Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Hi All, After such a long absence, I decided to give you both chapters at once. Please note that they have not been reviewed by a Beta. So, as always any mistakes are mine.
Hopefully, this marks that start of regular updates. With work and Real Life back in some sort of balance.
"You believe that?"
"Yes I do Sir,"
The elder Adama sighed and nodded, "If I'm honest I do too. From a command perspective, there are risks with sending them both. They are providing critical services to the fleet. Services that would be difficult to replace if anything happened."
Lee had considered the same risk factors, "Those risks are somewhat mitigated by Atlantis being up and running. Supplies, overcrowding, medical services even repairs look to be coming along well."
"Do you trust the Cylons?"
Lee smiled wryly, "Harry asked me the same question, albeit for a different reason. Yes, I trust them."
William Adama nodded, "Put a plan together and I'll take it to the President."
Heavily Damaged Basestar - Cylon Space
One cursed silently as he stalked through the heavily damaged Basestar on his way to the Hybrid chamber. The battle for control of the Colony and the Resurrection Hub had been an absolute disaster. The Colony was so heavily damaged that it could no longer jump and while it could be repaired, it would be months before it's manufacturing facilities could be used. Even worse was the loss of the ability to resurrect. Without it, he was well and truly fraked. Even if he could rebuild the technology, which he doubted, it would take years of research.
"Brother," greeted the One overseeing repairs in the Hybrid chamber. "We have our power online again and jump capacity is available. Weapons are still a ways off."
"Good and the other ships?"
One shrugged, "Last update was seventy-two hours, minimum."
"Well, that's just fantastic, well while we are waiting, get the Centurions to strip the Colony. It would be suicide to stay here too long and invite an attack."
"Agreed," said the other One. "Once we are underway repairs can continue."
"We need to deal with traitors and the humans and we need to work on a plan before we catch up with them."
"I'm not sure that is a wise move brother," said another One as he entered the room.
"Oh?" replied One with a piercing glare at the newcomer.
"I've been looking through the damage reports for our remaining Basestars and right now the news is all bad. We have lost over seventy percent of our offensive capability. We are down to less than twenty percent of our fuel supplies and perishables have reached critical levels."
"So…we need to think this through. We can't take on the Colonial fleet along with the rest of our treacherous brothers and sisters and win."
"I refuse to believe that we…" began the doubting One before his brother cut him off.
"Believe it, we are screwed if we go after them now."
"So what, that's it we give up on the plan?" asked the suddenly enraged One.
The other One ignored the burst of temper, "No, we gather our resources here and strip the Colonies of what we need. We'll mine every world we have to get what we need. It might take us months…even years but we'll rebuild our forces and then we will hunt them all down."
"Years! We'll never find them again if we let them go."
"We know where they are going, their Thirteenth Colony. Much good that will do them the fools. And while they are trying to rebuild their new world from nothing so we have a definite advantage when we find them again brother."
"Fine, we need to send out Raiders to look for resource rich planets, asteroids and whatever else we can exploit."
Atlantis – Control Room
Harry was taking his turn in the control room. Mostly it was overseeing the systems that ran Atlantis. Given the level of automation, it left Harry with plenty of time to experiment with the technology Atlantis boasted.
Harry turned to see Apollo standing beside the Control chair.
"Commander Adama, how can I help you?"
"Just Lee or Apollo will do Harry," replied Apollo with a smile. "I've been thinking about the beacon mission. If we run it as a joint mission would it be possible to get you to pilot one of the city's Gate ships?"
"I could, although I thought you were set on using Raptors and Heavy Raiders."
"Now that some of the Gate Ships have a…hyperdrive and a cloak they are by far the best ships for scouting. We can carry our team plus a squad of Marines without being detected. Once we have scouted the area we can bring the fleet in or retreat back to safety."
Harry considered for a moment before nodding, "That sounds like a reasonable plan Commander."
In the end, President Roslin signed off on Apollo's plan.
With the approval, Apollo began assembling his team. He picked two Cylons, Valeria and Caprica Six. Both of who had been on the mission to retrieve Atlantis. Hermione would join Harry (So that they would have two Pilots for the Gate Ship) although Daniel had begged off, citing how busy the new Hospital on Atlantis was now it was open. A full squad of six Marines under the command of Gunny Mathias would also be joining them.
Four jumps later, the combined fleet arrived at the co-ordinates supplied by Aressa. There they would be waiting for the signal to either join the Gate ship or jump to the pre-arranged safe point.
Apollo turned to Harry who sat at the controls of the Gate Ship, "All clear Harry."
Harry piloted the cloaked Gate Ship toward the airless moon, "It's the source of the signal alright."
Hermione studied the heads up display trying to make sense of what the sensors were reporting, "I think I have it…there is a lot of EM interference. Okay, there is more than one signal. It's a bit odd, there is something strange about the signal. I'm not sure what it is. Hold on, I can make out two ships."
"Cylon?" asked Apollo as he studied the heads up screen.
"No, I don't think so. Let me check the database. One of them is Lantean. Here, I'll bring them up on screen," Hermione adjusted the controls and the image of both ships appeared.
"It's huge," said Valeria.
"Over three thousand metrics," reported Apollo as he looked over Hermione's shoulder. "That just has to be battle damage," said Apollo as he ran his finger over the image of the ship. "She's taken a battering by the look of it."
"The larger ship is Lantean," confirmed Hermione. "An Aurora class battleship according to the database. The other is a Wraith scout ship."
Caprica Six frowned, "Why is the Wraith ship not reacting?"
"Both ships still have minimal power readings," reported Hermione.
"Try and hail them," ordered Apollo.
Hermione opened a channel and tried to raise the Alteran ship. Shaking her head, she closed the channel. "Nothing, the beacon is still broadcasting but their communications are down."
"It could be a trap, something to lure people in," suggested Harry.
"Why bother? The Lanteans have been gone for ten thousand years," argued Hermione. "Whoa, the Wraith ship is powering up," warned Hermione.
