Note: I had hoped this story would only be eighteen chapters. However, SOGS has taken more twists and turns that I ever expected, not to mention it is very different from the first draft written back in the early 1980's, which I originally started out using. I'm not sure how long this version will be, but I hope those of you reading it, are enjoying it. I know I am.

Next update is posted on my profile page. I'm also doing an informal survey to discover the ages of my readers. Please, drop by and participate.

Saga of Gold Squadron

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

Chapter 18

Iblis waited. His eyes drifted over the ruins of the city, his glee in his victory sometimes shaking his rotund form. The Dark One's laughter echoed among the ruins, bouncing over the collapsed and decaying columns.

"And you thought you could hold me captive," he mocked.

A tawny shadow, followed by a gray one darted nearby, and he turned, shocked, to see if by some chance, his human like eyes deceived him. He shook his head when he saw nothing else. Too much he'd listened to the legends of this place and decided it was simply the wind moving across the yellowed grass.

With confident steps he walked to the gleaming oracle that still stood. Despite his best efforts it hadn't toppled. It sparkled under the fading sunlight as if it were a red and gold diamond reaching to touch the stars.

Suddenly angry, he placed his hands upon it and pushed. The oracle didn't even budge. Iblis rolled back his sleeves, intending to use his powers against it. It had to fall to make his victory complete.

It will never fall, a voice snarled at him from behind.

The count whirled to confront the unseen enemy. "It will!" he shouted back.

Not as long as one of us lives, a higher pitched female mocked.

"I killed you all. Wepwawet was the last!"

Laughter sounding like a lion roar and a wolf howl answered, Not so!

A chill having nothing to do with the wind invaded Iblis' soul. Was it possible? Had he missed even one of the Old Order? If that were so, he snarled, than his victory was not complete and wouldn't be until he killed the last of them.

And as many of their off spring as he could find, starting with Commander Adama's son.

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I, too, wondered if I had done Adama a disservice by removing from his procession the one weapon that could have defeated Iblis. That would have rid the galaxy of a great evil and thus, spared the life of my grandfather, whose death now cried out to me even across such a great distance.

"There's no way you could have known," Jeccsa said from her place across the table.

The truth of her words I understood, still, my heart ached for the one who now, no doubt, lay unburied on the world of his people.

"You will right that," my daughter reassured me.

"At what cost?" Quickly I hid the secret I had kept from her. It was not yet time for her to know.

"There is always a cost in any war, but especially the one between good and evil."

I nodded, remembering the one waged between Iblis and Apollo. It had almost cost one I thought of as a brother his life. Would have, if the Argos had not intervened.

"But he lived."

"You are very skilled in reading my thoughts."

"Not all, mother. The ones you keep sealed from me are still safe." She smiled sadly. "And you are broadcasting quite loudly."

With long practice I put the wall in place, keeping my thoughts from her. I preferred to keep much of what I knew to myself. It would be hard enough to allow Jeccsa to keep her appointment with destiny. I wanted to protect her, yet knew I could not. Nor could I fight the battle for which only she was born for.

"What do we do first?" she asked.

"First," I sipped from my nearly empty goblet, "we go to the Colonial fleet."

"And then?"

"We wait to see what the Dark One will do." I had no doubt Iblis would seek his revenge, not just on Commander Adama, but Apollo as well. He had much to settle with the two.

Jeccsa rose and came to my side. She kneeled beside me. "I am not afraid to die. Not if it means he will be defeated."

My hand touched her shinning brown hair. Jeccsa was so young and I knew my heart would break when I lost her.

IF, you lose her, Wepwawet's voice whispered in my mind. Prophecies are not always as literal as they seem.

His touch was gone as quickly as it came and I shook myself, trying to decide if I had really heard it or just imagined I had.

"It's alright," my daughter continued. She must not have sensed or heard grandfather's words. "I am ready."

"I know." I kissed her forehead. "And with my blessings you go into battle."

She nodded and got to her feet. "You need to rest."

"I will."

My eldest glided across the marbled floor and slipped through an adjoining door. I got up and lay down upon my bed. Desperately I clung to the hope I would not lose her as Wepwawet promised. I stared at the ceiling, willing sleep to come.

