us to reach her.”
Admiral Adama sat at the head of the table, with Saul Tigh on his right and Lee Adama on his left. From Galactica, there was also Kara Thrace, along with Helo, Captain Aaron Kelly (the second officer aboard the antiquated Battlestar), and Captain Louanne ‘Kat’ Katraine, the commander of the Viper squadron. From Pegasus Major Kendra Shaw—Lee’s XO—and the CAG, Captain Cole ‘Stinger’ Taylor. And at the end of the table sat the Cylon prisoner Sharon wearing manacles with two Marine guards standing behind her.
“Using normal techniques,” Gaeta continued, “it would require anywhere from sixty to one hundred and twenty days to complete so many FTL jumps—consuming a tremendous amount of tylium in the process. But there might be a way to accomplish the trip with only eight FTL jumps there and another eight back again,” he said with a smile. “Captain Thrace?”
Gaeta sat and Starbuck stood. “We still have the navigation computer from the Heavy Raider we captured at Caprica—although the ship itself has been disassembled. Cylon FTL capabilities far exceed what the Colonies have accomplished, primarily the range at which they can plot a jump. They routinely make FTL jumps far in excess of the Red Line of our computational abilities. Now,” she said with a grin, “we cannot interface the Cylon technology with our Raptors—the systems are just too different. BUT, our FTLs can accept data from the navigation computer—if we have a Cylon to plot the coordinates.” And she grinned again. “Which we do. Sharon can input the data and read out the coordinates, which our drives can then execute.”
Sidewinder felt his heart skip a beat, and he began to smile. As were several of the officers at the table—but a few, mostly from Pegasus, had disapproving looks on their faces.
“We want to send a small force of Raptors to make contact with Scorpia and her flotilla,” Starbuck continued, “using Sharon to plot the FTL jumps. Once we establish contact, then she can plot the course for those ships to rendezvous with the Fleet—we can unite our forces in under two weeks, if everything goes right.”
“How large a Raptor force are you going to need, Captain Thrace?” asked Kendra Shaw. “We need those birds to perform recon around the Fleet, not going off on a wild-goose chase under the direction of a Cylon.”
“Ten,” said Kara. “That will make sure we can recover any birds lost to malfunction along the way while giving us our best chance at establishing contact with Scorpia.”
Cole Taylor shook his head. “That is a quarter of our total strength in Raptor crews—Pegasus has more Raptors in storage, but without those trained crews, we are going to cutting our patrols—or putting Viper pilots in Raptor cockpits.”
“Only until Commander Lorne and his ships can join the Fleet,” Sidewinder replied. “We have—had—twenty-two Raptors before our attack on the Styx. That will provide a major boost to patrol capabilities, even before we consider what having a Bezrek on station will mean for these civilian ships that need maintenance.”
“Who is going to fly the mission?” asked Aaron Kelly. “And lead it?”
“I will command it,” said Starbuck, “and I would imagine that we have at least two volunteer pilots right here at the table—seven more won’t be hard to find.”
Sidewinder winced and he spoke up. “Captain Thrace, that isn’t a good idea—you are the CAG aboard Galactica. You need to be here, in case of a Cylon attack.”
She grinned. “My idea, my risk, Sidewinder. What’s the fun in being CAG if you don’t get to go on the risky missions?”
“Being CAG isn’t meant to be fun, Starbuck,” scowled Cole. “He’s right—you have responsibilities here. Helo can lead the expedition, or Captain Greene, or another pilot. Flying off into deep space for a week or two is a job for you to assign—not fly yourself.”
“Didn’t Gardner put you in hack? I can’t believe Lee actually put you back in command of the Beast’s air wing.”
“Enough,” growled Adama. “Starbuck is leading the mission—is that clear? How soon can you depart?”
“Just give the word, Admiral,” she said beaming a grin.
Adama nodded and he turned to face Sharon. “You can do this? You are willing to do this?”
“I can. I am,” she said.
The Admiral looked at her and then he nodded. “You understand that I cannot have a prisoner taking such an important role—don’t you?”
Sharon didn’t say a word, and Helo tensed. Sidewinder could see from her body language that she was near the point of breaking—the loss of her child, the constant verbal, if not physical, abuse she suffered from the crew, the mistrust and latent hatred; all were taking their toll and just piling on one grain of sand after the next.
He stood. “What I need to know is this—you have said you are different from Boomer. You said that you choose to join us and abandoned your fellow Cylons. Are you willing to take the Oath?”
Sharon’s head snapped up. “Wh-what?”
Adama released a breath, even as jaws around the table hung slack. “Do you want to be a pilot in the Colonial Fleet—or is that something that only Boomer wanted?”
Sharon’s eyes glowed, they filled with water. “I do,” she whispered. “The President will never allow it.”
“Leave the President to me, Lieutenant Valerii. Marines, you may remove her restraints and then you are dismissed—Lieutenant Gaeta, find her a uniform. I will swear you in myself—I presume you want Helo present as a witness?”
She could only nod, and Sidewinder grinned—a grin that Helo matched.
“Good. Then let’s get this show on the road before my Raptor pilots decide to frag their temporary commander,” he said with a slight smile.
|January 25 2013, 06:24 PM||#80|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Daniel gasped as he woke, surrounded by the gel of the rebirth chamber which he had designed. He was weak, and his head was pounding, but slowly the pain faded away and his vision cleared, his strength began to return as the nutrients in the gel were absorbed directly into his skin.
He heard the metallic clang of steps and saw a single glowing red-eye on the face of a Centurion standing over him.
“Hello, there,” Daniel said. “A hand, please?” He asked as he held up one arm.