"Has it detected us?" asked Apollo.
"I'm not sure," admitted Hermione. "I doubt it can see through the cloak but it could have heard out hail."
"What do we do?" asked Harry.
Apollo frowned as he considered, "Target the Wraith ship."
"Done," acknowledged Harry.
Apollo hesitated for a moment. The act of shooting without warning went against the grain, but the Wraith were too much of a threat to even consider letting them escape. He could not allow it to escape.
"Take them out Harry."
Three Drones shot away from the Gate Ship toward the Wraith ship, which had begun to pull away. All three lanced through the target and within moments the ship had been torn apart.
"The Battleship?" asked Apollo.
"No change," reported Hermione.
"Valeria can you please get Gunny Mathias," asked Apollo.
The Gate ship settled against the hull of the battleship. A moment later, the airlock beeped.
"We have docked," reported Harry as he powered down the Gate Ships engines.
"Gunny," said Apollo.
Mathias nodded and gestured for her squad to prepare before pushing the hatch release. She led her squad out, only to return moments later. "You're right Hermione, the air is pretty stale but it's breathable. Although, we might want to be quick unless we can get life support working a bit better."
"How does it look?" asked Harry.
"Like it's been hammered by the Gods. We are apparently in a storage area. Stuff has been thrown everywhere," reported Mathias.
"Is this safe?" asked Caprica Six. "I mean the ship has some pretty major hull damage."
Apollo looked over at Hermione and Harry, "We'll go section by section. Can we get a layout?"
"I can," said Hermione and, after a moment, a schematic of a ship appeared. "If everyone can gather around…right, the ship has a main thoroughfare, if we can get through the hatch from where we are here, in the aft cargo area, we will be on deck two. We can then make our way to either the bridge or engineering. It's a fairly straight route either way."
"One or two teams Commander?" asked Mathias.
Apollo "I think one, with a two man team here in the ship. We don't know if the Wraith got a message away. The rest us stick together and everyone carries a Portkey. Our mission is to check out the ship to see if she is salvageable and if not, what parts we can salvage," explained Apollo.
The ship was in a bad way. Like Atlantis, it should have had automated repair systems but the catastrophic damage the ship has suffered seemed to have put them all offline. As they moved cautiously through the ship, they came across obvious signs that someone had been here before them. Doors that had been forced, access covers removed and one wall that had been blasted open.
The bridge was in the same condition as the rest of the ship but far more worrying was the presence of a collection of odd, clearly out of place technology that was seemingly fused to the wall.
"What do you think it is?" asked Harry.
"No idea," said Apollo.
"I…" Hermione trailed off as the dim lights on the bridge suddenly grew brighter.
Several of the Marines raised weapons as they took a more defensive stance.
A light flickered and a three-dimensional image of a woman dressed in what was clearly a uniform appeared two steps from Harry.
"This is Captain Rias De Thann of the Lantean defence forces. My ship, the Fortis, has been heavily damaged and we are forced to abandon ship before more Wraith ships appear. We only have two nearly depleted Potentia left to us and I have sent one with the crew to power our new outpost. The lesser Potentia has remained here, on board the Fortis. My plan is to jump the ship far from our sanctuary to hide its location from the Wraith. Sadly, there are few habitable planets in this sector and even fewer with Astria Porta. For our protection, I have encoded this message and all our logs with a genetic lock and sent a standard distress beacon. We will be waiting, De Thann out."
A series of numbers and other data appeared.
"What did she say?" asked Apollo who, like the other Colonials had not understood the message delivered in Lantean.
"She was the captain of the ship," replied Hermione. "They had to abandon ship and hide from the Wraith. The last bit was co-ordinates for where the crew hid."
"So what do we think? Why would the Wraith be interested in this hulk?" asked Mathias.
"Probably trying to find why it's here, or maybe to look for a meal." Hermione pointed to the equipment. "The Wraith were probably trying to hack the AI system. Fortunately, the Captain had the foresight to genetically lock the information to Lanteans."
"Okay, so do we plan a ten thousand years too late rescue?" asked Harry. "Because even with their technology they would be long dead."
"When we get back to the ship I can look up the Fortis," added Hermione. "For all we know they were rescued."
"Or died," added Apollo. "Still it wouldn't hurt to check it out. I'm also still curious about what the Wraith were looking for and what this equipment actually does."
"For all we know the Wraith notified the rest of their people. Can we risk the safety of the fleet?" asked Harry.
"I didn't detect any signals," Hermione reassured Harry. "Although there is…something." She bent down to study the odd, potentially Wraith built object. "This has its own power supply and I think that it is attached to long range communications…I," she touched a section on the surface and then looked at the Lantean screen above it. "It's sending a beacon…It's sending a Lantean distress beacon." She pulled out her wand and transfigured the device into sand.
"Hermione?" prompted Harry.
"They were faking a distress beacon, calling to Lantean ships…it was a trap," explained Hermione.
Apollo frowned, "But why? The Lanteans are long gone."
"Well, if Hermione is correct they are trying to attract someone. Let's get back to the ship. From there we can plan our next move," suggested Apollo.
Hermione began manipulating one of the displays. Frowning she drew her wand and cast a repair charm. The screen flickered to life and she began changing settings.
Hermione pointed to the display, "Okay I have linked up to the Gate Ships computer. The co-ordinates are not that far away although from what I can see it is dangerously close to space that the Lanteans had marked as Wraith controlled areas. I don't think getting any closer to Wraith controlled space is what we want to be doing…but."
"Yep…but, Lantean mystery," said Harry with a slight smile. "Are there more Lanteans out there?"
"Well, the Fortis and her crew disappeared according to the database. We have no idea what happened to them after they left the ship," added Hermione. "Our database is based on the Atlantis records."
"We've still got time before our rendezvous, so we either go back to the ship and update the fleet or we use our discretion and push on," said Apollo.
