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When it rains it pours

By Sharpe

Word Count: 27,784
Date: 04/09/05
Series: One
Rating:K+
Category: Crossover
Pairing/Focus: K, O
Warnings:
Summary: BSG / Space above and Beyond crossover
Spoilers/Disclaimers: We all know who owns what. I just wrote this for the fun and figured it would be a nice crossover for these two shows.


part 1

USS Saratoga SCVN 2812

" transport arriving on bay 21." The shipboard pa announced as the isscv was lowered into the hangar. From the flight control room, commodore James Ross watched as a hatch opened on the outside of the military transport and just one officer met his XO. His XO motioned away. Ross nodded , mainly for himself and headed to the main conference room.

His staff was already in the main conference room. He gave them a curt nod " gentlemen." Then turned to the officer, an airforce major, who was carrying a briefcase. " Major Danton, I believe you have some information for us."

The major nodded and opened his briefcase. From it he withdrew a filefolder with a couple of disks. The first disk was put into the reader and activated. The first image was that of a starmap. Several positions lit up on the map.

" These are our outermost colony stations in the Delas sector. All of these stations have ceased their telemetry broadcasting as off 0635 Zulu on the 31st. Longrange telescopes and picket ships picked up the following images in the vicinity of three stations."

The image changed again to show a rather fuzzy outline of what could be described best as a bat and, a rather ugly bat at that. " We aren't sure as to whom or what they are, we do know one thing however. On each of the stations that were attacked those `bats' wiped out all life."

At that the Saratoga staff tensed. The Chigs were known to have taken prisoners....... and now here something new that hated man! Ross looked at the major. " Orders?" he then asked.

The majors reply was brief. " patrol the area, find out what's going on, and deal with it." He put the second disk on the table. " This second disk contains furter orders." With that he gathered up his stuff and left the room.

An eery quiet now filled the room. But soon the first question followed. " Why us?" This was lieutenant Bordgrave, the head of the communications departement. " Our force has been the only one in a first contact situation with the Chigs. The others weren't that.... lucky." If the failed peace talks could be called lucky.

Ross looked at major Danton, the temporary replacement of Ty Mcqueen. " Major Danton, assesment?" Danton studied the map. " Well for starters, select a few colonies to get an idea of what we're dealing with, establish a search pattern from there." He pushed a few buttons on the console in front of him to bring up the map of the sector they were currently in.

" And while we're on the way there, we're gonna be doing a lot of drilling. Contact drills, anything from peacefull to blast to bits scenarios. Oh and sir, what about the 58th?" Danton's question wasn't without merit. The 58th had temporarily lost its commanding officer and three members during the rescue and retrieval of some captured colonists. Even though they were his best unit, the 58th wouldn't be all that usefull right now.

" The two remaining Wildcards will participate in the drills. Keep them as a reserve." As there were no further questions, Ross dismissed the meeting.

Out in space, all the fighters on CAP were recalled while the Saratoga changed course for the Deltas sector.

The ships PA called West to major Dantons office somewhat later.

" At ease West." West stood easy. " At the current moment in time we're unable to start a search for your missing squadron mates. This is due to the fact that we've been given our orders. The Saratoga is pulling out for the Deltas sector. We've been assigned a search mission." Danton proceeded to fill him in while the ship moved away.

Some time later, Deltas sector

Captain Nathan West, acting co of the 58th studied the scanner display of his Hammerhead fighter as he and his wingman, lieutenant Cooper Hawkes flew their assigned patrol routes from the Saratoga. The two Wildcats had also been on the ground when a search party wearing MOPP gear, had gone through the remains of the Beta three station two days earlier. The devastation was enormous.

Though the devastation was to be expected, the corpses of the colonists truly showed what happened.

Two men and a woman were found in an area of relatively light damage. One of the men had clearly been shot, and it showed. His stumeck had been opened up the entire way. When the Marines, under the command of West, turned over the other bodys, they wished they hadn't. One of the less seasoned troops with them even puked.

Hawkes found something interesting though. Leading away from the grizzly find, were tracks. Tracks they followed for two hours, their heavy MOPP gear slowing them down, until they came to an empty clearing.

It looked like a trap, it smelled like a trap, and West believed it was a trap. He sent Hawkes and the Marine that had puked to circle the clearing. When they reported no movement nor anything else in the area, he sent in his men to check it out.

The only thing they found were the burn marks of the vessels thrusters.

Dead end street was the report filed by the landing party. Patrol duty was next on the schedual by the major.

After having passed all their selected targets, the command staff aboard the Saratoga was none the wiser. So the patrols continued and now West and Hawkes were out in space, looking for clues about whoever commited the massacre of the colony station.

" I miss them, West." Hawkes' voice sounded empty, detached. " I know, I do too." In his cockpit, West had to fight the tears from coming out. It wasn't that long ago they had lost nearly half their unit in battle with the Chigs.

A rescue attempt was en route as the Saratoga had been given her new orders.

A flashing light on his instrument panel then demanded his attention. The scanners were picking something up. An energy spike the computer couldn't identify. " Coop, are you getting this?" Hawkes looked down at his display unit. " yeah, weird energy spike, wanna investigate?"

There was a brief pause as West reconfigured his second radio and contacted the Saratoga. He got a direct line to Commodore Ross on the bridge. " King of Hearts for Sara. Have made contact. Are investigating." With that he switched back to his communication with Hawkes " I think we'd better." With that West turned his Hammerhead onto a new heading and accelerated Hawkes wasn't far behind him.

While on their course West studied his readout again. The signal was already fainting. " I've never seen anything like this before. The signal, it's already fainting. It's as if it was a portal of somesorts that has now closed."

Hawkes checked his systems out of experience. It was then that he cought a second signal, much shorter, and much closer to them! " Second signal, much closer!" Six blips then appeared.

Scimitar 273809 had only one assignement, check out the two new contacts that had appeared on the course that had lead to the human outpost.. If they were more humans, either follow them to their fleet, or destroy them. If they weren't human, report back to the basestar for further orders.

Equipped with their own jumpengines, it didn'take `809 and his five compatriots long to close with their intended targets.

" I make six bogeys closing in on us, fast." Hawkes' voice had a slight tone of urgency too it. West switched on his communications link to the Saratoga again " King of Hearts, six bogeys inbound."

`809 began scanning.

" We're being scanned. My SWR is going crazy!" West called out. That same moment, alarms began broadcasting their eery noise in both cockpits.

`809 and compatriots had quickly noticed they were dealing with humans. And there was only one order for the humans.

" inbound missiles! Evasive." The two Hammerheads began some crazy patterns `809 had never seen before. Even the disable command didn't work! Only then did 809 notice the shape of the human vehicles.

" Those are `bats'" West nodded mentally and switched back to the Saratoga link. " King of Hearts calling Sara. Fireball, I repeat, Fireball. " Fireball was the agreed code for unknown and hostile contact.

Aboard the Saratoga, commodore Ross rushed to his bridge when the pa system began calling battlestations.

" What's going on?" Commander Davenport, the officer on watch was literally glued to one of the radar displays. " Sir, as of two minutes the two Wildcats reported they were engaged with unknown force of hostiles. They send Fireball sir. Per your orders I put the ship on battlestations and have the ready 5 in the tubes preparing for launch."

" What about the 58th?" There was a pause as Davenport checked the display again. " Unknown, communications between them and us are jammed. Can't get a good radar picture either."

Ross swore " damned! Allright, launch the ready 5 and prep CSAR, I'll be damned to loose more men like this. Then see if you can raise them."

Thrusting his own judgement, West armed weapons. " Let's see what you're made of." He pushed forward on his throttle and selected two of his Shane missiles.

`809 had tracked the two human fighters as they had separated from the scimitar patrol. Now he watched as they came back again. His own electronic equipment then detected it, scanning waves coming from the humans. He ordered his patrol to scatter and `812 to jump back to base.

Then the five remaining `bats' regrouped and turned to face the two human fighters.

Two of the `bats' were blotted from the stars nearly instantly.

If `809 were human. He would have grimaced. The humans they were dealing with were anything like the colonials. They were far more agressive, as shown by their rapidly abillity to bring the fight down to a 2 on 2.

Just as the two humans were about engage what as left of the `bat' fighters, six more jumppoints opened up. Through them, came six more `bats'. Those sixs dove into what remained of the fight.

The tables were turned nearly instantly.

At Wests order, Hawkes began to disengage. As he did his best to get out of Dodge, he noticed he had four on his tail. He poured on the coals.

In the meantime, West found himself in big trouble as well. Not only did a check of his navigational equipment reveal that he was being forced away from the Saratoga, he still had four enemy fighters on his tail. He found himself in a planetary system, uncharted as of yet.

That's when he noticed two more contacts on his scanner, coming in fast.

" King of Hearts calling Sara, if you guys can hear me, send help." That same moment he got a hit on his port engine.

The hit wasn't fatal, and some quick damage control from West prevented even worse things from occuring. Then he checked his tail. Two of the `bats' had disappeared into the debris clouds he could see. Just behind that, were the two remaining `bats', engaged in a furious dogfight with the two newcomers. Suddenly a shadow loomed over the edge of the Hammerhead canopy.

A check of his radio revealed nothing but static. Then he noticed the blinking running light, switching on and off in a pattern.

" power.... down...... we ... willl..... board......" the last thing made him smile. " you're amongst friends."

In a different part of the sector, Cooper Hawkes was still in trouble. The four `bats' were clinging to his tail no matter what he tried.

He tried calling the Saratoga again " Jack of spades calling Saratoga, Jack of spades calling Saratoga." The only thing he got was static. They were jamming him. " Hold on Jack!" a voice suddenly cried out.

Cooper could only smile.

A bit later, on the Saratoga bridge, Cooper Hawkes was lead to commodore Ross. " Okay, what happened?"

"They came out of nowhere sir, they attacked without warning, we had no choice. We got separated. There was nothing I could do." Ross remained silent through Hawkes'entire story. "CSAR is out looking for him, if he's alive they'll find him." With that he dismissed hiom and ordered another conference call in fifteen minutes.

In the meantime, Captain Nathan West USMC, was laid up in a strange sickbay. Though only slightly wounded, the powers that be aboard this vessel had determined it to be safer that he be treated by a medical officer first.

" How are you feeling, young man?" The "doc" looked anything but a doc on a warship. West remained quiet for a bit. " Okay, I guess. Where am I?" The "doc"smiled briefly " Al in time young man, all in due time."

Due time turned out to be a few hours later. Command presence just screamed from him, that and his scarred face made West guess he was dealing with a veteran. He made an attempt to sit up as straight as possible. " at ease Captain West." He remained upright as best as he could.

" incase you're wondering where you are, you're aboard the battlestar Galactica. We recovered your ship after you ran into that Cylon patrol." Cylons, so that's who they were. West looked a little stunned "Cylons, I've never heard of them before." The veteran nodded. " I can understand, despite our best efforts, the Cylons continue to pursue us ever since we fled the Colonies."

Adama found the young captain looking back at him, not understanding. "Fled the colonies..."

" Commander Adama to CIC." The announcement startled West and the veteran at the same time. While getting up the veteran said " We'll talk later."

Commander William Adama, skipper of the last remaining battlestar entered CIC to find his xo, colonel Paul Tigh and his CAG, captain Adama, centered around one of the com consoles.

" Status report."

Lee was still staring at the console rather intently. " one of the frequencies in that captain West `s ship, there is something being broadcast on it." William motioned for the duty tech to turn up the volume so they could all hear. The noise filled the room.

"Whitewash lead to control, commencing search of Alpha sector. No sign of enemy ." With that the transmission fizzled out.

" I guess someone's searching for their missing pilot." Tigh stated as Whitewash lead received orders to continue the search. Adama remained silent. " I think I'll be in sickbay for a bit more."

West was in the same position he had left him in. " Your friends are looking for you." West gave a brief smile. "They would, I don't have all that many left." The veteran grimaced a bit. " I how you feel. I lost most of my family and friends the day the Cylons nuked our worlds."

The veteran then began to tell his story.

Two word only registered with West, nuked and worlds. The rest of the story he forgot. Instead he had a question " How many worlds did those Colonies consist of..." he didn't know what to call the man sitting at his bedside. The veteran smiled briefly. " Commander Adama." He extended his right hand. " Captain Nathan West, USMC."

Adama was dumbstruck, not at the name, but at the reference. " USMC, mind explaining what that means? " Now it was West' turn to not comprehend. Everybody knew who the United States Marines were, even out here! Instead he found himself asking " What is it you don't understand, sir?"

" I think I know what MC stands but that US thing has me confused. Are you with any kind of private organization?" Adama noticed how the young officers eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. " US, stands for United States. The only nation on Earth to survive the cold war intact. " West noticed how focused the commander had become at his mention of Earth.

" Earth, it's nearby?"

" No it isnt. I was on patrol from a space carrier, the USS Saratoga. We were out here, looking for an answer why some of our colonies had stopped signaling." West then went on to describe the carrier he flew off. Adama sighed for a moment. At least Earth had a warship out here and they knew about the Cylons already. That in itsself was good news.

