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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:08 am 
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Thank you for posting these kurt, if your reading this Mia, Ava and Mitzi I’m sending my love and best wishes for your recovery xx

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:18 pm 
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I'm posting these for Mia; any formatting errors are my own and not hers.

Aboard the Gunstar Hera, two thousand years ago.

Kurt nodded to Banks who nodded back, pick up his headset and spoke thoughout the ship “Action station, set condition one throughout the fleet! All gun crews to your posts, all pilots to your planes!”

Kurt stared down at the plotter and stared intently at the number of survivors they had managed to gather together as the minutes ticked away. Thirty-five thousand people out of a civilisation spanning massive swaths of space numbering billions of citizens. “I won’t fail you. I won’t let our culture go quietly into the dark night” Kurt muttered to himself.

Dimly, the admiral was aware of a voice call out “The fleet is ready to jump. The clock is started, we jump in thirty seconds!”

“All hands, secure everything and prepare to jump!” Banks added over the 1MC, his voice probably going out across the fleet Kurt thought.

The admiral braced himself, until finally the jump came. He’d experienced thousands of jumps over his long career, but none of them had compared to this. Time and space expanded and contracted as the ships jumped, but the pain lancing through his body was agonising. He realised that he shouldn’t even be feeling this, but this was no normal jump. The usually instantaneous method of travel was violating the laws of space-time in a way they never had before. Kurt felt as if he couldn’t breathe until mercifully it was over. Some consoles sparked and threatened to die. The lights and screens dimmed before slowly coming back to strength.

“Report!” Kurt managed to gasp out. “Status of fleet and position…”

“DRADIS contact!” the watch officer practically screamed out. “One ship, range twenty-five hundred!”

“I need optics, show it to me!” Kurt ordered as he stood back up to his full height. One of the screens above him changed to show a view outside the ship. “By the gods…” Kurt muttered as he took in the sight before him.

Aboard the Gunstar Atlantis

“Jump complete” the young lieutenant seated at the watch officer’s station announced. He fell silent for a few seconds before adding “Nav fixes confirm we’re bang on target. We’re in high orbit of the world they call Troubadour.”

“Good” Mitzi answered from her side of the main plotter. She looked across to her lover, Commander Andrew “Joker” Ledger. The commanding officer of one of the latest ships of the line, the new Battlestar Galactica had chosen to take this much smaller Gunstar out with a mostly untested crew to scout the world that lay below them.

Chief Petty Officer Mitzi Bell looked into Andrew’s eyes, for support and guidance. Andrew simply smiled at her and nodded, signalling that she should act as she thought best.

Mitzi took a deep breath before she ordered “Launch Argo One-One and One-Three, let’s get my flight deck cleared.”

“Launch Argo’s, aye” the watch officer answered.

Andrew saw that Mitzi was unsure about what to do next so stepped in to help the love of his life. “Have the Argo’s launch their Vipers and establish a CAP around us. Launch two Roc’s and a pair of Raptor’s to start scanning the planet with the Argo’s. I want a complete survey of this world done as soon as we can” Ledger ordered.

“Have them look for residual contaminants in the atmosphere. Radiation, bio and chem weapon signatures, that sort of thing” Mitzi added, getting into the full swing of being a ships XO.

Within minutes the Argo’s had cleared the flight deck and the Roc’s and Raptors were being loaded up onto the runway from the hanger deck. Before any of the support craft could launch the watch officer made an announcement. “DRADIS signatures … ships jumping in! I count ten … no, twelve … twenty ships!”

“ID them” Mitzi snapped out quickly.

“Set condition one throughout the ship” Andrew ordered as his eyes went to the DRADIS screens above him. “Secure the Roc’s and Raptors. Get what Vipers we have ready to launch. Signal the Argo’s and instruct them to launch their fighters and turn to screen us.”

The crew rushed to carry out their orders, the inexperienced members worrying that they were about to be fired upon. Long seconds dragged by into a minute before the watch officer could announce “The Argo’s have shifted position, their Vipers will be launching in a few seconds, the pilots were already with their planes and at alert.”

“The Argo crews were ready for anything when they launched. That’s why I chose those people for Argo duty, they anticipate what could happen and make sure they’re ready for it” Andrew spoke to Mitzi. “Half of command is thinking ahead, wondering ‘if I do this, what could happen?’. As a result, we’re prepared for something that could hurt us. Command crews learned that the hard way when the Cylons hit us.”

Mitzi nodded her understanding as she replied, “That’s what I do on the hanger deck, when we’re jumping somewhere new I make sure the birds are ready in case we encounter toasters somehow way out here.”

“Same principle” Andrew stated. “Just apply that to looking at what could happen and you’ll be fine.”

“Commander, we’re … we’re being hailed by those ships. It’s coming in on what the database says is an encrypted Earth Union channel. They’re IFF’ing us for our bona fides.”

“Reply to it and transfer the hail down here” Ledger ordered as he lain his hand on the phone handset. A moment later he picked it up, took a deep calming breath and spoke “This is Commander Andrew Ledger of the Colonial Fleet of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, temporarily commanding the Gunstar Atlantis. Please identify yourself and state your intentions.”

Ledger’s eyes went back to the DRADIS screens above him and soaked in the sight of Earth Union symbols.

Seconds later, a voice answered down the slightly static crackling line “This is Admiral Kurt Feltenberger commanding the Earth Union Gunstar Hera, orbiting the planet Troubadour. Commander, we were hoping to escape the Drone force wiping out our people. I need to know why you’re commanding a Union ship, orbiting our planet.”

“Of course, Admiral” Ledger replied. “It’s a long story but I’ll condense it. We created a race called the Cylons, mechanical drones as it were. A little over fifty years ago the rebelled and we fought a twelve year long was against them before an Armistice was agreed and the disappeared behind the Armistice Line. They came back and in a sneak attack nuked to destruction our planets, our fleet and our lives. We had to rescue what survivors we could and flee. During combat an FTL blind combat jump brought us here, near a planet we found out you call Precipice. We found an orbiting shipyard and spacedock facility and had to survive there. The discovered that the planet Precipice had been nuked two thousand years previously. We discovered a number of Earth Union ships there along with the spaced crews and the remains of mechanical creatures.

We have had to incorporate those ships into our fleet. The database there told us about this planet so I took command of the Atlantis to leave the remainder of my force protecting our people.”

The line was silent for a few long moments before Kurt answered “We were orbiting this world, trying to fight off the Drone attack. We arrived too late and found the decimated remains of the defensive force here. We evacuated who we could and isolated those exposed to bio and chemical weapons. I did the only thing I could … pull the safties on the FTL drives and plot a jump a short distance, but adjust the curve so we jumped two thousand years into our future.”

“That sounds like a nightmare” Ledger answered. “I sympathise with you completely, Admiral. When the Cylons attacked the Colonies again we all lost everything. The Drone attack on your world may have been thousands of years ago, but for you it’s still a fresh wound.”

“It is” Kurt answered, his voice weary. After a moment’s silence Kurt spoke “I understand that two thousand years is an awful long time, that any claims we had to the facilities surrounding Precipice have long since gone and that they’re now yours … but would you be willing to help us? I have injured, sick and dying people over here as well as two battlestars that can only manage a single jump each.”

“Admiral, nothing would make me happier than to extend the hand of the Colonial Fleet to help you and your fellow survivors. We’re all survivors of horrors against our homes” Ledger answered. He knew he couldn’t just turn these people away, it wasn’t right to him. “I’ll have my watch officer push out coordinates that’ll take us to Precipice in one jump, that way we can all make it.”

“On behalf of the people of the Earth Union, I thank you Commander” Kurt replied. “I’d like to formally invite you to board Hera and lead us to safety.”

“It would be my honour, Admiral. I’ll be aboard shortly” Ledger answered before closing the channel.

Andrew turned to Mitzi who had been quietly speaking to the watch officer throughout this. A moment later she was finished and as she turned back to him she said “I’ve ordered a Raptor launched on marathon duty. They’ll report in to David and let him know that we’re bringing back some unexpected guests. You’re heading over there?”

“I am. The best way to encourage good relations with our new friends here is to spend time with them. Besides, this’ll give me chance to have a face-to-face with the Admiral” Andrew responded.

Mitzi nodded her understanding but before she could speak Ledger added “You’ll be in command of Atlantis until I return.”

“ME?!” Mitzi replied before calming herself. “I’m just a deck chief playing XO.”

“And I was just a pilot before having to suddenly take command of one of the most advanced battlestars ever made” Andrew responded. He walked around the plotter and placed his hand on Mitzi’s arm. “Trust me, you’ll be fine. Just think about the larger picture and you’ll do great.” Mitzi nodded her understanding so Ledger added “Have the watch officer push the jump coordinates to the fleet here when he’s done. When we signal we’re ready I want you to lead a coordinated jump back to Precipice. You’ll start the clock and we’ll jump with you.”

“I understand” Mitzi said as she squeezed Andrew’s hand.

Andrew nodded to her before saying formally and loudly “Chief Bell, you have the conn.”

“Aye, sir. I have the ship” Mitzi responded before Andrew turned and walked from CIC.

Twenty minutes later.

“Frak, she’s beautiful” Andrew muttered from his co-pilot seat of the Raptor. They were approaching the H-class Gunstar Hera.

“Couldn’t agree more, sir” the pilot answered. “By the way, the marathon duty Raptor jumped away just before we launched.”

“Good. David will know by now. Lieutenant, when we’ve touched down I want you to mingle with the other pilots and deck crew. Show off the Raptor, make a favourable impression” Ledger ordered.

“Don’t worry sir, we’ll be on our best behaviour” the pilot answered with a grin.

“That’s what worries me” Ledger responded with a grin of his own. “You forget I was there on your last leave.”

“Oh, yeah. There was that one small incident…” the pilot said innocently.

Ledger couldn’t suppress the laugh that burst forth from his lips. The pair restrained themselves and calmed down once they heard the ECO talking to Hera’s LSO for landing instructions.

Minutes later the Raptor touched down on the flight deck and was immediately lowered down to the hanger deck. Once the inner airlock doors opened, the Raptor was wheeled forwards.

“Wow. Looks like they’ve pulled out the stops” the pilot remarked as he started on the post-flight checklist. Ledger looked up from his instruments and gasped at what he saw.

Somehow, in the ten odd minutes it had taken to get here the deck hands had managed to find a red carpet and roll it out! Admiral Feltenberger and what looked like his entire CIC staff were present. Ledger’s eyes took in their uniforms, the ankle high duty boots went well with the khaki duty uniforms.

Moments later the Raptor had been secured and the ECO popped the side hatch. Ledger stepped out onto the wing and looked Admiral Kurt Feltenberger in the eye.

“Permission to come aboard, sir?” Ledger asked formally.

“Permission happily granted” Kurt replied.

