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The Long War: (nuBSG)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by United Systems Navy, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    The Long War


    Master Post:
    Episode guide:

    Season 1:

    Episode 1: The Fall-complete
    Episeode 2: Lions and Lambs-complete
    Episode 3: The Drums of War-complete
    Episode 4: The Ice Planet-complete
    Episode 5: Crosshairs-complete
    Episode 6: Stand With Me-complete
    Episode 7: Ends of the Universe-complete
    Episode 8: Salvage-in progress
    Episode 9: Bread and Water
    Episode 10: And Sometimes the Fear

    ................................................

    Episode 11: Last of the Black Hats
    Episode 12: Cerberus
    Episode 13: Who Will Speak? l
    Episode 14: Who Will Speak? ll
    Episode 15: The Inferno
    Episode 16: Skies of Virgon
    Episode 17: Stranded
    Episode 18: Deliverance
    Episode 19: Argo
    Episode 20: Of Light and Darkness

    Note: these are not individual chapters, these are episodes. I will get the links up shortly.

    Season 1: Of Light and Darkness
    Episode 1: The Fall
    Part 1:

    Huxton:

    Commander Adriatic Huxton stood in bare feet on the thick crimson rug that occupied most of his small bedroom. His eyes were focused his television, which displayed the Picon fleet headquarters his ship was currently orbiting. It was day one of ‘Fleet Week,’ held on the week anniversary of the ending of the first cylon war. Instead of the normal peace and quiet around the massive cylindrical station and its attendant warships there was a festive atmosphere and almost five hundred civilian ships of all shapes and sizes and sanctioned tour shuttles swarming in the HQ’s airspace. At the center of the display ten battlestars were parked in a line ten kilometers off the station’s port side, their support ships forming a perimeter around them that only cleared civilian ships and the shuttles could enter. His ship, the battlestar Vindication, was in the back of the line. Most of the civilian transports and freighters were now clustered around the perimeter; some were even docked in the battlestar’s hangar pods offloading tour groups. A swamped colonial fleet command had estimated there were half a million people crammed onto ships and station, with peak traffic being predicted to reach three million in several hours.

    Huxton saw them as three million security hazards. He checked his digital watch: it was 1170 now, he had thirty minutes to get to the bridge. Huxton checked the buttons on his dress uniform, then when satisfied the gunmetal grey two-piece with silver pips on the lapels was orderly, walked from his bedroom to main living room. He stepped into his boots next to the door and laced them up.

    “And here is the commander’s quarters” a female voice wafted in through his front door. It was probably from one of the twenty plus tour groups roaming the ship at the moment. Huxton sighed. The disordered tour groups crawling the corridors and the exhibitions going on in the mess hall and port hangar pod set him on edge.

    He checked his hip, and realized his sidearm was sitting in his bedroom. “Fracking idiot, one day you’ll forget it when you need it” he muttered to himself and stomped back to his bedroom. He snatched the standard issue MIR-4 pistol off his nighttable, made sure there was a round chambered and the safety on, and slid it into his holster. On the television screen one of the zippy little private freighters orbiting the Mercury class battlestar three places ahead in line suddenly broke from its orbit and made a diving pass across its port side close enough to pass between the CAP vipers and hull. Huxton groaned. A faststar nearby flipped around and moved to intercept the rogue ship. Her crew would be spending the week in fleet HQ’s brig for violating flight orders.

    Huxton’s radio squawked. He pulled it off his belt. “Commander Huxton?” a voice asked.

    Huxton put it to his ear and hit the talk button. “This is him, go ahead,” he said.

    “Sir, this is Major Cage, there’s been a bit of a screw up, the first tour group will be on the CIC in under five.” Huxton checked his watch: 1173. He swallowed a stream of profanity.

    His voice shook in anger as he replied “I understand.” He would be making a speech to every tour group that came through the CIC. Cage must’ve guessed his thoughts.

    “Hey commander, they’re just civilians, how bad can it be?” he asked. Something banged outside.

    Huxton winced and replied “they are undisciplined elements aboard a colonial warship, undisciplined elements who like to wander off into restricted parts of said warship and do things like hang from the air ducts and push computer buttons that cause bad things to happen, or try to fire the railgun turrets so help us all. There’s a reason why I’ve avoided fleet week duty for the past five years”

    “Permission to speak freely Sir?”

    “Go ahead Major.”

    “Are you sure you aren’t overreacting? Fleet week frays our nerves, but think about all the civvies you’re going to be showing off to, including interested females.” Huxton snorted. He was forty-four and taken. Cage took the reply in stride and continued “If you need to relax I’m sure Doc Varis has something for you.”

    “Thank you Major, that all?”

    “Yes, Cage out.” The link went dead. Huxton went to his private bathroom. He checked his uniform over again in the mirror, brushed his teeth, and made sure his small black goatee and full moustache were neatly trimmed. Varis probably had something for him, something that would calm him but give him a headache and a sinus problem. Some of the illicit elements in the depths of his ship probably also had something for him, something that would make his eyes bloodshot and turn him into a hungry idiot for the next several hours. He decided just dealing with the butterflies would be best.

    Huxton opened his door and stepped into the corridor-to find twenty well dressed men, women, and children staring at him with a mixture of curiosity and admiration. Oh, this is commander Huxton” the young female tour guide said, then began giving a few details about his colorful career. Huxton smiled and waved as he pushed his way through. He hit open corridor and walked off as fast as he could while remaining respectable. Halfway down the long corridor between his cabin and the bridge his radio squawked again.

    “Commander here, go ahead” he said.

    “CAG to Commander, blue squadron is ready to being its flyby of the civvie ships, proceed?” Jamie Beric, callsign ‘Cross’ said. His voice was raspy with his sixty-three years of age, but still projected the impressive authority and reassurance he’d gained from forty-five years of service.

    “Give them the go ahead Berics.” A joke formed in Huxton’s mind. “Notify the pilots that if any ship so much as deviates from its flight plan they are to go weapons free and engage.”

    “What?” Jamie said in shock. Huxton covered the mic and broke out laughing for several seconds. “Commander, are you alright?” he heard Cross ask.

    “That was a joke Beric, ignore that.” Now Cross laughed.

    “Very good, Commander, Berics out. Huxton reached the bridge. Two marines with assault rifles guarded the meter thick titanium portal. They saluted and one opened the door.

    Sitting at the communications station next to the door, Lieutenant Zoella Marlay was the first to notice his arrival. She leapt up to attention and announced “Commander on deck!” The dozen officers present snapped to attention.

    “At ease” Huxton said and returned the salute. He walked to his desk on the opposide side of the bridge facing the door. Major Cage was temporarily occupying XO Colonel Amy Nessella’s staion on its right. Huxton turned to him and lowered his voice. “What’s the situation with the civvies and tour groups?”

    “Behaving just fine except this one freighter. Captain Sare is on his third tour group in the hangar bay, Nessella is on her fifth in the mess hall. Our first will be here any moment,” Cage said. Huxton nodded. Captain Sare was the Vindication’s chief communications officer and sixth in the chain of command. Huxton couldn’t help but feel Nessella should’ve been in his doing the most important presentation of all. She had the charisma and charms to speak to several thousand civilians and keep them enthralled, he didn’t

    Huxton looked at the crowded DRADIS display at the front of the bridge, then at the visual screen to his left, linked to one of the Vindication’s eight externally mounted cameras. He saw the faint specks of the vipers whip by, passing through the civilian ships and diving on the battlestar’s forward observation deck where three hundred civilians were waiting. He smiled fondly as he imagined what it would be like. When he had gone aboard the Galactica when he was just ten he had waved to the pilots as they made the exact same maneuver in their Mark III vipers.

    Marlay opened exit portal and leaned into the corridor, then leapt back. Panic was etched across her face as she called “Cylon attack waves incoming”. The bridge echoed with laughter. Huxton meanwhile gritted his teeth and moved to stand before the tactical command table at the center of the bridge. A second later thirty men, women, and children filed in. Theyw ere dressed in black suits and dresses for the occasion. He recognized at least one from the news as a major CEO. They spent a couple of minute examining the consoles and chattering amongst them, occasionally questioning the bridge staff, who smiled and answered.

    Marlay:
    “Excuse me, what’s this do?” Marlay looked up to see a pair of teenage girls leaning over her station. One was over one hundred and eighty-five centimers tall and was thin with curly brown hair and dark eyes, the second was maybe one hundred eighty centimeters, and had shoulder length platinum blode hair and a rounded face. The brown haired one was fiddling with a lever on the right.

    Marlay smiled and answered. “Primary communications station, that lever sends out low wavelength communications, below FTL speeds.”

    “And this is the FTL comm” the blonde surprised her by pointing to the glowing blue computer left of the lever. Marlay nodded, impressed. The girl continued. “Superhigh frequency, too high for a normal radio to pick out, somewhere around 20000 Ap” she continued. Marlay raised her eyebrows.

    “You seem to know the basics. I’m Lieutenant Marlay, second communications officer.” She extended her hand. The blonde girl’s face lit up and she shook it eagerly.

    “I’m Aelia and this is Rachel, nice to meet you” she grabbed her distracted friend, who smiled and waved.

    Marlay was curious, “where’d you learn FTL communications 101 anyway?”

    Aelia laughed nervously. “I’m just taking a couple courses in high school, I’m a sophomore right now so I only know a little bit.”

    Rachel put a hand on her shoulder. “Her dad is also the CEO of Gerdon telecommunications.”

    Aelia blushed and giggled nervously. “Yes he is” she said. Gerdon was one of Libran’s fortune three hundred companies, and one of the three largest civilian network providers in the colonies. Marlay realized in awe that Aelia’s parents could have bought the Vindication if they wanted to. She saw Aelia’s embarrassed look, heard Rachel’s apology, and realized that she’d wanted to hide that.

    “I have to take that, nice meeting you” Marlay said, and seated herself at the desk. The girls waved and turned to leave. “Oh, and nice dress Aelia, did you get that from Virgon fashion’s fall lineup?” she added. Aelia blushed and looked down at the tight fitting thigh length blue dress she was wearing

    “Yes actually.”

    “Rachel, you got that skirt from spring last year?” Marlay added easily.

    Rachel nodded and replied, “I did. Just wondering here, but what are you saying?”

    Marlay smiled “Oh nothing, you don’t get much dedicated fashion talk around here, that’s all, especially with this lot” Marlay jerked her thumb at Huxton and Cage. The three of them giggled for a few seconds then parted ways.

    Huxton:

    Huxton put on a false smile. He had always been good at hiding his real feelings beneath a pleasant cover, ever since his days in high school when he had orchestrated brutal revenge on his classmates for throwing his books in the mud or punching him into his locker. The times and situations were different now, but the technique remained the same. He cleared his throat and said “Attention visitors.” Every eye went to him. He crossed his hands behind his back. “Welcome to the battlestar Vindication, the finest ship in the fleet. Every commander will tell you that about their tin can, but this actually is,” he pointed at the deck. The small comedy elicited a smatter of chuckling. “She is thirteen hundred and fifty meters long, and has a mass of one hundred and twenty million tons. Her crew is over four thousand.” There were awed gasps.

    “Now for some history, the Vindication was laid down twelve years ago as the fifth of the new Valkyrie medium battlestar line, intended as a –“ Marlay tapped him on the shoulder and proffered a paper. He noticed her worried expression. “Hang on one second, duty calls” he said, and took it. It had come from the joint admirals: ‘Armistice line picket buoys and patrolling fleet elements have gone silent. Active duty ships are to immediately make combat preparations and await deploayment orders.’ Huxton barely covered his look of shock. I knew it, five years I’ve been telling everyone, and now the cylons are coming. His ship was not on active duty however, which meant he had to place the paper in his pocket, nod to Marlay, and cheerfully return to his tour group.

    “Pardon that, just some admiral complaining about his coffee machine. As I was saying, the Vindi-“ The DRADIS readout began beeping frantically. He spun around. The long line of green dots and the massive green orb of the fleet HQ were under siege, by an armada of red dots. The civilians began to whisper fearfully to each other.

    Cage quickly sat down at his desk and began typing. He announced, “Unidentified warships have jumped into HQ airspace, give me a moment to confirm their origin”

    Huxton didn’t wait for that, he already knew they were cylons. “Major, go to condition one, get our guns crewed and our engines powered up.”

    “Yes sir” Cage said. A deep klaxon wailed through the ship and red alarms flared.

    “Action stations, action stations” a cool female voice emanated from the loudspeakers. The civilians panicked, Rachel and several others screamed. Some froze up, some dove under desks and machines, some scrabbled for the exit which the marines outside had automatically shut. One plowed into Huxton, who threw him back with a snarl.

    “Commander, it could be a joke, some holiday prank,” Cage said.

    “It might not be, get ready to set us to condition two. Check the visuals first though” Huxton ordered. The screen blurred as the camera swooped around on its mount-and settled on a cluster of white dots straight above it. It zoomed in, revealing them to be star-shaped warships, sleek and menacing looking, surrounded by clouds of fighters and support craft. “Condition one,” Huxton reaffirmed. A moment later DRADIS received a response to its transponder hailing and labeled the hundreds of new contacts as cylon ships.

    Huxton pointed at the tour guide backed against the far wall. “Clear the damn CIC, Ensign.” Then to Cage: “Scramble our viper wing and have the support ships form up in formation delta epsilon oh eight.”

    Cross:

    Cross fumbled with his flight suit. He had been in his dress uniform with half a dozen other pilots on the starboard hangar deck floor giving a presentation on the viper mark VII when the alarms had gone off and orders had come through. Despite having over thirty years on most of his pilots he was still the first person to zip up his flight suite and sprint from the crowded ready room to the flight deck. On the deck floor yellow clad deck hands were quickly maneuvering the vipers into position and performing last minute checks on them as civilians streamed towards the exits.

    “Cross, its going to be a minute until they’ve got the catapults running!” Svan Jenner, callsign ‘Slammer’ called from the cockpit of his mark VII. He had had his flight suite on to give demonstrations to the civillians.

    “Gods damn it, they’re going to leave half the wing out in space to die” Cross growled. He leapt into his viper’s cockpit. Deck Chief Petty Officer James Keeton handed him his helmet. Cross grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled his face in. “Get the catapults operational now,” he growled.

    Keeton pulled back. “Working on it,” he replied and clambered back in. Cross sighed and snapped his helmet on. Around him the other pilots were climbing into their birds.

    Huxton:

    Marlay handed Huxton another paper. He read it. “Orders just came down from Flag Admiral Breidis; We are going to meet the cylons head on and stall them so the civilians can escape and reinforcements arrive.” He nodded to Captain Grissom at the helm. “Helm, bring us about to course delta carom three nine nine to face the enemy, match speed with the fleet” he ordered.

    The view on the visual screen swung as the bow rose to meet the impressive cylon fleet. The Vindication fell into the back of the formation of battlestars, which was centered on the Nova class battlestar Ra. The radio channels filled with different commanders calling out to each other.
    Huxton took a step back to get a better view of the DRADIS readout, and bumped into a man in a brown suit. The tour guide was doing his best to shepherd the civilians out, but a traffic jam had formed at the door, resulting in a loud crowd clogging the center of the CIC.

    Huxton counted fifty basestars and over two hundred support ships on DRADIS. Even at the two to one successful engagement ratio the colonials had enjoyed in the last war the numbers were too high. The Atlatl missile launcher banks on the fleet headquarters and the 2000 millimeter quad barreled turrets on the hexagonal sentry turrets floating around it would go a long way to evening the fight.

    “Keep the fighters in close as a shield and have our supports set up a perimeter. Remember, this is a holding action, we keep the cylons off until the reinforcements jump in, don’t take any risks” Huxton said.

    “Yes sir” Cage replied. Huxton knew Cage was one of the brightest young officers in the fleet, but he sorely missed Nessella in the XO spot. He returned his attention to the battle. The two sides were less than ten thousand kilometers apart, almost in effective range. The battlestars were clustered close together to support each other, their fighters and escorts forming a dense shield between them and the voracious cylon support ships ranging ahead of the main fleet.

