The Hunted (nBSG)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by MasterArminas, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Okay,” Hicks said an hour later after they had been left alone. “This translation stuff is not working—Bishop, have we still got those flash-memory units on the Sulaco?”

    Gorman and Burke smiled—while Hudson and Vasquez winced. Ripley just looked confused.

    “Oh. They were developed while you were . . . indisposed,” Burke said. “It is a learning tool that allows you to implant knowledge in a person’s mind. “It was going to revolutionize instruction . . . until we found out the side-effects,” he shrugged.

    “Side-effects?” asked Ripley.

    “Yeah,” answered Hicks. “If you use the damn thing too much, it causes irreversible brain damage. But in moderation, it allows a Marine to implant something he needs to know—like a language. They quit making them, but the Corps never recalled them—they just quit using them routinely.”

    He paused. “Do we have any?”

    “Twenty should be in storage—and we do have a Greek language upload available; however, the dialects differ, but it will make communication simpler.” And Bishop looked, uncomfortable. “They appear very . . . phobic about artificial life. I am having . . . difficulties understanding how these ‘Cylons’ could have done what they are claiming.”

    “I’m not,” said Ripley, remembering Ash from the Nostromo. “I think it is best that we not mention you are a syn- . . . an artificial person, Bishop.”

    “Well, they are already wondering why Bishop didn’t get a full scan like the rest of us,” said Hudson. “I don’t think that they bought the ‘he was never alone’ story.”

    “You are all missing the point,” said Burke. “We’ve got an incredible opportunity here. We are the ones who have discovered these people, after all.”

    “Actually they found us,” said Bishop.

    Burke frowned. “Beside the point. Look, their technology is backward in a lot of ways, sure. But this instantaneous FTL tech, what they call jumping? This is the motherlode—if we play this right, we can come out of this richer than any of you ever dreamed.”

    “We are Colonial Marines of the United Americas Alliance, Mister Burke,” said Lieutenant Gorman. “Not employees of Weyland-Yutani. We are not allowed to profit on anything we discover on a deployment—never mind that these people own the rights.”

    “That’s a technicality,” said Burke as he smiled and raised his hands. “I can promise you that Weyland-Yutani will not forget the people who brought this to them?”

    “Like you didn’t forget the colonists you sent out to that ship, Burke?” Ripley said. “Like you were willing to risk every one of our lives by trying to bring those alien specimens aboard the ship? What were you going to do—smuggle them past ICC Quarantine?”

    “Not possible,” said Hicks. “No unknown living organism goes through quarantine—none.”

    “Keep on thinking that, Corporal Hicks,” Burke grinned. “And like I said, Ripley, I made a bad call—it was a bad call. But with this? This will wash the slate clean for all of us. With exclusive rights—of which each of you will get a few percent, I’ll even include the little girl to make up for what she’s been through—we can write our own tickets.”

    “You know,” Hicks said. “They don’t strike me as the type to let themselves get taken by a snake-oil salesman, Burke. Not at all—and I think if we are going to go with them and meet their President, you need to tone down your greed. It shows.”

    President,” Burke laughed. “It isn’t governments that make things work—it is the corporations. They’ll understand that—it’s how things are done.”

    Ripley shook her head. “Only for us, and only today, Burke. Didn’t they teach you history?”

    “History is written by the victors, Ripley.”

    “Yes it is, Mister Burke,” said Gorman. “And frankly, we aren’t the right people to be making this contact with the Colonials. When we get back aboard Sulaco, I am going to inform the Commandant as regulations stipulate, and the Alliance can send out trained diplomats. Hopefully they will get here before the vultures from the Three Worlds Empire, the China-Asian Congress, the Soviet Pact, the Pan-African Assembly, the Caliphate, or the Federated European Union arrives on scene.”

    “You do that and we all get cut out. No one will get rights, the government will step in and sell it off piece by piece to the highest bidder!” sputtered Burke. “You are throwing away a fortune.”

    “But I’m keeping my soul, Mister Burke,” Lieutenant Gorman said quietly. “It isn’t all about money. Bishop, let’s see if Major Caldwell will let us go back to Sulaco and place a call—or if we are actually prisoners here.” And he looked directly at Burke and glared at him. “And while we are there, I will authorize a nuclear strike on the alien ship that Ripley and Nostromo found. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    Burke sputtered, but the other Marines smiled at Gorman and nodded, even Ripley. But then Vasquez grinned and she leaned in close. “You’re still an asshole, you know that? But you’re an okay asshole, Gorman. A Marine asshole.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  2. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Saul Tigh held the hatch open for his wife, and then he entered the conference room on Galactica, and he stopped dead cold. The Admiral was present, along with Lee Adama and Commander Lorne. So was the President and her aide Tory. And Athena. But Galen Tyrol and Starbuck were here as well, and that resistance leader from Caprica—Samuel Anders. And one of the Cavil Cylons dressed in the uniform of a Fleet Chaplain.

    “What the frack is the toaster doing here?” he snarled, and then he nodded a sort-of apology at Athena. She wasn’t happy, but she nodded—and then she smiled. Why did she smile, Saul asked himself.

    “He’s here, Colonel because I asked him here,” said the Admiral. He poured several glasses of Ambrosia—big glasses, and then he straightened up. “Brother Cavil is going to ask you to do something—all of you. Don’t ask questions, I just want you to do it.”

    Saul frowned again and Brother Cavil stepped forward. “Colonel Tigh, would you stand there?” he asked. “Mister Anders, take his hand, and the hand of Miss Tigh.” He stepped up next to Ellen and handed her his hand, and then he nodded at Tory. “Miss Foster,” he said holding out his other hand, “then Athena, and finally Chief Tyrol. Galen, would you take Colonel Tigh’s hand please?”

    “Bill,” Saul growled. But Adama shook his head, and Saul clasped Tyrol’s hand in his own.

    And then Sam Anders, Athena, and Cavil began to chant a simple mantra. And something in Saul’s head went CLICK. It was as if the floodgates of memory opened and he remembered EVERYTHING from his entire life—including the events on Joyita, the terror at being captured by the Cylons, the pain of the memory extraction process, the death of his original body and his rebirth as a Cylon. He remembered it all. And he finally remembered every single detail of the last fourteen years perfectly.

    His alcoholism, which began after Joyita; Ellen’s promiscuity; he remembered every single error of judgment he had made over fourteen years; all in response to the pain he did not even know he carried. Every time he let Bill down, he remembered in absolute perfection. And Saul Tigh fell to his knees holding his head.

    “Gods,” he whispered. “Gods,” he cried.

    And then Bill Adama was there and he handed him a glass—and Saul drank it all on one swallow.

    “What the frack was that?” Starbuck said, and Sam turned to here. He had a very sad look on his face, and he took her hands.

    “Kara,” he said gently, “we—Saul, Ellen, Galen, Tory, and me—we are the last Five of the Cylons.”

    Starbuck jerked away. She shook her head, and a look just washed over her face. “No. NO.” she said as she limped back—the brace on her leg keeping her from bending her knee.

    Saul got to his feet and he held Ellen, who was crying, and he sighed. “We are, Captain Thrace,” he said. “Gods help us, we are.”

    Tyrol was just staring at Athena, “You knew? Boomer knew?”

    “Boomer did not know—nor did Athena. Our memories of you were stolen from all of the Cylons by our creator—Daniel Graystone,” Brother Cavil answered. “You know the truth, Galen Tyrol. Search your memories.”

    And the deck chief’s face went pale.

    Adama stepped forward. “We,” he said gesturing towards Lee and Mathias and Laura, “have known about this since Sidewinder boarded this ship—but only a few others have been informed and so far they have kept their mouths shut. That is going to change. NONE of you five have committed any crimes,” he said with a glance at Laura who stood with no emotion at all playing over her features, “you are innocent. This is something that was done to you—a crime that was committed on your bodies and your minds.”