Ledger nodded his thanks and as he stepped down from the wing onto the red carpet a set of pipes sounded as Ledger was piped aboard. “Attention! Commander Atlantis, arriving!” Kurt announced loudly. As one Kurt’s crew snapped off shard salutes.

Ledger returned the salute and when they had all dropped their arms to their sides Ledger extended his once again for Kurt to shake. “Admiral, it’s an honour.”

“Believe me, the honour is mine, and ours” Feltenberger said as he gestured to his crew. “Commander, it was nothing more than fanciful hope that we would survive, yet we did and we’ve encountered our long distant cousins from the Colonies.”

“I wish it were under better circumstances” Ledger admitted as Kurt gestured for the pair to walk forwards, Andrew assumed their destination was the CIC.

Minutes later Kurt led Andrew into a CIC that was just as advanced as his own. With state-of-the-art consoles running the perimeter of the room with a high-tech touchscreen main plotter in the centre, Ledger suddenly felt a pang for his own CIC despite the fact he had only been there a couple hours earlier.

“Admiral, Atlantis has sent over the jump coordinates and they said they’ll be starting the clock in sixty seconds” the voice of Kurt’s watch officer announced.

Kurt gestured for Ledger to stand at the plotter as he answered “Very well. Make sure the fleet’s synced and ready to jump as one.”

“We’ve brought the main orbital facilities fully operational” Ledger started explaining to Kurt, just to give him an idea what to expect once the jump was done. “There were a number of Union ships there, gunstars and the Battlestar Scimitar. I dispatched Scimitar and a pair of gunstars for escorts along with some of my Colonial assets to jump to Kobol. That was the original destination of our group before we got split up. I’m positive the rest continued there … but I sent them nine months ago now. They should be there by now, but it’s still a long time before I know if anyone survived.”

“You did the right thing” Kurt reassured Ledger. “You got separated, it happens. The important thing is that as soon as your civilians were safe you sent forces out to look for your missing comrades.”

“It still haunts me that we got separated” Ledger announced, his voice quiet. He looked Kurt in the eye before continuing “When the war started I was just a Viper pilot assigned to Galactica. She’s a brand new ship and was being built on a mobile dockyard. It was easier to transfer that way to transfer the ship around the colonies for the components built on different planets than try to get everything to her. We had to scramble to get the ship operational and because I was the most senior unrestricted line officer aboard, I had to take command. It’s … it’s been a whirlwind since then.”

“I can imagine” Kurt replied. “Don’t stress. We may be different uniforms, but we’re all soldiers at heart. We can work together and make this a home.”

“I couldn’t agree more” Ledger answered just as the watch officer announced the jump. Seconds later the fleet jumped away.

Aboard the Battlestar Galactica, at the same time.

“DRADIS contact!” the young officer at the watch officer’s station announced.

Colonel David “Canis” Briedis looked sharply up at the DRADIS screens above him out of habit. He lowered his eyes to the main plotter and saw his massively inexperienced main watch officer, Ensign Breanna Pearce manipulating the surface of the massive computer screen that made up the surface of the main plotter.

Pearce had expanded one of the open windows to further examine the new contact. Trying desperately to serve as an interim XO while the commander was off the ship, she stated “It’s a Raptor, she’s from Atlantis.”

“Raptor Three-Seven is hailing us, sir. The pilot is requesting to speak directly to you” the comm officer added.

David nodded to the woman at the comm station and adjusted the controls for his headset. Keying into the open channel David said Raptor Three-Seven, this is Galactica Actual. Veronica, what’re you doing back so soon. Problems?”

“Colonel, there’s been a new development” Lieutenant Veronica Nueva responded. A longtime friend of David and Andrew, Veronica was serving as the head of Atlantis’ Raptor force and impromptu CAG. “Almost as soon as we secured from the jump over Troubadour a fleet jumped in close to us. The short version is that they’re survivors of the Earth Union, they tinkered with their FTL drives to perform some sort of temporal jump. The Commander’s gone over to their flagship to meet with their admiral. Sir, they’re in a bad way. He’s passed out orders for those ships to receive jump coordinates for here and they’re going to jump in as one. I was detached on marathon duty so you could get ready.”

“Shit” David muttered quietly. A moment later he added “Understood, Three-Seven. Get clear of the jump-in area and hold position near us” David answered. As soon as Veronica signalled she understood and closed the line, David turned to look is acting XO in the eye. “I want Delphi to shift position and provide cover for the station should this thing go south. Have us turn so that we’ve got the most amount of batteries able to bear on those incoming ships.”

“Sir, the commander thinks they’re friendlies so why are we…” Breanna started to ask, her voice low.

“Because I’d rather be cautious. They could be lovely to the commander, but still plan to try and wipe us out and take the station. One of the things the Cylons taught us is that we can never be too cautious” David explained as the ship started to move.

“Understood, sir” Ensign Pearce answered and lowered her eyes once again to the main plotter. David waited a few heartbeats to see what she would do.

As David opened his mouth to give the order he thought Breanna should have realised by now, Pearce finally realised and ordered “Launch the Alert 5 and have the CAP move over to us. Get pilots to their planes and prepare to launch if his goes south.”


Click the link to read Lady Hecate off line in PDF, .epub, or Kindle formats: http://www.bsg94.org/downloads/index.html
Click here for the Colonial Warbook for Lady H: http://www.photobucket.com/colonial_warbook

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:20 pm 
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I'm posting this for Mia; any formatting errors are my own.

Battlestar Freedom - Part XXV (25/?)
Aboard the Battlestar Galactica, nine months after second Cylon war.

“Colonel, there’s been a new development” Lieutenant Veronica Nueva responded. A longtime friend of David and Andrew, Veronica was serving as the head of
Atlantis’ Raptor force and impromptu CAG. “Almost as soon as we secured from the jump over Troubadour a fleet jumped in close to us. The short version is that they’re survivors of the Earth Union, they tinkered with their FTL drives to perform some sort of temporal jump. The Commander’s gone over to their flagship to meet with their admiral. Sir, they’re in a bad way. He’s passed out orders for those ships to receive jump coordinates for here and they’re going to jump in as one. I was detached on marathon duty so you could get ready.”

“Shit” David muttered quietly. A moment later he added “Understood, Three-Seven. Get clear of the jump-in area and hold position near us” David answered. As soon as Veronica signalled she understood and closed the line, David turned to look is acting XO in the eye. “I want
Delphi to shift position and provide cover for the station should this thing go south. Have us turn so that we’ve got the most amount of batteries able to bear on those incoming ships.”

“Sir, the commander thinks they’re friendlies so why are we…” Breanna started to ask, her voice low.

“Because I’d rather be cautious. They could be lovely to the commander, but still plan to try and wipe us out and take the station. One of the things the Cylons taught us is that we can never be too cautious” David explained as the ship started to move.

“understood, sir” Ensign Pearce answered and lowered her eyes once again to the main plotter. David waited a few heartbeats to see what she would do.

As David opened his mouth to give the order he thought Breanna should have realised by now, Pearce finally realised and ordered “Launch the Alert 5 and have the CAP move over to us. Get pilots to their planes and prepare to launch if his goes south.”

Aboard the Gunstar Hera, ten minutes later.

“Jump complete” the watch officer announced. “The whole fleet is here, and we’re in formation.”

“Admiral, Pylades and Tisamenos report their FTL drives are down” the comm officer announced.

“It’s okay” Kurt told everyone in a firm voice as he looked Andrew in the eye. “We’ve arrived at our new home … with our new family” Kurt finished as he once again extended his hand to Ledger.

Andrew shook the offered hand and smiled as he said, “Welcome to your new home and family, my brother.” The CIC crew cheered in jubilation. Kurt continued to shake Ledger’s hand as tears formed in his eyes.

“Thank you, brother” Kurt replied.

Ledger smiled at the man he knew would very quickly become one of his closest friends. As the two let go of each other’s hand Andrew asked, “Could I have an open channel to Galactica, please?”

“Of course,” Kurt answered as the stand-in XO adjusted the display on the main plotter to show live-feed from the ships optical sensors. Ledger and Kurt looked at the display to see Galactica. “Wow. She … she’s beautiful” Kurt said.

“She is, and I can’t wait to show her off to you” Ledger answered just before the comm officer announced a channel was open.

Kurt pressed a few commands into the display to transfer the line to him before he took off his headset and offered it to Andrew.

Ledger put the offered headset on spoke into it. “This is Commander Ledger contacting the Battlestar Galactica. Galactica, please respond.”

A few seconds later David answered “Commander, this is Galactica. How’s everything going?”

“Everything’s good” Ledger answered. “Don’t panic David, I’m not under duress or being held against my will. We’ve encountered survivors of the Drones holocaust against the Earth Union. They’re in the same position we were when the toasters attacked us. They’re good people, and they’re our new family.”

“That’s good to hear” David answered. Andrew could hear the relief in his friend’s voice.

“David, we’ve got two battlestars here, the Pylades and Tisamenos. They’re carrying some survivors that were exposed to bio and chem weapons. Their FTL drives are offline and they’ve taken massive damage. We need to get them into drydocks for repairs. If any of those Drones are still around, I’d prefer to have as many ships as possible ready for defence” Ledger explained.

Kurt stood silently by his new friend, nodding his approval at Andrew’s decisions and assessments.

Ledger continued “Mitzi is still in command of Atlantis. I want to set up a roving CAP working with the Union ships. I’m going to need you and whoever you’re using as XO to hustle over to Atlantis and have Mitzi sent back over to Galactica to serve as my XO. My friend, I’m sorry for all the shuffling around constantly, but with so many ships and so few command crews I’ve got no choice.”

“Understood, sir. It’s okay Andrew, don’t stress. I’ve got a recommendation. I think we should have Colonel Christopher Reynolds’ Delphi work with one group of Union gunstars and push Lieutenant Veronica Nueva up to Major. We’ll give her Atlantis and she can work with another group.”

Ledger saw Kurt make a ‘May I?’ gesture so he nodded his approval. Kurt picked up a spare headset and after keying into the frequency he added “Colonel Briedis, this is Admiral Kurt Feltenberger of the Gunstar Hera. Colonel, I’ve got a pair of crippled battlestars minus their command crews. If the Commander is agreeable then I’d like to extend an invitation to you to come over and take command of one. It’d show solidarity between our crews and give us a higher chance of survival.”

The line was silent for a moment before David answered “I’d be honoured, Admiral. Which ship would you like me to oversee?”

Pylades” Kurt answered immediately. “She’s lost her Viper wing. In addition two of her four gun wings have been blown away. She’s empty of missiles, the barrels of her guns are warped from over use and her sublight, FTL and targeting DRADIS is a mess … but she’s still the better off ship.”

