Word Count: 15,386
The nomads of the dessert continent of Borella on Geminon have a saying, “ the dessert is vast, but it‘s paths are few“ . existing in space was very much like that. It is a dessert of infinite dimension, but its paths, those worlds and places one may find food, water, fuel, and other resources were limited. Commander Hawke knew it, and so did the Cylons. They could just fly off into the deep and unknown, but run out of fuel and food before they found someplace to hide from the Alliance. The odds were very much against them, limited resources, no support from Colonial bases or the fleet. Only limited knowledge of this sector of the galaxy and its worlds near the Colonies to choose from in their search for the Galactica and the fleet. Their only true advantage was that the Cylons didn’t know about them. Yet. Hawke intended to make the most of that fact for as long as possible.
“The Peregrine is away Sir.”
Lt. Bowem watched as the scout craft cleared the outer marker of the hanger pod, turned and banked toward the perimeter of the Tanis asteroid. The Goliath was hovering close to the surface, after jumping they had slowly maneuvered even closer. Basically they were ‘hiding behind a rock’ from the Cylons. Commander Hawke knew their system was now saturated with Cylon Basestars and raiders patroling the area looking for stray civilian and even military craft that had fled in every direction to escape their initial assault. For them to survive until they could rejoin the known Fleet of survivors, and the Battlestar Galactica.
“Maintain condition two O.D. power down all non-essential systems, plot, prepare for an escape jump if needed to these coordinates”
The plot officer took the printout handed to him by the commander, Matthew Hawke and as he turned and looked at it he quickly turned back but was given a stern look by his C.O.
“No Sir. It’s just , no Sir nothing.”
“good then get to work on those calculations”
Was Hawkes only reply. He knew that what he had planned was extremely risky, but if it worked, the benefits far outwayed those risks.
“Colonel Greenlee, lets get our salvage operation under way, launch the shuttles and one wing for coverage.”
Colonel Greenlee moved to Flight Operations and with the F.O. ordered the launch of two of their shuttles and the alpha wing of the Golden Arrows. CAG, Captain ‘Syren’ Sassinak were ready and in their Vipers awaiting launch clearance. When it was given, ten mark II Vipers were sent flying into space but had to pull up and manuever back along side the BattleCruiser Goliath .
“Alright, ‘Parrot‘, take your wing man and head for the ‘west’ teminator, ‘Jester‘, you two take the east. Keep an eye out over the horizon.”
Captain Sassinak ordered her squad as she and her remaining team kept in formation next to the Goliath.
Both of her teams answered.
Then sent their ships toward the edges of the asteroid to survey the situation in the system. Once in position all four Vipers went into ‘dark’mode holding station and cutting engines and most power , using only their passive sensors to listen to and record what they could. At this distance from the inhabited worlds nearly forty light hours out, any information they would receive was nearly two standard days old.
The main shuttles set down on the surface and some of Chief Hands crew began their EVA to cut some sizable chunks out of the asteroid. These were then lifted via the shuttles and moved to the landing bay for later refinement and shaping. Once aboard they would be forged into the nearly Viper size projectiles that the mass driver (provided Chief Bishop could get it working) would need. As soon as they had completed the jump and the salvage was underway Colonel Greenlee began putting their new gunnery crew through a series of drills to get them trained. So far the results were not too encouraging. Leautanant Bowem was monitoring their progress and sendng orders to correct mistakes. Flight was making sure beta wing was now in the tubes ready for launch, while the bay was cleared for the shuttles and alpha wings return.
Commander Hawke continued looking around CIC listening to be sure all was going as planned.
Comm was receiving the information and signals relayed from the Vipers at the asteroids ’edges’ then passing that information on to their Inteligence specialist. Once that data was complete he would review it and make a final determination as to their next step. His old teacher at the Academy used to say “nothing ever goes as planned”. Wiser words were never spoken.
Valhalla station continued to spin in deep space, nearly half way into the system in along Libron orbit From what Dragon and his co-pilot Witch could see, it was still intact. There were three ‘medusa’ class cutters hard docked to the dorsal and ventral spines as well. Half its normal compliment. One of those was heavily damaged. The cutters were hold overs from before the war. Ships of the line back then, about half the size of the Battlestars that would replace them after their lack of fire power and some other deficiencies became apparent. They were put into civilian service and now functioned as Search and Rescue ships patrolling the system for vessels in distress. Their large hanger pods much the same as their larger cousins were well suited to dock and take in most size vessels that frequented the system. The one damaged cutter had come in contact with the cylons no doubt, and fled here. The question was why was ‘here’ still here? By all rights this station, the lar! gest of the C.I.S.A.R. (Colonial Intra-stellar Search And Rescue) bases in the system should have been destroyed once the Colonies and the Fleet were eliminated. There was only one answer. They were waiting for something. What that was the humans could not know, most likely answer would be for as many humans and ships to be here when the final assault came. A civilian target with virtually no defenses and full of people would be the most logical time to attack. As the Peregrine approached they saw that that would not be long from now. There were even several smaller ‘yachts’ holding position outside the main hanger bay and shuttles docked at the smaller ports on and around the cutters. Dragon was sure all the internal bays were likely just as full. If the Cylons were waiting for the station to be overcrowded for their attack, he was sure it would not be long in coming.
“Dragon, we’ve got weapons being locked on us, they look like Viper frequencys, I’m jamming them”
Giles tuned the Counter measure system to send back a flood of ‘white noise’ on the attack frequencys and scanned for their source. What he found was a wing of Mark VII vipers coming out from behind the station and on fast approach. Dragon opened a priority channel and called out for them.
“This is Peregrine 6199 to Colonial Vipers stand down we are friendly, repeat stand down we are friendly,”
“they lost their lock Dragon, we’ve got them confused I think, they’re splitting up to flank us.”
Giles told them through the comm.
“This is Captain Masters Colonial Fleet, I need to speak to whoevers in charge, please respond”
The wing of Vipers altered their course and came along side the Peregrine, with a few behind it as a precaution. Dragon finally heard an answer.
“Captain Masters, this is leautanant Krane, what unit are you with?”
“I can’t tell you that out here where anyone can be listening, request permission to dock at Valhalla immediately.”
There was a long pause. Masters had slowed his approach and they were manuevering to place them in a straight shot at the main hanger entrance at the end of the ’barrel’ that housed the command section of the station.
“Captain , this is Valhalla C.N.C. you are cleared for dock, bay 47 is open and ready to receive. Do not vary from that approach or we will fire.”
“acknowledged C.N.C. executing.”
Dragon answered and let the ship continue forward passing into the bay doors, he could see auto guns tracking them on manual as they slipped through the tunnel and moved passed the hatchs that would give access to the multiple bays along all four ‘walls’ , moving deeper until they were over bay 47. The doors silently slid open and Dragon hit thrusters to drop into the bay, descending and touching down , all four pads made contact with the deck and the mag lock took hold. The overehead doors closed and air began to fill the bay.
“At least they’re gonna let us breath”
Sever said as she put her station at standy, then set the lock out code for her personal access number.
Masters and Giles did the same, without their codes the Peregrine was now the largest paper weight in the system. Once the atmosphere in the bay was restored they opened the bottom hatched and climbed down to the deck. They were half way to the inner doors when they slid open, several Colonial Marines awaited them. All were armed. ‘seems to be a recurring theme in our lives’ Witch and Dragon thought.
One man in a station uniform was in the lead and looked very carefully at them.
He called back over his shoulder
“I’ll authorize them Chief”
The chief in charge of the squad frowned but complied and waved his squad out of the bay.
“Welcome aboard Captain, I’m Commander Landis, come with me. “
He lead them out of the bay and into the passages that led to the more hospitable Command section.
Even these deep corridors were full of refugees. People from all the colonies were huddled in groups, some were wounded others tending them, none looked hopeful.
“as you can see space is at a premium right now, so allowing you aboard better be worth it.”
Masters and his crew looked the people over hoping there was something they would be able to do before the Cylons came to finish this place off.
“do you have a way to evacuate everyone Sir?”
Was Masters question.
“we were at near capacity before the attack, a population of nearly 190,000. Now were at more like 240,000, so no , even with the two cutters we cant evac more than 5000. “
“I saw three cutters docked”
“yes but the Griffin’s engines are down. They rescued the survivors of the Battlestar Argo including what was left of their Vipers, but were badly damaged when the Cylons saw them. “
“ and the other two?”
“the Chymera and the Kraken are operable. But out of munitions. Spent it all in the Griffins escape. We have no more , seems our warehouses were depleted and shipments from the Colonies have been getting fewer and fewer recently.”
“frak , we were hoping you had some our ship could use”
Masters looked back at Sever and Giles who were walking along behind their captain and the commander.
