Chapter One: Inauguration of the End
Authors: Polarocean6, DOCwho3, BlackKaneD2, LuukE365, NowwowN64
Feedback: Read and Review. Constructive criticisms always welcomed. No flames
Disclaimers: I don't own Battlestar Galactica. They are creations of Glen Larson and copywriter by Universal Studios, of which I believe he is a brilliant man for producing for avid sci-fi fans like me. I make no money off of this. Plus any references I make towards other shows also fall under the same disclaimer.
Hegemony (noun) - 1. Leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation. 2. Name of an intergalactic republic primarily located in the Andromeda, Milky Way and Triangulum Galaxies, with 1,022,347 member nations. Capital: Tri Varn. Founded, 3110 C.E. Terran Calendar in Central City, Earth by the Solorian Federation of Sovereign Territories and Holy Kintari Commune.
Linguistic Program Section H-Ht, excerpt from Hegemony Dictionarium of Terms, Etymology, Usage and Translations, circa 5491 C.E.
Time: Month aof Ichor, Eighteenth Day, 3021 AF, Hegemony Calendar / February 20th, 6230 C.E. Earth Calendar.
Location: LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b, Loria Quadrant, Large Magellanic Cloud
Three Weeks Ago
LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b was a dying world.
It was enjoying the final days of grandeur as its sun slowly dwindled, as the great herd-beasts that once roamed her plains withered, as its blue skies turned scorched white and its teeming oceans vanishing. Now only endless deserts and parched grass covered her surface.
A few generations ago the Department of Survey, Terraforming and Colonization could have seen her as a prime candidate for development. Three gas giants to capture or deflect any hazardous cometary debris, a tight asteroid belt for the harvest of heavy metals, a total lack of any major predators, fertile soil and endless beaches that would have enticed anyone to stay. Even the presence of a stellar cluster bordering one side of the system meant its isolated yet defendable nature could have upped its chances for settlement as a high strategic profile.
Now it was deemed scrap.
LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b, like the other twelve major planets in the LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q solar system, may have lacked prime property for business but that same property could be easily cut up and sold off for the resources they contained.
Who'd care any way?
In three or five cycles LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q would go nova, taking everything in this dwindling system with it. But that didn't mean the trillions of tons of ore, natural gases and precious materials had to go to waste.
Once the Foundation for Interstellar Scientific Exploration had finished the final survey, the system had been put up auction in the Federal Senate on a full-scale strip-mining docket before the contract that had been quickly bided on and won by the Turian Hierarchy.
They had wasted little time on bureaucratic nonsense as the expiration date on their newest quarry ticked away and deployed an entire fleet of their top miners, geologists and porters to pull every usable ounce of rock out of LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q and ship it back to the Core Galaxies where dozens of shipyards, construction firms and engineering projects were salivating at their promised resources.
Until then all that was now under the preview of Foreman Admiral Galmahorn Mehtkuri, commanding officer of the Ascension and the LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q Strip-mining Operation.
"Where in a Geldar's hide is that progress report!" Mehtkuri's voice was as menacing as it was commanding barely bothering to look at his XO, Foreman Captain Garrus Vatarki, as he regard the insignificant and offensive little world his ship hovered over. "If we are going to finish operations on LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-2e by next week Foreman Third Ibn can't be deviant in his transmissions."
"Foreman Third Ibn says his crews encountered a vein of copper during the excavation of the moon's core," Vatarki explained even as he handed over the report. "Reports he'll have the report in an hour with the updated resource count to compensate."
Mehtkuri growled under his breath, his small featureless black eyes narrowing in controlled fury.
"If he thinks that's going to please me," the Foreman Admiral grumbled, "tell him to contemplate otherwise. Inform Ibn all his reports are to be on time or he won't get his early completion compensation."
"Yes, sir!" Vatarki didn't need to be told twice and not wanting to have anything to do with the anger Mehtkuri was showing, he quickly scurried out of sight.
Foreman Admiral Galmahorn Mehtkuri, like more Turians, was an unwavering man, dedicated to the methodical accuracy of duty and never straying from it. At the young age of 15-cycles all Turians had to enter military service. For the next fifteen rotations the ideas of duty, honor and the needs of the Hierarchy were of utmost importance in their lives. It had helped to breed an almost genetic sense of loyal, yet compassionate dedication into the Turian people to the furthering of their species and its allies. Turians that thought of their needs first and others second were considered mentally damaged in their culture after all, though in his lifetime he had heard no such degenerates existing.
But Mehtkuri had taken that dedication to duty one step more, most likely this scrupulousness had allowed him to rise through the ranks so quickly and be given the prestigious command of the Ascension.
A standard Thracia-class planet cracker, the Ascension was one of the largest civilian mining ships supported in known space and only one of its class outside of the Core Galaxies. At 6-kilometers long she was a premier mining ship and only vessel of her size supported by the Hierarchy, who had wasted no expense, cut no corner, to put this behemoth into work. With her precision plasma-cravers, internal refinery facilities, self-sufficient nature and highly attuned metallurgical sensors, Ascension could target and carve ore from a planet's surface down to its core while still maintaining a comfortable orbit several hundred thousand kilometers above. Once finished high-strength grappling hooks, semi-independent drones and a few hundred shuttles would draw her prize upward to the onboard smelter facilities where it could be torn apart, melted down, packaged up and shipped out.
"In the meantime, Achiever reports another solar eruption is heading our way," Mehtkuri could help but glare at the far off sun, already flickering and wobbling as it entered it's final death throes, "Bring us into low-orbit and double the strength of our AG-field to keep out the hard stuff."
Garrus easily nodded and continued his rapid escape.
The Ascension had little to worry about a solar eruption, she was armed with a very powerful anti-gravity, or as the kids today had nicknamed it an AG-field generator, which could easily negate the mass of any ship by shifting its gravity in one direction or another. At full power the ship's AG-field could make the Ascension weigh less than an ounce, or strong enough to actually get a mid-sized asteroid to orbit around her without affecting the internal gravity and reducing them all to a fine pink dust on the deck-plating.
Like last month, when the Ascension had been at Lycnis Sato, setting the record for the largest planet-crack, removing a chunk of nickel-iron alloy from the rogue planet's heart almost 1220-kilometers in diameter. The literal solid core of Lycnis Sato had not been hauled by grappling hook to the nearby and drooling smelter workers on Sinti but instead towed into orbit with nothing more then the Ascension's AG-field.
"How goes operations on LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b?" Galmahorn asked, forcing bustling Garrus to stop in his tracks and go rigid along his thorax.
"Ground teams report all primary and secondary charges are set in the northern hemisphere," the younger Turian quickly summarized from this morning's report, "and we should be ready for planet crack in two days."
Sometimes even the powerful plasma-cravers needed help and for that the Ascension had a cache of demolitionist teams trained for one thing and one thing only, to lay charges along the most active seismic fault lines to split the whole planetoid open, hence the name planet cracker.
"Good, good,' Mehtkuri explained to the relief of his second in command, "If all works out, we should-"
He never finished as one of the nearby communication techs yelled out.
"Sir, incoming message from the LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b. Detonation team Oceda is reporting they found a structure in the northern mountain ranges of sector 3329!"
"What do you mean you found a structure?" the Foreman Admiral inquired as he look down into the communication pit that sat in the center of the observation deck. "Get me the commanding officer of Oceda team."
The young communication techs handed over an ear-pod to his superior officer who didn't have to wait long for a voice to fill his miniscule ears.
"This is Yaran," an unseen female's voice spoke clearly over the ear-pod, "chief demolitions expert for Oceda team."
"You have found some kind of natural formation on the surface of LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b?" Mehtkuri asked.
"No sir," Yaran disagreed, "analysis confirms the structure has refined metals present and we have detected a limited power source, possibly a small quantum reactor. We're continuing to investigate but there a large underground chamber has been found. The walls are covered in writings, possible some kind of cuneiform. We theorize that this is possibly a place of worship or a temple."
The implication of a structure on the surface of LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b was a startling revelation to the Admiral.
That was because this entire stellar cluster was supposed to be uninhabited. An entire miniature galaxy was supposed to be void of all intelligent life.
Since the first explorers had entered the Large Magellanic Cloud only less than a cycle ago they had not encountered anything remotely sentient. Habitable worlds naturally were once in a blue moon out here but even then a proto-culture, some kinds of ruins, an obscure primate that was learning not to thrown its feces at bystanders should have been found. For a galactic star cluster over several billion cycles old, there should have been at least something intelligent out here.
It did have its bonus, such as a wide swath of space filled with rich materials that no one was claiming, something the empire was greedily spreading their fingers into. But it was also disconcerting.
There should be someone out here... and maybe they had just found them yet.
"Scan and send the images up for analysis," he ordered, already heading towards the nearest computer uplink station that was open.
"Understood, sir," Yaran confirmed. "Information will be up in the next twenty seconds."
"Sir, do you really think it's of sentient design?" Garrus had to ask, a little bit of surprise and curiosity in his voice.
"We haven't found a single intelligent species since we entered this galactic cluster a cycle ago," Galmahorn answered, a bit hopeful himself. "Maybe we finally hit the mark."
"Visual and metallurgical scans received," the ship's computer confirmed verbally. "Correlating information through all databases... symbols assert towards Human, extinct ancient language called Latin."
Why the hell would Human writings be on a planet that until last year no one had known about? The hairless primates after all were a member of the Hegemony for the last three thousand cycles, and known very well in Turian society for their unkempt tongues and sometimes-brutal honesty. Though the Turians were a somewhat reserved member of the interstellar republic for only a fraction as long as humanity, someone would have noticed an outpost 195,000-light cycles from Earth.
