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Old January 27 2013, 12:45 AM   #91
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Day 21, Mathias thought to himself as he walked into the CIC, nodding towards Colonel Jayne and the on-watch officers and crewmen at their stations. After rejoining the flotilla, Scorpia had executed three rapidly-sequenced jumps—almost at the Red Line—putting some distance between them and the Cylons. And then they had rested to recover their bearings, here in the barren wasteland of a dim red dwarf star. Rest and repair the damage taken.

Tom had been right—their casualties had been incredibly light in view of what they had faced. While the Cuttlefish had indeed been small and carried far fewer guns than Scorpia did, the ones those Cylon ships did carry were almost as heavy as the main batteries of the Mercury-class. Which not only allowed those ships to punch well above their weight class, but the heavy guns had also inflicted relatively heavy damage to the Battlestar, even through armor designed to absorb the wounds of combat.

Yesterday, he had conducted the funeral service for the twenty-one souls lost in the attack—fourteen pilots and ECOs, along with seven hands aboard Scorpia. Mathias closed his eyes for a moment—Sidewinder had been the highest ranking loss, and the one that Mathias had known best. There was good news, however; it had not been twenty-two dead. One the missing crew had locked herself in a supplies compartment when the port flight-pod had been flushed to vacuum to extinguish the flames—her breathing gear had kept her alive, but the flash-heat of the rushing tornado of fire had welded the hatch shut, sealing her within. But she had been found alive. And in reasonably good spirits.

“Status, Colonel Jayne?” he asked as he stepped up to the console.

“No contacts, Sir. Major Church reports Engine Three is now operational and all tests show green. Chief Sinclair reports that the divots and shell impacts in the starboard flight pod should be repaired by the end of the watch—six hours. Port flight pod fire damage is still being dealt with—Major Church estimates another four days to get every system back on-line. The EVA party reports that all major hull breaches have now been sealed and replacement armor plates welded into place—minor breaches that did not penetrate to the inner hull are now being addressed—ETA on completion is three days, minimum. If they don’t find another hole or two or ten,” he said with a grin.

“All weapons are in the green—magazines in excess of 85% throughout the ship. I’ve got six Vipers deployed flying CAP—Chutes is the senior officer in the air at the moment. Two Raptors as well. Fuel, water, and provision storage is as we projected—all within nominal operating parameters. And . . .,” he grinned widely as the hatch to CIC opened and an officer with her arm in a sling entered.

Mathias turned and he too smiled at Hope.

“Sir,” she said with a nod—her saluting arm was the one that the Cylon put a bullet through the shoulder of—at the Commander, “Captain Fairchild reporting for duty, Sir.”

“Medical has cleared you for duty, Digger?” Mathias asked.

“Deck duty only—not Flight, Sir.”

“Good, Chief Sinclair is still working on trying to put your Viper back together—luckily for you, between our spare parts locker and the machine shops on Aurora, we should have it ready just about the time that arm has mended. Until then, you are grounded, I’m afraid to say.”

“Understood, Sir. Saint has the Blues until I return to full duty—Spitfire,” Captain Tabitha Atradies, a former pilot herself and in command of Flight Operations aboard Scorpia, “has posted me here in CIC as the Air Group Liaison, Sir.”

“Take your station, Captain Fairchild,” Mathias said. “Sounds good, Tom,” he continued. “Any other urgent matters?”

“Nothing exactly urgent, Sir, but Paul has a suggestion,” he nodded to the tactical officer and Captain Cook stood from his station and crossed the deck.

“Yes, Guns?” asked Mathias.

“Sir, I know that we are short on nuclear ordnance capable of fitted to the Thunderbolts and Hydras—but I started doing some calculations,” he said as he looked down at small note pad in his hand. “We have four Hades missiles remaining in our silos. Now each of them carries eight reentry vehicles, Sir.” He grinned. “That means we could add another thirty-two warheads—warheads with a larger yield than standard torpedo payloads—to the magazines, Sir.”

“I’ve seen the Hades RVs, Captain—they won’t fit on the bus of a Thunderbolt,” Mathias said, but his tone held a hint of a question.

“No, sir, the RVs themselves will not. What I want to do is disassemble the RVs and remove the actual warhead; after all we don’t need the reentry heat shields or the inertial guidance, since the Thunderbolts guidance system is separate from the warhead. With Aurora and her machine shops, she can build us a new bus for the Thunderbolts that will accept the warheads and fit on our existing torpedoes.”

“Interesting,” Mathias said as he considered it. “How long would it take to remove the RVs from the Hades?”

“Twelve hours for each missile—by the book, Commander. I can cut that down possibly, but . . .,” Tom snorted and cut him off.

“Not when you are dealing with nuclear warheads on my ship, Captain Cook,” the XO said sharply.

“I believe, Tom, that Paul was about to tell us that wouldn’t be a good idea,” Mathias said with a slight grin. “Weren’t you, Paul?”

“Exactly, Sir.”

“At the moment, the majority of spare EVA suits are in use—but as soon as the hull teams get through replacing our armor and patching the holes, I will let you start, Captain,” Mathias said, and then he held up one hand. “ONE Hades, Captain—that will give us fourteen nuclear Thunderbolts along with four smaller warheads for Hydras.”

“Yes, Sir,” he said and then headed back to his console.

“Plus,” Mathias whispered to Tom, “while it is unlikely that we will need those space-to-surface munitions, I don’t feel right about taking them all apart.”

“If we need to hit more than twenty-four surface targets with a megaton-range weapon, we are fracked anyway, Sir,” Tom told him in a light tone.

And the personnel in CIC momentarily turned as Mathias began to laugh.
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Old January 27 2013, 03:03 AM   #92
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Sam Caldwell and Mark Foeswan came to their feet as Mathias entered the small conference room—he waved both of them, and the other ship commanders, as well as Lieutenant Shiro Gian, back down. “Good morning,” he said to them all as he sat down.

“Mister Namer, I understand that your people are having problems with laundry?” he began.

“Yes, Commander,” the former terrorist said. “A lot of my folks on Leonis Pryde had just what they were wearing when they boarded ship—maybe one or two spare garments. I’m sure the other ships are seeing the same things,” he said and the commanders of Bounty, Scylla, and Umino Hana nodded their agreement, “and none of our ships were ever intended as long-duration personnel vessels. Our laundry facilities are sorely lacking.”

Bounty doesn’t even washing or drying facilities fitted,” said Lieutenant Olin Kirk, formerly assigned to Cerberus Anchorage.