They all entered a lift that caried them up to the command deck but moved into a conference room and not the Command and Control room. Waiting for them was a Colonial Captain, Viper pilot and from his badge was from the Argo. Several other station officers and civilians were also there. Many began shouting at the commander as soon as he walked in. apparently they had arrived during a council and were debating on what to do.
“I’m telling you we don’t have the needed power to jump, our reactor is at its limit now trying to keep life support working.”
A tall technition was saying to another man who seemed intent on being louder than everyone else.
“did he say jump?”
Sever asked over Masters shoulder.
“Order please , please everyone sit down”
Commander Landis shouted out and everyone grudgingly sat and gave him their attention.
“Sir excuse me, “
Masters said to the commander.
“Go ahead Captain”
“this station has jump capability?”
He gave Masters a look like he had told this explanation a dozen times already but gave it again anyway.
“Yes Captain, these stations weren’t built out here, they were constructed in Libron Orbit then put in their positions by jumping. But it was while linked to two to three Battlestars to provide the needed power as well as that of the station, and that was before all other systems were put on line.”
That part of the stations history was unknown to him, but it made sense, it would take a great deal of energy to move an object of this size. Still, Masters was sure this aspect of the stations would be of interest to Commander Hawke.
“now Captain your turn , what ship are you from?”
Commander Landis was looking directly at him and it was obvious that what he was going to decide would be based on his answers.
“all I can tell you Sir, we are not from any Battlestar, as far as we know, there are none. Also our monitoring of Cylon signals has told us that all Colonies are now occupied, there is little doubt what they are doing there even now”
Several sad nods and some silent tears as thought of loved ones and their homes being gone were confirmed to them.
“my ship is a prototype that was off world before the attack and since then we have been to several places within the system and have found nothing but destroyed stations, moons and ships.”
“I’m afraid our situation is little better Captain. There were 24 CISAR stations within the system as far as we know, we are the only one left. Shuttles from most of them have confirmed this “
Commander Landis added.
“it seems like what few surviors that remain have been herded to this location, on our approach we detected Cylon patrols that seemed to deliberately avoid Valhalla until they are ready to wipe it out.”
“we had pretty much arrived at that assessment as well. What we’ve been deciding is what to do about it.”
“what we do is load who we can on what ships we have and get out of here”
One of the men at the end of the table said. When Masters looked closer he saw it was Gregor Uri, one of the members of the political cabinet. Secretary of transportation if he remembered correctly. That would make sense since all of CISAR fell within his jurisdiction. Masters was right Secretary Uri had been touring the facility seeking ways to further cut its budget so he could pocket the cubits just as he had been the profits from the munitions that had been ‘diverted’ to other projects on the official manifests. In reality he was selling them on the black market. Profits that were gone now that the Colonies lay in ruins. No matter what it takes, he would get back all he had lost, he swore it to himself.
Commander Landis had to quiet the room once again.
“I’ve told you we do not have enough ships, it would be genocide to leave 235,000 people behind.”
More shouting and rebuttals came from all directions. This has been going on for some time when the door opened and a med tech came in and moved quickly to Commander Landis. She whispered to him for several seconds as she finished his head came up faster than a Viper out a launch tube.
“We will recess for an hour. All ships are to hold station where they are until further notice.”
He pointed at Captain Masters,
“would you come with me”
“of course Sir”
He lead him out of the room the med tech next to him, what they didn’t expect was to get ambushed as they left the room. Not by Cylons, no, but by something far more insidious and relentless, the media.
“Commander Landis , Serena Quinn INN, Sir is it true the Colonies have all been destroyed? When will the Fleet arrive to escort all these people to safety? Will there be enough ships? Sir please will you answer my questions?”
The dark haired woman in what was surely the cleanest suit on the station was sending questions at Landis faster than he or anyone else could hope to answer. He just shook his head held his hand out to cover her microphone she kept pushing into his face. She did her best to keep eye contact so the mini cam she wore on her head, one plas screen covering one eye so she could monitor what the camera was seeing. This proved to be more difficult than one would think her being nearly a foot shorter than he was.
“I’ve told you I have no comment miss Quinn, now please”
“Sir surely you can tell us why the passengers and crew of the ‘Adorable Minx’ were quarantined. Others from the Colonies have radiation poisoning but they weren’t separated, why were these five placed in the biohazard section of the med lab?”
Landis was getting more frustrated. This was all information that he had ordered as classified until they could determine what was going on.
Two days ago a small yacht named the ‘Adorable Minx’ had arrived at the station, five people on board.
Two crew and three passengers. All seemed fine and told how they had escaped from the orbital casino over Geminon. The skipper had decided to jump here to Valhalla. At first they were all fine, but after the first day all seemed to get sicker. One even collapsed and had to be taken to med lab. that’s where the trouble started, as soon as the others found out that one of their group was in station custody. Those four were like dynamos forcing their way thru station security, tossing fully armored marines around like toys. Two were finally brought down by guass rifle fire. The other two restrained by several marines each until they could be bound. The fact that they were so pale and sick probably helped. Those two were in the brig under heavy guard. The two that had to be shot Commander Landis ordered a full autopsy on. The results of that is what she had brought and interrupted the meeting with.
The whole time miss Quinn was questioning Commander Landis Captain Masters and his crew listened but kept quiet. They were not going to ask why Valhalla was so out of the loop. Probably as soon as the attack news was received a media black out had been put in place to avoid panic. Two marines finally blocked the eager newswomans path and the officers continued into med lab. Miss Quinn still shouting questions after them.
“Sir how can a media agent not know whats going on out there? don’t they have their own wireless network?”
Sever had asked.
“normally yes leautanant, but this stations fusion reactor uses a tri-ionic fuel system, the resulting Hyperonic radiation interferes with low powered civilian systems, only the main external array can get through to the outside. That’s controlled strictly by our CNC. Any media channels have to go thru there. And I ordered a shut down of all but military messages as soon as Picon was destroyed.”
“this Hyperonic radiation, is it dangerous?”
Sever sounded a bit concerned,
“Not at all, we’ve always used it and its essential for a number of the medical research labs here, types that can only be done in space because of the zero gees and ability to shield from all other forms of radiation.”
The Doctor spoke up, always willing to talk about her work. They were now in med lab, Landis had asked that Giles and Sever wait outside in the waiting lounge. Masters nodded that they should comply. And added not to talk to any media agents.
Once inside they stood out side a quarantine chamber, the clear plasteel keeping the atmosphere they stood in separate from that of the patient inside. And him from getting out. He lay strapped down to a bio bed and seemed unconscious. Once Masters got a good look at him he came to a quick stop. Frak if he didn’t look real familiar. Even as pale as he was he was sure that was ‘ben’ the dock worker and man he told to help load the Goliath with supplies. Before he could ask about him the Doctor spoke up.
“I’ve completed all my tests, now I’m more sure than ever, these are all Cylons”
Landis and Masters looked at Doctor Russell completely shocked. She couldn’t be serious Masters thought.
“Helena, I know that was your first theory, but you can prove it?”
Landis asked her.
“oh yes, our facilitys are some of the best in the system, the ‘brain’s neural connection are undoubtedly silicate in nature, these three and I’m sure the two that are locked up are all the same. They are artificial. All of them . these silicate ‘circuits’ are the basis for all higher function A.I.’s that were first engineered by the Colonies. I would say that the Cylons spent a good deal of their time ’genegeneering’ these replicants just so they could infiltrate our worlds.”
“Frak. If that’s so, whats killing them?”
“I wasn’t sure of that either until I went thru the medical library, it seems our Founders weren’t as stupid as history books might suggest, the original Cylon mechanisms were made with a safe guard weakness built right in, saseptability to Hyperonic radiation. “
“harmless to us, deadly to them, so why wasn’t this used in the first war?
“I can only theorize that the Cylons knew of this and in their opening attack starting the first war, destroyed the lab and records of it, but some knowledge of it must have remained since at least one munition depot was built in a naturally occurring location, and some military records did survive. But tri-ionic reactors are rare and seldom used because they are hard to maintain and were replaced by more efficient Tylium fueled ones during the war.”
“Doctor, this one, will it live?”
“I doubt it, I think all of them will be dead within a day.”
“how were you able to locate this information Doctor?”
Landis with a bit of suspicion in hos voice. She noticed it too.
“our archive is very extensive, needs to be for our medical research. Those about the Cylons were put there before the war. well like I said, its all theory, but it does fit the facts at hand”
Commander Landis went to the doctors desk and spoke into the comm console.
“CNC , Landis, I want a sensor telemetry report on all E.M. transmissions or signals from Valhalla for the last 50 standard hours, have it on my desk A.S.A.P.”
A voice answered thru the comm.