“As soon as the Commander and Chief Bell get back over here, I’ll hustle over. I’ll see what personnel I can drag and we’ll get her ship-shape. Commander, with your permission I’ll get the yards started on constructing fresh missiles for her, at the very least we can give her some teeth back” David replied.

“Approved” Ledger stated. “I’ll be coming aboard with Admiral Feltenberger soon to show off the ship. Pylades is yours David, and consider yourself promoted to Commander. Good hunting” Ledger added with a smile and closed the channel before David could object.

As the commander removed the headset, he saw Kurt’s curious look. Andrew explained “if there was one person more reluctant to command his own ship than me, it’s David. He’s more than ready and now he knows he’s got no choice.”

“Nicely played” Kurt admitted. He was silent for a moment then motioned to the top of the main plotter. “While we’re moving to dock, shall we work on ship deployments?”

“Yes, let’s” Andrew replied with a smile and set to work with Kurt.

Aboard the Battlestar Atlantia, nine months after Cylon Attack on Colonies.

“Anything yet?” Commander Lesley Russ asked wearily as he stepped into his CIC.

“Nothing so far” his XO, Major Benjamin “Ladyman” Tracy replied from his side of the main plotter.

“We should never have jumped out” Russ remarked. “It’s been six hours, Freedom should have gotten to us by now.”

“What’s the latest on Commander Sellers?” Tracy asked, hoping to take his CO’s mind off the probable loss of the battlestar.

“He’s still in surgery” Russ responded. “Doc says he’ll let me know when they’re done, but even if he survives it’ll be at least a year before he’s ready for anything more than light duty. The injuries he took at his age are just making this far worse than it would otherwise have been…”

“DRADIS contacts!” Crewman Leyana Heller announced from her watch officers station. “I’ve got … I can’t tell if this is one massive contact or two docked together…”

“They’re hailing us” a voice added from the comm station. “It’s coming in on a secure Colonial Frequency. It’s … sir, it’s Freedom.”

“I’ll take it here” Russ answered as he snatched up the handset. He waited impatiently for the telltale click of the line going live before he spoke “This is Atlantia Actual. Freedom, please respond.”

Atlantia Actual, this is Freedom Actual. Good to see you” Commander Harry Johnson responded.

Russ released a sigh of relief before he stated “You gave us quite a scare. What’s happening over there?”

“It wasn’t a Cylon contact. Gods, if only it was so straightforward” Harry said with a sigh of his own. “The Viper squadron you left us ID’d the target as a battlestar. It’s an old Arvak-class, the Aslvid. She was a ship commandeered by privateer forces. The long story short is that they tried to dock and take us … but the Marines were able to turn the tables and take that ship. We synced what was left of our FTL systems to theirs and jumped here.”

“At least you’re alive” Russ answered. “By the gods, I can’t believe that we’ve got to deal with these ass-hole privateers as well as the toasters. Gods, you’d think that after everything that everyone with a pulse would be able to stand together.”

“Not going to happen” Harry responded. “There’s too much deep-seated hatred between us all that the toasters coming along means nothing to some people.”

Russ knew that unfortunately Harry was right. There were some people that were just so self-absorbed and single-minded that the end of the world’s meant nothing to them. Russ smiled to himself before adding “We’ve got everyone off Kobol, and now you’re here the fleet is complete. It’s time we started jumping to our new home.”

“Erm … where exactly would that be?” Harry asked. “I thought Kobol was the plan. Where’s Galactica and the other ships? What the hell happened over the last nine months?”

“All your questions will be answered real soon” Russ replied calmly. “I’ve got the other ship commanders shuttling over to Atlantia for a commander’s briefing now. I understand Freedom is in a real bad shape but if you can attend…” Russ trailed off his question come statement.

“I’ll be over” Harry replied. “If you can send a Raptor over I can have Captain Tina Bellataria take the conn for the short time I’ll be aboard Atlantia, she’s here in CIC standing in as a XO, she’s the most experienced person aboard other than Lieutenant Barbara Brass, but I’d rather keep Babs with her Vipers in case they’re needed” Johnson explained.

“Excellent, I’ll have a Raptor launch now. Make it happen with Bella and I’ll see you soon. Atlantia Actual, out” Russ stated before he closed the channel.

Standing at his main plotter, Commander Harry Johnson slowly replaced the wireless handset into its cradle. Slowly he heard the creak and groan of metal. A shudder ran through the ship, the deck trembling slightly.

Harry felt fear creeping up through him. Turning to the young engineer at the damage control board he asked “What was that. What’s the ship’s status?”

“Sir, I…” the terrified man replied as he studied the board. Slowly he turned back to Harry and finished “I’m starting to get red lights in the ships structural members!”

“No” Harry muttered quietly, the words barely escaping his lips.

“Sir, the ship…” Tina said across the main plotter, concern lacing her words. “What are we going to…” she continued until a fresh tremor ran through the ship. Move violent this time, everything shook.

“The structural members are starting to either buckle or fail. The ship … she’s taken too much damage. She’s dying” Harry replied. He wiped a tear from the corner of his eye before he said in a louder, firmer voice “Helm, bring us to a full stop”.

The helmsman barely had time to reply as Harry picked up the wireless handset again and punched in the code to put his voice shipwide. Taking a deep breath Harry announced “Attention all personnel, this is the commander. All hands, evacuate the ship and report immediately to Aslvid. This is an urgent situation, evacuate the ship. Launch all Vipers and other craft immediately. All pilots, get your ships over to Aslvid immediately. Be calm, be swift and be strong. We’ll get through this. Johnson, out”.

Almost immediately after he replaced the handset he looked at the shocked faces of his stand-in CIC crew.

Snapping out of her fearful trance Bella snapped “You heard the commander! Secure your stations and abandon ship. Move it!”

The crew quickly entered commands to their stations before disconnecting their laptops from the patchwork consoles and rushed from CIC.

“Thank you” Harry said to Bella before another tremor hit. “I … I don’t think I’ve got the strength…”

“Sir, it’s okay. I know you love this ship but right now we’ve got to survive” Bella answered as she stepped around to the other side of the plotter. She took Harry’s hand
in her own and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “We’ll get through this together” she added with a smile.

Harry smiled back at her and nodded. He took one last look around CIC before he took Bella gently by the arm and the pair left CIC.

Within minutes Freedom was empty of life. She sat in space, her decks empty as the remaining systems failed. Quietly she continued to die.

“Report, please” Harry asked as he stepped into the CIC of Aslvid. Once again a Colonial Fleet crew manned her CIC, something that would have made Harry smile if he could have summoned the emotional strength.

“The ship is secure” an Ensign replied from the navigator/Dradis station, otherwise known throughout the fleet as the Watch Officer. “All systems are operational and the ship is ready for duty” she added.

“Excellent” Harry answered. “What’s the status of the ships crew?”

“They’re being held in one of the empty cargo bays. They’re under armed guard and none of them have caused any problems yet. The engineers have rigged out a makeshift system to fill the bay with knock-out gas that can be triggered at any time should they cause a ruckus” the Ensign reported.

“Good. Comms please get me Atlantia Actual on the line, I need another conversation with her commander” Harry said, trying desperately to keep the crushing sadness he felt out of his voice. Moments later Harry held the handset to his ear and heard his friend speak.

“Harry. Are you okay?” Commander Lesley Russ asked.

“Ticking along” Harry replied. Russ was concerned desperately for his friend. Johnson added “I’ll be over soon. We’ve had to completely evacuate Freedom. We started to get red lights in her structural members before severe tremors racked the ship. I’ve got everyone and all our remaining small craft over here to Aslvid.”

“That’s excellent thinking” Russ answered, trying to get his friends confidence back up. Russ knew losing a ship was one of the worst things a ships commander could possibly go through. “May I suggest you carry out the plan we originally came up with and come on over here. We’ll have a drink and a talk.”

“That’s what I was going to do” Johnson answered. “I just wanted to keep you apprised. We’re … Les, we’re going to have to cut loose from Freedom now. We can’t risk still being docked if her back breaks…”

“Cut yourself loose and I’ll sort something out” Russ replied. “We won’t just leave her here, she deserves more than that. I’ll think of something.”

“Thank you. I’ll be over shortly. Aslvid Actual, out” Harry said before putting down the handset.

Johnson looked across the main plotter and asked “Did your Roc get over here okay?”

“Yes, sir. My ECO took the controls and got her over here. He brought the remaining deck hands and as much kit as they could load, too” Bella responded.

“Good. I’m taking a Raptor over to Atlantia for a Commander’s briefing. I’ll fly myself, I’m rated and could use the flight to try and relax” Harry said with a small, forced smile. “While I’m over there, you’re in command here. You okay with that?”

“Definitely” Bella responded with a nod. “I’ll keep everything good.”

“Excellent. Captain, you have the con” Harry stated formally before turning and walking from CIC.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:49 pm 
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Battlestar Freedom - Part XXVI (26/?)
Aboard the Battlestar Aslvid, nine months after second Cylon war.

“Comms please get me
Atlantia Actual on the line, I need another conversation with her commander” Harry said, trying desperately to keep the crushing sadness he felt out of his voice. Moments later Harry held the handset to his ear and heard his friend speak.

“Harry. Are you okay?” Commander Lesley Russ asked.

“Ticking along” Harry replied. Russ was concerned desperately for his friend. Johnson added “I’ll be over soon. We’ve had to completely evacuate
Freedom. We started to get red lights in her structural members before severe tremors racked the ship. I’ve got everyone and all our remaining small craft over here to Aslvid.”

“That’s excellent thinking” Russ answered, trying to get his friends confidence back up. Russ knew losing a ship was one of the worst things a ships commander could possibly go through. “May I suggest you carry out the plan we originally came up with and come on over here. We’ll have a drink and a talk.”

“That’s what I was going to do” Johnson answered. “I just wanted to keep you apprised. We’re … Les, we’re going to have to cut loose from
Freedom now. We can’t risk still being docked if her back breaks…”

“Cut yourself loose and I’ll sort something out” Russ replied. “We won’t just leave her here, she deserves more than that. I’ll think of something.”

“Thank you. I’ll be over shortly.
Aslvid Actual, out” Harry said before putting down the handset.

Johnson looked across the main plotter and asked “Did your Roc get over here okay?”

“Yes, sir. My ECO took the controls and got her over here. He brought the remaining deck hands and as much kit as they could load, too” Bella responded.

“Good. I’m taking a Raptor over to
Atlantia for a Commander’s briefing. I’ll fly myself, I’m rated and could use the flight to try and relax” Harry said with a small, forced smile. “While I’m over there, you’re in command here. You okay with that?”

“Definitely” Bella responded with a nod. “I’ll keep everything good.”

“Excellent. Captain, you have the con” Harry stated formally before turning and walking from CIC.

Aboard the Battlestar Atlantia, thirty minutes later.

