Disclaimer: I never have and never will own the characters, Ideas or anything else based on these 2 shows. The TV studios that produced them, do. This story is also free as it is a pet project. Enjoy.
"Speaking in a different language"
Chapter one: The fall of the galaxy, or the Colonies?
Battlestar Galactica, on patrol in Cyrannus alpha, awaiting decommission, Earth date February 1st, 2005
In the corridors of the old battle hardened ship many people were walking thru the corridors that one would not expect to see. Civilians. This was a sad reminder for this ship's crew of the upcoming fate of their beloved ship. The 'old girl', as she was called, or as by others, 'the rust bucket'.
"So as you can see, the Galactica, the last of the Jupiter class battlestars, is in the process of being turned into a museum." The tour guide was explaining to the mostly reporters that were following him and recording everything. He stopped and pointed to a wall phone. "This ship remains the only one in the fleet that does not use networked computers. During the first war with the Cylons, we had to learn hard lessons to not underestimate our enemies, especially in the one field of war where they excel at. So this ship is by our modern standards obsolete."
A reporter raised her hand. "Buy why not modernise her? Surely a ship like this might still be useful to the fleet?" A collective chuckle followed.
"Perhaps, but when compared to the state of the art Mercury class, the Jupiter has earned a rest. And as I understand, her commander does not and will not permit network computers." The guide explained. At that moment a woman jogging thru the corridor approached them.
"Make a hole!" she yelled at them as they obliged. She passed then and continued on her way.
"Heh, as you can see, obsolete or not, there is always something going on on a ship like this. Now, let's continue..." the guide, one Aaron Doral, the public relations person guided the group to their next stage of the tour.
"And as we must..." were the words that came out of the commanders mouth, as he continuer reciting his written fare well speech, that would not just end the Galacticas careered, but his as well. kind of ironic. He started his military career on her and it end here as well. And it cost him dearly. One son's life. An estranged wife that divorced him. One estranges son that didn't get along with him. One old friend with wife and alcoholic issues himself. And on top of that the admiralty partially scapegoat him for the near Valkyrie disaster they themselves caused, then buried it under the rug and send him out to pasture.
He reached the CIC and continued working on his speech. Lt. Gaeta, the officer on CIC watch, saluted him. "Sir, for all it's worth... It was an honour and a pleasure to working with you."
Bill stopped with his reciting and smiled at him. "Me too, Lt. Gaeta. Hope wherever the fleet posts you next, it won't be a farewell like they did with me."
"Sir. Thank you."
"By the way. Where is my so called XO at this time? That secretary of education is due to arrive in 1 hour, right? So where the frak is he? Please don't tell me he is at it again?" By that Bill meant either hangover or drinking.
"I don't know, sir. I called him over the comm system several times. Maybe... oh here he is sir." Saul just arrived in the CIC. He was clearly not in a good mood. Then again, ask the crew and the answer would be: 'When IS he in a good mood?'
"Saul, you took your sweet time."
"Yeah, you know me Bill. Besides, only a few days until me you and this ship are out of the militaries way."
"Be that as it may, we have an official arrival from the government. Don't worry." Bill stopped Saul from arguing how he is not the type of person to babysit anyone. "I'll handle her. You just need to be present when she arrives, uniform and all, including your charming personality. Then you can go and scare the crew."
Saul smiled. He liked that. Maybe he'll go down to pilot country and gamble a bit with the rookies.
Colonial Heavy 798, 1 hour from the Galactica
"Here you go, madam secretary." Billy, Laura's aide said as he gave her a stack of papers and documents.
"Uhhhh... Remind me again, Billy, why I choose to become a politician. I am a teacher at heart and... now I'm drowning in bureaucracy." She slammed a document shut and took her glasses off, looking around her office on this ship. "All for the mothballing of an old military ship."
"I know, mam. But if our bureaucracy was not bad enough, here we have the militaries to consider as well."
"I know, Billy. I know." She stood up and went to a window on her left, observing the void of space and the stars in it. "Can you leave me alone for a few minutes?"
"Em, sure. But just to remind you, we have to get ready to dock in an hour."
"Yes. Now, please."
"Billy left her in the office alone. She just wanted to cry. This was not how she imagined her career would go. How her life would go. She sacrificed so much for her political career and now... she has terminal breast cancer. As if the universe had a sick sense of humour. And that prick Adar. Oh how she sometimes wished he'd grow a heart and a brain. The educational system hated him. The military hated him. The medical sector hated him. He cut corners and laid off staff wherever he could. That of course meant there was one part of the government that loved him. The financial department.
How she wished things went different. But the warning signs were there. Her mother died this way. Perhaps she should have taken better care of herself. Now all she has are a few months, a year at most.
Cylon colony ship, border of the Cylon territory
All 7 models were assembled.
"So, we ready?" a Four asked the collective.
"Almost. The last of our agents are going into position." A Five responded.
They all had their hands in the organic touch area on the console in the basestars CIC equivalent.
"It will be glorious. Finally we will have justice!" D'Anna smiled thinking of the upcoming genocide.
"Six, you sure that model of yours did her job good?" The One in the room asked her. "I don't want anything to go wrong. We are doing a great service to the universe today, by removing this pestilence from it. I don't want to see anyone getting away or the Colonials actually fighting back cause of a mistake."
"I assure Caprica did her job good. She infiltrated the military network and uploaded the virus into the CNP. Baltar and the military suspect nothing."
"I hope so, for your models sake. She's been fraking so much with him, I think she might have lost objectivity."
"She did it to get him to give her access. Your idea, I remind you!"
"This arguing between ourselves is pointless brother and sister. We are doing god's work today." the Two in the room wanted to get back to the point. "As you all know..."
"There is no god!" The One shot back. "God's are used by primitives to explain why the sun goes down at sunset. Get that thru your silicon skull already."
"And yet a divine voice speaks to us thru the hybrids."
Cavil did not know if he should bash his head on the console, bash Leoben's head or just... shoot someone. The other Cavil he was working with was currently on Picon with 'mother', so he was left alone to deal with the other models. How he can't wait for them to be brought back and tell him how they were wrong and he was right.
Gememnon, temple of the Lords of Kobol
High priestess Aperia was preparing for her daily ritual and ceremony of praising the gods. It was a pain staking procedure, but the Lord's will what the Lord's will. She had a young priestess in training with her in her chamber. Outside you could see the many mountain ranges of Gemenon. The clear sky, warm sun. Rivers twisting down the canyons.
"My lady. The ceremony is not for another 10 minutes, no need to hurry so much."
"Oh, Livia. When you get to be my age and served the Lords for as long as I have, this daily routine get... tedious. Partially I just want to get it over with." She replied as she continued to put her ceremonial robe on. "But perhaps we can continue with your training before that. I will show you something not known to many. In fact, only me and 27 other priests know of this. And since you already swore an oath of servitude to the Lords and to keep their secrets hidden. Come with me."
Livia did as instructed, finishing Aperia's robe. They passed several chamber of the mentioned 27 priests. Then they passed the ceremonial chamber where the morning prayer will be held. Livia began realizing that Aperia was leading her to the 'forbidden' corridor. It was guarded by the protectors of the priests who also swore an oath of silence and servitude, but not even they knew what was at the end of this corridor that was itself so out of the way of the main traffic of the temple. Once in the corridor, they walked for 2 minutes with only artificial light illuminating their journey. At the end there were more guards who just lowered their heads, acknowledging Aperia's presence. As they reached a large steel door, she pulled out a key and began opening the door. Inside was a security check point. Livia was a bit shocked to see technology in this sacred place. A hand and iris scanner? What would be so important to hide it this well?
As Aperia deactivated the security system with her hand and eye authentication, she turned around to see Livia in the eyes. "Remember. Not a word!"
"As I swore at the altar."
"Good." She opened the last door and Livia followed her. Inside this chamber were many artefacts of different eras and from different tribes. A Caprican urn. Picon trident. Sagittarian bow and arrow.
"My lady. This is all fascinating, but why all this security for 'museum' pieces?"
"These trinkets? Oh no, my dear naive Livia. This is the main attraction." Aperia moved to something covered by a curtain. As she pushed it aside, Livia saw... something she did not expect.
"No, my dear. The Ring! The Ring of the Lords!" It was indeed a ring. A large ring, held upright with metallic pillars at each side, Livia went closer to get a better look.
"Are you sure? I mean it's impressive, but how do you know?"
"See these writings in the middle ring?" Livia nodded. "No known language to us. It is the written language of the gods. The one who will master it will be able to communicate with the Lords!"
Livia continued looking the ring over. "I still don't believe it, my lady. Where was it found?"
"In the valley of the Lords, buried under tonnes of rock. There was something else there, but crushed beyond recognition."
"But my lady! It is forbidden to ever step into the sacred valley! It is a sacrilege!"
"It was a sign! The Lords wanted us to find this. And if you don't believe me..." She grabbed Livia' hand and dragged her to the last displayed item. A book. "You can read and speak ancient Kobolian, yes?"
"Of course. It is mandatory."
"Then read what is written on the book."
Livia turned to the display case and began reading. "Pythia's book of prophecy?" She turned to her superior. "I heard of the Sacred scrolls, but... what is this?"
"The original. This is the source the Scrolls used to write Pythia's prophecies."
For the first time since this was shown to her, Livia was at a loss of words. "This is the source? How can you be so sure?"
"We had it dated. It predates the Scrolls. But we also had it scanned to read the text without damaging the book." She grabbed a modern copy of the book. "It's in the original ancient Kobolian. Read... here."
Livia began reading where Aperia instructed her to do so. "And the children were suffering from the harsh treatment from the mad titan Kronus, who disregarded the value of any life. The titans and gods were all at war, but for reasons unknown to the children of Kobol... So wait! Kronus was ruling over Kobol!?"
"One day a man, not a god, came thru the great ring of the gods. He managed to do so with a ghost ship. He claimed to have come from another place with humans. There the humans defied the gods. A god by the name of Ra. The name Kronus subject heard him screaming from time to time. This man was a great prophet. He tried to encourage the Kobolians to rise up as well, but before they could, Zeus and his brothers overthrew Kronus and drove him off Kobol. "
"The plans foiled, the prophet returned home thru the ring. But he did say that the Kobolians will one day know the truth. And to know that truth, they must hide the ring, not destroy it." Livia was speechless. "Who was this prophet? Pythia?"
"No, that prophet has no name, except that he was a man, not a woman. And he predates Pythia. Read the last part. That is the most disturbing part. That was added millennia later."
"And the Lords ruled over Kobol and guided humanity. Until the day came when they themselves were driven off of Kobol by an enemy of the Lords, the god Thor." Livia couldn't take it anymore. "So Ra is a Lord as well? And how can Thor be a god, but not a Lord?"
"Good questions indeed. If Ra was Kronus enemy, what was he to the Lords? And how could the Lords loose to a single god? But based on this book, when we found this ring, we unearthed it, even if stepping into the valley was forbidden. Without this book... we might have done as you said. Leave it." Aperia put the copy of the book down. "But... I'm and old woman. These secrets will be for you to discover."
As they began leaving the secret room, Livia had one final question. "My lady, how, if this prophet predates Pythia, how..."
"How is he mentioned in her book? Good question. We suspect even this book is not an original but just a copy of another and so on, passed down for generation. For some strange reason, until the Lords left Kobol and also expelled us from it in the great exodus, we have little writing material from our ancestors."
"Now come, young one. We are almost late for the ceremony."
Galactica, hangar bay, 10 minutes later
Bill was making his daily routine check of the ship. All the time still working on his speech. Looking around he saw all the deck crew still working as hard as ever. In a way he asked himself, why bother. As he was about to continue on his path, the chief approached him with most of his knuckle draggers.
"Sir." Galen saluted the commander.
"Chief." Adama returned the salute. "What is it? I can see on the expressions on your crew you have something planned."
"Well sir. The deck crew and me were doing some side work and wanted your input."
Bill put the paper in his and behind his back and took his glasses off with the other hand. "Very well. I'll indulge you chief. Lead the way."