The news that the Cylons were out here and still looking for them and now the Earth carrier as well, was another matter entirely.

" What can you tell me about Earth?" the young captain stayed quiet for a moment. But then told Adama something that shocked him to his core. " We're at war, with some aliens we only know as Chiggs." West went on to describe how it had started and how everything had gone up to the moment he ended up in the Galacticas sickbay.

Adama looked down for a brief moment " Captain West, you are hereby under orders not to reveal this information until farther notice. Do you understand me?" Adama gave West The Look.

" I'm not under your chain of command sir, but I understand I must not reveal this information until farther notice." With the matter over, Adama left, but not before telling the doctor that once he cleared West, he was to be escorted to CIC.

As luck would have it, his son was still in CIC when he got there. He motioned for him to come over.

" Lee, prepare a patrol schedual. Look for anything out of the ordinary, how strange it may seem, i want to know about it. Understood?" Lee nodded and looked at his father's face. Something in sickbay had put his father on an edge. " Anything I should know about?"

William looked at his son. " In time, Lee, in time."

A surprised and worried Lee Adama left for pilot country. He had a lot of schedualing to do.

Part 2

" I keep on forgetting what's out here sometimes." The voice coming over the wireless sounded a little detached. Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace ignored the comment. " I know why I'm out here, Crash, do you?"

There was a moment of silence. " Yes sir."

Kara checked her instruments " We're now on the course that new fighter was travelling when Lee and I found her." Crash gave her a verbal confirmation. " Keep your eyes peeled Crash, there's a Cylon basestar out there somewhere, and it's looking for us."

She got another verbal confirmed.

The two Colonial vipers flew their assigned course. They saw the planets, they saw spatial phenomena. They didn't see the Cylons.

Coming up on their return leg, it happened.

" Frack! Cylons, eight of them. Full burn Crash, let's get the hell out of here." Starbuck was quick enough to activate her thrusters and get on an evasive vector. Crash, wasn't so lucky, the rapidly closing Cylons shot him down with ease.

Starbuck ran for all her worth.

On the edge of a new planetary system, she wandered into the trap. Another six Cylons appeared at her twelve o clock.

" Frack!, when it rains it pours." Kara remarked, not knowing her wireless was still open. Nearly instantly, she pitched the nose down and fired the vector thrusters. The Cylons didn't anticipate that maneuver, two of them falling to her accurate fire.

" two down, four to go." Bringing her fighter onto a new course, the first Cylon Scimitar to come across her nose got a brief burst before she noticed the others that had been pursueing her were about to join the party.

" Starbuck to Galactica, if you can hear this, the Cylons have herded me in here, their basestar must be in this system." The only reply was static, and the shaking of her viper. A hit, those toasters had gotten a hit!

Emergency and damage control systems started casting their eery whails through the cockpit.

But Starbuck wouldn't be Starbuck if her escape plan wasn't ready. She had already found the perfect planet.

The pursueing Cylons were surprised to see how the Colonial fighter dove into a planets atmosphere, glowing, starting to burn and finally, breaking up.

The lead Cylon Scimitar was in contact with its baseship and received orders to wait. Perhaps there would be a rescue attempt, an attempt that would lead to the last human fleet. Initiating the necessary course changes, the scimitars entered the atmosphere as well. Their backup arrived not much later.

Only two hours after that, the sole scimitar hiding in space sent a report about a single human craft approaching the planet. To its amazement, there were six more craft, escorting it. The scimitar sent a warning down to his brethren on the planet.

Aboard ISSCV 2309, Captain Steven Moore was pensive, it hadn't been that since he and his squadron, the Diamondbacks, had been aboard Saratoga. They hadn't even gotten a feel for the ship yet, and were now already out on their first mission. In one case he figured himself lucky. They had backup!

Across from Moore sat Lieutenant Hawkes from the 58th squadron, the most experienced unit aboard the Saratoga. Command had seen it fit to add him to this mission to provide some experienced hands for this mission.

The command pilot turned around and motioned for Moore, who nodded and came forward. " We're coming up on the area of the signal. No enemy on the ground." Moore nodded " Allright, find a spot nearby to set us down, and keep an eye out for trouble."

He couldn't quite place the feeling, but somehow, somewhere someone was watching him and his marines.

After disembarking and securing their area, Moore motioned for Hawkes to come to him. " Okay Hawkes, take Gennardi, Striker and Reeves with you. Circle around and close in on the source of the signal from the North. I'll take the rest of the men and come in from the south." Hawkes nodded and motioned for three of the six grunts to follow him.

Several hours later, Hawkes and his three marines found themselves on a ridge. Below them, was a crashsite.

The fighter was a tri-engined affair with what appeared to be a long nose and short, sleek wings. Between the wings two cannons were clearly visible. The same thing could be said for the deep furrough behind her.

" That's the oddest fighter I've ever seen." Laura Gennardi whispered. She would know, she was the Diamondbacks technical officer. The other Marines quietly agreed with her. In the meantime, Cooper used the time available for a look at the area around him.

Something didn't feel right here. He decided to take a look at the cockpit. Empty, no surprise there.

A check on the directionfinder revealed another moving signal to him. Checking the area again, he made the call. " move out, stay alert and watch your spacing."

The marines moved down to the wreck.

A carefull inspection by Gennardi revealed that the fighter would never fly again. Most of the eletronics had been fried, and the fuel tank was cracked and leaking. In the meantime, Reeves had spent sometime looking around the wreck. When he found what he was looking for, he called for Hawkes.

" Tracks sir!" Reeves followed the telltale signs until they disappeared into the brush up ahead.

" The signal leads in the same direction." Hawkes was about to motion for the others to follow him when he heard a sound, coming from their flank.

He would later remember it being a giant robot, but at that moment, the words failed him. Words continued to fail him as the robots arm made noise which allowed for something that looked like a gun to replace the right hand.

When it turned out to be a gun indeed, actions spoke louder then words. Hawkes, Gennardi and Reeves hit the deck without further adue.

" Everybody okay?" Gennardi and Reeves gave affirmative answers. When Striker didn't answer, Hawkes detailed Gennardi to check out what was going on.

She went to work carefully. Despite the fact the fighter was losing fuel, she used one of the wings to lower herself to the ground. Removing her jungle hat, she started to peek around. Striker was down. No movement. She reported as much to Hawkes.

" Shiiiiiittttt!" the cry came suddenly.

Hawkes and Reeves could only guess what happened. " Gennardi, report!" an audible gulp came over the radio, followed by the sound of someone throwing up. From their distant position the two Marines could see how their female counterpart suddenly got up and disappeared behind the engine block of the crashed fighter.

There was a brief moment of silence before they heard an M590 being discharged on full auto and a shrieking Laura Gennardi. By then Reeves was running towards the wreck as well. " Damned!" Hawkes got up and followed.

As he got to the engines of the fighter, the lieutenant briefly paused. The riflefire had stopped. Peaking from his cover Hawkes now noticed there were two robots.

One of them had, or so it seemed just killed Gennardi. The other was holding the limp form of Reeves. Hawkes winced and when the robot holding Reeves suddenly looked in his direction he decided to make for the jungle.

Several shots were fired in his direction. But they all missed.

Hawkes ran for all his worth. He didn't stop running until he lost the sound of clanking metal feet in his ears. He decided to rest for a moment and try his radio, to see if he could raise captain Moore, or the ISSVC. The only thing he got was white noise.

Then there was a beep. The DF still worked. Something was moving in his direction.

Kara had heard the gunfire coming from the direction where she had abandoned her ship. A rescue attempt in two hours time. A new record, not even Tigh was that fast. And since gunfire meant human rescuers, she muttered an " oh frack" and turned around to head back as fast as she could.

Cooper Hawkes had had five minutes to himself when he heard the clanging of metal on wood again. Without waiting, he started running again.

Not a few hundred yards later, he ran smack into something. Or rather somebody, he heard the " oof"when he landed. " Frack!" Starbuck reached for her gun while getting up and found herself staring at a man, carrying a fracking big rifle.

" Who the frack are you?" she pointed her pistol at him.

" Who the frack are you?" he repeated.

Before being able to answer each other, the clanking of metal feet filled the air between the two humans.

" Let's get outa here!" Starbuck said as she realised who they could be dealing with. Without saying a word more, the two took off.

Cemturion unit 380547 and three of his companions were walking in the right direction. The hunter centurions had easily dispatched the three humans at the site of the colonial wreck. Somehow, 47412 reported having shot at a fourth, but missed him. Now were using what humans would loosely call a `people sniffer'

Odd, there were now two humans, rapidly moving away from them. Signalling electronically, `547 ordered pursuit.

" Over there." A bit earlier, Hawkes had noticed a hill in their course. Despite not being talkative around women, he managed to make it clear he wanted her to come with him to the hill. " Perhaps we'll have a chance on high ground."

Just before they climbed the hill, Kara motioned for Hawkes to stop. She extended her hand to him " Me Kara, you?"

Hawkes managed to hide being dumbstruck. " Sheesh, they'll never believe this aboard the Sara."

" Did you say Sara, as in Saratoga?"

" What do you know about the Saratoga?" again the odd rifle was pointed at her. "you're not with them, are you?"

" frack no, I'm trying my best to get the hell away from them." Hawkes breathed out. " that makes two of us. Now let's get the hell up that thing."

The two set off on the climb.

The three centurians weren't tired at all. Finding the two humans on top of the hill, gave their mission more purpose. `547 directed its two companions to circle the hill and look for alternative ways up.

The direct route he took himself.

Considering that he might need to look for people on the planet, Hawkes'rifle had been equipped with a scanner. Now it was put to good use. Rolling over, he put himself near the woman.

He then looked at the scanner again, turned to his companion and nodded. They began pushing.

The first inclination `547 had of trouble was when he heard something rolling towards him. Looking up, he was just in time to see the boulder heading straight for him.

Kara and Hawkes gave eachother a high five. "One down, two to go." That same moment there was movement behind them. They looked back just in time to see both of the remaining centurions come directly at them.

Out of instict, Hawkes rolled to the left and grabbed his rifle. He fired a burst and hit his target, but then found himself out of ammo.

Out of nowhere, came a humongous bang. To his own surprise Hawkes found the robot about to hit the dirt. There was a humongous hole in its rightside panel. Turning to the left, he found the cause of the hole.

The woman! She held a huge pistol in one hand. Her other was at a device at her side.

" One left." The remaining robot fired. Hawkes watched as the rounds hit the woman. This time however his rifle was reloaded. He fired to knock out the weapon the robot carried. He managed to do it, but ran out of ammo in the proces.

The only thing that remained now was his knife. Pulling it, he watched as the robot approached and lifted his gun arm. Automatically, the gun pulled back. In its place appeared the same crowlegs they walked on.

Starbuck felt a lot worse then she looked. Strangely enough however, she was still alive. With hazy eyes, she watched as the remaining centurion reached her companion.

Just out of reach was her gun. If only........

With his knife at the ready, Cooper Hawkes looked at the robot standing before him. With a knife, how you gonna explain that to the boys aboard.

He took one step back as his opponent tried to grab hold.

Through hazy eyes, Kara aimed. Just a bit farther..... just a bit farther.......

NOW! She pulled the trigger.

It was later estimated that Cooper Hawkes attempt to hit the ground had been the fastest since his basic training.

Anyway, Kara hit the remaining Cylon in the head, deactivating it instantly. Strugglin rather than walking, he reached his companion.

" You okay?"

Gently, Kara removed her hand. As if the god or the Lords of Kobol had anything to do with it, the static on Hawkes radio cleared.

" Diamondmerchant calling Jack of Spades, come in Jack of Spades." Hawkes looked at the woman again. She nodded and he picked up his emergency radio " Jack of Spades for Diamond merchant. Requesting pickup. I have Whiskey India Alfa here, sir."

" You hold on tight, 58th, we'll be right there."

45 minutes later, Hawkes had bandaged Kara as best as he could. Making sure she was as comfortable as possible, he tensed briefly when he heard a sound.

The sound was their pickup coming in, escorted by a squadron of Hammerheads.

Upon arrival, the survivour and the Marine were immediatly put in sickbay, were they received an unexpectant visit from Commodore Ross.

" Allright what happened down there?" There was a brief pause as Hawkes was contemplating an answer.

The only thing he managed to say " We got our butts kicked sir!" Then he went into detail of how he and others reached the wreck, what happened there and how he and the woman in the bed next to his ended up on the hill.

" you did good lieutenant, now how about, miss"

" Thrace, Kara, callsign Starbuck." Ross looked at her. " Well then Miss Starbuck, welcome aboard the Saratoga." Starbuck took his hand and shook it. " Thank you, sir." Then the commodore really got down to business.

" Now then, lieutenant Hawkes report mentions you know something about our ship. Why is that?" Starbuck looked at him and started a week smile. " We rescued your missing pilot, a captain Nathan West." By then, doctor Kruger was her bedside, ordering his CO to leave.

" She need rest sir, once she's fit for duty again, she'll be all yours."