Harry relaxed back in the think padded chair and took the glass of scotch Russ offered him. The other ship commanders already were relaxed with their drinks.

“Harry, I’m so sorry about Freedom. Truly, my friend” Russ stated as he took his seat next to Johnson.

“Thanks” Harry answered. “I … I’ve only ever been posted to that ship. She’s my home. I … I don’t know what to do now. Commander Sellers trusted me with that ship…”

“Stop right there” Russ answered and leaned forwards. “Andrew is like a father to me. He told you to take Freedom and do what you could. Harry, that ship took punishment that she had no reason to survive. You held her together and did exactly what you should. The structural members failed because of the damage she took before she was handed over to you. You did everything right.”

“Then why do I feel like I did everything wrong?” Harry asked quietly.

Theresa “Gracie” Grazianho, commander of the Battlestar Scimitar leaned forward to Johnson and answered “Harry, sometimes you do everything right and still lose. If anyone would have told me the damage Freedom would have taken I would have never thought that she would survive that final manoeuvre to ram the basestar. She just took too much, but she also gave so much to keep you alive.”

Peter Cussler, Commander of the Battlestar Cobalt and one of the most experienced men in the fleet turned his seat to face Johnson. Also leaning towards the younger man he spoke “Harry, I’ve known Andrew Sellers a long time and I can tell you, he wouldn’t feel disappointed in you. Like me, he’d never have expected Freedom to stay together this long. The job you did was nothing short of amazing.”

Cussler took a deep breath, smiled and added “I’ve got a friend in the civilian fleet here. He’s ex-fleet and runs a decommissioned Block 0 Grapple-class repairstar. Now, he converted her to bulk carry cargo on her deck. I’ve spoken to him and he’s asked around the fleet. He’s offloading all his cargo containers as we speak and distributing them throughout the fleet to clear his deck. With her size she can just about squeeze Freedom on, but it can be done. He’s going to hard-dock with Freedom so she can come to our new home with us. She won’t be left behind.”

Harry wiped the tears from his eyes and smiled. “Thank you” he managed to answer. “All of you, thank you.”

“You’re family to us, Harry” Russ stated. “We do everything we can for family.”

Minutes later everyone had calmed, refilled their glasses and the briefing started in earnest. Russ explained to everyone where Galactica and her fleet had ended up and what they had found. A new home, safe far away from Cylons. He explained everything with the others from Freedom’s fleet asking questions here and there to clarify certain points. By the time he had finished everyone from the failed Kobol settlement were in total agreement about their plan and their new home.

Fuel and provisions were discussed and planned. With what they had they could all just about make it. It would take them months, but they would make it. Finally conversation turned to what gossip was going around both fleets and lighter topics. When they finally finished they turned to see Harry Johnson asleep in his seat, his exhaustion finally overcoming him.

Aboard the Battlestar Mercury, two weeks before second Cylon war.

DeSawnea knew the man and knew that Vought’s year had been the last he had taught. As soon as she mentioned the officer the other members in her CIC would have nothing about he immediately knew the issue she was having … and the reason she wanted such an imposing man as Deveux on the other side of her main plotter.

“Consider it done” DeSawnea said immediately. He thought only for a split second before he said “Lieutenant, put me on the speakers.”

“Understood” Katie answered and transferred his voice to the ships speakers, letting everyone in the CIC hear.

As soon as the line clicked a second time DeSawnea added “Lieutenant, I don’t know how long this search is going to take. Hopefully a matter of days, but it could conceivably stretch into weeks. That’s the worse-case scenario, but if it is what happens then we need to make things a little more official over there. Lieutenant Vought, you are immediately promoted to Major. I feel fully justified in overruling Fleet regulations based on us requiring a command crew for a battlestar in unknown space with unknown dangers. I know you’re not expecting this but you were up for promotion to Captain anyway. I’m sending Captain Deveux over to serve as your xo. I want you to take what actions you feel appropriate to get a working command team together. That’s all, Mercury Actual out.”

DeSawnea looked at Nicola Hunnam and said “Lieutenant, I need you to get Ricky Deveux up here on the double, and get me Governor Cartwright on the line immediately.”

Aboard the Battlestar Mercury, two weeks before second Cylon war.

Megaera Actual. What can I do for you, Commander?” Governor Cartwright’s voice came down the line.

“Governor, we have a slight issue over on Indra” DeSawnea answered. He spent a few minutes laying out the issue Katie Vought was having. When he finished explaining he added “I had her put me on speakers so the CIC crew could hear me. I’ve promoted her effective immediately to Major. I know that Fleet Headquarters back on Picon have to approve promotions and that she shouldn’t jump ranks in promotion outside of a full-scale war, but it’s done. She was up for promotion to Captain anyway, it was just a formality of BuPers cutting the paperwork. I need her to have that rank and the formal power behind it to allow her to cut through all the bullshit over there. She’s asked for Lieutenant Ricky Deveux as her xo so I’ve promoted him to Captain. I spoke to him a moment ago and promoted him before I sent him on his way over there.”

“I only have one question. Are they both experienced enough to carry the responsibility of those ranks with them?” Cartwright asked. DeSawnea knew that she didn’t mean anything insulting by the question, it was just something she needed to ask.

“Without doubt” Robbie replied. “I’m just worried about the fallout from this back home and them having the ranks removed from them” DeSawnea said.

“I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of them both when they came over to Alberio to ferry me to Mercury. Don’t worry, I’ve still got plenty of friends … and enough push-weight in the Admiralty to make sure this sticks and there’s no negative blowback. I’ll send a message to them immediately telling them what happened and that I support your decision completely. Maybe I could attach it to you report?” Cartwright reassured him.

“I’ll have it typed up inside of ten minutes and ready to send” DeSawnea answered. “And thank you for this. I can’t believe the calibre of officers they’re churning out these days. It’s not becoming of the Fleet.”

“I’ll agree with that” Cartwright answered with a chuckle. “I’m just glad it wasn’t me taking over Indra, I’d have thrown them all in the damn brig.”

“I don’t think that occurred to Katie” DeSawnea said. He stayed silent for a moment before he asked “Megaera operating well?”

“It’s okay, but not as she should be” Cartwright answered. “I know she had been decommissioned but the ships systems are just ticking over. You can tell that this ship hasn’t had a loving crew for some time.”

“We’ll get her up to pace” DeSawnea said confidently. “That and I know you can kick anyone’s ass into getting her good again. Be safe out there.”

“You too” Cartwright answered. “Megaera Actual, out.”

Aboard the Marauder Bay, four months before second Cylon war.

“Secure that corridor!” ex-Colonel Liam Huttinsan called out loudly, the sound of gunfire rattling down the corridor. “I don’t want any of them…” he added before stopping dead in tracks. The sound of a gunshot cracked through the room, deafening in the confined space. Liam realised that his crew in the corridor had failed, they were probably dead.

Twisting around he drew his pistol from its holster and raised it as quickly as he could. The sound of more weapons fire reverberated through the room. He saw the lead Marine who had rushed into the room drop under fire from his staff. Unfortunately the other soldiers immediately behind the first avenged their comrades wounds.

A round slammed into Liam’s right shoulder, spinning him around like a child’s toy before he dropped to the deck, a bleeding hole in his shoulder. The Marines rushed into the room shouting orders, telling people to lay down their weapons or be shot. His crew, untrained and fearful of their lives immediately did as they were told. Dropping their weapons they lowered themselves to their knees, ankles crossed and hands on the back of their heads.

“I’ve got the CO” a taller, older man said as he stepped into the room, his rifle at his shoulder. Guessing he was the Marines commander Liam stammered through clenched teeth “Going to finish the job? Go ahead, put a bullet to my brain. Gods, you Fleet and government stooges are exactly what Zarek said you are. Thoughtless killers concerned only with your own power.”

“If that were the case, I’d put a bullet to you now. No, you’re going to be patched up and put in the brig where you belong. When we get home you’ll stand trial for the people you’ve killed … Liam”. The Marine knew his name! What the hell was going on here?

Liam looked the man in the eyes, fearful for the first time. In a rapid movement the marine removed his combat mask to reveal his face beneath.

“Ivan?” Liam stammered. “Ivan Burrows? But…”

“Yeah, I remember you from Oriskany, you traitorous piece of shit” Ivan answered as he hauled Liam up onto his feet. Quickly Ivan kicked the fallen pistol away and secured Liam’s hands behind his back with flexi-cuffs.

Minutes later the entire CIC crew were subdued and cuffed. Ivan turned his attention to the watch officer’s console as his radio crackled to life. His two teams were reporting in. Between the fourteen men they had secured secondary damage control and auxiliary fire control. With his own team holding the CIC, the ship was theirs.

Ivan turned to his tech specialist soldier, the young man whose father operated an identical ship to the one they were on and said “Private Laserro, get on these consoles RFN. I want the airlock at both ends secured. Once you’re done I want the thrusters operational and us moved away from Irkalla. Let’s stop them getting any more reinforcements over onto our home wagon.”

The young soldier rushed to the watch officers console and spent a few moments carefully studying the board. Finally he entered a series of commands and waited, his eyes fixed firmly on his screens. “I’m damn glad dad made me learn how to operate the damn ship” he muttered as he watched the process. As soon as the airlock doors of Marauder Bay and Irkalla were firmly closed he punched in the commands to disengage the docking arm and retract it back into its cradle.

Ivan stayed at the main plotter, careful to not look over the young man’s shoulder. Ivan could see he was nervous enough as it was without making the soldier any worse. Like someone had lit a fire under his seat Billy Laserro leapt out of his chair and rushed to the helm console. Settling himself into the chair with a thump he punched in more commands as he said “Colonel, we’re buttoned up and disengaged from Irkalla. I’m accessing helm controls now to push us away.”

“Outstanding work” Ivan said to his marine approvingly. He motioned the other marines to take up defensive positions near the entrance to CIC before turning and making his way to the damage control board. Barely a full minute passed before Ivan felt the barest rumble through the deck plating beneath his feet, a sure sign they were moving away from Irkalla. Keeping his attention on the damage control board Ivan found the controls he was looking for. The override for internal emergency bulkheads.

Ivan carefully selected all but certain bulkheads, locking down the compartments throughout the ship but at the same time leaving a clear path between CIC, secondary damage control and auxiliary fire control. For the moment, their control of the ship was secure and total.

“Colonel, the Bay-class tender we’re docked to has disengaged. It’s … it’s moving away from us on thrusters” the voice of a young man at the watch officer’s console announced.

“Excellent. Status of ships systems…?” Mya started to ask, her voice trailed off as the consoles around the room came to life.

“Secondary systems are now up and stable. As soon as that ship disengaged and moved away the computers came back up” the now-watch officer called out.

“They must have been using some sort of electronic warfare against us” Mya muttered “but how the hell did it get undetected through our firewalls…?”

