Chapter 15a Ash's Boomstick. CH_15a -.Caprica-_ StealthProbes, Hoskins, Takedown, Kent, Hayes&Adar, Korbynes, LiveFeed, Naxos; Blake, ChitChat Chapter 15 Caprica City Caprica Twelve Colonies During the prelude of the attack by the Odyssey on the Picon Anchorage, a number of small stealth probes had been released into the Cyrannus system by the battlecruiser. The destruction of the Colonial Space Station and the horrific aftermath had allowed for the tiny crafts to move into pre-programmed positions close by the major planets undetected by Colonial Patrols. From their positions they were able to, on a regular basis, download the entire databases of filched communiqués, television broadcasts, military and civilian radio chatter and scans of the entire system. The data was shunted via subspace bursts, to the Tau’ri satellites set up within the area designated specifically for this job, each of which dropped their information into the receiver stations at the SGC and Area 51. All the intelligence gathered within these bursts was stored en masse at the Crucible deep underground. The probes were an incredible asset to the SGC allowing every move the Colonials made to be analysed to the nth degree by the men and women assigned to the code breaking and Intel departments worldwide. Already every ship movement in the triple star system was being watched with interest as increasing numbers of warships and fighters were activated or rushed through construction allowing for the numbers of losses taken by the Liberation Fleet to be made up and in some cases improved upon. However, even as this information was being gathered, a second set of data dumps were being carefully cracked by the immensely powerful crystalline supercomputers dedicated to the electronic warfare sections of Homeworld Security. At the lowest level of the massive underground base a dozen of the best code crackers in the world had finally completed their mission. “This is getting repetitive.” “Come on, this is the best part of the job! The quicker we get into their channels the quicker we get the bonus and time off and give the job over to Tolliver and his morons,” one of the men said. “Although I don’t think it matters anymore.” The man sat up straight at his console and began hammering away at the twin keyboards in front of his monitors. Strings of coding began to break apart and reassemble overwriting the original codes with text and numbers recognisable to them as Colonial Standard. “Hoskins, heads up! We need the translation matrix online.” “It’s already online. Just feed it through.” “Christ almighty,” the chief cried out. “It’s worked! Oh shit…” Pressing his hand to his headset he activated the radio’s tiny transmitter. “Command this is Takedown section.” “We read you, Takedown,” answered the voice from the Crucible’s command section. “Sir, we’ve done it. The last of the confidential codes have been broken,” the Chief replied hastily. “The entire classified network is at our disposal and Sir, that last group of codes we were unable to identify? We now have total access to the Colonial President’s secure communications line to their Admiralty.” “Repeat that, Takedown,” a deeper authoritarian voice spoke up. “G…General O’Neill, we… we’ve managed to break the last of the wireless command codes of the Colonial high command. The entire network is opened to us. We’ve also been able to crack the Presidential wireless line to their command stations on the other planets.” “Excellent work, Takedown. Send up the information ASAP. We don’t have long.” O’Neill replied. “One you have ended your shift, make sure the shift supervisor reports to me as soon as he’s off duty.” “Understood Command,” the chief replied. “Sir, I have to warn you however that once we have finished setting the information into the relays and inputting the finished codes into the system as well as setting it up for use that their rotating command and control codes will render this crack null and void within six to eight hours. We’re also looking at them rewriting their codes and us having to begin this again, which will mean several weeks minimum before we have any new Intel.” “Understood, Takedown. Keep at it we’ll need the rest of the command channels as soon as possible. Command Out.” “What do you think they’ll use the comms system for?” asked one of the code crackers. “I mean as soon as anything gets transmitted they’ll know that something’s up especially as it’ll probably be in English. Even if they do manage to tie in the translators with the main systems we don’t have authentication codes to make them do anything.” “I’m guessing some kind of psychological work,” another replied. “What, like showing them Barney?” “Dave, you really need to get out more.” *** “Mr. President, we have a positive hack into the Colonial president’s communications system,” Major Kent of the Crucible announced. “Unfortunately, the codes will only be active for six more hours. If we want to pull this off it will have to be now, or again in several weeks and that’s only if we can break the next coding.” “It’s something that needs doing, Major. Bring the probe online and break the encryption. It’s time for me to have a little chat with my erstwhile other within the colonies,” Hayes replied. “Plug the transmission into the Crucible, the SGC, the POW camps and the IOA intranet. I want as many people as possible to hear this.” “We could interrupt most of the world’s tele-visual and radio-based communications, allow for the entire planet to see the conversation. Same with at least three of the Colonials worlds.” “Hmm,” Hayes mused. “How quickly could you override Caprica’s main broadcasts and transmit our own?” “We’re ready to do so, on your order, Sir. We’ve been modifying the software on the probes for a wide spread dissemination of the transmission. The entirety of their capital city, the surrounding countryside and any ships in the way will receive the transmission