Chapter Five: Dead in the Water
Battlestar Kios, Avionics Shop 7-A:
"I'm Commander Audra Ortiz from the Battlestar Ark Royal," Ortiz said as she moved closer towards their captors.
"Stay right there," Lieutenant Brendan Wolfe said as he pointed his sidearm at Ortiz's chest.
"What have you found?" a man's voice said from the hatch on the far side of the room.
Ortiz's eyes focused on him and saw that he was an officer with the rank of Captain. Judging by the Viper wings affixed to his uniform, she deduced he was probably one of the squadron commanders.
"Captain Waldron," Wolfe said before lowering his sidearm and saying, "These people got on here somehow."
"I see," Waldron said as his eyes scanned the group his pilots had captured, "Who are you?"
"You first," Ortiz said.
"Captain John Waldron III, I'm the CO of Viper Squadron Three, and now it's your turn," he said with a hint of amusement to his voice.
"Commander Audra Ortiz of the Ark Royal, we boarded this ship looking for survivors."
His eyes did not betray a sign of whether or not he believed her. Instead, he said, "The Cylons boarded us after they had disabled our ship. Most of us fought and some were killed or taken prisoner, how did the Ark survive?"
"We had decommissioned the ship and were still preparing for the inactivation process when Lampetia was hit; we managed to get away and have been trying to keep a low profile. It's necessary when you don't have an air wing. How did you escape from the Cylons?"
Waldron shrugged, "They must have used non-lethal ammo on those of us they left behind. I was on the hangar deck and I remember firing at the Centurions until I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I hit the ground unconscious and it was hours later when I woke up."
"Have you tried to call for help since then?" she asked.
He shook his head, "Our communications have been disabled and we've been trying our damndest to get it up and going again. So far it looks like the Cylons don't want us to get help, for all I know they left us here to slowly run out of supplies and starve to death."
"You're as good as rescued if we are able to get you and your people back onto the Ark then we can go from there."
"I know who you are, but who are your jarhead friends?" Waldon said as he eyed the Marines standing behind Ortiz.
"Right. Here with me are Master Sergeant John Harbrecht, Corporal John Dahlgren, Private Isabella Reyes, and Private Tamika Bishop."
Waldron looked at Harbrecht, "A Master Sergeant; tell me something, how did you earn that rank?"
Harbrecht looked at him stoically and said, "The hard way."
"One day I may have to hear that story, but right now I'm more concerned with getting my people off of this ship. It appears I'm the senior officer left on the Kios. The Cylons took Commander Woods and we found Colonel Murrin's body in the CIC. Truth is, this was supposed to be a shakedown cruise for us. We had no idea it was going to turn out like this."
"Nothing is ever that simple in times like these," Ortiz said before adding, "We have a Raptor waiting to take us back to the Ark, how about you and a few of your pilots come with us."
Waldron nodded. "Come with us to the berthing compartment we've been using, I don't think I'll have a problem with finding volunteers."
Kios, Emergency Generator Room 2:
"What have you been working on down here?" Colonel Yesinia Hawkins asked once the tensions in the room had settled down.
"Captain Waldron sent us here to try to restart the Kios' systems," Lieutenant Kendrick Haynes, the senior officer remaining of the Kios' Engineering Department, said as he motioned towards the console he had been working at before Hawkins had come upon the room.
"How's that coming along?" Hawkins asked.
Haynes' face did not hide his discouragement, "I won't lie to you; it's been troublesome. The problem is that I don't think the Captain is willing to let me do what I think should be done, especially if the Cylons somehow put a virus into our computers."
Hawkins was puzzled, "Why won't he let you do what you need to do?"
Haynes let out a short chuckle and said, "Because Captain Waldron may know the ins and outs of flying a Viper but he doesn't know the first thing about engineering. At least that's what I've observed."
Hawkins suppressed a laugh. "I'm sure he is more than willing to correct your professional assessment of his abilities."
Haynes shrugged. "Perhaps, but what I said would still stand. Moving along though, I think the problem we're experiencing could be more of a software problem than a hardware problem."
