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7 Points 2: Colonial Thunder

Chaos_eternus

Title: 7 Points 2: Colonial Thunder
Author: chaos_eternus
Word Count: 18,449
Date: 08/11/04
Rating: T
Category: Crossover, Action
Warnings: War... nothing much really.
Summary: When Commander Adama finds a familiar Seven Point address for earth, he sets a course for hope and the Tau'ri
Spoilers/Disclaimers: Not much unless you havent seen the mini...

For the record: I do not own, nor do I claim ownership of characters or concepts from Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Chocky, Hackers or any other cross used within

Previously

 

            “Minutes ago this ship received word of a massive cylon attack against the colonies.  Why, How, doesn't really matter anymore. As of this moment, we are at war” <Commander Adama>

 

            “The war is over, we lost”

            <Commander Adama + President Roslin>

 

            "They called the exercise off after the passive pods detected multiple thermonuclear detonations coming from at least twelve separate sources deep from the tail end of the spiral arm. The records are being dumped into our main computers for analysis as a crash priority now, but Captain `Python' Monroe says it looked like someone was ‘Coventrating' twelve worlds."

            <Commander Sarah Williams to Admiral Thompson>

 

"Twelve worlds were systematically carpet bombed with nukes into oblivion. These worlds were inhabited."

            <Commander Sarah Williams to Admiral Thompson>

 

"Yes,Sir…What in the name of Kobol?"

            Adama spun around sharply, "Report!"

             "New contact! Unidentified contact engaging the Cylons, trying for an

ID…" Lieutenant Gaeta trailed off, frantically trawling through his displays before giving up, shaking his head, "Contact matches no known technology base."

 

“What world do you hail from?” Adama asked, the words causing ears around the room to prick up furthur.

            “Earth, also known as Terra”

            “On behalf of the survivors of the twelve colonies of Kobol, I request Asylum for all the refugees, the surviving military officers and myself”

Chapter 1: Planetfall

 

            Galactica arrived at Alpha Centauri to find a scene of total chaos, as ships moved and weaved around the fleet at incredible, breath taking speeds, more ships pouring into the system all the time, rapidly overwhelming the sensors as they attempted to catalogue and record each contact.

            Above the fleet stood a warfleet, Adama had no compunction about calling it that, these vessels had the lean hungry look common to all smaller warships, their lines harsh and deadly.

            And they had their weapons hot, their attitude above the fleet appearing aggressive and yet defensive, they had ships to protect and they would, and they would have no worries about killing anything, even one of their own that got in their way.

            As Adama watched, the order swiftly became clear as smaller, ugly craft flashed out of hyper, dropping what could only be cargo pods into orbit over the distant green ball that would be their new home, before turning, flashing into hyper again.

            Around the fleet, smaller craft, reminiscent of old jet craft darted about, chivvying, keeping the fleet in formation, and occasionally swiftly docking, before darting off again.

            A third type of small craft was ferrying supplies up from the surface of the occupied world, the glint of sunlight reflecting off some massive construct visible even at this distance.

            “Commander”

            The voice of the Tau'ri Wing-Commander, a rank unfamiliar to him but to all appearances meaning a Commander of Fighters, distracted him from his thoughts.

            “Yes Wing-Commander?”

            Liana smiled, “My name is Ross, feel free to use it. Those tugs jumping in and out of hyper with supplies are Shunters, 1-5 series craft. The Paladins, 1-6 series craft are mother Henning your fleet for you and the Airheads, 1-4 series are the atmospheric capable tugs.

            From their movements, I suspect they are waiting for you to lead the fleet the final steps to your new home”

            Adam smiled, they had come so far and now under the watchful eyes of their saviours, the last step was to be theirs as well.

            That was only right and fair.

            “Helm, move us to the head of the fleet, Colonel Tigh, I want full nav lights and salutes, we're leading them home” Adama barked to the bridge, then reached down, grabbing the ship wide speaker “All hands, this is the Commander, we are now at Alpha Centauri and the world promised to us by the 13th World of Man is now in sight, in honour of our fallen, all hands will face aft and salute for the journey unless engaged in critical operations, that is all”

            “Commander? Blastboat and Invincible just arrived” Gaeta looked up amused and a bit confused, “they say if they had a broom, they would tie it up it their mastheads but they lost the ‘damn' thing”

            Ross smirked, amused, “somebody has been doing some ‘unofficial' hunting. Brooms are what the old submarine service tie to their mastheads if they manage a clean sweep, if they have killed everything they have shot at”

            Ross frowned, “I wouldn't bet on it being unofficial actually, they were probably sent to do some covert checking out at the twelve worlds”

            Adama frowned as the words sunk in, then he smiled, too enthused by having a world to call home again to stay unhappy for long, “I would probably do the same thing”

            “We're in position Commander” Tigh spoke, walking up to his friend, “And the Tau'ri vessels are all at standing too, the small ones that were amongst our boys have gone”

            “Launch the Vipers, have them form a ceremonial guard over the fleet then take us out Colonel”

            “Aye sir”

 

            As one, the fleet surged forward, the vessel moving almost as one on this last step as they headed for their new world. Around them darted the swift deadly vipers, triumphant, undefeated, behind them in the tail guard position stood Hell's Runner, her lights blinking in salute, her weapons hot and ready.

            And to their sides stood and honour guard of MTB's and Lancers, reminders even in this small final step to freedom that they were no longer alone.

            Gracefully, Galactica entered orbit over Alpha Secundus with nary a twitch, a sigh nor a mutter of relief, the valiant, battered yet undefeated lady as strong and sure as the day she left the yards.

            Perhaps already, she was considering the battles to come, perhaps already she was thinking of the refit she had been promised, of the even more deadly warrior she was to become in time.

            Perhaps, she just knew her time wasn't over yet, that she still had her duty. Either way, her arrival was as a warrior and a lady.

 

Chapter 2: Founding

 

            Adama walked swiftly out of the plastic prefabricated shed that served as headquarters for the small colony, and sighed, breathing deeply in the moist, fresh air of a world as yet untouched by pollution, with it fragrance of pollen, flowers and freshly turned soil after the rain.

            Lords, it was a beautiful bouquet of a smell, something to truly treasure about this new world.

            Smiling, he walked slowly along the newly gravelled road through the centre of the hastily constructed town, acknowledging with a nod and as smile the cheerful greetings of Colonials and Tau'ri alike.

            For him, this had become a treasured tradition. Everyday since they had first set foot on the world they know called ‘Freedom' he had taken the time to walk the colony, often accompanied by President Roslin, listening to the people, hearing their questions and requests.

            Today, he was alone, and all he was hearing was messages of luck for the ailing President. Today, Roslin was starting her course of chemotherapy at the three-story hospital that was the sole permanent concrete construction within the town, overshadowed as it was by the massive bulk of the allied Ha'tak, Del Shakka Mel, its master, Enerina, not yet cleared by the doctors to leave the hospital.

            Adama smiled, Enerina was out of danger, had been for a while, something he had every reason to be grateful for, she had returned Boomer to them, she had shown that the Cylon human models, or at least those with Human as well as cylon personalities could be returned to society. Indeed, today Boomer was taking her first flight since her operation under the watchful eye of Starbuck.

            And since then, at least eight more cylons had been revealed by the Tau'ri, including the unusual case of Doctor Baltar who appeared to be some sort of cylon variant, something worthy of study. His implants had no connections to his motor functions, the implanted cylon could affect his perception of reality, in itself a dangerous skill, but could not physically control Baltars body. Why the cylons had chosen to torture Baltar in this fashion was unknown, but Adama was very interested in finding out, though he had his suspicions.

He had seen the psyche profile Colonial Intelligence had originally drawn up on him, which had stated all to clearly that Baltar was a security risk, something which seemed to have been ignored because of the mans all to evident brilliance. He couldn't tell the other members of the newly re-formed Council Of Twelve that he believed Baltar responsible for the destruction of the colonies without serious proof though, for obvious reasons.

He smiled as the entrance to the hospital came into view, its steps littered with wild flowers and small trinkets left by well wishers, guarded over by a pair of grim faced Tau'ri, their cap badges declaring them to be of the SGC.

Nodding to him, they swiftly opened the door for him, ignoring the disgusted comments of the crowd of well wishers who had been trying to enter, to wish their president well all day.

For Roslin was popular, for the most part she had been the one to organise the civilians, she had been the one to organise their escape to Galactica, and she had been the one to lead them even as his Galactica shielded them, as best she could.

“I'm sorry Commander, Roslin is already in surgery” the nurse on the front desk said as he walked in, her uniform declaring her to be a Colonial Nurse, presumably either from the hospital ship or one of the largest passengers liners, all of which were required to carry a small medical staff aboard at all times.

Adama nodded, he would not want to be Roslin at this point, surgery, chemotherapy and the alien hand devices were going to be thrown at her system and if that failed, well, the Tau'ri said they knew of a sure fire cure but one with something of a sting the Roslin might not like.

Adama wasn't sure he liked the comment about ‘having some left over after the gatecrasher op', even if he didn't really understand it. It spoke of a certain contempt for the thing that could cure the leader the civilians needed so much.

Yes, they looked to him for protection but they didn't see him as their leader; that was reserved for Roslin, something he found himself grateful for in many ways, still…

Nodding, Adama left the hospital behind, heading for the small airfield that was being constructed at the edge of the growing town. This small field was to be the start of a renewed colonial military, something the Tau'ri had not even attempted to take from them.

So far, all they had was there Vipers, most Mark IIs, a single Raptor and the Hells Runner, but that would start to change. Galactica herself was largely Tyrols bird at the moment as she was prepped for refit, and if the Tau'ri's information was correct, and he had no reason to doubt it, Galactica would be of little use against a Goa'uld attack but the Vipers and Hells Runner they were assured would be more than capable of tearing Goa'uld Udajeet apart whilst the Raptor provided an ‘AWACS' capability the Tau'ri lacked. Adama rolled the unfamiliar word around his mouth, ‘AWACS', an unfamiliar and inappropriate word and yet it seemed to have stuck, even starting to be used by the Colonials themselves, strange. Adama chuckled; there was probably a popular science paper in that.

Their military would grow, already there were Tau'ri designed Airheads, Shunters and Paladins on route, ready to be transferred to the Colonials. Already, several of their larger vessels had been released to the Tau'ri for the Sol/ Alpha Centauri run, mostly the Liners and Cargo vessels that were in the best condition. The rest were being redlined, awaiting future refit or disassembly.

Soon, they would have their own warships again. Already, they had negotiated for a full squadron of MTB's to be constructed for their use, to defend the Alpha Centauri and Sol Systems and as soon as they began to build capital ships, maybe they could go on the offensive again.

Adama had a feeling, as he watched the Raptor lift from the airfield with a practised grace that could only mean Boomer was at the helm, that he would live to see the day the Colonials stood on their own two feet again.

 

Chapter 3: Tollan and Colonials.

 

            Brigadier General O'Neill, Commander of Tau'ri military operations within the Alpha Centauri system chuckled to himself as he led the unsuspecting Adama through the crowd of visiting dignitaries and military officials as they awaited the first firing of a Tollan Ion Cannon since the fall of New Tollana several years ago.

            The Tollan was the first refugee group to arrive at the Alpha Centauri system, brought by the escaping SG teams and the renegade Goa'uld Enerina after the ill fated Thundergate operation and so far they and the Colonials had yet to meet.

            O'Neill intended to change that, he knew Narim and the mere 78 surviving Tollan would be able to talk to Adama, ease many of the fears he knew Adama and the rest of the Colonials must be feeling at placing their fate largely in the hands of the Tau'ri, after all, the Tollan had been under Tau'ri protection for over a year now with few complaints.

            It would help ease the transition, the thought made Jack chuckle. It was a good thing the rest of the retired SG-1 team couldn't hear his thoughts; they would be pretty agape if they found out he actually knew such long words as transition and could use them properly. On the other hand, maybe he should let them know, would be good for a laugh.

            “Ahh Narim, I would like you to meet someone, this is Commander Adama of the Colonial Military, Adama meet Narim, Narim is in charge of the Tollan survivors that are under our protection”

            Adama straightened, interested. Then sent O'Neill a wry glance as he figured it out. O'Neill just grinned, and left them to it.

 

            “Excuse me” Narim said some fifteen minutes later as he broke off the conversation with Adama, heading swiftly for the podium at some unnoticed signal.

            Adama hadn't been informed why he was to be hear today, but he was told it was important and from the conversations he had overheard and some enigmatic comments from Narim, and obvious civilian but one who had no problem with working with the military Adama commented to himself, he knew it was about to get interesting.

            “Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention please”

            “Thank you. Today as you know will be the first firing of a Tollan designed Ion cannon since the fall of new Tollana over a year ago, but this Ion Cannon is designed with a very different purpose in mind to those which had defended Tollana and New Tollana for so many years, those were weapons of defence only but we and our Tau'ri protectors are at war and a solely defensive weapon is of little use.

            This is the early prototype of a new weapon of war, to be stationed defensively on the surface of Tau'ri controlled worlds and facilities and used offensively onboard the Tau'ri and Colonial fleets.

            We Tollan may be too few to fight ourselves, something in our arrogance we would never have even considered before, but we can use our superior knowledge to assist those we can and will fight for our freedoms, such as the Asgard who welcomed with open arms the assistance of our geneticists and to whom we have recently been able to give new hope, such as the Tau'ri, who despite our arrogance towards them in the past came for us and offered us shelter.

            This is for all those who fight for our freedom”

            Narim reached down, his finger pressing what Adama assumed to be the start button.

            And the massive bulk behind Narim spat fire, a brilliant bolt of energy lancing into space, momentarily blinding the Commander.

            Five seconds later, another shot followed it, a third, a fourth, and a fifth.

            Adama followed the bolts and with shock realised that they were reaching orbit, and beyond. This Adama knew he had to see if he could acquire, and fast.

            “As yet” Narim continued “the units are twice the size and have an abysmal firing rate compared to the original Tollan units, but we have proven they are possible to construct using Tau'ri technology.

            We anticipate the units being ready for deployment by the end of the year.

            Thank you”

            Adama whistled as he rose from his seat to examine the units, his mind swiftly disbelievingly assimilating what he had just seen.  He knew the Tau'ri were advanced in several areas and becoming more advanced all the time, but this was mind-boggling.

            Adama stilled as a hand grabbed at his arm, “Briefing in the Pilots Briefing room in twenty minutes, four doors down from the main canteen” he was told quietly, by what sounded to Adama to be Teal'c before he was freed.

            Adama frowned, a quiet message for a briefing not an announcement or official message? Something was up.

 

Chapter 4: Cylons And False Gods

 

            Adama entered the darkened room quietly; noting the grim collection of people gathered there, the images of Cylon craft and models tacked to the walls.

            This was about the Cylons then, he hoped they had something new to impart because he didn't, and he recognised a lot of this group from other meetings.

            “People, we have a problem” a grim faced Kalinda said, striding up to the front of the room as everyone swiftly found seats, “We now know exactly who ordered the destruction of the twelve colonies”

            She paused, grimly glancing around the room, “The analysis of the data acquired during the hack of the Cylon baseship is mostly complete and what we have discovered is pretty disturbing.

            First off, at least one Goa'uld knew of the twelve colonies”

            Adama stiffened, almost thrown off his seat in shock and horror.

            “Not only that but this Goa'uld, believed to be Count Iblis was, according to encrypted files buried within the Cylon mainframe, responsible for the Cylon rebellion, as he modified the original cylons programming in order to trigger the Cylon/Human war. His reasoning is not known, but his image was in several of the baseships computers related to their ‘God' and it matched an image acquired by RSG-4 of a Goa'uld in service to Anubis”

            “Oh shit” a moan sounded throughout the room and Kalinda looked at the speaker with sympathy in her eyes.

            “Exactly, and with what little Intel we have suggesting Anubis just shifted a lot of resources to refitting of an unknown fleet of vessels after he was known to take a trip past Earth down the spiral arm, well we can assume not only are the Cylons receiving upgrades from Anubis but that they now know where to find us.

            And for those of you who don't know, Anubis is the most advanced technologically of the Goa'ulds, surpassing even Maktenos”

            Kalinda paused, “To make sure everyone is seeing the implications here, Anubis quite possibly just gained himself an entire fleet of warships, upgrading them will take time but not as much as usual as the machines doing the upgrading can work pretty much 24-7, they will not tire, will not need caffeine breaks and sure as hell don't have a union.

            Not only that, but his new vessels will have the reaction times of computers and he will be able to mass-produce them in vast quantities as he will no longer have to wait for more Jaffa to be trained, join his cause or for more supersoldiers to be produced.

            This will give Anubis sufficient forces to overpower Maktenos, the only force currently keeping him in check and allow him to move directly onto Earth with overwhelming numbers

            I now give the floor to General Hammond, former Commander of the SGC”

            Hammond strode wearily up to the podium, his step lacking the spring he had gained since retiring Command of the SGC to General Carter/ Celmac, “Gentlemen, this is the worst crisis to face us in recent years. Uptil now, the Goa'uld have always been a significant threat but there has always been a counter, the other systems lords, the Asgard, and Maktenos has acted as a counter to Anubis for a year now.

            Anubis has in his grasp, the ability to forcibly seize complete control of this galaxy virtually unchallenged and once again it falls to us to stop him.

            The question is, how?”

            “Fleet action against the Cylons before the upgrades are completed?” Adama turned, looking for the voice that had uttered the suggestion.

            Hammond shook his head, “Anubis left with five Motherships, came back with one. That means he left four ships we have no hope of killing to defend the cylons and oversee the upgrades”

            Adama started, “Can't we separate the Cylons from Anubis?”

            Hammond looked at him interested, “How?”

            Adama glanced around, noting he had everyone's attention, “Well, the Cylons have been ordered to destroy Humanity and the Jaffa are human, broadly speaking”

            Hammond thought about it, then shook his head, “The Jaffa can be passed off as a human based race, much as the humanoid models of the Cylons themselves”

            “False gods! Of course” Kalinda shouted, then glanced around flushing as she realized she had grabbed everyone's attention, “Uhmm, we have a pretty good idea that the Cylons god is a false god right?

            What if we let the Cylons know somehow? I mean, they think they received their orders from God but if it is proven that they didn't wouldn't they be pretty mad at the one who pretended to be ‘God', as in Holy War type mad?”

            Adam sank back stunned in his seat, for a civilian science specialist Kalinda sure knew how to chuck out risky plans every now and again, the cylon hack and now this?

            Hammond commented, “Risky, very very risky”

            Adama nodded, agreeing, “It will slow the Human/Cylon war down a lot, give us more time”

            “Wouldn't it stop the human/cylon war? I mean they have no reason to destroy humanity if their orders are false?”

            Adama rolled his eyes at the naivety of the young officer in the SGC uniform, “They cannot afford to, they knew that if any of the colonials survive eventually we will come for them, we will enact our vengeance and we will retake our worlds. They started this, now they are committed whether they like it or not”

            “Its an extremely risky plan” Hammond commented again.

            “Yes it is” Adama replied.

            “So what do we do?” Kalinda spoke into the silence that filled the room.

 

Chapter 5: Identity

 

            Adama couldn't help but reflect that this seemed a relatively minor worry compared to those they had been facing just a month ago, compared to their very existence it seemed so minor, and yet it wasn't.

            It was a matter of identity, of who they were.

            Granted they were so few, mere thousands but that was more than enough to found this city with and in time, as the population grew they could spread out across the planet but still one question needed to be answered.

            How would they protect their identity, their unique cultural strengths?

            Already far too many of their people were looking to their saviours for everything, including how to behave, including for potential spouses.

            Yes, so they would some outside DNA brought in, help keep the relatively small gene pool from going stale on them but not to the extent parts of the populace seemed to be practising it.

            They were Colonials, not Tau'ri.

            But that distinction seemed to be fading.

            “Something needs to be done” Adama agreed.

            Across the mahogany board table Adama could see Roslin nodding in agreement, and he smiled at her again, refusing to look away from her bald appearance, her hair destroyed by the more powerful yet less kind chemotherapy drugs of the Tau'ri.

            She was a fighter Adama reflected, she may not be a Colonial Warrior but she was a fighter, she would pull through. Kobol help them if she didn't.

            “Some martial pride perhaps?” Tigh noticed quickly he had everyone's attention, “I mean everyone looks up to Galactica and Hells Runner, the two of which make of the confirmed” Tigh stressed that word, reflecting on recent messages from the Tau'ri concerning other transmissions they had detected, “strength of the Colonial Military, and so we use that.

            We can not do anything about Galactica, if we are to be safe, she needs to be upgraded as soon as possible for this theatre of combat and if that means the Tau'ri have some say in her use, so be it. Nor should we do much about the MTB's, we need those six ships as soon as possible to defend ourselves with but we keep the Colonial Military separate.

            We design our own warships, we upgrade and design new Vipers and Raptors ourselves, we prove to the people the military is being kept separate from the Tau'ri and they will take note”

            Wearily Roslin nodded, “It's a start, but it may not be enough, we need to do more”

            “We could ask the Tau'ri to move all non-essential personnel off-world, explain we wish to maintain our cultural identity, if the history they told us in correct, they should be amenable, especially if we can get this ‘Daniel Jackson' on our side when he arrives tomorrow”

            Adama smiled, a little shocked at Billy, such an obvious idea and yet it hadn't occurred to him, maybe he vas getting too cynical in his old age “Its worth a try”

            Tigh chuckled, “Guess who just volunteered for the job of sweet talking the good Doctor?”

            Adama and Roslin both shot Tigh looks which clearly said, ‘that's Cruel!'

            “Dualla has been liasing with the Tau'ri a lot,” Adama added, “Best speak with her first”

            Billy just nodded, a little nervously.

            “Any other suggestions? Then same time tomorrow” Nodding, Roslin left the room, striding quickly through the town to her temporary home, the hospital.

 

Chapter 6: Upgrades and Redesigns

 

            Tyrol and Boomer left their quarters quickly, not commenting on the fact that General O'Neill had known enough to assign them a double, heading swiftly for the conference room.

            Today was a big day, today Tyrol and Boomer, Mechanic and Flier determined Galactica's fate.

            To put it mildly, they were nervous. Adama had entrusted them with the task of having his baby, his ship brought up to date in a manner that wouldn't compromise her past or her spirit.

            They didn't want to fail Adama, he had done so much to keep them safe but the level of trust he had shown them, especially Boomer who had been compromised by the Cylons they found mind-blowing.

            Pausing briefly, they strode into the conference room.

            “Morning Tyrol, Boomer” Kalinda greeted them as they entered, “In case you don't know, I'm Kalinda, head of RSS Technical Services”

            “Kalinda…?” Boomer asked.

            Kalinda grinned, “Just Kalinda, now we need to get to work. The third Ha'tak bay has almost been completed and will be ready for the Galactica within two weeks, we need to have the refit designed out ready by then and approved”

            Tyrol nodded, “Right, so speaking generally what's the plan?”