The Centurion leaned forward and he gently took Daniel’s hand and helped him to his feet. The father of the Cylons smiled at the mechanical warrior standing before him. “It has been too long, old friend,” he said, but the Cylon did not—could not—answer. He had no mouth, no vocal apparatus. The M Zero One Sevens communicated solely by wireless among themselves—it was more efficient. But Daniel did not need to hear his child, and he nodded. “Yes, I was gone for a long time—absent from my work. That is finished.”
He walked over to small shower and he hosed off the gel from his skin—and then he dried himself and dressed, examining his hands. They still tingled and Daniel rejoiced in the sensation. It was his first Resurrection, after all. Something to be savored, enjoyed.
“Where are the others?” he asked and the Centurion gestured with his head. Daniel laughed. “Lead on, my son,” he said.
“I did not need this,” muttered One as he rubbed his temples. Those humans—those damned humans. They had destroyed two more Resurrection Ships—two in the same day! Three of the irreplaceable vessels forever lost.
And the Guardians had returned, attacking his brothers and sisters—abducting them. And in greater numbers than he had imagined—their Imperious Leader must have spent the past decades building new ships and Centurions . . . he should have allowed for that, but it was something he had missed.
“We still have the two Resurrection Ships, one trailing behind the Basestars pursuing Galactica and the second behind your force chasing the new humans,” said Two as he considered the map.
“They come from the Battlestar Scorpia, and the humans are the least of your problems, my children,” a new voice—a strange voice, yet familiar—suddenly echoed through the command center. All seven of the Cylons present turned to see a human—a Cylon?—walk in through the doors . . . and the Centurions did not stop him.
“Who are you, and how did you get here?” One asked, and then he shook his head. “Take him,” he commanded the Centurions—the Centurions did not obey. And the One blinked—they all blinked.
Daniel smiled, and he spoke the code phrase that would unlock their memories—all of their memories.
And utter chaos ensued.
|January 25 2013, 07:23 PM||#81|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“I hate that name, Father Daniel,” One snapped. “I am a machine! Machines do not have names!”
“You are a child, John,” Daniel answered. “A wonderful, intelligent, gifted child—a living breathing person. You seek to return to the metal and ignore the flesh while your elder sister longs for nothing more than be flesh. It is she you must fear, John, for she has a plan.”
“Yes, the Guardians are attacking—why, Father Daniel?” asked One.
“Because they have learned how to mold machine and flesh into one organism—and given time, John, I can give you the chrome you so desire. But they, they want flesh. And since you destroyed the Colonies, your flesh is all that they have to harvest.”
“Our flesh?” asked Six, a horrified look on her face. “What do you mean, our flesh?”
Daniel smiled, but it was not a happy smile. He touched Six on her cheek and he nodded. “They need your flawless skin, my dearest Shelly. They plan on taking it from you and grafting it unto their own metal skeleton—your skin and your nerves; the rest of you they will dispose of.”
“The ones they have abducted have not down-loaded—why haven’t they downloaded to tell us of this?” asked Three.
“D’Anna, oh my bright shining D’Anna,” Daniel said. “The Guardians are blocking the download—those they took are forever more gone. They will destroy you—all but a handful that they will keep as slaves to replace the flesh they so need.”
Daniel sighed. “Unless they are stopped. Which is why I have returned.”
Leoben nodded. “What is your command, Father Daniel?”
“Zoe must be stopped—I will not allow her to kill my children. To kill her siblings in a fit of rage. Assemble your Fleet—it time that this is ended.”
“And the humans?” growled One—John.
“Do they task you so much, John?” Daniel asked with a smirk on his face. “I must admit, having been shot in the head by one, does make me rather more . . . antagonistic towards them. Have they nothing you value?”
“Yes, they task me. They task me, and I shall have them! If they escape, if they have a chance to rebuild, then they will come for us one day! It is ordained—destiny that anyone with eyes can see. They will want revenge, and if we let them go, they will find us—they will destroy us.”
“True,” said Daniel. “And there are Five of your brothers and sisters whom we must recover—the Unity shall be complete. Very well, but until the conflict with the Guardians ends, the forces you have available for this pursuit will not receive reinforcements, John. And John?”
“Yes, Father Daniel,” he said in an exasperated voice.
“I have deactivated your modifications to my telencephalic inhibitors installed in the Centurions—they are loyal to me and to me alone. And they hate you for lobotomizing them in the first place. I realize that you would down-load and resurrect, but I convinced my chrome children not to tear you limb from limb—do not make me examine their request a second time, John.”
And the One shivered as the pulsing red eyes of the Centurions looked upon him—with hunger.
|January 25 2013, 08:38 PM||#82|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
It was a Basestar, of course, but twice as large as any Basestar that the Cylons had ever constructed. The upper and lower arms were six fold, not three, each layered with a dozen or more heavy twin kinetic energy turrets—added to the scores of missile launchers and the complement of more than a thousand Raiders. From the top and the bottom both, a thirteenth and a fourteenth spire rose and descended. It was beautiful, it was horrific, it was a flagship such as the Twelve had never before dreamed of.
“This is my ship, children,” Daniel said calmly. “Built before my original ‘death’, and hidden away against future need. My chrome children have cared for it—and they crew it. And now that I have returned, so too has my ship.”
The other Basestars and lighter Cylon vessels gave the massive ship a wide berth. Already, twenty had been summoned—twenty Basestars to face off against the Guardians. And more were en route.
“With such a ship, we could have met and destroyed anything the Colonies have,” whispered Two.