“you think they were here to signal for when to attack us don’t you?”
Said the doctor.
“that’s exactly why, and why they haven’t , yet.”
“they cant send thru the interference”
Masters nodded having arrived at the same conclusion. That would buy them sometime. But not much,
Also he had to get back to the Goliath and soon. it was obvious they had a Cylon aboard the whole time, and he could, if he hadn’t already, send a signal to the rest of the Cylons right where to find the Goliath.
“Sir, that just might be what saves Valhalla, whats your F.T.L.’s status? I know you don’t have enough power, but is it operational otherwise?”
“Yes Captain it is, we keep every system at peak efficiency whether we use it or not.”
“Sir with you permission my crew and I need to depart, immediately, recall any patrols and get as many ships within Valhalla as you can, or docked in the Cutters, just be ready to make a very long jump when we get back”
“you cant be serious Captain”
Said the Doctor
“yes Doc , I am”
“so you do have a ship or ships out there somewhere”
Landis concluded and asked Masters.
“Yes Sir,but that info needs to remain only between us until it arrives.”
“you got it, we’ll be ready, just don’t take too long.”
“we’ll do our best.”
With that Masters saluted the Commander and headed for the door. Giles and Sever rose and caught up with their pilot, with miss Quinn following doggedly behind.
“Captain, Captian might I have a word please? Your not from the Valhalla, and that insignia, I‘ve never seen it before, what unit are you from? Are there survivors out there? Are they coming here?”
She went on even though none of them were answering her, the light just shining on their backs as they continued walking back the the lifts that would take them to the launch bays. As the lift doors closed and left miss Serena Quinn standing looking at them she shut her mini cam off.
“Felgercarb, here I am in the middle of the biggest story of my career, and not only can’t I get any answers, I can’t broadcast it, nor do I even know if theres anyone left alive to see it. “
She turned and made her way back to med lab, she’d give the Commander another try.
The Devil you know
Masters and his crew climbed back into the Peregrine and unlocked the systems, the ship came to life and they began preflight.
“Giles, contact CNC and get launch clearence and instructions, then contact med lab and ask the Doc for all data concering her ‘patients’”
“Yes Sir, getting CNC on line now.”
“Sever no delays plot a jump straight back to Goliath” and be ready for a combat landing when we get there”
“ok what the frak did you find out in there?”
“I’ll tell you after were launched”
The engines warmed up and as they completed launch prep Masters pondered the significance of what he had learned. The Cylons could look like us now, from the printouts he had seen on the docs desk there were at least five different ones, as the ones they had aboard all looked different, but still they must have a limited selection, ‘ben’ looked just like the one on the med table. That meant in typical Cylon fashion they were mass produced.
“cleared for launch, data is received and stored. We’re good to go”
“start launch cycle”
Master ordered. The bay depressurized and upper doors opened, they lifted and retracted the landing legs, putting them in the access tunnel. The outer doors opened and the stars beckoned. Dragon pushed the throttle and the Peregrine sped out of the station. Once clear he pushed the controls and sent them outbound and away from the ships hovering near the station. Many were already being guided into the bays of the cutters,, but the one , the Griffin however was now free floating and away. She had engines lit so she must have restored propulsion.
“Dragon, were clear coordinates set”
He didn’t waste any time, he hit the initiator while saying
There was the flash , which took his crew by surprise, frak he was in a hurry, then the dizziness and headache as they appeared on the near side of the Asteroid Tanis. Their arrival was noted by the pairs of Vipers standing watch at the rocks perimeter. They had a quick flash of weapons locks before they were recognized and the sensor screens went green again. Dragon put them into a tight bank and pushed throttles, swooping over the edge of the asteroid and placing them on approach to the Goliath quickly. The aft of the ship now directly ahead., he opened his comm.
“Goliath this is Peregrine 6199, condition one beta, repeat condition one beta. Request a combat landing immediately”
Commander hawke and his X.O. colonel Greenlee were both in CIC when the Peregrine called for its approach, but neither expected to hear that code given as comms put his message over the loud speaker.
Condition one beta, meant not only should they be ready for combat, but that they had or were facing enemy boarding parties.
“OD set condition one beta now!”
Hawke shouted, he didn’t know the complete situation but he trusted his officers and he was sure Captain Masters had a very good reason for requesting that condition . Greenlee was on the comm to the marine commander and telling him to post men at all critical system accesses. He wanted Masters on the CIC as soon as he docked.
“flight get that ship aboard, and have Captain Masters report to me in person.”
“Affirmative Sir. ”
The docking pod was already extended and Dragon put the ship down right on target in record time.
“Witch , Giles, keep her warm, and stay here. Hand me that data the Doc sent Giles.”
Giles had the console copy the file onto disk and handed it to Dragon. He put it in his flight suit pocket and climbed down the ladder to the deck. As usual the flight crew were on their way to service the ship, he looked to see if ‘ben’ was among them. So far he wasn’t .
“nice to see you again Sir”
Jack was saying as he saw Masters walking toward them.
“jack, skip the flight check, I need you to do something more important”
The urgency in his voice stopped the big man in his tracks and the ever present smile left his face.
“whatever you need Sir”
“find ‘ben’, and keep an eye on him. And report his location to CIC as soon as you do”
“Ben, why?, “
“no questions Chief, believe me its important.”
“if you say so Sir, I’m on it”
He turned and told his crew to stand down and went with Dragon out the door. Dragon headed to CIC, jack to the crew quarters.
His feet couldn’t move fast enough he headed for CIC and moved thru the ship. The marine at the hatch opened it as Masters came up the corridor, Hawke and Greenlee waited inside.
“Welcome back Dragon, now would you explain why my ship is now at one beta?”
“We have a Cylon aboard Sir”
“Logan, we already suspected that there may be a sympathizer or spy aboard.”
No sir I mean a Cylon, not a spy”
Captain Masters now had their full and undivided attention.
The two humanoid Cylons sat in the holding cell deep within the CISAR station Valhalla. Neither were what could be called at their best, both were having problems seeing now, and their bodys shook continuously.
None of them could have forseen how their mission would fail so badly, when it had began so well.
They had retrieved one of the yachts from one of the private space dromes well outside Caprica City, it was intact and they circumvented their own shut down commands that had sabotaged the entire Colonial Fleet, as well as any civilian ships that used the Baltar Advanced Navigation Program. As One commanded five of them boarded and launched, then jumped to close proximity to Valhalla. Once there they detoured just long enough to pass the Basestar that awaited the attack command which they would send when or if any ships of the line, a Battlestar or other heavy Cruiser vessel that had escaped from the first attack. Several it seems were unaccounted for. The Centurion in command of the Basestar confirmed the receipt of their directives and would wait until summoned. During their trip to the station they went over their cover story so there would be no discrepancy and arouse suspicion. As an added incentive to lure their prey along they broadcast a general distress signal. T! he odds were slim that the suspected rogue ship would be in range to pick up any signal, but One had theorized they may have probes within the system that could, then go to retrieve their home Battlestar.
They arrived at Valhalla as planned. Of course the humans were more than willing to let them dock. They had made sure to look the part of refugees, clothes slightly burned, generally in poor spirits. The one anomaly was at their final approach, their distress signal seemd to grow weaker the closer their ship, the ‘Adorable Minx’ got to the main bays entrance. Then it was gone as they entered. After some brief questions from the stations security chief and an interview by the Commander, Landis, they were asked to be examined by the stations doctor. They of course declined. One of them, a model 7 now going by the name ‘james’ and another female model 6 , named ‘sue’ had claimed they were in the medical profession already and had made sure they were all fine with the equipment aboard the ‘Minx’ .
With those formalitys out of the way they went about their mission, seeking a way to send a signal when needed. The crew of the ‘Minx’ a number 2 and 3, tried again to use the wireless of the ‘Minx’ but it was still unable to reach outside. The others had little luck either, they tried to access the CNC or to link into the main comm towers. If they could not find away to call for the others, they may have to find away to destroy the station themselves. Number 9 went into the engineering section and was going to find away to shut down the cooling system for the main reactor by remote when the further he got, the weaker he seemed to become. He had just managed to install a receiver set to Cylon frequency’s to control the cooling system when he collapsed. He awoke sometime later strapped into a bed in the med lab.
The others of the team had sought their comrade and discovered he was in the hands of the humans.
“we cannot allow them to examine him”
Sue told her fellow humanoids.
“I agree, we must retrieve him and see if he has completed his task and what command code will destroy this station.”
