Word Count: 2,898
Warnings: What happened to Helo was left up in the air after Sharon left, though it's assumed he dies on Caprica. I take that assumption and follow through with this story, so this does NOT have a happy ending!
Summary: What happened to Helo after he was left with those survivors on Caprica? My thanks to Cryswimmer for her beta skills. I wouldn't have known of the mother/aunt fact!
Spoilers/Disclaimers: The first part of the 2003 Mini-Series.
Helo kept his eyes on the rising form of the Raptor as it rose above the still-expanding mushroom clouds. He shielded his eyes as the ship passed into the sun, finally disappearing.
“Go,” he whispered. When his eyes began to hurt, he blinked and looked back at the rest of the survivors left behind. Several were crying, while some were still in shock. A few were looking angrily at him, not only for being left behind, but also for shooting that crazy bastard who tried to climb on to the Raptor while it took off.
“So, what do we do now?” demanded somebody. Helo looked around, noticed all eyes on him and nodded slowly. First order of business: survival. He was a Colonial Officer, wasn’t he?
“We should head towards those mountains,” he began, nodding to the dark clouds in the distance. “You can bet that fallout will get to us if we don’t get a move on.” Several people nodded, eager to do something.
As a group they trudged on, sometimes walking, sometimes staggering. Helo was embarrassed to find that he was the one who slowed the group the most due to his wounded leg. Every so often, they tried to rest under cover of some foliage while Helo kept an eye out for any possible craft that might be in the air, hoping for something Colonial, but dreading anything that might be Cylon. He had no clue as to what was going on with the other colonies, not to mention the Colonial Fleet itself. He had to hope, though he silently wondered if it was a futile gesture.
As dusk fast approached, they’d finally made it to some high ground. Helo thought where they were was the best they could do, so he ordered everyone to get some rest. For most, it was easier said than done, considering that their whole world fell right from under them. Some lay huddled together; others began to silently cry, while a few actually did get some sleep. He did his best to comfort them, taking care of the wounded from the medkit he’d gotten from the Raptor, and handing out ration bars from his survival kit. It wouldn’t last, but he had to do his best for these people.
Once everyone had settled down, he found a rock at the edge of a cliff several feet away and gingerly sat down. He looked behind him, making sure no one else was looking, placed his pistol on his lap, and opened the survival kit. He extracted a small rectangular box, in which a small display lit up at the press of a switch. A small headphone came out of one side and he placed it in his ear. Several minutes passed as he played with the controls, changing the settings every so often.
“Mind if I join you?”
Helo’s head whipped back and his hand instantly gripped the handle of his blaster. A woman stood there and brought her hands up.
“Whoa! Hey, sorry! I just – couldn’t sleep…” she said.
Helo relaxed and loosened the grip on his weapon. Sheepishly, he motioned her to a patch on the ground. She sat down, pulled her legs up to her chest, and looked over at him with a wan smile.
“What, you thought I was a Cylon?”
Helo looked over and caught the tired twinkle in her eye, then gave a small chuckle.
“Not unless you have chrome plating and an oscillating red sensor,” he said with a grin of his own. He stopped suddenly as his hand went to his ear, his head tipping a little. After a few moments, he shook his head.
“Thought I had something there - ” he murmured. The woman leaned over and looked at the device curiously.
“Emergency wireless,” Helo replied to the unasked question.
“You mean, you can - ” she began, but Helo shook his head.
“It can only receive.” He glanced back at the rest of the group. “Didn’t want to give anyone any false hope. Just trying to find any news on what’s going on out there.”
Darkness finally descended and both sat there in silence. Every so often, something would streak across the black backdrop of the sky. Probably debris, thought Helo with sigh. Minutes would pass with only one or two shooting stars, but occasionally the sky would light up with them as they streaked into the atmosphere.
He looked back at the woman and something about her began to tug at his memory.
Her eyes still on the stars, she asked, “Do you think they’ll make it?”
It took him a moment to realize what she was referring to and it was then that something clicked in his mind: she was one of the people who’s child was allowed to leave the planet on the Raptor with Sharon. He didn’t even hesitate in answering:
“Sharon’s one of the best Raptor pilots I know. She may be a rookie, but she had the brains to get us past the Cylon fleet and land us here.” He nodded more to himself as he continued, “Believe me, if anyone can find a way back to the Galactica, she can.”
The woman gazed at him and even in the dark, she seemed to weigh his words. After a moment, she sighed.
