Author: Adama's Shadow PM
What if Galactica was not the last Battlestar, what if another fleet had joined them at Ragnar for the Exodus?Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 11 - Words: 41,927 - Reviews: 116 - Favs: 124 - Follows: 120 - Updated: 10-23-11 - Published: 12-08-09 - id: 5566067
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Author's Note: This part of the story starts four years before the Fall of the Twelve Colonies and then skims forward and picks up just before the Fall. This is intended to fill in some backstory for my Battlestar Polaris story that takes place during the BSG 2003 mini-series, and will cover the series as well in future volumes. Note if it seems a bit short, that is intentional, there will be plenty of flashbacks later in the series to cover events that happened during the original exploratory cruise.
The original characters and plot of this story are my property, but I do not own BSG, it is the property of Universal, Glen Larson and Ronald D. Moore. This story is intended purely for entertainment, and not for any sort of profit. I hope you enjoy reading it, this is my first fanfic, feed back is welcome.
Scorpion Fleet Yards, 4 years before the Fall
Colonel Kevin Travers walked down the corridor, enjoying the spectacular view of the Battlestars sitting in their slips being worked on. A young man, Kevin Travers had just had his 35th birthday a few weeks earlier, and had served for the past two years as the XO on the Battlestar Mercury. When his ship had docked the previous day, he had been given a summons to report to Admiral Corman's office on the station at 0900 the next day. He was curious about the summons, but not overly concerned, his record was exemplary, and his fitreps from Commander Harris on the Mercury had been glowing.
At 0845, Travers arrived at the Admiral's office, and spoke with the lieutenant sitting at the reception desk who told him to have a seat and the admiral would be with him shortly. He sat in one of the chairs in the waiting area and gazed at the Battlestar Valkyrie, which was sitting in the slip directly across from the admiral's office. He shook his head slightly. Rumors were flying through the fleet about Bill Adama's recent "reassignment" to the Galactica. No one knew what exactly had happened, but the move had been couched as a "reward" for his long service, and he would serve as the venerable Battlestar's last commander as there was some kind of plan in the works to retire her. A damned shame he thought, putting one of the best commanders in the Fleet, and a grand old ship out to pasture. Galactica had been Kevin's first assignment out of the Academy, and he had a soft spot for the old girl and for her current commander who he had first served with on the Atlantia, Bill had been the CAG when he arrived, and then the XO. Kevin had been fresh out of ATT (Advanced Tactical Training), graduated first in his class, newly promoted to Captain, and had been assigned to Atlantia as a squadron leader. He and Bill had bonded immediately, swapping stories about life on the Galactica. When Bill had taken command of Valkyrie, Kevin had gone along with him and served as his CAG for two years before being promoted and reassigned to Mercury as XO.
Travers looked up at the Lieutenant.
"The admiral will see you now sir."
Travers stood, "Thank you Lieutenant"
He walked over and opened the door to the admiral's office and stepped inside. He moved over to the desk and saluted. Corman stood and returned the salute.
"At ease Colonel, have a seat. Care for a drink?"
"No thank you sir"
"I'm sure you're wondering why you're here Colonel. I have a new assignment for you. One that I think you will be very well suited to, and which will benefit immensely from your skills as a leader. All of your commanding officers speak very highly of you, you are an ATT Honor Grad, and you have been decorated for exceptional bravery and leadership several times," Corman leaned back. "I want to promote you to Commander, effective immediately, and assign you the Battlestar Polaris. She's brand new, and has just completed shake down trials. Assuming you accept, you will be taking the Polaris and three Titan class Gunstars on a four year exploratory cruise of the Hatari and Prolmar sectors. President Adar wants us to start seeing what's out there, and you'll be leading the way."
Corman looked at him expectantly, "what do you say Colonel? Ready to become the youngest Commander in the history of the Colonial Fleet?"
Travers sat silently for a few moments, a bit shell-shocked, and sudden build up of excitement in his chest threatening to make him laugh out loud. He sternly took control of himself, but he let his face light up with a smile.
"Yes sir, I am definitely ready."
Corman smiled back and stood, and held out a small case which Travers took, and opened to find Commander rank insignia nestled inside. Corman came around the desk and removed Travers's Colonel Insignia and replaced them with the new Commander insignia. Corman then took his hand and shook it. "Congratulations, Commander Travers. Your ship is in slip 15, you are to report aboard tomorrow at 0900, but I think everyone will understand if you can't wait that long."
Travers nodded and stepped back and saluted, "Thank you Admiral."
Corman returned the salute, "You've earned it son. Now go take a look at your ship. Dismissed."
"Yes sir, thank you sir"
Travers exited the Admiral's office and nodded in thanks when the Lieutenant congratulated him on his promotion. He walked in a bit of a daze, setting a general course towards docking slip 15, and HIS ship. He'd done it!
