Healing and Planning
"How is he?" asked Boomer as she came into Sickbay and stood by Harry's bed.
"As far as Doc Cottle can tell, he's like a battery that's completely drained and recharging. Not all of his machines are working on him, but what he can say is that he's doing better" Rebecca said softly.
"Just before he landed, he said that all he wanted was to see you one more time" Boomer sighed. "I owe him my life. If it wasn't for everything he did for me when he found out I was a Cylon I would be in the Brig or something"
"I don't think Harry would have stood for that. He understands the need for jails and stuff, but he just detests the thought of putting somebody there for being who they are" Rebecca told her.
"Was he in one himself?" Boomer raised an eyebrow.
"No – a friend called Hagrid"
"Oh, the one as big as a Basestar"
"So Harry claims" Rebecca looked at Harry's sleeping form. "I wish I knew what he was going through"
"No you don't" Boomer shook her head. "When I piloted the Heavy Raider back here, I briefly connected with the Cylon network and saw what the rest of my race had done. Harry has experienced far worse than that in his short life. Look, why don't you go and get some rest yourself?"
"I'd rather stay here"
"Want me to make it an order?"
"You wouldn't dare"
"Marine?" Boomer called and a Marine guard came walking over. "Detain the Ensign and escort her to the Mess for something to eat and then to her quarters to rest for at least eight hours"
"Ma'am…?" the guard blinked.
"Carry out my orders" Boomer's grin turned into a shark like smirk. "If she resists, shoot her"
"Alright, I'll go" Rebecca knew when to surrender gracefully. Boomer watched them go before settling into the chair and pulling a small book out of her flight suit and started to softly read aloud to Harry. Over time, a nurse or two would come in to take a reading or draw a blood sample but the endless beeping of the machines was tearing the young Cylon woman apart and, had it been different, she would have gone to the ship's chapel and prayed to her God except she had lost her faith after realising that if God existed then he would never have allowed the attack to happen on the Colonies. Boomer had spoken at some length with Harry about his own religious views and was surprised to hear he respected every single one of them even if he didn't believe himself – her jaw had dropped when he'd told her he lost count of Earth's religions when he had reached over a hundred.
"He's asleep and still causing trouble" a low voice shook the woman out of her thoughts and she looked up to see Adama on the other side of the bed.
"Sir?" she questioned.
"Word of what Harry did and how he is has spread through the fleet like a virus. A number of Captains have reported mass gatherings in their largest spaces and their passengers holding services to pray for his life and wellbeing" Adama snorted in amusement. "Not sure if he'd like that or not"
"I'm guessing not"
"He doesn't strike me as a religious man… Certainly not after what he went through" Adama looked around. "He ever tell you everything he went through?"
"He's told us a lot down in the squadron ready room, but none of us know if that's just a tall tale or not"
"It's not" and the young Cylon woman gasped as she remembered what Harry had told some of the Raptor crews on a few occasions.
"His own relations did that to him? How could they be so cruel as to try and actually kill him?" Boomer shook her head as if to try and make sense.
"I can't answer that, Sharon, but I could see just as much when I first saw him – he had the look of a man that has been fighting his entire life just to exist another day. During the war, we often found camps full of survivors after enemy forces retreated – many of them had the same haunted look in their eyes" Adama leaned more against the bulkhead as he spoke. "Some of them just lost the will to live"
"But he seems so normal" Boomer had tears forming in her mind.
"He might seem it, but he's still torn up inside after everything. Hell, even I think about what I did as a pilot and the friends and crewmates I lost"
"Attention, Galactica – Commander Adama to contact CIC ASAP" Tigh's voice came over the speakers. Adama crossed the distance to the nearest handset and punched in the button.
"Bill, a Marine guard went to take one of those defecting Sixes a meal and found her bleeding out and badly beaten. According to Cottle, she's been raped" Tigh spoke quickly and firmly which meant either he was seriously pissed or wasn't drinking yet.
"How long ago?"
"About ten minutes or so… We kept this quiet so we didn't tip off anybody"
"Stop all outgoing traffic and retract the flight pods to be double sure" Adama growled in anger. The Six might still be an enemy prisoner, but he was sure as hell going to have her treated rightly by his officers and crew.