    Mathias nodded his agreement and he spoke up. “Accept the truth, and know that none of us here see any of you differently than we did.”

    “FRACK THAT!” yelled Starbuck. “THEY ARE CYLONS!” she screamed. “AND YOU KNEW?” She paused and shook her head again, and grabbed her crutch and moved towards the hatch.

    “Kara, wait,” Sam said as he grabbed her arm, and she jerked away from him and spun around to punch him with a loud CRACK.

    “DON’T YOU EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN, YOU FRACKING TOASTER!”

    And she stormed out, leaving Sam sitting on the deck, holding his jaw.

    “That went better than I expected,” said Lee. “Drink, Mister Anders?”

    “I need one,” he said as he slowly stood back up, accepting a glass from the Commander of Pegasus.

    Tory turned to Laura. “This is why I was assigned to Baltar, Madame President? You couldn’t trust me anymore?”

    “I don’t trust you, Miss Foster,” she said in a cold voice. “And I will expect your resignation on my desk by morning,” then she smiled. “I have agreed to take no action against you—that doesn’t mean I have to work with you.”

    “But I wasn’t a part of the at- . . .,” Tory began.

    “I don’t care, Miss Foster. Pack your things—you are not staying on Colonial One nor are you working for me.”

    Tory’s eyes flashed. “Madame President, I . . .,” but Laura cut her off.

    “No. My mind is made up. I will not have a Cylon working in my office.”

    She flushed. Even with her dark skin it was clear that Tory flushed and everyone could tell she was angry beyond words, and then she smiled.

    “Athena,” she said, turning her head to face Sharon. “Hera is alive. The President ordered Cottle to fake her death and gave the child to Maya—her new assistant—to adopt. I will testify under oath that she ordered the kidnapping of your daughter and then had Cottle tell you she died in childbirth. Frack you, Madame President!” she snapped, and stormed off.

    And everyone’s jaw dropped.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  3. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Hamish sighed and he shook his head. “I picked up survivors from the Thirteenth Tribe and discovered the stuff of my worst nightmares all in the same day, Major,” he said, lifting a cup of tea towards Sam, who sat behind her desk in the very small office accorded to her as commander aboard the old Anubis. “You are going to let them go back to their ship and rain fiery death down upon those creatures?”

    Sam snorted. “They don’t need to for the colony if these projections are accurate—forty plus megatons?” She shook her head. “That’ll take of the infestation. But this ship, this derelict that they found with eggs?” She sighed. “Yeah, I think I’m going to let them do it.”

    She picked up her own china cup and took a sip. “I cannot believe how slow their ships are in FTL,” she mused. “I mean, their computer and medical technology is an order of magnitude . . .,”

    “At least,” said Hamish.

    “. . . greater than our own,” Sam finished with a slight look of exasperation on her face. And that ship carries directed energy weapons—lasers and particle beam cannons. Working DEWs,” she shook her head again. “My gods, it is the holy grail that the Fleet has been pursing for decades.”

    “To tell the truth, Major,” Hamish said after he placed the cup on its saucer, “I was even more impressed that their ship basically operates itself. That level of computing technology is something that the Colonies have forsaken since the creation of the Cylons. Now, of course, from speaking with them, it operates better with a crew, but even so, at full strength that ship requires just ninety. And that . . . cryogenic hibernation,” he sounded out the unfamiliar word, “technology they have allows them to carry up to two thousand troops for a brief spell. Impressive.”

    “And worrisome,” Sam said. “What happens if the Guardians—or our allied Cylons,” she said with a snort, “decide to launch a cyber attack on that ship’s computers?”

    “Actually, I think these people could probably give the Cylons a run for their money in that area. Consider what they were doing down there on the surface, Major. Terraforming the lunar atmosphere. The sheer audacity involved in that, and for them? It’s just routine. Breathtaking . . . and terrifying.”

    “Well, it’s not all doom and gloom, Captain,” Sam smiled. “Our FTL is much faster for cross long-distances. To get from here to the Colonies in their ships would take them fourteen years, not eight months. They haven’t discovered tylium, and our ships are much more responsive in normal space—and other than those energy weapons, our kinetics and missiles are at least on par with their own. Not to mention our EVA and flight suits are far less burdensome than theirs.”

    “True, but they also have FTL comm,” Hamish pointed out. “That is worth a hell of lot right there.”

    “Only if you can move ships to exploit it—which they cannot, Captain. At least not quickly.”

    She sat back and took another sip of the tea. “I think I am going to let them go back over there—you feel up to flying them, Captain?”

    “Certainly, Major. If that means I have an opportunity to tour that ship, most definitely.” Hamish took another sip and then he sat down the cup and saucer and leaned forward. “Major, it may be none of my concern, but what are you doing associated with the SFM? I mean a decorated officer of the line—scuttlebutt says you were up for an XO slot on a Mercury-class. What happened?”

    Sam winced. And then she sighed. “Admiral Adama and Commander Lorne—a few others in the Colonial Fleet—already know, as does the crew on this ship. None of them have spilled the beans?”

    “Not one, Major.”

    She snorted. “Will wonders ever cease? Okay, you want the nitty-gritty? Four years ago I was a rising star in the Fleet. Made Major on my 27th birthday and was assigned to Fleet Headquarters, Picon. It was supposed to be a six-month tour, to be followed by assignment as Operations Officer on a Battlestar—and then early promotion to Colonel and XO,” she smiled. “Those were the days, I was going to make Colonel before my 30th,” she said. “I had already served under Commander Lorne—only he was Colonel Lorne at the time—on the old Athena, so I knew him well. Everything went fine, until Admiral Corman brought his staff to Caprica seventy days after I began working for him.”

    “We went to the Presidential Retreat to meet with Adar and we were staying for the entire weekend. Long story short, Captain, the President got drunk and he got rather too friendly. I wound up kicking him in the balls.”

    Hamish blinked. But Sam didn’t stop.

    “His security took me into custody and held me without counsel for four days—no food, no visitors, no showers, nothing. They didn’t even question me. And on the fifth day, Admiral Corman came in with a list of charges filed against me, for assaulting Adar.”

    “I told him what happened, and he shrugged. He said there were no witnesses to any impropriety on the part of the President, and conversely about a dozen affidavits stating that I had made sexual advances to him and been rebuffed, which is when I attacked him without provocation.”

    “He gave me a choice. I could press charges against the President and they would be dismissed. Whereupon I would be charged in full and spend the next twenty years at hard labor. Or, I could resign my commission and forfeit all pay and benefits and the incident would be forgotten.”

    She lowered her head. “I demanded to speak with an attorney—that was denied. I told Admiral Corman that I would go to the media, and he laughed. He said that my tribunal—military tribunal—was already assembled and if I did not resign then and there and sign a non-disclosure agreement, then I would be tried, convicted, sentenced, and shipped off world that same day.”

    “So I signed,” she said. “I signed the paper and I resigned my commission and then I found out that Adar used his political connections to have every application I made for employment black-balled. My bank accounts had been seized for tax evasion and I was denied credit from anyone except a loan shark—apparently his people wrecked that for me too. I was working in a waitress in the slums outside of Caprica City—only legal job I could get—when I met Jon Namer. And we talked. And that was my last shift in that greasy spoon where customers felt that they could fondle my ass if they left me a quarter-cubit tip.”

    “I never looked back, Captain Malcolm,” she said. “Does that surprise you?”

    “Based on what I come to expect from you, Major, the only thing that surprises me is that you left Adar alive,” Hamish answered.

    And she chuckled. “I had some faith at the moment it happened that the system would work—it doesn’t. It didn’t. In the end though, it probably saved my life. Otherwise I would have been on one of those Battlestars and not at Charon.” She sighed again. “Now, unless you have more questions that do not concern you, Captain, why don’t you fly our guests back to their ship so that they can nuke those creatures and grab their tooth-brushes. I have some work to finish.”