“Colonel Foeswan?” Mathias asked and the stout officer nodded as he scrolled through a computer pad with a manifest of the supplies on his ship.

And then he nodded. “I have a two-ton cargo container with Fleet undress jumpsuits—unmarked. All sizes, I’ll get my crew to crack her open and get them distributed, Sir.”

“Underwear and socks would nice as well, Colonel,” Namer drawled in that slow Saggitaron accent, and several of the people at the table chuckled at that.

“There should be one pair of each—at least—for every jumpsuit. The civvies might hate the color and the style, but they are warm and clean,” Foeswan said.

“Sir,” Shiro said from the foot of the table. “We took six hundred-weight of cloth bolts off of Typhon—I have no clue what they were doing there, but its good quality stuff, if we’ve got people who know how to sew.”

“Thank you, Mister Gian,” said Mathias with a smile. “I trust you gentlemen and ladies will pass the word on your ships for seamstresses and tailors—I’ll be glad to release the cloth on an as-needed basis, once you find someone who is able to make it into clothing.”

He paused and smiled. “And yes, having a laundry is absolutely essential to keeping good hygiene and good morale—and we will do both on these ships. Mister Gian, how many laundry bags do we have in storage? The same question goes for you Colonel Foeswan?”

Both men queried their tablets and then nodded, Shiro gesturing for the senior officer to go first. “Fifty-five hundred, plus the ones assigned to the crew,” he said.

“Eighteen hundred, sir—other than the ones already assigned to the crew.”

“Good. Gentlemen, I want those broken out from storage and two assigned to every civilian in the flotilla. I want their names and ship assignments stenciled on them—I understand if that might take a while, but it is going to be done. We do have sufficient stencils and ink available, yes?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Shiro as Mark just nodded with a smile.

“Captains, you will be responsible for getting the clothing and laundry bags handed out. Aurora and Scorpia has industrial laundry facilities on board. Every day, from this point on, Raptors will dock with your ships and pick up one laundry bag from each individual on your ships—these will be taken to either Aurora or Scorpia and processed for cleaning. On the fourth day, the Raptor will return the clean clothes and pick up the next bag. Our laundries are designed for high volume—will that correct the problem?”

“Absolutely,” Jon Namer answered.

“Now, the second part,” said Mathias. “I know some of your ships do not have adequate sanitation systems. When my engineers and those on Aurora finish the repairs on Scorpia, we will install those systems on your ships—showers, heads, wash-sinks, the whole nine yards. There will no excuse for having improper sanitation in this flotilla, ladies and gentlemen, and will not allow our vessels to become a breeding ground for disease—or lice. I understand a problem with lice has broken out on Umino Hana, Captain Shane?” Mathias asked in an icy tone.

The officer from Cerberus looked ashamed and he nodded as the two officers sitting next to him slid their chairs away from him slightly. “The survivors from Canceron apparently brought the little devils aboard—most of the rest of my folks are from Aerilon and they are simply furious. But once we get the showers up and running and get the clothing and bedding sterilized, the problem should be done with, Sir.”

“See that it is, Captain. You will have whatever your need from Aurora or Scorpia, just get it done.”

“Medical,” Mathias said, moving along to the next topic. “I understand you have a woman on Leonis Pryde that is overdue for delivery, Mister Namer?”

“Yes, Commander,” Jon answered. “And I have two midwives, but no certified doctors. About three-quarters of my folk are from Saggitaron, so the lack of a doctor isn’t normally a problem—but she’s three weeks past due, Sir.”

Mathias made a note. “I’ll have Doctor Bako join you on the flight back—we might want to go ahead and take her aboard Scorpia for care; if she isn’t one of yours, that is?”

“No, she’s one of the civilians we picked up—from Caprica, actually. Not with the resistance groups, just with a small band of survivors that we located,” said Jon. “She says the baby’s father—her fiancée—is Fleet,” and Mathias winced but he nodded, “and I figure I’ll let you have that conversation, Commander Lorne.”

“Food? Water?” Mathias continued. Everyone made agreeable noises and he smiled. That had been his first priority—people without water tended to panic, and panicky people tended to do very stupid things. “I expect to be informed immediately if you have problems with your food or water supplies, people. This is something we cannot frack up. Clear?”

“Clear,” answered a half-dozen voices.

“I know Bounty is approaching the need for refueling—is anyone else below 30% tankage?”

Everyone shook their head. Mathias nodded and he turned to face Lieutenant Kirk. “Your vessel, Lieutenant, has the smallest fuel and water tanks, so I expect to have to top you off pretty often—or Colonel Foeswan will do so.”

“Actually, Sir,” Lieutenant Kirk said, “I have an idea about that. Our biggest expenditure of tylium is when we active the FTL. Bounty is small enough that unless it is an emergency jump, she can land on your flight deck and ride along with you. Or Aurora. That would extend our fuel tankage by . . . a third? Sir.”

“Closer to forty percent,” mused Colonel Foeswan. “Why didn’t we think of that?” he asked himself aloud, and then he shook his head.

“Because we are not used to saving such small quantities, Colonel,” Mathias answered. “Excellent suggestion, Lieutenant. Get with the Colonel and we will set up a rotating plan for scheduled jumps.”

“Last thing on the list for today is engineering gripes—Major Church has received them, gentlemen, ladies, but Scorpia’s repairs take priority. We will get to them, the vast majority are minor, and not life-threatening, but we will get them taken care of. That is a promise. Captain Hilden,” he said to the officer assigned to Scylla, “your DRADIS being off-line is NOT a minor problem. There should be an engineering team over there as we speak getting it functional again.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” Mathias continued. “That should have never been on the gripe sheet because you should have let me know the moment you lost that system. Without it, how are you managing to avoid a collision?”

The young man blushed. “I posted lookouts, Sir.”

And across the table there sudden intakes of breath as the more senior officers—and Jon Namer—stared at the young man in horror.

“Lookouts? People looking out the portholes?”, Mathias sighed. “Do not fail to inform me of such a system failure again, Captain,” he warned.

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Mathias stood. “My schedule today is tight—but our jobs require that we keep these people filled with hope. I will leave you with this thought that I learned back on board Columbia as brand-new J.G. just out of Flight School, gentlemen, ladies. My first division chief told me that ‘A proud ship is not a grungy ship’. And he was absolutely right. Your people have time and they have elbow grease—so I want your ships kept clean and fit to live in. It will give them something to do and it will lift their morale. Believe it or not, it will. If you need cleaning agents—get with Shiro or Mark. They’ve got plenty. But I want the ships cleaned—stem to stern, dorsal to ventral, and everything in between.”

