Colonel Horace Atwood was standing in front of a mirror and adjusting his new uniform. This uniform had been specifically made for him, since it was impossible to find a uniform in his size. He had been selected by Commander Crichton to be the permanent CO of Babylon 4. That would not have been unusual if Atwood had actual been an officer in the Colonial Fleet. In fact, Atwood's application to the Colonial Fleet Academy had been rejected three times in the past, each time due to his size. Or lack thereof.
Atwood had been wanting to become an officer in the Colonial Defense Force since his early childhood. Before the fall of the Colonies, Atwood Shipyards had been a major government contractor, building cruisers, frigates, and even battlestars. His father had started the company shortly after the first cylon war and it had played a crucial role in rebuilding the decimated fleet.
Horace Atwood, although a civilian, was the perfect choice as commander of the space station. As the heir to Atwood Shipyards, his father had trained him in administering and managing space stations and shipyard complexes. Atwood also held a degree in aerospace engineering and one in business administration from renowned Caprican universities.
Horace was also an excellent marksman and a capable fighter in unarmed combat as well. He was proficient in several forms of martial arts where he used his short stature to his advantage, quickly overpowering much taller opponents with a few swift moves.
The first time he had applied to the CDF he was 18 Caprican standard years old, he tried again two years later and again three years after that. Disillusioned, he spent all of his twenties and early thirties in college. Although he spent most of his time there drinking, partying, and womanizing, he actually did end up earning two degrees. Being the son of the owner of the third largest shipbuilding company in the Twelve Colonies had afforded him with a life of luxury.
Now, at the age of 43, his childhood dream had finally become reality. Due to lack of more qualified candidates for this post, Commander John Crichton had commissioned him as an officer in the Colonial Fleet (or what was left of it), with all honors, privileges and duties during a ceremony the night before and put him in command of Babylon 4. In an hour, Atwood would ferry over to Babylon 4 aboard a Raptor and officially assume command of the station.
Having to staff the abandoned space station with a permanent crew had put Crichton into a serious human resource crisis. Not only did he have to stretch the enlisted crew fairly thin, but he also did not have enough experienced officers to fill all the leadership positions on both the Pacifica and Babylon 4 at the same time.
Crichton knew he could not promote Robbins to Colonel and make her CO of Babylon 4. That would not go over too well with the civilians who would soon be moving to the space station. Robbins was a Model 3 Cylon and the civilians mistrusted her because of the atrocities her people had committed. It was already difficult enough to get them to accept her as XO of the station. Captain Hill would be taking on Robbins' old position as XO aboard the Pacifica. Then he promoted several NCOs and cadets to officer ranks to fill in the gaps caused by the transfers. This resulted in having two sixteen year old ensigns serving aboard the Pacifica and three more aboard Babylon 4. Despite their youth, Crichton was confident in their abilities, since they had been trained for the last two years by his wife, Colonel Aeryn Sun.
Before the fall of the Colonies, Atwood had lived the life of a wealthy playboy. When the Cylons invaded, he had been on a pleasure cruise aboard his private space yacht away from the colonies. He had joined Crichton's fleet a week after the destruction of the colonies at Carillon, after gathering survivors from one of his father's shipyard complexes aboard a small fleet of refinery ships, tankers, tugboats and fleet tenders. Joining Crichton's fleet, Atwood had managed to solve several problems regarding the repair and upgrade of ships in the fleet and quickly became friends with Crichton, who had given him the nickname Napoleon.
Atwood had soon risen to a prominent position within the civilian population of Crichton's fleet. The only reason why he lost the election for civilian leader was the fact that the more religious Gemenese and Saggitarions disapproved of his hedonistic lifestyle and also consider his short size a curse from the gods.
The newly minted Colonel Atwood was not the only one who got to enjoy the spoils of the most recent battle against the Cylons. Kara Thrace, callsign Starbuck, had been picked up by Crichton's fleet only a few weeks ago. Within short time she had proven herself as one of the squadron leaders during the battle to take Babylon 4 before the Cylons could do so. As a reward, and also to keep her too occupied to pester him to find the Galactica, Commander Crichton had sent her on a special assignment.
A large, X- shaped fighter followed by two Vipers entered the asteroid field. The vipers served as escorts as well as observers. Cameras on both of them recorded the flight of the other fighter. The larger craft had eight engines, two (one facing forward and one facing back) on each end of the struts that made up the letter 'x'. At their center was the cockpit of the, by Colonial standards, unusual ship. Starbuck was standing upright in the cockpit, which took her some time getting used to.
Even though the first fighter was larger than its two escorts, it was much more maneuverable. The Vipers were barely able to keep up. Starbuck was excited. She had been assigned one of the two Earth Alliance starfighters found aboard Babylon 4, which were called Starfuries. Her task was to test the fighter's performance, while the second one was being disassembled aboard Babylon 4 and studied for reverse- engineering and possible mass production.
Starbuck turned the fighter around and sped back toward the Vipers, then flew right past them.
"This baby is a lot more maneuverable than a Viper", Starbuck exclaimed.
"I saw that. Can't believe you just did a full 360 in under a second", Corkscrew, one of the viper pilots, responded.
"Too bad those things can't do atmospheric flight", Dogface, the other pilot, said.
Starbuck was in her element. She headed straight for the closest asteroid and fired two of the fighter's six cannons at it. The asteroid was vaporized instantly. Starbuck whooped in excitement. Neither her nor the pilots of the two Vipers had expected this kind of firepower. Starbuck imagined what those cannons could do against Cylon raiders.
Aboard Babylon 4 Chief Spencer was standing over the disassembled parts of the second Starfury, looking at all the pieces and stroking his thick, black beard. The deck chief of the Pacifica and some of his knuckledraggers had come over from the Pacifica to determine if those new Starfighters could be duplicated with the tools and materials they had available.
"These frackers will take at least four times longer to build than a viper, he mumbled. And that's once we got everything retooled."
"And they'll use up at least twice as much material", one of the knuckledraggers, a bald man named Carl, added.
"Yeah, but I don't give a frack about material as long as it increases the survival rate of our boys and girls flying those things. If you look at the cockpit, it can be used as an escape pod. Those birds seem to be at least fifty years ahead of our current tech, and could really give us a leg up on the toasters", Spencer replied.
Chief Spencer had originally been a foreman in one of Atwood's shipyards and joined Crichton's fleet at Carillon. Commander Crichton had offered him the job on the Pacifica after the previous Chief had died from injuries he had sustained during the initial Cylon attack. Atwood had recommended him for the position. Spencer, a civilian, accepted under the condition that he could keep his beard, which was against the grooming regulations in the Colonial Fleet. Crichton only responded with a joke about Spencer losing his superpowers if he shaved his beard off.
Dr. Richard Wilker had an advanced degree in electrophysics and used to work as a research scientist for Atwood Shipyards in the R&D department. At the moment he was busy figuring out how the instruments in the starfury's cockpit could be reverse engineered using viper parts. Crichton had been very fortunate when he meet up with Atwood's group at Carillon shortly after the Colonies had been lost. Atwood had brought with him many skilled engineers, technicians and scientists whom Crichton had put to work to upgrade his fleet since the fall of the Colonies.
In fact, Crichton's fleet had been way better off than Adama's in terms of resources as well as resourceful people who were putting those resources to good use. Not only meeting up with Atwood and his workers, but also with an unmanned fleet of ships filled to the brim with food and supplies, courtesy of the Doctor, shortly after the destruction of the colonies, had been a tremendous boon for Crichton. The recent discovery of the abandoned station and taking control of it before the Cylons were able to was just the icing on the cake.