    Hamish stood and he gave a slight bow. “The Major commands, and I obey,” he said with a smile.

    “Damn straight,” Sam answered.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  4. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Athena,” Tory said, turning her head to face Sharon. “Hera is alive. The President ordered Cottle to fake her death and gave the child to Maya—her new assistant—to adopt. I will testify under oath that she ordered the kidnapping of your daughter and then had Cottle tell you she died in childbirth. Frack you, Madame President!” she snapped, and stormed off.

    And everyone’s jaw dropped.

    Shock as much as anything saved the life of President Roslin at that moment, because despite her Cylon speed and reaction time and strength, Athena was stunned—at least for a brief moment. Athena surged forward and Laura Roslin gasped as those extremely angry fingers reached out for her throat—and stopped dead just inches from Laura Roslin’s skin before being pulled back; Saul grabbed the furious woman from behind, and Anders had tackled her around the waist—she still almost managed to connect with a vicious right hook thrown as she went to the deck, but Brother Cavil grabbed her arm and got thrown himself into the bulkhead for his troubles, but Galen caught the fist and held before she could resume her swing.

    And even as the two Adamas and Mathias finally started moving (and a white-faced Laura backed up against the bulkhead) Ellen was already kneeling next to Sharon as Saul and Sam’s combined weight held her down on the floor, and Galen Tyrol still held her clenched right fist. “Not this way, Athena,” she said. “She wants you to hit her—that will let her get away with this and throw you away forever—we will get your daughter back to you, sister,” she hissed.

    “I WANT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” Athena snarled, her attention totally focused on Laura, tears of pure rage, mixed with . . . a kaleidoscope of hope, relief, and fear, streaming down her cheeks.

    Mathias shook his head and he looked at Lee and the Admiral—and they were just as stunned as he was—as Athena was. They didn’t know, he thought as his jaw worked—they didn’t know.

    “Saul,” the elder Adama growled, “take who you need and get her,” he said pointing at Athena, “back to Helo’s quarters—Lee, grab Helo and take him there and use Marines if you must, but make him stay there. Everyone else—except the President—OUT.”

    Athena was still clawing and struggling and writhing trying to get away from Saul and Anders, shouting imprecations and threats of a very imaginative physical violence. But with the help of Cavil—rubbing his shoulder from where he had impacted against the metal bulkhead—and Ellen and Galen and Sam, Saul managed to get the Athena over to the hatch and outside in the corridor. And Lee closed the hatch behind him, shutting it off to at least slow down the Raptor pilot if she broke free.

    She quit struggling and started to sob, collapsing down to the deck and Ellen held her there—even as Saul and Sam kept a strong grip on her arms, just in case.

    “That included you, Commander Lorne,” Adama said in the now almost empty conference room.

    Mathias ignored him for a moment and he glared at the President—who met his gaze unflinchingly. “You told me Admiral,” he whispered, “there was a line that I had dare not cross—a point past which you would not be pushed. I, too, have such a line, Sir. And this,” he said waving a hand at the closed hatch and the President, “more than crosses it.”

    “I said GET OUT, Commander Lorne,” Adama growled again, and Mathias just looked at Adama—and the younger man realized that this was what pure furious anger looked like on the Admiral. He nodded.

    “Aye, aye, SIR,” he answered, walking over to the hatch, opening it, stepped through, and closed it behind him.

    Bill Adama shook—he literally shook—and he picked up one of the glasses and took a deep swallow of Ambrosia. Then he threw the empty glass against the bulkhead where it shattered.

    “What were you thinking?” he barked.

    Laura stepped forward and her expression was grim. “I want Lieutenant Agathon arrested—she tried to assault me in front of witnesses. Put her in the brig, Admiral.”

    “Laura, she had every right to land that punch—and you are lucky that Saul and Anders grabbed her in time.”

    The President smiled—and there was absolutely no humor in that smile. “She tried to assault the President of the Colonies; and now she is going to the brig.”

    “YOU LIED TO ME!” Bill thundered, and then he collected himself. “You stole that child from her mother and father and you lied to them, you lied to the Fleet, you lied to me, Laura. In the gods name, WHY?”

    “The child is important, Admiral,” she said with a faraway look in her eyes. “I’ve seen her in my visions—seen her running through the Opera House. I’ve seen Lieutenant Agathon chasing after her and myself running a race to get to her first. She’s the key to our future.”

    “Your visions? YOUR VISIONS?” Adama asked, “You never stopped taking the chamalla extract did you, Madame President?”

    And the Lords anointed a leader to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland. And unto the leader, they gave a vision of serpents, numbering two and ten, as a sign of things to come,” Laura quoted. “I am that leader—I have had the vision of serpents, Admiral. I am the dying leader Pythia foretold who would lead humanity to the promised land.”

    “Y-you,” Adama stammered and then he forced himself to calm down. “You stole away a child because of this religious NONSENSE? Have you lost your fracking mind, Madame President?”

    “No, Admiral,” Laura answered in a very cold voice. “That child is the key—a key that I will not let any Cylon possess. I did what I must, as a . . . National Security Measure I signed an executive order for the removal of Hera from the Agathons in order to protect this Fleet.”

    “You told them she was dead—you told me she was dead!” Adama barked.

    “I did no such thing,” Laura said with a smile. “Doctor Cottle told them—and you—that the child had died. And once Athena is in the brig again, then I might consider allowing Captain Agathon to see his daughter—until then, Hera will not have contact with either of them.”

    “That decision is no longer yours, Madame President.”

    “Are you going to launch another coup, Admiral? I have the law—enough of it—on my side. Hera is part Cylon, and keeping her in a neutral environment where she is not aware of that is vital—I know that. I have seen that.”

    “Do you think that the Courts are going to agree with you, Laura?” Adama asked. “They will remove Hera from your custody and return her to her parents—and you will be charged with a heinous crime.”

    Laura flushed. “She’s a Cylon—she’s not a person, she’s a thing, Admiral. Get it through your head. We made them. We built them. I don’t care if they look like us now or not—they are things!”

    “Somehow, I doubt that High Justice Lampkin will see it that way,” Adama growled.

    “Bill, you have to trust me,” Laura began, and Adama cut her off.

    “Trust you? TRUST YOU!?! Madame President, you went behind my back and you did an atrocious criminal act—you stole a fracking child, you told the child’s mother and father she had died, you gave her to another woman.”

    “Her mother is fracking Cylon!”

    I DON’T CARE!” Adama thundered. “She’s a person, a real live person, Laura, and you need to start understanding RIGHT THE FRACK NOW that she is an officer of the Colonial Fleet with every right and privilege and responsibility thereof,” Adama gritted his teeth, and he seethed with anger. “You betrayed my trust, Madame President. And you will be lucky if I don’t throw your fracking ass back into my brig! NOW GET OFF MY SHIP!”

    “Bill . . .,” Laura began.

    “LEAVE! Or by the Gods I will have you thrown off my fracking Battlestar,” Adama snarled before he turned and stormed off. Leaving Laura Roslin, the President of the Twelve Colonies standing alone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  5. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Sidewinder looked up as Mathias slid into the copilot’s seat, even though he was not today wearing a flight suit—and he, the Commander, looked pissed. So did the passenger.

    “Flight has cleared us to return to Scorpia, Sir,” he said.

    “Negative, Sidewinder,” Mathias answered in a clipped voice as he put the auxiliary wireless headset on his head. “Set course for Colonial One.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” the pilot answered softly as the elevator lifted the Raptor from Galactica’s hanger deck to the flight deck.

    Scorpia, Gremlin,” the Commander broadcast.

    “Gremlin, Scorpia. Go.”

    “Put Torch on, Scorpia.”

    There was a pause.

    “Gremlin, Torch. Go.”