“I had my nephew over for the weekend. My sister-in-law was shopping in Caprica City when the first bomb hit, and when they told me that my brother was ‘missing’ in the first wave of the attack - ” She paused to wipe her eyes with a sleeve. “I told Boxey that but…I think he could tell that I was just trying to shield him from the truth. Children just have a way of seeing right through you.”
Helo could only listen, not knowing what to say.
“But,” the woman continued, “I guess he has a better chance than we do.” It was made as a statement, not a question.
He looked away, saying nothing. Starvation, radiation poisoning, the list went on as to how they might die. Helo was just too well trained to give in, but also knew to say otherwise would insult the woman’s intelligence, so he kept his mouth shut.
The woman shook her head. “You know, this might sound bad, but now that I know my brother’s son is safe – now that I know he’s away from here, I honestly couldn’t care less what happens to me. Sounds selfish, but…” She shrugged.
Helo opened his mouth to reply but stopped as the earpiece began to give a steady tone. It stopped, started again, and then when it finished a voice began to speak.
“What is it?” the woman asked. Helo brought his hand up so he could listen to the message. When it finished, he frowned as it began again.
“It’s some kind of automated message, but I’m not sure what it means…something about ‘Case Orange’.
The woman’s face fell and she swallowed. “May I?” she asked as she extended her hand.
Helo looked at her but passed the wireless nonetheless. She pressed the headphone to one ear and closed her eyes as she listened:
“…This is an official Colonial government broadcast. All ministers and officials should now go to Case Orange, repeat…”
She opened her eyes and looked back at Helo. Saying nothing, she passed back the wireless back to him and he looked from it to her.
“What is it?” he asked, dreading the answer.
The woman didn’t immediately answer, but looked up again at the sky.
“My father,” she began, “was the Minister of Transportation. I had to take part in a couple of exercises that simulated what to do in the event of different kinds of emergencies.” She paused here and took a deep breath. “Case Orange…. essentially means that the President, the Vice President and a good portion of the Cabinet have been either wiped out or incapacitated,” she finished in a flat tone. “If anyone was left, they’d have to send in their ID code and – depending on where they were in the Line of Succession - become the next President of the Colonies.”
Helo felt something cold form in the pit of his stomach. The entire civilian government… the Fleet…all gone? Would Sharon even have anywhere to go? Their fuel status wasn’t that great to begin with, especially after the fuel leak. His hope had been for her to at least rendezvous with other Colonial units nearby. Now…
He shook his head. There was nothing he could do; it was now in the hands of the Lords of Kobol.
As if the Lords had done anything to prevent this massacre, he thought with a snort.
Someone coming up to him interrupted his dark thoughts. He twisted around, trying not to grit his teeth to the pain in his leg. A youth came up, trying to talk and catch his breath at the same time.
“There’s something…something you have to see, sir!” the young man panted, trying to keep his voice level so as not to wake the others.
“What is it?” Helo asked as he stood up. The young man simply shook his head.
“It’s easier if you see for yourself.”
Helo considered, then bent down to retrieve a specialized pair of binoculars. Before he stood up, he caught a look from his companion. She smiled sadly at him, and it shook him to see her so resigned that he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I’ll be back,” was all he said. She simply nodded once. He stood up and walked down a path with the young man. He walked for several meters until he was out of sight when he realized he’d never gotten the woman’s name.
“Karl and I first went out to – well, you know, go to the bathroom when we came across some trees that might have some fruit,” the young man was saying as they walked through a wooded area. “We were going to start picking some, when we heard something nearby. We looked down a hill and after we saw what we saw, well, Karl told me to get you and he stayed behind.”
Helo stopped at that. “You left your friend behind?”
The other man shrugged. “We didn’t know what to make of it so he stayed in case they started to make a beeline for the rest of us.”
The Colonial Officer sighed. “Show me.”
They walked for a few more meters more until they almost came to an edge of a cliff. The young man looked around nervously calling his friend’s name as quietly as possible.
“Karl was right here,” he said in a strained voice.
Helo looked around as well but couldn’t find any sign of the other’s friend, though it was hard to do so in the gathering darkness. He was about to suggest spreading out and covering more ground when voices echoed from the other side of the cliff. The young man instantly crouched down and lay on his belly, crawling to the edge. He motioned for the officer to do so as well and looked over the ledge. Helo took out the binoculars from a breast pocket, adjusted them to night vision mode, and peered through.
Sitting in a large clearing was what had to be some form of shuttlecraft, though it was a design that he couldn’t recognize as either military or civilian. It was all sharp curves and corners, which contrasted with the functionality of Colonial craft. Helo had a bad feeling about what he was seeing. Around the craft a dozen or so people were setting up some form of camp, with lights strung up here and there. It wasn’t until he zoomed in on several of the worker’s faces that he got the first biggest surprise of his life.
