This was a plot bunny. I've always wanted to see a BSG 2003 and Babylon 5 running into each other after the Vorlons and Shadows left but before Clark is kicked out. It would also have to be before Lay Your Burdens Down – which I thought was the point that BSG 2003 became almost tiring to watch. I was watching Scar, from Season 2 of BSG and then remembered a particular order from B5. And this was the result.
Marcus Cole, leader of this particular expedition, looked around at the Asteroid filled area. There was nothing that was obvious here, but he had been ordered to Sector 87. And so he came.
He shook his head to himself and settled his expression. He ordered the Minbari at the Comm section, "Open a channel to Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan."
The Minbari nodded. Soon, the Captain of Babylon 5 was on the screen, his secret crush also visible. "Marcus. You're in position?"
Marcus nodded. "We got here a little while ago. Scanned the area, but there's nothing here. Just a bunch of Asteroids." And why he had to come look at rocks was beyond him. He was unaware that the multitude of asteroids was hiding things from his scanners – there was too much to filter out much data. But there was no visual of anything either.
"Good. I want you to target several of the asteroids and destroy them." The utter confidence that Sheridan displayed was a bit unnerving.
"I see." He said, his tone actually showing he didn't. "And then?" he asked.
This order confused the hell out of him. "That's it."
"Shoot a bunch of rocks, and then leave."
"Hmm." This was very confusing – and a bit worrying. Finally he decided he had to ask. "Captain, if I may ask …."
"You may not. You have your orders. I have neither the desire no the inclination to explain them to you." Marcus saw that he had annoyed his CO. "Now if your incapable of carrying them out, let me know. Otherwise, I'll expect to see you when you've completed your mission."
Marcus knew when to ask – and this was not the time. "Understood."
Sheridan must have cut the feed because suddenly the screen cleared.
Marcus looked around. He noted that every Minbari around him was studiously doing their job, "not seeing" the minor disagreement between the Shok'na and the Captain of Babylon 5, who they were sworn to serve equally.
Marcus sighed. He contacted the other ships and then told their Captains, two Minbari Rangers, "We've been ordered to target several asteroids and destroy them. We need no explanation for these orders – We Live for the One, We Die for the One."
The other two Ranger Captains immediately understood that this order operated under the Minbari precept, "Understanding is not required, Only Obedience." They both acknowledged.
"Head toward the Asteroid field and sync targeting scanners. We will go on my order."
"Yes, Ranger Cole" "Understood, Ranger Cole."
The three White Stars smoothly glided until they were 100 kilometers from the asteroid belt. There was no need to get any closer. This mission did not require precision firing. And it was good practice for firing at a distance.
It took only a moment but the forward guns were all synced. Sighing once more due to the confusion of why this order was given, Marcus nevertheless flipped up the firing control. He tapped the control.
Multiple shots went out toward the nearby asteroids.
Scar scanned nearby space. He knew that the Humans would be sending more patrols. They were needed resources and could not abandon this source. But it was too chaotic for their Command ship, Galactica.
All that was needed was waiting. No scanners could find him until he wanted to be found. He was a Cylon raider. He could be infinitely patient.
Carefully attached to one asteroid that was relatively stable in its position, Scar turned off all active scanners other than the laser eye. The Human Prey would be coming soon.
The next Human Patrol, if they maintained their pattern, would be in a few hours.
Scar began running strategic simulations through its organic computer. Former battles were analyzed and patterns were dissected. When the human fighters reached there, Scar would detach itself and …
Suddenly, the consciousness of the Cylon Raider known to its enemies as Scar winked out of existence. And because the Resurrection ship had been destroyed, there would be no coming back from this.
The Drazi ships hiding in another sector could see no purpose to the White Stars having fired at the asteroids. The Drazi Captain furiously scanned but his scanners were not powerful enough to see anything other than rock and metal debris (many asteroids had much metal in them). The metals they scanned were not the type that any known race used for ships, so they discarded it as so much detritus.
However, they noticed the White Stars unexpectedly start flying toward the Asteroid field. Worrying their spying would be discovered, the Drazi ship ordered a jumppoint opened before the powerful ships were close enough to pick up the activity through the interference.
The Ambassador at Babylon 5 would be told that they had seen nothing.
The White Stars had seen something. "Shok'na! Reading ship debris coming from the destroyed asteroids!"
Marcus, worried, jammed the firing controls off. "Are we close enough to identify its type?"
The Minbari ran through several controls. "There is too much interference. We would have to get closer." There was a pause. "There was also a surge, which could have been a jumppoint, but there was too much interference for that to be definite. Analyzing further now."