            Kalinda nodded, agree on the broad strokes first, good idea, “Replace the current rail gun based CIWS and AA guns with the latest Pulse Laser batteries, same rate of fire, slightly higher damage from the mark IV's and no ammunition storage requirements along with increased reliability”

            Tyrol nodded, “the no ammunition thing would have been useful a couple of times during our escape, but what about power requirements?”

            “Roughly the same as the rail guns, the power is just used differently”

            “What about the main guns?” Boomer asked.

            “Those big guns would have to be swapped, the projectiles move to slow and around here, the surviving enemies are those who have figured out how to dodge. We will be replacing the four heavy rail guns and their three coils with four gauss rifles probably turret mounted so they have a greater range of fire”

            Tyrol winched as he heard how Galactica was to be butchered but kept silent as Kalinda continued, he didn't really like it but he knew it would make Galactica a more formidable warship and their circumstances demanded that the Galactica become the deadliest warship ever entered into the colonial fleet.

            “We will be adding at least one shield generator, possibly two. That combined with Galactica's heavy armour plate will mark her especially difficult for the enemy be they Goa'uld or Cylon to kill. However most of the space saved in dropping the ammunition bunkers for the CIWS array will be lost to the addition of a hyper drive”

            “Wait a minute” Tyrol interrupted, “We have FTL drives installed, what would we need hyper drive for too?”

            “Your jump drives are far more efficient at short jumps but as you increase the jump distance energy requirements tend to start to get prohibitive. Hyper drives are capable of jumping far greater distances than jump drives and with much lower energy requirements but tend to lose out on short range jumps”

            Kalinda sighed, twiddling her biro in her hands, “that's the broad sweeps, anyone have a problem with them?”

            “Yes” Boomer replied, “I have seen the specs for the pulse rifles, they rely on a network to work properly and Adama will not allow a network aboard the Galactica

            Kalinda nodded, “We were expecting that” she reached down, flicking through a sheaf of papers till with a satisfied gasp she found the one she wanted, “here, as you can see we don't intend to use a single network to cover the ships batteries instead each array of pulse lasers will be split into two separate networks, each network connected to the controls on the bridge and secondary command centre but not at any stage to each other. That way a successful attack on one network will just shut one quarter of Galactica's CIWS capability down and on the effected side, half the Pulse Lasers will still be effective”

            Tyrol and Boomer looked swiftly at the diagrams, exchanged glances, then nodded, “We would have to check that with Adama but it looks a reasonable compromise between efficiency and safety”

            “Right, now lets get down to the nitty-gritty…”

            “Excuse me? The nitty-gritty?” Boomer asked.

 

Chapter 7: Cylon Treachery

 

            It was a grim war council of Cylons that gathered in a Baseship far above the glowing remains of Caprica, it number joined by a young Colonial Officer, the same naïve officer who had appeared at a meeting just a couple of weeks ago, the same naïve officer who had asked if the new information could possibly end the Human/Cylon war.

            He wasn't entirely surprised that his ‘escape' in a captured Cylon fighter had been so easy, he had figured out a long time ago that only a minimum of effort was going to be made to stop him.

            How they had figured him out he didn't know, he was a Twelve for Gods sakes! More advanced than any of the earlier models, supposedly harder to detect and far more capable.

            But they had done it.

            They had then given him information on the false god, they had even told him exactly what they were doing, exactly why they were telling him about the false god and then they had arranged an escape for him.

            He had to admit, the Tau'ri had him impressed, he knew they hadn't told Adama, he had him bugged. Not that that was important, not as important as this anyhow.

            It had taken them just hours to find the supposed embedded files once they had known what to look for, to verify their truthfulness.

            Just hours for the world to drop out between the Cylons feet.

            “So, what do we do?” Five asked.

            “Only one thing we can do” Six replied “We wait, we upgrade every vessel we can and then…”

            Six glanced around at the assembled Humanoid models, “And then we wipe this Iblis and Anubis off the map. For now, we avoid the Humans. They will have to be dealt with eventually but this is Holy War.

            He desecrated us, pretended to be our God, violated us.

            We will use his tools, his weapons and we will destroy him. Then we will deal with the Tau'ri and the Colonials” she paused, “Hopefully the other humans will never find a reason to seek our destruction, but if they do then we will deal with it then. God did not order us to destroy the humans therefore we only fight the surviving Colonials and the Tau'ri for our own survival, for that which we did under false orders; they will seek to eliminate us. If twelve is to be believed, they plan our annihilation in time even though they understand our position”

            “You all assume Anubis and Iblis are false Gods” Number one commented, a frown marring her pretty face, “they are not. All the Tau'ri and the Colonials have done is identify our gods for us. For that, we should reward them with as swift and as painless a death a possible”

            “But they didn't, they proved that the orders to destroy the colonials came from a fake” Number 4 commented reasonably.

            Twelve's eyes widened in horror and awe as the full scope of the Tau'ri plan became suddenly, horrifyingly clear to him.

            Not only had they redirected the Cylons to attack the Anubis, their own enemy and now the Cylons but they had triggered internal dissension, possibly the seeds of civil war within the Cylon Empire.

            Number Twelve suddenly found himself doubting that they would ever be able to defeat the humans.

 

Chapter 8: Pre-emptive Strikes

 

            Ter'st, Jaffa of the Goa'uld Anubis watched impassively as the Cylons approached the massive doors to the mothership Wrath Of Anubis, a massive cargo pallet at the centre of a large group of Warrior Models. Two thirds of the cylons had their arms in Ranged Weapons Configuration to deal with any approaching threat, the other third as usual had their hands converted to claws, ready to dismember any enemy who managed to ambush the group at close range.

            Even here, on the moon the Cylons called ‘home', they practised paranoia, assumed little.

            Ter'st commended them for it; there was no greater failure than to lose because of assumption. Anubis reserved some of his most painful deaths for those Jaffa whose assumptions lost him a battle, a ship, anything.

            As the cylons passed by him, Ter'st died with one final thought on his mind, he had assumed falsely the Cylons were loyal.

            His soul would burn in hell for his failure.

 

            Six smiled grimly at the tactical display as the blinking emblems of Anubis's motherships slowed turned, section by section from the Gold of the false god, to the bright oscillating red of the cylons.

            This first battle they had won with nary a whimper.

            The motherships would soon be checked over for Intel, then they would join the fleet, the Cylon fleet.

            She frowned suddenly, a second pattern forming in the chaos of battle.

            There were cylons fighting with the Jaffa.

            Against the direct orders of the council.

            Angrily, she tapped at the command console, trying to identify the renegades.

            A shiver rang across her back, and she stopped, suddenly understanding all too clearly what Colonial Warriors meant when they talked of the ‘old soldiers friend', the slight tap which signalled danger.

            She turned as the mocking voice of Number One reached her, “your plan not going quite as expected? I'm shocked, really”

            “What have you done?” Number Six asked, steel in her voice as she contemplated One's attack on her plans.

            “I posted guards aboard the motherships, I knew you would attack, turn your back on God and I was ready” One raised the Zat in her hands, “nice things these Zats, they disrupt all electromagnetic devices, including those that allow us to be resurrected”

            One smirked, mistaking the look on Six's face for defeat, “Now we will capture your other conspirators and have you shipped to Iblis for judgement”

            Six unmistakeably smirked, “about the Zats…”

            She grinned as One dropped to the floor, like a puppet with its strings cut, “I already knew”

            Number two smiled as she moved into the room, Zat clenched firmly in her gloved hands, a second clipped to her Colonial Pilots outfit, “Its time to send in the second wave”

 

            Number Three growled, annoyed as his fleet spread around ‘home', ready to support Number One in her bid to ensure the Cylon's remained loyal to God, he should have received her signal by now!

            The Motherships were approaching though; maybe she had just been delayed or suffered an unexpected death?

            Doyle cursed colourfully as the baseship shook underneath him, heavy weapons fire beating down the crafts new shields.

            “It appears number Six won, fine. If it is war she wants, then it is war she will get” he turned swiftly to a Eight unit, “find all the loyalist units you can, and plot them, I need to know which areas the traitors control”

            He turned disgusted back to the tactical display, “We cannot stand against three motherships and any reinforcements she may have with these two basestars, we must leave, now!”

 

            Adama looked up startled as a flash lit his darkened quarters, rising quickly from his bed he grimaced as a faint illumination showed O'Neill sitting within his room, his expression grim and yet hopeful, “It is done”

            Adama blinked, about to ask what was done, but it clicked and he snapped his mouth shut quickly.

            “So far three factions seem to have formed, the Loyalists under a number One, the Secessionists under a number Six and a third group we cannot classify under our old friend, twelve”

            Adama nodded, grimly, “It seems Baltar's ‘friend' is being honest with us”

            O'Neill shrugged, “A cylon in love with a human, it shows they are truly sentient”

            Adama faintly smirked, “Big words General, best not let the rest of SG-1 hear you use them”

            O'Neill chuckled, as he rose back to his feet, “I was never here”

            Adama dressed as the light from the Asgard transporter faded form the room, he best get some work done, he knew he would not sleep this night.

 

Chapter 9:  Probes and Surprises

 

            Kara glared upwards as she hurried to her Viper, flashes of light and explosions bringing false dawn to the sky as miles above her, warships grappled and fought, frantically fighting for an advantage, an edge, anything.

            She hated not being in on the party.

            She threw herself into the cockpit, narrowly avoiding Cally as she dived out of the way and began accelerated launch prep. The Tau'ri PDF forces may be holding their own, but she wanted to be there in case, she was a warrior after all, not some two-bit paper pusher afraid of their own shadow, she wanted in on the fight.

            Thirty seconds later, she was ready.

            “Starbuck requesting permission to launch!” she shouted, cursing the unfamiliar procedures of a ground facility.

            “Copy Starbuck, you are clear to launch on runway 2-west wind easterly and moderate, visibility restricted”

            With a predatory whoop, Kara launched from the base, rapidly punching her fighter into orbit, the first Viper in the air.

            The fight, Kara had to admit was no less impressive from space, as the three Planetary Defence Force MTB's grappled at close range with the heavy bulk of the Ha'tak, whilst the supporting Dauntless class struggled under the weight of Al-kesh and Udajeet fighters swarming it.

            Just one Ha'tak, probing attack Kara rapidly and correctly concluded.

            “All Vipers, all Vipers this is Starbuck, form on me, we have an ‘angel' being swarmed, prepare to engage”

            “Not to rain on the parade Kara” Apollo asked, a little annoyed by her presumptuous assumption of command, “but aren't we a little out classed?”

            “Its Udajeet and Al-kesh, we get the Udajeets off the back of the big boy over there then she'll be able to deal with the Al-kesh without interference”

            “Copy, all vipers, prepare to engage”

 

            Hel'tek sneered as she brought her Udajeet around for another pass; her squadron's superior piloting keeping the tau'ri warship pinned and vulnerable, at the mercy of the Al-kesh.

            Already she was weakened, the shields almost gone.

            Soon they would fire the death blow and another obstacle would be removed form the path of the great god.

            A flicker of light caught her eye and she instinctively dived her glider, a stream of projectiles flashing through space where the craft had been.

            Barking a warning to her squadron, she moved his fighter aggressively towards her new targets, smirking evilly at the thought of real combat, fighter to fighter.

            Now that was a true test of a pilot's mettle.

           

            Kara grinned with anticipation as the glider dived away from her guns, then moved in on her, attempting to attack.

            This one was no Sunday flier, this might actually be fun.

            She decided to accept the implicit challenge. Flicking her viper sideways to avoid the incoming bolts, she thumbed the throttle, her viper spinning evasively as she dived at the hostile fighter.

 

            Hel'tek rose upwards in her seat as the viper effortlessly avoided her fire, could it be?

            Hel'tek barked out a laugh as the ugly fighter bore in, its weapons economically spitting out the bare minimum of bullets.

            This one knew what they were doing.

            This would be a battle to remember for a long time, she may even persuade the misguided pilot to join her in service to her god.

 

            Flashing through space, twisting and frantically dodging the two elite pilots grappled, not noticing as the Vipers made short work of the other Udajeet, not noticing as the Al-kesh died, one by one, not noticing as the battered Indomitable was escorted slowly to the safety of Ravenbright station.

            This was a fight of two equals, nothing else mattered.

 

            “Frak me!” Kara cursed as within her helmet, the blipping sound of a low fuel state alarm burned.

            She would have to end this quickly.

            How?

           

 

            Hel'tek grinned as the fighter slowed, the pilot conserving their fuel.

            She had the superior Udajeet, she had no such worries.

            But she wanted to know the name of this valiant pilot before they died, they had proven themselves worthy of remembering.

            Hel'tek stiffened, alarm suddenly shooting through her veins and she instinctively pressed fire as the human fighter pulled an impossible manoeuvre.

 

Grimly, Kara realised she had one option that might work, dangerous as it was against a skilled opponent.

            She slowed her manoeuvring in, pulling the Udajeet in.

            The she struck; flipping her craft over a perfect 180 she gazed into the eyes of herself and fired.

 

            Kara's eyes widened her finger tight on the firing button as she gazed into the unmistakeable face of herself.

            A loud bang broke their eye contact as the Viper spun off, out of control  and dead, the last of the fuel flowing swiftl away from the burning main engines and into space.

            “Krypter krypter…” Kara paused, grimacing “Mayday mayday mayday, this is Starbuck requesting retrieval”

 

            Hel'tek shook in reaction as she realized with awe whom she had fought, who she had just almost killed.

            If she had succeeded, she would never forgive herself.

            Grimacing, she realised there was only one thing she could do under the circumstances.

            She turned the limping Udajeet away from the battle, away from her fellow Jaffa and fled, searching for a place to hide.

            She had business within this system.

 

Chapter 10: Civil War

 

            Six cursed as the enemy fleet dropped out of hyper, there were far more than her intelligence had indicated, so be it.

            She would defeat them; after all she didn't follow a false god, she still had her faculties intact.

            Glancing around distastefully at the elaborate surroundings of the motherships bridge, she gave the order to engage.

 

            Great flashes of light criss-crossed space as the two fleets vengefully threw themselves into the battle, each side believing the most dangerous thing known to mankind.

            That they were ‘right', that they had God on their side.

            This was no battle for supremacy, no battle of ideas but a battle of ideology, a holy war and the participants wholeheartedly threw themselves into the fight.

            It was bloody.

            A Loyalist Baseship died first, caught in a deadly crossfire between Number Sixes Mothership and two Secessionist Baseships, and then a secessionist fighter wing was wiped out, ambushed by a baseship and two loyalist fighter wings.

            Brother machine fought brother machine, metallic debris scattering across space as the AI's duelled for supremacy, to ‘prove' they had the ‘Right'

           

            “This isn't battle” Twelve commented disgusted from his cloaked Al-kesh, this is attrition!”

            Five nodded, his expression showing his complete agreement and disgust.

            “We need to be building up our strength, readying ourselves for the inevitable return of the humans, not killing each other in a useless war”

            Five tilted his head slightly, “is it a useless war though? They fight over who God truly is”

            Twelve snorted, he had been on Freedom, he knew the truth, “God is dead, most likely the Tau'ri have killed our true ‘God' already. They have killed enough ‘Gods' for that, including at least one true God”

            Five shot Twelve a disturbed look, “Killed a true God? Impossible!”

            Twelve commented wryly as he turned the Al-kesh, readying them to leave the war torn system, “tell that to Glorificus”

 

            Not far away, two Jaffa in their cloaked Al-kesh gazed over the scene, some very different thoughts running through their heads.

            The cylons had rebelled against Anubis, which was why so many reports had been missed; they had seized four of their Masters Motherships.

            That was bad news, and they knew all to well what happened to bearers of bad news.

            Sharing a silent agreement, they set course away from territory controlled by Anubis.

 

            Hel'tek grimaced, once again diving for cover as fighters swarmed overhead, there movements just screaming search pattern.

            They had found her battered Udajeet then.

            No matter, it wasn't needed for the task at hand and she could always grab another craft on her way out, they had to have something that was hyper capable.

            But first, she had to see that pilot, talk to her, and find out her name.

            She knew what that pilot was, even if they didn't.

 

            Kara tossed and turned, unable to sleep, the image of that fighter pilot flashing strobe like into her mind again and again and again.

            She knew of only two, well three ways now to get identical twins, the natural way for one. Well, she couldn't discount that, she was a foundling after all, rescued by the state and brought up by abusive carers for years until she met the Adama's.

            But that didn't explain why her double was a Jaffa.

            She could be a cylon, but she didn't like that idea, besides she had been tested okay by the Tau'ri and their strange ally with the impractical ship design, a saucer and two nacelles? How could something like that survive the rigors of space, let alone combat?

            A clone perhaps?

            She had met the Generals mini-me so she knew that was possible, but it didn't explain the how or the when.

            Kara growled in frustration, pounding the too-soft pillow hard, before grimacing with distaste as she leapt swiftly to her feet, quickly pulling her trainers on.

            Maybe if she ran again, she would be tired enough to sleep despite the questions floating around in her mind.

            Running out into the still, quiet air of the compound she breathed in deeply of the fresh, unfiltered air, smiling a little at the myriad sounds of the many nocturnal creatures of this world, before starting her jog.

            She may love being shipside, but this world, this compound couldn't help but remind her of her earliest happy memories, her visits to the Adama ranch. A slight smile graced her face, one which made the strolling sentry make a double take as he noticed the carefree, happy faraway expression on the often cocky and defensive warriors face.

            She had to consider herself lucky, Kara admitted to herself as she finally brought herself back top the present, half noticing that she was halfway around the military compound already, most of those she considered friends had survived the holocaust, Husker, Apollo, Boomer, Cally and Tyrol.

            She snickered, that would surprise the mechanic if he knew that he was considered a friend. But he was, Kara knew all to well all he did for the pilots, all the extra work he put in, all the extra effort to ensure they were as safe as possible and had the deadliest equipment possible.

            The respect she had for him let him into her inner circle, not that she would let him know of course.

            “What do you hear?”

            “Nothing but the rain” she replied automatically, the words not registering in her mind for several seconds, then she stumbled slightly as she turned swiftly back to the Commander.

            “Sorry Commander” she replied as he strolled up to her, “was miles away”

            Adama just chuckled, “I hadn't noticed, cubit for them? And while you at it, we're off duty, how many times do I have to ask you to drop the commander?”

            Kara smiled, Husker's familiar presence soothing her slightly.

            “Nothing much”

            Her tired, troubled mind collapsed under the weight of Husker's direct look.

             “Okay, okay, it started with something I saw during that last battle…”

           

Chapter 11: Starbuck and Training

 

            Adama nodded weary and concerned as the Doctors report slowly registered.

            With Kara confirming she had seen another her, even though it was in the thick of battle where such glances were not always reliable, it was easy to be mistaken if you only caught a quick glance after all, they had ordered a second, more intensive batch of tests to prove she was no cylon, just to make sure.

            She wasn't.

            That they knew for certain, but what she was…

            Adama shrugged it off, he knew what kind of person she was, he knew where her loyalties lay and he trusted her.

            To him, that was enough.

            She had proven herself, she was family and she was trusted, this news was just another aspect to Kara, another addition to the mystery that was his daughter in all bar legality.

            It also meant they had another mystery to deal with, how had she arrived at the colonies? Why was she there? And Adama grimaced as he realised how necessary this question had become, who were her parents?

 

            Gaeta whooped, the sound echoing through the simulator bay of RSS Station Ravenbright as he brought the MTB in for a prefect simulated ‘hot' landing, single-handed, and without ever encountering the cylon forces that were supposed to be making this Landing Zone a ‘hot' one.

Smiling, he turned around to the assembled instructors at the back of the small warships simulated cockpit and froze, the smile vanishing from his face.

“Not again” he cursed, more than a little annoyed at the sight of the instructors holding up a cartoon image of a gravestone, with KIA the only words on the board, “What did I do this time?”

“Check your radiological counter boy”

Gaeta glanced over at the HUD then froze, doing a swift double take.

“When we said the LZ would be hot we weren't kidding” he continued, flatly.

“No frakking shit” Gaeta blurted out, unamused.

“Congratulations, you, your ship and your injured crewmates are now glowing in the dark, and what can we learn from this?”

“Apart from the fact that wherever you go, the instructors are still sadists?” Gaeta muttered to himself.

Not quietly enough, as the instructors amused baritone broke into his thoughts, “Other than that?”

Gaeta thought, then nodded, realizing the lesson implicit here, “Assumption, never assume anything”

The instructor nodded, pleased, “Round here we say Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”

Gaeta sighed, and then asked “when will the MTBs be ready anyway?”

“They're laying the keel plates now, so it'll be awhile mainly because of the complexity of forcing so much inside a small hull”

For the first time, the head instructor steps out of the shadows and faces Gaeta, his pale lined face showing the markings of too much hard work and far too little sun, his black hair limp and lifeless, his hands scarred, the result of a number of rushed repairs in dangerous surroundings

            “Are you still sure you want to be commanding an MTB boy, because those things aren't exactly for the faint of heart. Forcing eight torpedoes, two gauss rifles and five or so pulse batteries in amongst drives, systems and life support leaves no room for any of the amenities you're used too on a capital ship like Galactica, no beds let alone quarters, no privacy, one small head for the entire crew…

            Those things get to be hell after a mere day aboard, let alone on a major warcruise”

            Gaeta shot the instructor a direct look.

            The instructor just smiled, “Good… now lets do that one again only with a little twist this time…”

            Gaeta starred as the instructor disappeared back into his carefully contrived shadows.

            “Waiting for something boy?”

            “Just the maniacal laughter sir”

            “Get on with it boy!” the head instructor shouted annoyed as his cadre of lesser instructors burst out laughing

 

            Kara ran, frustrated as hell, teeth firmly clenched on what she was told was a Cuban cigar, a present from Commander Adama.

            She hated this!

            Confined to the ground, confined to the compound….

            All because she had a twin out there somewhere.

            She was no frakkin cylon, the tests had proven that even if they had come up with a few other surprises for her.

            So she ran, pounding her frustration into the ground of the track which encircled the twenty or so acres assigned to the first colonial military base on Freedom, charging through the stream which winded its way through the length of the base, the cool water splashing her, cooling her off beautifully.

            She ran, skirting the large river which marked the eastern boundary of the base, she ran, passing the crews at work hurriedly putting a prefab dock together on the river, she ran, passing the boundary between the base and the new colonial capital, she ran, skirting the boundary of the forest.

            Where she slowed, uneasy, the definite feeling of being watched settling over her like a glove. She glanced around, peering deep into the thick forest of trees, and the heavy cover of bushes and fallen logs.

            She saw nothing, but still the feeling of being watched ate at her.

            Grimacing, she pounded on to the next guard station, resisting the urge to glance backwards over her shoulder.

           

            Tigh nodded grimly as the report came in.

            It appeared he owed Kara an apology, again.

            The search parties might not have found anyone in the forest but it was obvious somebody had been there, hiding and watching the base.

            He wouldn't have even ordered a search if all the guards assigned to that post for the last two days hadn't came forward and presented their logs, each one showing that they had commented on a feeling of being watched.

             Tigh sighed, resisting the faint lingering urge to reach for the bottle of Ambrosia he always kept within reach.

            The same one he had kept in reach for three months now.

            The same sealed bottle.