Mya let that thought get filed away for later review before turning her mind back to the here and now. “I … I want a complete damage and casualty report immediately. I need to know our exact locations and status of repairs to the FTL drives. Have the chief assemble a list of components we need but don’t have if necessary and we’ll take what we need from that Bay-class ship out there.”

The inexperienced officer at the watch officers station scrambled alongside the comm officer to hand out the rapid-fired orders. Mya continued “I want confirmation that the ship is secure and all boarders are accounted for. The dead can be placed in a cargo bay, the captured are to be held under heavy guard in the brig … I don’t care if those bastards have wounded, they can get locked up alongside their traitorous friends. I need Marines freed up and sent over to that ship to assist and reinforce Colonel Burrows. Let’s move people!”

Aboard the Marauder Bay, three hours later.

“Colonel, I … I don’t know what to tell you” Chief Petty Officer Raymond Murphy said with a shake of his head. “I’ve scoured this ships engine room, FTL components and her cargo bays. Sir, the parts we need to repair Irkalla are not on this ship.”

“Gods damn it” Ivan muttered angrily. Leaning against the main plotter he asked “What about this ships FTL? Can it be repaired? If we can take this ship and use it to get home we could get help out here…”

“No, Marauder Bay needs pretty much the same destroyed components as Irkalla. If anything, this ships FTL drive is worse off than our own. There aren’t any long-range FTL capable ships aboard either, so there’s nothing we can send back to the colonies for help” Murphy answered.

“Well … well, what about buddy-tanking?” Burrows asked. “Launch a large enough force of Raptors and Phoenix’s. They give each other fuel until they’ve got just enough to sustain them. They wait in space and wait for retrieval…”

“Sir, with respect … that’s suicide for the crews. We’re six hundred light years from home. I think that even if we launched every FTL capable craft from both ships we’d still fall well short of the colonies” Murphy interrupted again.

“I know. I know, chief” Ivan answered exasperatedly. Looking around the CIC Ivan surveyed the status of the ship for perhaps the tenth time in the last five minutes. As reflexes and experience of commanding a ship came back to him Ivan asked “Other than the FTL drive being FUBAR, what’s the status of the rest of the ship, chief?”

“We’re actually looking pretty good. Life-support wasn’t damaged or compromised so we’re good on that front. The tyllium storage bunkers are intact and a little over half full. Embarked-craft wise, we’re carrying quite the mix” Murphy replied.

“Care to define that, chief?” Ivan asked with interest.

“Certainly, sir” Murphy said with a smile. Ivan could tell his deck chief was enjoying drawing out the suspense. “We’re carrying nine Raptors, all Cylon War configuration … with the glazed aft and rear-mounted turret. Someone refitted their FTL drives but I’m not willing to vouch for the capability of those things until my people can get them stripped down and checked over. There are five Phoenix’s, all of the twin-engine lighter transport version, not our four-engine babies. There’s a trio of Patrol Craft and best of all … two squadrons worth of Vipers. They’re old, Mark-IV’s but they’re working Vipers.”

“Shame we don’t have pilots for them” Ivan answered. He nodded to the chief before adding “Excellent work so far, chief. Right now I need you to focus on embarked craft. See what condition they’re in and if you can get them up to operational standards. I need to report in to Irkalla and give the Colonel the bad news.”

Aboard the Warstar Irkalla. An hour later.

“So there’s nothing we can use to get Irkalla moving again?” Mya asked, speaking into the headset she wore.

“Not at FTL” Ivan answered. “I agree that disabling the Marauder Bay was essential at the time to stop them jumping away with the ship … and us still on it, but it’s cost our ticket home.”

“We’ll find a way” Mya answered, conviction firm in her voice. “I’m going to order the launch of scouts, they can try to find us a liveable world where we can take up orbit. We’ll be able to start on repairs … maybe even mine metal ore if we can find some to try to make components we need…”

“Sounds like a plan” Ivan said, trying to sound reassuring. “If we’re able to find a world then how’re we going to get there? FTL is out of the question, so...”

“If it’s outside of realistic sublight range then we’ll have to go subluminal” Mya said quietly.

Ivan let out a long sigh and leaned against the main plotter. “That … that’s quite the idea” Ivan said. He paused for a moment before adding “We’d be sitting pretty on the ship whilst years pass for the people outside of our hull…”

“This is all academic” Mya said suddenly. “We don’t know if there’s even a liveable world within range. If there is then it could only be a few weeks away for us … months for the rest of the galaxy. If not then we’re just as screwed” Mya added.

“I agree. If there’s a world out there that can sustain us then it’s realistically our only chance” Ivan answered. “Do you want us to start sending out scouting parties?”

“Not just yet, I want a full report on your craft from the chief first. We also need to ascertain exactly what the status is of that ship you’re on crew … and who are the traitors amongst our own crew” Mya replied. Their entire world had been turned upside-down and inside-out within a matter of hours. The pair knew that right now, the only thing they could do was focus on the safety of their people.

Aboard the Battlestar Indra, eight days before second Cylon war.

“Major, I think we’ve got something” Captain Ricky Deveux announced to Major Katie Vought as she stepped into CIC.

“Then by all means, don’t keep me in suspense” Katie answered as she made her way to the plotter.

With a smile Ricky said “Raptor One-Eleven has detected two ships in orbit of the ninth planet. No confirmation on exactly who they are yet, but…”

“But it could be Irkalla” Katie replied. “That doesn’t account for who the other ship is…”

“Incoming priority comm!” called out the comm officer. “It’s from Raptor One-Eleven.”

“On speakers” Katie ordered as she finally reached the plotter.

Silence engulfed the room for a moment until the Raptor pilots voice could be heard as the garbled transmission burst from the speakers. “ndra … roaching ships … ing … vy fi … est assis”.

“Can you get that cleared up?” Katie snapped.

“No, ma’am. I … the transmission has gone now. I couldn’t get it cleared up” Ensign Melanie Lloyd answered from her comm station.

“Something’s wrong” Katie said quietly to Ricky. “That transmission shouldn’t be garbled. There’s something wrong over there.”

“I’ll dispatch more Raptors to the area…” Ricky started, but was stopped by Katie.

“No. No, more Raptors would just be vulnerable to whatever’s happened.” Vought only had to think for a moment before she ordered in a louder voice “Plot a combat jump to the Raptor’s location. Sound action stations and prepare to recover Raptor One-Eleven. Comm, send a data-burst back to Mercury. Include the transmission we received and that we’re going after the Raptor.”

The crew scrambled to carry out their orders, moments later they were ready. If any experienced officers had been in CIC they would have recommended that the Indra jump close to the Raptor and assess the situation, not jump straight to them. Learning the hard way would for the crew of Indra be a cruel way to start the day.

Aboard the Battlestar Mercury. Moments later.

“Commander” Lieutenant Nicola Hunnam called out as she rushed from her station to the main plotter. Holding a piece of paper out for DeSawnea she said “Battlestar Indra reports that they’ve received a garbled transmission from one of their Raptors near the ninth planet in the system. They … they report that they’ve since lost communication with the Raptor and they’re jumping to their location.”

“Oh, frak” DeSawnea muttered. It had been a massive gamble, putting two officers in command of a battlestar when they weren’t even used to CIC duty … especially when he’d reassured Governor Cartwright that the pair could shoulder the responsibility of that ship.

Standing a little straighter DeSawnea ordered “Attempt to contact the Indra immediately and order them to hold position and wait for assistance…”

“Commander, the Indra has already jumped” the comm officer interrupted DeSawnea.

Closing his eyes tight for a moment Robbie said “Sound action stations and prepare to jump the ship to Indra. Comm, notify the Durga, Cygnus and Alberio what we’re doing, and that Colonel Swann is in command of the group until we return. Also, send a data-burst to the Megaera and let Governor Cartwright what’s happening. Let’s move, people.”

“Jump complete” Lieutenant Hunnam announced. The DRADIS screens started to whoosh as the system scanned the area. About to look up at the screens above his head DeSawnea prepared to pass out orders, right up to the moment his watch officer shocked him into a momentary silence.

“DRADIS is … wait … DRADIS contacts! Two main targets and multiple fighter-sized. They … they’ve engaged the Battlestar Indra!” the watch officer called out, unable to keep the surprise out of her voice.

“Identify” Colonel Rosalie Moore from her side of the main plotter immediately.

“Four squadrons of what the warbook’s identifying as Mark-IV Vipers … and two Bay-class tenders. They’re ID’ing as the Bandit Bay and Renegade Bay … warbook says they were retired to the boneyard ten years ago” Hunnam added.

“All guns, clear for action. Target the ship causing Indra the most hassle, all guns that can bear are to fire at will. Launch Vipers and have them engage the hostile fighters” DeSawnea snapped. His crew were already moving to carry out his orders before he had even finished passing them out, exactly like the well-oiled machine they had become over the years.

Viper pilots, already with their planes thanks to calling the crew to Action Stations and giving them time to man their posts before they jumped were already in their birds, being pushed into the launch tubes.

“Targeting solutions obtained. All port batteries targeted on Renegade Bay. Firing in five … four … three … two … one. Batteries commencing firing!” the man at the master weapons console announced. One-meter bore shells immediately spat from the barrels of the ships gun turrets, hurling sixty-tonne shells out at seven-thousand five hundred metres a second. The armour on the Bay-class tenders were absolutely no match for the kinetic energy transferred when those shells hit home.

Aboard Battlestar Indra, CIC.

“Come thirty degrees to starboard, protect the port flightpod from their fire” Katie Vought ordered loudly over the sound of explosions. “All batteries that can bear on Bandit Bay switch to salvo fire. Get the point-defence batteries back online now.”

“Incoming wave of missiles. Twenty-four in total” Lieutenant Julie Fairbrass called out from the watch officer’s station.

“That’s a reduction from last time” Captain Ricky Deveux added “that’s a lot less than their last salvo.”

“It is, but they’re still pounding us…” Katie started.

“DRADIS contact!” Julie called out. “It’s … it’s the Battlestar Mercury! They’re engaging the Renegade Bay.”

“That’s our shot” Katie replied. “Maintain salvo fire. Status of Viper launch tubes?”

“Hanger deck reports another three minutes before the mag launchers are back online. We still can’t launch fighters” Julie answered.

“Then let’s change the beat of this dance” Katie said, grasping at what she knew. “Notify the Mercury that we’re going full ECM, narrow-beam focus on the Bandit Bay. Watch officer, make it happen. Helm, bring us around, nose-on-nose with Bandit, time to bring the bow guns into play.”

“We frakked up, didn’t we?” Ricky asked quietly across the plotter. “We should have waited for support to jump with us.”

“You’re right, that’s exactly what we should have done” Katie replied with a small sigh “but now we have a chance to redeem ourselves. I … I’ve got a plan.”