    The lead battlestar flashed red for a second. Then the lights along its hull died. No longer accelerating, it began to fall out of formation. A second battlestar flashed red and died. A chain reaction ran down the fleet. Huxton had just noticed it when it hit the Vindication. The viewscreen glowed red for an instant.

    Then the power died. DRADIS went dead, the various computers and displays on the CIC flickered and shut off as if someone had flipped a switch. All along the battlestar crew and civilians alike froze as they were plunged into absolute darkness. Screams rang out followed by impacts as running bodies tripped and fell or collided with each other and walls. Panic ensued on the bridge. Civillians shouted and blundered every direction, one tumbling into Huxton. Cage, Marlay, and several other officers added their voices to the mess.

    “Quiet!” Huxton bellowed, to no avail. He drew his sidearm, made a snap calculation on whether the desired effect was worth it, and fired it into the ceiling. The blast reverberated through the low ceilinged CIC, drowning out everything else. By the time his ears had stopped ringing he had his silence. “Three, two, one.”

    The emergency lights came on, casting the CIC in a harsh red glow. Huxton looked to the DRADIS, which should have at least started booting back up. Its screen was blank. He spun to face the panicking Cage. “Is anything working?”

    “Negative, all systems are down, I can’t even bring the main power lines back up” Cage said. Huxton leapt over to his desk and grabbed the phone off it. It was a sound activated model, installed for just such an emergency. He dialed engineering and listened to it ring.

    “Huxton to engineering, what just hit us?” he said.

    “We don’t know, the main reactor just shut down on us, all computer systems are out” chief engineer Colonel Radin replied. “We think it’s a computer malfunction, I’ve got men checking the computer core.”

    A chime announced someone else dialing the bridge and a new voice broke in. “Commander, are you there?” a shaking voice said. Before Huxton could affirm it kept speaking. “This is Sergeant Alenko, I’m the forward observation gallery. The entire fleet has lost power. I can see the explosions from where they are picking off our fighters” it said. Huxton’s felt a faint quaver in his stomach.

    “What about the battlestars?” he asked.

    “Dead in space, the lead ships are under missile fire-holy frak the Agamemnon just went up!” Frak.

    “Colonel, can you get the FTL operational on its own if all else fails?” It took Huxton’s brain a second longer to realize he was suggesting abandoning a good part of the colonial military high command plus over five hundred thousand civilians. He swallowed hard before his stomach could betray him and told himself that without a miracle from Kobol there was no other choice.

    Radin remained calm. “Its offline, we’re feeding it emergency battery power but something’s holding down the off switch, again it might be the computers, I can’t be sure.” The deck shook as the Vindcation took its first missile.

    Cage tapped Huxton on the shoulder. “It’s the computers, the power lines are still hooked up and the emergency batteries are feeding into them. Every command I try on the computer core gets about a quarter second of life from it, then it dies. The only thing that could do that would be someone hacking our network to shut it down. The deck rocked under their feet. Cage fell but Huxton kept his feet.

    “I heard that, thank you,” Radin said.

    “The Ra just split in half! There were twenty thousand people aboard her!” Alenko cried over screaming in the background, all semblance of professionalism gone.

    “Is there anyway to get around that?” Huxton said, his voice rising. He was nearly thrown off his feet by two hits in quick succession. The CIC floor was covered in struggling bodies. Something hard and wet crashed against Marlay. She pushed it off, then panicked when she realized it was someone’s head with a limp body attatched to it.

    Radin was apprehensive. “We could disconnect the FTL drive and manually jump, but that would be a blind jump.”

    “Three battlestars are down, they’re closing in on us!” Alenko cried. The ship began to jolt under a steady barrage of missiles. Everyone still standing was thrown to the ground except Huxton, who threw himself into his seat and clung to his desk with both hands.

    “Do it!” he ordered.

    Radin:

    Radin dropped the phone and pelted through the cavernous engineering chamber where the FTL spool sat in a dense steel cage; the centerpiece of the deck. “Grab power cutters and wrenches, we need to disconnect the main drive!” he shouted to his crew who were struggling unsuccessfully with the support systems lining the walls. By the time he’d reached the spool shaped FTL drive there were two teenaged deckhands with a wrench ripping away the first of the half a dozen cables hooking the drive by the spools into the network.

    A hard hit knocked them away with a shout and a clatter. Radin stumbled, kept his balance, and almost fell against the spool as another missile struck the Vindication. He grabbed the loosened cable and pulled it out, taking a chunk of electronics with it. The huge Ensign Irdeki stepped past him, a power saw whirring to life in his hands. Sparks flew from a particularly thick cable as he cut into it. Radin grabbed the skinniest one and pulled. His regular visits to the ship’s gym paid off as the cable easily came away in his large hands.

    Ensign Davies and pair of pliers appeared on his left. He unscrewed a fourth while Irdeki started on a fifth. Then the floor under their feet jolted and Irdeki lost control. On the other side of the spool Engineer Thome screamed as the saw went wild and sliced through his chest. Blood spurted from the wound across Irdeki and the spool and he collapsed. Irdeki dropped the still active saw and collapsed backwards. Radin winced but shouted, “Keep going, almost done, someone with a stomach grab that saw!”

    A burly marine who wasn’t even supposed to be there grabbed the saw and finished off the last cables. Then Radin remembered the wireless receiver embedded in the spool. “Cut here!” he pointed to the electric lock at the center of the spool protecting it.

    Huxton:

    Another hit sent a structural beam slamming through the ceiling, narrowly missing Huxton. He sat at his station, helpless and praying. The Vindication and two other battlestars were all that was left, surrounded by twenty basestars. The dead colonial fleet headquarters was surrounded by the wrecks of hundreds of civilian ships and its sentry guns, the first nuclear detonations glowing against its hull.

    Radin:

    The saw made short work of the lock and Radin reached in and ripped the antennae out. With whatever force holding it back gone the FTL drive began to hum with power. The engineers began cheering.

    Radin counted to ten while it warmed up. An explosion ripped out an overhead balcony and sent it crashing down in flames on several people. On the other side of the ship the port hangar pod was split open from bow end to midsection by a ttwenty-five megation blast. Several more missile hits including another nuclear detonation knocked Radin off his feet. He leapt up and grabbed the lever on the side of the spool. “Jumping!” he screamed, and threw his weight against it. The spool flashed blue as power coursed through it. It emerged through the damaged outer casing and coursed along its black length, incinerating anything touching its surface. Radin’s hand’s exploded in pain and he reeled back as the smell of burnt flesh permeated the air.

    Huxton:

    On the bridge Huxton heard the distinct eardrum-tearing screech of tortured electronics. Then he felt nothing.
     
  2. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    This is the Vindication. Valkyrie class. Designed as a bog-standard line battlestar

    Stats:
    Length: 1350 meters
    Crew: 4000, not including pilots. There were an additional 3200 civilians onboard when Picon was hit
    Complement: 180 vipers
    40 Raptors
    40 Python Bombers

    Armament:
    4, 2000 mm bow railguns
    12, 2x1400 mm railgun turrets on top, and 12 on bottom
    24, 2x800 mm railguns on each flank
    144, 40 mm point defense guns
    12 missile launchers in alligator head

    This is not the tiny version. This is the latest version of the medium battlestar, granddaughter of the Columbia class


    [​IMG]
     
  3. ShadowPhoenix

    ShadowPhoenix Dark Lord of Shadows

    damn, that was a good intro.
     
    RebelsDawn likes this.
  4. Indeed it was!
     
  5. ShadowPhoenix

    ShadowPhoenix Dark Lord of Shadows

    people are chewing out nbsg fics these days like mad.
     
  6. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    :D I decided; hey, instead of having the ship show up during the apocalypse/ miss it entirely, why not put it in the MIDDLE.
     
  7. RebelsDawn

    RebelsDawn Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Definitely a kicking opening. Will be waiting for future updates. Kudos!
     
  8. ShadowPhoenix

    ShadowPhoenix Dark Lord of Shadows

    so alt-pegasus?
     
  9. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    In a way. There will be a fleet of survivors, and Huxton's sanity... you'll see.
     
  10. Andras

    Andras Ballistically Advantaged

    Could you change your text to the default color as it doesn't show up on the default style white background.
     
  11. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Done.


    Also, I've been reading MA's The Hunted. The Vindication is not the same class of Valkyrie most people seem to be using. I am using the big type, as stated above
     
  12. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Huxton:

    Commander Adriatic Huxton opened his eyes. He was lying on his back on the cold CIC floor, staring at the metal plated ceiling, which was comfortingly lit by the normal LED spotlights. His head was throbbing and his stomach churned. The CIC was completely silent except for a beeping from somewhere out of his sight. “Computer network rebooting” a female voice said. Huxton winced as the sound grated against the inside of his skull.

    He seemed to be the only living thing on the bridge.

    He forced his lips apart, “hello?” No response. The console next to his head began humming. Huxton groaned, and sat up. Instantly the stabbing pain in his head flared and vomit came rushing up his throat. He clenched his teeth and choked it back down, leaving and acidic taste in his burning mouth. He grabbed the corner of the console and pulled himself to his feet. The room blurred, and then settled.

    His officers and the civilians were strewn across the floor of the CIC. Several were stirring faintly. Marlay was curled in a fetal position next to her chair, visibly trembling. A groan drew Huxton’s attention to the station next to his. Cage was slumped against the desk, one arm twisted beneath him at an angle too wide to be natural. His face twisted into a grimace. Huxton walked over on trembling legs. “Major.”

    Cage looked up. “You know, those bloodshot eyes really do make you look insane.” Huxton smiled.

    “Lets joke over liquor shots later, right now we’ve got a ship to save.” He extended his arm. Cage grabbed his hand and he pulled him up.

    “Ah!” Cage cried as his broken arm came loose. He grabbed it and quickly said “I’m fine, what do you need?”

    “Find out what that beeping is, then give me a damage report.” Cage nodded and hobbled away. The CIC’s occupants were awakening and getting to their feet. Several cries of pain erupted from amidst them. A little boy barely elementary school aged burst into tears over his whimpering mother. Huxton blocked them out. He grabbed the phone and called engineering. “Bridge to engineering, good job.”

    “Thank you” Kelso replied. Huxton heard the whoosh of high-pressure liquids and shouting in the background.

    “Where is Radin?”

    “Radin is being carried out, when the FTL spool activated it burned his hands.”

    There wasn’t time to express sympathy. “What’s your department’s status?”

    “Extremely fracked, with all due respect commander. A couple tylium pods burst and we’ve got a fire going, so everything is getting hosed down, we might need to vent if it gets out of control. The reactors went into safety and the ship is running on battery power for now. The FTL spool partially melted when activated, its going to be at least forty-eight hours to get it operational.”

    “I’ll leave you to it, best of luck.” Huxton hung up.

    “Commander!” he looked over at Cage. “Its DC, we’re venting atmosphere. Here’s the damage report.” Huxton tensed in anticipation. “There were over forty missile strikes on the ship, at least two of them nuclear. Our main radio network is offline with the CIC being the only way left to coordinate. We’re venting atmosphere in sectors eight, fourteen, nine, seven and two, and electrical fires are raging in sectors nine, ten, fifteen, and twenty. Power is intermittent throughout everything in back of sector six and engineering is going to need a few hours to get the lines operational.” He paused and his eyes dimmed just a little. “The port hangar pod has been ruptured and is venting atmosphere at a rate that will leave us in a vacuum in half an hour. There’s almost eight hundred people trapped in there including Sare, and only a few of them are coming out.”

    Huxton ran through his options in his head. It took him a few precious seconds to decide on the right one. “Seal off the port hangar pod and let it decompress.”

    “Wait!” Marlay said. She was slumped against her chair, knees under her in a weak attempt to stand. “Sare’s in there, you can’t.”

    Cage patted his pendant, a relic from his hometown on Gemenon. “Sealing it off, and may the gods forgive us.” He typed in a command. Marlay collapsed, covering her face.

    At each entrance to the port pod massive gears grinded to life. Two-meter thick bulkheads slammed into place, forming an airtight seal. An immense cloud of gas blew out of the gaping chasm in the hangar pod, carrying with it debris and still moving bodies. Air gone, flailing at nothingness as life vanished behind, lungs rupturing, burning, a spinning view of the stars, nothing.

    “Hangar pod sealed. That should buy us an extra half hour,” Cage said.

    Huxton looked at Marlay and felt a moment of sympathy for the twenty-year old, who had come to see Sare as a father figure since her arrival straight from Picon fleet academy four months ago. “On your feet Lieutenant, you’re needed.” She nodded and pulled herself into her chair. Then she remembered the bloody body and looked around. Aelia was sprawled on her back and bleeding from a dent in the side of her skull. Rachel was crouched beside her squeezing her hand and sobbing.

    Huxton quickly gave his orders. “Cage, have damage control shut down the power in the sectors where there’s fires and focus on regaining hull integrity. How bad are the breaches?”

    “Most are medium to small size. Sector eight has a tear fifty feet wide though, nothing we have can fix it in time.”

    Huxton exhaled. How many people am I going to have to kill today? “DC has twenty-five minutes to evac eight, then they seal it off regardless of who’s still inside.”

    “Yes sir.” The shaken tour guide and the two marines who had been guarding the CIC meanwhile were guiding the civilians off the bridge. Ensign Marakon had pulled the red lever next to his station at the back of the CIC. Huxton doubted any medical assistance would get to the half a dozen people collapsed in various states of injury on the floor for some time.

    Huxton turned to Marlay. She kneeling besides a teenage girl bleeding from a bad head wound, pressing her jacket against the wound. “Lieutenant, when medical gets here they’ll take care of her, get on your station. Internal communications are down, and your station is the only comm hub left on the ship. Our different DC teams and officers are scattered and possibly fighting for their lives with no way to report in. Get on your station and start coordinating their communications.”

    Marlay shook her head at a second teenage girl sobbing next to her, and leapt up. “Yes sir.” Huxton saw the terrified look in her eyes as she took her station and put on her headset. He felt a twinge of pity.

    “Oh, and Cage, get cyber maintenance on finding out how the cylons shut us down, if they’re still alive that is.” Shortly after his radio crackled. “Thank you Lieutenant” he said to Marlay, and grabbed it. ”This is the Commander, who am I speaking to?.”

    “Good to here you Hux,” Colonel Nessela said. “DC operations chief was in his quarters at the time we jumped. His quarters were blown into space with a good chunk of sector eight. I am taking operative command of any DC teams I can round up.”

    Huxton looked at Cage, who confirmed the update with a nod. “Understood, gods speed.”

    Alenko:

    Alenko zippered up the bulky orange fire suit over his fatigues and grabbed a plasma cutter off the wall of the fore engineering station. After pulling the civilians out of the leaking forward observatory and sealing it off his squad, and dozens of other marines ship wide, had been recruited to augment the weakened DC teams. There were sixty people in this room readying up. The room had been intended to service over a hundred.

    On his left Nessella pulled the helmet and oxygen mask over her red ponytail and snapped it into place. Her voice sounded tinny through the transparent mask. “As of now there are maybe two hundred of us ship wide, so the Commander is prioritizing objectives. We focus all our efforts on the hull breaches. Engineering will take care of the fires. Everyone to my left, head to sector two, a raptor and engineering team will be waiting n the outside when you get there.” Twenty people fell under that jurisdiction. “Everyone to my right, come with me. We have twenty minutes to evacuate sector eight, then we seal it off.”

    The ship rocked suddenly and Alenko’s grip tightened on his plasma cutter. “What was that?” he asked.

    “I’ll ask the Major, in the meantime, get your rears in gear before we’re out of air!”

    Alenko nodded to his eight-man squad. “Triple time boys.” They streamed out of the chamber and down the Vindication’s teeming spinal corridor. Nessella somehow squeezed to the head of their group.

    She turned around; somehow not colliding into any of the wreckage and people they were weaving through. “Cage just vented the port magazine” she explained, and then turned back.

    It took ten precious minutes for their group to thread their way through the confusion and debris to eight. The bulkhead they arrived at had been jammed partially open by a spear of rent metal.