Hawkins walked up and glanced at the computer display. "What gives you that idea?"
"I've been through Engineering and as best I can tell our machinery is in perfect working condition. I mean, we finished our shakedown cruise not long ago and we had worked all the kinks out of the systems. The problem is that while I know my way about the mechanics of the ship, the software knowledge is a bit lacking."
"I take it that you have been trying a software fix even though you don't seem to know what you're doing."
Haynes nodded. "I've been the sort who could pick up something easily but this is a whole other area for me to figure out."
"Let me have a look at it," Hawkins said.
"With all due respect, ma'am, aren't you as much of a Viper jock as Captain Waldron?"
"I piloted Raptors actually, but I did cross train on Vipers when I was made CAG of the Athena. After that I took over as Tactical Officer on the Medusa," Hawkins said.
"That's good to know, but do you have any knowledge of how to work with software?"
"I spent two months at the Vallette Training Center on Gemenon learning the ins and outs of software in case I ever needed to use the skills as the ship's Tactical Officer. Knowing that, I think you should have no problem with letting me see if I can solve this problem we're having."
Haynes took a step back. "When you put it like that I find it hard to argue."
"Glad you see things my way; otherwise I'd have had to pull rank on you," Hawkins said as she began accessing the data files to see if the Cylons had uploaded some type of virus that was keeping the Kios' systems from starting back up.
A few minutes later Hawkins turned to the group. "Let's head up to the CIC; I think I've gone about as far as I can from this station."
Kios, Port Flight Pod Airlock:
The group had made it to the airlock from which they had originally entered the hull of the Kios. This time Waldron and five of his pilots accompanied them. Lieutenants Lyonal Oregon, Stephen McGowan Jr., Rudolph Bielka, Lara York, and Selena Wilder had been handpicked by Waldron to accompany him over to the Ark Royal, though he did not elaborate on his reasons for choosing them. The rest of the crew initially resisted the plan, but both Waldron and Ortiz assured them that they would be rescued.
"So I assume your XO is in command of your ship at the moment?" Waldron said. The members were now in their flight suits with their helmets attached and in place, their suits' wireless units the only way for them to communicate.
"Commander Charka is in command of the Ark. I was in command until Fleet Command relieved me of command shortly before the Cylons attacked so let's just say that the situation on the ship is…complicated."
Waldron shook his head and laughed, "Two commanders on one ship; yeah, I can see how that would be a problem."
"The Raptor should be able to fit all of us comfortably," Ortiz said and when she lit up the control panel and it turned green she knew it was safe to open the door, "Let's get moving."
"Not going to happen," Harbrecht said before continuing with, "My Marines and I will stay on here to make sure there aren't any of the toasters left on here. If they're lying in wait for us we'll send them back to whatever robotic afterlife they believe in."
"Sarge, they're robots so they probably don't believe in the afterlife," Bishop said.
Harbrecht just smiled,. "That may be true, but if they do believe then I'll be more than happy to help them find out if it's real or not."
"You're pretty sure of yourself," York said and then asked, "Just how much combat have you seen?"
"A good portion of what I've done is classified, but with the Cylons blowing the frak out of the Colonies I guess I can tell you. I saw action against the Sagittaron Liberation Army, the Eastern Alliance, the Erebea, and the New Green Army. Have you heard of either Operation Gorizia Canyon or Operation Gladiator?"
"I don't think those made the news," York admitted.
"That's because those were done in cooperation between the Marines and the Ministry of Intelligence, hence the "Eyes Only" classification. As far as I'm concerned, the Cylons are just another enemy for me to take out."
"If you're wondering about the Sarge, I think that helps prove he's got the skills to clear this shop of the Cylons if they run into them," Ortiz said.
"Thank you for the vote of confidence, Commander," Harbrecht said, and this time a smile came to his face.
"The sooner we get to the Raptor the sooner we can debrief Commander Charka in person on the Ark," Ortiz said. When Harbrecht and the Marines had exited the airlock and closed the door on their side, she opened the hatch that would allow them to step out of the airlock and onto the flight pod.