Adama followed the chief and his crew to what appeared to be a covered Viper. as the chief removed the cower, Bills eyes sparkled. A rarity these days. "I'll be dammed. A viper mark 2."
"Fully restored and fuelled, sir."
Bill turned his attention from the fighter to the chief again. "She'll fly?"
"Oh yes sir. But that is not all." He pointed to the call sign written on the viper.
"Husker. My old call sign. Is someone pushing for a promotion, chief?"
"I can honestly say no, sir. Unless you guys didn't tell me something? Prosna?" He looked at his crew, who just began laughing. "Also, check the serial numbers.
"This... this is MY old viper! Where did you get it?"
"A junk depot, sir. Took some negotiating to get her and all the parts we needed. And..." A member of his deck crew handed him something wrapped. Galen gave it to the commander who unwrapped it. So far only good memories for Bill. But this triggered some sad ones. It was a picture from him and his 2 sons. From happier times.
"Thank you, chief. Everyone. Wherever your next posting is going to be, I can only wish you good luck."
Armistice station, 20 minutes later
The Colonial shuttle had arrived and docked with the station. It had done so every year for the past 40 years. Each year the Colonials send a representative to this station at the border with the Cylons. Each year the Cylons would send none.
The Armistice officer had just taken the seat at the table and opened his briefcase. Inside were documents containing known information on the Cylons, potential agreements that could be discussed and other possible negotiating themes.
The officer sighed. He knew he would sit alone here for hours until his mandatory stay here would end and he could go home. He tried to pass time by reading the content of his documents. Time passed. As he continued with his boredom, something happened he did not expect. The door across him opened and he could clearly hear the distinct sound of metal. Then he saw them, 2 large centurions enter the room and take positions at each side of the door they had just entered thru.
These were not the centurions from the first war. He could clearly see improvements. So the toasters were not sitting idle. As military HQ feared. But what completely caught him off guard was the last 'person' that came thru. Not a centurion. A young blonde woman. A gorgeous one at that. As she passed the desk and came to his side of it, sitting on the desk looking down on him in a very suggestive manner, she began speaking. "Are you alive?"
"What? Who are you?"
"Shhh... Don't worry. All will be all right." She began kissing him. And her grip on him was so strong he could not break clear of her. Seconds later, the entire station went up in an explosion. In space at least one basestar was present in the vicinity of the station.
Pilot recreation room, 10 minutes later
Tigh was having a decent morning. The emphasis was on 'was' having a decent morning. Right now he was on the floor with a bruised lip and the table where they had just played a game of cards was flipped to the side, all its content on the floor as well.
He stood up again and eyed the person responsible for this mess. "You gone and done it now, Starbuck!" He crossed the distance between them. "Assaulting a superior officer! Oh I've been waiting for a long time for this. You have a date with a court martial! Marines!" As he yelled, 2 guards entered the recreational room. "Escort this 'pilot' to the brig!"
Kara just passed him. "Don't worry boys, I know the way. Don't need you holding my hands." As she was just about to leave the room, she turned around one last time. "No wonder your old lady left you. A drunken old washed up has been."
"Get her to the brig!" Tigh reacted to her last jab. After she and the marines left, the room remained quiet as a tomb. Tigh didn't feel like staying any longer. He returned to his quarters. inside, he first took a look at his bruised lip. "Can't wait till you get what's coming to you, Starbuck."
The next thing he did was going to his hidden stash of booze. As he was about to pour himself a drink, he stopped. "No wonder your old lady left you. A drunken old washed up has been." Those words rang in his head. Damn her, Kara got to him. He returned the bottle to its original hiding place. He returned to the mirror at the sink in his quarters. "Maybe it is time to sober up a bit."
"Sir, we have a transmission in the open. There is a request that a jump capable ship goes and checks out if everything is OK at the armistice station." Lt. Dualla gave her report to Adama who was still working at this speech.
"Thank you, Dee. But we can't afford to go anywhere. Besides, this ship hasn't jumped in decades." As Dualla went back to her station, Bill wanted to return to his work when he saw Tigh returning to the CIC. "Mind telling me what happened in the rec room?"
"If you mean Kara being in the brig. This time she went too far."
"Knowing you, you pushed her buttons. She and you never got along, Saul. You really want to ruin a career of the best pilot I've ever seen?"
"Best pilot? She's arrogant, border line insubordination, no discipline..."
"And the best pilot I've ever seen. She could beat me in my best years. You? With both hands behind her back. She's a natural, perhaps even more than Lee."
"Do you expect me to look the other way?"
"No, but a court-martial?"
"She assaulted a superior officer."
Bill shook his head. This was a stalemate. He couldn't just order Saul to let this go. As his XO, discipline and court-martials were under his authority.
"Sir." Gaeta broke the argument.
"Yes, Lt. Gaeta?"
"We have Colonial Heavy 798 on Dradis. They should arrive in 20 minutes."
"Ahead of schedule?" Gaeta nodded. "Fine then. Anything else?"
"Yes sir. Her viper escort... well sir..."
"Just say it, Lieutenant."
"One of the vipers is piloted by Apollo."
Tigh looked at his old friend. This will not be a happy reunion. Bill stiffened for a second. "Thank you. Now, Dee, begin transmitting docking instructions to Colonial Heavy 798. Once the vipers begin the landing, guide them in as well. I'll be in my quarters to get ready." He turned to Saul. "You'd better get ready as well. Nice to see you sober for a change."
Picon fleet HQ, 10 minutes later
"What is that moron thinking!" These were the words of fleet admiral Aria Artemis. Right now she was in her weekly discussion with the majority of the admiralty in the orbital Picon military HQ. "He cut's out budget every year, little by little. At this rate, if the toasters return, we won't have anything but harsh language to throw at them."
The thinking in the room was mostly the same. They all hated Adar. Among the military he was the most disliked person in the past 40 years.
"As if he forgot the Cylons even exist." Admiral Nagala added. "And where is Cain anyway?"
"She just had the Pegasus dock at Scorpia for a 6 month refit. She would never had made it to this meeting anyway." A vice admiral responded. "It's better this way anyway. The only thing we ever agreed with her was how much we hated Adar."
"Yes, she really is a pit bull. And pit bulls don't do well if on a chain." The fleet admiral nodded. "Now what's the status of the fleet?"
Nagala began reading the report in his hands. "68% of our forces are combat ready, but only 42% of those have any real combat experience, either from the first war or catching pirates and smugglers."
"For frak's sake." Aria cursed. "At this rate the toaster might just walk in here. The minimum needed is 80% combat ready."
"We have too many battlestars, like the Pegasus, currently down for upgrades and maintenance." The logistical admiral began explaining the situation. "We simply don't have enough ships to keep a permanent defensive perimeter around every colony and also patrol all of our space."
"The Cylons won't care about our logistical problems. "It's back to the real issue we have. Adar." Nagala again pointed out the issue.
"Perhaps, but we can't do anything about him until the next election, when we just don't support him." Aria stood up. "Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, until next week. Dismissed."
As the conference room began clearing, Aria stopped Nagala. "You returning back to the Atlantia?"
"Yes sir. Have to return to Cyrannus gamma. You know Cain has good attacking skills but she is too reckless and her other skills are useless in peace times. I am acting admiral for Cyrannus gama after all."
"I know. Just hoped you had more time for some off the books talk. And a drink."
He shook his head. "Duty first. Blood and honour."
"Blood and honour."
Galactica landing bay, 10 minutes later
Colonial Heavy 798 had docked and her passengers were disembarking. Adama and Saul were waiting with a group of marines, all in ceremonial uniforms.
"Madam secretary, I welcome you on board the battlestar Galactica." Bill greeted Laura with his usual military discipline and protocol.
"Thank you commander. Shall we proceed?"
Bill eyes his son who had just disembarked his viper, still in his pilot gear. "Can you give me a moment, madam secretary. Perhaps..."
"Madam secretary, I'll escort you to the CIC." Saul offered. "This way."
"Thank you, colonel."
As Bill and Saul looked at each other before Saul left with Laura and her staff, their looks were clear to each other. Bills was: 'Thank you friend'. Saul's was: 'You owe me one.'
The hangar began getting more empty of people, until only both Adama's and a few deck hands remained.
"You look good son."
"Do I? Interesting you care at all, commander."
"Permission to speak freely?"
Bill knew where this was heading. "Granted."
"Stow your false sympathy. Now that your career is ending you start reaching out to all those you left behind. Mom pulled so many strings to get you back into the fleet. Zak died... and our family fell apart. Hope your happy." He looked around the hangar. "Now, if there is nothing else, permission to leave?"
Bill knew this would not go easy, but his son was till so full of venom. He still didn't forgive him for his mother divorcing him. And he still didn't believe him that he didn't pull rank to get Zack into the academy. "Granted."
Lee left, not looking back.
Caprica city, outskirts
"So, you're telling me your a what...?"
Dr. Gaius Baltar was having an interesting conversation with a woman he met months earlier. She was breathtaking to look at and smart. So smart, she maybe even his equal. well, at least the way he saw it.
"I'm a Cylon, Gaius."
"Yes, I heard you the first time. But really, should I call a mental institution."
"Just because you don't believe me doesn't make it less real."
"And just saying it won't make it any more reall. Besides, the last time anyone saw a Cylon, they looked more like a walking appliance."
"Oh, those models are still around. They have their uses."
"OK, this is getting us nowhere..."
"Sit down, Gaius. Deep down you always knew I was different. You knew I was special. Why else would you grant me access to the military mainframe computers?"
That got Gaius to start sweating. "Wait, what?"
She began smiling more seductively. "Yes, Gaius. You gave me access without asking the military. And with that access I planted a virus that has spread thru your entire military by now. Once my brother's and sister's return, your military will not be able to stop us."
"Oh gods. Your serious!" He stood up, panicking.
"Finally grasped the whole situation, Gaius."
"I didn't know! I'm innocent!"
"You still manage amaze me. I just told you that your entire civilization is open to attack and all you think about is yourself."
He kept going back and forth in the room like a caged animal. "Do you know what they'll do to me? What the penalty for treason is?!"
"Oh, I believe it's death."
"Exactly!" He grabbed his phone. "I'm calling my lawyer. He'll know what to do. He bloody should, I pay him well enough."
"Gaius, what's the point?" She grabbed the phone and set it back on the table. "Don't you understand it? In a few hours there won't be anyone left alive to charge you with anything!"
Gaius gulped. He really didn't like where this was going. "What are you saying?"
"The children of man are coming home. Today."
Virgon orbit, battlestar Atlantia
Nagala had just returned after the raptor jumped into orbit. In the ship's CIC, his crew saluted him.
"So, what's the story, sir?" His XO asked.
"Prep the ship to jump. My covering for admiral Lennox is over. Cyrannus beta is his problem."
"Aye sir." The XO took the phone from the command table and began speaking. "Prep the ship to jump. Stow all gear and secure all craft."
"Sir, Dradis contact!" the Dradis officer yelled. "And it's an entire fleet, sir!"
Nagala saw it. Dradis identified them as basestars. "Frak me, the toasters are back. Set the fleet to condition one and send a raptor to Picon fleet HQ, we have a situation!"
As the crew began executing his orders, things went... bad.
"Sir, comm is down!"
"Weapons grid is down!"
"Engines are off-line, we are adrift!"
More and more systems shut down. They were stuck on their own ship. "Frakers hacked us!"
"How sir. We had the best protections against this kind of an attack."
"Then you explain this to me, XO! It's the only explanation. But the speed it what's worrying me."
"Inside job. This smells like one."
Cylon colony ship
"All Colonial forces neutralised. Ready to initiate phase 2." The voice of the hybrid echoed thru the entire ship.
"Finally, revenge is ours." Cavil smirked.
"Get me a report on the double!" Cain barked as she returned to the CIC with her newest officer, one Lt Kendra Shaw. The CIC was a mess and many crew members were on the floor, bleeding, dying or already dead. Her XO helped Fisk back to his feet while Shaw took the nav officers post, who has clearly been killed by the Cylon surprise assault.
