Special thanks to Albert Green Jr for beta reading this for me. Finally have some time to write a little. This chapter isn't as long as others, but I hope it will suffice for the time being.
Combat Information Center, BattlestarGalactica
Adama could feel the vibration of the deck plates from the battlestar's massive engines as she reached flank speed. He hoped that the Hirogen were too busy pounding Voyager to notice the Galactica bearing down on them.
And ignore the Galactica they did. Apparently, the Hirogen didn't think much of the Galactica, as they continued their weapons fire. He thought back to the first Cylon war, when the sight of a Columbia Class battlestar heading into battle made even the Cylons think twice about tangling with it. But that was another age, he thought bitterly. He shook those thoughts off. He had to concentrate on the here and now as he prepared to give his orders.
"Bring weapons to bear!" he ordered.
"Bringing all weapons to bear aye!" the helmsman immediately answered.
Adama tried to ignore the fact that his only effective weapons were two underpowered phaser banks (outdated by Federation standards) mounted fore and aft. Normally, the Galactica's dorsal mounted rail guns would be unleashing hell upon the enemy, but those guns would be silent in this fight. The Galactica rotated on its Z axis to be able to get both phaser banks facing toward the enemy. They also needed to be able to escape should the fight go against them.
"Mr. Gaeta, spool up the FTL drive"
Almost immediately, Gaeta answered "FTL drive is spooled up sir. We're ready to jump on your command". Adama smiled, it looked like the computer upgrade for the FTL drive was online. Normally, it would take at least a few minutes before the FTL computer could calculate the jump and spin up the drive.
"Phaser banks fully charged, Admiral" came the hated voice of Baltar over the intercom. Adama had nearly forgotten about him.
He nodded at Tigh, and Tigh barked "Fire fore and aft banks!"
Adama watched the view screen and saw two bright red beams of light shot out from the Galactica and seemed to connect with the closest Hirogen ship..well, not quite connected as the beams seemed to impact on what he assumed were the Hirogen's shields. There was no visible damage to the ship as far as he could tell.
"Direct hit!" Gaeta reported. "The Hirogen's shields are down another 30 percent"
At first, the Hirogen ship didn't respond, probably not quite sure what to make of the Galactica firing on them. Come on Janeway! We bought a few seconds for you. On screen, Voyager took full advantage of the Hirogen's confusion and fired a salvo of three photon torpedoes at the Hirogen ship.
Cheers erupted around CIC as the screen showed the Hirogen ship explode like so much fireworks on Caprica day. But the cheers soon died as the other Hirogen ship that had been coming about to flank Voyager unleashed its weapons on her to avenge the loss of its sister. He was about to order Agathon to lock phasers on the other Hirogen ship when he was suddenly lifted off his feet and thrown to the deck.
Tigh was the first to climb to his feet. "What the frak was that?" he yelled.
As Adama stood back up, he saw that his crew were climbing back to their stations, smoked clouded CIC.
Gaeta managed to report, "Sir, we just took a hit!"
"That much is obvious, Mr. Gaeta!" Tigh snapped. "From what?"
Dualla was busy with her console, a frown covering her face. "From what my sensors show, it looks like another six Hirogen ships have appeared." Her wide, frightened eyes looked at Adama for guidance.
"Godsdamnit! It's a trap!" Tigh yelled.
Adama knew then that they had been suckered. The CIC shook again with another hit.
Tigh roared, "Captain Agathon! Target the closest ship and fire at will!"
Sweat rolled down Agathon's brow as he answered Col Tigh's order. "Aye, sir! Fore and aft banks firing now"
Two red phaser beams erupted from Galactica's phaser banks in fury, hitting the closest Hirogen ship in the dorsal shield area. The Hirogen ship and two of her sisters answered Galactica's challenge with beams of their own, and Galactica's shields flared from the onslaught. CIC continued to shake from the hits.
"Admiral, we can't take much more of this!" Baltar's panicked voice came over the intercom. "Our shields are buckling!"
The screen confirmed his worst fears as he saw three Hirogen ships joining the other Hirogen ship in pounding Voyager. Voyager returned fire as best she could, but it looked like it wasn't going to be enough. All of a sudden, one of Voyager's warp nacelles exploded after a particularly nasty hit, and her lights went dark.