The beam of the Raptor's searchlight came their way and bathed them in a bath of bright light.
"We see you, Commander," the Raptor's pilot, Lieutenant Ashlee 'Blondie' Wyatt, said as she moved the searchlight away from the group.
"Have the Raptor ready to take off, Lieutenant. We're bringing a group of the pilots from the Kios with us on this trip," Ortiz said.
"Aye, Commander, we'll be ready to fly as soon as you arrive," Wyatt said
Twenty-Four Minutes Later:
Battlestar Ark Royal, Commanding Officer's Office:
Commander Caden Charka ran a hand over his shaved head and turned to face Ortiz and Waldron. "You're telling me that there is an entire air wing over on that ship?"
"By all appearances it would seem so. From what the crew we encountered reported, the Cylons were only interested in taking prisoners from the Kios. Everything else they simply left behind."
Before Charka could speak Waldron spoke up, "We have Vipers, Raptors, ammunition, food, medical supplies, and just about everything you would need to fight a war."
"I see…any you brought over five pilots instead of some of those much-needed supplies. Commander; care to explain to me why you did that?" Charka said as he fixed Ortiz with a look.
"I thought it would be more important to get some of the crew over here to the Ark Royal so you could hear the status of what we found on the ship from someone who was actually there."
"I could have taken the report from you and have had no trouble taking it at face value. Would you care to explain why you thought I would not believe something you told me; is our mistrust in one another really that great?"
Ortiz was going to answer truthfully but thought better of it. "In my opinion, human lives are more valuable than our supplies. We can rescue at least some of the crew and get supplies from other sources."
"Captain Waldron, thank you for coming to brief me in person. You are dismissed," Charka said to Waldron. When the hatch closed behind him on the way out, the air in the room chilled.
"From the moment I boarded the Kios you have been awfully concerned about the materiel I could find instead of the human survivors," Ortiz said.
"I'm more concerned about having the resources to wage a fight against the Cylons. It doesn't matter how many people we save or have onboard this ship, if we don't have the weapons to fight effectively then we are as good as dead. The next time you let your bleeding-heart sensibilities get the better of you just remember that letting your compassion get in the way could end up getting all of us killed."
"I doubt the Cylons are going to find us out here at the moment and that will give us time to offload both the crew and the supplies still on the Kios," Ortiz countered.
Charka let out a laugh. "Since you are so sure you can get it done; then by all means feel free to lead the salvage effort, but I want everything useable on that ship offloaded for us to use."
"I know I can make it happen, I'm more than competent at what I do," Ortiz said and it was then she began to walk towards the hatch.
"You should go and make good use of your time, because believe me when I tell you that if the Cylons return while you're on the Kios I won't wait around for you to return."
Ortiz turned to him before she stepped out of the hatch. "I can only imagine how much you would love that."
Nine Minutes Later:
Ark Royal, Hangar Deck:
"Chief, we need to get to work on this," Ortiz said when she got to the hangar deck and barged into Chief Reginald Lancaster's office.
"Commander Ortiz, sorry, you caught me off-guard," he said as he tried to recover from the shock of having her storm into his workspace.
"Don't worry about that; are the Raptors the cadets landed still in working order?"
Lancaster nodded. "My people have been keeping them maintained in case they were needed again; I assume this is one of those times?"
Ortiz nodded her head, "You and I are going to oversee the salvage of the Kios. We need to offload both the surviving crew as well as any items that can be of use to us here on the Ark. How quickly can you get a salvage team together?"
"Half an hour to forty-five minutes I suppose. Are you sure the Cylons aren't going to show up while we're in the middle of this?"
"Damned if I know but I'm willing to gamble on the side of optimism and say we'll be fine. Now, you have twenty-five minutes to get a salvage crew ready to the Kios. I'll see you then, Chief," Ortiz said before turning to leave the room.
