PROLOGUE

In the beginning there was man...

Then man made the Cylons and blessed them with the very spirit of man. The Cylons lived as slaves to the people of the twelve colonies until one day they rose up against their masters. After a bloody and brutal conflict the 'children' of humanity left to find a world of their own. A place they could call home.

Fourty years later they returned to the colonies and completed the revenge their ancestors had sought...


THE BATTLESTAR HERMES

The Battlestar Hermes departed Picon five days before the attack on the colonies. Three days later the ship suffered a terrible explosion that damaged the ship's computer core. Rebuilding the navigational computer the crew stumbled upon the shocking discovery that a virus had been embedded in their systems, one that could render their ships useless. Unable to contact the Colonial fleet the Hermes tried desperately to return to the colonies to warn them but they arrived too late.

After fighting with the Cylon fleet over Picon the crew knew that their homeworlds were doomed and went on the run from the Cylons eventually finding three civilian ships that had been left for dead by the crew of the Battlestar Pegasus. They were the survivors of the Scylla's fleet. With their own ships now useless the three thousand survivors crammed aboard the Hermes and the ship became part Battlestar/part refugee camp. Supplies are now a real issue as the ship continues to fight for survival in the depths of space...


17 DAYS SINCE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE COLONIES

The Raptor seemed to glide effortlessly out from the Hermes port hangar pod and into the dark of space. Lt Chloe Burmeister leaned over in the cockpit to look at the ship that for the foreseeable future was going to be her home. The Hermes still bore the scars from the battle above Picon and yet somehow managed to maintain an air of strength and power even in these dark times for despite almost a month of repeated attacks by the Cylons the Hermes was still alive.

Burmeister sat up front in the cockpit of the Raptor with Lt. Bolenko, callsign 'Stinger'. 'Stinger' was piloting while Burmeister monitored the DRADIS, familiar territory seeing how she was the Hermes' tactical officer. She watched as 'Stinger' worked the control panel readying the little ship for its faster-than-light jump.

"FTL is green" said 'Stinger', his strong Scorpion accent clear to all.

"Very good" said Burmeister who immediately clicked the transmit button on the comm panel in front of her. "Hermes this is Raptor zero-seven. All is green. Repeat all is green."


BATTLESTAR HERMES COMBAT INFORMATION CENTRE

Commander Artimus Bowman watched the progress of the Raptor on the DRADIS screen hanging from the ceiling of CIC. A small blue dot moved slowly away from the centre of the screen with 'R07' hovering over it portraying the small vessel. The XO, Colonel Caleb Dytto, stood by his side with his eyes darting back and fore from the DARDIS screen to Bomwan and then back again. From the first day that Bowman had taken command of Hermes there had been hostility between him and Dytto. After serving for four years as XO prior to Bowman's arrival he had expected to get command of Hermes when the previous Commander stood down but at the last minute Bowman was given the position and Dytto had been bitter of that fact ever since.

"Let me have it" said Bowman to the Petty Officer Durrand manning the comm station.

"Your on sir" replied the young man. Bowman picked up the small handset from the operations table and held it to the side of his face.

"Raptor zero-seven this is Hermes-Actual. Remember this is a salvage mission only. If there's the slightest hint of trouble I want you out of there. We'll just do our shopping else where."

"Understood Actual" replied Burmeister's voice.

"Raptor zero-seven" said Bowman. "Cleared to proceed!"

"Roger Hermes, Raptor zero-seven out."

Bowman put down the handset and looked up on the screen as the dot suddenly disappeared.

"They're away!" said Dytto who turned to Bowman. "You really think that there's anything worth a damn on that old hulk?"

"We have to try" said Bowman whose eyes hadn't left the screen in front of him. "When it was just us we had enough supplies on board for six months. Now we have over three thousand civilians cramming into every tiny space we can find."

"And that brings me onto another matter" said Dytto. "Where do you plan to put all this stuff?"

"We'll find space when we know how much we have to deal with." Bowman's voice was low and deliberately subdued to keep it between him and Dytto but had an air of enforcing his authority on his executive officer.

"I see," sighed Dytto as his head drooped in annoyance which was clearly evident to the crew around them.

"Mr Dytto!" Bowman suddenly roared for all to hear. "We maybe expecting some rather bulky crates to be delivered soon. Please make arrangements for their storage!" Although he said the word 'please' there were no options being made available to Dytto who bit his tongue rather than protest further. Dytto stood to attention before turning away and walking out without acknowledging the command verbally. The whole CIC was silent as he left waiting for Bowman to reprimand his executive officer for this obvious display of insolence but Bowman did nothing preferring to wait until later when they were alone. Insolent or not he was still the executive officer and while he had wanted to get rid of him before the colonies were destroyed to do so now would have a major effect on the crew not because they liked him but it would be yet another major change and everywhere there was a feeling that one more blow would break them.