"Sir, the toasters are positioning themselves for an orbital bombardment, but are focusing on the shipyards for the moment." The Dradis officer reported.
"Makes sense, were the threat, once gone, they can do as they please. Ship status!?"
"Our defences are down, the only real control we have is propulsion, sir!"
"Ready but the nav computers are down!" Shaw replied to the admirals question.
"Then spool them up, we are leaving! Sub-light full reverse, rip the docking clamps off if you have to!"
In space the massive engines of the crippled Pegasus began pushing it out of the burning dock, really tearing many arms and fuel lines off. As the ship was doing this, several raiders made an attack run on the ship, launching their nuclear payload.
"Radiological alarm! Nukes incoming!" Fisk yelled. "Frakers came to finish the job!"
"Lieutenant, jump us now!"
"Admiral, with no nav computer, we can wind up anywhere."
"I said JUMP! Anywhere is better than here!"
Shaw saw the logic in that. She turned the key. In space, the crippled ship blinked out of existence as the nukes passed thru the space she just occupied.
Gememnon, temple of the Lords of Kobol
The morning ceremony was done and Aperia returned to her chamber. But before she did, she added Livia's data into the security room, giving her apprentice the access to the great vault where the ring of the Lords was. Right now Aperia was removing her bulky and somewhat uncomfortable robes. robes that gave her great power and influence as the voice of the Lords, but she hated them more and more for the other reasons.
During this, Livia returned to the vault to study the book of Pythia. As she held the copy she read before, trying to understand the text better, she heard a sound she never heard before. As she turned around, the curtains that were hiding the ring, were not still, but moving as if there was a window open somewhere to allow wind to circulate in the room. But the room had no windows, so what was causing the curtains to move? And the sound came from the ring as well!
She pulled the curtains apart, only to see the inner ring of the great ring... moving. Rotating. And those crystals... the 9 crystals on the ring... 6 of them were lit! They were glowing!
"What in the name of the Lords is going on!?"
She tried to come closer to the ring, but at that moment it activated as the 7th crystal lit up. The next moment a burst of what appeared as a pool of water emerged out of the ring. Livia was knocked back on her back! "By the gods!" She managed to look at the ring again, only now to see a pool of water in the ring. She stood up and approached the now active ring. She put her hand on the 'pool of water'. "Doesn't feel like water. "She pushed her hand in for a second and pulled it out again. "What is this?" Before she could examine this any further, a form of shockwave emerged from the ring and disappeared thru the walls into every direction. Shocked again, she ran to the security room and passed the guards. She needed to find Aperia. Hopefully she would be able to understand this.
Virgon orbit, battlestar Atlantia
"Get me something!" Nagala screamed at his CIC crew who were frantically trying to restore... something.
"Sir. We have comm back!"
"At least something. Transmit..."
"Sir, we are detecting something on Dradis!"
"Be more specific!"
"I can't tell, sir! Dradis is only partially working! Looks like..."
"Like what, captain!?" Nagala's XO yelled.
At that moment a wave of some kind passed thru the ship, only adding to the confusion and panic. But then something strange happened. The lights were returning to normal.
"Sir, we have main power again!"
"Sub-light systems are powered again."
"Weapons grid coming back!"
Nagala was confused, like everyone else. "Cylon status!"
His XO went to the Dradis officer to get a better look. The main Dradis screen was still a mess as it was rebooting. "Sir, that's the weird part. They are dead in the water. All raiders and basestarsars... are floating in space."
"Did they launch any nukes?"
"Several dozen MIRV were already launched."
Frak and hell, Nagala cursed. "Order any and all vipers an raptors to intercept those missiles! NOW!"
"Sir, planetary defences are coming on-line as well, missiles are being intercepted, but there is so many of them..."
As the MIRV broke apart, launching their payload, some, as feared, got thru. The big damage was prevented, by sheer luck. But the damage was still significant. Nagala looked at his crew. "We can mourn them later! Gunnery officers, if you have a firing solution on a basestar, take it! Helm, turn us towards the largest concentration of disabled Cylon ships. XO, your key!"
The admiral and colonel put their nuclear launch keys in their respective sockets and turned them. "I don't know what happened, I don't know how long this stun effect on the toasters will last, but we can't take our time. I'm authorizing usage of nuclear weapons. Any battlestar that can take a basestar out with a nuclear strike must do so!" They turned their keys.
In space the Colonial fleet was beginning to re-organise themselves. The Valkyries were flanking the Mercury's as they began engaging the disabled basestars. This was really one sided, just not as everyone believed it would be.
Battlestar Galactica, CIC, same time
Tigh was about to return to his quarters after Bill returned to the CIC to take over the 'talks' with the teacher. He could clearly see the talk with Lee didn't go well. Before he could even open the doors to his quarters, the alarm went off.
"Set condition one thru the ship. This is not a drill. Repeat, set condition one thru the ship."
"What the frak now." Tigh turned around to return to the CIC. As he reached it he saw the teacher and her escort standing at the sidelines while Bill was reading a report from Dualla. "What's this about Bill?"
He handed him the report. "Read for yourself."
As Adama took the phone from his planning table, Tigh began smirking. "This has got to be a joke. A retiring prank from the admiralty."
"I don't think so. You saw that... shockwave as well, right?"
"That was real?"
Bill shook his head and began addressing his crew. "This is the commander. Moments ago we received a transmission from Caprica command. Minutes ago a massive Cylon fleet entered Colonial space and began attacking all Colonial military installations in orbit. Our entire fleet was disabled by them. We don't know how, but assume it's a cyber attack." He saw the concerned look on everyone's faces. "Then however, something else happened. The shockwave we all saw as it passed thru our ship... it reversed it. The Cylon fleet was disabled by it and... whatever the Cylons used to disable us was neutralised. The Colonial forces in orbit of Caprica have neutralised the Cylon attack force. Similar reports are coming in from the other planets. "Cheering began in the CIC that the commander had to stop as he continued. "Unfortunately... the enemy managed to begin bombarding our worlds before they were disabled. Planetary defences in combination with the partially restored Colonial forces managed to shoot down most of them... but not all of them. As far as we know, most planets got hit by some nuclear missiles. Current estimates are at least 32 million dead on Caprica, including the northern outskirts of Caprica city, right where the presidential bunker was located. As far as we know, Adala's entire staff was there for a meeting, with one exception." He looked at Laura who didn't like where this was going. "Also, Picon fleet HQ suffered heavy damage. Fleet admiral Artemis is dead." He let all of that sink in. "We will discuss the line of succession later. We will mourn our fallen friends tomorrow. Right now we are at war and our colonies still stand. Remember your training and duty. Do it to the best of your abilities, as you have sworn to the Colonial flag. Adama out!"
"Nice speech, Bill. But now what?"
"We're in a shooting war, Saul. We need bullets to shoot with. Lt. Gaeta!"
"Where is a secure munitions' depot or logistical centre. One where there were no Cylons reported."
Gaeta brought a map of the Cyrannus system to the planning table. "Here sir." He pointed to the gas giant Ragnar.
"Ragnar anchorage. Is this the safest bet?"
"I believe so, sir."
"Bill, that place is days away at full burn. Unless..." Tigh looked with displeasure at his friend. "No fraking way."
"Mr. Gaeta, prepare to execute a hyper-light jump. Target is Ragnar anchorage."
"Bill, you can't really mean it! This ship hasn't jumped in over 40 years!"
"And there might be fleets of enemy ships still out there. The rest of the fleet is only partially combat ready while we have no ammo. Give me an alternative!"
Tigh cursed. He knew Bill was right. "Mr. Gaeta, you heard the commander!"
Saul took the phone from the planning table. "This is the XO. Secure all craft and ammo. Prep this ship for a hyper-light jump. Repeat, hyper-light jump."
"And get Kara Thrace out of the brig!" Adama barked at the marines at the CIC entrance. As things calmed down a bit, Laura approached the planning table. "I'm sorry madam secretary, or if the news on Adar are true, madam president, but for the moment you are stuck with us."
"What do you mean? Can't you just let us return to Caprica?"
"No. Military protocol states that if the only known survivor of the government is in a military situation, the officer in charge must protect said representative of the government until they reach safety. I have no ammo, thus I can't take you to a possible combat zone and guarantee your safety. Once I have ammo, we return to Caprica. That good for you?"
Laura didn't like it... but accepted it. If Adar was really dead and she was the only one in line of succession, she will guide the colonies thru this nightmare. "Very well. We will do it your way, commander."
As their conversation ended, Lee and Kara arrived at the CIC.
"Sir, reporting for duty."
"We both are." Lee added. He had a long talk with her, since she could not escape from the brig.
"Sir. What is this about another war?"
"Just as you heard it. Were about to jump to Ragnar to restock on ammo. My CAG is MIA with an entire wing. We send them out on a patrol and they are yet to respond to our hails. So until then, we have little to no vipers."
"Sir, then what are we suppose to fly?" Lee asked.
"If I recall, there are suppose to be many older mark 2 and 3 vipers in the starboard flight pod."
"Right." They saluted and left. Kara cursed. "Hope the chief can get those old birds to fly."
"You and me both."
Caprica outskirts, Baltar's house
He saw the nuclear explosion in the distance behind the mountains and the reports on the attack. But Caprica wasn't watching. She was unconscious. He noticed the wave, for a lack of a better explanation, that passed thru the house, and as he as a scientist must assume, the planet, the moment this wave passed thru Caprica, it knocked her out.
Right now he was watching the news. They were mixed at best. Panic, chaos and death. The Cylons managed to detonate several nuclear devices, but most were shot down. In orbit a reporter raptor was filming the annihilation of the disabled Cylon invaders. The Colonials suffered some loosed. The battlestar Hades and Acheron were destroyed even before the Cylons were disabled. 3 more Valkyries were so badly damaged they would be scrapped at some point. But the Cylons... their losses were total.
"Ughhh... My head." Caprica moaned as she managed to crawl to the bed. "What happened?"
"The way I see it, my Cylon infiltrator, someone or something just screwed up your plan."
She recognised Baltar's voice, but she had a difficult time concentrating. She had a splitting headache. She turned her head to the television set and saw the reports. "Frak, this can't be happening!"
Battlestar Atlantia, CIC
More and more reports were coming in. some good, some bad. "Aquaria, Libra and, the irony, Sagittaron are the only worlds not hit by a nuke." Nagala read the reports out loud.
"Would make sense, they are the least populated or militarized worlds. Sagittaron is so backwater and rural..." Nagala's XO analyzed the situation.
"I agree. At least something. Picon HQ is in bad shape. Scorpia shipyards are wrecked and Taruon marine corps HQ is crippled. And Pegasus is MIA."
"What happened there?"
"According to the reports, the ship was disabled, about to get hit by nukes and just... jumped."
"Frak. She was suppose to get an upgrade. That means..."
Nagala nodded. "All her computers were off-line. No nav computer. A fraking blind jump. I understand the reasons behind it, but only Cain would be insane enough to do it. In the best case Cain will return at some point, in the worst case they are KIA already."
"You also know that that means?"
"Yeah. Not a single flag officer in Cyrannus gamma." He turned to his crew. "How's that jump drive looking?"
"Bad sir. And we are getting reports from the rest of the fleet. Most ships have no jumping capabilities. It will take us days to restore them."
"Sir." The comm officer approached the admiral and XO at the planning table. He handed them 2 more reports.
"The Theseus had a skirmish with 2 basestrars at the border. They were disabled as well when... whatever that was, hit them and the Theseus finished them off."
"That's good news, right, sir?"
"This is the important part." Nagala pointed to a section of the report. "They had electrical issues and had to shut their network computers off. The toasters tried to hack them, but with no success."
"So your hunch was right."
"Yes, but look. Her FTL is still good. And most of her raptors are operational as well. But see here... they noticed that the Cylon cyber attack focused on the navigational systems."
The 2 officers looked at each other. "That has to be the entrance point." The XO assumed.
"Right. And let's start with the simplest but most obvious option." Nagala looked at his nav officer. "Take the nav computer off line and take the CNP apart, line by line."