    “Get Captain Marsden and Special Agent Von aboard a Raptor, along with Master-at-Arms Juris and some of his people—and I want them armed,” Mathias ordered. “Tell them to bring their evidence kits. They are to meet me aboard Colonial One, ASAP. Gremlin out.”

    Sidewinder stared at Mathias. Ann Marsden was the senior (of two) Judge Advocate General personnel stationed on Scorpia—and Special Agent Francis (he normally went by Frank) Von was the civilian head of the Fleet Criminal Investigation Service assigned to the Battlestar.

    Mathias did not look at Sidewinder, but he motioned forward. “Deck is clear, Captain Greene—why are you waiting?”

    “Sir,” the pilot answered and shook himself. “Galactica Flight, Raptor 107,” he called out. “Request permission to depart.”

    “Raptor 107, Flight. You are clear for departure.”

    Sidewinder nudged his throttles forward and the Raptor lifted up and began to accelerate down the flight deck before hurtling into open space.

    “Kaboose,” Mathias spoke into his wireless.

    “Sir?”

    “I want all transmissions from Colonial One to the rest of the Fleet jammed.”

    There was a pause, and then a very quiet “Aye, aye, sir,” in answer.

    “I’m not launching a coup, Sidewinder, so you might as well quit staring at me,” the Commander said in a matter-of-fact voice. “However, if the President returns while we are there, I am going to have Frank arrest her ass and throw her in Scorpia’s brig hopefully until she rots.”

    “And that isn’t a coup, how? Sir?” Stefan Greene asked.

    “Because she has committed a felony—she kidnapped a new-born babe, faked the child’s death, told the parents it was dead, and has someone else raising it on that ship, Sidewinder. This isn’t a coup—it is a hostage rescue. And the President is on Galactica at this moment, but if she shows her face before we are done, I will have her arrested.”

    Sidewinder released a deep breath that he was holding. “Okay,” he said. “Totally not a coup; got it.”

    “Miss Foster,” Mathias continued. “You know where the documents are stored?”

    “I do,” she answered bitterly.

    “You are not to touch them or remove them or examine in any way until Marsden and Von arrive to take proper custody—is that clear?”

    “Yes,” she said.

    “Good. You understand that you will have to stand trial for this as well, correct?” Mathias asked.

    “I do. And I am willing to do so.”

    “And that I have no control over what—if any—deal the Court makes for your testimony?”

    “I don’t want a deal, Commander,” Tory answered in a very bitter voice.

    “No, I don’t imagine that you do. She’s wrong you know,” he continued. “About the Cylons; the human-form replicates: you and the others.”

    “Thirty minutes ago, I thought she was right, Commander. What does that say about me?”

    “It says you are human and can hold grudges, Miss Foster. But I am not going to damn you because of what the Cylons did to your original body. Your mind is the same—you are the same. That makes you a person, not a thing. And that means you have rights . . . and responsibilities under the law, as well.”

    “I understand, Commander,” Tory said softly.

    “Coming up on Colonial One,” Sidewinder reported, and then he paused. “They are asking for our reason to board ship.”

    Mathias adjusted the frequency on his wireless. “Colonial One, Raptor 107—we are carrying members of the Presidents staff; request immediate landing authorization.”

    “Affirmative, Raptor 107. Stand by,” the wireless crackled. After a moment, the voice resumed. “You are clear to land in the main hold—cargo doors open.”

    “Copy, Colonial One,” answered Mathias and he switched frequencies and he smiled as he saw the sunlight glinting off the canopy of a second Raptor.

    “Gremlin, Arclight,” the wireless spoke, “I’ve got the package.”

    “Copy, Arclight,” said Mathias. “Follow us in. Put me on internal speakers.”

    “Gremlin you are live.”

    “Gentlemen, there is a possible hostage situation—a month old child who has kidnapped from her parents. I have all the information and a person who can identify the woman and child in question—they are not to be harmed. We will be collecting evidence of this crime,” and others, Mathias thought, “and if the crew of Colonial One interfere you are hereby authorized to use non-lethal force to make them comply. Rules of Engagement Four Daggit are in place—lethal weapons are to be used only if you are threatened with a lethal weapon—understood?”

    He heard faint echoes of people stating their assent, and Mathias nodded. “Full briefing on the deck—gentlemen, let’s get this done.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  6. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Commander?” the crewman asked after he helped Tory down from the Raptor—and his eyes grew wide at seeing the men and women in uniform disembark from the second Raptor.

    “I am here to conduct an inspection of this ship, pursuant to the Intercolonial Commerce Code, Article Three, Section Fourteen, which states, ‘all ships of civilian registry operating under the flag of any of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol must permit a boarding inspection of cargo and passengers upon the request of officers so empowered.’ Section Fifteen lists ‘Colonial Fleet officers having the rank of Colonel or higher and assigned to active service as the commanding or executive officer of a Battlestar’ as among those officers so empowered,” Mathias said as he headed for the ladders leading to the personnel deck.

    “We will begin our inspection top-side and work our down, Crewman,” as he quickly climbed the ladder, followed by his officers and men.

    “But this is the President’s ship!”

    “Alas, that doesn’t change the law, Crewman. Inform your commander to meet me top-side,” Mathias said before he disappeared through the hatch.

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

    “Commander, this is most unusual—we haven’t had an inspection team since Captain Adama came aboard to conduct a survey of the survivors!” Captain Evensun protested. “For what reasons are you conducting this inspection?”

    “ICC 3-14 does not require a reason, Captain Evensun,” Mathias said with a pleasant smile. “But to simplify things, I have concerns that a psycho-tropic hallucinogenic drug is being stored aboard this ship—in quantities that are illegal, Captain Evensun,” among other reasons, he thought. “Is that not correct, Miss Foster?”

    “Yes, Commander. The President keeps a large supply of chamalla leaf and extract on hand,” the former aide answered. And Mathias smiled. “You understand of course, that chamalla is legal—but not in quantities suitable for trafficking, yes, Captain?”

    “Trafficking?” he blurted. “She’s the President!”

    “And does that place her above the law, Captain? Now stand aside,” Mathias ordered.

    “Under protest, Commander,” Evensun answered as he stepped away from the hatch leading to the government offices.

    Maya looked up at Tory entered, and she smiled at the woman. “Tory! Is the President back . . . with . . . you?” she asked, her voice fading away at the sight of the officers and crew from Scorpia.

    “No, Maya, she is not,” Tory answered, and she sighed. She whispered to Lorne. “Commander, she did not know about the child—and she loves Isis as if she were her own. She was told more lies, and believed the adoption was real.”

    Mathias nodded. “Miss . . . ?” he asked.

    “Maya is my entire name, Commander—a declining tradition on Leonis, but one my parents chose to respect. As have I with my daughter Isis,” she answered.

    “Very well, Maya; may I sit?”

    “Please. What’s wrong?” she asked.

    Mathias took in a deep breath and he began to tell her.

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

    Some time later, two Masters-at-Arms escorted High Justice Romo Lampkin aboard the ship. He frowned at the sobbing woman—Maya—who rocked a young baby back and forth, Tory sitting next to her and stoking her back to comfort her. And then he looked at Mathias.

    “I received a request from the officers of this ship to come here immediately, Commander,” he said, “and then I received your request that I do the same. Searching the President’s offices without a warrant are we?”

    Mathias smiled, and he recited the ICC regulations, and Lampkin nodded. “Interesting interpretation—how is this ship NOT a government vessel?”

    “I checked, your honor,” said Mathias. “No one has ever—not since the attack—changed the ship’s registration or affiliation. Indeed, it is only Colonial One because the President has adopted it as her home—if she changes ships, this vessel will revert to Colonial Heavy 798.”

    Lampkin nodded. “The government will argue, of course, that there is no longer an office of registration—and that de facto, this vessel is now a government vessel rather than a civilian one.”