"The longer we stay here the more likely that we have confrontations with the Wraith. The more weapons we have against them the better off we'll be. I think we should at least check out the co-ordinates," said Apollo.
"What about the Fortis, should we just leave it?" asked Harry.
"Would it be possible to repair the ship?" asked Valeria.
Harry and Hermione exchanged a quick look.
"Perhaps, but not quickly or easily," replied Harry. "The ship only has one nearly depleted Potentia aboard, which isn't enough to power all the required systems."
Caprica Six frowned as she looked at the gathered faces. "Would not leaving it for the Wraith to use as a trap be even less desirable?"
"True Six," admitted Apollo. "Hermione, Harry you are the closest thing we have to experts. How long do you think to get the Fortis space-worthy?"
"Given that we can't even get a true diagnostic, I'm not sure if I can even guess. But, based on what we saw I suspect we are talking months, maybe years," explained Harry.
Apollo sighed, "Well that makes things a bit more complicated."
"So do we return to the fleet and seek consensus?" asked Valeria.
Apollo opened his mouth and then closed it before sighing, "That's a good question, Valeria. This is pretty damn big."
Hermione looked up from where she was studying the display, "The Fortis could be docked with Atlantis, just. However, without power, even docking would be problematic. According to the database, there were purpose built shipyards for this sort of thing. The other issue is running the ship, genetic encoding would mean the ship would have, at best, three crew members with full access."
"So, we are back to what do we do now. It is clear that the Wraith know of its existence and their equipment on the bridge means that they want something. If we just leave we give them the Fortis on a silver platter," argued Caprica Six.
Apollo frowned considering the points made in the discussion. He needed to decide and quickly. If the Wraith showed up in numbers they could well detect the Colonial fleet, "I don't think we have a choice."
"First we should take the Potentia," advised Caprica Six.
Hermione was studying the flickering screen with a concerned expression, "Harry, I think we have a problem."
Harry walked over, looked at the screen and cursed, "A Hyperspace window just opened. We have a Wraith ship inbound."
"They cannot detect us can they?" asked Caprica Six.
""No idea," replied Harry. "Although the Gate Ship is powered down so I hope not."
"Can we get clear without giving ourselves away?" asked Apollo.
"Probably," said Harry. "It depends if it is looking for us or not. Maybe that scout warned it before we took it out."
"Do we have enough Drones left to take it and the Fortis out?" asked Valeria.
Hermione hesitated, "Maybe. They might know something happened; after all, we destroyed their equipment. That doesn't mean that they can detect us."
"They are stopping. What are they doing?" asked Adama.
Harry grimaced as realisation hit him. Drawing his wand, he called out a warning. "They are going to beam in."
Hermione sent a warning through to the Marines in the Gate Ship before drawing her own wand.
The four Marines and Mathias raised their weapons. Apollo, Valeria and Caprica Six readied their pistols as somewhere aft of their position there were flashes of white light.
"That's them," said Harry." Be careful and remember they can play mind tricks."
"Take cover," ordered Apollo. "We need to take them out quickly."
Harry sighted down the corridor with his wand, "Hermione, shield us."
A moment later, they could see movement as Wraith appeared out of the darkness.
Harry didn't hesitate as he sent a blasting curse toward them, sending them flying backwards. Immediately afterwards Mathias was firing, followed by the other Marines.
Returning fire from the Wraith splashed harmlessly against Hermione's shields as they rushed forward trying to close the distance, firing as they came.
Harry cast another blasting curse. This time he hit one of the Wraith in the chest, with graphic and rather gruesome consequences as its remains sprayed all over the walls.
The other Wraith slowed for a moment before it was nearly torn in half by a burst of weapons fire from the Marines.
The last Wraith managed to get a clean shot in, dropping one of the Marines. Harry managed to stagger it with a blasting curse before Mathias nearly severed its head a burst to its neck.
"Portkeys everyone," ordered Harry as he watched One of the Marines lift their fallen comrade.
They appeared back in the ship, startling the two Marines.
Harry jumped into the pilot's seat and took control of the ship. Disengaging from the airlock, he spun the Gate Ship around targeting the Wraith ship. Firing off a four Drone burst he watched as the Cruiser was torn to pieces by the unexpected attack.
Once he was clear he fired again, this time targeting the Fortis.
In the end, it took a volley of four Drones to tear the Fortis apart.
A moment later, the Gate Ship entered its Hyperspace window.
"I'll start looking for what the Wraith may have been after," said Aressa. "I will also start scanning for Wraith technology. We don't want them sneaking up on us."
"I think you did the right thing Commander," admitted Admiral Adama. "I'll withdraw the fleet to the regroup point while you investigate the planet…be careful Commander, Galactica Actual out."
"The mission has a go, we are re-stocked with Drones. So, Harry if you would," requested Apollo.
"On our way," replied Harry.
The planet looked lifeless. Barren rock, pock marked with countless impacts. As unpromising as it looked it didn't take long for Hermione to find an anomaly.
"Our scanners are detecting a large power source, well below the surface." With a frown, Hermione manipulated the display. "That's odd, I can't detect anything else. No structures, no life signs."
"A base?" asked Apollo.
"I can't tell, in fact from what I can tell there is nothing there, which can't be right. The sensors on this ship are amazing and they can't find anything."
"Could it be cloaked?" asked Harry.
"Maybe," admitted Hermione. "If we go lower I might be able to detect more."
"Right, give me a moment," said Harry as he took the Gate Ship lower.
"There is something down there…No idea what it is," reported Hermione just before the lights in the Gate Ship flickered.
Harry felt his connection with the Gate Ship falter for a moment, "What was that?"
"A massive EM pulse, according to the scanners," replied Hermione.
"It's caused some problems…power is fluctuating a bit," said Harry as the ship's lights flickered, then dimmed before returning to normal. "More than a bit."
"Was it a weapon?" asked Apollo.
"Power reserves are dropping, rapidly," warned Hermione. "No I don't think so."