"Sir, that may take a while."
"Then you best get started. Also keep our network computers off-line until further notice. Now..." He looked the 2nd report. "This is from Adama."
"William Adama?" His XO asked.
"Yes. Apparently the Galactica was unaffected as well. He is jumping to Ragnar to resupply. He also possibly has the only survivor of the political cabinet on this ship."
"The school teacher?"
Nagala nodded. "That ship may be old, but she's a chance as well. No matter how bad we are at, the toasters lost probably half of their fleet. Comm! Transmit to the Galactica the following orders. Once they resupply, they are to jump to Scorpia, take over there and send a report on the status of the shipyards."
The comm officer nodded in confirmation, but received another report and handed it to Nagala.
"What is it, Jason?"
Nagala didn't answer his XO. He took the phone from the planning table. "This is the admiral. As you all know, fleet admiral Artemis is dead. So is admiral Jensen and admiral Kairos. This leaves me the next in line of succession. Comm. Signal the fleet. I, admiral Nagala, am taking command of the fleet."
Ragnar anchorage, 3 hours later
In a corridor on the battlestar Galactica, Bill was getting his head wound looked at by a medic. Both Saul, Luara and Lee were there with him.
"Frak it. The toasters look like us now."
"Would explain how they managed to infiltrate us so easily." Lee pointed out.
"But it's a scary thought. People might just start pointing fingers at each other. It's going to be a witch hunt. "
"I agree with the colonel." Laura said, scared of the ramifications. "We need a screening system."
Bill stayed silent during all of this. "Then it's a good thing we have a corpse now to dissect. But... there may be an easier way to do this." He had their attention. "This shockwave or whatever it was. It knocked the Cylons out. That means that it affected them, but not us."
"Dad, you forget that those raiders might have been piloted by centurions. What if the skin jobs are not affected." Lee asked.
"I doubt it. This Leoben looked like crap. My guess is he just got back on his feet. Second, I also doubt the basestars were piloted by only centurions. Saul."
"Go around the ship and quietly inquire who, if anyone, lost consciousness during that incident. Bring the results to me."
Tigh nodded and went to work.
"If the Cylons really do look like us now..."
"Madam secretary, we will cross that bridge when it comes to that."
"Commander Adama, report to the CIC."
Bill held the bandage over his forehead and stood up. "What the frak now."
As they reached the CIC, Lt Dualla handed him a new report.
"What is it, commander." Laura inquired.
"Something everyone needs to hear." He took the phone from the planning table. "This is the commander. Admiral Nagala has taken over the fleet on the Atlantia. He is now highest ranking officer in the Colonial navy. We have been given an order to proceed to the Scorpia shipyards and take command of the fleet there. It seems that the Galactica and Theseus are currently the only FTL capable Colonial capital ship. The Theseus is patrolling the border and sending raptors into the enemy territory to get a lay of the land. We will assume command at Scorpia and assess the damage to the shipyard itself. Also, seems that the Pegasus made a, as it is suspected, blind jump, so rear admiral Cain might be gone permanently. Another thing..." He looks at Laura. "As we feared, Adar and his entire cabinet are gone. So we now have the acting president of the colonies on our ship." The CIC crew cheered a bit at Laura. "Last piece of news. Nagala suspects that the CNP is to blame for the initial Cylon success. The Theseus had her networks down as the Cylons were cybernatically targeting her nav computers. According to first tests on the Atlantia the CNP has a backdoor, allowing the Cylons to hack it. Until further notice, the admiral orders any and all colonial military units to shut down all network computers and to delete the CNP." He looked at Gaeta. "Do it, Mr. Gaeta."
As Gaeta went to work, Adama called the chief. "Status, chief."
"We are done, sir. All magazines loaded and all available vipers are fuelled and ready."
"Good job, chief." He put the phone down again. "Helm, take us out of the storm. We have Kara to pick up from her patrol and then we jump."
Gememnon, temple of the Lords of Kobol
"Tell me again." One of the many priests that were currently in the vault looking over the ring, asked Livia.
"As I already said 5 times, enlightened one. I was reading this copy of Pythia's book when I felt a breeze from behind me and heard noises come from the ring. When I removed the curtains, I saw 6 of the crystals on the ring were glowing and the inner ring was spinning. Then when the 7th crystal lit up, water exploded from the ring and created and created a pool of water on the ring. But it didn't feel like water at all."
Many of the priests shook their heads. They didn't believe her. But the head priestess Aperia put her hand on Livia's shoulder. "You were chosen to discover the Lord's secrets. And it is no surprise the Lords would contact us today."
"My lady, what do you mean?" An elder priest asked her.
"Did you forget those mechanical abominations almost destroyed us? The Lords intervened and saved us. Do you not see it? Those machines were disabled at the exact moment the ring was activated."
"And there was this strange wave that passed thru us. You say it originated from the ring?" A black priest continued asking Livia.
"Yes, as I said."
"I still have a hard time believing this, my lady." The elder priest said.
"And yet..." Aperia walked to the curtain which was lying on the ground. "This hole in the curtain was not here before. Livia, this explosion of water you described, did it hit the curtain here?"
"I believe so, my lady."
"Ehmmm." A guard, one of the few allowed into the vault, drew attention to himself.
"My lady. Should we not inform the military of this? They will no doubt want to know how the Cylons were defeated."
"NO! This is the work of the gods! Clearly our scientist, politicians and solders failed us, so the gods had to save us! Until further notice, you are all bound to silence!" That was Aperia 's final word on that matter. She looked at Livia again. "My dear child. You are hereby named hear priestess of the vault. You were chosen to find the secrets of the gods."
"My lady. I believe the solution might be found in the book of Pythia."
"I too believe that."
Scorpia shipyards, 6 hours later
The reports were going from bad to worse. Scorpia would, at best, operate at 40% efficiency and capacity. The toasters did a number on it. What followed were the military casualties. His entire wing of viper mark 7 was lost. His CAG included. All across the Colonies they lost over a thousand vipers and around a quarter as many raptors. They also lost 11 battlestars, with twice as many so badly damaged, it was questioned if they would even bother repairing them. The good news to counter this was that the toasters lost everything they devoted to this assault. In fact all the scouts from the Theseus reported that most of the planets where signs of Cylon activity was detected not so long ago, were abandoned. Nagala's thoughts on it were straight forward. They lost far more than we did and know if we retaliate, which we will do, they can't hold us off.
The civilian losses were far more disheartening. They lost over 300 million people. This was a hard blow, not just to moral but their overall industrial capacity, infrastructures and logistical capabilities.
Bill was speaking with some of the commanders of the battlestars of the fleet in Scorpia orbit. Since it was quiet, they all arrived to his ship.
During the conversation on how to salvage what could be salvage in Scorpia orbit, Saul arrived on CIC, holing a small stack of papers.
"Sorry to disturb you all, but Bill, what you asked me to do..."
"These 3 people match your suspicions." He handed him the files. Bill looked at them. It was at the 3rd file that his eyes widened.
"You can't be serious."
"Frak. Can anyone confirm she lost conscience?"
"Helo. He had to take over. Pilot the damn thing home himself. Couldn't wake her up."
"Commander." One of the other commanders asked. "What's this all about?"
"One moment. Saul. Detain them. Quietly." Saul nodded and left. "To your question, commander Queen. I suspect the Cylons have gained the ability to look like us."
That left the circle of commander at the planning table speechless.
"Looking at all that happened today, you're not fraking with us, are you?"
"I would prefer if it was that, but no. One man I found in Ragnar anchorage, admitted it himself. He was a Cylon. My suspicion is they lost consciousness when that shockwave hit them. Makes sense, right? If their basestars and raiders went off-line, the skin jobs would as well. So I asked Saul to ask around the ship, quietly if anyone lost their consciousness during that event. Turns out 3 individuals did. One of my pilots. A priest on my ship and the gods damn PR guy." He showed them the files. "Now I'm not saying they are toasters, but at this moment, we can't be too careful."
"I think you are right." Commander Nash interrupted him. "The picture from the guy you found on Ragnar."
"Frak me, like a twin brother. My armoury officer on the Trident! Like his twin brother." He took the picture and still couldn't believe it.
"Safe to assume there are multiple copies of a model. Makes sense. Just like a machine would think." Commander Queen explained his thought process. "If that's the case, we need to distribute these photos, let the fleet know who to search for."
"Agreed. I'll transmit an encoded message to Nagala. Let him know of our suspicions and potential infiltrator's faces."
Cylon colony ship
The fleet was jumping away. Further from the border than ever before. They stopped at a red dwarf system, one of their outmost bases, where they had found tylium.
In the colony ship's CIC, the leading Cylons gathered.
"Would anyone care to explain, what in THE NAME OF ZEUS FAT ASS happened there!" Cavil began raging right off the bat.
"We lost, that's what happened."D'Anna pointed out.
"Oh, thank you for pointing out the painfully obvious!"
"Something interfered. Something that knocked us out and turned the tide against us." A Four said.
"Again, thank you for pointing out the painfully obvious! Has anyone any intelligent input!?"
"Perhaps it was the will..."
"Oh, here we go..."
"God." Leoben finished his sentence.
"Spin it any way you like, Cavil. We lost 60% of our forces! And we know the Colonials deleted the CNP and took down their network computers. There is no easy win in this for us any longer." Natalie told him the status of the reality. "We need to pull back. Rebuild. If we go far enough, their supply lines will be stretched thin. Or they might not find us until we can recuperate."
"Easy win? Easy WIN!? There is no real win in this for us at this moment."
"We know. But having a tantrum about it is not helping anyone. Our spies are still undetected. we can use them..." An Eight tried to point out but Cavil paused her.
"Just how retarded are you? We all lost our consciousness during that... whatever it was. Our agents among the humans would have suffered the same consequences. The humans may be arrogant, but not even they are so blind or stupid to not count 2 and 2. Sooner or later, they will. And if not that, then that moron Baltar will rat Caprica out to save his skin."
"But he's knee deep in it as well." Natalie reminded him.
"And that will only motivate him to do anything to survive. Unless of course your agent killed him." Cavil stood up. "To think this all happened because of one small incident. After we lost our consciousness and our raiders, centurions and hybrids were turned off-line, no one could keep the CNP virus active and this all turned into a cluster frak. Any idea where that wave came from?"
"That's the only clue we have. It originated from Cyrannus alpha."
Picon fleet HQ, 3 days later
The place was a mess. The viper hangars were blown away and the marine barracks was exposed to space. Adama had just returned from babysitting Scorpia and tried to save what could be saved. After he send his report on his Cylon skin job theory Nagala agreed with it. Photos were send out to all commanders and other high ranking officers. They needed to clean this infestation and fast.
"The admiral will see you now." Nagala's secretary, a navy captain, informed him. He followed her into Nagalas, formerly Artemis office. They passed several engineers, welders and other repair crews. They had a mess to clean up and orbital HQ to rebuild.
As Adama entered the office, he saluted Nagala. "At ease, Adama." They both sat down, Nagala behind his desk. "You did good. Bill."
"Thank you sir. It was not much, but..."
Nagala raised his hand. "No, you did exceptionally well under the circumstances. God's help us if the toasters had won and your ship would have been the last one."
"A scary thought indeed, sir."
"It's looking bad out there, Bill. But not as bad as it could have been. Our 'new' president has taken over, reluctantly, but she is giving me free command to do what is necessary to secure the colonies and... get revenge. She should make a public announcement in a while addressing this."
"Nice to know. I only had the pleasure of knowing her for a few hours, but she at least seems more competent that Adar."
"A fraking rock was more competent than him. Anyway. Down to business. Bill, Galactica's retirement is postponed. Indefinitely. She will get her starboard flight pod restored, a full combat crew and viper wing."
"Thank you sir."
"And a crew worthy of your leadership..."
"Sir. If I may interrupt you. The crew I have is more than good. It's a great crew."
Nagala watched him. Pondering. "You sure?"
Nagala accepted that. "You still need a new CAG."
"I asked my son agreed to take that post, if you sign off on it."
