Author's notes: I am most dreadfully sorry it has taken this long to post an update. Real life and more than a touch of writer's block has gotten in the way. This chapter may seem a bit jarring at some point but the point of view changes are necessary to the overall story plan. I could have made it two chapters, but that would have made this chapter EXTREMELY short and the next very short as well. So I decided not to do it in two chapters. Reviews are appreciated and missed when absent.

Disclaimer: Battlstar Galactica is the property of Universal Studios and Glen Larson. This is fan fiction which garners NO MONEY WHATSOEVERfor the author of this work.

Chapter 9

Captain Artook Meto of the Ratroka Exploration vessel Metalaiki (which meant Explorer in their language) watched as his world went from a dot among the stars to a disk. At the proper distance the subspace drive switched off and they were back in normal space.

"Contact Exploration Command," the captain ordered.

His wife, Artook Begal called out. "No satellites in orbit. There should be fifty or more. But they're gone."

"What about the debris," he asked.

"No sign of debris," Begal responded. "It's as if they were just scooped out of the sky."

"No response from Exploration Command. No transmissions at all. Not even on the commercial channels."

"What in Almais is going on here.?" Meto wondered aloud. "Take us down, helmsman. Land us at the airport just outside of Sipataro."

"Taking us down, aye," replied the helsman. "Destination, Sipataro Airport.

The main viewer went to white when they entered the atmosphere. Then it cleared. Something didn't seem right.

"Magnification 10 on the viewer," the captain ordered.

When the magnified view came up, Artook gasped. He could see two cities in ruins. "Abort approach to Sipataro Airport," he ordered. "Take us in a high altitude sweep. Find us the nearest city that hasn't been destroyed."

"Yes sir," replied the helmsman. "Aborting approach to Sipataro Airport."

Begal called out. "Met, I can't find any cities that are intact. Every one I can find is just ruins. What are we going to do?" It was clear she was upset and very frightened.

"We'll have to hope that we can find some survivors." He looked to his science officer, Mataro Alran. "What could have caused this, Al?"

"I have no idea. I am getting energy signatures. It looks like some of these cities were struck with laser fire. That or some type of energy weapon.

They had made four full passes. No life detected except a few altrak, mikka, and zokra and not many of them.

They were back in orbit. They had landed and found bodies hacked with what looked like swords and also bodies killed by laser burns. The fifty two crew persons of the Metalaiki were all that was left of their species. Captain Artook had had his engineers salvage any weapons they could find and the Metalaiki was now armed with three particle beam cannons and four kinetic rail guns. Even with this, morale was very low.

"This is the captain speaking. We don't know who murdered our world and our people, but we have now fitted weapons onto the Metalaiki. We will search out the nearer stars and make the ones who did this pay or we will die in the trying. Captain out."

Artook closed the ship-wide channel. "Navigator, plot a course to the nearest star out from Anmere."

"Yes sir," Tolurn Mako, the navigator replied. "That would be Malvene. It's a binary system. The main star is a Blue, the secondary a white dwarf. At maximum safe cruise travel time is just over twenty one days."

Artook nodded. "Understood. As soon as the course is plotted, engage at factor five."

"Course calculated and laid in," Tolurn reported.

"Engaging at factor five," the helmsman said. "Subspace drive now activated. Our speed is factor five."

"You are to claim those vessels, Sid," the Secretary of State told the Ambassador. "We will share any technology we find within them with the Colonials, but the hulls are ours."

"I'm not sure that will go over very well with their Council of Twelve," James said.

"Those two vessels are in our system on a planet we own. Their Thirteenth Tribe is not represented on their Council. Their fleet belongs to them and we would not dream of taking it from them. But these ships are not members of their fleet. We claim salvage rights."

"The fact that we will share any technology we find will soften things somewhat, but I'm afraid they are going to think us thieves."

The Secretary of State shook his head. "No. Thieves take what does not belong to them. We are taking nothing that belongs to the Colonial Nation. Their Thirteenth Tribe does not belong to, nor is represented in the government of, that nation."

"This is ridiculous," Sire Counstello said. "These ships obviously belong to us. How dare they claim them, provisionally or otherwise?"

Siress Selene was looking very thoughtfull. "I'm not sure they do belong to us, Sire," she said slowly.

"Oh, come now, Siress," Counstello said. "They belonged to our people. They are ours."

"Do you see a councilor from the Thirteenth Tribe among us? I don't. The Thirteenth Tribe is not represented here. They were among our ancestors, but they don't belong to this government."

Sire Malthenzar spoke up. "So you are saying that they were right to provisionally claim those ships?"

"What I'm saying," Selene said, "is that I'm astonished that they claimed them only provisionally. By our salvage laws they had the right to claim them completely, not just provisionally."

