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Oncoming Traffic Has The Right Of Way

They'd taken to calling the area of space the fleet was travailing through The Doldrums: it was a vast area, certainly further than their reconnaissance flights had gone, and almost completely empty.

Not empty empty, mind; there is no such thing as a true vacuum, but empty enough that it was starting to get a little creepy. Some in the fleet claimed that it was punishment from the Lords of Kobol, a reckoning for having turned their backs on their gods. Apollo wasn't sure if he'd go that far, but it was starting to get to him; he could see stars through his canopy, but they were all at least a dozen jumps away. Between them and the fleet was nothing but a vast, empty wilderness in space. No nebular, no asteroids, no dust clouds, nothing. On the up side, they seemed to have lost the Cylon ships that had been dogging them relentlessly since they had escaped from Ragnar Anchorage, giving them at least time to breath.

That, of cause, had some claiming that the Cylons had herded them into this void, leaving them to wander, without chance of resupply, until their fuel ran out.

Apollo wasn't sure what to think. All he knew was that he was scouting far ahead of the fleet, at the very edge of his Vipers operational envelope. Theoretically, it could coast for ever, but there was a very finite limit on its life support capabilities. Few pilots were happy to be so close to the edge of what their craft could do, where even the slightest miscalculation or delay could mean dying a cold, gasping death just short of the safety of the Galactica. It was no surprise then that the only person brave, or crazy, enough to fly deep recon with him was Starbuck, a woman who's sence of self preservation could only be measured with a micrometer, at least when it came to anything that let her fly.

After five hours listening to his wingman trying to convince him that she could have maid it as a professional singer if she'd only had a shot, complete with her rendition of songs that had been popular on Caprica a few years before, and Apollo was seriously considering popping open the canopy and seeing how long he could hold his breath if he really needed to.

"...and that's why the call me the Princess of Space!" Starbuck crooned in a singing voice that only a mother could love, and even then only if very very drunk at the time.


The chip of the DRADIS came as a god-send to Apollo, and he quickly double checked the readings to make sure it wasn't a fault in the software.

"Hate to interrupt, but I just picked up something on the edge of sensor range." He looked at the screen, and had to blink a few times, "Something very big, headed this way very fast."

"I see it to." Starbuck confirmed, now all business, her earlier jollities forgotten, "Whatever it is, it's not natural; I'm picking up high-grade alloys and synthetics."

"At the speed its going, it should be in visual range any second now." Apollo did a few quick calculations, "Let's give it a little room."

"Good idea." Starbuck kicked in her thrusters, moving her Viper further out of the unknown contacts path, "I'm not picking up anything on the wireless, and my threat detector's not picking up any active targeting sensors, but something is scanning us."

"Copy that." Apollo brought his fighter up alongside his wingman, "I'm going to try the standard challenge..."

"I see it!" Starbuck pointed at a fain dot just visible against the eternal black of space.

Given the speed it was approaching at, it didn't take long for the two pilots to make out rough details. It was obviously a ship of some kind, but built on a scale that would have better suited a space station, and it was painted a dull, rusty red. Its bulky, ungainly appearance quickly resolved to show an array of sensor and communications towers, some of which had apparently been hit by debris at some point in the past, leaving ugly burn marks that were all but invisible against the overwhelming scale of the ship. In fact, the only thing more impressive than the ships size was the speed it was travailing at; according to the somewhat worn out DRADIS in Apollo's Viper, it had to have been moving at almost half the speed of light. That gave them only a few seconds to take in the details, but Apollo clearly saw the words RED DWARF painted on the outer hull.

And then it was gone, far faster than even the quickest vessel in the fleet could ever hope to match. Even if they had been in a Raptor, or other FTL capable ship, all they could have done was jump ahead of it and watch it go past a second time. In a matter of moments it was back to being just another point of light, then it dropped off of DRADIS altogether.

"Apollo, were your gun-cameras running"


"Neither were mine. If we tell anyone about this, without any proof, they're think we've gone space-crazy."

"I know."

"I won't mention this in my report if you don't."


The End