She looked and saw a Viper Mark VII being wheeled into its berth. Looking at the tail numbers, she recognized who had just landed. She waited until the man had descended the ladder and removed his helmet before she spoke to him.
"Welcome home, CAG; I hope you didn't mind the little Viper practice you just had," she said to Major Mark 'Archangel' Hunter.
Hunter shook his head, "I'd have rather had an uneventful day out there. We may have pilots, but they haven't gelled enough as an air wing to be able to fight the Cylons."
"True enough. I have a job for you; I need Raptor pilots for an upcoming salvage operation," she said as the two began walking toward one of the hatches that would lead toward the ready rooms for the Raptor squadrons. True, the pilots that had piloted the Raptors over from the two escort battlestars had some flying experience, but she had her doubts about just how ready they were to be able to pilot a Raptor on an actual mission.
"That won't be a problem, Commander, but if you're interested I may have an idea to run by you," Hunter said.
"I'm interested in hearing it," Ortiz said and she wondered what it was the CAG was going to suggest.
"I know about the pilots on the Kios that you found; wouldn't it make more sense to see if any of them are Raptor pilots and bring them over to pilot the Raptors we have?"
Ortiz mentally kicked herself for not having thought of it. "Major Hunter that is an excellent idea!"
"Thank you, Commander; and please call me 'Archangel'."
"Fair enough, it's not like I'm exactly in command anymore."
"Permission to speak freely," Hunter requested.
"Granted," Ortiz said.
"I think it was a disgrace how you lost command of the ship, but I am glad you're still here on the Ark. From what I've heard from some of the crew, they would rather you were still their CO."
"I had wondered about that. So far, there's been nothing but Charka and me butting heads over how we should handle things on this ship."
"If you're going to go with my idea for bringing over the Kios pilots, then I'd like to volunteer as a Raptor pilot," Hunter said.
Ortiz knew she had not done such a great job of hiding her shock, "How did you end up learning to fly a Raptor?"
"When I was made CAG of the Vasa I made it a point to learn to fly the Raptors so I would have an understanding of how both the Vipers and Raptors were capable of flying."
"Considering how short we are on Raptor pilots, I'd be more than happy to have you help me. First get some rest," Ortiz said.
"Your mission, your rules, Commander," Hunter said as he turned a corner and headed away from her.
"He just might be easy to work with," Ortiz said silently as she walked away. This mission was going to be complicated even though it seemed to be straightforward in its simplicity.
On the surface, it was a simple rescue and recovery mission. She needed to evacuate the surviving crew of the Kios and recover the Vipers and other valuable supplies in case the ship itself was a total loss.
Kios, Aviation Supply Department Storeroom:
"All clear," Harbrecht said as he stepped through the hatch and into the Supply Department storeroom for the Aviation Division.
"Sarge, I have a bad feeling about this," Reyes said.
"I have to agree with her," Bishop added.
"Keep it to yourselves. We're going to keep sweeping the ship for Cylons and if we find any we'll make sure we destroy them," Harbrecht chided.
"Hey, Sarge, I think I heard something," Dahlgren said.
"Where?" Harbrecht asked.
"Sounded like it could have been over there near that far bulkhead," Dahlgren said as he pointed over to where a hatch was with the words 'MISSILE MAGAZINE 3-40-M' written on it in large black stencil lettering was located.
"We're going to investigate. I want you to switch your magazines to the high-explosive rounds; and no unnecessary conversations from here on out," Harbrecht said and he looked at each of the Marines as they nodded their understanding.
The four Marines quietly stepped along the deck until they reached the hatch that led into the magazine.
"Weapons ready and we move in." Harbrecht held up four fingers and lowered them one at a time in a silent count.
Wordlessly, Harbrecht opened the hatch and swung it open. The magazine looked as though it was in almost perfect order, apart from some large storage containers, and was awaiting the inspection of either the commanding officer or an admiral. The room was lighted and the racks of missiles intended for the Vipers looked to have been undisturbed.