Major Marla Howard stalked into CIC, and everyone could tell she was more than a little unhappy. They had all been on edge since the Old Man's reassignment, though nobaody really missed Tigh all that much. Now that Valkyrie was nearly done with her refit, to bring her up fleet specs, networked systems and all, a new Commander would be assigned. She had served with William Adama for years, and she was not happy with his treatment by the brass. But, that was life in the Fleet. She checked the master situation display, and noted that all of the networking work had been nearly completed and they were expecting to finish the remaining computer upgrades by the end of the week, at which time Valkyrie would undergo a shakedown cruise to test out her new systems.
She remembered when she had come aboard, fresh out of the Academy. She had served as the Valkyrie's communications officer before moving over to serve as Tactical/Navigation Officer and had finally ended up as the Operations Officer and third in command of the ship. It had been a wild ride, and she had loved every second of it. The comm. officer on duty waved to her, and she stepped over.
"Major, I have a personal communiqué for you." He handed her a print out. She thanked him and moved back over to the master plotting table. She read the note.
To: Howard, Marla
Operations Officer, Battlestar Valkyrie
From: Travers, Kevin
Hello Marla, I hope this finds you well. In case you hadn't heard, Admiral Corman just promoted me to Commander, and gave me the Polaris. She's a brand new Mercury class, and she's a beauty. But, she is lacking one vital thing. I am due to depart on a long range exploratory cruise in three days and I still don't have an XO. I was wondering if you would be willing to fill the position. We worked well together on Valkyrie, and it would be good to have you aboard. The Old Man always said you were the best second officer he ever had and that you'd be a damned fine XO. I trust his opinion implicitly. Polaris is docked in slip 15, if you want the post, report aboard by 0900 tomorrow. I have already spoken to Admiral Corman and your orders are cut and will be waiting for you when you come aboard. I hope to see you then.
Commander, Battlestar Polaris BSG-65
Marla smiled and looked around the CIC. She didn't really have to think too hard it was an amazing opportunity and a chance to serve with an old friend, she made up her mind. Goodbye old girl she thought and turned to head out of CIC for the last time.
Battlestar Polaris, BSG-65
Kevin Travers walked through his ship, taking the tour. Though she was virtually identical to the Mercury his last assignment, and the class progenitor, Polaris had one very unique quality not shared by her sister ships. She was HIS. He heard the sound of running feet behind him and stepped aside as a young woman came running through on her morning jog.
"Good morning Bullseye"
Major Janine "Bullseye" Forsythe, his new CAG waved over her shoulder, "morning Commander!" And continued on her way. He smiled, and continued on his way. He'd been lucky to get her, she was a fellow ATT honor grad, and had been serving as an Instructor in advanced Viper combat tactics at the academy until he had offered her the posting of CAG on Polaris. She'd jumped at the assignment telling him that she liked teaching, but she was a combat pilot, not a nursemaid for nuggets. He chuckled to himself and headed towards CIC. Time to check in with CIC, and see if Marla had taken him up on his offer.
As he walked into CIC, thing were a bit chaotic as the crew and dock personnel raced to get the ship ready to depart in two days. He stepped over to the situation table. Captain Thomas Vale, the Operations Officer looked up. Vale had been aboard Mercury with him, and while Commander Harris had not wanted to let him go, he had reluctantly given in all the while grumbling good naturedly about mutiny. Vale had been the Tactical Officer on the Mercury and was an exemplary officer and he was already creating order out of the chaos on board the Polaris.
"Good morning Commander."
"Morning Captain, status report."
"The ship is being provisioned and we are taking aboard spares, raw materials and extra ammunition. All systems are online and fully operational. All departments are estimating we will be ready for departure by 2200 tonight."
"That will allow us to give the crew some shore time before we depart. Go ahead and pass the word, leaves granted for all personnel as soon as the ship is departure ready. Everyone is to be back on board and ready to go day after tomorrow at 1200."
Petty Officer Lynn Hayes, the ships communications officer stepped over, "Commander, airlock two reports that a Major Marla Howard is aboard an en route to the CIC."
"Excellent, thank you Miss Hayes." She nodded and headed back to her station.
When Howard walked in a few minutes later, Travers walked over. She saluted and he returned it. He escorted her out of CIC and down the hall to his day cabin. Once inside, with a big smile he took her hand and pulled her into a friendly embrace. He stepped back, "Damn it's good to see you Marla. How have you been?"
She smiled in return, "I've been good Kevin, except for that recent business with the Old Man."
He frowned and nodded, "Yes, I wanted to ask about that, but I will understand if you can't talk about it."
"I can't, they made us all sign non-disclosure orders."
"Typical of the bureaucracy, damn shame though. Bill is a damn fine officer, and it's a big loss to the Fleet to put him out to pasture." He opened a drawer on his desk and pulled out a small case, which he handed to her.
