With thanks to Baladen for the Beta
"A prison cell is still a prison cell, no matter how well it's decorated." Xander sat looking out the porthole at the glorified shanty town that was New Caprica City, "And I kind of get the impression that our illustrious leader forgets I'm here some days."
"You're the lucky one; I've heard a lot of stories from crew members who've been down on leave." Cain's voice sounded distant over the wireless, "They say that there's a risk of an epidemic if they don't get the housing up before winter really hits."
"Believe me, I'd much rather be up there with you. And while I somehow doubt that being in power is exactly how Baltar imagined it, he's obsessed with finding Earth so he's unlikely to let me go any time soon. I mean I've told him everything I know, but there are days when he won't leave me alone. I swear, if it wasn't for the little harem he keeps stashed away in here, I'd be a little worried about his intentions."
"Oh for the days when I commanded a Battlestar..."
"Yeah; you could send in the marines to rescue me." Xander managed to laugh, "Not that that would do a lot for my self-image as man, mind you, even after everything I've been though."
"Do you still miss it? Earth?" Cain asked, "You don't talk about it as much as you use to."
"It's hard, at times... Earth seems further and further away. I know my friends will be worried about me, and are probably still looking for me, but I'm not that full of myself to believe that they won't be able to get along without me. And, I like it here, all things considered. I mean, I've lived with the threat of sudden death hanging over me since I was in high school, so that's not something I have a problem with. It's just, you, Sharon, Helo, Chief Tyrol and the others, you accepted me as an equal. Back on Earth, there was always someone watching my back, trying to keep me out of trouble, forgetting that I was there of my own free will, fully understanding the risks. Here, we all share the risk equally, and as strange as this may sound, that's actually kind of liberating."
"You have a very odd view of what is and isn't liberating..." Cain's voice trailed off, and Xander could hear some kind of alarm in the background, "Oh frack me!"
"Helena?" Xander stood, the endless list of dangers that a starship could encounter running through his mind, "What's going on?"
"Oh frack me! How? How did they find us?" The words were hurried, "Xander, whatever you do, get out, get out of..."
The line went dead, cut off by static mid-sentence, and a second later alarms started to sound across the city. Xander rushed to the window and looked out; Colonial One had landed on a low ridge overlooking the settlement, and from that vantage point Xander could see hundreds if not thousands of people running, terrified, through the muddy streets. Movement caught his attention, and he looked up just in time to see the first squadron of Cylon Raiders pass overhead.
"Oh crap!" He hissed, backing away from the window until he reached the door, which he pounded on as hard as he could, "SOMEBODY LET ME OUT OF HERE!"
The door opened, and a harried looking Felix Gaeta thrust a gun into Xander's hand.
"You might need this." He looked a little worried, "Standing orders are for us to..."
"...kill me if the Cylons show up?" Xander asked as he took the gun and check to see if it was loaded, "Thanks; it's nice to feel wanted every now and then."
"I just..." Gaeta stuttered for a moment, then gave up, "Good luck."
"Thanks." Xander stood looking at the gun as the Presidential Aide left the room, locking the hatch behind him, "Well, this is another fine mess I've gotten myself into."
"The time has come, and we must act before all is lost." A familiar voice came from behind him, "I just want you to know, I'm sorry it came to this."
"Tara?" Xander started to turn round, but his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed to the deck.
"Captain?" The Cloud Nine's First Officer stood across the ship's small plotting table from the former Admiral, "We have to jump; orders from the Galactica."
"Frack!" Cain hissed, her eyes closed as she leaned against the table, "Not again. Not like this..."
"Captain!" The First Officer's tone was harsher, "We have almost two thousand civilians on-board, as well as four members of the Quorum of the Twelve. We have to jump, now!"
"Are the FTL drives spun up?"
"Spun up and ready; coordinates for the emergency rendezvous locked in."
"Forgive me." Cain opened her eyes and looked up, "Jump the ship."
The Six known to her compatriots as Caprica made her way along the hallway; her reunion with Baltar had been unfortunately short by necessity, but there was plenty of time to get reacquainted later. But her current mission was of the utmost importance: she had to reach the human reportedly from Earth before one of the more conservative factions did. The information in his possession was the key to finding and making peaceful contact with the Thirteenth Tribe.
She reached the cabin and opened the lock, ready to defend herself from any surprise attack, but knowing full well that she couldn't risk hurting the human.
"Mr. Harris?" The door swung partly open, but stopped when it hit something on the deck. Peering around the end of the hatch, she saw Xander laying beside the bed, gun in hand, "God, no!"
Pushing the door open far enough to get through, she hurried to the young man's side and quickly checked him over for any injuries. She was relieved to find a strong, steady pulse and no apparent signs of gunshot wounds, but was unable to wake him.
"What's going on here?" An Eight appeared in the hatchway and looked down in shock, "What have you done?"
"I found him like this." Six looked up, "Find me a human doctor; some thing's wrong."
I assure you, the sequel will have longer chapters.