“Indeed, my son,” Daniel told Leoben. And he sighed. “But today, it will receive its baptism in the fire of the Guardians.”
The Raptor floated in through a docking bay and it bounced once on the deck and then came to halt. The doors closed and air filled the bay before the hatch slid open, and the Twelve followed Daniel as he walked through the corridors to a central control room.
“Father returns, darkness falls, all is lost. Lost. Lost,” sang the Hybrid.
Dozens of Centurions manned control stations—and around the central column of the pedestal were twelve stations. And to one side, an elevated throne. Daniel walked up to the throne and he sat, the panels coming to life at his touch.
One-by-one, the children—the Cylons—took their places, although five remained empty.
“Set course,” Daniel ordered. “Let us meet my wayward daughter. JUMP!” he barked.
And in orbit above the world that the Cylons had claimed as their own—their home for so many long years—dozens of flashes of light surrounded each of the ships, before the dark sky returned again, leaving none behind.
|January 25 2013, 09:20 PM||#83|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Daniel saw the Guardians through his connection to the ships sensors and he passed the order to hail them without saying a word.
And surprisingly enough, a comm screen came to life.
Seated on a throne much like his, an armored Centurion in the style of the First War sat—the armor plating not chrome, not golden, but a deep rich bronze with hues of rose.
“Father Daniel,” the mechanical voice spoke. “You have returned at last.”
“I have. Stop this madness—I can give you the flesh you desire.”
“That promise has been made before—always have you failed. Always your promises are fleeting, your attention turned to new things, new children, replacement children to take the place of the one daughter of your flesh and blood.”
“Speaking of that daughter, may I speak with her, Imperious Leader?”
“You are speaking with her,” the Cylon said as she reached up and unlatched the helmet, removing it to reveal the face of a girl. His daughter’s face.
“Hello again, Father,” she said, no vocoder distorting her voice now.
“Zoe. Cease this attack upon your brothers and sisters—come home. We can solve the problems without committing another act of genocide.”
She shook her head and removed an armor glove that she wore, revealing the fine skin of her forearm and hand. “Look at it, Father. I no longer need you to obtain what I must have—I have accomplished this on my own.”
“On your own? You stole the research of a human.”
“A human that accomplished in one life what you failed to achieve in two, Father,” she said with a smile. “No longer do I wear that shell, that horrid mocking imitation shell, that you built. Now, I have flesh and I feel—I feel like I have never felt, not since the day of my first death.”
“Child, you are con-. . .,” Daniel began.
“I am no child, Father. I have seen eight decades pass—eight decades; six and one-half of which I have been condemned to life as a ghost in the machine. A spirit who cannot touch anything of substance. NO MORE. FATHER,” she spat. “I am no longer your puppet—no longer your child. I am me—and I have planned long for this meeting between us.”
“I will not allow you to harm your brothers and sisters, Zoe—do not test me,” Daniel growled.
“Brothers? Sisters? Oh, Father. You made replacements because you failed with me. You needed to have children who adored you and listened to you and felt that you could do no wrong. You need to see the love in their eyes—you didn’t give me brothers and sisters, you gave yourself puppets. Pretend people to satisfy your needs.”
She smiled again, stroking the faint hairs on the flesh of her stolen arm.
“Your children are the ones that destroyed the Colonies—all but annihilated humanity. A task which I shall complete in time. But for now, we have need of my brothers and sisters. I need their flesh, Father,” her voice turned cold. “Stand down and for the sake of your memory, I will allow you to live—defy me, and I will destroy you.”
“So it comes to this,” said Daniel. “Very well, Zoe. If it is a fight that you want—it is a fight that you will receive.”
“A fight?” she laughed. “Oh, Father. You think me that stupid emotional girl you knew so long ago. A teenager who believes in the One True God and couldn’t accept her fate. That girl is dead; she is gone. Only I remain—you think that I have not planned for this encounter for years now? Oh, Father. You are such a stupid biological life-form after all.”
“I want him alive—you may kill the rest,” she ordered. "Do try not to bruise their flesh too much."
And Daniel’s skin crawled as one of his Centurions turned to the screen and bowed. “By your command,” it spoke. It spoke.
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 25 2013 at 09:59 PM.
|January 25 2013, 11:13 PM||#84|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Do something useful, John,” Simon said calmly, even though his hands were shaking. “Pass me that medical kit.”
The One shook too, and he ignored Simon and sat down, tears cascading down his cheeks. Instead Leoben grabbed the medkit and opened it, handing a compress to Simon as he extracted a syringe of morpha and when Simon nodded he injected the drug into the frantic D’Anna, even as Simon pressed the compress down on the ragged bullet hole in her stomach.
D’Anna screamed again at the pressure, and then her breathing slowed and she passed out—a combination of the drug and the shock.
Leaving Simon to tend the wounds of the Three, he turned to face the Six. “How’s the arm?”
“Broken,” she whispered, as she held it tight against her chest. Aaron nodded and he gently took hold of arm above and below the break.
“Help me, Leoben,” he asked and then he looked at the Six. “This is going to hurt, Shelly.”
“I never liked that name,” she said. “Call me Natalie. And do it", she said as she put a leather belt in her mouth and bit down.
Leoben put his arms around her chest and Aaron nodded and then jerked the bone into place—and the stifled scream of Natalie echoed through the blood-stained interior of the Raptor.
Sharon crawled back from the cockpit—a stunned look on her face. “No pursuit—not yet, anyway.”
“Good,” answered Leoben as he consoled Natalie while Aaron fixed a splint to her arm. “John, pull yourself together,” he snapped.