Said james. They had tried the ‘concerned’ friends’ approach to enter the med lab but the doctor was concerned that they may be suffering radiation poisoning. And had wanted to quarintine all of them.
that’s when the assault began, they used their superior strength and speed to take weapons from the security guards and began firing, other guards returned fire, hitting one but to their surprise that didn’t knock the Cylon down. Doctor Russel hit the alarm and more guards were summoned. After several minutes of weapons fire, two of the Cylons were on the deck and the other two had run out of ammunition, and were both wounded, what they hadn’t realized was that the Hyperonic radiation had begun affecting them too. Fortunately for the guards that arrived they were able to overpower the two still standing , and remove them to the brig.
Now here they were, getting worse every minute, the radiation deteriorating their nueral connections, thoughts became harder , their bodys showing obvious signs of decomposing. Their mission a shambles.
The one and only hope they had now, was that the Nuclear warhead in the cargo bay of the “Minx” would detonate as scheduled. The one last contingency plan they hoped they wouldn’t need to use. If all had gone well they would either send out a signal,, or use the remote to the cooling system after returning to the Minx and launchng to the safety of the Basestar. Now they too would die with the humans.
“The last time I looked Captain, there weren’t any walking toasters wandering my decks, so you had better explain”
Commander Hawke said as he motioned for Greenlee his exec and Masters closer to talk quietly over the plotting table. Masters pulled the data disk from his pocket and handed it to ’Stringbean’ , Colonel Greenlee, the rather tall executive officer.
“Valhalla has two human looking Cylons in their brig, two in their morgue and one in quarantine. Their doctor has confirmed they are in fact Cylons, complete replicas of us. This data is the evidence.”
Greenlee inserted the disk into a reader and the data was displayed on the table top.
“so then what makes you think we have one aboard the Goliath?”
Masters pointed at the faces on the screen,
“they may have found away to copy our appearance, but they have limited variety, that one is the one that oversaw the loading and is now on Sirus Hands deck crew. A copy of him anyway. “
“Frak. String, get Captain Rodo up here now. Where is this thing now?”
“I sent Chief Hand to look for him, he should be calling up here to let us know when he finds him.”
Commander Hawke looked at the display, five faces, all so normal looking, he thought back and looked around wondering if he had seen any other of these faces on board. They would have to do a complete check of the crew now. The question remained how many models are there? And are any of the unkown ones on board? He pulled the disk and held on to it.
“ok Captain, what about the Valhalla, whats their status?”
“packed full of refugees, two cutters available, a third in real bad shape. And Sir, their jump engines are on line”
Hawke looked up, that was the best news he had all day.
“Flight, recall all vipers and shuttles. Plot set F.T.L. for Valhalla, tell Chief Bishop to bring energizers 3 and 4 on line.”
Hawke called out orders and jump prep was put under way.
“Captain, we proceed as planned, jump back, and make a lot of noise, see what comes running.”
Captain Masters saluted and left for the hanger once again. They knew this was a trap, but one they thought they could escape from. Valhalla was the Cylons bait to bring them out, or any other surviving Colonial ship, the Peregrine would be their bait to bring out the Cylons into exposing that trap for what it was. Masters knew this could be his and his crews last mission, but they would be saving nearly 250,000 people if Hawkes plan worked. He mumbled under his breath as he headed back to the bay.
“who wants to live forever anyway”
Chief Sirus Hand, ‘Jack’ to most people left the bay after talking to Captain Masters and went first to the crew quarters but didn’t find ben there. Then he looked through several of the machine shops and asked if anyone had seen him. One of the crew told him after the claxon and condition one beta was called out, he left shop 4 but didn’t know where he had gone. Jack knew that bens duty station during condition one was at the hanger access. He hadn’t passed him on his way up here, so he had to be somewhere else. He would keep looking, something about this was not right.
‘Ben’ heard the alarm and the annoucement that condition one beta was set throughout the ship. The voice in the back of his mind was immediately activated, that alarm could mean his charade was at an end, he needed to take action now. He left the machine shop and headed for the main magazines, the storage lockers that housed the tons of munitions used by the Golaiths guns. He needed to destroy the Golaith now, before he was caught. Walking up the corridors he tried to look as if he belonged up in this section of the ship, even though he was suppose to be on the hanger deck. One or two marines looked as he passed but didn’t challenge him. He was stopped at the access hatch and about to open it when Chief Hand rounded the far corner and was walking up to him.
“hey ben what are you doing up here? You sleep through the alarm or something? Were at condition one buddy, time to get our butts to the flight deck”
Jack said as he walked up and put a big hand on his shoulder and began to lead him back down the corridor.
“no Chief , I was just , you know touring the ship getting a look around seeing what was where, just sort of got lost, frakkin ship is huge you know”
Ben answered and took a few steps, but gave the Chief a surprise by sending his elbow back into jacks side knocking the wind out of him. Not what the Chief was expecting, but the hit wasn’t as damaging as ben no doubt hoped, his massive size and mass from growing up on a heavy gravity Colony made him more resistant than ben anticipated. Jacks reaction was immediate even though his side felt bruised he sent a massive fist right on top of bens skull, hard too. The shock almost made his knees bend. He hadn’t expected the big man to be able to move so fast or recover so quickly, he had barely taken the first running step when his hand impacted his head. Even with his Cylon constitution, he was barely able to stay afoot.
Jack looked and was surprised that ben was still standing, so he hit him again, what surprised him even more was ben grabbing his wrist stopping the blow from landing. Luckily it took both his hands to do it, leaving jacks other hand free to swing and punch ben square in the face. He didn’t hold back this time, the punch hit, and broke several bones in bens face. That did succeed in knocking him out. His body fell to the deck , blood dripping from his nose. Jack lifted the body and tossed him over his shoulder, he carried him back down to the brig. He wasn’t going to take any chances when he woke up. He didn’t know what the frak was going on, but he hoped Captain Masters would explain it.
“Sir, Chief Hand reports he has crewman ben Dran in the brig”
“Thank you Lt. Bowem, that’s a good place for him, Captain Rodo, I want four of your best men outside his cell with full arms immediately. If he makes any move to get out of that cell shoot to kill”
Hawke answered Bowem and then dismissed the chief of security Captain Rodo.
“Yes Sir Commander”
Rodo saluted then called over his radio to the security office so his men would be in place by the time he got there. Hawke had already had Doctor Pierce report to him so he could hand over the data they received from Valhalla. With orders to see if there was a way to screen humans from the Cylon replicants.
He was happy to give the order to cancel condition one beta and return to one alpha.
With that out of the way he and Colonel Greenlee were going over the battle plans on the plotting table.
“Are you sure you really want to jump out to the Carillon sector Sir?”
Greenlee asked going over the chart.
“its best suited for a new base of operations string, it has some facilitys on the surface and a closed down but still revivable Tylium mine. Its so deep within the Nova Madagon that even the Cylons wont try to jump there.”
“that’s my point, can we be sure that we will make it?”
“I wouldn’t try it if I didn’t think we had a good chance. Professor Fourd of Caprica’s Central University wrote a paper on the predictability of the position of the ’eye’ of the Madagon nebula. I’m convinced his formula is correct.”
Greenlee thought about it, Madagon, and Carillon. That nebula made a mess of the Carillon sector.
Carillon itself lies within the 'Nova Madagon', which really is not a nova at all. its rather the remains of one of a binary system that went nova many millennia ago. the sister star, Carillon, still remains and has one of its surviving planets still intact. this planet also called Carillon, is hidden well within the nebula. the nebula itself is more like a spatial 'hurricane' with unpredictable patterns of force within its boundary’s. its immense size, nearly a hundred Cyrannus star systems could fit within it and still have room. Carillon sits within an 'eye' of the storm. the only known calm spot to be found in the 'Nova'. the Colonies long ago had to desert the Tylium mine that rested there on the one barely hospitable planet, lit by only a dim star heavy in ultra violet rays, giving the sky a dark hue of velvets and blues. The Cylons had mined great portions of the nebula making an approach very dangerous. the only sure way to get there was by jumping, but E.M. inter! ference could make that a fatal error. if one knew where the 'eye' would be you could jump safely, but few knew the formula needed to calculate that eyes position at any given time. it was here that Commander Hawke planned to make a refuge. he would take the Goliath, and if all went well the station Valhalla itself to hide forever from the Cylons in the one place that only a madman would even attempt to get to.
Dragon, Captain Masters, climbed back into the cockpit of the Peregrine and strapped in. his panel was all green. They were ready for launch, all that they were waiting for was the bay to vent and open the hanger doors. As they waited Dragon explained the events that led to them leaving Valhalla so quickly and the fact that there were now humanoid Cylons. Neither took this news very well.
“like we didn’t have enough problems already. “
Witch , Sever, said as she tried to unholster her pistol again. Being crammed into the back seat of the cockpit restricted her movements so she just gripped her control sticks.
Spook, Giles, put his station at standby for launch.
