Home Fires

A Battlestar Galactica story.

By Senmut

Father….

Father…

Fath…

"Wha…what…?"

"..her! Wake up! Wake up!
"What…Sheba?"

"Father, get up! You need to see this!"

"Sheba?' said Commander Cain, eyes bleary, mind still foggy from a slowly-disappearing dream. He reached over, and turned on his bedside lamp. He half-rose, and looked back up at his daughter. "What is it? What time is it?" He looked over at the chrono. 0357 centars. "What…"

"You need to see this, Father," said Sheba, out of uniform, an old robe tossed about her, her hair a streaming mess. This must, Cain decided, be serious: Sheba was, military decorum aside, habitually tidy in her personal habits. For her to run unannounced into his quarters, at this centar, looking like a refugee from a mental asylum, it must be nothing short of a catastrophe.

"What? See what, Sheba?" he asked, getting to his feet, and reaching for his robe. It couldn't have been a Cylon attack, he decided; the klaxon would have sounded. Any serious shipboard emergency, and Bolton, Tolan's relief on night watch, would have called him.

"Here," she said, leading him to his desk, and pressing a button. "Now, Bolton!" The screen on his desk came alive, and he saw…

Are we getting this on the camera?

"Oh My God!"

They're bombing the city!

BOXEY!

Cain sat down, unconscious of even doing so, as the images were replayed. The journalator, Serina, he recognized. She had come to interview him at the Academy, a yahren or two ago. Then, images from the depths of Hades Hole. Cylon fighters, wave after wave of them, strafing and bombing, huge spouts of flames racing skyward in their wake. People running about swathed in fire, bodies falling, pluton spreading in all directions, buildings collapsing in flames, roiling clouds of piiglin snuffing out anguished voices, crying for help.

"When?' he at last managed to get out.

"We picked it up, about half a centar ago," Sheba said, quietly, sitting next to him. "We heard the rumors about some sort of Armistice, and Bolton was trying to pick up anything from home." She sniffed, the tears running down her cheeks, as she looked at the horrific carnage coming through on the monitor. Massive blue beams ripped down from the sky, as the enemy's BaseShips opened up on city after city, turning millions to dust and glass. "It was a news broadcast, about the President, rendezvousing with the Imperious Leader, to sign an Armistice. The Fleet was away from the Colonies, they said."

"Away from home?" said Cain, almost in a whisper. "Away? Lords of Kobol! The fools!"

"Father, should we…?

"We could never make it in time, Baby," he shook his head. Even at flank, engines at redline, the Colonial Frontier was almost nine days away. By then…

But what of the others? Are there survivors? The Atlantia? Triton? Galactica?

Adama! How could it end like this, old friend?

"Father? What do we do?" asked Sheba. Cain looked at her, and for a moment, could think of nothing to say. All he could think of was how much she looked like she had, as a little girl, when something had gone wrong, and, as children do, looked to him for guidance. Cain, Commander, Warrior, Father, always knew what to say, what to do. Always!

Except now.

"No hope," she said, after a long moment, turning back to the screen. The images from home were becoming fewer, now, as one transmitter after another went off the air, forever. Those that remained were much the same. Frantic calls for help, to the Fleet that was not there. Fighters screaming through the sky, seemingly endless fusillades of Cylon fire, ripping apart everything that moved below. Then, after how much time neither knew, the last of the transmissions faded, and there was only static.

It was the end of everything. Maybe she ought to just…

"What do we do, now?" she asked again, his arm around her, as she rocked back and forth on the couch. She was sobbing softly, and he let her.

"We go on, Baby," he said at last, rising, and going to his viewport. "We go on."

"But…" she managed at last, raising her tear-bestreaked face to him. "How? How can we, when…" She waived a hand at the monitor. "There's nothing left. Our home, our…"

"We remain," he said, turning to look at her. "We remain, and so does the Pegasus." He took a deep breath, and fully faced her. "And as long as we do, the Human Race remains!"

"You…you think we can?" she asked, getting to her feet. "Just us? Just one ship?"

"There's no one else, Baby." He reached over to his desk, determination coming back into his movements. "Bridge, this is Commander Cain. I want all senior officers and Strike Leaders assembled in the War Room in thirty centons!" She watched as he threw off his robe, and reached for his uniform.

"Yes, sir!" replied Bolton.

"What do you have in mind, Father?"

"Revenge, Baby. Revenge."

"But…"

"No buts! We are taking this war to the enemy, right now." He looked up at her. "Picking off convoys, like this morning, is one thing, but tonight, we strike back." He slammed a fist down on his desk.

"You mean…"

"Yes! We're going straight into Gamoray!" He pointed towards the starry vist beyond the port. "We've hit them before, but tonight, we're going to flatten that place, or go out in a blaze of glory trying!"

"Yes, sir," she said, standing up, and feeling a new strength and resolve come into her. A strength that came from her father, a resolve that was all Cain. "I'll meet you in the War Room in twenty-five, Commander."

"Right!" he said, then added: "A lot of Cylons are going to die, tonight!"

"Yes, sir!" she replied, and she left. He turned, as he adjusted a medal on his uniform, picked up his Baton of Victory, and looked once more at the vid monitor. Once more, he watched as the Colonies, the home of Humanity for almost seven-thousand yahrens, were one by one reduced to flaming rubble, billions of his fellow men ushered violently into Eternity. He shut off the screen, and headed for the door. He stopped, looking back at his desk. Slowly, he reached out, and pressed another button. He felt anger rise, as the image coalesced in the player. He watched, then turned to the door. It closed behind him, leaving his quarters in darkness, the words echoing in his mind.

"I'll never forget you, you old war daggit! Hurry back!"