In that matter a week passed. And exactly seven days after coming aboard, Starbuck found herself in Ross'office. He was as cordial as ever. " have a seat miss Starbuck."

" mind telling me how you got out here on that fighter? It's too small to have any kind of interstellar propulsion devices." By then Starbuck was wondering what she should tell him. " I don't know where to start sir."

Ross smiled. " How about the beginning?"

To his own surprise, Starbuck made a very serious face. " The beginning? Allright, you'll get the beginning."

Several hours later, a deeply disturbed Ross appeared on his bridge.

" communications, begin scanning the frequencys we found in miss Starbucks radio." He then turned to his gunnery officer " Commander Taggert, check out all weapon systems. If there's trouble with anything, I want it fixed five minutes ago."

"Prifly, have all fighters prepped for immediate launch. Ops, take us to condition two, pilots to cockpit readyness!"

The ships PA was already blaring its own orders across the entire ship as the Saratoga went to an alert level one step beneath red. She also increased speed.

Part 3

" Alert, all hands to battlestations. Set condition one throughout the ship" The PA system aboard the Galactica repeated its eery call two more times before calling on Adama to come to the CIC.

" Status report!" he had to raise his voice to get above the din. Tigh came forward. " per your order we deployed Early warning probes on the vector Starbuck disappeared on. As of five minutes ago, they picked up this."

He pointed at both the threat board and the DRADIS screens.

" Two Cylon basestars on approach and attack vector."

" Allright, plot a jump for the fleet and prepare the Galactica for long range engagement. We'll delay them until the civilians are away." The usual basic strategy they always followed.

" What the Frack?" Dualla's exclamation brought the two command officers over to her console. " Oh boy are we in for it now."

The two basestars appeared at somewhat of a distance from the Galactica. " We're fracked good. They can track our vector from that distance." Adama studied the dradis in quiet concentration.

" turm the fleet around. The Galactica `ll cover the civilian ships until they can get away."

" they're launching fighters." Dualla chimed in. But the commander didn't hear her. " Bring us to a blocking position. Standby weapons grid." The Galactica reoriented herself and prepared to face the onslaught of Cylon Scimitars.

The Vipers were launched. Lee lead them. " Don't stray to far off. We need each and everyone of you after this battle."

Somehow, it sounded hollow to him. " Here they come, and remember, protect your leader as best as you can!"

With that said, he opened fire, soon followed by the rest of the remaining pilots.

One of the wildest dogfights of the entire human-Cylon war then erupted.

Despite the numbers engaging them, the colonials were holding their own, be it just barely.

Those Scimitars that didn't engage the vipers flew on. Their target , the Galactica, was also blocking the direct route to what remained of the human fleet. This obstacle would have to removed first.

The Scimitars dove in. Their first lines were shattered by the Galacticas batterys. The rest still dove in, eager, knowing the outcome of this battle would be just one. Defeat and death of the humans.

The Galactica shook as she took her first hit. A brief glance at the damage control panel showed nothing serious, yet. " See if we can't get some vipers over here." Adama remarked as the Galactica shook again.

Lee lead three vipers over to his baseship. Together with his wingmen he gave his all in preventing more damage being done. But it wasn't enough. Three more missiles impacted on the main hull. By then, the vipers were also being pushed away again.

" What the hell is that?" the voice of a pilot filled Lee's helmet. Lee was a notable exception to most of the pilots that he had grown up with some of his dad's war stories. In one of those stories he had told about......

" Boarding craft! Galactica, boarding craft underway. We can't get to it in time."

Adama calmly turned to his XO. " Standby to repel boarders."

Near one of the Galacticas armories, sergeant Hadrian found a surprise guest. " Captain West." West held up his hand. " What do you have for me Sergeant?" Hadrian handed him a Colonial carbine and sidearm with ammo to go.

" Take position at the end of the corridor. Find some good cover and make every round count." He nodded and moved out. The sound of gunfire was already echoing through the empty corridors.

For a brief moment there were a few cries from up ahead. Cries West had heard before. Then there was the pounding of metal on metal.

A quick peek revealed two robots coming down the corridor. A few moments later, they were just scrap metal. " Two down." Acting on instinct, he moved.

It wasn't a moment too soon. Massive weapons fire was aimed at his first position. Peeking out, he now spotted three Cylons. The first of which fell to the element of surprise. The second and third then began to fill the corridor with lead.

He returned fire without aiming, but the volume didn't let up. He found himself near an intersection, close to his point of departure. Out of curiosity he moved back to the armory. Quickly rummaging through what was left of it, he soon found what he was looking for.

The three Cylons that had been in pursuit of the human had only found empty corridors. As they neared the intersection the lead centurion spotted an object up ahead. An object with a blinking light.

That blinking light had a timer next to it. The lead centurion was in time to see how a countdown counted down. The explosion was felt through the entire ship. One of the things West had gotten from Sergeant Hadrian was a wireless set. He now put it to use. " West to CIC, sorry about that. I think I stopped them on this deck though."

" that's the first break we have." Tigh commented on the captain's report. Nobody noticed how Dualla suddenly tensed.

Out in space, Lee was pursueing yet another Scimitar. He knew he had them on his tail as well, but it didn't matter much to him. He just continued on, evading when he could, killing as he should.

" I wish Kara was here." He muttered, to noone in particular.

" Someone miss me?" A voice came over the airways.

There were six of them, and they were tearing into the Cylons on his tail with a vengeance. One of those six came in formation alongside him. " You miss me, Lee?"

" Starbuck?"

" Starbuck?" Dualla repeated to anstonished onlookers in CIC. Colonel Tigh was quick to ask for confirmation. Kara was as quick to respond.

William Adama wasn't listening to the wireless traffic. He had his eyes glued to the dradis display. It showed incoming, lots of incoming. But that wasn't all it showed.

" Ship to ship weapons standing by, sir." Ross smiled. " Commence fire, fire at will. Take `em down!"

The Saratoga climbed out from behind the Galactica, guns blazing.

" Sir, lieutenant Thrace reports the Galactica has boarders." Ross studied the screen briefly. " Deploy backup to them. Have lieutenant Thrace relay the message."

"Starbuck calling Galactica, hold on, help's on the way." Four ISSCV transports left the Saratoga and headed for the Galacticas landing bays. Security officers were on hand to meet them, fearing Cylons but this didn't turn out to be the case.

The four squads of Marines were quickly lead to the endangered zones.

Nathan West was still facing down three Cylon centurions. He had managed to keep them at bay already, but he was now begin to hope for some backup. He was also down to his last clip of pistol rounds, his carbine going empty earlier in the fight.

The last blast of Cylon fire knocked him flat on his back and made him let go of the pistol. It also stunned captain West.

Through dazed eyes he noticed the Centurion towering over him. Before slipping into unconsciousness, he thought he heard a voice.

The Marines of the 254th, the Junkyard Dogs, were in time to see how one of the contraptions, called a centurion, was bearing down on one of their own. The squad lader shouted a warning to their fellow Marine to stay down and then opened fire.

Instead of the conventional munition, the junkyard dogs carried AP shot in their rifles. Half a clip of the ammo was unloaded on the Centurion. What remained of it collapsed onto the floor.

While the Junkyard Dogs corpsman went to work on West, The rest of the Marines made a perimeter. Not much later, two colonial medics arrived.

" We'll take it from here. You guys just go ahead and clean house." Sergeant James Macready nodded. " You heard the doctor ladies, let's go and clean house!"

the Marines moved out. They had noticed the Galactica had already stopped shaking.

" The commodore must really be pulling out all the stops." One of the Marines remarked. He didn't know how right he was.

Out in space, the battle had already been decided in favor of the humans. The arrival of the Saratoga and her Hammerheads made that clear very quickly. Solo victories were quick to be replaced by doubles and in several ocassions, thriples.

With the fighter battle nearly wrapped up, it came down to the big ships. However, since the Galactica was damaged, the Saratoga went in alone.

" Steady as she goes, target those missiles with CWIS, close to torpedo range." There were two people staring intently at their screens. The first was the Saratogas commander. The second was his torpedo officer.

" countdown to launch. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,0. All starboard tubes, fire as she bears!"

In the Galactica CIC everyone was glued to the dradis monitor that showed the 18 torpedos homing in on their target.

" Helm, hard about, bring port launchers on line, fire when you get a lock." Again, 18 torpedoes left the much smaller space carrier.

Twice the dradis flared.

Once their basestars were destroyed, The remaining Scimitars lost their appetite for the fight and jumped.

Part 4

Nathan West woke up to see two smiling faces looking down at him. Faces he recognized. " Coop, what the hell are you doing here?"

Hawkes grinned " The old man wanted someone to check up on you, He heard you, ehm, had been busy." Now it was West'turn to grin. " Hey, they had a lot of visitors here, I had to help welcome them."

He turned to Starbuck. " showed them the way again, did ya?"

" Yeah, all that wireless traffic helped and besides, I don't want to lose my poker partners just yet." That remark caused a few wary glances from the other colonials in the med bay. Some others just shook their heads. Starbuck and games... nothing new under the sun.

Lee Adama had joined his father in his quarters to report on the status of the ships fighter wing. " All in all, we're down to fifteen usable fighters right now. Five managed to make emergency landings and can be repaired, but it'll take time."

His father nodded. " Time's a wasting. In the meantime, we'll have some guests to deal with. I take it Laura is inbound?"

Despite her condition, Laura Roslin was still the colonial president. In the last election she had even won hands down. Doctor Baltar had stood as her vice president. The opposition consisted of Tom Zarek.

In recent weeks however, Laura had started to wonder about her science advisor and vice president. In several cases it seemed as if he had been talking to himself. In one case he had his fly open as she came in.

She had already begun to confide more in Adama and had that confidence returned. She knocked. " Enter."

The two Adamas were together. Laura sent a quiet prayer of thanks to the Lords of Kobol for keeping them safe again. " I believe you requested my presence? And what's with those soldiers I see running around? They aren't colonial?"

William nodded. " You've seen the new ship too?" she nodded. Two very odd fighters had flown past Colonial one as she was about to dock with the Galactica.

" Something new from the Colonial arsenal?" Father and sons stayed silent for a minute.

" Somehow, I don't think so. We were just leaving for the bay. The Saratoga is sending a shuttle."

Earth thought one thing of their shuttles. The colonials something else. The hangar bay crew was rather surprised about the size of an isscv. The crew of the isscv, officers included, were astonished at the size of the battlestar.

Despite a battle being fougth not too long ago, the hangar bay seemed to be in a state of organized chaos Ross saw as he disembarked. At the call of " Hands present" only the assembled honour guard saluted Ross and his party.

He returned the salute.

With the honour guard dismissed, it was time for business. Ross found himself being approached by the two remaining members of the 58th.

" Commodore Ross, sir. Good to see you again." West stepping forward was good news for Ross. As a unit the 58th had been on some though missions, but in most cases all of them came together. Somehow he had gotten attached to them.

" Good to see you in one piece, captain West." He shook the young officers extended hand. West nodded. " I'm just glad the Sara got here when she did sir." One of the colonials stepped forward. Hawkes gave West a silent nod.

" Commodore, allow me to introduce Commander William Adama, skipper of the Battlestar Galactica. You'll never believe what he has to say, sir."

Ross looked to find a man uniform looking back at him. His face told the tale his mouth couldn't. Poked and grizzled. This guy had seen quite the amount of combat. All of a sudden Ross found reason to like Adama. He wasn't sure why though. Only time would tell that.

They adjourned to a conference room. As Adama and his party entered the room, the two people already in that room stood up.

" Commodore Ross, may I introduce you to our president. Ms Laura Roslin. Along with her assistent, Billy Keikeya." Ross and her shook hands "Madam president, an honor to meet you." She gave him a week smile. " I'm just glad we're still around to talk to each other. This is in no small part possible thanks to you and your people." Billy gave the commodore a polite handshake and began to sit down as Adama did the same.

The rest of the party soon followed.

Adama started " Prior to the Saratoga showing up in our latest battle with the Cylons, a fighter patrol under the command of Captain Adama rescued a strange fighter from destruction at the hands of a Cylon scimitar patrol." With the push of a few buttons the image of a Scimitar appeared on one of the conference room screens.

" Apparently, these `scimitars'as you call them are active in this general area of space. We were on assignement to check out the area and to see what could be done about them. They destroyed three of our colonies out here. On the lookout for them we ran into you."

One of the other officers in Ross party then started up " Sir, from studying battle records we surmised you have dealt with these `Cylons' before. Do you know who, or for that matter, what they are?"

The downcast glances from the colonials were telling. " We created the Cylons. We created them to make life easier for us, to those things that were dangerous for us to do. We even had them fighting our wars for us for a while."

" Then the day came the Cylons, that's what we called them then and still call them now, rose up and tried to kill their masters."

Adama paused there. " We still don't know what happened then. The only thing we do know is that they won't stop now until they've killed us all, and you along with it." The uneasy faces cast by the officers were surprising to the colonials

" There was one thing however that gives us hope, and continues to do so."

" And what might that be?" West asked.

" Earth."