“actives off passive ready Sir”
“be ready to go to full power active scan as soon as we reach Valhalla’s perimeter.”
“you heard me Spook, all scanners, active and on full when I say.”
Sever just said
“your going to put us deep in the felgercarb again arent you”
He smiles and looked back.
“I wouldn’t want your life to get boring Sever”
The bay was now in vacuum and the bay doors opened, the voice from CIC spoke in their ear pieces
“Core Control transferred to drop ship, launch when ready”
Dragon called back. Then lifted the landing pads and pushed the throttle. The ship went outbound again and cleared the bay. They followed the same course as before forcing Giles to grip his seat as they zig zagged thru the oort clouds rocks. When they were clear the Pererine disappeared from the edge of the system and appeared in Libron’s orbital path.
“full scan now Spook, find the Cylons , the bigger the better”
Gile shook his head, he didn’t know Captain Masters well but he was getting more and more convinced this guy must be crazy.
As soon as the Peregrine made its jump the Goliath retracted the hanger pod and made ready for jump.
“Helm, full ahead, give me some space under the keel. Plot spin up the F.T.L drives 1 and 2”
Hawke ordered as he watched the crew comply. Within minutes the ship was ready.
“take us to Valhalla Colonel”
“Yes Sir, all hands stand by, the clock is running”
Greenlee spoke into the hand mic and turned the initiator key. The clock ran down and the Goliath vanished from the distant edge of the Cyrannus system, then in a flash was within just a few klicks (kilometers) off Valhalla itself.
“Commscan, up to full, gunners weapons free. Deply the pod and launch Vipers”
Colonel Greenlee ordered and made sure the Comanders battle plan was carried out.
“Comm, get me Valhalla Control”
Hawke picked up his head set and waited for his communication officer to link him to the stations Command deck.
“Ready Sir, Commander Landis on the line”
“Valhalla, this is the shuttle ‘Badger, repeat the SHUTTLE Badger, do you read?”
Commander Landis answered, he caught on to what Hawke was doing.
“yes Badger we read you, welcome to Valhalla”
“thank you Valhalla, request permission to dock”
If the Cylons were listening, and they surely were, this would sound like yet another small craft that had made its way to the station.
“helm, put us on the ventral docking spine.”
When Commander Landis stood in the CNC and his commscan showed a vessel come out of jump, he was estatic when he saw that it was a Battlecruiser, and not a Cylon Basestar. He was about to have his communications Chief signal them when they called them instead. The voice on the other end identified itself as a shuttle, the Badger, frak that was a large shuttle. Good precaution though. He answered understanding he didn’t want to let the Cylons know they were there. Taking a chance that long range scan would pick them up anyway. Even if it did, they were more than 30 light minutes away according to their own scanners. It would take the ‘bounce’ of the scan 30 minutes to return to the Basestar. Not much of a window.
The Goliath maneuvered into docking position placing the starboard forward hull airlock against the ventral port. Once harddock was confirmed the lock was opened and moments later the two commanders finally met.
“Comander Landis welcome aboard the Goliath”
They shook hands then sat down across the table in one of the conference rooms and went over what Hawke had in mind
“were hot Dragon, ive got a Basestar 25 light minutes out.”
Spook had a positive I.D. and location on the Basestar
“give me the vector and send the coordinates to Valhalla”
“free weapons and begin jamming , full stealth mode Spook.”
Once all systems were at full battle ready Dragon locked in the coordinates of the Basestar and jumped.
Even Sever hadn’t expected that. But there they were on a fast approach toward the behemoth. Their jump had not gone unnoticed either. As soon as they were within actual range raiders detached and began swarming toward them.
“We’ve got company, a wing at least, 20 Raiders on intercept and accelerating”
Spook called out,
“hit em Witch”
Dragon yelled and they both began firing the three mini guns sending their volley into the heart of the swarm, as he plunged them into the center of the on coming attack squad. The stealth system was doing its job, sending back an ’echo’ on the Cylons attack frequencys that would indicate their location as empty space while making a false shadow of them just meters away. When your accuracy of fire is dependant on exact coordinates to make sure your fire hits your target at the exact right time even the smallest degree of error can result in a miss. The Peregrine was built to take full advantage of those laws of physics and combat. Spook in the meantime was popping the chaff sensor targets when ever a lock was detected putting a decoy target between them and any incoming missiles. The whole time Dragon was working their way in evasive maneuvers closer and closer to the Basestar.
Shouted Dragon. And Witch armed them.
Ten of their forty missiles flew from the upper pods five from each, all of them in ‘follow-me’ mode, five going high and five low. Each of the five would follow in series the one before it hitting the exact same place on the Basestars hull. Their anti missile barrage managed to take out one of one group two of the other. The group of three hit first, one explosion after another, the third detonating just within the thick armor of the ship. Dragon had chosen his target spot well. Where the two Y shaped hulls met. The next volley were still evading but locked on the first sets detonation and that was their target. They sped into the gaping small hole the first had created and went even deeper beneath the massive ships hull. Internal explosions resulted after the four Scarabs entered and detonated.
“were down to 50% of our intercepts and 5 chaff, jamming is holding but they’re increasing scanner strength, we’ll be locked soon.”
Spook told Dragon and Witch. Dragon was doing his best to stay as close to the hull as he could and fly in tight circles around the Basestar, this hindered the persueing raiders forcing them to fire only when they would not hit their own Basestar. The Peregrine however was free to shoot at any and everything.
“guns are down to 40% Dragon”
Witch was still keeping her guns going, hitting as many surface guns or raiders as she could letting Dragon concentrate on the missiles. She had seen him deploy the nukes, the four tactical warheads now extended and locked in launch position out of the front of the ‘wings’. the Cylons it seemed had figured out what they were up to and began rotating the Basestar trying to keep the hole in their hull away from the Peregrine , and also launched the remainder of their Raiders. The huge vessel began moving, heading it seemed for Valhalla.
Dragon put the Peregrine into a tight dive and went under the lower hull of the Basestar then back up toward the mid section once again. This time getting a lock on the rent in the hull. He fired two of the nukes then banked hard pulling almost seven gee’s, all of them almost blacked out from the force but he did not relent, needing to put as much space between them and the Basestar as possible in just a few seconds.
He shoved the throttle to full and held tight, this was going to be close. The anti barrage fire took out one nuke, destroying it before it could arm, the second entered through the tear in the hull and impacted on an interior bulkhead. Waited 1.5 seconds,, then detonated as programmed.
“Spook, got that next target locked yet?”
Dragon was referring to the next closest Basestar, but yes he had it locked into the F.T.L. drives computer.
“ready to jump Dragon”
Dragon did a 180 positive spin putting their nose back toward the persuing raiders and saw the flash as the Basestar was split in two. The low yield nuke had enough force to cut the vessel apart. At least forty raiders were still following, guess they made them mad. He launched 20 more Scarabs and spun again then the flash of the jump followed. They appeared within firing range of another Basestar , this one almost two hours from Valhalla. With their weapons almost depleted (but the Cylons didn’t know that), he sent the last 10 Scarabs at the Base star quickly folowed by the last two Nukes, just as it was launching a barrage at them and its raiders were launched. At this range full impacts were only 50% likely to hit, but this attack was more for show than as critical as the first base star. They weren’t there for more than a few seconds. just long enough to see one nuke hit by Cylon fire and a few of the scarabs,, then they were jumping again. This time back to Valhalla.!
If they could have stayed to see how effective they had been they would have seen 20 of the scarabs take out as many Raiders from the first base star and the two halves of the mighty vessel burn in space. Several shuttles and raiders escaping. The one nuke of the second attack did reach its target and exploded on its hull damaging it badly, it would be several days before it would be able to jump or join in any battles. Its raiders were not as lucky, nearly its total compliment were caught in the nuclear blast, either destroyed outright, or the E.M.P. frying their internal circuitry forever.
“Commander Hawke, you have got to be out of your frakkin mind”
Commander Landis just couldn’t believe that anyone would try to make a jump into Carillon. And to try to take a station this size was utter madness. He looked over the figures and calculations again. In theory they looked good, but in practice? That was another matter.
“I’m sure this will work, you’ll have to shut down all systems including life support for the jump, and we’ll have to link the two cutters and the Goliath into your energy grid, but it will work.”
Hawke was saying.
“I suppose we have little choice, we cant stay here, those frakkin Cylons we found aboard were no doubt suppose to signal when to attack, but the others wont wait forever, they’ll figure out they weren’t able to call out and come anyway. Best we not be here when that happens. it’s the time frame that worrys me. It will take at least an hour to hook up the grid to your ship, and they’ll pick you up on their scanners in less than 30 minutes,”
“not now they wont, the closest Basestar will have other problems by now. One or two others possibly too.