Mathias waited and then he nodded. “Dismissed, ladies and gentlemen. Sam, you and Jon walk with me to the surgery on my way to engineering and I will see to it that Lindsey grabs her medical bag and gets over to the Pryde pronto.”
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Old January 27 2013, 05:12 AM   #93
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Colonel Jayne stopped and he stared at the sight in front of him, placing his hands on his hips and cocking his head slightly to one side.

Chief Sinclair standing next to the one of the new Thunders just shaking his head at a pair of legs wearing a flight suit and boots sticking out of one of the access panels.

“Ah, help,” a muffled voice said. “I’m a bit stuck,” the person attached to those legs said. Tom couldn’t help himself, he barked out a short laugh. Partly because of the sight of those legs having no purchase and partly because those legs were attached to what had to be the largest buttocks of any pilot on Scorpia—probably the entire Fleet! All sticking out of a narrow, tight, constricted access panel, and kicking wildly.

Two of Sinclair’s deck hands were standing on a portable ladder next to the fighter and they were pulling and tugging and sounds of pain came out echoing through the interior of the fighter. “Watch it, my head, OW, don’t grab me there!”

He walked over and as he was doing so, the man popped out, found his feet, stumbled backwards, and fell three feet onto the deck landing flat on his back. He was holding a burnt-out capacitor in one greasy hand. “OW,” he said. “Told you I could get it.”

The man—the pilot—groaned and he sat up, and then he stood up. He was taller than Jayne by at least six inches—and Jayne was not a small man. He was also far . . . rounder . . . than any pilot Tom had ever before laid eyes upon.

The pilot ignored Tom and walked up to the fighter and he patted the smooth metal fuselage. “There, there. It’s okay—just like pulling a bad tooth, baby, it only hurts for a moment, and then everything is all better. The nice Chief is going to give you a new one—and this time he isn’t going to pound on your delicate circuitry, is he? No. No, he’s not.”

He turned around as Tom cleared his throat, and then he snapped to attention. “I-I didn’t see you there, Colonel, Sir,” he stammered in an Aquarian accent.

“Chief Sinclair,” Tom said quietly, “what the devil is going on here?”

“He has a problem with how I do maintenance on Thunder 011, Sir.”

“I told you not to call her that, she’s sensitive. She’s not just a number, she’s real—aren’t you Candice? Yes. You are good girl, aren’t you Candice.”

“DID I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO START TALKING?” Jayne thundered, and the pilot snapped to attention again. “What asylum did you escape from and how did you get on this ship?”

“W-Well, S-Sir, I-I, ya kn-know,” the pilot stammered, and Tom began feel his face burn.

“At ease, Jolly,” came an amused voice. “He’s one of my best pilots, Colonel,” said Captain Simon ‘Hunter’ Tarkin. “A bit . . . eccentric, but one hell of a test pilot.”

Tom turned around to glare at the captain and then he pointed to the big man. “He actually fits inside a cockpit? I didn’t think they made flight suits in Quad-X Twice-Tall.”

“Be nice, Colonel, he’s sensitive about his weight—people from Aquaria come in two phenotypes. One is tall and willowy, like your Captain Danis, and other is well, he carries a good deal of blubber on his frame. Over the muscles. Like a Sea Hound. Lieutenant Rojer Gann, here, is one of those Aquarians.”

“It’s a genetic thing,” said Jolly with a shrug of his shoulders, “I’m not fat, it’s in my genes.”

“It’s spilling out of your jeans,” Tom snorted. Shaking his head at the light brown, almost blonde, haired man with a grease covered checks, forehead, and mustache—an extensively waxed mustache, no less—who desperately needed a haircut. “But okay, you say you aren’t fat—give me fifty and prove it.”

Jolly smiled and he dropped down and cranked out fifty fast pushups, then he climbed back up to his feet. “Passed all my physicals, Colonel.”

Most of them, Jolly,” Hunter said with a laugh. “He’s stronger than he looks, Colonel, and if he is a bit . . . off . . . he is also one of the best pilots in my squadron.”

Tom just shook his head. “I hope you don’t rip that flight suit—I know we don’t have anything in your size,” he said.

“Expected that,” Jolly answered as he caressed the metal skin of his fighter. “That’s why I bought three extra out of my own pay—just in case.”

“Do we even have a rack big enough for him to sleep in?”

“I like to sleep curled up,” he said. “I’m used to cramped spaces.”

“Do you box, Jolly?” Tom asked in a suddenly optimistic voice.

And the Aquarian smiled. “I do, Colonel, sir.”

“He’s slow, but when he hits folks, they don’t normally get back up for an hour or two,” said Hunter with a chuckle of his own.

Tom laughed. “When we meet up with Galactica and Pegasus then, you are going to be my secret weapon, Rojer Jolly Gann,” and Tom suddenly groaned. “Jolly Rojer? You named him Jolly Rojer?”

“What else?” laughed Hunter. “Besides, he is a jolly old soul. Eat you out of house and home though, so don’t take him to a buffet.”

“Carry on,” the XO said and rapidly left the hanger deck behind him, shaking his head. “And GET A FRACKING HAIR-CUT!”

Last edited by MasterArminas; January 27 2013 at 05:33 AM.
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Old January 27 2013, 08:07 AM   #94
Gibraltar
Rear Admiral
 
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Location: US Pacific Northwest
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

I'm only into Chapter 2 of this so far, but I'm enjoying the hell out of it! It ties in nicely with Blood and Chrome, and I love the fact that we're getting to see what happened back at the Colonies post-apocalypse.

Great stuff!
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Old January 27 2013, 05:22 PM   #95
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

The hatch on the side of the simulator cracked open and Hamish crawled out, removing his helmet and gloves. The Virgon Prince—he refused to take the title of King, at least until he made certain that no others of his family still survived among the refugees following Galactica, that is—was plastered in sweat.

Andrew Martens—Jester—handed him an energy drink and he nodded. “Combat ops are far different from SAR, right?”

“Yes, sir,” the Prince answered the newly promoted Captain and CO of Scorpia’s Raptor Squadron. He took a drink. “I know I failed that test, Jester, but frankly, I don’t see how I could have won.”

“Bravo, Your Majesty,” the veteran pilot answered. “You couldn’t—it was rigged against you. Sometimes, there is no right answer in combat—only the least worse answer. You will lose people—you might even be called upon to give up your own life, and that of your ECO. This test isn’t about finding a way to survive—it is to see if you can do your job even when you are faced with the certain possibility of not coming home again. And you passed, Prince,” he said.