"Aye. Cottle's taken a sample and sent it to the lab for testing right away to see if we have a DNA match on file"
"Have the ones that should have been guarding her brought to my quarters" he spat and hung up before swinging round to face Boomer who was tense with confusion. "Are you armed?"
"Draw your sidearm and point at the hatchway – detain anybody that is not known personally to you. If they try to enter here, fire to disable first"
"Acknowledged, Commander" and Boomer draw her pistol and moved to get a better aim at the hatchway. "Whats happened?"
"Somebody has raped one of the Sixes" and, with that, Adama left. As she watched his retreating back, Boomer hoped that Harry wouldn't wake up because she had no idea how to explain this to him. Harry, much to the annoyance of the crew, had often been found with the defectors playing cards or debating the best way to demolish a chocolate cake – growing somewhat close to a blonde one he nicknamed Luna due to her demands for pudding with every meal. Adama had been puzzled but, as she had been giving them all the information they wanted willingly, he'd told the galley to do as she asked and so she got pudding with every meal although he'd drawn the line at her having a cake as big as a Battlestar on the grounds they had nowhere to bake it. Whilst she wanted for things to calm down, Boomer had a sudden thought about if anyone would be in a relationship with her – then she wondered where that thought came from. Her entire life, now at least, was dedicated to protecting Adama, Galactica and the Fleet in that order… There was no time for anything else in her life except for duty and honour.
"Where was the Marine guard that should have been on the door?" growled Adama as he took in the scene.
"The Corporal says that a crewman came and handed him a bit of paper containing written orders for him to leave his post. He had no way of knowing, Bill, it was a fake" Tigh looked deep at his friend and wondering what was going through his mind.
"Did the guard know him?"
"No, but he's seen him on the ship a number of times in uniform" Tigh reported.
"So he's in the service" Adama said the words aloud as if tasting them. "How many Raptors and Shuttles left between this being discovered and the pods being retracted?"
"Four… And we've already checked them out and they are clean – one was the CAP Raptor, one was carrying some engineers to a cargo ship that had a faulty DRADIS and the other two were medical flights on their way to pick up some wounded when the tylium bird blew a seal and had a small explosion. We opened the port pod up to let them land back on given the circumstances"
"Good call" Adama praised Tigh.
"Ahhhhh, it was nothing. How is he?" the Colonel dropped his voice for a moment.
"No change – they say he's essentially recharging"
"Damn magician" but there was no heat in Tigh's words – they all owed Harry a debt that could never ever be repaid. "If we had him up and about, maybe he could do some mumbo jumbo to find who did this"
"Maybe" Adama shrugged. "Saul, I want you to have Gaeta go through the duty logs and see if anybody was adrift for any length of time – might not show anything, but at least it's a start"
"Commander Adama, please pick up the nearest handset" and the two exchanged looks before Adama picked up the handset.
"Sir, its Boomer. Has the prisoner told you anything?"
"No, but she's out of it and Cottle's about to put her under"
"Tell him to treat the pain but don't let her sleep" and Boomer hung up.
"Alright, missy, you have two minutes to explain why this woman isn't in my sickbay" Cottle was about as angry as Adama.
"Sirs, Cylons have this ability project a dreamlike landscape in their own mind and to link that projection to other Cylons. If you give me a minute, I can try and barge in, for want of a better term, and try to get the Six to show me her attacker so we can find them" Boomer said breathless from her run.
"I don't know about this, Commander, but if Boomer can find who this is…" Tigh rumbled from Adama's side.
"Doc, be ready to sedate the Six" Adama realised the risks but knew they had to find the rapist before they struck again. Boomer went over to the Six, opened her one good eye and concentrated as hard as she could to make contact with the other Cylon woman. After ten or so minutes, she gave a soft groan and shook her head to clear it as Cottle dived in and pressed down on the needle he was carrying.
"Get this person to Sickbay" he ordered to his staff. "Did you get a name?" the gruff medical officer asked, turning to where Boomer was being helped to a chair by Tigh.
"Yeah… Yeah I did, and you are not going to like this…"
"This is Captain Edwards – my First Officer tells me you have an unusual situation"
"Captain, are you alone?" Adama asked as he held the radio mic of the Raptor.