“Last time you said that, our Raptor squadron scored a simulated kill on that elderly basestar in the last FLEETEX” Ricky retorted with a small smile.

“Something better this time” Katie replied as she continued to flesh out her idea in her mind. “Get all the marines we’ve got to the Raptor’s, Phoenix’s … hell, anything that can carry them.”

“Understood” Ricky replied with a nod as he turned to pass out the orders.

Indra’s bow guns started to fire as Katie muttered to herself “Yeah, the game’s about to change.”

Battlestar Mercury, CIC.

“Our Vipers are keeping the Renegade Bay’s Vipers bottled up” Lieutenant Hunnam announced. “The Renegade has taken significant damage. Their missile batteries are down and only three of their main batteries are working.”

“Selectively target the remaining gun emplacements and disable them” Commander Robbie DeSawnea ordered. “Once they’re disabled I want that ship to be boarded and secured.” A chorus of acknowledgements followed Robbie’s orders as the crew carried them out.

Shells from the ageing battlestar pounded against and near the main batteries of the Bay-class tender they were slugging it out with. Mercury turned slowly around the smaller, crippled ship as they chipped away at the remaining defences. Looking up at the DRADIS screens DeSawnea’s eyes went wide as he muttered “What the hell is Indra doing?”

“Commander, Indra is bow-to-bow with Bandit Bay!” Hunnam called out, her voice raising. “They have Raptors sitting on their hanger decks!”

“Oh, you crazy young…” DeSawnea murmured.

“Status of boarding teams?” Katie demanded as she looked at the DRADIS screens above her. Her eyes were fixed firmly on the display showing the feed from Indra’s optical sensor suite.

“Ready to deploy” Captain Deveux replied rom the opposite side of the main plotter.

“Then let’s do this” Katie firmly said. “Bow guns, target inside the main flight deck of Bandit Bay and commence salvo fire with flak rounds. Helm, keep us nose-to-nose.”

The CIC staff were silent as the carried out their orders. The old battlestar charged towards the tender unrelentingly. Her bow guns burst to life, shells spitting forwards into the enemy.

The ships gunnery teams were good, damn good. The shells entered the cavernous flight deck before exploding, fragments of metal peppering everywhere. Although not doing any real damage, the conflagration provided a perfect screen.

Indra continued to charge at Bandit, determined to release her payload … two hundred marines.

“Hold your nerve” Lieutenant, junior grade Aimee Henderson spoke into her flight helmet’s wireless set. Her grip unconsciously tightened around the throttles and control column of her Raptor. Looking out of her canopy she could see the gaping chasm that was Bandit Bay’s main flight deck.

Indra turned her bow slightly to starboard, lining up the port pod with the Bandit’s upper flight deck. Within seconds the Raptors were in the perfect position.

“Okay … launch!” Aimee called out into her headset. She pushed the throttles hard forwards, the twin engines at the back of the venerable Colonial craft flaring to life. Arrayed behind her in a staggered arrowhead formation were the other boarding Raptors. As one they surged forwards and leapt out of Indra’s flight pod.

Their flight only lasted seconds as the distance was so small. Before Aimee could even count to five she pulled the throttles hard back. Indra continued to rush forwards, at the last conceivable second the officer at the helm rolled the ship and angled the bow upwards. Indra’s lower hull sailed past the upper superstructure of Bandit Bay by mere metres.

“We’re in! Down, down, down!” Aimee ordered as she landed the Raptor harshly on the deck. “Everybody out!” she added as the mag locks secured the Raptor to the flight deck. Around her other Raptors were slamming down onto the deck, their side hatches being thrown open even as the mag locks were still being activated.

They’d all launched with their cabins depressurised, so that the combat EVA suited marines could disembark as quickly as possible. Aimee’s Raptor, whether by luck, skill or divine intervention had touched down only a handful of metres from one of the main airlocks from the main ship to its cavernous flight deck.

Marines scrambled across the deck and into the airlock, whole squads of highly trained and eager soldiers hacked the outer doors. It took only seconds for the outer doors to be bypassed and opened. Marines piled in, other groups doing the same at three other airlocks.

Within moments the Marines had pressurised the airlocks and opened the inner doors. With their cumbersome EVA gear quickly stripped they swarmed into the ship, each of the four groups moving to secure their designated locations.

Aboard the Battlestar Indra, twenty minutes later.

“That was a truly inspired and ballsy move you pulled off to get your Raptors aboard Bandit Bay” Commander Robbie DeSawnea’s voice said down the wireless handset. “But that doesn’t wipe out the mistake you made … do you know what it was?”

“Yes, sir. We … I … took Indra rushing into a combat area without scouting out what was happening and without waiting for support. I’m sorry sir, truly I am. I’ll never make that mistake again” Katie answered, the shame was clear in her voice.

“It’s a hard lesson to learn” Robbie answered “and you learned it the hard way. Well … you screwed up but you also managed to pull off a damn good board-and-capture.”

“It was all marines work, sir. They put their boots and asses over there and secured the ship in record time. They’ve got all crew secured in makeshift brigs in cargo bays one and two. All crew are under heavy guard but the ship is secured. The tech team they took over has installed new firewalls and security encryption systems into the ships software. None of the former crew know the new codes so there’s no way of them retaking the ship” Katie reported.

“Excellent. Have they given any relevant information yet?” Robbie queried.

“Oh yes sir, they have” Katie replied. “According to several of the crew, the ships were out here searching for another Bay-class tender … the Marauder Bay. Apparently those three ships were responsible for the attempted hijacking of the Warstar Irkalla.”

Irkalla?!” Robbie asked, shock clear in his voice. “What the hell happened?”

“Apparently the crews of all three ships … Tom Zarek supporters and sympathisers by the way … had managed to get people on the inside of the ship for her Tiger Cruise. Marauder Bay managed to dock with the ship after they thought they had disabled her. Whatever they did screwed up the FTL drives because before long the Irkalla performed a jump away with the Marauder still docked. They analysed the residual power signature from the jump and determined that Irkalla performed a blind, max-power jump.”

“Holy shit” Robbie muttered. He took a moment to collect himself before asking “So … what the hell were they doing out here?”

“Their specialist aboard determined that this was the most likely area they jumped to … so they came out here to find their missing comrades and hope that they’d managed to actually take the Irkalla” Katie finished reporting.

The line fell silent for a moment as Robbie assembled his thoughts. Finally he spoke “I’m going to speak with those prisoners myself. I want you over there when I speak to them.”

“Understood, sir … I’ll be there” Katie answered.

“Very good. Mercury Actual, out” Robbie said before he closed the line.

Katie replaced the handset in its cradle before looking Ricky Deveux in the eye. As the XO regarded her across the main plotter Katie explained “The commander is going over to speak to the prisoners himself … he wants me there.”

“Then I suggest you get your ass down to a Raptor” Ricky said with a chuckle.

“Yeah. Yeah, right. You have the conn” Vought answered before hurrying down to the starboard hanger deck.

“Commander, I’ve got Governor Cartwright on the line for you” specialist Jack Cameron announced from his comm station.

“I’ll take it here” Robbie said simply, the wireless handset still in his hand. He pressed a button set into its cradle to click over to the line. As soon as the set clicked onto the open line Robbie said “Mercury Actual”

“Commander, this is Governor Cartwright. When will Mercury and Indra be re-joining the group? Are you all okay?”

“We’re all fine, governor” Robbie replied with a small smile. “Indra followed a promising lead on Irkalla. I’m not happy going into details over wireless … we’ll be jumping back to the Fleet within the next half hour. I’m going to need to speak to you face-to-face when we return.”

“Understood. Are we calling off the search?” Cartwright inquired.

“No. We continue searching our assigned areas. I’m going to need you to jump back in a Raptor for our meeting” Robbie explained.

“Understood” Governor Cartwright answered before she closed the line.

Finally able to replace the handset in its cradle Robbie looked around his CIC. “Lieutenant Hunnam, you have the conn. I’m going over to see those prisoners, please have a Raptor waiting for me.”

“Yes, sir. She’ll be in the port hanger deck” the watch officer replied as she moved to stand at the main plotter.

“Commander … Robbie, can I have a word?” Colonel Rosalie Moore asked as she caught up to DeSawnea in the corridor.

“Colonel, I’ve got to make this brief. What’s on your mind?” Robbie asked as he hurried forwards.

“Why are you avoiding me and why am I being assigned busybody work, not anything an XO should actually be doing?” Rosalie asked bluntly.

“Rosalie…” Robbie started, trying to explain to her that he’d speak to her later, but Rosalie was having none of it.

“No, Robbie” Moore countered. “I should’ve been assigned to command one of those ships, instead you’ve got me running around the ship checking over supplies, inventory reports … what the hell?!”

Robbie grabbed Rosalie by the arm and swung her into a room that he knew was empty, a storage compartment close to his quarters. He slammed the hatch shut behind them before he turned to face her.

“Because I know you’re not frakking human!” Robbie retorted sharply.

Rosalie blinked twice in shock before taking a step backwards. “Wha…” she started to stammer.

“Cut through the shit, okay? I know that you’re not human. Doc Kingsley found out. You’ve got silica pathways in your brain and signs in your blood that you’re not human” Robbie sighed.

Running his hand through his hair the commander added “Fleet got word about a bunch of clones being intercepted aboard a civilian ship. Yeah, an old Pellam-class was reconfigured as a bulk passenger transport. Colonial Guard intercepted them and found a load of passengers. Seven distinct looks, with dozens of each. Blood work was taken and irregularities were found. The real interesting thing is that the ship was first detecting crossing the Armistice Line, coming out of Cylon space. Looks like the toasters are making clones and sneaking them into the colonies, eh? Any thoughts on that?” Robbie asked, trying to keep his trembling voice level.

“Yeah, many” Rosalie answered. Robbie opened his mouth to speak, but she held up a hand to silence him. “I’ve served in the Colonial Fleet for nine years, I’m your XO because I earned this job…”

“You’re a Cylon” Robbie countered.

“Then why did you sleep with me?” Rosalie demanded hotly, anger burning in her eyes.

“Because I love you” Robbie snapped back. Silence descended upon the pair of them for several long moments.

“You … you…” Rosalie managed to stammer.

“Enough” Robbie said, the steel in his voice enough to scare Rosalie into total silence. “I don’t know what the hell you are … human … clone or a gods-damn Cylon … but if you ever endanger this ship and crew I will put a bullet into you personally. Now get out of the damn way, I’ve got work to do.”

The commander stepped around his stunned XO and hurried out into the corridor. As soon as the door closed behind the commander Rosalie collapsed to the deck, emotionally drained. She knew what her orders were, what she had to do but it was in that moment that she decided that she wouldn’t. She would not betray the man that knew her true self … the man that loved her … the man that she loved.