When it did, my dreams told me what we would face.

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Iblis appeared beside the wrecked ship. With an amused smile he motioned with his hand, listening with satisfaction as scratching sounds sounded within its dead carcass. Moans followed and shuffling figures filed out, bowing before him.

"I want your ship in space within the hour. We have a battle to fight."

The figures bowed again. Some moved back inside while others began repairs on the outside hull. Not that it needed to be airtight, the Dark One knew, it only needed to have minimal repairs done so it would fly again.

He stayed for a short time to make certain his orders were obeyed. Satisfied of their obedience, he gave the rendezvous coordinates to the commander and moved on to the next ship in his fleet.

It would take a few days to get them all, but Iblis wasn't worried. He knew his opponents had far fewer resources. On the last ship, the one he meant to use as his flagship, he stood upon the bridge, his hands resting on the long rail, a smug smile on his round face.

This had been the one that had found him. The one that had freed him. The one he had rewarded according to their deeds.

"Ready," the commanding officer hissed through rotting gums.

The scent of its death filled breath intoxicated Iblis. He inhaled deeply and raised his arms above his head. "Proceed."

Wobbling, the ancient Earth vessel staggered into the air.

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The battle claxon sounded. Dillon and Troy looked at each other before running for their vipers. They joined the mass of warriors hurrying for the launch bays, either on foot or riding on various moving platforms.

Each warrior knew where his fighter was kept and Troy leaped for his, as his orange clad deck hand tossed him his helmet. The young man dropped into his seat, pulling on his helmet and harness, automatically checking his controls as he settled in.

"You set, Dillion," he called out.

"All ready."

Troy wondered how Dillion could sound so cheerful. They hadn't had to fight against any Cylons, except in the sims. This would be their first real battle. Troy just hoped they both survived it.

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"Frak," I cursed, as I left her daughter in the med lab with Cassie and raced to the launch bay. I joined the rest of my squadron jumping into their vipers as we've done so many times I long ago lost count.

"Sound off," I ordered.

Each of my squadron reported in, including Antares.

"Where's Daniel and Nona?" I asked.

"They left for the Galactica about thirty centons ago."

Great, the one time we needed all our warriors, and two of our best where not on their correct ship.

"I'm sure," Don said, "that they will launch from Galactica." More quietly he added, "Dillion will be fine, Rae. We trained him well."

I was grateful for my husband's reassurance. The fear for my son during his first battle was threatening to overcome me and I couldn't afford to let it take over. "Thanks," I muttered back. "Gold Squadron ready to launch," I called to the bridge.

"Stand by to launch," Apollo's voice came back.

Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my racing heart, even as I prepared myself for the coming battle.

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Nona and Daniel ran onto the bridge. Adama frowned at them, before returning his attention to the computer before him. He knew the tenseness permeating the deck well. They were battle ready, most of the warriors already in their vipers and launch ready.

"Why aren't you in your vipers?" he barked as the twins joined him.

"Stand down, Commander," Daniel ordered.

Before them in the inky black, shimmering reddish blue circles appeared and wedge shaped ships emerged. They edged out a short distance before stopping as their exit points faded behind them.

"She's back." Nona smiled happily and Adama wondered who the warrior was talking about.

"They're friends," Daniel informed him. "See," he pointed to the newcomers," they haven't fired on you nor are their weapons armed or their shields up."

"Confirmed." Tigh joined the trio on the communications platform. "They're just…sitting there."

Almost, Adama ordered the launch of the vipers. He opened his mouth to do so, and closed it again. A sense of peace descended upon him. He had never doubted his instincts. Now was not a micron to do so. Not with the safety of the rest of the fleet in question.

The twins exchanged a glance even as Nona's hand shot out and hit the com button.

"What are you doing?" Tigh demanded.

"Welcome back," she said. "We were wondering when you'd show up."

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It was no surprise to me to hear Nona's voice. I had sensed the twins the micron we'd dropped into normal space. Still, it was the ship hovering behind the fleet that caught and held my attention.

"Who are they?" my daughter wanted to know. She stood beside me on the bridge, her hair braided up, her trim figure protected in gray body armor.