She opened it to reveal Colonel rank insignia.
"Congratulations Colonel Howard," Travers said as he took out the pins and placed them on her collar. When he finished they saluted. Just then, there was knock at the hatch. 'Come in."
A rather young looking enlisted man peeked in, and then stepped through the hatch. "Sorry to disturb you sir, but I wanted let you know that I have stowed Colonel Howards belonging in her quarters."
"Thank you private. I'd like you to give Colonel Howard the cubit tour."
He saluted, "Of course sir. Colonel, if you'll follow me?"
Howard stepped toward the hatch, "Thank you Commander."
"Thank you Colonel, enjoy the tour. Report for duty day after tomorrow at 1200. We'll be departing at 1400."
"I will sir, thanks again."
"Enjoy your time off Colonel, it may be our last for quite some time."
With that, Howard followed the private out to start her tour. Travers looked down at his desk and sighed, he hadn't realized that there was quite so much paperwork involved in being a Battlestar commander. He sat down and picked up the first file on the stack and got to work.
Battlestar Polaris: Two days later
CIC, 1400 Hours
Commander Travers strolled into CIC and noticed with satisfaction that all posts were manned. He stepped over to his new XO at the master situation board.
"Afternoon Colonel, Status report"
Marla Howard nodded to her Commander, "Afternoon sir. All stations manned and ready. Ship is fully operational, and we are ready to depart on your order."
"Communications, contact the tower, request permission to depart."
Hayes nodded and carried out the order. "Tower responding sir, we are cleared to depart at your leisure. Local traffic has been cleared for our departure."
"Thank you. XO, have all mooring cables and docking clamps released. Thrusters, hold station."
"Mooring cables, and docking clamps released"
"Holding station, sir."
"Bow thrusters back one quarter, port and starboard at station keeping."
"Aye sir, bow thrusters reverse one quarter, port and starboard holding station."
Travers watched the DRADIS screens, as the ship slid slowly out of her docking slip.
"We have cleared the docking slip sir, we are free, and clear to navigate"
"Helm, bring the ship to course 042, carom 10, 10 degree up angle on the bow. Engines ahead one third."
"Aye sir, 042 carom 10, 10 degree up angle."
"Engines ahead one third aye."
Hayes spoke up, "Sir, the Gunstars Scepter, Mystic and Avenger are requesting permission to join formation."
"Permission granted, have them assume standard screening formation. Lieutenant Frost, what's the status of our jump plot?"
Lieutenant J.G. Heron Frost, all of 20 years old had come to them as an OCS graduate, a genius who had graduated the Caprica Institute of Technology at 18 with a double Ph.D. in Astronavigation Theory and Stellar Cartography, had graduated with top honors form the OCS program and the Tactical Officers training course. He currently served as Navigation Officer and Tactical Officer for the Polaris, and Travers was extremely glad to have the talented young man aboard.
"First jump plotted sir, it will take us to the close edge of the Hatari sector, near the border with the Prolmar sector, just beyond the red line."
"As good a place as any to start, distribute the coordinates to the fleet Lt."
Frost turned and moved over to the comm. station. Travers turned and picked up the handset, and clicked the PA.
"Attention all fleet personnel, this is Commander Travers. In a few moments we will make history as we undertake the first long range exploratory mission for the Colonies in over 20 years. We will be exploring the unknown, looking for resources and likely sites for colonization. Let's go see what's out there. All ships, commence jump prep, we jump in 2 minutes from my mark. Mark." Travers hung up the handset and looked up at the DRADIS which showed all of his ships in formation.
"The board shows green, Commander, all ships are ready to jump."
"Well then, let's get this show on the road. All ships jump."
With a series of bright flashes, the four Colonial ships made the FTL jump into the unknown.
Hatari Sector, Beyond the Red Line (Near the border of the Prolmar sector)
Four bright flashes signaled the arrival of BSG – 65.
"Jump complete sir, all ships accounted for."
"Excellent work Lieutenant. XO, launch the CAP and have the Gunstars assume screening formation. Have astrometrics begin surveying the area to see if there is anything worth checking out, and have stellar cartography begin mapping."
Howard picked up the handset, "This is the XO, launch the CAP."
A moment later, three blips showed up on the DRADIS, marked as Stinger 1 and 2, and Raptor 074.
The speakers crackled, "Polaris, Stinger 1, we are beginning standard patrol."
CAP – Stinger 1
Captain Harold "Shrike" Forester, commander of VS-1511, the Stingers, one of the Polaris's two fighter squadrons, surveyed the instruments in his cockpit as he completed his transmission to Polaris.
"Stinger 1, Polaris. Acknowledging standard patrol, stay sharp."
"Stinger 1, copy that Polaris. Clear."
As they reached the outer perimeter to start their patrol around the fleet, he switched to the flight TAC frequency.