“So I’m cleared for flight duty now?” the Virgon asked as he sat down—seven hours in the simulator on the last run had drained him.

“Yep,” answered Jester. “You aren’t qualified as an ECO yet, but I’ve got no problem with your skills as a Raptor pilot, Prince. And since my ECO is still stuck in a bed in surgery,” he said with grimace, the result of shrapnel tearing into the woman when his Raptor had been hit during the attack on the Styx, “and since she won’t be returning to flight duty after she recovers,” losing a leg will do that, after all, “I am assigning myself as your ECO. You are the pilot—but I am in command? Got it?”

“Got it, Jester,” he whispered.

“Good. Now, let’s get you back to your quarters for some rest; we’re flying patrol early on the ‘morrow and I wa-. . .,” he broke off as Arclight came in with a smile on his face.

“It’s a girl!” Ian Herjavec announced with a broad grin—and he held out three cigars.

“When?” asked Prince as he took one of the slender tubes of wrapped tobacco. The woman brought over from the Pryde had gone into labor four hours before he had crawled inside the simulator.

“Fifteen minutes ago,” answered Arclight. “Thumper said it was a rough labor; said she never wants to go through that herself.”

“That’s what they all say, until they do and have a new babe in their arms, then decide it was worth it,” laughed Jester as he took the second cigar. “What did she name the babe?”

“Evelyn Sophia Val-Adama,” Commander Lorne said from the hatch, with a big smile on his face. “You best have one of those for me, Arclight,” he said in a good-natured voice.

Ian just grinned and handed the Commander the third cigar and then fished a fourth out of an interior pocket on his flight suit. He struck a lighter and Mathias puffed his cigar to life, followed by Jester and Prince and finally Arclight.

Mathias exhaled. “A new life—born into a new world, gentlemen,” he said. “And it is our job to keep her, and those who come after her, safe.”

“So say we all,” said the Prince.

“So say we all,” echoed Arclight and Jester.

“So say we all,” whispered Mathias.

Last edited by MasterArminas; January 27 2013 at 05:35 PM.
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Old January 27 2013, 11:28 PM   #96
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

“But, Commander,” Doctor Sarris pleaded, “we have to stop at Kobol. We have scientists on board—we can discover the secrets of our past there.”

Mathias shook his head and sighed again. “For the last time, Doctor Sarris—NO; that is a complete non-starter. As Brother Cavil has informed us, Galactica destroyed one Basestar there, so the Cylons already know of the planet. It is perfect for replenishing our supplies with fresh fruits and vegetables and tubers and grains and air and clean water—and that is why we must avoid it.”

“While I do not believe in the superstitions that surrounded Kobol,” Cavil added, “I will note that both Galactica’s fleet and the Cylons paid a heavy cost in blood when they set foot there. Just as the Scrolls predicted. Could it be a coincidence? Yes. But it is all too likely that my brothers and sisters—or the Guardians—are observing that system just in case we or other survivors make our way there.”

“Besides, Doctor,” Mathias continued, “most of your scientists are astrophysicists—not archaeologists. And even if we had archaeologists onboard, we don’t have time for a dig.”

Sarris sighed and he sat back. “I understand,” he said sadly. “I just hate passing it by and not even making the attempt to set foot there.”

“If we are not using Kobol for that way-point, then where?” asked Jayne as they poured over the star charts. Charts that were present only due to Anders risking his life to get the data and his and Brother Cavil’s accessing of it from the Cylon device; it was now marked with systems where they Cylons had outposts, fuel processing stations, refueling points, and military facilities. And there were a great many of those outposts and installations—none large, few exceeded ten or fifteen thousand Cylons, most being far smaller. But there were a great many of them. “We got lucky on our assignment—our route bypassed the areas that the Cylons have explored—and garrison. But to get to Galactica, we are going to have to go through their territory.”

“We will find a way through,” Mathias said. “I’m more worried about why we haven’t seen so much as a single Cylon raider in the past five days,” he continued. “Gods knows it has given us a chance to complete all of our repairs—and Paul’s team is working on extracting the RVs as we speak—but where are they?”

“Could be that your decision to send Father Daniel back has worked—and that they are busy fighting the Guardians,” Cavil offered. “It was a cold decision—but one that I have to agree with. After considering it for a while,” he added with a smirk on his lips. And that was because at first, he had been in shock that someone had dared to kill Father Daniel. And he looked at Sam, and smiled. “Too bad, you couldn’t have gotten a Nav Computer—we could plot this in just a dozen FTL jumps.”

For Sam Anders, the reaction had been completely different—Mathias was all but certain that given the opportunity, Anders would have killed Daniel himself for what he had done to the original Samuel Anders; to him as he saw it.

Sam thought just nodded. “Too much damage to risk relaying on a Nav Computer exposed to the radiation, and you know it.” Cavil shrugged and then nodded. “As for why we haven’t seen them; frankly I care what the reason is, but if the toasters are killing other toasters, they aren’t trying to kill us,” he said stressing the last word. He had indeed recovered from the radiation poisoning, but Mathias didn’t like the haunted look in his eyes, or the bluish circles of exhaustion under them.

He made a mental note to ask Samantha Caldwell if he could borrow one of her shrinks—and he snorted. The SFM terrorists had two trained, licensed, and board-certified psych doctors working hand-in-glove with them on Charon, and he, the Commander of the Colonial Fleet Battlestar didn’t have even one mental health professional assigned to his ship. No ship did—the Fleet generally kept those specialists on stations or on the ground. And Mathias sighed again—another policy which now bites us square in the ass. But in a way, perhaps it was for the best; because the shrinks available weren’t military, maybe those Fleet personnel who needed counseling wouldn’t be quite as reluctant to go to them—after all, these doctors couldn’t put a red flag in their personnel files and kill their careers. In fact, he thought to himself, I need to see if one of them is willing to transfer aboard. The reality is finally starting to sink in—and some of my people are going to need professional help dealing with the issue real soon.

“We can only hope so, gentlemen,” Mathias said, as he rubbed his eyes. “KV-22734-DC-8 looks like a good candidate for waypoint twenty-four if we cannot—and we cannot—use Kobol. The notes in the Cylon database show it is barren—no water, no tylium, no habitable planets. Any objections?”

No one said anything and Jayne marked it on the charts.

