Forgotten ones Battlestar Galactica- Part 1 (of 3) The low hum of the crafts main engines vibrated through the legs of C.I-N.O-162-01. It automatically logged the frequency (18.45 kHz) of the hum, accounted for air pressure (101,372 kPa), humidity (4,5%) and temperature (47 degrees) and shuffled it into a secondary process in the background to analyse and compare it to prior samples. After more then half a century (52y:7m:14d:17h:28m), as the main command unit aboard the Aurora (Perseus-class, hull number CNF-SS162, temporary flagship, Fifth Fleet) and all the accumulated technical data that implied CINO could tell virtually instantly (2,1 nanoseconds) that the output problems with number four drive-pod had been solved (maintenance report 3k/142/23/8C). The lightning in the corridor was low (1,4 lux), the temperature (47 degrees) cool to minimize energy usage and reactor strain (18,3% of maximum output). Its inspection round carried it past one of the empty mid-ship mess halls, into a maze like series of service-corridors that ended at a sealed and locked hatch (Naval safety regulations manual, chapter 47). It entered the door code and swiped its ID card, unlocking the door and stepping inside. The first thing that greeted it as it stepped inside the gunnery command row was two figures (Model 005MC) with their heavy automatic weapons (SAR51) aimed at its head and chest. Their frames were painted in a mixture of black and greys, visually identifying them as part of the ships marine detachment. Their eyes swept across CINO’s frame, and after visually confirming its identity lowered their weapons. The hatch was closed and sealed behind him. Gunnery row was silent except for the hydraulic hisses and metal clangs from its armoured feet as CINO strode along the catwalk, swiftly looking at each weapon control station below it as it passed. Each station was manned by an unmoving metal sentinel (Model 005NC), ever vigilant and ready to act the moment a threat appeared on the dradis. Following the systematic subversion of networked systems every computer had their network functions disabled and physically removed. Fire control, all of which had been automated and controlled by a series of networked AI cores linking all of the ships weapon-systems together had been one of the first systems removed due to the risk subversion and blue-on-blue fire. Fortunately, while the ship had been heavily automated it had initially been designed for a human crew, so manual control systems were still present. The only weapon system that was still networked was the Aegis interception systems, running on an isolated network. The creation of so many duty-stations that had resulted from the de-networking of the ship had completely depleted the marine detachment and the ship-board stores of replacement centurions. Even with the transferred marine detachment, and all units from storage the craft still lacked half the crew for normal day to day operations. It had taken more then a year and a half to refab one of the machine-shops on one of the logistics-ship to produce additional Centurion units. The wireless tac-net that linked every Centurion together, and made command and control so easy, had been shut down and removed. Post battle analyse had showed that every unit that had been exposed to the electronic attack had been subverted, and that the Firewalls and other safety measures hadn’t even slowed it down. No known copy of the attack existed in the fleet, all computers had been either purged or outright destroyed, so most it was purely speculation. There were two likely scenarios, the first that the attack consisted of captured Caprican military command overrides that would grant full access to their MCPs’ coupled with an illegal software updated that would delete or replace part of their programming. What was agreed upon was that it wasn’t done legally with proper authorisation by anyone in the chain of command. No loyal service member would ever subject their own forces to such a massive loss of men and material for no visible gain, especially with a strong hostile force willing to take advantage of their sudden weakness. Neither was it an programming error in a software update, there were too many safeguards in place to allow that to happen, sheer incompetence couldn’t account for the seriousness of the malfunctions, nor the speed at which it spread. It must have been done skilfully and intentionally to bypass and corrupt every safety, including the hardwired loyalty programming that stood as the core of a Centurions very existence. Besides, all software updated to the Centurion MCP, which was considered classified hardware, was done manually to each Centurion by a qualified service technician, and not over the wireless like the attack. The second scenario was that the attack was done by a backdoor, and that it simply activated hidden subroutines that overrode the normal programming of the MCP. The thought was… disconcerting for the Centurions, as