"Just Edwaldo and me up here"
"You trust him?"
"Through and through"
"Good enough. Secure your comm line"
"Done – what gives, Commander?"
"We have reason to believe that one of your current passengers assaulted and raped one of our prisoners. Can you seal off various compartments of your ship?"
"Then I want you to secure the area where the Quorum meets and hold any shuttles you have about to launch"
"I can do that, but we're not able to launch or land a single bird because our doors have jammed. If you want to come alongside, I'll extend a docking collar"
"We're coming alongside now… Don't tell anybody what is about to go down – meet us at the airlock yourself. Adama out" he looked at the pilot. "Take us in, Boomer" he ordered. "Starbuck?"
"We'll likely get him, but if he manages to slip away and launch an escape pod, your orders are to use your skids to grab it and haul it away to Galactica. Under no circumstances are you to fire upon it"
"Can't I fire a warning shot over his front?"
"Can't risk him dying" Adama almost apologised to the hotshot pilot. He knew how she felt given that he had spent a good six months trying to find him when he was still the Commander of the Valkyrie… Valkyrie – a ship he often wondered about. When he had returned after that disaster of a mission where he had to shoot down Bulldog, the Admiralty blamed him for the loss of a ship and a crewmember and sent him as a 'reward' to the Galactica to oversee her final years in service and conversion to a museum. A large majority of the crew had protested to the Admiralty and, when they had been ignored, the vast majority of them had transferred over to Galactica such as Tigh, Tyrol, Gaeta, most of the Viper pilots and a large number of the specialists and crewmen in protest – Adama could not help but smile as he recalled the rumours spreading around when that happened.
"That girl is seriously messed up in the head" Boomer muttered.
"Whoops" said one of the Marines in the back. Adama smiled a little more before his expression hardened as they docked with the extended collar. After the Raptor's lower hatch was opened and they slipped into Colonial One, Adama explained quickly what had happened and the Captain explained that all of the ruling body had been confined by him closing the bulkheads and that he'd open them personally and he had already taken the precaution of disabling the escape pod ejection system for the moment.
"I want a team at each end ready to move in the second the doors are released" Adama ordered in a firm voice, unholstering a pistol strapped to his side. They moved quickly and quietly through Colonial One, moving into position and waiting for the signal. When the signal was given, it was almost over before it began with Marines pouring into the meeting and aiming their weapons at one of the members.
"I assume, Commander Adama, that you have a reason for coming in here like this?" President Roslin asked in an icy tone.
"A very good one" said Adama. "You stand accused of attempted murder, assault and rape of a prisoner of war… How do you answer these charges, Mr Zarek?"
"You have flipped, Adama… I haven't assaulted anybody at all" Zarek protested, getting to his feet in a rush.
"The victim identified you as her attacker" Adama growled. "If you don't come quietly, I will order Private Smith here to take her very powerful assault rifle and aim at you head. If you still refuse to come with us, I will give the order for her to fire a single shot and rid the universe of your existence… And you can drop the gun in your jacket too" he added as he saw Zarek's hand slowly going to his left jacket pocket.
"I deny I was involved in anything" Zarek spat. "Madam President, this is just another example of Adama sending in the military whenever I do something he doesn't like"
"I am sure that Commander Adama would not be here unless he had a lot of evidence" Roslin said carefully before sighing and rubbing the bridge of her nose. "If you have nothing to worry about, I am sure the Commander will publically apologise… If you have, well Private Smith might just get to be a member of your firing party. Take him" she said to the Marines. Roslin knew that Adama might be firm and rash on a lot of things, but he wouldn't come over here with armed Marines unless he had good cause and evidence. "Can you explain this?" she asked him.
"Not here" Adama said, glancing at the rest of the Quorum, "But when you can get a shuttle over, you better come over to the Galactica and I'll brief you on what we know – I'd tell you here, but I don't know if there are any bugs here"
"Just the President?" asked the member for Ares.
"Of course you may come, but it'll be held under the tightest of security" Adama allowed. "What he has done is nothing short of criminal and a breach of law and decency. I spent six months chasing that man around the Colonies, I hate him with every fibre of my being but I wouldn't come after him unless the victim themselves gave me such evidence as to what actually happened. If Mr Potter awakes and is able to do so, there is a way to display memories to a wide audience using one of his many abilities" and, with that, he gestured for the Marine to drag Tom Zarek kicking and screaming away to the waiting Raptor.
