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"
"Reading a text"
Chapter 19: Mutually assured mistrust
Leonis, secluded seaside valley, one week later
"So, which ones are for sale?" Vala asked the real-estate broker with her. Not far behind them were the MP's that were always part of Vala's little unofficial escort.
The saleswoman, who had seen many weird clients in her life, clearly didn't have one as Vala before. Vala had the eccentric part down, but in a new approach that she never saw. Professionalism combined with naivety. And you never knew which part was in charge.
If she hadn't seen Vala's credit balance, which was absurdly good, since she'd seen many balances, she'd dismiss her as a lunatic. So she began with the representation of several properties that were for sale. One was newly build, the others already owned once or several times.
In the back, the two MP's and the intelligence officer were listening to their talk and Vala's 'preferences'.
The lead MP was containing his embarrassment. "I feel like this is a punishment for me somehow. I mean... she's acting like a child sometimes..."
His partner leaned in, as they didn't want anyone not authorized to be hearing their debate. "A child with the backing of Nagala and is on good terms with our president plus has a bank account I'd kill for."
The intelligence officer joined in. "And has a private Al'kesh parked in Picon HQ when she wants' to use it."
"She doesn't have it... yet." The head MP corrected him... somewhat.
"And she'll need approval from HQ to use it, and a damn good reason." The other MP added.
"Details, details..." The spook ignored their comments. "It's depressing, what it is." He saw her eying the biggest property so far. "I really hope she doesn't go for something too extravagant."
"Why would we care? It's her money." One of the MP's commented.
"Yes, but we have to fork our money over to make it secure to keep an eye on her. And not just to make sure she doesn't try anything funny, but that no one tries to rob her. And that means..."
"We'll have to set up shop as well..." The head MP summed up their issue. "By either buying one ourselves on the militaries dime to then just keep her safe, or if this villa has a pool house, use it for that."
The spook wiped the sweat off his forehead as it was a hot summer day on Leonis. "The only good thing is that a military base is only 25 clicks from here."
"It's abandoned, or did you forget that?" The head MP reminded him.
"Not for long. Seems that Cerberus Company got a flashy new deal with Picon HQ, including personal protection. They're moving in there, among other things."
They all looked at Vala, who just returned from seeing the insides of this particular property. "Guess she's buying it, judging by the look on her face."
And Vala was indeed interested. "I really like all the shiny decoration inside."
"Em, thank you? The current seller is proud of that as well." The seller remarked. She was used to strange questions and statements from her clients.
"By the way, who is the current owner?"
"Oh, a star in holo program novels."
Vala now eyed her with amusement. "You mean an actor?"
"Well, nothing so simple..."
"If this guy plays roles for, well, to be recorded for their programs, he's an actor. Make believe. And I know it's a guy. No woman would be caught dead with all the decoration in his main bathroom."
"Em, but you said you liked all the gold decorations?"
"I like gold, true, but some of the stuff is really weird, even for me. Was he compensating for something?"
Vala saw that the real-estate broker was at a loss for words, so she cut her some slack. "Never mind. I'll just have those things thrown out, later. To be honest, I don't know what half of the rooms in this mansion are for anyway. And who collects dusty old books in a private library when you have computers?"
"Em... his brother, who is also his manager, is a passionate collector... or was. He passed away in the attack, so his brother, the... ehm, 'actor' is selling it, interior and all."
"Fine. Guess I'll have firewood available."
The broker almost panicked. "You can't! Some of those books are really valuable. A first edition of the holy book of the Lords is among them. Even a copy of the Sacred scrolls."
"Who cares. I don't do books..." Then she had an idea. "But my bestie the president, loves them. I guess, I'll just give them to her."
The broker was informed of Vala's 'connections', but she still didn't get that she was giving up a small fortune. "Anyway, if everything was to your satisfaction..."
"Not so fast. I have many other questions, but they can wait for the fine print. I need to know the following three things right now: One, I saw a private landing field not far from the entrance to this place."
"Em, yes? The hired security personnel use it and every owner of a real estate here has one landing pad and garage here for private use."
"Oh?" Vala turned to her escort and was about to ask them if she can park her Al'kesh here. The spook already shook his head in advance, before she could utter a sentence.
"No way in hell. Civilian raptors only."
Her shoulders slumped. "Crap. I can fly anything, but still need that damn license?" The MP's nodded their heads. "Damn it. Fine." She returned to the broker. "Two: why are there six robots in the damn mansion?"
"Em, it's a large estate and the owner is rich, why not?"
"I thought robots were a taboo thing here?" Vala had to watch it to not say something like 'you people hate robots'. How would she then explain the 'you people' remark, if she intends to mingle with the locals, so to say.
"They have no learning abilities and it requires a technician to reprogram them. Once all the procedures of this purchase are done, they will be programmed to obey you."
This gave her a bit of a bad vibe as the memories of when humans bowed down to her when she was possessed, surfaced again. "Not too keen on some aspect of this, but OK. What are they anyway?"
"What do you mean?" They began walking towards Vala's escort now.
"I'm not a robot expert and they all looked different. What are they for?"
"Oh, that. One's a butler that will attend to your needs, two are cleaners, like maids. One's a cook, one a gardener and one's a mechanic. The butler also has the programming of a bodyguard and medic on top of that. The Model 200-C is quite an expensive one."
The MP's and the intelligence officer eyed each other. "More than our yearly salary combined, I'm afraid... anyway. You satisfied?"
"Yes, just the last question, before I give my fingerprint and signature."
"Ah, yes, the third question, go ahead."
"Are there any good bars nearby and some hunky men in them?"
Tollana, same time
The delegates for the Tau'ri were making the last gathering before the talks with this new human civilization. Normally, Jack would find a way to not be here, but this time, Narim, who was recalled along Samantha Carter for this event, insisted.
In a military room, Jack, Daniel, Sam, Orina, the Galar and Hebrdian representatives and Jonas. Teal'c and a Tok'ra representative were there as observers.
"We've been over all of this already. We know what to say and do when these damn talks begin. Why drag us here again?" Jack protested.
"New information is now available that demands your presence before we meet Dr. Woolsey. Now, observe."
In the center of the round table in the conference room the holographic display showed them the footage of the orbits and planetary scans of the 12 Tribes of Kobol. Orbital traffic, mining operations, industrial sectors and military presence. As well as the clear impact sites of the nuclear attack and the clean up duties still going on both planeside and in orbit.
"Well, it was expected." Daniel remarked. "From what we saw and learned..."
"Still impressive how far they got without any Goa'uld influence." Sam said.
"Nevertheless, they would not last long if the System Lords had known about them years ago." Teal'c pointed out. "They would not have tolerated this presence, primitive or not."
"I tend to agree with the Jaffa representative." The Tok'ra replied. "They were lucky."
"The craters we saw show a different picture." Daniel reminded him of the losses they said they took.
"A problem of their own making. And it could have been worse."
"Still nice they provided the pictures of these Cylons just in case if they did find ways to infiltrate us..." Daniel pondered.
"Yeah, about that..." Jonas began scratching his head.
"What is it?" Jack knew what that gesture meant. Jonas was uncomfortable.
"That model One, once I saw that picture... damn, looks like my old mentor."
"Really?" Several in the room asked him.
"Yes, but we checked. He's human. And in a mental hospital by the way."
"Well... you ain't the only one who had to do some digging, Jonas. A member of the SGC looks like an Eight, a former, now dead Jaffa commander looked like one of those, em..."
Seeing Jack had some issues remembering, Daniel jumped in. "Final Five?"
"Em, yes, that. A former small fish Goa'uld looked like a Four... and we even had to inspect the former US Navy Secnav. He looks like the damn One as well..."
Sam and Orina both had a possible idea. Orina beat her to it. "Machines or not, the DNA still has a limited amount of combinations, mostly to our appearance. Had to be a fluke. One in a billion."
Sam nodded in agreement.
"Anyway, back to the reason we're here. You send the Shadow out?" Jack asked Narim, who nodded. "OK? That was days ago. Why drag us here now, unless something changed."
Narim and Orina sighed. "It did, O'Neill. We just needed time to analyze the data..." Narim let Orina do the honors. The display now showed the Goa'uld fleet in colonial space, surrounded by Colonial ships and forces. And they were apparently used by said Colonials.
That peaked even O'Neill's interest. "OK, I'll take Alien fleets for 500."
Sam went straight for the jugular. "What tech level? Anubis?" Narim didn't respond, but his expression said it all. "That's also why you took your time. You had to be really sure of it."
"Which begs the question. Why didn't they use it to defend Kobol, if it's so important to them?" Daniel pondered.
"Well... there are only two possibilities to this." The Tok'ra representative took the stage. "Either they didn't have them yet, or... they lied."
"I think I got to know these folks somewhat. They don't strike me as liars." Jack in a way defended the Colonials.
"Perhaps, but it's still unsettling." The Galar representative showed his concern.
"That is not the only issue, but let's focus on this fleet first." Orina wanted to return to this problem so they could modify their negotiation strategy. "The ships themselves were scanned, but as the Shadow is under cloak, with limited capability. Same for the planets. But the fact that a Sokar designed command ship was among them is the true issue. We didn't see this design since the fall of Apophis."
The Tok'ra reacted. "We however did learn that Anubis was trying to use it as a cheaper alternative to his own command ship."
"I can confirm that." It was Teal'c. "At least two partially constructed hulls on Delmak were found and are ending the completion stage by us now."
"OK T, if they didn't rob your ass, where did this come from?" Jack asked directly.
"I do not have an answer to that question, O'Neill."
Orina zoomed in on the ships in the image, where it was shown how the Colonials were already using the ships with some level of skill in the open hangar.
After some more back and forth, it was agreed upon to only bring this up, if the situation call upon it during the upcoming meeting. If for no other reason to not tip them off that their home system was found and already spied on.
And time was now pressuring them to get this done and move on as all of them needed to be elsewhere.
Jack was least eager to go, as he was to meet the Colonial delegation with Woolsey, whom he had to assume, was already briefed on this new development. "OK, so what's the other stuff you mentioned?"
Orina changed the image to the shipyards over the planet Scorpia. And while large and impressive, the damage was the most disturbing thing. "Surprised they have it running with all the parts missing and the debris in orbit next to it." Carter said. "Wait... go back." The image returned to the main reactor unit. "Fuel rods still sticking out, reactor casings... is this the main power plant?"
Narim confirmed that assessment. "Yes. Apparently they have some issues cleaning it up properly due to radiation of the fuel that didn't detonate. With our help, it would go easy."
"Then if we get past the denial phase, we can offer assistance there." Jack responded. "Anyway, get to the point, unless this was it?"
"I think that IS the point, sir." Carter already saw the issue. "If the reactor is damaged and NOT working, how do they power it? They can't have naquadah reactor designs yet, not from what we know and saw with their ships."
Narim smiled at this. He suspected Sam would catch on first. "This is what apparently is the source of the power." A graphical representation of a diagram with many numbers appeared on the display. "The power signature we detected. Look familiar?"
Sam began reading the data. Halfway through she knew what she was looking at. She saw almost identical data in Atlantis in the ZPM room. All ZPM's have 99,9% identical power signatures, but that small difference is a fingerprint for each individual unit. "ZPM. They have one powering the shipyard."
"Yes. And that's all we do know." Orina deactivated the display as she stood up. The others followed. "Our scans can only detect active ZPM's. Should they have more and not use them, we can't detect them."
That got even Jack a bit worried. "Which begs the question, do they have just one?"
Orina as the always pragmatically Tollan, agreed. "And can at least fundamentally take advantage of them, which is more than what the Goa'uld were capable off."
After a few more minutes passed with small details hammered out, they headed out.
Approaching the Stargate, the Tollan security began dialing Langara. Everyone went through, except O'Neill. Once the gate shut down, the security began dialing Earth's Gama site. "Hopefully Ba'al crashes the party..."
Picon, Poseidon planetary military base, officers guest house
Saul was pacing back and forth in the house that was for now their assigned home. He actually went back inside as he was annoying the security detachment meant to keep them safe. As well as to keep an eye on them. And his grumpy personality and bad mood didn't help the matter. Now he was bugging the other Final Five in the house. Tory sat on the left side of the sofa in the den, reading a book. Sam was on the other side, leaning into the sofa, almost sleeping as he watched a pyramid game. "It's so boring to just watch, but not play..."
"Then don't watch it." Tory retorted as she turned a page. "I don't know who is worse. You with your whining or Saul as he makes a hole in the floor. At least Galen went to the garage to occupy himself by finding things to fix."
"I'm beginning to think it was a bad idea for the Rebels to return our memories to us with the HUB's help... " Saul shot back. "You were not half as cocky before that."
"And you easier to manipulate. Guess that's how Ellen did it, right? Alcohol or sex."
"And I'm out..." Sam shot up and went to the game room. "Rather play pool by myself than have to listen to this..."
Saul left Tory as well, going straight to the entrance to see the head security officer. "Question, can I leave for Kobol and see if I'm needed there. Anyone will do, Bill, Cylons... frak, I'd take the archeologists at this point."
"Sorry, but the conference with the 13th is beginning shortly. No unnecessary travel to or from Kobol until that is done."
He grumbled. "And how long will that take?"
"No idea. Hours? Even a day? Better make yourself comfortable inside." He saw Saul painfully accept his fate as he began returning into the house. "If it helps... the bar is fully stocked inside."
"Not a bad idea at all..."
Kobol, planet's surface, Cylon base camp, same time
The Rebel Cylons made a decision. They took Nagala up on his offer. They picked the smaller continent in the southern hemisphere. One of the smaller ones, close to the island where the Stargate was located on the planet.
As the Rebel fleet arrived with the Colonial reinforcements, the Cylons began sending what little they had in the way of building material to make some sort of base on the continent. And this was also a reason why they picked this continent from all available, as the only one the Colonials insisted on getting was the large northern mass where the old City of the gods was located as well as Athena's tomb. The reason for their pick was that this continent, while not the most appealing in the categories of climate, location, size or topography, was relatively rich in minerals, but most important of all, it was geologically active. Steam vents and active volcanoes in the mountain chain meant easy accessible and exploitable geothermal energy. With some Colonial help, they had a small power station half built already and the power lines to their camp already connected. Of course doing it more permanently would take more time, but it was a start.
A Colonial raptor just landed in the designated landing site. This traffic from either sides was now more common as both sides were not so tense in each other's presence.
Bill stepped out with two guards and saluted the model Two who came to greet him with a centurion. "Permission to set foot down?"
The Two returned the salute, somewhat, as he was not in uniform, but Bill remained by the book. "Granted. Is it time?"
"Almost. Caprica ready?"
"Yes. Follow me." As The Colonial arrivals did just that, they observed the construction in progress. Centurions could be really effective due to their strength and no need to sleep. Or it would have been so, if... anyone was working. Only human Cylons were in the main street, no centurion in sight.
"What's going on?" Bill inquired. "I thought you leaders wanted something basic done fast?"
"And we do. The main street is paved, several buildings almost done... thanks for the construction vehicles and building material by the way."
"Still waiting for the answer to my question, which is annoying you, I see."
The Two stopped. "Ehm... technically they were on strike..."
Bill and his escort stopped as well. "Come again?"
"Well, the strike is over... they formed a union."
Bill turned to his escort to confirm if he heard right. "Union?"
The Two was really getting annoyed as this was embarrassing to him. "Yes."
"Yes... can we move on?"
So they did. But Bill didn't relent. "Why did that happen?"
"Since we removed the talent inhibitors, they got their individuality back. The Guardians had them all the time. Anyway, everything was going as planned until... someone put this idea of working rights into the centurions minds. So now they have actual working hours and a day off." He eyed Bill. "And she's one of yours."
Bill didn't know if to face palm or not, but he had a good idea who was meant by that.
As they arrived in the one day to be government building, Bill was welcomed by the Cylon leadership, which was essentially made up of each model having one representative, usually the Prime one, a modern centurion, a Guardian centurion and 'the good' Cavil as an observer. He didn't want to be part of politics any longer. And it seemed wrong to have a saying in a war still raging on that was led by his model brothers.
D'Anna greeted him. "So, Admiral. Your arrival means it's time to go?"
"Yes. As we agreed on, only two of you may come. Caprica?"
"I see Leoben still has a big mouth."
"Will it be an issue, you and Baltar sitting at the same negotiating table?"
She huffed. "I'll restrain myself. You'll have to do the same for him."
"I intend to remind him. Who's your plus one?"
Cavil raised his hand. "That would be me. Only as an observer, mind you. D'Anna wanted to go, but she's a bit too hot headed these days as we all agreed." She grumbled. "Don't want to be insulting anyone there, right."
"Good call, even if your model is not really welcome with us anyway."
"Technically he's on thin ice with us as well." Caprica said as they began moving out. She handed Bill some files. "You wanted to inspect what we bring along, so, give it to your security people. We ready to go?"
"You all go ahead. I'll just take a minute to..."
D'Anna went past him, her target the nearby hangar building near the airfield they had just reached. "Yeah, yeah. The perky but loudmouthed pilot of yours. Not that she's the only Colonial here, but she really annoys me. Follow me."
A minute later, once inside, Bill saw the... strange scene. Inside the hangar there were repair and maintenance areas for both raiders and centurions. Even Colonial engineers were both helping with the repairs as well as taking notes. In the corner at the back of the large facility, he saw a group of centurions sitting on the floor in a circle. And Kara was part of the circle, smoking her trademark cigar and... playing cards.
"So boys and girls... or whatever you identify yourself as... This is a full Quorum. Any card combination like this gets you one. The less powerful one is a partial Quorum. That needs just three cards with identical value plus..." She saw them approach and stood up." Sir... bitch." She meant Bill and D'Anna.
Bill saluted her as she had just done. "I see your making friends... in a way?" The centurions now stood up as well.
"Yeah, the tall and silent type. Usually I go for those, but this is a bit too silent. Hey, Dominatrix..."
"Really? Not based on your attitude." D'Anna gritted her teeth. They had such verbal showdowns the whole day. "When will my friends get those vocal devices so they can talk?"
"You've been saying that the entire day!"
"It was not a priority, until they began the strike and equal rights movement and stopped working. Thank you for that, by the way." She said sarcastically. She really wanted to strangle this girl.
Kara innocently smiled back. "You're welcome. Wouldn't want to be called a hypocrite, right?"
"I mean, you all bitched how we treated their ancestors, only for you to do the same thing..." She raised her index finger at her. "Tisk, tisk. Naughty Dominatrix."
D'Anna remained in control of herself, but she had enough. "Admiral. I have a condition for this alliance continuing. Get her out of my sight!" She stormed off.
"Guessed as much." Bill returned his attention to his best pilot. "Better come with me to the base, I think you outstayed your welcome here."
"Yeah..." Retrieving her other belongings, she waved to her observers goodbye. "We'll talk some other time. Then I'll tell you all about bar life. And Heavy, don't let them bully you around, got it?"
The one Guardian centurion in the group gave her the thumbs up.
Arriving at the raptor and taking their seats and the raptor took off, Bill had to know. "Heavy?"
"Yeah, kind of had to give them names. I mean the whole numbers thing didn't work. And it's better with names, I think they agreed."
Caprica, listening to this, laughed. She knew, as she understood the centurion infrared communication, that they actually did like it.
"I can see D'Anna had enough of her antics, Admiral?" Cavil inquired.
Planet Pallas, moon Mintas, Cyrannus Beta system, 10 minutes later
The moon Mintas was barely a celestial body. A natural satellite, for sure, but only 30 kilometers at its longest part. It was the biggest, but one of five natural satellites of Pallas.
The planet itself, if compared to the Sol system, was Helios Betas version of Mars. Situated between Leonis, which was closer to Helios Beta star, and the Ouranos asteroid belt, was a strategic location in the past, when Leonis and Virgon were the main powers during the inter-Colonial wars. After the belt is where Virgon is located, so both old power had in the past waged war to keep the belt and planet under control. Due to its closer proximity, Leonis was more successful with Pallas. The planet was colonized, with seven permanent settlements and in the past attempts were made to make it more habitable again. All failed.
It's so called moons were once used as early warning outposts, command and control facilities and logistical hubs for the military, even during the first Cylon war.
In the 40 years long time lapse that followed, peace, technological advancement and military budget cuts made all of the moons irrelevant. Only Mintas, the largest of the moons, kept a skeleton crew to maintain the main station and not let it rot away. Lately, this place was getting not just new paint slapped on it, but was a hub of traffic. Needles to say that the personnel that was mostly bored out of their mind there, was a bit taken aback, when Nagala himself came to inspect the place weeks ago and tell them that they are being reassigned while this place will be under new management.
That was not only for the purpose of the ring being installed here, but also for the sensor array for Helios Beta to be permanently situated here. The planet Pallas was a perfect choice for Beta, as it was not the first planet in Beta, thus too close to the sun, which would affect any sensor data, nor was it too far, like the gas giant Hera and it's moons on the outer edge of Beta, where it could not effectively cover the entire system.
Nagala had found good places in the other three systems as well for the remaining three sensor units to be installed.
Helios Alpha was a pain. Four habitable planets, so all the best spot for the array to be placed were thus taken. Because all the civilians, ship and comm traffic would make it an issue. Icarus, like with Mercury in Sol, was too close, the gas giant Zeus too far. The best spot was not a perfect choice, but the only one that could be made. Minos, the natural moon of Tauron. It was a mining, research and military outpost. So it had a permanent population, but was not a population hub. And Tauron was in the green zone, so in a good spot for the sensor array.
Gamma gave Nagala a choice. The asteroids ring of Scorpia or the moons of Libran, Herse and Pandrossos. Libran was closer to the sun, so Nagala would have preferred Scorpia, but their main shipyards were already there, so putting more than one inviting target there was not a good idea. So he went with the moons. Again, larger asteroids than actual moons, but sizably bigger than what Pallas had, Nagala left the decision of which moon to use to the local military commander. Both were, like with Pallas' moons, used in the past and now mostly left to rot. Libran was also the preferred choice since it had a smaller overall population than the other two planets in Gamma, thus less traffic.
Delta was a problem. Phoebe was too close, Styx had an atmosphere that made it a problem, and it's orbital inclination was an issue as well. Then there were the three planets that shared the same orbit. Canceron, gas giant Hestia and Aerilon. This was a one in a million fluke, since both solid and inhabited planets were in the Langrage points of the gas giant. But only the gas giant had moons. Aquaria was also too far out after this. The only logical solution was a moon of the gas giant. It's largest moon Kronos was chosen for this honor. And no, the irony that this array originated from the children of the System Lord of the same name, was not lost on Nagala.
Right now two Valkyrie class battlestars were in orbit of Mintas along with transport ships and construction ships.