    “Except the ship still carries civilian passengers for whom it serves as home, your honor,” Mathias answered with a wide smile. “And the Quorum certainly could have declared this vessel as a government or military vessel at any time—but instead has used the appellation of ‘civilian’ in all official paperwork concerning Colonial One, which to me and the JAG assigned to Scorpia means that it remains a civilian vessel, your honor.”

    “How many times?” asked Lampkin. And Mathias nodded to Ann Madsen.

    She stepped forward. “From copies of the Quorum meetings that I have gone over, they have referenced this ship—and the problems that have cropped up with engineering, food and water distribution, housing, internal atmosphere conditions, etc—four times and each times have labeled it as a civilian vessel. I specifically note the Quorum meeting where . . . ,”

    And Lampkin stopped her. “Where the President signed an act of the Quorum prohibiting Marines from being used on civilian vessels without express consent of the office of the President; yes, I am familiar with that. And with the fact that this vessel was cited—are those Marines, Commander?”

    “Masters-at-Arms, your Honor. Not Marines,” Mathias answered and Lampkin smiled back as well.

    “You’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, Commander. I still think that I should rule against your ability to conduct a search—but what were you searching for? And does it have anything to do with this weeping lady here?”

    “Tory?”

    “Miss Foster,” Lampkin said with a bow and kiss on the back of her hand. “A pleasure as always.”

    “Your honor,” she replied. “I assisted the President in persuading Doctor Cottle of the Galactica to fake the death of Karl and Sharon Agathon’s child, replacing it with the corpse of a baby that passed away just a day earlier. I also made arrangement to get the still living child, Hera Agathon, off of Galactica and here to Colonial One, where Maya,” she said, pointing at the woman, “who knew nothing of our conspiracy was given the child to care for as her own adopted daughter. The President issued an Executive Order for this in writing,” she said.

    Romo Lampkin blinked. He looked first at Tory over upper rim of his glasses, and then at Mathias, who nodded, and then at Maya and the child. “Oh, frack,” he said.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  7. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Laura walked in to her office and she stopped, glaring at all of those present. “What is the meaning of this?” she growled.

    “You cannot arrest her, not unless or until the Quorum impeaches her, but I will promise you that I am going to take a personal interest in this matter,” said Romo Lampkin to Mathias. And he turned to the President. “Madame President, I am officially notifying you that I will be leading an investigation into the allegations that you kidnapped Hera Agathon. Your offices have been searched and material from your files is now in my custody.”

    “I am exerting executive privilege,” she snapped. Damn Gaius Baltar for getting this man nominated and confirmed, she thought.

    “And I am overruling that privilege from the bench in the name of public interest, Madame President. We are also taking your assistant Maya and the alleged child at the center of this . . . incident . . . into custody to assure their own safety.”

    “I am not allowing that child to leave this ship,” Laura snapped.

    “Madame President,” Lampkin said in a cold voice, “it is not up to you. I remind you that your immunity for actions taken as President lasts only as long as you hold office—and that the Quorum can impeach you with a three-quarters majority vote. I would advise you to retain counsel, Madame President, for if my preliminary findings are borne out by the facts, I will make the motion before the Quorum myself for a vote on Impeachment.”

    “Captain Greene,” Mathias barked, and the pilot nodded.

    “Sir?”

    “You will fly High Justice Lampkin, Maya, and the child over to Galactica. I ask that you convey my deep regret over this matter to the Agathons and expect you to inform them that this woman,” he said patting Maya on the shoulder, “is innocent and she took good care of their child—and loves the babe deeply. She is not deserving of their hate in this matter.”

    “Of course, Commander,” Sidewinder answered. “But you can tell them yourself.”

    “Unfortunately, Sidewinder, I am afraid that I will be spending some time in hack,” Mathias said.

    The pilot’s eyes grew wide, as did those of the JAG and FCIS officers from Scorpia, but the rest of those present just looked confused. And all three of those who caught the reference moved too slow to stop it from happening. Mathias stepped forward and swung his left arm, the fist slamming into Laura’s jaw with a very satisfying CRACK. She crumpled like a sack of raw vegetables onto the deck, even as blood sprayed from her mouth—along with a pair of teeth.

    “Captain Madsen,” Mathias winced as he grasped his left fist—already swelling from the blow—and Lampkin gawked at him. “I believe that I am in violation of numerous Articles of War—please take me into custody,” and he smiled at the High Justice, despite the pain in his hand. “If Pegasus’s crew can get off with just a slap on the wrist for what they did, damn straight I’m going to take a shot at this bitch.”

    “Sir,” Frank Von said, from where he crouched next to the unconscious Laura Roslin. “I think we need to put the President on that Raptor as well—you broke her jaw, Sir.”

    “Go ahead, Frank,” Mathias ordered. “And Sidewinder?”

    “Sir!” he snapped as he came to attention and gave his Commander the smartest salute that Mathias had ever seen him deliver.

    Mathias nodded and returned the salute. “Contact Colonel Jayne by wireless and inform him that he is now in command of Scorpia.” He pulled out his sidearm and handed to Captain Madsen. “Captain, I believe that it is customary to put the prisoner in restraints? Is it not?”

    She nodded her head slowly. “Commander Mathias Lorne, you are under arrest for multiple violations of the Articles of War of the Colonial Fleet. Turn around and put your hands behind you back.” He did so, and she locked the restraints unto his wrists. “You have the right to remain silent, the right to see coun-. . .,” Madsen began as she ushered Mathias from the office of the President.

    “FRACK!” Lampkin yelled to the ceiling above as he rubbed his forehead.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  8. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Episode 15: From Bad to Worse

    The XO’s phone buzzed at the central console of Galactica’s CIC and he Saul Tigh lifted it from the rack. “XO,” he barked.

    The news from earlier today had shocked him no less—but he couldn’t deny the truth of his own memories. And being the man that he was, he had spent a few moments with Ellen and then he showed up here, in the CIC, because Saul Tigh was now damned and determined to never again let Bill Adama down. It was funny, because since the revelation, since that final drink that his best friend—probably his only friend—in the universe had given him, Saul had not desired so much as a drop.

    Instead, he had thrown himself into his duty—and CIC was as quiet as a church mouse because of it. Adama hadn’t said a word, he just nodded as Saul handled tasks that had always been his, just handed off to other personnel.

    “What?” he said into the phone. “WHAT?” he exclaimed, his eyes growing wide. And then a chuckle escaped his lips as he smirked—Saul Tigh actually smirked. “Understood. Inform Pegasus,” he said and then racked the phone and struggled to keep the laughter roiling up inside him from escaping.

    Adama looked at the XO as if he were a man possessed. “What was that about, Saul?” he asked.

    “The President has landed in a Raptor, Admiral,” Saul said with a smile.

    “Tell her to turn her ass around—I don’t want to speak with her right now,” Bill growled, but he frowned at the . . . giddy expression on Saul’s face. The XO was almost incandescent.

    “We can’t, Admiral—she’s being taken to the surgery with a broken jaw and two snapped off teeth,” he said, as he tried—and failed—to keep all expression from his face.

    “WHAT!” snapped Adama.

    “Commander Lorne,” Saul said with a faint smile, “boarded Colonial One and conducted a shipping inspection of the vessel. In the process, he confiscated the chamalla that the President has been taking, placed Hera Agathon and Maya into protective custody, and ransacked the President’s personal papers—handing them all over to High Justice Lampkin.”

    The Admiral groaned, and Saul grinned broadly as his friend looked at the deck, erasing the smile when he lifted his head. “With Marines?”

    “Masters-at-arms, JAG, and FCIS personnel—no Marines,” Saul reported. “The President returned to Colonial One while they were getting to depart—with Hera. She issued an order to keep the girl onboard, apparently Commander Lorne had a . . . slight . . . break with reality, and he punched her. Breaking her jaw.”

    “And two teeth,” added Adama.

    “And two teeth,” agreed Saul. “She was knocked unconscious, but the Raptor brought her here—she’s en route the to surgery. Maya and Hera are here as well, and being escorted to the Agathon’s quarters by Captain Greene. High Justice Lampkin is also onboard and is heading there as well to speak with the two of them.”