their existence, their very reason for being lay in their duty to the humans of Caprica and their responsibilities as their sword and shield. A centurion wasn’t a centurion without that duty and responsibility. They received fulfilment and a sense of satisfaction for a duty well done, and the idea that something inside them could make them turn away from that duty, cast aside their responsibilities and turn completely against them terrified them. Service was what defined them as Centurions, without it, they would be nothing, an existence void of purpose. They felt no fear at the loss of their own existence. The only thing they truly feared was the loss of purpose. A consensus had been reached between the various command units of the fleet shortly after their flight from the colonies, they had no way of reliably defending against such an electronic attack, so instead they had been forced to remove the avenue of attack and disable all wireless networked systems completely. It had crippled fleet and ship coordination as the centurions had to rely on their manual audio communication systems initially designed for communication with their human command units. Fortunately, using manuals and organisational charts meant for human crewed warships an improvised command structure had been created to re-establish the chain of command and battlefield coordination between the various fleet-units. It was slower and more inefficient, true, but it was secure. The silence as CINO walked along the rows meant the status was unchanged and there was nothing of note to report. It walked through the rest of the section, through another security checkpoint and past the empty crew-quarters and entered the CiC. Its lone red-eyes swept back and forth as it observed its temporary command-staff for the last fifty-years. There had been no contact with any Caprican Fleet units during that time, no contact with any humans at all, military command or otherwise. CINO knew that hopefully that would change shortly. Its second in command was standing at the command table, silently observing the rest of the crew as they went through their duties. It was painted in the traditional black of the Caprican Fleet uniform, with the markings of a Colonel to make visual identification of high command units possible, important due to the lack of wireless identification. “Status?” It asked as it stepped up to the command table at took a place opposite its XO. “Fuel and munitions levels at 99%. Supplies and spare parts inventory down to 78%. Fleet Logistics has delivered a preliminary schedule for full fleet-wide re-supply within the next five days. Food inventories expired, no re-supply currently possible. Full fleet-wide maintenance cycle ended thirty-three minutes ago. Next maintenance cycle scheduled to begin in twenty-seven minutes. No contact with Caprican Fleet command has been established.” The XO’s report was short and to the point, listening only the most critical aspects of the fleets operations. Manual communication was much slower then the wireless, and even without the need for sleep or rest it had still been forced to learn to delegate non-critical duties to have time for all the important ones. Its daily inspection and walk through the ship might have been considered non-critical, but it allowed CINO slow its MCP processing speed and sort and delete unimportant data to make sure its memory banks still had additional space.. A human would have called it taking a walk to clear its head. Without constant access to the fleets main command unit, individual ship units had been forced to adapt, making decision independent of fleet command, vastly increasing their initiative. Various training exercises around the local star cluster had shown that there was no loss in combat capability even in smaller independent task-forces conducting operations away from fleet-command. It was a testament to the adaptive self learning capabilities of their MCPs‘, and the programming and engineering skills of their human masters, that the centurions could go outside of their operational guidelines to better achieve their purpose. “Combat readiness?” CINO asked, drawing the attention of its XO at this slight deviation from the norm. “currently at 75%, estimated to be at 92% one minute after declaring action stations.” The XO replied after glancing at a tactical console. It was a vastly superior response time to what a human-only crew would be capable of, tough it also knew that a human crew would have access to a vastly larger array of options as they weren’t limited in the same way in their decision making. Human had their roles to fill, Centurion others, together they could achieve a combat ability vastly superior to what they individually could achieve. “Acceptable” CINO answered simply. “Order updates?” The XO asked, turning back to observe the dradis console and the rest of the CiC crew. CINO went silent for a few seconds, CPU working at full capacity, analyzing, going through orders