    They paused for a moment to catch their breath. “Alright, there’s four more entrances, one squad take each” Nessella said. She motioned to Alenko. “Sergeant, you’re with me.” They shoved their way through and arrived in a nightmare of tangled metal and multiple bodies obstructing the corridor. A handful of small fires crackled. What was most worrying was the distant low moan of the wind being sucked out into space through a gaping tear in the Vindication’s throat.

    “She’s bleeding out” Alenko said.

    Beside him Corporal Sergev Belsinki turned to him confused. “What?”

    Alenko pointed down the twisted corridor. “The cylons hit an artery, Vinny’s bleeding out.” Nessella pointed at the wreckage. Alenko and Belsinki raised their cutters and sliced a path through it.

    The first room they investigated was sector eight’s security station. Half a dozen marines and a crowd of civilians and crew were cowering inside they looked up when Alenko melted the doorframe and kicked it open. “We are sealing this sector off, everyone out!” he shouted. He heard several gasps of horror from those who understood, then they started moving. The crewmembers shoved, and in some cases carried the civilians and wounded out the door. The DC team continued inside. Alenko had thought there would be no survivors, but each new room they cut open revealed more people, pale and faces masks of fear.

    “Time’s up, lets pull out” Nessella said too quickly. There were still people streaming past.

    An image flashed before Alenko: the Picon fleet exploding one ship after another. He looked up and said “Colonel, we can’t just leave them here.” He looked around for support and saw several nods from his squad.

    Nessella glared at him. It only made her look more afraid than he was. “Sergeant, there are maybe another couple hundred people in here, there are at least seven thousand people on this ship who will begin suffocating if we don’t seal it off now, so move out!” She grabbed him by the shoulder and propelled him back down the corridor with surprising force given his several inches and fifty pounds of muscle on her. Alenko’s feet started moving as his brain struggled to form counterarguments. They returned to the exit, and Private Venko sawed away the beam holding the portal open.

    Nessella’s fingers wrapped around the door’s metal frame. “Close it” she said softly to hide that her heart was breaking. Alenko and Belsinki grabbed the door and threw their weight against it.

    A collective cry of “No!” rose up briefly from their people on the other side, then it was cut off as the door slammed into place and locked. Alenko felt a faint pounding on the door, but that quickly faded. He let his feet give out. He wasn’t the only one who sank to the deck.

    “We did the right thing,” Nessella whispered. She keyed her radio. “All teams report in” she said. A moment later a smile cracked beneath the mask and she addressed the team. “We’re good on all entrances, two should be sealed momentarily. Everyone, take five, then we’ve got more work to do.”

    It took them ten hours of fighting to restore power to all sectors and stabilize the Vindication. Alenko was one of the last back to the ready room. He saw most of his comrades sprawled on the floor in their soot cakes yellow suits, and joined them in passing out.

    Huxton:

    “What’s Doctor Veris’ latest casualty figure?” Huxton said to Cage.

    Cage’s square jaw clenched. “One thousand eight hundred fifty four dead including port hangar estimates, nine hundred sixty wounded, two thirds of them civilian.”

    Huxton went to his station and pulled a notepad and pencil out of his jacket pocket. “How many people were onboard last counts?”

    Cage took a moment to fid the answer. “Eight thousand three hundred, four thousand crew, four thousand one hundred civilians, and two hundred liaisons for fleet week.” Huxton ran one hand through his spiky black hair. On the pad he wrote 6446,

    “Well, we saved the ship at least” he muttered.

    “We did sir” Cage said. Huxton looked u at him. His clean-shaven dome was shining from the sweat on it and his normally energetic smile was a grimace. His broken arm was hanging limp by his side. It was noticeably deformed midway between his shoulder and elbow.

    “Major, I think you’ve done enough, for today, you are relieved of duty, get down to the hospital and get that arm looked at” Huxton said.

    Cage shook his head. “I respectfully request to remain on the CIC until a suitable replacement can be found.” He gestured around. There was no command officer above the rank of Fifth Warrant officer in the CIC.

    “Fine, as you were.”

    “I got a fix on our location” Navigator, Captain Grissom announced.

    Huxton turned to the helm, located at the front of the pentagonal CIC. “Good, where are we?”

    “We’re fifteen light years from the edge of the Cyrannus system. Right now we’re about a light year from the Caliban system and five light years from Nexus.”

    “That’s bad. Could be worse actually, but that’s bad” Huxton said. They could have jumped within sublight cruising range of the colonies, but they could also have jumped into Cylon space, or within the heliopause of the Tartarus system five light years from the colonies, where radiation from its blue sun would have cooked them within hours. “Plot a jump back to the colonies. Take us to the null space between the binary systems, in case we run into the cylons in this condition.”
    .
    A few minutes later Cage’s computer beeped. He read the new message and grinned. “Maintenance found the cylon weapon, take a look.” Huxton looked over his shoulder. Scrawled across his screen were several lines of binary, then three words: “all systems deactivate.”

    “They sent us that?”

    “Yes.”

    “That’s a command, which means…”

    “According to maintenance, the weaponwas a Trojan horse, embedded in the new Command Navigation Program. Once activated it enabled the cylons to take control of our computers, namely, telling them to shut down. This is the activation command.”

    “Can you remove it?”

    “We’ll have to remove the CNP and replace it with the old version, but it can be done.”

    “Do it then, and wipe down the entire computer core and take the network offline just in case the cylons got their virtual fingers on anything else. This is big, we have to warn the fleet about this.”

    “FTL communications would lead any cylons listening in back to us” Cage warned.

    “I’m aware, and we are not in any state to fight.” Right now he wouldn’t have felt safe going up against a medium cruiser.

    Marlay stepped forward and raised her hand. All attention went to her. “I can, I need a raptor and a relay transmitter. The raptor jumps a few light years away, the Vindication sends her a tightbeam FTL transmission, and she relays it to the colonies and jumps away. If the cylons track it they’ll end up in the middle of nowhere.”

    “Good idea, I’ll call Cage send someone down, Captain” Huxton said.

    “Captain?”

    “You’re the new chief comms officer, that makes you Captain” Huxton said. He didn’t expect Marlay to smile, which she didn’t.

    “Commander, I should show you this.” She returned to her station, Huxton and Cage followed her. On her computer screen was a dossier on the twenty-one members of the Vindication’s communications department including her. “I was trying to keep track of my people between handling internal communications,” she said. Eighteen names from Sare down were marked as KIA and the other two were in the hospital.

    Cage remembered a report three hours ago: electrical explosion in the primary antennae array, heavy fatalities. He put a hand on her shoulder. Her head drooped onto it. “Sorry” he whispered.

    Alenko:

    Alenko gave a gentle push to the bony shoulder of the elderly tourist at the head of the procession of civilians his squad was leading. “Here we are” he said, pointing to their barracks. The old man said something unintelligible, but thankful by its tone, and hobbled through. Alenko watched the twenty civilians enter, the last being a shell shocked and trembling woman in her early thirties. He waved his squad in after them.

    “Well, this is it” he said, looking around at the ten meter by six meter room and its eight bunks. “Extra sleeping pallets and blankets are coming down from the quartermaster, so you can sit in our beds in the meantime.”

    “Thank you,” several people whispered. Alenko saw a father with a stubbly beard lift his two small children, a boy and a girl, onto his own bunk.

    He took a seat in one of the light blue overstuffed armchairs his squad bought and lugged in during a stop in Leonis eight months ago. “Belsinki, you have any food in that bottomless locker of yours?” he asked.

    Belsinki rummaged through his locker with his sausage-sized fingers. “Nothing” the big man said in his deep voice.

    “Uh, I have something” the father said. He pulled four foil wrapped packages out of his son’s backpack and gave them to Belsinki. “Brought a couple of sandwiches along, but I figure you deserve them right now” he said. Alenko smiled.

    “Thank you” he said. Belsinki divided each sandwich into halves and passed them around. Alenko sank his teeth into his first. “Mmm, corn beef!” he said.

    “Is it just me, but do these sandwiches taste better just because we went through hell to earn them?” Venko asked. They all nodded. Corporal Ingrams tried to speak with his mouth full and sprayed breadcrumbs onto his shirt.

    Alenko’s thoughts went back to Picon. “How do you think the war’s going?” he asked.

    “The toasters got lucky at Picon, we’re going to jump home just in time for the victory party” Venko said.

    “No we’re not. You saw what happened to our fleet. The same as us; they shut everything down, including the vipers. They were just hanging there in space like targets and the cylons were having a shooting exercise” Alenko said.

    “If that happens to the entire fleet we’re fracked” Belsinki said. Alenko shushed him and pointed to the kids. A smile appeared momentarily on his fat lips.

    “I know” Alenko said. The ship shook slightly, and somewhere in the distance a keening alarm went off. All eight marine’s hands went to the tools they had been carrying instead of rifles, but the alarms didn’t spread to their sector

    Alenko’s thoughts returned to the people he’d left to suffocate. Their screams didn’t leave him alone.

    Marlay:

    Marlay found herself in the back of a raptor strapped in next to the six-foot high rectangle of metal and glowing lights that was the FTL comm relay. “Set back there?” pilot ‘Rango’ asked.

    “I’m good,” she said.

    “This is Raptor zero two two, requesting clearance to take off” his copilot ‘Vendetta’ said.

    “Clearance granted, good flying” the LSO said.

    The Raptor thrummed as its thrusters lifted it off the starboard hangar deck while its ground crew stepped back. Rango pushed the throttle forward and Marlay felt a pleasant tug as the craft accelerated down the hangar and into space: she’d always enjoyed flying.

    As they flew away she turned in her seat to look at the Vindication. The battlestar had been a proud ship, with her perfectly curved, two-pronged shovelnose prow and elegant hull that sported dozens of powerful turrets. Now she was a cripple, her hull cratered and buckled and her back sagging.

    “Poor Vinny, she never had a chance,” Rango said sadly.

    “Wait until we get her some drydock, she’ll rack up a kill count longer than the Galactica’s” Vendetta said eagerly. Marlay and Rango couldn’t help but smile at the copilot’s enthusiasm.

    “Right, coordinates locked in, FTL drive spooling.” The vanished in a flash of blue light

    When it reappeared ten seconds later it had moved three light years closer to the colonies “We are in position. Lieutenant, you’re up” Rango said.

    Marlay keyed the relay and accessed a keyboard in the side.. ‘We are in position’ she typed out, entered the correct codes, and sent back the way they had come. The reply arrived a minute later in the form of a Kobol-priority message.

    ‘She typed out the long string of coordinates that would broadcast it to every transmitter in the twelve colonies, and sent it.

    “Message is away!” she said.

    “Good, let’s head back, entering jump coordinates” Rango said. The relay let out a high-pitched trill, indicating it had received a message. Rango stopped entering the coordinates and strained around in his harness to read.

    Marlay’s face went pale as she read the transmission. “Get us home, now please” she said. Rango pailed and obliged.

    Huxton was getting his first moment of real peace in twelve hours when Marlay burst onto the bridge and went straight to her station. “Good job with the relay” he said, spinning his chair around to face her. She didn’t acknowledge him. He noticed that her hands were shaking. “Something up?”

    “Yes” she said in a small voice. She printed out a message and handed it to him. He looked it over once, and then grabbed the intercom.

    “Attention please, this is commander Huxton” he began. Alenko and company looked up from the Triad game they had begun, wondering what further bad news there could be. Nessella and the DC crews stopped removing their gear to listen. In the overstuffed hospital the patients who could craned their necks to hear better over the screaming. Aelia sat up in her cot and put one hand over the bloody bandage on her temple. Rachel had been squeezing her other for the last hour. “Maybe its about Picon” Rachel said. “You think our families are okay?”

    Aelia nodded. “Yeah, I hope.” Her arms tingled as she imagined them wrapped around her younger sister and older brother.

    Huxton took a deep breath and continued. “At twelve hundred hours-ten hours ago for those of you who have understandably lost track of time- a nuclear warhead with a fifty megaton yield was detonated over Caprica city by invading cylon forces. Additional detonations have been recorded in greater Caprica, Picon, Gemnon, and Tauron. The cylons appear to have launched an offensive against the Colonies in overwhelming force, with the intent to conquer or destroy the human race. Picon fleet headquarters was destroyed in the opening attack with this ship being the only confirmed survivor. Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the fleet from aboard the battlestar Atlantia and ordered all surviving fleet units to regroup on him for an immediate counterattack."

    “Oh my gods!” Aelia gasped. She and Rachel would remain frozen, hands covering their mouths in shock for a long time as they struggled to understand. Alenko buried his face in his hands and his squad had similar reactions. Cage’s good hand went to his Gemmnon pendant and clutched it so tight the tips of the symbol drew blood.

    Huxton wasn’t done. “As of now we are stranded far from the Colonies, which need us more than ever. I need every civilian to keep cooperate with enlisted personnel and stay out of their way, and every enlisted man and woman to perform their duties the best of their abilities so we can repair the Vindication and enter what may be the fight for the survival of the human race. Huxton out.” He dropped the intercom and returned to his seat.

    “Lets hope we got that transmission off in time” Marlay said.

    Huxton took out his pad and began scribbling out his battle plans for their return.

    P.S. This is already on FF.net, so Im just uploading what's already completed. I do not update this fast normally
     
  13. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Part 3:

    Day 2:

    Huxton:

    Huxton left the second watch in charge of the weak but stabilized Vindication and stomped back to his cabin the way he had come. He checked his watch: it had been twenty-five hours since his arrival.

    The corridor had changed. Ceilng panes dangled loose and burn marks scarred the grey walls. Civilians were huddled against either wall, sleeping or watching his haggard form with wide eyes. Outside his door something snagged his foot, and he stumbled, catching himself with one arm on the doorframe. He spun around, and saw a penny loafer quickly retracting. Its owner a man in his early twenties with sandy hair and acne scars on his cheeks giving him a wide-eyed stare. “I’m sorry,” he said quickly.

    “Try to trip me and you think sorry is going to work?” Huxton said.

    The man cowered back and his voice shook as he insisted, “it was an accident, I didn’t see you coming, I was tired and couldn’t move my leg fast enough, I’m sorry sir.”

    Huxton’s anger flared. “Wetting your pants does not let you off, boy.” His fists came together. “I could break you for your crime.”

    The man choked and crawled a step back. “I was-“

    Huxton leaned in. “Trying me for your sick laugh counts as assaulting an officer of the colonial fleet. Ten years in prison. Unless you’re collaborating with the cylons to get at this battlestar’s command staff, which seems to be the case.”

    The man’s jaw dropped in shock. “What?”

    Huxton opened his mouth, then the incredulity of what he was suggesting struck him. He covered it with a seething glare; “get out of here, while you still can.” The man whimpered, leapt up and scampered off. Huxton spun around and stepped inside his room. He took several deep breaths to clear the haze in his vision then walked to his bathroom. “Looks like the meds are wearing off” he muttered, and wrapped his fingers around a small white bottle sitting on his sink next to his toothbrush. It had been given to him during an off-record visit to one of the ship’s two psychologists, doctor Hugo Glassen. He twisted the top off-and found it empty. He sighed, “frack me.” He opened the cabinet under his sink, and found only toilet paper rolls and towels. He sprinted out and dug through his night table, then his dresser. He tore through every storage space in his quarters to no avail.

    He reached for his sidearm. “It’s a plot, whoever infected the CNP is trying to drive you crazy.” Then he shook his head. “No it isn’t, you were running out of Harzic. A shipment was due from wherever Dr. Glassen gets it, after your shift was supposed to end today, remember?” He thought about visiting Doctor Glassen, and then remembered seeing his name on one of the fatality reports.

    Huxton pulled off his dress uniform and put on a wrinkled white T-shirt and sweatpants. There was nothing else to do about the voices that were already whispering in his head until the Vindication returned to the colonies. He would have to hold himself together until then. He shut the lights and fell into bed, too tired even to pull the sheets over himself.

    Forty-One Years Earlier:

    A little brown eyed boy with a bowl cut and freckles flattened himself to the rough blue carpet of his bedroom floor as the burning viper screamed overhead, two raiders in pursuit. There was a nearby boom, and his window shattered, showering him in glass. He looked up. The glass face of the high rise across the street had shattered, and was being licked by orange flames.