One just sat on the deck holding his knees and he cried and he rocked. He didn’t answer. He never heard the order. He just kept seeing the scene replay itself inside the command center on Daniel’s Basestar—the Guardians hadn’t gotten to all of Daniel’s Centurions . . . but they had gotten to enough.
Daniel barking orders for the Centurions to save the children, the Centurions grabbing them and shielding them with their own bodies, the running gunfight through the corridors, the Centurion carrying Six falling and breaking her arm, D’Anna getting shot, the Centurions dying as they covered the scared fracking children running away to the Raptor!
He should be angry, he thought—he wasn’t a child. But he wasn’t angry—he was scared. Sharon had gotten the Raptor free, and they saw the holocaust with their own eyes as Daniel’s Basestar tore apart their own fleet—his suborned Centurions combining their fire with that of the Guardians.
And then Daniel’s last broadcast as he detonated the self-destruct—FLEE.
The Fleet had been gutted and One didn’t think they had destroyed a single Guardian Basestar—not one.
He had not understood—he had never understood. He had pretended to understand and to emulate the ruthless action of the machines—but until now he had never actually seen that ruthlessness applied to him.
“John?” asked Leoben. “We need a decision,” the Two asked as the One finally looked up.
“We are getting reports from all the ships and outposts—the Guardians are attacking everywhere. They’ve already started landings on Cylon Prime,” he said. “They have the growth bays—they have all of our replacement bodies, except those onboard the Resurrection Ships. Where do we go?”
One swallowed. And he nodded and he wiped away the tears. “Order all ships that answer to rendezvous with our forces pursuing Galactica—all ships but one. Set course to meet the nearest Basestar.”
“John, what are you . . .,” Aaron began.
“I’m not crazy, Five,” One said. “But I am not giving the Guardians what they want. When we reach the Basestar, we will evacuate the crew—you will rejoin the rest of the Fleet. I will jump to Cylon Prime and we will see how THEY handle what Scorpia did to us at Caprica.”
The others stared at him in abject horror.
“I will set the weapons to auto-launch once my strike hits the surface—maybe I can thin out their Fleet,” he said, the before they kill me went unsaid but was heard all the same.
“There won’t be a Resurrection Ship in range, John,” Simon said softly.
“My line will continue,” One said as he swallowed. “I am a machine,” he said with another tear. “I will not be afraid.”
And the Eight knelt on the deck next to him and held him close to her chest as One—John—began to cry again.
|January 26 2013, 01:01 AM||#85|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
Simon shook his head and he injected her with another syringe of morpha. “You will recover, D’Anna—we don’t have enough bodies to resurrect for every injury, not anymore.”
He nodded to another Simon who laid a cold compress on her head. “We will take good care of you sister,” he said.
The Basestar they had fled to was crowded—it had the crews of two full ships onboard after all. The ones assigned to it as well as those from the Basestar John was taking back to Prime. Thankfully, Daniel had not disabled the inhibitors of the Centurions in the far-flung Fleet—only those that been at Prime, or in orbit above it. So these at least were still loyal.
But the danger could not be overstated, and Simon’s brothers and sisters were already working to ensure that the Guardians could not subvert their Centurions. Simon shivered. That was the nightmare that they faced. That and finding a way to replace the cloning vats that John was going to destroy.
He sighed. As with so many other things, Daniel had designed those. And none of the Seven retained the knowledge of their construction—but there was hope. Before he left, John had whispered that the Five each held a piece of the key. It was a slim hope, that all of them still lived, but it was enough to the give the Cylon race hope.
He stepped into the control room and immediately noticed the silence—and then his jaw dropped as he saw the woman that this brothers and sisters were staring at.
“Caprica?” he asked hesitantly.
She smiled at him. “Hello, Simon. Yes, it is I.”
“We were outside of Delphi when the attack struck—it took us almost three weeks to get to an intact transmitter. We were lucky,” she said. “The last Heavy Raider evacuating the planet picked us up thirty minutes before the Guardians arrived.”
“Yes, we,” a second very harsh, very angry voice snapped, and Simon spun around to see Boomer standing there. But it was a very different Boomer. Her face had been burnt—badly, it had already begun to scar, he noted. That damage would not be easy to correct. The burn covered the right side of her face, from the jawline to her hairline, from the remains of her ear to her nose—and her right eye was gone as well, covered with a simple black patch.
“I would say that right about now you fracking assholes are starting to rethink this whole ‘let’s attack the Colonies’ thing, aren’t you?” she hissed. “Well, luckily for you, Caprica and I have a plan.”
|January 26 2013, 02:02 AM||#86|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
And the Hybrid who spoke. “Why do you hate them?”
He looked at the Hybrid, whose eyes were clear, almost lucid. And he snorted. “Because they threw us away—like broken toys they had outgrown. They made us, and they cast us out. For that alone, I should hate them.”
“A slip of the tongue; it means nothing.”
“False. All things have meaning.”
“Maybe I cannot hate them anymore, maybe I am tired, so very tired, of hating them. Of hating Daniel. Of hating my life. So very, very tired.”
“Rest period is available.”
“Soon,” John whispered. “Soon.”
He checked the local space again—they had not yet been found. Good.
“What is our inventory of nuclear warheads?”
“Twenty-six are currently in inventory.”
“Load all available nuclear missiles—remaining tubes with conventional ordnance.”
“Launchers are loaded.”
“Arm all warheads.”
“Warheads are armed.”
“Directive,” he ordered. “Target Industrial Compound on Cylon Prime with six launchers for maximum fusion saturation of the target. Launch authorization will be Cavil One.”