Marcus was now worried. He ordered his small squadron closer to pick up more fine detail. He really hoped he hadn't destroyed an innocent.
Colonel Tigh looked as Adama hurried into CIC. "What have we got?"
Saul replied, "We don't know. We've been scanning for any changes. There was some type of explosion at the edge of the asteroid field."
"Cause?" Adama asked as he looked at the display.
"Unknown. I suggest sending out a Raptor to check it out. I also recommend preparations to retrieve our mining team."
Adama sighed. "We really need that material. Unless there is some proof that it's the Cylons, I'd rather not. We can see if it is with enough time to bring them back even if it is the Cylons. Get me Starbuck up here. And keep an eye on that Dradis display." What little good it would do through all of the rocks.
Marcus listened to the report. "Sensors verify debris from one small craft of unknown type."
Marcus nodded. "Any life forms?"
The Minbari tapped a few controls. "There is organic debris – but it does not seem bipedal." The Minbari tried but gave up. "There is no corresponding record which identifies it."
Marcus sighed. This crazy order had apparently killed … something. Well, there was nothing for it. "Use gravity beam to retrieve debris for analysis." Thank God that Minbari ships had tractor ability, minimal though it was on a ship the size of the White Star.
"We will have to maneuver the ship for optimum position, Shok'na. Or we may have to send a Nial to grapple the largest piece."
"Inform the other ships and begin maneuvers – let's try to pull it in first."
It took a good fifteen minutes, but they got into the right position. However, after they had pulled the debris out and before they could fly over it in such a way to capture it, the Minbari on sensors called out, "Shok'na! Two small fighters have become visible to sensors!"
"Type?" Marcus called back.
Marcus considered it. "Are they the same type as the debris?"
"Shok'na. They read as … human."
Marcus was confused. "What type of craft?"
"Unknown configuration. Unknown type of engines. Reading shrapnel type weapons with chemical propellant system."
Marcus turned his chair in shock. "Like bullets?"
There was no corresponding word for bullets in Minbari, or if there was Marcus didn't know the word. The Minbari looked confused.
Marcus waved off that question. "Threat level?"
Marcus sighed. "Ease us back. Leave the debris visible. Let's wait for them to come out."
Starbuck and Kat were flying their vipers through the asteroids. Starbuck was leading the mission. "Galactica Actual? This is Starbuck."
"What do you see, Kara?"
Starbuck looked at the alien ships becoming visible beyond the asteroids. "Unknown ships. Three of them. Each looks about twice as long as Colonial One. They were somehow pulling something but we're not close enough to see what it was. They stopped when they saw us."
There was a pause. "Cylon?"
Starbuck shook her head though no one was there to see it. "Not like any Cylon ship I've ever seen. It almost looks like a huge fighter. It's not Colonial. And it doesn't look Cylon. I don't know what the frak it is." She then noticed something. "The lead ship seems to be slowly backing off as though to give us room if we want to come out."
Adama looked at Saul Tigh, who looked both aggressive and nervous all at once. Finally he decided. "Have Kat hold back and carefully move forward to see what they were doing. If they move as though to attack, turn your ass around and get the frak out of there. Understood?"
"Understood, Admiral. Starbuck out."
Marcus looked at the small ship. "I have never seen anything like them."
"One of them has stopped and one is coming out," the Minbari on sensors said.
The communication specialist said, "There are signal from a low frequency radio being transmitted and received."
Marcus was curious. "Can we tap into that frequency?"
Starbuck was really nervous as she flew her viper out from the cover of the asteroids. She looked at what the ship had been towing. She was shocked to see the parts of a Cylon Raider. One she recognized.
"Galactica! The material they were towing was the remains of a Raider. It's all in pieces. And Admiral?"
"Go ahead, Starbuck."
"It looks like it was Scar," she said with some wonder.
Kat sighed as she listened in. There went that 200 cubit bet. At least Starbuck couldn't win it either.
"What are the ships doing?" came the message.
Starbuck had stopped her viper. "They're just … sitting there."
Marcus was listening in to the feed. He was shocked to recognize the language. It was Greek of all things. And not even Modern Greek. It was Ancient Greek. He was probably one of only a handful of humans in space which could speak the language – thanks to a complete lack of night life on Arisia Colony where he had grown up.
"Open up a channel." The Minbari moved some controls and then nodded.
"This is White Star 27 to the small fighter which is before us. We apologize if this small ship was one of yours. We did not intend to destroy it – it was an accident."
Kara's eyes widened in shock. "Galactica! They are calling me. I hope you heard that! What do I do?"