“That completes the first twenty percent of the route to where we know Galactica position was six days ago—and it will take the flotilla at least ten days to traverse this stage alone. We’ve been working on this for six hours, gentlemen—let’s call Stage One done, and get back to this tomorrow after we get a good night’s rest.” Mathias stood and then so did everyone else.

And the klaxons began to blare. “This is the Operations Officer,” the 1MC blared. “Sound General Quarters throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Commander report to the CIC.”
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Old January 28 2013, 01:50 AM   #97
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Mathias strode into CIC trailed by Colonel Jayne. “Status!” he snapped as he walked across to the central console, glancing up at the DRADIS display which showed ten icons at the very limit of detection range—unmoving icons.

“Multiple unknown contacts have made an FTL jump into this system, Commander,” Major Tyche reported. “I’ve ordered all ships to spin up FTL for a jump to the emergency coordinates—contacts have not made any aggressive moves. No sign of Raiders—so far.”

“Rambler has CAP?” he asked Hope, who nodded affirmative.

The Commander picked up the phone. “Rambler, Scorpia Actual. What do you have?”

Scorpia Actual, Rambler,” the wireless broadcast. “No jamming, no fighter launches, they aren’t moving,” he paused, “request permission to perform a fly-by.”

By which he meant a visual-range fly-by, Mathias thought. “Negative, Rambler. Hold the CAP at the inner perimeter for now—I might need you to make a combat landing.”

“Copy, Scorpia Actual.”

“Flight?”

“Twelve fighters in the tubes or on plus two,” Hope reported. “Arclight has two Raptors on the flight deck, ready to go.”

“Order him to launch, Digger. If we have to bug-out, the Raptors have our coordinates and we don’t have to wait on them.”

“Flight, CIC, launch the ready Raptors for visual-range pass,” she repeated.

“Captain Danis, hail them—all frequencies.”

“Commander,” Major Tyche reported, “all ships report FTL on-line and ready to jump.”

“Get them moving, Major. Inform Colonel Foeswan that Scorpia will remain behind—he is in command until our arrival.”

“Sir,” Joan Danis said from her console, and her voice was almost breathless, “I am getting a response—and Colonial transponders.”

“Confirm!” snapped Jayne and he left the central console to look over her readings. She looked up at Tom and nodded and then at Mathias. “Confirmed, Commander. They are broadcasting Colonial transponder codes.”

Mathias switched the wireless to the live circuit which Danis had transferred to him. “Unknown vessels, this is the Battlestar Scorpia—identify yourselves immediately or you will be fired upon.”

At first, only static emerged from the speaker; and then it crackled to life and a familiar voice emerged. “Scorpia, Sidewinder,” the speakers broadcast, “are we happy to see you.”

“Sidewinder, Scorpia Actual,” Mathias said into the stunned silence of the CIC. “Authenticate challenge Delta Tau Sigma Two Three Seven.”

Danis nodded even before Jayne snapped his fingers and she opened the challenge book and scrolled down with her finger and laid a straight edge to underline the proper response.

Scorpia Actual, Sidewinder. Authenticated response is . . . Gold Seven One Four. Repeat, Gold Seven One Four.”

Danis nodded and she smiled; and then Jayne also nodded. Mathias lifted the phone again. “Sidewinder, Scorpia Actual; we confirm your response—hold your current position for a visual fly-by and confirmation.”

“Understood, Scorpia Actual. Will hold position awaiting visual fly-by.”

He looked at Hope and she nodded. “Rambler, Scorpia,” she broadcast. “Confirm with visual range fly-by—Raptors inbound for support.”

“Copy, Scorpia,” the CAG answered.

The seconds ticked off of the clock and then the wireless crackled again. “Scorpia, Rambler. Confirm ten Raptors, say again, ten Raptors—markings and shields indicate Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus, Scorpia.”

And a tremendous shout went up throughout CIC. “Sidewinder, Scorpia Actual,” Mathias broadcast as he felt a tremendous weight lift away from his shoulders. “Welcome home. And bring in your friends for landing. Rambler will escort.”

He racked the phone, and as Tom Jayne walked back over to the center torso the two men grabbed each other’s forearms and clapped each other on the shoulder.

“Tom,” he said, “I want Marines in the hanger bays just in case. If they are who they say they are, I want a Raptor on standby to let the rest of the flotilla know. We will jump when they have been recovered—and their identities confirmed, not before.”

“Aye, aye, Sir. You want to meet them on the hanger deck?”

“I think I do, Colonel,” Mathias replied.

“Aye, aye, Sir. I have the conn,” the XO said as he raised the phone and punched in the Marine barracks.

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

Onboard Raptor 716, Lee Adama turned to face his command pilot, and through the visor of the helmet that he wore, Sidewinder could see the broad grin on his face. “You know, Kara is never going to let you forget that it was her initial plot that allowed you to make contact on Jump Eight—before we started the search pattern and without needing one drop of that spare tylium.”

“Thanks for reminding me about that,” said Sidewinder in an aggrieved tone. “But you know what, Apollo?”

“What?”

“On this particular occasion, I won’t object if she wants to mock me. I’m actually quite happy that we didn’t need that fuel after all.”

“Oh, she’ll mock you. From now until she enters Perdition’s flames, she’ll mock you—and she will never let you forget this.”

“Thank the gods, I’m stationed on a different Battlestar,” Sidewinder said.

“Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask you a question that Colonel Tigh wanted me to broach. Would you be willing to consider a trans-. . .,” Lee smiled as Sidewinder cut him off.

“No. No. Really, but no.”

“Figured, but I had to ask,” laughed Lee. And he sat back in the seat. “The Gods on Mount Olympus, is that a . . .,”

“Mark VI? That’s what we had when we left the colonies two years ago, Apollo.”

“Those are sweet birds, I kind of miss them.”

Sidewinder checked the cabin pressure, and he removed his helmet as Rambler settled down on his wing, and the CAG gave him a thumbs up. He then put his helmet back on, just in time to hear the wireless broadcast.

“Sidewinder, Scorpia. You are cleared for approach and landing on the starboard flight pod; Rambler will escort.”

“Copy Scorpia,” he broadcast, and then he changed channels. “All Raptors, this is Sidewinder. Follow me in—don’t make them shoot at you, people. It would really suck losing someone this late in the game.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; January 28 2013 at 02:41 AM.
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Old January 28 2013, 03:38 AM   #98
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Episode 11: Reunion and Revolution

Sidewinder suddenly cursed as the elevator started to descend. Apollo turned to him and stared, but the pilot thumbed his radio. “Flight, Sidewinder. I need to speak with Scorpia Actual immediately.”