"Can we get out of here?" asked Caprica Six. "What ever that was made me feel dizzy for a moment."
Harry concentrated, trying to fully establish control of the ship. "No…that system is not responding. I think we can fix it, but we'll need to take everything offline."
"You need to get us down now Harry," said Hermione.
"Get everyone ready," ordered Harry. "I'm not sure how soft a landing this will be."
That was not something any pilot liked to hear but Apollo wasn't about to argue, "I'll warn everyone and get ready."
Valeria and Caprica Six took two of the seats in the cabin as Apollo went aft to brief the Marines.
Harry ignored it all as he attempted to keep the Gate Ship on course, "Hermione keep an eye out for somewhere flat."
Studying the flickering display intently Hermione suddenly pointed to the right, "There to starboard…there is a long flat valley."
Harry managed to wrestle the ship onto the correct course and bring the nose up and bleeding off as much speed as he could. The descent took only moments but to Harry and Hermione, it seemed to take forever.
Both Hermione and Harry were thrown forward slightly but otherwise, the landing hadn't been as bad as they had feared.
"Is everyone alright?" asked Harry.
"Fine Harry," Hermione assured him. "I'll start a shutdown and begin checking for damage."
Caprica Six and Valeria both nodded.
Valeria undid her harness and stood, "We'll help Hermione."
Harry released his harness and went straight to the aft hatch. Thankfully, Apollo and the Marines had buckled in and nobody was hurt.
"Good job Potter," said Mathias with a grin. "That's a better landing than Boomer manages."
"I'm sure Sharon will be pleased to hear that Gunny," said Apollo with a grin, "What's the situation?"
Harry shrugged, "We are down and the ship is intact. We'll need to reboot everything and then we should be good. Unless we have to repair something I rattled loose."
"Right, how can we help?"
Harry studied the control crystals in the command chair before closing the access panel. Everything looked good, in so far as he could tell by examining the crystals. What ever the EM burst had done it looked temporary although less advanced technology may well have been crippled.
"Try it now Hermione."
A low hum started and the lights came on again.
"Diagnostics are online," called out Hermione as Harry stood.
"It's not as bad as we thought although the hull has suffered some minor damage. Nothing we shouldn't be able to repair," reported Hermione.
"What are the conditions like outside?" asked Apollo.
Hermione frowned as she consulted her newly reactivated instruments, "Cold and almost airless is about all I can say at the moment. Most of the external sensors are still down. We'll need EVA equipment to check the hull."
"I'll go, after all, it will be me repairing it. I had best see it with my own eyes," said Harry.
"Right, well we've got enough suits so you won't be going alone. I'll send Gunny Mathias and two Marines to stand guard while you work," said Apollo.
Harry could have argued but Lee had a valid point. More pairs of eyes on the problem would be helpful.
Harry studied the damaged section of the hull as Gunny Mathias held a torch so that he could see. Thankfully, the hull was only slightly damaged. Raising his wand, he cast a repair spell. The small split in the hull repaired itself and the metal slowly reshaped itself. He cast the spell again just to make sure that any unseen damage was repaired before he lowered his wand.
He began to turn to Mathias when there was a bright flash of light.
Harry returned to awareness and quickly realised that he was lying uncomfortably on a cold, hard surface. Opening his eyes, he found that he was, indeed on a cold stone floor.
He was also, as far as he could tell, alone.
Harry climbed to his feet, ignoring the stiff muscles that protested the movement. He was dressed but his wand was missing as was his EVA suit. He also had a spot of dried blood on his wrist.
The sound of movement near the door drew his attention as six figures, all humanoid if not human judging by their appearance dressed in what liked like army 'uniforms' walked in. Each was holding what was clearly a weapon and they were all pointed at him.
One of the men pointed at him and said, in barely understandable Latin, "Bring him."
Harry choose to co-operate for now.
He was led along a stone passage toward a single door where a large guard stood waiting. He pulled the door open and two of his escorts took his arms and roughly 'escorted' him to a chair where they forced him to sit.
One of the women stepped forward and held up what looked like a portable computer pad, "You have the same gene as the Ancestors and you are flying one of their ships. These facts are correct?"
Harry studied the woman as he considered what to say.
Apparently, he didn't answer quickly enough because one of the men behind him slapped him, hard, across the back of his head.
"I know you can understand me because you reacted to my words. It was a simple question. Now, I would suggest that you answer my questions before I am forced to take steps."
Harry had faced this sort of questioning before by Death Eaters. Given their actions he was somewhat disinclined to give them anything. The fact that they knew about the ship meant that they either had it or they had seen it. If they had it then he needed to know what had happened to Hermione and his other teammates.
The woman sighed theatrically, "I see." She nodded and stepped back.
For the next few minutes, Harry knew nothing but pain as fists and feet struck him, knocking him to the floor.
"Enough," said the woman. Hands picked Harry up and placed him back on the chair. "One way or another you will answer. I am a scientist, I know you have the same gene as the Ancestors and you are flying one of their ships. My first question is, are you able to unlock all Ancestor technology?"
Harry spat a mouthful of blood onto the floor, "Why?"
A Large hand grabbed him by the hair but before he could be struck again the woman raised her hand.
"We found ancient technology when our ship crashed here but we are unable to operate most of it. Co-operate and I will order that you and your people are set free," said the woman.
"Why should I help you?" asked Harry.
The woman's expression hardened, "Your ability to access the technology here represents what is, potentially, a huge military advantage for the Genii. I am trying to save my people, to give us the weapons need to fight and destroy the Wraith."
"Then why do this?" asked Harry. "You could have spoken to us, asked for help."
"And if you have said no? We lack any leverage. I'm not a diplomat. Now, while I am sure that, given time, we could persuade you physically. There are however other less tasteful ways to convince you to answer my questions."
Harry hid a grimace, as he considered the rather ominous warning. No doubt she was going to use the welfare of the prisoners to force his hand. It was a play straight out of the Death Eater handbook.