Aboard the Warstar Irkalla, four months before second Cylon war.

“We ain’t never goin’ home” Sergeant Bobby “Draw” Huston griped as he stared into his drink. His fellow Marines sitting at the many tables around his own fell quiet, nervous about what one of their most able NCO’s was doing.

“She’s never goin’ get us home” he continued, his voice a little louder. His thick Scorpia accent slurred a little by the alcohol he had already drunk.

“Draw, what the hell’s the matter with you?” a corporal called out from across the room.

“That damn bitch in CIC!” Draw roared back across the mess hall. “That dirty little bitch up there. She’s got us cruising deeper into unknown space instead of heading home. We should be concentrating on finding a way back, not going further out!”

“Draw” the corporal said cautiously as he rose to his feet. “Watch what you’re saying. She’s the XO…”

“Yeah, the XO, not the commander. She shouldn’t be making these decisions for all of us! Hell, she’s the one who got us stuck out here” Draw snapped.

“Sergeant, you know full well that the commander gave the order to fire that shell at Marauder Bay, not the XO…” the corporal retorted, trying to diffuse the situation.

“What, you got a soft spot for the XO?” Draw sneered. “You know she’s not a real woman, don’t you? Oh, no … you didn’t know that. Yeah, the little frakker was born male. Had her cock cut off and turned into a pussy. That getting you excited, corporal?” Draw added.

Draw never finished his sentence. No one noticed Colonel Ivan Burrows step into the mess hall just after Draw’s rant had begun. No one had noticed because that’s exactly the way Ivan wanted it.

Ivan’s fist connected firmly with the Draw’s right temple, smashing the marine directly into the realm of unconsciousness.

Sweeping his gaze around the mess hall, Ivan spoke out in a calm, clear voice “Yes, he’s right. The XO is transgendered. Anyone have a problem with that?”

When no-one answered Ivan continued “Good. I know her, the shit she’s had to go through in this Fleet. Same-sex relationships are still banned so how do you think the Admiralty react to gender-reassignment? I trust Colonel Tigan to lead us, and to keep us safe. Anyone that feels differently can get their ass across to Marauder Bay … and I’ll detonate the frakkers engines. Got it?”

Ivan’s final two words rung through the room like gunfire. Satisfied that his point had been made Ivan turned and walked calmly from the room.

Warstar Irkalla, CIC. Two hours later.

“Colonel, I hear there was a ruckus in the Marines mess hall a couple hours ago” Colonel Mya Tigan said as Ivan stepped into the advanced CIC.

Ivan nodded once as he stepped towards the main plotter. As soon as he noticed that Mya was looking down at the massive computer display Ivan answered instead “Yes, ma’am. One of my men got a little … excitable in the mouth. It’s an isolated incident. No concern, he knows the error of his ways and there’ll be no more issues from anyone”.

“Ivan, what the hell would I do without you, my friend?” Mya asked with an exasperated sigh.

“Command this ship just as capably as you are, ma’am” Ivan answered simply, but threw in a small smile for good measure. Ivan finally reached the main plotter and looked down at the display. Damage reports. “Anything new?” Ivan asked, almost fearful of the answer.

“Nothing that’ll help us get home” Mya replied glumly. She sighed deeply for a moment before she added “I’ve decided that we’re going to push the sublight engines to their limits. Ultra-long range telescopes in the bow have caught a glimpse of a promising system. Eleven planets and a sizeable asteroid field. Two of the planets are in the ‘sweet spot’ for habitation so we’re going to make a run there. Engineering reports it’ll take about eighteen hours to prep the ship for subluminal travel. Marauder Bay only needs about five hours before she’s ready to go. Before we head out I want some FTL capable ships to jump ahead and take a look-see.”

“How far out’s that system?” Ivan asked as he studied the display on the main plotter.

“Thirty-two light years, well within the range of our embarked craft” Mya answered. “I want a scouting force composed of two Phoenix’s and one of the Patrol Craft aboard Marauder Bay. Once she’s been checked out I want her armed, crewed and ready to roll. Understood?”

“I’ll make it happen” Ivan replied with a reassuring nod. “Anyone in particular you want leading the scouting party?”

“Yeah” Mya answered after a moment’s thought. “I want Lieutenant Cillian Harris to command the patrol craft and this expedition in general. She’s shown initiative getting her Phoenix out into the black when we needed her as well as her ballsy docking move with Marauder Bay. She’s authorised to have a Raptor or squeeze a pair of Vipers onto her landing pad. They’d have to top-and-tail, but…” Mya authorised.

“I’ll give her the choice” Ivan assured his long-time friend. “I’ll track her down and have her get her crew ready. What’re we doing about Marauder Bay?”

“I’ll need you to take command of her and make sure everything goes smoothly. Accelerating to just shy of light-speed will be stressful and every minute detail will need to be watched. I trust you to keep everyone over there calm” Mya complemented her friend.

Ivan nodded to her before he left the CIC in search of the needed pilot.

“The Colonel wants me to do what?” Cillian asked after Ivan had told her the basics of the mission.

“You’re the colonel’s eyes right now, lieutenant. The boss lady needs to know what’s out there and after the balls you showed getting your ship off the hanger deck and then combat-docking … you’re our girl” Ivan answered. Burrows could see that the young pilot wasn’t exactly sure she could complete the mission so he added “You’re authorised to have an embarked Raptor or top-and-tail a pair of Vipers onto the landing pad. It’d be a squeeze, but…”

“Okay, sir … but I want to take my choice of Patrol Craft” Cillian answered.

“You’ll get to choose your bird…” Ivan answered “… any you have in mind?”

“Yes, sir” Cillian replied with a firm nod. “I went over Marauder Bay and looked over the embarked craft with the chief. One of the Patrol Craft was modified post-war to serve as a small, advance craft for checking out colonisation locations. It’s had its landing deck enlarged. I reckon we could get six Vipers onto that pad. It wouldn’t leave any room for Raptors … unless I land one directly over the Colonial Crest just aft of the pad. Hmm … we could just engage the mag-locks on the Raptor like we would anywhere else … yeah, I can take a Raptor with us.”

“The ships weapons systems?” Ivan asked, worried that an enlarged landing pad would reduce the crafts defensive systems.

“To compensate for the deck, two small dual-emplacements were removed on either side of the pad, but all other weapons are still installed” Cillian answered, somewhat reassuring Ivan.

“Good” the colonel said. He thought only for a moment before he added “You get to pick the Viper pilots that go with you. I’m going to hand-pick a detachment of my Marines to go with you. How soon can you be ready to get gone?”

Cillian blinked a few times. ‘Frak, this really is important’ she realised suddenly. Her mind churned for a moment before she declared firmly “I’ll need about a half hour to get the Vipers and their pilots over to the Patrol Craft. I’ll get everyone together and the craft provisioned for extended duration … you never know if something’s going to go wrong. Let’s … let’s call it an hour until we lift.”

“An hour it is” Ivan replied before he waved over the deck chief. As the man made his way over Ivan looked Cillian in the eye and added “The Colonel wants to see you in CIC before you go. I’ll work with the chief here to get started on loading provisions. As soon as you’re done in CIC I think you should get your chosen Viper pilots down here.”

“Understood, sir” Cillian answered quickly. Ivan dismissed the young woman and she immediately hurried towards CIC.

“Colonel, you wanted to see me, ma’am?” Lieutenant Cillian Harris asked as she stepped up to the main plotter and stood to attention.

“Lieutenant, at ease” Mya replied with a smile. She waited until the pilot stood more relaxed and asked “I assume Colonel Burrows has briefed you?”

“Briefly, ma’am. He told me that we’ve detected a Caprica-type world and you want it scouting out” Cillian explained with a nod.

“That’s right. I want you to lead the scouting party. Colonel Burrows called up whilst you were on your way up here and told me about your choice of ride. He said that you can take a Raptor as well as six Vipers.”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s a little tight but perfectly doable. If we’re scouting out into the complete unknown then I want plenty of protection … also the amount of Vipers will allow me a small CAP with the Patrol Craft as freeing up four of them to check out the planet with the Raptor so we can get this done a little quicker” Cillian explained herself.

“That’s certainly officer thinking, Lieutenant. Now, a lot can go wrong out there…” Mya started.

“I’m ready for that, ma’am” Cillian quickly replied. “I’m having the Patrol Craft loaded up with provisions for an extended duration mission … just in case. I still need to get my Viper pilots sorted and over to their planes and then to the Patrol Craft.”

“Excellent. Well Lieutenant, I’m promoting you to Captain. It’ll give you a little more authority on this mission, congratulations” Mya said as she passed the new rank insignia across the main plotter to the shocked pilot. “I’ll tell the admiral that you’re promoted on my authority … just as soon as he’s conscious…”

“Colonel, sickbay is on the comm. They … ma’am, the commander is conscious and you’re needed down there” a scared voice announced from the comm station.

“Tell them I’m on my way” Mya snapped. She looked Cillian in the eye and added “Captain, congratulations and good hunting. Launch as soon as you’re ready. Gods be with you.”

“Thank you, ma’am” Cillian answered to Mya’s retreating back as the colonel rushed from the CIC.

Colonel Mya Tigan paused when she reached the door to private room where her friend and mentor was being treated. Rear Admiral Markus Dansfold looked in a terrifying condition. Tubes ran from his body to a small flotilla of machines around him, all making different beeps accompanying their displays.

“Doc … what’s the admiral’s condition?” Mya asked the doctor standing next to her.

“There’s nothing we can do” the doctor answered glumly. A slight shake of his head as the old medical professional added “The rounds tore through him, shredding everything in their path. He’s conscious and coherent … for now. The old man was insistent to speaking to you before we up his pain meds further. It’s really the only thing we can do for him.”

“Gods damn it…” Mya muttered under her breath.

“Colonel … I can hear you cursing and cussing out there. Get your ass in here” Rear Admiral Markus Dansfold called out in a weak voice.

Mya immediately stepped into the room and made her way to the bed. “No … no, you’re needed in here too, Doc” Markus added, his quiet voice straining. “I need a witness”

“Witness to what, old man? You’re fine. Look at you, laying about in bed while I run around repairing the ship” Mya joked, a forced smile on her face.

“No shit this time, kiddo” Markus forced out. “I know I’m done … the look on the Doc’s face tells me that. Well, that and the amount of pain killers they’ve got me on. They’re trying to make me comfortable. Now … what’s the status of the ship?”

“We’re continuing repairs but at this time FTL is still a no-go” Mya replied quickly. I’ve got Lieutenant Cillian Harris out on a scouting run to a Caprica-like planet. I’ve promoted her to Captain, I figure she deserves it … that and she’s got a little more authority being out there.”

“That’s good … promote people who deserve it into positions they’re needed. What about the rest of the crew?” Markus asked.