    Adriatic Huxton’s door opened, he spun around and saw the terrified face of his mother, Iria. “Mommy!” he said.

    She ran over and cradled him with shaking arms. “Come on Adry we’re leaving.” Adriatic looked back at the burning building as she carried him out, and wondered how many of his friends living there had died. Iria bore him down the spiral staircase and across their large apartment.

    “Where are we going?” The apartment building shook, and Adriatic heard his sister’s shrill scream.

    His mother was breathless with fear. “We’re getting to a shelter Adry, we’re going to be safe.” They burst into the entry foyer. Adriatic’s twelve-year-old brother Eli was crouched by the front door, hands over his ears. His eight year old sister Erica was cradled in his father’s arms, her face buried in his sweater.

    Jon opened the door. “Lets go, the shelter on Eighteenth Street is open.” He led them out into their building’s staircase.

    Delphi was burning. Adriatic could see the basestar hovering over the city’s center and the lights of raiders buzzing around it. The Colonial fleet in orbit had been shattered, and two basestars and close to a million centurions had landed in the five hundred mile stretch between Caprica City and Delphi. The Planetary Defense force was overwhelmed, their grey uniforms were predominant on the bodies littering the streets. The rattle of gunfire came from all sides but Adriatic couldn’t determine the source. Families ran in every direction while columns of guardsmen and marines advanced into the furnace that had become the city center.

    The Huxton family arrived at the black dome of the eighteenth street shelter, beneath the shattered spires of Museum of Humanity, where Adriatic would later learn five thousand three hundred and sixty two men, women, and children taking shelter had gone up when firebombs had hit it.

    They approached the door. A gravelly male voice rang out. “Go away!” The door slammed shut.

    An artillery salvo landed somewhere down the block, cracking the pavement and rocking them. Iria curled up into a ball on the ground with Adriatic at its center. “Let us in” she screamed.

    Jon put Erica down next to her and walked forward. “Is the shelter full?” he said.

    The man replied, “No, it’s just me and my wife, now go away.”

    Jon rapped on the door. “That shelter was built for a hundred people, open up.”

    “We’re not sharing with strangers, go away.”

    “There’s a war going on outside, and you’re worried about strangers?”

    “Get out of here, go on, there are other shelters.” The night sky lit up briefly as something detonated. Adriatic whimpered.

    Jon advanced on the door and drew his thirty-eight special revolver. He grabbed the hamdle and strained against it, muscles bulging. It came open an inch or two, enough for him to force the revolver’s snub nose in the gap. “Open this door or I will shoot you and your wife!” He suddenly leaned back as a machete blade stabbed out, narrowly missing his face.

    “You’re going to have to” the reply came. There was a moment of silence as they faced off.

    Adriatic didn’t understand. He cried “shoot them dad, shoot them.”

    Instead Jon backed away, trembling. The door slammed shut. “I can’t, I can’t,” he said. No one said anything.

    “Where do we go?” Erica wailed

    “Eighth street, there’s a shelter there.” They threaded through the back alleys, past the occasional body or individual huddled in the shadows. At Twelfth Street Jon looked out, and pulled back. “Cylons, a platoon of them at least” he hissed. “Up here.” He led them to a door and kicked it open. They tumbled inside and he shut it. They were in the storage room of what appeared to be a grocery store. The lights were dimmed, casting long shadows over the crates of food. Adriatic shivered in the still functional air condition.

    “Are we safe?” Erica asked from Jon’s arms.

    He smiled. “We should be, as long as we stay quiet.” He led them to the far corner, and they sat down together. Adriatic curled up in Iria’s arms. He hear her whisper to him:

    “You’re not safe here, run.”

    “We’re not safe,” he declared. “Right mommy.”

    Iria stared at him in confusion, “I didn’t say anything.”

    “You did, I heard you.” Then he heard the female voice in his ear again.

    “Run Adry, run.” He squirmed out of Iria’s arms, and tottered away.

    “Adriatic!” she hissed, and crawled after him. He ducked between two crates and curled up against the cold wall. She reached in after him but he was tucked too deep. “Come out here now, we’re staying together.”

    Adriatic shook his head, but looked back at her. He didn’t see what happened next, apart from his mother looking away. He only heard a crunch and his mother’s scream. Then there was burst of gunfire, and she fell silent. Adriatic backed further into his hiding spot. He could just see her slumped at the entrance. Her eyes were open and staring at a point next to him, her jaw slack. The metal foot of a centurion came down on her face, crushing it into a red pulp before rising again as it walked past.

    He heard his brother and sister scream, his dad cry out “mercy!” Then gunfire drowned them all out.

    Day 3:

    Huxton:

    The CIC was fully staffed for the first time since the war had begun. Huxton stood at the head of the tactical command table that occupied the center of the bridge, watching Nessella’s simulation of the colonies play out on its surface. With him were Cage and the Lieutenant Grissom, chief navigator.

    Nessella brought up a map of the four star systems that made up the greater ‘Cyrannus system.’ “I have marked the colonies that have been hit in red. The green arrows are predicted fleet movements based on the different situation drills over the years” she said. The first system, where Caprica and Gemonon shared an orbit, was blitzed with red and its few green arrows were retreating out. The next star system contained the gas giant Zeus, around which orbited Picon, Scorpia, and Leonis. Virgon sat slightly further inwards. The colonial fleet had rallied from the other systems to Virgon, and appeared to be preparing to move towards the gas giant. Meanwhile, the system containing Tauron was surprisingly devoid of fleet activity.

    Cage seemed shocked by the readout. “So we’re abandoning almost two systems?” Without thinking he tried to scratch his broken arm, which was held up in a sling, and winced.

    Nessella nodded sadly. “The fleet is running low on options. The amount of firepower required to overwhelm the palentary and orbital defenses of any of the colonies is massive. Even in an even fight the cylon fleet required to do so would be large enough to threaten our space superiority over any of these colonies hit. The fleet is falling back and gathering all its forces so it can crush the invasion in one blow.”

    Huxton grunted. “Or so the cylons can annihilate the opposition in one battle.” He moved forward and examined the map. “Worry about the Vinny right now. In her current condition a cylon drifting through space could kick a hole in her hull. We need to jump to a safe port with the smallest chance of combat.” He examined the map. Only one system hadn’t been touched yet.

    Grissom pointed at one of the colonies in that system. “How about Libris? It’s heavily defended, away the battle, and has one of the largest docking facilities in the colonies.”

    Huxton shook his head. “Libris facilities are civilian and it’s the largest target in the system. We should try Canceron, or Sagittaron.” He placed his finger on the other two colonies in that system.

    “Canceron lacks the capability to handle a battlestar, and Sagitarron’s yards are for scrapping ships, last time I checked they were filled. We’d find spare parts there, but nothing to repair them with.” Cage said.

    Nessella looked at Huxton. “Libris is our best bet.”

    Huxton sighed. “Fine then. Grissom, plot a course for Libris. Take us far enough away from the colony that if its under attack we can jump away again.”

    Grissom saluted, “yes sir.” They returned to their stations. Huxton picked up his phone and dialed engineering.

    “CIC to engineering, what’s the status of the FTL drive?”

    “Kelso to Bridge, the FTL drive is green across the board.” the reply came.

    “Good, prepare to jump.” Huxton hung up. “Condition one throughout the ship. Set the clock at five minutes.”

    Aelia:

    Aelia was sitting up in her cot in the overcrowded hospital, staring at her lap. Rachel had left to find them a place to stay on the ship, but she was stuck here with a cracked skull. She couldn’t look around her, every time she saw the horrific burns and crushed limbs the patients around her had, she threw up on her sheets.

    The alarms abruptly began wailing and several needles stabbed into her skull. She covered her ears and dove under the cot, expecting the deck under her feet to begin shaking at any moment.

    Instead a male voice boomed over the loudspeakers. “Five minutes, mark, five minutes.”

    “We aren’t under attack” Radin reassured her from the cot next to hers. His arms were wrapped in bandages and his face had several angry red splotches.

    Aelia poked her head out. Her cheeks tingled when she noticed several patients staring at her. “Then what’s happening?”

    Radin smiled. “We’re going home.” Home. She wondered what was left. There would still be a few distant relatives who her parents kept in touch with. There might still be the mansion against the mountain on Virgon’s northern continent. But it wouldn’t be her home without her family’s bright smiles, her little sister to look out for, or her older brother to watch over her. “You okay?” Radin asked. Aelia had frozen kneeling next to her cot, one hand on the mattress and a sad look on her face.

    “Yes” she said quickly, then pulled herself back on and curled up under the sheets.

    Huxton:

    The jump coordinates were entered. The turret were loaded and crewed with men and women eager to use them in retribution for the previous days of disaster. The VIndication’s remaining one hundred vipers had been prepped and slotted into their launch tubes. The countdown reached zero.

    Grissom inserted his glowing blue key into the navigation computer and announced, “jumping.” He twisted it. The Vindication vanished from space in a flash of blue light as her FTL drive connected two points in space simoultaneously.

    She reappeared nine light years away, in Libris’ orbit. Grissom checked the navigation computer and reported. “We are in orbit three hundred k klicks from Libris.”

    “No contacts on DRADIS” Nessella said.

    Marlay scratched her chin, like Huxton scratching his beard in thought. “Andromeda station is half a million klicks from our current position. Its civilian traffic should be filling DRADIS and occupying every civilian radio frequency, not even mentioning what should be coming off Libris itself.” A tingle ran up Huxton’s spine.

    “Scan the station, then put Libris on visual” he said. A quick DRADIS sweep and transponder search confirmed what he’d feared. Andromeda station was a blasted wreck ten kilometers across, surrounded by the debris from hundreds, if not thousands of civilian ships. Leonis appeared on the visual feed, occupying a third of the screen. Something seemed amiss on its surface, but in the heavy cloud cover it was hard for him or his officers to tell.

    Nessella guessed it first. “It might be lens glare, but Libris seems to be glowing.”

    “Zoom in to low orbit magnification” Huxton ordered. The planet filled the screen. His jaw clamped shut on the gasp that rose out of his chest. Several officers weren’t so controlled.

    The surface of Libris was normally crisscrossed by the grid of sprawling cities of gass filled with resorts and pleasure establishments, fuelled by the colony’s status as the banking capitol of the Cyrannus system. Those cities were gone, replaced by the flash and glowing circular scars of heavy nuclear bombardment.

    There were several minutes of silence on the bridge.

    Nessella finally recovered her wits enough to whisper “my gods.”

    “This isn’t a war,” Huxton began. “This is genocide, of us. Launch the CAP and a scouting party. Marlay, begin transmitting this message at sublight frequencies.” He walked over to her. “This is the Colonial Battlestar Vindication, serial number eight, four, four, seven six, two, d, h, one. Any ships hearing this signal regardless of military or civilian designation are to rendezvous with us immediately.”

    “Is there even a fleet left? I’m seeing a lot of destroyed cruisers here” Cage said.

    The thought that this one battlestar and the souls onboard could be the last colonial fleet personnel in existence was terrifying to Huxton. He maintained his confident expression though. “We have no idea, but until confirmed otherwise there is still some extant of the colonial military remaining” he answered.

    Cross:

    ‘Cross’ was pressed into his seat by the g-forces as his viper was spat from the catapult into space. He checked that the rest of Black Squadron had launched. “Alright boys and girls, set up standard patrol formation, lets hope we get ourselves a couple of cylons.”

    “What about the scout party?” Slammer said.

    Cross began orbiting the Vindication at an altitude of five hundred meters. “They are going in unescorted, we don’t have enough birds left to cover them.” He saw four raptors launch from the open hatches of the starboard landing bay and descend to Libris.

    Marlay:

    Marlay felt a faint spark of hope as somewhere near the mass grave of Andromeda she picked up a reply. It was filtered into her headset, a shaking male voice. “Battlestar Vindication, can you hear me? This is captain Ellion Tussin of the colonial heavy liner Alera, we have received your transmission, please respond.”

    She replayed the message for Huxton. “Commander should we reply?” she asked.

    Huxton thought for a moment. “I want the Alera located first.” Tracing the signal back, Marlay was able to give its general location for a quick high intensity DRADIS scan. Not just the Alera, but five civilian ships were detected. It was a hopeful thing to see. “Reply,” Huxton said.

    She happily did so. “Alera, this is the battlestar Vindication, we hear you.”

    There was a long exhale of relief on the other end. “Thank the gods Vindication, you’re a wonderful sight. We were beginning to think we were the only one’s left.”

    “Not yet. Do you have any word on the other colonies or the fleet? We’ve been out of communications for the two days.”

    “Nothing, our caravan was halfway to Libris when the full stop on travel was ordered. I figured we’d fly into Andromeda and wait it out, but you saw the wreckage.” The five ships closed with the battlestar and pulled up beneath it like baby chicks under their mother hen.

    “Send them jump coordinates for deep space,” Huxton instructed.

    “Huh?” Grissom asked.

    Huxton paused for a second to collect his thoughts.“If the cylons come back, we all need a place to jump to safely, set a jump point in deep space we can fall back to.” Grissom quickly did so.

    Prometheus:

    On the surface of Libris, Raptor crew ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Taurin’ piloted their bird a hundred feet above the remains of a suburb. “Raptor 0-21 to flight control, we have no survivors” ‘Prometheus’ reported. The highway became an eerily still housing development. Squinting through his binoculars, Taurin could see bodies lining the streets and the lines of bullet holes in the cars and houses.

    “I’ve got evidence of small arms usage, it looks like the centurions went through anything the nukes missed,” he said.

    “Copy that 0-21, continue on your present course” Cage replied. The houses became a shopping mall, its entrance a mass of wrecked cars, many stained with blood. Taurin shook his head sadly and looked away. His eyes went to the mall itself. Something caught his eye.

    “I’ve got movement, second floor window next to the Capri-mart billboard” he called. Prometheus followed his pointing finger.

    “This is Raptor 0-21, we have movement, requesting permission to zoom in and examine the situation” he said.

    “Go ahead 0-21, be careful” Cage replied.

    “We will.” Taurin flipped off the safety catch on his assault rifle and moved from the copilot’s chair to the cabin. Prometheus armed the Raptor’s twin twenty-millimeter cannons and cut the thrusters, dropping the bird in a slow dive towards the window. He pulled up just short and Taurin lowered the boarding ramp into open space.

    “Colonial Fleet!” he shouted over the roar of the engines. An elderly man in a dust covered business suit ducked into view. Then a second, younger man carrying a bloodstained woman. Then came two children who couldn’t have been older than eleven.

    “We have survivors, bringing them in,” Prometheus reported. He swung the Raptor around so its ramp was touching the windowsill. Taurin smiled and beckoned them forward.

    Huxton:

    In orbit, four basestars flashed into existence, surrounding the Vindication. DRADIS became a red blur as hundreds of raiders burst from their hangars and raced forwards. The alarms wailed and the crew steeled themselves. “Lets hope we found their only surprise” Huxton said.

    The lead raider’s single red eye traversed over the battlestar, illuminating it blood red.

    Nessella’s computer beeped once. The screen flickered and her heart jumped, but it held. “Cylon Trojan is ineffective,” she announced over the intercom. The bridge crew almost cheered.

    Huxton remained tense, expecting something else. “All batteries open fire. Flak loads. Pull the CAP back and spin up FTL”

    The Vindication’s turrets, main and secondary traversed to meet the raider swarm coming at it from topside, and opened fire. The bursts of shrapnel where their shells detonated cut through the tightly packed formation, disintegrating as many as five at a time.

    Cross’ squadron was a tiny blue blip against a veritable ocean of red, but his pilots were eager for payback and bloodlust was rising inside of him. He shouted “they can’t fry us, lets take them” and pointed his nose at the oncoming swarm.

    “Negative Cross, CAP is to return home, we’re getting out of here,” Nessella said.

    “Roger” Cross said reluctantly. The knights made an about face and streamed back into the port hangar pod. As his fighter thumped into the deck, Cross cursed. Then a missile strike to the hangar slammed his Viper forward several meters.