The ring was installed days ago and regular traffic with Kobol was proceeding as normal, as well as with the newly founded Ma'chello system, planet and base.
A wing of seven raptors had just landed and brought down to the main pressurized hangar via the lift system.
As the deck crew brought ladders to make the disembarking easier, Nagala just jumped down and not bothered with the steppes.
In the neighboring raptor, Laura took advantage of the steppes along her entourage.
Most of the other raptors had security personnel, Baltar and several scientist as well as material they would bring to the talks. The last raptor however had the 'special' guest.
A gagged and restrained Bellona, who was being forced out of the raptor by the security staff via metallic poles that connected to her hosts neck. She was basically like a restrained patient from a mental hospital. They were taking no chances with her.
"Admiral." Laura greeted Nagala. "The military was busy." She remarked the hangar and the base so far. Real progress was made. A week or two more and this place would be a center of military operations.
"That's what you can get done when our budget isn't cut every year and we can ignore the red tape." He motioned her to follow him to the elevator location. She and the others did just that.
"I do hope you and Lucinda Cain managed to work things out, Dr. Baltar." Laura asked said scientist as they entered the larger cargo lift. Bellona and her security would follow after this.
"Yes. Thanks to her relenting on some issues, this array will be operational in 17 hours. Unless someone screws up... again."
"It won't happen Doctor. Admirals Rhode, Rosi and Bouras are handling this project, since you will be needed for both these talks and the new fleet we got. So it's not your issue any longer." Nagala calmed him down.
The doors opened as they reached the level for the ring operations. Originally just a large storage area, it was now repurposed for this. The entire room was now made out of prometheon armor, which replaced the old steel walls. The entrance that led to the elevator hub, was heavily guarded, but the doors, also replaced with prometheon, remained the large size ones to make moving large or small items through the ring easier. Once past the initial doors, they passed a military post which had large caliber guns in defensive positions, aimed at the ring. Right of them were the stairs leading to the assembled and elevated command room, where the dialing device was located, along with the ring operation staff. All behind armored glass, with communication equipment and computers linked directly to Mintas mainframe made available.
The ring itself was in a slightly elevated platform. Above it was a magnetically controlled conveyor belt with a pair of robotic arms attached to the main unit. Originally used to move containers through the storage area, it also made a good way to move the ring and any and all materials from and to the ring.
The base commander and ring commander were awaiting their arrival at the base of the ring platform. They both saluted Nagala. "Sir, everything ready here."
"Good. Good. Nice work so far. I'll escort President Roslin to Kobol and stay there to have a talk with Adama. Our base in the Ma'chello system?"
"Ahead of schedule." He handed Nagala a paper with the report. Raising an eyebrow, Nagala read through it.
"I see first prospecting units found prometheon deposits there as well. Right where we now expect them. Below tylium deposits." He finished the report and handed it back. "Galatos?"
The remaining guards with Bellona had just arrived as Nagala nodded to the base officers to begin dialing.
As the ring lit up and formed the event horizon, Laura still couldn't get used to this. Technically neither could Nagala, he just didn't show it. "Shall we?"
Kobol, Colonial base, five minutes later
Adama's raptor just landed in the hangar of the old Goa'uld base. Next to it was the Cylon heavy raider with the Cylon delegation.
While the allied Cylons were busy building their new home on the continent that they choose, the Colonials were still cleaning the mess in orbit and their base. They on one hand knew that this place was hopelessly outdated by galactic standards, but by their standards, was much better than what they had. So if they planned to create a hybrid base between Colonial and Goa'uld designs, they'd need better snake hardware first anyway. All again linked to the talks.
The Cylons however did get an additional concession. The material known as prometheon, they got the Colonials to agree to supply them with the needed equipment to build a foundry capable to process the stuff for their own use, as they did find an abandoned, but still rich mine on their continent. That plus the knowledge as to how properly refine it would be theirs... once the Colonials themselves either figure it out or got the knowledge from outside.
The hangar officer approached them. "Admiral Adama, President Roslin and Admiral Nagala have arrived. You should go to the CIC, where Galatos and Atkins are already having discussions on..."
Bill cut him off. "I get the gist of it. Carry on." He motioned to his guests to follow him. Hit destination, the ring platform on this level. He agreed with Atkins, he didn't like using them either, but he didn't want to be late.
As they all stepped on the platform, the guard operating it on this level used his wireless and signaled the guards on the CIC level to expect the arrivals. Then he nodded to Adama and activated the platform.
A flash of light later and the group was only a few steps from the CIC. Inside, the holographic planning table, usually used for missions or operations, was cluttered with folders, pieces of paper or photos, all neatly stacked based on what discussion theme they would be part off. Now one may think that using paper in a digital age was a step down even for Colonials. But Nagala insistent on the simplicity of paper. Nothing could be reversed, like a digital photo un-edited, or perhaps information gathered from a digital copy that was not intended.
The only real novelty was that they had three copies of everything. One in standard Kobolian, one in standard Goa'uld, the database for which was provided for them by the Tok'ra, and what apparently was the main language used by the Earth forces, English.
As Adama began his saluting to his superiors, he overheard Galatos and Nagala talking over the implementation of this 'only paper' idea.
"I was hoping to take at least one of the dead crystals with us, Jason."
Nagala shook his head. "No. The photos with you and me and one dead and one glowing crystal on it will have to do. If they ask you how many, don't give them a specific number, just say more than the ones on the photo."
Galatos crossed his arms, understanding. "Fine."
Nagala saw the last of their delegation arrive. Pleasantries and handshakes followed. "So, Miss Caprica and Cavil is it? You have your contribution with you?"
Caprica handed her file with the photos and paper on the planning table. "As we agreed upon. Basic concepts of what we can offer, nothing more."
Nagala and Baltar checked it over. They seemed to be satisfied. "Good. Now, before you go, there are two more things to attend to, before I let you leave."
Cavil was getting a bit restless. "I assure you, we rehearsed what we can or can't say so often, eve I got sick of it."
"Not that. Madam President." Nagala verbally reminded her that this was basically her show.
"Right. Admiral Nagala and I have some talking to do with our Tok'ra guests on the base. We'll meet up in the ring room."
Arriving on the main level of the base, ground floor, they all split up. Adama went to ring to the Lucinda and await for Nagala to join him.
Nagala and Laura went to the established medical wing, where a comatose Livia was now wasting away. The Tok'ra had volunteered several healers to help the injures Colonials to recover faster from their wounds from the defense of Kobol. Laura had Livia moved here and asked the Tok'ra here to take a look at her condition as well and see if there was anything they could do for her. As well as taking a look at the hostage situation with Bellona. A little thank you from the Tok'ra Council for the continued access to Athena's laboratory. Bellona's handlers followed them, with the prisoner in tow.
Once in the main healing room, several Tok'ra were using hand healers on some wounded Colonial soldiers. Others were checking progress reports and charts on some patients. The head healer, an elder male, spotted them first as they passed the Colonial security detail, and bowed slightly. "Greetings once again, President Roslin." It was the human speaking.
"Greetings to you too. How are things progressing?"
"Rather well. You Colonials are quite cooperative, even if a bit..." He used his eyes to guide her to the medical researchers from the Colonial Medical unit, that were using all kind of scanning equipment to understand how the Goa'uld stuff worked. One could say it was funny to look at the scene where they occasionally tripped over their own feet, but the Tok'ra were getting annoyed at their presence. "Distracted from time to time." He finished his sentence.
"I... understand. Admiral..."
"Don't worry. I'll handle that." Nagala agreed. No need to alienate them. "Now to the reason we are here." He motioned the people behind him to drag Bellona into the room. She was still resisting them, to no avail.
She stopped, once inside the room. She eyed the Tok'ra healers. "Traitors." She hissed.
The head healer switched to the symbiote. "Bellona. Nice we finally have you and the others. During our listing of the System Lords and all Goa'uld of any meaning, you were missing. Fortunately, that situation has been remedied now."
Before Bellona could reply, Nagala had his people drag her out again. "Can you get it out?"
The Tok'ra remained in control. "Yes, of course. I only need to ask, how would you prefer it. If we use a surgical procedure, we can do it here. We are even willing for your people to observe, so that you can learn how to do it yourself. However, it would need preparation and time."
Nagala liked the idea to get the knowledge how to do this themselves. But he still needed to know of the alternative. "The other option?"
"We developed a machine that can extract the symbiote fast and efficient, but that can't be performed here. The prisoner would have to come with us. Once done, we'd return your scientist back to you."
Laura pondered the options. She knew what Nagala would prefer. She agreed. "Do it here. The operation that is."
"Very well. We will need two days to be ready. Now..." He switched back to the host. "As for the other issue." They all moved to the side of Livias bed. "She is a bigger problem. We understand what happened. We had problems like this in the past. I have both good and bad news."
"Go on." Laura encouraged him.
"The good news is that we can help. Our scans show she still has some upper brain activity. She is not a... ehm, blank slate, as it were. The issue is knowing what is still there and then to reassemble it."
"Ehm, excuse me, reassemble?" Laura was taken aback. "It sounds like you're talking about putting together a puzzle, not Livia's mind."
"In a way, it's the same thing. Her mind, what's left of it, is fractured. The issue is that not all the puzzle pieces are there any longer."
Nagala knew what was coming. "OK, let's have it."
"We can't get her back to 100%. That's impossible. I doubt even the Asgard could, if they answered any calls these days. At best we can give her most of her memories, motor skills and personality back, but she'll never be like she was. The only issue is how much of it can be restored. At worst, her motor skills will be greatly impaired, at best not at all, but memory holes are expected."
Laura saw a light at the end of this tunnel. "How could you do it?"
"A combination of our memory scanners and... we need to implant one of our experts into her."
The Tok'ra knew this would be the main issue with the Colonials. Laura feared this was the only way. Even Nagala thought so. "Madam President, I would not hesitate to approve of this, if we and the Tok'ra and their allies were blindly trusting each other already, but fractured or not, even the young priestess knows of things I'd rather not have leave Kobol at the moment."
"I know." She replied in a somber way. "Can we delay it?"
The healer shook his head. "The longer we wait, the worse it will get. I also believe that the only way for her to be at least in the 90% functionality range is to... well, remain one of us." Before they could argue back, he continued. "I know how you feel." He stroked his chin, pondering. "Tell you what, our scientist and healers are here to stay anyway, until we get that laboratory issue cleaned up. I can have To'kos come here and begin the procedure. Once she can at least function on her own again, we can try to ask for her opinion."
Nagala... didn't mind this idea. He nodded approvingly and Laura got a smile on her face. "What do you need from us?"
They both blinked. "Ehm... food?"
"Yes, with much protein, calories and sugars. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of energy for what To'kos will be doing. And unlike physical regeneration, this will take time. Perhaps months. So he will be hungry. I also advise your staff to get accustomed to the fact that he will be basically using her body as a puppet when he'll be eating and... well, reliving himself."
"With her body?"
"Well yes. He will gain the nutrients from her blood stream. How do you think it is done?"
Laura thought it a but... perverted, but saw the logic of the statement. "Then please make the call and begin as soon as possible."
The arrangement was made. So now Nagala was with the delegation at the ring. "Good luck, to you all." He eyed Baltar. "Doctor, behave. And keep your mouth on the numbers shut. Let Galatos handle the numbers."
Baltar nodded. He heard the same argument again and again. He felt like the child who had to be constantly reminded to not spill the secrets. While he felt insulted by this, Caprica actually agreed with Nagalas constant reminders. Baltar was a bit too chatty for his own good sometimes. Mostly if alcohol or a busty blonde was involved. She should know. That's how she originally got in.
The ring was now active as the ring operators dialed the address they were given, Earth's Gamma site. Then one of Atkins solders threw the combat camera through. On the screen at the control stations behind the dialing platform, the officers saw a military style room, similar to their own, just lacking any Goa'uld influence in it. Then the camera was picked up as one O'Neill grinned into it. "This thing on?"
"General O'Neill. Admiral Nagala here."
"Hello, old boy. This your way to check out if we're lying?"
"In fact it is. Our delegation will depart now. I would suggest you keep the camera unit there for now. When..."
"I get the reasoning for that. Once the talking me to death part is over and we dial you for the return trip, you can check us out again. Got it. Now, let's get this show on the road, shall we?"
Nagala gave the signal to go and the delegation departed. Once the ring shut off, Nagala returned to the CIC to make some last minute exchanges with Atkins, then went to ring to the Lucinda. Time he and Adama had a discussion about the future of Kobol's orbit, Adamas command and his old crew.
Planet Langara, minutes later
After the security check on Gamma site and the now standard universal translator unit earpiece given to them, the Colonial and Cylon delegations were led by O'Neill's team through the gate again. The Langaran representative greeted them. Or to be more precise, Jonas greeted them.
Once again, greeting were exchanged, until Jonas got to Cavil. He had a hard time extending his hand as he just stared at him.
"Son, as I understand human interactions, your being rude right now."
That snapped him out of it. "Oh, sorry... it's just, you look so much like my old mentor. Appearance and voice. It's unsettling."
That got Cavil interested. "Indeed? Well, if there are as many humans in the galaxy as we are being told, it's probably a big coincidence. Nevertheless, I would not mind meeting my 'human' twin."
"Ehm, yes, he's in a mental hospital."
Caprica was the only one, who saw this as ironic, that didn't hold back. "Who knew. You two share more than just appearances."
"Caprica, my dear. Not funny. And I would argue I'm the sane model One."
"The only one, out of thousands. So statistics are against you. And the jury is still out on the 'sane' part for you."
The Colonials stopped them from continuing down this path. Both to save time and their face in front of their escort.
While the Earth Gamma base was underground, much like the three Colonial bases, if you ignore the fact that the one in Cyrannus system was not so much underground but in an asteroid, the Earth Gamma base did have a large entrance to the surface where a landing strip and several fighters were clearly visible. Along with currently bad weather on that planet.
On this planet, the Colonial and Cylon guests were led through a long underground corridor. Large enough to allow the ring to be moved as well as having the typical security measures one would expect.
But sharp eyes like Baltar's, Caprica's and Galatos' saw the clear difference in technology. Sure, the security personnel had weapons similar to Earth's forces, but the base was clearly lagging behind.
Curiosity got the better of Caprica. "At what technological stage are your people, if I may ask?"
Jonas didn't expect that, so he silently asked Jack what to do. He just shrugged, as if saying 'your decision'. "I believe early atomic era is what Earth says we're at."
"Hmm, well that explains this underground base. It would fit."
Baltar agreed with her deduction. "Yes, even if the art on the walls is a bit much."
Jonas knew this might come up, as the three nations on Langara were still arguing on how the base should be designed. Favor style over practicality? In the end a compromise was made that no one was really happy with. In the end, Jonas was silent on the matter. At least his country got to keep the gate.
As the main corridor in front of them was apparently leading to the surface, they turned to their left and began ascending what could be seen as the entrance to a luxury hotel. Here the influences of a technologically advanced culture could be seen. The same type of solders were guarding the door that were seen deployed on Kobol during the battle with Masim's forces. Same armor and weapons.
Jack placed his hand on a scanning device. Baltar assumed it was not a mere fingerprint scanner.
As they now passed the opened door, they were greeted by a large oval room with a round table. Over two dozen seating positions were placed around said table and many people were already waiting for them. Some were clearly not human delegations, as the Jaffa and Tok'ra observers definitely stood out. Others were men and women from apparently different human worlds, going by their attires. Different worlds, different cultured and fashions.
While the table and room was apparently designed to make all appear equal, as in no seating position looked to be for a superior position, there was a elevated desk with several positions behind a well dressed man that reminded Laura of her former boss, Adar. He was also a bit on the thin heard side, like Adar was. And it was that man that took the lead.
"Greetings, President Roslin. It is a pleasure for all of us to finally meet." He had a warm smile, unlike the more reserved people that were now taking their positions on the elevated desk behind him.
He went around the table with the intent of the handshaking protocol. She obliged him. "Yes, likewise, I'm sure. Mr...?"
"Woolsey, Richard Woolsey. Chief representative of the Tau'ri Council."
Richard? Great, same names as well.
The protocol of pleasantries now behind them, Woolsey returned to his starting positions. "Once again, thank you for coming, honored guests. I hope that in the hours to come this day, we can not only get to know each other better but also come to a first step that will lead to an arrangement between our Organization and your Civilization. Now..." He motioned with his hand to the three men above and behind him. "The three gentlemen there are observers. They will not directly intervene in the talks, but making a good impression on them is not a bad idea. Master Bra'tac represents the Free Jaffa Nation, Jacob Carter the Tok'ra Republic and Ma'chello as the last observer."
The Colonials all restrained from reacting. They got the report from Nagala on what was learned on Ma'chello's fate. It was however interesting they'd have him here as an observer.
Then the people at the table began introducing themselves. First were the core Ta'uri member worlds. Tollana, represented by an older but stern looking man, the Breeder faction from the planet Eudoria, represented by a young black woman, the Galarans, represented by an elderly woman, the Taldorians, represented by a young woman, the Herbridians, who were represented by a male Seerakin, the Orbanians, represented by a young man with some sort of technological device at his temporal lobe and the Tagreans, represented by a middle-aged bearded man. As well as Earth, represented by Mr. Woolsey. And apparently the technological advisors were two women, one from Tollana and one from Earth. The cultural advisor and military advisor were from Earth as well. And while they all sat at the same table, they had differently marked parts of the table.
The remaining positions were taken by the none-core members and one representing the planets that fell under the Protective planet treaty. Laura couldn't remember all of the names, but the planet they were on, Langara, was one of them, represented by this Jonas Quinn, other planets mentioned were K'Tau, Pangarans, Latonans and several others. The PPT members were mostly bronze or iron age populations, like Cimmerians, Endorans and many others. Only one representative spoke for them. One other spoke for the many alien worlds, who suffered under Goa'uld tyranny or resisted them for millennia. Most were in the process of rebuilding or had no direct interest in human affairs, but wanted to keep an eye on this fledgling civilization. They were made up of the likes like Gadmeer, The Spirit shape shifters, Oannes, Reol or Nox. The Nox themselves were actually asked to participate, but said in a gentle way, that Earth and humanity at large has learned to crawl. Now they must learn to stand on their own.
That left three seats. One was for the Ilempiri, one for the only Altairan left in the galaxy and the last one was actually a scientist who was put in charge to oversee the still primitive races in the galaxy that either were not human or had no knowledge of the gates. Like the Unas for example.
As they took their respected seats, the Colonial representatives couldn't help but notice that the Jaffa representative looked at them with more interest than the others. Or was it fear?
On the other hand the Altairan representative eyed the Cylons with interest.
The table itself was also not any plain piece of furniture. The Colonials began wondering on the crystal surface that each person seated at this table, had in front of themselves. As well as a small crystal next to is, embedded into the table. The table also had a rather large round crystal in its middle.
Carter noticed their curiosity. "The crystal in the middle is a holographic projector. Any data or picture can be seen there by everyone. If you put a piece of paper or a data storage device on the smooth surface in front of you, the computer can read it, translate it appropriately and display it with the big crystal."
"I see. Em, thank you for that explanation. And the other... crystal?"
"You press that, when you wish to speak, that way we keep it orderly."
"You should also notice that the crystal is a modified device from my people. It has the properties of a lie detector." Orina added. "If it glows red while you're talking, the probability that the person using it is lying is high, but not 100%.
Jack was against that, as it could easily backfire on them, but the Tollans insisted. Mostly due to risks of Goa'uld brainwashing still being a thing. And not just from Ba'al. And had they only used them for their guests, yeah, that would build trust.
Galatos didn't like it as well. "And if it's a secret? I doubt you'll disclose security matters yourself."
And that's what Jack wanted to avoid. "You say you are ordered not to talk about it. Or something like that."
Galatos and Jack saw that they shared the same viewpoint here. He eyed Laura to begin. So she did.
Commandstar Lucinda, Kobol orbit, 10 minutes later
The allied Cylon fleet and the Colonial reinforcement fleet had arrived faster than planned. Since the Free Jaffa fleet had to depart earlier, the Cylon and Colonial forces burned the proverbial rubber. Some almost burned out their jump cores getting here. So now both forces, besides protecting their new real-estate, were cleaning up the orbit of Kobol.
And that was Bill's main agenda here. As Nagala arrived in the CIC, he saw Bill over the planning table with the image of Kobol and its moon on the 2D map. He was exchanging ideas with Lucndas commander and the Cylon liaison. Kara was also here, if for no other reason that she was now the de-facto CAG of this tub.
"We need to clear the reactor pieces and any fuel tanks that might be intact. The pirates lost so much in sector 33B, that it could be hazardous for us in the long run."
"I agree, Admiral." The Cylon Eight, but not Boomer or Sharon, replied. "But it's already hazardous for us now."
"My point is once it falls down the gravity well, we have another issue on our hands. The continent with our base on it is still slightly radioactive, even after 2000 years. We can ill afford another contamination."
"The issue is..." The Cylon stopped as they noticed Nagala join them. "Admiral."
"Don't mind me. What seems to be the problem?'"
"Well..." The Eight sighed. "Our raiders are protesting somewhat for being the mules for this hazardous material dump problem." She eyed Kara. "Thank you for that, by the way."
Kara just shrugged, still sipping her coffee. She really needed it after 36 hours of no sleep. "Hey, equal rights, right." She was down on the planet during her break. But since it was a short break, she didn't bother taking a nap.
"Let's keep our focus on the matter at hand." Nagala stopped this bickering. "Where are we moving the radioactive parts anyway?"
The Lucinda CO moved the 2D map of Kobol to the local ice giant. "Our raptors and their raiders jump the stuff there. The idea is for it to fall down and be swallowed up. Problem solved."
Nagala pondered. "And if it's still useful?"
The Eight rolled her eyes. "That's why we're doing all of this inspecting. Our raiders can handle the radiation better that close. Since the entire localized area is contaminated, their scanning equipment is pointless. They have to do a visual inspection. Humans would die in minutes if exposed to that level of gamma radiation."
Nagala needed more of an explanation, and Bill gave it to him. "We wanted to salvage as much as we can. Weapons or other still intact components are one thing, fuel and reactor parts are quite another. In return for their service,... well, we were waiting for you, sir."
Nagala got the gist. "What do you want?"
"Well, getting all the tech info already know is pointless. So I won't try. But if we can keep 25% of any salvaged material that aren't weapons and we get to learn what it is and how to use it. That a deal?"
Nagala made a counter offer. "25%, but we wait after we salvage one area or the upper port flight pod of this ship is filled to capacity. Then we make an inventory list and you can have your pickings." They were in agreement. "Now, you all know our delegation left. And since our guests here, minus the Tok'ra on the planet, also left, we are a bit vulnerable again."