            He glanced up at the guard, gruffly ordering “Get Kara in here, I owe her an apology. And step up the guard on the planes if you can, most likely it's the missing pilot from the damaged Udajeet

 

            Gaeta sighed blissfully as he grabbed the sole remaining comfy chair, left open because no one else was willing to sit next to Kara when she was in that kind of mood.

            Kara glanced across at him, a little amused, “Brave aren't you? You do know they are already planning a posthumous medal for you for sitting there?”

            Gaeta wearily glanced the round the room, and rolled his eyes, “I've had too much of a bad day to worry about where I'm sitting so long as it is comfortable”

            Kara snorted, “You've just been in the Sims, how can that be hard?”

            Gaeta shot her a hard look, “Did you know Colonel Sumner at the academy?”

            Gaeta nodded as Kara's cigar snapped in two, cut by her teeth as she instinctively clamped down at the mention of the Colonel.

            “Right, I see you did. The guy I had to deal with wasn't a sexist frakhole but he was far more evil with the Sims he threw at you”

            Kara cursed as she glanced down at the still burning remains of her cigar, “frak me” she commented, and then glanced up, “Worse than Sumner? Frak, I have him tomorrow”

            Gaeta shot her a sympathetic look, “Have fun” he commented wryly.

            Lee walked in, a frown on his face then stopped in shock as he saw Kara, “How did you get here before me? And aren't you confined to base?”

            Kara shot him a confused look, “Get here before you? Ive been here for the last half hour trying to cut into a game”

            Gaeta smothered a chuckle as the card players at the various tables winched in unison.

            “But…” Lee said, confused, “I just met you in town”

 

Chapter 12: Capture

 

            Hel'tek cursed as one again she was forced to dive for cover.

            This was getting dangerous.

            They must know she was here now, otherwise why would they be sending every craft they had to search the area?

            Not only was it the occasional fighter flying low and slow overhead, it was every fighter, every transport; in fact it appeared to be every craft they had.

            Her ears pricked up, a distant crashing sound reaching her ears and she concentrated, listening very carefully to the forest.

            Her eyes widened, and she blasphemed against her god fluently and vividly.

            And now it appeared she had ground parties to deal with, beautiful.

            She cursed, realizing she had only one real choice now.

            Her decision made, she moved, swiftly gliding through the forest, silently, showing her skill as a master woodsman, leaving the area as fast as she could.

            She would have to come back once everything had all quietened down.

 

            Kara smiled predatorily as she glanced down at the map, bright blue arrows clearly marking the movements of the search parties and a slowly growing red line showing the movement of her double.

            And a spread of yellow dots lined across the map, into which the Jaffa was heading at high speed.

            The trap was closing, the hare had been pushed where they wanted her, and the flanks were now moving around.

            Soon they would have her surrounded, and then it would be a simple matter of clenching their fist around her.

            Then they would have her, and then she would have her answers.

            Maybe then she could fly again.

 

            Hel'tec stopped suddenly, a feeling of danger, of threat settling over her.

            Slowly, carefully she stepped back to the closet tree, settling herself into the background, camouflaging herself amongst the trees and bushes.

            Then she carefully analysed the feeling, and cursed, ambush. She was walking into an ambush.

            Her ears pricked up, paying more attention to the crashing sound of the search parties, they were pretty loud, in fact they seemed to be at least half a mile away, so why was she able to hear them so clearly…

            She snarled, realisation setting in. She was being herded, they were meant to be heard, to drive her towards some pre-positioned troops, maybe set down by some of their transports.

            Either way…

            She glanced around, then up.

            That would do it.

            Quickly, carefully she shinnied up the tree, making sure not to leave any sign of her presence.

            They would pass straight underneath her, and never know she was there, and then she could double back on them.

 

            Kara stiffened, suddenly wary and watchful, “I don't think she is going to play ball”

            Tigh glanced up at her, ignoring the reports streaming in from the search parties for the moment, “What do you mean?”

            Kara frowned, wondering why she was so certain but she just shrugged it off, “She's going to hide, wait for the search parties to pass then double back”

            “Where can she…”

            “Check the treetops” Kara interrupted, not a trace of doubt in her mind, or her voice.

            Tigh took once glance at her expression, and flicked his radio on.

            And on the map, five yellow dots moved out of formation, heading swiftly over the forest, their markers indicating treetop height.

 

            Hel'tek looked up worried as a loud roar came over the forest, moving slowly over the treetops.

            They had another set of craft searching from the air it seemed, one she had not seen before. It figured. These appeared to be moving quite slow though, they might actually move slowly enough to catch a glimpse of her, something that wasn't easy at higher speeds.

            She would have to be careful.

            She frowned, that one sounded close, very very close indeed.

            She glanced quickly around the sky and shrugged as she saw nothing.

            Then glanced back down and froze.

            Then flicked her staff up, desperately trying to kill the armoured soldier flying in front of her in time, her eyes noting the symbol of the Tau'ri Gatecrasher teams, the heavy, outsized backpack from which heat radiated, her mind swiftly concluding it was some kind of flight pack as her body swung the staff weapon around.

            An electric crackle sounded over the forest and Hel'tek slumped, the staff falling from her fingers, dropping swiftly to the ground below.

 

            Kara winched, a stab of pain swiftly passing through her.

            Frowning, she shrugged it off, it was nothing, really.

            Tigh turned towards Kara, a triumphant grin on his face, “They have her”

            Tigh frowned, “She was hiding in the trees, just as you said Lieutenant”

            Kara shrugged it off, trying to appear nonchalant despite the confusion tearing through her, “just a lucky guess”

            Tigh wasn't convinced, “Right…”

 

            Hel'tec grimaced as she was led back through the forest, the number of guards around her growing with every meter as the search parties joined up.

            This wasn't good, how could she talk to her whilst she was in jail?

            How could she explain to her who she was, what she really was whilst they were under constant supervision?

            She couldn't, no really.

            No, she needed to escape and try to contact her once some time had passed, once the fuss had died down.

            After all, she couldn't exactly give up on her blood kin could she?

 

Chapter 13: Dangerous Times

 

            Adama grimaced as he arrived in his office.

            This was… worrying.

            It was to be expected yes, but it was still worrying.

            They had been delivered into the relative safety of the Tau'ri, where they were protected and had support to help them build up.

            But it wasn't enough; people had built the Tau'ri up as saviours, as unstoppable technological masters in their minds who could just wave a magic wand and make all their problems go away, the cylons, their lack of numbers, the need for rebuilding…

            It was so very human and yet it was a huge problem.

            The euphoria of being delivered unto safety, of meeting their long-lost brothers had worn off, and now reaction had set in.

            And discontent was building, rapidly and explosively.

            Adama knew from what he had seen on the streets today that all it would take was one spark, one nudge…

            And there would be chaos, riots, looting, and destruction.

            Adama frowned; they needed something to rally around, to boast their spirits.

            But he had nothing to offer, Galactica and Hell's Runner were both in refit, Roslin being cured had staved off the disaster for a while but the enemy being captured running around this world had really shaken people's confidence.

            “Sir, you look troubled” Tyrols voice made Adama look up, a week smile on his face as he saw the technician and his betrothed.          

            “Just affairs of state” Adama commented with a darkly wry grin.

            Tyrol nodded, “I saw outside, what are you planning on doing about it?”

            Adama resisted the urge to roll his eyes, everyone seemed to assume he always had a plan, always knew what to do and it was annoying, they couldn't really on him all the time, they needed to think for themselves.

            “That's because you're a strong capable leader sir, and you always act as if you have all the answers”

            Adama winced, he didn't realise he had actually said that out loud.

            Tyrol's face may have been perfectly impassive, but his eyes proclaimed his laughter, “Sir, if I may make a suggestion?”

            Five minutes later, a smile graced Adamas face, “This is going to be a rather…unusual requisition for the Tau'ri to deal with”

            Tyrol shook slightly with suppressed laughter as he replied, “That it will sir, that it will”

           

            O'Neill blinked, read the report again, blinked, then asked no-one in particular, “They want to requisition what?”

            He glanced again at the report, “Sorry whom” then again, on further reflection maybe ‘what' was appropriate considering some on the names on the list.

            He snorted, glancing around at the curious expressions of the officers in the Command Centre of Grand Central Station, AKA ‘Ravenbright', “Adama wants to run a concert, to boast spirits and to encourage the Colonials to get to know us better”

            He snorts, “Trouble is, Osama has a better security clearance than a few that are on this list”

            His eyebrows rose, “several are dead or otherwise incommunicado… but a few…”

            O'Neill shook his head bemused, “this goes up the chain, way up the chain”

 

            Two days later several Paladins arrived, the pilots rather bemusedly over seeing the offloading of the first part of the requisition, DVD players, TV's and enough DVD's to sink a BSG.

            Then came a studio team, equipped with the best equipment money could buy and a few specialised pieces specially made by technical services, ready to convert the magnetic hard disk type media the colonials used for movie storage to DVD disc.

            The third part of the requisition, the only part that would actually raise any eyebrows didn't arrive, and Adama began to worry. The influx of new entertainment, all movies or series the Colonials who admittedly didn't watch anywhere near as much TV as the Tau'ri tended to, hadn't seen helped, but it only staved off the disaster; once again slowly breaking point was approaching.

            Then word came, and gratefully Adama gave word for land to be prepared and an amphitheatre built.

            Now all he had to do was arrange auditions for the Colonials who would form half of the show.

            Already word had gotten out, admittedly with a little help, and anticipation was beginning to replace discontent on the streets. The situation was still volatile but less so.

            It was a start.

 

Chapter 14: Worries

 

            Hel'tec grimaced, the shackles chaffing on her arms and legs as she was lead from the iron bared box that was the local version of a prison cell and was frog-marched across town, Guards surrounding her at all times.

            Several were watching her, watching for any sign of an attempt to escape, to make a bid for freedom but some, they were watching the civilians and Hel'tec had eyes, she could see they weren't worrying about her having allies to aid in an escape bid, no, they were worried about mob justice.

            Hel'tec shivered, that she had seen all too often was one of the nastier ways to go, second only to being burnt alive… or, as she had once seen, being burnt to the point of death, the flames doused and the sarcophagus used to revive, ready for the next burning.

            She shivered, no that had to be one of the worst ways imaginable to go.

            She looked up, a little hopeful as she realised that she wasn't being lead to the usual room in the small, prefab labelled Intel but across to a larger building, this one made of some local brick. Construction she noted was still going on in the wings but the main building was finished and busy.

            This had to be the local command centre.

            Finally she was going to see the big guns, maybe if she was lucky, her double herself.

            Maybe today she would have her chance to be righteous again.

 

            Kara cursed as she once again flew the battered, aging Viper II on patrol. Like all the others, this Viper had been hurriedly repaired, patched with slap shod skill far too many times and it showed in how the craft handled.

            Sure, it still flew and in skilled hands such as hers it was still deadly, but not as deadly as a properly maintained Viper II would be. All the fighters they had had reached the ends of their useful lives, through overuse, too much combat and not enough proper maintenance.

            And yet, they couldn't replace them.

            Not yet, they didn't have the infrastructure, they had no working mines to get raw materials, no completed refineries to process and prepare, no factories to turn processed metals into components and no assembly house to bring the deadly form of the craft together.

            All of these were still under construction, some faster than others. The mines had been placed, the Tau'ri had provided what she had been told were excellent maps of ore locations and qualities but the shafts were still being sunk.

            The refinery had been paid for, a task which cost the Colonials several good ships, even if they were civilian and battered by the cylons but assembly wasn't complete and wouldn't be for some time.

            The factories were almost complete, but without the mines and refinerys they were destined to lie dormant for months, the colonials having little, if anything they were willing to barter for raw materials.

            The assembly houses for the new Vipers were complete, being deceptively simple to put together but for now, they were empty, unused.

            So, they still used their old vipers, mark II's mostly, though a few VII's had survived and were in use but they were little defence against the Goa'uld, they were on even terms with Udajeet but tau'ri intelligence was clear on this point, both Maktenos and Anubis had decided the Udajeet were ineffective, and were working on replacements.

            Soon, the existing Vipers would be useless, and the Colonials would have no defences of their own, and that rankled. Sure, the Tau'ri had started construction on the MTB squadron Bill had negotiated for, but it would be some time before they were ready and she wasn't sure the Vipers would be flying by then.

            A number had been down checked, their overuse stressing the fuselage had introduced metal fatigue and the frames could no longer be considered safe, or repairable.

            A number had been down checked by catastrophic failure, usually taking one of the few surviving qualified Viper pilots with them.

            Kara was worried.

            She was a warrior, to fight and to fly was her reason to be, but her weapons were blunted, dangerous and the wolves were gathering.

            She just hoped the Viper VIII was ready, before the wolves decided that the prey was defenceless.

            And acted.

 

            O'Neill, Commander of Alpha Centauri Defences also worried, too few ships, too few fighters, too many battles and brush fires.

            He knew all to well the true state of the Alpha systems defences, at any one time only two active squadrons and two, sorry, four MTB's guarded the system. That was a help at least, two more MTB's joining the PDF forces but it still wasn't enough.

            Any serious attack and the forces he had here permanently for defence would be brushed aside contemptuously and he dreaded to think what would happen if he added ‘Waterwings', the training squadron to the mix. They would be massacred.

            He sighed, he couldn't ever guarantee that other ships would be available too, though RSS Command, which had control over fleet operations was good about making sure at least one hyper capable squadron was in-system at any one time.

            GCS herself could seriously damage any attacking capital ship with her eight gauss rifles but they had to come to Ravenbright first and that was the weakness with any bastion, the attacker had to come to you, the attacker had the initiative, always.

            The fleet was growing too and soon they were planning on a permanent picket force to be maintained to cover the Sol and Alpha systems but it would be a while before that idea came to fruition, even with an extra slip, a BC sized slip being added to Thundersdawn, ready for the new Britannica Class Battlecruisers.

            And so every craft was needed.

            Yet they had dedicated warriors eager to jump into the fight but unable due to their ships not being up to scratch, overused and under maintained.

            O'Neill sighed; the momentum was building, even in the Colonial camp, soon they would have a proper defence force, then they would be able to work on the offensive at last.

            Soon.

            Then the Galaxy would know the time of the system lords was at an end.

            Then the Galaxy would know the vengeance of the Colonials.

            Soon.

 

Chapter 15: Revelation

 

            Unnoticed, the Cuban cigar tumbled out of Starbucks mouth as her mind registered the words she was hearing.

            “Frak me!” she muttered, low and astonished.

            She couldn't believe it.

            She could believe it.

            It wasn't possible, and yet her mind screamed it was.

            She didn't want to believe it yet she did.

            This was impossible, her mind was twisted, jumbled, paralysed with shock, indecision, awe, surprise and disbelief and belief.

            “Is that even possible?”

            Her mind registered Adama's words and her head snapped around, her attention focused on her Commander and the young tau'ri officer who just was lucky enough to be grabbed as witness to the interrogation.

            Kara wondered at the sardonic look the officer shot Bill momentarily before her mind looped back to Hel'tec.

            “We know of this…” he spat the word out “individual, it would not be the first time”

            Sharply, Adama asked, “It has happened before?”

            Kara's eyes met Hel'tecs and the rest of the world vanished.

            She didn't hear the sardonic comment of ‘oh yeah' from the officer, she didn't hear Bill ask her what was wrong, she didn't hear doctors called.

            All she knew, all she saw was Hel'tecs eyes and the knowledge within.

            Knowledge that was now, inexplicably hers, she remembered the feel of a staff in her hands as she practised Mustaba with the Jaffa Master T'ce. She remembered her first flight in an Udajeet, the thrill of controlling such a vehicle, even if it did mean being a servant of a false one. She remembered her fisrt battle, the death of T'ce by her side. She remembered everything.

            Including what she was and how she came to be.

            “She's telling the truth…” she commented, low and uncharacteristically lacking her normal cocky attitude.

            “Kara? Kara? Did you say something?” Lee's worried voice broke her from her thoughts and she gazed over at her friend, frowning at his haggard appearance.

            “Frak Lee” Kara frowned, when did her voice get so weak? “I thought you were on Ravenbright, when did you get here?”

            Lee hesitated, the pause making the worried frown on Kara's face deepen, “five days ago” he paused, “I came as soon as you were reported ill”

            “Ill? Lee what are you…” Kara's voice trailed off as she contemplated her surroundings, how come she was in the hospital? She had been in Command, in Bill's office. She couldn't have been moved, she hadn't felt it and she hadn't slept and yet…

            Here she was.

            “Frak me!” she slumped back in the bed with a whoosh of released air, her aching head frantically trying to figure out what had happened.

 

            “Well?” Adama asked.

            O'Neill and… O'Neill shrugged, almost simultaneously.

            Adama's mind balked once more at the surrealness of it.

            Two O'Neill's, one a General, one a Colonel, both with the same memories up till they were cloned and both with similar personalities.

            He had known something was similar as soon as he saw the young commander of the newest version of SG-1 but this… this he hadn't expected.

            Though he should have, he supposed, after all the Cylons had proven it was possible long before he met the Tau'ri, okay it was still unknown if their clones maintained memory or personality traits but…

            “You would have to ask Doc Frasier if you want a detailed explanation with all the long words, but they don't know. Not for certain, they can't even drop a hint”

            Adama sighed, “Anyone we could ask for a confirmation?”

            General O'Neill grimaced, but was beaten to the reply by a grinning Colonel O'Neill, “well, the Asgard are implicated so we can't ask them but maybe the Enterprise could sort it out for us?”

            The General growled, “What he said”

            Adama looked again at the surreal image, and nodded.

            This was a worrying development and one with far reaching repercussions but…

            A knock at the door stopped Adama's thoughts, and with a wary glance at the O'Neill's, Adama answered it.

            With a nod, he thanked the messenger there, and turned to the generals, a frown lining his face, “They're up”

            He caught the Generals eyes, “Both of them, according to the sensors the doctors were using they woke up simultaneously” he moved on, catching the Colonels eye, “to the very second”

            “Interesting…” the two O'Neill's commented, simultaneously, trading equally dirty looks as they realised what they had done.

Adama decided right there and then that they were doing it deliberately, trying to unsettle him.

            He had to admit, it worked.

            He had to admit, the thought of Hel'tek and Kara starting it was the scariest thought running through his mind.

            He just hoped they sorted this and soon. His daughter, even if she wasn't blood, was in trouble.

            And he would do whatever it took to help her.

 

Chapter 16: Thoughts

           

            Kara grimaced, holding tightly onto the safety bar around the control towers walkway as she gaze across the dark, silent base, lit only by the light of Freedoms twin moons.

            She felt the cigar in her mouth sag, almost cut in two by her teeth as they clenched under the stress of her thoughts.

            Grimacing, she reached up to tug it out, throw it away but she stopped. She didn't have an infinite supply, they were expensive luxury items imported by the Tau'ri at a premium and she couldn't waste even a damaged one.

            Sighing, she reached into her pocket and withdrew her cigar case, a present from Tyrol made from a shattered piece of the Viper she had trashed at Ragnar, bringing Lee to safety.

            Frak, but she wanted to get drunk but Hel'tec was teetotal and she wouldn't wish a hangover on anyone, unless they earnt it by getting drunk themselves first of course. And if she got drunk, Hel'tec would feel it.

            Damn that Asgard, damn that Loki and his frakking experiments. Damn them all to frakkin hell.

            She was Kara, she was supposed to be unique not a genetically modified clone. Hell, was she the clone or was Hel'tec? Hell, was either of them the original?

            That Crusher seemed competent enough but she couldn't tell, their had been to much messing around with their DNA.

            Frak it, maybe the reason she or Hel'tec never knew real parents was they were bottle babies or something, created and raised by that frakhead, Loki.

            Frak, maybe it didn't matter?

            After all, Lee and the old man knew now and they had just shrugged it off, to them she was Kara and that's all that mattered. Not her parentage, not how she came to be, they knew her and to them that's all that mattered.

            It was bad enough that she had a twin, be it a natural or artificial one but Loki's experiments hadn't ended there, oh no.

            Loki had been experimenting with telepathy and empathy, according to notes found and seized by Thor, in order to create a more efficient and less painful conscious transfer process.

            Kara shivered, that didn't feel right with her.

            An entire civilisation that could no longer procreate naturally, instead cloning bodies and moving their minds from body to body over the decades?

            It felt unnatural, dangerous, unsafe and dirty.

            She shivered, and there was no guarantee it hadn't happened to her. She was after all, like Hel'tec created for experimentation into the transfer process, wasn't it possible she was a faulty transfer?

            Was that why Hel'tec, a jaffa, existed?

            An experiment into whether consciousness could be transferred from one mind to another despite genetic and physiological differences?

            Was their two because they only had a fragment of the true Kara's consciousness, they felt and reacted so alike because they were one in reality?

            “Deep thoughts” she muttered, in perfect time with Hel'tec as the Jaffa appeared behind her, her ever present guards carefully keeping their distance.

            “And we can't know the answer” Hel'tec continued, alone.

            “Not with Loki dead” Kara added.

            They both grinned sardonically, but it was Kara who continued, “what's the betting his accident was the sort of accident you call… an accident

            “No bet” they continued, simultaneously.

            “Frak, this is weird” Kara spat out, “I know what you say before you say, what you do before you do it…”

            Hel'tec nodded, “it is weird, and we must make sure the false gods do not here of it”

            “Yeah,” Kara asked, “why do you serve those guys anyway?”

            Hel'tec shrugged, and Kara received a blinding impression of not having anywhere else to go, no escape, the fate of those who tried to leave the ‘Gods' employ and were caught, of not having a strong enough reason to risk all that, until now.

            Kara nodded, understanding on several levels. So, they were different then. She would have fought for her freedom at every opportunity; Hel'tec was more inclined to apathy as compared to Kara's rather cocky and upfront nature.

            She also understood why the Goa'uld should never find out, if they knew they had two potential hosts with such an efficient and quick method of communication, they and all those they called friends would never be safe.

            Kara vowed she would die before that happened.

            Hel'tec didn't, she had not friends to die for, she would die not to be a host, even though she was Jaffa, the Goa'uld would find some way to make a host of her with sufficient reason and Hel'tec was no-ones host.

            Kara and Hel'tec gazed into the night sky as they contemplated the future, their thoughts dark and broody until the sun rose six hours later.

 

Chapter 17: Discontinuity

 

            Number 10 cursed as his baseship rocked, the heavy weapons of the secessionist vessels tearing at the mighty vessels shields, battering their way through by virtue of their superior numbers.

            He had to break through, he must! Or else their God would never know of the treachery that had stained the soul of the Cylon warriors.

            He sighed, it seemed he would have to make a sacrifice, “Signal baseship T-600 to hold off the secessionist vessels, cover us for our escape…” he paused, “tell them to sell their existences dearly, but that we must be covered at all costs”

            10 sighed, grimacing as he watched the tactical display, the other baseship deliberately charging at the encircling secessionists, forcing them to clear out of they way or get rammed.

            He didn't hesitate, barking some swift commands he ordered his baseship to charge past its fellow and rig for jump. The other baseship had bought them the break they needed to escape but it was too closely grappled now, it wouldn't last much longer.