“Hold one, Sidewinder,” the wireless replied.

“What’s wrong,” whispered Lee.

“I almost forgot—Athena is a Cylon. It would be good to tell them before we crack the hatch, Apollo. I hate to do it, but she is going to have to surrender her sidearm.”

Lee nodded and he unbuckled his straps. “I’ll handle it,” he said as he moved back.

“Sidewinder, Scorpia Actual,” the wireless in the helmet crackled. “You can’t wait thirty seconds?”

“Sir. We have a Cylon on board—a trusted Cylon," he added very quickly, "who defected to the Galactica’s Fleet and has assisted Admiral Adama. She is the reason we were able to make contact with you—I have a full report prepared for you, but this is something you need to know. Admiral Adama,” he stressed that word again, “would be very upset if she were shot, for example, on the hanger deck.”

Silence hung in the air as the elevator slid into its well and locked into place on the hanger deck. “Are you sure, Sidewinder?”

“Positive, Sir. I will vouch for her.”

“Very well, I am informing the Marines—I’ll signal you when it is okay to open the hatch.”

Sidewinder turned his head. “Keep it buttoned for now, Kaboose!” he yelled as he pulled off his helmet and gloves, placing the later inside the former, and then unstrapped from the pilots seat and worked his back to the troop bay.

Lee already had Sharon’s gun in his own helmet—and she was smiling. “Pay up,” she told Kaboose.

“Man,” the ECO whined as he handed over a fistful of cubits. “I didn’t figure you’d take her weapon, Sidewinder.”
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Old January 28 2013, 04:46 AM   #99
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Sidewinder peered out of the hatch and he saw Commander Lorne speaking to the Marines and to Chief Sinclair; both nodded and began barking quick orders to their people, as well as the line of pilots present; and then Commander Lorne gave the signal to open her up. All ten of the remaining Raptors had already unsealed and their crews had gotten out—Sidewinder could see that some were getting nervous at the delay.

He cracked the hatch open and swung it up. And he stepped down onto the wing and then to the deck, followed by Lee, then Sharon—and thank all the Lords of Kobol, no one reacted—followed by Kaboose.

“Attention on deck!” barked Chief Sinclair, and the pilots, Marines, and deck hands all snapped to attention. Sidewinder walked forward to stand directly in front of Commander Lorne.

“Sir!” he snapped out with a salute, and then he smiled. “They followed my home—can I keep them?”

Mathias snorted and then his face blanked. “Welcome home, Captain Greene. We had a very nice funeral for you and Kaboose—and the others we lost that day,” and a momentary expression of sadness passed over his face. “Who are our guests, Sidewinder?”

“Commander Lorne, may I present Commander Lee Adama, son of Admiral William Adama, and formerly the CAG of Galactica before he was appointed by President Roslin as Commander of the Battlestar Pegasus in the wake of the murder of Admiral Cain,” he said in a loud voice that carried to all the ranks.

Mathias’s lips twitched at the convoluted introduction and he stepped forward and exchanged salutes with Lee.

“Permission to come aboard, Commander?” Lee formally asked.

“Permission granted, Commander,” Mathias answered. And then he held out his hand—which Lee took and then shook.

“I have dispatches for you—personal messages—from Admiral Adama and President Roslin, Commander,” Lee said briskly as they shook and then stood back. “I also have messages from all twelve members of the Quorum, including Vice-President Baltar.”

“Thank you, Commander Adama,” Mathias said. “We will talk about that later,” and he turned his attention to Sharon.

“Commander, may I introduce Lieutenant Sharon Agathon of the Battlestar Galactica.”

“Lieutenant,” he said simply as he returned her salute, and then he noticed her left hand and the single gold band upon her finger. “Agathon? Would that be the Karl Agathon that Sidewinder speaks of being the best ECO in the Fleet?”

“That would my husband, Commander. I left my people because what they did was wrong—and I fell in love in Karl Agathon. And I bore his child.”

Now Mathias’s eyebrow raised in response to that, but he extended his hand and shook hers.

And then he and Sidewinder and Lee walked down the line of the remainder of the pilots and ECOs, each one being introduced and the Commander taking a moment to speak with each of them—if only briefly.

Finally there was only one officer left. “Lieutenant Margaret Edmondson,” Sidewinder said and then he noticed the expression on both of their faces.

Mathias stopped in his tracks and the blood drained from his face; Racetrack’s jaw dropped as well and her eyes grew wide and round.

“Maggie? Little Maggie,” Mathias whispered. “My Gods, the last time I saw you, your father was rather upset at the dress you decided to wear for your freshman dance—your mother thought that you were absolutely gorgeous though, and so did Emily and I. Sara would be so proud of her little girl, all grown up and a Fleet pilot just like her mother was.”

“Uncle Mat?” Racetrack gasped. “I didn’t know you . . . ,” she swayed, and then began to cry. “I thought you were dead! After Mom died from cancer, Dad never said anything about you and Aunt Emily—not after we moved to Caprica. I thought you wanted to go back to Scorpia when Josie was born—leave the Fleet. I never thought . . .,” her voice trailed off.

“Twelve years is a long time—and your father always hated me because of the uniform I wore. I was surprised when Sara married him, as vehement as he was against the Fleet,” Mathias said in a soft voice. “But Sara loved him and he loved her—and they both loved you very much.” His quiet voice got even quieter. “Emily and I shared that love of you with them both, Maggie. We didn’t stay away because of you—we stayed because Alex didn’t want us in your life, after Sara died. And he was your father—more important than an Aunt and Uncle. But we never stopped loving you, girl.”

Racetrack’s face was wet and she nodded. “Did Aunt Emily and Jos- . . .,” but her voice trailed off at the look on Mathias’s face.

And a tear leaked out of the corner of Mathias’s eye. And then Racetrack was in his arms and Mathias Lorne rocked his niece and held her tight.

Lee leaned over and whispered to Sidewinder. “I’ll let you tell him why you cracked down on her in the berthing compartment, Captain Greene. Rank does have its privileges.”

“Gee, thanks, Apollo. And here I thought you had my back,” Sidewinder whispered back.

And Lee laughed. “In this case . . . absolutely not. My father didn’t raise a fool.”