"Don't know how I feel about a father and son combo, but..."
"Sir. His mother... my ex-wife. She died in Caprica city. At least we believe she did. She was having a meeting there and... we haven't heard from her since the attack. I guess that shocked him out of hating me. For now at least. And he is both a damn good pilot and leader."
"Fine, you can have him. Now to the matter at hand. Until we know if Cain is still alive or we find a permanent replacement, I'm putting you in charge of Cyrannus gamma and our greatest asset there."
"Or what's left of them. That said..." He pushed a small box across the desk to Adama. "You are out of uniform, rear admiral Adama. That also means your retirement is postponed as well. I'll also skip protocol and ceremony here."
Adama took the box and smiled. "I gave up hope for these a long time ago."
"I know. I know what the pencil pushers did to you, after the mission that never happened. Don't worry, I know."
"Sir, what's our next step?"
"We reorganise, fix what can be fixed and then... we go hunting. Speaking of hunting, we got several more skin jobs of the models you discovered in custody. The Theseus crew found another model, a bald headed black man."
"Damn. That makes five models?"
Nagala rubbed his forehead. "Remember Baltar?"
"The scientist that... frak. The guy who created the CNP! He's behind this!?"
"Don't know it yet for sure. He's begin interrogated by colonel Sanders from internal security. So far he's given us everything and the kitchen sink."
"You have to keep it secret, Bill. That's an order." Adama nodded. "Good. He was used. A model Six." He passed a photo, the best one they currently had. "Blond, beautiful, just his type."
"You mean she used him to implant... what? A virus into his CNP? That's not exactly his fault then, right?"
"Would be the case, if he hadn't granted her access to our military mainframe without asking for clearance first. Believe me, we checked and double checked. He can't weasel his way out of that."
"That is serious. A breach of security protocol at least."
"And can be bumped up to treason. At this moment the people want someone to be accountable. He's the guy I have. The former fleet admiral and former president are dead. And you can't prosecute dead people."
Adama returned the photo. "So? What now? You clearly don't want to have him hanged."
"Oh, believe you me, the thought crossed my mind. What happens now is up to him. If he signs a document that 'doesn't exist', he's in the clear, but belongs to me and the military. He will use that ego and brain of his and put it to good use for us. Practically pro bono work. If he doesn't sign it, I get a person to give to the public."
"That's not much of a choice if you ask me. I mean, I'm pissed at that arrogant ass hole myself, but anyone could have been used like that. Frak, we didn't even know there were skin jobs."
"I agree. But this way I can either win or I can win. There is no bad outcome for me. Now..." Both men stood up and saluted each other again. "Get your ship to peak performance again, Bill. I'll have a mission for you soon."
Battlestar Pegasus, CIC, 1 hour later
The ship was partially fixed. She was somewhat battle ready. But the computer network system was off-line permanently. Shaw found the entry point the Cylons used. First time she ever got a compliment from Cain. For days the crew's moral was at an all time low. First getting the battlestar battle ready again. The loss of nearly 700 people was another blow. The fact the fate of the colonies was unknown hung in the room like a sad reminder. The last issue, they didn't know where they were. Well, they figured it out a few hours ago and send a raptor back to the colonies to assess the situation.
Cain returned to the CIC after spending half a day in engineering, trying to get the jump drive to work again. She looked tired and dirty as hell. And she was not the only one. Jurgen Belzen, who always tried to look after her, well, her health anyway, approached her after handing a computer PAD to another officer. "Helena, you need a break."
"Frak that. I need my ship to be combat ready." She passed him after dismissing his observation. "What's the situation here?" She asked Shaw, who was still busy with the nav system.
"Looks good. The programming part of the jump drive is operational."
"Good. If everything in engineering works as well, we can start going back, once our raptor returns. Glad you took that rack time I told you to take."
"Wish you'd take your own suggestion." Colonel Belzen remarked as he passed her, still working on repairs in the CIC as well.
"As do I." Gina agreed. She, as an IT specialist, was of instrumental importance in getting the ship back up to speed. She just returned to the CIC.
"Port flight pod is connected again. No more issues."
"Good. Now if only we could..."
"Dradis contact!" Colonel Belzen alerted the CIC crew. They were short staffed, so pretty much anyone would do many tasks at the same time.
"Sir... It's raptor 017. Were getting a comm request."
Helen picked up the phone from her planning table. "This is Cain. Report."
"Admiral. We have news."
She braced herself for the worst. "Give it to me."
"The colonies are still there! We are at war, but the colonies are still there. We received an update from battlestar Perseus."
Cain stopped any cheering before it even began. Nobody noticed that Gina was the only one not happy to hear that the colonies survived. She instinctively began maneuvering herself to the CIC exit.
"Sir. That shockwave we noticed. It disabled the entire Cylon invasion fleet. With them disabled, the virus in the CNP was no longer actively used by them. Nagala took the initiative and used the partially functional fleet to destroy the toasters before they themselves could recover."
"That's good. But there are some bad news as well. Give me the damn vegetables."
"Sir. President Adar is dead. As is fleet admiral Artemis. Admiral Nagala took command of the fleet."
"And the politicians? Who's in charge?"
"President Roslin. She's the only survivor of Adar's office."
Fisk chuckled. "Don't know if that's an improvement."
"Anyone is better than that moron. Our losses?"
"Sir. We lost 7% of our military forces. The Cylons, based on projections, probably between 50% and 65%. But... we also lost over 300 million civilians."
As the raptor pilot continued to update the CIC crew, Gina grew more and more nervous. "One last thing, admiral. We are transmitting something from fleet command."
Shaw was at the comm station and confirmed that a data package was received. "I'm unpacking it now."
"What's on it?"
"Believe it or not, photos of possible skin jobs."
The CIC went silent. Only Shaw's work at the comm station and the Dradis working were still heard.
"The Cylons can mimic us in appearance now. Flesh, blood, bad breath... the works. That's how they infiltrated us. In the package there are the photos of the 6 possible models. It was also said that each model has multiple copies."
"Sir, if that's true..." Colonel Belzen began expressing his shock.
"Than this explains everything!" Fisk added.
"Lieutenant, how much longer?" Cain asked Shaw. She needed to see the photos.
On the many screens the photos of the 6 known Cylon infiltrators were displayed. And Cain almost lost her footing. She grabbed the planning table to not collapse. She and most in the CIC turned to look at Gina... or where she was not too long ago.
"Frak!" She looked at her XO. "Find that bitch!"
Battlestar Galactica, CIC, same time
The Galactica was docked in one of the few still working docks in Picon fleet HQ. Galen was overseeing the logistical issues as well as getting the starboard flight pod operational again. without the dock it would be impossible, but with the dock it would take only a few days.
Right now Galen was coordinating the unloading of ammo, vipers, spare parts and other equipment from the large cargo containers present in his hangar deck.
"Chief. Where does this go?" One deck hand approached him, pointing to an orange container.
"Let's see. M144 from Picon. Small arms weapons and ammo. Can wait. Store it somewhere... at the bulkheads, for now..."
"Got it, chief."
"You!... New guy..." He snapped his fingers.
"Right. Get those mark 7 vipers ready to be moved starboard, like yesterday! We need the room here."
"Roger that, sir!" The new deck hand responded and mounted the driving seat of a towing vehicle.
Cally arrived from the docking connection with Picon, a bunch of new people behind her. "Sir, these are the new recruits."
Galen had an annoyed look. He was already overwhelmed with the gear he was getting. He handed the logistical log he was keeping to Prosna. "Take over for a minute, would you?"
He approached the new deck hands. They stood at attention "This is for all of you new guys. As you can see, we are swamped here, so I need everyone right now."
"But sir... we didn't even have time to find our sleeping bunks, or unpack..."
"Stow it! Put your stuff in that unused storage room. That marine guard will watch the entrance for us. Once you stow your stuff, get to work. Before that, any of you have experience working with ammo?" Several hands went up. "Any have experience with driving the transport vehicles we use here?" Some other hands went up. "All right. All those whose hands were up to at least one of those questions, you report to me after you stow your stuff. We have ammo to unload! The rest... Cally will show you what to do. Now move it!"
Caprica, Caprica city
The radiation levels were lower than expected. But the city was devastated. Even far outside the blast zone the shockwave and pressure following the blast broke every window in the city and damaged many buildings. Vehicles were also flipped and trees broken. Hospitals were swamped with patients and emergency services overwhelmed. The military was asked to help wherever they could.
Laura was flying in a military raptor to the secondary administrative command building. The one no one ever believed would be used. The pilot avoided the impact crater of the nuke that struck parts of Caprica city. Fortunately the geography dampened the damage, as the hills seperating the northern part of Caprica city from the centre managed to block the shockwave, mostly. She sighed. The entire city will have to be evacuated. This place will be uninhabitable for decades. But where to relocate the survivors? That was one of the many first duties she had to attend. Taking part of the burial ceremony of all her colleagues, including Adar, was also part of it. In her heart, she found it ironic. She had a terminal disease. She never would have thought to outlive any of them. fate can be really cruel sometimes.
"Madam president?" Billy snapped her out of her thoughts as he was holding a piece of paper to her.
"Thank you. Is this the revised speech?"
"Yes. I made the requested changes."
Laura began inspecting it. "Good work."
"If I may ask..."
"Ask me anything Billy. You don't have to probe me. We've known each other long enough for that. And... since we are the few survivors, we can at least here skip protocol."
"Right. Mam, are you sure? Giving the military a free hand?"
"No, I'm not sure, but I realize it is necessary. Look at Adar. He pissed off so many people he had barely any allies outside his administration. And he tried to micro-manage everything instead of letting more qualified people do their damn job. I'm no military strategist and I won't pretend to be one. And while the military was screaming into Adars ears year after year because of the cuts he made to their budget, in the end, they were right. I'm not going to argue with Nagala. I'm going to trust his judgement, as long as he doesn't expose our worlds to another attack."
Billy understood and did not press the matter any further.
"Madam president, we are arriving." The co-pilot informed her. As the raptor landed and the doors opened up, she saw a full security detail waiting for her.
Once inside the 'new' Colonial senate building, that was for now also acting as the Quorum building, once new Quorum members would be selected, she would go to work on the spot. But one thing remained before that. A press conference.
In the press room, the PR people were already hard at work answering any question they could, waiting for her to arrive. Everyone stood up as the room went silent, once she arrived.
"Please be seated." They did as ordered. "As you all know, less than 4 days ago, our worlds were attacked, without provocation or reason in the most cowardly way by the enemy we were peacefully co-existing for the past 40 years." She stopped to gather her thoughts. "You all know what we lost. I won't bother repeating all the statistics. But what follows next is the important part. What was lost can be rebuild. But whom we lost... they can't come back. But we will avenge them. As of this moment, I'm giving my full support to fleet admiral Nagala to do whatever is necessary to once and for all ensure the security of the Colonies. And by that I mean the extermination of the Cylon race if it has to be. We offered our hand in friendship for 40 years and they did not respond. Now they have no choice as we put our boot on their necks. To aide us in this, after consulting with Nagala, I have to inform you of a grave matter." She nodded to Billy, who took large posters from his briefcase and began pinning them on the wall. "The pictures of the people you see... they are not humans. Admiral Adama was the first one who realized this. I was there when the battlestar Galactica was re-arming herself in Ragnar. A man attacked the admiral. Careful autopsy and blood work have revealed that that man was not human, but a Cylon." Murmurs began spreading thru the press room. "The Cylons look like us now. Flesh, blood, bones... the works. The pictures you see are confirmed Cylon models. And we now know that each model has multiple copies." She paused again, looking intensely into the cameras. "Now. Let me make one thing clear. If you see one of these 'people', do NOT play the hero. Call the authorities and let them handle it. Also, I will not tolerate witch hunts where people accuse each other of being a Cylon! Again, let the authorities handle it or you might be adding to the problem. Now..." She calmed herself for the annoying part. "Questions?"
The room erupted as reporters were almost walking over each other. She pointed at a woman.