"They all have a private space allocated here" Captain Edwards said as he followed Adama back to the shuttle. "I'll search it if you'd like"
"I'll have a team sent over"
"No offence, Commander, but I know what should and shouldn't be on my ship – besides, I did my time in the services as an intelligence officer before moving to more lucrative work" Edwards smirked as he used an old smuggler phrase. "No… I wasn't one of them, but I am a hardcore fan of old age of sail stories"
"Okay" Adama rumbled out a quiet laugh, "I'm the same. Once your bay is sorted, I'll send a Raptor over to get anything you find"
"Right… And Commander?" Edwards looked at Adama with a hardened look. "Nail the son of a bitch"
"I intend to"
"Good hunting, Sir"
Rebecca had resumed her watch on Harry several hours later and had just turned her head to look at the Sickbay when she heard a groan. She whipped her head back to see Harry's eyes slowly flutter open and dart around as she yelled out for Cottle who came running along with a pair of nurses.
"Are you alright?"
"I feel like a dragon hit me. How… How long was I out for?" he croaked.
"Just over a week" Cottle said as he took in the readings from the machines Harry was hooked up to. "We nearly lost you twice but you kept coming back from death"
"I'm used to that"
"You've done this before?" Cottle actually blinked at that comment being so casual.
"Oh yeah… Remind me to tell you about a few of my incidents" Harry coughed heavily. "Water?" he begged and a nurse went away to get some for him.
"Well, Mr Potter, I suppose you want to know what we've done?" Cottle puffed on a cigar as he spoke. "We had to remove two of your ribs, part of your left lung and amputate your right leg… After a couple of hours, these started to regenerate and grow back. We didn't dare wake you up because, magic mumbo jumbo notwithstanding, your brain took a lot of damage so we left you in a coma to wake up naturally. Whatever your magic does, it seems to be running well and healing you up. For now, I'd like to keep you here to keep an eye on you… Ensign, your orders are to remain by Mr Potter's side and keep him company"
"Aye, Sir" Cottle might be a Doctor, but he was still a superior officer and she treated it as the order it was. "Sir, might I leave to visit the bathroom?" and Cottle nodded and Rebecca hurried away.
"She loves you"
"Clear as day to anyone – even an old country doc like me. If you asked her, she'd married you as fast as she could drag you to Adama's cabin. Listen, I didn't want to say this in front of the girl, but your heart stopped beating twice and we had to cut you open to hand massage the heart… You are extremely lucky to be alive"
"Yeah, I know" Harry coughed as he sipped the ice cold water the returning nurse handed him. "So what have I missed?"
"I'll let the Commander talk to you about that, but you've missed one hell of an incident"
"Projecting images without a Remembrall is a lot of power" Harry said. "I can do it easily enough, but I still need to recharge my magic for another couple of days"
"Colonial law says I can hold him for another 24 hours" Adama replied with a sigh.
"I wish I could help, Commander, but two days is the minimum"
"So we face letting him go because the victim can't speak"
"Um, Sir?" Rebecca raised her hand. "Couldn't we charge him with something else?"
"The legal teams would love that" Tigh smirked.
"Respectfully, Colonel, there is something we can do to hold him for longer" the young woman said. "With respect to Boomer, we still consider the Cylons to be officially robots, right?"
"Sure… Although I am sure Sharon would disagree" Adama chuckled.
"But don't you see, sir? That is where we can hold Zarek until Harry can show stuff – we charge the moron with damaging a military asset" and Adama turned to look at her straight in the eye.
"Are you sure of this, Ensign?"
"Aye, Commander – I checked regulations before suggesting it. You see, although he might be a politician, he is still essentially a civilian so we can charge him with that under the emergency powers ordered by Adar"
"Ensign, I could kiss you" Tigh muttered.
"Sorry, Colonel, I'm already spoken for"
"Damn it, Bill… You?"
