The shuttle dropped quietly to land on the edge of the wide clearing, a hundred yards or so from the village. From the perspective of the villagers, it arrived suddenly and unexpectedly, but with a minimum of noise. One moment it was a perfectly ordinary late afternoon in the early autumn- the leaves were just beginning to turn red and gold, the plumage of the pikka birds was beginning to thicken in anticipation of the coming winter frosts, any day now the Perfectly Normal Beasts would start their thunderous migration across the plains and Old Thrashbag was beginning to mutter to himself as he hobbled his way around the village, a muttering which meant that he was rehearsing and elaborating the stories that he would tell of the past year once the evenings had drawn in and the people had no choice but to gather around the fire and listen to him grumble and say that wasn't how they remembered it- and the next moment there was a battered old spaceship sitting there, which looked like it had seen better days. It hummed for a bit and then stopped. It wasn't a big spaceship. If the villagers had been experts on spaceships they would have known that it was a 20-year-old type L-3 standard shuttle, mass produced by Atwood Shipyards, which no longer existed, on the planet Picon, which now was a radioactive wasteland. It was a small, 6-person shuttle, of a type which was carried by most civilian ships in the 12 colonies to ferry personnel to and from planets, space stations, or other ships. The villagers didn't know that at all, of course. Most of them here on the remote planet of Lamuella had never seen a spacecraft, not even one that was old and beat up like this shuttle. Despite its condition it was just the most extraordinary thing they had come across since the day Kirp had caught a fish with a head at both ends. Everybody had fallen silent. Whereas a moment before two or three dozen people had been wandering about, chatting, chopping wood, carrying water, teasing the pikka birds or just amiably trying to stay out of Old Thrashbarg's way, suddenly all activity died away and everybody turned to look at the strange object in amazement. Suddenly, with a slight click and a hum a door folded itself outward and downward from the shuttle.
Then, for a minute or two nothing further seemed to happen, other than the thing just sat there.
Some of the villagers, particularly the boys, began to edge forward a little bit to have a closer look. Old Thrashbarg tried to shoo them back. This was exactly the kind of thing Old Thrashbarg didn't like to have happening. He hadn't foretold it, and even though he would be able to wrestle the whole thing into his continuing story somehow or other, it really was getting a bit much to deal with.
He strode forward, pushed the boys back and raised his arms and his ancient knobby staff into the air. The long warm light of the evening sun caught him nicely. He prepared to welcome whatever gods these were as if he had been expecting them all along.
Three figures in grimy coveralls stepped out and walked down the door that now doubled as a ramp. The first was a dark-skinned man with a beard and shaggy hair. He was followed by a tall brunette woman and a short stocky man with short reddish hair.
Thrashbarg had no idea how to play this at all and decide to resort to chanting. The strangers ignored him and walked straight toward Sinclair, who had come out of his hut hearing the engine noise of the shuttle. Sinclair, with his injured thumb bandaged, greeted the newcomers.
"I am Captain Andrea Ellis of the Adriatic. These are first mate Stevens and Engineer Harrisson, " the woman introduced herself and her two companions.
"So, which Colony did you say you are from?", Sinclair asked, remembering that she had mentioned colonies when they had talked via radio earlier.
"I am from Picon, Harrisson is from Aerilon and Stevens is from Leonis", Ellis answered
"I'm sorry, but I am not aware of Earth having any colonies with those names."
"These are not colonies of Earth. We are from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. But you mentioned you were from Earth. We have been trying to find Earth before we were separated from our fleet."
"What year is it?" Sinclair asked.
"This is year 3 after the destruction of the Twelve Colonies.", Stevens explained with a sad expression on his face.
"Destruction by whom? ", Sinclair wanted to know.
"By the Cylons. They are machines we created and they rebelled. We fought them to a standstill. Decades later they came back and launched a surprise attack. Billions died. There are fewer than 50,000 survivors.", Stevens answered somberly.
"It saddens me to hear that. You seem to know about Earth. Did the Cylons destroy Earth as well?" Sinclair inquired, visibly shaken.
"Actually, we are trying to reach Earth to find refuge from the Cylons. How is Earth like? The people, the technology? Do you think they can help us?" the captain asked Sinclair.