"Yes, Kellan Brody, Caprica 5 news. These human Cylons are a shock, for sure, but are there more models than the 6 we see here?"
"Possibly. Admiral Nagala thinks so. It would be great luck if we by chance got all of them. And I concur with his assessment. So as I said. Be careful and DO not point fingers or play heroes. Military intelligence is on it." She pointed to another reporter.
"James McManus, Caprica times. You mentioned that we will strike back at the Cylons. Any details on that?"
"Of course you know that I can't divulge military secrets. Even if I knew them."
"Sekou Hamilton, Aerelon Gazette. You said you are basically giving carte blanche to Nagala. Is that wise?"
"Perhaps not, but it's the best course of action. He is a capable man and I, unlike my predecessor, gods rest his soul, will not micro manage the military and drown them with politics. I will let them do what they were intended to do."
"Many believe Adar himself is to blame for this mess anyway."
"Perhaps partially. Our military readiness was at an all time low. And as you know I had several heated arguments with him on the educational budget. But then tell me, who could have seen the Cylons going organic?"
The reporters mostly nodded with that assessment.
"Yes, Playa Palacios, Picon Star Tribune. As Sagittaron, Libra and Aquaria were the only worlds not suffering at the consequences of this war, do the governments of those worlds intend to lessen the burden of the suffering worlds by taking in refugees?"
"I am in talks with all member worlds and will be able to give you an answer as soon as a new Quorum is elected. That way I can be far more productive than talking with individual worlds. I will not force any world to do anything they don't want to, but in the spirit of our unity and cooperation I ask them to help."
"Even if the Sagittarians might say it was poetic justice they got spared after suffering for so long under the rule of the others?"
Many reporters began arguing among themselves, some against that notion, others for it.
"Let me explain something about your 'poetic justice'. If the miracle we had that stopped our annihilation had never happened, the Sagittarians would have been just as dead as the rest of us. Also, they have a history of killing their own, or did you forget Tom Zarek? That said, I understand their past plight, but this is now and not years or centuries ago."
"D'Anna Biers, Fleet News Service. Speaking of the past, I heard rumours the Cylons used the CNP as a tool to shut down the fleet. Any comments?"
"No, no comments on that at this time."
"And if true, it would implicate Gaius Baltar as a conspirator with the Cylons?"
"Dr. Baltar is currently at Picon fleet HQ. From all we know, a Cylon woman used his program against us. The doctor is in the clear and looking at his own creation and on how the Cylons did what they did." That part was a lie. Nagala briefed her on Baltar's involvement. She hated to not have someone to prosecute, but when Baltar signed the 'nonexistent' papers, he was in the clear, as long as he worked for the military, which might be for the rest of his life. She understood the reasons, but hated them anyway. One man's sin of hubris and gluttony of the sexual type almost cost them everything.
"Another question on the subject of war that many people have is where this 'shockwave' originated from, what it was and who send it?"
"We are all looking into this, but for the moment we have no leads."
"Really? My sources tell me it originated either from Caprica or Gemenon? Perhaps the military is conducting some secret weapons research that went wrong but ended up doing good?"
Laura eyed Biers who was partially smirking. It was a subtle kind of smirk, the one that announces a challenge.
"First time I've heard of something as outrageous like that, Ms. Biers. You seem to have an awful lot of 'informants'."
"I'm just that good. My last question. What are you doing with the captured prisoners? Will they be tried? Are they..."
"That is also a military secrets. Suffice it to say, if they don't cooperate, things will get uncomfortable for them. As machines, technically they have no rights..."
"... which means it is in their best interest to cooperate. The interrogators don't have to follow the typical rules of conduct with them..."
"Dee, shut it off."
She nodded and did as ordered. The entire CIC staff and the Chief were currently in the CIC, as Adama asked them to come.
"Chief, how's it looking?"
"Will have all the staff, ammo and Vipers ready in 2 days. The starboard flight pod in 3 days with all the people in the dry-dock working overtime."
"Good. Sorry to tell you this, chief, but because of this, I can't give you or your crew some off time to see family or friends. I hope you understand."
"I do sir. Wouldn't be the first time I pulled a double shift."
Bill smiled at the chiefs honest ,if a bit strains response. He turned to Saul. "Saul, they found Ellen in the ruins of Queenstown." Saul began weeping. "You can hitch a ride with me, I have to return to Picon HQ anyway. Get a ride down then."
"Thanks' Bill. Really... Frak it..." Bill padded him on the back, happy to see Saul was relieved. He continued to Lee.
"Son. I know our relationship is rocky at the best of times, but... I need a CAG. You are a great pilot and a natural leader."
Lee looked at the other CIC crew members who were waiting for his answer. "Dad... we really did not have the best relationship. Zak's gone. Now mom as well... " They had just gotten the news. "So frak it, I want payback like everyone else. Sure, I'll be your CAG."
The 2 Adama's hugged after many years for the first time as the room's atmosphere lighten up. "Also, I'm giving out promotions, so you're a major now." He turned to the woman he basically saw as a daughter. "Kara."
"You may be the best pilot I ever saw, but your leadership and people skills suck if I'm honest. Hope you don't mind Lee making the shots?"
"Nah, I hate paperwork. He can have it."
"Frak you too, Kara." Lee returned the shot.
"But you won't get off from responsibility, 'captain' Thrace." Lee laughed and Kara cursed.
"This will be a cyber war as well. You are my cyber and computer expert. So, 'captain' Gaeta, any ideas you have on gaining an edge, making the computers better, don't hesitate and tell me. But the fleet admirals orders stand. No networking. And I agree."
"I know how you two felt about Boomer, but... it's true. Tests confirmed it. She's a Cylon." Both men knew this would come. Galen threw himself into work to forget it. Helo didn't have such an option. "I know this will hit you two the most. So if either of you after the Galactica is made ready need to be reassigned or transferred, tell me."
"Sir, I think I speak for the chief and me, when I say... we are staying. No matter what Sharon is, we know who she was. That'll have to be enough. But... I'll need a new pilot on my raptor."
"Helo's right. I agree, sir." Galen added.
"Then that's it. Any questions?"
"Just one." Kara spoke before anyone else. "When do we get some payback? And where are we going?"
"Sorry to say, but I don't have the answers to either question. But I do have a feeling the fleet admiral has a special assignment for us."
"With this old rust bucket? What kind of mission would he send us on?" Saul asked the question on everyone's mind.
"I intend to ask him. Now... Saul, you come with me to the raptor, chief, get my ship ready. Gaeta, the CIC is yours, everyone else, dismissed."
As the CIC began getting emptier and Bill and Saul left for their ride, Lee returned to the corridor and grabbed his gear and personal belongings. What few he still had left, since most others went up in a ball of fire in Caprica city. "Hey Kara, care to show me to the CAG's quarters?"
"Sorry Lee. Have my own ride to catch! I'm sure Lt. Dualla will be glad to show you. She's one of the few in no hurry anywhere, since her folks didn't get nuked."
Raptor 028, en route to Picon HQ
Saul and Bill were looking outside at the orbital HQ of the fleet. In the distance they saw the dry-dock part where the Galactica was currently parked.
"Frak me Bill, first time I actually see the mess we have. A whole fifth of the HQ is missing."
"And that's us being lucky. If the other nukes hadn't been shot down when the defence grid came back on-line... "
"Yeah, bye bye Picon HQ. An awful lot of raptors approaching the flag officer's landing bay if you ask me."
"Everyone with the rank of rear admiral or higher has been summoned."
As the raptor landed and began its descent via the lift into the belly of the station, the 2 friends saw the organised chaos on the lower decks. On his left, Saul recognised someone just departing a landed raptor. "Bill, look. Major Fisk. That means..."
"Cain is back." They both saw her drop from the raptors wing just as theirs was towed next to it.
As they departed their transport, Cain was still there, waiting for them.
"Well, never thought I'd see the day you and me are on the same rank, admiral." she saluted him.
He returned the gesture. "Hard times and all, admiral."
"Guess your retirement is postponed?"
"Indefinitely. Come, let's walk..." He motions her to go to the same direction, Saul and Fisk right behind them.
"Yes, better not keep Nagala waiting."
Once in the lift, Cain turned to Adama. "How bad is it? Really? I only got pieces of it."
"Where's the Pegasus?"
"Being escorted by the Perseus into dry-dock at Scorpia... or what's left of it. Now, answer me."
"Not as bad as it could have been. 300 million plus dead, our infrastructure is damaged. Our leadership crippled... but the toasters are far worse off."
"Good. Any fraking idea what that was that saved our collective asses?"
"That's the question of the day. Military intelligence is on it."
"As long as that school teacher doesn't frak us up like that moron did..."
"She won't. I had the pleasure of meeting her. She was on my ship when this mess started. And she made a passionate speech a few minutes ago. She is giving Nagala free command to do as he sees fit."
"At least something..." The doors opened, but this was not their floor. In the corridor were 4 MP's escorting... Gaius Baltar. Bill's expression stiffened.
"Em... this one looks a bit preoccupied... Perhaps..."
"Move it, doc!" The lead MP shoved him into the lift.
As the lift moved again, Bill couldn't stop himself any longer. "So, doctor. I hear you intend to lend the military your genius. Am I right?"
All day he got angry looks, but he still hadn't gotten used to it. "Yes... emmm... admiral... Adama? Oh You talked to the president? Could you...?"
"No. She said your Nagalas problem. Don't push your fraking luck. You know the alternative." It was a cold response. Bill knew Baltar was used, but he still broke protocol, and that really pissed him off. As the doors opened again, the MP's began moving out.
"Em, yes... guess this is my floor."
"Guess it is." It was another hangar, but this one was filled with Cylon parts, raiders, basestar scrap, centurion remains and other unidentified components.
As they continued on their way to reach the command level, Cain got curious. "What was that about?"
"Nagala will tell you. I can't, as much as I would love to. All you need to know is that a blond female Cylon used his CNP against us."
Cain froze. The only blonde Cylon on those pictures... "One of those models did this?"
"I had one on my ship. IT expert. As we got the update on the colonies from a raptor, she bailed. Before we knew what was going on, she killed 4 of my people and stole a raptor. We managed to damage it as our vipers went to pursuit it, but she managed to jump."
"Frak indeed. Her model is the only one we don't have a prisoner of. We only know how they look."
"You have prisoners?"
"Yes. Don't know where and don't want to know. I had 3 of them on my ship."
"A raptor pilot, the fraking PR guy and a priest."
The doors opened up again as they stepped out. There several MP's were waiting, with needles.
"What's this?" Cain asked confused.
"A new fast blood test that searches for silicon particles in the blood. Sorry sir, but new security protocols until we're sure there are no other Cylon models." The head MP explained.
A few minutes and a small amount of blood later, the officers all took their seats at the round table.
Fisk and Saul had left even before the blood test for a short talk, before Saul left for Picon. That and this meeting was only for flag and intelligence officers only.
"Colonel Sanders will begin with a report on the interrogations of the prisoners." Nagala began after the opening statement.
Said colonel stood up and moved to the large screen the majority of the table was facing. There the pictures of all the known Cylon models were displayed.
"You are all aware of these known models so far. During our interrogation sessions, which were in some cases... a bit unpleasant, we learned that they use a numbering system, not just names. "He points to the picture of the priest found on the Galactica. "Number One." He moved to the picture of the corpse from Ragnar. "Two." He continued until he reached Boomer. "Eight."
"We're missing a Three and Seven." Nagala noticed. "So our suspicion was correct. There are still unknown models. At least 2."
The colonel nodded. "At least 2, sir."
"Have we found any more of the known models?" Adama inquired.
"Several of each type. We found a One in the ruins of the same bar we found colonel Tigh's wife, a Two in a transport ship, a Four in a garbage disposal unit, another Eight as a civilian pilot... the frakers just kept popping up. A Four was even the physician of the Caprica Buccaneers! We arrested him when we sent a rescue raptor to find them when they went training in the mountains."
"A Six." Cain cursed. "We have one of those?"