from Probe Two. Probe Three we’re realigning to inform the area around Picon and the survivors of their attack fleet. As for Probe One, we are leaving as is.” “In case the others are found.” “That’s about the size of it,” Kent replied. “We’re ready when you are.” “Put the call through, Major.” The immensely powerful planet-based subspace transmitters sent the open transmission through hyperspace to the probes scattered throughout the Colonial system. As programmed, one of those probes linked into the communications line between Picon and Caprica, one that was still active and in use by the survivors still on the planet’s surface and one that was easily hacked by the Tau’ri’s best Electronic Warfare officers. Dozens of miles below the probe a single red telephone began to ring. Presidential Bunker Colonial President’s Officers Caprica City Caprica *Buzz* Adar looked angrily at the telephone. His hotlines had been ringing off the hook for days sending him more information, requests and communications from across the entire system. A thousand and one things were dividing his attention shortening his already threadbare temper. Illnesses, shortages, the demand for new and improved ships and defences from all sides, not to mention increased interference from the quorum and religious sections of the colonies, were wearing him down. Worse yet had been the time since the last attack by the Tau’ri. The waiting had begun to grate on the people. The mood had darkened, with many counting the next day as if it would be the last and he couldn’t blame them. However, it was costing the economy once again causing runs on some supplies as more and more pilots refused to fly in case they were caught in battles between the two sides. With so much going into relief and rebuilding efforts, the common people of the colonies were losing out. Worse yet his own people on Caprica were rumbling about his actions leading up to the war and afterwards. He had managed to empty his offices of anyone except his direct aides for a few hours to allow him to catch his breath. Never in his life had he expected to find that he would wish to have forgone the presidency. Direct orders had everyone bar the Chiefs of Staff and the Vice-President to kept away from him a while so he could breathe. Unfortunately it seemed that one of them must have been contacting him through his main offices high above the bunker. Slamming his hand down onto one of the dozen phones on the desk he growled into the phone. “Yes, Miss Alexander, what is it?” “You seem to have mistaken me for someone else, President Adar.” The voice on the other end of the phone was not the usual happy tone of his redheaded secretary/mistress but that of an amused male. “I’m afraid that you won’t be able to get through to anyone on this line until we conclude our little chat.” “Who are you? How the frak did you get onto this line?” Adar shouted into the phone, his baring lost completely by the sound of an unknown man on the end of the line. “As we’ve never been formally introduced,” said the man on the phone. Adar couldn’t quite place the accent. “I decided that it might in fact be time to. My name is Henry Hayes President of the United States of America and spokesperson for the majority of the Planet Earth.” “What kind of joke is this! Whatever it is, it’s not funny in the slightest!” “Its no joke Adar,” Hayes answered. “At this moment, we control your presidential lines and the direct lines in and out of that nice big house of yours. It’s time that we had a talk, Mr President. Or can I call you Dick?” Hayes asked. His voice was dripping with sarcasm that his counterpart could literally feel over the communication’s line. “You see ‘Dick’,” Hayes continued, “you and your fleet have been insulting and downright unfriendly to the people of my world and so I’ve decided that it’s time to sort this out once and for all.” “I see. What exactly would you like to talk about, Henry?” *** Already President Adar had now placed his line on speaker phone, activating the clandestine recording system before hitting the alert button that would signal the secretaries, aides and any guards in the area that assistance was needed. In seconds, his security as well as numerous aides was filling the offices. A few higher placed ones were using other phones calling Colonial Intelligence. Entering the Presidential office, Jeffery Korbynes got over his shock within a matter of moments. What was happening was impossible. However, one look in the eyes of his President convinced him that he didn’t believe this was a hoax. “This is Agent Korbynes,” he hissed over his wireless communications device. The walkie-talkie produced static for a couple of seconds before he received a response. “Stanchion here, sir.” We have a security breach. I want an immediate lockdown on the Presidential building-no one in or out. I want everybody, telephone and wireless line identified and accounted for in the next ten minutes.” “What’s the nature of the security breach?” The voice on the other side was all business. “Nature to be determined. Presidential government Communications have been compromised. Trace it. Phone line Caprica One.” “Understood. We’re on it.” *** “Well ‘Dick’, I would like to know what exactly you and your people were thinking when you decided to attack my planet and kill more than a hundred million of our people without a second thought?! Not only that, but you then proceeded to send another group of ships to make an attempt to nuke an entire continent! Now I know that we never attacked your worlds nor did we try to make you bow down to us. So what’s the thinking here?” Adar stood up still talking as he approached the door before the guards could break in silencing them with a hand gesture, “What are you talking about? I never authorised a second strike against your population. This is another transparent attempt to prove that we’re the bad guys again, ‘Henry’,” he answered