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Old January 28 2013, 01:17 PM   #100
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

I'm still loving the story, there were a couple of parts where I was wondering, but you pulled it off. small question, Isn't Lee married to Dualla at this point in the Galactica/Pegasus Timetable?
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Old January 28 2013, 05:07 PM   #101
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Lee parted the curtains and he looked down at Gianne Val. She was sleeping—she was an angel that he had thought he would never again see. And he walked in and started to sit down in the chair beside her bed—when he saw the crib. The crib that held the incredibly tiny child covered in blankets, her eyes tightly closed as her chest rose and fell as she slept.

My daughter, Lee thought in awe as he stood there. My daughter.

He had no idea of how long he stood there, jusk looking at her, afraid to touch her lest she wake. Until a soft voice made him turn arond. “I thought you were supposed to be dead,” Anne said.

Lee smiled at her; he rushed over and he sat down next to the bed. “I am so sorry for how I reacted, Anne. I, I was surprised, scared, and I had to think,” he tried to explain. “I had an assignment, and when I left, I went t0 the spaceport for the decomissioning ceremony. I flew out to Galactica—that same day, I flew out there. The same day that the Cylons came. And I thought you were dead.”

He held her hands and she was crying—he was crying. He kissed those hands. “We have a daughter, Anne. A little girl,” he said as he looked at the crib. “My daughter—our daughter.”

“Is this a dream, Lee?” she asked. “Because if you aren’t here when I wake up, I don’t know what I’ll do,” she cried. And Lee held her. He cried with her. He kissed her. And he wiped away her tears.

“No dream, Anne. I’m here. And I will be here for you from now on—for you, if you will have me back. And my daughter. I’m here for our daughter.”

“You’re not scared anymore?”

“I’m terrified,” he said as tears ran down his cheeks. “She’s so small, so fragile, so . . .,” and Anne held him now.

"So innocent," she finished.

After a long while, they pulled apart and Lee looked over at the crib again. “What’s her name?”

“Evelyn Sophia Adama,” she cried.

And Lee stared at her. “You named her for my grandmother?”

“And mine. We both have issues with our own parents, but not our grandparents.”

The babe jerked and she began to cry. Lee looked at Anne and she nodded. He walked over to the crib and he gingerly and gently picked up the infant wrapped in the blankets.

“Support her head, Lee,” Anne said softly, and the pilot adjusted his grip. Her eyes were half-closed and her hands reached out—and she had the thick brown hair on her head. “Shhhhhhhhh,” whispered Lee as he rocked her. “Hello, Evelyn,” he said. “I’m your Dad,” he cried as he carried her over to Ann and his former fiancée took her and unlaced her robes to begin feeding the hungry infant.

And he sat down again and held Anne’s hand—and stroked the baby’s arm as she drank.
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Old January 28 2013, 05:11 PM   #102
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Tribble puncher wrote: View Post
I'm still loving the story, there were a couple of parts where I was wondering, but you pulled it off. small question, Isn't Lee married to Dualla at this point in the Galactica/Pegasus Timetable?
He doesn't marry Dee until after they settle on New Caprica, when he is in a snit over Starbuck's marriage to Sam. Dee isn't even assigned to Pegasus at the moment (to the best of my knowledge).

And I goofed. Somehow I managed to miss posting an entire update,but that is now fixed.

MA
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Old January 28 2013, 06:05 PM   #103
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Yeah you were right, I thought they married sooner than that, but that was my mistake. still, enjoying the story immensely to bad Ron Moore didn't pick your brain the last half of the series.
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Old January 28 2013, 07:02 PM   #104
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

Mathias handed Lee a glass and he sat down on the corner of his desk. “Bit much to take in all at once, eh, Commander Adama?”

“Excuse me?” Lee asked as he accepted the liquor and took a sip.

“You looked frazzled and delighted and frankly like you are scared to death, Commander,” he said. And he took a sip from his own glass. “No offense meant.”

“None taken,” Lee whispered. “I think we are going to have some problems when we make the rendezvous with the Fleet. The demographics for your ships alone—it will have major ramifications on the election and the Gemenesse are not going to be happy that they aren’t the second largest population block anymore. Never mind that my father is going to . . .,” Lee winced. And he took another sip. “Let’s just say that he isn’t going to find your solution to the SFM very pleasing. He could barely stomach having Tom Zarek around, and now you are bringing in one of Zarek’s field commanders and six hundred people that belonged to the SFM? And you have let them retain possession of a Battlestar?”

He took another sip—no, a swallow—this time.

“I understand, Commander. But I was actually referring to you suddenly becoming a father,” Mathias said with a laugh, and then he stood and walked around his desk to his chair and sat down. “I remember exactly how frightened I was when Josie was born,” he said, getting a faraway look in his eyes. “Afraid to pick her up because I might hurt her; I had no idea what to do—but I learned, Commander. And so will you.”

Mathias stared at Lee until the younger man nodded and then he took another sip. “But on the broader point of integrating our forces, that is something that Admiral Adama, yourself, President Roslin, and I are going to have to do some . . . serious thinking about. I’ve got Sidewinder’s report on the general condition and morale of your Fleet—there are many elements to it that . . . disturb me. Not the least of which is that your own Executive Officer aboard Pegasus is a woman who cold-bloodedly gunned down civilians at the orders of Admiral Cain,” and Mathias’s voice grew cold.

Lee winced again. They had shown him the recordings from Scylla and Umino Hana and the other ships that had been left behind by Cain—looted and left behind. And they were damning. He began to open his mouth, but Mathias shook his head.

“I wouldn’t recommend that you defend her, Commander. And I will demand that she—and everyone involved—stand a courts-martial for their actions. That is non-negotiable.” Mathias paused and he waited until Lee nodded. “That being said, I realize what a horrible position William Adama is in. Both Galactica and Pegasus are severely undermanned, if these numbers you have given me are correct, and I do not doubt your veracity. You have 44,929 civilians versus 4,650 Fleet personnel, pilots, and Marines. Those civilians are spread across sixty-one ships, all of which need fuel, air, provisions, water, and are in desperate need of maintenance.”

“I, on the other hand, command two Fleet ships that currently have crew complements in excess of full nominal strength and a third warship crewed by members of the Saggitaron Freedom Movement. All riding herd on just four civilian vessels to protect, provision, and maintain—and I’ve managed to put Fleet personnel in as command and crew on each of those ships since we took aboard the station personnel of Cerberus. We have a grand total of 3,256 civilians—more than six hundred of whom belonged or were associated with the SFM—to our 2,206 Fleet personnel. That gives me more options on how to maintain discipline and authority—options that William Adama did not have; certainly not before he managed to make rendezvous with Pegasus.”