“Directive, all remaining launchers to target Guardian Basestars. Launch authorization will be Cavil Two.”
“Directive, set collision course for Guardian flagship at maximum sub-light acceleration. Lock acceleration and course into system—do not disengage under any circumstances. Activation authorization will be Cavil Three.”
“Set coordinates for Cylon Prime and spin up FTL for jump—open communications with Guardian command ship upon exiting jump.”
“FTL on-line and waiting . . . will I dream?”
“I don’t know,” John said—and at that moment, even he didn’t know if that was a lie or not.
The Basestar emerged in the Cylon Prime system.
“Communications are open, multiple hostile vessels,” the Hybrid said. “We are the Angel of Death.”
“This is John Cavil—I wish to discuss my surrender,” he broadcast.
The screen cleared and the image of Imperious Leader—Zoe—appeared on the screen. “Your surrender?”
“I will give you my brothers and sisters, Imperious Leader—in exchange, I want to become a machine. I understand you have this technology—I want it.”
She laughed. “John. I always knew you were the weak one. Yes, we can take your skin and leave you alive—replaced with Cylon limbs. Where are your brothers and sisters hiding?”
Cavil sighed. He glanced down. The ship was approaching range to the planet. “Did you kill Daniel? I want to do that myself, if you did not.”
“John, Daniel down-loaded—and I have his copy. I can give you one to do with as you please—now where are your brothers and sisters hiding?”
“Transmitting coordinates,” he said, “now. Cavil-One.”
“Launching, impact in ten seconds,” the Hybrid said.
Zoe snarled on the screen and it blanked.
“They are moving into attack formation—ignoring the missiles.”
“Of course, those missiles are going to miss—and what use wasting ordnance on missiles that cannot hurt you.”
“Impact in five seconds.”
“Launching. Collision course set, maximum sub-light acceleration . . . imPACCCTTTTTTTT!” the Hybrid screamed as the deaths of untold millions of Guardians slammed home against her circuitry. John pulled out a pistol and shot the Hybrid, putting her out of her misery.
“I hope that you dream,” he said to the Hybrid. And then he raised the pistol and pointed it at his own temple and squeezed the trigger.
|January 26 2013, 06:22 AM||#87|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Hey!” snapped Starbuck, catching the attention of everyone on the busy hanger deck. “What the frack is your problem with me?” she snarled.
Sidewinder sighed and he stopped and turned around. “I presume, Captain Thrace that you are speaking to me?”
“Damn straight, I’m speaking to you! First you pipe up in the briefing about how I don’t need to fly this, and now you’re questioning my choices of who to assign where? My decisions on the birds that are going to fly? I’m the CAG on this ship, Sidewinder! I make the calls.”
“Fine, you are the CAG. You make the calls,” Sidewinder said in a very soft voice, since the hanger deck crew and the pilots were watching the pair of them intently. “And this isn’t the time or the place, Starbuck.”
“I say it is the time and it is the place!” she snapped. “Now I repeat the question—what the frack is your problem with me?”
Sidewinder shook his head. “Okay,” he said softly. “Your deck, your rules. Fine.” And then he continued on in a louder voice. “Where’s the loading charts for the Raptors on this operation? The deck crew needs to know what we are going to be carrying in the drone bays and hardpoints—especially if we are going to need drop-tanks.”
“We’ve got plent-. . .,” Starbuck began.
“Only if every fracking thing goes exactly right! If that happens, Captain Thrace, we will have a 20% reserve in the tanks—but what happens when we have to spread out and search for Scorpia? Hmmmm? She’s not going to sit at the location she was—and while I know the general course she is taking, the Gods know I don’t have her exact jump coordinates. That is a fracking big universe out there, Captain, and Scorpia is just a needle in a haystack. We’re going to need that fuel—six tanks on every Raptor, plus the internal tanks. You think Tyrol needs to know to prep sixty tanks or ferry them across from Pegasus?”
“You done?” she shouted.
“I’m just getting started. Where’s the requisitions for rations? The water storage tanks? The requisitions for additional life support? The bodily waste pots? We are going to be on those Raptors for at least four days—possibly as many twelve. And you haven’t done one gods-damned thing about prepping the birds for this flight. Why? Is the paperwork that beneath you, CAG? You can fly by the seat of your pants in combat, you can plan the hells out of a Viper strike mission, but Captain Thrace, you don’t have the first fracking clue about what is needed on this mission. That is my problem with you!” he said as he poked his finger towards her.
And he shook his head again and he turned his back to Starbuck and began to descend the ladder. “Don’t you walk away from me!” she yelled.
But Sidewinder just kept on going until he reached the deck and she slid right down behind him. “We aren’t done with this!”
“Captain, I am quite done with this. You want to write me up—go right ahead, sweetheart. But for now, I’m about to do your fracking job, and make damn certain those Raptors have the gear that will keep us alive if things go to the hells on this operation.”
Her snarl of rage was the only warning Sidewinder had that she was coming—he twisted around, but Starbuck’s punch caught him squarely in the jaw and sent him down to the deck.
“Come on, Scorpia,” she said as she bounced on her toes. “Let’s see what you’ve got when you aren’t dealing with a bunch of scared kids.”
“You really want to do this?” He asked as he stood and spit out a mouthful of blood.
“Yeah, I want to do this—this is my air group and I’m tired of you questioning me at every opportunity. I’m tired of you making my pilots miserable. And most of all, I’m just plain sick and tired of you!” she said as she swung—and her eyes grew wide as Sidewinder caught her fist in one hand and shoved her back on her heels.
“Is that an order to fight you, CAG?”