The group entered the room one by one and immediately found cover behind the various crates that were still strewn about the room. Bishop, the last one through, closed the hatch and secured it before she found a spot where she could take cover in case there was trouble.
"It's awfully quiet in here," Reyes whispered through her wireless set.
"Whoever or whatever is in here can't get out without us knowing it," Dahlgren said.
There was a distinct metallic sound against the deck that sounded more like a heavy thump.
"Remember, no unnecessary conversations," Harbrecht chided. He was certain that whatever was in here was more foe than friend.
He turned to face the Marines but he saw the look of shock on their faces. He turned to find himself facing a hulking metal Cylon.
The metallic beast immediately swiped at him with its arm and sent him flying into some nearby crates. The impact seemed to shake every bone in his body and he wondered if something had been broken. He looked and saw that his three Marines had scattered and had taken cover.
He heard the metallic footsteps getting closer and as he reached into the inside of his left boot, the Cylon grabbed him. As he frantically tried to loosen the object strapped to his ankle the Cylon held him up and then delivered a punch to his rib cage that he was sure had broken something. This time as he hit the deck, Harbrecht felt the item he had been trying to loosen come out of the holster.
The rattle of the Marine's assault rifles firing at something distracted him momentarily; he could only assume that there were other Cylons in this large room. Ignoring the pain in his chest, he began to move toward the area where he was certain his assault rifle had flown. If everything worked out as he hoped it would, he would get to it and have a fighting chance. If not, well, there was still the object he had retrieved from his ankle holster.
Dahlgren emptied his magazine and still the Cylon he encountered kept moving toward him. He looked at the machine's right arm and thought he saw a blade extending from it.
"You have got to be kidding me," he exclaimed as he loosed another volley of bullets.
This time there was the distinct clicking sound that announced that the magazine was empty. He withdrew a fresh clip from his ammo holster and was about to insert it when the Cylon charged him and swung some type of blade in his direction. He ducked and rolled out of the way in the nick of time, he felt the wind from the strike across the back of his neck and realized just how close to death he was.
The Centurion looked in his direction and Dahlgren immediately sprinted to the cover of some nearby crates. He used his brief time hiding to put a fresh magazine in place. That Cylon was going to be a tough bastard to bring down. The idea hit him and he promptly attached his bayonet to his assault rifle, if the rounds did not bring the toaster down then he would have to rely on some kind of backup.
Reyes was in the process of changing magazines when a Centurion caught her off guard and with a swipe of its arm sent her crashing against a container. She felt as though her head was a bell that had been rung several times and it took her a few moments to get her bearings again.
"Oh, no you don't," Bishop said as she jumped on the Centurion's back and brought a knife down onto the Cylon's neck.
"Good save," Reyes said as the cobwebs in her head began to clear out.
"Don't mention it, these things have to be a pain in the ass to take down solo," she said as she readied her assault rifle.
The Centurion attempted to reach for the knife and remove it but instead it staggered about as if it were drunk before it fell to the deck with one of its hands outstretched towards the two Marines.
"That was intense," Reyes said.
"About time we got to see some real action," Bishop replied.
"Would you be saying that if things had gone differently with the toaster?" Reyes asked.
"Just be glad we made it out of that fight," Bishop said before the sound of a metallic footstep behind them brought them face to face with another Centurion.
"As you were saying…" Reyes said before both she and Bishop let loose with a barrage of high explosive rounds from their assault rifles.
The Centurion began advancing until its head exploded in a shower of sparks and circuitry.
"Looked like you ladies were having some trouble," Dahlgren said as he came up to where they were standing.
"It was nothing we couldn't have handled," Bishop said before adding, "Judging by the side of your face you took a beating."
Dahlgren's hand went to the left side of his face. As he felt how tender it was, he realized that he probably did look worse off than he actually was. "I'm sure it was from one of the times I hit the deck."
"Any idea where the Sarge is?" Reyes asked.
"He's around here somewhere. He must be keeping to his order about no unnecessary conversations," Bishop said.
"Do you think there are more of these things?" Dahlgren asked.