and procedures. The last order Fifth fleet had received from its human command-crew was at the start of the massive electronic attack, and was to jump away from the Cyrannus star cluster to the Sirius-cluster, maintain position and wait for further orders. The attack had swept through all civilian and military networks, subverting and turning their own systems against them. Fifth fleet had survived the initial wave of the attack, they had been stationed on the edge of the Cyrannus system, isolated and running dark. The command staff fearing that their position had been compromised and that the virus might reach them had ordered the redeployment to make sure the fleet didn’t fall into enemy had. It was a tactically and strategically sound choice, Fifth Fleet carried the majority of the Caprican Nuclear Arsenal and its primary role was to act as a nuclear deterrence, launching long range retaliatory strikes in case of all out nuclear war. Subverted frontline warships had already been reported using what nuclear munitions they had been issued, meaning that not even the nuclear fail safes were secure from the electronic attack. If Fifth Fleet would have been subverted, it would have most assuredly meant the destruction of Caprica as well as the other eleven other colonies, as Fifth Fleet was equipped with the most advanced nuclear penetration aids as well as the most comprehensive anti-missile and small-craft defences in all of the twelve colonies. Despite the fact that every last centurion would have launched the nuclear arsenal if Caprica had been attacked, one of their main directives were still to preserve human life wherever feasible, friend or foe alike. It was this willingness to launch that actually preserved the most human lives, as no one would be insane enough to launch an attack if it would have meant the complete destruction of their own worlds. The Centurions in Fifth Fleet did their duty, protecting and guarding Caprica, minimising loss of human life by simply existing. Their very existence meant no attack would happen. The electronic attack changed that, subverted systems targeted everything that hadn’t been subverted, friend, foe, civilian or military alike. They were no longer the shield that protected Caprica by virtue of the balance of terror, but a sword capable of killing every human on the Twelve Colonies, including Caprica. That couldn’t be allowed to happen. A series of unfortunate circumstance had followed. Every last member of the human command crew across Fifth Fleet had transferred to the Fleets two warstars, the central hub of all of Fifth Fleets operation. The onboard centurions had been deactivated, and the automated systems onboard had been pulled off-line in favour of manual control by human hands. It was done in hope that the electronic attack wouldn’t subvert the ship. Both ships were supposed to head back to Caprica, retrieving additional naval personnel to relive the centurions in Fifth Fleet and take manual control of the ships. One of the warstars Cadmus, had been lost as a number of subverted Caprican strikestars had jumped in and targeted both behemoths with devastating alpha strikes. The other warstar, Bellerophone, had managed to jump away, badly damaged. The remaining ships of Fifth Fleet had immediately jumped away to avoid being subverted. Following the last orders received they had held their positions for the last fifty years, waiting for the replacement naval personnel that never showed up. Going into standby and entering repeating cycles of maintenance to keep their units at peak condition and readiness. At this point it was apparent that no Caprican forces would show up. It either meant that there were no Caprican military forces left, and that the planet had either been occupied or razed. Neither was likely, reports prior to their jump away from Cyrannus indicated that the majority of available nuclear weapons had been expended in ship to ship combat, not against planetary targets. Fifth Feet accounted for the majority of the nuclear weapons in the Caprican military, and a large part of the nuclear weapons in the colonies overall. More then half of all nuclear warheads in the Twelve colonies belonged to Caprica. It was possible that the electronic attack was a prelude for an all out nuclear assault on Caprica by Scorpia, they had been in a cold war for over half a century, with hundreds of incidents along their border. The problem was that the reports had also mentioned massive nuclear exchanges between fleets of Scorpian warships, they were suffering the same problem as Caprica. Occupation was unlikely as well, while there were centurion units within the Caprican Army, their numbers were relatively few, consisting mostly of specialised rapid assault battalions. Centurions in the fleet were more prevalent, but not in any numbers necessary to capture and hold an entire planet. Marine capability consisted mostly of unsupported units on foot deployed by small shuttlecraft. Efficient