But Humans were well-known to push the boundaries on all fronts, both those of unexplored space and the patience of this Foreman Admiral.
"Route a communication to Earth and All Systems University," Mehtkuri curtly ordered, "read as 'we need a science team out here immediately'. Copy our scans and attach the files to the communication."
"Communication routed, sir..."
Two Weeks Ago
He stared out the window, a thin barrier of protection of to the endless void hanging outside, just waiting for some crack in the defenses to greedily suck every ounce of oxygen out. The chance of potential death made it all the more thrilling, especially now as he watched his plan starting to take form.
Another group of Basestars jumped into position, all tightly holding position around the precious Resurrection Ship that lazily coasted along into its protective cocoon of security. Swarms of Raiders flanked her, hundreds of the tiny moon-shaped fighters so numerous it almost blocked out the nebula that consumed the background behind them.
"Sir," his eyes turned to regard the willowy Eight that had inserted herself to occupy his side. "Basestar Alpha 201 has jumped in with its battle-group. They are requesting orders."
"So magnificent, isn't it?" the One gestured out to the gathering fleet, the newly arrived grouping of ships inserting themselves gracefully into the massive armada that surrounded them. "This is the largest gathering of Cylons since we left the Colonies."
"Yes, sir," she bobbed her head of obsidian hair at him. "Our Basestar is still requesting directions."
"Always so meticulous," One couldn't help but shot a smirk at her, even if the mere glance of his eyes sent a shiver down her spine. "Just take a moment to wonder at the feats the Cylon race has achieved, what we are about to achieve."
"It only seems appropriate that we make our return with such an equal number," both individuals turn as an identical copy model One approached, their only noticeable difference was the slight change in clothing the two wore.
Even with the trained eye they were twins, same wrinkles, same eyes, same un-kept gray hair. They were brothers down to a tee, even if the new comer was wearing a black turtle neck while the one gazing out the window went more for a black button down.
"I was wondering when you were going to arrive, John?" One smiled at the approach of his homogenous twin, though the former only glared at him.
"You know how I dislike that name," John glowered right back.
"It was a gift from someone who cared deeply about you," he retorted, still managing to keep his smug disposition as the mere mention of that woman sent a rise of bile in his throat. "John Cavil just seems to have a ring to it, don't you think?"
"Sirs," both turned to the Eight who seemed to be growing increasingly uncomfortable with their exchange. "Our Basestar is still waiting."
"Tell them to take their position along the south flank and wait for further instructions," John interceded his brother before he could answer. "This plan has been a long time coming, they just have to wait for their piece to fall into place."
"Of course," she turned on her heels and was gone down the corridor before either of them could insert any more quips, obviously their mere presence was enough to unnerve the woman.
"Are they prepared?" One asked the moment he was sure she was out of earshot and they were totally alone.
"See for yourself," Cavil gestured like a artist presented his finest selection of art and without hesitation One turned and strode through the door that opposed the window he had been standing at just previously.
Inside was a standard resurrection chamber, six tanks, though only five were currently occupied. Glowing white liquid bubbled and seethed against the forms that disturbed its surface, though since none of its occupants were moving the waves were small and unnoticeable.
""Dad," One cast a glance down into the nearest tank where a weathered old man lay, eyes closed and almost looking as if he was asleep. His eyes quickly glanced outward to the other four inhabitants of the tanks. "Mom... Dad... Mom... and Dad..."
"Our parents will be back with us soon," Cavil commented as he absently grazed his finger tips across the milky surface of the resurrection tank, the dark skinned woman inside made no move to stop him as his slime covered fingers ran down the length of her right cheek.
"Of course, skin and veins and bones, they won't survive the death of the Colonies," One tried and failed to hide the glee and enthusiasm that was starting to overpower his voice and make it quiver in anticipation. "Life among humans will have humbled them. When they resurrect, they'll return with apologies tumbling from their lips like jewels."
"Yes," John nearly giggled, whipping his fingers on the lapel of his jacket without a concern for the residue it left behind. "But be prepared for some very sticky hugs."
"You know," an idea struck One, the ends of his mouth starting to curl up a bit, "I've got a yearning to experience a nuclear holocaust in person."
"Perhaps with our dear mother here," Cavil nodded to an aged beauty in one of the far off tanks, her blonde hair matted and dark from the fluids of the tank. "Just slide in another tub and you can download side-by-side, after the bombs hit on Picon."
"Sounds like a plan to me," One was finding this minute change in plans to be all the more exhilarating to his ideals.
"Well, indulge yourself if you want," Cavil shrugged. "But I'll be on Caprica, making final arrangements with our contact. So if you're going to go, go soon..."
Three Days Ago
The air was dry, everything was dry.
Captain Donald Sutherland may have been a scientist but he preferred the cool and sterile environment of a laboratory or a command chair supporting him then this goddess-forsaken dust ball. He had no interest in LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b or some wild goose chase on its surface.
But being a stipulation for the lifting of his probation he had to go where he was told. Captains could pick and choose their missions; science teams and crews as long as they followed the rulebook of the All System University Advisory Board.
He on the other hand saw the rulebook as an obstacle in his path of discovery.
Science had no bounds and a bunch of far off people more interested in keeping their grant funding shouldn't be holding him back.
But if he wanted to keep his Non-Hegemony Territorial Certification, Donald had to do what the University wanted.
Thankfully the inside of the structure the Turians had asked them to excavate was relatively sheltered, a cool cross breeze from the tunnels keeping the main chamber at an uncomfortable but bearable temperature.
"What I wouldn't give for winter right now," he mumbled to no one as he pushed the large metal blast door open and moved into the main underground dig site.
Dozens of crewmen, scientists and droids moved across the room, some debating amongst themselves, others working with fine tooth devices to reveal every detail, all trying to gleam the chamber's secrets.
"How goes the excavation?" Donald yelled as he approached his main team, all clustered around the chamber's central column where they had setup their command table.
"Temporal and carbon dating confirm the structure is over four thousand cycles old," Wo'wantinol, a stout Volus inside a black containment suit and only methane breather among his crew, quickly summarized in a monotone computerized voice that translated her incomprehensible language into understandable words. "At that time this planet would have been very different, a lot more hospitable to you oxygen-breathers."
"Translation?" he turned towards an almost gangly tall and deathly thin Vegan.
"Jitsu is completing the final syntax now," Li Clinom, their communication officer and anthropological linguist announced as he typed away on his holo-screen. "He's sending over the base translations."
"Analysis complete," the two-dimensional image of their ship's AI blinked onto the transparent blue screen as the new report began to scroll over his form, "One match found in the Earth Cultural Database, 99.5% accuracy. Pre-unified Earth Latin."
"So whoever built this temple spoke a language similar to Latin," Sutherland surmised, taking a glance around the towering underground dome and the extensive lines of archaic symbols that covered every surface.
"Sir, you misunderstand. 99.5% doesn't mean it's related to Earth Latin..." Jitsu corrected. "It is Earth Latin."
"Then how did someone write a language that's been dead on Earth for 5,800-cycles," their weapons and security officer, Notp'mah contemplated out loud, "on a planet over 195,000-light cycles away, in a galactic satellite cluster. The Hegemony and the Yuuzhan Vong are the only two powers with intergalactic jump travel but that is several thousand cycles before the Hegemony existed..."
"I can tell you at that time Earth only had FTL-capabilities for 200-cycles," Donald added his two-cents, "but nowhere near enough to jump between galaxies. And I doubt the Yuuzhan Vong would want to sully their tongues with Earth-speak."
"We've only been in the Large Magellanic Cloud for the last cycle," Li said, his long neck wobbling back and forth, "a century if you want to count when the first exploration ships arrived."
"No records exist to indicate anyone knew of this planet before that timeframe," Jitsu added. "Search engines deployed in the Interstellar Wikipedia Database and Earth Global Library show no references to LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b prior to its auction for strip mining."
"What about the power source the Turians discovered?" Donald continued towards his Chief Engineer Louise Stefánsson.
Along with a team of mechanics, Stefánsson had uncovered on of the chamber's power conduits, a long tuber like protrusion under the floor that looked more akin to a tree root then a power relay. Though the main reactor was deep underneath the temple and would require intensive excavation to reach, several of its cables snaked closer to the surface allowing for his scientists to reach them.
"We've tapped into one of the reactor's processors," he reported to the other officers, "and its appears to be a rudimentary quantum reactor with a crystal circuitry intermixed."
"Quantum reactors have been outlawed for almost fifteen hundred cycles by almost every known race according to the Treaty of Neu Berlin of 1,631 A.F.," Wo'wantinol explained.
The Hegemony had been quick to abandon the dangerous technology barely a millennium and a half after its initial foundation. It had been one of the largest and costly overhauls for a civilization to undertake but in the end it had revolutionized the empires power and fuel production economy with a new clean burning, renewable resource.
"They created spatial tears when they exploded," Louise added. "After a reactor on Neu Berlin's moon melted down, it vaporized the entire planetoid and rendered the local solar system uninhabitable for the next two-million cycles. Because of that the Hegemony phased out quantum reactors for the current thermionic power systems. In the meantime, Jitsu and I traced the conduits back to the control computer… all records are now being downloaded."
"I want continued updates but let's call it a night for now," Donald suggested, weary from a long day in the hot sun that was just starting to dip towards the horizon. "All teams report back to base and we'll pick it back up in the morning."
The others agreed, though a few less heartily then he wanted. As any true scientist when they saw a mystery, they wanted to solve it.