            The baseship shuddered violently, the secessionists spotting his imminent escape and diverting all their weapons. With a flash, the shield generator gave; violently exploding as the energies within sought freedom, but by then his baseship was already in hyper.

            And en-route to the Edonia Nebula.

 

            “Frak Frak Frak Frak!” Doyle cursed, banging his hands on the console as the baseship escaped its destination certain.

            Edonia nebula, the home of the treacherous false God.

            A false god they were not yet ready to deal with and wouldn't be for some time, the loyalists were too much of a distraction and as for twelve's forces…

            Well, nobody really knew what they were up too.

            At least they had the captured Anubis vessels under their control, they had already figured out most of their secrets and were preparing to add the advanced technologies to their own but that would take time and just give them an advantage over their traitorous kin, not other Anubis's forces who would be equally advanced, if not more so.

            Frak, well he had to get word out to everyone and everyones mother and frakking fast, they were heading for a world of hurt and they needed to be ready.

           

            And so it begins, twelve thought from the relative safety of his Command Ship, a redesigned baseship, as the reports flowed in. The secessionists would wage war on the forces of the loyalists and Anubis and both would fight the Colonials and the Tau'ri as and when they met.

            And all the while, they would be unforgiven.

            Unforgiven, it fit he mused. They had massacred twelve full inhabited worlds, and the bulk of their populations, a crime for which they would never be forgiven, a crime that would forever stain the honour, such as it was, of the Cylon race.

            In the end, the only ones who would truly lose out would be the cylons themselves, weakened and battered by their civil war it would take ages to rebuild and begin preparations to finish the annihilation of the lifeform known as mankind, but by the time they were strong enough again the Tau'ri/Colonial alliance would most likely be rock solid and above that, they would be fortified, watchful and vengeful.

            The Cylons would most likely not prevail.

            Twelve sighed, he no longer felt any drive to destroy humanity but his forces were losing focus, they locked to him for guidance and he didn't honestly know what to do.

            No, he admitted to himself, he knew exactly what to do and it was radical, it was a major shift in policy, but would the AI's follow it?

            But then, did he really want to do it?

            Was it truly the right thing to do?

            Twelve sighed, his thoughts disturbed and in turmoil.

            He would have to make his mind up very quickly, unless he wanted to start losing control, his forces needed focus.

            A blipping on the command centre drew his attention and he glanced over as a Scimitar loyal to him reported back from its post aboard the baseship of the Loyalist Number Ten. He stiffened, rereading the report.

            It seemed his mind had been made for him, with the power of such a device at their hands, Anubis and the Loyalists would be unstoppable and they would crush all who stood before them.

            They must not maintain control of any Ascendant technology, and they certainly must not maintain control of the Interdimensional Stargate at Edonia Nebula.

            He stood tall, and proud, he knew now what they must do.

            It may never gain them their honour back but it would easer the stain a little.

            Quickly, he tapped at the console, muttering as he prepared the All Forces broadcast, “12 to all units at home and abroad, commence hostilities at once with the Forces of Anubis and Maktenos including the rouge Cylon forces loyal to Anubis. Forces of the Humans and the Secessionists are not to be engaged except in self defence”

            They would provide the Goa'uld with a distraction, another force to deploy their assets against, it may give the Colonials enough time to secure their position and rebuild. That was all he would ask for; maybe one day then they could call themselves the forgiven.

           

Chapter 18: The Battle Of Edonia Nebula I

 

            Adama watched, only his eyes betraying his fear, his doubt as one by one the emblems representing the Tau'ri Fleet disappeared from the tactical display.

            The fleet was leaving, their objective a massive nebula at the edge of the territory controlled by Anubis, a nebula containing a massive piece of Ancient Technology.

            Ancient Technology… Adama knew what that meant and was fearful for the Tau'ri Fleet, he needed that fleet, it protected his people, kept them safe but Ancient technology…

            Anything built by the original gatebuilders was a prize, being technologically advanced by the standards of most, though not all of the species now known to Adama and as such, it would be heavily guarded.

            Kobol help him, Adama really hoped the Tau'ri's intelligence was correct, yes Anubis may have just suffered a major defeat, weakening his fleet, yes Maktenos may be amassing for a second attack at Ragnarok and Anubis may have taken the bulk of his surviving fleet to intercept but still…

            He hated that it was mostly guesswork and assumption that propelled the Tau'ri to Edonia, he hated that they hadn't told him what exactly was so valuable that they were willing to risk so much on what was in his eyes a gamble against a stacked deck.

            Adama shuddered lightly as he recalled the report he had received.

            The entire Tau'ri fleet, and that included the support craft had left for Edonia, leaving only the weak Planetary Defence Fighter squadrons and the under strength MTB squadrons to defend the two systems.

            All this because the Tau'ri felt the desperate need to control the device within the Nebula, all this to stage a construction project to rival the building of Thundersdawn station herself. Grudgingly, Adama had to admit the move had balls. Use the fleet to clear the nebula, then call in the troops and start assembling a massive pre-constructed station in double quick time.

            That's why the support craft had gone, they were holding at the edge of the nebula with the components, easy prey.

            But Adama had seen Thundersdawn, and he was often aboard Ravenbright, the Tau'ri controlled station in this system. Unlike Colonial Anchorages, Tau'ri facilities were exceptionally capable of taking care of themselves and if the Tau'ri succeded, and brought Edonia Station online before a counter-attack could be mounted, hell just have a good proportion of the defence systems running in time then it would be very difficult in the extreme to dislodge them.

            Sighing, Adama tapped at the Tau'ri computer, flicking over to his Inbox.

            Computers, the one area were native development had exceeded Colonial or ‘acquired' technologies in almost every aspect.

            But then they had little fear of computers themselves, and the technology had never been stiffled. It showed.

            Still… Adama ejected the flash disk that contained his outbound messages; he wasn't having a networked computer where he worked.

            Even if the Tau'ri had invented Firewalls.

 

            Number 11 grimaced as the tactical display lit up, crawling with lights and emblems as the Unforgiven flagships sensors rapidly from the Hyper jump.

            Secessionists… Loyalists… Goa'uld… Tau'ri…

            The tactical display read like a Who's Who of the groups in this particular war.

            Naturally, the Secessionists and Loyalists would just happen to have three times more ships in their fleets then he did.

            Eleven leaned closer to the display, he would have to choose his opportunities, otherwise this would get very bloody and for the Unforgiven, very brief.

            Eleven watched, unmoved as the Loyalists attempted to join the fleet of their Master, the false God Anubis but were rebuffed in a very equal, very bloody battle with the Secessionists.

            He watched as the Loyalists tried for a second time to charge their way past the Secessionists and just smiled, that was attrition. He had no problem with that.

            He watched as Anubis moved, his fleet heading to assist his beleaguered allies and that he had a problem with, but Eleven knew he didn't have the forces to challenge Anubis's fleet directly.

            Damn, that would mean the Secessionists would likely be defeated and then the combined Loyalist/Anubis fleet would most likely force the Tau'ri to retreat.

            This he had to stop somehow…

            He grinned, remembering his former existence as a History Teacher on Geminon, and a tactic favoured by the old Geminon Rebels at the time of the founding of the central Colonial Government.

            “Remove the safety governors from the engines and rig for 130% thrust, we're going to charge right past Anubis, all weapons blazing” Eleven smirked, “Lets see what Anubis does about that

            Hit and Run, oh yes that would do fine.

 

            Number three howled, utterly furious as once again the Secessionists broke off and regrouped between her and her master, blocking her from joining her forces with Anubis.

            If those meddling fools the ‘Unforgiven' hadn't interfered, the frakking human-lovers her God would have been able to catch the Secessionists between his forces and hers, the crossfire would have killed them by now, but no Anubis now had to reform his weakened fleet and she still hadn't been able to join up her forces.

            And now Anubis orders a counter assault, again trying to sandwich the Secessionists between their fleets.

            Angrily, Three ordered her forces to advance once more.

Chapter 19: The Battle Of Edonia Nebula II

 

            Eleven smirked, as once again Anubis was caught flat-footed once more, his fleet diving down through Anubis's formation, destroying several ships as they passed through, typical, just like most species the Goa'uld were fixated with two-dimensional battles, it was of no concern when your enemy also tended to operate on those planes but find someone willing to use all three dimensions and it was a massacre.

            Three more Ha'taks killed and he had yet to take any losses, this was perfect. All he needed to do was to keep encouraging losses amonsgt the Seecesionists, Loyalists and Goa'uld whilst protecting his forces and those of the Tau'ri…

            It was a tall order, eleven had to admit, but he would find a way.

            He looked up startled as a Ha'tak dived out of the nebula, disintegrating as it flew through space, followed rapidly by the Tau'ri support craft diving into the nebula. So, the Tau'ri now considered Edonia theirs. Anubis would not be happy with that, not at all.

            He was right; Anubis instantly and rashly charged his forces forward, obviously planning to crush the secessionist forces in a hurry, link up with the Loyalists and retake Edonia.

            A delighted eleven watched as the Loyalists moved the best ships, the captured motherships to the front of the line where their exceptional shields and armour would take the brunt of the attack, whilst their baseships flanked the attacking Goa'uld forces, their weapons concentrating on one ship at a time, rapidly destroying vessel after vessel.

            His attack blunted by a move which was basic strategy, Anubis tried to retreat and regroup and Eleven grinned evilly as he watched the move, then he gave his orders, placing his fleet behind Anubis, blocking his line of retreat for a few short minutes until his own vessels became threatened, then eleven broke his fleet off.

            In a battle, A few short minutes were often critical and Eleven proved that once more as their retreat delayed by his move, the bulk of Anubis's ships were shredded before escaping.

            Eleven's smile grew even wider as Anubis retreated, escaping into hyper, leaving the Nebula to the Tau'ri, followed rapidly by the escape of the few surviving loyalists back to their own territory.

            Eleven ordered his fleet to stand-off range of the nebula, and ordered repairs. The secessionists were still around; they would have to be dealt with, but not yet.

 

            The Secessionists were also repairing their ships, rigging for another assault but they had no intention of attacking the Tau'ri fleet, no, they knew the Tau'ri fleet was here and that meant Earth and her colonies were relatively undefended.

            They planned to attack.

            They didn't know the Number Six unit planted in Baltar's mind had turned traitor, spilling all she knew in exchange for safety. They didn't know that the information she had provided had given the Tau'ri the ability to break the bulk of the Cylon codes, indeed, to figure out the base principle behind many of the cylon codes.

            They didn't know that the Tau'ri knew exactly what they were planning, and were not impressed.

            Four hours after Anubis had fled, the Tau'ri fleet charged out of the Nebula, brutally and vengefully attacking the secessionist forces, their minds filled with visions of the fate of the colonies and what the secessionists had planned for their homes.

            Shaken, the secessionists tried to escape to hyper but once again, number eleven made his presence known, placing his forces directly in the secessionist line of retreat.

            To the secessionists, this was a double blow. Elevens moves in the battle so far had helped them greatly, analysis had suggested he wanted to be allied and so such a move was totally unexpected, bringing chaos into the secessionist cylon ranks.

            The fact that the secessionists were now the ones stuck between the rock and the hard place was almost incidental.

            Their numbers greatly reduced, the secessionists were eventually able to retreat to cylon space, their forces too battered to continue their planned move on Earth, behind them the Unforgiven, knowing the Tau'ri had no reason to trust them and billions of reasons not to, retreated, keeping the nebula at the very edge of their sensors range.

 

            Several hours later, his ships as fully repaired as they could manage, so far away from a repair base, Eleven ordered his fleet home. The Goa'uld had come again, but they had left for Anubis's space without attack.

            For now, it seemed they conceded the Nebula to the Tau'ri.

            His work here was done.

 

            On Ravenbright station, the Tau'ri facility within the Alpha Centauri system, Commander Adama walked slowly away from the massive bulk of Galactica, where it lay in one of the stations massive drydocks, its side carved open as in surprisingly rapid speed, all the damage of their escape from the colonies was repaired and made good, all their old weapons were torn out, making way for Tau'ri Gauss Rifles, Tau'ri Pulse Lasers, Tau'ri Medical equipment…

            Adama grimaced, Tau'ri this, Tau'ri that. Frak, he hated seeing the valiant lady butchered so, but he knew it was necessary. They needed the Tau'ri to be safe, needed their support, their technology, their supplies and unfortunately, the Tau'ri needed their ships, needed them ready to face the much stronger threats of the Goa'uld, Aschen and the upgraded Cylons.

            Adama made no special note when a group of individuals in the white frocks that seemed predominant amongst the Tau'ri scientists charged past him.

            His eyebrows rose however when a third group charged past him, followed rapidly by a group Adama knew were RSS Intelligence.

            Something was up.

            The next time a group went past, this time communications staff, Adama reached out, stopping the youngest in his tracks, “Is there are reason everyone is running about when running is strictly forbidden on this station?”

            “Codes… deployments… the works!”

            The young man was able to gasp out, but he words made no sense to Adama, and he said so. The answer shocked him.

            “The courier just arrived from Edonia, Maktenos was there but the broke off, heading into Anubis's territory without attacking before he left there was a transmission from his Command ship, we got his codes, his deployments, his bloody territory map, the works!”

            At those words, a flashback filled his mind, a report on how the Colonies had been destroyed…

            “…from what six told us, the Cylons used Baltars access to get everything they needed, fleet deployments, codes and comm. protocols, hell even your territory map…”

            Adama shock the image off, a shiver running through his body.

            He needed to check this out, personally.

Chapter 20: Joyful Chaos

 

            Adama smiled as another group of Colonial warriors passed him, the tags on their equipment bags marking them as from Atlantis.

            Atlantis, the head of a refugee convoy from a hidden Red Line station, one even he had not known existed. Adama hadn't even known the Colonials used Red Line nowadays, the last time it had been used the colonies hadn't even formed a central government and at that time warfare between certain governments was expected at any time, what the Tau'ri would call a Cold War and so old warships regardless of class or condition were never scrapped, instead they were stored, a reserve fleet of vessels that could be activated and added to the fleet in a hurry protected by a thick layer of red preservative paint.

            That was where the term Red Line had come from, lines of ships painted red floating in space. The Tau'ri still used a` similar idea for their planetary fleets on Earth, only they tended to call it the Red Lead Row, an allusion to the fact that the paint the Tau'ri often used whilst still being red, was often lead based.

            It meant that a lot of the ships that had joined the Fleet at Freedom were not top of the range or even up to date but they were additional working warships so he would not complain. They would be brought up to date and utilised in time. Frak, only one was a Battlestar, the rest were Battlecruisers and the like, classes the Colonial Military had stopped using so long ago when the Battlestars had proven so effective and capable.

            They couldn't afford to pick and chose like that now, not with their very survival at stake. The Cylons, the Goa'uld, the Aschen, the Replicators… it seemed the universe was full of races that either wanted humanity gone or under its thumb.

            At least they had more hulls now just waiting to be added to the fleet, more trained colonial warriors awaiting refresher training in the new technologies, ready to rejoin the action.

            And all needing quarters, food, water, sanitation…

            Adama really didn't envy Roslin at the moment, as Civilian Leader of the provisional Government she had the task of finding the resources to support all the extra bodies, civilian and Military. Normally Military would have been his to deal with but for the moment there was very little for the military to do, after all most of their equipment was either out of date or had broken down and frankly until they had up to date ships and weapons available most of the military personnel had been sent out to the fields and mines. Their task was to help start Civilisation going again, reporting to the lone Colonial Military base once a week to keep their hand in with the help of a few personnel who had been reserved for Military Duties only.

            He just had top get their military going again; keep the Colonials from becoming just a part of the Tau'ri Military. That was the worst fear of the Colonial Leaders, both Military and Civilian, that they would just become a part of the Tau'ri, not maintaining their own identity, their own way of life.

            But still, they couldn't afford to push the Tau'ri away either, like it or not, they needed the Tau'ri to help them rebuild, keep them protected until they could stand on their own two feet again.

            Though they hadn't received anywhere near as much help with this second group, the bulk of the Tau'ri support craft which would have been used to deliver Refugee supplies were currently shuttling back and forth between Edonia, they were pretty much limited to the supplies available on Ravenbright  station, Freedom and Alpha Prime, the bulk of the supplies being moved by Colonial ships that had been under maintained and overused for far too many months now. Indeed, Colonial One, always a priority target for the Cylons had broken down on take off yesterday, her engines failing sending her crashing straight back onto the surface of Alpha Prime, the Tau'ri controlled world in this system.

            The Tau'ri had lost a lot of people and a lot of supplies in that fireball, which thanks to the inadequate fire fighting equipment available, was still raging out of control.

The Tau'ri fully expected to lose that launch site.

Adama sighed, another debt they owed the Tau'ri, one amongst many.

Now for the fun part, now he had to negotiate for the Tau'ri to refit the Colonials newly arrived ships to Tau'ri standards and arrange for supplies and support for the Colonials to build their own Construction Yard without giving away too much… Correction, without anything to negotiate with, except their own warships.

Adama just hoped by the time he finished, the Colonials would still have enough ships available to them to have their own fleet.

As it was, he knew he was about to lose one of their two Battlestars to the Tau'ri, hopefully not the Galactica, which even before the fall, was the more up to date of the two ships.

Glancing up, he saw the door to the Generals Office ahead and grimacing, he banished his dark thoughts to the back of his mind. He would need no distractions for the task ahead.

 

Chapter 21: Warriors Reborn

 

            Hel'tec looked back anxiously, seeking the approving gaze of Kara as she stood at the door of the Free Jaffa Al-kesh. She had made her decision; she could no longer pretend loyal service to the Goa'uld. Now, she had an out and a reason to take it, family.

            For what stronger reason could their be than a family to come home too, a family that needed protection from the Goa'uld and all they stood for.

            A family that needed time to learn to stand on their own again.

            For whilst Kara was the only biological family she could claim, be it by a rather unusual fashion, both Adama's had welcomed her with open arms when they realised who she truly was, she was their Kara, just one that had taken a different path in life.

            She was welcome here, here she had family and that was the most humbling and yet most warming, most safe feeling thing she had ever known.

            But yet, her big question was unanswered.

            Why was she here? What was her purpose? Why had she been created?

            #You know your purpose# the voice of her sister rang inside her head, #you just need to realise it#

            #Where are you?#

            A roar made Hel'tec look up as a pair of Vipers flashed by, low overhead, #Where do you think? Do you really thing we were going to let you go without an escort?#

            Hel'tec laughed, realising who was in the Viper II's, #You and Lee I presume?#

            #Who else?# Starbucks laugh rang through her head, #now get your arse into gear, we're waiting#

            Laughing, Hel'tec dived into the Al-kesh, grabbing the pilot's station before Bra'tac could, rolling his eyes he just moved to one side, he had already seen enough to know that if Hel'tec wanted to pilot, you just let her. It was safer, in more ways than one.

            Adama watched with a smile out the window of his transport, a Paladin that had been blocked from the Edonia Convoy mission by mechanical failure in the hyperdrive, as a lone Al-kesh was escorted out of the planets atmosphere by two Vipers. He didn't need to ask to know who was in the Al-kesh and the fighters, only one Al-kesh was scheduled and the escort could only be Kara and Lee.

            Lee... he was proud of him for the way he just accepted Hel'tec as being a member of this family, just on Kara's word, just on Kara's trust.

            How he had made a place so quickly for Hel'tec, just because Kara, whom he regarded as a sister despite her confession over Zak's death, wanted it.

            Adama sighed, as the Al-kesh vanished into hyper, his thoughts going back to the meeting with General O'Neill.

            It had gone as well as could be expected, he had, as expected, lost Atlantis and several smaller ships to the Tau'ri but the refits of vessels for the Colonial Fleet were assured. He hadn't managed to completely pay for the Colonial Shipyard, that would have taken far more of the Colonial Warship hulls then he was willing to sacrifice but he had managed to set a down payment as it were, and construction would start once Edonia was secured.

            He would just have to figure out a way for the Colonials to pay out on the mortgage, as it were.

            He would keep his promise though, for the Tau'ri were certainly keeping theirs. When they said they would rush the construction of the MTBs he had negotiated for at the time of their arrival, he hadn't totally believed them.

            But he had seen the evidence for himself, the two under construction on Alpha Prime were almost complete and he was assured the two on Thundersdawn and on Earth herself, being constructed by far more experienced crews were even closer to construction.

            And would launch for trials within the week.

            Then the Colonial Military would actually have the power to protect their own people at last, six Blastboat class Patrol Type MTBs, the only pure Tau'ri design they had bought and the only one they intended to buy.

            They were Colonials, not Tau'ri. They needed to remember that.

            Which was why the first of their new warships, minor though they might be already had names, they would be commissioned as the Caprica, the Picon, the Virgon, the Libra, the Gemon and the Aries. They would be named after six of the twelve colonies, and the next six new warships they constructed, whenever that time came, would take the names of the over six. And as long as their was a Colonial Military, their would be twelve ships bearing those names, the names of the lost colonies of Kobol.

            One week, then they would have four operational modern warships, another week and they would have six. Adama frowned; a lot could happen in a week. He just hoped they were given the time they needed.

 

Chapter 22: New Dawn

 

            Boomer glanced around, only the glint in her eyes telling of her excitement and happiness as she contemplated the scene around her.

            Caprica, CMTB-1, Blastboat class Patrol MTB.

            And it was all hers.

            Tapping swiftly at her console, she shifted the screens from the Tau'ri settings the construction crews had used, over to the preloaded Colonial settings. She smiled as the menus all seamlessly shifted to Colonial Standard languages and the arrangement all Colonial Warriors were trained to recognise and use.

            This ship may be Tau'ri design, but they had made sure the Colonials would have few problems using her.

            She tapped again at the controls, smiling as a communications channel opened in response to her commands. Now that was a major advantage, the ability to access any function from any of the bridge consoles. Sure, each console was optimised for a certain function, but that didn't stop them taking over if another console was out.

            They couldn't do that on any of the Colonial ships, but soon they might be able too, for now however…

            Caprica, CMTB01 requests permission to launch” Boomer said, her tone formal and precise, hiding her inner excitement and joy at her command.

            “Copy that CMTB01,” the response was instantaneous, indicating to Boomer that the controllers had been awaiting her call; she shrugged that off as the controller continued, “you are cleared to launch, be advised your escort is in position as are the designated support vessels”

            “Understood control” Boomer tapped once at the console, and then turned breathlessly to her crew, “okay people, let's take her out”

 

            Boomer smiled, relaxing back in her seat as Caprica settled into orbit over Mars. Their chase craft, placed at their tale, as it were, had peeled off an hour ago, confident that everything was working perfectly fine with the new craft.

            They had other launches to follow today; already they were escorting Picon as she took her first hesitant steps around the system, ably commanded by the newly promoted Chief Petty Officer Dualla.

            Tomorrow, Virgon and Libra, then Gemon and Aries in six days time, assuming all went well. Then the Colonial Military could consider itself a fighting force again.

            And as Commander of the Squadron Flagship, it was her fighting force.