    Huxton nearly fell over as the first missile exploded. “All civilian ships are away” A Lieutenant said.

    “Good, get us out of here” he ordered. A second missile detonated amidships and cracked the already weakened armor over the Vindication’s belly.

    “I’ve got four raptors plus civilians planet side, give them one minute!” Cage said.

    Huxton shook his head. “Negative, they’re too far out, sorry.”

    Prometheus:

    Prometheus only heard Cage’s response, but the knew what was happening. “Buckle up in back!” he shouted, and fired his main thrusters.

    “What’s happening?” Taurin asked.

    “They’re leaving us, lets move!” Prometheus said and pushed the throttle down. The rear cabin’s occupants were pinned screaming to the back when he accelerated upwards.

    Nessella turned the key just as a third missile rocked the bridge.

    Prometheus’s radio link went dead. He looked up into the red sky. Two dark shapes appeared. He barely had time to shout “Frak!” before a missile slammed into the raptor’s fuel tanks. He was wreathed in flames. The bird exploded and dropped from the sky. The raider orbited the burning wreckage once to verify there were no survivors, and then moved on.

    Huxton:

    The Vindication reappeared three hundred million miles away, thrusters facing the civilian ships. Huxton looked away from Cage still begging him to go back. His voice was weak when he spoke. “Damage report.”

    “Moderate armor damage, nothing we can’t repair” Nessella said.

    Huxton sat back in his chair and watched the near-empty DRADIS screen. He had been running on adrenaline for the past three days, but that was running out, and everything that had happened was beginning to crash down on him.

    Cage stepped up to him, his face twisted in anger. “Commander, a word with you please.”

    “Lets take this off the CIC” he said. They stepped outside and waved the marine guard away. “What’s bothering you?” he asked the slightly shorter man, hiding his exhaustion behind a perfectly straight face.

    Cage pushed his glasses up his face with his good arm. “You left four raptors behind on Libris; eight of our flight crew and a couple of civilian survivors. They’re either dead or going to die, and for what? A few armor plates?”

    Huxton wanted to calm him, but sleep deprivation and stress had worn his nerves thin. He leaned in close so his nose was almost touching Cage’s. “I left them because if I didn’t we would all die. This ship is barely airtight in its current state, and you want me to take it against four base stars in a straight up fight?” Cage opened his mouth to object but Huxton quickly closed it: “I had a hard choice to make, Major Elliot Cage, but I made it: ten people for this ship and the six thousand four hundred and forty six more on board, that’s a fair trade.”

    Cage slammed his right fist into his open palm. “You made the same choice with the hangar pod and sector nine. How many more times can you make that choice? You saw the nuclear fires as well as I did; the body count is high enough without you adding more to it. We need to save everyone we can Commander, there might not be many people left to save as it is” he pleaded. Huxton narrowed his eyes.

    He lowered his voice until it was but a whisper. “I will make that choice as many times as I have to. Now, we are both needed in the bridge right now to save what’s left of the human race, so I suggest you stop wasting my time with questions you should know the answer to by now, or I will return to the bridge and throw you in the brig for insubordination, is that clear Major?”

    Marlay stepped out-and almost retreated right back behind the safe meter thick walls when she saw the two men eye to eye with flames between them. Huxton heard her footsteps and faced her.

    “Go ahead lieutenant” he growled.

    “An automated transmission just came in from deep space. It’s a whisper, probably was bounced off an old satellite. Its priority Kobol.”

    Huxton swiveled around to face Cage again. “Which choice are you taking?” Cage shook his head sadly and walked past him into the bridge. Huxto and Marlay followed him.

    Huxt found the paper facedown and unread on his desk, and picked it up. His eyes stopped at the first line, and traversed down the long list of names. Something twitched inside of him, stomach or heart he couldn’t tell. He picked up the intercom again. Nessella must’ve noticed the faint tremble in his arm, as her expression fell to one of worry.

    Huxton put the microphone to his mouth. “Your attention please, this is the Commander. Twenty-four hours ago, Admiral Nagala was killed in action when the battlestar Atlantia was destroyed in orbit of Virgon, along with what appears to be the entirety of the colonial fleet. This was followed by the nuclear bombardment of the remaining colonies and extra-Cyrannus settlements.” The shock ran through the ship like a nuclear detonation’s concussion wave. They had failed, been too late in their warning. The Vindication hadn’t been there when the colonies had needed her the most. Everyone they ever knew outside of her cratered hull was gone. Huxton’s hands were very visibly shaking now. “As of now, we are the last battlestar in existence, and the human race has become an endangered species.” The words burst the heart of every man, woman, and child aboard the Vindication.

    Huxton sat down slowly in his chair. “May the gods look after us” he heard Cage whisper.

    Nessella walked over to him. “What’s the plan Commander? you always have one.”

    Huxton rested his chin on one hand. “In a smaller scale situation like a fleet group being lost, we would regroup with the survivors first.”

    “If there are any others, then what? We have no safe port, and we can’t hide forever.”

    Huxton knew his answer, but the circumstances weren’t right for it at the moment. “I’ll get to that when we need to” he said. “Launch a CAP, and all Raptors. The Raptors are going to search every military rendezvous, every smuggling route, and every place a ship could hide or could conceivably be, and bring anyone they find back here. Give them both our current coordinates and our retreat coordinates so they won’t be left behind again” he said. Cage’s head jerked in a slight nod

    The Raptors were launched, all thirty-six surviving birds. They vanished into FTL. “How long do we wait?” Nessella asked.

    “Set the clock for ninety-six hours, after that anyone still in a ship now will be dead, found, or long gone.” He sat back and waited, one eye on DRADIS and one eye on tactical. His officers went through the motion of their duties, but there was no heart left in their actions.

    An hour later Raptor zero delta two niner flashed back into existence. “This is ‘Andromeda’, we’ve got a Tylium tanker incoming” the pilot announced. Moments later a seven hundred meter ship appeared behind it. It was a metal framework sporting a small crew compartment at the top and carrying seven immense fuel drums end to end.

    When she spoke Marlay’s voice contained a slight hint of energy. “This is the battlestar Vindication, welcome in Haurik City, we’ll be needing your cargo very soon.”

    “Roger, be advised Vindication, we are half-empty at this time” her captain warned. The relief at finding another survivor cushioned the impact of his statement.

    Barely thirty seconds later Raptor zero delta two seven returned with a Lyre medium cruiser. The vessel’s cinderblock shaped hull was pockmarked and cracked from missile hits, and it moved with the clumsiness of a ship with half her engines out. Huxton stepped forward and took the call himself. “This is Commander Huxton, battlestar Vindication, please identify yourself colonial cruiser.”

    “This is Colonel Iris of the cruiser Ceres, zero eight two four sigma seven one, assigned to BSG-89” a tired female voice replied.

    Nessella verified the serial number. “Come alongside Ceres and tell us what you need. We’re putting together every ship we can find.”

    “At lest that’s a plan. We’ve been hiding in the Erebus belt since the cylons took out the rest of our group at the Scorpian shipyards, no idea what to do except avoid the cylons.”
    The five hundred and fifty meter long Ceres came about by the starboard hangar pod and dropped a request for Cobra medium antiship missiles.

    Thirty minutes later raptor zero delta zero three returned with a Tiger Mk1 Faststar that had been on long range patrol, and a Kodiak transport that had fled Sagittaron, and mage an impossibly lucky blind jump within its DRADIS range. The surviving ships continued to stream in alone or in small groups. There were several lone Raptors and shuttles in desperate need of air, and then a Phantom MK III faststar arrived. It lacked the heavy railgun batteries that made the Tiger class a cruiser killer, but made up for it with its boosted sensor arrays.

    There were several light cruisers, and a pair of flak cruisers showed up, covered in antifighter weaponry. Another medium cruiser arrived six hours in, followed by several light cruisers and a gunstar. All had either bolted during the opening attack, or been lucky enough to have their computer network offline or never upgraded, so they could flee while their entire fleet groups were rendered helpless.

    The civilian ships ranged from passenger shuttles meant for short FTL hops to passenger liners to a convoy of ore mining ships to a pair of massive Space Park lines housing thousands of civilians in their rotating wheel segments.

    The shift changed eight hours and thirty ships later. Huxton returned to his quarters. He showered quickly and lay down on his bed. There was a knock at his door before he could drift off though. “Who is it?” he asked, and reached for a fresh pair of pants.

    “Me” Nessella said. He considered his course of action, then pulled on proper clothes and undid the three deadbolts holding the door shut. Nessella stood on the other side. He hadn’t seen her informally since the evening before Picon, and she’d changed much since then. Her eyes were red from exhaustion and her red hair was falling from the bun she normally wore it in. er normally straight and proud figure had begun to hunch over.

    He said, “Well you’ve looked better.”

    She shook her head and cracked grin. Her smile was missing two teeth on the let side. “Well no offense Commander, but you look like week old bread.” Huxton’s fingers went to the beard that had snuck up on him sometime in the last three days. Then they left his face as Nessella stepped in and he threw his arms around her. Her smooth hair against his cheek. Faint lilac perfume in his nose, warm bodies pressed together.

    After a minute by his wristwatch just below his face, Huxton asked; “falling asleep there, Amy?”

    “Yes” she whispered, and seemed to let herself slump into him.

    “I’d love to sleep with you, but I don’t think this is the time to tire ourselves out.” There was a moment’s pause. Then they burst into laughter. It was loud, and sounded uncanny, but he laughed with her until his ribs began to ache. Amy took a step back, then leaned in and kissed him.

    Huxton kept his hands on her shoulders, but couldn’t peel the wide smile off his face. “Nice to know you’re mind’s in the right place, speaking of your mind, that’s why I’m here, to see how you’re doing,” Their little moment of bliss was over.

    Huxton thought for an instant on that. “I don’t know. I’m out of meds, and I’m starting to feel it, the voices are whispering, and I snapped on some foor civilian who fell asleep in the wrong place.”

    Nessella shook her head and adjust his head until he was stareing directly into her green eyes. “Look at me Adriatic.” He nodded. “You’re going to be fine, you can hold it together.”

    “The human race needs me to.”

    She nodded. “Exactly. I am here for you, no matter what, remember that.” Huxton nodded. He squeezed his eyes shut and focused on her, just her.”

    “Thank you Amy.” He kissed her this time.

    “I have to grab some rack, and I’m sure you do to. Remember, if you need me”

    “You'll be there” Huxton finished. He opened the door for her. As she walked by he tagged her on the shoulder with his hand. Her hand met it briefly, and then she was gone.
     
  14. Impressive, clearly thought out. The Commander clearly has had a few dark days, and has more ahead of him. It will be interesting to see how he continues to handle things. Is he in a relationship with his XO? that's interesting
    Looking at pt1 it would seems that some of the civilians might have some skills that could be of use, I imagine that it will take time to do a passenger inventory and to see who can be tasked with what. Having them locked in quarters does no one any good in the long run.
     
  15. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Thank you. Yes, Huxton has issues, see the next chapter for the actual depth of his problems. Yes, he has a relationship with his XO. He doesn't enforce regulations by the book, I'm going for a whole theme that Huxton operates on different morals and rules than the rest of us. Civvies will get their due in time, no worries.
     
  16. He's hearing voices eh? Well I guess in this BSG Universe, Baltar & Caprica Six weren't the only ones the Messengers were talking to then? Adriatic was obviously warned by one of them when he was a child it seems...
     
  17. Death By Chains

    Death By Chains BattleTech Starfighter Analyst

    Adama was more or less entirely sane, and he only managed to keep Galactica and the canonical RTF alive by the skin of his teeth.

    Vindication is commanded by a man who's been concealing rampant paranoid schizophrenia his entire career, has a full load of civilians on his BattleStar, and ran out of his anti-psychotics the very day the Twelve Colonies were destroyed?
    Yup: there are no words for how frakked this ship is. :(
     
  18. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    He has tactical genius, so that helps in combat. Out of combat however...

    Oh, and here is the Lyre Cruiser:
    Length: 530 meters
    Crew: 700
    Complement:
    20-40 vipers (varies by version)
    4-8 Raptors

    Armament:
    6, 700 mm railguns on each side
    60, 40mm point defense cannon
    40 light missile launchers
    20 medium missile launchers
    4 bow mounted Atlatl siege missiles

    Special Facts: The Lyre class has been in service with first Scorpia, then the colonies for 150 years. The original was commissioned for the Scorpia-Picon-Caprica-Virgon alliance to fight the numerically superior Tauron-Gemnon confederation. The Lyre was cheap, easy to make, powerful for its size, and carried fighters. It was used en masse to win the war. At the beginning of the cylon war, when all the new and super advanced capital ships were being hacked and vented/turned against the colonials, the Lyre stepped up as the primary colonial ship untilt he completion of the Battlestars. Their commanders basestar-killing strategy involved throwing 10-20 at the basestar and using suicide tactics including ramming attacks.

    [​IMG]
     
    stark40763 and Argosh like this.
  19. kclcmdr

    kclcmdr Kai The Kmpire! Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Getting more interesting so far......

    TOC
    United Systems Navy..ValkyrieClass - BSG Vindication; Stats; Armaments;
    United Systems Navy..LyreClass - Cruiser; Stats; Armaments; Anti-Basestar Killers
    United Systems Navy..SerpentiaClass - Pegasus HeavyArms Suite; Stats; Armaments;
    United Systems Navy..AndanatosClass - Colonial Gunstar; LengthCrewArmaments
    United Systems Navy..ColonialRemnantCombatRoster, Vindication, Serpentia, Gehenna, Pre-Colonial StrengthLevels
    United Systems Navy..Berserk-D Heavy Cruiser
    United Systems Navy..Cronus Class Medium Cruiser
    United Systems Navy..Lyre Class Cruiser
    United Systems Navy..Cylon Battlecruiser, Cylon Gunship
    United Systems Navy..Battlestar Vindication; PsychoVinny, ColonialCivilWar, WarAwards, Jotunn B



    United Systems Navy..CH_01a - Huxton&Cage, FleetWeek, Beric&Cross, Maylay, CYLONS, CnPVirus, Vindication BlindJump
    United Systems Navy..CH_02a - Pain, Huxton&Cage, Marlay, Alenko&Sergev, Veris, Civilians, Raptor, Losses
    United Systems Navy..CH_03a - Huxton&Hugo, 1stWar, Nessella, Aelia, Surviors, Slammer&Cross, Taurin, Raptors
    United Systems Navy..CH_04a - PastDawn; Adriatic, Vengeance; Huxton&Cage, MoreSurvivors, Gehennia, Revin&Grissom, Nessella
    United Systems Navy..CH_05a - Keran; Ceres; Sygnia; Aelia&Rachel, JobAssignments, Huxton&Travere, MoreSurvivors
    United Systems Navy..CH_06a - Huxton&Marlay; Nesella&Travere, Alenko&Progrin, Marines, Cage
    United Systems Navy..CH_07a - Alenko, Huxton, Copies, Nessella, Johm, Radin, Marlay
    United Systems Navy..CH_08a - Huxton, Travere, Nesella, Speech, Cavil
    United Systems Navy..CH_09a - TheDrumsOfWar; Alex, Aelia, Marlay, Schedule, Huxton, Nanderson
    United Systems Navy..CH_10a - Alexander, Huxton, Travere, Charlene&Miles, Morrolay, Aelia, Erica
    United Systems Navy..CH_11a - Rango, Alexander, Milbus, Huxton, Mirra, Erics
    United Systems Navy..CH_12a - Huxton, Cross, Aelia, Vengeance, Vindicator, Marlay, Slammer&Bullseye, Alex
    United Systems Navy..CH_13a - Nanderson, Huxton, Slammer, Wherman, Merle, CylonWarships & Raiders, Cross
    United Systems Navy..CH_14a - 45thDay; Gehennia, Jim&Ravin, Aelia, Alenko, JellyDonut, Huxton, Cage, Simon, Parris
    United Systems Navy..CH_15a - Simon&Nessella, Love, Alenko&Huxton, Mirra&Corlan, Columbia BSG-001, Venko
    United Systems Navy..CH_16a - CampBanner, Alenko&Belsinki, Centurion1Gen, HUmanRemains, Toasters, Meironara
    United Systems Navy..CH_17a - Alenko&Cage, Radin&Ira, Marlay&Nessella, Aelia&Zoella, GuardianBasestar,
    United Systems Navy..CH_18a - Mirra&Smith, ColonialDay, Johnathan, Travere, Meironara, Graves
    United Systems Navy..CH_19a - Mirra&Huxton, Tactics, Parr&Simon, ColonialDay, Frost&Johm
    United Systems Navy..CH_20a - Alenko&McTane, Nesella&Rotun, Meryn, Huxton, Travere, Cage
    United Systems Navy..CH_21a - Johm, MPs, Huxton, Meryn, Travere
    United Systems Navy..CH_22a - CapricaCity, Shelley&Aaron, Nanderson, Adrian&Nesella, Harlan
    United Systems Navy..CH_23a - Mirra; Nessella, Aelia, Economy, Cage&Aura, MiningOp, Orlenns, RAdm.Strauss
    United Systems Navy..CH_24a - Ravin&Harding, Strauss, Cyrano, Shelley&Michael, Parris&Simon, Frak
    United Systems Navy..CH_25a - GehennaPast, Ravin&Cyrano, Harding&Pask, Huston&Vendetta, Mirra
    United Systems Navy..CH_26a - Gehenna, Huston&Ravin, Cyrano, Harding, Shelley&Michael
    United Systems Navy..CH_27a - 105day, Slammer&Merle, Cage&Huxton, Nessella, Travere, Shelley, Simon, Crud
    United Systems Navy..CH_28a - 106D; Cyrano&mary, Nessella&Parris, Brig. Tallern&Mirra, Huston, Shelley, Aelia
    United Systems Navy..CH_29a - 107D; Shelley&Cavil, Cage, Michael, Huxton, Marley, JUMPS, Simon, Travere, Nessella
    United Systems Navy..CH_30a - 112D; Huxton&Cage, Cross&Slammer, AdamDoral, Cyrano, Nessella
    United Systems Navy..CH_31a - 115D; Galactica; Bill&Lee, Cain, Cyrano&Huxton, Slavero&Alenko, Aelia
    United Systems Navy..CH_32a = 116D: Court; Adama&Cain, Cage, Huxton, Alenko, Fisk











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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  20. Can't wait to read more.
     