“We’re still tallying up casualties, sir. Colonel Burrows and his Marines have secured the ship that docked with us, the Marauder Bay. She was commanded by Tom Zarek supporters, but they’re all under lockdown and heavy guard. Sir … my plan is to accelerate us to subluminal speeds if this world checks out. Once there we can see about the feasibility of maybe making what parts we need to get the ship home…” Mya started to explain.

Markus stopped her mid-sentence as he put his hand on her arm. His eyes started to flutter as he answered “That sounds like a fantastic plan. Mya … my dear, honest little Mya. I … I hereby promote you to the rank of Commander and assign you as commanding officer of the Warstar Irkalla. Get everyone home. Do what you must, but get the crew back.”

“I … I will” Mya replied, her eyes welling with tears.

Markus smiled and nodded once at her before his eyes rolled up into his head and he sighed deeply. The sole, long tone of the machines that had been supporting the veteran officer sounded unbearably loud in the quiet room.

Numbly Mya stood and walked silently from the room. She had no idea where she was going but on she walked.

“Colonel, are you okay?” a voice asked from what seemed like a million light-years away. It sounded hollow and tinny to Mya’s ears.

She blinked away the confusion and asked “What?”

“I asked if you’re okay, ma’am?” the voice repeated. As she slammed back into the present moment she saw her senior weapons officer, Lieutenant Christiano Kershaw standing before her.

“Yes … yes, I’m fine. Thank you, lieutenant” Mya answered, her voice subdued. Her gaze swept around the room as she blinked a few more time. Mya realised that she was at the main plotter, standing at her usual place. Slowly, each step agonizing for her Mya walked around to stand at the other side. The admiral’s side. Her friend’s side.

She raised her voice and forced out the words “The Admiral is dead. He died a short while ago from his injuries … they were too severe for him to recover. Right now we’ve got to focus on getting this ship to where we need to be.”

“What were the admiral’s final orders? What did he say?” Christiano asked, his voice almost breaking.

‘He loved the old man as much as I did’ Mya realised. She cleared her throat and forced her voice to become a little steadier. “He … he told me that we’re to continue with the plan” she said, the CIC crew didn’t need to know that he hadn’t cared about that at the end, each one of his words forced out of his dying body.

“The admiral also … he also promoted me to Commander and assigned me as the commanding officer of Irkalla” Mya finished. Her hands had found the surface of the main plotter and lay flat atop it.

The crew fell into total silence at Mya’s announcement. Moments of silence stretched on until finally Mya spoke again.

“We may be stranded far from home, but many of us have our families aboard. Our duty is to those we have with us. Those we can keep safe first and foremost until finally … those we can return to. Look to every person you serve with and ask yourself ‘How can I help them to stay alive’, because that’s what every single person on this ship is going to be asking about you.

We have Marauder Bay to assist us, their supplies to augment our own. We have civilians aboard who are looking to us for safety. For guidance … and for help.”

Aboard the Bandit Bay, eight days before second Cylon war.

“So, you want to earn yourself a less crowded cell and a little extra food … you’ll answer my questions” Commander Robbie DeSawnea said calmly, his voice as casual as it could possibly be.

The man chained to the table before him laughed and rolled his eyes. “Yeah … a little more food for my tongue, eh? Well forget it, I’m not going to tell you anything” the man retorted and gave another laugh.

“Is everyone on this crew totally frakked in the head?” Major Katie Vought muttered to herself.

“Watch your frakking mouth” the prisoner spat harshly, his eyes snapping to Vought. “What, you think you’re clever because you managed to take the ship? No … no, you’re just another example of how the Fleet is training its people to be nothing but mindless, order-following automatons. The Cylons rose up against us so now Adar’s got his admirals programming those in uniform. Oh yeah, watch you jump to your orders. And who do you think gives these orders … Adar!”

“Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?” Katie asked, her patience finally exhausted. The strain of eight solid hours of interrogating prisoners had reached its height and finally the young officer had snapped.

DeSawnea knew that this was the moment to step in, to get Katie to back down … but he didn’t. ‘Let’s see where this goes’ the old Commander thought and leaned back slightly in his seat.

The prisoner glared at Katie, a look of pure loathing on his face. Katie laughed in his face. “What, is that look meant to, what? Scare me? Intimidate me? You just look like a duck that needs a real big shit…” she said before her laugh died on her lips and she launched herself across the table.

Katie grabbed a handful of the man’s hair and pulled his head back. “Listen, you traitorous little piece of shit. You attacked a Colonial Fleet warship, bad idea. That’s hundreds of counts of attempted murder. Treason.”

“Deguena” DeSawnea said quietly.

Katie released the prisoner’s hair and amazingly, his eyes got even wider.

“No. No, way. I’ll die before I let you take me there” the prisoner said quickly. The fear of the gods now being put in him was thanks solely to the name of a prison. Long since said to be the worst prison in the Twelve Colonies. No one that walked into there walked out, they came out in a box.

“Well, I think he finally took us seriously” DeSawnea spoke calmly. Only ten minutes ago DeSawnea had spoken the prison’s name. That was all it took for their prisoner to give up the information on everything. Marauder Bay, the coordinates they’d figured the ship had jumped to. What forces the Zarek had, everything.

The pair were walking through the corridors of the ship they had captured. “I’ve got to admit, I didn’t think this ship would be serviced so well” Robbie stated. “Bandit Bay’s as clean and maintained as any Fleet ship.”

“A portion of the crew is ex-fleet. They’re probably the ones responsible for training the other enlistees and making sure the ship’s serviceable” Katie offered.

“Hmm” DeSawnea answered. He was silent for a long few moments before he lowered his voice and spoke. “There’s something that’s not common knowledge amongst our little fleet. Only myself, Governor Cartwright and the people directly involved know this. I haven’t even told my XO, but you need to know. I’ve decided you’re going to be involved.”

“Involved in what, sir?” Katie asked. “This sounds awful cloak-and-dagger, and I don’t mean the good kind.”

DeSawnea chuckled before saying “It’s not like that, I can assure you.” The pair arrived at the commander’s quarters for the confiscated ship and stepped inside. As soon as the hatch was closed behind them Robbie sat in the nearest chair and started to explain. “Five years ago, the Fleet started an initiative. They’d been sitting on intel from about a year before about Cylons. Now, they isolated both promising young Fleet officers, trainees and people that could slip away. They spoke to these people and arranged for them to have ‘accidents’. Things like pilot error crashes for pilots and component failure causing damage to areas to create the illusion that people had died. Not a single one actually did.

Now, these people were formed into a black-ops operation so deep, even Fleet Special Forces doesn’t know about them. We’ve got pilots, deck hands, snipes, CIC crew, the lot. There’s not a lot of them with us, though. Only about one-hundred-fifty. My plan is to have them take control of this ship. They’ll jump the course the former navigator has charted to see if they can find Irkalla. Indra will go too, on a parallel course so that you’re only just on the edge of each other’s DRADIS range. If contact with Irkalla is made, do a stealthy recon. If Admiral Dansfold was able to repel the boarders and keep control of the ship then you make contact with them. If they lost the ship … then Bandit Bay will move in. Once they’re close that’ll be your cue to get in close and re-take the ship as quickly as you can. Make sure you have a Raptor detailed for Marathon duty back to us so we can jump straight to you if the ship’s been taken. Clear?”

“Yes, sir. Crystal” Katie answered. “Sir” she ventured, “if I may. Why are you giving me this job? Shouldn’t Colonel Moore be assigned this? She’s much more experienced and qualified for this…”

“No” Robbie snapped quickly. He took a calming breath before adding more gently “Colonel Moore is … not available for this duty” DeSawnea stated. “Now, I’ve got people that legally don’t exist to talk to, and you’ve got a ship to get ready” Robbie stated. “Good luck, and good hunting.”

Aboard the Marauder Bay, four months before second Cylon war.

“Now, that’s a modded ship” the freshly promoted Captain Cillian Harris said, her voice laced with some awe.

“She sure is” Chief Petty Officer Raymond Murphy answered. Irkalla’s deck chief had been inspecting the Bay-class tender’s flotilla of small craft since they’d secured it. Gesturing up to the freshly applied nose art on the ship, the chief asked “What do you think of her new handle?”

Irkalla’s Wrath. I like it” Cillian replied. She allowed her eyes to linger over the lines of the Patrol Craft. The three-deck craft stood proudly on the deck. “It’s amazing the ingenuity the deck hands here have. That class of ship was retired … what, fifteen years ago? Twenty?”

“Twenty-seven” Murphy stated. “I remember the day they were phased out. Yeah, they’ve managed to incorporated updates that make her more mission capable. Her defensive suite has been upgraded, as has her DRADIS systems and electronic warfare package. Yeah, they’re systems the fleet has phased out, but only over the last four years or so.”

“She’s perfect. She’s more than that, she’s … she’s mine” Cillian laughed.

“Yes ma’am, she certainly is. As you can see, we’ve got a Raptor and six Vipers loaded up on top there. The Raptor is from Irkalla, but the Vipers are all from this stash” Murphy stated.

“Mark IV’s” Cillian said. “Will the pilots have any trouble with them?”

“No, ma’am. Luckily, most of the systems are modular, and have been since the war. It was a simple job for my people to swap out the computers and electronic control systems and replace them with new ones. Her systems are now the same as the ones fitted to the Mark-VIID’s. We had plenty of those parts left in storage since we offloaded them before everything went to hell and got the Mark-VIIE’s and those shiny Mark-VIII’s” Murphy stated.

“Thanks, chief. Seriously, I appreciate the work you and your people have put into this” Cillian said as she clasped Murphy’s arm.

“Not a problem, ma’am” the chief replied with a smile. “Now, I think it’s time you boarded your steed, you crew’s waiting in there for you.”

Harris nodded to the chief before squaring her shoulders and making her way up the main boarding ramp into her new command.

Aboard the Irkalla’s Wrath, four months before second Cylon war.

“Jump four complete. Both Phoenix’s in formation and reporting no problems” the now Lieutenant Brandon Garland reported from the opposite side of the small main plotter in the cockpit.

“Thank you” Cillian replied to her XO. Without hesitation, she’d immediately chosen her fellow flight officer to serve as her right hand. “Only one more jump to go. How’re we all looking? Everyone ready?”

“As ready as we’re going to be” Garland answered with a smile.

Cillian smiled back at her friend before ordering “Okay then. FTL, confirm sync with other craft and start the clock. Jump when ready.”

“Aye, ma’am” the FTL specialist responded. Seconds later the officer called out again “All ships are synced. Clock is started. Prepare to jump in five … four … three … two … one … jump”.


Click the link to read Lady Hecate off line in PDF, .epub, or Kindle formats: http://www.bsg94.org/downloads/index.html
Click here for the Colonial Warbook for Lady H: http://www.photobucket.com/colonial_warbook

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