Chapter 6

Pentagon

Washington DC

14 December 2017

Jack O'Neill massaged his temple trying to relieve the headache that had been plaguing him for the past few days. It had been mild at first, so he had popped a couple of aspirin, and gone about his business. A few hours later the pain had returned more intense than before. His Adjunct, Colonel Paul Davis had persuaded Jack to go to the doctor. The doctor had run a battery of tests, and diagnosed Jack with a mild migraine most likely caused by stress. Being responsible for the protection of billions on Earth, and millions more on planets that were under Earth's protection could do that to a person. The Doctor had given Jack a shot along with a prescription to help manage the pain. He now sat with his staff listening to Samantha Carter as she gave her report on the colonial craft that had crashed on Px-847J via teleconference from Area 51. Also attending through teleconference was General Landry.

" The crash and subsequent explosion of the Colonial vehicle has left us very little to work with Sir." Carter informed The Director of Homeworld Security. "That being said. The metallurgical composition of the crafts fuselage that we did recover is very fascinating. If we apply manufacturing techniques that, "Carter!" Jack interrupted as he held up his hand. While he greatly respected Carter's scientific acumen. She was regarded as one of humanity's greatest minds. She had the tendency to ramble when excited about what he called doohickys. Sam stopped mid sentence momentarily confused. Then remembering O'Neill's impatience regarding long technical explanations, she smiled sheepishly. "Uh..Sorry sir," "It's alright Carter. Just give us the cliff notes version." Jack told Carter. "Yes sir." Sam replied. "To put it simply, if you made an M1 Abrams out of this material, that tank would be 15% lighter without giving up any appreciable armor protection." Sam informed O'Neill and his Staff. Jack looked expectantly at Landry.

"Afraid I've got some bad news," Landry said somberly as he quickly glanced down at something on his desk. "Dr. Lam has informed me that Lieutenant McCall succumbed to injuries. He passed away at 0645 this morning." O'Neill, and the others were silent for a few moment as they digested the news. Taking a deep breath Jack addressed Landry. What about the other one? Lieutenant…" ," Lieutenant Margret Edmondson." Supplied Colonel Davis. " Thank you Colonel." Jack replied before turning back to Landry. "Lieutenant Edmondson's injuries were not as severe. According to Dr. Lam, she's currently under sedation recovering from her injuries." Landry reported. Jack leaned back in chair. At least one of the colonials survived. Hopefully, the Lieutenant could provide more information. Like, where did they come from? What were they doing in that system? Where was their Mothership? What are their intentions? Most importantly. Did they have a Big Honking Space Ship? Jack leaned forward to speak to Landry again.

"What about PX-847J? Anything besides the ruins themselves we need to know about?" O'Neill inquired. Landry shrugged. "Besides the anthropological value of the ruins, the scientific teams didn't really find anything of any importance." Landry informed his Superior. "I would like to make a recommendation Sir," Landry said looking expectantally at O'Neill, who narrowed his brow. "Once we learn what we can from Lieutenant Edmondson, we dispatch the Odyessy to the system, and start searching for the Colonials.

"Sounds like a Plan. Make it happen." O'Neill ordered Landry. Turning to the others he said. "Any suggestions?" "We should send a task force. The Odyessy might need some support," someone suggested. Before Jack could answer, Landry spoke. "Normally I'd agree but, Doctor Jackson believes that more than one ship could be seen as a threat." Landry informed Jack and the others. O'Neill nodded. Daniel was usually right about these sort of things. Usually. Carter cleared her throat. "Yes Carter?" Jack said smiling. "We have very little information on Colonial engines. Tracking them could be problematical." Carter informed O'Neill who slowly grinned at his former second in command.

"That's why you'll be going on the Mission Carter." Jack informed her with a big grin plastered across his face.

Battlestar Galactica

Uncharted Space

1860 CF

Admiral William Adams stared at the piece of paper laying on his desk. It was a form unlike any other of the countless forms used by the Colonial Fleet. By signing, and initialing it, Adama would officially declare lieutenants Edmondson, and McCall dead. That was why although the form had been in his inbox for the past few days, he had put off dealing with the unpleasant duty it entailed. Sighing Adama stood up, and walked over to his bookcase. Picking up a model of a MK II Viper Bill's thoughts drifted back to a couple of weeks ago.

Adama along with his XO Saul Tigh, stood at Command and Control located in the center of CIC. Around them the Galactica's highly trained crew went about their duties in CIC with a professionalism that made Adama proud. The crew of the Galactica were all that remained of a once mighty fleet yet, each man and woman continued to perform their duties despite the catastrophic losses they had all experienced. Currently CIC was busier than usual as the Raptors that had been sent to scout for fresh water, and tylium were starting to return.