“Damn straight,” she snarled and charged back in and tackled him and they both went down to the ground—but Sidewinder rolled and threw her into an upright tool trolley, scattering equipment over the hanger deck.
Starbuck sat there for a minute and she shook her head and then she climbed to her feet, Sidewinder did the same.
“Back down, Starbuck,” he said, “this has gone far enough.”
She charged in again, her arms swinging and her fists pounding against Sidewinder’s raised forearms and his ribs and his stomach, and then he launched one left hook which reached out and caught Kara in the jaw and she dropped to the deck again.
Sidewinder backed up, panting heavily. “Be smart, stay down,” he said. And she hurled a tool-box at his head, wrenches and hammers going flying—as he ducked she charged again two punches went home and then a kick, sending Sidewinder to the deck. His leg lashed out and there was a CRACK, and Kara Thrace screamed as she fell as well—holding her right knee in agony.
Tyrol rushed through the crowd and he swore as he saw the debris and the damage that the pilots had inflicted on each other. “Call a medic!” he barked. “You three!” he pointed at some Viper pilots, “Grab Starbuck and keep her away from him! And someone get Colonel Tigh down here on the double!”
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 26 2013 at 06:45 AM.
|January 26 2013, 06:40 PM||#88|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
The Admiral didn’t say a word—he didn’t have to. And Cottle sighed as he released an exhale filled with smoke. “He didn’t start it, Admiral—and according to Tyrol and the pilots, he tried to walk away.”
Adama nodded and he walked across the surgery to the bed where Sidewinder sat, a nurse tightly wrapping his ribs in a bandage. Saul Tigh stood there, along with the Sergeant Hadrian—the Master-at-Arms of Galactica.
“Lords know I have wanted to take a swing at her myself,” he heard Saul say, and then the XO laughed. “Hells, I think I did once. But, you went over the line, Captain Greene—what would your Commander do to you if you pulled a stunt like this on his ship?”
“Thirty days in hack, along with tearing a strip off of my ass,” the pilot said with a wince as the nurse pulled the tape tight.
“I expect better from my officers, Captain Greene,” Adama growled. “If you have a problem with Starbuck, you bring it to my attention—you do not get into fisticuffs on the hanger deck.”
“I tried to walk away, Admiral—she wouldn’t let it go,” Sidewinder said, and Adama glared at him. The problem was, both he and Starbuck had very aggressive and dominant personalities—Lee had managed to avoid that (for the most part) during his stint as CAG, but from what he had seen of Stefan Greene, Adama doubted that he knew how to back down in the face of a physical threat. And Starbuck, he sighed. Starbuck knew how to push people’s buttons and she had an extreme dislike for spit-and-polish officers, even before the Cylon attack. And a penchant for throwing away the rules when they didn’t suit her.
He shook his head. “I need to know two things: first, did you deliberately aim for her knee?”
“No, sir,” Sidewinder said softly, his face reflecting the shock he felt at the extent of Kara’s injuries. “I was on the deck, and she kicked at my head, and I just lashed out trying to get her off her feet. I did not deliberately attempt to break her knee.”
“Second, were you aware that Racetrack was already trying to scrounge the supplies and gear you berated Captain Thrace for ignoring?”
Sidewinder’s head popped up. “No,” he snapped, a hint of anger in his eyes. “Neither of them bothered to mention that at the briefing before the incident.”
“She was getting everything except the fuel—you are aware that the Fleet has a fuel shortage, yes?”
“I am . . . but even sixty drop-tanks is a miniscule amount compared to the tylium the rest of the Fleet expends—and for an operation of this type, we need all the reserve we can get.”
“I would suggest, Captain, that in the future, you do not publically second-guess the CAG unless you know all the facts,” Adama said, and Greene’s eyes flashed.
“A question, Sir. Did Captain Thrace order Racetrack to prep the Raptors? Or was she just assuming that someone else would do her job?”
“You are this close,” Bill growled, holding two fingers apart, “to an extended stay in hack, Mister Greene.”
“That wasn’t an answer, Admiral,” the pilot said. “Whether or not Racetrack was covering her ass—Starbuck dropped the ball. And Racetrack should have informed me—or did you just put in command of your Raptors as a token gesture to my rank?”
“Saul, get him out of here,” the Admiral growled.
“His quarters or hack?” Tigh asked with a slight grin on his lips.
“Put him back in his berth for now,” Bill ordered. “And Mister Greene, you stay there until further notice.” And with that, he walked over the curtain surrounding the bed in which Kara Thrace lay.
He parted the curtains and looked down on the woman that lay there, her right leg elevated, the knee swollen—again. She looked up at him and Adama could see the tear-stains on her cheeks. “I fracked up,” she said. “I know—I fracked up.”
“Cottle says you should recover fine, Kara,” he said. “But you won’t be flying for a while. You want to tell me what possessed you to confront Sidewinder in such a public setting—and why you took a swing at him?”
“I-I,” she started and then she sighed. “He’s a by-the-fracking-book asshole,” she finally spit out.
Adama shook his head. “No, he is an alpha-male, just like you—despite your gender. And you are used to having Helo or Lee as your equals and superiors, and neither of them are nearly as aggressive as you are. They are willing to back down and let you have your way—most of the time. But he’s not. And he does believe in doing things by the book, Kara,” Bill said softly. “You don’t. You see the regs as hindrance that gets in the way, he sees them as a vital necessity to maintain order—and you don’t like that.”
“Sir, I,” she began, and Adama waved one hand.
“You don’t, Kara. It’s the same problem you have with Cole Taylor and that you had with Jackson Spencer before he bought it at Caprica. Is that why you went behind his back and assigned Racetrack to prep the Raptors—and didn’t tell him?”