I knew she did not mean the Galactica or Pegasus, nor any of the vessels in the Colonial fleet.

Stretching forth my senses as I had not dared to do in many yahrens, I touched the great mass trailing them, daring to intrude upon the mind ringed in madness. I gasped and felt Jeccsa's hand upon my arm.

"Mother,"

With a shake of my head I withdrew and answered Nona's call. "It has indeed, been a long time."

No doubt there would be a shocked silence on the Galactica, although not from Daniel or Nona.

"Jenn?" Adama's response held a trembling note and I regretted having to put him and the rest of my extended family through such pain.

"I have returned." I straightened, not enjoying the tight fit of my own body protection. Yet, the priest warrior had insisted and I could not find a reason to refuse.

Now, he turned his head toward me, his blue eyes questioning. I gave him a curt nod.

"There is much to explain, Commander Adama." I dared to take a steadying breath. "I suggest Commander Apollo and Colonel Sheba join us, so I have only to tell this tale once."

"It will be done." His tone was more firm and I was glad of it.

"I will see you in a within the centaur." I moved a finger and the communication was cut. I turned to Jeccsa. "The ship that follows. I need you to go there." It was difficult for me to say the words. There was so much I had kept from her.

She hugged me tightly. I think she too, knew that much would soon change and it would never be the same between us.

"Go," I urged. "But take care. You have both friend and foe upon that ship."

"I will go with her, "the priest warrior offered.

"No. I need you to come with me." My eyes held Jeccsa's. "The journey ahead is my daughter's alone. May Sekhmet watch after you."

"And Wepwawet over you," she replied, as she turned to do as I had bid her.

Her figure disappeared behind the bridge door to the bay and I waited briefly before following. Both of us had a hard course ahead of us. I could only hope Jeccsa would forgive what had been done.

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Jeccsa had learned to control the small flyer as a child. Skillfully she angled it away from the main cruiser and around what she knew to be the scanning range of the powerful battlestar. Her mother would deal with the Colonials. Her job lay within the vessel behind the fleet.

Tentatively she approached it, using her eyes - behind her eyes, to see it for what it was. Slowly the shape unraveled itself to reveal a design similar to the ships she'd once seen sailing upon the ocean waters, when she'd been allowed to travel to the coast. There were differences however.

No tall masks sat upon the deck, rather it was flat and sealed, with the faint light of the bridge shining out into a night it could not hope to pierce. Along the sides were metal strips not unlike wooden boards with a viewport here and there. In the back was what she sought and she brought her flyer to the rear bay door.

As she contemplated on how to open it, it suddenly gapped its giant jaws to allow her entrance. Either they set a trap for her, or one of her allies waited.

"I guess it doesn't truly matter," she said to herself.

The small round craft bobbed down and settled upon the deck. The doors swung shut and she sat in total blackness, before dim lights slowly came up to illuminate the interior. The area was not huge and the walls seemed to be shimmering ebony.

Jeccsa got out, making certain to seal her craft behind her. She whirled when she sensed two figures approach her. The only weapon she carried, a dagger, she held tightly in her fingers.

"Welcome," one figure purred.

A woman stepped into the faint illumination and Jeccsa recognized the Old One. Bast, cousin of Sekhmet, adorned in a gown of gold and studded with rubies. In her black hair was a diadem adorned with the symbol of a cat.

"I am Renef," the male greeted.

At the sight of him, Jeccsa started. He was slightly taller than her, with braided dark brown hair. His body was muscular and tanned and his emerald eyes met hers. It was like looking into a mirror and seeing herself as a male.

"Your mother is wise," Bast said, her golden eyes sparkling with approval. "Renef, met your sister and twin, Jeccsa."

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My shuttle landing upon Galactica's bay was both a homecoming and frightening. I knew life had continued after my departure, and there no doubt had been many changes. What I did not know, was what type of reception I could expect.

The door slid open and I stepped down upon the familiar deck. Commander Adama stood there in his black and silver uniform, Tigh on one side of him, his son, Commander Apollo on this other. Sheba beside her husband. I did not dare to take the deep breath I wanted to calm my speeding heart.