"Ok boys and girls, try not to fall asleep or bump into anything while you're gawking at all the pretty scenery."
He got a few chuckles, "We're just following your shining example, oh fearless leader." This from Lieutenant Jamie "Lightspeed" Nile, his squadron XO. Shrike chuckled.
"Frak you Lightspeed, just pay attention so you don't accidentally crash into the Polaris while you're stargazing."
She chuckled back at him, he shook his head and smiled. She was one of the best pilots in the Fleet, only Kara Thrace had ever been able to beat her in a Viper, he was glad to have her. They had settled into an easy friendship from the moment they started working together. Luckily, while she was nearly Starbuck's equal in a Viper, she was not as difficult outside of the cockpit.
They continued on their patrol route, settling into a routine. They had a lot of these patrols to look forward to over the next four years.
4 years later, One week before the Fall
Battlestar Polaris, Prolmar sector
Commander's day cabin, 0800
Kevin Travers sat in his office going over his report to Fleet Command. Over the past four years, they had surveyed a large portion of the Prolmar and Hatari sectors. They had found 34 star systems with habitable planets, and several systems loaded with resources waiting for the Colonies to come get them. They had charted a number of interesting stellar phenomena, and had discovered the ruins of a splinter colony in the Prolmar sector. Apparently they had died out of some kind of disease, but luckily, the ships doctor had found that it was a common disease in the Colonies for which they had the cure. The place had been a bit run down, but the roads and infrastructure were still intact, and they had found stockpiles of resources, weapons, and other valuable materials that could be used by a new colony. Sitting on his desk were a number of decorations for exceptional performance for members of his crew. They had all done a remarkable job and he was prouder than ever to be their commander. He stretched his back, and worked his neck to ease the tension in it, then stood up and left his day cabin to head for CIC.
As he entered, he checked the DRADIS screens, it showed his fleet still in formation. He stepped up to the situation board and nodded to his XO, "Morning Colonel."
"All ships are operational, the board shows green. The CAP is back on board. We're ready to jump home sir."
"Copy, Lt. Frost?"
"Jump is plotted to take us just outside the Cyrannus system sir."
"All right then, let's go home then. All ships jump."
The 4 ships disappeared in a series of bright flashes.
Just outside the Cyrannus system
And reappeared just outside their home system.
"Jump complete, all ships accounted for Commander."
"Excellent, send a message to Picon Fleet HQ on TAC 1, let them know we're back"
"Aye Commander, "said Petty Officer Lynn Hayes, and she bent to send the transmission.
Travers picked up the handset, and set it for fleet all call, "Attention, this is Commander Travers. After four years of exploration, and many discoveries, we are nearly home. I want to express to you all, that I am extremely proud of your performance over these past four years. You have all been exceptional, no Commander could ask for more. We'll be docking at the Darius Fleet Yards in orbit of Picon, and you will be getting some well deserved leave while our ships are going through a refit and systems upgrade. Again, I am extremely proud, as you should all be. Travers, out."
"Commander," Hayes called. Travers walked over to her. "Sir, Picon HQ has respinded, they sent a set of FTL coordinates and a coded brief marked Commander's eyes only."
Travers frowned, "send the brief to my day cabin, I'll look at it there."
"XO, you have the conn. Hold position till further notice."
Travers left the CIC, and headed down the hall to his day cabin. Once there, he activated his terminal and brought up the eyes only dispatch.
"This transmission is eyes only, for Commander Kevin Travers, Battlestar Polaris. Dissemination to crew should be on a need to know only basis at Commander's discretion. Please provide command authorization and voiceprint identification."
"Authorization Travers, nebula, one, one, picon, two four"
"Authorization and voiceprint confirmed."
The message appeared on the screen.
To: Travers, Commander Battlestar Polaris, BSG-65
From: Corman, Admiral, Colonial Fleet R&D
Commander Travers, I hope this message finds you well. I am afraid that I will have to delay your homecoming for a few days. I need you to escort a convoy to establish a new covert R&D facility near the nebula a few hours outside the system. Specific coordinates are attached to this message, as is the rendezvous point where you will meet up with these ships. I am sorry, but this mission requires a certain amount of discretion so that the bean counters won't dig too deeply. This project is going to birth the next generation of Battlestar. In order to keep it secret, from everyone (just in case the Cylons are watching, I would be if I were them), the ships you are meeting do not exist officially, they were all "scrapped" and as you are not due to return for another week, I can use you to escort them, and to maintain security until relieved by the Solaria. After you are relieved, you will report to Picon for your refit and shoreleave. It should be a two week delay at most Kevin.
Admiral, Chief of Fleet R&D
End of Prologue
Author's note: Hope you enjoyed this, note if you have already read Volume 1, you should take another look as I have made a few changes based on the feedback I have so far received. Thanks for reading, and for all of the great feed back!