I have one of my attack craft out buying us some time.”
“that bird that was here earlier?”
“one shuttle size ship against a Basestar? Frak you are crazy”
Maybe so, but its pilot, a Captain Masters , guaranteed me he could do it. He knows that ship better than anyone, come to think of it, he knows most ships better than anyone.”
“He’s The Militech senior test pilot, every ship and fighter they make for the Fleet, he’s flown at one time or another. “
“if this fails and we all die Hawke, I’m never speaking to you again”
Both Commanders smiled then got to work, they ordered their engine techs to link the power grid to the ships docked along the spines, this was easier than expected since Landis had already began linking the cutters Chymera and Kraken to the station, they would have tried a short jump if they had had to, if the goliath hadn’t arrived. Now with the heavy cruisers 4 massive energizers they would have full capacity. The only draw back was, once linked and charging the F.T.L. drives, the Goliath would be unable to power its weapons systems leaving it vulnerable. Their only defense would be the “Golden Arrows” and the “Wild Cards”. The 35 of 80 Vipers from the Argo that made it to the station after their Battlestar was destroyed.
Before commander Hawke would allow that he informed the wings leader about the weakness of the A.N.P. and told him that they needed to retro fit all Vipers before putting them to use. Captain Valeria of the Wild Cards told Hawke that they suspected it was due to a computer virus of some kind so they had been ordered by their Commander to use manual overrides during combat, that’s what had saved them during the attack at the Colonies, not soon enough to save their Battlestar though. And after most of their squadron was destroyed.
The Peregrine reappeared just a klick away from Valhalla and Dragon hit the retros hard. Then spun to let the mains slow them back to manuevering speed. Once they were back down to a safe speed, he began a normal approach, having to reverse course a bit since they flew past the station practically as they rentered normal space.
“We took some hits Dragon, but all systems seem to be on-line. “
Spook was going over the damage control board and assessing their situation,
“Were weapons dry as well , less than 5% on the guns and no missiles or intercepts, “
“Drones and chaff are gone too”
Spook added as well.
“the Goliath is docked lets get aboard.”
“So say we all!”
Both Witch and Spook shouted after his comment.
‘smart asses’ Dragon thought to himself and put them on approach, switching to lowest possible gain to contact Flight and let them know they wanted to land.
“Peregrine your clear to dock”
Was the answer from CIC.
“lords of Kobol be praised”
Spook said after hearing that.
Nudging the Peregrine forward one last time they entered the bay. Pads were deployed and they set down in the usual place. The mag lock was secured and the bay doors closed. Pressure retuned to the hanger pod and the ground crew ran out of the opening hatches, jack in the lead as always.
“more ordinance find a good home again I hope Sir?”
Jack was saying as the crew pulled their helmets off after climbing down out of the now shutdown Peregrine.
“most definitely. Give her a wash and wax would ya?”
Jack looked the ship over,
“frak Sir you took a few hits yourself, look at these,”
He pointed at a set of holes in the APC hatch in the belly of the ship. And a few others in the reactive armor plate. Dragon looked at them as well.
“not to worry Sir, I’ll get on them right away”
He shook his head sadly seeing such a new ship take such abuse, ’all in a good cause’ he thought.
Sever stayed and helped with the repairs, woman treated that ship like it was her newborn. She stripped her flight suit open and grabbed some tools right out of jacks box, and set to work with the crew. If she wasn’t such a good pilot he was sure she would have loved to be one of Militechs engineers. A family tradition as he remembered, her father was assigned to the ’Works’, a special development section out at “Xanadu” station. And her sister had been an electrician at Tarturas. They weren’t sure if either were still alive.
Giles and Masters went up to the squadron ready room to make out their after action reports and tell Colonel Greenlee about their success.
In a small room of the visitor section of Valhalla, Secretary Uri and several others were meeting.
“I say we take matters into our own hands, we are not going to just sit here and wait for the Cylons to attack,“
Uri was saying.
“there are several ships docked on the outer hull, some are empty, I say we take one of those and go to Borallis. It has all we need, food water, breathable air, and is well within jumping range of even smaller craft.”
“Secretary Uri you also know that theres most likely Cylons waiting there as well since that’s the one place near to our system that is habitable”
Miss Quinn answered to his ridiculous suggestion. She was there to record this for posterity sake. Even if she didn’t get a chance to broadcast it.
“ I certainly doubt that miss Quinn, the Cylons will have their hands full just trying to get through our fleet, this attack by them shall be put down in no time, I know our ships , but this unarmed station is too vulnerable, we need to evacuate until the ‘all clear’ is sent by the Fleet then all these civilian ships can return.”
Uri went on.
“but what if the rumors are true, that the colonies are gone, many from the ships that have arrived have said at least four if not all of the Colonies have been nuked,”
Another man in attendance spoke up.
“Utter felgercarb I assure you, the Cylons could no more get through the planetary defences than I could grow wings. My department has shipped the parts and components to the stations bases and satellites that keep our worlds safe. State of the art and strong enough to repel any attack. I think those mutterings are the result of exaggerated fears and some rare if not imagined strikes on the sufaces of one or perhaps two Colonies”
Many nodded and seemed swayed by the arguments of secretary Uri. Most wanted to believe him because to believe otherwise would mean that all they knew,, their friends and familys , their very lives and way of life, were gone forever. All excpet miss Quinn. She sighed and left the room quietly in the back as Secretary Uri went on about which ship was the most likely candidate for ‘liberation’ as he put it.
“theres that one between the two cutters, the one now abandoned because its crew are in quarintine in the med lab, poor souls, wont survie the night so I hear, but a ship in very fine shape such as that shouldn’t go to waste. I say we take the ‘Adorable Minx’ and jump to Borallis, who’s with me?”
He shouted at the end , a dozen people answering him in the affirmative.
The model 6 was standing on the command deck of the Basestar designated the task of destroying the Valhalla station. She had been monitoring the patrols reports which indicated a number of small craft still were arriving at the human outpost. It had been over two days since her brothers and sisters of the humanoid versions of the Cylon Alliance had passed and sent word of the total plan. She had watched and waited, and still no signal, and long range scan still showed the station intact. So neither of the back up plans had been engaged either. Patience was required she knew. But became more and more difficult. Being in human form was beginning to be a burden. These ‘feelings’ that crept in where only logic should exist. They were becoming a hindrance. She did not envy those of us that were deep cover units, living as humans with no knowledge of their true selves. Awaiting the stimulas or signal to awaken and move against the humans. One had forseen the possibility of huma! ns escaping the Great Assault and planned contingencys that required these sleepers. Nothing should have been left to chance. The planning had been meticulous, their infiltration thorough. Yet here she was awaiting to trap and destroy a suspected Colonial War ship. One that had eluded them and had been causing destruction in and around the Colonies.
She was pondering this and considering violating orders by moving in for the kill before the designated signal was received when sensors detected a small craft come out of jump.
“Attack craft detected, vector indicates intercept course”
The tall metal Centurion spoke. It was linked directly to the ships mainframe and knew what the ship knew instantly.
“vessel is scout class, configuration unknown, type unknown, 98% probable match to craft that attacked and damaged Basestar over Caprica during Primary Attack”
“that’s what been causing us all this trouble? A single over size fighter? Destroy it NOW!”
“By your command”
The Centurion answered. Barrage weapons fired and Raiders were launched. Other Centurions activated and locked into the ships mainframe, activating more weapons, and searching for other targets. They had calculated a 89% probability this was a diversion and other vessels would attack. Minimal resources were assigned the task of destroying the single scout so the others could deal with the probable attack yet to arrive.
The scout seemed determined to plunge itself into death as it headed directly at them, but then Six noticed the Raiders were having little luck in hitting the small craft. She rechecked her scan and found she was having trouble getting a positive lock.
“its jamming us, boost power to the combat sensors”
Multiple missiles were sent flying at them. The centurions reaction was instantaneous, the positive lock on the incoming fire mad eit possible to hit several of them but several more hit the Basestar near their mid-section. Six watched as the hull was penetrated, then the second salvo hit and cut even deeper. Frak, she thought using the human term. It was going for the mains, not the weapons or hangers. The small ship was evading even the Scimitar Raiders holding so close to the hull an open shot was impossible.
Its opening a hole so it can launch a nuke into us, it has to be. Her fears were confirmed when the sensors flashed that nukes were present outside the ship.
“Evasive , now, rotate the ship, get us moving , set course for Valhalla Cenrution immediately”
By then it was too late, the wild pilot had ducked under the very hull of their ship and came back around to launch a pair of the nuclear warheads right at the rent in the hull.
“Fire everything, Fire now!”