"I work to keep my people safe from the Wraith. To fight them we need better technology." Her expression showed her hatred as she spoke of the Wraith. "My fellow scientists are constantly improving our weapons but we lack the capacity to build our own ships. When one of our people acquired information about a base used by the ancestors, we had hoped that we could recover some of their technology. However, we were not prepared for the Magnetic interference that caused us to crash. So despite finding an intact Ancestor outpost, it didn't change the fact that we are trapped here with out access to an Astria Porta."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "Not a lot of fun." He had to wonder why she was bothering to explain their situation. Perhaps it was to get him talking, to build a 'bond' or simply to justify her actions.
"No, it was not. Unfortunately, our ship was damaged by the crash and the crew that flew it were killed. We were unlucky enough to end up being stranded here. So please understand me when I say this, I need you to activate the technology that will allow us to use what is stored here and to contact our people. Do that for us and you and your people are free to go."
Harry studied the woman trying to judge her truthfulness. "Given that your people just beat the crap out of me, I am somewhat disinclined to aid you. For all that I know you'll just kill us all."
Now it was the woman's turn to study him. "I am a soldier, who is at war. I can question you as vigorously as I deem fit. Executing you would also be acceptable. However, as an officer, I am bound by my people's military code. If I give you my word, then I am bound to keep it. I Sorren, give you my word that if you aid us you will be allowed to leave."
Harry grinned showing red stained teeth, "You have no way of knowing but this is not the first time I've been forced to negotiate with the bad guys. Experience tells me they rarely, if ever, really intended to keep their word."
Sorren looked frustrated as she turned away to talk to one of the men, "Lorvat, find out what he knows while I question the others. We need him alive but other than that…"
"We should be trying to find their damn ship!" argued one of the older men. "Once we've taken it we can return home. Ancestor technology would…"
"Be useless to us if we can't turn it on!" said Sorren as she turned to glare at the speaker, "Don't question my orders again Ren."
Eventually, Harry was thrown back into the stone room. It had not been a pleasant experience but he had endured it. More importantly, he had paid attention to the route back to his 'cell' as well as the presence of familiar Lantean equipment. From what he could see, they were indeed struggling to get any but the most basic functions working. He had also spotted a pair of guards at a door.
Now he was alone, his chance had arrived.
Closing his eyes, he concentrated, mentally putting aside the pain from the bruises he could feel developing. He focussed on an image of his wand. Then he poured his magic into wandless summoning charm.
It was a long few seconds before he sensed his wand approaching. Opening his eye's he saw it fly under the door before catching it in his hand.
He quickly cast the point me spell for Erin Mathias and was unsurprised to see it point toward in the direction of the door he had passed. He then checked on the direction to Hermione. She was up to the right, so not on this level or maybe still on the Gate Ship.
He next tried to summon his EVA suit. When nothing appeared he silently cursed. It was probably locked away somewhere or destroyed given that it included a transmitter.
'Right, well first things first,' thought Harry as he disillusioned himself. A quick unlocking spell had the door open. Alerted by the suddenly open door, the guard rushed in.
A quick stunner sent the guard crashing in to the wall.
The guard's weapon was next to him on the floor, so he took the opportunity to transfigure it into a stick. So far, there was no alarm and he could have hidden the body but he knew the lack of opposition probably wouldn't last. Time really was of the essence.
Moving in to the corridor as quietly as possible he made his way to where two guards stood outside another door.
Two could be a problem but he really didn't have time to get creative. His first stunner dropped his target but the second missed as the guard threw himself to the right. As the guard fell, he pulled the trigger of his weapon.
Harry had no time to shield as the shot grazed his leg, knocking him back into the wall. His second stunner caught the guard in the forehead.
Gritting his teeth against the pain of his leg wound, Harry cast a healing spell on his leg. He made quick work of the locked door and entered.
Mathias and one of her Marines lay on the floor. Both were stripped to their underwear, tied up and gagged. They also showed clear signs of having been beaten. Turning, Harry sealed the door magically before cancelling his disillusionment. Both the prisoners started, surprised at his sudden appearance. Kneeling, he used his wand to untie the gags and ropes.
"You look like you've been having fun," said Mathias as she rubbed at her wrists. "How bad are you really?"
"I'll live," replied Harry with a wry grin. "You two?"
The male Marine grimaced, "Busted rib maybe, but otherwise I'm okay. Better than Selan, the bastards hit him so hard they broke his neck."
"He died doing his job. Me, well, I'm fine, had worse," said Mathias with a shrug.
"We need to get out of here. The question is where are our team. If they are close enough a Portkey will work. Too far and it could kill us. I'm assuming that they'd be near by either looking for us or planning some sort of rescue but that is a guess."
Greene walked over and picked up the other weapon, giving it the same inspection Mathias had.
"Even armed we can't fight our way out. If you can do your invisible thing on us we might be able to sneak around but with no EVA suits escaping on foot is going to be difficult," said Mathias as she stood with a grunt being the only evidence of her injuries. Moving slowly, she made her way to the fallen guard and took his weapon and began inspecting its workings. "Knowing Commander Adama he would be looking for a rescue plan. They will be close by. I say we use your portal keys and get out of here. We can always come back for some payback."
Harry nodded and picked up one of the lengths of rope. Turning it into a Portkey was a simple process. "Before we go, let me try a message, Hermione. We need to be ready to go because I suspect that they'll see the messenger and we'll have them knocking at our door."
Harry brought a clear image of Hermione to mind and cast the Patronus Charm, "Expecto Patronum."
Harry's Silvery stag appeared and looked at him expectantly. Ignoring the startled gasps of his fellow prisoners, he considered what he should say. "Hermione, we are about to Portkey to the Gate Ship. Are you still nearby?"
The stag seemed to nod before charging through the doorway even as it starting ascending toward the roof.
Shouts sounded outside the room and Harry quickly cast a shield spell, just in case.
A moment later several thuds sounded as their captors tried to force the door open. The two Marines knelt, and took aim at the doorway.