Night was falling however and since his crew included no nocturnal members, Sutherland was not about to let his officers go wandering through the tunnels in the dark. Anyone with enough sense knew that the time that things tend to go wrong in the most horrible sense was usually happened at night.
Better to retreat back to the safety of the nearby valley where a warm and amply armed starship sat ready for the night.
Away from the dry air and close to a refreshing cold shower...
They strolled down the length of the Riverwalk, the cool cobblestone felt good as it forced them to walk an uneven path through the open-air bazaar. Along the sides of the walkway that bisected Caprica City, merchants and shopkeepers tried to hawk their goods, from everything from fresh fruit to finely woven clothes barely days off the spinning looms.
"It may interest you to know," a man commented to a stunningly beautiful woman beside him as they left the loud and crowded market area and strolled off into one of the waterside parks that the Riverwalk snaked through, "That the final results of the CNP Project are working close to 95% efficiency throughout the Fleet. Hold your applause, please."
""No applause for me?" she faked a look of hurt, stuffing her neck down into the depths of her purple coat and tightening the grip of her hand around his waist. "I doubt you would've ever completed the project without me, Gaius."
"Yes," he conceded, though his ego surged quickly to re-orient his apology. "Well... you helped a bit."
"I rewrote half your algorithms," she tried not to sound too skeptical at his claims, more trying to humor him.
"All right, you were extremely helpful," the mere fact that Gaius had admitted her true contribution sent a gleeful smile onto her lips, "but let's not forget, you got something out of it. All that poking around inside the defense mainframe. It should give you a huge advantage bidding for the contract next year."
"You know that's not really why I did it," she grinned, running the length of her long fingers down to the base of the man's spine.
"No," Gaius laughed from the bottom of his pompous stomach. "You did it 'cause you love me."
The way he said it, with so much contempt and lack of esteem made her insides clench. Though he never looked and she would certainly never show it hurt everyday that she longed for a man that could match her intellect and drive. Yet it hurt even worse that the man she had placed all her affections onto considered the entire concept of love to be laughable.
"I have to go," she said it a little too quickly and she knew the haste in her voice did not go unnoticed by Gaius. "I'm meeting someone."
"Right," if he noticed he didn't let on. "Really? Who is he? I'm insanely jealous."
"I doubt that," she grumbled, slowly removing her hand from his back and placing at least a few inches difference between them.
"So touché today," he snickered at her, catching onto her ploy. "Well, as a matter of fact, I'm meeting someone, too. Business… a new project at the Ministry of Defense I might do, um... so... ah..."
She knew he was only saying to make himself seem more important, that it really wasn't her leaving him but the other way around.
Men and always wanting to have the last word, she thought to herself.
But when he leaned in and placed a kiss on her right cheek she didn't care where ever he could possibly be going... just desperately wanted to be there with him.
"You'll call me later, right?" she nodded, he smiled and before she could fully find where the breath in her lungs had gone, he had disappeared.
He may have been one of the most brilliant doctors in computer technology, but that was just one of the many reasons she felt the heat rising in her cheeks whenever he was around.
"How sweet," she closed her eyes as she recognized the voice of smug self-satisfaction behind her.
"It's about time," she tried to hide her previous display of giddy emotions and turned to regard the One standing beside her. "I wondered when you'd get here, Cavil."
Barely paying her any attention he merely focused on the mission at hand right now. "Are you clear on the timing, Six?"
"0700 tomorrow," she nodded, slipping a non-descript memory drive out of her pocket and sliding it into his hands. "Caprica City time."
"I recommend you leave this body behind," Cavil hastily advised her as he slipped the device into his pocket. "The alternative won't make for a very pleasant memory. Oh, and I hear that poison is really not that bad."
"Thanks for the suggestion," the contempt that dripped in her voice, that scornful glare she shot him, told the other man she didn't like to be told how to finish her mission. "But I have more work to do before the plan reaches fruition… work that you'll need to see that this entire undertaking doesn't take a nose dive the moment you enact it.
"To which I am eternally grateful for," John offered a Cheshire cat smile before turning on his heels and making a quick retreat. "But the moment your done remember to remove yourself as quickly as possible. The humans can't know we've infiltrated them and the longer you stay and the close our plan comes to completion, the more dangerous it becomes. At least do it for the good doctor."
And with that he turned on his boots and strolled off across the grass of the Riverwalk. Six watched him go and for just an instance wondered if she had just done the right thing…
Two Days Ago
Sutherland tossed his mud-covered uniform onto the floor of his quarters, not bothering to concern himself as some non-descript service both quickly gathered the garment up and scurried off. He was more interested in pouring pulling heavy glass out from under his desk and filling it with the amber liquid of a fine scotch.
The thought of spending a few dedicated hours under a nice cold shower, a stiff gulp of his favorite drink and a long sleep was all that was keeping him on his feet. Yet as with any command position, personal time was a luxury he couldn't afford.
Just as he was peeling off his undershirt his personal comm. unit chirped. An incoming call and no matter how much Donald groaned he had to answer it.
"Yes?" he asked as the holo-screen activated and the transparent face of Jitsu appeared in pixilated space.
"Captain Sutherland," the AI reported, "you are required on the bridge."
"On the way, Jitsu," he confirmed with a sigh.
Throwing on a clean black shirt but staying with his dirt splattered work-pants he pushed out into the tight corridor and made his way towards the bridge.
It was a narrow squeeze, even if the Savior was crafted for science; her entire class was designed for function over creature comforts. Sutherland's position as the commanding officer afforded him a few luxuries; everyone had to slide up against the walls to let him past. But even then, it required some fancy navigating to not end up with his nose in the thick fur of a greasy engineering officer or the slimy scales of a reptilian aerologist.
At 334-meters long, the Running Savior was a small mid-range science ship of the Citlalicue-class, named after the ancient Aztec goddess who created the stars. Originally developed on the Latin American colony of Tenochtitlan barely a century ago, the Citlalicue quickly had become the choice ship in mid-range exploration among the gamete of exploration agencies inside the Hegemony. They were renowned for its excellent fuel efficiency, multi-adaptable design for different mission packages and atmospheric capability without the need for a dedicated AG-generator.
She was a favorite of the All Systems University for quick response operations and nearly became one of their flagship classes, falling just a hair's breath behind the Conestoga long-range explorer that could take on missions for durations of over a decade without support.
From the University's headquarters on Europa, she had been deployed on request of the Turian Hierarchy with two hundred and seven scientists ranging from specialists in linguistics, archaeometry, pale-pathology and ethno-archaeology.
The heavy blast doors of the Savior's bridge parted and Sutherland found most of his senior staff surrounding the main holo-projector with his primary AI standing in the center.
"What is it that has pulled me away from a very cold and refreshing shower," the Captain asked as he approached the assembled group, a deep grumble resonating in his throat.
"Final translation is complete," Clinom announced as a series of images from the temple played across the holo-projector. "I think you're going to find this interesting."
"Go ahead," Donald allowed.
"According to these 'Sacred Scrolls'," Wo'wantinol clicked and groaned, her black containment suit still muddy from today's expedition, "the pentagon shaped pillars are representative of the five priests who worshipped 'The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken'. They tell a story about a tribe that left their homeworld of Kobol and in their exact words, 'could no longer accept the desire of one jealous god to be elevated above all other gods. We left Divine Kobol yet the other Twelve Tribes stayed in heaven and were led through the night by The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken'."
"It appears this species was highly religious but technologically advanced enough for interstellar space travel," Clinom provided, "but they believe that one of their Gods led them from their homeworld of Kobol."
"Hold," Donald ordered causing each of the officers surrounding the station freeze. "Jitsu search for a reference of Kobol in the Earth Cultural Database."
"Searching reference to Kobol," Jitsu announced. "One item found... activating historical linguistic files... Persian, a language spoken up until Humanity's 22nd century, belonging to the Western group of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family, and is of the subject object verb type. Native to the former Eastern Islamic Coalition before its dissolution into the Iran/Iraq refugee zones in pre-unified Earth year 2070 C.E. Kobol is Old Persian for 'heaven'."
"Interesting, they refer to Kobol as 'heaven' and paradise," Li said. "Our summary shows this Thirteenth Tribe left Kobol in the early days of a war, led by a 'Fallen Lord of Kobol', an angel cast out from heaven if you would. They traveled far and made their home on a distant planet... damage however has destroyed the colony's name and location. We could not discern it."
"The temple was a way station during their travels to this new world," Jitsu continued. "Former occupation shows that it was probably used by a scouting group for a short while as their main tribe followed on. The size of the structure along with the limited dimensions of several store rooms and what appears to be living quarters we found indicates a relatively small population, less then a few dozen at most."
"Then where was this main colony?" Sutherland asked the obvious question.
"We think we may have an idea," Luanni Aton, the Savior's Andorian pilot and navigator, now added. "If you look at this map carved across the main pillar, its not a mural of the sky of LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b, most of these stars can't even be seen from this planet!"
"Then what is it?" Sutherland asked.
"They're novas," Aton stated, his blue antennas wavering back and forth in excitement. "But to be more precise they're a chain of novas."
"When we correlated the temple's star-chart through the database," Jitsu reported as a series of novas appeared one after another in the holo-display, "they matched to the positions of novas in our records. The inscriptions below isn't a story, it's a formula for calculating their relative position with stellar drift. No primitive culture could create stellar drift formulas with over a hundred decimal points without a dedicated computer to calculate the statistics. Most interstellar jump-capable species only need to calculate stellar drift to the tenth decimal point to make a jump... only a race with intergalactic jump-capabilities would need a more accurate version."