She realized too late this was no diversion, this was the main and only attack. One warhead was obliterated as it was launched, the other kept coming, then hit the deep interior of the mid-section. The last of the Raiders were now separated just off the hull when the nuclear blast hit the mains, the ship parted in two.
Whole sections burning, the Raiders cores wiped clean by the EMP. She and some of the Centurions blanked out for a minute, when she recovered she made her way to a shuttle and launched and headed for the next Basestar. She would carry out her mission immediately. The small ‘Raptor’ size Cylon craft had limited F.T.L. capability and was slightly damaged, but she made the jump to the next closest Cylon Basestar. When she came out of jump and looked opon the carnage before her she could not believe it.
That Basetar as well had come under attack, and had several Scimitars free floating in space, her sensors told her that an EMP had just been detonated in the near vicinity. Her shuttles jump drive was now useless. She had no choice but to land aboard and see if this Basestar was undamaged enough to proceed to Valhalla. The model Six was allowed aboard and met with the model Five in charge of this unit.
“F.T.L. systems temporarily off-line, 50% of Raiders neutralized. Sub-light engines online and proceeding on course for the human station Valhalla, E.T.A. 3 standard hours.”
The Centurion on this command deck informed the two humanoids. Neither were pleased after they compared notes on the attack that had destroyed one of their Capital ships and disabled another. They realized it was the work of just the one scout vessel.
“it may have been operating out of Valhalla this whole time and not have been a line ship after all. Except for those distant incidents which are now attributed to the Galactica. “
Six shared her conclusions.
“that may be true, we shall inform number One and call in reinforcements just to be sure.”
“Centurion, send a signal to the main fleet, facilitate repairs and launch a patrol to attack Valhalla”
“By your Command”
The Centurion answered and its thoughts became action in reponse.
Chief Bishop and his techs were working frantically to link the energizers of the Goliath to the Valhalla’s power grid, the great rotating long barrel was now still and no artificial gravity was present, all had to work in the zero gravity. Every system that could be shut down on every vessel was, life support was even put at minimum and would also be put off-line for the jump itself. Commanders Hawke and Landis monitored the progress from the Goliaths CIC. Lt. Bowems commscan board lit up and he checked to see why. What he found was not good. Long range scan confirmed the closest Basestar destroyed and the next had a nuke go off in close proximity, but that ship was now moving on an intercept course.
“Sir, Basestar beta now headed right for us, I estimate 3 hours until its within weapons range.”
“very well, Flight whats our Vipers status?”
“20 of our own and 30 of the Wild Cards are in close support Sir,”
“Have them go to condition one and watch for incoming”
“yes Sir relaying now”
“you think they’ll launch a pre-strike? Before the Basestar arrives?”
Landis asked the youthful but cagey Battlecruiser Commander.
“that’s what I would do.”
Hawke answered. And he was right. Just seconds later Commscan picked up a wing of five Cylon Scimitars came out of jump within a hundred klicks of the station. It was all up to the Vipers. The Goliaths power was committed to power up the immense capacitors of the Valhallas jump engines, if they switched over to run the defence systems they would have to start the cycle all over again, and he knew thay didn’t have time for that.
Captain Sassinak ,Syren, lead her wing, 19 of her team in paired formation. And 30 of the Argo Surviving squadron ‘Wild Cards’ spread out around the station. All watching for the attack. They had to hold off what ever came until the station was ready for the jump. Once the recall signal was given all ships would land on whatever bay they could, each cutter had two and the goliath one. Five bays for 50 ships, they all were assigned ten to a bay if they could get to it. that’s when her panel flashed and five targets, the war book instantly identified them as hostile. Raiders, Scimitar class, on fast approach. What they didn’t expect was a phalanx of vipers waiting for them.
“jump them boys!”
Syren shouted and hit her turbo’s her wing doing the same. Mass of weapons fire sped past each other as the raiders detected the incoming threat and changed tactics from a simple seek and destroy a single large unmoving object with their nukes, to ship to ship and fighting for their own survival.
The Raiders split, one hoping to get into position to carry out the mission while the others provided cover. All it would been were a few seconds, the wing hatch was opened and the nukes armed. It sped passed a pair of Vipers some fire renting the upper wing, closing in on the target. that’s the last thing it ever saw as the Wild Cards came out from under the station, 20 Vipers all fired in unison at the single target shredding it to pieces. The other four had succeeded in destroying two of the ’Arrows’ but were sent into oblivion in return before they could send a signal or fire a nuke.
The Vipers returned to their posts outside the station and waited for the next attack. All thought that would not be long in coming. They were right. An hour later another attack wing this one larger, 20 raiders and this time expecting trouble as their previous attack had failed. Syren had her squadron mount the attack as before, splitting the raiders up and letting the Wild Cards take care of any that got through, some of the Argo’s Vipers would replace those of the Arrows that met their end. The ship to ship combat was intense and deadly, by the time the second wave was destroyed, five of the Arrows and ten of the Cards were gone.
Six more were badly damaged and had to return to the Goliath. Gamma wing of the Arrows was launched to replace them. As well as the last five of the Cards that were held in reserve.
With less than 15 minutes until the statons jump engines would be powered up, the worse thing that could happen did. The Basestar was picked up in real time scanners, closing fast. Its raiders well ahead.
“Commscan has the Basestar at 10 light minutes and only five raiders ahead of it,.”
Lt. Bowem reported to the anxious Commanders.
“how long until we can jump?”
“Chief Bishop says 15 minutes Sir.”
Said Greenlee who was standing at the plot table along with the Commanders and Captain Masters who didn’t have his ship the Peregrine ready yet. He had given it his best shot, there was little they could do now, but hope .
that’s when they were all surprised to see the griffin break out of position next to the station and do a hard burn in the direction of the approaching Basestar. Her energizers were so close to implosion they didn’t dare risk connecting her to Valhalla. Even damaged they had hoped she would get her own jump engines online and make the jump to Carillon on her own. Manned now only by the barest of crews in case she didn’t make it, still she had several hundred aboard.
“get the Griffin on comm”
“Griffin this is Valhalla, what are you doing?”
Hawke called to the C.O. of the Griffin , he wasn’t sure who that was right now, but he got an answer.
“buying you some time Sir, we voted and agree this is the only way you’ll make it, get them to a new home.
Get them safe Sir. “
A young woman was saying , all heard her as she went on knowing what was coming. They could see the engines of the Griffin get brighter as every ounce of energy was poured into the sublight engines. Making her a bulet headed right for the Cylons.
“Sir those engines wont handle that much power as their diverting”
Bowem said to the Commander as he watched the sensors pick up the intense build up.
“take our worlds back sir, promise me , you’ll take our worlds back, some day”
Commander Landis watched the screen as the Griffin rocketed toward the Basestar, he knew who that young officer was.
“Sir the Cylons see the Griffin they’re powering up weapons and taking evasive action.”
Bowem said watching the Grifins progress.
“we promise Lt. Kitana we promise, we shall take our worlds back no matter what it takes, we pormise”
Landis answered her. Many of the CIC were crying silent tears. Several large missiles were launched at the Griffin as they approached, many striking her deeply. They had not ralized the cutter was unarmed and had no intention of firing back, until it was too late. Then the Griffin fired the mains again, burning them out and impacted directly into the Basestar. The impact crushing the cutters bow and severing one of the lower Y extensions of the huge vessel. Then crushing into the second ’upper’ Y frame. Finally stopping them both.
“Sir we are at Saturation, ready to jump”
“recall all Vipers now!”
Hawke shouted, and comms sent the signal, every Viper was maing its way back to the assigned hangers when Captain Sassinak noticed a large yacht disengage from the hull of the station and thrust away outbound,
“what the Frak is that maniac doing?”
“what was that Syren I didn’t copy?”
Flight control officer Stiles asked over the comm as she approached the Goliaths bay.
“theres a ship launching its headed away from the station flight”
“confirmed Sir, one Lambda class yacht has launched”
“let it go we don’t have time to find out who it is”
Hawke said still looking at the display on the DRADIS console watching to see what the Cylons would do. Then the Griffins engines finally reached critical and the ship exploded. The Base star had drifted away somewhat so the damage was heavy,but not fatal, only the crew of the Griffin perished, but they had bought the time they needed.
“all Vipers aboard Sir”
Hawke commanded. All crossed their fingers and prayed to the Lords of Kobol. Then the jump engines of Valhalla were engaged, the power systems of all three ships dropped as they were poured into the stations grid one more time then the station flashed and disappeared.