The shouts increased, and shouts sounded before Hermione's Otter Patronus passed through the door.
"Harry, we are about a mile from where we think you are. I've cast cushioning charms and we are on the ground. Get out of there."
Harry picked up the rope, "Both of you grab on and don't let go until I say so."
Once they were both holding on he touched his wand to the Portkey just as the door blew apart. His last fleeting image was off Sorren's furious expression.
Hermione's last six hours had been nerve-wracking. The attack on Harry and the others had gone unnoticed thanks to the damaged external sensors. By the time they had realised something was going on the Gate Ship was taking weapons fire. Apollo had ordered Hermione to cloak and she had done so even as she coaxed the damaged ship into the air.
By the time she had swung the ship back around, Harry and the others had disappeared. Thankfully, she could magically get a bearing. But other than knowing they were in a certain area she had been unable to determine a way to reach them.
Apollo and the others were debating rescue plans when Harry's Patronus appeared.
Despite knowing what was going to happen, Hermione was still worried. It was only when three people appeared and crashed into her cushioning charm that she let her relief show.
"They're okay Hermione, get us out of here," ordered Apollo.
Knowing that Lee would look after them she took over the controls of the Gate Ship and went to full power.
While the others had been missing, they had discovered that the EM field went in cycles. Their two Cylon teammates had done a raft of calculations and worked out the pattern. Their skill and hard work meant that they knew how and when they could safely leave the planet.
Hermione steered the Gate Ship away from the planet. She wanted to be well clear of the gravity well and the EM field before activating the Hyperdrive.
Atlantis – Medical Centre
Doctor Richards, a civilian trauma specialist checked Harry over as two other members of his team checked Mathias and Greene.
"Well, they certainly worked you over Mister Potter. Although there is nothing Miss Granger won't be able to put right. Hmmm…maybe some X-Rays…"
Harry resigned himself to a few hours in the good Doctor's care.
"Don't look so grim Harry," said Daniel as he trailed behind the duty Doctor. "Considering what you told me, you got lucky."
"I'm not feeling all that lucky," replied Harry.
"Well, considering how ruthless these Genii showed themselves to be, I think you were lucky. You all were. Now I better hurry, Doctor Richards is a bit of a stickler for the rules."
Atlantis Briefing Room
"It was there all along," said Aressa as she pulled an image up on the screen covered in white dots. "I was scanning for any Lantean technology when I changed the parameters. When I crossed referenced them against the historical Database I found four ships all listed as missing in action. The Fortis, the Tria, the Aurora and the Sumah. We know what happened with the Fortis but the other three were still listed as missing. It also listed over four hundred outposts, research stations and even ship building facilities in this region of the galaxy. Most were decommissioned before my people withdrew, but not all of them."
Most of the white dots disappeared, leaving twelve.
"These are Lantean outposts that were abandoned," she manipulated the screen again, leaving three dots. "And these are the last recorded locations of the Aurora, Sumah and Tria. Now admittedly, this is ten thousand years out of date but given that these all come from the last days of the war it is possible all four ships were either destroyed or too damaged to make it back to Atlantis before my people retreated."
"So what is the endgame here?" asked Admiral Adama. "Is it worth scouting out these areas?"
Aressa nodded, "Potentially, we have the chance to recover a lot of useful Lantean technology. In particular Potentia and drones, currently we have enough to operate and defend the city for the foreseeable future but I would consider gathering any we find a priority."
"And if any of these ships can be salvaged, would it be possible?" asked Baltar.
"Perhaps, it depends on the resources available. From what our team reported the Fortis may well have been beyond repair, even with the means we now have," explained Aressa.
"What about the Wraith?" asked Roslin.
"We are far from their usual areas but the fact that a Wraith ship was so close to the fleet is a matter of concern," admitted Aressa. "I know that the Quorum has been holding off on the debate while we continue relocating people to Atlantis but I think we will soon need to decide on what we will do. If we relocated further from the Galactic core, toward the edge of the Galaxy we would be far removed from Wraith controlled space. It would give us the time we need to get Atlantis up and running while allowing exploration of these locations."
Baltar hid a shudder as Six ran her hands across his shoulder to caress his neck, 'Be careful Gaius…you must support Aressa because the travellers will need your help and time is growing short," Six whispered in his ear before gasping.
Baltar suddenly realised that Aressa was not staring intently at him but rather at Six.
"Perhaps now would be a good time to introduce your friend Doctor Baltar," said Aressa.
Everyone, save Baltar, were looking at either Baltar or Aressa in confusion.
"His friend…" began Roslin before she trailed off in shock.
Next, to the gaping Baltar, a Six in a red dress appeared, a frown on her face.
"Security to the conference room," ordered Apollo as he stood.
Aressa smiled, "That won't be necessary, will it? I'm sorry, I don't know your name."
"You can call me Six," said the Six as she continued to focus her attention on Aressa.
Aressa's smile didn't change at all as she shook her head, "I doubt that is your name. I have watched you, whispering into the good doctor's ear. Good advice from what I've heard but I have wondered about the subterfuge."
The Six smiled, "Very well I guess the show is over." Her features changed to that of a middle-aged brunette. "I still like the name, I might keep that persona."
"Who…what are you?" asked Roslin. "Are you one of Harry and Hermione's people?"
"We are…distantly related," replied Six.
Aressa studied 'Six' for a moment before a look of surprise crossed her face, "You are Alteran!"
The woman grinned, "Close but no cigar. Now, I'm not here to discuss me. As I was trying to tell the Good Doctor, there is a lot to see and time is short."
"Who are you?" demanded Admiral Adama as he stood.
The woman rolled her eyes and transformed into a living image of the Goddess Athena, looking for all the world like a living representation of the statue that once adorned her cult temple in Caprica City, "Does this help?"
"Athena," whispered Roslin.
Harry and Hermione were both on their feet with their wands drawn as Six/Athena turned to Roslin.