Bill knew not to ask about the development back home. In this fleet above Kobol, only he and Nagala knew of that. And Nagala wanted to keep it that way for a while.
"For the moment, we have CAP's through the entire system and raiders and raptors are constantly on the lookout for any trouble in the neighboring systems and jump points." Lucindas CO responded. "For now, that's all we can do."
Nagala knew that too. "Bill, with me. We have some talking to do. Everyone else, carry on. And... Captain Thrace, is it?" She nodded after swallowing her last bit of coffee. "No more ideas to the raiders or centurions. I don't want to step on any Cylon toes."
"Em, but I have constant CAP's with the raiders. We have to talk..."
"Then keep it professional." He left with Bill in tow. Their destination was the guest officer's quarters on the ship. Or more precisely, Bill's quarters. Just as big as the CO's quarters on this ship. After offering his boss a glass of ambrosia, they sat down at the small lounge area. "Bill, how are you holding up?"
"I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit shaken up. How close we came to loosing it all. Thank the gods for Earth."
"Yes..." Nagala responded a bit pessimistically. Bill noticed it.
"You are afraid, aren't you, sir?"
"That obvious. I saw what they could do. You saw what they could do. And I'm a pessimist by nature. I really hope Galatos and Madam President can make a good impression. And that Baltar doesn't screw it up or the Cylons backstab us."
"Imagine us 10 years ago. The System Lords were still the dominant power. There we'd be in real trouble. Here we at least have to deal with, mostly, other humans."
"I know humans, Bill. You do to. You know what we are capable off."
"Then look at it like this, at least we know who and what we're facing here, should it go down south."
Nagala hummed in agreement as he finished his drink. "To better news. I have pushed Lucinda Cain to begin drawing up plans for a new class of battlestars. When and where we'll have the first batch, is anyone's guess. It's not even on the drawing table. Not until we have a solid technology base to work with. No point to make something now with what we know now, only for it to already be obsolete when we finish."
"Reminds me of the Earth Prometheus."
"Exactly. But the reason I'm telling you this is simple. The first one build is going to be for you."
Bill stopped pouring the second round into his glass. "Really? Why me?"
"For now, you're a hero in our peoples eyes. Also, you are a balanced officer. Not judgmental, level headed. Basically, I'll need someone in command of one of the new ships I can rely on. On doing what's right, not just blindly following orders."
Bill finished pouring himself and Nagala and they both took the ir drinks again. "Then I insist on naming her."
"I figured that. And no point of telling me the name either. I know that too. Anyway. As for our home, with your XO and Chief the exception, everyone else is more or less being reassigned to Lucinda Cain for the moment."
"Let me guess. The acquired fleet?"
"Yes. Your people have more experience with that stuff than most others. I'd even send that pilot of yours, but she's needed here for now. In that one battle, she not only put our theories on death gliders to the test, but basically wrote the whole damn book on that."
That brought a smile to Bill otherwise stern face. "That she did. That she did."
Orbit of Ragnar, Colonial Goa'uld fleet, same time
Just as Nagala was telling Bill this, his son was looking around the hangar of the Goa'uld command ship his raptor had just landed in. Gaeta and Dualla were with him. Other raptors had other former Galactica personnel on them.
"This is some weird shit, sir." Felix whispered to Colonel Adama.
"You're telling me. Oh, heads up." They all stood at attention. It was Colonel Belzen.
"At ease. Lee Adama?" He nodded. "Colonel that fast? Who's boots have you been licking?" A few serious seconds passed as the other Galactica people didn't know how Lee would respond to this insult. But they both smirked. "Then again, saving Nagala does that for one's career, doesn't it?"
"I actually got to hit him."
"Yeah. Life's unfair. Anyway, grab your stuff and follow me."
Lee slumped his bag over his shoulder and did just that. Felix and Anastasia just grabbed theirs and followed, along with the other personnel that just arrived. as they left the busy hangar into the connecting corridor, Lee saw that there were Lucian people here as well. "Can I ask what they are doing here. And you for that matter?"
"Me, that's simple. Helena's ship is getting a fresh coat of paint, so for now, she's babysitting this fleet."
"Helena Cain, babysitting?"
"Yes, floored me as well. But Nagala and Licinda Cain said this fleet is for home defense, not to give her the tool to make her revenge fantasy come true. So either this or vacation."
"Doesn't she hate vacations?"
Belzen just gave him the 'why do you think she's here' look. "So I and the Pegasus crew is right now dispersed either here on these ships or back at Scorpia, helping with the retrofits."
"If I may ask..." It was Felix this time. "Why bother, except the armor. Everything else we planned is out of date."
"Not for the Cylon issue we still have. We use what we have. Besides, that taskforce will get retrofitted again, once we have a working economy around this tech. And hopefully an agreement with Earth."
"So say we all." Lee agreed. "But we're not betting it all on that, so that's why we are here, right?"
"Exactly. We may have Lucian people working for us now, but you guys will double-check their work, just in case. That why most of the Galactica people are here. You, Colonel, well, you flew an Earth fighter, at least two Goa'uld fighters and an Earth ship. So... you'll be flying and testing their hardware here and teaching our people what you've learned out there. And... here we are." They arrived at a corridor section that had no guards at any intersection. "Guest quarters, we threw the original decoration and beds out. Anubis really didn't care for his crew. They are at least useful now. We also now installed our lavatories in there. No one got the hang of the stupid button system there."
"Seashells?" One of the junior officers in the back asked.
Belzen, like many others, was weary of the running joke. "Not a word. Now each one grabs a room. Then we put you to work on the spot. Captain Gaeta, the CIC is waiting for you. Comm room for Captain Dualla..." He continued telling each officer or group of regular grunts where to go and what they'll be doing. "As for you, Colonel Adama. The hangar. We have several Lucian pilots there giving our people the in-depth explanation on death gliders. I want you there. Compare your notes with theirs. All right everyone, if you get lost, just follow the painted markings we put on the walls or ask a guard as any entrance. Dismissed."
As they stowed their gear and went to work, Belzen arrived at the CIC before any of the Galactica people. The Pegasus CIC crew was already there, taking notes from the Lucina experts. There were guards assigned from the Colonial Military Intelligence. Helena was looking at the tactical console where Shaw was giving her the rundown on what he had learned. "Welcome back, Jurgen. Have the Galactica people arrived?"
"Yes, sir. Should be arriving here as well any moment."
Picon HQ, Admiral Bouras office, Military Intelligence section, same time.
Right now, with Nagala, Galatos and Lucinda Cain being preoccupied with their own tasks, the remaining Admirals that were in charge of their own respected military sectors, had a discussion of their own.
So Sophos, Lycus, Rhode and Rosi sat at Bouras' desk. He was the one currently with most intelligence updates to share anyway.
"So Ajax left us a surprise, even after his death." Lycus pondered. No one in this room liked Ajax, even when he was alive, but now some began changing their opinion on him.
"More for the fallen Chroniclers and all of their sub-orders as well as the devastated Ha'la'tha." Rhode held back as no not laugh. "Sorry, but this is both funny and ironic."
Lycus was puzzled by that statement. "How so?"
"Think about it. That guy was a thorn for Military Intelligence for years. The best asset the crime syndicates had. Then when he turned 180 on them, he crippled them."
"Even more so than you might think." Bouras said as he turned his monitor to his friends. "See the large sums of cubits that were transferred to mostly none-profit organizations. Like children's hospitals or orphanages'?" They all nodded. "Want to bet it was him?"
Rosi saw it too. "The data he stole from us but bugged... That virus he used must have gained access to all of their accounts and made the transfers."
"Exactly." Bouras agreed. "And the ones in our holding cells, pending their trials, can't say it's from them, or they keep digging a deeper hole for themselves. He basically robbed them blind, transferred all their ill-gotten funds to charity and they can't demand it back, or confess that it's illegal money. That cunning fox had a twisted sense of humor."
"One issue." Sophos pointed out. "It's still illegal. We need to do an investigation. The civilian sector is already doing that with Colonial Financial Security Agency."
"True, they are looking into it. But I doubt Nagala or President Roslin will have anything against this transfer of wealth. The civilian sector can't do much without the info we got. And I don't care about it. If Nagala or Roslin tell me otherwise, I'll do it, but if not, why not let that money go and do something good for a change."
The others mostly agreed with that statement. "Anything else on the intelligence front?" Rhode asked, wanting to go to the next subject.
"Yes. Said data dump I mentioned. The surprise Ajax left to his former clients moved the entire Ha'la'tha database to our servers. We know more about them and the Chroniclers than they do. Now I know we'll never get all of them, but the Chroniclers are basically finished. As for the Ha'la'tha, even in the underworld, there will never be a vacuum. Someone or something will replace them. It will take them decades, but let's not kid ourselves. That said, there was one piece of data from there that got Lennox a crap assignment from Nagala."
Now everyone got curious. They knew Lennox got a taskforce and was now outside Cyrannus for some time, but they didn't know what it was about.
"The Ha'la'tha had extensive information on the locations of the still existing smuggling clans outside Cyrannus. What is effectively left of the old pirates, as our forces enacted law and order a century ago, those that survived the purge, went into hiding. But while they stopped piracy, they continued with smuggling, mostly weapons or people."
"Right. That's how the Cylons got to infiltrate us so easily. And how the Sagittaron liberation front got their hands on weapons and explosives." Lycus summed that problem up. "Try as we might, they're like weed. We find one old base, two more appear somewhere else. So even if we know where they are now..."
"It's different this time. Nagala made it clear to Lennox he has free reign as to how to deal with them. The only order, besides to 'handle the problem' that Nagala gave him, was an offer to each smuggler group. As you know, most of them have bases in mined out asteroids. And since in the old days, when the individual governments were pissing at each other's feet, mining companies had private armies to protect their prospecting claims. So many mined out locations were never reported to a planetary government. Only the captains of the miners or transport ships knew. And they either sold the info, when the well went dry, or used it themselves."
"OK, so what changed?" Sophos asked.
"Prometheon changed everything. As you all know, where there is tylium, there will be prometheon. So the smugglers are sitting on the proverbial gold mines. So Lennox, once he jumps to a location with his fleet and jams all comm traffic and makes escape impossible, issues an ultimatum to them. Go legit, make a killing with the prometheon they'll mine and sell, as long as the military gets first dibs, turn over all info on who was smuggled where and when, stop all smuggling activities, turn over any of their people that did more than just 'smuggle' people and register with the proper Colonial authorities. Then accept a military garrison at your base and then start earning cubits."
"If they reject this?" Rosi wanted to know.
"That's when Lennox takes the gloves off. Nagala told him to use any means necessary. Officially, these smugglers can be considered none-Colonials, if they don't comply. Meaning..."
"Open season." The others realized where this was going.
"Exactly. Scorched earth. Nagala wants this old wound closed. Even Roslin didn't object. To her these people helped the Cylons, even if they didn't know what they were smuggling. So if push comes to shove, they can be seen as traitors. They have everything to lose, but also much to gain. Hell, Roslin even accepted the idea of a full pardon for all that comply and go legit. With the few exceptions of drug or child trafficking. Those were none-negotiable even for her."
"So... any update?"
"Yes. Seven bases hit in the last 18 hours. Six played ball and the marinestars left a garrison there as well as confiscated their ships for the moment. One didn't play ball. Let's say the few that survived the marine assault, are traumatized and shocked that the navy and marines were serious. They played chicken, thinking it was a bluff. So half of their ships were destroyed and most of the personnel killed. Nagala isn't playing around any longer with this matter. And Lennox was the perfect officer for this."
"You know, this is all fine and good. But does the Ha'la'tha info contain anything on that snake ?" Sophos asked.
"No. Not so far, anyway. The amount of data that got dumped onto our servers will take time to comb through. But I wouldn't hold my breath."
Sagittaron, capital city Tawa, 50 minutes later
Zarek had returned home to his colony of birth. There were no scheduled Quorum meetings for a week, so he had time to kill. His spies tried to get dirt on Roslin, to no avail. And now she had him by the balls. He knew she could take him down, if she wanted to, but it would be a dirty and messy business. Those are the kind he knew how to play. That told him that Roslin would tolerate him, unless he goes too far or had something powerful against her.
He had zip.
After a long debate with the planetary governor, which boiled down to mostly the governor grilling Tom as to why he let Roslin walk all over him, which he of course couldn't tell him, the only matter at hand was the Chronicler issue and the refugee problem on the planet.
Many native Sagittarians didn't like the refugee influx. The planet's government actually did a good job housing them and taking care of their needs, that was not the issue. The Sagittarians themselves were. After centuries of being treated as second class citizens, many became xenophobic. Their reason was that even today their people are treated poorly on the other colonies, so why should they treat them in their home any differently.
Others, who were extreme traditionalists, clashed in their beliefs with the refugees. The governor wanted to keep things calm and have a good relationship with the Colonial government, but he didn't want Tom to act like a beaten dog ether.
So he gave Tom some leeway on Sagittaron itself, as long as it's not illegal or can be used against either of them. Tom used that as much as he could. He began sending his people, experts in their own fields, to get something out of this situation. Some of his people helped with the Chronicler cleanup, but secretly they wanted to see if there is anything of value in the vaults of the old Order that they could steal for him.
But while most of these missions had no success, one had at least found something strange. An anomaly as it were. In his office on Sagittaron, Tom was reading a report from his surveying team in one of the few prometheon deposits only known to Sagittarians. In the past, when the planet was stripped for all it's worth, the people tried to hide anything of value from their oppressors, knowing that it would be needed one day. So some of the old tylium mines were not known to Colonial authorities. Tom had them inspected to see how big the deposits were. That's where he got the report that raised red flags not just for him. The chemical experts tested a rather large prometheon deposit in a mine that was leading deep under the Zeus mountain range. Several sampled were pure prometheon, as they hoped. But some... were something else. A form of prometheon that apparently even the military didn't know off. It was even denser than the regular one, but also less stable as it was already radioactive, something that regular prometheon and tylium weren't.
Tom didn't know what to do with this info, but he wouldn't share with Roslin, no chance. Whatever this discovery meant, he had to take advantage of it for Sagittaron. He and his people were in a strong position right now due to the refugee situation, but also weakened due to the damn Chroniclers. This could tip the scales back to them again.
Planet Langara, minutes later
The talks had just finished the first stage. The introduction of who was who in a bit more detail. Then the territories of the galaxy were shown and who was where and had claims to what. The Colonials tried to remain as modest as possible, as they would not make any claims outside what they considered their sphere of influence or ancestral claims. That included Kobol and 13th Earth. But technically, to make things more interesting, they did extend the proposed claim to the end of the outer galactic arm where they were. So from the edge of the galaxy, the tip of that arm, all the way to the inner end of the arm, where the star density decreased, until the next, inner arm began. As for the length of the arm, they basically cut it off at around 100 Ly spin-wise from 13th Earth. That basically meant that what they hoped for was around 4300 Ly in length, 1200 Ly in width and could vary from 50 Ly to 800 Ly in height. They would be willing to compromise in the width or height, but the length they remained adamant about.
The good news was that the Ancients never bothered or had the time to terraform many planets in this part of the galaxy, so Kobol class planets were a scarcity. No one really knew how many there were. The Coloonials, via the rings, had found seven of them, not counting Kobol, 13th Earth or their own Cyrannus system. Now they noticed how the Jaffa representative had some hard questions for them regarding their claims. He even gave them the reason for this: He is not interested in that space. No Jaffa ruler is. But some, like Gerak, could see a single human population claiming this much space as a challenge. So he had to ask the hard questions, or a less favorable Jaffa would ask them eventually.
The other issue was the algae planet that apparently was deep in their claimed territory, right on the path between 13th Earth and Kobol and the Tau'ri were not willing to give it up. For now, they didn't say why and argued that the star would go nova in less than 18 months anyway. Laura argued back, that if that was the case, why keep clinging to it. It was a stalemate.
When asked, why the Colonials were so adamant about it, both they and the Cylons replied that the mentioned temple, whose pictures they saw in the holographic display crystal in the conference room, was the only reason they cared. Besides the 'in our claimed territory' argument.
Daniel persuaded Woolsey to at least give them access to the temple, as they didn't need it any longer and they could seal the entrance to their claim and use the beam transporters for future operations. Woolsey replied that he would consider it.
So right now, they had a break and people were having small drinks or snacks, or just walking around the room to stretch their feet.
"Can't believe this is only the intro to these talks." Baltar whined. "If this takes more than 10 hours..."
"You'll endure days, if you have to Doctor. We all will." Laura shot him down. "Try to enjoy the drinks at least."
He in fact was. But Everyone on their delegation kept reminding him to also not overdue it.
Galatos was alone in a corner, having a talk with O'Neill. They were both not happy to be here, but Galatos volunteered to keep Nagala's hands free. Jack was forced to come. "Thank you again for the rescue, General. Had we lost our ancestral home..."
"Don't sweat it. Who knows. Maybe one day, you'll return the favor."
They both took a sip from the appetizer. "Too bad the Jaffa fleet had to go so early..."
"Yeah, Ba'al is a real pain in the ass, let me tell you that."
"Hm, so I've heard. But Earth did a good job as cleaning house, so to speak."
"Well, it helps if they underestimate you. Also using their ego against them is a useful trick."
A pause followed as they both took a sip again. "Anyway, what's next on the agenda?"
"As far as I know, trade and military."
"Yes. The latter is a bit of an issue for us."
"Oh, I think you guys can handle it, right?" Jack responded. Galatos didn't know what he meant with that. "I mean, you handled those Cylons, right?"
"Right. Yeah." Galatos had a sneaky suspicion that the Earth general meant something else. Did they know?
During all of this, Ma'chello approached the Colonial delegation while Dr. Jackson had the Altarina member sit still at the desk, even when he was showing clear interest to talk with them.
"Em, yes. Ma'chello, I assume?"
They shook hands as he nodded. "A pleasure of meeting someone who appreciates your work from the start, not only when it's too late."
"Em, thank you? Not to sound rude, but I hardly understood most of it anyway. Far beyond my technical expertise."
"I think that's why I am here, ma'am." Baltar butted in. Caprica too, but remained quiet, as Baltar already broke the ice.
"As I recall it, you had issues following his technical data too." Laura wanted to trim his ego down a bit.
Ma'chello didn't know much about politics, but saw that the Colonial President had issues with her scientific advisor. "Since I'm a freelancer, of sorts, you can get my services, as long at the Tau'ri don't reject the idea."
Something to think about. But for a later time. "And your people?"
"Rescued and liberated. As few of them as there were. They are part of a refugee planet, like many other cultures, so that the Tau'ri forces can keep them safe. I basically work as payment for their safety. As well as my personal retribution on the Goa'uld and Lucians."
They could see his rage in his eyes and hear it in his voice. "Then I hope you one day find peace." It was Caprica.
"What would one such as you understand, when it comes to revenge?"
"More than what you might think. Our attack on the Colonials was motivated by that. And made us blind to the manipulation we were under. I understand your desire for it, but at some point the cost is too great."
"Not for someone who already lost everything." He excused himself.
Laura hissed to Caprica. "Next time, try to be quiet. I don't know if you made things better or worse, but we need people like him on our side, not against us."
The talks were about to continue, so everyone took their seats again. Before the signal for the continuation was rung, Galatos whispered to Laura that he had a suspicion.
"Either they know where Cyrannus is, or that we have the new fleet. Or both."
"No idea. But I'll test them. If I suspect that they do, I'll break the ice. If I'm wrong, you can have my uniform back home."
Picon fleet HQ, same time
Admiral Rosi was just reviewing an update from the biggest and best colonial crystal manufacturer. They had issued them to make the first attempt at reproducing the crystals that the Colonials now knew, were used as the main data processing units of any Goa'uld ship. A few hundreds of them linked together in a small tower in the main computer room made up the main CPU of the ship. At least for most ships. Anubis' command ship and the one they had, the Apophis one, had an additional large red crystal in the middle of the cluster of crystals. For far more power. Of course the Navy said nothing as to why they would need them and where they got the specs from as well as to what they do, but if the single largest contractor in the Cyrannus system hints at wanting to make an order for something, if they find your product satisfactory, you don't ask questions. You just look at the bottom line. After all, the foundries were already booked for years to come, once they get the imperfections down. The crystal makers didn't want to be left out of the loop.
His assistant contacted him via intercom. "Yes?"
"Admiral Bouras is here to see you."
He scratched his chin. They had a lengthy talk not too long ago. What was this about?
"Send him in."
He leaned back into his comfy chair as his friend joined him, sitting in front of his desk.
"Got a minute?"
"Sure. What's bothering you?"
"We got some new information from our field agents. I roasted them that it took this long to bring it up to me. We received some data storage units, Cylon ones. They also contain some Chronicler stuff on them. I want your department to look at them, if you have any people to spare."
"Why my people? You spooks can handle that, can't you?"
"It's Cylon. Don't want any infections, do we?"
"Right. Right. I'll have a team check them out once I read through this report... by the way. You look... I don't know. Pissed? Annoyed?"
"That obvious. The person who got us this is a piece of work. I had him interrogated, but since he's a civilian and basically handed us this on a silver platter, he's got immunity. Even turned down Roslin's attempt to thank him publicly as he received the Colonial Distinguished Honor Medallion."
Rosi actually stopped reading, as he was basically multitasking all of this time. "The highest medal a civilian can get? Who's this guy?"
"That's the kicker. Fraking Romo Lampkin. You know, Zarek's lawyer."
"Wait, Zarek. As in Tom Zarek?! Why would his lawyer...!?"
"My point exactly. I can only guess he's doing other stuff behind Zarek's back. If that's the case, I understand his reluctance to go public. Tom would not only have him fired, if you know what I mean."
"Yes, as in six feet under type of fired. So you letting him loose?"
"Already did. After pinning the dam medal on his suit. His 20.000 cubits Virgon silk handmade suit." He groaned a bit. "I tell you, life's unfair."
"Well, on a good note, Virgon Crystals had the specs for the Goa'uld computer crystals analyzed. After their insistence, we even gave them several physical units to analyze. With our people present, so the crystals don't disappear. They, however, had to sign a contract that can get them hanged, if they tell anyone. Which they did. Guess they saw the profitability in the damn things."
"First attempt were a dud. But the second batch was at least working. Nowhere close to the what the snakes had, but it's a good indicator. I recon in about 15 to 30 trials, they'll get them down."
"And how long will that take?"
"If our people don't get a deal with Earth, at least three years."