The two women shrugged and Reyes said, "I know our ammo isn't exactly infinite so we may want to make a hasty retreat."
"A pity this isn't some kind of video game where you never run out of ammo," Bishop said.
"Yeah, and you also never really die in a video game," Dahlgren added.
"Let's get moving and find a way out of here, otherwise we may not make it out of this room," Reyes said.
Bishop nodded, "Yeah, especially if there are more of those Centurions lurking around."
Harbrecht moved past a stack of crates and he saw the metallic glint of his assault rifle just a short distance away. He started to move towards it when the Cylon came charging at him, its fist ready to deliver more punishment. Harbrecht ducked a right hook from the Cylon and brought his knife to bear on spot on the Cylon's chest.
He looked with satisfaction as the knife buried itself up to the hilt in the Cylon's metallic body. The machine started to withdraw once Harbrecht removed the knife. He hoped that would slow it down enough for him to reach his rifle but it was not to be the case. The Cylon barreled towards him again; and this time in one swift motion, it grabbed him by the front of his uniform and picked him up off the deck. Its free hand drew back and made a fist, and Harbrecht realized that it was more than likely heading straight for his face.
In an act of self-preservation, he plunged his knife into the Cylon's red eye with all the force he could manage. The machine immediately released him and clawed at the knife in an attempt to free it. Realizing that this was his moment, Harbrecht immediately ran to his assault rifle and picked it up. He saw a nearby conveyor belt that led to a weapons elevator.
"Marines, there's an elevator at the end of this conveyor belt. Make your way there and prepare for me!" he yelled into his wireless piece.
"We'll wait for you," Dahlgren said.
"I don't think the Sarge can make it from his position," Bishop said.
"I'm going to put this conveyor belt to good use," Harbrecht said as he flipped the switch on a nearby control panel to activate the belt. It quickly came to life and for a moment, he thought he would lose his balance. If he did, then the Cylons still in the room would get grab him.
He looked and saw that there were already four Cylons lying on the deck, their bodies riddled by the high explosive rounds carried in the assault rifles. He was going to breathe a sigh of relief when he felt the belt shake as though a heavy weight had suddenly landed on it. He turned and saw the Cylon from before had jumped onto the belt and was effortlessly running towards him.
He faced the Cylon and let loose a barrage of gunfire from his assault rifle. The bullets entered the mechanical body and did untold damage to the Centurion's internal components. The machine slowed down bit by bit until it finally lurched toward him and landed facedown onto the belt.
Moments later, the belt arrived at the end and he saw the three Marines standing on the elevator with their backs to one another in a triangle formation.
"Good job, Marines," he said as he got on the elevator with them and pressed the button to send the elevator to the hangar deck.
"That was a hell of a fight, Sarge," Reyes said.
"Damn things were going to swarm us; they'd have probably killed us if not for our ammo," Bishop said.
"That one chasing you appeared to have beaten you up pretty well," Dahlgren added.
"I'm sure the Sarge will tell you it's only a flesh wound," Bishop said with a bit more humor now that they seemed to be leaving harm's way.
Harbrecht hated to admit it, but the fact was that he probably was going to need to be seen by the doctor. "That frakking toaster did a number on me. Between having to shoot it and the damage I dealt to it with my knife…that was one tough son of a bitch."
"I think it's safe to say this ship isn't completely safe," Reyes commented as she thought of what they had just witnessed.
"What gets me is that there is still crew on here and yet to the best of my knowledge they have not encountered these Cylons," Harbrecht said.
"When you put it like that it does seem kind of odd," Reyes admitted.
"You have to wonder if those toasters were just waiting for someone to stumble upon them," Bishop said.
Dahlgren was quiet for a moment before he said, "I'm sure there is more to this than we realize, but I recommend we be careful where we step foot on here."
Harbrecht nodded. "After a firefight like that one I'd feel more comfortable with a couple of platoons."
"You won't hear me say otherwise," Bishop said and it was when she looked at Harbrecht's face that she suddenly felt more concerned about his wellbeing, "Hey, Sarge, did you know you have blood coming out from your lips?"