"Madam President, who I am doesn't really matter," said Six/Athena changed back into a middle-aged brunette. "What matters is that I was trying to help your peoples. Without attracting the attention of the ascended busybodies who would rather I did nothing to fix the mess my brothers and sisters made dealing with your ancestors," she waved her hand as if dismissing her own words. "But again, not important at this moment in time. What is important is that you must leave Pegasus and it must be soon. Because every day you stay here brings you all closer to disaster."
"What about One and the Wraith?" asked Harry. "I'm not leading them back to Earth."
"Neither group has the capacity to travel to other Galaxies. And they are determined to fill the shoes of the jealous God. The One's will go down the same path." She paused taking in the suspicious and sceptical looks. "The time is not right to confront and destroy the Wraith…" she trailed off as she looked around the room before sighing. "I'm almost out of time. You must return to Avalon and take all the children of Kobol with you. The cycle must be broken here…and in doing so you will help save your brethren in Avalon," She grimaced as if in pain, and as she spoke her manner changed as if she were struggling to speak. "Before the Ori return…seek out the Auro..ra…and…then…th..e…Tria…save…them…rebuild."
Before anyone could react, she grimaced and her mouth opened as if she was silently screaming before her form broke apart in a shower of white sparks.
"What in the name of the Gods just happened?" yelled a wide-eyed Roslin.
A pale Aressa re-took her seat at the table followed by Hermione and Harry. Both Adama's and President Roslin were waiting while Baltar sat with two Marines behind him.
Aressa frowned, seemingly at the presence of the armed guards, and looked to the President, "Is there a reason Doctor Baltar is under guard and there are armed Marines at the door?"
"Yes," answered Admiral Adama. "Until I get a grip on exactly what just happened I think a bit of caution and prudence is called for."
"I approved the Admiral's actions," added Roslin. "And I am equally as curious as to what happened."
"From what I can determine the being with us was one of my people who have ascended. Evolved if you will, into a higher state of existence. Apparently, many of my ancestors achieved such a state. I can only speculate, but what seems clear is that she was trying to warn us or maybe steer us as she has Doctor Baltar," explained Aressa.
Admiral Adama frowned as he listened to Aressa before turning his attention to Baltar, "The Gods know that I am not a religious man, so I'm not even going to comment on, what was it, Ascended? Or the fact that what ever she chose to appear as Athena. What I do want to know is how long she's been whispering in your ear Doctor?"
Baltar couldn't hide his flinch, "Since the fall of the Colonies. In my defence, I thought she was a delusion…stress…and," he trailed off, clearly put off by the glares he was receiving.
"So all those meetings where you were spacing out, she was whispering in your damn ear?" asked Roslin.
"Er…not always," managed Baltar.
"Have you done anything, said anything that has endangered the fleet Doctor? Because right now, I'm inclined to throw you in the brig!" said Adama his voice even but his expression was furious.
Baltar flinched and opened, then shut his mouth without saying anything.
"In all fairness, she could be anywhere, listening to anyone and none of us would have known. I was only aware of her when she interacted with Doctor Baltar in my presence," said Aressa. "Scans didn't pick her up and neither Harry or Hermione detected her presence. I am not sure what we could have done to contain her even if the good Doctor had spoken up."
Roslin shot Baltar a dirty look, before turning back to Aressa. "We'll discuss this more at a later date. For now, I want to know what she was talking about."
Aressa manipulated the controls on the table and pulled up an image of the display. Both Harry and Hermione recognised it as the Milky Way galaxy. "Avalon is the name of a separate galaxy, where my people once lived. It seems that the message was for us to leave Pegasus and return to Avalon."
"There are quite a few references to the circular nature of events in the prophecies we have been studying. I wonder if breaking the cycle was referencing those," added Hermione. "If you look at the Chloeian prophecies, they talk of cycles and breaking the cycle."
"And she warns us about the Wraith," mused Roslin. "And taking the children of Kobol."
"Which is also a phrase from the Chloeian prophecies. One that the Cylons are convinced includes them, as the children of Humanity," added Hermione.
"We know the Wraith are a threat as apparently are these Genii we encountered. But who and what are Ori?" asked Apollo.
Aressa sighed and shook her head, "My people and the Ori were, Millions of years ago, the same people."
"What happened?" asked Roslin.
"When we first began to explore our galaxy we quickly discovered that we were far more advanced than the civilizations we encountered. As time went by the Ori grew more and more arrogant and began to see themselves as better than those they deemed to be lesser beings. Their behaviour and beliefs led to a schism…where my ancestors fled our home Galaxy to Avalon to avoid an all out war."
"Could these Ori still exist?" asked Adama.
Aressa nodded, "That is very likely and they could well have the technology of my people behind them, empowering their fanaticism."
Harry exchanged a glance with Hermione. Aressa had made it clear to both of them that she feared that the gods of the Colonials had been Alterans who had fallen into the same trap as the Ori. After telling them all three had decided that sharing that bit of speculation with the Colonials would be counter-productive and might well start a holy war. Thankfully, Roslin moved the conversation along.
"So what now, do we head the advice we received no matter the source or do we carry on as we are?" asked Roslin.
"That's the question isn't it," replied Apollo. "I'm not the most religious man but there seems to be a pattern developing. Reverend Mother Rand, the First Hybrid now this ascended…they are all steering us. Asking us to trust them with no proof."
Or maybe not, thought Harry.
"Is there any way we can confirm it, any of it?" asked Roslin as she sat back in her chair.
"We could seek out the Aurora and the Tria," replied Aressa. "She implied that they still exist."
"Which could be leading us into a trap," said a grim faced Admiral Adama.
"For what reason?" asked Roslin. "From the briefing Aressa gave, these Wraith lack the subtlety to do anything like this. That leaves One's Cylons and again I'd have to ask why?"
"The President has a point, Sir," added Apollo. "One's Cylons have just been dealt a significant military loss. If he knows where we are then he knows our fleet strength as well. He needs a significantly larger fleet than he has now to even come close to force parity."
