It would be fair to say things had changed some in our absence, indeed, we were quick to notice masses of construction across the sol system, it really looked as if that a significant number of people had been mobilized as not only could our sensors pick up what appeared to be asteroid mining facilities, sensor relays and the skeletal but still distinctive forms of shipyards as well as unfamiliar shapes that we soon learned were fixed defensive emplacements.
Somebody had been very busy, and for this level of work, the assistance of Earth must have been successfully achieved, a major bonus point in our favour. We would need as many of those as we could possibly get.
Our return was greeted first by a hostile Battlestar, then with open arms, the addition of another Battlestar in the form of the Trident a welcome addition even as the loss of the Messenger was mourned. Not so much for the crew, far too many had died as a result of the Cylons, but for the loss of a valuable hull, a tool with which the Colonials could strike back at the Cylons.
It wasn't all sweetness and light though, in the many briefings and debriefings that inevitably followed our return, we learned that the immediate reaction to our arrival on Earth, whilst understandable perhaps, had not been healthy.
There had been riots, there had been some rather silly hysterics from the nervous, there had been denial, and there had been several wars. The political landscape had shifted dramatically as a result; Nichol Foster's home country having achieved some form of prominence as a result of one of its citizens being the first to make first contact and something called NATO was invading Russia, something to do with Cylon Fundamentalists seizing part of the country.
The concept of Cylon Fundamentalists on a planet that the cylons couldn't even find had to be explained to me several ideas before I got the idea and wished I hadn't. The stupidities people can commit in the name of religion…
Either way, that wasn't really my concern. It was the job of the Admirals, the bureaucracy to worry about our allies, our support; it was mine to deal with my little portion of the fight. Though, I was interested to hear several comments which suggested that if the Cylons actually attempted a ground war on Earth, they would no come out the victor, it meant little. The Cylons softened up their targets from orbit before moving in, no mere infantry or marine regiment, no matter how good, would be combat effective whilst suffering from radiation exposure, there support so much glowing dust in the wind.
Our next mission was a fun one, literally.
A Colonial enclave had been set up near someplace called Los Vegas and we were officially on leave for a fortnight. The chance for the crew to unwind was welcomed even as I was kept busy arranging for some fairly major maintenance tasks to be performed on the Mailman, including a complete drive refit. Personally, I would have preferred for the drives to be replaced but spare warship grade drives just didn't exist, meaning I had to be content with a complete teardown for our overworked drives as well as several other essential systems.
No surprisingly when you consider that there were no shipyards completed and usable, such major maintenance tasks took longer then the two weeks leave the crew had, but the excess time was not put to waste. The marines were sent to retrain using Earth equipment and weapons, them being far easier to acquire and replace then those we had carried from the colonies. Our Doc was sent for a refresher, he was joined by several crew members I selected to gain basic first aid or medics grades, a few crew were reassigned as some ship assignments were shuffled and a small handful were sent to learn how to use Earth made computer systems, not something we had installed, but something we were told we might gain in the future.
One crewwoman I was unfortunately forced to send for psychiatric evaluation, it was regrettable but all too understandable given the circumstances.
It was two months before the Mailman was considered operational again, and our first few missions were basic in-system security patrols followed by a stint on local system patrols watching for encroaching Cylon forces. We never saw any, but the reports that were being passed along from those ships on long-range patrol indicated that the cylons were slowly sweeping their way to Earth, system by system.
At the rate they were approaching, it would be a decade before they found Earth, would that be time enough for us to gather enough forces to destroy the Cylon threat?
Perhaps only time would tell….
To Be Continued….
And thats it for Mailman. Dont forget that Seeker and Earthman are both part of this verse though