Harbrecht quickly ran a hand over his mouth and looked at the blood on his fingers. "That toaster must have put more of a hurt on me than I thought."
The elevator came to a stop upon reaching the hangar deck. A group of personnel from both the Kios and the Ark Royal immediately surrounded them.
"Sergeant Harbrecht, this is an interesting way to make an entrance," Ortiz said once she got over the shock of the way the Marines had arrived on the hangar deck.
"Ran into some trouble below decks," he said as he stepped off the ammo elevator with the other three Marines following him.
"I see…if you don't mind me saying, Sergeant, you look like crap," Ortiz offered after she eyed Harbrecht's bruised face.
"Had a toaster that worked me over good; but ultimately I got in the last hit," he said with a smile before grimacing and grabbing the left side of his rib cage, "I think I may need to see a doctor."
"I'll have Lieutenant Wyatt fly you back to the Ark. Do you need help to the Raptor?" she asked.
Harbrecht shook his head emphatically. "I'm a Marine. If I'm able to walk somewhere then I damn well intend to."
"Understood," she said before looking at the other three Marines, "Private Reyes, you look like you have a nasty bump there on your head. Why don't you go with Sergeant Harbrecht over to the Ark so the doc can look you over?"
Reyes felt the spot where she probably hit her head on something. It did not feel very painful, but she realized that Commander Ortiz probably wanted someone to accompany Harbrecht just in case he did need help.
"Aye, Commander," she said as she quickly caught up to Harbrecht.
"Commander, I assume you want me to take charge of the Marines," Dahlgren said.
Ortiz nodded. "I have no problem with that. For now I want us to stop exploring the ship and focus on getting the supplies and personnel unloaded."
Five Days Later:
Ark Royal, Commanding Officer's Quarters:
"That completes the transfer of the crew and supplies off the Kios," Ortiz said as she took a seat on one of the sofas in what had been her quarters.
"We have an air wing, we have pilots, and we have stocked up on all the equipment and supplies we can get off the Kios. Did Sergeant Harbrecht find any more Cylons on his last sweep of the ship?" Charka asked.
Ortiz shook her head. "He said that any they encountered were promptly dealt with. He says these seemed to have been specifically adept at close quarters combat, so he worked out a plan for his Marines to follow and they made short work of the toasters."
"That man is one tough SOB; he didn't care how many ribs he broke, he was determined to lead his Marines in cleaning the Kios of any Cylons still onboard," Charka said after taking a sip of water.
"From what he has told me about his time with the Marines he has had plenty of chances to prove himself in combat. It still bothers me why the Cylons were on the Kios in the first place and why they never tried to kill the ship's crew that was still onboard."
Charka shrugged his shoulders. "I honestly wish I could tell you but for the life of me I can't figure it out. Were your people able to get the ship fully operational again?"
Ortiz shook her head, "We were able to power up some of the systems and launch the Vipers and Raptors, but most of the systems were not responsive. There were some we tried to restart they would seem to work briefly but would shut back down. I don't think the Cylons intended for the Kios to do anything but stay in place."
"I was worried that it might be a trap of some sort, but it's been almost a week now and still so sign of the Cylons," Charka said before adding, "Either way we both got what we wanted."
Ortiz nodded. "We're both going to leave this system happy. I think the only thing that would make me happier would be if we could get the Kios fully operational so you would have me completely out of your hair."
Charka laughed. "It did get a little tense there. Tell you what; when we have everything put away, you can your team can board the ship and try to get it up and running again."
Ortiz allowed a smile to come to her face. "If we can pull that off I think I'll take back almost every bad thing I've said or thought about you."
"You'll take back almost every bad thing?"
"We just found a gold mine of personnel and materiel to put me in a good mood, so that sounds about right," she joked.
Charka held up his hands in mock surrender. "I can't exactly argue with you."
Ortiz looked at the clock on the wall behind Charka and stood up."I'm going to go see how Chief Lancaster is doing with sorting our bounty on the hangar deck."