"So you think these travelers could have jumped outside of the Magellanic Cloud," Donald thought out loud, "maybe even into Hegemony space and we'd never have known it."
"But look how each nova is inside a specific zone," Stefánsson explained. "Regardless how far they are apart each one barely falls a light year out of alignment with the rest. The chances that these novas evolved naturally are impossible. Something had to make them."
Sutherland scrutinized the map intensely. The natural formation of the Large Magellanic Cloud was that of an irregular cloud, bloated towards the center as it tapered off into two whisky ends. Their location was highlighted by a rotating icon around one of the outer rim stars, each of the corresponding novas indicated by a jagged, drunken line making a straight shot for the inner core of the satellite galaxy.
"Apparently it a trail of bread crumbs," Sutherland mumbled to himself.
"Sir?" the AI inquired.
"Old Earth tale from four-thousand cycles ago," the human waved off. "Short story, some one left us a trail of clues so obvious the initial survey teams should have seen it."
"But sir, why this planet?" Notp'mah asked. "LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q is supposed to go nova in another three or five cycles. All of the novas in the chain are over four-thousand cycles old, the same age as the temple. Why would someone leave this system intact in the nova chain?"
For a second they were all quiet. The implications they were playing with were stretching the limits of their universe. Before the Large Magellanic Cloud was a devoid, lifeless expanse of space. Now they were implying some powerful force was manipulating the very fabric of space, an ability just barely being grasped by the Hegemony.
"Yet if this is a chain," Luanni said, "shouldn't we follow it to its ends to see where it goes."
"Well that is interesting because we know where one end of the chain is," Wo'wantinol answered. "Here, in the Mira Sector. After that its dead space as you hit the void between here and the Milky Way."
An idea struck Donald.
He may be a headstrong man known for his somewhat in your face style of exploration and disregard for procedure but he did have some dedicated schooling behind him.
"Jitsu correlate the information here," he ordered, "expand the search area beyond the Large Magellanic Cloud. Target for all entries in excess of four thousand cycles and triangulate any within the one-light year corridor."
"Matches found," the computer reported as he stepped aside for the image of the Large Magellanic Cloud and the massive form of the Milky Way appeared. "Displaying..."
Armistice Station was on the ass end of the solar system.
That's what most pilots thought when they found out they were assigned to carry the Colonial envoy to the outpost for what had become the ultimate milk run.
Long ago, just after the war had ended, it was considered the most prestigious honor to fly the route.
Nowadays it was more of a punishment.
"Bringing maneuvering thrusters to full," Captain Michael Polari announced as he pushed his shuttle into alignment with Armistice Station's main airlock.
"Airlock is responding," his copilot, a young enlisted named Tommy Anter confirmed beside him, even as they both could see the long umbilical cord-like airlock press outward and into the side of the shuttle craft. "We have hard-lock."
Colonial Shuttle Six-Nine-Two-Eight or the Jade Hunt as her civilian call sign was slowly began to power down. She was an atmospheric shuttle, the ferry service for the orbital and short-range travel. FTL-capable vessels of the Jade Hunt's class could move passengers to and from different vessels in space or to a planet's surface, both for military and civilian crafts, composing the main fleet of the Colonies' ferry boats. The Hunt was on loan from the Patrolstar Thetis for a full two days to perform the yearly and traditional expedition to the outpost.
Though for a traditional milk run it was starting out far from that.
"Aft stabilizer is malfunctioning again," Anter cursed as a warning light flashed on his station.
"Seal it off," Captain Polari ordered, "we'll let the techs on Thetis play with it when we get back tomorrow."
Even if this operation was repeated over and over again, year after year without bust, even if it was once considered the greatest honor to make the flight to Armistice Station, it didn't mean everyone wanted it to happen. The Colonial military had been campaigning for the scrapping of the entire facility, citing costs and a lack of purpose to finally get rid one of the final reminders of a costly war.
Unfortunately the Quorum of Twelve, most notably some of their more nostalgic delegates, refused to have the station removed or to stop the yearly trips. They were even more adamant its operations continue, not just as a mission but also to replayed a memorial for a war near forgotten.
So in revenge the military had pulled a used car salesman's ploy, give the envoy a shuttle that looked pretty on the outside but had an engine about to fall out from under her hood. Why give them a pristine shuttle they were only going to scratch on the airlock when an older one with a newer paint job could get the mission done.
At least the new automated command navigation program was functioning, the integrated device making the shuttle ride all the simpler. Pioneered by the brilliant Gaius Baltar the system made long and tedious excursions like this one, as simple as flipping a switch. With a singular interface, all the flight and command controls were computer controlled with minimal operator power required.
"We are now docked," Anter reported.
"Good," there one and only passenger, Ambassador Wakefield, grimaced, "this shouldn't take long. I'll radio if I have any problems but other than that I'll say see you in eight hours."
The man, dressed only in a brown Colonial honor guard uniform, a silver briefcase and a total lack of interest painted across his face, removed himself from his passenger seat at the back of the cockpit and made his exit below deck.
Neither Polari nor Anter was sorry to see him go.
Wakefield had been an un-amusing man, a man more concerned with getting this petty mission over with then actually doing his duty. He was officially retired, wanting to spend more time with his son and wife back on Caprica. Yet being the only person in the military still willing to actually board Armistice Station these days, he of course took himself out of his retirement for two days a year to make the trip.
"Ambassador has left the shuttle," the cadet confirmed a minute later as the airlock alarm sounded. "Hope he doesn't get any dust on the deck when he comes back."
They both tried to stifle a laugh.
The facility was an ugly thing, a large box atop a control spire, wilted gold solar panels hanging off the sides like sad wings. Armistice had been built in the first days of peace following the end of the war, when resources were scarce and everything beyond just surviving to the next day was considered a luxury by some citizens. She was designed to be the icon of Colonial engineering, something that the higher up brass could show off to the Cylon delegation that was suppose to meet with them every year.
A delegation that never came.
Since the war ended no one had heard anything from the Cylons, they had disappeared into the void of space like a speck of dust in the wind.
Every year the Colonials sent a diplomat.
Every year the Cylons sent no one.
By the tenth year after its construction the Colonial government had stop bothering to expand the outpost. By the thirtieth they had stop upgrading Armistice. In this day and age, the station was lucky enough to still be maintained with even the most basic needs.
Now as the Jade Hunt delivered Ambassador Wakefield to the always-quiet Cimtar Conference the pilots onboard had little idea that they were going to become part of history.
"Systems check complete," the young copilot reported to his captain, "we are clear on all circuits and FTL computer is functioning within normal parameters."
"Good," his captain acknowledge at the standard flight check, though out here in the middle of nowhere there was little chance of something exciting happening.
For an hour they sat, pining away their time until the conference was 'officially' over and they could go home. The Captain dozed; the copilot caught up on his backlogged flight reports.
Neither could fathom what was about to happen until it was almost sitting in their laps.
"By the Great Maker," Notp'mah whispered.
A tight jagged line drifted out of the Large Magellanic Cloud and speared the nearest major galaxy, skirting and tracing through the mess of stars before terminating at a blinking icon.
"The novas spread out the farther you get to the rim of the Large Magellanic Cloud," Sutherland explained his hypothesis. "Taking that into account, it's obvious that it would just increase when you hit the void between the galaxies. It may be an empty space but occasionally you get a stray star or two that drifts out there. It's a lonely death that ends with an obscure nova. Five novas over the 160,000-light cycles and that continue into the Milky Way at increasing distance, right into the heart of the Hegemony."
Stefánsson asked the next question, "Where does it end?"
"Triangulating the next star within the formula," Jitsu nodded in holo-space. "Correlating for stellar drift... removing local radiation profiles... final nova found. Sector zero, zero, one... Sol system... Earth."
"Considering we left Europa only two weeks ago," Sutherland noted, "I believe we can all agree that Sol is not a nova."
"No other stars fall into any further positions the formula gives us," the AI expanded on. "Sol is the last one in the chain."
"Where does the other end finish?" Aton asked.
"Novas get closer together as you head deeper into the Large Magellanic Cloud's core," Jitsu highlighted an obscure star deep in the reaches of the Large Magellanic Cloud. "They end here. G3PHP887, an unexplored triarny set of G-type stars."
"There is no survey data for that area," Wo'wantinol inserted as she consulted her personal datapad. "Department of Survey, Terraforming and Colonization have deemed it won't be ready for initial prospecting for another decade."
"The closest colony to that area is Teweubu III," Notp'mah read the description that scrolled over his station, "about 11-light cycles away. Settlement is rated PEMA±1,000, with around 1,500 colonists that primarily export grain, water and voltarium crystals. How could no one notice such a huge find just a short distance from such a newly founded world?"
"Of course they would, but they have missed a critical piece of the puzzle. The finale," Sutherland said. "Pilot Aton, how long would it take us to reach these coordinates."
"Two jumps, three max if we have to stop to reconfigure the navigation," Luanni calculated. "If we contact the University they can deploy an exploration ship here in three months."
"No," Donald shock his head, "We are going to investigate ourselves."
"Sir?" at least three of his senior officers asked at once.
"Captain Sutherland," Jitsu announced in a warning tone, "should I remind you that your probation is still in effect. If you countermand standing orders, it could led to the termination of not only your Non-Hegemony Territorial Certification but your command ranking, notwithstanding any legal deliberations."
"How many other science teams heard about this temple?" Sutherland countered. "How many more are going to be reading about our discovery because of the University's policy on 'free information sharing'? What's to stop some treasure hunter from pillaging the greatest find in a millennium! It's our duty to follow through with this."