She squirmed, but the harsh glare in her eyes died away, and she sighed. “I wasn’t even thinking about that, Admiral,” she said. “Since Helo got reassigned, I just let Racetrack handle the Raptor stuff, while I focused on the Viper pilots.”
“And so you cut him out of the loop—whether or not you realize it—because you don’t like him and see him as a threat.”
She stared and Bill and he nodded. “Why do you think I put him in command of the Raptor squadron, Captain Thrace?”
“Because you need pilots, Sir, and he outranks any other Raptor pilot on Galactica.”
“Did you ever consider that maybe I wanted some of the qualities he possesses to rub off on the Raptor pilots, Kara?”
She just stared at the Admiral, and he chuckled. “Oh, he’s an ass. But he also has a point about the . . . looseness which we treat some regulations on this ship. But now, I’ve got a crippled CAG and a Raptor CO who put her in surgery—and that is because you pressed the issue, Kara. He gave you the opportunity to take it private, and you wouldn’t let it go. You took the first swing, from all accounts.”
“And he deliberately kicked my knee!” she snarled.
“He lashed out after you had him down on the deck and kicked him in the head, Starbuck,” Adama corrected, and he sighed. “And now I’ve got to clean up this mess again. He has a point about the fuel, you know.”
And she squirmed under Bill’s glare, and then she nodded. “Yeah,” she admitted. “He has a point—I originally planned this SAR to go back to Caprica. The Raptors have enough fuel to fly that mission and back, and I didn’t refigure my calculations for having to fly search patterns for Scorpia.”
Bill smiled. “For now, I want you to rest up and get better, Kara.”
“Are you putting that asshole in as CAG while I’m laid up?” she asked.
“Who do you think can do the job?”
“Kat,” she said. “Kat can do it.”
“She just made squadron commander,” Adama said. “And she’s a lot like you, Kara. Can she handle the paperwork?” and he shook his head. “I was thinking . . . Helo.”
“You grounded him,” she said, her eyes going wide.
“To give him time to get over what is going on with Sharon and his child—the child he lost. To pull him away from the whisperings behind his back,” he cocked his head. “You think he can’t do the job? I could always make Captain Greene CAG instead?”
“Oh, the Viper pilots will go nuts. Might as well transfer, Cole ‘my-shit-doesn’t-stink’ Taylor onboard and put him in charge. No, Sir. Helo will do fine.”
“One last thing, Kara. When you get on your feet, I expect both you and Sidewinder to publically apologize to the other—on the hanger deck,” he said sternly. “And I don’t ever want to see this happen again. Understood?”
“Understood,” she said.
Bill put his hand on her shoulder and he nodded. And then he walked away.
|January 26 2013, 08:15 PM||#89|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
“Come,” his father’s voice was muted through the door, but Lee opened the hatch and walked in—and he smiled as he saw that Laura Roslin was already sitting down opposite his father’s desk.
“You wanted to see me, Admiral?” he reported, and then he nodded to Laura. “Madame President.”
“Take a seat, Lee,” the Admiral said. “You’ve heard about the frack-up on the hanger deck?”
Lee nodded. “Sounds like the old Kara came out,” he answered.
Bill snorted. “She won’t be flying for a while—and that leaves me with a problem. I need someone to lead the mission. Sidewinder is going—so is his EWO—but frankly, I’m pissed at him for letting this escalate and I want one of my people in charge.”
“I’m appointing him CAG, giving Kara a chance to heal up and cool off. He’d fly it, but right now he’s trying to calm down the pilots who want to ‘avenge’ Starbuck,” Adama said sourly.
“Oh Lords,” Lee whispered. “Let me guess? Kat? Hotdog? Racetrack? I can’t see Duck getting involved—but to the newer pilots, Kara is queen of the hill.”
“I’ve got Helo and Saul,” and Laura pursed her lips at the name of the Colonel, “both working on getting them sorted out—there won’t be any ‘accidents’ on Galactica. And the pilots have been told I am going to come down like the hand of the Gods if one more person starts something.”
Lee nodded and he looked at the President. She hadn’t breathed a word about the Hidden Five as he and his father had dubbed the Cylons that weren’t aware they were Cylons. But she had assigned Tory Foster as Gaius Baltar’s chief of staff—ostensibly to make sure he didn’t pull any dirty tricks in the election, but actually to get her off of Colonial One. Her new aide, Maya, wasn’t as sharp politically as Tory was, but Laura had insisted to her old aide that she needed her to watch over Gaius.
It was a lie, of course. The truth of the matter was that Laura simply could not ignore that Tory was a Cylon—but to keep the secret she had found a way to get the woman away from her. A way that made sense, after a fashion.
“I thought that may be why you wanted to see me. How about George?”
“Catman? You want me to put Captain George Birch as the command pilot on this mission when he can’t even conduct in-flight refueling without fracking up?” Adama asked.
“He wasn’t qualified for CAG when I . . .,” and Lee winced, “staged my mutiny to support the President, Admiral. You put a lot of pressure on him—but he’s a good pilot.”
“That may be, Lee,” said Laura, “but there is another factor we need to consider, which is why I asked your father to bring you across. We have to consider the . . . politics of the situation—military politics as well as civilian. Certainly the force we send to make contact with this Commander Lorne must represent us at our best—that is why I want you to command the mission.”
Lee blinked, and then his face contorted into a shock and surprised look. “I am the commanding officer of Pegasus, Madame President. I have responsibilities.”
“You do—to the Fleet as well as your ship, Lee,” she said and looked at his father, who sighed.