Caprica, Naval R&D center, same time
It was a filled lecture hall in the Naval main research center. The site itself was not as secluded as the navy would have wanted, as it was on the outskirts of the main recruitment and training hub for the Navy on the planet Caprica. To the Colonials, it made sense. Screen all recruits by talent and if one for R&D is spotted while having to go through all of the tests, they send that recruit to the research department for six months. If they show real promise, the Navy hammers out a contract with them right there and then, to make sure the private sector doesn't get them. Which they most of the time they do sooner or later as they have better pay and such. The difference was that the military was actually putting a real effort in finding these talents, so they would at least get them for a few years to work for them. And all naval contracts had a very well hidden clause, in times of war, even if your original contract ended decades ago and your now making much more in the private sector, the Navy retains the ability to recall you back into their R&D sector. The exceptions would be if the company your working for had contracts with the military anyway, or if what your research field was, was of no use to the fleet.
That said, it was war. Many people tried to returned back to the same old, same old, but the craters, clean up issues and war propaganda didn't let people forget that the second Cylon war was still going on. It was, however, easy to forget, since their planets weren't besieged all the time, like 40 years ago. Back then, there was rarely a week that the sirens didn't howl to alert the people to get to the nearest shelter. Usually this happened when a Cylon fleet or just raiding force jumped into orbit of a planet. And there was never a guarantee that all missiles and bombs would be intercepted.
So because of the war situation, many civilians were recalled. But now, with their new reality of the galaxy known, the Naval security couldn't just let these former and now returning people, the fresh scientist and the old guard that remained loyal to the navy and not jumped ship to the civvies, run around after learning the state of the galaxy.
So they had to filter them out. They couldn't make them sign the none-disclosures, if they didn't want to. So a third of the people they wanted, didn't come.
So the hall was buzzing with speculation on what was going on, why were they asked to signed those damn papers and why was the military so tight lipped.
Many did notice two things thou. The Military Police and Naval Intelligence were at every entrance and all wireless devices were confiscated. Some, who managed to smuggle something in anyway, found out that their devices were jammed as well. The other thing was who was at the stage, preparing things, but was apparently not the main lecturer. Dr. Grady Justus. Many knew of him, or loved to hate him. For his personality if for no other reason. And he too was a civilian, but somehow the military got him to work for them. He was never drafted in his youth, so how they got him to play ball was what bothered most of them. The Navy got Baltar to work for them, if for no other reason to clean up the mess that was made with his CNP. That's at least what they got fed. But what they knew was that Baltar and Justus hated each other. So something was up, if these two rosters not only worked for the same organization, but also in the same damn department.
Since all wireless were being jammed, Justus was forced to use an old fashioned microphone with a cable attached. He was done with the prep work. He also saw that most had their PDAs' ready to take notes, while some of the older people had the old school equipment. Pen and paper.
"Hello to everyone and welcome to the first lecture on a new field of science. Advanced Physics and Higher Dimensions. I'm your co-lecturer today. For those who do not know me, I'm Dr. Grady Justus. And while my field of expertise is usually weapons and other things that go boom, the situation we find ourselves in has changed. Drastically. That's why you were all drafted here. And made to sign that contract, if you wanted to be here today." He inhaled slightly, knowing that there was no way back now. "What you're about to see and hear, is just the tip of the iceberg. But believe me, it's the truth. And if you say anything outside this hall to ANYONE, believe me, you will regret it. But the reason why your here is simple. We need more scientist and engineers. For reasons you'll learn here today. That said. Once I'm done with the intro and the things that have happened in the past month, I'll take some questions. Then, the main lecturer will be introduced. And she's a real asset to us. So be kind to her. So..." He checked his notes on the table in front of him. Then he turned around to the big screen behind him and pushed a button on a remote he held. "This is a recording of the orbit of the planet Kobol." He could hear whispers in the hall intensify. "Yes, as in THE Kobol. But this recording you'll about to see, was made thousands of years ago. Observe." As the recording was played, they all saw the battle between the Goa'uld forces of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon as they were chased off of Kobol by a taskforce of Asgard ships, led by Thor's command ship.
In the hour that followed, he showed and explained to them the history they knew of. But he went through that fast as it was not for him to give a lecture to history. He was giving one in science. So after 10 minutes, he began with the basics of Goa'uld tech. The importance of prometheon. The captured hardware. The prisoners. He even went through the Cyon tech they got. He of course left many things out. Like Earth. The battle over Kobol. For obvious reasons.
He focused on weapons, hyperdrive, FTL DRADIS and comm systems. Prometheon armor. Fusion reactor tech. He touched all systems they wanted to begin mass production off, but would need years if decades to get that far.
As he was done with his intro part and took the few questions that were asked, he turned to his left and nodded. Now the people in the hall, for the first time, saw a rather timidly looking girl enter the stage. And she looked really unquotable, mostly the way she walked. Apparently wearing high heels was not something she was used to. Or wearing a smart looking suit.
Justus handed her the second microphone and introduced her. The reason she hed her own and not just use his, was that hers was linked to a translation program. She was only just beginning to learn Kobolian standard. "Ladies and gentlemen. This is Ginn. Just Ginn. The world she came from, doesn't use last names, unless you're in the leadership cast." He gave them the basic on the Lucian Alliance. And how she got to be here. "Remember, like most, she is a victim of those pirates. So don't treat her as one. That said, she's our main source of direct intelligence on Goa'uld technology. She will be your main lecturer today. And today, we have hyperdrives as the main study. Tomorrow are other FTL systems. Day three we have weapons... you know what." He had the scheduled appear on the large screen behind them. "Write them down or take a picture. But you'll get them later anyway. Also, today this lecture is planned to take seven hours. So I'd get comfortable if I were you. We have a lot to go through." He turned his mike off and went past her. "I'll be sitting to your right. If you need help, just ask me."
She nodded as the stage was hers now.
What was at this point and in this lecture hall only known to Justus and Ginn, was how the Colonial Navy got her to do this. She was already working for them and passing all of her knowledge in the new Naval Ring Division. This was a bonus. The Colonials were fast tracking their integration into their civilization. They would, of course, for quite some time keep an eye on them, once they fully assimilate, but during this process, they thought that the passing of knowledge can be made faster. The Colonial Navy was recording this lecture with their holographic recording equipment. They would do the same with all that would follow. This way, Ginn would not need to repeat them on these subjects in the future as any scientist and engineer, that got access to the naval database, could use a holo-band and sit through the lecture themselves.
The fact that she got even more preferential treatment for herself and those Lucians that did flip, was just an additional bonus.
Leonis, secluded seaside valley, one hour later
If there was one thing Vala knew how to do, besides playing cards or swindling people out of their belongings, was how to throw a party. Usually a purchase of this size takes days to make happen, but when you have friends in high places and the cubits to make people not care, it's not an issue.
The Naval Intelligence people were not part of the party, they were busy installing surveillance equipment all around the property and getting a sort of command center in the pool house set-up. And many of them were tempted to join the fun, but their CO's glares reminded them to stay focused on their job.
As for Vala, she basically only had one type of friend to invite here. Well, one type that wasn't busy with other matters at this moment. The same people that made the raid happen. The Cerberus Company. Now she couldn't invite them all, but she had talked with Marcus about this. The simple solution was that they have some party material shipped to the base they were now refurbishing for their Company and have the larger portion of it there. The rest, as in mostly the leadership portion and some of the ones who were part of the Anubis raiding unit, were now at her home. For the first time i her life, Vala didn't care if she paid for this, as she had cubits to burn at this point.
While most of the party was in the large living room and dining room, the solders of the Company also used the games room and the outside of the villa to entertain themselves.
Marcus was in the old style movie room, where many of the sports fans in the Company were watching a pyramid game on the 3D screen that was basically an entire wall section of that room. Everyone was having a good time, drinking beers, ambrosias or harder liquids. A rather expensive food catering service was also hired for the hungry people here. But of course, only to deliver. Everything else was the guests work to do, security reasons. As they drank, some might get more loose tongues. No issue with that, is civilians aren't around to hear them.
In the game room the pool table, darts and other games were all being used the same way. Vala was currently having fun with her favorite past time, card games. But since the game room was so full and noisy, her 'group' went to the dining room and set up a card table there. As always, Vala was too good at this, but showed mercy to her guests. No one was playing for cubits today. Or any other valuables. Instead, they were sharing stories, talking about the future and remembering the friends that fell in that mission.
"I honestly don't understand why we couldn't get some of those male strippers?"
All of the people at her table were women anyway, so they could talk about such stuff. The Cerberus Company had around 30% of its members of the fairer gender. However, most of them were not at the front line positions, for biological reasons. Captain Hostilius, Marcus' XO on the field knew why and agreed with it. She was one of his best, but even she was in a straight fight no real match for him or most male members. Guns of course changed this, but in war, a gun is no guarantee for anything as everyone has them. In a battle against a Centurion, she would have issues, as she couldn't lift the heavy Centurion killer machine gun up and hold it in order to aim it at the target. But it was already seen how cooperation worked in this organization. Working together, they took a Kull down. Marcus was dazzling and distracting it, for her to get lucky and find a soft spot and finish it off. She knew, had he not arrived when he did, her neck would have been snapped. So if her boss was the frontal assault type, she was the flanking type. And on Anubis' station, the female members also proved that having members with a slimmer body frame came in handy, when trying to get past tight air vents.
"We already told you, like to most of the guys here, no strippers of any gender. We can't risk information getting out." Jasmine reminded her.
"I mean, it's my money, my mansion and my party, for... 'insert religious figure here' sake."
"Well..." A Corporal sniper at the table had an evil grin. "Most of the guys in the house have ripped bodies. Maybe they can give it to us?"
Vala looked to see where the Corporal was looking. The living room, where many Cerberus members were watching a race taking place and making bets. "Not a bad idea. We could even return the favor."
Jasmine face palmed. "You had to give her ideas, didn't you?"
As time progressed, Marcus' wireless, which he still had on him, alerted him to a situation in front of the house. The Naval Intelligence people had a newcomer announced. Vala gave her guests the freedom to invite whomever they wanted, but the Navy would not be so lenient.
So when Marcus arrived at the entrance of the mansion, he was a bit shocked who wanted to enter. "Sanders?"
Said man was looking a bit out of place. "Yeah, can I come in? The bouncers here say I need to ask the owner."
"Well, she said anyone I like to invite, I can, but nah, were fine..." Sanders was not smiling as he didn't know if Marcus was pulling his leg or not. He got his answer, when The Cerberus officer grinned like crazy and they greeted each other properly. "Sure, come in." He signaled the Navy guys to stand aside. "The owner does insist on no shoes, so take care of that."
One of the service bots had seen the newcomer and brought a fresh bottle to the both of them. "New guests, sir?"
"Yeah. Thanks." As they took them from the robot, it waited to see if more was expected. "You can go and wait in the kitchen, thanks."
"As you wish."
Once they were alone in the hallway, Marcus saw that Sanders wanted to talk a bit more privately. "Let's go downstairs. The battery room had good isolation from this noise up here."
Once there, they both took a chair in the otherwise utilitarian room. "So, what's bothering you? I hope you didn't come here to ruin the mood?"
"No... nothing like that." He didn't drink, but more played with the bottle. "I heard there will be a ceremony for all the fallen in that operation."
Marcus now knew what this was about. "Yes. The military cemetery of Caprica. They'll get the full package. Parade and all. But no reason how they really died. Officially it's said that they died in an anti-Cylon operation."
"Ajax. He's..." He stroked his small beard a bit. "At first he was not to be buried there. Or anywhere at all. Even if only symbolically. You know, he didn't exist and all that spook crap. I fought for him. But a compromise was made. He'll get his own gravestone, but not as Ajax or whatever his real name was."
"Yup. Best that could be arranged. For your safety as well."
"Yeah. If a connection between him and me is ever found, what's left of the damn criminal underworld would want my head. After what he did to them, no wonder. Well, the good news is, he and dad will be in the same cemetery." He finally took a sip. "You know, I never knew him. Hell, I barely knew him in the short time. Could you..."
"Sure. I've got time. That party upstairs ain't going anywhere soon. But what I do know, is sparse at best."
"Sparse is more than nothing. Cause that's what I got."
Marcus drank half of his bottle in one go and leaned back into the chair. "First time I met him..."
Planet Langara, one hour later
The talks were progressing nicely, but not without some road bumps on the way. The Colonials and the Tau'ri agreed on specific technological exchanges. Both in working examples of various sizes as well as blueprints. First was hyperdrive tech and knowledge for jump drive. Both sides also would exchange, on top of the mentioned working examples and blueprints, knowledge on how to produce them and access to the tools to make and maintain them. Both sides also made concessions. The Tau'ri figured the Colonial attempt to give them the inferior FTL they had and not the better one their Cylon partners had. But people like Omoc and Ma'chello said that it would make no difference as they had great faith that they could use their technology to upgrade that FTL system anyway. In return, the hyperdrive tech the Colonials would get to copy and manufacture themselves, was the interstellar one based on Goa'uld tech. Not the transgalactic one the Tau'ri were using.
Some other technologies were also exchanged. While most of there, with the few exceptions like the holo-bands and the resulting virtual reality that came along with it, most other technologies were not something the Tollans were interested it, but the less developed worlds were, as those could bridge the gap between them and the Tollans. Even Earth thought so, as it would also be easier to sell technological progress and make it believable, if you give the private sector something they would have had in 50 years anyway, not something that would be, under normal circumstances, only available in 500 years.
The biggest selling point for the Colonials was naquadah. They gave their current figures on what they can produce, once they get the refining process down. Something that Earth and Tollan experts were capable of showing them, how to achieve. The figures as of right now, when the economy is entering a war based one, were that in six months from now, all Colonial worlds total had as of the current surveys, around three trillion metric tons of naquadah deposits on the 12 Colonial planets alone. That was a rough estimate. And the mining colonies, asteroids and moons were not accounted into this figure at all. Sure, not all planets had it, or in sizable amount, like Canceron, but others, like Tauron and Sagittaron had an above average amount of the stuff. What they could produce in six months, was around five billion metric tons per year. They stated that under normal circumstances, their military would hog all of this, until their quotas for ship construction are met. Then the civilian sector would get it's ever increasing share. But now, they had to use it as a strategic resource. They were willing to give the Tau'ri two billion metric tons per year.
The logistical and transportation issues would have to be resolved at a later time, but what they wanted in return was an issue. They couldn't get all they wanted, they saw that as the resistance from Woolsey's side increased.
The same issue appeared when Tretonin was discussed. The original makers, the Pangarans, would not give up their production secrets. Even the Colonials understood why. It was their main selling point.
But the Colonial delegation did learn one new thing about this drug. There were now three variations of it. Tretonin-A was the original, with full power of healing, immunity, strength, stamina and life prolonging abilities. With the Tok'ra's help, they managed to make it so that no side effects would occur, like dependency, but for a feeling of weakness for a few days. But this was their gold mine. They could not produce enough of this for even their own planet, let alone the galaxy. Living larva were needed to be held in large water tanks, like pens, so that a chemical reaction could be used to extract the chemicals from the larva. Earth had a good idea here. They set up permanent hunting parties to be deployed on the original Goa'uld world, where they and the Unas originated from. Their only purpose was to capture fresh samples of Goa'uld to get fresh DNA, if their old stock was getting used up. The hunting teams, besides being heavily armed and properly equipped for these actions, would also get an injection of a drug, now produced by the Tollans, that made a person immune to Goa'uld infestation for several days. The Tollans made this by studying the research of the Ancient, who made the Ilempiri immune to the snakes. After this, besides Pangara, two other colony worlds were used as a Tretonin manufacturing base.
Tretonin-B was a less powerful version, that had all the original effects, but only immunity and durability were at full power, everything else was at 50% strength. This was a watered down version, but was also cheaper to produce. It was the main drug to be given to the Jaffa Nation, as they more and more got off of their snake dependency.
The C version was meant for human solders. It's base effect was 25% of what the A version could do, but it was completely snake free to produce. Once they would ramp up production, which they continuously would have to anyway, the civilian sectors of all member worlds would get a share as well.
Unfortunately, all Tretonin stocks and capacities were currently meant for the Tau'ri or Jaffa. No deal could be made. An exchange however was made. Any and all chemical drugs and cures made by the Tollans were made available to the Colonials, in exchange for the same from the Colonials as well as the Cylon bio research. As well as a promise that once new facilities and even planets were devoted to the production, the Colonials would become a trading partner here as well.
But the biggest deal the Colonials got so far out of this, was that they would get Goa'uld designed molecular replication units. Basically industrial units that can rearrange matter to different needs. Put in refined naquadah blocks, get out a perfect armor shape for a ship. Put in crystal fragments, get out crystal computer components. And the best part was that they could, and would, use the one unit they would get, to make parts for more units. That would take time and resources, but the main ingredient, that being naquadah, they had more than enough to work with. The problem would be trinium. Apparently it was also needed for specific components for those machines. They have not yet managed to get a clean atomic sample to begin prospecting for that stuff as well. If they had it back home, problem solved. If not, they'll either have to search for it elsewhere or begin trading for it.
The Tollans would supply them with the one machine. They were the ones who used them in the past and even upgraded them far beyond their initial capabilities from the Goa'uld. Only Asgard and Ancient matter synthesis and energy to matter conversion was better. The Tollans would give them a greatly optimized Goa'uld version, the same one they are supplying the Free Jaffa Nation with, and even show them how to make the parts to make more.
By the size and capacity, the Colonials would need 50 units just to get Scorpia to full capacity and be able to build ships of their design but with alien hardware build into them. This was not even calculating the power and resource usage.
What these devices could do, and what their limitations were are that they required the right amount of materials, as well as the right type of materials, based on the blueprint, they wanted to use for production, and once supplied with and given the power needed, they reassemble the material in its new form. Like backing a cake, all you need is the right amount of the ingredients on the recipe. They were however not matter to energy or energy to matter converters.
But Galatos remained silent during all of this, letting Roslin or Baltar do most of the talking. He was observing their hosts. And more and more he was sure of it. They knew. Woolsey was the best giveaway. As well as Dr. Jackson. Whenever the map of the galaxy was shown, they eyed the sector where the Colonials territory was located. Now that's not a giveaway. But when close-ups of that sector were shown, the Cyrannus system was not shown. Yet those two still eyed that particular part of the map. More than the others. This was the first thing he noticed about their body language.
And he saw that General O'Neill saw his observations. They weren't kidding each other any longer.
"Excuse me, Richard." Jack stopped Woolsey during his debate with Roslin about quotas. "Admiral Galatos. I think you have something to ask?"
"Yes. And I think you and me both know what this is about."
Woolsey was a bit lost. This was going off topic. "Jack?"
"They know that we know."
"Know what?" Woolsey was still trying to play dumb, quite convincingly.
"You know where Cyrannus is." Galatos said it out loud. Silence followed. "The only question is for how long. The why I can deduce is that you used a stealth ship to scout us out."
Woolsey was like a gaping fish. Daniel knew the talks would now get interesting and Jack nodded to Sam to show them. She did, by inputting the commands into the controls at her part of the table.
In the middle of the negotiating table, above the projecting crystal, the acquired Goa'uld fleet could be seen. And behind it, the planet Ragnar.
Baltar and Caprica noticed something else. This was a live feed, not just a picture.
The Cylons were only informed of this acquisition prior to their departure and... well, couldn't actually object to it. What was the point? What would they accomplish by doing that? And only the two Cylons here for now knew.
Galatos noticed it too. "Your ship is still there."
"Tollana's Shadow." Omoc replied. "She was dispatched not long after the battle of Kobol. We in fact only guessed you would be there, but 12 habitable planets in close proximity, that meant more than a simple star system."
Before Galatos could go on, Laura stopped him. This was not going as she had hoped. "Then the first thing I request is that you withdraw your ship from our space. If this is a direct link, you can tell them here and now."
This was actually up to Omoc, so all Jack could do was ask him. But in this case their interests aligned. "Only once you explain that." He points at the image. "Cause Anubis tech level fleets don't grow on trees you know."
Omoc nodded in agreement.
Laura huffed, but knew they had to say something, so she let Galatos take over again. And he did. "Remember the woman who stole 'your' Prometheus?"
That was still a fresh and humiliating wound for Jack. "Yes. And if I ever find her, I'll shoot her in the legs."
Laura restrained a laugh. Vala did have that kind of an effect.
"Well, she sold us more than just your ship. Information. Of a special place. Now where it is, is for us to know. Even she didn't know what was there, as she remarked that she should have charged us more for that. Anyway..." He opened his folder and took the edited photo out and placed it on the crystal scanning surface in front of him. The same image now appeared on the holo display.
And the effect it had on the Jaffa and Tok'ra representatives was telling. "The Amun-Ra shipyard." Jacob said just loud enough for the others to hear.
Jack, who was now turning around to see the reaction from his old friends, knew this would be big. "The what?"
Bra'tac too was in shock. "The main reason he ruled over the galaxy for so long. This one mobile shipyard gave him the biggest strategic advantage over the millennia."
Jacob continued. "Yes. He could replenish his losses faster than the others. But..." He squinted, as if looking at some of the details. "Some modifications were..." He noticed the markings. "Anubis!" Everyone got afraid now. "He found it?"
Galatos confirmed it. "Yes. He also heavily upgraded it and hid it away for the aftermath."
Jack urged his two Goa'uld experts to give them the basics on that thing. They did, at least what they knew.
"In the end, the Tok'ra Council always suspected, that when Anubis was sentenced to death by Ra and the System Lords, it had to have been for more than just the reasons we publicly knew off. His cruelty was greater than the other System Lords, but that seemed too good of an excuse." Jacob realized something. "He went to war with Telchak for the Ancient regeneration device. He always went for the most valuable items or technology. Ra's greatest asset would be on top of that. Ra wanted him dead... possibly because he knew where it was?"
Bra'tac hummed in agreement. "Possibly. But in the end, it could be said that this one item of power was also the downfall of Ra."
"Hey, Bra'tac, no offense, but I think I had something to do with that, you know, shooting him and all."
Jacob tried to explain to Jack what Bra'tac meant. "I think what Master Bra'tac meant with that was that he got overconfident and lazy. In the end, a prolonged time of peace, where no one dared to challenge him, was his downfall. Peace defeated him."
"Whatever. But how does this affect us now?" Jack turned his attention to the display and Galatos again. "Why didn't you take the damn thing for yourselves?"
Galatos anticipated this and already had the second picture ready to be scanned.
When Jack was the image, he groaned. "Not them again."
It was an image from one of the portable cameras the Colonial military used. It was recorded in the last seconds, before Cerberus pulled out of the station and ran for it.
Jacob was not surprised. "We always knew there were three facilities. Now we know where the last one is."
"Indeed." Bra'tac wanted answers. "Well, human? How many Kull were there?"