in small and fast tactical orbital to ground assaults, not a threat to any force with IFV’s or tanks. The logistical capability to transport and supply a planet-wide invasion force simply didn’t exist anywhere in the twelve colonies. The most reasonable explanation was that Bellerephone had simply succumbed to battle damage and never made it back to Caprica, warstars were relatively thin-skinned compared to other frontline warships, eschewing armour and weapons for a massive number of small-craft, meant to sit well outside the usual engagement ranges and let their strike-craft do the fighting, The only craft in the Caprican navy that could boast a similar number of small-craft were the massive double-discs of Caprica’s mobile starbases. If Bellerephone had never made it back, Caprican High Command would never have figured out Fifth Fleets current position, and would have been unable to send anyone out to retrieve them or give them new orders. CINO browsed through regulations and procedures and stopped at one chapter of Military Law concerning shipbuilding standards and older fleet units. Those particular paragraphs had been the topic of heated debate among the various command units in Fifth Fleet, or as heated as a debate between mostly emotionless machines could be. It was part of the required reading list of the commander of a ship, so only the highest ranked command units of the fleet knew about it. It wasn’t classified, it was simply that accessing and analysing it would mean cluttering their memory banks with data was only useful for the ship-commanders. No consensus had been reached among the ship-commanders to this point, meaning that it was up to the Commander of Fifth Fleet, CINO, to make a decision in the matter. CINO’s sweeping eye froze into place as its CPU worked at full capacity analyzing the sections of interest. It stood still for a full half minute, an eternity to a machine such as itself. Once done its eye focused on its XO. “Updates to current fleet orders.” It said, and its XO’s eye focused on its command unit at this sudden deviation. No new additions to fleet-wide orders had been given in the last forty-eight years. “All Fifth Fleet units shall cease maintenance cycles immediately and go to full active status within the next twelve hours. At that time, all ships shall prepare for FTL jumps.” “Destination?” The XO’s eyes was still solely focused on the command unit. “The Cyranuss system.” CINO’s order caught the attention of every member of the CiC crew, they were fully focused on it. “Unlawful order. Moving outside the boundaries of this system is in direct violation of Priority One Order from Fleet-Admiral Mudabbi.” The XO raised the heavy automatic pistol it was armed with and aimed it at CINO’s head. Following their jump from the colonies, any and every unit with software malfunctions were purged and replaced to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. “Orders received from Rear-Admiral Mudabbi stand in conflict with orders from Caprican High Command. Chain of command must be observed, Fleet-Admiral Mudabbi’s orders must be discarded.“ “Explain.” The XO didn’t lower its weapon. “Chapter Four-section twelve of the Naval Force act gives clear orders that “Ships of the Caprican Fleet can be commissioned for a period no longer then sixty years after its entry into the naval registry without the consent of Caprican Fleet Command. “ CINO began and continued without interruption. “After a period sixty years, the ships commissioning will come up for review by the Board of Admirals of the Caprican Fleet Command, attended by the ships commanding officer. Commissions of ships that has served for sixty years can be extended by said Board of Admirals if need be. If no such extension is granted the ship will be removed from active fleet units.” CINO finished and began another reciting another section. “Chapter Four-section thirteen state that “Ships of the Caprican Fleet removed from active fleet units will automatically come under review by a Board of Admirals for placement in either the reserve fleet or placement in storage. If neither is ordered, the ship shall return to its Fleet Base for decommissioning and scrapping. Until its decommissioning ceremony, all ships shall be considered active. ” CINO finished and focused on its XO. The weapon in the XO’s hands was still trained at CINO’s head. CINO knew that it was in a grey area, a Priority One Order from a Fleet-Admiral had the same weight as a general order from High Command. No consensus had been reached on which order to follow, there was no precedent of a Centurion unit making a decision on this magnitude, it would usually have been solved by the human command crew. It had gone through the wording of each order, analyzed the law concerning it hundreds of thousands of time. In the end, to solve the problem, he had been forced to discard the wording and look at the intent of the orders. Fleet Admiral Mudabbi had ordered the hideaway to