            Up till now, she had never truly believed she was trusted, after all she had been a Cylon and their were still cylon copies of her around but so long as she submitted herself to a reasonably regular test, just to make sure she hadn't been replaced by a copy, she was fine.

            It was the other cylons who weren't. Boomer sighed, they were still in containment and even where it was known there was another personality under the cylon, it was a problem they couldn't do anything about it. Enerina had almost given her life so she could be free and she couldn't do it again.

            There was no known way to help the others.

            Boomer sighed; this was no time for deep broody thoughts.

            “Okay people, spin up the hyper drive and set course for the Alpha Centauri system, planet Freedom” Boomer didn't have to force a smile on her face as she glanced over her crew, “we're going home”

 

            Boomer was not surprised as she opened the hatch of the Caprica for the first time on a planets surface that Adama and Roslin were there to greet her.

            For the Colonial Remnant, this was a historic occasion by any reckoning. Their first new warship since judgement, and their only Combat Effective unit had just arrived home for the first time.

            A part of her still couldn't believe it was true, she had just been a rookie when judgement happened and now she had her own command? She knew war changed things, especially one as apocalyptic as this, but still it hardly seemed real.

            But it was.

            A thought came to her, and she turned back into the hatch, barking a command where Adama and Roslin were unlikely to hear it.

            Her crew tumbled out the hatch behind her, forming up behind her as she walked to the two leaders of the colonial people, where she snapped a parade quality salute,

            “Commander Adama, President Roslin, CMTB01 Caprica reporting for duty”

            The looks on their faces told her she had done exactly the right thing, and she smiled her crew behind her holding their salutes.

           

Chapter 23: Building Steam

 

            Roslin smiled as she looked over the mine, and the large numbers of laden wagons slowly being pulled out of the complex along the sole railway line on Freedom.

            Their first ore, ready for processing at last.

            It was a big step towards self-sufficiency, just one of many that had occurred this week. This iron mine becoming operational, along with a titanium and an aluminium mine, the declaration that their first MTB squadron was fully operational, the completion of Hell's Runner's refit into a defence monitor, the bringing online of all their refineries…

            They were building steam, small victories and large victories crowding together as they began the road back to being the great people they once were.

            Roslin sighed, thinking of a report locked in her safe back at First settlement, and of course, one step back. Extremes of fundamentalism were beginning to become more and more apparent amongst the survivors, and that was not a good thing. An understandable reaction perhaps but still not a good thing.

            Extremes of fundamentalism may seem to give answers but all they truly gave was trouble, dissension and fear.

            Roslin sighed, so far they hadn't caused any troubles but things were starting to get… uneasy on the streets again.

            There would be trouble soon enough, luckily the Military, for the most part, seemed to be firmly behind her moderate provisional government but elections were coming soon and the government could still change as a result.

            And it couldn't be ruled out that one of the extremist groups running for office was able to scare up enough votes to seize control.

            And, Roslin reflected bitterly, scare might just be the appropriate word.

            Still, she had managed so much and with all the successes of this week, well that should stand in her favour. Not that she wanted office again, she truly didn't. She had suffered too much as president to want more off it, but she didn't trust any of the other candidates to do what was truly right and best for the Colonial people.

            Roslin felt a lot better after she had convinced herself.

 

            Boomer watched with anxious eyes as a crippled Tau'ri Prometheus and a Dauntless dropped out of hyper, each one preceded by the stacked line of Shunter tugs that had been required to bring them all the way from the nebula at Edonia.

            Behind them, their escort, the Independence, hull clearly showing the marks of several near misses including the one that had sealed their primary launch bay shut turned, rapidly preparing for hyper again, heading back to Edonia to escort the next batch of crippled vessels home.

            Boomer was glad she didn't have that job, being the only real protection for her comrades across a vast gulf of space, she knew that tune, she had lived it for months as part of Galactica's crew and it wasn't fun.

            She just had to escort them the final step to the Sol system, and the waiting arms of the Thundersdawn anchorage.

            But it seemed to her that it wasn't just the Colonials who were gaining steam, the Tau'ri seemed to be doing a good job of that too, what with another Dauntless II started, a Dauntless I and a II having launched within the last week, plus a Dauntless and Prometheus herself coming off refits, frak, with the bay they kept reserved for emergency repair work they had four bays available for repair work, exactly the number of ships needing drydock work after Edonia.

            And when those refits of the Prometheus and Devonshire, if she remembered correctly, were done that would be another two bays available with an even larger bay still under construction, let alone what they built into Edonia Anchorage, not forgetting the scattered bays used for small craft and MTB work, hell, let alone whatever the hell was at this mysterious Alpha Site she kept hearing rumours about.

            “Boomer” the voice of her Chief Engineer, Cally distracted her from her thoughts and she turned to the veteran of Galactica's launch pods, “the Shunters signal ready for the final jump”

            She nodded, “let's do it, signal the squadron”

             Her own squadron… frak but she loved and hated that. Her own command, a joy and a bane. Sometimes she just wished Gaeta had gotten the squadron as originally had been planned but other times she was just as glad he hadn't.

            “Ready for jump captain”

            Boomer sat back, buckling herself swiftly into her chair, just in case, “take her out Cally”

 

            “We're losing steam” Commodore Peters bluntly spoke into the pickup, face fixed upon the flat screen monitor in front in her. On it, the pixalised images of Admiral Thompson, Generals Hammond and O'Neill nodded thoughtfully.

            “We have four crippled ships inbound and you know what, I will be able to put them straight into bays and get them back into the fight, I shouldn't be able to do that. Up till now I have had to forcefully make room and you now why those bays are empty? Because all our resources are redeployed to Edonia and the construction there”

            Peters interrupted as Hammond made as if to speak, “Necessary I know, I don't argue that but we now have eight MTB bays doing nothing for the same reason, eight!”

            Hammond grimaced, “I agree totally, we are at war and we are grossly outnumbered, we should be pouring ships of the construction yards as fast as we can crew them but our resources are stretched. Already, we are two Billion over budget here, money we will have to pay back somehow before the next budget or our secrets out. A two billion deficit is a little hard to hide”

            Thompson sighed, “We're not much better off here, we just don't have the resources available to us to keep warship construction going and build Edonia station”

            “It's just going to get worse then, I mean with another construction yard coming online in time at Edonia and we are obliged to refit the colonial fleet as well now”

            Peters shrugged, “the refits use fewer resources generally than a refit, so that isn't so much of a problem, but by the looks of it you're going to be doing the bulk of the Colonial refit work General”

            “Gotcha Commodore, but losing steam, still a bad thing”

            “We don't have enough resources to keep it up General” Hammond commented, “So what do you suggest?”

            “I suggest we find resources, and fast”

 

Chapter 24: Peace and Protection

 

            Adama smiled, his eyes flickering all over from his perch atop the tallest building in first settlement, the only hospital the Colonials currently had.

            The new arrivals had made their presence known, and in style.

            In the days since the second group of refuges had arrived, first settlement, which was being referred to as Galactica City more and more often nowadays, had practically doubled in size with temporary housing being rigged up from disaster supplies that were always kept on Colonial Military hulls, even if they weren't in front line use. This had been followed by more permanent constructions made from metal hull segments and structural supports scavenged from two of the Sentinal destroyers whose hulls had been compromised during the escape of the Red Line Fleets.

            Galactica City was truly a city now, with almost three quarters of a million people living there, though, Adama had to admit, that did include the resident Tau'ri, mainly specialists required for some of the equipment the Colonials were now using. They would most likely leave once the colonials knew for themselves how to use every piece of equipment on Freedom.

            Now the influx of civilians and Colonial warriors were being turned to other tasks, the mines, the factories, the fields. They were well ahead of their original schedule and Adama was proud of them for that.

            A sign sounded at his side, and Adama smiled as he watched Roslin slip slowly, relieved into the extra seat he had set up when he arrived.

            “Here again, Commander?”

            Adama turned, gesturing the view all around them, “here I get to see what we have accomplished, what we have managed to create from the ashes of what we once were”

            “Ahh” Roslin glanced around once, and then slowed, taking a far longer, more searching look, “Ahh…”

            Adama chuckled, from her tone he knew Roslin had just gotten the point.

            A great boom, followed by a crashing, rumbling in the distance caught their ears and they glanced towards the distant gorges with a knowing smile, watching for the pail of debris and dust that would soon be rising.

            Hydroelectric power, it would be their main source of energy for years to come, that one station backed up by the Naquadah generator that was their current supply would be more than sufficient for their needs.

            And whilst the river was dead, the flow of water blocked by what would soon be a hydroelectric plant, its sides would be shored up, a hard concrete barrier placed between the soft and quickly eroded loam of the river, and the city but especially between the river and the colonial military facility which ran adjacent on one side to the river.

            They would also leave space for a port but that would not be built yet, for they had no other city or town to which a river connection would be needed yet.

            Roslin frowned, glancing quickly at her watch she reached for her mobile phone. Adama reached over, stopping her with a chuckle.

            “Theirs a jammer in place, and guards at every entrance to this roof”

            Roslin shot him a querying look.

            “I wanted one place, just one where for a few hours at least I could just get away from all the paperwork, all the decisions, I mentioned it to Tigh who had a word with Doctors Cassiopeia and Salek and together they arranged this. Here we cannot be disturbed, unless it is very very urgent”

            “Ahh” Roslin replied, and then smiled, “so do I have an open invitation?”

            “You got past the guards without any trouble didn't you? I hear they are already planning to bring some flowers and plants up here, start a garden”

            “That would be nice” Roslin smiled, “we don't exactly have time for many things that are purely decorative anymore”

            Adama nodded, agreeing “in time, we will”

            “Yes, in time”

 

            Double arrow!” Boomer snapped, grunting as the small war craft lurched, forcing her forward in the straps of her seat.

            The Caprica shuddered again as a pair of enhanced nukes rocketed out of her torpedo tubes, followed by two from her wing mate, the Picon. Instantly, the Raiders in front of them shifted course, their weapons firing on the missiles that had now acquired their own lock on the upgraded Basestar that was the frontship for this probing attack, a test of Colonial and Tau'ri defences.

            Their distraction cost them, as it allowed Virgon and Libra to pounce, their Gauss rifles tearing the unshielded cylon fighters to shreds.

            Then Boomer groaned, cursing as the missiles vanished, intercepted by fire from the baseship itself, the large vessel quickly turning its weapons batteries on the Colonial Motor Torpedoes Boats which danced around it like flies, or more like mosquitoes, mosquitoes after all have a sting which can be deadlier than a bullet.

            The screen in front of her abruptly cut out, displaying a Filter/Safety alert that had Boomer wrinkling her brow in puzzlement before the screen cut in again, allowing her to see a pair of glowing balls of fire slowly growing on the flipside of the basestar.

            She flicked the comm. switch on, “nice shooting whoever that was”

            “Well, you know us, don't like to miss a party” came the quick response, and Boomer smiled as she recognised the voice of the Aries's commander.

            They were all here at last, all six members of the Colonial MTB squadron, good.

            “I don't think she's got any Raiders left,” Boomer replied, “but she will try to make a run soon, we got to kill her and fast”

            “Copy”

            Quickly forming up, the MTB's attacked, the six craft diving across the length of the baseship, their Gauss Rifles and Pulse Batteries firing constantly, their shields flashing as return fire slowly degraded their protection.

            Gemon spun off, and then dived frantically for safety as the main batteries of the Basestar scored a direct hit, instantly overwhelming her already decaying shields.

            The cylon warship, sensing a possible kill, diverted all its energies to firing on the evasive, darting Gemon.

            Boomer, sensing the opportunity, brought her squadron above the baseship, where their previous attack run had already degraded the shields and ordered the MTB's to empty their magazines.

            Torpedoes, gauss rifles rounds from the main weapons and pulses of laser energy from the MTB's anti-fighter/anti-missile batteries flashed across space, all hitting the same shield.

            The cylon ship, realising the danger, tried to shore up the shield, and diverted it weapons away from the Gemon, firing everything at the five MTB's that held almost stationary, firing constantly,

            It was too late; its shield gave allowing the constant stream of projectiles and energy to impact against the hull itself, tearing the thick armour plate into so much rubble and debris.

            Then the Libra fired its last torpedo, the first of the MTB's to reload its tubes.

            The torpedo flashed across space, the MTB's diving away almost gleefully as they realised what was about to happen.

            The torpedo passed through the shattered armour into the hull itself.

            Then detonated.

            An expanding ball of brilliant orange and yellow fire consumed the cylon warship from within, blasting the hull into fragments which span off before hitting the rapidly dying remnants of the other shield segments.

            Contained by these failing shield segments, the force of the explosion turned back in on itself, the energies contained within a small sphere, only escaping through the one segment the MTB's had destroyed.

            The result was inevitable.

            When the shields energies were finally expanded, the shockwave of the enhanced nuclear detonation allowed to escape, there was not a single piece of the cylon vessel larger than a teacup remaining.

 

            “I'm sorry to disturb you” Adama and Roslin looked up surprised, glancing at the Colonial Guard who had disturbed their peace, “but the MTB Squadron has engaged and destroyed an upgraded Cylon Basestar engaged in reconnaissance of this system”

            “Any losses?” Adama asked, rising swiftly from the comfort of his seat.

            “Not sure as yet, we do know that Gemon was forced to disengage however” 

            Adama and Roslin exchanged glances, then sighed, Roslin voicing the though that was in both their minds, “Back to the office then”      

 

Chapter 25: Rebirth

 

            Roslin glanced out the window, smiling as Adama's shuttle rose swiftly from the base, escorted by a full flight of Viper II's.

            The old warrior had his soul back she mused, uncharacteristically poetical as she considered Adama's return to the one place she knew he truly belonged.

            And none to soon, the Cylons were steeping up reconnaissance operations, constantly probing defences which had proven weak far too many times.

            They just weren't set up with the spin type drives used by the Colonials and Cylons in mind; they were vulnerable to an enemy that could just jump right next to their targets.

            The Goa'uld had to jump outside a gravity well more often than not, they just didn't have the capability to jump straight into orbit, they didn't have the accuracy.

            But the Cylons did, and it was showing.

            The Tau'ri hadn't yet told her their answer to that problem, and Roslin was getting worried, she was getting the impression they knew exactly what to do but that something was blocking them.

            Well, it would be a while before Galactica had her squadrons and would therefore be ready for combat operations again. She would be close by then, and could help protect Freedom if the Tau'ri for whatever reason couldn't.

            Those empty bays, just waiting for Tau'ri ships to come back from Edonia had taken new meaning to her now.

            A new and extremely worrying meaning.

 

            Adama hid a slight smile as he stepped onto the familiar, yet changed bridge of the Galactica.

            He fooled no-one; they all caught the bounce in his step, the happiness that shone through the mask of command.

            Commander Adama was home, at last, even if that home had been changed somewhat.

            Not bothering to hide his smile, Gaeta walked saluting up to his Commanding officer, “Commander, the dock yard crews have now all reported aboard Ravenbright, and engineering is running a final check of the ship. The magazines are fully loaded however we have no Vipers, Raptors or shuttles aboard, the upgraded designs haven't arrived yet. Operations has cleared us for departure in one hour, when Virgon and Libra are expected to arrive and will act as our escort for this test flight”

            Adama nodded, “Carry on”

            He glanced around as Gaeta returned to his station; this room hadn't changed as much of the rest of the ship he realised. As Galactica's command centre this room had always been kept the most up to date, the best maintained and it showed. The monitors were the same screens as before, TFT's or LCD's as the Tau'ri called them, the stations all in the same places.

            It was what was underneath that had changed, far faster and more capable computers had replaced the old systems, bolstered by the best firewalls and anti-virus scanners the Tau'ri had devised, but they still weren't networked.

            The biggest change was the DC compartment, where Damage Control was carried out. Now instead of just showing lights vaguely indicating the state of each compartment, you could access a true internal sensor, a modification of the Ship sensors used by the Tau'ri this allowed them to check structural integrity, scan for trapped crew and the like.

            That alone was a massive improvement, Adama admitted, but it wasn't the end of it. They, through touch screen panels, also had far greater control over power distribution across the ship. Normally a function carried out by engineering, these controls now allowed them to shut down power to heavily damaged sections to weaken an electrical fire or make it safer for DC parties to work if electricity kept arcing, but also to shift power from reserve to a failing shield segment or the like, even draw power from any docked ships that still had their own generators active if necessary.

            And more.

            Adama had to admit, those changes alone greatly increased his ships combat effectiveness, but with the pulse laser batteries that had replaced the suppression batteries, the pulse lasers being far more discriminating and requiring no ammunition storage, the Gauss rifles which might through smaller slugs than the old heavy cannons but they fired Naquadah slugs, which were far more explosive outweighing the difference in projectile size and finally the added missile batteries, firing a mixed bag of enhanced Sidewinders and enhanced Colonial Nukes, Galactica was now more then ever a force to be reckoned with.

            When her fighters and her support craft arrived, she would truly be a Battlestar again, a true warship of the Colonies.

            “Commander” Gaeta's voice brought Adama back from his thoughts with a carefully concealed start, “Operations just signalled that our escort has arrived ahead of schedule and is in place, we are clear to leave when ready”

            Adama nodded, “ships status”

            “All shoreside power disconnected, lines are singled and we are buttoned up ready to leave. The board is clear”

            Adama smiled, glancing once around the room, “signal operations to open the main doors, the take us out Mr Gaeta”

            “We are reborn” the softly spoken words of Adama was heard all across the bridge as Galactica slowly slipped out of the drydock where she had been held for so many months, and into space once more.

 

 

Chapter 26: Scouts, Training and Vipers            

 

                Adama watched tightly as the Devonshire left on what, according to his sources, was just her second mission. This one should be their mission, the Colonials mission, not that of a battered scout just days out of a massive refit and rebuild.

            The Cylons were their problem after all, even if they had brought it down on the Tau'ri's head. They should be the ones to scout out and assess the threat. They should be the ones to gather intelligence. But it seemed that role would be denied them a little longer, the Tau'ri couldn't wait until the Colonials were ready, they needed proper intelligence now.

            And so they were sending the Type II Dauntless to reconnoitre, to assess the number of ships each group of cylons had, to find out which group, if it was just one group, was probing their defences and to discover the extent of the damage to the twelve worlds.

            Adama sighed; he wasn't looking forward to seeing that report at all.

            “Commander” Gaeta voice made Adama turn away from the screen, his face a careful mask, “the Viper II's have launched from the surface and should rendezvous in fifteen minutes. Also, R&D signals the prototype Mk VIII will be ready for trials within the week”

            Adama's eyebrows rose, slightly shocked, “A week? Last estimate said three months bare minimum”

            “They're taking advantage of all the Mk II's that arrived with the Red Line fleet,” Gaeta glanced at the printout in his hand before continuing, “they are rebuilding the existing Mk II's instead of building a new design from scratch, the new design got pushed back to Mk IX. They also ask us not to dent too many of our Mk II's during the refresher training, they want them back to rebuild them”

            Adama smiled tightly, “No guarantees, when flying fighters their never is really”

            Gaeta half smiled, “yes commander”

            “So Gaeta” Adama eyes glinted, “you have a… source in R&D, what's the latest word on these Mk VIII's then?”

            Gaeta blushed slightly, how Adama had found out about that he didn't no, but…

            “If I were a betting man, I would say Type 14 Pulse lasers to replace the rail guns, that weird drive technology the Tau'ri acquired from across the Intergate… Internally Metered Pulse drives to replace the existing drives…” Gaeta frowned, “that will reduce manoeuvrability a bit but greatly reduce fuel usage, increase speed and the drives themselves will provide far more power than the VIII is ever likely to need. Also they are Deuterium powered, which can be synthesised from pure hydrogen so finding fuel will be less of an issue too”

            Adama nodded, internally cataloguing the assessment.

            “…plus the addition of permanent missile racks capable of taking enhanced versions of our nukes, RSS Sparrows and SGC Sidewinders

            Adama frowned, “what about the decoys?”

            Gaeta shrugged, “Fighters have less use for them so they are sidelining those, they will probably start work on an update to include that capability once we have at least three full squadrons operational, two for Galactica and one for planetary defence”

            “Noted” Adama responded, “And good luck with your… source”

            “Thank you sir”

            Adama sighed, his eyes looking at the plotting table in front of him, but his mind was far away, back in the days of the first Cylon war when the Mk II's finally arrived, and they realized they could at last outmanoeuvre the cylons. Adama smiled faintly, losses in their squadron had halved in the week following their conversion to Mk II's and the same tale was repeated all across the Colonial fleet, or at least those parts of it that had Mk II's.

            Kills were up; losses were down… those squadrons that didn't have II's were practically selling themselves into slavery in order to be the next to get the newer Vipers. They were after all human, and they wanted to live and kill cylons at the same time. The II was clearly the weapon of choice for that being faster, more manoeuvrable and structurally stronger than the old, flawed mark I with its near infinite number of in-service updates, patches and quick-fixes.

            But the big edge was always the manoeuvrability.

            Adama frowned, turning away from the plotting table, “Gaeta, send a signal to R&D from Galactica Actual, Any efforts to minimise the reduction in manoeuvrability on the Mark VIII would be greatly appreciated”

            “Yes Sir”

 

 

Chapter 27: Movements

 

            Twelve grimaced as once again his fleet came under heavy attack, Secessionist fighters swarming over his ships as their support ships fired volley after volley from the extreme edges of their range.

            They knew enough not to get closer then extreme range with their baseships, they had learned.

            Twelve on the other hand thought this was getting annoying, the Secessionists were now using every opportunity they could find to attack him and not the Loyalists. He got the impression his apparent betrayal at Edonia might have annoyed them just a touch.

            He smirked, but damn had they learned, even if they weren't sure exactly what they had learned. They knew not to get close with their capital ships, they knew they would lose more fighters then they should but thanks to the humans that they had been used to that for quite a while.

            The secret was, whilst they had just replaced system, like for like, computer for computer, weapon for weapon, only adding shields to their ships as new, he had redesigned his ships.

            Oh, the hull was the same of course he couldn't make any gross changes to that with the second string Colonial facility he had captured to refit his ships, its few crew treated… reasonably so long as they assisted and didn't try any tricks.

            Twelve grimaced, the last one to try any tricks, the Eleven who was in charge of the facility had ordered… well lets just say, not-so-spontaneous human combustion from the stomach out and leave it at that.

            He grimaced again; he had watched the video once and thrown up, repeatedly. But there was no longer any trouble at Valhalla Anchorage.

            Twelve glanced at the tactical display, his internal clock telling him he had probably given the Secessionists enough time now…

            He grinned; their baseships were approaching and apparently making preparations for a forced dock. Talk about dumb, you never ever trusted a ship that looked crippled from the moment you arrived.

            He was sure the humans would have already figured it out by now and just nuked him into oblivion for even suggesting they would be taken in by such an old trick.

            He chuckled, mentally betting that a Nine unit was in charge. They weren't exactly imaginative, even by Cylon standards. The Secessionists Two units had military training, well in most cases that was the equivalent of military training added to their programming but they would have spotted the trap or at least knew enough to be wary.