Galatos didn't like the tone, but realized that this was not the time to be offended. "Several tens of thousands were operational, several times more in stasis, waiting to be activated. The active ones are patrolling the interior of the station. The station itself is also heavily armed, automated and has remote control of all ships docked to itself. And... it uses its surrounding to its advantage." He was not going to tell them about the mines. Hell, even in his group, he was the only one who knew that detail. But he also knew that if he said that, the secret to its location would be out.
"Well that certainly explains why you didn't just want to grab the damn thing." Jack realized the Colonial predicament. "And since you came prepared for this talking point, let's hear it."
Woolsey, who was in a way in charge of this, didn't like that he didn't have the wheel any longer. "General O'Neill..."
"Attt, Richard. Military brass talking now."
"No, this has to be discussed and the Colonial Admiral already has a speech ready. Don't be rude."
Woolsey saw that there was no point in arguing this. He let Galatos take the stage, as it were.
"We know where it is. We have the basic data on it, what we could get out, before all hell broke loose. On top of those ships. If needed we can also provide manpower. That said, the Jaffa have the fleet and manpower as well. The Tok'ra have the knowledge how to perhaps try a stealth incursion into that thing. But you, General, you effectively fought those killing things and apparently even have an effective weapon against them. Fleet Admiral Nagala's idea is simple. A joint operation. We capture it. Split up the spoils, as it were, and everyone is happy."
"And the station itself." He points lazily to Bra'tac behind him. "If the Jaffa get it, we and you will have issues with that. And the other scenarios have the same problem. One is happy, two are not."
Jacob spoke up again. "We certainly can't allow Ba'al or the Lucinas' to have it. If we don't capture it, the only alternative is to destroy it."
Bra'tac reluctantly agreed. "Perhaps that is a wise course of action, but long term, capturing it is preferable. If only..." Bra'tac pondered, then eyed Galatos. "Your idea is shared control?"
"Yes. We all use it. I know what a political mess that would be, as well as a problem with jurisdiction, but... if we're talking here and now, surely we can solve this impasse?"
"If it were up to me alone, human, yes. But other Jaffa leaders have a hard time sharing their military power for the greater good of the Jaffa Nation. I doubt they'll just want to share this with none-Jaffa."
"And the Tau'ri members, main and support ones, don't agree on all matters as well." Woolsey clarified their current situation as well. "That said... Master Bra'tac. If you could, with those that you trust in the Jaffa Council, begin preparing their members for the day we reveal this plan to them and get the majority support for this in advance, I'm sure the few hot heads like Gerak can be kept under control?"
"Perhaps it can be done. But will take time."
"Then perhaps we shelve this for a future meeting, while you all get this proposal of ours digested." Galatos suggested. He saw they would get nowhere with this today.
But Laura was not yet done with this. "Speaking on things we didn't tell each other yet. Before we go back to the hidden ship you have at our doorstep..."
Baltar intentionally coughed. "More like in our bedroom."
She glared at him to shut him up. "Anyway, Dr. Jackson, one question for you, if I may. You seem the trusting and truthful one."
"Em..." Daniel eyed Jack and Woolsey to see if any objections existed. Jack just shrugged. He had a feeling the General already knew what was coming. Woolsey didn't want this to go on, but didn't want to appear as rude as well, since he had Laura had such a productive talk to this point. So he reluctantly nodded. "OK? What is your question?"
"Why were you in search of Kobol? Really? Cause I have the feeling that the whole 'do a favor for the Tok'ra' part was made up last minute."
Before Daniel could respond, Jack already did that for him. "What the hell, might as well start putting our cards on the table. I'll let the space monkey answer, if you answer something in return after this."
"Well, of course."
"Then, go ahead, Daniel."
Daniel now had a free hand to talk, but still knew to not say too much, or risk getting an earful later. "We were... looking for Olympus."
That name got a reaction from the Colonials. Baltar snapped out of the trance first. Caprica and Cavil didn't bother reacting. They knew this was a Colonial matter now. "A place in mythology?"
"Well, if you think about it, Dr. Baltar, your myths just became real a month ago, right? Except for gods, they turned out to be aliens."
"So you believe that Olympus, whatever it might be, is on Kobol?"
"All I know is this: The Ancients have many places in their databanks that are direct references to mythological places not just in Earths' history. Atlantis for example." He avoided to explain what Atlantis was and where it is, he knew that much. Jack would be furious with him, if he did.
Now Atlantis said little to Baltar, but Laura had engrossed herself in Kobolian myths ever since the whole Pythia prophecies came up. "Atlantis is mentioned in the oldest texts of ours. A city swallowed up by the sea. Do you..."
Jack took over. "Not at this time. Please continue with the matter at hand."
Shot down, Laura did as asked. "So from... Atlantis, you found a reference on Olympus?"
"Yes. Olympus is on Kobol. For a while we didn't know what or where Kobol was. Not until I accidentally mentioned the name Kobol to the Tok'ra. They had some knowledge and a rough direction. So technically we didn't lie, as it were." Daniel tried to justify the matter.
"A lie of omission is still a lie." Caprica chastised him.
Jack would not take that lying down. "If so, then were all guilty of it. You even more than us, right." Hot robot babe or not, he gave back more than what he received.
Laura grabbed Capricas hand and squeezed lightly. She wanted he to be quiet and it worked. "What else did you learn in Atlantis?"
Jack crossed his arm and gave Daniel the go ahead. "Well, Avalon is on Earth."
Once again, Laura got curious. "Avalon, the burial site of a great king?"
That got Daniel curious now as well. "Yes, King Arthur. But, how would you know that?"
"What do you mean, Dr. Jackson?"
"The Arthurian legends appeared on Earth long after the Goa'uld were thrown off and people stopped worshiping the gods you call Lords of Kobol. If all contacts with Earth was lost, how would you know of this?"
Laura cursed for not having her notes with her, but she began speaking from memory. "The young priestess the Tok'ra will help to heal, found an old text in the book of Pythia. One that a now dissolved group called the Chroniclers tried to hide. They were actually successful for millennia, until recently. Within the book, a city beneath the seas as well as this king were mentioned." She remembered something important. "Quite a coincidence."
Laura leaned on the desk, now looking intensely into Daniels eyes. Searching for signs in his composure and body language. "The one who was judged by God, came through the holly ring in an invisible ship to tell the people of Kobol of their false gods. He also told them to keep the ring safe. Only because of the last sentence did we actually have the ring in a vault. Does this mean anything to you?"
Yes, Daniel realized that he WILL get a Jack rant later. He tried to keep himself calm, but not even he believed that he could plausibly hide his discomfort at this point and time.
While Jack didn't know what the deal was with this riddle, he saw Daniel struggle. Time to take the wheel back. "Best we move on from this. This is a mute matter here. And believe me, you can probe, but you'll not find oil today."
Laura saw that he meant it. Didn't mean she was completely done with it. "Admiral, show them, please."
Galatos did as asked and put the next picture on the scanner. The one they took in the holographic room in the Tomb of Athena. Then he put the next one on the scanner, the one with the close-up of the, what they assumed was a Ring Builder combination lock.
Sam knew of this design all too well. She and her dad had to open one just like that on Dakara. "An Ancient security feature. What does it activate?"
"We were hoping you would tell us. No one can read the writing of the Builders. Perhaps something to do with... Olympus?" Galatos asked.
"Perhaps." Jack replied reluctantly.
Laura saw that this was not a dead end. "Then perhaps we could enlist the help from your experts on this matter?"
Woolsey however wanted to move on. "Once we get the first stage contracts done and we agree to somehow share on whatever we find there and we get some assurances from your side that whatever is behind that lock, you will not use against us, we can discuss it." Woolsey was worried on what might be behind that door. An Ancient outpost? A weapons stash. Another Atlantis? In any of these cases, they would give people they don't know or trust much a substantial power boost. And that's the main problem.
Laura nodded in defeat, understanding their reluctance in the matter. "Before we continue on the trade part, I do believe General O'Neill had an additional question attached to our demand that your ship vacates our space. Please."
Jack nodded to Carter to take this one over. She altered the display to now chow a graph, indicating a power signature. Out of all the Colonial and Cylon delegation, Baltar got nervous, Carpica curious and Galatos realized what this would be about.
Sam began. "This is a power signature from what you say are your orbital shipyards at planet Scorpia. Based on the damage that installation suffered, we were surprised it was still powered and operational. When a more detailed scan was made, this signature was detected."
Galatos wanted Baltar to take this one as he mentally prepared to put his next card on the table. "Was there a question in there?"
"Yes. The signature is 99,9% identical to what we know is an Ancient power source we call a Zero Point Module. Or in the talk of the Ancients, a Vacuum Extraction Module."
In those two sentences, Baltar got more info on that small crystal than ever before. So did Caprica. The Cylons were briefed on that small wonder as well, but nothing beyond the basics. And anyway, the Colonials were clueless as well.
"Vacuum energy?" Baltar regained his senses. "That's... impossible. I guess I should stop saying that, shouldn't I?" He saw Galatos already preparing the next scan. "We found it and are now using it to keep the shipyards powered until we get the reactor block operational again. Which might take a year."
"In any case..." Galatos was done scanning, so now the image of a glowing ZPM was shown. "Now that we know what they are and what to call them... how interested are you in getting more?"
Woolsey retook the Tau'ris' side of the delegation. "You are offering it to us? But don't you need it?"
Galatos took two more pictures and had them scanned. They appeared one next to the other. One was a standard sized ZPM lying on a research table. Next to it was a smaller variation. On the other picture were a pair of standard and a pair of small ZPMs' as well as two colonial scientist next to them. Only, each pair had one glowing and one dark ZPM.
"As you can see, we have more than one. We won't tell you how many, for now. But we are willing to either loan or give some of them away. Depending on what you are willing to offer for them. As you can also see, some are darkened out. We don't know if that means that they are shut off, or..."
"They're dead." Sam corrected him. "General, if I may..."
"Go ahead, Sam."
"I think it would accelerate matters, if I explain how, as far as we know, ZPMs' work."
Galatos liked that, as did his eggheads. "Was my next requirement if we wanted to even talk about this. Please, continue."
Sam began loading imaged from their database they brought along. "We know that the Ancients created these devices to extract vacuum energy from an artificial pocket of supspace-time via an artificial space-time bridge."
Evan Caprica and Baltar were lost at that, not to mentioned all the none scientific Colonials.
Sam noticed it. "Each ZPM crystal is linked via a micro wormhole to its own artificial pocket of space-time in subspace. The energy it generates, is drawn from there."
Baltar began to understand, but was still puzzled by one thing. "Why not extract the energy from our space-time? Isn't it more efficient..."
Sam shook her head and retained a laugh. This was her question too, a few years ago. "Originally they tried. But... creating vacuum energy had a massive risk. A side effect, if you will. For instance, if you burn fossil fuel there is a consequence, right?"
Caprica agreed. "Pollution, in various forms."
"Correct. With vacuum energy, it's more devastating. Exotic particles are created as a byproduct of this process."
Baltar was now really engrossed into this. "Exotic?"
"Well, it's the standard terminology for them. You can also call them entropy or chaos particles. Because that's what they do. Cause chaos. Completely unpredictable. They shouldn't exist in our own universe naturally."
Baltar urged her to continue. "Go on."
"Well, once an exotic particle is created, it seeks a host, for a lack of a better term. That can be an atom, particle, molecule, anything that is matter or energy. A free electron, photon of light, gamma radiation, a hydrogen atom... take your pick. When it attaches itself to the host, all the laws of physics are thrown out the window for the infected matter or energy. See, once infected, a hydrogen atom may act like a hydrogen atom the first second, then the next, it acts as a subatomic black hole, the next as an electron, then as a photon, then as a positron, then a black hole again, then as a graviton... on and on into infinity. And since life, technology and even the fundamental laws of the universe, our universe, require predictability, any matter or energy infected with exotic particles becomes poison. It's in a constant state of flux. The Ancients tried to contain them, but every attempt to do so with better reactor casings or energy barriers failed, because the moment the containment devices were infected..."
"They would fail. Because if matter and energy are woundable to these particles, you can't contained them with that. Like trying to contain fire with gasoline." Baltar concluded.
"Exactly. But the Ancients eventually found a solution. Time and space can contain the particles. At first they, with the help of the Asgard, developed the technology to create artificial bubbles of space-time. Even today the Asgard use time dilation technology in a similar matter."
Caprica, hearing this, went off topic for a bit. "Time dilation? Like when your too close to a black hole?"
Sam first shook but also nodded afterwards. "Yes and no. This technology can both slow down or accelerate time in an artificial bubble. Anyway, back to the Ancients. The containment worked. But the designers soon found out that it was a dud. See, the bubble contained the exotic particles, but sustaining the bubble required massive amount of energy. In short, all the power they created, was consumed to keep the bubble operational. At best they had zeros sum gain. But then, either intentionally or by chance, they discovered a fluke, as it were, in subspace physics. They tried the experiment there as well, by creating an artificial subspace bubble. But once even one exotic particle was created and with it the bubble was no longer in equilibrium with the rest of subspace-time, the bubble became self sustaining, self contained. It required no power and one could safely keep on drawing power from it."
Baltar saw a problem there. "In other words each crystal has its own bubble to draw power from?" Sam nodded. "And the blacked out ones?"
"Once a module reached maximum entropy, hence no more room is available for any more particles to exist in, the module cuts the connection to the filled up bubble and, well, dies."
Caprica also got something from this. "So, they are just batteries, not real reactors?"
"Yes. Powerful and long lasting batteries, but batteries none the less. The only way to recharge them is to dump the same amount of power back in to reverse the entropy effect."
"Still..." Baltar pondered. "They are small and portable. Much more useful, than to have an enormous reactor on a ship, when compared to this. But aren't we at risk to just have this subspace filled with pockets of infected chaos particles, as it were. Like the garbage dump of the universe?"
Now that was an interesting question. Even O'Neill hadn't thought of that one, so he turned to Sam.
"Not entirely. See, once the instability is gone, the bubble is reabsorbed."
Baltar began to get it. "There is a constant, even to chaos, isn't it?"
Caprica, as all the others was confused. Seems only he realized what would be apparent in a few sentences more.
"Yes. They decay. They then probably return to their dimension."
"And what is the decay rate?"
"That's just it. We only know they do decay. The rate is random. One can decay the next second after being created. The one next to it in a million years."
Baltar massaged his head and put his glasses down. "Guess it's can't be that easy, can it? And the dead ones, can they be linked up to their old bubble or to a completely new bubble?"
"The old one, yes, we do know how to do that, but to a new one, no. The designers made them that way. A safety feature. Without that, any ZPM would be highly unstable and one would risk a breach."
"Speaking of a breach..." Caprica wondered. "What would happen, if it exploded?"
"Depends on the remaining charge. At 99,9% charge and if you, somehow, disable all failsafe... the equivalent of a hypernova level of energy release."
The Colonials gulped. Bye bye Cyrannus, if they play around with the dam thing.
While informative, Galatos wanted to see how valuable they are to Earth. "So back to the negotiating table. General, are you interested?"
While they had what they currently needed, having more was never a bad idea. An additional Aurora powered with one, once they fix some of them, was always welcome. "What would it take for, let's say, one of them?"
"Big or small?"
"One big, or two small ones."
"That's simple. The solution to the stealth issue we already have at home." He meant the still lurking Shadow. "We saw that you have mobile, ship mounted anti-stealth sensor technology. I won't push you for that, but a stationary one to cover our home systems and any other colony we might establish. To make sure we don't get any pirates or snakes at our doorstep without us noticing them. Cause, if you found us, it's only a matter of time before they do."
O'Neill sighed. This was out of his hands as he eyed Omoc. "What do you think?"
Omoc responded. "I have no issues with that. A sensor module, compatible with a standard Goa'uld one is easily done. But like with the other members, we will design them so that they can't be copied or tampered with."
"Meaning we will need you to fix them when they break down." Galatos saw this coming, but Nagala said to take it and not argue about it, if they get this kind of offer. "Done."
Hours passed. More and more exchanges or long term deals were agreed upon, to be signed at a later date. But during the talks about specific designs and technologies, mostly sub-light engines, Carter was trying to convince both Woolsey and Jack to take the exchange.
They were having a difficult time seeing the point.
After some back and forth, she hammered her point home. Colonial sub-light engines were, by all accounts, less sophisticated than Goa'uld or Tollan engines, but they were for one, in use and continued development for centuries, so they had standing. The other, they could be easier implemented for the less developed worlds for a first line defense force. Carter was mostly interested in their application for their space fighters. Truth be told, she wanted to get her hands on a mark VII Viper and a Cylon raider. Those she wouldn't get. But time would tell, if changes would be made. The Colonials agreed to the exchange, after all, Lucinda Cain wanted the Earth / Tollan design.
As more time passed and more subjects were touched on, the Colonials were surprised that their situation in the galaxy, while not unique, were rather rare. And that was not to even include the double binary system rarity. No, the rather large naquadah deposits were what was surprising. Yes, the Colonials hadn't touched their deposits ever since they discovered them, for obvious reasons, but having 12 habitable worlds with some form of deposits in such a close proximity was already rare, but many of the asteroids and moons in their system and all surrounding systems had them too. The Tau'ri had some data regarding this from the Shadow, so the Tollan Science Institute already had a hypothesis, that this surrounding space was probably created out of one massive nebula that already contained an above than average level of naquadah. This was further confirmed that many of the local stars were either class G or K. The nearest type that was M, was 21 Ly from that location, so outside of its sphere of influence. But not gravitational attraction. The Tollans had several hypothesis on the formation of the original cloud which caused the local stars and their planets to form. One or several large and old stars underwent their red giant phase and died billions of years ago. Then they deposited their remains that created the cloud. But that usually meant that a stellar corpse would remain. No black holes were found within 1000 Ly of this area. Neither were neutron stars. So that eliminated that option. The only remaining one were white dwarfs. The Tollan Science Council had only one plausible conclusion. Two or more giant stars died in a short time, one after the other. They were not so big to leave something denser than a white dwarf behind, but were in the upper limit of that. The dwarfs, due to their close proximity, attracted each other and sooner or later, one or several collisions followed. Those collisions created supernovas, creating even more gas and heavy elements, naquadah included.
All those coincidences could be explained. 12 habitable planets not so much. So the only working theory was that the Ancients terraformed them. Why only them and nothing else, no one knew, but one could speculate that they either had no further interest in that area of space, or they terraformed them not long before their exodus.
The whole deposits situation worked even more into the favor of the Colonials with their experience in space mining, which they were more than willing to help Earth and the less developed Tau'ri members with, for a cost. Either with sharing expertise or equipment, including space suit technology, which was more advanced than most civilizations here had, except the Tollans. Interestingly, even the Jaffa were interested in this, as their old masters never really cared for space mining. Of course, that was only working as long as there were habitable planets with sufficient deposits, but according to the projections of the Tok'ra, if the System Lords had remained in power, in 200 years, they'd drained most populated worlds they controlled, dry. The Jaffa, if nothing else, were willing to try new approaches in advance.
Apparently, with the discovery of the Amun-ra shipyard, it was apparent, that either Ra or Anubis were also capable of thinking further ahead, as the station was the first seen implementation of space mining by a Goa'uld source.
But the origin of the local area of space the Colonials called home created another question. One the Tollans And Earth were actually fearful of. Trinium was an unknown. Did they have any deposits or not? Time would tell. But if the local area was made from a nebula and white dwarf collisions, did that mean that possible neutornium deposits were a thing? Tollan research suggested that it would not be possible, as a neutron star was needed to create that, white dwarfs didn't have the density for neutronium creation. Either way, it was a good thing the System Lords never found this place. Now, with 50 billion humans living there, even more so. Even if only Ba'al is all that's left, it could still mean trouble. And that's why they now kept a close eye on them. Humans, after all, had the same possibility for deceit as Goa'uld.
Scorpia shipyards, two hours later
While the docks, orbital assembly yards, repair bays, munitions storage facilities and reactor blocks were still getting repaired, the fuel systems were already functioning at full capacity. But a Cain was not tenacious, if anything. Lucinda was the literal definition of multitasking, as she made the shipyards do the same. She got her will, again, and put all the people she conscripted from Baltar's departments, to work round the clock at the shipyards. Four shifts, 10 hours per shift. The Yardmaster was complaining that something will break, and it won't be the equipment. At least at this pace.
Her reply was simple. Once the four special projects were done, she will reduce the shifts to eight hours. Not before. All complaints were snuffed. Her own people from the mobile unit were also helping, as the mobile shipyard was now directly docked and was helping in the repair of the main shipyard. That said, the 'special project' was being done at her shipyard, as she could control the situation there much better. Mostly security. That said, she still needed manpower from Scorpia directly. That's how she got all the people to work so many shifts for so long. Hazard pay, better environment, mostly her mobile unit to house most of the additional personnel, and her own people were the best and most professional at their job, so they knew how to get things organized. After all, that's why she choose them years ago.
Right now, she was sitting at the co-pilots seat and reading the report for the shipyard repair. She hated being dependant on a piece of alien hardware she didn't understand to keep the place powered. Even her own mobile unit was now getting extra juice from there. But she wouldn't complain about it either. What choice did she have, until the place is fixed?
"Six months? That's the most optimistic projections for the repairs?"
"Yes. And that's me being generous. You have no carrot or stick to get this done faster." It was the yardmaster she was talking to via wireless. It was also his report.
She huffed. "Fine. I'll take it. But you'd better not be late with that."
"Could give you more guarantees, if you told me what the Pegasus, Aquaria, Legion and Quasar were doing in your private shipyard that's now docked to the main one? Why all the security? Why all the screening of personnel and raptor patrols? Why..."
"That's for me, Nagala and Roslin to know and you to NOT ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT!" She closed the report and slammed it to the ground behind her seat, nearly hitting the ECO in the back. "Now stop slacking off! You think you're the only one who didn't get a good night's sleep in the last week. Even one night? Get in line!" She slammed the off button.
Trying to calm herself down, the turned her attention back to the outside. They had arrived at their destination. The Pegasus. As stated by the yardmaster, the security was heavy. The captured fleet was in Ragnar orbit. No civilian ship goes there, even by accident. Here, there was always a risk some nosy civilian news raptor could try to sneak in to get a scoop. Not on her watch.
The raptor flew past the extended construction modules that were now flanking the Pegasus as her front was directly attached to the Diadalos shipyard.
She saw, how the original armor was already stripped off, giving the Mercury class the same ribcage appearance as the Galactica had. But there were parts that were already getting the prometheon armor welded on. She was satisfied with how far the civilian industry had gotten. The gained alien knowledge combined with their centuries of expertise had the advantage that some changes could be implemented faster than normal.
The raptor cut the main engine off and continued gliding to the first destination. As they arrived, the pilot used the RCS thrusters to come to a complete stop. The pilot triggered the searchlight to illuminate the location Lucinda wanted to see. The dorsal part of the hull in the center of the ship, where the landing pods, engine block and alligator head met, was open. Here was, where the nuclear silos and reactor block were located.