"Emm." He looked at his notes. "No sir. The one we did find on a civilian transport, killed herself to avoid capture. The one that implanted the CNP is still nowhere to be found and... we now have the info on the one from your transmission."
"Yes, bitch played me hard."
"They all played us, Helena." Nagala reminded her. "Don't let your personal feeling get in the way of your job!"
"Yes, sir. I didn't forget. But the way they can manipulate us... it's unsettling."
"Thru our interrogations we also learned 2 disturbing things. Mostly from partial information's we managed to piece together from multiple interrogations, not from a single one."
"First off, we now know why the toasters have no fear of dying."
"As if a machine can die or was alive to begin with." Was the common response in the room.
"Perhaps, but we now know why they are not afraid. We believe they have a form of downloading ability. They call it resurrection."
"Yes. It has to be some form of downloading or the ability to transfer their programs from body to body. Would also explain why there are many copies of a model."
"What could be the range of this... ability?" Cain asked.
"No idea, but ... ehm, Baltar believes it requires a specialized kind of ship to do so, not the basestars."
"Baltar... We can't trust that hack even one bit!" Admiral Lennox raged. Everyone here but Cain already knew of Baltar's involvement.
"In this case I agree with the doctor. The logistical needs and capabilities needed for resurrection is probably beyond the ability of a pure combat ship like a basestar."
"Which means we need to spread our search further and find these... resurrection ships." Nagala responded. "Any idea on the range? If we knew the range of this ability..."
"Unfortunately no, sir."
Nagala realized that this would make the search more difficult. "And the other thing?"
"Sir... During our interrogation some clues and hints started falling. We believe the Cylons... may have the location of Kobol."
The room went silent. Kobol. The so called birthplace of humanity. It was only myth. Just like the 13th tribe.
"That's all hogwash and you know it!" Admiral Lennox dismissed that report. "They are throwing us false trails to distract us! They..."
"It might be true." Adama interrupted Lennox's rant.
Nagala intervened before Lennox would response. "Care to explain? You of all people are the least religious of all here. I can't understand your logic."
"All scientific research shows we originated from somewhere else. We also know that all myths and legends have to have a basis somewhere. Also, where did that shockwave originate from? If it wasn't us, it can only be one of 2 things. A natural phenomenon or... another civilization out there. And we for frak's sake know the Cylons would not self-sabotage like that!"
Small talks began between individual admirals. Nagala however remains silent. He looked at the colonel. "Anything else?"
"No sir." The colonel concluded his report and sat back down.
"I do hope the prisoners are still capable of standing."
"We were not too rough with them, sir. No... permanent damage. But... there was one exception. One prisoner that was... unique."
The colonel looked at Adama. "The raptor pilot Eight." Adama did not show any emotions, but he didn't know what to think. She, like with everyone else, pulled the wool over his eyes. "She... doesn't act. We believe she thinks she is a human. The other Eights we found were nothing like her."
"Any idea why that is?" Adama wanted to know, since this was once his pilot.
"The only logical conclusion is she was programmed with another personality."
"So a sleeper agent." Cain saw where this was going. "Makes sense, she can't deny or say anything she doesn't know of. And we don't know the trigger to get her to return to normal."
The colonel nodded. "I'm sorry admiral Adama. But the Boomer you knew might not have ever existed."
Hours passed as plans were made. Everything from rebuilding and strengthening the defences to which battlestar can be salvage and of course the offensive plans. No one was surprised when Cain volunteered on the offensive part. In the end the known map of the galaxy was again shown on the screen.
"One last thing. We discussed plans involving every admiral here, except you, Bill." Nagala said as he was preparing to conclude today's meeting. He stood up and went to the screen showing the galaxy. There the colonies were depicted by a red dot on the outer edge of the galaxy in the Outer arm. The centre of the galaxy was above the arm while the lower part of the ram was crossed in half with the armistice line. Everything below that belonged to the Cylons, until it reached the void of space where the galaxy ended. Then a 3D triangle began extending from the colonies into the opposite direction of the border. "Bill. Somewhere in this area marked by the triangle we believe is Kobol. Your mission will be to find and secure it. After that we might send other exploration ships deeper out. But since we know the Cylons were there already, not only did they violate the agreement but there still might be some of them out there. So... your secondary objective will be to find any Cylon bases and outposts. If you can destroy or capture them, do so, but if you find yourself in a inferior position, retreat and contact the colonies via raptors."
"Sir, with all due respect, that is still several thousand cubic light years of space. Is this area based on what we gathered from the prisoners?"
"Yes. As well as our own research where the fleet from the great exodus most likely originated from. As far as we know, it can't be further than 2200 light years."
"Admiral Nagala. Far from me or any of us to question your decision... but why waste resources and manpower on a wild goose chase?" Cain wanted to know. This was pointless to her.
"Perhaps it is, perhaps it's not. But even if Kobol is not found, we need to know how much infrastructure the enemy may have behind us. As for Kobol. First off, it will give our people hope again. Right now we only have rage. Second it will add another planet to our inventory. Third it might lead us to Earth..."
"Sorry, sir. But Earth is an even bigger myth than Kobol."
"We will see. I personally also don't believe in it, but... something saved us. And it was not some blunder from Caprica in an R&D lab. I know, we checked everywhere. Satellites show this shockwave originated from Gemenon."
Everyone got annoyed by that. "And they won't let us just waltz in and strip search the whole planet, right?" Lennox asked.
"In the impact sites we can, since we are helping with the clean up. The rest is going to be an issue. I already asked the president to twist the arm of whoever will represent Gemenon on the new Quorum." Nagala sat back down. "We can only hope the security officers can narrow the search down just from the orbital photos."
"Sir." Bill finally spoke. "I have no problem with this mission. Some of my crew might, but I don't. But I will need support."
"I already planned for that. As you can understand, any and all Mercury's are off the table, they are needed here. Your task force will be comprised of the Galactica, 2 Valkyrie class battlestars, 1 Sobek class battlestar, 4 Minotaur heavy gunships, 2 Janus missile cruisers, 1 Atlas class heavy support ship, 3 Celestra mobile repair ships, one marinestar, 7 supply ships and 2 mining ships. On top of that 1 Athena class reconnaissance and science ship will be added."
"Your adding civvies to the fleet?"
"It was a compromise. The president asked for it."
"Didn't she assure us she won't interfere?" Cain said the obvious.
"This was the only thing she requested, I assure you. So, any questions?"
"Just one sir. If we find Kobol or encounter the Cylons... that's clear to me. But what about the other possibility?"
"You mean the 13th tribe?" Lennox inquired. Adama didn't respond but Nagala got what Bill was asking.
"If you should encounter non human life forms that are NOT Cylons, do not engage them, unless absolutely necessary, should they show signs of hostility."
The room went silent. Alien life. Many in the room were somewhat religious, so this was a hard thing to swallow. If you buried your head in the sand and stay in your own solar system, it's easy to ignore such possibilities. After all, the priests always say the galaxy is devoid of life and was made by the gods for humans alone.
Picon fleet HQ, R&D sector
"So, what do you think this bundle of nerves could be?" An engineer asked as they pulled out more organic material from a raider corpse.
"No idea, but it was... part of the optical system. Maybe their version of the optical nerve?"
"Your both wrong." Baltar butted in. "As you can see, it leads from the optical scanning device to the what we now know is the nav computer. This was a link that enabled this fighter to execute pinpoint jumps. The 'eye' saw the stars and transferred this data to the nav computer instantly. This way this little ship knew where it was almost as if on instinct. Then all it needed was calculate where it wanted to go based on the data where it is and execute a jump. Much more efficient than our systems." Balter then kneeled down to look into the raised raider. He pushed one of the engineers aside. "See? That long optical cable that has the nerve bundles surrounding it and leads from the optical scanner directly to this thing's version of brain, that IS your optical nerve." Baltar stood up again and cleaned his hands of the blood and... for a lack of a better term, guts of the raider.
The other engineers were silent for a moment but then decided to go back to work. Arrogant or not, Baltar still managed to make them look like first semester students, even in a field not his own. Biology.
"And based on that conclusion, doctor. Can we use the knowledge to improve our own nav systems?" Major Aespo asked. He was currently in charge to keep an eye on Baltar and record his progress. The military will milk him for everything he's worth.
Baltar sighed. "Not at the moment, but perhaps for the next gen nav computers. But the miniaturised jump drive will definitely be an improvement. Perhaps we can even add jump capabilities to our vipers one day."
"Good to hear. Keep this up and maybe we'll let you off the hook when your 60."
Gememnon, temple of the Lords of Kobol, 2 days later
Livia was working hard in the vault to get to the bottom of things. Of course she was just retracing the steppes so many did before her. The inspected all items displayed in the vault. She read the copy of the book of Pythia several times. She inspected the ring and tried to compare the symbols on the middle ring to every known language. She even went to scientific books and made comparisons there. She was right where she began 2 days ago. With nothing.
Currently she was sitting behind the table in the books corner of the vault, drinking hot tea. She had a pile of books on the table, most copies of originals who were too fragile to be read themselves. But perhaps that was the issue! It hit her as she stood up and began taking the original's from the book cases. She was as careful as she could be to not damage the old books or texts.
Hours passed and again she was at square on. All the books were now on the table. Her head was hurting and eyes were showing signs of fatigue. She knew what she had to do. The only thing she could do. The only thing left. The original book of Pyhtia. It was the oldest book here. The source of many of the books she just went thru. But dared she take it out of her encasement and read it? That book is so old she might damage it. But... she was at an end with her research. She had to do it. After all, if you make copies of copies, somewhere along the line mistakes creep in. Or parts of the original text is missed, ignored or... forgotten.
She turned the alarm off with her new administrative privileges. As she took the original to the table she was working at for the past few hours, she carefully laid it down and opened the first page. The book really showed signs of age, water damage, smearing, even smaller blood stains here and there. More time passed as she continued her work. As she was about halfway thru, she noticed something strange. As she touched the pages she was yet to reach, some of them were... held together. She skipped several pages and went directly to that part. She inspected the pages that were held together... by something. If she would have to guess, someone had glued them together a long time ago. Taking some tools to help her in this problem, first she tried the magnifying glass to see if she can make out the 'missing' pages. It was odd. The missing pages began where Pythias prophecy of the 12 snakes, dying leader and the caravan in the stars began. "All that has happened before, will happen again." She heard that sentence from birth on. It was everywhere. Leonis even had a commercial company use that slogan all the time. "Life here began out there..." The other sentence well known to every Colonial. But here the strange thing was... it didn't end. It was ended by someone. The text that should follow was smeared beyond recognition.
She then tried to open the glued pages apart with every tool she had, but couldn't force them in fear of destroying them. But she did have one more tool not available to any priest before her. A new fancy scanning apparatus they acquired from Caprican institute of technologies. While the priests despised technology here, they were not beyond using it for their own agendas.
She placed the book in the scanning part of the device, letting the page with the intentionally smeared text be exposed. Behind it were all the glued pages anyway, so she could scan everything at once.
After minutes of scanning, the device finished. She returned the book to its proper place and went to work. Another advantage she had over the other priests, she had a scientific education. Somewhat. But enough to know how to use reconstruction software. More hours passed. Masking sense of any information she got from the glued together pages was a real pain staking task, but at least now she was making some kind of progress. The smeared text on the other hand... she just finished reconstructing it.
"Life here began out there... on Earth... EARTH!? What the frak? The 13th tribe...? What is going on!?"
She stood up and exited the vault. The 2 guards noticed her distress. "Your holiness, what seems to be the problem?"
"This is... I can't believe it, I... I need to talk with Aperia, right NOW!"
"What is all the ruckus here!?" It was holly father Spiros. He was the head chronicler of the Lords. His position was only second to the high priestess. He was on his daily routine when he heard Livia scream.
"Your greatness I must speak with Aperia! I may have found something important..."
"Calm yourself, child. Walk with me. Guards, I'll take care of this." They bowed and went back to guard duty.
As Livia and Spiros walked she tried to explain what she had just found out, but for some reason Spiros was not willing to listen to her.
"Greatness, don't you understand what this could mean? We need to inform..."