"ACTION STATIONS, ACTION STATIONS… SET CONDITION ONE THROUGHOUT THE FLEET. LAUNCH ALERT VIPERS! INBOUND UNKNOWN CONTACT CBDR" Gaeta was speaking with a trace of fear in his voice.
"This is the Commander, Sit Rep" Adama grabbed the nearby handset.
"Sir, we just had a large and unknown contact jump into range – its not broadcasting coded ID and it refuses to answer calls… Probable Cylon vessel"
"I'm on my way with Colonel Tigh. Have the fleet begin jump prep" and, with that, he and Tigh rushed for the CIC.
"Love, get yourself off… I'm not going anywhere for a while" Harry said to Rebecca. "Your people are going to need every person they have to fight the Cylons"
"Are you sure?" she hesitated.
"Go on… You'll be fine and so will I" Harry assured her and, with a gentle kiss to his forehead, Rebecca went to her station. He watched the young woman go and then started to struggle out of his bed which had Cottle coming right over.
"Now you just stay there, young man" he said warningly.
"Doc, I have a feeling you are going to need that bed soon… All I am going to do is get out of here and go right to my cabin"
"Fine… Just stay there – I don't want my work undone" Cottle grumbled.
"You know" said Harry as he swung his legs out and onto the deck, "I really must introduce you to Poppy Pomfrey if we find Earth and she's alive"
"Was she your Doctor?"
"Oh, she was an utter demon who used the cruellest methods to treat patients…"
"Sounds like my kind of woman"
"Give me an update" Adama said as he walked into the CIC with Tigh close behind.
"The fleet is spun up and ready to go, but that contact is just sitting there" Gaeta said as he looked up from his screen.
"Has it launched any fighters?"
"Negative, Commander – its just sat there as if it tried to move and then lost power"
"Could be a trap…" Tigh mused as he squinted at the DRADIS screen.
"Maybe" Adama said thoughtfully. "Order the fleet to begin jumping and have the Alert Vipers close in with the CAP to investigate"
"Bill?" Tigh spoke quietly to his old friend.
"Could be another ship or something that lost power after jumping – its happened before"
"Last time that happened, half the fleet went on alert until they discovered it was Colonial One… The old Colonial One" he amended.
"Hmm" Adama grunted. "Dee, have the CAP lead attempt to signal by torchlight if possible"
"Aye, Sir" and a few minutes later she got a message back. "Sir, Bozo reports it's a Gunstar and its venting atmosphere from heavy damage. Their bay is open and a light is flashing from it in a random manner – he thinks its somebody just getting attention. He requests permission to land and investigate"
"Permission granted. Saul, stand down to Condition Two and assemble damage control and medical teams in the Raptors. Have an FTL shuttle jump to the fleet and inform them of what's happening"
"Right" Tigh turned and started to bark orders to the CIC.
"Sir, Bozo has landed and says it all checks out – they had a suicide bomber onboard which took out their command and control systems during a fight with a pair of Baseships" Dee called out a few moments later.
"Have him find their most senior officer and report to me via wireless" Adama said.
"Does Bozo have a name for the Gunstar?"
"Yes, Sir – the Defender"
"Tough old bird" Tigh grunted in appreciation. The Defender had been part of the Galactica's Battlestar Group but withdrawn a year prior to her final voyage around the Colonies due to alleged cutbacks.
"Commander, incoming text message from the Defender" Dee interrupted before lightly laughing.
"Care to share the good news, Petty Officer?"
"Sir. It says 'From, Commander Defender to Commander Galactica, have rejoined BSG-75 at this time. Request instructions' Message ends"
"Sounds like Colonel Truman alright" Tigh smirked. "No other frakwit would send a message like that… Maybe Starbuck" he admitted.
"Tigh, I think you are going soft in your old age"
"I do" Adama looked over at Dee. "Have Colonel Truman report to me when he can. Mr Gaeta, please have a Raptor jump to the fleet and inform them of what is going on"
"Saul, get one of the Raptors positioned so that its camera streams back live to the Brig – see if our Cylon friends can spot another of their own"
"And if they do?" he asked.