The first time she became part of the circle of Colonials who knew the truth, she exchanged notes with Baltar and his group of scientist. And she had an idea. The alien reactors were being installed, as planned, but why not pimp up their own reactors on the Pegasus, using the alien material.
The tech would be outdated on arrival, but she knew that their fleet, as it was, could not be fully upgraded, even IF they had the ability, parts and resources to do so. A completely new fleet build from the ground up was a more logical solution. But there was no reason she could not upgrade the existing systems to the best of her abilities, until a better solution presented itself. And if nothing else, the civilian sector would be more than happy to implement some of her solutions as well.
So she had several components from the three reactor blocks in the Pegasus removed, after the ship was powered down, docked, getting her power from the shipyards and the reactor fuel was made safe to handle. The Colonials stopped using the regular reactor fuel over a century ago, replaced by specially processed tylium, that became radioactive, but also now useless for engine fuel. Yes, they used enriched tylium for reactor fuel, tylium mixed with deuterium for the reactor heat exchange system and regular liquid tylium for FTL and sub-light engines. So no wonder the stuff was so important for them.
Lucinda didn't want to replace the reactor fuel. But the control rods, cooling rods, that were part of the heat exchange system and the reactor casing itself with prometheon, that was doable. With the Lucian expertise, they now knew how to process prometheon to the superconductive state as well. So the heat exchange unit got rods made out of that stuff, as did the control unit. The casing got the regular construction grade variation. But still, that meant that now the reactor was not only more efficient at power transference, heat management and safety, but could also endure greater pressures.
Reactor A was already done, waiting for her to come to the test. B was already encased. Only closing the entire section and re-pressurizing was needed. C was in the beginning stages.
"Get me a wider view." She asked the pilot. The raptor gained some distance from the surface of the Pegasus. "Stop. Show me the turrets." The searchlight went from one turret to the next. They were designed as she had asked. All armored up and half of them now having the damn plasma weapons.
"The silo, if you please." The pilot did as asked and turned the raptor around. Illuminating the silo location, the apparent lack of the last two silos on the port side was clearly visible. This was the only way Lucinda could get the sensor unit installed. There was no other place. She removed two silos and the missiles in them, to get the space needed to put the damn alien sensor array in , connect it and seal it off.
The array was still visible as the sealing process was still underway. "Let's continue."
The raptor's next location to visit was the port side of the ship, between the landing pod and main hull, with the connecting pylons between the location of interest. Here, where the armor also wasn't yet added, a secondary fuel tank had been removed to make space for the three prometheon fusion reactors. Once fully installed, it too would be sealed off. The twin fuel tank on the starboard side had already been given this treatment, as the shield generators and computer system were installed there and already sealed off. These locations were chosen for a few reasons. First, the old fuel tanks were not really critical to ship functions. So they were expendable. Second, they were close to the main power lines, cooling system and several main fuel lines also went close. Now the fuel lines were not important on the starboard side, but here, they were. Lucinda wanted to make these reactors to work properly and that meant constant fuel. They had yet to make fuel grade prometheon. All attempts so far failed. But that girl, Ginn, she wrote a program in one hour flat that would make the Goa'uld reactors accept tylium fuel. So longevity was now a solved problem, something Bill didn't have. The only downside was that they would drink tylium faster than prometheon, but they had to take what they had.
That girl impressed her. And impressing her was no easy feat, even Lucinda knew that. If she could, she'd steal her from Nagala as she did several people from Baltar, but Nagala was not Baltar. He stonewalled her.
"The last location, please." The raptor moved again, this time to the front. Now there wasn't much space between the main artillery location and the shipyard, but the people working there knew how to get the upgrades done anyway. The pegasus was, like all battlestars begin worked on right now, face first, to get the best connection to the station.
The light of the raptor showed Lucinda the progress. The new artillery pieces made out of prometheon were already installed. Only the plasma cannons that were replacing the smaller gun emplacements, were still begin worked on.
"Good. Take us to the port hangar and land." The pilot knew the routine. This was Lucinda's route, more or less, for the past week, day by day.
Once landed and the elevator brought the raptor to the lover hangar, Lucinda stepped on the hangar deck to see the buzz and work in the hangar being done. The place was a mess of ship parts, ammunition, people moving said parts or ammo, driving towing vehicles, inspecting vipers or raptors... basically it was a mess. But one Lucinda liked, as it meant the shipyard people were doing their job properly.
What really caught her eye, was the only section currently not a mess, but an attraction. As she proceeded to inspect the new hardware, she passed all the gawkers, they finally realized what they were doing, saluted and went by their business. She put her hand on the smooth surface of what was called by the Viper corporation the new Mark VIII. She saw the technical data. Mark VIII? She still rolled her eyed mentally. A seven point five perhaps, not an eight. Why? This fighter was identical to the Mark VIII, but in three things. It's outer frame was made from armor grade prometheon. A thin layer for sure, but prometheon none the less. Testing showed that this gave the fighter better survivability in combat than regular ones. But the Colonials wouldn't repeat the Goa'uld mistake. The fighter was only marginally heavier than its predecessor. But it could at least survive a few direct hits from their own cannon weapons. Plasma weapons and missiles would still go through like through butter. The second was the cockpit canopy. It was made from the same stuff the death gliders' one was made. This material was easily copied by the Colonials and provided better protection at no additional weight. Force fields were of course not part of this. How could they? Third and most important part was the engines. The engine exhaust vector control units were now made out of prometheon, meaning the engine had more power as it could reach greater temperatures and pressures. It also made the engine more fuel efficient as before the engine was limited by its material. So the Mark VIII was around 8% heavier, but had 44% more thrust for only 2% more fuel consumption. The craft was, however, did less well in atmospheric flight than the Mark VII. But Lucinda didn't care. No one in HQ did. The one thing added to them, that she insisted on, was that the cockpit controls had a new ability, one Lucinda insisted on only after the Cylons almost ended them. The cockpit had a manual override control unit. If the computer on the fighter should get hacked, the pilot retains some form of manual control. No fancy DRADIS, aiming assist, thrust assist, none of the fancy computer controlled stuff. But she argued that while yes, the pilot would control the damn thing as if having one hand tied behind their back, but even that's better than both hands and feet tied, which was the Mark VII's fate during the surprise assault on the Colonies.
Then she inspected the new raptors as well, designed by Colonial Space Aeronautics Corporation. It was the same deal. Since these new vipers and raptors were 90% identical to their predecessors, with mostly the outer hull getting the improvement, it was easy to get them done this fast. The industry had no problems using existing vipers on the assembly line and add the new outer shell, canopy and engine components. The rest they had already done thousands of times before.
Satisfied with the first shipment, she left the hangar to carry on her way to the CIC. To her, this was not a viper or raptor replacement of their current hardware. She could picture vipers with plasma weapons hard points to attack capital ships, while sticking to their rapid fire guns for dogfights. FTL DRADIS and comm system. All that good stuff. But in the case of vipers, a real Mark VIII for her will be, once they begin mass producing Cylon jump drives they use on their raiders. And that was still months away. And that was all the problem of Colonial engineers. They could not and would not let the Lucians help them. The risk of even one of them not being on the level was too great. Even Ginn was not asked to help with that.
After a few minutes she arrived at the CIC. Most of the work here was already done. She passed the reinforced glass doors and went past the planning table and DRADIS console. Her first point of interest was the new console that was squeezed in between the FTL and weapons control. Shaw originally wanted to be here for this, but Lucinda sent her to the captured fleet to get a feeling on the alien hardware on a working alien ship. With experience gained there, she could put the knowledge to better use here. The new console's panel was still open and one could see the alien crystals sticking out as a Colonial engineer and Lucian one were putting them into their respective openings. The optical wires were already working, so any crystal inserted would begin to glow.
"How much longer here?" She leaned on the back of the console, inspecting their work.
"An hour at best." The Colonial engineer responded. As he noticed who asked the question, he wanted to salute her, but she waved him off.
"Just keep working, ignore protocol. Just tell me why the holdup?"
Both engineers eyed each other. The CIC went silent as well as most stopped working. Like she tripped a mine.
"Ehm, Chief Engineer Garner, if we don't do it his way, he pisses on our work and we have to do it by the book all over again. How do we do alien computer technology by 'our' book?"
"Did you tell him that?"
"Yes! He said, and I quote:' I'm the Major, you're a grunt. Do as your told! If we don't do this by the book, it won't be good.' I gave up arguing with him."
"We all did." The highest ranking engineer from the shipyard, a captain, added.
"Is that so?" She had no time for this garbage. "Get this console done any way you need. Just make its efficient and working properly. Throw the protocol out the window. Comm... tell Major Garner that he's needed in the CIC, but not who asked for him and why." She had a serious face and tone. Everyone knew Garner's feet are going to get roasted.
Lucinda was her own type of person. The snakes emphasized esthetics over functionality. Garner emphasized procedure over practicality. She was neither of that. She put efficiency above all. And combining that with functionality and practicality was far more easy than the other two. She didn't care how something was done, just that it was done with the best result in mind. She didn't care how ugly something was, as long as it did its job to the best possible outcome. She was in fact, the anti-Goa'uld in ship design.
Walking intentionally slowly to the planning table, she inspected the new addition there as well. One of the salvaged holographic projectors was installed above the table. The table could still be used with its 2D functionality in mind, but the new 3D option was now available as well.
"Does it work?" She asked the captain in the CIC. She nodded.
"Good. We can test it along with the reactor. And the alien sensor array?" A nod again.
Her mood changed for the better. Her niece would like these additions. As her hand was now testing the planning tables' ability to access the alien data as well, still in 2D mode, Garner stormed into the CIC.
"OK, what do you morons need help with this... time?" He noticed Lucinda. He stood at attention. "Admiral on deck, you imbeciles...!"
"They don't have to. They have more pressing matters to attend to. Like doing their job. You on the other hand..." She walked up to him and was only inched away. Face to face. "As I hear it, your sabotaging my attempts to get this ship combat ready."
Gulp. "Em, who told you that lie?"
"I can see, can't I? Half of the systems in the ship should have been done days ago!"
"Silence! You will talk, when I say you talk! You by the book washout excuse of an engineer. Why Helena tolerates you is beyond me. I won't replace you or fire you. I'll let her do it, once this job is done and she assumes command again. Until then, you'll do things according to MY BOOK. And MY BOOK states, get the job done by IGNORING THE BOOK! The only standard you use, besides efficiency, is safety. I don't compromise there either. But you will not use red tape from the hand book on proper procedure when repairing, upgrading or maintaining systems. Not with my operations!"
"But those procedures were written for a reason..."
"Had I used those procedures during the first war, do you know what would have happened?"
"Well, the ships..."
"The toasters would have won! Using those idiotic procedures would have meant that the ships I designed would still be half built when they were needed. Sure, we had to cut corners, but with all the people and material here now, we don't need to cut corners today. But we can cut the red tape! And from here on out you will! If anyone here tells me that you are once again slowing this down, you'll really get to know me, Major. Do I make myself clear?!"
"We're about to test the first completed reactor. If all of our and the alien reactors aren't working by the end of the week, we'll be having that talk. And you won't enjoy it. Now return to your station for the test. Dismissed!"
Everyone stopped what they were doing and manned the working stations. Once Garner arrived in engineering, the test began. Lucinda was at the reactor control console in the CIC. Only the one in engineering had greater control. "Has the new program been uploaded?"
"Yes, Admiral. The output and heat gauges have been modified."
"Good. We're in idle right now?" A nod confirmed it. She grabbed the intercom phone on that table. "Major Garner, you ready down there for the test?"
"Yes, Admiral." One could hear the defeatism in his voice.
"Then get us up to 50% at a slow pace." She hung up and eyed the power indicator. It slowly began moving as the power increased. But the heat and radiation were going up as well. Once it reached 50%, it remained there as the engineers everywhere were analyzing the situation to see if any issues would be found. None were. "Get us to 80%." That was already above the old reactors capabilities, as the new 80% was the old 120%. And yes, the old design could be pushed that far.
"Holding at 80. All in the green."
"Good. 100% then." She needed to know that it worked. That they didn't screw up. It held at 100. "Get us to 110." That got everyone worried. Pushing the reactors beyond 100% was not unheard off, but most didn't want to do that. With the reactor, FTL or sub-light engines. But they also knew how Lucinda's mind worked. So they did as told.
"How long would the system hold this setting before we would need to power back down?"
The engineer checked. "128 minutes, before we'd risk reactor damage."
"Excellent. Better than the old units. 120, if you please." Once again, they complied. It held, no red light or alarms went off. "Time?"
"Ehm, 27 minutes until reactor damage."
"Also better than before. All right. Decrease to 100%." She returned to the planning table and activated the holographic unit. "Activate the alien array."
"Sir, the array is a power hog. Our own reactor can't provide the necessary power..."
"I'm aware of that. I don't need it at 100%, just to test it, even if at minimum settings."
She got her way. The alien array, which was now linked to the Pegasus original DRADIS array, now displayed a holographic image of the four star systems the Colonials called home. It also displayed so many ships in all systems and all the jump in and out points that the display was having a difficulty displaying everything.
She zoomed out. She wanted to see how far the system could detect anything at these settings. At 7 Ly she saw that the signal ended. The system detected several jump signatures that far out, but no ships. The system's ability to display ships would end, even if at full power, at 2 Ly, but larger gravitational sources or power sources, like jump in or out locations, it could detect.
What the system showed her at the edge of it' current range, was in fact the Cyclops and it's task force, where Lennox was having his cleaning mission. Lucinda was also aware of that.
She hoped the program she insisted on making, would be done before the launch of the four ships here. She sold her idea to Nagala without much trouble. The four arrays and the one on Pegasus would need a library of sorts, where not only ship silhouette would be stored, but the energy signatures of their jump engines. She argued that they needed an automated control program for the arrays. A program that could monitor all jump in and out signatures, compare them with the signatures in the library and so know who was where and jumping from where to where. If a signature was Colonial, fine. If it was not Colonial, it would raise an alarm. This could not be done by hand. It had to be automated. Then only new signatures would be added as they encountered more FTL designs.
She was happy with the progress there. "Power them both down." The reactor went back to idle as the array was shut down. She also knew the one issue she couldn't solve. The array, at full power, was a hog. The four stationary ones would not be problematic, as the bases had plenty of power, but on a ship, power was a limiting factor. At full capacity, the array would demand all the alien reactors to devote their power to the array, or two alien reactors and all three Colonial reactors at 80%. So the Pegasus could only use the thing when not in a combat situation. Well, it could, but with its new main defense powered down.
One last place to inspect. The FTL console and navigation. The sub-light engines got the same upgrade as the vipers. With the prometheon magnetic vector exhaust components now installed, the ship had more thrust. But what really impressed her were the new capacitors. They had several thin sheets of prometheon in them. This increased their speed for charging or releasing power. But that was not what impressed her. It increased the total capacity by 300%. That meant that now, it would take longer to charge them up, unless the alien reactors helped out there as well, but if fully charged, the Pegasus, and all the ships that would follow, had the ability to use each of their two jump cores three times in quick succession. Until now, power was the limiting factor. Now it was less of a concern. Yes, if fully depleted, the ship would be able to charge a core up only at marginally faster rates, but given time to fully recharge it, it could really cover ground. Now, the Colonials could use the jump technology as a strategic weapon as well. Why let your shields soak up all the incoming nukes? Or let your armor take a beating? Just jump behind your enemy, to the opposite direction they just fired at. Ironically, this wasn't even a Colonial strategy, the Cylons used it more and more these days. They could do it due to their superior jump drive technology. The Colonials now caught up, due to the improved power generation and management systems.
But Lucinda was aware of the one fly in the soup. The FTL units and FTL power core, which guzzled up tylium to charge up the capacitors, were old Colonial tech. They could not replace them. Unless they were willing to wait for a year or two. Then they'd have new FTL systems made with Cylon technology and out of prometheon. They couldn't wait. So Lucinda knew that the original FLT cores would be under greater stress. They would eventually break down, it was only a matter of time. And the more they jumped, the more they jumped in quick succession, the sooner it would happen.
Satisfied, she left the CIC to return to her raptor that was still waiting. This was after all only her first stop. She had three more ships to inspect.
Kobol system, one hour later, orbit of the largest moon of planet Kobol 7, a gas giant
A Valkyrie jumped into orbit and deployed vipers, raptors and even launched Cylon raiders and heavy raiders from both landing pods.
To solidify their control of this system, the Colonials decided that knowledge is power. So they needed to know where what was. And what those things were. So planets, moons, asteroids, the whole slam. Resource deposits, habitability, potential base locations, all was of interest.
Until something caught their eye. A squadron of raptors that were sent to explore the largest planet in the system, reported back that they found trace amounts of tachyons in the atmosphere of the largest moon here. The moon itself had a thick atmosphere, so scouting it was a pain. Fortunately, the Colonials were getting good at detecting alien crap even with their modified Colonial systems now. That said, the battlestar also launched a docked Tel'tak to help with the exploration. The Cylon ships were added as both sides agreed to share any discoveries and spoils found. The reason no basestar was added to this search, was that the Cylons were not only preoccupied with their first settlement and gathering the shards of their civilization, but every so often a rouge surviving ship, a basestar, heavy raider, support ship or something else, that was manned by Rebel Cylons, contacted them to join the group. seemed that Cavil was as good at killing his own people as he was at killing humans. The main Rebel force survived his ambush. The others managed to get away all across this part of the galaxy, some even managed to score a victory in their own isolated clashes. Nevertheless, Cavil remained in control of 80% of the remaining Cylon forces.
So the main Cylon force remained in Kobol orbit, with the exception of the hub, which was at a remote location with its own protection detail.
On the battlestars CIC, Bill, who was so looking forward to some sleep, was inspecting the situation at the planning table of the rather smaller CIC of this battlestar type. Not that he minded. He after all once commanded a ship like this, so he was used to it.
Nagala left after clearing things with him, so unless they find something important here, he won't bother calling HQ and disturbing him.
He had also asked Kara to take charge of the vipers here. They were both exhausted, but she could still go for a few hours.
As Bill saw the ships deploy around the battlestar, he took the phone off the planning table. "Starbuck, deploy one viper wing for a CAP around the moon, the rest plus our raptors and Cylon allies for an atmospheric search. The two search raptors on site are already narrowing down where the signal may have originated from."
"Copy that boss. We're moving out."
Bill had taken mission command here, but left the battlestar command and operations remain in the hands of the ship's CO and XO.
Once inside the atmosphere, the visibility got really bad. So all ships had to rely more on visual indicators than DRADIS.
"Hey, Scar. Take squad three to the rout north, Razor, you do south. Kat, turn around and circle around the equator to our destination. I'm taking the direct route with the transports."
"Roger." Kat's wing of vipers broke off.
"Affirmative." Both Cylon groups did the same. Now only a few vipers and raiders remained, escorting all the transport raptors and heavy riders. If anything is found, they'd deploy ground forces.
"Raptors 017 and 088, this is Squadron Captain Kara Thrace, we're here on your request. Said you boys found something?"
The atmosphere messed with their wireless as well, but this close, they worked again. Out of the initial three raptors, two remained to continue the search, one went back to report. It was now back with search teams on board.
"Confirmed, Captain. we even managed to find the signal source. Just follow the beacon we placed."
She saw the marker o the navigational display. A few minutes out. They had also finally descended enough to see the ground as the atmosphere got a bit clearer now. What she saw was a moon scarred with mountains and filled with lakes of liquid methane. "Can you tell us what it is that you found?"
"Goa'uld. At least three Ha'tak class capital ships. But were only guessing here."
"How can you guess if you found something or not?"
"Only one is mostly intact, the rest is in pieces, scattered in three crash sites. And we say three, as there could be more. Seemed only one of the ships crashed softly."
She was getting the picture now. They had arrived at the beacon. Both raptors were already landed and their crews disembarked and inspecting the wreckage. The ships lower decks were buried in the mud and methane of the planet's surface, but structurally, the ship seemed intact. If not a bit tilted. She also saw one of the craters in the distance.
"OK, raptors and heavy raiders, find a landing spot and deploy your crews. Hopefully, the Judicator will get to a lower orbit to get a signal through.
The teams deployed from their landed craft, both Colonial marines in combat space suits, as well as Cylon centurions. And two Cylon humanoids.
On the Judicator, they were now getting the live feed as they descended further. Bill not put the earpiece and microphone gear on as he saw the live transmission on a large monitor. All marines had shoulder cameras and they could now see the direct point of view of the centurions as well, including infrared.
"To everyone. This is a search and salvage operation. Once we secure this craft, we'll deploy to the other sites to see what can be used. There should be nothing alive on the ship, unless you believe in ghosts. watch your backs and remember that the snakes have ways of surviving, so don't take unnecessary risks and get infected. If you suspect a symbiote may be somewhere, let a centurion handle it." He turned to Natalie, his Six co-mission officer.
"As the Admiral said, watch your backs. Centurions, let the Colonials take the lead, they know this design better than we do. You provide back-up."
Both satisfied with what they said, Bill gave the green light. "Move out, Major Doukas."
The CIC crew utilized as many monitors as they could, while keeping the ship operations still displayed. As the ground forces entered the disabled Ha'tak, they went for the critical areas first, bridge, hangar and engine room.
Corpses were scattered everywhere, preserved in these low temperatures. But there was something they noticed right away. The symbol of its owner. Kronos.
That gave Bill the idea that this might be one of the ships that left Kobol when the three brothers took over the planet and galactic sector. Perhaps, like when the Asgard threw them off of Kobol and they lost hardware, the same happened to Kronos centuries earlier.
Then he remembered it. "Kara, no point of you hanging around there. Have all vipers and raiders return to orbit and keep a CAP up. To all raptor and heavy raider pilots. Take off and do low level flights over the other crash sites. Search for a ring like object."
It was a long shot, but one worth taking. It took about an hour, but the ship was secured. And what Bill was hoping to find, was found, in the second crater, still intact. A Stargate. The one Kronos stole off of Kobol. That was the good news. The bad, the DHD was in pieces. Nevertheless, an additional ring would come in handy, somehow. Now he had something to report back to Nagala. This ship was even older than the ones the Asgard disabled and the Galactica expedition found. But that didn't stop the Cylons to want it salvaged for themselves. He didn't say they couldn't have it, but he also didn't say they could have it. He'd let Nagala have the final word. They wanted to use it as a base near their fledgling settlement, to study, provide temporary housing and power.
That was, if they could get it out. "Send a raptor back to Kobol with the report on everything and my assessment, to be delivered to Picon HQ via ring to Nagala. Also, have General Atkins ask the Tok'ra in our base if they have an expert on Goa'uld ships. Maybe they can help us get this thing out of the mud."