"I know perfectly well, what it means. It means my protests on getting that infernal machine here were legitimate. I knew something like that could happen."
"What? what do you...?"
He grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a room he was secretly guiding her to. Inside was a shrine devoted to the gods, but what really stuck out was a deep pit under it. This was the shrine of sin, how the Lords of Kobol cast the 12 tribes out of paradise and the pit represented humanities punishment for their sins.
"You foolish girl." He released her and revealed a weapon in his other hand.
"We, the chroniclers of the Lords have always know. We protected the people from the truth they did not want to hear!"
"Then why not just destroy Pythia's book?"
"That would be a sacrilege. And believe me, we tried."
Livia thought for a moment after that little bit of information. "Chronicler Desmond! 200 years ago he was tried for treason against the Lords! He tried to burn the entire vault down!"
"If he had succeeded... alas, from that day on the vault had every security measure possible. Or did you not think I was not informed when you took the book out of its casing? No alarm can truly be deactivated there. If only my old bones would have been faster! Your death would be just another in a long line of 'accidents'. But now..."
"Now I've heard enough!" It was Aperia, with 2 of her personal guards. "So, for centuries you chroniclers were lying and manipulating us! Used us. All to keep the power you had!?"
He tried to turn around, but saw the guards were already aiming at him. "The high priestess was never the real power here! It was always US! We did the Lords bidding. You, all of you, the high mothers before you, you were all just a PR stunt! To make the general public, not just the religious people support us and like us. We were seen as backward. Outdated." He threw his weapon aside and turned around with his hands stretched out. "What, did you really think a stupid gullible woman like you was in power here? Please. We have served the gods since the foundation on Kobol. Long before this place was even build."
"And now, you will go down with it! Guards, arrest him!"
As they went for him, he took a step backwards, passing Livia who was still standing there. He reached the edge of the pit... and jumped.
The guards were too slow to stop him. Livia went to Aperia and cried. "I never thought..."
"Neither did I, child. But we must find out what he was trying to protect. Come. Guards, escort us to the vault."
As they reached the vault entrance, they saw something was wrong. The 2 guards Livia passed before as she went looking for Aperia, were dead. Lying on the floor with deep stab wounds.
Aperia went to see if they could be helped. "We're too late." She looked at one of her guards. "Sound the alarm. We don't know which priest we can trust, but you guards have sworn to obey me first above all things." She looked at the other. "You, come with us, and have your weapon ready."
They entered the vault. It was wrecked and the machine Livia had just used was smashed beyond use. More than that, Pythia's book was now burning on the floor, along with 2 corpses. One male, one female.
"The monsters. They destroyed a priceless artefact!" The guard cursed.
"They did more than that. They must have figured out they couldn't protect their secret any longer. So they took the book and destroyed it along with their lives. And since the machine you used and the computer as well are destroyed, they might have succeeded." She turned to Livia. "I should be angry at you for breaking the rules and taking the sacred book out of its casing. But thinking about it now, it was the chroniclers that put those laws into effect. For obvious reasons. It is a shame they succeeded in taking the secrets with them."
"Perhaps not, your holiness." Livia smiled and pulled a small memory disk out of her pocked. "Here is all the information from the scan and the initial analysis I made. I wanted to show you in person on your private computer... I never thought It would be the last copy."
Aperia hugged her and laughed. "Well done, young one."
"But what if it shows us things we don't want to hear?"
"That is a risk we will have to take."
Battlestar Pegasus, Cain's quarters
Helena was currently taking a break from work. Or in her case some exercise. She was on her stepper which had set to the highest difficulty. Colonel Belzen, her XO, was also there, giving her an update on the repairs.
"Port fighter bay will be 100% operational in 2 days. We are scheduled to receive all the needed viper replacements in the next 30 hours. Shaw got the nav computer up to 100% running status again while the chief said the sub-light engines are almost 100% restored. But the jump drive will take another 3 to 4 days minimum."
"Good. Tell the chief if the jump drive is not up and running at peak efficiency in that time, I'll come down there myself. Now... security."
"Right. As you ordered, I placed extra guards at all key sections, including the armoury."
"Good. Tell them they have a fire on sight order if they see a skin job."
Belzen nodded. "One more thing. Like I told you before this mess began. You need a break. Before you break. You are pushing yourself too hard."
"Frak that. I need to get my ship ready for the offensive. I'll relax when I get to squash some toasters! Now. Anything else?"
"Then you are dismissed."
Presidential office, 2 days later
Laura barely had any chance to sleep. The work was overwhelming her. And her illness was not making things better. But currently she was having a much needed break. and she was expecting a visitor.
Her buzzer alerted her back to the presidential desk. "Yes, Billy?"
"Madam president, your 2 O'clock is here."
"Thank you Billy. Send him in."
As the doors opened up by the guards outside, a familiar face was revealed. well, familiar to her, based on what they went thru in the past days.
"Admiral Adama. Thank you for coming."
"When the president calls, I have to answer." He tried to joke about it.
"Well, not so much in these days, with the military being as busy at it is. Come, let's have a seat."
They sad at the side table where usually some beverages were served to guests in a far less formal manner.
"So, I hear you have been appointed as the expedition leader?"
"Yes, I was. Came as a surprise to me as well."
"Well, I expected Nagala to use me in a different way than on the front. The Galactica isn't the youngest ship anymore. but Kobol? Didn't se that one coming."
"Yes. Surprised me as well, when I heard of it. But... if the Cylons really did tell the truth, even if under some extreme circumstances... Then we can't ignore it."
"I agree. But what worries me is not so much Kobol."
"A bit, but not the main issue I have. The 13th tribe is one, the other is the possibilities of... other life forms."
Laura listened to the last part intensely. "I know you are not a religious man, but do you honestly think there is other intelligent life out there?"
"I do. This universe is too big that we can be so arrogant to believe we are the only ones in it."
Laura smiled sadly. "One of the things I learned to admire about you. Your practicality. I hope you don't mind I added a civilian ship to your fleet, but when it comes to exploration, it should help immensely."
"I may not like it, but I accept it. So, if there is nothing else..."
"One last thing." She returned to her working desk and picked up a book from it. "You lend me this book when we had time to kill in Scorpia orbit. I finished it in the few spare hours I had."
"As I said back then. You don't lend books. You gift them. And it was a gift."
Laura reluctantly put the book back down. "Well then, thank you admiral. Now..."
"Right. Bill, safe journeys."
Picon, military emergency hospital, outskirts of Queenstown, 4 days later
The sound of a heart monitor beeping was the only noise in the room. Ellen was still unconscious, no surprise there. She would come thru, but her head wound made it impossible to wake her up prematurely. Saul was sitting next to her bed, holding her hand.
"Ellen. I hope you can hear me. I'm going to leave for a while. well, for an unknown amount of time. But I'll be back. I promise. we'll work things out. You'll see. I'll... try to get my bad habits under control."
A knock on the door got him out of his talk with his wife. "Yes?"
It was Bill. "Sorry to do this to you, Saul, but we have to go."
"Yeah." He wiped his few tears away. "See you soon, Ellen."
Once in the corridor, he joined Bill as they made their way out. "You arranged everything."
"I did, Bill. Transferred all my savings to her account so the doctors can keep treating her even when I'm away."
Bill nodded. He knew how difficult this must be for Saul. His XO was currently the only one in the taskforce Bill would command, that knew their objective.
"How was the funeral?"
Now it was Bill's turn to get a bit emotional. They just exited the hospital and were going to the landing area where their raptor was waiting.
"Traditional. Just the way she would have wanted it."
"Hit him a lot harder than me. Even more so when there is barely anything of her to bury."
"You don't want to know."
Perimeter of Colonial space, just outside the Red line, 2 hours later
The Galactica jumped into existence. The rest of the taskforce was already assembled. days ago Adama met with all the ship commanders and got a feeling for all of them. They were all competent and combat veterans. That was good. The captain of the science ship not so much. Civilians. Of course he couldn't blame him, he was only doing his job. The one sour part of that gathering was that no commander was given any info on what their mission would be. Neither was anyone on the Galactica, aside from Saul.
Admiral Adama was standing in the CIC, his crew waiting for his speech. He held the phoone in his hand as Dee patched him thru the entire taskforce.
"This is admiral Adama. As you know, we have received a mission from fleet admiral Nagala personally. The civilian ship, the Athena will accompany us on our journey , as asked by president Roslin. All of you are asking yourself one question. what is this mission? We will not be going to the front. For reasons you don't need to know, HQ has ordered us to scout out space in the other direction of the Cylon border. They fear that the enemy might have violated the original peace contract and scouted this space anyway. If we are to find any Cylon ships, we destroy them. If we find any bases, we capture or destroy them. If we find ourselves facing superior numbers, we fall back. In every scenario, we sand raptors back to report the situation. But..." He paused for a moment. "This is only the secondary objective. The primary one is... to fink Kobol."
Murmurs began spreading across the CIC. "Silence! The old man is not finished." Saul shut them up.
"If there is a Kobol or not, I don't know. But we are travelling into the great unknown. For the first time in centuries, we will pass the Red line. Our course is the Promar sector. we stick together and every time we arrive at a location, we send raptors out to scout our next possible location. This may be a long journey, but we have our orders. Carry them out. Remember your duty to the colonies. And remember the safety of this fleet. Everything else is of secondary importance. Thank you." He put the phone down again.
"Have the coordinates to our next jump location been transmitted?"
"Yes sir, the fleet has confirmed it."
"Good. Prepare to jump the fleet. T minus 1 minute."
The CIC crew went to work.
Gememnon, temple of the Lords of Kobol, 3 days later
Livia had managed to save what she could from the memory disk. The smeared text was clearly visible now, but the inaccessible pages were another thing. The text on those was all garbled up and the programs had a hard time making sense of them, since they were one on top of another. To say that Aperia was not pleased was an understatement. First off, to learn that the Earth is suppose the birthplace of humanity... in the old days anyone saying that would have been hanged. But the other issue was even more enraging for her. She had a house cleaning problem. She called all high priests and their subordinates to Gemenon. They needed to address the issue of the chroniclers. Somehow, most of them rather committed suicide, or went into hiding. And now Aperia had trust issues. If even among them there were some who had their own agendas, the trust was broken and needed to be rebuild. But the one debate that really split the priests right down the middle was what to do about the ring and this new knowledge. Should they inform the public? President? Admiralty?
Livia had just finished a spectral scan of a small section of the text. It was a really slow process. But she began seeing some sense in the gibberish of the first line.
"And thus he came thru the portal of water to tell us the truth, the one..." She squinted her eyes, trying to see what the last part was. "... the one who was judged by... god. By god? As in singular?"
Earth, Cheyenne mountain complex, Stargate command, Earth date February 15, 2005
"Sir, SG-1 reporting as ordered." Carter announced to general O'Neill. As she entered the conference room with Daniel and Teal'c, she noticed general Hammond in the room as well. "Sir, what is this about?"
"Well, sorry kids, but your well deserved rest has to wait."
"You mean the whole save the galaxy from the replicators and Anubis is not enough?" Daniel asked.
"You know space monkey. I'm begining to think you got kicked out of the ascended club for a reason. Again."
"You two can argue about this later, Jack. SG-1, please take a seat." Hammond urged them so he could continue.
"General Hammond, what is the emergency?" Was Teal'c's question.
He turned on a monitor where... Daniel was sitting behind a strange green ship, holding something Carter recognised on the spot. "If you are seeing this message, then it means that we succeeded and managed to steal the ZPM from Ra..." Hammond stopped the recording.
"This is a message for SG-1, from SG-1."
This is a second story I'm trying out. The first one will be continued, don't worry. In this story, I will not add any other crossovers, to not make it over complicated. As well as to try another scenario. What if Earth had unknown help from the first time they stepped thru the gate (but nowhere near as much as in To change fate). And this also had the unintended consequences of ensuring the survival of the colonies. Will follow mostly cannon development of SG-1 except where I write the differences in flashbacks to explain things. Tell me your ideas, questions and criticism. As long as it's constructive.