Adama's comment caused a stir. A stir he quickly picked up on. "To our legends, Earth is the home of the thirteenth tribe." Adama went on to explain what else he knew of the legend of the thirteenth tribe.

" You're from Earth, aren't you?" Roslin had remained calm and benign during the entire event. Now she had uttered the only question she had on her mind since learning of the Saratoga and her crew.

" Yes mam, most of us aboard the Sara call Earth home. Although some people are already from colonies we've established."

" So how did you and your people end up here?" This came from Ross.

" During the first hours of the war we assembled a convoy. Under the protection of this ship we made our way out of the combat zone. By then, there was noone left. We've been running ever since, the Cylons continually on our tails."

"And now they're here." It was a fact.

" Command `s gonna freak when they hear of this." Major Danton commented.

" Why would that be?" Lee Adamas question seemed as valid as West question. Lee got more then he deserved. " Because we are at war. And now you people come along."

Something snapped in Ross. Danton's remarks had been uncalled for. " Major Danton, when we return to the Saratoga, you wil confine yourself to your quarters for a period of seventy two hours. Do you understand this?"

Danton jumped to attention " Yes sir!"

Under his breath, and hoping the colonials wouldn't hear " Goddamnit, and here I keep thinking the tanks were worse."

" Tanks, commodore?" Now it was time for Ross and his staff to look worried. The Tanks were so damn close in aspect to the Cylons, it might scare the Colonials into turning back.

" It seems we chose the Cylon path as well, commander, madam president. Only we were and are still not far enough on it to make the same mistake."

" Can you clarify."

Now Hawkes spoke up. " What he means is the Tanks were human lifeforms, created to fight, do the dirty and dangerous work the real humans wouldn't do."

" That's all there is too it, commander. And lieutenant Hawkes should know. He is a Tank."

This time, Doctor Baltar who had only been invited to listen in, responded " You mean he is such a lifeform?" The other colonials in the room rolled their eyes in disgust. Baltar had his dense moments.

" That he is doctor, and you're not getting your greedy little fingers on him!" Ross was in `final'mode. Nobody should mess with him in that mode. The scientist didn't even persist as Ross started to glare.

Adama took charge again of the meeting. " That is something for later. Major Danton, you said you were at war. With whom, and more importantly, why?"

Danton glanced at his boss. " We ran into a species we only know as the Chiggs. They attacked our new colonies without warning. One thing was strange though. They took prisoners they later returned to us as a sign of good faith. They even held peace talks aboard our ship. But something went wrong. There was an explosion and the peace talks collapsed."

Danton sighed. " Just prior to our offensive we were pulled off the line and ran into you."

" Where any kind of measures taken to keep any kind of dialogue going with the Chiggs?" Roslin seemed inordantly focused to Ross.

" We haven't yet tried. Though considering what we planned for them, operation Round Hammer should bring them back to the table." Danton remarked feeling rather sure of himself.

" I wondered who ended up on the bargaining table the last time it happened." Billy remarked.

"The Chigss aren't our problem yet. Our problem are the Cylons."Adama stated, ending the discussion. Before he was able to say more on the subject, Roslin cut in.

" Therefore, the Colonial survivours request asylum within Earth space." She went on to pick up the data pad containing the details and handed it to Ross.

" Very well, I'll start up the paperwork." With that the meeting was almost over. " Oh one other thing. I hope you don't mind me assigning these two officers to be our liaison with you?" Ross motioned at the two members of the 58th.

Adama smiled " None at all commodore, none at all."

Part 5

The paperwork did take some time, but fortunately with Earth in a state of war, things went quicker then expected. Despite some objections, which soon died out, the colonials received Beta three station to settle.

The UN, in one of its wiser decisions, granted the colonials a seat at the security council as well. At the behest of colonial president Roslin, the new settlers asked to handle things alone for a while.

The only difference being defense wise. The Saratoga was requested to act in support of the Galactica. The request was politely refused at first. The second time it was turned into a liaison squadron. The commander of this outfit, captain Nathan West. His XO, lieutenant Cooper Hawkes.

Adama met them as the two Marines disembarked from their ISSCV. " Good to see you again, Captain West." Both West and Hawkes saluted the colonial commander. The squadron naturally named the 58th again, was heavy on engineers. Playing a hunch, Commodore Ross had quitely `appropriated'the units and attached them to the 58th provisional engineers.

A `paper'designation Adama had been made aware of. Still, the Marines were a big help. Their equipment was sorely needed. " How long `til you're ready to go?"

" I figure on 3 days for our basecamp. Then we can start on the locations you selected." Hawkes nodded. " by that time we'll have the equipment down as well."

" Once we get the dig in motion, it won't be long when your people have a roof over their heads again."

Both Adama and Roslin were surprised to see a Marine basecamp up in 3 days, and mobile equipment rolling out that same afternoon.

While the engineers were digging the sanitation points, ditches and other assorted works that went along with a population of fiftythousand, the infantry were building. Six prefab shelters were finished before dinner time.

By that time, Adama was at the site again.

" We do have some people aboard who might be able to help. You look like you could need the manpower, captain."

West looked over the building site. Six shelters in six hours wasn't much. And language wasn't as big an obstacle as had originally been thought. Perhaps, " How sooner your people are off their ships, the quicker you can start reconstruction."

The following morning three shuttles landed outside the construction site.

The Marines and the volunteers had 30 shelters up by the end of the day. One week later, working round the clock, they had 200. The first people had already moved in then. At the end of the month, they had finished `shelter city'

With a finished `shelter city', resources became the next point at the agenda. Scans from the Galactica, Celestra and some of the other designated mining vessels had already shown some interesting deposits. Some of which were even quite close to the two camps.

This time, there was no shortage of manpower. Again the Marines cooperated with the Colonials in setting up mines. At their request, mining equipment was even brought in from Earth. This allowed the miners to work safely.

West was checking up on how his men and the Colonials were cooperating, he met Tom Zarek.

The young Marine captain found the old man staring over the plains as he pulled up in his transport.

" Quite a site isn't it."

Zarek had just stood there and watched the empty plain. " The plain itsself isn't anything what I'd call interesting. It's what's beyond the horizon that interested me." Zarek continued to look.

" Beyond the horizon. You know not long ago my horizon was a steel cage. Then one day Adama's son comes to me, asking for help in mining water." Zarek went on to tell the entire

story. " Be wary, captain. Things can sometimes not be what they seem to be. Even with us." The old man left, headed inside the main shaft. For some reason, the words hit home.

There was a makeshift spacedrome on Beta 3. Sharing with the Marines had felt weird to the colonial warriors but pretty soon they worked it out. The Marines learned about Triad, the Colonial warriors about poker, basket ball and other sports which were common place on Earth and its colonies.

One thing however remained a sight to behold. Every morning, as the Marines worked out as a group. And every morning, one woman would run past them, shout " morning Jarheads!" and dash off.

Four times she succeeded. The fifth time there was a pursuer. She increased her pace almost immediatly.

From a distance Cooper watched as the woman increased her pace. He did the same. They ran.

First it was a mile, then it became two, with three soon following. Hawkes realised the woman was a warrior and increased his pace again. Slowly, he started to gain on her.

Kara was a little worried now. One of the Marines was now behind her and closing in. The challenge had been met and maybe more. She wondered if was West, or that friend of his she had met aboard Saratoga. Her running would bring her close to the flightline.

Hawkes realised she was heading for the flightline. He had already decided on the shortcut and took it. When Kara looked back, there was nobody behind her anymore. She decreased her running pace and headed for the flightline.

To find her Vipers taxiway blocked by a powered up Marine Hammerhead!

There was a helmet in the cockpit. First that run and now this! Starbuck drew a line in the sand right then.

First she took time to shower and change into a clean uniform before putting on her flightsuit. Then she walked up to the Hammerhead and reached up to knock at the side of the cockpit canopy.

" Allright Marine, why the frack are you blocking my spot?"

The reply she got, was a bit more curteous. " Allright lieutenant, would you consider that a challenge for us `jarheads'?" For once, Cooper Hawkes had a mischievous grin on his face. Issueing the challenge to this `airdale' somehow felt very cool.

And from up in the Hammerhead cockpit, she did have a certain something to her.

Hawkes activated the engines and taxied to clear a path for Kara.

Both ships did a full burn take off and formed up over the spacedrome. " Do you wanna call it?" Starbuck asked.

" Fight's on!" Cooper kept a turn until he had made a half circle. He then lit burners and went vertical. He didn't know Colonial vipers had vernier thrusters.

But found out soon. " Nice view." Quick glances to both sides revealed nothing. That meant one thing " up here."

Hawkes cursed quietly, before showing his fighter had those thrusters as well. Kara could only watch as the Hammerhead litteraly did a step to the side and dived away from her. She flipped her Viper over and followed.

Back on the ground near the spacedrome, Nathan got back from his visit to the mines under construction. He found a small crowd assembling and looking skyward. As he followed their gaze, he saw why.

" Oh no!" West felt like burrying his head in his hands. From the description he had been given he knew Starbuck had been the troublemaker at PE. He had given Hawkes the order to deal with her. " Crap!"

A voice from the crowd demanded his attention.

One of the Galacticas greasemonkeys, a chief Tyrol if he recalled correctly, followed by an older man looking severely agitated, approached him.

" Did you order that, captain West?"

" No chief I didn't. I did order lieutenant Hawkes to deal with a situation concerning my men."

" Nice way of doing that, captain" this came from the older man.

West ignored the remark as he heard the sound of an engine cutting out, a Hammerhead engine!

The assembled crowd on the ground gasped collectively as the Marine fighter started to spin. She came out of it at ejection height, lighting afterburnes and making a lowlevel pass. West could only smile at his friends antics. Cooper was a good pilot, and this aerobatic flying proved it again.

The viper didn't spin. Instead, it lost altitude in control until it was some distance away from the drone. The nose pitched up.

" What the ....!" The cry from the crowd was the thing that allowed everyone to see the Colonial Viper passing overhead, nose pitched to true vertical, and doing a slow roll in the proces.

" Oh frack!" Tirol was astounded. He knew the Vipers were maneuverable, but not like this. Not in his wildest dreams could he imagine the stuff Starbuck just pulled. He continued to watch until the viper disappeared.

" Colonel Tigh, let me make one thing clear. If I should hear Lieutenant Thrace has landed in the Galactica brig I will complain about anything I can think of to your chain of command until it gets to the highest ears."

" I don't think that will be necessary." Another voice, this one female, cut in.

" I saw it, colonel, and if you lock Lieutenant Thrace up for giving our people some inspiration and hope you'll have another thing coming."

Tigh could only answer his president in one way " Yes mam, understood mam."

In the distance they could see a ISSCV landing. " Where you expecting someone? Ms Roslin?"

Laura Roslin gazed into the distance. " No I'm not . However, a mister Carter from Aerotech has been pressing my office for an appointement. Billy gave him one, just so we'd be rid of him." They watched Carter approach, suitcase in hand. Behind, unmistakingly, his secretary, and naturally, the security goon.

West made a quiet note to have someone keep an eye on the security goon. Something didn't feel right to all of this.

" Thats big business, just thinking they are important again." Tirol remarked, noticing the approaching suits.

" That's not the issue here. If we want to rebuild and recapture the colonies, we'll need the jobs and the techbase to build new equipment." Roslin pointed out.

" yes mam, but I'm just wondering about the price you'll pay." West `s remark made everyone look at him. " You and your people are still an independent society. If you allow capital to outgrow the society itsself, you'll soon find you're no better off then we currently are."

This gave Roslin pause. West continued. " We do have colonies now, and we've gone further then the moon and back. But at what cost? I know Aerotech hid something from every one, and that's now the reason we're at war."

A war that had cost him Kylen a now bitter Nathan West reflected. Now the Viper and the Hammerhead landed in as close formation as they dared. By the time they had come to a stop and popped their canopies, a cheering crowd of warriors, Marines and civilians rushed the two daredevil pilots.

Strangely enough, mr Carter, didn't smile. He used the brief interdiction by the crowd to say something to the two people behind him. He got two positive nods as an answer.

" Good afternoon captain West, nice weather isn't it?" Carter remarked as he headed towards the waiting Colonial president and her aide.

" Once we're finished here sir, every Marine `ll want to make his home here, sir."

" Keep up the good work, captain." Carter walked by and entered the spacedrome main building, escorted by Roslin and Billy.

" Well how was I?" Hawkes asked as he joined his commanding officer near his vehicle. " Great job Coop, and I have another one for you." West then told him what that other job was.

The negotiations lasted deep into the night. Briefed by West, Hawkes had already figured out that president Roslin was declining the requests made by the Aerotech representative. He grimaced. That guy would be in for a heck of a ride.

Looking through his nightvision gear, he noticed security goon stepping out of the building and lighting up. " Smoking `s bad for your health, esspecially at this range, mr goon." He said it out to himself.

Finishing his cigarette, security goon went back inside.

Hawkes now aimed his gear at the part of the conference room he could see. Roslin was easy to make out. He knew Billy was to the side of her, in a part he couldn't see. But that wasn't important, the colonial president, for some reason, was.