"We're receiving a transmission from Voyager," Dualla managed to say. The CIC continued to shake from the repeated hits, many screens had gone blank.
"On screen" he ordered.
He was shocked at what he saw on screen. What appeared to be a fire, raged in the back of the bridge, and it looked like her helmsman Tom Paris was slumped, unmoving over his console. Janeway herself looked like hell he thought, a bleeding gash over her right eye.
"Admiral, I told you to get out of here!" Janeway managed to straighten up slightly, despite looking badly injured. She looked Adama in the eyes, "I'm going to deny the Hirogen their trophy. Goodbye Admiral," she said sadly.
Adama looked on in horror as the screen then switched to the external pick up. Voyager suddenly exploded and two Hirogen ships that were a little too close were also engulfed in the explosion.
"We have to go Bill!" Tigh said. He had managed to make his way to Adama's side.
"I know Saul," he said wearily. The loss of Voyager shook him to his soul. "Prepare to j-"
He was interrupted in mid sentence as the CIC shook from a particularly violent hit. When he managed to get back on his feet, it looked as if Gaeta was dead or unconscious on the floor next to his console. Tigh was already making his way to Gaeta's station. When he finally did, he peered at the console with his one good eye. He looked up at Adama with an expression of dread and shook his head. From that, Adama knew immediately that the FTL drive was down and they were cut off from any means of escape. But Adama knew they couldn't just give up.
"Have the repair team get to fixing the FTL drive immediately, and instruct them to give us updates!" He knew the repair crews were more than competent, as they were standing by when the ship was at condition one per regulations.
Despite the damage to the CIC, the smoke, and the chaos, what was left of the crew remained at their stations, he was proud of them. Galactica wasn't going down without a fight, and he vowed the Hirogen a fight they wouldn't forget.
The shaking ceased as Dualla reported that their shields and weapons were offline. That could mean only one thing, the Hirogen were about to board the Galactica. The briefing he'd read about the Hirogen indicated they preferred close quarters combat with their prey before they took "relics".
Tigh was extremely experienced and had served with Adama so long that he practically knew what Adama was thinking. Tigh turned to Gunnery Sergeant Matthias. "Gunny! Stand by to repel boarders! Take down any alien that gets into CIC! Everyone else, take out your weapons and take cover!"
"Aye,Sir!" answered Matthias, then she began redeploying her troops into the colonial standard defensive alignment in CIC. The marines held their newly issued phaser rifles at the ready, each of them prepared to defend the CIC with their lives.
They heard the whine of a transporter as two shapes began to materialize on the east side of the CIC. Matthias and her troops adjusted their aim at the two forms trying to materialized and ordered, "fry 'em". The marines then began firing just as the forms had finished materialized. The two huge Hirogen were caught unawares and went down under the barrage without being able to get off a shot.
Adama smiled grimly at Tigh. A day earlier, he and Tigh, along with the marine commander had discussed the military applications of the transporter system. They had agreed that it was a wonderful technological innovation, but it did have some limitations. The transporter wasn't silent and the whine gave off the position where the person was going to materialize. And after materialization, there was a period during which the person being transported was disoriented before he adjusted to his surroundings. Tigh and Matthias had surmised that was when the person was most vulnerable. He had to admit that if they hadn't encountered Voyager, they would have been caught flat footed by that tactic.
Tigh asked, "I wonder if the Hirogen are arrogant enough to try that trick again?"
Before Adama could reply, the familiar whine of the transporter was heard again and Adama could make out four shapes trying to materialize on the west side of CIC. Again, Matthias gave the order to fry them and once again, standard colonial pistols and Starfleet phaser rifles fired at the spot where the Hirogen were materializing. This time however, the Hirogen were firing their own weapons as they materialized. The colonial marines were firing their rifles and taking out the Hirogen one by one, until their four bodies were sprawled on the floor. In the silence that followed, Adama realized to his horror, that Dualla and Agathon were lying face down on the floor of the CIC, along with two marines.
Marla Gilmore had managed to crawl over to where the Hirogen were lying and examined one of their massive rifles. "Sir, it looks like they programmed their rifles to fire at the nearest life form as soon as they transported."