"Call me and let me know which ones and then send down a MarDet" Adama's eyes hardened as he lowered his voice. "They might be outright spies or they might just be more Boomers… I'm hoping the latter"
"Thank the Gods we had Harry create a fast acting magic voodoo to knock them all out"
"You only call it voodoo because Harry knocked you out, stripped you naked and tossed you out the airlock"
"Gods damn it, Bill, I need a drink"
"You can't leave your post" Adama reminded his old friend.
"I don't have to Specialist Peterson, bring me the case of maps for the Alpha system" and, after getting the maps, Tigh smirked and opened it up to reveal a small bottle of spirits.
"Drinking on duty in a time of war is a treasonous offence… I could have you shot for this"
"Yeah, but then you'd have to make Kelly your XO" and Adama watched his old friend start to chug down the contents.
"Saul, what the hell are you doing?"
"Relax, Husker – its apple juice" and Tigh turned the bottle so Adama could read the label.
"Saul, you are my closest and dearest friend. That said, I am going to kill you" Adama shook his head and walked out of CIC. "I am getting too old for this shit"
"And people say I have no fun" Tigh muttered. "Alright people, you heard the orders – lets see what we can do to help"
Harry did not, in truth, go to his cabin on Galactica but instead did the only sane thing a man could do after losing his family, friends, sent half way around the universe and ending up helping people he still knew nothing about whilst fending off a woman that wanted into his pants – he found a bottle of Tyrol's moonshine and started to drink it. Starbuck was the first to find him and then a number of the pilots slowly came in and the bottle was passed around and they swapped tall tales and Harry opened up more and more about what he had actually been through during the long war with Voldemort. They already knew a fair bit, but Harry coming to terms and peace with his possible death on Caprica had caused him to open up a bit more and the pilots and other crew that wondered in sat and listened at the years of fighting Harry had been through.
"You know" Apollo slurred his words a bit, "I wish we could do something about the Colonies and win them back, but my dad is right – we've lost them"
"Well go and get them back then" snorted Harry into his glass.
"And how, pray tell, do we manage that, frakwit?" Starbuck asked. "There are too many Cylons out to kill us"
"So we even the odds" Harry set down his glass and thought hard. "One of the magics we studied at Hogwarts was Runes and how they aided magic in certain ways. One of them was a bit like a shielding charm only this could last for a long time, if I remember rightly, so it might be possible to make these Runes up and fit them to the Vipers and missiles"
"Like rayshields in a scifi film?" Boomer looked over from where she had been talking with a pair of ECOs.
"More or less… I was never that much good at it at school, never even learned the real basics, but I had to learn very quickly during the war and the shielding spell was easy enough to do. All I need" Harry explained, "Is a hell of a lot of rock - get me that, and I can make as many as can be needed"
"Harry…?" Starbuck's eyes seemed to get wider and yet clearer, "How many would you need to cover a Battlestar?" and the compartment quietened before Harry started to laugh.
"Woman, I like the way you think"
"Woah, hang on… What are we talking about?" and Starbuck turned to look at Apollo with a serious look in her eyes.
"We were due for decommissioning and ordered to return to Caprica" Starbuck smirked, "As far as I know, those orders were never countermanded… Maybe we should do that. Harry, how many of these things can you make?"
"As many as is needed, but it takes time and a lot of concentration to make a shielding Rune – one slip and you could end up creating a monster of pure energy that runs on petrol and sugar" Harry shrugged.
"Does… Does that happen often where you are from?" asked one of the pilots hesitantly.
"Bill, something odd going on" Tigh came up to Adama who was looking at a report handed to him by a crewman.
"Apollo says some of his Raptor crews are heading into asteroid fields and bringing back boxes of rock"
"Rock?" Adama looked up in puzzlement. "Thank you, Specialist… That will be all. Go on, Saul"
"Well, Lee says that Harry was drinking some of the Chief's moonshine along with half the pilots and Raptor crews when they tossed around the idea of making some magic stuff to shield the fighters. He's worried Harry, Starbuck, Boomer and some of the others are going to go off on some Gods damned crusade"
"He'll have his reasons for doing something" Adama shrugged. "Mind you, tell Lee to keep an eye on things and report back if he has serious concerns"
"You think Harry is planning something?" Tigh asked his friend with some concern.
"Saul, you have seen what he can do – you think we could stop him if he did?" and Tigh had to shake his head.