He noticed how she got up and stacked her papers.

The secretary came out first, looking around and failing in trying to hide his intentions. Hawkes didn't bother to concentrate on him. Instead he kept his eye on the exit. Moments later, Carter himself came out, brandishing the civilian version of the M 70 pistol.

Behind him, was Laura Roslin. Restraining her, was security goon.

Hawkes exhaled. He had heard Aerotech could be treacherous, but this took the cake, and the glazing along with it.

When they boarded the transport and lifted off, Hawkes found himself thanking his lucky starts for still being in flight gear. He made for his Hammerhead.

Powering up the systems, he took off in complete darkness.

The aerotech transport was easy to follow.

They didn't hide their intensions, making for the vector to Earth. Even the Galactica didn't stop the transport from leaving.

" Jack of spades calling Trailblazer base, come in trailblazer base." He waited and repeated until he got an answer

" Trailblazer base, shouldn't you be in the sack by now Hawkes?" The com techs question sounded reasonable. " Lets cut the bullshit, Raines, get me Six, asap!"

Raines began to patch him through. Fortunately, West was wideawake. " Nathan, they got her! Your code is High snatch."

Ten minutes later, the lights began going on in camp Trailblazer.

Twenty minutes after that, the call went out to the Galactica. The following morning, the colonial citizens on Delta 3 found troops in their streets again.

Part 5

The paperwork did take some time, but fortunately with Earth in a state of war, things went quicker then expected. Despite some objections, which soon died out, the colonials received Beta three station to settle.

The UN, in one of its wiser decisions, granted the colonials a seat at the security council as well. At the behest of colonial president Roslin, the new settlers asked to handle things alone for a while.

The only difference being defense wise. The Saratoga was requested to act in support of the Galactica. The request was politely refused at first. The second time it was turned into a liaison squadron. The commander of this outfit, captain Nathan West. His XO, lieutenant Cooper Hawkes.

Adama met them as the two Marines disembarked from their ISSCV. “ Good to see you again, Captain West.” Both West and Hawkes saluted the colonial commander. The squadron naturally named the 58th again, was heavy on engineers. Playing a hunch, Commodore Ross had quitely ‘appropriated’the units and attached them to the 58th provisional engineers.

A ‘paper’designation Adama had been made aware of. Still, the Marines were a big help. Their equipment was sorely needed. “ How long ‘til you’re ready to go?”

“ I figure on 3 days for our basecamp. Then we can start on the locations you selected.” Hawkes nodded. “ by that time we’ll have the equipment down as well.”

“ Once we get the dig in motion, it won’t be long when your people have a roof over their heads again.”

Both Adama and Roslin were surprised to see a Marine basecamp up in 3 days, and mobile equipment rolling out that same afternoon.

While the engineers were digging the sanitation points, ditches and other assorted works that went along with a population of fiftythousand, the infantry were building. Six prefab shelters were finished before dinner time.

By that time, Adama was at the site again.

“ We do have some people aboard who might be able to help. You look like you could need the manpower, captain.”

West looked over the building site. Six shelters in six hours wasn’t much. And language wasn’t as big an obstacle as had originally been thought. Perhaps, “ How sooner your people are off their ships, the quicker you can start reconstruction.”

The following morning three shuttles landed outside the construction site.

The Marines and the volunteers had 30 shelters up by the end of the day. One week later, working round the clock, they had 200. The first people had already moved in then. At the end of the month, they had finished ‘shelter city’

With a finished ‘shelter city’, resources became the next point at the agenda. Scans from the Galactica, Celestra and some of the other designated mining vessels had already shown some interesting deposits. Some of which were even quite close to the two camps.

This time, there was no shortage of manpower. Again the Marines cooperated with the Colonials in setting up mines. At their request, mining equipment was even brought in from Earth. This allowed the miners to work safely.

West was checking up on how his men and the Colonials were cooperating, he met Tom Zarek.

The young Marine captain found the old man staring over the plains as he pulled up in his transport.

“ Quite a site isn’t it.”

Zarek had just stood there and watched the empty plain. “ The plain itsself isn’t anything what I’d call interesting. It’s what’s beyond the horizon that interested me.” Zarek continued to look.

“ Beyond the horizon. You know not long ago my horizon was a steel cage. Then one day Adama’s son comes to me, asking for help in mining water.” Zarek went on to tell the entire

story. “ Be wary, captain. Things can sometimes not be what they seem to be. Even with us.” The old man left, headed inside the main shaft. For some reason, the words hit home.

There was a makeshift spacedrome on Beta 3. Sharing with the Marines had felt weird to the colonial warriors but pretty soon they worked it out. The Marines learned about Triad, the Colonial warriors about poker, basket ball and other sports which were common place on Earth and its colonies.

One thing however remained a sight to behold. Every morning, as the Marines worked out as a group. And every morning, one woman would run past them, shout “ morning Jarheads!” and dash off.

Four times she succeeded. The fifth time there was a pursuer. She increased her pace almost immediatly.

From a distance Cooper watched as the woman increased her pace. He did the same. They ran.

First it was a mile, then it became two, with three soon following. Hawkes realised the woman was a warrior and increased his pace again. Slowly, he started to gain on her.

Kara was a little worried now. One of the Marines was now behind her and closing in. The challenge had been met and maybe more. She wondered if was West, or that friend of his she had met aboard Saratoga. Her running would bring her close to the flightline.

Hawkes realised she was heading for the flightline. He had already decided on the shortcut and took it. When Kara looked back, there was nobody behind her anymore. She decreased her running pace and headed for the flightline.

To find her Vipers taxiway blocked by a powered up Marine Hammerhead!

There was a helmet in the cockpit. First that run and now this! Starbuck drew a line in the sand right then.

First she took time to shower and change into a clean uniform before putting on her flightsuit. Then she walked up to the Hammerhead and reached up to knock at the side of the cockpit canopy.

“ Allright Marine, why the frack are you blocking my spot?”

The reply she got, was a bit more curteous. “ Allright lieutenant, would you consider that a challenge for us ‘jarheads’?” For once, Cooper Hawkes had a mischievous grin on his face. Issueing the challenge to this ‘airdale’ somehow felt very cool.

And from up in the Hammerhead cockpit, she did have a certain something to her.

Hawkes activated the engines and taxied to clear a path for Kara.

Both ships did a full burn take off and formed up over the spacedrome. “ Do you wanna call it?” Starbuck asked.

“ Fight’s on!” Cooper kept a turn until he had made a half circle. He then lit burners and went vertical. He didn’t know Colonial vipers had vernier thrusters.

But found out soon. “ Nice view.” Quick glances to both sides revealed nothing. That meant one thing “ up here.”

Hawkes cursed quietly, before showing his fighter had those thrusters as well. Kara could only watch as the Hammerhead litteraly did a step to the side and dived away from her. She flipped her Viper over and followed.

Back on the ground near the spacedrome, Nathan got back from his visit to the mines under construction. He found a small crowd assembling and looking skyward. As he followed their gaze, he saw why.

“ Oh no!” West felt like burrying his head in his hands. From the description he had been given he knew Starbuck had been the troublemaker at PE. He had given Hawkes the order to deal with her. “ Crap!”

A voice from the crowd demanded his attention.

One of the Galacticas greasemonkeys, a chief Tyrol if he recalled correctly, followed by an older man looking severely agitated, approached him.

“ Did you order that, captain West?”

“ No chief I didn’t. I did order lieutenant Hawkes to deal with a situation concerning my men.”

“ Nice way of doing that, captain” this came from the older man.

West ignored the remark as he heard the sound of an engine cutting out, a Hammerhead engine!

The assembled crowd on the ground gasped collectively as the Marine fighter started to spin. She came out of it at ejection height, lighting afterburnes and making a lowlevel pass. West could only smile at his friends antics. Cooper was a good pilot, and this aerobatic flying proved it again.

The viper didn’t spin. Instead, it lost altitude in control until it was some distance away from the drone. The nose pitched up.

“ What the ....!” The cry from the crowd was the thing that allowed everyone to see the Colonial Viper passing overhead, nose pitched to true vertical, and doing a slow roll in the proces.

“ Oh frack!” Tirol was astounded. He knew the Vipers were maneuverable, but not like this. Not in his wildest dreams could he imagine the stuff Starbuck just pulled. He continued to watch until the viper disappeared.

“ Colonel Tigh, let me make one thing clear. If I should hear Lieutenant Thrace has landed in the Galactica brig I will complain about anything I can think of to your chain of command until it gets to the highest ears.”

“ I don’t think that will be necessary.” Another voice, this one female, cut in.

“ I saw it, colonel, and if you lock Lieutenant Thrace up for giving our people some inspiration and hope you’ll have another thing coming.”

Tigh could only answer his president in one way “ Yes mam, understood mam.”

In the distance they could see a ISSCV landing. “ Where you expecting someone? Ms Roslin?”

Laura Roslin gazed into the distance. “ No I’m not . However, a mister Carter from Aerotech has been pressing my office for an appointement. Billy gave him one, just so we’d be rid of him.” They watched Carter approach, suitcase in hand. Behind, unmistakingly, his secretary, and naturally, the security goon.

West made a quiet note to have someone keep an eye on the security goon. Something didn’t feel right to all of this.

“ Thats big business, just thinking they are important again.” Tirol remarked, noticing the approaching suits.

“ That’s not the issue here. If we want to rebuild and recapture the colonies, we’ll need the jobs and the techbase to build new equipment.” Roslin pointed out.

“ yes mam, but I’m just wondering about the price you’ll pay.” West ‘s remark made everyone look at him. “ You and your people are still an independent society. If you allow capital to outgrow the society itsself, you’ll soon find you’re no better off then we currently are.”

This gave Roslin pause. West continued. “ We do have colonies now, and we’ve gone further then the moon and back. But at what cost? I know Aerotech hid something from every one, and that’s now the reason we’re at war.”

A war that had cost him Kylen a now bitter Nathan West reflected. Now the Viper and the Hammerhead landed in as close formation as they dared. By the time they had come to a stop and popped their canopies, a cheering crowd of warriors, Marines and civilians rushed the two daredevil pilots.

Strangely enough, mr Carter, didn’t smile. He used the brief interdiction by the crowd to say something to the two people behind him. He got two positive nods as an answer.

“ Good afternoon captain West, nice weather isn’t it?” Carter remarked as he headed towards the waiting Colonial president and her aide.

“ Once we’re finished here sir, every Marine ‘ll want to make his home here, sir.”

“ Keep up the good work, captain.” Carter walked by and entered the spacedrome main building, escorted by Roslin and Billy.

“ Well how was I?” Hawkes asked as he joined his commanding officer near his vehicle. “ Great job Coop, and I have another one for you.” West then told him what that other job was.

The negotiations lasted deep into the night. Briefed by West, Hawkes had already figured out that president Roslin was declining the requests made by the Aerotech representative. He grimaced. That guy would be in for a heck of a ride.

Looking through his nightvision gear, he noticed security goon stepping out of the building and lighting up. “ Smoking ‘s bad for your health, esspecially at this range, mr goon.” He said it out to himself.

Finishing his cigarette, security goon went back inside.

Hawkes now aimed his gear at the part of the conference room he could see. Roslin was easy to make out. He knew Billy was to the side of her, in a part he couldn’t see. But that wasn’t important, the colonial president, for some reason, was.

He noticed how she got up and stacked her papers.

The secretary came out first, looking around and failing in trying to hide his intentions. Hawkes didn’t bother to concentrate on him. Instead he kept his eye on the exit. Moments later, Carter himself came out, brandishing the civilian version of the M 70 pistol.

Behind him, was Laura Roslin. Restraining her, was security goon.

Hawkes exhaled. He had heard Aerotech could be treacherous, but this took the cake, and the glazing along with it.

When they boarded the transport and lifted off, Hawkes found himself thanking his lucky starts for still being in flight gear. He made for his Hammerhead.

Powering up the systems, he took off in complete darkness.

The aerotech transport was easy to follow.

They didn’t hide their intensions, making for the vector to Earth. Even the Galactica didn’t stop the transport from leaving.

“ Jack of spades calling Trailblazer base, come in trailblazer base.” He waited and repeated until he got an answer

“ Trailblazer base, shouldn’t you be in the sack by now Hawkes?” The com techs question sounded reasonable. “ Lets cut the bullshit, Raines, get me Six, asap!”

Raines began to patch him through. Fortunately, West was wideawake. “ Nathan, they got her! Your code is High snatch.”

Ten minutes later, the lights began going on in camp Trailblazer.

Twenty minutes after that, the call went out to the Galactica. The following morning, the colonial citizens on Delta 3 found troops in their streets again.

Part 6

There had been people on the Colonies that would have told anybody that would listen that people who pissed off the Adamas were usually people who would end up on the short road to hell.

Colonel Tigh entered the office with a message printout. The commander had his back to the entrance, and was examining the starfield. " A message from the surface, sir." Tigh knew he had to tread carefully.

" On my desk, Tigh. And tell Captain Adama I want to see him." He never even budged or turned.

Lee came, alone.