"Honestly, I don't know. Depends on what year it is. I have travelled backwards and forward through time. I found that history has been drastically altered. I don't know which year it is on Earth right now and how the changes have affected the technological and political development of Earth." Sinclair explained
"Can you help us find Earth?" Ellis asked.
"From looking at the night sky I can tell where we are in relation to Earth. I would need to see your star charts to be sure. I don't know if my own star charts are still accurate." Sinclair explained.
Meanwhile, Trashbarg stood there dumbfounded, listening to the conversation, still unable to believe that those strangers simply ignored him
Despite having settled into his role as the Sandwich Maker, Jeffrey Sinclair was excited when the people from the Adriatic showed up an offered him the opportunity to leave with them. Becoming the Sandwich Maker had been some sort of coping mechanism for him after realizing that he would seemingly be stuck on this planet for the rest of his life, unable to make a difference in the galaxy. After being abandoned here, a new purpose had been born for Jeffrey Sinclair out of boredom and hopelessness. He perfected the process of making a sandwich to a sacred art. From the type of bread to the shapes of the knives. One used for slicing the bread, one for cutting the meat of the Perfectly Normal Beast, and one for spreading the condiments.
Sinclair now had a new goal in his life: To help the crews of the two Colonial ships find the Galactica and guide their fleet to Earth. He was going to go with them and declared Drimple, his apprentice, to be the new Sandwich Maker. Drimple was the first person he had met on Lamuella, the first who had tasted one of his sandwiches. Drimple had been interested in the art of making sandwiches from the beginning and Sinclair had taken him on as an apprentice and taught him every step of the process. Sinclair told Old Trashbarg that he had to leave, that the Almighty Bob had called him away to teach someone else the art of making sandwiches, and that Drimple would replace him.
So Trashbarg stepped in front of the villagers and declared: "The Almighty Bob has declared that the work of Sandwich Maker Sinclair is complete and has called him to return to the stars, from whence he came." Sounds of disappointment came from the gathered crowd of villagers.
"But fear not, for Sinclair has bestowed his knowledge upon Drimple, his apprentice. By the power invested in me by the Almighty Bob, I hereby declare Drimple to be the new Sandwich Maker", Old Thrashbarg proclaimed. Loud cheers erupted from the crowd.
The Colonials made trade arrangements with the people of Lamuella. Using shuttles, supplies were ferried to both ships. 5 male and 15 female perfectly normal beasts were taken aboard, as well as several tons of meat and other foodstuffs. Water supplies were replenished as well. In turn the Colonials gave the people of Lamuella various raw materials, such as iron and copper, as well as pieces of technology that did not exist on Lamuella. Several Lamuellans now found themselves in the possession of flashlights and battery powered tools. They were also given a generator to recharge the batteries for those tools.
A group young Lamuellans, Sinclair estimated them to be in their late teens or early twenties, approached him and the Colonials and asked if they could come with them. These individuals were bored with the life on Lamuella and were dreaming of great adventures.
Sinclair spent an hour taking the camouflage netting off of his shuttle. He had to cut through all sorts of vegetation that had grown into the net. Two Lamuellan teenagers helped him, while three others helped the crews load up the other shuttles. Once Sinclair managed to get inside, he started up all the systems and ran preflight checks. Shortly later he followed the other shuttles to the Adriatic.
Comparing the star charts in the Adriatic's computer to those stored in his shuttle's computer, Sinclair was able to figure out that they were now at the edge of Minbari controlled space. At least, this area was controlled by the Minbari in Sinclair's orginal timeline. According to what the pirates had told him, the Minbari had been bitterly defeated in the war against the Shadows, and he knew that was due to him not being able to bring Babylon 4 to them. He was still not exactly sure what year he was in. Using the star charts stored on the shuttle's computer and accounting for stellar drift, he figured he was somewhere in the late 20th or early 21st century, did not have enough data to make more accurate calculations.
Out of the group of adventurous young Lamuellans, five actually ended up joining Sinclair and the colonials.
His shuttle was slightly more advanced than the technology of the Colonials. By combining the sensor equipment of the shuttle with the DRADIS of the Adriatic, they were able to greatly improve the Adriatic's sensor range.