The Cylons witnessed the escape but they were in a badly damaged Basestar. Unable to move, unable to send a message. Unable to even attack as their only surviving raiders were destroyed by the suicidal cutter when it exploded. The number Six and Five that stood on what was left of the command deck
Tried to remain calm,. Despite the obvious disaster they were still intact. And reinforcements would arrive shortly. Until then they would try to confirm that the station had in fact jumped. How they did not know, but it could not have gotten far. Historical records show that such stations needed immense sources of power to even attempt a jump,and with only two cutters they didn’t have the power to even make it out of the system, yes they would find Valhalla, and next time there would be no hesitation, no laying a trap, they would simply destroy it utterly.
“External scan shows a vessel leaving the area”
One of the Centurions was saying,
“quickly can we retrieve it?”
They would know where the station went.
“affirmative, secondary bays are operational, shuttles deployed”
Within minutes three shuttles had caught up to the slow ship and grappled it , dragging it back to the Basestar. They placed it in the hanger bay with machine efficiency of course. The Model Six thought.
“all we need do now is interrogate these humans and we’ll know where to go”
The number Five smiled and moved to watch as the captured ship was locked into place and an enviorment tube extended so the humans could be extracted. Then he noticed the ship itself, a Lambda class personal excursion vessel, vessel designation “Adorable Minx”
The number Five shouted, then ceased to exist. The nuclear warhead hidden within the cargo hold detonated as scheduled. Taking the Cylon Basestar already heavily damaged from the collision with the Griffin with it instead of Valhalla.
Secretary Uri was determined to make it to the yacht Adorable Minx, he knew that it was stil doecked on the upper spine. He along with about a dozen others he had talkied into escaping and making a try for the Borallis Sector were moving along the deep corridors of Valhalla station. Being the Secretary of Transportation allowed him access to even locked out hatches and sections his code card opened doors and his I.D. got them passed several areas that were suppose to be shut down.
Finally they were in the upper access corridor. They passed the immense hatchway that would extend into the airlock connected to the Chymera and onto the split hallways of the smaller docking ports. Finallt they found the right berth. The display panel next to the airlock showed what vessel was docked where. Some had personal lock out codes as the property of people already aboard the station. But since the crew of the Minx were officially listed as ‘detained for reasons of station security’ their shp was forfeit, and his status as a political cabinet secretary would allow him to claim the vessel. He put his code card in the slot at the display, entered his access code an the panel lit green. And the airlock opened. All twelve of his companions and he entered and shut the hatch behind them, then entered the ship the same way.
Once aboard he and two of the people he had selected, qualified pilots, headed for the cockpit control room while the others found seats in the passenger compartment. Looking out the view port they saw as several Vipers sped past and then a flash as a Cylon Raider blew apart.
“see were getting out of here not a moment too soon. These hot heads will get us all killed”
Uri was saying still trying to convince himself as well as the others, but they followed his lead anyway.
“detach and move us away from the station Dan’l , I’ll see if I can get the F.T.L. running.”
Uri told his pilot and tried to start up the jump computers, he punched in what should have been his secretarial override code for all Civilian vessels, but instead of coming up, the main drive systems shut down.
“were losing power Sir, the engines have gone dead, we have thrusters only,”
Dan’l was telling his boss.
“What the Frak, well get them working!”
“I’m trying sir”
Unpowered they coasted further and further away from the station, unable to do more than alter trajectory and stay out of the way of the Vipers as they made their Combat landings aboard the cutters.
Son they were well away and unable to return still fighting against the Cylon lock out codes they had installed during their time aboard. All but the most basic of thrusters remained of-line. Then they looked back as they fnally pointed the nose of the ship back toward the station,and in a bright flash it was gone. Both men and those in the small craft with a view oout the portholes saw the station vanish and leave them, and beyond where the station formally was, a Cylon Basestar now sat menacingly with nothing between them and it.
“Get us out of here for Kobols sake”
Uri was screaming, but it was no use the engines would not come back on line. The scanners were still operating in the cockpit and they showed three small craft approach, panic aboard as all knew that was the Cylons, they would be captured, probably tortured to tell them what had happened to Valhalla and where it went. None but perhaps Uri really knew, so they would be unable to tell them anything, but the cylons wouldn’t bel;ieve them and they would die a long terrible death. they looked around in amazement and confusion seeing that there was no escape now. They grew ever closer to the Basestar then a huge hatch opened in its side, they were dragged inside and places against one bulkhead. Something grabbed the ship and at the access hatch noises of entry could be heard. Many spoke silent prayers wishing they could find away to avoid the long and horrible fate that lay outside that hatch. In a way their prayers were answered.
The 500 megaton Nuclear warhead detonated. The Cylons would have no prize this day.
They emerged from the most gut wrenching jump Masters or anyone else for that matter had ever experienced . They were laying on the floor for who knows how long, shaken and dizzy, moans and the sounds of people lifting themselves up off the deck. He felt like he had just completed the Academy marathon, after being blown out an airlock. Maybe during, his head hurt too much to tell.
He looked around and saw most looked no better than him, but they all slowly, very slowly, returned to what might pass for normal.
Hawke was the first to say anything.
Bowem responded. He was alive at least, he didn’t feel like it but he was.
By now most were back on their feet and checking their instruments.
“um boss, “
Greenlee was saying .
“lets not do that again any time soon ok?”
“Sir we are in geostationary orbit above the Tylium mine ‘Horizon’ of Carillon”
Bowem said and all in the CIC cheered , clapped and began an impromtu celebration.
Lt. Stiles of flight though had to cut the celebration short.
Hawke had to yell for the crew to quiet down so he could hear the report
“Sir the kraken is reporting their energizers are going critical they have complete cooling system failure, the jump stress has overloaded their systems, “
“Frak cut them loose from the station, Now!”
“But Sir theres over 1500 people on board.”
“they know that and so do we, if that ship blows while docked it will take nearly 240,000 more with it now cut it loose!”
Hawke ordered and Landis just nodded in agreement. They could only hope the Kraken could get its energizers back under control before it was too late.
Stiles signaled the CNC of Valhalla and told them to blow the emergency bolts on the Krakens docking ring.
After Commander reinforced the order giving it directly to his CNC did they comply, the bolts blew and let the Kraken drift free, they tried to manuever away and got the secondary engines online, they began a slow climb away from Carillon. Several minutes passed , all watched anxiously. At first the reports that they sent sounded hopefull the emergency back ups were kicking in. temperatures started to drop in the reactors cores. Many sighed in relief. The Kraken regained control and did a full burn of the main engines to use up the building power and started a return arc back to orbit, when the whole of the ship flamed into a briliant orb. And was gone.
“comm report what happened?”
“unknown Sir, last report had her regaining control.”
A somber quiet now fell on the CIC of Goliath were just moments before there was unparalleled glee.
“have the Chymera detach, and get us unhooked from Valhalla as well. Prep shuttles and begin landing operations on Carillon, lets get that rock ready for a civilian population”
Hawke kept himself focused on the problems at hand, hoping the crew would do the same, they weren’t done yet.
“Yes Sir, Chief Hand is at the docking ring and he and Chief Bishop are working on disconnecting the power taps”
A month had now passed since the fall of the Colonies, there had been no sign of Cylon persuit and they had revived much of the mines and the support ‘city’ that once held the mining town and landing port once controlled by the Colonies. Now it was The Colony. One outpost of all humankind with the Valhalla station as its major source of food with its interior of forests and plantations that made up its inner wall of the barrel as it spun once again. The Chymera would serve as lifeboat and searcher for others of the Colonies, its mission the same. Search and Rescue, all protected by the one remaining battlecruiser Goliath.
Commander Hawke would continue to harass and attack the Cylons on their homeworlds and Commander Landis would make sure there were humans to return to them. Both determined to keep that promise to a lone and brave young leutanent who gave her life so others could one day , return home.
Commander Hawke and Landis met with a large contingent of the combined population on the surface of Carillon. Many of the officers and crew of both the Chymera and Goliath as well as people from the Colonies that had fled to Valhalla and now were being housed on the surface. They stood at a newly built memorial. A marker that bore the symbols of all the Colonies, it now stood as the tallest human made structure on the planet a monolith adorned with but a single name that represented everyone who lost their lives. That of lieutenant Mira Kitana. The acting Captain of the Griffin, none of them would be alive if not for her actions.
Commander hawke addressed them all his voice amplified for all to hear.
“ We have come a long way to a desolate place to make a new home. To remember all those that have fallen,
And to hope that one day we will return and take back what was ours. On this dark world that rests in the heart of a storm , we will seek a new dawn back where we belong. We have come to the end of our days and will rest here in the dark until that dawn. A dawn free of fear, a dawn free of oppression . A dawn that will allow us to see our sun, come up over our mountains, our oceans, our lakes and towns once again. This we swear by the lords of Kobol, this we swear on our lives. So say we all”
“SO SAY WE ALL!”
Was the resounding answer.