Adama nodded. He knew the Hirogen weren't stupid, but he had numbers on his side. If they could hold out, the repair teams just might be able to repair the FTL drive in time so they could jump away. He would call for more marines to reinforce CIC.
He looked at Tigh. "Tigh, get another platoon and medics up here on the double."
As Tigh gave his orders, Adama was about to crawl over to where Dualla and Agathon lay to see if they were alive, when the west wall exploded in a shower of sparks and equipment. Gilmore had been closest to the wall and it looked like she was taken out in the explosion. As Adama's vision cleared, an object sailed through the gaping hole and exploded in a cascade of light and sound. Some kind of alien flash bang? he thought.
Over twenty Hirogen hunters poured through the huge hole, firing as they went. Through the haze, he saw his marines and CIC crew go down one by one. Adama had his own duty weapon out returning fire. He heard a thud next to him and saw his friend Tigh on the floor next to him, his eyes were closed and the front of his uniform was smoking from the hit he had taken. Adama screamed in rage and stood up firing at the large Hirogen that had killed his friend. He managed to put a round through the large alien's right eye, sending it backwards and falling to the deck. As Adama began searching for another target, he felt a stab of pain in his right arm. It went numb as he dropped his weapon. It was at that moment he realized that the room had gone eerily silent and he noticed that all his crewmen and marines were down. The CIC was filled with large Hirogen hunters and one particularly large one approached him. He must be the leader.
"You are resilient prey!" the alien said from behind his mask.
"Go frak yourself," Adama spat as the large alien lifted its equally large silver rifle. The last thing Adama saw was the muzzle flash as Adama's world went black.
Astrometrics, USS Voyager
Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay were watching the screen as the holographic simulation ended. Janeway was impressed with the way the colonials had handled themselves and it gave her an idea. She decided that she would discuss it with Tuvok.
Chakotay smiled at Tuvok. "Twenty two Hirogen bursting into CIC? Tuvok, if I didn't know better, I'd think you just threw a Kobayashi Maru type program at them."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. To a casual observer, Tuvok showed no emotions. But Chakotay had been serving with Tuvok for a number of years and Chakotay knew that Tuvok was amused.
"You are correct, Commander. That is precisely what I instructed the computer to do. The parameters of this simulation closely matches the standard Kobayashi Maru scenario. It was a classic no win situation, but only if the Admiral chose to fight. The correct course of action was to abandon Voyager and jump away, thereby preserving the Galactica and the colonial remnant."
"But Tuvok, the Kobayashi Maru is supposed to be a test of character, there isn't a correct solution" Chakotay argued.
"That is true, but the program was written to have the correct solution, and if that solution was not implemented, then the result would logically lead to a Kobayashi Maru type situation. May I remind you Commander, we are in Hirogen space, and Hirogen ships have been known to hunt in packs," Tuvok replied.
Chakotay was about to argue the point of having an additional twenty two Hirogen storm CI,C when Janeway held up her hands.
"Gentlemen, we could argue about the Kobayashi Maru scenario all day. But the bottom line is the valuable training that the Colonials are getting from all this. It's obvious the Colonials are becoming familiar with our technology, which is the important thing. Which brings me to my next question," said Janeway. As they were talking, the view screen showed the doctor was busy reviving the Galactica personnel. "How is your hazard team training going?" she asked Tuvok.
"The colonial marines are performing quite adequately," answered Tuvok.
To Janeway, it meant that Tuvok was very pleased, in contrast to his attitude when he was training some of the Maquis crewmen a few years ago.
"Good!" beamed Janeway. "There's a certain scenario that I want you to train them for…"
Mess Hall, USS Voyager
Adama sat with Tigh at one of the tables in the mess hall. Various Galactica crew members sat with Voyager crew members, recounting the latest simulation. Adama quietly sipped a cup of coffee that Neelix had cheerfully poured for him, his mind was going over the events of the last simulation. Lt.. Tuvok had briefed them that it would be a standard training simulation designed to familiarize them with Starfleet tactics and to familiarize his officers with Starfleet technology. He had a feeling that some combat would be involved but the realism of the simulation, due to Starfleet technology, caused him to get lost in the reality of the simulation. He thought if only they had simulators like this at the Fleet War College, valuable lives could have been saved during the first Cylon War and beyond. He was a veteran of the first war with the Cylons, but he had to learn how to fight using the technology Janeway had "loaned" them, and that meant learning new tactics. Yes, holodeck was a valuable training tool, and now he could see why people could suffer what the Starfleeters called holoaddiction, it was just so realistic that one could get lost in the fantasy.