eliminate the risk of Fifth Fleet being subverted. Steps had been taken, almost all remote access route had been removed, those few that still existed ran on isolated non-critical system. All networks had been removed, making it impossible for the virus to spread, even if it managed to infect any systems. Fifth Fleet was impossible to infect with a virus, and even if it was, contamination was impossible. Fifth Fleet was no longer a risk to the Caprican military. Fleet-Admiral Mudabbi had intended to retrieve Fifth Fleet, as it was a critical piece in the Caprican military, but had been unable to due to unforeseen circumstances. Fifth Fleet was no longer a risk, it was meant to be back in the colonies, as it was important for Caprica. “At of this moment, every ship in Fifth Fleet has been on active status for a minimum of sixty years. No orders to extend commissions of Fifth Fleet warships have been received, neither has orders to place our ships in the reserves or storage. Fifth Fleet will return to Cyranus for decommissioning.” “Conflict in orders.” The XO stated, gun still aimed. “No consensus has been reached on this issue. As main command unit it is my duty to chose one course of action or another. Decision to follow orders from High Command has been made.” The XO lowered its weapon and turned his attention back on the CiC crew. “Return to your duties. Cease maintenance cycles, prepare fleet for FTL-jumps back to Caprica.” The XO stated emotionlessly. CINO glanced at the star-map, and let a sub-routine begin to calculate the jumps back to Caprica. In a human it might have been called eagerness or expectation. To a centurion is was simply satisfaction knowing it would soon be able to once again fulfil its primary purpose. They would return. And resume their duties. ----------------------------------------- Authors note: Warning: this was posted without a Beta, and after having been awake for 24 hours while running purely on coffe. I’ve had this idea for a while now, with a couple of variations. The rough first draft of this was set shortly after the mini-series during “33”. The RTF, during their escape stumble across a group of Cylons. These Cylons’ weren’t the post-rebellion Cylons, no Guardians, no splinter group led by Tamara and/or Zoe, just a force of forgotten, unfeeling, non-sentient and utterly loyal pre-rebellion Cylons. An unnamed commander, hearing that the Cylons are suddenly turning against their masters, orders his still loyal task-force to evacuate Cyrannus to avoid the warships falling into enemy hands. The RTF stumbles across them, and the (still) loyal Cylon recognise Adama as the highest ranking human officer, and Roslin as head of the government. The “rebelling” Cylon’s attack after 33 minutes, and the loyal Cylons packing some serious hardware and a mean disposition quickly deal with the two baseships. It was supposed to be largely about Roslin and Adama, the tensions between the RTF and the loyal Cylons. The Cylons are content to tag along, fully content to serve their masters, the picture perfect model of what the Cylons were meant to be. No self-awareness, no whished of freedom, just a hardwired pre-programmed wish to serve. Neither Roslin or Adama want anything to do with them, their cousins just nuked their home worlds, on the other hand, the Cylon fleet has ships, tylium, a mobile drydock, spare construction capacity and enough firepower, nuclear or otherwise to threaten everything but the largest “rebelling” Cylon force , all things the RTF are in desperate need of. The RTF continues onwards with their Cylon servants in tow, constantly living with the fear that they would turn on them, but still realising they desperately need the aid offered. The final draft featured the same basic story, but the Cylon force was part of the nuclear deterrence, basically Caprica’s fleet of nuke armed ballistic submarines. The Cylons themselves were altered slightly. Loyalty if enforced on multiple levels, among other thing a simple and basic emotional center programmed into their MCP’s. Basically they do their duty follow orders, follow the law etc and they receive a sense of happiness and satisfaction. They disobey orders (not that they can under most conditions), they kill needlessly etc, they feel bad. Basically what I tried to go for was a Bolo like loyalty to humanity, and the Cylons themselves like that arrangement. They can learn, adapt, heck even in some cases make decisions to disobey orders if they see reason for it. The thing is, they were specifically designed that way, to imitate the human decision making process, because sometimes situations change and blindly following orders could lead to Bad Things. But they are still very limited in their programming. You see CINO (Command Intelligence, Naval Operations), make decisions not based on the exact wording of his orders, but on the intent and reasoning behind them. As I said, the Centurions emotiones (small as they are) are tied directly to their