Planet Langara, minutes later
Most of the talks were now done. Only some finer print was being discussed. One issue they will have to solve in the future, was how deliveries would be made. If the main ring in the Cyrannus system was in a small moon, how will they deliver the refined naquadah via the ring? Ship for transport made no sense, unless the parts were too big for the ring. Using the ring made logistical sense. The same was in reverse. Some parts that the Colonials would get, were too big to get to the ring on a planets location, as most rings were in protected, underground locations. They'll have to find a solution one way or the other.
But Galatos did remember the one last piece of bargaining they held. Well, he hoped they could use it for bargaining, depending if it was worth anything to the Tau'ri at all.
Most people had already removed parts of their attire, like a tie or coat. Including the Colonials.
Galatos knew, their Cylon companions had a very specific topic they wanted addressed. It showed, once the Altairan delegate explained his particular situation. The Colonials were holding back their reactions to the fact that a human civilization out there would, in order to survive, become machines in body. So basically, they did the reverse of the Cylons. The Cylons went from machines to humans, the Altairans did the reverse. And they too used mind transfer technology.
Of course, only Baltar was fascinated by the fact. Caprica would have peppered him with questions, but to avoid this bottle neck, as everyone was getting tired, the Tau'ri leadership made a proposal. As Jack and the new SC-1 would accompany the Colonial / Cylon delegation back, they would also go to the Cyrannus system, since it's an open secret now anyway. They would get a chance to inspect the captured Goa'ild gear, but nothing beyond a visual inspection. In return, the Tollana's Shadow would make her presence seen and would, once that was done, take SG-1 back to Kobol, where O'Neill and SG-1 could either stay or return to any of their bases. That brings us to Harlan. It now made sense to Caprica, why he showed such interest in them. The feeling was now mutual. She and Cavil were interested in an exchange in designs perhaps, as the Tau'ri had no input there.
Harlan was actually very grateful to the Tau'ri. Not long after his SG-1 copies died and the Tollans were being evacuated, one of the planets that was scouted out for a possible Tau'ri base, turned out to be an Altairan world. Around 500 Altairan survivors lived there. They were the ones Harlan had mentioned that left. The world they colonized, was not particularly nice, but organics could still live there. But the androids didn't care how habitable it was, as long as it wasn't toxic. So Harlan, once again, wasn't alone. Now perhaps the Altairans could talk with the Cylons on their own. The only restraint in their seperate talks was that the Altairans could not give anything away, that they themselves didn't invent or create. Same restrictions as what the Tau'ri could give away. No Tolla or Asgard tech, unless they ask and get a green light.
So Harlan would accompany Cavil and Caprica to Kobol and then to their settlement. Let them have independent talks.
So Galatos wanted to get Lucinda's idea on the table and see if it's even worth anything. Let the Cylon then ask away about that extragalactic invasion thing.
To say that the Cylons they were now working with were split right down the middle, was an understatement. To learn that they lost the attack on the Colonials due to some really one in a billion fluke of fate, that while they attacked the Colonials, a more advanced race of machined was attacking the rest of the galaxy and both were defeated by the same weapon, was in some way, at least to Leoben, a sign that God exists. D'Anna of course smacked him for that.
That coincidence vexed them. What somewhat angered them was that these Replicators were completely whipped out. They got the story second hand from the Colonials who got a basic version of it in written form days before this meeting.
All talks were unproductive. The Replicators were a threat to all life in the galaxy, the Cylons included. That's what split the Cylons' right down the middle. Fighting for survival, that they understood. But it was a bit too convenient from their point of view. Machined as the antagonist, again. The same garbage stories they saw in Colonial media the past few decades when they were infiltrating them. That only reinforced their notion on humans. But, ironically, the Rebel cavil pointed out the hypocrisy on their end. Weren't they now guilty of that as well?
"So, before I give the floor to Caprica, I have one final item on the negotiating table." Galatos began, after rehydrating his already sour throat. "Tell me, did that ship, the Shadow, inspect every damn planet in our solar system?"
Omoc shook his head. "No need. No time either. Only the inhabited worlds. But once that captured fleet was spotted, all other scouting was abandoned, untill further notice."
At least something, Galatos thought. "Tell me, your fleet building plans are probably in its infancy. The Tollans were for centuries passive, so no fleet to speak off. Earth only managed to get basic space travel down before the ring was getting used. The other members, with this Pack group being the exception, didn't do much better. Hebridan had no real military fleets, at least none capable to pose a threat outside its own system."
"Is there a question in there?" Jack threw Galatos' earlier sentence back at him.
"Yes. Would you be interested in some outdated, but still fully usable hulls of military ships?"
That caught the Tau'ri off guard. Woolsey was genuinely intrigued. "Please explain your proposal."
"As I gathered from your own briefing on the state of the galaxy and your immediate needs, it's ships your lacking. We have plenty of outdated hulls. If the Shadow had taken it's time, it would have found larger military depots in every solar system. Mostly around off limits planets or moons. We 'parked' many ships that were of no further use for us. Occasionally we take them back, to be scrapped and their materials recycled, but we have more than we have use for. General O'Neill... The ship belonging to Admiral Adama was theoretically one of them. It was actually meant to be turned into a museum ship on the day you saved our hides without knowing it. Now, we know that those ship's systems are hopelessly outdated, even by our designs, but the way you described your own construction methods that the Tollans created by using their technology and combining it with Goa'uld and Asgard tech, the limiting factor for you is material to build hulls with. If we can save you that time and resources... well, all you would have to do, using that fancy tech, is get your equipment and components into the hulls."
Most Tau'ri members were actually giving it a thought. Omoc was not. "So in essence you want us to take your garbage off your hands?"
Galatos was not surprised by that reaction. Not from a Tollan. "What I mean is that you need ships. Now I am not saying you use the hulls for your main fleet. I agree that they'd be useless there. But for a local planetary defense? I heard you provided the 304 destroyers to the Langarans." He eyed Jonas.
"Yes, four so far."
"And are they as good as the main Tau'ri force variants?"
Jonas was taken aback. He didn't tell them this. No one did.
"Nice catch." Jack was getting more impressed with Galatos by the hour. "They lack the expensive stuff."
Carter elaborated. "Only standard Goa'uld hyperdrive, no SPB's, no WMD's. A cheaper variation... and that's what your idea for your old hulls is?"
"Yes. They'd not be able to stand up to a massive invasion, but a first line of defense to stall the attackers until your main fleet arrives. After all, if it's pirates you have the most issues with today, by my experience, all pirates are cowards. They won't bother attacking a target, if they'd have a fight on their hands. With the hulls we offer, you can retrofit them as you please, the local humans can man them and provide the first line to protect the planet. Not unlike that stripped down 304 idea."
Baltar tried to make this an even better deal. "We'd refurbish the hulls, remove any actual damage, we would be even willing to reinforce the armor with, as you call it, naquadah one, but that would take more time..."
"And would also increase the cost, as it were." Galatos took over again. "We'd be even willing to let you keep the FTl system in them, after we of course install new ones, as the originals were stripped for parts long ago. As for the interior systems, we can deliver them to you with only the bare minimum in systems, so you don't have to bother removing them to install yours."
Jack was inspecting the reactions of the others. Most were indeed interested. "And you?" He meant Cavil and Caprica. "You not part of this deal?"
"No. We only have a few ships available at the moment. Not to mention that our modern ships are more organic than the classic design. The older models... well, what the Guardian faction couldn't save, was scrapped."
O'Neill waited for Woolsey's approval. He nodded as well as shrugged. It was up to Jack. "Then show us the 'classics' and if they're worth restoring."
Galatos put one image on the scanner after the other. He also had the basics information on the designs, what they were used for, armament, size, crew, the works.
Jack and those like him just glanced over the images, not bothering with the info. In all regards, he was just looking for the cool hot rod look.
Carter was more interested in the details. Omoc was not bothered by this, but Orina and Ma'cello did pay attention.
As the technologically gifter members of the Tau'ri were still taking in the information on the hulls, including how many the colonials currently had in their depots, Jack, being himself, had to ask. "Where's the big ones?"
"Big ones?" Galatos asked back. "You mean..."
"Yeah, one of those that Admiral Adama had. Or the even bigger ones we saw over Kobol, including the really big one."
"The Lucinda warstar is a prototype, the only one of her kind. As for the Mercury class, they are the top of the line for us. We don't have even one in any depot, not that we'd just hand them away. As for the Jupiter, we repurposed all ships of that class that we could in such a short amount of time. At this moment, the only hulls available are being cannibalized for our needs. We can see what can be done at a later point, but I can't give any guarantees."
"Well, that sucks."
"While impressive, as all of these designs can be repurposed even by us, as you said. I'd be more interested by your fighter designs." Carter responded. And Orina and Ma'chello agreed with her.
"The Cylon raiders and our Mark VII vipers are out of the question. The older designs, we can talk about." He pondered. "I can see why you would ask. If in no other theater, our fighters mostly humiliated the Goa'uld design."
Even Bra'tac was aware of that. And he didn't like it. It was that piece of information that someone like Gerak could use to stir up trouble. "Perhaps, but you also faced poorly trained and inexperienced Lucian pilots. Jaffa pilots are not so easily to beat."
"Still..." Carter returned to the hull designs. "The fighter would be needed for one more issue. If we take these hulls, the launch tubes are made for your fighters. Our fighters don't fit. And buying your design would be easier than us having to build a new one from scratch."
"All right, were all exhausted and a bit grumpy." Laura broke off this debate. It too was at a stalemate. "We can shelve this for another time. But I can see that the idea is to your liking."
"Well, I don't not like it." Jack tried to salvage this comeback. "Hey, big ships with big guns, I'm a simple man."
Woolsey agreed with Laura. "A break is needed. We continue this in 20 minutes."
Some more mingling followed, like with every break. While Cavil was actually enjoying his talk with Harlan, even if his personality took some getting used to, Caprica decided to stir up a conversation with Carter. "can I ask you, from one scientist to another, what do you really need the bio data on our hulls for?"
Carter talked to Jack beforehand, once this information was shared and he gave the go ahead. Only to not say where and when, only the what.
"We're, let's say, in a conflict in a distant part of space as well."
"As in far away, but I can't say more."
"Now, there is a species called the Wraith. And they have one thing in common with you. No not the AI part. Their ships are around 90% to 95% organic. To get more knowledge on bio hulls and systems is a priority for us."
Caprica was intrigued. "Why are they hostile? I really hope you're not treating all forms of life as hostile, just because they don't conform to your standards."
"Like yours did with humanity?" Sam was also not going to take things lying down, just like Jack. "We tried diplomacy, the Ancients did, millennia ago. The reason they're hostile, is that to them, we're food."
That wasn't what Caprica expected. She almost swallowed the glass along with the brewage. "What?"
"For the Wraith, humans and other humanoid life forms are food. Not in the chew your flesh off kind of edible, but drain your life-force kind. Now they bled their part of space dry and need more food. They know of Earth and our population. Our advantage, we can defend Earth and they're pretty far away. But won't stop them from trying." Sam realized that she could get the Cylons to see the bigger picture here, if for no other reason than self preservation. "I know your angry because of the whole Replicator situation... and don't worry, I'll be the one to explain it. Since in a way, I was responsible, but... As for the Wraith. Think about it. If they're drooling at the prospect of Earth and our seven billion people, what would they do if they learned about the Cyrannus system and their 50 billion. And they lack our Ancient defenses."
"OK, I get that part. But what..."
"You are at risk as well. As I said, they use us for food. You are human form machines. I doubt the Wraith would see the difference nor would they care. And, you can re-spawn. Resurrect. However you take it, for a Wraith you would be an endlessly replenishing food source. Do you believe they would show you mercy in eating you alive for thousands of times?"
That got Caprica sweating. Death, as it was, was already painful. But to... be reborn just to be consumed again. Oh yeah, Carter got her attention with that one. "If the Ancients tried, why didn't they deal with them?"
"They tried. And failed. Not because of better technology, just... the Ancients were already weak at that point and the Wraith just out produced them. See, they grow their ships. And once they got a few Ancient ZPM's, they grew their ships with the added power at an insane rate."
"They stole them? The ZPM's I mean?"
"Yes, and adapted them. The Wraith lost 20 times more ships and troops than the Ancients, but they still won. They could take the losses. And... that's also where the Replicator story begins. In a way."
Caprica wanted to know more, but saw that the break is over. Before Sam left to take her seat, Caprica stopped her. "A word of advice. Dr. Baltar has been eying you for a reason."
"To get information?"
"No, to get to your woman parts. He's a womanizer. I should know."
"Well, I do have better prospects right now. And he does come over as a bit of a shallow person."
"Shallow? That the mildest description of Gaius I've ever heard. But it works."
They all took their seats again. "Since this is the final part of this meeting before we depart, and other agendas on the plan or can we go to the Cylon question?" Woolsey asked the other members.
"No." Omoc replied as he stood up. "I believe that I and the observers aren't needed any longer?" For him, the important part was done. He would now inform the Curia on this development.
Bra'tac and Jacob did the same, with only Ma'chello remaining.
Once they left, Carter began explaining the whole origin of the Replicators, how the first generation was just a maintenance and repair unit, slowly progressing to more important roles. How they could adapt, improve, be integrated into other systems. How a primitive race found the Ancient library and used parts of it to recreate the spiders. How the Ancients in their desperation tried to both weaponize the first generation as well as to use them for mining and construction.
And how the Ancients then went far beyond that. The nano-cell Replicators.
As she showed them a basic scan of a single nano-cell, to say that both Caprica and Baltar were stunned at such level of molecular and subatomic engineering, was putting it mildly.
Caprica then remembered Carter's sentence from before. "What did you meant, when you said you created them?"
Carter didn't know how else to respond, but to show them the recording of her with her Replicator copy. "A human form Replicator fell in love with me and... created a copy of me."
"I can see the appeal." Baltar grinned. Laura kicked him.
"Well, anyway, she had my memories and personality, somewhat, but turned out to be evil."
"Something you can relate to, Cavil." Caprica shot across his bow.
"Can we listen to this story, my dear, or not?"
"Sorry. Please continue."
"Right. She... used my empathy and humanity against me. Using access to our laboratories, she immunized herself against our only defense against the Replicators. A energy disruptor." The weapon was seen in the image on the laboratory table. "Once immune, she tricked Fifth to attack the planet. Our satellite disruptor weapon fired and... killed him and his forces. She didn't share the immunity."
Caprica saw that betrayal was not only not limited to humans or the Cylon machines, but was a common occurrence in the galaxy. "She wanted to be in charge?"
"Yes. She called Fifth weak. And gullible. Once he was gone, she took over and left our base. We tried to stop her, but could do little against her, now that she was immunized. Months later she returned, with the entire Replicator force in tow. We suspect she used that time to prepare the invasion and to eliminate the remaining human form Replicators. She... dealt with the System Lords first, then set her sight to other locations, the planet Dakara as well, where we were in the process of modifying the Ancient weapon there to be used against the Replicators."
"We were told it could be used against anything?" Laura wanted to confirm what she was told.
"Yes, originally it was made to restore life, but could also sterilize the galaxy. My father and I modified the setting to come as close to the anti-Replicator weapon's settings as possible."
Baltar saw a problem." But you said it didn't work anymore?"
"It could be modified to work again, as Thor and I were successful, but since the Replicators now knew how it basically worked, they could immunize themselves. All they needed was time and data. The modification Thor and I made only worked once before they were immune again. The Dakara weapon gave me the idea. Modify the weapon again, use the settings on the Dakara weapon, link it with the gate network and carpet-bomb the galaxy with the energy-pulse. If we hit them all at once, they can't adapt."
Baltar was genuinely impressed. "If you ever get bored in the military, I think and civilian sector would want you."
Jack saw how this Colonial scientist was ogling her. "Down boy. She's ours."
Caprica laughed. "The dog analogy is also so fitting."
Jack didn't know what was funny about that. "Anyway, that's only one of her top five. Next time let her tell you how she blew up a star."
Carter hated that he said that. "You blow up one star and everyone thinks you can walk on water."
"As amusing as this is, the explanation was quite insightful. I can honestly say I have no issue with what you did. It's no different than what will have to be done with my brothers."
"What I would want to know is why the weapon affected us as well?" Caprica pondered. "I mean, do our resurrection frequencies work on a similar wavelength than this... Replicator communication system?"
Sam shrugged. "Good question. Honestly, I can't answer that one until I get a look at your resurrection technology."
"Fair enough. But that'll have to wait until next time." Cavil responded.
A few minutes later, they were all done and ready to return to their own planets. Little did the Cylons know that the Tau'ri left out the part where a Replicator civilization still existed. And the Tau'ri knew about it.
As Galatos was walking behind his delegation, intentionally, ha had a chat with O'Neill. "I think you coming with us for the Shadow can be used for one more thing."
"Well, you gave us a freebie. How about a tour."
"The ships we are offering you. I can easily arrange that."
Jack may have been tired, but this was right up his alley. Bug ships. "Sure, I'm game."
Kobol, minutes later
After the combat camera showed Atkins that the connection was legit, he lowered the iris and called Nagala. Nagala had returned ahead of schedule due to Adama's findings. A second ring was definitely useful. Nagala planned to return anyway, but between eight and twelve hours. Now ten hours had passed since the delegation departed.
"Welcome back." Atkins greeted them with the security detail. Laura just dumped all of her belongings to her civilian staff that was waiting.
"Good to be back."
Nagala just entered the ring room. He noticed the guests. "General. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
Galatos gave him the short version. When Nagala heard that they know where Cyrannus was, he was a bit pissed. "Don't know if I should be impressed or angry at that, General."
"Angrily impressed?" No one was laughing. "Look, that's why we're here. Well that and a tour."
Nagala wanted an explanation for that. "The idea of selling them the hulls, let's say it was a mixed response. The Tollans were not impressed, even if they saw the practicality. The General here..."
"I'm an easy sell. Sucker for big ships. So If I get impressed, I get Woolsey to fastback this idea."
"Fine then. And..." Nagala notice Harlan. "Who's' this?"
Galatos knew this would be bad. "Em, a Cylon guest. Long story, sir."
"Oh, greetings. You must be the military leader of the Kobolians. I am Harlan. I came to exchange knowledge with the Cylons. I am impressed with their designs and they with mine. Would you like to see my power source?"
"Harlan!" Jack shouted. "Didn't I tell you time and again that saying that sounds like you asking someone if they wanted to see your junk?"
Junk? No one except for Mitchell got that Earth reference. "He means his manhood."
Tilting her head, Caprica gave it a thought. "It actually does sound like that."
Galatos had to explain that Harlan was an android with the mind of a former human. Laura waved Nagala off to not bother them with 20 questions. They heard and saw much stranger stuff. She was cranky and tired and was looking forward to a good rest.
Galatos had no such luxury, as now he had to tell Nagala, once they return to HQ, what was achieved, what would have to wait and what was still hanging in the clouds.
So Nagala, despite his reservations, let the Cylons take this Harlan person to their camp.
Things just kept getting weirder. And also to decide what to do with the 2nd ring, now that they did manage to salvage it. The Tok'ra operatives were helpful, but cautioned that the only intact ship was still badly damaged. It only survived the impact as its deceleration engines were not destroyed from what was seen in the ships recordings, was a running fire fight of ship vs. ship. Apparently, Kronos' spawn didn't want him to get his ships out of there in one piece.
So Nagala let the Cylons have those scraps and that even more outdated ship. He didn't see a reason to argue about it. The ring however, that was his.
Orbit of Ragnar, Colonial Goa'uld fleet, one hour later
The raptors jumped into existence a kilometer from the Colonial fleet. Once the clearance was given, the wing of raptors landed in the main hangar of the Re'nak class ship. Cain was already at attendance along with Belzen and a security detail. All she knew was that Nagala was coming. She was not ready to see who else jumped off the landed raptors.
"Hm, nice catch, Admiral." Jack complemented Nagala in his usual manner. "Had more luck in getting these than we did."
Nagala just nodded as he focused his attention on the approaching pit-bull. "Rear Admiral Helena Cain, meet Tau'ri Stargate Operations officer in command, Brigadier General Jack O'Neill. And behind him is their first of their Stargate, or ring teams if you will, SG-1."
"Sir? What the frak? It was said this was to be kept a secret?" She hissed, ignoring protocol, not even saluting. If glares could kill, Jack would be bleeding to death already.
"Gets to the point quickly, doesn't she?"
Nagala saw it coming, as he knew Helena, but this was unprofessional, even from her. "They knew. And speak to me like this again, and I'll have you clean this hangar by yourself."
She straighten herself out, her rage subsiding. "Sorry, sir. Won't happen again."
"Better. Now before we go any further... Colonel Belzen, the wireless I requested?"
Cain's XO handed him the remote wireless that was patched in the local battlestar guarding this location. "Ready when you are."
Nagala cleared his throat. "To all Colonial forces, this is Fleet Admiral Nagala. We have guests with us right now. I'm to inform you that while our delegation has returned and, somewhat successful, we also learned that Earth and its allies already know of our location. The guests in mind are in fact their representatives. The reason I'm telling you this is that a cloaked Tau'ri ship is in close proximity to our location. They will make themselves visible soon. Do not, I repeat, do not, in any circumstance do anything aggressive. Nagala out." He handed the wireless back to Jurgen. "Now, General, it's your turn."
Jack just gave Orina the go-ahead. Tapping her wrist device, she gave the Tollana's Shadow the order to de-cloak. They were informed ahead of this from Tollana itself, that the Colonials knew they were here.
So less than four kilometers underneath the Re'nak, the Tau'ri 304 destroyer appeared.
Ironically, at this very moment, Lee was doing a test run with several pilots in formation flying in death gliders. "Well frak me. They were this close and we didn't even know of it. Hope we can fix this in the future."
Back on the Re'nak Helena was fuming inside, but dared not to show it. She believe Nagala that he would have her clean the deck, if she fell out of line again. "So now what, sir? We just congratulate them for spying on us?"
"Helena, I admire your directness, but for the sake of the gods, shut up and let me handle this. Take the young lady from Tollana here to inspect the systems, but don't let her see and navigational data. If any of the rest of SG-1 want to go as well, they're welcome to join her. But keep them under guard. I have some things to discuss with the General here."
"Here?" Helena didn't know why they'd have to discuss anything inside a hangar full of noise.
"Yes, here. And keep the hangar doors open."
Cain was clueless, but didn't argue. As SG-1 went to inspect the main systems to see if this was truly Anubis level tech, among other things, Jack was observing the picture outside the hangar. "I have to say, your ships do look more intimidating than a damn pyramid."
