It began for me with the blaring of klaxons and the call of a voice saying, "Action stations, action stations! Set Condition One throughout the ship! This is not a drill! Repeat: Action stations, action stations!"

I was lucid when I woke. I knew I was on a battlestar, the Valkyrie. I was her commander and I was needed in the CIC. I threw on my uniform and rushed to the bridge. The marine let me in as soon as he saw me and I said as soon as I emerged, "What've we got?"

My XO, Lt. Colonel Amy Sokolov, looked at me and reported, "Multiple super heavy capital ships with heavy fighter support have just jumped into DRADIS range! The battle group is surrounded on all sides! Fleet command has ordered us to scramble our vipers and prepare for action."

I looked up at the small DRADIS console that dominated the center. I saw the Valkyrie, the Yashuman, and the Bucephalus in the trademark delta formation of a light battlestar group. Our escorts were arrayed around is in a rough sphere. Beyond the sphere of Battlestar Group 41 was dozens upon dozens of Unknown contacts with literal hundreds of fighters surrounding us.

"Cylons! Got to be!" I declared.

"FleetCom agrees," Colonel Sokolov replied.

At that moment one thought went screaming through my mind: The CNP! Baltar Vista was in my ship and about to cripple us! I had to act fast or we would all be dead.

"Disconnect the computer networks!" I yelled with a little too much volume. "Disconnect them right gods damn now!"

The crew seemed a bit confused at my sudden outburst but a stern look from Sokolov set them in motion. I wasn't sure how much good it'd do or how much we'd been de-networked when that red beam swept over BSG 41 and everything went black. The power went out and the emergency lights didn't turn on. We were completely and utterly fracked now.

Except there was a light to hold on to. My brain connected its relative position with my mental map of the CIC as to it being the navigation console. We might still have FTL!

"Mister Burton!" I yelled. "Jump us out!"

"But our FTL computers are still offline, sir! We can't do a blind jump!"

The ship rocked violently, throwing me off my feet. There was a sharp, intense pain in my left arm. I prodded the wound and felt more, intensive pain and a sharp protrusion from my skin. I'd broken my arm badly enough for bone to be poking out!

"It doesn't matter anymore so fracking do it, Lieutenant!" I screamed, quoting Cain's own lines when the topic was brought up on her ship. There was a mechanical sound coming from somewhere near the navigation console and the reverberation of more missiles hitting our hull.

I think it was in that moment, lying in the darkness, when I realized that this wasn't a dream. The pain was too real. Reality was too sharp and clear to be one of my dreams. I was thinking too much for it to be a dream. Most of the time when I dreamed I was just a participant watching the show through my eyes. I had too much control and awareness for this to be anything but reality.

"Frak me!" was the only way I felt I could accurately sum up my situation as the jump drives were charged and we escaped danger, the inside-out feeling of an FTL jump causing me to puke my guts out on the floor.

I was still on the floor, trapped in darkness, when the jump ended. Considering I was still thinking and my arm still hurt like a bitch and a half I had to conclude I was still alive. Mustering up all the will I could, I tried to get up off the ground. White hot pain coursed through my bad arm and I fell back into my puddle of vomit. The pain was so intense I couldn't think or control my body. I was dimly aware of a warm wetness covering my groin and I groaned pathetically.

In retrospect it was a very sobering experience. It reminded me that I wasn't superhuman or anything. Just a regular man trapped in a strange world.

Well, okay, not so strange. I was intimately familiar with Battlestar Galactica but the intent of my statement held true. I wasn't going to be saving the Colonies. Not with just one battlestar that was drifting in space somewhere, crippled by pain in a pool of my own vomit. That wasn't my destiny here.

With nothing better to do I leaned back and tried to relax my body as much as I could, trying to control the pain and perhaps even master it. I achieved nothing more than being another moaning wreck on the ground.

I was dimly aware of the lights coming back on and medics filing into the CIC. One of them came over to me and helped me set my arm. I didn't fight him and couldn't help but cry out as my arm was fixed. I tried to fight off going to the medical bay but my own experience said don't fight with doctors and medics when it came to their instructions. After making sure Colonel Sokolov was up and about (she was) I went to the medbay. I got my arm set into a cast but declined pain killers. I was going to need my brain at one hundred and ten percent for the next forty-eight hours.

"Good news is that we're still in the Colonies," Colonel Sokolov told me. "The bad news is that we're pretty much dead in the water right now. We're fighting fires on decks 17 through 19 and the dorsal railgun batteries are pretty much cut off for now."

I nodded. We were in the CIC, partially cleaned up but still one hundred percent on the ball. The computers were being scrubbed and pieces replaced. It was progress but like Amy said, we were dead in the water.

"At least we're still in one piece," I commented. "Where are we, exactly?"

"We're in the outer reaches of Helios Gamma. We should be safe until we're capable of moving and defending ourselves again."