" I take it you heard?" were the first words to come out of his fathers mouth since he himself had heard about Roslin.

The captain gulped. " I heard."

" Any ideas yet?"

" Too early, if we do it now...." Lee never got finish the sentence.

" that's not good enough! Talk to Kara, hell, talk to the Marines if you must! " The meaning behind it all was clear. I want her back!

Lee could relate. The president was strong figure, much like his father. He had found it hard to admit at first, but he liked her. And right then, Lee Adama began wondering how the Colonials were going to get their president back. Then the Galactica's PA system demanded his attention

" Inbound unknown contact, set condition one throughout the ship. All hands to battle stations." Lee broke into a run for the flightdeck.

As the younger Adama was heading to his fighter, the older Adama was entering CIC.

" Report!"

" Per your orders I set condition one as the unknown contact came into range." Gaeta reported from his position near the scanners. " Power to weapons grid. Ship to ship batteries lock on target."

Although the Galactica version of the battlestar was more a carrier then a battleship, she did have a few ship to ship cannons. These now swung into position.

CPO Dualla tensed. " We're being hailed sir, it's the Saratoga!"

" Talk about balls." Tigh commented from the map table.

Aboard the Saratoga, confusion rained. Nobody in the CIC understood why the colonial battlestar had begun targetting them.

" Any luck with our hails?" The com watch officer bit his lip.

" Yes sir, Galacticas skipper wishes to talk to you, audio only." Commodore Ross grabbed one of the handsets from overhead.

" Saratoga old man from Galactica actual. Talk to your boys on the ground, you'll find it interesting." Before Ross could say more, the line disappeared into static hiss.

" Communications, get me camp Trailblazer."

It was sometime later, and under escort by four of the Galacticas vipers, Another Saratoga ISSCV landed near camp Trailblazer.

Only one man came out.

" He's alone." Cooper Hawkes remarked as he observed his former skipper approaching.

" You know the drill." The radio crackled. Hawkes went forward.

After having saluted, Ross found himself face to face with a Wildcard. " Well lieutenant, care to explain what you and your compatriots have been up to?" The glare returned. " If you'll follow me sir, then we'll show you."

" I take it, captain West is in on this too?" Hawkes declined to answer and escorted the Commodore to Trailblazers main building.

West also got up and saluted as Ross was ushered in. The two sat down at a table where audio visual equipment had been set up.

" Okay Captain West, what's this all about?"

" Well sir, yesterday an aerotech representative arrived for talks with the colonial president. Those talks were held in the main building of the space drome. These images will show at first the talks and what happened after that."

West hit the play button.

Ross saw it for himself. The first images showed Laura Roslin and her assistent along with the Aerotech representative in a heated series of talks. Not much later, the image switched to someone clearly being a security guard, standing outside and smoking. The guard went inside about five minutes later.

Then the secretary came out. He looked around briefly to walk of relieved that there was nothing to be seen.

The security was next. Only this time he had his gun out. Soon thereafter, Ross identified the Aerotech representative, also with a gun in one hand, and manhandling the colonial president with the other.

The imagery concluded with the Aerotech transport heading off on a vector for earth.

West could see he had thrown Old Man into mental turmoil.

" I knew it, they knew!" Ross hit the table in anger. Now it was Wests turn to be surprised. He knew Old Man could get angry, but not like this. Ross suddenly gave West the most intense look ever. " What I'm about to tell you, can not leave this room. The only other man who will need to know about this, is commander Adama."

The commodore began filling in the young captain on what he knew.

When he finished, two things happened to with Nathan West. He felt astounded at first, knowing he was right. And at the same time, it vindicated him, knowing he was on the right track.

" So now what, the Colonials seem fit to be tied, they even targeted the Saratoga as we arrived."

" Can't say I blame them. The Chigs are nothing compared to the Cylons."

" First things first. We get the colonial leader back." To Wests surprise, Ross had a comdevice with him. He activated it.

" Old Man to Toga, Millertime, I say again, Millertime." The message was confirmed not much later.

Now West took out the Colonial wireless he had been hiding " Trailblazer six for Galactica actual, diamond. I repeat, diamond." That message was confirmed not much later as well.

Out in space over the planet, everyone aboard the Saratoga was relieved when they heard how the Galactica had stopped targetting them. That relief turned to anger once news of the abduction of the Colonial president reached them.

As Ross returned to his command, he found his entire staff waiting for him.

The only one to step forward was Major Danton.

" Sir, on behalf of the rest of the staff and crew, no matter how far you take this, we'll be behind you all the way." Danton then saluted and stepped back. Ross felt a moment of pride wash over him and took one step back so he could see them all.

Instead of saying anything, he gave them the straightest salute ever. They all returned it.

" Gentlemen, let's get to work. We have a lot of planning to do."

Down on the planet, a vehicle had been sent to the mining camp the Marines had helped set up. That vehicle stopped outside one of the camps entertainment centers. Out of it, and still in flight gear, came captain Lee Adama.

At ease on the outward, he was tense enough inside.

The miners noticed him as he entered, silencing the entire bar. Aware of his surroundings and their potential hostile demeanor, Lee walked over to the table where the old man had been writing on a pad.

Zarek didn't look up. " Captain Adama, what gives me the honour of your presence?"

Lee stayed polite "do you mind if I sit down?" Zarek motioned him to pull up a chair. The stares continued.

" Now that you're seated captain, perhaps you'd like a drink. Unless you're here on official business that is." Lee had noticed Zarek's eyes, studying, reading and plotting. The former `freedom fighter' had a pretty good idea why the commanders son had come to see him. He just needed to hear it himself to be sure.

That same moment, Lee said it "I've come to ask for your help."

" Does this have anything to do with......" He got a silent nod as answer.

" Very well, i'll talk to him." After Zarek announced he was leaving, everybody else assembled did so too. " You're already planning on getting her back, aren't you?" Zarek asked as he found himself alone with the young captain.

Lee nodded " The commander feels it to be our obligation towards the president to at least try."

" Strangely enough, our representative at the UN has been instructed to lodge a formal complaint on the matter. They've yet to get back to him." Zarek didn't hear it, but responded anyway. " Somehow I don't think they will."

The two drove to camp Trailblazer.

For once in his life, Tom Zarek was surprised. William Adama was waiting for him now. Along with the Marine commander, that captain West, or something like that. Also present

in the company of Adama, a young woman he knew to well. She was the one who had tried to kill him!

" Lieutenant Thrace, I see the commander still depends on your killer instincts."

Kara didn't bother responding. She looked away instead, ignoring him. William Adama however noticed something else " I would be a bit more respectfull of lieutenant Thrace if I were you."

" Why?"

" You both have something in common, the abillity to think outside of the box." This caused Kara to stare at her commander.

" You're kidding sir." As she looked closer, he saw he wasn't kidding, at all.

" And it's that abillity that we need here, right now." Adama continued. Ross had studied the proceedings with great interest. For some reason, he figured Zarek had been a trouble figure, on Colonial worlds as during their trek through space. He would be someone to watch.

" Gentlemen, and lady, time is a wasting. Shall we get this show on the road?" Ross found himself saying.

" Indeed." This came from Lieutenant Thrace.

" First up, how do you intend to get to Earth?" Ross intended to find out what he could about the colonials tech. He had a feeling he was about to find out more then he liked.

" From the looks of things, we only have one option." William Adama responded as he produced a starchart with data on Earths solar system.

Kara realised what her CO was thinking " The Galactica? Aren't you taking an awfull chance taking away our only means of defense from the planet?"

"I know it's a risk, but it's a risk we should take." It was then he dropped the bombshell. " And the risk would be nullified if the Saratoga stays here until we return." All eyes now centered upon Ross.

The commander had one thought on the matter. " If you stay to protect our world, commodore, you'll not risk your career or involvement in the matter."

Ross had an intense look of concentration on him. It was clear to see he was deep in thought on the matter. This took the word career ending move to new heights, and he wanted to be certain he was making the right decision.

" Who will you get to help you on Earth?" At that moment, two more people appeared in the room. " We will, sir."

" You, captain West?" Ross noticed the detachement commander now had a business suit on.the Old Man remembered hearing the rumours about how the young captain had faced down the Secretary-General of the UN. Did he suspect more and had he sided with the Colonials to find the answers to his questions, or was it out of anger over his girlfriend.

Ross'inner instinct would fail him on this occassion. However, there was still the other man, Hawkes, the in-vitro.

" What's your story on this Hawkes?"

The in-vitro's face never wavered. " Sir, these people threat me like a human being, much like you and the other Wildcards have done. I figure I owe them to help out."

" What about your men West?" Ross question was more then valid. West had 50 Marines under him, what would they do?

" All of us like the Colonials sir, we feel they've been shafted. And that they shafted us along with them. You don't shaft Marines! Sir."

" I see sergeant-major Bougus is still training up the devildogs."

West smiled. " He was the 58th DI , sir."

" With our help, they'll get her back." Hawkes added in.

Tom Zarek then spoke up " Someone mind telling me what I'm doing here?"

" Why you're the new colonial ambassador to Earth." Adama had yet another bombshell for him " and those two colonial officers are to be your own personal bodyguard."

Kara was about to protest, but a quick glare from William shut her up. Lee had a different view of the matter. " It would be an honour, mr ambassador."

Zarek gave a thin smile as lieutenant Thrace glared. " However captain, how do you feel if I request as backup some of my own men?" Now all of the Colonials present started to glare. Tom Zarek could drop bombs as big as William Adama could. And he had just done that.

Now commander Adama looked agitated. " No bloody hands, do you understand me?" Involuntarily Zarek gulped. The commander could be as ruthless as he had once been. He remembered the rumours he had heard about Adama back on the colonies.

Later that night, a few more vehicles drove up to the miner camp, bringing a few volunteers to camp Trailblazer.

The following morning, gunfire echoed through the camp for the first time.

It continued of and on for three days. On the third day, commander William Adama smiled for the first time since he heard president Roslin had been abducted.

Ross and West had been standing nearby and watched as the first signs of a smile appeared. " He thinks they're ready."

Ross gave a brief nod. " Yeah, I hope you two know what you're getting into. Can't say I blame Adama though. He hoped to get his people under the protection of Earth and instead Earth interferes with the colonials internal affairs."

" I wouldn't want to be his opponent anytime soon."

The two earth officers watched their respective transports come in.

Ross extended his hand. " Good luck, captain West. I hope we'll meet again under better circumstanses." West took the hand. " You will sir, you just have to keep the Cylons at bay untill we return."

" A challenge I look forward to, captain." West then came to attention and saluted. Despite knowing differently, Ross returned the salute.

West then went to board his transport.

Out in space, the Galactica lay waiting for her `cargo'. In CIC, Colonel Tigh was pacing the floor, waiting for the arrival of his commander.

It was a scene repeated in the flight pod. Lee adama, now in civilian attire, was partly wondering if his father had gone mad. The other part of him was wondering where the hell Kara Thrace had disappeared to.

Those thoughts were interupted by running feet and a voice " I'm sorry I'm late Lee!"

The younger Adama looked up to see his longtime friend arriving.

She was gorgeous. There was no other way to describe it. Even though Lee frowned at the choice of her shoes, combat boots of all things, he had to admit the grey pants and matching jacket looked like they fit her like a glove. Lee smiled.

Kara noticed that smile. " What?"

" It's nothing, I'm just trying to remember the last time I saw you out of uniform."

Kara punched him in the shoulder for that remark. " Besides, you don't look so bad yourself." Kara remarked, giving Lee a lookover. " Not so bad at all indeed."

Lee knew that look. " Now come on Starbuck, we're going on a mission. There's no time for that!" he began to step back. From a distance, Cally even snickered.

" Stand clear in the port pod, Raptor has docked." The pa then echoed. The two pilots quickly retreated to a pressurized area where they waited until the elevator was lowered to the deck. Lee muttered " Saved by a Raptor." As he and Kara headed for safety.

To his own son's surprise William Adama was still in uniform. He had fully expected to see his father in civilian attire. Behind him, Tom Zarek also disembarked. Zarek was wearing a suit. And it made him look the politician.

" You look nice, mr Zarek." Kara thrace was trying to be polite.

" Thank you ms Thrace. It's fitting to see you out of uniform for once." Zarek gave a politicians smile. Behind him, two more men also wearing suits came out of the Raptor.

Security was written all over them. They were in fact the two Marines, West and Hawkes. Commander Adama took charge.

" Gentlemen, if you'll follow me, then we'll prepare to get under way." William led the party to the CIC.

Colonel Tigh saluted as the party came in.

" Ship is set to condition three. All hands prepared for jump. We're ready to go on your signal, sir." Adama nodded.

" Mr Ambassador, would you like to give the signal?"

Zarek nodded. " Jump when ready."

Tigh looked at the ensign manning the jump clock and nodded. " 5 seconds to jump."

" 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Commence jump."

For a brief moment there was a flash. Then the mighty battlestar disappeared from the area of space she occupied.

Near the edge of the Earth solar system, a space monitoring station had been build. It's job, watch the approaches to Earth and give early warning of trouble coming. That station now picked up the same signal type on its LIDAR array as Cooper Hawkes had found not that long ago.