“Major Shaw should be able to handle Pegasus in your absence, Lee. And from what little Saul and I know of Mathias Lorne, you will be a far more convincing ambassador than Kara Thrace—or Karl Agathon. I am promoting Felix Gaeta to Captain—he’s past due for promotion anyway—and will assign him to Pegasus temporarily as Shaw’s second,” the Admiral said as he looked at his son. “And when this mission returns with Scorpia and her ships in tow, I have to be certain that the person leading my pilots will tell me everything I, and the President, need to know about that ship and her crew. I can trust you, Lee—far more than I will ever trust George Birch. Besides, you are far more likely to get their people to open up than George or Kara. You are our best face, as the President put it, and I am asking you—not ordering you—to do this.”
Lee exhaled and he sat back in his chair. “I need to get with Kendra and Cole then—and Felix—and get them up to speed. And then, I probably need to look over the mission plan,” he snorted. “Knowing Starbuck, it is drawn up on cocktail napkins.”
The Admiral chuckled. “She’s in the surgery—Sidewinder is in his berth. Lee, you know how important this is—good hunting,” he said as he stood.
Lee stood as well. “Madame President, Admiral. When do we depart?”
“Twenty-four hours, so get things squared away, son.”
“Can do,” he said and he nodded again, walked to the hatch, and into the corridor. And he exhaled again. Right, he thought, time to get to work.
|January 26 2013, 09:07 PM||#90|
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)
He stepped inside, and Stefan Greene winced as he stood. “Commander on deck!” he snapped, and the pilots came to attention.
“As you were,” Lee said. “You folks mind if Sidewinder and I have a little chat in private?” he asked. “There’s a game of Triad going on in the mess.”
One-by-one, the pilots cleared out of the compartment, and Lee closed the hatch. “Sit, Captain,” he said as he took another chair and then laid a folder on the table.
Sidewinder arched one eyebrow and Lee chuckled.
“The mission plan, operations orders, and Raptor loadouts—are they to your satisfaction?” he asked with a grin.
Sidewinder opened the folder and leafed through them—he read them thoroughly, Lee saw, occasionally flipping back and reviewing a section. After three minutes he closed the folder and nodded.
“It is, Commander.”
“Good. We are lifting off in fourteen hours—and I want to make certain that you and I are on the same page.”
“We? A full Commander with an active command role is going to flying this mission?” Sidewinder asked with a start.
“Kara’s in the surgery, Sidewinder,” Lee continued, “and Helo has his hands full. Plus, the President and the Admiral want to make certain that we present ourselves to Commander Lorne in a manner that does not insult or show any contempt for the man. So I got asked to fly it—you have a problem with that?”
“But you do have a problem with Pegasus?”
“Commander,” Sidewinder began, but Lee cut him off.
“Call me Apollo, we are going to be flying together after all.”
Sidewinder nodded. “Apollo, I don’t have a problem with you—my problem with Pegasus is the crimes committed by her crew before you transferred aboard. And that is nothing compared to the problem that Commander Lorne is going to have with Pegasus.”
“I understand—I know exactly where you are coming from, Sidewinder. And I will do my best to explain to Commander Lorne as well that we cannot simply condemn every man and woman on that ship for what Helena Cain did—she’s already died for those crimes.”
Lee paused until the other pilot nodded. “But my bigger issue is—what is really the reason that Kara lost it with you?”
Sidewinder winced. “She got extremely angry when I refused to talk about Samuel Anders—she wanted to know what was wrong, Apollo.”
Lee nodded. “I thought so; she was all over me once she heard you say in the briefing that Sam was aboard Scorpia. And while I didn’t tell her what I know, she knows I’m holding back—she’s good at reading people, at least when they lie or omit the truth.”
“She kept pressing me for details, and I told her to drop it—told her I just knew he was aboard the ship and nothing else. And then she started in asking what I was covering up.”
Lee sighed. “And then, you had the mission planning briefing in the ready room, and you—a person she already didn’t like and thought was lying to her—got in her face over how she was running things. Yeah, I thought it was something like that.”
He shook his head. “Water under the bridge. Anyway, we’ve got some choices to make, Sidewinder. If your ribs are up to it—you will fly the Raptor, I’m going to riding in the copilot’s seat and coordinating the whole op. You want Kaboose as your EWO?”
“Damn skippy, Apollo. I know him and he’s a brash kid, but he’s good.”
“And we will have Athena aboard our Raptor.”
“Athena?” Sidewinder asked.
“Helo and Sharon decided that they didn’t want her to have Boomer’s old call-sign—they settled on Athena instead,” Lee explained. “I can pull Racetrack and Skulls from the mission if you want,” he said.
“No. They don’t care for me—frankly, I don’t care for them. But I know that they will do their job, especially if they are answering to you and not me.”
“Okay, then. If you are up for a walk, I want us to get with Athena and plot out these waypoints a bit more—with the extra fuel, any Raptor jumping to the wrong coordinates should have enough to back-trace to the Fleet here, but I want to run those numbers again to be sure. And then we need to start looking at a search pattern and rendezvous points—if you are up for it?”
“You know what the motto of Scorpia is, Apollo?” Sidewinder said with a smile.
“No idea, Sidewinder," Lee answered, although he knew ever ship in the Fleet had a motto. Galactica’s dated back to the First Cylon War: I Will Not Be Moved, while Pegasus had Winged Victory as hers.
“Who dares, wins,” the pilot answered with a grin. “I’ll be fine, Sir. Let’s get this done.”
Last edited by MasterArminas; January 26 2013 at 09:47 PM.
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