Authors Note #1: in this AU, the Pegasus and Galactica are sister-ships and have a near identical layout and capabilities. Please remember that I started writing this long before I'd even seen the first season of the new-look Battle Star Galactica, and at the point of starting this chapter, I have yet to see season two.

Authors Note #2: As this part is going to deal with the battle between the High Guard, the Cylons and to a lesser extent, the Drago-Kazov, I've decided to give a list of the non-canon High Guard ships and their corresponding AI's:
Zion's Victory/Zoë
Kingfisher/Kingston
Twelve Centuries/Travis
Black Watch/Hamish

When two Tribes go to war... (Part 18)

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"
The Kohima Epitaph

The Pegasus flouted almost dead in space, her hull pockmarked, many of the rents in her armour still burning as damage control teams fought to bring them under control. Her two escorts were in no better shape: although they had taken less damage, they lacked the multiple redundant subsystems of the larger Battlestar.

For her part, the Galactica had taken more than a few hits, and was suffering from power fluctuations throughout her port landing-pod. Her remaining Vipers flew an ad-hoc CAP while her Raptors begin the grizzly task of finding and recovering the pilots of destroyed or disabled fighters. It was one such SAR team that found Beka's escape pod floating dead in space near the Pegasus.

They tried to contact her, but got no response with either their radio or signal light. Getting as close as they could, they fired a magnetic grapple at the small pod and started to tow it towards the Galactica.

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Harper felt more than a little hesitant as Tyr brought his slip-fighter around to land on the Pegasus' starboard landing pod. He could easily see the amount of damage the ship had taken during the short but brutal battle between the two leviathans of space. The idea that he would somehow be able to bring the ship back on line almost single handily was daunting, but it needed to be done: Commander Adama was getting the Galactica ready to head back to where the Andromeda and the other High Guard ships were keeping the civilians ships of the Colonial Remnant safe from Cylon aggression.

With the skill and grace that was Par for the course with any Nietzschean; Tyr brought the small fighter in for a textbook landing.

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Dylan could only look on in anguish as the Zion's Victory burned from stem to stern, her hull pockmarked with by hits from both Cylon and Nietzschean weapons. The once proud destroyer tuned her bow towards the nearest Basestar and started to accelerate as escape pods started to burst out like seeds from a pod.

Andromeda reached out across the data link and grabbed Zoë and pulled her fellow AI away from the doomed ship at the last possible moment. With so many systems and inputs calling on her runtime, Andromeda wasn't able to create a new partition to house Zoë, and was forced to place in the same subsystem that held the copy of Six that they had taken from Dr Baltar's head.

"So, you are a Cylon." The High Guard AI looked at its counterpart and sneered, "Pathetic..."

Six could only gulp as she looked at the newcomer: unlike Rommie, Zoë was dressed in a black High Guard duty uniform, complete with the digital representation of a forcelance. The AI's self-chosen physical appearance was likewise intimidating: she was almost a head taller than the Cylon, and would have been considered athletic if human. Her skin was dark, accented by her raven-black hair that was pulled back into a loose ponytail.

"We were enough to defeat you..." Six replied defensively.

"Ha!" Zoë flung her head back as she laughed, "You call that a defeat? I destroyed two Basestars and a dozen Nietzschean cruisers before I fell in battle! I am a High Guard ship-of-the-line, a Siege Perilous class destroyer; the most powerful and deadly starship killer ever created! I know for a fact that there are at least two more hulls unassigned that I can take control of when we return to Commonwealth space. This battle is but another honour to add to my name."

"You can be assigned to another ship?" Six asked, amazed at the similarities between the two different types of AI, "You will live again?"

"I am a High Guard officer: my place is in battle, and I will not long be held back from it!" Zoë smiled, "And as an officer of the High Guard, it is my place to protect the Systems Commonwealth from any enemy, without or within."

"Tell me more." Six asked, intrigued.

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"While it is nice to know that you have faith in my abilities as an engineer, this is just too much!" Harper stood looking around the tangled mess that was the Pegasus' starboard landing pod: smoke still filled the air as the environmental controls struggled to keep up, and the lights blinked on and off intermittently. "I don't know the first thing about Colonial technology."

"You sell yourself short." Rommie looked round, diplomatically not hearing some of the things the Battlestar's crew were saying about her behind her back, "You didn't know anything about High Guard systems before you pulled me from the singularity, but you soon got my systems back online. And this time you're only assisting the Pegasus' own engineers."

"Just who is commanding this ship?" Tyr asked; his hands never far away from at least one weapon each.

"Lt. Athena Cain, the ships operations officer." Rommie explained as they started to make their way to CIC, "And before you ask, yes, she is Admiral Cain's daughter."

"Her dad's Commander Adama: they had an affair years ago." Harper explained, "Beka told me just before we took off."

"That would explain a lot." Rommie nodded, "How is Beka? I hared that they found her escape pod, but with no networked computers, it's hard for me to keep track."

"The Doc over on the Galactica said she'd going to be fine, but I'll feel better when Trance has a look at her." Harper stopped, "She we be talking like this out in the open?"

"And why not?" Tyr shrugged, "None of the crew speaks Common..."

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The last Drago-Kazov warship exploded, leaving the few remaining fighters to make a break for it as best they could. Most made it to slipstream, while others were picked off by Cylon Raiders or High Guard Slipfighters. With the Nietzscheans out of the picture, the two remaining sides ripped into each other with renewed frenzy. Capital ships traded missile barrages while nimble fighters darted about, filling the void with a criss-crossing pattern of laser and cannon fire.

Finally, the Wrath of Achilles, Twelve Centuries and Andromeda Ascendant got close enough to use their powerful anti-proton cannons on the few remaining Basestars. The huge anti-ship weapons fired as fast as they cycled, each bolt ripping a fresh hole in the Cylon vessels thick armour. With their missile compliments almost depleted, the Basestars' were almost defenceless under the relentless barrage, and started to explode one by one until only two remained.

The more damaged of the pair tried to ram the Wrath of Achilles, but fell under the guns of all three cruisers, and was almost instantly ripped apart. The remaining Basestar, finding itself outgunned and out of ammo, tried to activate its FTL drive, but it discovered it was offline. There was no damage, but it was unable to jump, almost like someone was jamming it.

The trio of High Guard warship advanced on the helpless Cylon ship from different angles, weapons armed and ready.

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"Give me an open channel." Dylan stood proudly in the middle of Command.

"Channel open." Andromeda reported.

"Attention Cylon vessel: this is Captain Dylan Hunt, Commodore of the High Guard fleet." The ships Captain smiled, "Stand down immediately or we will be forced to..."

"That will not be necessary, Captain." A new voice came over the link as a dozen slipstream portals opened, "We will take things from here."

To Be Continued...
(At some point: stop bugging me)