Ensign Thomas Merrywheater had his feet up and was closely examining the latest details of Miss May. At first he failed to catch the warning light coming on. However, this was soon rectified as the proximity alarm went off.

The ensign found something on his scope he would remember for a lifetime.

Three times longer then a Kennedy class carrier, though barely as high. Lazely it held position near the station and patiently waited.

It would have to wait more. Merrywheater's supervisor couldn't believe what he was seeing and contacted his own superiors. Those ordered him to establish contact with the strange vessel.

After a three hour investigation into the matter turned up the silhouette of the Galactica, she was allowed to pass through to the inner system.

On the way they were met by two squadrons of Hammerheads. These assumed escort formation. In CIC, everybody listened in on the pilots talking to each other.

" Look at the size of that thing!" One pilot exclaimed. His squadron leader ordered him to stay off the radio. Not much later they heard the other squadron leaders voice mutter. " That's no moon, that's a space station."

Adama and Tigh looked at each other. " Space station indeed. I'll bet it's one of those idiot movies that guy is quoting again. It's a battlestar, you idiot." Tigh had an urge to shout at the speaker but resisted it. Such conduct would be, unprofesional, not only in the eyes of his longtime friend Bill Adama, but in the eyes of the guests as well.

The commander kept his thoughts to himself. The Marines of camp Trailblazer hasd done more then just paved the way for colonial society. They introduced Earth culture to their hosts. In some cases it matched beyond belief. And for that matter, what Elosha had told him...... it just sounded to incredible to believe. He wasn't even sure the Marines commanding officer knew about it yet.

Several hours later, on sublight, the Galactica received orbit coordinates.

Then Adama had Dualla forward the next request.

The Galactica's commanding officer listened in on the answer. " BSG75 control, your request to use own transport within the atmosphere has been approved."

This was the go signal they had been waiting for.

Moments later, one Raptor, accompanied by a group of four vipers left for Earth.

The Vipers flew a pattern over the landing area first. Checking the area out, the lead pilot then informed the Raptor behind his flight that on the ground they were ready to receive the official party.

Adama gave the order " take us in, set her down at a safe distance from the reception area."

The Raptor entered the landing pattern, finally touching down at a safe enough distance from the official reception party.

No music was played. Nobody had bothered to ask if the Colonials had any kind of national anthem. Nor had the colonial survivours bothered to announce it to anybody. They had just come.

The UN secretary general watched with her optical implants as the delegation and its security disembarked from the strange shuttle. For a moment, Diane Hayden thought she recognized two of the security officers, but she dismissed the notion. She could see now what she couldn't see then.

Recognizing unknowns wasn't her business. Matters of state now were. She watched as a distinguished looking gentleman was helped up by his security. One more older man also climbed out. He was in uniform and somehow, there was something about him that screamed danger to her.

The uniform looked over the honour guard, smiling appreciatively. The older man ignored it for a brief while and seemed to be concentrating on her.

Then the whole party began walking in her direction.

At the end of the red carpet, she waited.

They took their time. In this case however it didn't matter. With her chief translator in tow, Diane Hayden walked up to the colonials and extended her hand.

" On behalf of the people of Earth, I'd like to welcome you to the planet, mr Zarek." Zarek took her hand and shook it while he looked around. " Thank you, madam Secretary. It's a pleasure to finally be here."

From across the field, hardened eyes watched through binoculars as the politicians and their respective partys withdrew into the airport building.

Part 7

It was a small conference room on the grounds of Kennedy airport. But big enough for the purpose of hosting the colonials. A table had been set with a few small snacks on it. On the far wall was the logo of a United Earth with the UN insignia beside it.

Adama had pulled back a bit from Zarek to allow the secretary- general to start a converation with him. He found Hawkes and West standing nearby, keeping an eye on things. Also nearby were Lee and Kara.

" Anything out of the ordinary?"

" Not yet " Kara responded " but I do have this feeling that we're being watched."

" I know, they probably have microphones all over the place as well."

" If there's mics, there should be some cameras as well. Want to go after them? " Lee asked.

" No, not yet. But tonight at our hotel we'd better." Adama impressed on his son.

" Understood, I'll let the others know." Lee briefly stepped outside to use the wireless. The commander had already silently thanked the lords the flight wireless sets couldn't be overheard. Now the Colonials used them as portables for security.

While William, Lee and Kara were discussing security matters, Tom Zarek and Diane Hayden were engaged in a discussion of their own.

" Your voyage to here must have been quite unpleasant, mr ambassador." Zarek seemed in thought at first but, " To an extent it was. But we were some of the lucky ones to have made it."

He had already decided it was time for a bombshell. " And if it weren't for Commander Adama and his ship we would have surely perished at the hands of the Cylons. It was president Laura Roslin and him that kept it all together."

"It is in times like those you described the true leaders show themselves." Hayden answered, looking to be rather tensed to Zarek.

Quietly he suspected her to be into the know about Roslin disappearing. Things would get interesting if the politicians turned out to be as selfserving here as they were back in the twelve colonies. Somehow he had feeling they were.

Zarek studied his surroundings a bit more. The conference room was just that, a conference room. Filled with snack, a few dignitaries and the ever present security, colonial and otherwise. No, nothing out of the ordinary here, yet.

Diane Hayden had also stepped away to discuss business with some of her aides. There was something she needed to discuss.

Both Zarek and Adama found it smart not to discuss too much business on the day of their arrival. Hayden agreed with them nearly instantly.

Rented limousines brought them to a luxury hotel somewhere in the downtown New York area. A couple of luxury suites had been made available. At Adamas insistance, they were scanned for bugs.

Adama also set up the security detail. And so the colonials, along with their two as yet undetected human friends, began their first night on Earth.

Silence and tranquillity filled the floor on which they were staying. Near the morning, an elevator stopped on the floor.

Out came a cleaning trolley, pushed by a cleaning lady. She quietly approached the suites first.

" Cleaning lady, good morning." She called out as she came in. The two security men ignored her and continued their cardgame.

The cleaning lady leaned over to pick something from her cart.

It was a supressed weapon. Two bursts of fire later, the cleaning lady was the only one in the room. Nobody was around to see how after a blink of her eyes crosshairs had fallen into place.

As noiseless as possible, she moved over to the doors leading to the main bedroom.

The produced masterkey made sucessfull entry a certainty. The shape under the pillows was hard to miss. A brief burst of fire was all it took to riddle the shape with holes.

The gun clicked once, twice on the empty magazine.

What was much more telling however, was the third click.

" Remember me?" The cleaning lady found herself looking into the barrel of a huge gun, holding it, was none other then Cooper Hawkes.

Through another door her target came in. And through it, came Tom Zarek, followed by Kara Thrace who was shuffling a deck of cards in one hand and holding a colonial pistol in the other.

" Interesting game, lieutenant Thrace. You're quite the worthy opponent aren't you." Kara found cause to smile briefly.

" As for you...." Zarek looked at the cleaning lady, and noticed her crosshaired eyes " Who are you?"

Silence filled the room again. " She's a Felicity. I don't know her number though." Zarek nodded. " She's a silicate by the way." Hawkes added.

" She's one of those `helper' races you created?" Hawkes nodded. " Yeah, but in her case it was a failure." Hawkes grimaced. A failure that had created more problems the 58th had cared to know about.

And here she was again!

" I'm going to ask you this but once. Who sent you?"

He was met with utter silence. " Allright, secure her here then call the authoritys." Hawkes nodded and produced shackles. These were promptly and smartly applied to Felicity.

" Alright, now somebody please call the local authoritys and inform them of the situation."

A police response team arrived fifteen minutes after the call, taking away Felicity without much being said by either side.

Adama joined at breakfast, having had a steady night despite the events that had lessened their party by two. Arrangements had already been made to have their bodys returned to the Galactica.

This was only considered a formality.

Over breakfast, Zarek and Adama were discussing their agenda. " Next to tours of the Senate and the Congres, what else is on the agenda?"

" Oh you're just gonna love this, commander. A tour of Aerotech Headquarters and a Hammerhead production facility."

" They couldn't be that stupid now, could they?" Zarek flashed a smile. Commander Adama reached for his communicator.

Later that morning the colonial diplomatic party assembled again at Kennedy airport. This time, for their flight to Nevada. This time the transport was a regular commercial craft, belonging to the UN.

Only much later, would the colonials find out the real truth.

They arrived at Las Vegas international without any trouble. Again, Diane Hayden was on hand to welcome them. Along this time, was a man introduced to the colonials as Thomas Carter.

West tensed involuntarily. If Carter recognized him and Hawkes.......

But no such thing occured. Carter introduced himself to both Adama and Zarek then began telling them about the facillities the company operated in the area. In the meantime, Diane Hayden left again.

Then they were lead to the waiting official vehicles.

The eyes knew and waited. The time would be soon.

The production line for Hammerheads was at the airport itsself and only a short hop over. When they got out of the vehicles, Kara noticed some buildings in the distance. She appraised Adama of what she had noticed. Adama promptly asked Carter.

" the city you're seeing is Las Vegas. A lot of our workers go there to unwind. The city still has quite a reputation for shows, card games gambling etc." At the word card games Lee Apollo looked at his subordinate, wondering if he was going to have to stun her.

" Sounds like a place I wanted to visit when we come back." The two Adamas exchanged looks. Starbuck and card games...... things never changed.

The production line was a mixed event. In some cases, manual laborers worked on airframes, assembling components or parts of airframes. In another part of the building, robots build complete Hammerhead frames.

Zarek looked interested to Carter. " We're interested in such a manufacturing line as this, but we don't want your Hammerheads. We have our own defense to attend to, and such a line would help us." Carter nodded. " Perhaps Aerotech can be of help in setting up such a line within Colonial territory."

Zarek nodded " Perhaps it can, afcourse details can be worked out by our respective delegates."

They moved on to the headquarters building.

At first glance, it didn't appear all that large to William Adama. And, as he enquired as to why, Thomas Carter explained that part of the facillity was underground. Zarek promptly asked to see it, citing that he wanted to have a detailed enough impression of the

Carter gave them a thin smile before answering yes.

At first Carter brought them to a conference room where some more snacks waited. Here the colonials also got a visual demonstration on what exactly Aerotech did, produced, where it's locations where, the board of directors and so on.

With the demonstration concluded, Carter gave them a tour of the building both above and underground. It was clear to all involved, that Aerotech was huge.

Carter extended his hand to Zarek as the party reached the exit/entrance of the building " Mr Ambassador on behalf of Aerotech, I can say it was a pleasure conducting this tour. And may I add that we hope you'll consider doing business with us in the nearby future."

Zarek smiled as sincere as he could manage. Carter was as bad as " Afcourse. However that decision has still to be ratified by the Colonial council. In that aspect, I can make no promises."

" It is of no matter, mr ambassador. I'm sure you'll be able to resolve it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some unfinished business to attend to."

" But afcourse, we'll find our own way back."

In the vehicles, on their way back to the airport, Adama took out his own wireless communicator. " Galactica actual to Galactica come in."

After a brief hiss of static the voice of colonel Tigh filled the compartement. " Actual, Galactica go ahead."

" Colonel Tigh, please conduct a scan of our departure point. And Saul, standy to take her to condition one."

In space, the Galacticas Xo returned the radiophone to its hook. " Set condition two throughout the ship, all gunnery crews to their stations. All pilots to your fighters." The mighty battlestar began preparing, and her xo had no idea for what.

Back in Nevada, the motor cage had nearly reached the airport. When they pulled on to the grounds, Adama's wireless beeped again. " Galactica actual from Galactica deputy, ship at condition two. Raptor scans show at least twenty lifesigns around your position." Before any answer could be given by Actual, the transmission disappeared.

" Heads up everybody, the welcome wagon is waiting."

Kara was the first to have her weapon out, soon followed by the rest. Even Tom Zarek had been armed again.

The cars drove onto the tarmac and came to a stop near the transport.

Nothing moved.

Both cars had their darkened windows up.

Justin 547 ordered a nearby model of the Elroy series to advance and take a look. Elroy approached the vehicle with his rifle at the ready. Expecting the unexpected, he was surprised to see one of the windows rolling down on the lead car.

" Hey you!" the voice came out of nowhere. Justin noticed how a young woman stepped out of the vehicle. He also noticed how this gave Elroy pause. He stopped his advance to get a good look at her.

She had one arm behind her back. Justin didn't have to guess why.

Elroy ended up a few feet away from the now scurrying woman who was running to the other side of the cars. The hole in his chest was enormous.

Justin stayed calm " Open fire!" There were nineteen other Ais in the group, all fo them with automatic weapons. They all fired at once, except for two, who were on the right flank.

Their targets also began returning fire.

Again, Justin had time to wonder as yet another Elroy close to him was hit. Again that enormous hole. What where they using?

This time he sent three Felicitys around to the left while the remaining group kept up their fire on the cars. Pretty soon three burst of fire shattered the tranquillity of the already disturbed night.

Behind the vehicles, the assembled had already found out about the three Ais approaching them.