  21. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Part 4:

    41 years before the fall of the colonies:

    Huxton:

    Dawn’s first rays of light streamed into the small crack between the two boxes little Adriatic was curled up between. It illuminated the crushed remains of his mother for him to se. Helooked up at them, and a tremor racked his body. The cylons were long gone. After the shooting had stopped they’d stayed in the store for hours, then moved on. Adriatic didn’t crawl out. He wanted to stay in his little hiding place forever, until he wasted away into a skeletal body. He couldn’t crawl out past his mother and see what the toasters had done to his siblings and father.

    However, his stomach growled and his bladder ached. Adriatic hated himself for not facing the pain and letting himself die, but he crawled out, soaking his hands and pants in his mother’s blood. He spent several minutes fearfully looking around the storage room before standing up and relieving himself a few feet away. Then he found the rest of his family. His father was lying on top of Eli and Erca, where he’d thrown himself to protect them. The bullets had punched straight through his body and killed them anywats.

    A gravelly voice wafted in through the splintered door. “Honey, hurry up, they’ll see us in another minute. He froze. That voice, he recognized it as from that man who wouldn’t let them into the shelter. His father hadn’t killed him that had doomed them, but… Adriatic refused to see his father as anything but perfect. The man and his wife had killed his family then. Anger welled up inside him, while two steps of footsteps approached. He was going to do what daddy should have done. He ducked below the row of crates.

    His eyes fell on something glinting in the light: the thirty-eight special. An idea formed, in his sweat streaked head. He crawled forwards and wrapped his stubby fingers around its handgrip. It was heavy in his hands, but he still managed to lift it, and found the trigger as he’d seen his father do. The footsteps came closer.

    “You check that shop, goddamn bunker’s food was spoiled by some fool years ago” the man growled. Huxton tensed. He crawled until the door was visible, and aimed through it. A middle-aged woman with long greying hair and a grey cotton dress appeared in the doorway.

    As her eyes widened, he pressed the handgrip against his shoulder and pulled the trigger with two figners. The gun exploded, and kicked him onto his back, his shoulder burst with agony. The bullet punched through the woman’s chest, spraying fesh blood across the floor. With a scream she fell back.

    “Honey!” Adriatic grabbed the pistol and raised it again. The man appeared. He was slightly older, and had wild grey hair and an unkempt beard. His machete was brandished before him. He stopped when he saw his wife feebly twitching in the doorway. Huxton saw the look of wild fear in his pale blue eyes. Then they weren’t his eyes, but Jon Huxton’s deep brown ones, and reflected in them wasn’t a dying woman, but the four people he loved.

    Huxton pulled the trigger. His chest exploded from the impact of the hollowpoint bullet. He seemed to jerk once. His gaze met Huxton’s glare. Then he toppled backwards. Huxton lay where the impact of hard metal handgrip on undeveloped shoulder had thrown him. He didn’t move, he couldn’t, with the couple gone he simply had nothing left to think about.

    Three days later a trio of Colonial Deathwatch commandos broke through the front door. They were charred from the inferno of the basestar’s destructionand weary from carrying and placing the nuclear bomb they had used to destroy it. The found a small boy lying on top of what they assumed were his family, and carried him with them through the rapidly stabilizing colonial lines twenty miles to the south.

    Day Five:

    Huxton:

    Fifteen kilometers above the Vindication’s prow a raptor and the much longer ‘mobile city’ of a marine transport jumped in. Marlay addressed it. “Welcome to the fleet, marine transport Argo, we may have use for you just yet. Please send a dossier of your cargo and a list of supplies you require.” Huxton read their next transmission. They had twenty thousand marines aboard, plus landrams, heavy weaponry, and a squad of tanks.

    Huxton instructed the camera to swing around to he could have a look at their handful of survivors. There were seventy-eight civilian ships, which together had enough variation in function and equipment to satisfy most of their basic survival needs for the forseeable future. There were and additional twenty-seven colonial fleet ships. Three were munitions freighters, one was a repair ship, and the last two had been commandeered from the Sagittaron scrapyards. The rest were warships. Huxton was disappointed by the lack of battlestars and battleships, but there were still six medium cruisers, seven light cruisers, two flak cruisers, a gunstar, a missile cruiser, the two faststars, and the Argo, which was modestly armed. AThey all had different stories, but two elements were common: blind luck and a decision not to rendevouz at Virgon.

    Huxton finished reading the fleet roster, and though he felt a sense of despair he kept his blank expression on. “This is less than I expected.”

    He noticed Cage reading over his shoulder. “It’s sad, looking at it, this is the entirety of the human race. How many people is this? Eighty, ninety thousand souls?”

    Huxton turned to him. “It is better than there being just us.”

    “We shouldn’t have to be doing this.”

    Huxton shook his head, and raised his voice so the rest of the CIC crew could hear. “Shouldn’t doesn’t mean anything Cage. We are here, right now, leading what is probably all that’s left of the human race. You can fantasize that you’re back wherever in the colonies you came from, but that doesn’t change a thing in the real world. Throw your back into your duties, we have some vengeance to wreak.”

    Marlay spun around in her chair to face him. He saw a flicker of light in her now sunken eyes. “Is that what we’re doing, sir?”

    The man toppled backwards, a gaping hole in his chest. “The cylons took everything from us a smile on their chrome faces, they are not walking away with this, so long as we live.” Marlay and several men and women nodded. Nessella patted his back as she walked past him.

    “Major, how many ships do you reckon are out there?” he said.

    Cage examined his console. “None, I’m afraid we got them all.”

    “What makes you think so?”

    “The raptors have scanned ninety percent of the system. All they are finding now is wrecks and cylons. There could be other ships hiding but they’ll be hiding deep enough in structures like the Erebus asteroid belt and big red, or far enough beyond the system that we’ll need weeks and more fuel than we possess to find them all.”

    “How many raptors are still out?”

    “Five; zero delta zero four, zero delta one five, zero delta two two, and zero delta three nine, the rest are refueling or receiving new crews.”

    “What are our current fuel supplies?”

    Nessella answered. “Our tanks are fifty-four percent full.”

    Huxton quickly weighed the factors and made his decision. “Cease S&R efforts. Grissom, plot the fleet a new rendevouz point. As soon as those birds return we’re bugging out.”



    Four of the raptors returned after an hour leading a fleet of evacuation shuttles and raptors from the Leonis shipyards. The fifth jumped in five minutes later. “This is Rango, raptor zero delta zero two, there’s a convoy on our heels” the pilot announced. Huxton tensed.

    A missile cruiser flashed into being. Then came a light cruiser and another Lyre class. Then a line of fifteen civilian ships appeared. “Hang on, we’re one short” Rango said.

    A final blue flare stung Huxton’s eyes and a Berserker-class heavy cruiser appeared above the convoy. Its eight hundred fifty meter densely armored bulk dwarfed almost every ship in the convoy.

    The radio crackled before Marlay or him could hail it. “Battlestar Vindication, this is Gehennia-actual, Lieutenant Commander Ravin. We are damn glad to see our group isn’t alone out here. Permission to join up?”

    The name rang a bell, but through his blazing headache Huxton couldn’t remember from where. He eagerly answered the officer, though. “Be my guest, take up rearguard position.” The Gehennia led her charges into the formation, increasing its size by an appreciable degree. The cruiser passed directly over the Vindication as she went, offering an inspiring view for the thousands of eyes watching her.

    “Lieutenant Commander Ravin?” a lieutenant said. “As in the Lieutenant Commander Tarleton Ravin?”

    Huxton raised his eyebrows. “I know that name somewhere, who is he?” Most of the bridge crew nodded with his assessment.

    Thoem smiled and nodded vigorously. “Every serviceman from Leonis knows him. He was the first Leonan commander in the colonial fleet.” Now Huxton knew him. Ravin had become a war hero for leading the evacuation of Hauric city, Caprica, during the opening battle of the first cylon war. From there he’d alternated between fighting cylons and using his fame on his home colony to inspire more Leonans to join the colonial fleet.

    “You’ve got quite a fleet here, is this everyone?” Revin asked.

    Huxton took another look at his ships. “I’m afraid so.”

    “Our radioman received a garbled transmission from the battlestar Galactica seventy-four hours ago, do you copy?”

    “Have we searched Ragnar?” Hucton asked.

    Nessella nodded. “Raptor zero deltar one eight found the gunstar there and fighter wreckage from us and them, nothing more.”

    Huxton took the mic. “Gehennia-actual, we have searched Ragnar. There was no sign of the Galactica, or the battlestar Aurora, which I recall was on permanent station in orbit of Ragnar. Both are presumed destroyed or having deserted.”

    “Understood.”

    “Commander, I’ve got a distress call here,” Marlay announced.

    “Hang on Revin, play it Marlay” Huxton said.

    A burst of static tore through the speakers, almost drowning out the words following it. “This is commander John Imlay of the battlestar Serpentia, we need immediate assistance from any remaining ships. The ship is under attack by multiple basestars and has been boarded. We cannot jump away, repeat, we need assistance.”

    “This just came in, origin is being triangulated” Marlay said. With an actual staff she would’ve assigned it to two junior comm officers.

    The possibility of another battlestar surviving was the brightest glimmer of hope Huxton had had in days. He knew how much additional protection and firepower it would offer. “Go to condition one and send all marines to the raptors. As soon as the coordinates arrive feed them to the FTL drive, we’re rescuing that battlestar” he ordered. He switched from the Gehennia’s private frequency to the frequency designated for general fleet usage. “This is Commander Huxton. We have picked up a distress call from the Battlestar Serpentia and the fleet will assist. We come in in two waves. Vindication will be the first wave. Gehennia and her escorts, and the Ceres and gunstar Andanatos will be the second wave, you will await our order to jump in.” He heard affirmatives from the various commanding officers. The assigned ships broke away from the fleet and maneuvered to a safe jump distance.


    “You can’t just leave us” one of the civilian captains complained. Cage was already entering the jump coordinates.

    Huxton rolld his eyes “We are not leaving you, we are mounting a rescue operation and will be back shortly”

    “What if you’re not?”

    “Then command of the fleet will fall to the Cassiopiea” Huxton replied.

    “The board is green” Grissom said.

    “Jump” he ordered. He felt a small jolt of static electricity, and the Vindication jumped.

    In the hangar pod Alenko and his squad clambered inside Raptor 0-22 and strapped in. “Ready for some payback boys?” he asked. They nodded and primed their rifles. In the cockpit Rango’s fingers tensed around the throttle.

    Cross clambered into his viper’s cockpit. “Now we’ll be getting some action” he growled over the radio.

    His pilots began chanting a bloodthirsty “so say we all!”

    The Vindication emerged half a light year away. Huxton did a quick survey of the battlefield. There was a lone Mercury class heavy battlestar reading hull perforation one hundred and eighty kilometers distant, surrounded by three basestars and a half-sized light basestar. Hundrds of fighter icons swirled around the Serpentia, though most of them were cylon red.

    Huxton gave his orders. “The nearest bastar is almost in our spinal arnament’s sights. Target it, with full AP load and fire until it goes down. Helm, put us between the Serpentia and the remaining basestars. LSO, launch all vipers at a range of fifty kilometers.”


    The Vindication had four railguns mounted in her nose and running through her for over half her total length. Their first salvo of 2000-millimeter shells crumbled the basestar ‘s topside. The second punched through its hull and ignited its Tylium reservoirs, wreathing the ship in flames. The third broke its upper three-pronged hull into several semimolten chunks. The fourth speared through its central column and lower hull, reducing the basestar to a cluster of hull pieces, superheated gasses, and internal wreckage slowly drifting apart in space. The Vindication flew straight through the cloud and positioned itself between the listing Serpentia and the remaining basestars.

    “Primary batteries, target the damaged ship first,” Huxton ordered. The turrets on her back swung around and opened up on the already cratered basestar. “Launch all raptors, fighter squadrons cover them,” he ordered.

    Cross:
    Cross’s craft shot out of the catapult. He let it fly a safe distance from the Vindication and swug it around to bear on the besieged Serpentia. “Alright, all fighters lets clean house!” He pushed the throttle to the maximum.

    The fighter wing hit the unprepared raider cloud from behind. Cross and his wingman dove at three raiders preparing another strafing run at the Serpentia’s internally ignited port side. Their tracers closed on one, slicing it to shard before they whipped past. They fired their maneuvering thrusters and the vipers practically danced around to face the survivors, before killing them with quick bursts of fire.. “Good shooting Slammer” Cross said and swung his craft around.


    A heavy raider whipped towards him, but had a fatal encounter with another viper’s missiles before it could fire. Cross rolled to port and raked his cannons over a raider chasing that viper’s tail.

    The vipers quickly drove the orbiting raiders away and dove on the beleaguered battlestar. Its fractured hull was lit up by a series of bright flashes from the raiders pinned against it.

    “The Raptors are launching” the LSO’s voice crackled over the radio.

    “Knights, we’re on babysitting duty,” he said.

    Alenko:

    The Raptor hit the lip of the starboard hangar pod and thrustered straight down. Alenko and got an awe-inspiring view of the two battlestars. The Vindication was a kilometer above the Serpentia. Its sides were alight with the flare of cannon and the blasts of missile impacts from the orbiting basestar. Then a raider obstructed his view. The next Raptor over disintegrated, throwing its six marines into space.

    The raider passed through the group, then spun around and dove on them. “Frak!” Alenko shouted. A line of tracers intercepted the raider, cutting it apart. Cross whooped as he shot past the raptor and came around.

    Alenko’s raptor was third inside the Serpentia’s port hangar pod. “Half the deck is covered in heavy raiders!” Rango said.