I nodded. "So how many people did we lose?"

"Last count, two hundred and fifty-two people. Plus eighteen vipers that we launched before the Cylon weapon hit us."

I did some quick and dirty mental math. "We still have almost a thousand crew and forty-two vipers. Let's get a CAP going as soon as possible."

"Already done, sir," Sokolov replied.

I smiled. I had memories, for lack of a better term, of her competence before and she hadn't lost her edge from the attack or the new welt on her brow.

"Okay then. How about what's going on in the Colonies?" I asked.

"Looks like the main fight is at Virgon. Admiral Nagala is in charge. The Cylons are at all our Colonies and dropping nukes like there's no tomorrow."

"Damn," I growled. The Colonies might not be my home but those were forty billion human beings being pointlessly slaughtered by their insane robot creations because God told them to! Or more accurately, because the Cavil line were frakking insane!

"I know," Sokolov said, her voice low and sympathetic.

As much as she meant it, it was impossible for her to really know what was going on in my mind right now. Honestly I was waiting for the signal from Adama to come in of him taking command of the fleet and ordering what was left to rendezvous at Ragnar Anchorage. Then again how could she? Mine might as well be an alien mind compared to hers right now. I already knew the Colonies were doomed and there was nothing to do about it, but I could see it in my crew that they wanted to do something while there was still Colonies left to save.

My crew. The thought felt weird in my mind. My crew. This was the first time I had a moment to really think about my situation. Obviously this was some kind of self-insert situation but not one that left me with many options. If what I suspected was true, the Valkyrie was pretty much an attack gunship meant to slaughter lesser ships and run the frak away from anything that was big enough to put up a fair fight. That was why they operated in pairs or in threes, or at least ran with a heavy tonnage of cruiser support to augment their impressive if low caliber railgun batteries.

So what was my role supposed to be in this scenario? The only answer I could think of was to group up with the Ragtag Fleet and hope we can escape together. Having another battlestar in the RTF would simplify things immensely, but I doubted my presence would be the only butterfly here. Things had to be different. They had to be. Otherwise I would be able to just ride my way up to when we found a dead Earth and colonized the new Earth.

I shook my head and massaged my nose. Too much time to think was a bad thing for me. My imagination was too active to be left unchecked. So I checked over the damage control panel again and concentrated my thoughts on how I was going to make myself useful scrapping toasters.

The Valkyrie was hurting but not terribly so. My quick action had meant her armor had some dents in it but we were otherwise intact. The railguns were still there but unreachable by the gun crews thanks to the fires. So we weren't completely screwed. Between the railguns and the missiles this battlestar was packing, we'd take out a few Basestars before all was said and done.

In a flash of insight I remembered about the CNP. Quickly I asked, "Did we ever find out how the Cylons fragged our computers so badly?"

"We're still working on that," Colonel Sokolov replied.

I nodded. "Okay. In the meantime let's keep the computers de-networked and stay that way. Last thing we need is the Cylons taking over our gun controls when we're in the middle of a fight."

"Sounds like a good plan to me, sir," Sokolov replied.

Out of curiosity I checked my watch, which was now on my right arm. It'd been five and three quarter hours since the attack began.

Too soon for the Cylons to wipe out the fleet. Need to find a real hiding place. Or find a way to meet up with the Galactica. Hmm….

"Colonel," I said abruptly. "I think we should prime up our FTL computers and jump to Ragnar Anchorage. It's much safer there and we should be able to regroup with some of the Fleet there. If I know Commander Adama, he's looking to get the Grand Old Lady rearmed and into the fight."

"Makes sense," Sokolov replied, "but our damage is mostly to our armor and computer systems. Our real time sync is just getting all of the computers de-networked. We should be getting ourselves back into the fight."

She was right. That would be what a real Colonial would be trying to do. Except I wasn't a Colonial. I knew the whole situation and had different aims.

"I know," I replied quietly, "but I'm not going to risk the ship by jumping into the fight over Virgon blind. We're down by half a squadron of vipers and the Cylons have an overwhelming advantage. We should regroup with Fleet elements outside of battle and then decide what we're going to do."

The idea of essentially running and hiding did not sit well with Sokolov and it took more willpower than I care to mention to not knuckle under and tell her everything. There was no way she was going to accept the explanation that I was some nobody who got teleported into the body of a Colonial Officer.

I fixed her with my best Command Look and said in a quiet voice, "Look, it's not the best option but its all we got."

I left it at that and to my eternal thanks to whatever gods were listening, she broke eye contact first.

"I think I know which asteroid Galactica is hanging by," Sokolov said. "Number XRS-70601. We should be able to regroup with the galactica there."

"Sounds like a plan to me," I replied, grateful she wasn't going to push the issue even if I knew I was going to suffer for it later. "Let's go save the Galactica."