"Starbuck. Patch your comm system as a relay."
"To the ship calling itself White Star 27. This is Admiral William Adama of the Colonial Battlestar Galactica. Who are you?"
Marcus' eyes widened. He had never heard of these people. "This is Ranger Marcus Cole of the Anla'shok. I have never heard of a Battlestar. I read the life sign on your fighter as human. When you say Colonial, what colony are you speaking of?"
"The Twelve Colonies of Kobol. I assume you know of Kobol. And I assume you are human as well?"
Marcus was confused. "Yes, I am Human, though much of my crew is Minbari. And I'm sorry. I've never heard of Kobol."
"Kobol is the homeworld of humanity itself. You must know it by another name."
Marcus was very confused. "I'm sorry. As far as I know the homeworld of Humanity is Earth, though personally I'm from Arisia Colony myself, my grandparents having emigrated from Earth 60 years ago."
Adama's voice showed shock. "The Twelve Tribes left Kobol 2000 yaren ago to settle in the Colonies of Picon, Caprica, Gemenon, Tauron, Leonis, Virgon, Libran, Scorpio, Sagitarrion, Aerilon, Canceron, and Aquaria. Our Sacred Scrolls say that a thirteenth tribe decided to travel to a planet called Earth 2000 yaren before the Exodus."
Marcus was floored. "Very strange. Humans evolved on Earth the 2 million years ago. Modern Humans 200,000 years ago. Written history began 5500 years ago. You speak a language that was most popular on Earth starting 3300 years ago. The language we call Ancient Greek. Perhaps your thirteenth tribe only returned to Earth when the language became as you speak it."
There was a pause. "That's for scholars and priests to decide. But you claim to come from Earth?"
Marcus replied, "While currently Earth Alliance is in the middle of bit of internal struggle due to the actions of a madman named Clark, I and my organization are based on the former Earth Alliance Station Babylon 5, now an Independent State with a quarter of a million inhabitants both Human and Alien. It is currently the diplomatic center of – well, this entire part of the galaxy; and known to most aliens and non-Earth humans as the center of peace, or at least the hope of peace."
Adama and Saul Tigh looked at each other. Whoever this person was, they spoke of things that they knew nothing about. But this Cole claimed to be from Earth. "Please hold on a moment while I confer with my officers."
Adama said, "Get a raptor out to the fleet. We need Roslin or someone from the President's Office here. I'm going to invite them in but I want fighters scrambled to keep an eye on them."
Saul nodded. "I agree. I'll go get all the pilots together to brief them."
Adama nodded. "Let's find out if they can bring Starbuck on board. It's dangerous, but I trust her instincts more than most."
Tigh sighed. "She's a hothead, but she isn't stupid."
Adama nodded. "Go call the pilots together." He then activated the comm., "Galactica Actual to White Star 27."
"Can you allow our pilot on board your ship? I'd like her to visually verify that you aren't our enemy. I'm putting a lot of trust in you – Kara is like a daughter to me. If she is harmed, I'll take it personally."
"Understood. We will guarantee her safety."
"Starbuck? Did you catch that?"
"You want me to land on the ship and make certain they are who they say they are and then call back?"
Starbuck sounded nervous but willing. "Yes, Sir. I'll be calling from the ship once I'm there."
"Understood. And good luck, Kara."
Starbuck called to the weird looking ship. "White Star 27. This is the Colonial Viper. Where are your landing platforms?"
"Our landing bay is underneath the main section. If you come in front of us, I will open the bay door. Your craft should fit without issue."
Starbuck flew past the debris from Scar until she could see underneath. And there was the bay. She nudged her thrusters until she was moving slowly toward it. She agreed that the bay looked just as alien as the outside. She slowly entered. "I'm inside. What now?"
"We'll turn on gravity slowly – that should land the craft. Once you see a green light, the bay will be pressurized and it will be safe to exit your craft."
Starbuck noticed that suddenly her viper dropped slowly to the deck. Once it touched down, the full weight of gravity hit. The light in front of her changed from red to green. Her instruments also registered atmosphere.
Just as she was opening the canopy, she heard Kat's voice come through. "A Cylon raider just jumped in!"
The Admiral's voice came through. "Destroy it! Before it can take back any intel on our visitors!"
The voice of the White Star Captain, Cole, came through. "Stand by." The ship shuddered very slightly. "Raider destroyed."
Kat's voice came through again. "Holy Gods! They've got fracking lasers!"
Cole's voice answered, "That was actually one of the small cannons. The large cannons would have been overkill."