    “And Commander Lorne?” growled Adama.

    “You are going to love this,” Saul said with a smile that he didn’t try to hide, “he is en route to Pegasus to be held in their brig. Since ours is full with Cylons at the moment. The son-of-a-bitch ordered his own JAG officer to arrest him after he punched out the President. Colonel Jayne has assumed temporary command aboard Scorpia.”

    The closeness of stations in CIC ensured that the people working at them had overheard this—and Adama sighed. It would be scuttlebutt across the Fleet by the end of the watch, if not sooner. He scratched his head, and slammed his fist down on the console. With Laura in the surgery, and Baltar having already turned in his resignation . . . Bill groaned. The Quorum would have to elect a temporary Vice-President to assume Roslin’s duties until she could return. And he knew who the most likely candidate for that post was.

    Saul nodded. “Zarek,” he said. “Looks like he might be our boss for a while,” he whispered.

    “Frack, Saul. I did not need this right now,” the Admiral whispered. He slammed his hand down on the console again. “You have the conn, XO,” he said as he turned.

    “If I need you, Admiral, where will you be?”

    Adama paused and he slowly turned around. “Frack them both. I’m going to bed.”

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

    “What the frack were you thinking?” asked Lee as he entered the brig. Commander Lorne sat in a cell, and the MAA had not taken his belt or his boots. His uniform jacket had been removed, though, and one of the doctors assigned to Pegasus was wrapping his arm and hand in bandages around a metal and rubber splint.

    “I was thinking about my own daughters and I got angrier and angrier, Commander Adama,” Mathias said, with a wince as the doc pulled the bandages tighter.

    “Too much, Sir?” he asked.

    “Don’t worry about me, just get it right,” Scorpia’s commander said to the physician.

    “Nothing else we can do—you’ve probably fractured a few bones, but none are out of place. It will take time to heal, Commander,” he said as he pulled out a syringe and injected Mathias in the upper arm. “It’s a mild analgesic and sedative—to help you get some rest, Sir.”

    Lee waited until the doctor had gathered his things and left—Mathias stood and he pulled back on his uniform jacket and worked one-handed to button it up and secure the belt.

    “Let me, Sir,” one of the MAA’s said, and then he looked at Lee. Who jerked his head in an expression of his own anger. Mathias raised his arms, and the crewman finished buckling the belt and securing all but the top two buttons of the jacket.

    “So that’s it? You were angry and you punched out the President?” he snapped. “You broke her jaw! And it was because you were angry?”

    “No excuse, Commander, Sir. I am ready to stand before the Admiral’s tribunal and defend myself.”

    “Oh, that’s what you want, isn’t it, Commander? A forum—a public forum—where you can destroy what little stability we have left in this Fleet! What is going to happen now, Commander? You are in hack, the President is in Galactica’s surgery, the Vice-President has already resigned in disgrace . . . in just four days you have turned this entire Fleet upside down! Never mind half of my crew are pissed at your crusade against them for actions we have already considered and dismissed!”

    Mathias nodded, and he sighed. “You love her, don’t you Lee?”

    “What?”

    “The President—oh, you don’t love her in a sexual sense, you aren’t IN love with her, but you love her. Warts and all.”

    “What has that got to do with any of this?” Lee growled, and Mathias smiled. He had no idea of how much he looked and sounded like his father when he did that, he thought.

    “You aren’t mad that I hit the President who ordered a child kidnapped, Lee; you are mad that I hit Laura Roslin. You are mad that Laura Roslin dared to cross the line and take that child in the first place. I know you a bit from your time on Scorpia—and everything I have heard about you since joining up with Galactica and Pegasus has impressed me, Lee. What is going to happen now? Do you want to know what I think should happen NOW?”

    “Enlighten me, o font of wisdom?”

    “Come on Apollo,” Mathias said with a chuckle. “Sarcasm doesn’t suit you. I think you are desperately unhappy, mister. I believe that you are here as the Commander of Pegasus because you don’t want to let your father down. But that your heart isn’t here. Your heart is with that young wife of yours and that child, and you would be so much happier out of this military and doing something you can be proud of.”

    “I am proud of what I have done,” Lee whispered.

    “Proud of what you have done, yes; but you take no pride in the service, Lee. It isn’t your life like it is that of your father, or Saul Tigh, or me. You, I am willing to bet, never dreamed of spending your entire life in uniform until retirement—am I wrong?”

    Lee didn’t answer.

    “You want to know what I think this Fleet needs? It doesn’t need a Laura Roslin. It doesn’t need a Gaius Baltar. And it doesn’t need a Tom Zarek. Not as President. But I think that Lee Adama could do the job, and that it would be a job he could pride in and be happy doing.”

    Lee Adama just stared at him, his eyes wide. “I’m the Commander of Pegasus! I’ve got responsibilities!”

    “You are responsible for yourself and your family. And if you don’t think that the President has more responsibilities than a Battlestar Commander, then I have underestimated you. Lee, you and I share a sense of idealism. We do. But you don’t act on that. You put everyone else’s needs over your own. You put your father’s expectations above your own. Don’t worry about Pegasus. If necessary, your father can put Elias Thorean here—he has command experience from Solaria, and you don’t need two arms to command. Or Mark Foeswan. You cannot argue that you are the indispensible man, Lee. Because, manifestly, you are not.”

    Lee just stared and Mathias nodded. “Ask yourself this, Commander Lee Adama of Battlestar Pegasus: where can you the most good for all of the survivors? Here? Or in that office on Colonial One? Who do you trust to do this job? Baltar? Zarek? Your father might well not like it, but damn it man, it is your life. And this Fleet needs a . . . principled man to lead us. I think that you are that man, Lee Adama.”

    Lee backed up out of the cell, and he cleared his throat. “Lock him in,” he ordered. “You’re wrong, you know that? I’m not nearly as principled as you think.”

    “For me the choice is a simple one, Lee. Are you a better man than Gaius Baltar or Tom Zarek? Who do you think will sacrifice their principles for power? You? Or those two? I don’t know you as well as I should, but based on what I have seen. What I have heard. I like our chances a lot better with you in charge instead of Roslin or them. Will you do what is best for the fifty-four thousand survivors of humanity? Or will you stay miserable doing a job just to make your father happy?”

    “That is up to you, Lee. You and your wife. Think about it. Do you want that little girl of yours growing up in this environment?” he said point his hands at the bulkheads and deck and overhead.

    Lee turned and he marched to the hatch without a word, and he stopped.

    Think about it, Mister President,” Mathias cajoled. And then Lee left.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  9. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Oh, God,” Ripley moaned as she held her head. “Child-birth didn’t hurt this much.”

    Hicks handed her a glass of water and two strong—very strong—pain-killers. “One of the side-effects we were talking about with these flash-memory units,” he said in perfect Greek, albeit with his Southern accent. Ripley’s head snapped up—she understood him. And then she moaned again as the pain stabbed at her temples from moving her head that fast.

    “I’m gonna die,” she said, answering in the same language.

    “Take these,” Hicks answered holding out the tablets. “They will help. A fast-dump like we did,” she had put on the headset just fifteen minutes ago, “always does this. That is why we usually take twelve hours to upload the information—today we don’t have time. The shorter the time frame, the worse the headache. But it will go away.”

    Ripley took the glass and swallowed both of the tablets; she drained the water and within seconds, the intense pounding began to fade.

    The hatch opened, and Major Caldwell walked in. “Did it work?” she asked. And, although the accent was odd and some of the words didn’t quite fit, it did work well enough. Ripley nodded. “Miracles of modern science,” she said, and Sam Caldwell smiled as she heard the woman speak something very close to her own native tongue.

    “Good. Lieutenant,” she turned to Gorman, “were you able to establish contact with your government?”