"DRADIS Contact! " Exclaimed Lt. Gaeta, Galatica's Tactical Officer. A few seconds later he added, "IFF confirms its Raptor 62." Adama nodded and glanced at the Mission Board. Raptors 34, 109, 11, and 145 were still out. Noticing what his commanding officer was looking at, Tigh spoke up. "34, and 11 should be back in the next two hours. 109 about an hour after that. Racetrack and Skulls since their flight was delayed, are gonna be the last ones back."Tigh reminded Adama, who nodded in acknowledgement.

Ever since the cylons had shown back up, the fleet had been making a series of jumps in an attempt to throw the cylons off the trail. The stress on the Galactica caused by the repeated jumps had the ship's engineers ready to have a nervous breakdown. With the civilian ships, many which were never designed for deep space , much less the extended time the fleet had spent away from a drydock. The problems were worse.

The Virgon Express along with two other ships, were unable to jump due to mechanical issues caused by the strain of the repetitive jumps. Chief Tyrol had looked at each ship, and informed Adama and Roslin that it would take at least four days to fix the ships. Faced with the Fleet being stuck in the current system, Adama had ordered the raptors to search for resources. Especially, water, and tylium.

At first the raptor crews found nothing, so they had been ordered to search further and further out. Now the Galactica and the Fleet waited for the last of the raptors to return. Hopefully, one of them will have found a system rich in resources. A couple more hours passed, and Raptors 34, 11, and 109 each returned to the Galactica. Shortly after Raptor 109 was back in the barn, Adama informed Tigh that he would be in his ready room and left CIC.

He had been reading the fuel report for the Fleet when his phone had rung. It was Tigh who told him that Raptor 145 was thirty minutes late. Adama had immediately ordered SAR to be launched. For three days the search for the missing raptor turned up nothing. Then, when Athena and Helo had run into Cylon raiders while searching one of the three systems assigned to Racetrack and Skulls, Adama ordered the Fleet to jump. Soon afterwards Adama had met with Lee, Kara, and Saul. After discussing the two missing pilots. Bill had come to the sad conclusion that lieutenants Edmondson and McCall were now KIA.

Bill put the model back on the shelf, and walked back to his desk. Looking down at the damnable piece of paper, he clenched his fist in anger. "How many more of us do you plan to take before you leave us Alone?" Bill shouted at the Gods. As they had done so many times before, the Gods refused to answer.

Bowing his head to cruel capricious Fate, Admiral William Adama signed the Form.

Kara Thrace sat in the Pilots Ready Room with her head in her hands. She had woken up this morning with the Motherfracker of all headaches. At first she assumed it was the result of drinking to much ambrosia, then remembered she had gone to bed sober. Kara had gone to Life Station to see Doc Cottle. Galactica's curmudgeon of a Chief Medical Officer, had given her a couple of anti –inflammatories while muttering, "Stupid godsdamned fool pilots."

The pills had helped a little, allowing her to teach a class on Three Dimensional Combat. To a group of nuggets later in the morning. She was now waiting on Apollo along with Helo, and

Athena. "You feeling okay Starbuck?", a concerned Helo asked her. Beside him Athena's face mirrored her husband's own. Starbuck looked at them and laughed weakly, wincing slightly at the pain. "I think Dionysus is punishing me for not drinking yesterday." Athena and Help looked at each other in shock. The Infamous Starbuck, Lover of booze, and fracking. Not drinking? Athena shook her head in disbelief. "If anyone else had told me that, I would've punched them right in their mouth for lying, "she told Kara. Starbuck started to reply when Major Adama, Galactica's CAG entered the room.

Athena and Help rose from their seats at attention. Followed at a more slower pace by Starbuck. Adama walked to the front of the room. He put a folder he had been carrying down on a table. And picked up a remote lying there. Turning to the pilots, "As you were," Apollo ordered. Starbuck, and the others sat back down. Apollo pressed a button on the remote, and the large flat screen hanging from the ceiling came to life. On it was a map of the current system the fleet was currently located. By pushing another button, he caused a glowing orange circle to appear around the fifth planet. Satisfied that everything was in order, Lee started the Preflight Briefing.

" Our mission is a simple one people. Cookies and milk, " Apollo informed the others with a slight smile. "We are to proceed to these coordinates," he indicated the glowing area on the screen. "Once on site, Raptor 109 will make an atmospheric insertion over the southern hemisphere. From there Raptor 109," he indicated Help and Athena, will perform aerial reconnaissance of…..A loud moan from Starbuck caused Apollo to pause mid sentence. "You have something to add Captain? " Apollo inquired looking at Starbuck, not really concerned by her recycled felgercarb appearance. Starbuck's off duty exploits had been legendary in the Colonial Fleet even before the Attack.