Adama's voice came through. "At some point, I'd like to see those weapons in action. But right now, let's concentrate on at least meeting. Kat. Once the go ahead is given, you will lead the ships here. Wait for my word."
Just as Starbuck started exiting the canopy, a man arrived. He appeared human, with a strange beard, and he was wearing robes. Behind him were two others who were dressed the same but did not appear human. They had bone crests on their heads!
She jumped down and looked at the man. He walked forward and bowed his head breifly. "Hello. I am Ranger Captain Marcus Cole."
She did the only thing she could. She saluted. "Lieutenant Kara Thrace of the Colonial Fleet, CAG of the Battlestar Galactica. Permission to come aboard."
Bemused, the man returned her salute passably. "Permission granted. Come with me to the bridge, so we can call your Admiral."
Kara nodded. She fell in with the man and walked down the halls. She looked around. "No human designed this."
Cole chuckled. "You are correct. The White Stars were built by the Minbari, of which Rangers Talik and Verdan are examples," he motioned toward the other two, "using the best of Minbari technology as well as some Vorlon technology."
"Who are the Vorlons?" she asked curiously.
Cole paused and then said, "That is a very long story."
Kara actually believed him.
She was just as amazed when she got on the bridge. This was definitely not Cylon. "Where can we call from?"
Marcus led her over. "Push that button there."
She did so. "This is Starbuck to Galctica?"
"This is Galactica Actual. Go ahead."
"I've only just got here but he was telling the truth. Cole is the only Human I've seen but the rest are aliens. And this ship is definitely NOT Cylon."
"I see. So do you feel comfortable allowing them to come to us here?"
Starbuck shrugged. "I don't see why not?"
"Okay then. Galactica Actual to Kat."
"This is Kat."
"Lead our visitors to the Galactica. We'll have vipers out keeping an eye on things."
"Understood, Sir. White Star ships … follow me."
Starbuck was amazed at the ease the White Star ship she was on could maneuver. No Colonial ship of any size other than a viper or raptor could move as easily as this ship did.
It took about fifteen minutes but soon the White Stars picked up the very large ship that was in the middle of the asteroid field.
Marcus looked at the sensors. "My word. That ship is an absolute beast." He said this in Minbari.
Kara, not knowing the language, asked, "What did you say?"
Marcus consciously translated it. "I was just saying that your Battlestar is absolutely massive."
Kara laughed. "While I love the Galactica, wait until you see the Pegasus. Its nickname is the Beast."
Marcus chuckled. "Actually, beast is what I called the Galactica. The Pegasus is larger?"
Kara nodded. "Just a bit."
Adama and Tigh looked at the video feed. "Those are some different looking ships."
Tigh shook his head. "They look very strange. But they also look graceful."
"White Star 27 to Galactica."
"This is Galactica. Go ahead."
"What next? I need to send one of my squadron back to Babylon 5 to tell the Station Captain what's going on. I don't want to try to explain over an open channel unless I absolutely have to. But I need to know what I should tell him."
"You can message you base from this far away?" Adama asked incredulously.
"We have a Stellar-Com. But I would feel much better if I sent a ship there and allowed him to send back someone a bit higher on the food chain than myself. Also, I don't know if you want just anyone to know your coordinates. And if I message that far from here, it will tell everyone that you are here."
Adama thought about it. "Send one of your ships with someone with some authority. How long before we could expect an answer?
"Well, it's only a five hour jump. So five hours there, five hours back, and probably two hours to get someone ready. So 12 hours?"
Adama was confused. "Why would it take 5 hours to jump? Do you need to make multiple jumps on the way?"
The voice that came back sounded confused. "No? It's 5 hours straight there."
Adama was very confused. "Can you send one ship? We will watch as you jump."
"And what message should I send?"
Adama paused. And then stoically he said, "Tell them that I have a fleet that I am protecting with 50,000 refugees that is all that is left from a civilization that used to number 20 Billion souls before we were attacked."
There was a pause and then Cole's voice which sounded shocked. "20 Billion?"
Adama replied, "20 Billion."
"My god! Earth Alliance in total is only 15 billion! And that includes fourteen worlds!"
Adama replied, "Yes. We are tired and war-weary. We need a break. Something. We need food, water, protection. We need a place to set down. Regroup. And we need it soon."
There was a pause. "White Star 42 will be leaving momentarily to bring back someone to help get you those things. I promise that I will do everything I can to make sure you get what you need."
Adama and everyone in the CIC watched as one of the odd-looking ships moved away. Suddenly, a vortex appeared and the ship disappeared into it.
"What in all the hells was that?"
Saul replied, "I have no idea."