    Alenko noted it, “then land on the other half!” A squad of Centurions guarding the heavy raiders opened fire on the incoming raptors. Their bullets deflected off the armored hulls. Velleys from several 20 millimter nose cannon silenced them. As his raptor settled down on the deck Alenko spotted one of the bulkheads being sealed shut “Get the door!” he called up front.

    Vendetta swung the twenty-millimeter around, and in an impossible lucky shot she would brag about for the rest of her life drilled the thick steel hinges off the door, sending it toppling inwards. Alenko felt the raptor’s magnetic skids hit the deck a second later. “Egress!” he said, and pushed his squad out the door. They weaved between the cylon craft towards the door. “Grenade in” Alenko ordered. Belsinki took aim with his bulky launcher and fired three grenades through the doorway. They waited to hear the detonations and leapt in after to find half a dozen centurions in cover in the hallway beyond. T

    Huxton:

    Vindication-actual to Serpentia-actual, do you hear us? We are sending marines across” Huxton asked. The Vindication shook and he clutched his headset to his ear.

    Nessella reported “structure beams are cracking in sectors eighteen and nineteen”

    He was relieved when Imlay replied “We hear you, welcome to the party.” The Vindication’s target basestar disintegrated in an expanding chain of explosions. Huxton heard Imlay shout “brace for nuclear detonation.” The Serpentia slewed around with the grace of a drunk and lumbered towards the last basestar. Imlay quickly explained “our targeting systems are down, we’re going to have to get in close.”

    Radiological alarms flared as the battlestar fired ten missiles at the basestar. It didn’t break off but kept charging after them. “Serpentia, break off” Marlay warned. Gunfire clattered over the line.

    A handful of raiders maintaining a defensive formation around the last basestar shot down three missiles and one went wide. The last six vanished amidst the basestar’s arms and detonated. DRADIS died and the lights flickered. “Frak, possible destruction of friendless!” Cage shouted.

    “I’m aware!” After several seconds the radiation interference cleared. The basestar was gone; DRADIS couldn’t even pick up any wreckage. The Serpentia was miraculously still in one piece, but drifting aimlessly through space. “They got it, raise Serpentia-actual” Huxton said. The light basestar began to retreat as the Vindication’s turrets acquired target lock.

    Alenko:

    Onboard the Serpentia the blast registered as a sudden eardrum popping boom and a hand that threw everything not bolted down into the air. Alenko’s vision spun and he crashed down amidst a pile of human bodies. He leapt up, searching frantically for the centurion he’d been facing. It was tangled in steel girders, its clawed hands literall ripping itself free. He shot it in the head three times.

    Two marines lay groaning in the open with broken limbs. Before anyone could reach them the cylons shot them down. Alenko ducked into cover behind an overturned file cabinet. He pointed at a marine carrying a light machine gun. “Suppress those centurions.” The corporal set it up overlooking the Y-junction the toasters were lodged in and held down the trigger. He didn’t hit anything, but his bullets carved through the bulkheads and furniture, throwing sparks and metal dust into the air, and forcing the Centurion’s heads down. Their fire slackened, and Alenko waved the marines after them.

    A human with a close haircut and a neon orange jacket stepped out from behind a centurion. Alenko’s aim went to him and dropped. “What the-“ The human drew a pistol. Alenko was knocked off his feet by a sledgehammer. Stars flashed and the din of battle began to fade. He gasped for breath and felt his newly broken ribs shift. The pain was like adrenaline to him.

    The inexplicable traitor was walking forwards firing, with a nonchalant look on his face as centurions fanned out around him. Alenko drew his sidearm and shot him in the groin. He dropped to his knees, face contorted in pain. “Hey traitor!” alenko shouted. His eyes went to him. Then Alenko put five rounds into his chest.

    Belsinki grabbed him by the shoulder and hauled him into cover, shouting “get me a medic!

    “I’m okay!” alenko said, and felt his chest. There was a dent in his body aromor, nothing more. He stood up and grabbed his raido. “All units be advised, there are human collaborators with the cylons, use lethal force.”

    “I think we’re clear” Nessella said. Then two more basestars and two light basestars flashed into existence. “Gods damn it!” she shouted.

    The fight now became between a damaged battlestar and an inert battlestar against a full cylon squadron. “Call for the second wave” Huxton said.. The two basestars fell back to a range of a hundred kilometers and began slinging missiles while their raiders and support ships raced forward.

    Marlay heard Cross shout “Good, for for everyone! over a frequency he wasn’t supposed to be broadcasting on.

    The missile bombardment became too great for the Vindication’s point defense batteries to hange.. “Armor plating is bursting over sector seventeen, explosive decompression is imminent!” Cage warned.

    “Engineering has been breached,” Nessella added.

    Huxton remained calm. “Hold on.”

    With a series of flares their fleet jumped in and engaged. The missile cruiser Artemis fired a full salvo of thirty Atlatl missiles at the nearest light basestar. Its raiders were caught unprepared, and every missile hit home, reducing the ship to a burning hulk. A second salvo arriving twelve seconds later finished it off.

    The flak cruiser Malleus came between the Vindication and a raider wing and the length of its hull lit up with point defense fire, removing from existence the first few squadrons to pieces and driving the rest back. The Ceres flew through he gap left by itheir withdrawal and engaged a second light basestar. For a few minutes they matched each other blow for blow, then the Andantos’s third salvo caught the basestar in its center axis and ended the fight..

    The Hoplon maneuvered straight for the third light basestar. The gunstar was a six hundred meter long ship whose sole armament were basestar-killer turrets. Those turrets eviscerated the light basestar effortlessly it turned away and aimed at the larger basestars.

    Covered by the fighters issuing from her single hangar pod, the Gehennia began orbiting one of the basestars.

    The Vindication shot the last basestar to pieces in a minute, then turned its guns on the second, but that ship was already dying, circled by the Gehnnia and Hoplon. It blew apart, and the only cylons left was the handful of fighters being picked off.

    Huxton wasn’t done. “All ships converge on the Serpentia, dispatch DC teams to the abttlestar as soon as its secure.”

    Alenko:

    The fight aboard the ship ended abruptly. The marines stormed the bridge, diving for cover behind ruined stations and shot out displays, cutting down both cylons and humans. Then there were cries of “friendly, friendly fire!” Alenko looked up to see a handful of armed crewmen and marines walking through the opposite door.

    He demanded “who’s in command.

    “I am” a bloodstained woman in her early thirties said with a distinct Aerilon twang.. “Lieutenant of the watch Mirra Gorden.” The Vindication marines saluted.

    Alenko replied. “Sergeant-at-arms Thomas Alenko, what happened to Commander Imlay?”

    Gorden pointed to a tangle of bodies around the shattered DRADIS display. One had a commander’s stars on his lapels. “The cylons got to the bridge faster than we expected. I am the highest ranking command officer left,” she explained.

    The smoking comm station crackled. “Vindication-actual to Serpentia, what is your status.

    Mirra picked it up. “The ship is secure. FTL drives will be online momentarily.”

    “Who’s this?” Huxton asked, clearly surprised by the female voice.

    “Lieutenant Mirra Gorden, the highest ranking officer left on this ship.”

    Huxton took a moment to respond. “Then you are hereby acting commander and have assumed all the necessary duties. We are sending you the jump coordinates of our rendezvous, we’ll escort you there.”

    “Thank you Huxton” Mirra said. “Alright, lieutenant Markov, take the comm, Petty officer Lane, get the FTL computer, lets get out of here.” The marines went to sweeping the ship for any surviving cylons. The coordinates arrived and were entered. “We are now jumping” Mirra said

    Huxton:

    “Prep the jump drive” Huton said. The Serpentia took a full minute to spool up her jump drives and execute. “Now we go.”

    Eight cylon basestars jumped in system, but Nessella had already turned the key. The fleet jumped out before the cylons could even acquire a target lock.

    The fleet was arrayed in formation with the warships on the outside and the Serpentia crawling towards it when they reappeared. “This is Commander Huxton, victory is ours. I count five basestars destroyed and one rescued battlestar. Serpentia, report to the mobile drydock Largos for repairs. As soon as she’s docked all ships execute FTL jump, we’re moving out.”

    Aelia:

    Aelia was curled up on the thin mattress of the bunk she and Rachel would be crammed into. They had found a place to stay amongst the crew quarters given over to the battlestar’s two thousand refugees.

    A deep male voice registerd in her ears. “See, the toasters aren’t unbeatable, we certainly beat them.” Aelia felt a stabbing pain in her temples. She curled up a little tighter and voered her head with a pillow.

    She heard Rachel’s soft, shellshocked reply of “but we already lost, look around, the cylons nuked everything.”

    Another younger, but this time male voice spoke up. “We’re still alive, this war isn’t over yet.” Images of her family flashed through Aelia’s head, and she trembled.. Still, she had to concede his point just a little.

    The mood was more positive on the civilian ships, where their terrified passengers saw it as a faint hope that the fleet could fight, unlike everything they all had seen already.

    Fifth Day of the Second Cylon War:

    Huxton:

    The mood was less positive in a small, secluded lab in the hospital’s basement, pressed up against the keel itself. There Huxton, Cage, Nessella, Alenko, and several doctors and soldiers stood in a sterile-white room, examining the four identical men lying on a lab table.

    “So you’re saying that cylons look like us now?” Huxton said in disbelief.

    “Unfortunately, yes” Doctor Veris said. “They are genetically identical, down to the last DNA strand, and their eyes glow red under infared light” Huxton examined the bodies. One had been shot in the balls and chest, two had taken stomach and head rounds, and the fourth had a dent in his skull roughly the size and shape of an assault rifle stock. All had short brown and carefully styled hair, a neon orange jacket, and the same nonchalant look on their faces.. Huxton wanted to take a wrench off the next table and smash that look off of them, but Veris would have objected.

    “Synthetic humans then” he said.

    “Exactly.”

    “What do we tell the crew?” Nessella asked.

    “We don’t” Huxton answered. “That’s why I need you,” he pointed at the eight marines who had carted the bodies in. “You get to help hunt cylon infiltrators. Doctor, can you fin a way to differentiate cylons from humans. A ‘cylon test’ if you will” Huxton continued.

    “I’ll try” Veris said.

    “What now?” Nessella asked.

    “Now, I have to choose a course of action for the colonial fleet” Huxton replied.

    “Colonial fleet?”

    “With the colonies gone, we are the colonial fleet, and the Vindication is its flagship.” It gave him no pride to say those words.



    ……………………………

    Huxton mounted the podium at the back of the forward mess hall packed with the inhabitants of his ship and looked around. He saw the grey of the enlisted crew’s uniforms, the black combat gear of the marines, and the many colors of the civilians. Their thousands of chattering voices had blended into one unintelligible murmur. Huxton knew most of the talk was to calm their nerves, he could see it in the facial expressions of those nearest him.

    He turned back to his officers, who stood behind him. They saluted. Huxton returned it and took the microphone. “Attention please” he said. A pair of radios on the podium broadcast his words to every ship in the fleet. The crowd slowly quieted down. “Thank you very much, I am Commander Adriatic Huxton, for those of you who don’t know.”

    His people nodded slowly, waiting with bated breath for his next words. “As of now, we are the entirety of humanity. Our world has been destroyed and everyone we loved is dead and not coming back, the cylons did that. While we grieve, a question looms: what can we do? We have nowhere left to run to; anywhere we hide it is guaranteed cylons will eventually find us, and they aren't likely to give us mercy or quarter. We have only one course of action left that will give us any chance of survival. We fight. Now you are all asking, what can we do against the innumerable might of the Cylon Empire?”

    He felt the anger flare inside of him. His voice began to rise. “What can we do? We can burn it to the ground. The cylons killed our families, our friends, our entire civilization, and they think they have won thanks to their grand plan. We are still breathing, therefore their plan has failed and the advantage is ours. You have lost everything, and I am asking you to give more than everything. The chrome-coated machines will not walk away with this and build their civilization on the ashes of ours. We have nothing left to lose, but everything left to gain. And so we shall fight to avenge the human race, until the entirety of the cylon civilization is nothing but ashes in the breeze, and we stand victorious atop a mountain of crushed centurions. This is our only option for survival: vengeance. So say we all.”

    “So say we all” was the solemn reply. As Huxton looked out over the crowd he saw for the most part fear, though the occasional hardened soldier had set their jaw in grim determination.

    “So say we all!” he said.

    “So say we all.” The response was louder and had a little bit of fire.

    “Vengeance or death, so say we all!” Huxton shouted and punched the air.

    “So say we all!” the crew roared, mimicking his gesture. It was heartening to watch. Then the cheering started from somewhere in the back. It swept through the room until everyone was screaming. Huxton smiled, satisfied he’d worked the masses into a suitable bloodlust. He wondered how many cylons were amongst them. His left hand went to his sidearm as a precaution.

    Nessella squeezed his shoulder and whispered in his ear; “vengeance won’t bring the colonies back.”

    “Nothing will. Vengeance isn’t about reversing the destruction, vengeance is about the satisfaction of knowing your enemy doesn’t get to walk away from your body.”

    “I stand with you, as always.”

    The last few ships of the twelve colonies drifted through deep space. Waiting, though not for long.
     
  22. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    Every TV show has a theme song:



    Episode 2: Lions and Lambs

    Part 1:

    18th day of the Second Cylon War:

    Iris:

    Colonel Keran Iris stood at the center of the Ceres’ tiny CIC, watching the range to the cylon communications relay tick down. The Ceres and her single light cruiser accompaniment, the Thanatos had detected the relay while searching for targets of opportunity around the Cyrannus system. Iris had dispatched a messenger raptor back to the fleet, then ordered her two ships to jump in to destroy the relay and collect any intel they could off of it.

    There was an electronic warble and Ensign Mallory announced, “Contacts, one squadron of raiders inbound.”

    Iris nodded. “Launch all vipers and then put our broadsides to them. Tell Thanatos and the recon raptors to bypass the furball and make their run on the relay.”

    “Yes ma’m” he said.

    The Ceres turned so her hull was perpendicular to the inbound raiders, giving both decks of point defense guns a clear field of fire. Her vipers held back and let the raiders come to them, flying straight into the PD gun’s firing solution. Half the raiders disintegrated in puffs of flack, the remaining ten persisted. The vipers pounced on them before they entered missile range.

    A second alarm trilled. “The cylons just uploaded a virus onto one of our mains” Captain Carver said.

    Iris smiled in satisfaction at the futility of the cylon attack. The Ceres was a veteran of the last three years of the first cylon war, and had been built without networked computers and redundant systems to stop hacking attempts. “Kill the infected computer and mark it for cleanup.” She looked back to DRADIS to check on the battle, but it was already over, the raiders a cloud of dust and two damaged vipers limping back to the hangar.Thanatos meanwhile had come alongside the relay and begun downloading everything it could. The Cerescame alongside the light cruiser and waited.

    Five minutes had passed when Thanatos-actual radioed a download complete. “Good, put a missile into that thing, just above where the arms intersect, then spool up FTL.” The relay blew apart, each arm flying off in a second direction. Seconds later both ships jumped away.

    Melanie:

    The Sygnia had been a small FTL hopper making its runs between the three moons of the gas giant Zeus: Leonis, Scorpia, and Picon. She had hidden in the Erebus belt when President Adar had suspended commercial travel, taking her one hundred passengers with her. Raptor 0-16 had found her and led her back to the fleet.

    Breakfast was being served in the three small passenger compartments and cramped crew quarters. Their occupants quickly ate the small meal of freeze dried beef and eggs, several dropping chunks onto their already soiled clothes. Abruptly an eldery man vomited blood onto the floor. Several nearby people screamed and a father covered his son’s’s eyes. The flight attendant serving them, Melanie Waters, dropped her stack of breakfast trays to the floor and nearly threw up herself.

    Within seconds the entire row was retching up blood. Melanie’s stomach turned over and she did throw up. Then she ran bck as fast as she could in her uniform’s high heeled boots. “What do we do?” She begged the head flight attendant. The older woman opened her mouth to answer but instead dropped to her knees and hacked up her own intestines. A breakfast platter was knocked off the table by her struggles.

    A breakfast platter. Melanie sprinted into the next section. “Stop serving food, it’s poisoned!” she shrieked, and ripped several dishes out of the passengers hands.