"Starbuck is suffering from a lack of alcohol in her system, sir," teased Athena. Earning her an obscene gesture from the suffering pilot. Apollo looked at Starbuck doubtfully. As far as he was concerned, the day that Starbuck didn't have a drink would be the day after she met the Boatman. Still as CAG he had to ascertain her ability to perform the upcoming mission. " are you able to fly, Captain? " a concerned Apollo asked his best pilot. " I'll be fine. Getting off this Bucket for a few hours will help clear my head," Starbuck replied doing her best to sound nonchalant. The look on Apollo's face showed he clearly didn't buy her act. " Look Kara if you want, I can get Two Shots to fly for.." I said I was Fraking Okay!" Starbuck snapped. Apollo stood silent as he studied her. A few feet away Helo and Athena shared a nervous glance. Finally, Apollo spoke. "Skids up in thirty! Dismissed!

Athena and Helo quickly left to check with Chief Tyrol, and to preflight their Raptor. Apollo watched them go. A part of him still didn't trust Athena, but as his father had pointed out to him. The Cylon had plenty of opportunities to betray the Fleet in the past, yet had not done so. Lee wasn't as willing to trust her like the senior Adama. He turned to the woman who would be flying off his wing. " You positive your fit for flight duty?" Apollo quietly asked Starbuck. "Like I said Lee, I'm fine. Just a little headache,"Kara replied with her trademark smirk, and walked out of the Briefing room.

Shaking his head as he watched Starbuck leave, Apollo picked up the folder, and started to go through its contents when he heard someone shout," Medical Emergency!" Running out of the room he saw Gunny Mathias along with some knuckle draggers kneeling beside someone, while others looked on. "Gods its Starbuck!" A crewman exclaimed. Upon hearing this, Lee's heart skipped a beat. Then his training kicked in. Quickly walking over he knelt down besides his friend. Mathias had two fingers on the side of Starbuck's neck, checking her pulse. Petty Officer Henderson was elevating Starbuck's legs. Starbuck was unconscious. Her breathing shallow. " Fine my Ass, " Apollo muttered. Glancing up he saw Chief Tyrol talking into a phone receiver. Hanging up the phone, Tyrol came over to Apollo. "Medical Team is on the way, Major, "he informed Lee. Apollo nodded as he gazed down at Kara.

" Don't you dare die on me Kara Thrace. " Lee half ordered, half pleaded.

TWS Odyssey

Hyperspace

3 January 2018

Racetrack kept glancing nervously at the red, and purple swirls of what the thirteeners called a hyperspace tunnel. These people were insane, Thought Racetrack. Who in their right mind, put big fracking windows on a spacecraft? Much less a fracking Warship! Ever since she and Skulls had crash landed on that alien planet, she had been feeling like she was stuck in a late night sci-fi movie.

First there was the Stargate. She was still trying to wrap her mind around that one. A device that broke an object or person into their component atoms, and reassembled them tens of thousands light years away. Racetrack had nearly jumped out of her skin when she had witnessed a Stargate activate for the first time. When she, and Skulls had been carried through, Racetrack had been gripping Teal'c's hand so tightly, she thought she had broken the poor man's hand.

Sadly, what should have been a joyous event in Margret Edmondson's life had been made bittersweet by the death of Hamish McCall. His body now lay in cold storage in one of the Odyessy's cargo hold, waiting to be returned to their people for burial. As upsetting as that had been, nothing had prepared Racetrack for the bomb the thirteeners had dropped on her. They were not the fabled Thirteenth Tribe. What's more, Earth not Kobold, was the birthplace of Humanity.

Not the most religious person in the Fleet, Racetrack had become increasingly agitated as Dr. Jackson had given her the information. At first she had been in denial, but eventually given the evidence presented by Jackson and others, she had accepted the truth. Still it depressed the frack out of Margret. It had been Teal'c who put it all in perspective for Racetrack.

She had been sitting in the base commissary idly using her spoon to stir her soup, as she reflected on a Universe gone insane. What she had learned shocked her to the core. Racetrack could only imagine what the more religious would do when they found out what she had learned. As Racetrack tried to put it all in order, Teal'c had approached and asked to join her for dinner.

Teal'c had politely inquired about how she was adapting to her new surroundings. Racetrack had meant to say something like, "fine, or so, so. " Instead, she had gone on an increasingly emotional rant. The big Jaffa had listened quietly as Racetrack laid out her hopes, and fears of the future. Not just for herself, but also her People. When she had finally finished Teal'c spoke.

" I too was once living my life in a lie. I served a false god, committing acts in his name that shames me to this day. Then like you I met the Tau'ri and, as General Landry says, Saw the Big Picture. The discovery of what you believe is the Truth being a Lie is very painful. You know this for yourself. " Teal'c had paused, and leaned forward, studying Racetrack silently for a few moments before speaking again. His voice low, and intense.

" Margret Edmondson, the veil has been ripped from your eyes. Will you continue to live among the shadows? Or, will you step into the light?"