"You're right, Bill… He does everything for us and asks for very little. Hell, for all we know, he might be pranking all of us with Starbuck"
"I'd rather face the Cylons unarmed" Adama snickered.
"Imagine Lee's face when he reports what we're supposed to be doing" Starbuck laughed as Rebecca giggled after Harry filled her in.
"It would be a picture" Harry admitted, "But who says I was lying. If I get the rocks and enough time, I can do shielding Runes for almost anything you can think of. Imagine it, Starbuck, taking on the Cylons in such a way that you'd never be harmed again" and the woman was wide eyed and lost her composure.
"Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer. Thank you for whatever you did to bring Harry to us. If you deem us worthy of returning to our homes and defeating our enemy, I swear on my life and honour to make a sacrifice at the first temple I see. So Say We All" and Harry heard Rebecca echo the last four words as he felt vaguely uncomfortable – he did not believe in any kind of religion at all, but he held his tongue given that they were allowing him a place to stay.
"I've just had a better idea" Harry mused as the other two finished their prayer. "Even if I made enough Runes for the fighting ships, it still leaves the fleet short of firepower. So, why not make some more?"
"You got a Battlestar in that wand of yours?" Starbuck joked.
"No, but the Cylons simply turned off your planetary defences, right?"
"So we don't we simply launch a ground assault on them, reactivate them and turn their batteries on the Cylons until they either retreat or surrender. Apart from the shielding Runes, I can do ones for replenishing weapons so they can keep on going forever"
"Harry" Starbuck grabbed his hand and started to pull him down the corridor, "I have got to introduce you to the Marines – they are going to love you"
# # # # #
Five days later, a group of Galactica's crew gathered in an unused squadron briefing room to discuss a plan that would get all of them in major amounts of trouble if they made it back.
"Alright, people, settle down… We were lucky enough to get a few ships and some people when we raided Caprica, but I think we can do better. Harry is going to work his magic so that we have protection against the Cylons and their weaponry for both people and machines. When we ran from the Cylons, we lost what it meant to be Colonials. Now, though, we're returning to give those gollagging bastards a fraking good kick up their toaster asses" Starbuck explained her idea. "With Harry's modifications, we have a chance to go back and take Caprica or any of the other worlds. The problem is, though, that the President doesn't want us to go back and has ordered the Commander to not undertake the mission. Secretly, he's asked me to put together an Air Wing of volunteers and a landing force of Marines who-" she was cut off by everybody standing. "You lot are beyond insane"
"Um, Ma'am?" one of the Marines raised his hand.
"Will we get hazard pay for this?"
"And what would you spend it on?" Starbuck retorted.
"Outstanding" Starbuck muttered disgustedly.
"BSR?" Harry blinked in confusion.
"Booze, Sex, Relaxation" Rebecca shook her head – clearly it was something she found distasteful.
"Adama has asked me to deal with this because, frankly, this requires out of the box thinking and out of the box is where I live. We're going to start close in dogfighting training, close in combat and boarding actions. Viper pilots, we're going to use the Enterprise to practice jump launches which will test your skills because Enterprise will be jumping the moment the last one is gone. Raptor crews, we'll be cranking up the grav plating on both flight pods to Caprica and Picon levels so you can train on how to deploy ground forces"
"Why you?" asked one of the newer Viper pilots.
"Well, Snowball, Adama has asked me to do it because it needs out of the box thinking and also I am the only flight instructor around that can handle you. Raptor Ops will be under me too, but they will be conducted by Boomer who you will listen to without question. I know this isn't the ideal planning meeting, but this is what we are given and what we have to deal with. Our aim is to train to take either Picon or Caprica depending on what the Cylons are doing. Any more questions?"
"If both flight pods are going to be in use, how will we practice combat landings? Enterprise is a hell of a lot newer then the Galactica" asked Hotdog, a former Academy washout who had saved Starbuck when they had been bounced by a Cylon patrol.
"We'll be doing the combat jumps and landings first for the Vipers" Starbuck said. "Chief is sending over a handful of people to get her able to handle the birds. Once that's done, and the Raptors work as they should, we're going to practice everything together on a suitable planet Gaeta is looking for" Starbuck paused and looked around the room. "I'm not one for fraking speeches, but if we do this… If we do this, people, we will win back our homes. Squadron Leaders, stay behind. Dismissed"
"Almost brings a tear to your eye" Harry stage whispered.