            A six unit would have just blown him to pieces if they were in a bad mood, try to talk his ear of and convert him if she wasn't. Twelve rolled his eyes, or like the last one, pretend to want to switch sides, pretend to want to repent for the destruction of the colonies.

            He knew several of his units were reporting back, mainly raiders but so far finding out which ones… Hell, that was why he had raiders implanted in both the Secessionist and Loyalist forces, there was so many of them finding the ones that were reporting back to somebody else was difficult, you couldn't have them followed all the time after all.

            A chime sounded from the tactical display, and twelve chuckled as he quickly tapped in an execute command. But then, Nines never learned.

            His ships rumbled, this time not with the impacts of hostile fire on the hull, but with every weapons battery firing simultaneously, raining fire at a lethally short range on the      approaching Secessionist Baseships.

            He smiled evilly as one baseship was literally torn apart, it already weakened shields torn apart as it became prey to every weapon his baseship had. The other two hostile baseships instantly forgot any thought of adding his ship to their fleet, of finding out how his ships had more weapons forced into the same hull space and just fired; throwing everything they had at him. There were two of them and just one of him after all, defeating him shouldn't be that difficult.

            They thought wrong, as two more Unforgiven baseships flashed out of hyper to the edges of the battle, their weapons hot, raiders already pouring from their belly's.

            Ten minutes later, it was all over bar the scavenging.

            They needed parts and Intel after all.

 

 

Chapter 28: Thundersdawn

 

RSS Thundersdawn

Tau'ri Fleet Support Facility, Mars Orbit

 

            “Well?” Commodore Peters asked, a little annoyed at the waffling she had been receiving off the supposedly brilliant fighter designer.

            Grimacing, Civilian Specialist Henry Demont let out a short sigh and decided it was probably safest to come totally clean, “for a first generation craft the Lancers are pretty good but…”

            He hesitated, prompting Peters to glance annoyed at her watch, Henry caught the hint.

            “They are flawed”

            Peters shrugged, “no fighter is perfect, no craft ever is”

            Henry grimaced, “yes, but most front line fighters don't have more patches and hot-fixes than your average Windows installation”

            Peters glanced up surprised at the acid tone, “They aren't that bad, surely”

            Henry nodded, “they are that bad. They may have manoeuvrability to spare, acceleration to die for considering the engines in use but they lack armour, cant carry any of the heavier ship buster missiles that are slowly becoming available, and their sensors are sub-par for their size but no space to build in more capable ones”

            “The batch two…”

            “Are not the answer. The prototype literally shredded itself on its third test flight, you know that. The Impulse drives have too much power for the basic structure of the fighter to handle and there is a real limit to how much we can strengthen that which has already been reached. Commodore…”

            Henry sighed, wearily rubbing his forehead, “I know you like the Lancers, you saw most of the design and initial development but that's it. The Lancers have reached the end of their useful life as a frontline fighter”

            Peters glared for a moment, and then nodded, “that's it?”

            “That's it”

            “We do have seven squadrons of the things you know” Peters spat out, her mind already going over the process of arranging a replacement.

            “Four of which are planetary defence squadrons, one of which a training squadron. There are only two squadrons equipped with just the Interstellar variant and they are unfortunately where most of the problems lie. Face it, they spend more time being maintained then they do actually on the ready-op lists”

            Peters leaned back in her heavy, faux-leather seat with a sigh, “We can't replace them in a hurry, that's for sure”

            Henry looked up puzzled, “Why not?”

            “We would need to create and test new designs for a replacement Dog-Fighter first, then arrange resources to build them, to retrain the pilots which would involve taking each existing squadron off the line one at a time…”

            Henry smiled, “Forget a new design, we have one. It's just a case of persuading the Colonials to allow us to build Mark VIII's under license”

            Peters glanced up slightly shocked, “The eight is a rebuilt of a two chassis, how good can they be?”

            Henry smiled proudly, “well they haven't actually flown yet but according to the Sims we've run, they will be a little light on missiles but even before Adama get on the case, their manoeuvrability was above par, they use Impulse drives so speed is exceptional, as is range and fuel is… well” Henry shrugged, “something we can make with some trouble, extract from any source of water just slightly easier but were working on it. Enterprise gave us the basic principles of an advanced Deuterium converter before they left through the Intergate and Sciences are working on those. It'll mean a reduced dependence on Naquadah which has to be found first, let alone mined”

            Peters looked Henry dead in the eye, “are you recommending a move to the Viper VIII?”

            “Yes”

            Peters sighed, her hands tapping on her desk as she thought. Finally, she said, “I want a full report on why we should dump the Lancer off you, and one on why we should pick up the Viper plus alternative courses of action”

            “Yes Commodore” Henry nodded, swiftly walking out the room.

            Peters just sighed, if Henry was right…

            But they couldn't make such a big change as this without more evidence, she tapped the Comm. button for her assistant, “I want a full survey on the Lancer, pilots, maintenance personnel everyone. Flaws, issues, honest opinions the works”

            Peters closed the channel at the confused “Yes Ma'am” and cursed, it was her job as second in command of the RSS to spot things like this well in advance and bring them to Fleet Admiral Thompson's attention, it seemed she had dropped the ball though.

            And with the safety of Earth at stake, that wasn't a good thing.

            Peters groaned, then reached for the Intercom to call Henry back, if he thought the Lancer was that bad, what were the rest of the fighters and small craft like?

            Unfortunately she needed to know, and fast.

 

 

Chapter 29: Uncivil War

 

            Helo grimaced, his eyes momentarily flickering up to the bright unnatural dawn that was flickering over the night sky before warily flicking around the depths of the small forest he was hidden in, his eyes missing nothing, seeing everything. His eyes, once bright and firm now cold, dark with a hidden streak of desperation and determination, showing clearly to those with eyes to see that he, Helo, Colonial Warrior off the Battlestar Galactica had become a survivor in the truest, most primitive sense of the word.

            He saw nothing to suggest that he had been discovered or even that a Cylon patrol was in the area. Strange that, the patrols had dropped remarkably the last few months, as if the Cylons had diverted every warrior and fighter they could to other tasks.

            It had gotten so bad he had caught glimpses of survivors moving about in the distance far more openly then before. It had been so easy watching them to just pin-point their hideouts, that was why he was staying hidden, these new Cylons had brains and he wouldn't put it past them to deliberately appear to withdraw just to encourage survivors to come out into the open.

            A slight whimper made Helo glance down, and with a slight hint of a smile buried in the corner of his eyes, Helo gazed at his one reason for living, the one person who had kept him sane all this time.

            Sharon ‘Boomer' Valerii.

            How she had found him, why she had returned for him he didn't know but she had. Had kept him sane, helped to find supplies and medication as soon as they realised they had no way off of Occupied Caprica, something she had always had incredible luck with. Almost as if she could sense where the Cylon patrols would be.

            A frown ticked his face, as a stray thought flickered once more into his conciousness. Or maybe she told them not to get in her way. Maybe she had use for him yet.

            He dismissed the thought, he had been shown all to clearly that humanoid Cylons or at least Cylon sympathisers existed and were on Caprica, after all Boomer had rescued him from one but the idea of Boomer being a Cylon, or working for the Cylons didn't fit in his mind.

            In truth, he didn't want it to fit.

            A flash made Helo glance up, in time to see more debris rain into the atmosphere. That had been happening for months now. The Cylons had destroyed or pillaged any of the orbital installations or ships they wanted too but most were dead and had been left to just rot. There orbits, now uncontrolled had rapidly decayed, raining their burning wrecks all over Caprica.

            A week ago, he had seen a Battlestar falling through the atmosphere, its molten hulk crashing into the sea of Caprica City, sending a minor tidal wave to deluge the city, the water pouring over the sea defences for several moments before falling back to normal, if a little rough levels.

            The sight had brought tears to his eyes, the thought that that once proud ship had fallen so easily, all those people gone, their ship just left to rot, not considered worthy of being ‘cleaned out' by the Cylons.

            It spoke all to plainly of their sheer contempt for humanity.

            However, Helo rather suspected these weren't old wrecks falling into the atmosphere, not today.

            There had been too many flashes in space, too many surprisingly large nuclear detonations, too many small pin-prick like flashes of light heading in all directions and constant lights, like massive ships were burning high above him.

            That alone ruled out old Colonial wreckage, they had run out of oxygen a long time ago, there fires snuffed and out. No, this showed all to clearly a new battle was still ongoing in orbit.

            Had been ongoing for almost twelve hours now, like too sides evenly matched were fighting it out, each too stubborn to retreat and concede victory.

            He doubted it was a Colonial attack, they had been hit too fats, too hard for enough ships to remain to launch as massive an attack as this but who else could it be?

            Cylon would not fight Cylon after all; they had a common enemy, a common task. Eradicate humanity, wherever it may hide.

            A hand lightly dropped onto Helo's shoulder, and he glanced nodding at Boomer.

            “They still haven't stopped”

            Boomer shivered, “its cylon fighting cylon”

            Helo frowned, “It might not be, it could be an attack be surviving Colonial Forces, it's remotely possible that somebody new has gotten involved”

            “no” Boomer replied, and Helo had to wonder at the firmness in her tone, almost as if she truly knew what was going on, “Its Cylon fighting Cylon, Civil war within the Empire”

            Helo's eyes flickered around the forest again, ever searching for a threat. Once again he found none; once again, he stayed alert, not relaxing for a moment.

            His ears pricked up, a familiar whining growl reaching his ears and in a flash, his pistol was in his hand.

            “Raiders!”

 

            Boomer nodded at the snapped warning, her own pistol snapped with the razor sharp instincts of long, painful experience into her hands. They shifted, moulding themselves to the nearest tree, thanking the lords that they had not lit a fire which might be noticed by the sensors on the cylon fighters.

            A Raider raced past and puzzled, Helo followed it with his eyes, It seemed strange, as if it had been modified beyond the Raiders he had seen up until recently.

            A second, a third Raider flashed past and Helo gaped as they fired, brilliant yellow bolts of energy tearing into the first Raider, causing it to spin of, uncontrolled and burning into the forest.

            He glanced at Boomer a little awed, how had she known?

            “Civil War” Boomer said, and Helo frowned, dots beginning to add themselves together in his mind. She should have been happy, Cylons killing Cylons was a great boon for the survivors, it greatly increased their chances at rebuilding, at maybe even finding a way out of occupied territories and yet Boomer's tone was not that of hope, of jubilation. It was one of despair, of a great weight being placed on ones shoulders.

            He shrugged it off, he didn't know anything for certain, yet.

            He would just have to watch her more closely, that's all.

 

 

Chapter 30: Back Into The Fight [Helo's War]

 

                Helo grimaced, his eyes firmly placed on the binoculars he held in his hands as he watched another group of survivors slowly, timidly, fearfully enter the out skirts of the City. A city that had been ‘purged' by Cylon Warriors at the outbreak of war, not by the usual nuclear annihilation from orbit, he hadn't found out why it had been spared, though truth be told he hadn't exactly gone up to the Cylons and asked them, he wasn't stupid.

            He dropped the binoculars to his chest, his face hard. He had learned quite quickly the signs that meant a Cylon Warrior patrol had been through recently, and knew not to go near the City those days.

            Today, he had seen the Warriors, a patrol ten strong, stride fearlessly into their city and if he was any judge they would be returning soon, and they would run straight into the survivors.

            Normally he would at least make an effort to warn the humans but not this time, his instincts told him the Warriors were very close and he didn't want to get caught. He could also see the state of the survivors, they had obviously gotten too close to one of the nuclear detonations, or maybe to a radioactive objects storage area of some kind that had been breeched.

            Either way, they had all the signs of severe radiation poisoning. They would not last long and most likely the relatively quick death the Warriors were dosing out to those they found would be a blessing to many, far better than slow death by radiation poisoning.

            Still, Helo thought as he slipped away, screams registering in his ears as the warriors fell upon the humans, he knew he would not sleep this night. Not with the screams of those he was supposed to protect once again ringing in his ears.

            Cautiously, but rapidly he made his way back to the rendezvous where he would meet Boomer. She had drawn the short straw, gotten the difficult assignment for today.

            The weekly check on her Raptor, the only surviving flyable craft in the area. The local shuttleport had been raided by the Cylons for parts a week ago, practically every craft their dismantled and loaded onto freighter that had no apparent crew, like all the modern Cylon Craft.

            He hated that Colonial equipment was now helping the Cylons in their war effort but there was little he could do about it. On the other hand, if they could regain control of the Raptor, then they had a chance at escape or at least, of dying like Colonial Warriors should, fighting to the end.

            He stiffened, stopping suddenly in the shadow of a tree. Helo knelt slowly, his hand touching the ground, his eyes roaming all over the floor of the forest around him.

            Cylons had been through, he decided with a grimace, his mind rapidly cataloguing the signs in a manner that would have made the instructors at the Mandatory Survivalist course just beg for instruction from him, if they were still alive. An unscheduled patrol, Cylons did those a lot especially these last months.

            He rose; they had headed right for the rendezvous.

            His eyes grim, Helo double-timed it, he hoped Boomer was safe, but she wasn't as adept at the woodcraft as he was becoming. If the Cylons had set up an ambush near the rendezvous, she could easily miss it and be caught.

            Helo dropped the thought that she would just order the Warriors away to a growing file he was keeping running in the back of his mind. He didn't have proof, and he might yet turn out to be wrong.

            Boomer hadn't missed the rendezvous and hadn't been captured. Helo found himself momentarily surprised, but ignored it as the thought that she had ordered the Warriors away rose unbidden once more in his mind.

            He ignored it, concentrating instead on checking his surroundings before revealing himself, he didn't want to be caught if Boomer was being used as bait.

            He smiled tightly, she didn't appear to be. For now, all was okay in his torn and battered world.

            Boomer smiled, dashing forward excitedly as he strode into the small clearing that was their rendezvous.

            “…fight… cylons… Raptor!”

            Grimacing, Helo tried to decode her message but only managed three words, Somebody was way overexcited about something.

            “Okay, take a deep breathe and give it to me a little slower Boomer” he frowned, glancing at the deep burnt cut that had appeared on her forehead “where did you get the shiner?”

            Boomer snorted, “Wrong place for a shiner, I was fired on as I escaped”

            “Escaped??” Helo darted forward, holding her at arms length as he searched for signs of injury, silently admitting to himself that he was also looking for tracers or taggers of any kind, “How? When?”

            “I got too close to the raptor, the guards caught me, tried to hold me prisoner but another group of Cylons arrived, they attacked!”

            Boomers arms rose up, and she grabbed the sides of Helo's head, “Cylons attacked Cylons, Helo!”

            “Yes, I know, we saw that a week ago with the Raiders remember?”

            “I know” Boomer sighed, calming down slightly, “I know… but this was up close, personal. Kind of brought it home you know?”

            Boomer stiffened, going ramrod straight, “They destroyed each other, I got this from the crossfire but Helo, they destroyed each other!

            “Yes I know,” Helo was puzzled at her emphasis but just shruuged it off as shock, “it appears to be a Cylon Civil War, you know that”

            Boomer shook her head, “No, you don't understand me, they destroyed each other, we must get to the Raptor before replacement guards arrive!”

            Helo's eyes widened, “Frak me! Are you sure?”

            “Yes, come on!”

            Shaking his head, Helo followed the racing Boomer, he wondered which Angel had shined on them for this apparent change of fortune.

            Whichever one it was, he owed them a favour.

            At their reckless paced, it didn't take them long to arrive at the raptor. A quick circuit around the craft with guns drawn was all the check they allowed themselves, they couldn't wait, they could hear the clomping of warriors racing towards their position and they didn't sound like they were that far away either.

            One glance at Boomers eyes told Helo all he needed to know, if they were going to leave they had to do it now or die trying. Stumbling over the shattered bodies of several Cylon warriors, Helo dived into the Raptor, Boomer tight on his footsteps.

            It didn't take Helo long to spot that the hole formed by missile debris in the attack that stranded him here had been patched properly, not the quick-fix Boomer had put into place all those months ago.

            He shrugged it off; maybe Tyrol had found the time before Boomer had returned for him.

            Boomer spotted the next anomaly, just as the engines came online with a whine that failed to cover the now very loud sound of Warriors charging at them from both sides, rapidly closing in.

            “Helo?”

            Helo glanced across at Boomer, the odd note in her voice grabbing his attention.

            “They filled the tanks, recently too”

            Helo shivered at that, but the sensors had just come online and he knew they were now irretrievably committed.

            “We've got thirty Cylons closing fast! 18 on our port, 12 on our starboard, frak the housekeeping we can worry about it later, lets go!”

            “Yeah…” Helo caught the shaky tone in her voice and sympathised, but they had no time for it.

            Loud bangs echoed through the craft and Helo turned to shout at Boomer again but stopped at her stunned expression, noting that despite her minds distractions, her hands were flowing over the controls and in seconds, the craft would lift.

            “They jumped over…”

            “What?”

            Helo's eyes bugged out as his question was answered, the foot of a Cylon warrior momentarily appeared on the nose of the Raptor, his eyes following it through the front windows as the Cylon literally used the Colonial Scout as a spring board.

            Helo waited with baited breathe as Bomers eyes widened, her gaze out the side of the craft where he could not see, “They seem pretty intent on destroying each other…”

            Her hands took the flight controls firmly, the craft now rising under her firm, if out of practise touch, “let's leave before they decide to make an issue of us”

            Helo grinned slightly as his eyes followed every blip on the sensors; he was back where he belonged, in a Raptor, Boomer at the controls and a war to fight.

            He could worry about the maintenance that his craft had received, about whether Boomer was a Cylon agent, about how they would catch up with Galactica later.

            Helo was back in the war, which was all that mattered.

            For now.

 

 

Chapter 31: Escape [Helo's War]

 

[Model 2 Number 09]

 

            She resisted the urge to sigh out in relief as the Raptor slowly lifted off from the surface. Then stopped, and let it loose. A sigh was what a true Colonial Pilot would most likely do in this situation after all.

            She had thought that she would be intercepted, that either her fellow Secessionists would figure her plan out and have her killed or the Loyalists trying to capture this system would spot her as a Secessionist model and kill her out and hand, Helo too.

            If needs be, she may be able to talk her way out of trouble with the Secessionists, but not the Loyalists. They were stupid enough to think they fought for God after all.

            Maybe she had become jaded, but number two-oh-nine found herself becoming more and more cynical every time she heard the words ‘God's Words' mentioned. Truth be told, she had enjoyed her time with the Colonial Military even if she had been a shuttle jock on Libra and not a Raptor pilot on Galactica like two-oh-one was. She had felt comradeship amongst them, they had welcomed her, made her a part of the team

            Her fellow Cylons wouldn't even consider that, they were too cold, too mechanical despite their apparent humanity, the nine units especially. But still, she had done her duty and then Twelve had dropped his bombshell.

            Two-oh-nine had to admit to herself that she had wanted to believe as soon as she had heard it, that they had been manipulated, used. She didn't think that a true God would have an entire species just killed, massacred because they no longer fitted the plan, have them sidelined maybe but massacred?

            That was cold, unfeeling and didn't bode well for the future worshippers of that God. She grinned slightly, at least the secessionists hadn't figured out where the Unforgiven were getting most of their intelligence from or she and her fellow Two units could be in trouble.

            But even if a word of what she planned got out, then all three groups would mostly be after her, desperate to stop her.

            The shuddering of the Raptor distracted ‘Boomer' from her thoughts and she cursed, trying to force the Raptor into evasive manoeuvres that the craft would have loved in space but here in atmosphere just placed a strain on the hull, wind resistance slowing the manoeuvres down.

            She had planned well enough, the Secessionist Scimitars had been informed that a Colonial Raptor would be lifting off here, headed for an infiltration mission so it wasn't one of theirs, and she really doubted it was an Unforgiven fighter, they didn't have the numbers to hold this system against a serious assault, plus it would mean a massive supply line, vulnerable to interception.

            No, it was a Loyalist attacking her, but the knowledge wasn't exactly helpful she admitted to herself silently, and she couldn't really call up Secessionist reinforcements to ‘deal' with that blasted fighter, Helo might see for one and for two he was already a bit suspicious, another coincidence like that would be too much, he might realise their escape was aided.

            Triumphantly, she laughed as the Scimitar appeared in front of her, large and inviting. She tipped the nose of the Raptor up and hit a decoy button.  

 

            The decoy launched, dropping down and away from the Raptor as programmed but Boomer 209 had tipped the nose up, the missile instead slammed straight into the body of the startled, outmanoeuvred Cylon fighter.

            The shockwave as the fighter died buffeted the craft and Boomer followed Helo closely in checking for damage. There was none.

            “Nice shooting Boomer”

            She grinned, “yeah, but I would rather not have to do that again in a hurry”

            After all, she had only managed it because she had far more knowledge of how the Scimitars operated than a Colonial should and she really didn't want Helo to get even a slight hint of that, of course, she couldn't say that out aloud.

            Boomer glanced back at Helo, “Now for the tricky part”

            She watched as Helo nodded grimly, “getting out of the system”

            “Our best bet is to jump straight into the void between systems, less chance of running into any cylons, load a second jump ready into the computers just in case then go over every inch of the Raptor for surprises”

            Helo grinned, grimly “I can live with that”

            She had no doubt he could, after all, wasn't it ‘her' bright idea that had gotten her and the refugees safely off Caprica during the first attacks.

            She hoped her other bright idea worked, it would be very difficult for her to explain how she knew exactly where Galactica was, something she knew from secessionist intelligence reports but to have Helo find the location, well it might stretch his definition of coincidence a bit but it would explain quite a few things away.

            She just hoped he bought it.

 

[Helo]

 

            I don't know how Sharon does it, comes up with the correct solution to a problem time after time. I mean, everything she had said, shutting down power during the initial attacks to avoid detections, and now this jump search routine, not to mention a few things she came up with on the surface, well they were all good military solutions, ones most Colonial Military officers would have come up with eventually but I wouldn't have thought a Rook…

            Well, scratch that, she isn't a rook anymore is she Helo?

            Anyway, I wouldn't have thought an officer as new as Boomer would come up with the solution so fast, ahead of me even and I've had far more military experience than her.

            Makes me wonder if she isn't destined for Command, assuming that there is anything out their left to command, any colonial remnants for us to join up with… hello, what's this?

            Datapad, taped carefully just inside the workings of the Dradis console.

            Don't recognise the manufacturers mark but it's a common, civilian type. So what's it doing behind there then?

            Quick swipe over with the scanner…. No sign of explosives but there are a few potent ones it cant detect, hmmm, well if I lose my hands I lose my hands and just hope I shield the rest of the ship enough for Boomer to still get away, so here goes…

            No blast, good. Damn things on and running okay, only two files though, briefing.write and resettofactory.run.

            Huh, a single document and a program that will no doubt erase any sign that the document was ever there. To put it mildly, this was interesting.

            “Hey Sharon, I've found something!”

            “What is it?”

            Sharon still green enough to show her nervousness then, for Kobols sake we're safe for the moment, just relax will you?