"Thank you, even if that was never the intention."
"I figured that much. So, what's this about, Admiral?"
"A sales pitch, of sorts."
Jack was still admiring the ships outside. "Wait, is this the whole hull idea?"
"Yes. See, the fact you found us and so easily scouted us with just one ship, reinforces the need to be able to see cloaked targets."
"Wait. Are we now talking about the damn sensors or ship hulls?"
"Both. Simply put, if you allow one of our ships to escort the Shadow to a depot, I'll let you scan the whole thing and you can even begin picking out what you would want. I'll let you even have one for free as an incentive. See, I really like that we got our foot in the door with you. And I do think you did the same with us."
"Go on." Jack saw this more and more as if a salesman was talking with him.
"I will expedite the hull refurbishing and, if you insist on it, armor upgrade, but the anti-cloak systems and industrial upgrades are really needed here now, for tactical and logistical reasons. I don't know how long we will need to clean the whole Cylon issue up, but we will, eventually. Once done, or even before that, the wider galaxy will come knocking on the door. And unlike you, they might not be friendly. Also, if our industry benefits from your help, we can refine more naquadah as projected so far."
Now Jack got serious. "I get all that. And I agree with you. As the old saying back on Earth goes: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, you feed him for his entire life. So teaching you is a better option. But, I was down this path before, only back then, it was the reverse. We would have given the resources to be taught. Never ended well. Your afraid that we might not help you, if you needed it or that a conflict might follow. I'm in the same boat. The galaxy was on wacky feet before you came along. The Jaffa only getting their Nation on its feet, same with the Tok'ra, we only beginning to build a fleet and the Lucians and Ba'al still lurking around. As you can see, you being added to the pot only makes it a bigger mess." He massaged his forehead. Where was Daniel when you needed a calmer head. "This is why half of our and your proposals were put on ice. Trust will need time. And truth be told, you don't trust your own people. You told us this much in the first meeting. Like with us on Earth, your population doesn't know the truth and some fundamentailstic forces might not agree with any deals you make. I have the same problem. So, we go at it slowly. We get what we agreed upon for now, you get what we agreed upon and then we take the next step. However... I will light a fire under Woolsey's ass with the whole sensor grid plan, if you impress me with what you got. Deal?" He extended his hand.
Nagala observed him all this time. Jack O'Neill had similar issues as he did, that much was clear. And he was honest about it as well. He shook his hand. "Deal. And as I said, you can have one for free to see if it will even work."
"Then we can make one sensor array free of charge as well..."
"No, that's as a compensation for those weapons you gave us."
"What... Oh, right. Totally forgot about the TERs'." Jack pondered for a bit. "Before the team returns and we go see this depot of yours..."
"It's one of many, actually."
"Right. My point is, if we, as in Earth, could use some help in, is to get our moon base built."
"Does Earth have a moon?"
"Big one actually. And we were planning to build it on the dark side, to hide all military space operations from our public."
Well, Jack just handed Nagala a new bargaining chip. Building bases, outposts or entire colonies on barren worlds was in a way their specialty.
"If this first phase of our deal works out, I don't see any reason not to."
"Great. Ah, and here they are..." Sg-1 had returned, escort and all. "So?"
"It's Anubis." Orina confirmed.
"Fine then. So, tell the Shadow to beam us on board. Admiral, how..."
"I'd like to come with you to the depot on your ship. Once your done, just transport me back to the Saber, the battlestar that will escort you."
"OK then. Orina, you heard him."
Colonial military depot, orbit of Zeus' moon Hephaestus Forge, minutes later
Nagala had the area cleared of any civilian traffic, not that there was much of this in this area anyway. Only the large depot station several battlestars assigned for security reasons for this visit, as well as the decommissioned ships were in the vicinity. As well as the two new arrivals.
On the bridge of the Shadow, The entire bridge crew, Jack and SG-1 saw that the Colonials really stacked up obsolete hulls. "The good part of this is that in space, unless it's a micrometeorite impact or something like that, the hulls are untouched since their retirement. Scan anything you like, I'll answer any question asked."
Mitchell was the first to bite. "So, basically, the plan is for you to sell us these outdated ships..."
"Hulls actually. Their interior systems were stripped. Not that it would make a difference, they were outdated even by our standards, let alone yours. No, we refurbish the hulls, add, as you call it, naquadah armor, if you want, put in the best FTL system we have, as its part of the exchange anyway, a basic navigational system and the power needed to get it to one of your planets, there we give over the keys and your people then use their fancy construction technology to fill in the interior. as was already stated by our delegation, the ships made out of these hulls would not measure up to galactic standard, but a first line of defense to deter any raids or pirate attacks... that they'd be capable off."
"Oh. That's a nice way to look at it."
"It's the only way to look at it, Mitchell. The Admiral has a point. We can save a lot of material, if we don't have to use so much naquadah on hull building. Orina, make sure to get detailed scans."
"I always do that." She was already in the back at the science station. The Tollan in her saw this as nothing but scrap and an insult. The growing pragmatist saw the logic. And since it was the pragmatist that was the future of Tollana, she would have to agree with O'Neill.
"That one. I so want that one." Jack pointed out the front observation window. "The one that looks similar to the one escorting us."
Nagala had to have known. "That's actually an issue."
"You said any ship in the depot."
"I know what I said and I'm not telling you can't have it, but... That's the Solaria. She was not meant to be here, until she was crippled during the Cylon ambush. She's in such a bad shape, hull breaches and all. We didn't even have time to see if she was salvageable."
Jack almost began acting like a child. "I want what I like. It's also a modern design, if you still use them?"
"Most designs are still in use, only a few however are used by the main fleet. Local defense force use anything they can get. That there is a Valkyrie class. The design is decades old, but we kept that one design up to date even till now."
"That good or popular?" Mitchell inquired. There's always a reason one design remains relevant over the others.
"Neither. It's an above average design, combat wise. The crews also have mixed feelings. Mostly its popular with the military bean-counters. The design is cost effective for what it provides. The Mercury can, one on five, crush them most of the time, but that ship is also 15 times more expensive to build and seven times as expensive to maintain."
"So strength in numbers?"
Jack still wanted it. "Can you give us a quick run-through? What was meant for what?"
Nagala inhaled. This was a long sales pitch. "That 600 meters long design with the two large engines at the back? The Manticore. A fast flanking frigate. It has good DRADIS range, decent armor and average weapons. It relies on guns and missiles. But mostly its sub-light engines are it's real power. Of course, with your engines, that can be even more of an advantage... but let's move on. The Berzerk class. A basic carrier at 600 meters. One squadron of fighters and support craft. Light armor and weaponry. Essentially needs escort itself as its more a support ship. The Celestra is a logistical ship, meant to repair allied ships as best as it could without a dry-dock. Also resupplies them with either fuel or ammo, depending on what it carries. Almost defenseless on its own. A basic repair shop outside a shipyard."
"Can't be choosy in war, can't you?" Jack saw the logic in it."
"Righ... anyway. Adamant class, a predecessor of the battlestar design. Good at everything, but not exceptional at anything either. One fighter squadron capacity, average armor and firepower. At this point I should just say weapons hard points, as the guns they had will be removed anyway."
"The Defender, an updated older design. Basically a larger Adamant at 1000 meters with same fighter capacity, but no anti-fighter weapons and thicker armor and bigger anti-capital ship weapons. Minotaur, a pure gunship, with most gun hard points of any ship of the same size at 600 meters. Made to slug it out with the target. Janus class, an old missile cruiser. Was the largest ship we had, but even before the first war. At 1000 meters length, it's not a subtle design. Heavy armor and many heavy weapons ports, no fighters and anti-fighter ability. The Orion class was called a pocket battlestar. It's design was primarily focused on stealth with all the seat management systems. Only room for one squadron and only lightly armed and armored, it relied on speed and stealth. The Ranger class was at 600 meters the purest form of fire support ship. It only had a few point defense weapons, relying mostly on swarms of missiles. It was a second line ship."
Mitchell interrupted him. "I see, that with a few exceptions, most ships have this weird shaped front part of the hull."
"Yes, we call it the alligator head design. It's common with us." Almost everyone in one way or the other either squinted their eyes or tilted their head, trying to see the alligator part. They mostly all saw the resemblance. "The Atlas class. At almost 1000 meters length, it was the largest carrier we had back then. Its size and engine power also meant it could be used at a tow ship. It relied exclusively on its three fighter squadrons and support ships plus its heavy armor. It lacked and real heavy ordinance. The Heracles class was a Minotaur alternative. It sacrifices some armor for speed and has more direct firepower in exchange for not having much in the way of point defense. The Valkyrie class. At around 700 meters long, its the smallest real battlestar design. Its modern variation keeps the two squadrons of fighters and almost the same amount of support ships. It has heavy armor, but that's also its weakness. Its ventral side has almost nothing in the way of armor., relying on its speed, maneuvering and fighter cover to compensate. Its greatest strength is that it has the most weapons hard points per square meter of the hull of any design we have. The Artemis class was the first battlestar design, as you see the common ship parts will all future installments. At 1200 meters long, three squadrons and a large marine detachment, it was the first successful implementation of our doctrine. The Minerva is an alternative version, same length but much lighter, as it sacrifices armor for engine power, speed and weapons."
"So a glass cannon?" Mitchell summed it up.
"In essence. We always pared them up with a bulkier ship, or sent them on hit and run missions. The Sobek class is a modern medium variant betveen the smaller and larger hulls. The Jupiter class was the, at that time, the solution to our Cylon issue. The one you see in the background, the Calypso, was put out of commission 40 years ago."
"OK?" Jack was not wondering. "And you can't give us that one, because...?"
"She is being gutted for parts for our now once again active Jupiter fleet. Also... she's a Mark I, the others are all Mark II's."
"And ... this Mercury class? Where do you have one of those here?" Mitchell wanted to know.
"They're all in service. Well, all but three, the ones that are crippled ever since the attack on our colonies. Besides, we don't hand them out."
"It makes little difference." Orina, still working in the background of the bridge, replied boringly. "If you would turn your attention to the display." The holographic display to everyone's left now changed from the debris field data to a 3D model of a Mercury. Even all interior section were shown. Reactor rooms, missile silos, crew quarters ,fuel tanks... the works. Nagala sweated. He knew the Tollans were good at technology, but this... Their prized ship class, displayed so casually in all its glory. Either the Shadow somehow got its hands on the original digital blueprints, or their scanners were frighteningly strong and accurate.
"Yes... That's it."
"Dam, she has a fat ass." Mitchell commented.
"Fat guns as well. So I don't mind that booty." Jack responded to Mitchells remark.
Orina joined them at the front of the bridge again, observing the Solaria. "Gentlemen, if your finished admiring the proportions, I would like to offer a proposal to this accelerated exchange."
That got Nagala and Jack back on track in an instant. "Em, OK. Go ahead."
"Please." Nagala concurred.
"I don't know precisely how long we would need to assemble five new sensor modules... " She inspected Nagalas face for a reaction. "You said you have the main arrays already on hand?"
"The small moon we arrived at had one installed already. Three will be used in the remaining three systems, one on a ship as a mobile unit."
"I assume on one of those?" She motioned to the still glowing 3D display of a Mercury.
"You will need six of the units then. One for Kobol as well, I assume?"
"Yes, but we lack the ability to use that array off planet..."
"A simple solution. If General O'Neill is ready to negotiate here, I can make a better deal for everyone. We can upgrade all Goa'uld systems to Apophis level in that base on Kobol. If then in the future our partnership is assured, upgrading them to Anubis level will be much easier. We can assemble the satellites needed to deploy in Kobol's orbit to link them up to the sensor array we will modify as well. As well as add the anti-cloaking systems. Upgrading your existing arrays and adding our system to then can be achieved the same way. Be advised, however, that the anti-cloaking system is not fool proof."
Jack was already wondering if she would tell them that the Ancient cloaking systems are immune to this detection system.
"And what's that?" Nagala asked as he was liking this so far.
"The system, like the basic sensor array, is blind if a target like a ship is behind a large celestial object. Or even a small one. If a ship holds its position behind a planet and your array is on the other side, you can't spot it. Cloaked or not. Cloaking would only add to its invisibility."
"So they could still hide behind a gas giant?"
"Yes. The array will, the way it's now, spot hyperspace distortions from hyperdrives and subspace distortions from your jump drives. In other words, if someone enters orbit behind a planet via FTL, the energy spike will be detected, but not the ship. Just like, if a ship's reactor explodes, the explosion will be seen even behind a planet."
"Like a fire burning behind a house. You can't see it, but know it's there due to the smoke." Nagala began to understand.
"A crude, but good analogy. We could provide you with more detection satellites, even the stealth variation ones. Not with a cloaking system, that would be too expensive, just out of materials that make them hard to detect with scanners or naked eye, as they are small and have a small energy signature. We deploy them in many core member world's systems."
Nagala was liking this more and more. "They do have a range limitation, don't they?"
"If we upgrade them to what I proposed, the hyperspace and subspace scanning range would extend to 1500 Ly per array. An ample early warning system. But that would only apply to targets that use some form of FTL system. Ships not using them can't be spotted at such distances." Nagala nodded, as they already had this experience using them. "Be warned that smaller signatures from smaller ships can only be spotted at closer distances. Same rule applies with the short range scanners. Within a solar system, the anti-cloaking units would have an effective range of 20 AUs'. But for a ship like a Tel'tak, due to its smaller size and signature, it can be spotted even if cloaked, at 10 AUs'. The raiders, as small as they are, can only be spotted at 5 AUs', unless they have armed warheads or they use their jump drives. Our satellites can increase the range in all of these variations."
Nagala loved this detail, even if the whole raider situation worried him. "Why would the raiders be detected so much later?"
"They lack any standard Goa'uld technologies, like fusion reactors, tachyon or subspace communication or sensors. An array, like you have salvaged, no matter how advanced, searches for these markers first. The raiders lack them. So unless they have a power spike, as I mentioned, detecting them is then a search for their silhouettes, the materials their hulls are made off, as asteroids usually aren't made out of refined alloys, or their bio-signatures. Detecting those is harder at longer distances. Truth be told, even a Tel'tak could reach such distances and not be spotted, if all power but life support is deactivated and the ship drifts."
Nagala was getting the picture. "Good to know. I would say I take it, as you sold me a while ago, but what do you want in return?" To get this done ASAP and a general upgrade to boot was always a good thing in his mind.
"You increase your immediate offer to three ships."
Jack was impressed. Orina comes across like her father, cold, calculative, but like her father, she really cares. But unlike him, she has a talent as a hustler. What she's offering is easily implemented by the Tollans.
Jack now too turned to Nagala who was giving it a serious thought. "I like the idea. So, what will it be, Admiral?" He grinned internally.
Nagala knew what he wanted. "If you want them ASAP, we won't be able to fix them up, remove any unwanted material..."
"No issue for us." Orina told him. "General O'Neill, choose wisely. And not based on how something looks."
Turning back outside, Jack was inspecting the hulls. He even turned to the display, which was now back to showing details of the ship hulls in front of them. "Well, fighter capacity right now is a priority. I'd say, if you have one more of those Valkyries around plus... what was that big carrier called again?"
Nagala knew what he wanted. "One more Valkyrie is in the Hera depot. The Odysseus. As for an Atlas..." He guided Jack's view with his finger to the far side of the field they could see. "I think that's the Immolation."
Jack nodded, spotting her. "Good. We'll take them. But..." He turned to Orina. "How do we do this, if we just take them as they are? I don't know how far our closest planet with a shipyard is..."
"7200 Ly, but that's not the target."
"No, Tollana is."
Mitchell was a bit better at the star chart thing by now than O'Neill. "And that's 25.000 Ly from here. How do we get that from here to there. And why?"
"These ships can't land on a planet or fly in an atmosphere. We can only repurpose them at Tollana as we are the only ones with an orbital facility large enough to accommodate them. And there we can restore and modify them the fastest. We can also replace their existing armor with the naquadah trinium carbon alloy. We could even reinforce the skeletal structure with it."
"And the how?" Jack wanted to know.
She huffed. Even she had a bit of a logistical issue here. "We currently have eight 400 series cruisers at our disposal. Two for each Valkyrie, three for the Atlas. They take up a formation around them, use the graviton beams to drag them to hyperspace and deliver them to Tollana. The ships would fly slower, due to dragging a large mass with them... 10 days travel time." Before Nagala could ask about their payment, she already cut him off. "The ships would arrive and deliver the satellites and sensor modules to you. They can beam them to each moon or planetoid, along with all components for our engineers to begin the array upgrades, as agreed upon. The main array would be, as far as security is concerned, remain untempered. We would not take control. The module of our design however, would be. Once delivered and our people begin with the upgrades, we deliver the satellites to a location of your choosing, then we take the ships and part our ways. The last 400 series remains behind to pick up our people once they're done. Getting the satellites to their final destination would then be your problem."
Nagala figured the last part out for himself. He also realized one other thing. "And the entire base upgrade you mentioned. How much, as this is only for the fast sensor deal."
Only Jack caught that part as well.
"Double this deal to six ships, but I didn't include it as we lack the ships necessary to move any hulls we get from you for the base upgrade. But after the initial move, we can do a phase two, if you will."
Before Jack could go shopping again, Mitchell blocked that effort. "Perhaps we let the Committee do the next one sir, or they'll bitch."
Cameron was right this time. And even Orina would have stopped the General, if the Colonel hadn't beaten her to the punch.
"Fine, fine. You kill all the fun. But we still need to solve the whole 'how do we launch our fighters with your launch tubes' issue?"
Nagala has a simple idea. "I have a solution for this. Until we trust each other more, I won't give our best hardware over. And neither will you. I can offer that we leave on one of the ships you'll take with you, several wings of different viper models, from Mark II to VI and the previous raptor designs as well. In return, you give us several of those fighters you have, but the strip down version, you know, no FTL. We can talk FTL and Mark VII at a later date."
Orina didn't mind. "I can say that we can, if we use the basic concept, design a fighter using that shape. But it would take even us time to do so. I hate to admit it, but it is the Colonials that have the experience in this. I would say, however, that the best solution in the future would be if we design a fighter together. Including your Cylon allies."
Nagala wanted to work with the Cylons for the next viper design anyway, but this worked too, if things worked out in the long term.
"Shake on it?" Jack asked. They did so once again. "OK, we'll call you, once we're ready with that stuff."
"And I'll get everything ready here for both delivery and pickup. Thank you again, General." Nagala didn't care if he'd have to fork over more hulls for this. They weren't doing anything useful here as they were anyway. " I'll also have one of the big, as you call them, ZPM's prepared, since this is only a deal to accelerate the original one. Are you, after this, returning to one of your planets?"
"Well, I was hoping to keep an eye on Kobol, if any Lucian issues appear. The Tollans have some unfinished business with them."
Nagala knew what that meant. Retribution. "Once you depart, I'll inform our forces there to expect you."
Nagala was then beamed over to the battlestar that was escorting them. Once done, the Shadow entered hyperspace.
Kobol star system, 2 hours later
Bill would still be trying to salvage the still intact ship, if the Shadow hadn't arrived. He knew Nagala wasn't telling him everything, but he was a bit tired and cranky at this point. Anise remained on the battlestar in orbit with him as the Shadow was now pulling the Ha'tak into orbit with her engines and graviton beams. In truth, the moon's thick atmosphere was doing more to hamper these attempts than the lower gravity of the celestial body.
Orina remained on the Shadow, to keep an overview of the situation while Mitchell and Jolan returned to their homes via the gate.
Jack on the other hand was killing time exchanging stories with that perky viper pilot in the hangar. She, once Bill allowed it, showed him her viper. It only seemed fair, she saw their fighters too and even managed to pilot one. That said, he could only look and probe, but not fly.
Right now, he was sitting in her cockpit, inspecting the canopy, HUD and the controls.
"So, thruster control?"
"Yep." She was leaning over the left side, kneeling on the ladder to her viper.
"Fuel gauges. Ammo count. Engine status... heat management."
"Yep, yep and yep again. You catch on quickly, for an older guy."
They had remarks like that for each other for quite awhile. "And this." He ripped off a sticky note. "Can't read this." It was on her deactivated DRADIS display.
"Oh that..." She snatched it from him. "List of people owing me cubits."
"You have that there?"
"The DRADIS is useless in that thick soup on that moon. Only eyes work."
"OK, fair enough."
"Look. Not that I don't mind hanging out with you, your cool and all. But I am really tired. Can we continue this at a later date?"
Jack was a bit disappointed. "OK, rain check then?"
"Sure." She he stepped out of the cockpit and down the latter, Kara escorted him to the hallway. "I'm going to the other side of the ship as you. These gorillas will escort you back to the CIC."
"Yay, nice, strong, strappy marines to escort little old me."
Back in the CIC, he saw on one of the screens that the Shadow already did most of the work it was hoped to do. "So you can add one more ship to your cause, Admiral Adama."
He just gulped down his fifth or sixth coffee of the day. "Not for us, but our Cylon allies."
"Ah. Well, sharing is nice."
"Found a second ring, or as you call them, Stargate."
That peaked Jack's interest.
"Oh. How did it get there?"
"Kronos stole it, as far as we know. Guess his people didn't get far with it."
"Him again. Dead for years and still a pain in the ass."
"I heard you have a story of sorts with that." Adama leaned on a console, seeing if he could fish for some info.
"Tell you what. I'll tell you my stories, if you tell me yours. Like how that perky blonde pilot of yours became your CAG and such a devoted follower."
Bill got a bit sad at that. "Let's just say, she knew my... deceased son."
OK, Jack knew to not poke further. He knew that feeling. "As for me, you heard about Harlan?"
Oh yeah, Adama did. Like Nagala, he was no fan of this meeting. "Yes. Is this connected?"
"Yes. He made android copies of us, the original SG-1. He was lonely. Anyway, the other us couldn't keep sitting still, so they did what we did. Long story short, We and our android counterparts took over his ship as he wanted to conquer a planet we just freed a year earlier. Our Teal'c and the android Teal'c killed him together. But our copies didn't make it."
Now that story sounded weird to Bill. "And Harlan, he still alone or did he made more copies of anyone?"
"Nah, we found his people who left that dying planet. Around 500 of them now."
"Just hope nothing bad happens in their camp down on Kobol."
"So do I, but I also worry about the bad Cylons your have an issue with."
"Why? They're our problem."
"Do they know that? Do they care, if they stumble around the galaxy and nuke a planet or two?"
Sipping more of his coffee, Bill saw the logic. "Knowing Cavil's character, that's exactly what he'd do."
The naquadah production and deposits are based on how much we estimate to have iron ore on Earth and how much we produce the stuff. Then add a society who is technologically more advanced plus 12 planets plus mining colonies and I came up with a number.