"You want me to throw you out an airlock?" Starbuck challenged.
"You want me to force you to declare your love for Gaeta?" Harry returned.
"That ought to be fun to see" Boomer said.
"You want me to tell the Old Man to demote you to Ensign, Captain Valeri?"
"Right back at you, Captain Thrace" Boomer snickered. Both of them had been promoted by Adama to lead newly reformed squadrons whilst he had promoted his son to Major to take charge of all the Vipers and Raptors in the fleet which Apollo seemed to excel at. In addition to her position as Captain of Galactica's most senior and experienced squadron, Starbuck was also the Commander, Air Wing with Apollo now being the Commander, Air Group – Adama having split the two terms apart to denote different responsibilities.
"Whatever… Viper Squadron Leaders, listen up and listen good. The magic that Harry is going to place on the fighters will interfere with most of our electronics so we are going to practice interception and dogfighting the old fashioned way by using iron gunsights in the cockpits. Its not the best solution in the world, I know, but it will have to do because we don't have time to harden every wire in the fraking things"
"What about missiles?" asked one of the pilots.
"We're going to either pre-program them to lock onto Basestars or to follow a laser designation put on by a Raptor" Starbuck said.
"For some reason, the Raptors seemed to not be bothered by the magical interference, so we'll be able to still do what we need to do" said Boomer. "One of the Raptors will be fitted out with an enhanced CandC package to act as an AWAC bird as Viper DRADIS will be next to useless out there. Whilst you are training, half the Raptor squadrons will be training for troop deployment whilst the others train on bombing missions and using chain gun boxes – none of us have used them since the fall of the Colonies, so we're going to have to start from scratch. Fortunately for both Raptors and Vipers, we have managed to get the simulators programmed with data for the latest Cylon craft so we can train on those. All I can say is 'Thank the Gods for the museum'. One more thing before I hand over to Starbuck again – I am a Cylon, that much is clear, but I have been confirmed as a Colonial Citizen and an Officer in the Colonial Fleet. If I find anybody, Raptors or Vipers, refusing to follow my orders or making any kind of racial slur directly at me, I will not hesitate to bust your sorry asses and put you up for Courts Martial"
"And if you do it in front of me, then pray that death is swift" Harry allowed sparks to dance around him as a light wind swirled papers around the room.
"Potter, behave" Starbuck said.
"Aye, Aye, God, Ma'am" Harry mocked mewed in protest.
"A word of warning – nobody outside the Galactica's group must know what we're doing because Roslin will try to stop this. If you are forced to tell people, tell them you are training for a secret mission which'll be the truth in some ways" Starbuck said. "I know Roslin supports what the Old Man does, but she thinks she can find a new home with the whole 'dying leader' thing she has… Anything else? No? Right, get your times from the Ensign and the first group will be skids up in two hours. Dismissed" and they got small folders of information from Rebecca before it was just her, Starbuck, Harry and Boomer.
"You alright, Sharon?" Harry frowned.
"Yeah, its just that I feel unworthy of the promotion and some of the Ensigns and more than a few of the deckhands are just this side of polite. Honestly? It is stressing me out to the point I want to pull out my sidearm and start shooting" Sharon sighed.
"Look, you want me to speak to Lee about this and see if we can get the Old Man to give you a few days off on Cloud Nine?" Starbuck offered kindly.
"If I take a few days off, what example will it set to the other pilots?"
"It will show them that you know your limits" Harry said. "As the leader of our resistance group, I knew when it was time to work hard and time to settle down for a while and relax and restore our strength. Rebecca tells me you've been pushing yourself to the limit with everything lately… Take some time off, Boomer, and come back as fresh as a daisy and ready for work" Harry stared at her with an intense gaze.
"But it isn't even my time for leave" Boomer protested.
"Oh, for crying out loud" Starbuck had had enough. "Harry?" and there was a flash of light…
Seeing as you wouldn't go quietly, we decided to take things into our own hands. Adama has given you a week's leave on Cloud Nine and ordered you not to come back until its over.
The Raptor Wranglers