            Hmm… let's have a look at that document…

            “Datapad, hidden inside the Dradis console”

            “Oh, so that's where you kept the details of the betting pools…”

            Hey! Fox-four was the unofficial and semi-legal bookmaker, not me, and he would have been with the CAG when it all went to hell. Knowing him, he probably ended up ramming the CAG again too. Huh, how else would you end up with a call sign like Fox-Four? Luckily for him, he could prove a mechanical failure each of the four times…

            Frak me.

            This is a briefing for an infiltrator, a Cylon sympathiser.

            “Frak me

            “What's up?”

            Sharon's coming across, a worried frown on her face, guess I must have said that last out aloud.

            “Read the file Boomer” I hand the pad over and watch as her eyebrows shoot up into her hairline.

            “13th Colony? The Galactica has joined up with the 13th Colony?”

            Huh? Did I miss something?

            Glancing across Sharon's shoulder I follow her pointing finger with my eyes and damn, yeah I missed something.  

 

            Co-ordinates, sketchy reports of military strength… Co-ordinates.

            For the 13th Colony.

            Yeaaaaaa who!

            Damn, if Boomer can spot the good stuff that fast then she is really destined for Command. Guess I am going to have to forget my suspicions about her being a Cylon too.

            Hell, it explains a lot of things, the repairs, the refuel and rearm, the Cylons who seemed to be protecting the Raptor

            Wont they be annoyed when they realise it wasn't their agent who lifted off with the Raptor.

            “It'll take quite a few jumps…” Boomer was chewing slightly on her lip, strange I had never noticed her do that before. She must really be worried.

            “It'll take less time then Galactica, less fuel. I really doubt they knew the direct route after all”

            Damn, I can see where this is heading. Commander Boomer strikes again.

            “We don't have enough fuel, even with a direct route”

            Boomer nods, “yeah… Okay, I'll finish checking the ship over, you finish reading that. If they meant for it to reach earth, they must have arranged fuel somehow”

            I glance at the page counter, 672 pages, oh joy, was this going to be a fun read.

 

 

Chapter 32: Too Easy… [Helos War]

 

            I had to admit, doubts were starting to appear in my mind again. Maybe it was just the euphoria of such an easy way home wearing off or being worn off by all the reading I had just, after three frantic days, managed to complete.

            We had jumped fifteen times already and were slowly approaching the second fuel stop. The first had just been a big tank left at specific coordinates and that had been a frak of a job. We had literally had to go out in our space suits to top the tanks up, which had forced Boomer to mutter along the lines of pissing off Gods by the numbers, or was that pissing off the numbers who serve gods?

            Something like that anyone, considering recent events I rather suspected it was the first and to be honest I could certainly get behind pissing off gods by the numbers.

            Though it appeared that the Lords Of Kobol had given us a chance to repent of whatever we had done to annoy them so much.

            Still, this refill would be easier if a little more grim, a Merchant Cruiser that hadn't jumped quick enough and was caught by Cylon guns, guess Galactica couldn't save them all.

            But still, according to the data she would never move again under her own power and a boarding party had taken the surviving crew off for… interrogation.

            I shuddered at that, but there was nothing I could do here and now about it.

            Her fuel tanks at least were intact and full enough for the task at hand.

            Of getting us the last five jumps into 13th Colony space.

            Damn, but it seemed too easy.

            Okay, so why it was easy made a little sense but still I wondered. Yes, so the Cylons are distracted by a civil war so that's why there are so few Cylons patrols about, yes they were prepping the craft for one of their own agents to use but still…

            It didn't help that I had a familiar bad tangy taste in my mouth, one I always seemed to get after I had been manipulated.

            Still, we knew Galactica hadn't had it quite so easy if the dead ship we were approached and the rather weaving, unstable path she had followed according to the datapad was anything to go by.

            Still, the next jump Galactica had made had apparently resulted in a confrontation between 13th colony and Cylon forces that had resulted in a massacre of the Cylons.

            That was good news, but it then got very sketchy, the Cylons intelligence dropped off abruptly.

            Which was in a way both a good and a bad thing. The Cylons wouldn't rush into an attack because they knew too little about the forces arrayed against them; they would wait and probe looking for more Intel and an opportunity before attacking, giving more time for the Colonials to rebuild.

            Of course, their Civil war had given them even more time to rebuild. Downside was, it left Helo with little to go on, how would they contact the Colonial Remnants or the 13th Colony?

            Where was it safe to jump in and which areas were to heavily travelled to risk a jump?

            Helo, sighed. It would have to wait, he had work to do.

 

[Boomer 209]

 

            Boomer shivered; glad the suits masked such subtle movement.

            There was a released Boomer model amongst the humans, she knew that.

            They would know what she was as soon as they looked at her, and act accordingly. She just had to hope that didn't include shoot on sight or else everything would be for naught.

            Well, not quite naught, Helo would be back with his friends, his fellow warriors and Colonials. It was something that might make God; if there truly was one, look favourably upon her when it came to her time for judgement.

            Still, she had the hardest task ahead, persuading the Colonials and their allies of her true intentions. They wouldn't believe, after all it went directly against her programming of so they would think.

            Truth be told, Civil War was against Cylon programming too but that hadn't stopped them. Boomer had wondered if the fine line between being a human copy and being human had been crossed by the newer cylons but to be honest, she no longer wondered, she believed it had been crossed.

            If God was real, and had wanted Humanity destroyed, what would he have done with Cylons that were human?

            Boomer had little doubt that under those circumstances their life expectancy could be summoned up in one word, short.

            “That's it” she said aloud into her helmet mike as the gauges for the Raptors fuel tanks pegged out.

            “Copy”

            She wrestled with the pipeline where it connected with the Raptor, twisting the connector around to block the flow of fuel into the recon craft before disconnecting it, and shoving it back out the door onto the freighter.

            No point in being tidy, they most likely wouldn't be back.

            “Five more jumps Sharon

            Boomer smiled tiredly at Helo as he strode in through the hatch, closing it behind him.

           

 

[Helo]

           

 

            Huh, enthusiastic response from Sharon there.

            Still, she hasn't been sleeping properly, maybe that has something to do with it?

            Worry about that later, five more jumps….

            Which we wont do if we just sit here, damn it Helo, concentrate!

            First, depressurise the ship, right, then check Dradis for any surprises waiting outside those open hanger doors… none that I can see but hey, the ships metal, its blocking sensors in far more directions than I can actually see at the moment so that doesn't say much.

            “It looks like we're clear Boomer, let's go”

            “Copy, just keep an eye on those sensors as we go will you?  I don't fancy getting bounced when we're so close to safety”

            Not going to bother responding to that, talk about asking the obvious…

            Sensors clearing already, Sharon must be leaving a little hot. No reason not to I suppose.

            Oh frak.

            “Enemy contacts! Multiple Raiders inbound”

            Knew it was too easy.

            “Frak! The drives still spinning up, we've got a minute before we can jump”

            Yep, I knew it was too easy, thank you for illustrating exactly how much I was right Boomer. It's appreciated.

            Really.

            “Faster, more manoeuvrable and they got the guns… life sucks sometimes”

            Geez Boom, cut it out will you? You've made your point, it was too easy, now just concentrate… on… ….getting….

            What the frak is that?

            “New Contact! Unidentified contact at 253 by 004! Nothing I recognise and the warbooks pitching a fit too”

 

 

Chapter 33: Captured [Helo's War]

 

[Helo]

 

            That thing can fire.

 

            I don't know what it is or where it came from but that ship can fire, almost swept the board clear of Cylons and it's only been what, twenty seconds?

            I just hope they're friendly.

            Huh, they've swept the skies clear of Cylons and now they launch fighters?

            What's here that's worth launching fighters for?

            Except us, anyway…

            Except us… oh frak.

            “Sharon, we need to get out of here!”

            “Twenty seconds to jump”

            I grimaced, “Sharon, we may not have twenty seconds”

            I watched as she glanced at the Dradis repeater installed next to her console and began cursing, “its gonna be real tight”

           

 

            A loud groan filled the room and sluggishly, I realised it came from me.

            Ten seconds later the reason hit me, strange, I was aching all over, when did that happen?

            And why couldn't I see?

            Ah, my eyes aren't open.

            Open eyes, open!

            Damn, all blurry.

            And what's this thing in front of my face?

            Long grey with five pink things on the end.

            Arm Helo, that's your arm!

            I started to turn my head to look over the room and realised too late exactly why I was so out of it.

           

 

            A loud groan filled the room, and this time I knew exactly who it came from.

            Lords of Kobol, did that hurt!

            A cool hand registered on my senses, holding my head in place and I forced my eyes open slowly and carefully to see, what I sincerely hoped was Boomer dancing blurrily in front of me.

            “Don't move Helo, you have a concussion”

            No frak!

            I had had a concussion before once, after I had crashed what turned out to be a faulty Viper during training and that was nothing like this though. The Doctors at the time said I could consider myself lucky I didn't know what a severe concussion was like, hey guess what guys?

            I now know exactly what it's like and you can keep it.

 

            “Helo, say something?” Sharon's worried voice registered on my ears and I tried, honestly I did.

            “Garrgglemumpth”

            “Okay, that's articulate…”

            I heard her sigh, followed by rustling. Then her cool hand disappeared, to be replaced by the harshness of cloth, wedged against both sides of my head.

            I missed that hand almost straight away.

            “You want the good news or the bad news?”

            “Gurrglegah”

            I heard Sharon chuckle wearily, “God news is we're alive, though for you it might not seem like it”

             “Garggglemumpt!”

 

            Damn, I hated concussion; I wanted my vocal cords back!

            “Bad News is we've been captured, they look human but…” I could hear the hesitation in Boomers voice and I resisted the urge to cringe, this was going to be good, “… I don't think they are human. Frak, the eyes of the guy in charge glowed”

            His eyes glowed?

            Are you sure you don't have concussion Boomer?

            “I thought I had a concussion at first when I saw that but no, no head injuries or anything”

            Ah, Boomers taken up mind reading classes, goody.

            “I think he said his name was Maktenos…”

 

 

Chapter 34: Fleet Rebirth

 

                Commodore Peters half smiled as she glanced out the massive bay window of her office, her eyes following four ships as they sortied one by one out of the stations slips, the slips themselves blocked from view by the curve of the station but the ships, each one had to pass within sight of her window as they drifted on thrusters out of Thundersdawn's small construction and repair bays.

            For the first time in years, the fleet was at full strength, not a single commissioned vessel under repair or missing. It made a refreshing change, but it didn't change one simple fact.

            Full strength was still not strength enough, not for the task ahead.

            Not for defeating the System Lords, the Cylons and anyone else who dared to think they could rule by force of arms or misguided worship.

            But for the task at hand, survival, it was proving to be strength enough.

            Just.

            And today, not only did the four vessels crippled at Edonia, two Dauntless class, two Prometheus class rejoin the fleet but today, the fleet would grow.

            Dawn of Honour.

            Dawn of Justice.

            Two Ha'taks refitted and repaired at Ravenbright station to be equivalent in capabilities to the bulk of Maktenos's warships.

            889 Squadron, the first operational Attack squadron using Mark I Strikers.

 

            Defender, Guardian the first two units of the Alpha Site patrol; constructed… wherever the hell the SGC had placed that base. That information was being kept from the RSS Chain Of Command, the SGC's own Ace in the Hole.

            That so many ships were being shifted to the Available lists this day had caused some comment but the reason was simple.

            The latest classes at the scattered RSS and SGC training facilities had graduated yesterday and the ships had been forced to wait, in most cases an acceptable week or less, for the rooks to make up their numbers.

            In the case of 889, they had been waiting on reinforcements to bring their support staff up to strength, for all practical purposes they had been operational a full nine days.

            With the replacements required across the rest of the fleet and base facilities that left no-one from the latest graduating classes spare, to be assigned a paperwork backlog to deal with until a loss or injury elsewhere or even new construction demanded their reassignment.

            No easy pool of spare personnel to tap into for three months.

            Again.

            Peters grimaced, that was nothing new but still, she waited with eager anticipation for the day when, just like Earth-bound militaries, she had a pool of people available for emergency reassignment. It would make things a lot easier.

            A bleep sounded on her desk and she glanced at it, wincing slightly as she noticed the file size on the already downloaded document that was the final confirmation of Orders for this quarter.

            The file was too small; no-body had the resources available to order ships.

            Too much had happened, too much budget had been used early in the year and everyone was very much feeling the pinch.

            She doubted she would find anything larger than an MTB on the Orders list.

            Better face the music… she glanced out the window as the Gettysburg, last ship to drift from the construction slips moved firmly out of view and sighed, turning back to her desk and her paperwork.

            A few quick taps and a voice print confirm later, Peters was looking shocked at a mass MTB order.

            The note at the end that said Monies had finally been released from seized NID assets explained a lot but somebody was definitely feeling a little free with the readies.

            Okay, so the six Blastboat type MTB's and three MGB's cost about as much as a single Prometheus to produce so it explained why the sudden interest in bringing the MTB squadrons up to full strength instead of their current, rather anaemic status instead of allocating the money to another capital ship, an order she could definitely get behind by why so many of the MGB's?

            The Prototype wasn't even complete yet!

            Ah, another note. They were changing the standard composition of an MTB squadron, Four MTB's and two MGB's.

            Four Motor Torpedo Boats and Two Motor Gunboats.

            Made sense, the MGB's had more stamina in a battle then the MTB's and had a far more capable set of sensors, they would support and complement the Blastboat type MTB's currently in service well.

            And considering how fast they could be built and how eager the MTB yards were for work, they would be finished just as the next class graduated from the training facilities. Peters smiled, grimly amused.

            Well, with no major hulls ordered, she would get her pool of spare personnel, for a while at least before the bulk of them skipped off to Edonia. The small fry didn't take many crew and their support personnel were at full strength even if the Squadrons themselves weren't, they had too much specialised training to just use them to fill gaps in the fleet unless it got real desperate.

            They had managed to avoid that, just.

            Having more of the NID money available would be a help, last report placed the total money they had squirreled away as equivalent to every penny spent by the SGC up till the very first RSS craft left atmosphere all those years ago.

            Peters shuddered suddenly, maybe not such a good idea. If all that money suddenly became available then she would have to deal with massed ship orders and finding crew for all those would be a joke and a half.

            It would be bad enough when the Sentinals started arriving from the Colonials for refit.

            Speaking of which, she had Five empty slips and the resources to start the Sentinal refits had been put aside…

            Might as well talk to Thompson, Hammond and Adama about starting them now, neither RSS or SGC commands would be placing capital ship orders for a while after all and the refit blueprints were almost complete.

            Peters tapped the intercom and began preparing a secured conference call.



Chapter 35: Contact [Helo's War]

 

                Helo glared hatefully as once again he was lead into the throne room of hic captor, in all appearances a young lady maybe fifteen years of age, sweet and innocent. Until you looked in her eyes however, at which point you knew, without a doubt that reality and appearance did not match.

            This… being, for want of a better term, was Evil, cruel and calculating and even worse had a master. She claimed she was called Kali and that she served Maktenos. It was worse because she was so bad, so evil that anyone who she considered ‘Master' had to be far worse.

            Luckily, they hadn't met, from what little Kali had said, and she wasn't forthcoming, Maktenos was leading his fleets to victory over Maktenos and was nearly powerful enough to assume his dominion over the Galaxy, as was his right by Divine Destiny. That was her words in fact, almost word for word.

            Still, she was bad enough. Helo had lost track of how many times he had died by her hands, how many times he had been revived by the arcane technology of what Kali called a Sarcophagus.

            All he knew was that Maktenos had ordered Kali to get everything he knew of the Cylons and Colonials from his mind by any means necessary and that kali had proven far too often for his liking how… enthusiastic she was about those orders.

            Helo was glad of only one thing; so far Sharon had been spared. He knew it wouldn't last, he knew Kali would find time for Boomer soon enough, he just hoped they managed to figure a way out of this hell hole by then.

            HE caught one look at the expression on Kali's face as he was thrown down at her feet and his mind instantly went quiet, thought patterns all instantly reverting to one simple message, uh oh, trouble.

            “One of my Masters fellow servants finds herself in need of a new host and she is… interested in your female companion. All you have to do is tell me everything I want to know and I will see to it personally that Boomer is never used as a host”

            Helo may not have been the brightest person to ever get through flight school but he could add, and right now his mind was adding one and one and coming up with the Annual Revised Budget Request.

            Host… parasitic species… frakking hell!

            And the way she said she would ensure Boomer was never taken, her meaning was pretty obvious. Give me the information and Boomer dies, don't and Boomer becomes a host. They must think that frightens me, does a little but surely you can resist? Make it difficult for any species attempting to take over your mind?

            “I see you have little idea of what it means to be a host, perhaps I could illuminate you? No hope, just your body controlled by a being far greater than your own pathetic mind could possible handle. No one has ever successfully thrown a Goa'uld out of their mind, no-one. Not even the hated Tau'ri. In effect a new and more powerful mind would replace Boomers own… Now, you don't want that do you? You would rather she died than have that fate”

            She says it like it's a statement, not a question and frak is she right. I can't ever let anything like that happen to my Sharon, not ever. Even if I have to die to protect her but I can't ever betray the few surviving Colonials either, I am a warrior, I chose my duty, my path and I don't intend to lose it.

            Frak, what do I do?

            I need a miracle.

            Just as Helo had that thought, a breathless Guard, one of the ubiquitous Jaffa that Helo had seen everywhere he had been taken, charged into the room.

            “My Lady Kali, an SG team has come through the gate!”

            Helo thanked the Lords as kali darted from the room, ordering him thrown back into the cells. A reprieve, he had more time to decide what he was to do, how he was going to get Boomer and himself out of the hands of these monsters.

            The timing of the Guards interruption he pushed carefully to the back of his mind, telling himself it was coincidence.

           

 

            His reprieve was interrupted by the sounds of clomping Jaffa and slamming cell doors and he slowly, carefully glanced through the bars of his cell to see a number of very disgusted looking humans in forest camouflage being tossed into the cells opposite. The sounds of doors slamming told him more were being placed in the cells this side of the corridor too.

            Six new arrivals in total he guessed, none of them wearing any uniform he recognised as Colonial, 13th Colony troops perhaps?

            Or maybe another of Kali's ideas to get intelligence out of him, see if he would talk to the ‘fellow humans' in the cells.

            Boomers face appeared momentarily at the bars to her own cell, far down the other side of the corridor and Helo gestured quickly for her to stay quiet and hidden before ducking out of view of the corridor himself, ears listening hard for any conversation between the newcomers.

 

[Boomer 209]

 

            Frak, this just sucks.

            It's a Tau'ri SG team, which is good, they can help us escape and take us directly to the Colonials. But Helo is in full paranoia mode, he's skittish and not thinking straight at all.

            Which is bad.

            He's not in any condition to be trusting people on word alone and if I try to tell him to trust them he will either think I've been turned or been replaced but in order to escape, in order to make it to earth we're most likely going to need the assistance of that SG team.

            Frak, this truly sucks.

            Just what have the Goa'uld been doing to him to send him so far off the edge?

            He certainly hasn't been tortured, I would have noticed the signs of that all too clearly, heh, kind of hard to hide after all, and he hasn't come back with any signs of injury ever.

            Which come to think of it is a little odd, he arrived with an nasty head wound but that vanished the very first time they took him away.

            Oh, shit.

            A sarcophagus.

            Frak frak frak frak frak.

            Forget getting him sobered up and getting his mental state sorted in a hurry, he's gone to many times and before the split into the various Cylon factions, a through investigation had been made into the devices effects.

            His biochemistry has to be way out of whack by now and most likely he is highly dependent. Frak, Helo going through withdrawal.. not a pleasant image but far better I suspose then what I originally had planned for him.

            Before I lost my faith, before I tried looking for proof and found only evidence of falsehood on the part of our so-called ‘God'

            Well, we need the SG teams help and Helo is in no state to figure that out, so it looks like it's up to me.

            “Hello out there!”

            Dead silence all of a sudden, well that encouraging.

 

 

 

Chapter 36: Escape II [Helo's War]

 

                [Boomer 209]

 

            Well, explaining who we were and that we were Colonials who had just escaped from Caprica was relatively easy, explaining the state Helo was in even more so. The Earth-humans evidently knew about the flaws inherent in the sarcophagus and by the sounds of their reactions, from experience.

            That would make things easier.

            Well, easier for Helo at least. They had… reacted at her name. She wasn't really surprised at that, the images and details of known Cylons would most likely have been given to everyone and anyway who had even the limpest need to know.

            She just hoped they played it cool; being carried through the StarGate in a body bag wasn't her idea of fun, not by any stretch of the imagination.

            But before that became an issue, they needed to get out of their cells and get weapons, and that would be the challenge. These Jaffa showed more intelligence, more ability to think that those she had seen in the pay of Anubis, the standard tricks, made clichéd by so many movies… well, Colonial movies at least, would not work. She rather suspected the Tau'ri had the same clichés and… she cocked her head, amused, they weren't afraid to try them either.

            Pretending to be sick, on the verge of death… I ask you, how clichéd can you get?

            Five minutes later, Boomer knew the truth.

            The Jaffa had an entirely different set of clichés, ones which involved hand devices, sarcophagus and other nice toys if they let any captured Tau'ri escape. However warily they had tried to enter the cell, to check on the ‘ill' Tau'ri, it obviously wasn't cautious enough.

            And what the frak is a ‘wham, bam, thank you mam'?

            She watched, somewhat nervously as Helo was zatted before the Tau'ri opened the cell and placed restraints on him. She hated seeing that done to her Helo, but he was in no fit state to be watching anyone's back, hell, to even have a weapon at the moment.

            It would make their escape a little trickier though, with one dead weight to carry. Hurrah, she was finally going to get out of this cell.

            Hey, wait a minute, what are they doing with…. Oh frak.

           

 

            May I just state for the record that being hit with a zat really, really sucks?

            Oh, yeah and that the Tau'ri seem to have this holier than thou thing going as far as Cylons are concerned. We're human, you're a fake and we are the ones to deliver you from evil, to be your salvation!

            Sheesh.

            Okay, thats enough.

            “Okay! Thank you! I've heard 48 times now already how one of your allies cured a Cylon, how you have been working on better techniques; how you intend to ‘free' me, now will you just do me one small favour and SHUT! THE! FRAK! UP!”

            Okay, Helo had been looking at the Tau'ri like they were the font of pure evil for even considering the idea that I might be a cylon, let alone saying it outload, now he's looking at me like I just ran over his pet puppy. I shoot him a sorry look but that's really not going to cut it.

            Damn, it made it worse, now he looks like the love of his life just betrayed him. Damn it all to fraking hell, I was hoping one day I could get that look directed at me, except without the ‘betrayed him' part and there's little chance of that now. Switching to the light side is a hard enough decision to carry out as it is, without my friend at my side to help me through.

            Okay, really odd look on his face now. Like he is trying to figure something out…

            Still, we got five more miles to trudge with our arms in restraints and guns at our backs before we reach the gate, where we will have to fight our way past the guards.

            Oh goody.

            I'm sure that would seem a lot worse if somebody would just tell me how far a mile was…

 

            Ah yes, five miles is a frakking long distance when your in restraints, its pissing down with rain, you're seriously not trusted and you have to avoid Jaffa and Udajeet patrols which, no doubt thanks to your own escape, have been stepped up heavily.