getting comfortable now with the reality that someone had compromised security to a degree unheard of. Quietly, he ordered the secretary to take notes of what was being spoken even as he recorded the conversation. Guards were ordered to fetch any and all ministers or high ranking officers within the building. “Have Baltar and Corman get here directly,” he whispered. “I want to know what the hell is going on around here.” He focused on his counterpart once more speaking to him. “The footage we have of a stripped down Battlestar says otherwise. It was a simple attack that murdered another of our cities for no other reasons other than they seemed to want to. It’s fortunate for us that we managed to blow a hole through that ship. The ship ran with its tail between its legs but believe me, ‘Dick’, that commander if we find them will be put on trial for her actions as will any of the crew that have survived.” Adar replied as he sat down. “I never ordered the attack on your world. Anything that was done against orders should and will be considered, and if necessary prosecuted by our own people in accordance with Colonial law. Your illegal government doesn’t have that right, Henry.” “We have every right, Dick. A Colonial ship under your colours fired on civilian targets and murdered civilian people on our planet. Any and every country on this world will be more than willing to attest to the fact that the country that was fired on, will be given the lead on prosecuting the captain and crew of the Battlestar Pegasus and whatever ships were under her command at the time of the attack.” Adar looked around his office as more and more personnel began to arrive. Aides and secretaries of all kinds were furiously scribbling down notes on pads while other personnel were setting up a wiretap to trace the telephone call. With luck the ship or whatever the Tau’ri were using to hack into the President’s private lines would be quickly found and cornered by the orbital defences. *** Adar was angry. If what this man said was true, then no wonder they had struck back with such viciousness. Given the humility of the defeat by a handful of Tau’ri warships against the fleet, he could understand a Colonial officer striking out in justifiable retaliation. But such actions went against his agenda of bringing the Thirteenth colony back with a minimum of violence as had been the original plan. “I want to know who the hell sent the orders for the Pegasus to attack the Earth again. Find whoever were the last officers to see her and order them here ASAP.” Adar ordered quietly before turning back to his desk. “The Colonies don’t recognise your laws and court, Henry. By Colonial law you have no jurisdiction as you represent an illegal government that is not recognized by Colonial law. Do the right thing and if you do find them send them back our way. It’ll be easier on you in the long run. Besides the ship’s Commander is more or less following orders against an illegal and hostile colony. Can you really put someone in the dock for that, Mr President?” “If one of our officers nuked innocent civilians, I’d pull the switch myself.” Pulling the switch? He wasn’t sure what that meant but he got the inference. “Then maybe you can give us the Captain who so graciously decided to destroy one of our planets by causing debris to rain down on one of our most heavily inhabited worlds. After all, he murdered a great many more people than a single one of our missiles could possibly do to your world!” “The difference there ‘Dick’, is that your people deliberately targeted entire areas of our world with planet killing missiles en masse. Apparent your policy is that if you couldn’t have it, no one should. We struck a military outpost and military ships only. Collateral damage has been part of warfare for a long time and if we could have prevented the destruction of that world, then, by God, we would have done so. But unlike your people we would have helped to stop the catastrophe.” “Oh, frak.” Adar heard one of the aides mutter to him. He almost had the fool kicked out but the aide’s next words stopped him. “The media are playing this live. Every single channel is playing this conversation word for word. The Tau’ri must be transmitting it across the entire system. There’s no delay! Their ship must be only a few million miles above the planet,” he hissed. Adar stifled a curse. *** The Battlestar Naxos and its combat group of ten heavy warships tasked to protect the Colony homeworlds and specifically Caprica went on high alert. “This is not a drill! All Vipers scramble. Repeat, enemy vessel suspected in close orbit of Caprica.” “What the frak is going on?” demanded Commander Adrien as he entered the bridge. ‘Couldn’t even have a ten minute break’ he thought bitterly. “Sir,” his XO started. “We’re receiving a transmission from an unknown source that has compromised communications on Caprica.” ‘That can’t be right, in fact it’s impossible’ he thought. “To all ships. Commence active DRADIS sweep. Probable hostile in immediate areas sections Dashu one through eight. If target acquired, weapons free, repeat weapons free. Do not target, repeat do not target civilian craft unless confirmed enemy lock. All ships acknowledge.” “Our squadron is acknowledging.” “Good. Get me Caprica Defence Command.” “Commander, Admiral Blake is on the line,” the XO responded. The surprise in his voice was evident. If Blake was on the line then the alert was very serious and very real. He glanced at communications and blanched. On almost every single civilian and military channel a conversation was being broadcast between the President and another man. Adrien swore under his breath. Whatever was happening this was real. A Tau’ri ship was likely in the immediate area and couldn’t even be seen which meant that it had a very impressive stealth field. His ships could well be under their guns right now and if they fired first one of his ships was dead. The