"Sir," Notp'mah intoned, "this irrational. If you wish we can contact the University for further support but this is a lightly armed, mid-range exploration ship. That location is deep inside unexplored space. We need a fully staffed and stocked ship designed for deep space operations... a Conestoga or Enterprise-class explorer before I'd consider going that deep."
"I'm just suggesting a peak to confirm this sites authenticity," Sutherland countered, "not a full excavation. We stay a day or two, get the information and data we need before returning home. It'd put us on the map and ensure we'd have first claim to anything left lying around. What could go wrong..."
Tommy checked another box, wondering if the magazine's personality test really was going to be accurate enough to tell him if he was a loving or a jealous partner to his significant other. He wasn't really concerned if his fellow nuggets back on the Thetis found out he was doing a quiz in Picon Women's Life, if they knew he had to sit for an entire two days at Armistice they knew he could have done worse.
Better then Captain Polari who was playing a game of Triad on the flight station beside him.
They were so preoccupied in their distractions the sound of a proximity alarm made them both jump.
"Sir! Unknown vessel just jumped in," Tommy yelled as the dradis console updated itself with a new icon on its screen. "They are moving into dock with the...Cylon airlock."
Both men could only stare in utter confusion, horror and shock at what the newcomer could imply.
No one had heard from the Cylon's in four decades, not since the Treaty of Cimitar where the Cylons quickly withdrew their forces and left the solar system without even a second glance back. After a major war that brought humanity to the brink of extinction few people paid any attention after the celebrations were over.
"Contact the Ambassador immediately!" Michael yelled, taking back his command with a terrified vigor. "I think we just got a response from the Cylons."
Anter grabbed his headset which he had carelessly dropped onto his post and threw it over his head, activating his station and trying not to wince at the white noise that screamed suddenly in his ears.
"All channels are static," he yelled as he cycled through every frequency he could find. "We're being jammed!"
This was not good.
Michael had been a newborn during the late Cylon War, to young to remember anything of the intense fighting but the stories had been ingrained in his generation a bit more profoundly then all that followed. Though many juveniles today dismissed the veteran stories as ranting and holding the Colonial civilization back, Polari knew enough about the Cylons to know that they should be feared.
"Prepare to disengage the shuttle!" he yelled, already racing to push the shuttle free of its moorings.
"What about the Ambassador?" Tommy asked, his mouth hanging agape.
"The Cylons show up after forty years and jam our communications!" his captain retorted. "Something is seriously wrong and we need to tell the rest of the Colonies."
"Disengaging docking clamps," just as Anter's words were in the air the Gods decided it was time to play a dirty trick. Like a switch had been flipped the lights went out, the consoles died and even the shuttle's running lights flickered and died.
"What the frak!" the copilot cursed as his futile attempts to reactivate his station were met with clicks and stuttered starts.
"Main power is offline," Michael guessed. "The jamming must have messed with the computer systems. If we purge the software and reboot the old program the cells should reactivate."
"What about the unknown ship?" Anter fearfully asked. "They were docking at the other port."
"Without main power we can't seal the airlock and disengage from the station," Michael summarized for the antsy cadet. "You stay here and I'll dump the programming."
Reluctantly Tommy accepted the orders of his commanding officer, though that didn't stop him from nervously glancing around at the menacing shadows that now consumed the cockpit. When Michael made his exit, those shadows became all the darker.
Not even the emergency flood lights were functioning, only the glow of the star-scape outside gave the room a little light.
They were dead in the water...
Two Hours Ago
The Savior pulled out of the atmosphere, superheated ions cooking off in the cold of space. Retracting her atmospheric wing and the vessel pushed her out of the LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-1b's gravity well.
Above the massive bulk of Ascension coasted over the tiny ship, a condor over the minnow. From the observation deck Galmahorn was just signing off one final reports of LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q-2c's final strip mining when a very flustered Foreman Captain Vatarki rushed to his side.
"Sir, the Savior is on an exit vector from the planet," he stifled a gasp for breath. "Sensor crews say their FTL is powered up."
"WHAT!" Mehtkuri roared, his exoskeleton jaw grinding his pallet. "Get me an uplink to Captain Sutherland... NOW!"
Galmahorn was foam at the mouth as his intense dislike for humans began to rear it ugly head.
They were undisciplined, headstrong and well known for their dishonorable guerilla tactics. When the Hierarchy had first encountered them, the Turians were part of the now defunct Citadel Council, a somewhat more legislative version of the Hegemony of Sentient Worlds. Along with the Asari Republics and Salarian Union, the Citadel Council was the largest empire on their side of the galactic core.
On the 8th day of Marekt, 1,591 A.F., or June 10th, 4.512 C.E. for the Human colonists involved, a Turian scouting fleet had stumbled onto the colony of Morningstar. Barely six-hours after first contact, the ground team dispatched to open diplomatic relations discovered that 189-cycles previous a mining crew had unearthed a dormant egg… the egg of a Rachni Queen.
3,425-cycles ago the Citadel Council had encountered the highly intelligent hive-minded insects after activating a dormant relay to their solar system… sparking 120-cycles of conflict that were commonly known as the Rachni Wars. The Rachni were too dangerous, too bloodthirsty to exist in any numbers, the campaign of extermination the Citadel Council had ordered against them had been proof of their devotion to the removal of such an enemy.
The fact that the Morningstar colonists were not only harboring a fully grown hive of formerly thought to be extinct insectiods but were actively aiding one of the most hated enemy of the Council, prompted the patrol fleet to immediately attempted to sterilize the planet.
The response found six Turian cruisers facing down the barrels of a minor Hegemony system picket fleet only three vessels strong.
To say the Turians were summarily ousted from Morningstar was an understatement; their ships were disabled, jumped to the nearest Citadel base and promptly dumped with the warning to never again attack a Hegemony world or face war.
Though later the 'Morningstar Incursion', or as the former Council races knew it as the 'End Times', forced the Turians to make heavy reparations to Solorian Federation, Hegemony of Sentient Worlds and the Rachni Queens, it left a bitter taste in the Turian's gizzards for generations to follow.
That taste only grew worse after the collapse of the Council's economy and military infrastructure following the horrific Second Krogan Rebellion eighty-cycles, promoting their protectorate members like the Elcor Courts of Dekuun, Hanar Illuminated Primacy, Volus Vol Protectorate and the Quarian Migration Fleet to threaten that if the Council continued to deny the Hegemony's offer of humanitarian aid, refugee relief efforts and a removal of all trade levies and tariffs on inside Citadel space they would secede.
Increased, non-censured contact led to the expansion of the Hegemony's culture into their space, the technological advances wetted corporate interests enough to make them want more and the cheap, quickly produced goods had the civilian population clamoring for access to every trade ship that entered their space. It was barely a decade after the Second Krogan Rebellion when the Council drafted a membership application, the Citadel government was dissolved and the former three-thousand cycle old nation was absorbed into the Hegemony as yet another member nation.
All ignored the protests by the Turian Hierarchy.
And now under Hegemony rule had only cause that feeling to subside in but the more liberal Turian youths, that didn't mean hard-liners like Galmahorn were swayed.
But while Galmahorn had an intense dislike of humans, he hated Donald Sutherland.
The man was arrogant, self righteous and nosey to a fault. He was more interested in the fame and money of scientific success then the contribution it should be making to society.
Men like Sutherland should have been sterilized from birth and then left to their own devices on an isolated world where they could cause no harm... not given command of a ship.
"Channel open to the Savior," a comm. tech confirmed as Mehtkuri activated the communication.
"This is Foreman Admiral Galmahorn Mehtkuri to Running Savior," he announced over the comm. unit. "Captain Sutherland, my ship is detecting your FTL drive is going active. Is there a problem?"
Onboard the Savior, Sutherland made a silence cue with his hand at Clinom, the Vegan reluctantly complied.
"Ignore him," Donald ordered as he busied himself with Aton at the navigation console. "Bring us to terminal jump distance."
"Captain Sutherland, please respond," the Turian continue to rant much to Sutherland displeasure. "Your FTL drive is online and you are obviously making headway to leave orbit. If you do no respond I will have to lodge a formal complaint with the All Systems University."
Savior had entered into its final approach for jump.
Once free of the gravity well taxing its engines, the FTL drive began to spin up. Power ebbed as energy was diverted to the very consuming system and everyone braced themselves.
"FTL coils are locked," Luanni reported, "navigation have a entered in the temple's coordinates."
"Begin final countdown," Donald ordered.
"Sutherland this is Mehtkuri," the Foreman Admiral roared, "tell me what is going on!"
"Jump drive active in three, two..."
On the observation deck Foreman Admiral Galmahorn Mehtkuri could only watch as the Savior accelerated and disappeared as the tiny science vessel jumped away.
"Do we have any idea where they went?" the Turian howled at his entire command staff.
"Unknown," Garrus announced. "We can't track them through a jump and they never logged a flight profile with us."
This was not good. Captain Sutherland wasn't someone who would walk away from his work and being on probation with the University, a fact that Galmahorn had protested when his ship was assigned to LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q, he would never have done something so out of line.
But their was one thing that would get Sutherland to go out of his way, to cause problems, to go gallivanting out into the void without telling anyone.
He had found something...big.
"Get me the nearest Hegemony Space Guard unit!" the Foreman Admiral yelled.
"I have the 12th Theta Spiral Arm Offensive Fleet within range, designated flagship is the attack cruiser HSS Higher Court, 23-light cycles away," Garrus reported. "What should we tell them?"
"Tell them we may have a problem," Mehtkuri announced in a stoic voice. "Donald Sutherland is on the lose again."
