Return to Earth

Admiral Johnathan Clements stood staring out the large view port in the main observation lounge in Caprica Station. The planet Caprica was pristine in color with the greens, blues, and browns of a living planet. The planet's oceans were a deep blue, and snow white clouds covered large areas of the surface. Nearly 20 million people were currently living on the blue-green globe below. Johnathan let out a deep sigh, 20 million compared to the billions that had lived on Caprica only a few short years ago. There were so many sad memories associated with what had happened to Caprica under the Cylon occupation.

"Looks the same as it did before the Cylon attack," a soft voice next to Johnathan spoke.

Turning, Admiral Clements smiled seeing Admiral Reynolds standing slightly behind him. "Yes it does, at least during the day. At night, you can see the difference; the planet's surface isn't lit up as it used to be. Only New Delphi and Caprica City have a lot of people, most of the rest are scattered out in small towns and villages across the planet."

"Can't say that I blame them," Admiral Reynolds commented gazing down at the planet, which was once the capital of the Twelve Colonies. "After the Cylon's nuked most of the major cities, I guess I would be hesitant about moving back into one myself."

"Came to see the arrival of your new flagship I see." Johnathan grinned knowing the real reason Admiral Reynolds had come down to the observation lounge. In just a few minutes, the fleet's two new Nova class battlestars were due to arrive. The two battlestars had just finished their system refits at the shipyards orbiting the Kobolan home world of Terra. The ships had completed their shakedown cruises and were ready to be put into active service.

"Yes, but I understand you have another mission planned for her first," Admiral Reynolds said peering out into space where he knew the ships should appear.

"President Urie feels it's important," replied Johnathan looking off toward the same point in space that Admiral Reynolds was. "If Admiral Reed and Professor Anthon are correct and the Galactica did end up 150,000 years in our past, than why haven't we heard something from them? All the evidence from Admiral Reed's mission points to that time being accurate. Admiral Reed even took his ships through the tear in space. I've seen the stellar evidence they recorded. It's remarkable."

"That's a long time ago," Admiral Reynolds responded with raised eyebrows. "A lot could have happened over the years; perhaps they've forgotten where we are."

"Perhaps," Johnathan replied dubiously. "But it is something we intend to find out. That's why we're sending one of the Novas to Earth. We need to know what happened to that colony. Don't forget, there were also Cylon Centurions on the real Earth. Who knows what those Centurions may have developed into by now?"

"Assuming they still exist," Admiral Reynolds said with a slight frown. Super advanced Cylon Centurions were something he did not want to encounter.

In space, two brilliant flashes of blue-white light appeared. Two massive colonial battlestars flashed suddenly into existence. Even from here in the observation lounge, the ships were plainly visible. They were the two most powerful warships now in the colonial fleet. They were slightly larger than a Mercury class battlestar, but with all the weapon and technical enhancements of Kobolan technology.

"Does Admiral Adama know about the ship?" asked Admiral Reynolds gazing at his future flagship.

"No, not yet," Johnathan replied. "Colonel Adama and Captain Thrace are going to bring him over in a raptor. Once there, we will go over the mission profile that President Uris and I have been discussing."

"He's going to be in for one hell of a surprise," Admiral Reynolds said with a grin.

Rear Admiral Adama gazed out the front view ports of the raptor as his son Lee carefully piloted it toward the two Nova class battlestars. Lee and Kara had argued briefly over who was going to fly the Admiral over to the new ships, until Lee had pulled rank. Kara had glared at Lee and then sat down dejectedly in the copilot's seat. She still considered herself the better pilot of the two.

"How goes your new job," Adama asked his son as he took a deep breath and tried to see the two massive battlestars they were approaching.

He was still amazed at the progress that had been made in the colonies. With the new shipyards at Caprica Station, the ones at Demeter, and of course the Kobolan shipyards the colonial fleet had been rebuilt and modernized. The planets of Caprica, Gemenon, and Aquaria also sat behind massive orbital defensive platforms and minefields.

"Fine Dad," Lee replied with a smile. He was pleased that his father was interested in his current work.

Lee was working with the military recovery force, bringing in all the damaged ships from the war to be scrapped. It was difficult work, as all the ship's munitions had to be disarmed first.

"We should be done in another few months, and then we will begin on the outer colonies searching for unexploded ordinance and weapons."

"You're doing important work Lee," Adama spoke with a nod.

"Yea. I hardly get to see him," Starbuck complained her blue eyes gazing at the two men. "It's been nearly a month since the last time he came home."

Lee and Kara had a large apartment on the outskirts of Caprica City. Starbuck worked at the fleet base just outside of the city training new viper pilots. Starbuck and Lee's relationship had been rocky over the years, but they had finally decided to move in together.

"I have a few weeks leave coming up shortly," Lee spoke with a smile. He knew he needed to spend some quality time with Kara.

"How about you Starbuck?" Adama asked with a smile. "I understand you are giving the new nuggets hell in your flight instructor classes."

"They have to learn," Starbuck replied with a grin. She really enjoyed flying a viper, and the new mark eights were a tremondous improvement over the older models. Particularly with the Kobolan anti-inertia compensators they were equipped with.