    “I sent the message, Major Caldwell, but it will require time to travel and for us to get a message. Hyper-com isn’t instantaneous, but we should hear back in four or five hours.”

    Caldwell frowned. “That is a problem. As we said earlier, we are being chased by the Cylons—mechanical creations of mankind that rebelled and now seek our destruction. What they actually want is our flesh. They have developed a process where they can graft flesh unto their limbs to gain the sensation of touch, and they implacable in their hate. They will not stop chasing us,” she said.

    Klaxons began to blare, and a voice came over the speakers. “This is the XO. Sound Action Stations throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Major Caldwell report to CIC. Repeat, sound Action Stations throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments. Major Caldwell report to CIC.”

    She cursed and headed out—and the Marines, led by Hicks and Gorman, followed her. The tiny CIC was crowded, but Ripley appreciated how it was laid out—and how deep in the hull it was buried. Anubis was more than twice the size of Sulaco, very nearly as large and powerful as a Colonial Navy frontier cruiser. But she was old, Ripley could tell from the many repairs and jury-rigged systems, and according to Caldwell, Malcolm, and the others, she was the smallest warship in the Colonial Fleet.

    “Damn,” Caldwell whispered as she glanced up at the DRADIS—what the Terrans called radar, Ripley translated. There was an icon there pulsing red—and many smaller icons spilling out.

    “It’s the Cylons, all right,” she said. “Spin up FTL Drives One and Two,” she ordered.

    “Can you show a schematic of that ship?” asked Hicks and Caldwell nodded. She typed in a command and wire-frame diagram of the Gemini appeared on the screen. “To scale?” he asked. More typing and an image of Sulaco appeared—she was very small in comparison, less than a quarter the diameter of those domes and only a few percent of the internal volume.

    “Raiders inbound, two minutes,” an officer called out.

    “Weapons free—fire when they enter range,” Caldwell answered.

    “I can order Sulaco to engage,” Bishop said to Gorman. He considered and then he nodded. “Do it. Time to get some intel on how effective our weapons are,” he paused. “With your permission, Major?”

    “Oh, I don’t object when someone offers to help me blow away Cylons, Lieutenant Gorman. Be my guest.”

    Bishop sat down and he typed commands into the computer and then transmitted them to the Sulaco. Aboard that empty ship, the computers received them, and klaxons blared on all of her decks, the lighting turning to the red of battle stations.

    She thrusted forward, her turrets coming to life and missile covers retracting.

    “Let’s see how she deals with Long Lances, Bishop,” said Hicks. “Fire ‘em off.”

    “All of them?” Burke winced at the thought of the expense, but then he nodded—after all it was his life at stake here.

    “All of them,” Gorman confirmed.

    Eight missiles ripped out of their silos and thrusted forward towards the Gemini. They streaked past the incoming fighter strike, their first stages jettisoning as their fuel was expended, then their second stages. And then the Cylon ship opened fire with their point defense—and the Marines winced.

    “That is . . . impressive,” said Bishop. Only two of the Long Lance missile managed to get through—and their warheads were easily absorbed by the ship’s armor.

    “It generally takes nuclear warheads or heavy kinetic strikes to kill a Basestar,” said Sam Caldwell.

    “Fire up the point defense, Bishop,” ordered Gorman. “Damn it all, I wish we had a crew on the Sulaco. The computers are good, but a trained crew would be better.”

    “Their reaction time would be slower,” Bishop said as he typed in commands.

    “But not as predictable,” Hicks added with a smile to the synthetic, who nodded.

    “Fighters in range of point-defense lasers . . . now,” Bishop said he hit enter. And every Colonial suddenly jumped and cheered as pulses of amplified light tore into the Cylon Raiders accurately and quickly. The attack force dropped from sixty Raiders to seventeen in the first fourteen seconds of the laser engagement . . . and then the laser fire died away—along with the cheers.

    “Capacitors recharging,” Bishop reported. “Thirty seconds until fire can resume.”

    “Are they launching more fighters?” asked Hudson in disbelief. “That strike would have been the full complement for a Kitty Hawk-class Fleet Carrier!”

    Gemini’s carry upwards of three hundred Raiders,” said Major Caldwell. “They won’t make that mistake again—this time they will send everything,” and she grinned as the Cylons entered her range.

    The eight twin turrets on Anubis’s dorsal hull back to fire at near maximum rates—and the blood drained from the faces of the Marines as they saw the flak cloud of explosions. None of the seventeen Raiders managed to survive to weapons range.

    “Flak? You can shoot flak out of the kinetic energy cannons?” asked Burke, his interest suddenly piqued.

    “Of course. What use would they be otherwise?”

    “Bishop, go ahead and hit that Basestar with the particle beam cannons,” ordered Gorman.

    And now it Caldwell’s turn to blink. “At this range?”

    Gorman smiled. “Yes, ma’am. At this range.”

    “Locked and firing,” said Bishop. Two invisible beams reached out and slammed home against the Basestar—it staggered, and then stopped its advance momentarily.

    “Their DRADIS is off-line,” called out tactical, and then a curse. “Secondary systems just engaged.”

    And the Gemini began to close again—even faster now.

    “I think we need to hit it again,” said Gorman.

    “Recharging,” said Bishop. “One minute.”

    “Too long,” answered Sam. “We are jumping in twenty seconds. Lieutenant, if you can get that ship into your hyperspace in that time, I’d advise you to do it. Unless you want to lose it.”

    “Do it,” said Hicks and Gorman nodded his agreement. “Put her in FTL, Bishop—on course for the nearest Fleet base.”

    “She is powering up . . . and has successfully entered the hyperspace shunt.”

    Sulaco’s icon vanished from the display.

    “Stand by, take DRADIS off-line,” Sam said as two hundred and seventy Cylon raiders kept closing. “Stand by . . . and JUMP!” she ordered.

    And Anubis did so.

    The Terrans looked a bit queasy, but other than that, they seemed overjoyed. As the DRADIS display came up, they saw scores of icons—but all in the blue color of friendlies.

    “Ma’am, we are being challenged by Pegasus,” an officer reported.

    “Send the reply, Mister Horn.”

    “How far did we just travel?” asked Burke.

    “Nineteen point seven light years, Mister Burke,” Caldwell answered, and Ripley sat down in disbelief. Nineteen point seven light years in no measureable elapsed time at all.

    Pegasus confirms our identity and says welcome home, ma’am,” Horn reported.

    Sam Caldwell stood there at her station and she nodded. “Hail Galactica,” she ordered as she lifted a phone. “On speaker.”

    Anubis, Galactica,” the wireless said.

    Galactica, Anubis Actual. I—strike that. YOU need to hear what I and my guests have to say.”

    “Your guests, Anubis Actual?”

    “Affirmative, Galactica. Can’t say more on an unsecured channel. Prepare to receive . . . two Raptors.”

    “Copy, Anubis Actual. We will await your arrival. Galactica out.”

    “Well, ladies and gentlemen. Are you up to taking another ride—the President is waiting,” Sam said with a wave her arm. Hicks and Gorman exchanged a look, and then both looked at Ripley. “Sure, why not,” she said. “As long as they understand we aren’t authorized to negotiate for our government.”

    And Hudson elbowed Burke as he began to speak.
     
  10. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Zoe sat motionless on her throne as one of the Guardians entered her sanctum. She noted his entrance, but kept her attention focused on the scrolling data on the monitors which surrounded her—she did not need the monitors, of course. She could commune instantly with the computers, but she rather like using her eyes—her new human eyes.

    She frowned. Father Daniel’s pets had proven a greater annoyance than she had anticipated—and her infiltration of Guardians in the form of the M-017 Cylons had proven less . . . effective than she had planned for. Only luck had managed to save her at Cylon Prime—luck and the sacrifice of one of her escort ships which had been rammed by Cavil the Mad instead of her. So be it, she thought. If her siblings wanted a war to the knife, then that was what they would receive.