Daniel and Nona darted around the official greeting party, warm, happy smiles upon their faces. The stopped a few steps away, their uneasy eyes fixing on the priest warrior.

"It's good to see all of you again." My voice sounded shaky even to my ears.

Adama stepped forward, his warning glance forcing my two friends to step away. "It's good to have you back, Jenn." I could see the doubt in his brown eyes and had his hair gone even more silver white during my absence?

I turned to introduce my companion. "This is the priest warrior Ament. It is his fleet I lead."

"To what end?" Adama demanded. His protective instincts for the fleet kicked in and I could not fault him for that.

"To fight against an ancient enemy, who, I have no doubt, will try to wreck his vengeance."

"You mean Iblis." Apollo sometimes had the uncanny knack for figuring out things I did not want him to.

I dipped my head. "Even now, he raises his fleet and leads them to battle."

"And our part in this?" Galactica's commander asked.

"The landing bay is not the place to answer your question. I'm certain there is a more appropriate and private place."

Adama nodded. "If you'll come with me."

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Imperious leader turned slowly on the its exalted perch, each of its three minds concentrating on a separate problem. The clear doors slid aside and a lone human figure marched in before it.

"Your life is forfeit human."

"That would be true, if I were human," the white clothed figure replied. The human dropped its guise and now before it, stood a shape it knew well. "Long ago I helped your people rise to their full potential and power. Now, I have come to extract payment, and," the grin offered held no humor, "with my help, you will rid yourself of those bothersome Colonials."

The leader knew to what agreement it spoke. There was only one action dictated. "By your command."

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Adama settled our group in the Quorum's meeting place. The long table filled most of the room, surrounded by chairs for each member. Adama sat at the head, and I took a chair beside him. Ament stood behind me, his hand resting on his long sword. I knew he would not need to use it, but I did not object.

Tigh stood not far behind Adama, and Apollo sat on the other side of his father, Sheba in the chair beside him. Daniel and Nona both stayed near the door. No doubt they did not know what to make of the events unfolding before them.

"There was a war, long ago," I began. "Between the forces of good and evil." I knew what I spoke of was a common mythos among many people.

"So the Book of the Word says," Adama agreed.

"What it does not say, is that there were several of those battles, one of which destroyed Kobol and lead to the foundation of the twelve worlds. It was that war when finally, the Lords, as you call them, managed to entomb the Dark One upon their true home world."

"They didn't originally come from Kobol?" Apollo sounded surprised.

"No. Their race was much older. They even visited Earth at one point."

"So," Adama breathed, "Earth does exist."

"It does." I paused to order my thoughts. I was not yet ready to tell all my secrets. "About a thousand yahrens later, the Dark One was released by the children of Earth." I waited as the realization hit them all, their surprise and shock registering clearly on their faces. "He waged war upon the Lords and upon their warriors. Some, like Ament, managed to escape to other worlds."

My eyes met Adama's. "I did recognize your father." His face paled. "I'm sorry I could not tell you. He was a son of Isis."

"And what you took from my home?"

"The only weapon that can kill the Dark One."

"So, I did visit you," he said only loud enough for me to hear.

"Yes." I dared to reach out a hand and place it upon his. "There is more. The surviving children of Umbra are descendants of our warriors or the Lords' themselves."

Apollo got to his feet. "Rae and Starbuck."

"And her squadron," Daniel added. "Nona, Jenn and I all knew."

"We weren't raised in the Colonies," Nona explained. "We came there to attend the academy after planting false information in the computers."

Adama sighed. "I see." He turned to look at me. "You as well."

I could only nod. "I'm sorry. There was much I could not tell you." I wondered if I ever would tell it all. The trust he had in me might be shattered if he knew the entire truth. "There is one more thing, a secret I kept from Daniel and Nona."

The twins looked at me startled. There would not expect what I was about to say. "Your mother did die in the last war and a friend of hers took you away for safe keeping. I could not tell you until recently that your father is still alive."

"Where is he?" Daniel demanded, moving away from the door, his sister trailing behind him.

I only pointed behind me. "Ament is your father."