“What the hell…?” he whispered. He took off his binoculars, checked the settings, and looked through them again. Even with the night-vision setting, he still could not believe his eyes.
Every one of the workers down there had the exact same face.
The young man next to him grabbed his shoulder and pointed to a far corner of the camp. Helo looked over and a deep pit formed in his stomach. A newer model perhaps (especially after 40 years), with a definite look of lethality, but there was no denying the red sensor going back and forth.
Several could be seen patrolling the encampment. Helo’s head was swimming with what he’d seen. Human clones? Working with Cylons? An even worse thought came to mind: were the clones themselves Cylons?
“Who are they?” whispered the young man. Helo crawled back and stood.
“Let’s get out of here.”
They started back into the forest at a fast pace, but were stopped when the man tripped over something and fell on to a pile leaves. He pulled himself up quickly, looked down…and nearly screamed.
Lying face up, with a surprised expression on his face and a neat hole in his head was Karl.
The other man looked away and started to shake. He was no expert, but Helo could tell that it was recent. With his blaster in one hand, he grabbed the other by the shoulder to steer him away when a nearby shrubbery began to shake. Pushing the other to the ground, he crouched down and took aim. He didn’t know how well these newer Centurians shot, but he figured he’d get one chance.
The disturbance got louder. Helo’s finger tightened on the trigger…
…..and out came the most beautiful blonde he’d ever seen dressed in an equally stunning red dress. Helo nearly dropped the gun, though his jaw did drop. The woman, noticing the two of them, gave a radiant smile and walked over to them.
“I didn’t know any survived,” the blonde said in a sultry tone.
The other man, clearly confused, asked, “Are - are you with anyone else?”
The woman looked at him and her smile got even wider.
“Yes,” she said. “You could say that.”
From behind the bush, another figure emerged. Both men blinked as yet another blonde came into their midst…then another...then another.
Helo himself was having trouble holding on to his blaster when a fifth individual came through, and he got the second biggest surprise of his life.
“Sharon?” he whispered.
The woman looked at him, but he saw nothing of the rookie and friend that he had flown with in this one’s eyes. A sickening thought began to form in his mind, but didn’t have time to finish because the man next to him began to sputter and made a run for it. He didn’t get a meter away before something small and superfast streaked away from a nearby bush and hit the man in the back, propelling him forward and slamming him to the ground.
Instinct took over and Helo drew a bead on the area and fired back. Something sizzled from another brush and slammed into Helo’s chest throwing him backward and slamming him into a large tree.
He sagged down to the base, blood oozing from his mouth as well as his wound. Through pain-filled eyes, he saw two forms coming at him, both with the telltale red sensor. The blaster lay only a foot away, but, try as he might, his arm refused to move. Both Centurions came up to him, arms extended in his direction. They paused there for a moment and then parted, allowing the ‘women’ to walk through.
Helo stared up at the beautiful blonde visages in front of him. He could only watch as one of the women knelt down and studied him. Her head tilted slightly as her blue eyes took in his Colonial Uniform, then widened at the BSG-78 patch on his arm.
The blonde looked up and pointed to his patch. The quartet of blondes looked at Sharon, who also turned and, after a moment, slowly knelt down as well. Helo tried to say something, but was too terrified at what was staring back at him.
The blonde next to her caught the look in his eyes.
“He recognized you,” she said softly. ‘Sharon’ nodded, then looked down at his fleet patch and ran a single finger over it.
“Yes,” she murmured, but said nothing else. She then took a moment to look over Helo’s mortal wounds and shook her head. “Was he alone?”
“Only two others,” the blonde replied. “Both dead. We captured the main group just over that hill and await orders.”
Sharon stood up and sighed.
“Pity he won’t survive. We could have found out where they jumped to,” she said, her voice hardening. “Interrogate the others to see if this one told them anything. If not….kill them.”
The blonde inclined her head and spoke in an almost reverential tone:
“By your command.”
Several more Centurions appeared and followed the blondes up the hill. ‘Sharon’ looked down at Helo one last time, smiled, and then walked away, several more Centurians following her.
Helo shuddered and coughed. The idea still hard to believe even as he took in his last breath: the Centurians, the way those others acted towards that thing with Sharon’s face, what that one blonde said?
Sha – Sharon’s a Cy -?
Then it got very cold – then dark.
And Helo felt no more.