    “What are you talking about?” one of the male flight attendants asked.

    “Just look up there, help me!” He ran to the first section, and threw the curtain open-and stumbled back. “Holy shit…”

    The thirty occupants of the first section were dead in minutes. The two kitchen staffers were found dead from stab wounds minutes later.

    Aelia:

    Aelia was dreaming of the warm Caprican sun and the smiling faces of her parents when she fell out of bed. She awoke as she hit the floor headfirst and bit her tongue as pain burst from the crack in her skull, which would need another month to heal entirely. A faint whimper crept out between her pale lips. She didn’t move for several seconds, waiting for the fog in her mind to fade

    “A woman in her early thirties playing cards with several other adults looked over at her and asked, “Are you okay girl?”

    Aelia gritted her teeth and sat up. “I’m fine, thanks” she lied. She was in one of the crew quarters in the underbelly of the Vindication, sharing a room built for twenty with thirty people. The floor was strewn with their personal belongings and refuse, and due to the lack of a rising and setting sun for guidance she uncomfortably felt like she was in limbo, where everyone slept and ate whenever they could. Time had come to a halt for them, adding to her growing feeling of helplessness.

    Rachel crawled to the edge of the bunk they shared and looked down with a worried expression. “Aelia, are you alright?”

    “I’m fine” Aelia repeated. Rachel’s eyes went to the hand she had clasped over her injury.

    “No your not,” she said, and reached down. Aelia took her hand and together they pulled her back into bed. Sat up.. “I’m sleeping on the outside for now on, that’s the third time you’ve done that, switch,” she said. Aelia crawled back to the cold metal wall and put her back to it. Rachel squeezed in on the outside and rolled so they were facing each other.

    “I hate it here” Aelia said.

    Rachel frowned“I know. Everything here is so uncomfortable.” The bed was fairly small and since clothes hadn’t been shipped over from the merchant freighter in the fleet yet they were still wearing the fancy wear they’d arrived onboard in.

    Aelia shivered. “And cold.”

    Rachel gave her a confused expression. “Cold?”

    Aelia hugged herself. “This ship feels like a tomb. I look at everyone, the crew, and us and they all look so sad and grim. Its like we’re all dead, and everyone knows it” Aelia explained. Rachel wrapped her arms around her. Aelia snuggled up against her warm body and buried her face in her soft blue shirt. “And every second I’m on here I remember that our families were on the next transport, twenty minutes away, just so close.” Her hand tingled with a lost memory of ruffling her sister’s hair.

    Rachel tightened her embrace not just to comfort Aelia, but also to ease the pain in her own heart. “I do too. We have to do what the crew are saying: keep fighting.”

    “For what?”

    Rachel’s voice became angry. “Everything.” Aelia decided to not ask about everything since her head was beginning to hurt again.

    Before they could drift back to sleep the loudspeakers crackled. “Attention please, will all civilians fourteen and older report to the forward galley immediately”

    “Really?” Rachel asked, and rolled her eyes.

    They reluctantly abandoned their shared warmth and joined a stream of confused people winding through the corridors.

    The mess hall had been mostly cleared save for a single row of tables at the far end of the room; the civilians were lined up befor them. A marine’s hoarse voice rose over the crowd. “Join an existing line, it doesn’t matter which one. Once you get to the tables you will be asked your name, whether you have any family members not present, and what skills you possess” Rachel and Aelia stepped on the end of the nearest line and braced for a long wait.

    It took four hours of aching legs and headache from the amount of chatter going on, for them to reach the front. There was a young ensign manning the table, a pile of papers and a pen his only tools. The woman from the girl’s room, two spaces ahead, was drafted for having spent three years in the Scorpian defense force. The ancient robed priest directly ahead of them was put on ‘hold’ when he mentioned he’d been a combat chaplain in the first cylon war.

    When the girls stepped up, the ensign muttered ‘names’ with the inescapable boredom of someone who’d been saying the same word for hours

    Rachel went first; “Rachel Carmine.” He wrote it down.

    “Are you trained in combat, electronics, communication, or engineering, or have you served in any military or first responder capacity?

    “I don’t, and I haven’t” Rachel said.

    He put a slash through her name. “Didn’t think so, you may return to your quarters.” He waved her on. Rachel stepped out of line and watched Aelia come forward. The Ensign’s eyes went from her to Rachel and he asked with the faintest hint of warmth, “Are you sisters?”

    “Might as well be” Rachel said over her shoulder.

    “Okay then, name.”

    “Aelia Wrenner.”

    “Do you have any-”

    Aelia practically leapt to cut him off. “I took a year and a half of basic communications in high school, I know how to broadcast and receive on shortwave radios, tight beam comms, and basic FTL communication.” A small grin inexorably formed on her face. Her heartbeat accelerated at the excitement of no longer being helpless on the battlestar.

    The ensign raised his thin eyebrows, then put a check next to her name and wrote ‘communications/EWAR.’ “Very good. You are to report to the radio room at 0800 hours tomorrow, do you know where that is?” he asked. She shook her head. She, like most of the civilians had remained huddled together in their rooms for most of the time, leaving only for meals and to use the co-ed bathroom at the end of the ‘block.’

    The ensign produced a map of the ship. “We’re in sector fifteen right now. The radio room is in sector ten” he pointed them out, and traced a route between the two locations. “Can you remember?”

    “Yes I can, thank you,” Aelia said. She waved and turned away. An old woman carrying a veteran’s I.D. replaced her. Rachel put an arm around Aelia’s shoulders, her grin matching Aelia’s own.

    “You lucky, you get to be a soldier girl now.” Aelia blushed. “Lets do something, I don’t want to go back to our room, ever.” They found one of the crew lounges, and after wondering whether they were allowed to for a minute, ducked inside to the sweet smell of orange air freshener. There were a handful of enlisted men, an officer, and a pair of men in business suits inside the room, sitting on a handful of stuffed chairs around a television playing an old Libran thriller. A bar was against one wall and someone was playing Tareq’s fifth orchestral suite on the stereo, providing a relaxing atmosphere. The two girls sat down on a couch and pulled their legs up so they could face each other. Neither saw the officer in the chair next to them turn around. They only noticed when he cleared his throat and pointed to Rachel.

    “Excuse me, you’re sitting on something of mine,” he said. She leapt up with a faint crinkle and found a sheet of paper under her.

    Aelia smirked, “watch where you drop silly?” The lighthearted remark sent them both into fits of giggles. The laughter made her head feel like it was getting drilled open, but after all the misery she had endured it was such a relief she kept laughing until she was in tears.

    “What is that anyway?” Rachel asked when they had calmed down to find him grinning with amusement.

    “Just something I was drawing.” He turned the paper over to reveal a half-complete pencil sketch of theVindication. He had neglected to include the recent battle damage. “I was an art major before ending up in boot camp, you see.”

    “Wow, that’s really good” Rachel said.

    “I-it is” Aelia stammered out, both hands clasping her head.

    “You okay there?” he asked.

    “I’m fine, just got a small knock on my head. It hurts to laugh unfortunately,” Aelia explained. He nodded and they stared at each other for several seconds. The conversation seemed to be trailing off into awkward silence, and Aelia didn’t want that.

    “What’s your name?” she asked.

    “Major Elliot Cage” Cage said, “and yours?”

    “Aelia Wrenner.”

    “Rachel Carmine.”

    He asked, “Did you just come from the draft?”

    Aelia stuck her chin up with pride. “Yes, I’ve been assigned to the communications department.”

    “I got rejected” Rachel said sourly. “Why are you recruiting us anyways?”

    “Well that would be because-“ Cage’s radio buzzed. “Sorry” he said sheepishly, and put it to his ear. “Cage here, go ahead,” he said. After listening for a few seconds he sighed, said “understood,” and hung up. “Sorry, I’ve got to go handle some diplomatic business, nice meeting you” he told them, and stood up.

    “Aww, well nice meeting you too” both girls said. They waved as he left. Once he was gone Rachel turned back to Aelia and they resumed talking.

    Huxton:

    Huxton was sitting at his desk in his quarters, writing furiously on a pad when his radio buzzed. It was Cage. “I’ve got a shuttle from the Colonial independent transport Athenian urgently requesting permission to land, they claim to have the President of the Colonies onboard” he said. That surprised Huxton.

    Instantly he became suspicious. “Can I get a name and security exam of this person before I let them board my ship?”

    “Already done. His name is Johnathan Travere, and he is registered as the captain and owner of the Athenian.

    “Are you kidding me?” Huxton grabbed his computer and searched the name in the fleet database they had been creating, based in the Serpentia’s more powerful computer core. The man was indeed the captain of theAthenian, and had served time as a minor official in Adar’s government, though there was no note on him being elected President of anything.

    “Let him come aboard with a guard, escort him to the briefing room. You have permission to use lethal force if he starts causing trouble.”

    “Understood, sir.” Huxton ended the call, then stood up and looked down at his desk. It had become cluttered with papers, some his own battle and survival plans, some official documents. The most recent one was an estimate by a crippled but still intellectually capable Radin on salvaging the port hangar pod, which still contained a civilian light transport, forty vipers, and a dozen raptors, plus much needed fuel and maintenance equipment. Radin’s engineers would be helpless for the next three days until The Serpentia cleared out of the mobile dry dock, then it would take two weeks they could ill afford to lose to return the pod to operation.

    Huxton’s thoughts trailed off. Then he remembered he had an immediate appointment. He pulled on a shirt, combed his black hair, washed his hands and walked out. Several of the rank and file ahd started putting up pictures of their lost loved ones along the length of the corridor outside. Huxton stopped for a moment next to a picture of Cage holding two smiling kids his green eyes and brown hair, and then kept going. He turned left at the bridge, passed the computer core, and entered the officer meeting room. Cage, two marines, and this Travere were standing around the table.

    Huxton sized him up. He was just under two meters tall, and balding. His face was creased with worry lines and his brown eyes had an intelligent look to them.

    “Hello, Captain Travere” Huxton said. Johnathan stood up. The two men regarded each other with suspicion, looking each other over, searching for any weakness. Huxton was in full combat uniform. Johnathan wore a rough leather jacket and grey slacks.

    “Hello commander” he said. “I am coming to you as the newly elected President-“

    “I was unaware the civilian fleet had a leader” Huxton said.

    Travere grimaced. “It is not the civilian fleet I was elected to lead, I am the new president of the Colonial Remnant, as it is being called. The various captains came together last night and voted on me to lead the nation according to the laws colonial charter.”

    Huxton felt like this man had stabbed him. “What authority do you have to lead anyone?” He leaned in and glowered at Travere.

    Instead of flinching, Travere met him with his own rage. “So long as this fleet continues to exist it needs to be governed and organized. Me and the captains will be that government in emergency form until President Adar’s term expires, at which point we’ll look to establish a more encompassing and organized government.” Huxton wasn’t satisfied.

    “What gave you the idea to run for office? Do not tell me it was a sudden burst of idealism.” Traverse averted his gaze from Huxton. It looked like he was beginning to crack.

    “It was a burst of idealism, actually. A number of captains are worried because you have put drafting boards and fleet personnel on their ships and are taking their passengers. We came together last night to rebuild the government, and I stepped up to lead it.” Huxton got the feeling that worried was an understatement.

    “Half of the fleet is short on crew, especially the Serpentia, we need the replacements to keep them in effective fighting condition.” Huxton explained.

    “Thereby flouting the civil authority of these captains and the natural rights of the colonial citizens you took. There never was a draft in the history of the united colonies, you do know that.”

    Huxton felt the same frustration he’d had every time he’d dealt with the colonial beauracracy or read a book about the first cylon war. “Mr. Travere, this isn’t the twelve colonies, this is the Colonial Remnant, and you said it yourself. Desperation is the order of the day, and its time you and your captains looked past your principles and beauracratic safety net to reality. It is a simple fact that my ships need those recruits to maintain combat effectiveness. It is also a fact that they will get those crews.”

    Travere began to shift back and forth on his feet. “If that is so, then perhaps you could remove your draft officers and file a request to return them?”

    Huxton was struggling to hold himself back now. Even with the human race whittled down to a handful of ships, he was still dealing with the beauracrats. “This is a war like nothing we’ve ever seen before, Travere. If we want to survive I need the ability to act without being bogged down in formalities. A beauracracy is the last thing we need, so, no, the draft boards stay, and I am not dealing with any of your regulations in future issues. I will recognize you as President though, because you are right, the civilians need a leader and an administration. However, stay out of the fleet’s way when it comes to military matters.” Travere opened his mouth. “Now, is there anything else you came to talk to me about?”

    Travere wisely changed subjects. “I have the combined supply manifests and the census.” Travere dropped a sheaf of paper on the table. “There are sixty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-seven civillians” he said with pride. “We’ll need some of your food reserve to feed them all, though.”

    “I’ll get my people on it” Huxton said. “Is that all?”

    “Actually there’s one more thing. Have you heard about the Sygnia?”

    Alarm bells rang. “What happened?” H.

    “Thirty-eight of her passengers were poisoned over breakfast this morning, and her chefs were found murdered. I have my aides searching through the fleet for someone with the qualifications to look after it, and there’s a detective from the Alera on the case, but I thought it would be best to ask for help.”

    “You had thirty-eight people murdered, and you did not come to the fleet immediately?”

    “Well, Commander”

    Huxton jabbed his finger in Travere’s face. “There is a mass-murderer loose in the fleet, and you did not notify me immediately? That’s endangerment of public welfare.”

    “I did notify you, right now” Travere replied. “You said not to contact the Vindication over civilian channels.”

    Huxton sighed. “And so you did. Tell the Sygnia to expect marines ASAP. Is that all?”

    “Yes, commander.”

    After Travere left earshot, Huxton turned to Cage. “First, rescind the no communications order. Second, I want everything you can dig up about Mr. Travere, and I want the communications from the Athenianmonitored. If he is a gods damn cylon…”

    “I don’t think he’s a cylon,” Cage said.

    “Why not?”

    “I don’t know, doesn’t seem like the type.” Huxton shook his head.

    “Just do it, Major. In the meantime, dispatch Sergeant Alenko and his squad, and one of our doctors working on the cylon problem to secore the Sygnia. Have the CAP quarantine her, and the Alera.”

    Cage nodded. “It will be done.” He stood up. Something was nagging at him though. “Sir, can I ask you a question?”

    “Go ahead Cage”

    Here you are, letting a cylon take control of the fleet, I thought you were smarter than that. Huxton shook the voice away. “Sir?”

    His words came out almost at shouting volume. “Go ahead, Major.”

    Cage winced. “Honestly, how bad do you think the cylon problem is?” Cage asked. “I’m worried about starting a witch hunt in here, is what I’m trying to say” Cage finished awkwardly.

    “I’m treading a fine line on that” Huxton admitted. “That’s why I need more level heads like you to keep me from going over it.”

    Cage smiled. “I’m just as afraid of cylon infiltration as you are. They could be anyone, and I keep thinking the crew I’ve known for the past five years are machines.”

    “I still trust you to be reasonable and strong enough to keep me or anyone else in check,”

    “Thank you sir, I won’t let you down.”

    “Please don’t.” Cage looked hurt.

    “Do you real mean what I think you’re implying with your word choice?”

    “No.”

    Alenko:

    Alenko was midway through breakfast with his squad when he looked up and saw Cage sitting across from him, no food before him. “Yes Major?” he asked.

    “You have an assignment” Cage handed him a slip of paper. Alenko read it.

    “We’ll be there,” he said, pushing his plate away. “Boys, we got a mission!” As one they stood up.

    “There will be two raptors and a couple of Veris’s doctors waiting for you, good luck” Cage said.
     
  23. great fic I noticed some new content at the start of the last chapter will there be more new material
     
  24. United Systems Navy

    United Systems Navy I don't like happiness

    yes
     
  25. wanderingcleric

    wanderingcleric Now working almost 1/2 time. :(

    Added to my watch list. I like the differing characters although the politician was predictable. It's been many years since I worked in refugee camps but if you want to kick around some thoughts on how refugees deal with their situations drop me a note.
     

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