The lower decks of the Jade Hunt were far more open and expansive compared to the cockpit. Down here a shuttle was designed to carry passengers and luggage but since this was supposed to be a milk run weren't carrying anything that consumed serious space.
As Michael descended the stairs from the cockpit he tried not to pay attention to the open airlock. Without the main power his flashlight cast an ominous glow around the passenger bay, keeping Polari on his toes.
Pressing the fear out of his head, Michael reached the aft computer core and quickly removed the service panel from the bottom of the station.
Slipping the flashlight into his mouth since he needed both his hands, Polari pushed wires and circuits out of his way, already knowing what he was suppose to be looking for. Finally his fingers closed around the CNP module and gripping the white dome creation in his fingers he quickly wrenched the device from its lock.
Just as the noise of it disconnecting from the power relay became loud enough for Michael to hear another sound caught his ears. It sounded like a metal hitting metal, a resounding machine like thud.
His spine went rigid, the hairs on the back of his neck stood to attention and his eyes went wide. In one fluid motion Michael spun around and in his haste dropped the flashlight.
Clattering to the floor he cursed and quickly snatched the torch from the floor and swept it across the passenger bay. Light rushed back and forth, over the empty bunk beds, a few duffle bags on the floor and a small card table in the corner. Other then those only empty blank walls of the Jade Hunt surrounded him.
But for some reason Michael knew he wasn't alone.
Fear of the dark, the emptiness of nothing however was enough to get him back to work. Rushing to the back cargo crates he pulled the replacement parts from the box and moved back to slide the new CNP into place.
It took some maneuvering and even as he fiddled with the mechanism he could almost imagine the sound of footsteps.
His eyes swung again towards the open airlock, again the darkness of the station beyond scaring the wits from Michael.
Maybe it was the Ambassador, coming back from the conference room to investigate why the power had failed.
But nothing moved in the beam his flashlight cast.
How he just wish the fear would go away.
With a bang and a pop the new CNP slide into place. Now replaced Michael stood to full attention and hit the reset switch on the station.
Like a hive of bees coming to life, the lights flickered on, the engines powered back up and the airlock doors slide close with a heavy crash behind him.
"Captain Polari!" Tommy voice was frantic over his radio, "we have company. I think you should get up here now!"
"Anters," he yelled over the radio, as triumph and victory overwhelmed Michael's sense, "begin an emergency launch!"
"On it, sir!" the youngster yelled over the speaker.
Knowing now that everything was all right Polari turned to return to the cockpit, sighing a breath he didn't know he had been holding in for the last minute or so.
He never even had a chance to realize the Cylon Centurion was in his path until he slammed face first into its metal chest.
"What do we have on the board," Captain Donald Sutherland asked as he reoriented himself from the sudden bout of dizziness that accompanied any FTL jump.
They had left LMX-8392\847AB/76-Q almost three jumps ago, ten thousand-light cycle and two hours ago, much to the protest of that unstable Turian Foreman Admiral.
He would have to answer that for later, in the mean time a discovery of epic portions was to be made.
"A large capital ship of a geometric design and a small outpost," Wo'wantinol reported between clicks. "It's interesting to note that there is a stark difference in the level of technology between the two. The amount of energy emissions I'm getting from the capital ship is far more refined and larger than the stations."
"My scans are reading bio-etheric energy emanating from the capital ship," Jitsu said. "It appears they have organic technology, a massive technological advancement over the technology onboard the station. I do not believe they are from the same species."
"Activate the standard language package and keep our distance until they respond," Sutherland commanded following standard protocol for a possible first contact situation.
First contact protocol was the highest law in the entire Hegemony.
With assets spread across not only three settled galaxies but also numerous stellar clusters, contact with outside races was a major concern of the empire. After several botched and failed first contacts during their formative cycles that had led to disastrous relations between different nations and even a major inter-galactic war, a series of laws was enacted to ensure that there was no chance of a foreseeable misshape.
All command level officers wishing to gain a Non-Hegemony Territorial Certification were ordered to undergo intensive first contact classes regardless if they were military or civilian, a fact that had kept several men and women from ever leaving boundaries of the empire.
Better to keep a hot head off the trigger and especially out of the negotiation room.
Sutherland was still on probation from violating that certification but hopefully this discovery of the first sentient species found in the entire Large Magellanic Cloud.
Coupled with these skills a language package was the standard means of greeting a new alien species. It held the basic information for almost any race to build a better understanding for diplomatic contact. Mathematic sequences with prime number factors, a sampling of hundreds of basic languages and the complete plans for programming of a basic universal translation matrix was included in the first transmissions, in order to create a better cultural understanding between the two parties.
But even the best-laid plans could be fraught with unknown variables and that was the reason why distance was the number one factor in any first contact. FTL drives were to be kept on standby, gun ports kept armed but closed and at least a few hundred thousand kilometers distance to make a speedy retreat. If anything were to go wrong the jump coordinates for the closest military base that could render assistance were to be programmed into the jump computer at all times.
Everyone just collective wished they would need all those precautions.
The Running Savior was no stranger to first contact situations; three successful approaches had been made and in one frightening instance... a potentially deadly failure. Though none had been under command of Captain Sutherland, thankfully. But that was of little concern as those were while the Savior was an unarmed science vessel.
The All Systems University had been wish enough to start upgrading most of their long-range and mid-range vessels with defenses, evident from the two very large anti-proton cannons on her dorsal and ventral side that had been installed barely a month ago.
Sutherland was already calculating potential problems and escape routes as they approached the two distant crafts, even if the taste of adventure was driving him on the inside, basic survival instinct kept him on his toes for any interruptions to his plans.
In every simulation the Savior required only one minute to make a full one hundred and eighty degree turn while charging its engines, a full burn for maximum thrust could put some distance between the unknowns before a FTL jump could be computed and completed, a near perfect record that Sutherland had only had to prove once.
But in only a minute a lot can go wrong…
The lights flickered, the engines groaned but slowly power returned to the cockpit.
Insufferable darkness gave way to his brightly lit station and a sudden gasp of hope in the young cadet.
But everything went to hell when a massive ship jumped into the once empty space above the station.
Anter had to crane his head up from the main windows of the flight station to get a better view but his animal instinct told him one thing.
It was almost majestic and deadly at the same time, towering over the tiny outpost in such a way that the pilot onboard must have chosen that position of the vessel purposely to make that impression all the more obvious.
It took a second for the Colonial pilot to realize that after forty years, this was what a Cylon Basestar had become.
The shape of the newer Basestar reflected its name, with two Y-shaped hulls attached at their centers by a single pylon, giving the ship the distinctive star shape its designation implied. Her upper and lower hull of the arms were coated in a cool chrome armor while the inside was black exposed scales and windows, hiding the vast number of Raiders and missiles the ship could throw into the air in a matter of moments.
"Captain Polari!" Tommy activated the radio as he frantically tried to raise his commanding officer, "we have company. I think you should get up here now!"
"Anters," an almost ecstatic Polari responded, "begin an emergency launch!"
"On it, sir!" the youngster yelled over the mic as he prep the engines.
Racing as quickly as he could Tommy forgot most of the necessary preflight checks and rushed to press the engines into service.
He was so preoccupied that he didn't hear the cockpit door slide open.
"Engines charging," Anter reported to his Captain. "Preparing to retract the airlock docking clamp."
Tommy Anter was so engrossed in his work he never picked up on the metal grating or throbbing sound of motors.
The Centurion retracted its finger appendages and deployed it arm cannon.
With the click of the switching machinery was enough to final grab Tommy's attention, just long enough for him to turn towards the other occupant of the cockpit.
A blast of gunfire sprayed across the room, splaying a limp bloodied body over the flight station and blood over the white walls. The Centurion retracted its arm cannon, surveying the carnage and display of gore it had caused.
No emotion, just raw logic confirmed the shuttle's flight crew had been eliminated to his superiors. With no possible escape the Cylon envoy could now make first and final contact with the Colonial ambassador...
"I'm detecting a radiation halo coming from the core of the capital ship," Notp'mah reported as the radiological alarm began to sound, alerting the crew of the possible danger. "I think they're activating some kind of thermonuclear weapon."
Sutherland already knew this couldn't be good.
Primitive space age species were prone to violent reactions to intrusions into their space; several thousand cycles of alien contact had managed to breed that reaction out of most of humanity.
This invasion of their territory could have already provoked an act of self-defense in these creatures, thinking the Savior as some terrible warship coming to invade their defenseless little world.
As if on cue the massive capital ship launched two missiles at the outpost it was orbiting over. One slammed into the control spire below the main habitation hub, sending secondary explosions up its spine. Another impacted into the boxy hab-unit on top of the structure, resulting in a massive detonation that not only destroyed the facility but also the small white shuttle connected to it.
Sutherland didn't need any incentive to stick around longer as the hostile craft began to accelerate towards them.
"Deploy the armor and pull us back," the Captain announced as he inched to the edge of his seat.
Reactions were immediate; the ship began to bank away as his crew jumped to their duties... but just not fast enough.
The lights of the bridge suddenly flickered and dimmed, catching everyone's attention. Even more so when the holographic body of Jitsu dissolved into static before fading.
"Report!" Sutherland ordered, "Jitsu, system analysis... Jitsu respond?"
"What the hell," Li roared as he hammered the face of his station. "My console just went dead."
"My station too," Wo'wantinol concurred.
"The entire computer network has shut down!" Louise announced as he tried in vain to reactivate the controls on his computer. The numerous failure responses showed he was failing to reactivate the network.
"I have basic navigation control and limited access to the star charts!" Luanni Aton, the only officer with a functioning station yelled to the other four members of the crew.