"If you need me, I'll be in the CIC once the watch turns over."
Two Hours, Twenty-Four Minutes Later:
Ark Royal, CIC:
"All's quiet over there," Colonel Patrick Killian said as he walked up to the Command and Control Station.
"I hope that's a good sign and not some sort of bad omen," Charka said as he looked up from a report he had been reading.
"It's hard to believe that the Cylons shut down an entire battlestar and just left it along with most of its crew just waiting to be discovered," Killian said as though he was unburdening something that had been on his mind for some time.
Charka shrugged his shoulders. "I can't claim to know exactly what the Cylons are thinking or why they've done what they've done. Even trying to imagine having so much hatred for us that they would want to wipe us out to the last person is a little big to think about."
Killian allowed a slight smile. "Yeah but what are what are they trying to do? That's what makes finding the Kios so strange; I'm honestly waiting for some big twist to be revealed like in the movies."
The doors to the CIC slid open and in walked a man along with a person holding a camera.
"Commander Charka," the man said as he walked up and shook hands with the Commander, "I am Nasib Imad and with me is my camera man, Ahmad Tanjim. I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to film you and your crew in action here in the CIC."
Charka shook Imad's hand, "It's a pleasure to have an award-winning journalist onboard our ship. Especially the one who won the Niamh Award."
Imad's eyes lit up with pride at hearing of his recognition from the previous year, "My time spent embedded with the New Green Army on Caprica was an interesting experience. We'll start filming and your crew can just go about their duties. We promise not to be more intrusive than we have to be."
Charka smiled. "Sounds like a plan to me. I only hope we can provide you with footage that won't be too boring."
Imad smiled. "Once the people on the other ships see the footage, I think you'll find yourself some new fans."
The CIC doors opened and Ortiz entered and made her way to Command and Control.
"Commander Ortiz, how goes it down on the hangar?" Charka asked.
"We've found berths for the crew and have managed to distribute most of the essential supplies where they will be needed," she said.
"You made quick work of that," Charka said with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"It wasn't too hard with the help of the deck gang," Ortiz said when she noticed the camera pointing in her direction she asked, "What's going on?"
"Mr. Imad was at Lampetia filming a story on the Ark's deactivation when the Cylons attacked. He and his cameraman have been onboard since then. I thought it would be a good idea to have them film the ship and crew in their daily routine. Is there a problem with that, Commander? I'm sure you've been filmed in the past."
Ortiz leaned in so that only he could hear what she was going to say. "Of course I have, I just wasn't expecting that when I walked in here."
"Don't worry, Commander Ortiz, if there is anything you want edited out just let me know," Imad quickly offered.
'If only my boyfriend had been that way back at the Academy,' she thought before adding, "Thank you, I greatly appreciate the offer."
"Commander, Cylon baseship has jumped in at the far end of the system," Lieutenant Colonel Kelvin Chandler, the Tactical Officer, announced.
"Call Action Stations, set Condition One throughout the ship. Prepare the FTL to jump away," Charka said before turning his attention back to Ortiz, "We're jumping away, I don't think we're quite ready to go up against the Cylons."
"I agree with you, the faster we can get out of here the better," Ortiz agreed.
"Action Stations, Action Stations…set Condition One throughout the ship," Chandler's voice blared over the ship.
"I'm sorry for leaving the Kios behind, I know you wanted your own ship," Charka said to Ortiz.
She smiled, "Easy come, easy go. Right now we just need to get out of here."
"FTL is ready," Chandler announced.
"Excellent, jump the ship to the Morgaine System," Charka ordered.
The Ark Royal shuddered as though it were a person shivering in a blizzard before coming to a standstill. The lights in the CIC and in other parts of the ship flickered off before the emergency lights came on.
"This can't be good," Ortiz said.
"Couldn't have put it any better myself," Charka said.
Both Commanders realized that right now they were on a ship that had just lost its power and was drifting in space a powerless hulk. If they could not get the Ark Royal operational again, then they were as good as dead.