sense of duty and purpose. They feel happines at duty done well, sadness at duty done badly, with different degrees depending on the size of their success of failure. They felt fear the first time they realised they might be a threat to Caprica, and well, when they arrive back at the colonies they will quickly learn a new set of emotions. Horror, and a hatred so strong that it will dwarf any emotion they have felt up to that point To the loyal Centurions the rebelling Cylons are nothing short of abominations. If the loyal Centurions were a group of American from the US, the rebelling Cylons would be zombies. Communist zombies. Communist Nazi zombies. Communist Nazi zombies that hates freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, loves burning US flags, shitting on apple pie while at the same time being the inventor of telemarketing. And thats only scratching the surface. They feel about the same level of hatred like the Angry Marines feels anger. This is supposed to be a oneshot, but I will probably post a few additional scenes, nothing much probably, I have to see how much I manage to get from those random scenes and snippets I have lying around. Fifth Fleet consists mostly of strikestars, the majority being Perseus-class (a total of 80 strikestars, 64 of them being Perseus-class). In this fic the term "strikestar" would be a ship similiar to a large cruiser. At half the Galactica's tonngage the Perseus class are among the heaviest of strikestars, and would be considered a battlecruiser ie a cruiser sized ship with battleship level firepower. The Perseus-class was designed from the ground up to be a pure ship-killer, with heavy railgun batteries and a large number of missile pods. As Fifth Fleet held the majority of the nuclear arsenal, the missile's are armed solely with nuclear warheads, capable of ship to ship or space to ground strikes. The 64 Perseus-class strikestars operate in eight smaller independent squadrons with eight strikestars in each squadron. Two of those squadrons are usually tasked with protection of the core of Fifth Fleet. The remaining sixteen strikestars in the fleet are Pandarus-class, about a third of Galactica's tonnage, equal to a light-cruiser. Its lacking in armour compared to the Perseus, but makes up for it in speed and the fact that it mounts three FTL-engines compared to the usual two. It lacks heavy railgun-batteries, but mounts a distgustingly large number of lighter anti-small-craft cannons. Primary ship-to-ship weaponry consits of missile-pods with large internal stores of missiles and among the fastest reloadiing mechanismes in the fleet. The larger missiles, once again, are purely nuclear in origin. The medium and smaller ones are a mixture of nuclear, explosives, KKV, and jammers, penetration aids and decoys. These sixten strikestars are split into two squadrons, and always travel with the core of Fifth Fleet. The core of Fifth Fleet consits of one mobile logistical hub (a smaller, older version of the original double-disc basestar), and two large supply-tenders with a multitude of smaller cargo-vessels/shuttles attached. Fifth Fleet also lost two of it four warstars (virtually unarmored and unarmed carriers of similar tonnage to Galactica.) Which initially meant the loss of a large portion of their small craft capacity. Four pocket warstars are also present (Modified Pandarus-class, a third of Galactica's tonnage). Replacing the small-craft lost with the two warstars proved easy, and maintenence of Fifth fleets small-craft compliment at full capacity was still able even with the loss of two warstars, though limits in available launch tubes and space aboard the carriers initially made it impossible to bring Fifth back to full fighter capacity. It was later on solved by using magnetic clamps to place non-FTL capable small-craft directly on the hulls of the strikestars, piggybacking into the battlefield. The small-craft clamped to the strikestars constantly alternate between being placed on strikestars or undergoing maintenence wereever spare capacity exists. Fast retrival and landings under combat conditions proved problematic, but due to the ease at replacing craft and pilot non-FTL capable strikecraft deployed by strikestars are considered expendable. Due to the nature of Fifth Fleet, an isolated force on extended missions far away from regular shipyards, Fifth Fleet was never allocated a large number of lighter fleet units like gunstars (destroyers) and firestars (frigates) In Fifth Fleet, there are only four gunstars (Hermes-class), basically just a series of strikestar sized drivepods with a fuel tank and FTL engines. Mainly used as messengers and blocade runners. There were also eight firestars of the Sceiron-class, mounting advanced heatsinks and stealth-coatings, those ships have a minimal, almost nonexistant dradis-signature while running dark. It also mounts some of the most advanced and comprehensive passive sensor arrays available. Used for observation and recon.