Out the viewport, the Nova class battlestar they were approaching came into view. Lee didn't understand why, but Admiral Clements had insisted that he fly past the port flight pod on their approach. As they neared the flight pod, Lee glanced at it and read the ship's name that was lit up in all of its glory. "Admiral, look."

Admiral Adama looked out at the name on the flight pod. In massive white letters, the ship's name was spelled out. GALACTICA.

Lee landed the raptor smoothly in the starboard-landing bay. As the three exited the raptor, they saw that a group of the ship's officers was waiting for them.

"Welcome to the Galactica," Commander David Wells spoke with a crisp salute.

Admiral Adama returned the salute and smiled at the young officer. "You have a fine ship here commander."

"Thank you sir, I just hope she can hold up to her namesake. I would like to introduce you to my fellow officers. This is Major Aaron Sims and Major Sarah Wells, my two CAGS."

Adama smiled at the two reaching forward and shaking their hands. "I have heard about you two. Major Simms, I believe you were on the mission with Admiral Reed that found us on Earth."

"That's correct sir," Major Simms replied. "That was quite an experience."

"Yes it was," Admiral Adama replied. Turning his attention to the other CAG, he continued. "Sarah Wells, you must be the commander's talented sister I have heard so much about. I understand you really kicked the Cylon's butt in the last war."

"Just doing my best sir," Major Wells replied with a smile.

"Why do you need two CAGS?" asked Starbuck looking slightly confused.

"Each CAG is responsible for the flight operations in one of the flight pods," Commander Wells explained. "Each flight pod has six squadrons of vipers and one squadron of raptors. We have a total of 240 vipers on the Galactica and 40 raptors. We decided it was easier to handle flight operations by using the two CAG system."

"Makes sense," Admiral Adama said with a nod of approval.

Commander Wells then turned to the third colonial officer standing there. He knew this man would not need an introduction. "This is my exec, who you already know."

"Colonel Hoshi," Adama spoke with a pleased grin. "I heard that you had decided to stay in the fleet."

"I couldn't turn down this opportunity sir," Colonel Hoshi said with a serious smile on his face. "She's a beautiful ship sir, one that will serve the name Galactica well."

"I am sure she will," Adama replied.

"If you will follow me sir, Admiral Clements and Admiral Reynolds are waiting in the main conference room for us," Commander Wells spoke gesturing toward the side of the landing bay where an open hatch waited.

Fifteen minutes later, the seven of them made it to the conference room.

"Admiral Adama, Colonel Adama, and Captain Thrace if you will take a seat we will explain why we have called you here," Admiral Clements said after shaking everyone's hand.

Admiral Clements looked across the table at the seated group knowing that what he was about to say would surprise them. "As all of you know, New Earth was settled 150,000 years ago due to the Galactica and her refugee fleet going through the tear in space in the Ionian nebula."

"We almost died in that damn nebula when the Cylon fleet ambushed us," Admiral Adama commented.

"That's where Starbuck returned to us," commented Lee recalling that harrowing and shocking day. Starbuck had returned from the dead for the first time in that nebula.

Starbuck's return and some other Starbuck related incidents were rated highly classified on a need to know basis. Very few people knew Starbuck's full history. It was too unbelievable. Some of those that did know what was in the file didn't believe it.

"It was a close call," Admiral Clements agreed. "But what concerns us is the fact that we have heard nothing from New Earth. Admiral Reed left some ships behind, including a colony ship. They should have been able to retain some of their technology."

"It's a mystery," agreed Adama looking thoughtful. "Of course they could have decided to give up their technology again after we left. After all, we did decide on doing that originally ourselves."

"That's a possibility that Admiral Clements and I have discussed," commented Admiral Reynolds. "But we can't imagine those that were on the island of Atlantis doing that."

"I don't believe that they would have," commented Lee looking over at Kara. "Those on the island specifically chose to be on the island of Atlantis just so they could have access to modern technology."

"So something must have happened," Kara spoke wondering what it could have been. They had left a lot of friends and acquaintances behind.

"I have spoken to President Urie, and we both feel that we need to explore this further," continued Admiral Clements looking directly at Admiral Adama. "That is why we are asking you to take temporary command of the Galactica along with four Firestar Repulse class battle cruisers as escorts and make a return trip to Earth."

"Back to Earth," Starbuck repeated in astonishment. "Do we even know where Earth is? After all, the Earth we are familiar with is 150,000 years in the past!"

"Not a problem," Admiral Clements replied sliding a sheet of paper over to Admiral Adama. It was covered in complicated mathematical formulas, which ended in some spatial coordinates. "Professor Anthon has provided us with what should be Earth's present day coordinates. We estimate it will take you two months to get there."

The room was quiet as everyone stared at Admiral Adama. He had never expected to return to Earth. Not after leaving Laura there. The planet held a lot of painful memories. But even he was curious as to what had happened to the human cylons and colonials that had remained behind. Perhaps he owed it to their memory to find out.

Lee looked at his father and could see the pain in his eyes. He knew that Adama was thinking about Laura. "It's up to you Dad," Lee spoke quietly.

Adama raised his eyes and looked across the table at Admiral Clements. "When do we leave?"

From the author: The next chapter will be longer, and the Ovions will make another appearance. I think you will be amazed and excited by what Admiral Adama and the crew of the nova class battlestar Galactica discover on their journey to Earth. I will try to update every two weeks.

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