Adama nodded. Selene was very correct. He gave voice to his thoughts. "The honorable Siress Selene is correct. Those ships rest on or in soil owned by the United Earth Confederation. According to our salvage laws, those ships belong to them."

"But are they ready for the technology they will find with those ships?" Sire Lemuil wondered.

"I'm curious if we would be ready for the same technology," Sire Azoz mused. "It is very likely that those ships have a higher level of technology than our own."

"And how do you come to that conclusion?" asked Sire Torencio, representative from Gemenon.

"Their sensing devices detected our engine signatures from a distance or hundreds of thousands, if not millions of kilometrics. Not even we can do that."

"We must have the technology that those ships contain," Counstello said.

Selene spoke again, slowly, considering what she was saying. "And what do we do if they claim them and all technology within them and refuse to share? They have a fleet of warships. True, not many have their hyperfold drive, but they are all armed. And they have this anti-matter technology. Which from what I understand is more powerful than a solium enriched warhead."

"I intend to ask them to share, at least the technology within those ships," Adama said. "If they refuse, then I don't see that there is anything we can do about it. But why would they refuse? These people seem to be reasonable. They aren't like those Terrans we encountered in our first yahren of the Exodus."

"You're too trusting, Adama," Counstello told him.

"Too trusting?" Adama felt slightly insulted. "You're saying this to the man who had grave doubts, that were confirmed, by the way, about the Cimitar peace accords?"

"Adama is a lot of things," Selene put in, "but gullible isn't one of them."

Just then the bridge comm sounded. "Commander," Colonel Tigh's voice came over the comm. "Alexandria is hailing us. They say the Ambassador needs to speak to you."

"Pipe it down here, Tigh," Adama ordered.

"Yes sir."

"Commander Adama, This is Ambassador James."

"Ambassador," Adama replied.

"Commander, I have new orders from my government. We unconditionally claim the hulls of the vessels of the Thirteenth tribe. They are resting on a planet we own and and appear to be abandoned. Therefore by our salvage laws, they belong to us."

Counstello opened his mouth to speak. Adama raised a finger. Counstello reluctantly remained silent.

"What about the technology within those hulls?" Adama asked.

"We will share that technology with you, but the hulls themselves are ours."

Adama cocked an eyebrow at Counstello. Counstello looked sheepish. Adama did know his business.

"We thank you for sharing the technology, Ambassador. Some of us had concerns you would want to keep it all for yourselves. The hulls and the technology."

"We hope to be friends with the Colonial Nation," James said. "Being greedy is rather counterproductive in that regard."

"It's gratifying to know I am still able to judge character," Adama said. "We thank you for your generosity in sharing the technology within those ships."

"You're welcome, Commander. Alexandria out."

After Tigh reported that Alexandria had ended communications, Counstello said, "I've got to hand it to you, Adama. You do know what you are doing. You read them like a book."

"I told you he wasn't gullible," Selene put in.

Saroz, a Colonial linguistics expert examined the writings on the downed alien craft from which the UEC had reverse engineered the Hyperfold. He scratched his head. "This looks vaguely similar to Hazari writing. It's not Hazari, but it has the same general feel. I do recognize three characters here. One is Hazari. The other two are Delphian." He pointed to three different symbols. "This is Delphian for Eject," he said, pointing toward the first. Then indicating the second, he said, "This is Delphian for drive or possibly motive force. The third one here," he pointed. "This is Hazari for distress."

Marcus Allen, a UEC scientist said, "So this is a hybrid Delphian/Hazari craft?"

"As far as we know, the Delphians and Hazari never knew of one another. One moment." Saroz pulled out another instrument, made some adjustments and pivoted in a circle holding the device at arm's length. When he had completed a complete circle, he looked at the readout. "This might explain it. This shows that the materials this room is constructed from are more than twelve thousand yahrens old. We had not encountered either species at that time.

It is not outside the realm of possibility that they knew of one another, formed an alliance, and then forgot due to some cataclysm. Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no."

"Are there any records that you know of on Hazar or Delphi that would indicate this?"

Saroz shook his head. "I don't know. I would have to study our records and the histories to know for sure. And even then, it might not be something that was recorded on either world."

"Surely they would have documented a cataclysmic event," Allen said.

"Not necessarily if they were fighting for their survival. I need to return to Galactica and access the computron historical database."

Confederation and Colonial scientists studied the technology of the two Thirteenth Tribe ships and the downed alien craft for almost two months when the UEC detected an alien spacecraft inside the Sol system

Author's Notes: That's it for this chapter. I'll try not to take as long with the next update, but no guarantees. Don't forget to review.