The Elder Adama nodded, looking frustrated. "I know that Lee. This just seems, well too easy. Go here, go there…our enemy is not stupid. From Aressa's briefing, neither are the Wraith. Remember they drove her people out of the galaxy. We cannot afford to underestimate them. If we start haring off all over the quadrant we are losing the initiative."
"So what do you suggest Bill?" asked Roslin.
Adama hesitated for just a moment before replying, "Once we scout the location, we take the whole fleet. We go in force and do what we have to and then we get out."
"But out to where?" asked Roslin. "Where are we going to go. The Quorum has been debating, the media have been speculating and we still don't have a destination I can confirm."
Hermione cleared her throat, "I think we are overlooking the fact that we have the capacity to dock nearly the entire fleet with Atlantis. Yes, it would be tight but it is possible. I did the calculations. That means that we could travel to Avalon and be there in six hours. There is no way for the Cylons or we believe the Wraith to follow us. We can start that journey now if we wished. If we search for the Aurora then we can take the whole fleet."
There was a stunned silence for a few moments before Apollo managed to speak.
"Atlantis has that capacity," agreed Aressa.
"With the whole fleet…Gods…" managed Roslin.
"You said nearly the entire fleet. How many ships are we talking about leaving behind?" asked Adama.
"To make way for the Battlestars, Resurrection ship and the Hub we would need to leave some of the larger civilian ships," explained Hermione.
"Who have no crew or passengers onboard, having already been reassigned to Atlantis given that they were some of the most overcrowded," added Harry.
"Why haven't you told us about this?" Roslin asked Aressa.
"Because you had yet to decide on a course. I did not want to present you with an option that would further split your people. You have all suffered loss, betrayal and those wounds are still fresh. I had hoped that we could find sanctuary here but I now fear that Avalon may be our only choice."
"You still could have told us, warned us," argued Roslin.
"And what would happen if your people, if even some of your people decided that they didn't want to leave Pegasus?"
Roslin looked furious as she sat glaring at Aressa.
"She has a point Madam President," said Adama. "Look at the mess Tom Zarek caused, all those lives lost. The Colonies lived in ignorance of what was happening outside our borders. Well, now we know that there are monsters out there and what is left of our people trust us to protect them."
"Why would she have us going after Lantean ships?" asked Baltar. His question resulted in less than friendly looks from Roslin and Admiral Adama. "I'm just asking, there has to be a reason. Parts and equipment don't seem like enough of a reason. There has to be something more to it."
Apollo shrugged, "There is one way to find out."
The vast size of the derelict Lantean ship staggered most of the Colonials.
"Would you look at that thing!" exclaimed Racetrack as she banked her Raptor to pass over the top of the ship.
Crashdown looked up from his instruments to take in the view through the cockpit window before returning his attention to the ECM panel. "There are some power readings. Not a lot but something is running."
Racetrack immediately contacted her partners for this mission, "Starbuck, Duck I've got some power emission readings on the target."
"Well the Lanteans certainly built to last," replied Starbuck.
"Galactica Actual to CAP flight. Complete your scans and then resume CAP," ordered Admiral Adama. "You have a Gate Ship approaching with a boarding party. Keep your eyes open people."
"Will do, because there sure ain't many friendlies out here Galactica," replied Starbuck with her usual sass.
Racetrack finished her 'scouting run' and pulled away from the huge ship. The two Vipers forming up beside her. "I'm done, Crashdown send the data."
As her ECO sent a wireless burst back to Galactica she spotted the Gate Ship on a direct course to the derelict.
"Looks like the mission is a go," said Racetrack over her ship-to-ship wireless. "What do you think they'll find?"
"No fraking idea," replied Starbuck. "I'm heading out to the picket line."
This time the Gate Ship was a lot less crowded. Harry and Hermione sat in the cockpit with Rebeka and a Marine Corporal by the name of Len Sanders. Sanders was one of the Squad leaders from the Atlantis contingent.
"Alright everyone," began Harry as he piloted the Gate Ship. "We are going to assume that nothing is working properly and it could be a dangerous environment. We all need to carry a portkey back to Atlantis. Our mission is to check the internal condition of the Aurora and to determine what if anything can be salvaged."
Rebeka nodded and Sanders grinned, "Understood sir, Gunny Mathias already filled me in…in detail."
"Right, well I am bringing us alongside the main hatch," reported Harry.
Harry smoothly docked the Gate Ship and then quickly powered the airlock and the internal sensors attached to it. Despite the significant amount of damage, there was air…unfortunately it was rather stale. Opening a channel he contacted Aressa, who was in the control chair on Atlantis.
"Aressa, the airlock sensors are telling me the environmental systems are offline," reported Harry.
"Give me a moment, I'm attempting to connect remotely to the ships AI," replied Aressa. "I have it, I am attempting to restart the systems…I am reading some systems coming back on line. It looks like the ship is in power conservation mode. I have restarted life support but I cannot access anything else. Over eighty percent of the remaining power is going to a protected system. We will still need to go in Harry."
"Understood, I'll call you back in a few minutes Aressa," replied Harry.
The interior of the ship was dimly lit. The emergency lighting was obviously meant to provide decent lighting levels but many of the 'light panels' were either clearly damaged or simply not working.
So to move about they were using torches.
Harry shined his light toward a bulkhead and spotted an open doorway leading to another corridor. Shining his torch down the darkened space he spotted the cylindrical shape of a stasis pod. Nearly identical to the emergency stasis pods he had seen on Atlantis. They were near the centre of the ship, on the middle deck…so they were more than likely stasis pod. In the case of an emergency, the crew could use the pods until they could be rescued. Let his torch play over the pods he nearly dropped it on the floor when he saw a humanoid silhouette in one of the pods.
"My God," whispered Harry as he rushed over and shined his torch in to the pod.
Inside, preserved and held in stasis was a man.