story of the initial liberation fleet’s slaughter had reach most of the higher level officers despite the clampdown by Colonial Defence Command, the word had gotten out: small ships with energy shields able to deflect nukes, energy weapons and super nukes, fighting capability beyond visual range, the one ship that literally destroyed the Picon anchorage and incidentally the planet itself. Bio-weapons. These thrice accursed Earth people were extremely dangerous and needed to be put down like rabid dogs. This is Admiral Steven Blake. Identification Caprica-Nine-Seven Eight-Sigma-Eight-Seven-One-One. Confirm.” “Identification confirmed, sir.” Commander, six minutes ago the President of the Twelve Colonies received a telephone call on his secured line. The caller has confirmed himself as being President Hayes of Earth. This call is happening real time. Your orders are to find that probe or more likely a ship and incapacitate or if necessary destroy it. Use all means necessary to acquire or destroy. The second defence squadron inbound on your location.” “Yes, Admiral.” The bridge was silent. “All Alert Vipers are away, sir.” “Maintain high alert. Find that ship!” *** The President remained stone-faced but the fact he was being played by someone far better at this game than he was galling. This had to be a well thought out plan, months in the making at the least and likely with inside help. “You destroyed a planet and its inhabitants,” Adar all but shouted. “There were billions on that world and a very small minority have survived or been saved by the actions of our own people. You complain that you had a few bombs hit your world when you have ravaged one of ours and caused untold pain on the rest of what we have left. Millions more are dying because of the damage you caused to our infrastructure and civilian facilities. That world held the majority of our best and brightest medical facilities and now we have less and less to treat the survivors. You have the nerve gall to take about a few lost cities when you infected the Colonies with a bio weapon!” “Sir, you need to keep him talking their transmission point must be extremely close,” a military attaché whispered. Adar nodded while Hayes screamed in his ear. “Bullshit! You have eleven worlds and the resources of God knows how many trillions of dollars, credits or whatever you use, and billions of people that can help the injured or sick. Yet you won’t because it doesn’t fit into your world view. We’ve seen your worlds Mr. President, and the peoples you claim to be held together so well by your Colonial Dictate. But for all your flowery words we know your worlds can’t stand each other. The fabric of your society is held together by fear and fear that we will win this war is tearing your society apart right now. That’s why you hate us, because we refused to bow down to your petty dictates. Your grand ignorance convinces you that you have every right to encompass our world without our say so.” “As the elected officials of the Twelve Colonies this government has the right to lead the entirety of the human race in all its versions. The Thirteenth Colony as we now know is your world is legally under our control at all times. The bastardisation of your race by outside influences has led to us having to take actions against the illegal and frankly incompetent governments of the countries of your planet.” “We didn’t elect you to your positions. You want to force our world to join you for whatever misguided reasons your burbling on about but the fact is that you have no clue what Earth is and you’re angry that we won’t simply bow down to you and your people and make it easy for you,” Hayes replied. “You’ve been told the history of this world and the simple fact we aren’t your thirteenth colony but you don’t seem to care. What you seem to have failed to understand ‘Dick’, is that the Tau’ri aren’t the overlords as you seem to be trying to convince your people.” “Ahh, yes. I wondered when this would come up. The fact is ‘Henry’, that we are well aware of the so-called ‘truth’ you’re claiming about your world. The very idea that you believe yourselves to be the first people as you call it is laughable at best and sacrilegious at worst. You and your cabal have deluded your own people, lied to them and poisoned the minds against their own brethren so that you can stay in power.” Adar answered quickly to every word of his adversary. It wasn’t just his phone that have been compromised but every single channel. He was walking in a minefield. Every word, every breath had to be perfect. “Illegal? Cabal? You really are some arrogant sons of guns, aren’t you?” Hayes snapped. “Let me enlighten you to something. Earth, my Earth isn’t some long-lost colony you’re convinced we are. We have geological and evolutionary history going back forty thousand years, evidence mankind and this means you as well, originated on Earth, not Kobol. In fact, when we presented this evidence in PEACEFUL FIRST CONTACT, your military tried to illegally confiscate an Earth vessel. You fired on the ship first, despite what you’ve told your colonies and yes we heard every lie you told after the Picon strike, and they defended themselves, embarrassed your military in the process and got away despite your best efforts. There are colonies of Humans spread throughout the galaxy and that not even half the story. In fact, Kobol was most likely a transplanted colony originating from Earth.” He paused for a second. “Shocking, isn’t it? Even if we were that Thirteenth tribe of yours, how could you possibly think that after three or four thousand years you could come back and try to absorb us back into the fold just because we ‘used to be’ part of your tribe? It-is- ludicrous- thinking and smacks of arrogance beyond belief. You think we would bow down to you because we’re supposed to? Others have tried,” he informed Adar. “They’ve learned the hard way that we bow down to no one."