Mathias scratched his head and he chuckled. “Believe it or not, I admire your father, Lee. He’s held a rag-tag band of refugees together with nothing more than his will and spit, and he has done an amazing job considering the circumstances.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Lee said.

“That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be at logger-heads over a tremendous number of issues,” and the Commander of Scorpia sighed again. “Tell me that this Gaius Baltar isn’t as much of an ass as his letter makes him out to be? He all but solicited my support for his candidacy for President—as if campaigning for elected office were the single most important element at this exact moment.”

“I could tell you that, Commander, but I really don’t want to lie to you,” Lee said.

And Mathias snorted. “The rest of these Quorum members I have never heard of—although some of them are familiar to a few of my people. At least Roslin’s letter was not filled with pleas to support her and veiled threats in the event that I do not.”

“They are the elected representative of the people, Commander,” Lee said. “We’ve sacrificed much, but we still hold by the Articles of Colonization,” he said and then immediately regretted it as Mathias smiled.

“You do? Then the reports I have received of torture and rape and illegal power grabs by the executive are false?”

Lee blushed and he began to open his mouth, but Mathias waved him off. “Desperate times call for desperate measures—that is understood, Commander. But I do expect you to inform the President and your father upon our rendezvous with Galactica’s fleet that there is a limit to how far I am willing to see civil liberties pushed. A hard limit—and they are right up against it. Especially in regards to the treatment of Cylon prisoners of war.”

“I understand from the scuttlebutt that you executed a Cylon yourself, Commander,” Lee snapped.

“I did, Commander. And if the Admiral and the President want to put me on trial for that action—they are most certainly entitled to do so. I did not have my prisoner beaten. I did not have him raped. I did not deprive him of food and water and medical care. I did not engage in psychological or physical torture. I deemed his execution necessary and proper and carried it out with my own hands doing my best to make certain that he did not suffer needlessly. And since my other two Cylons believed that we were still within range of a Resurrection Ship at the time, I in effect paroled him to carry a message for me.”

Mathias took another sip. “Do you have a problem with that?”

“It was a command decision that you made, Sir. Just like the command decisions that Admiral Adama and President Roslin have had to make over the past eight months.”

Mathias snorted. “You’ll do, Commander. You’re a bit green yet, but I think that rumors of nepotism aside, William Adama made a fine choice in whom to assign as the commanding officer of Pegasus. Now,” he said as he stood. “My ship commanders want to meet you in person, and my pilots are festing your pilots; Gods only know how many of them will be in hack by morning. But I have informed my ship captains that they will meet you after dinner this evening. Why don’t you go spend some more time with your fiancée and daughter, Commander?”

Lee stood. “Sir, I don’t want to ignore my duty for personal matters.”

“Consider it an order then,” Mathias said with a smile. “Until 1800 hours, you are off-duty, Mister Adama. Don’t be late—I had my chef break out the good stuff.”

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Old January 28 2013, 08:25 PM   #105
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Re: The Hunted (nBSG)

The pilots were exchanging stories while gathered around a buffet table—several were clustered Racetrack and Skulls as they described one of the many encounters with the Cylons, others were singing, still more were playing cards. But all of them were celebrating. Except Athena who stood against the bulkhead with an energy drink in her hand, sipping it on it alone—not quite alone, as the two ‘escorts’, otherwise known as ‘guards’, kept a watchful eye on her from a distance.

She heard a throat clear and she turned to see Sidewinder leaning in the hatch. “Want to take a walk, Athena?” he asked. And she smiled.

“Sure, if you don’t mind them tagging along,” she pointed towards the Marines.

Sidewinder snorted, “Ah, there goes my dastardly scheme to steal you away from Helo,” he said holding one hand to his heart. “Come on, I’ve got some people who want to meet you.”

She raised one eyebrow and then nodded. The two of them moved out into the immaculate corridors of Scorpia and Athena snorted.

“You find something amusing?”

“It’s a bit of culture shock, Sidewinder,” she said. “I mean, not even Pegasus or Cloud Nine is this clean—and the pilots, our pilots from Galactica and Pegasus, are a bit peeved that the beers were non-alcoholic.”

“And people wonder why I seemed off the deep-end when I showed up on Galactica. Commander Lorne believes in running a tight ship, Athena. It is all what we are used to,” he laughed. “I’ve spent two years away from the Colonies on this ship—two years. And we kept discipline and order; seeing how far the Fleet has fallen in just a third of that time was . . .,” his voice trailed off.

“Not where it mattered—they fly well and they fight well,” Athena answered.

“They do, but you need something more than flying and fighting. You know, I asked Racetrack why she—and the others—were just ignoring the regs. Her answer was, all of us are going to die—there are too many Cylons and every time we fly, someone doesn’t come back. She said we will keep on flying and fighting, but that in the end we are just going to run out of bodies and planes and then everyone is going to die.”

He stopped and looked at Athena. “They lost hope; they almost lost faith; that is why I pushed them so hard to get their minds off such fatal thoughts.”

Athena nodded—and then she drew in a sharp inhalation of breath as she saw the Marine standing next to hatch marked COMMANDER, BSG-25.

Sidewinder nodded. “Commander Lorne wants a word, Athena.”

She nodded and stepped forward, and the Marine opened the hatch. Stepping inside, she saw that it was a large and spacious as Admiral Adama’s quarters, divided in an outer office, a sleeping area, and small dining room—and then she stopped dead cold. Her jaw dropped.

“Hello, Sharon,” Brother Cavil said as he stood, along with Sam Anders and Commander Lorne—two Marines were present as well, along with a tall dark-skinned man in the uniform of a Colonel.

“Lieutenant Agathon,” Mathias said. “I believe you have met John Cavil and Samuel Anders; this is Colonel Thomas Jayne.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” the Taurian said as he held out his hand, and Athena shook it.

“We have a lot to discuss, Athena, and not much time. And it would probably help if the two of you removed her memory block,” he said to Cavil and Anders.

She looked puzzled, and then both of them said the code-phrase that Daniel had used on them—and she remembered. “Oh, frack. Starbuck is going to freak out,” she blurted as she stared at Sam—her brother. And then her face blanched and she groaned. “And the others!” she snapped.

“Admiral Adama, Commander Adama, and the President already know,” Sidewinder said. “But you can see why we wanted to keep it under wraps.”

Her knees felt weak and Mathias pointed to a chair. “I have Sidewinder’s report—but before I make any decisions, Athena, I want to hear from you. Don’t hold anything back, I want the full story—if you have to, consider that an order.”

She nodded and took in a deep breath. And then she began.

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