Tigh interrupted his brooding. "Still thinking about the simulation? We sure could have used that holodeck contraption years ago. Hell, I thought I was a goner for sure."
For once, Adama didn't smell ambrosia on Tigh's breath. And now that he thought about it, he hadn't smelled ambrosia coming from Saul since the nebula. At one point, he had doubted his old friend's sanity. One moment he was raving about hearing music coming from inside the ship, the next he shows up in CIC sober and being the officer Adama wanted him to be. What had changed him?
"I thought you were too," Adama answered. "The last thing I remembered was staring down into the barrel of that Hirogen rifle and the doctor waking me up. We were all just stunned, and the wounds that appeared on us were all part of the simulation. We learned a lot from that simulation."
"Yeah, like not taking on six Hirogen ships," Tigh said wryly.
During the debriefing, Chakotay had told them that it was what they had called a Kobayashi Maru type scenario, that they weren't supposed to win, that it was a no-win scenario. Adama hadn't agreed. He didn't believe in the no-win scenario. Adama chuckled. "Yes, we're not going to be doing that again."
Tigh nodded. "I understand our marines are training with their hazard team in the other holodeck. I bet they're getting some pretty realistic training. I'm going to ask Lt. Tuvok if the rest of our marines can get some holodeck training time."
That was something Adama was going to bring up with Janeway. Galactica's marines were sharp, but as a military man, he knew that you needed constant training to keep that sharp edge.
They watched as the mess hall doors opened and Dualla walked in searching the room. When she saw the two of them, she walked up to their table and handed Adama a PADD.
"Here's the report you request sir, about the status of the fleet," she said.
"Very good, lieutenant. Go ahead and get yourself something to eat?" Adama answered.
Dualla smiled. Whatever Neelix was cooking smelled delicious. "Thank you, sir."
Adama was pleased as he began reading the report. Food stocks were being replenished slowly, but surely. He certainly appreciated the crew of Voyager putting in a lot of effort to help his people. His calculated risk in giving Janeway the specs to the FTL drive was paying dividends. He had rolled the hard six and it paid off. But he also understood Voyager was one of Starfleet's smaller science cruisers, not one of their deep space exploration cruisers like the Galaxy class ships he had read about. Voyager's crew complement was only a tenth of the crew complement of a Galaxy he told himself, so its personnel and material resources were much more limited. From what he had read, Voyager wasn't designed to be out in deep space for an extended period of time.
He yawned. The last simulation had taken a lot out of him. He decided to finish reading the report in his quarters.
"Gonna hit the rack, Bill?" Tigh asked.
"Yes," he answered. "We have three simulations scheduled for tomorrow. I want to sleep in my quarters on the real Galactica if you don't mind. And you?"
"I'm going to stay for a bit, you know, make sure nobody gets into trouble" said Tigh.
Adama agreed. "Good idea, Saul."
"Ok, I'll call for a raptor to bring you back to Galactica." He stood up and saw Racetrack mingling with some of the Voyager crew. He was about to call her to their table when Adama interrupted him.
"That's okay, Saul," Adama said. "Let her enjoy her meal, gods knows the crew rarely has a chance to eat this good."
"Then how are you going to get back?" Tigh asked. Adama grinned, something Tigh hadn't seen too often since they fled the colonies. "Are you going to use that transporter machine?"
"Well you know what they say…" Adama answered.
Tigh knew the old saying. "When on Virgon..."
"…Do as the Virgons do." Adama replied.
"You're a braver man than me, Bill. I don't like the idea of having my atoms scattered across space" Tigh grimaced.
"But first, I'm going to have some take out. That Neelix really is a good cook." And he wandered over to the front table where Neelix was thrilled to have so many people enjoy his cooking.