"All computer functions above regular survival level actions are inactive, Captain." Stefánsson reported as the obvious became apparent to everyone. "From what limited access I have, it looks like the AI shut down and purged all higher functions of the core computer."
"Why the hell would it do that?" Sutherland asked in a bewildered tone.
In effect Jitsu had just committed digital suicide.
Running Savior, like all of All System's University ships, carried a back generation Mk 812 artificial intelligence. While it was nowhere near the interactive holographic computer interface avatars of the Space Guard navy and lacking almost everything considered basic emotional programming the Mk 812, was still a competent computer.
It would only have shut itself down and committed itself to digital oblivion of a purge if there was a serious problem that threatened the ship and crew.
"I don't know but it's left us completely defenseless and only able to run at haft speed," the worried look on Stefánsson's face only helped to mask the terror that was bubbling up inside of him right now. They were in serious danger.
"Unknown capital ship is launching fighters and missiles!" Notp'mah roared as emergency sirens began to sound in response to the threat.
"Hard about, get us out of here!" Sutherland bellowed. "Why did we lose computer control?"
"I think it may be a malware attack," Stefánsson surmised. "The computer has locked us out of all higher functions that could comprise the security of the ship and the Hegemony at large."
"Incoming nuke!" Wo'wantinol called out, the fear ebbing in her throats since they were defenseless to the attack, "impact in sixty seconds."
"The AI has locked us out of the entire navigation database," Stefánsson said as he read the few lines of code the computer would give him, "save for the location of three Space Guard fleets."
"Why the Space Guard?" Aton asked as he continued to try and press the Savior's engines harder.
"I think the computer knew it was going to lose control and in order to protect us it destroyed everything," said Stefánsson, "but a few key navigation points that could provide emergency assistance."
The entire command deck was throttled to the side as a resounding explosion rocked the ship violently. Sutherland was thrown to the hard metal floor as his crew held onto their stations with white knuckles and strained limbs.
"Direct hit to the starboard hull!" Notp'mah called out as the strain of a few extra gravities weighted heavily on his dual-chambered heart.
"We are venting drive plasma from engine three," Stefánsson added as warning lights flashed all over his station.
"Cut power and reroute the energy through secondary couplings," Sutherland tried to put some amount of professionalism into his voice as he hoisted himself up from the floor.
"They're not responding!" Aton screamed as the entire switchboard of the navigation controls blinked in nothing but red lights. "Critical overload is charging in reactor twelve."
"Manually dump the core contents," Sutherland remembered from his training, "and pull the backups."
"Done but backups are not functioning," Stefánsson assessed. "We're losing core stability!
More warning alarms blared as now Wo'wantinol added her voice to the situation. "Fire in the hydroponics bay, suppression systems are not responding."
"Evacuate that deck and vent the atmosphere," Sutherland commanded.
"They're launching another nuke," Notp'mah provided. "Impact in seventy seconds!"
"Bring us about, all power to engines," Donald commanded. "Stefánsson try to work around those computer blocks and get our engines back."
"It won't make a difference," Louise interjected. "We'd need an entire computer technical staff and a brand new AI program to get those back."
"Then were as you human's say 'screwed'," Clinom's attempt at humor was not a welcome addition to the stressed air of the bridge.
"Nuke is gaining," Notp'mah screamed, "Estimated thirty seconds to impact."
"We're moving too slow," Luanni continued to push the limited engines as fast as they could, "The speed and inertia are on our side but those missiles and warship are gaining faster."
"Can we pour power into the main drive," Wo'wantinol asked, "use the G-force thrust to knock the missiles off course."
"That thing is tracking us," Notp'mah shock his head. "I doubt if we give it a push with the engines it just won't correct course or detonate it's proximately load. Fifteen seconds!"
"Do it anyway!" Sutherland screamed.
"Cutting engines," Aton announced, "pressing the power to full."
Outside the Savior's engines flared and died, the craft pushing forward with inertia, as friction did not exist in space to slow her down. But even with her engines cut and the psychics of space on her side the missile was still gaining.
A frothy white trail of engine exhaust created a wobbling line from the weapon back to the Basestar, which was pressing its engines to full in its pursuit.
"Seven seconds to impact!" Notp'mah yelled as the proximity sensor's alarm became louder in the bridge crew's ears.
"Hold for it Mr. Aton... hold it..." Sutherland coached the Andorian before finally erupting with... "NOW!"
All five engines kicked in at full strength and even with the inertial dampeners and artificial gravity that didn't stop the entire crew from feeling the sudden G-force thrust. Neither did the missile as the blast of energy created a shockwave strong enough to knock the warhead off course.
Unfortunately the Savior had been placing all their bets on the device either detonating its payload then and there or would lack any kind of sophisticate tracking system to reorient itself after such an impact.
They lost that bet to the latter.
Quickly coming about the missile completed a wide angle bank and rush back towards its prey.
"No effect, its coming around again!" Notp'mah announced. "Impact in twenty seconds."
"All hands brace for impact!" the Captain roared.
Seconds later the warhead struck the Savior from behind, sending the ship flying end over end as atomic energies burned across her hull. Two of the main drive engines sputtered and then went dark, another one suffering a secondary explosion from a ruptured fuel line and blasting the entire assembly off.
"Hull damage to decks 5 through 11, port stabilizers are failing," Stefánsson grimly announced, "and the main drive is off line!"
"Casualty reports!" Sutherland followed up with.
"Eighteen crewmen down," Li announced, "ten critically injured, four dead."
Captain Sutherland couldn't imagine the amount of damage had been done to not only his ship but also his crew but they needed to get out of here and fast.
"Unknown warship is approaching on vector seven-seven mark one," Wo'wantinol called out. "They are launching a ship, and it is being escorted by portions of their fighter screen."
"I can't get anything on the scanners," Notp'mah reported, "but my guess since they aren't doing a good job blowing us up they've launched borders to scuttle us."
"Alert the crew for incoming hostiles," Donald commanded. "Distribute weapons to the security officers and set up bottle necks in the main corridors."
"Sir, the weapons are code locked," Notp'mah interrupted. "Without the main computer we can't access them.
"Plasma torches," Stefánsson countered, "we keep them all over. Have the crew modify them and use 'em!"
"Boarders are inbound!" Wo'wantinol updated. "They are heading for port docking hatch 7, deck 10."
"Order the damage repair crew to seal the hatch," Sutherland ordered, "burn out the docking controls."
Ten decks below and more then two hundred meters back a Cylon Heavy Raider pressed forward, syncing itself up with the airlock of the Savior. Since nukes wouldn't work, the Basestar had decided to go with a more personal approach.
Whoever these people were they obviously weren't Colonials and Cylon High Command wanted access to them and their unique ship.
Pushing inward with thrusters the Heavy Raider attached itself at what appeared to be some kind of docking hatch.
Heavy Raiders were a duel function transport and attack craft, sporting a six cannon gun under the cockpit area and two rotatable missile launchers she was a deadly craft to deal with. More independent then a Raider, they could be piloted by either a Centurion or a humanoid Cylons and were far more versatile then their smaller counterparts. But for the increase range and diversity the Heavy Raider could provide its speed and maneuvering was severely lacking.
Right now a Six was performing the delicate ballet to bring her cargo of twelve armed Centurions into dock with the alien vessel and trying not to overcompensate too much with the engines and end up taking them both out.
Their ship was advanced, any craft their size, and Colonial or Cylon should have been obliterated after two missile strikes. It worried Six to wonder if their worm virus had caused the collapse of some of their higher computing functions, then what could they be facing down.
Entering in an adaptive investigative attack virus, it didn't take much effort after that to hack their lopsided network, especially an unprotected system like a docking hatch. As long as she didn't attempt to override the safeties and vent the entire ship and remained with in the basic activity of the mechanism, open out door, close outer door, open inner door, it was simple to override.
Anything else would prompt the system's safeties to lock the docking port closed for fear for the loss of atmosphere.
"Breach!" Stefánsson screamed back up on the bridge. "They hacked the docking control!"
"This is the Captain to all crewmen," the engineer was so preoccupied he almost didn't hear Donald taking over the intercom system. "We have borders, repeated borders. Man your stations and hold the line. Anyone with combat training is advised to report to the closest security station for assignment. All civilian personnel are to barricade themselves at their positions and wait for rescue. That is all," Donald had to wish against all his concern and worry on what that docking ship held, his crew would be okay and their ship would make it through this. Yet the urge to think about his own safety however continued to crop up inside his psyche forcing him to push it down and return to his duty as leader of these people. "Notp'mah give me a camera feed of port docking hatch seven."
The main holo-screen dissolved from speeding stars cape to an obscure security camera in the below decks.
Port docking hatch seven slide back out of view and the Savior's bridge crew got their first real vie of a Cylon Centurion.
"They're mechaniods?" Wo'wantinol said what everyone had concluded. "That's how they sent us the virus and hacked the docking control."
Twelve Centurions disembarked before the hatch finally rolled back into place. Two of the machines remained to guard the hatch while the remaining ten moved off, six towards the forward, five to aft.
Just as the groups of sextuplets were heading off one suddenly stopped. From their voyeur position the bridge crew watched with interest as the machine tilted its head and suddenly turned its burning red eye towards the camera.
Without hesitation it pulled its arm cannon and opened fire, creating a dazzling flash of lights before the camera feed disappeared into static.
"Clinom give the evacuation order for deck 10 and lock it down. Notp'mah get me a camera on those mechaniods," Donald yelled as he headed towards Stefánsson's station. "Do we still have environmental controls?"