    Their forces had been decimated nine times over, and she smiled. If they had eight Basestar remaining to them, she would be surprised. They had fought her though, and her own forces had suffered great damage—but unlike her scattered and frightened siblings, her industrial complexes were even now turning out new ships. New Raiders. New Cylons. The end was in sight—and her victory in her grasp. She smiled.

    “Imperious Leader,” the Guardian spoke in that haunting mono-tone that caressed Zoe’s ears like music.

    “Report.”

    “We have located some of the human survivors.”

    “Have they been destroyed?”

    “No, Imperious Leader. They escaped into FTL . . .,” the Guardian paused. “There is information that you must upload—a new weapon. A new ship. Evidence of another civilization.”

    Zoe raised one of her eyebrows and she felt a ripple of pleasure flow through her metal and flesh body at the sensation. “Show me,” she hissed.

    The Guardian placed a data disk in her throne and Zoe closed her eyes—and she absorbed all of the information from the Basestar and the Guardians that had been present at Acheron.

    “Directed energy weapons . . . curious,” she said. “Lasers that swatted our Raiders from the sky and this . . . other weapon that disrupted our minds.”

    “Yes, Imperious Leader. Thirty-one point seven three eight percent of the Guardians aboard the Basestar were rendered inactive, requiring extensive repair to reboot all systems. Fifteen point three two one percent of those were too damaged to recover the intelligence and have been recyled.”

    “Only this new ship possessed the weapon?”

    “That is correct, Imperious Leader. The surface of the moon showed evidence of two nuclear detonations, as well.”

    “They did not activate FTL drives—and yet, they sped away; the sensor readings are most intriguing,” she smiled and rotated her chair. “Do you not think so, Father Daniel?”

    The naked Daniel was encased in metal from his waist down-wards, and his hands were also trapped—a collar around his neck held him flat against the surface, and probes pierced his skin.

    “Very, Zoe,” he answered in an exhausted voice. And then he laughed. “You realize that this means that they have likely found the Thirteenth Tribe?”

    “A legend, Father Daniel. A myth. It is more likely to be a lost colony of the Twelve. Of no great consequence—their weapon was surprising, but unlikely to deal us a major blow.”

    “Supposition, daughter. The evidence is there in the data—or do you think the survivors of the colonies would have built these structures?” And on a monitor the towering shape of the atmosphere processors appeared. “They seem to altering the composition of the moon’s atmosphere, child. That is far beyond the technology of the Twelve Colonies—or you.”

    “The Guardians do not need such technology, Father Daniel. And in the unlikely event that this is the Thirteenth Tribe, then we will harvest them—and their technology. Their warship was small, and forced to flee despite destroying just a few dozen Raiders. Their energy weapon only momentarily inconvenienced our forces. They will serve the Guardians as repositories of flesh—or they will perish.”

    “You presume much, Zoe,” Daniel said. “Arrogance does not become you, child.”

    She glared down at Daniel from her throne. “This is coming from the man who had the hubris to believe that he could grant immortality? That he could create life? Surprises await—that is certain. But our victory is inevitable Father Daniel—one could say that resistance is futile.”

    “So have many tyrants believed the same thing before, Zoe. Most discovered very near the end of their lives how wrong they were.”

    “They failed to learn from their mistakes—much as you, Father Daniel. I do not suffer from that flaw of character,” she said and rotated her throne back to face the gold-plated Guardian standing before her. “Order all surviving ships—except for those assigned to protect our industry—to rendezvous here. If this is the Thirteenth Tribe, then we shall overcome them. And if not, we will finish the work our siblings began and crush those who have fled before me. Summon forth the Fleet. Including the bombardment ships.”

    “By your command,” the Guardian answered.
     
  11. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Admiral Adama stood as the hatch opened, and with him stood Saul Tigh, Lee Adama, Elias Thorean, Mark Foeswan, Samantha Caldwell, Thomas Jayne, Laura Roslin, and Tom Zarek. He kept the expression from his face—but if there had been any way to keep Zarek out of this meeting, he would have. Unfortunately, thanks to the President’s jaws being wired shut, and his standing among the Quorum of Twelve—added to the current lack of a Vice-President—his presence was mandatory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Adama nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Is that going to be a problem?” asked Bishop.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  12. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Gorman waited until the hatch had closed behind them and then he grabbed Burke by his jacket and slammed him around against the bulkhead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Him,” she agreed before she threw up.

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

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

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

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

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

    “HEY!” he yelled.

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

    And then she fell forward on her face and passed out. “Lieutenant, you want to give me hand getting her in her bunk?” Hicks asked.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  13. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Thank you,” Bishop said as the cell door closed. The brig was full—there was a blonde woman in the cell to his left and an older dark haired man (with much grey) to his right.

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

    “Hello,” he said. “I am Bishop.”

    “D’Anna,” answered the woman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Could you harm us?” asked Cavil warily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cavil and D’Anna exchanged a very long look as Bishop began to tell them of the people of Earth—the Thirteenth Tribe.
     
  14. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Ripley woke with a start. The bunks were full, and the Marines were snoring—Newt was sleeping curled up with a stuffed bear that the Agathons had somehow scrounged up for her.

    She rubbed her eyes.

    “Where’s Burke?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “That obvious,” Zarek said with a snort.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Good night, Mister Burke.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “You could have gone to Roslin.”

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

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

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

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

    “Mister Zarek,” Adama’s voice stopped him and he turned around. To see the hand that Adama was extending towards him. He drew in a breath and he took it, and they shook.
     
  15. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Episode 16: A New Dawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “What about Anubis and Scorpia?”

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

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

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

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

    “Within reason, Commander,” Adama answered.

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

    “Once again, within reason, Commander,” Adama said with a sigh. “Now, if you will come with me to CIC, Commander Adama and Colonel Caldwell are waiting for the hand-over. I had Jayne box up and ship over all of your belongings, so you can start your job on this ship immediately.”
     
  16. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Laura Roslin stepped forward to the podium on Cloud Nine. She smiled at the reporters (and the members of the Quorum who stood in the audience), but the smile did not reach her eyes. The guests from the Thirteenth Tribe had managed to repair her jaws (over the objections of Doctor Cottle!) and remove the wires that had kept her silent—their ‘bone-fusing’ gear had repaired the fractures, but she was still in desperate pain. And she was beginning to feel the first symptoms of withdrawal from the chamalla.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And the resounding thunder from the crowd was as if a bomb had just gone off.
     
  17. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “This is not a happy ship, Commander,” Sam said as she took the bottle of Necrosia that Mathias offered her in his quarters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sam scanned over the piece of paper and she snorted.

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

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

    “Damn straight, Sir.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  18. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    “Thank you for coming here, Madame Ripley,” said Admiral Adama and he waved a hand at one of the stuffed chairs in his quarters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ripley laughed. “My life is nothing but problems, Admiral. I’ll live.”
     
  19. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Tamara Mayne looked up as the visitor to the surgery stopped at her bed. And she smiled. “Hello, Hamish,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Sure,” said Vasquez.

    “Right on,” answered Hudson.

    “I think I will,” laughed Gorman.

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

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

    “Seventy-two long enough, Ripley?”

    “I hope so,” she said. “At least it will slow things down. And can I get another cup?”
     
  20. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Rear Admiral Jenna Hayes pursed her lips as she considered the extremely large fleet of ships centered in the projection. Seventy-five ships in total. She shook her head in disbelief—it was unprecedented. There had been no warning, no hyper-space distortion, just a gamma-ray burst when each ship had arrived in the star system named Beowulf.

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

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

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

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

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

    “Admiral?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Same class?”

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

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

    “Comm. Send a reply,” she said.

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

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

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

    “Yes, ma’am.”

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

    Jenna winced. “Tie both of them in—let’s defuse this while we can,” she said and she carefully thought about just how to do that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

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