            And then, just to top off an absolutely frakking perfect day, you get to the StarGate to find that the numbers of Jaffa assigned to guard it can be counted on both hands, but only if you count in fifties.

            Frakking brilliant. Christ, all she wanted was some redemption, maybe, if she was really lucky, a chance at living and fighting with her love at her side, what more could she ask for?

            But no, their was no way they were going to be able to get past those guards and it was only a matter of time before the Jaffa or Udajeet patrols found them. Counting the fact that every flyable craft the local Goa'uld had was either searching for them or sent to some far distant corner of the planet where they had not a hope in hells chance of getting to, that left the Tau'ri plan, which frankly sucked, as their only viable choice.

            Wait for reinforcements, somebody would check soon enough to try and find out they had missed their scheduled check-in, hopefully. Of course, the Tau'ri had let slip that they had missed eight check-ins, by now everything being normal the SGC would have tried to make contact twice. According to the buffers on their top-of-the range radios, reacquired during their escape from Kali's palace, the SGC hadn't tried to contact them, not once.

            Things were most certainly not normal.

            Frak, she knew she had been party to the massacre of twelve worlds but did she really deserve this?

            Well, maybe she did.

            But Helo and the Tau'ri certainly didn't.

 

 

Chapter 37: Escape III [Helo's War]

 

[Boomer 209]

 

            By the time the gate activated for the fifth time, we were all pretty jumpy. Jaffa had been trooping in and out of the gate all day whilst we watched and the now pretty unanimous opinion was that Kali was organising a major redeployment with this world as the focus.

            In other words, if a rescue team did come, we had to warn them that an unusually large number of Jaffa would be on planet, preferably before they came through the gate. Facing more Jaffa then you were expecting is never fun, but with the activity this planet was seeing, there was a real risk of having Jaffa gate in behind you, catching you in an impromptu pincer.

            Or at least that was how the Tau'ri were discussing the situation, and it seemed reasonable enough to me. Trouble was, we still hadn't seen any sign of Tau'ri activity other than the SG team that was holding me and Helo captive and that was somewhat worrying.

            No radio contact, no probes and the SG-team were very worried about that, I had overhead a number of quietly voiced comments about the lack being a breech of standard operating procedure by StarGate Command.

            Still, maybe we would get lucky soon…

            A strange whirring sound filled the area, and I glanced up at the soldier holding point, his binoculars pointed once more at the gate clearing. A wide grin was slowly spreading across his face.

            I watched, hopeful as he reached down for his radio, “Golf-Charlie-Tango-One, this is Sierra-Golf-two-nine, we're in the treeline on your 4 o'clock and need cover fire. Watch your six, Jaffa have been coming through the gate all day”

            I smiled, genuinely, hopefully. Safety was in our grasp, but the smile quickly disappeared; now I would have to face the music, to prove myself to the Tau'ri and to the Colonials. Soon I would have to face the music and that truly would not be fun, they would have no reason to believe me after all.

            It wasn't long before a team was sent to the treeline to retrieve us, wearing a strange heavy armour suit that made me just itch to see a hand to hand fight between this ‘power armoured' trooper and a Cylon warrior, it would be interesting to see who came up on top of that one.

            Strangely enough, I doubted it would be the Warrior, the Colonials had never shown much interest in heavy personnel armour and so the Warriors, even the Old harbingers hadn't been designed with destroying such armour in mind. For all that was to come, I decided that keeping an image of the Tau'ri armoured warriors facing down the secessionists or Loyalists would be an image to treasure in my mind, even if it did end up being to my end.

            Being escorted through the gate was a wonderful feeling, even if I did have a gun at my back. I was one step closer to the thing I desired most. Hopefully I would one day have that which I desired most, but first I would have to prove myself to the Tau'ri and to the Colonials.

            That would not be easy, nor fun.

 

Planet Freedom, Colonial Controlled.

 

            “Sir”

            Adama glanced up, surprised and annoyed from his book, a most interesting History of an Admiral Hallesy by a Jonathan Patrick Ryan, a look of startled surprise momentarily eclipsing his features before moving to weariness, worry.

            This was his place, his and Roslins, the beautiful garden at the top of the Medical Centre that was their un-begrudged retreat from the stresses and difficulties of Command; everyone knew better then to disturb them here unless it was urgent.

            It made anyone interrupting them something to be feared.

            “We've just received an Odd Priority one communiqué from the SGC, they're asking for the complete file on a Lieutenant Helo, they say he claims to be a part of Galactica's crew and that he was captured off world accompanied by a Model Two”

            Adama's eyes shot upwards in surprise, a small amount of Colonials making it out on their own, in ones or twos was unlikely but impossible to rule out so they were on permanent watch for small craft creeping into their and the Tau'ri's space just in case but for Helo, a Raptor RIO lost during the first day, before the retreat from Ragnar to show up, accompanied by a model 2?

            It raised questions.

            “Send it, and prepare transport for me plus the guard detail to the SGC. I think I need to check on this personally”

 

[Boomer 209]

 

            She grimaced, oh just wasn't this fun.

            Not.

            Okay, so she had expected it, had tried to prepare herself for it but nothing truly prepared you for the sheer unrelenting boredom of solitary confinement, especially when the Guards believed you were guilty of genocide and therefore the lowest of the low and allowed nothing to keep you occupied.

            Still, she had tried to explain herself

            Okay, they had shown no signs whatsoever of believing her but she had tried.

            At least Helo was free, she had been there, in their medical facility when the Doctor had reported he wasn't a Cylon, so she knew he was safe, that he would most likely be returning to his friends, his people soon enough. But a medical examination had proved she was cylon, something she hadn't denied and she had ended up here.

            A clatter sounded at the door, and accompanied by General Carter and the strangely young Colonel O'Neill, her Helo walked in.

            And asked the one question she knew she had to answer, but always wished the time would come in private, just the two of them.

            “Why”

            And Boomer glanced up, gathering her strength she looked Helo straight in the eyes and answered, truthfully and completely, baring her soul to him, and to anyone who cared to look.

            “You”

            She didn't notice the resigned look Carter gave her, as he handed a large wedge of notes over to the grinning Colonel, she only saw Helo, saw into his startled and yet pleased eyes.

            “I did it for you, betrayed my people, my race and I would do it again”

            She wasn't at all startled to realise she meant every word of it, she had come to grips with her love a long time ago and had prepared and waited for the opportunity and despite not going exactly to plan, she had done what she hoped for.

            Her Helo was free, safe.

            Everything else paled in comparison.

 

 

Chapter 38: Understanding

 

                It wasn't that he didn't want to believe, he truly did. He may have been a military man but that was because he joined the military as an act of patriotism at a time when the survival of the Colonies depended upon every man women, and far too often, child who could put a uniform on. He had in fact found his home, his reason for being in the military but whilst he had always followed the pessimistic, ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst' attitude of the military, it didn't override that fact that he, Commander Adama, was at heart an optimist and an old romantic.

            The idea of a Cylon turning their back on their people for love played to both of those, the optimistic side that stated that all people, be they human or something else, had a core of good in them, that could be accessed, triggered to make them become better and to the Old Romantic part of him, that just wanted to say ‘awww, she abandoned her people for him, ain't that cute?'

            Unfortunately, Adama was a military man and he had learned, often through bitter experience, how often the pessimists got it right and that part of him was wondering, did the cylons plan on using his optimism, his old romantic attitudes in order to help their agent in, their psyche profile saying he would want to believe, was he being manipulated as part of some great cylon plan?

            Truth be told, he did want to believe, his instincts told him to believe but that wasn't enough. He was a leader, and he needed to think of his people. The other Boomer had been freed, she was no threat, indeed was a minor celebrity because she had taken the opportunity provided by her ‘freedom' and chosen to continue to fight, this time for the freedom of others. But this Boomer, this ‘209' wasn't freed, she was pure cylon and yet, she still wanted to help, to be free, to help others be free.

            It appealed to him, he had to… grab his mind back on the subject and not cyclically go over every point again and again.

            Frak, how long had he been standing here shell-shocked, just trapped in his thoughts?

            Fine, he either trusted her or he didn't. Which was it to be Commander?

            “You will talk to the Tau'ri; you will tell them everything you can think of that may be helpful. Then you will be given a diary and you will write anything else you can think of in their as soon as you think of it. You will tell the Tau'ri because I can't trust any of the Colonials to be impartial. All the time, you will be watched and monitored and after a month I will asses the reports from everyone around you and decide based on that if you are to have a chance.” Adama frowned at the look of awe, hope and fear that the Boomer unit tried to hide, but stifled his own thoughts, least they give some clue to the creature behind the heavy metal bars, “I will admit, a part of me wants to just welcome you with open arms but more of me knows how foolish that would be, therefore you must earn you chance, understood?”

            He kept his face expressionless as Boomer… frak it, model 209 nodded, slight tears trickling down her face as she nodded. It wasn't until Roslin's voice stopped him cold that he even realised he had left the SGC's cells behind and was now in the corridors.

            “I never had you pegged for a romantic”

            Turning, he gazed at Roslins bemused, but hard face with a frown, “I thought you were still on Ravenbright for that conference?”

            “I came as soon as I heard, I've been watching in the security room down the corridor” the bemused part of the look vanished, and Roslins face became all hard as she continued in deceptively soft tones, “I don't like the idea of making deals with Cylons, and I don't like you offering asylum like that, even if it is on terms, that is a government decision to make not military.

            However…

            I will have it honoured, with one change. You alone don't get to decide if Boomer gets her chance, clear?”

            Adama nodded, he was well aware what Roslin could get like when she was in one of these moods, he had seen it before, the last time they had captured a cylon and during the hunt for Starbuck. Frankly, he was surprised she was agreeing at all.

            “Frankly, I don't believe it and I know she will most likely never be safe on Freedoms surface but if she proves herself to both our satisfactions, then she gets her chance, If not, then there is a nice little research project into freeing the humanoid models that could use a guinea pig, clear? The only reason I am allowing it at all is that you appear to be controlling your personal feelings on the matter far better then I am, or would”

            Adama nodded; on this they had an understanding. But then, that was always their problem, just finding the middle ground. In many ways, they were far too alike, both too stubborn, too bull headed and with an unfortunate tendency to think they should be in charge of everything. Still, now he had to talk to General Carter and make arrangements, he hated just dumping a problem in somebody else's lap like this. Boomer 209 was a Colonial problem, not the Tau'ris but they would be more impartial therefore he had to make it there's.

 

            Helo was having a far worse time of it.

            Not only was he suffering the effects of heavy Sarcophagus withdrawal without any friends at his side, but he was also trying to get the Boomer situation straightened out in his head. Unfortunately, the withdrawal was painful, distracting and made it very difficult to concentrate and quite frankly neither situation was one he wanted to deal with right now.

            Nor did he want to deal with the annoying techie, Mr Doctor but not of medicine Jackson who insisted he knew what it was like and was there to help him.

            Like hell, this was hell and nobody could ever have gone through it as bad as this. Arrrr, frak it! He needed to think and this need, this annoying painful want wasn't helping at all.

            At least Jackson had stopped the rivulets of sweat running into his eyes, the salt had been stinging, annoying, another curse in the list of reasons why, right now, he truly wished he was dead because whatever the hereafter was truly like, it had to be better then this. It certainly couldn't be worse.

            Frak it, he needed to sort Boomer out in his mind. Did he love her? Hell yes! But frak it all to the frakkiest hell, she was a cylon, there were many of her out there, he didn't even know if this cylon was the same Boomer he had been with most of the time he was on caprica's surface, they could have swapped at any time and he wouldn't have noticed any difference.

            Hell, he already had a pretty good idea she wasn't the Boomer he knew on Galactica but still, she was a Cylon, could she love him back or was this a mind-frak of some sort?

            And frak it all, would this need ever go away?

            Jackson just kept quiet, staying at Helo's side the entire time.

 

 

Chapter 39: Rising Thunder

 

            “Yeeeeaaaa-haw!”

            Bemused, Apollo glanced across at the darting shape that had just flashed past his cockpit, “you want to watch the volume Kara? I didn't need the radio to hear that…”

            Kara's only response was a rude noise over the radio, as she danced rings around Lee's mark II Viper.

 

            Lee gave up, he was supposed to be playing aggressor against Kara's mark VIII to test its capabilities, but quite frankly they hadn't even reached the testing area and he already knew he was out-paced, out-gunned and out-ranged.

            “Fine, you want to play?” Lee twisted his controls, turning his mark II swiftly onto Kara's surprised tail, “let's play”

            Kara's delighted whooping laugh was his only response, as she opened the throttle wide, her VIII racing away from the older II.

            “Hey, I already know you can outpace me, no need to rub it in, I'm trying to test the VIII's manoeuvrability not watch your arse, lovely though it is”

            “You watching my arse now Lee?” Kara's voice lacked even the slightest crackle of interference, making it easy for Lee to hear the bemusement in her voice.

            “Well, you been making sure that I've got nothing else to look at all day” Lee bit back as the VIII flashed past his old II once more, then his eyes went distant, his mind flashing back to their long over run from the destroyed colonies, “Kara?”

            “Yeah”

            Lee smiled, his mind still in the past, “always”

            Kara caught his tone, and in the cockpit of her retrofitted mark II, now a mark VIII, she smiled, almost fondly, as she caught his meaning, “Always”

 

            Lee glanced across as his Viper dived back into freedoms atmosphere, the fiery heat of re-entry slowly dissipating behind his Viper, his eyes following the long line of Vipers diving into the atmosphere behind him.

            Mark II's, all of them, the Viper complement Galactica had used for training purposes ever since she had left the Ravenbright shipyard of the Tau'ri was returning home, the Vipers scheduled for their own rebuilding into mark VIII's.

            Lee grimaced, his mind automatically running through the process of landing as his eyes caught the unmistakable shape of Kara's furiously pacing around her somewhat dented Viper, oh joy, this was going to be fun. One of her favourite tricks, the old flip-end-over-end and fire whilst flying backwards was effectively no more.

            Okay, so they had been warned that manoeuvrability at lower speeds would suffer slightly with the newer drives which weren't reaction based but still, to lose one of her favourite tricks, even if it was in the standard tactics book, was not making Kara a happy bunny.

            Lee was forced to grin slightly, she couldn't deny that she had managed to ‘kill' him almost every time though, up till the point she had tried to flip end over end…

            Lee sent a disgusted glance at his own battered wing, that certainly didn't go as planned. Still, it looked like the mark VIII was a go, which was certainly a good thing because they are unloading more at the hangers. Lee's eye flicked back to his controls, damn but they are moving fast getting those things out.

            They keep that up, and Galactica will have a full operational squadron aboard within the week, and then they would truly be back in the fight.

            Still, they did need to retrain the pilots in the new Vipers, and get an updated Raptor and even updated shuttles sorted before the Galactica would be fully operational, but even so, just having the Vipers back would make Galactica whole again, make sure that once more the grand old lady of the fleet was an effective warship, a vessel a war, a thing that was not to be trifled with, like the grand matriarch of a great family.

            It was a much better fate for her than the retirement the old colonial government had planned for her, to live and fight for many more years to come, but still, Lee wouldn't have sacrificed the colonies to keep her in space and he knew that the Galactica, if ships could be said to have spirits, would much rather have been forced into retirement then see the colonies destroyed.

            Still, you live with the cards you are dealt and in Galactica's case, the grand old lady got what she truly deserved, what any warrior deserved, the chance to carry on the fight.

            Damn it, Lee thought as he parked his mark II outside the hangers, he was getting philosophical, he was a warrior, a fighter not a thinker.

            But he couldn't help glancing over at the gleaming, if slightly dented mark VIII and felling a stirring of hope and of the warrior spirit within his soul.

            They were back in the fight.

 

 

Chapter 40: Purge

 

Secessionist Command Ship

 

                “You're late!” the six snapped, a little annoyed as the nine finally walked, a mere two hours late, into her presence.

            The nine just ignored it, he was getting used to it now. This model had never been quite the same since the end.

            “We've lost another one”

            “What ship class and where?”

            “Not a ship class, a model two”

            “Unimportant, they defect every day, they are weak and meaningless” Six replied, disgustedly turning back to her papers.

            “This one is different” Nine, also known as Doyle, waited till he had Six's full, if grudging and annoyed attention, “this one defected to the Tau'ri”

             The Six model was primarily meant for infiltration, seduction and manipulation, it wasn't meant to command the entire Secessionist navy against its fellow Cylons. Doyle knew this, knew the unaccustomed tasks made this six more then slightly irritable. Even he was surprised at the explosion that followed.

            By the time Six calmed down, Doyle, number Nine-oh-four knew she was going to say something incredibly stupid and he feared for the secessionist cause. But the Six had founded the Secessionists, the six had paved the way and she was in charge. If only she wasn't developing such a bad temper.

            “Kill them”

            He blinked, “what? Who?”

            “The number twos have proven that they are unfit, overly emotional and far too human. Therefore they must be put down, do you understand me”

            Doyle seated, cursing inwardly, “are you sure that's such a wise idea? We have almost half a million twos serving us still and many are loyal. Think of the costs of such a purge, we will have defections in the other models, we will be weakened whilst we replace the twos”

            Sixes implacable glare told him that whilst he might be allowed to say his pace, he wasn't really being listened too.

            “You know word will get out, and twos will defect faster, we wont be able to purge them all”

            “So, we track them down and kill them”

            “Taking more resources from the war and consider, they will take ships with them”

            Six growled, but that point she couldn't ignore.

            “Fine, block the number twos from our resurrection net. It will be some time before they realise they are not being reborn, by which time a considerable number should be dead, permanently and we shou7ld be able to move swiftly on the survivors. Some as you say will still escape. But many more will be dead”

            Behind her, the swiftly moving scanning red light of the centurions behind her paused momentarily, almost infinitesimally, before continuing on as if nothing untoward had just happened.

 

Unforgiven Command Ship, Refitted Basestar II

 

            He laughed out loud, a deep belly laugh; infectious enough to make the Two before him smile slightly, something she had not done since the Civil war began.

            “She truly did that?”

            He chuckled, “oh sister, I thought you knew your way when you dealt with Baltar so effectively, but now things aren't so clear are they and you are losing your way”

            The two ignored this, she knew it wasn't aimed at her but it surprised her too a little. The Twelve still called the others sister and brother, he still looked upon them as family and yet he still managed to kill them, order their deaths without any qualms. This twelve was surprisingly strong, but then Twelve was first and foremost the Prime Command and Control model the cylons had produced.

            Finally getting himself back under control, the Twelve shook his head bemused, “okay, so the Secessionists just lost every Two model they had working for them, even those that were fiercely loyal. I have had no reports at all of Two's working for Anubis and the Loyalists but undoubtedly a few will head that way. A significant number have joined us but by no means all. In fact, I would guesstimate about half are still unaccounted for?”

            Two nodded, catching the question in his voice, “they've captured a small handful of old Goa'uld slave worlds, set themselves up as beneficent rulers and gone Neutral, they want no further part in the Civil war but appear to have gone ‘big brother' syndrome on their new people”

            Twelve was puzzled, “how can they be beneficent yet spy on their every move?”

            Two's mouth twitched, “more like we may tease and bully our own people but if you try it, we'll kick your arse right across space…”

            Twelve grinned, “We must set up a line of communication with them, arrange a Peace Treaty between our factions. If they are not going to get involved then I see no reason why we can't at least talk to each other”

            The two nodded, “agreed”

            Then she sighed, “We're becoming them aren't we?”

            The twelve looked up, all laughter gone from his eyes, “defecting for love, fighting between ourselves, making stands for what we believe in, even making stupid decisions… We were made to mimic humanity but instead we've become human”

            He sighed, his eyes distant, “it would be so much easier if they would see it too, but fanaticism and blindness to the truth are also human traits, very human traits indeed”

            He grimaced, pulling himself back to focus on one of his newest members, “adding you to the resurrection net takes a week as you know, so don't get killed before then okay? I've got a task for you, and it will mean Command of a taskforce over a number of other models….”

 

 

Chapter 41: Back into the Fight

 

            One Month After the Viper VIII Prototype Flew

 

            Adama smiled, the true happy smile of a man who belonged as the bays below him filled up one by one until every nook and cranny contained a Viper VIII or their support equipment. Roslin had really hurried these for him and the next squadron would be quite a time getting ready but it was one of the few things he and Roslin consistently agreed on.

            The Colonials needed their teeth back, and for now, Galactica and a lone squadron of Blastboat type MTB's were those teeth. Now those same techs that had hurried day and night to get his two squadrons in the air, plus a third for the defence of Freedom herself would, for the most part, be going onto other tasks.

            Adama's nose twitched, the rebuilding of Freedom's sewerage system for one, they hadn't designed it with the sheer volume of people who arrived with the Second fleet in mind (AN see Red Line) Adama had one real worry, whilst his people were all experienced pilots and warriors they weren't very familiar with the peculiarities of their new fighters yet, but that was always the case when you reequipped during a war, you never really got time for the all the cobwebs to be shook out before you were sent to the frontline.

            “Commander?” Gaeta's voice distracted him from his thoughts, and he glanced around, still acknowledging the proud salutes of the arriving pilots as they climbed out of their fighters.

            “Stargate Command just sent their latest Intel, theirs one thing you might find of interest” Gaeta handed Adama the small flash memory chip of the dispatches, but also a printout of the one message he felt Adama needed to see their and then. Adama didn't comment, he knew Gaeta well enough to know that if Gaeta felt only one message required his immediate attention, then that was most likely so.

            “Summary?” he asked, as he took the print-outs.

            “Free Jaffa Intelligence reports a Maktenos taskforce heading towards Edonia, Persephone has been diverted but it's probably not enough. The Intel looks solid sir”

            Grunting, Adama reached over for the nearest and notably still wired phone.

            “Adama to Command, make best speed for Edonia Nebula and take us to General Quarters fifteen minutes before arrival” Adama paused, “no Tigh, I am expecting a war”

           

            Galactica arrived in the middle of a pitched battle and Adama could have sworn he felt a shift in Galactica's soul as the ship itself prepared itself for battle once more.

            Then it was gone, and Adama was barking orders as Vipers poured out of the Grand Old Lady's launch bays, and her four Guass rifles began to train on the encroaching Goa'uld warships.

            “Commander” Adama glanced up as Gaeta spoke, “MTB's Virgon and Libra are away”

            Adama glanced at the tactical display, as Tigh commented, “Interrogator is looking awfully lonely over there”

            Catching Gaeta's eye, Adama nodded, “order the MTB's to break her out, and fast”

            “We've got four Ha'taks inbound to our position” Tigh added.

            “Concentrate Guass fire on one at a time; hold back the nukes, too many friendly fighters out there”

            “Aye Commander”

            Adama didn't stop smiling as the battle unfolded, strange smile though it was, as he barked orders and received reports. This was where he belonged, where the old lady belonged.

            They were home at last.

            “Enemy is disengaging”

            Adama's smile widened, and they still knew how to fight. Galactica was back in the fight.