"Minimal," the man explained. "I can vent the atmosphere and adjust the gravity plating but that's it."
"Adjust the gravity plating on deck 10 to twenty-G's," the Captain ordered.
"Just around Jovian norm," the smile that spread across Stefánsson's lips showed the evil plan his commanding officer had. "Should be enough to slow them down."
Savior may have had a primarily oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and Earth-norm gravity, the craft was designed to support a multitude of environments and atmospheres. Since the Hegemony, to which the All Systems University was a special interest group of, they had naturally designed their exploration vessels to support all manners of crew and guests that could be boarding from every conceivable world within their imaginations. Savior did support a tri-cycling life support system, allowing them to create a multitude of environments, from the sulfuric atmosphere of Venus... to the crippling gravity of Jupiter's 'surface'.
A heavy AG-field activated under the Centurion's feet and even with the high-yield shock absorbing servos the machines collapsed to the floor. Crushing gravity kept the aft bound boarders bound to the ground and another three forefront, but not all of the mechaniods were down.
Three of the Centurions pushed forward, abandoning their comrades to the crushing AG-field.
"Though little monsters," Notp'mah muttered.
"Not too much," Sutherland had noted where the machines had managed to reach and another plan sprung into his head. "Seal the secondary cargo doors nine."
Heavy blast doors designed to sustain the howling cold of space and the damage a loss cargo crate could do, the barrier rolled into place and right over one of the two invaders. Several tons of refined Neo-steel slammed into the trailing mechaniod and reduced it to a sparking pile of scrap under its weight.
The leading Centurion was not deterred.
"One left," Notp'mah confirmed the obvious.
"Have security teams intercept it and deal with it," Sutherland ordered.
"Unknown alien warship is launching another bordering boarding ship!" Wo'wantinol reported, "Looks like their droids are calling in reinforcements."
"Can we dump our boarder?" Sutherland asked back towards Notp'mah.
"Negative," the security chief disavowed. "They hacked the docking control and locked the system into place. They can leave and we can't get them off."
"Do you have the engines back online yet?" Donald inquired to his chief engineer.
"Compensating for the failure derivative power array," Stefánsson confirmed. "We have limited engine power."
"Bring us around," the Captain ordered, "and plot an intercept course for that warship, give me manual control."
"Sir?" Luanni asked.
"Just do it!" Sutherland roared.
With the Heavy Raider still attached the Savior's engines powered up and thrust the craft forward, creating a lopsided dance as the science ship's engines tried to compensate for its extra passenger and missing drive assembly.
But the Savior was not running again.
Arching back towards the Basestar, the vessel rolled right passed the second Heavy Raider and towards the mothership. Fighters tried to intercept but even with her limited power she was still fast enough to outrun their attackers.
But the Savior didn't want to be outrun.
Tilting on her side the small science vessel pushed the trapped Heavy Raider atop the craft and even as the Six onboard tried in vain to jettison her vessel, the Savior closed on the Basestar.
Like a dog trying to scratch off a tick they couldn't reach, the Savior carried the Cylon boarder right back and into its homeport.
The Basestar and Heavy Raider collided full throttle with the Savior racing onward, searing the bottom of one of the warship's upper pylons as the smaller ship broke into a fiery blast.
With its 'passenger' gone, the Savior leap forward, but the trailing stream of broken metal and split atmosphere had left the illusion of blood in the water for the now enraged Basestar to follow.
"Heavy damage to sensors, hull integrity and internal EPS conduits. Core stability is falling," Stefánsson announced the second after they had cleared the Basestar. "Thirty seconds to full breach."
The situation was only getting worse no matter how much the crew tried valiantly to hold the Savior together, the situation was slowly spiraling out of their control. Without the armor they couldn't raise a defense against weapons that had been considered obsolete for the last three thousand cycles and now after three hits they were in deep water. One hi had critically damaged a number of systems and left the ship sputtering to recover, a second had taken out their main drive for a few seconds, the final could only help to shatter whatever form of hull integrity they had left.
Sutherland had only one option.
"Can we calculate jump coordinates to the closest Space Guard flotilla?" he asked.
"Yes," Aton nodded, "but with the main core is nearing critical and with the backups not functioning we don't have the power to make it."
Stefánsson called out the remedy immediately. "Shunt the main core energy into the backups."
"What!" most of the remaining crew responded with.
"Two more nukes incoming!" Notp'mah warned. "Fighters closing!"
"If we shunt the core's energy into the backups the automatic safeties will activate," the chief engineer explained. "There not under computer control... they run on their own systems separate from the AI's. If they read energy building up in their banks they discharge it, right into the jump coils so we can make a jump!"
"Yes but in the process it will shunt power into every other connected system," Wo'wantinol countered. "That includes life support, plasma control, sensors, even the food processors. We'd blow out every major circuit on the ship and critically damage ourselves."
"Would you prefer we take another nuke?" Stefánsson quirked an eyebrow at the comment.
The silence lasted barely another second before everyone was in motion.
"Prepare to shunt power!" Sutherland announced.
"Missile contact in thirty seconds!" Notp'mah called out again.
Though they were rushing Sutherland had to wonder how long they had to complete the modification and the time left until the next missile struck. "Mr. Stefánsson?"
The engineer only nodded, "Calculating the transfer!"
"Missile contact in fifteen seconds," Notp'mah counted down.
"Mr. Stefánsson!" the Captain said as panic began to creep into his voice.
"I almost have it finished!" Stefánsson reassured.
The proximity alarm of the approaching warhead only heightened the situation, each pause between the beep of the incoming ordinance grew shorter.
"MR. STEFANSSON!" Sutherland screamed.
"Shunting power!" Stefánsson retorted.
"Coils are overloading!" Aton yelled.
"Jump!" and that was the last order Captain Donald Carlin Woodsview Sutherland gave as everything on the command deck dissolved into white light.
Inside the cavernous interior of the Basestar Omega 83, seven individuals gathered inside the Command and Control Center of the vessel.
Data streams, literally composed of streaming water-like data, replaced most of the work stations on the deck, providing a transmission and storage medium for the Cylon controllers to use in a far more speedy form of data correlation and processing. Consisting of illuminated panels covered by a thin layer of water, the different models could interface directly with the data streams of incoming information, reducing the need for cumbersome visual displays and dradis consoles.
Numerous Cylons manned these stations, pressing their hands into the different pools, whispering orders among themselves as the seven leaders met in the heart of the command room.
"The unknown ship has jumped away," a Number Three reported as he disengaged from the dradis console. Dressed in a crisp blue suit that his entire line seemed to prefer, he was more than a bit annoyed of the aliens escape from the Cylon's clutches.
"Shouldn't we launch a pursuit," a concerned Eight inquired, her dark raven hair pulled up unlike the classic free hanging style of her group, "our virus managed transmit the coordinates they were jumping to."
"Our forces are already committed to their strike against the Colonials," the preachy tone of the One ground on all the model's nerves, especially under the brim of his brown leather hat. "We cannot deviate from God's will."
"The virus we transmitted did gain access to their navigational logs. Nothing concrete but the point they jumped to was also well beyond the red line of our fastest Raiders," a Number Two informed the group, his dark skin adding to his haunted look. "It would take almost seven hours to catch up to them and by then they could be long gone."
"Our operatives are in place, the back-door programs are just nearing finish and almost a hundred Basestars are in position for the strike," a Three in a startling white suit announced in a commanding tone to the six other models. "If we abort now we won't be ready for another commitment this large for over six years. Their intrusion across the Armistice Line last year is valid evidence they are starting to get cocky in their abilities. It's now or never."
"Then it goes to a vote," a Four announced running his hand through his sand colored hair, ending the discussion. The other models immediately went quiet and each added their hands to the data streams to cast the votes of each their lines. "Two for aborting the attack on the Colonies to pursue the alien vessel, five to continue with our plans," was his final count.
"Good," One nodded in his triumphant win. "We cannot afford any interruptions to the grand design. No one will be expecting the return of the Colonial's shuttle for at least another day."
"Our Resurrection Ship will be jumping in along with three other Basestars," the Six acknowledged. "Prepare the hybrid to begin the final calculations."
Each knew their roles and set to work to what was the fruition of their years of work.
Central to this labor was the Hybrid, the living core of the Basestar personified. She represented the first step of the mechanized Cylons towards a more organic evolution. Taking the form of young ladies, Hybrids spent their entire lives in immersions tanks, a autonomous bio-mechanical system built to control the autonomous functions of the Basestar, including navigation, sub-light or FTL-propulsion, and climate control.
More akin to cyborgs, consisting of conduits and other connectors mated to the body, the Cylons created the first Hybrid from abducted human civilians on whom they conducted medical experiments during the first Cylon War. They were not considered alive by the other models of Cylon society; many considered the Hybrids have seen the place "between life and death" and have been driven mad as a result. Throughout their entire existence, even forgoing the basic need of sleep, they talked to the nothing of empty space around.
Their utterances appear to be a mixture of system status reports as well as observations of events in and around the Basestar, barely describable in words. A Hybrid's connectivity to its Basestar provided it with a remarkable awareness of the surrounding space. They appear to experience a form of ecstasy, perhaps at an orgasmic level, when accomplishing certain tasks such as FTL jumps.
It was their aloft nature and total lack of discernable intelligence that made interacting with them a taboo among the Cylons.
The Hybrid of Basestar Omega 83 was among the most powerful in the Cylon fleet and as such the Cylon's onboard her were terrified to be in the same room with her. But her mission was the critical portion of the Cylon genocide of the Colonies.
With the arrival of her sister ships and the Resurrection Ships they would complete the end of humanity's demise…