Since everyone still had rounds leftover, Adama motioned for everybody to spread out. He found himself on the right end of the vehicle line. And three gunmen bearing down on him. Raising his pistol, he took aim.

The three AIs crumpled to the ground.

Behind the fallen bodys there was movement. Reinforcements couldn't be down from the ship this fast, could they?

Justin had already ordered the others to move in.

Lee had taken the brief lull in the firing to check their front. He spotted the remaining AIs moving in " They're moving in!" He shot one of the approaching AIs and ducked back into cover.

" How many?" his father asked.

Lee was interupted by two colonial pistols being discharged. " Probably ten, maybe less now."

He risked another peak as another salvo impacted on the car. " Make that ten confirmed." Lee ducked back. " Let's see if we can't wittle their numbers down somewhat!" His father surprised Lee by going out of cover and firing at the ten approaching AIs.

Much to the captain's surprise, his father knocked down two.

Explosions then abounded the area in front of the vehicles. Everybody looked up but noone spotted any air support. Behind the cars the looking began.

Finally, Kara went out. Holding her gun in front of her she approached the crumpled mass that once was a hit squad.

" I wouldn't worry to much about them if I were you." The voice was strong, command authority. Kara turned around slowly, gun at the ready. " I had the chance to kill you but didn't, what does that make me?"

" An potential ally?"

" Perhaps." The voice now turned into a shadow as it approached.

" But I may also be the key to answer your questions." Out of the shadow came a man with a slight limp. Silver hairs and blue eyes.To Kara it seemed an interesting combination. But it were the eyes that put her off.

Even though Kara `Starbuck' Thrace was a veteran now herself, when she saw the eyes on the human in front of her, she realized this guy had been in deep shit and had still survived to tell the tale. Behind her, it seemed as if two people were gasping for breath.

Adama and Zarek approached carefully. Even though Kara was already talking to their benefactor, to them he was still an unknown. West, Hawkes suddenly tensed as Lee adama began checking bodys.

" What is it?" This time, Zarek was in leader mode. Adama observed Kara. She was talking to the stranger, but he had not yet come forward. Then he too heard the two Marines gasp.

" You know him?" The silence was deafening to Adama. The two Marines knew this guy alright.

" We used to know him." West suddenly answered. The captain paused, collecting his thoughts. " you see, the man lieutenant Thrace is talking too, is former Lieutenant-colonel TC McQueen, our former commanding officer."

With that said, West walked over.

McQueen noticed someone wearing a suit coming up behind Kara, who in turn noticed his eyes bulging up. She turned around to see Nathan West coming up.

" Captain West, I don't know who he is, but he sure as hell saved our fracking asses."

West ignored her and came to attention, bring his right hand up in salute as well. `blue eyes'as she had unconsciously nicked him, did the same.

As her commander and ambassador Zarek came up Kara noticed they had both holstered their weapons again.

" Gentlemen, it's good to see you. Now would you mind telling me what you're doing here?" McQueen instantly resumed to his colonels posture.

" Sir, we're hoping to retrieve colonial president Laura Roslin and return her to her rightful place amongst her people." The late co of the Wildcards looked at Adama and Zarek as they joined in. " I take it you two are the rest of the colonial leadership?"

" We are." Zarek indicated. " I know where she is. I'll help you get her out. There is however something else you must know." McQueen drew the two men away from the others.

He talked to them in a low enough voice that made sure West, Hawkes and the others didn't hear them. Then the voice of Adama filled the night air " Captain West, Captain Adama, I want a word!"

Part 8 A

At Aerotech headquarters all was calm. The night shift had come on duty several hours earlier, while in the meantime most of the administrative staff had gone home. Some where still at work, finishing up, but their number was few and far between. The only one thing seemed to be the executive level.

Nearly all the lights were still on up there.

The night receptionist usually had the time to herself. In this case, Jennifer Ortiz proved no exception. Usually being the night receptionist meant one would have time to read, and ms Ortiz was an avid reader.

The only thing that broke her concentration, was a sudden bang on the front entrance.

A shape was leaning against the glass door, bend over and sliding down.

Jennifer Ortiz had only been on the job for three months. She was never expected to deal with situations going on outside of the property, and wasn't even told to do so by her immediate superiors. She went out anyway.

There were two young men beating each other up.

She called for them to stop it. It didn't have the desired result. The two went on, completely ignoring her. Ortiz turned to head back inside when somebody grabbed her from behind.

She couldn't say a word, but would later tell the police about the intensity of the blue eyes she remembered. The rest was nothing but a blur to her.

McQueen briefly looked over the two captains. " Good effort, I hope it didn't go to far?"

Both Lee and Nathan shrugged. " If it did, we'd both be on the ground."

McQueen ignored them, heading for one of the elevator banks. He started pushing buttons.

Adama spoke " I don't think we should end up at our destination just yet.How about one floor above it?" The button was pushed without further debating.

The executive levels were richly decorated, and rightly so. Every visitor, be it business or otherwise, was bound to come away with an impression of power. Power Aerotech wielded both skillfully and with blunt sticks when and if necessary.

On one of those levels, an elevator came to a halt.

As the doors hushed open, nobody came out, at first. However, soon two pairs of eyes searched each end of the corridor. Declaring it safe for the others, the group moved out.

Very carefully, they worked their way to one of the fire stairs.

The floor still was mysteriosly empty.

" I wonder why these floors are still empty?" Zarek asked noone in particular. Though empty, there wasn't even a sound of any kind of machines, be it airconditioning or otherwise. " You'd almost get the feeling that we're being watched." Kara remarked.

" So let's keep moving, and give them something watch for." William answered. The fire door wasn't locked, allowing them to proceed.

They ran into the security guard about halfway down.

Next to being the best shot aboard the Galactica in and out of the cockpit, Kara Thrace also had the fastest pull. Only this time, she missed. Not pausing one moment, she went after the guard as he disappeared running. Hawkes followed as quickly as he dared, along with Zarek.

They came to a stop near a crossing. " Shit, we lost her!" Hawkes cursed. Zarek stayed quiet and listened. From a slight distance ahead came weapons fire.

" There she is." Zarek took off, now followed by Hawkes.

Kara Thrace hunkered down behind the table she had managed to throw on its side. On the far edge of the room were twelve soldiers, brandishing automatic weapons and, firing in her general direction.

Kara was lucky she was fast. As the security guard had run into the room she heard how he alerted the soldiers. As she came into the room, the first shots already flew.

Kara had landed on the floor and crawled under the closest table she could find. She then threw it on its side, allowing for a bit more cover. As more rounds impacted nearby, Kara realized she'd better show these guys what she was made of.

Two booms, and two dead soldiers later, they knew. The next few incoming shots kept her behind the table out of visual contact with the now approaching soldiers.

A flurry of new shots drove them back as Zarek and Hawkes arrived.

" Who the hell are these guys?" Kara asked Hawkes as he rolled up beside her. " Spec ops. Apparently, they were expecting us."

Zarek fired at and hit another soldier running for cover.

" Might I suggest we get out of here, if these guys ever get it together, we'll be in serious trouble."

" Good idea lieutenant, you first!"

Zarek fired again, allowing Cooper to move. He fired twice more as Kara made a break for the door. The spec ops soldiers now concentrated their fire on him.

Zarek however had his own ideas on the matter.

He briefly ducked behind the table Kara had used and returned fire. Another soldier went down. But now, the return fire was concentrated on him.

That return fire grew into a firestorm that suddenly seized.

" Are you okay, mr Zarek?" Kara her voice echoed through the now empty room.

Peeking around, he noticed his companions standing between a mass of bodys. " What happened?"

" they had a back door."

After arming themselves with some weapons that had belonged to the spec ops troops, the three quickly moved back the way they came. One thing caught Zarek's attention. " That's strange, I would have expected a bigger response from all the noise we made."

The three were warily working their way back to the place where they had left Adama, McQueen and West.

They found a deserted location.

" Adama moved on?"

Kara nodded. " Yeah, we're here for a reason you know."

Now Zarek really took charge " Allright then lieutenant Starbuck. We move out and find the commander and the president. After that, we get the hell out of Dodge!"

Kara began moving " Lieutenant Starbuck?"

Now Zarek made a smile " Has a better ring to it then lieutenant Thrace, don't you think?"

Kara gave him the look. " Look, lieutenant, you don't have to like, you just have to do it. Okay? Now let's find commander Adama."

With that behind them, the small group of three moved out.

Adama, McQueen and West were moving as well. As quietly as possible, and using available cover, they managed to penetrate a second level.

Instead of the obvious security guard, they found troops patrolling the floor. " I guess the word is out." McQueen commented as he watched the patrol move away.

William Adama watched pensivey. The troops were an indication to him something big was going on here. " Then let's make sure they get the word."

Now Adama took point.

Quietly, the three men passed through the web of patrols. Until they found the board room.

No guards was the first thing they noticed.

" Aerotech lacks originality." Adama commented. " That isn't the only thing they're lacking." West pointed out as he began working the doors.

With a barely audible click, the doors were unlocked.

Part 8 B

Somewhat earlier.

Colonial president Laura Roslin was massaging her wrists. The handcuffs Aerotech security used hurt. She wondered why she had been brought here again. Thomas Carter came in not much later.

" Good evening, Madam president, I take it you are well?" Even if it was meant to be polite, she ignored the vibe. Thomas Carter sat down at the head of the table and pulled out a folder.

" Now madam president, let us discuss this agreement. This will be our final offer."

Not caring for protocol, he slid it across the table. Out of curiosity, she opened it and started to read.

It didn't take her long to finish.

Laura laughed and shook her head. " It's unbelievable. It's just unbelievable." She paused to catch a breath. Lords did it hurt. " Why did you do it, mr Carter, why did you abduct me? To force on myself and the colonial nation this treaty, that isn't worth the paper it was printed on?"

She nearly shouted the last part.

Carter stared at her, hands folded together as if in prayer. " Ms Roslin, you haven't got a nation!" he paused, thinking of the opening she had given him. " You're nothing but a bunch of survivours. You have nothing! Your world isn't yours it's ours to do with as we please." He was standing up and shouting now.

" Our world was a gift, from your world to help a needy people rebuild and prepare for the inevitable, the coming of the Cylons! They are an even bigger danger then the Chiggs."

Roslin made a fist, trying to clear the pain.

Carter laughed " We'll deal with them when the time comes."

Now Roslin found reason to laugh " When the time comes. Ha! Your trust of technology will be your undoing, director Carter."

Again the room filled with silence. Carter had folded his hands again. " Ms Roslin, as you have read, we are making you a very generous offer. A very final offer." He resumed staring at her.

Roslin just stared back, contemplating his words.

" When Adama finds out..........."

" Your precious commander Adama can explain it to you soon." At that remark from Carter Roslin broke her thoughts on her next move.

" What do you mean?" Carter produced a thin smile. " the lords of Kobol, I believe you call your religious deitys, don't you?" The implication was clear. Adama was dead!

Roslin began to stare.

" Dead men tell no tales, madam president."

" What about dead women then?"

" Dead people tell no tales either madam president."

now

That same moment the doors leading to the board room burst open. Carter reacted just in time to see none other then William Adama standing there, holding one of those huge pistols. He came in, followed by two other men. The Aerotech director paled as he recognized who they were.

He choose to show defiance instead. " Well well well, what do we have here, two deserting Marine officers and a soon to be very dead colonial commander."

McQueen laughed " For a dead man he sure is talkative."

Adama approached Carter " Get up!" It was whispered but with such authority that Carter felt an edge to comply. If Adama knew he had obducted Roslin, he was dead, and Thomas Carter longed for a long life.

He didn't dare to look at McQueen. Carter knew if he tried to escape, the Marine would surely kill him.

Adama didn't look at him, he glared " What you do today, mr Carter depens wheter you live or die. Do I make myself clear?"

Carter gulped. Adama looked ready to shoot him right here in the board room.

" Yes sir, p-p-p-p-p-p-please, don't kill me."

" West, keep an eye on this guy. If he moves, nuder him" Nathan nodded and moved into a position to cover the director as Adama went over to Roslin.

She was still looking down, one arm on the desk, clenching a fist.

" Laura, it's me William. We're here."

Slowly she began looking up.

Her eyes were watering and her voice was as husky as Huskers "Pain." She whispered.

William took her right hand and held it. " I'm here, Laura. I'm here."

" It hurts Husker, it hurts so very much." She was nearly crying. He put his free hand on her shoulder. " I know, I know. Once we get you back to the ship, doc Cottle can do something about it. But I need you to do something for me as well, Laura." He paused, collecting his words.

" Can you be strong, for all of us?" Lee Adama asked

Laura only stared, tears still streaming down her cheeks, her hand clasping William's.

" I, I have no choice do I?" Now William stared at her. Eyes telling, he stood up and extended a hand to help her get up. " No."

With his help she stood up.

" Colonel McQueen, Captain West, get us the hell of here. Lee, keep our rear secure." The two Marines nodded and moved out. Lee fell in behind his father who was now supporting the president.

The small band had an extra stroke of luck as Kara, Hawkes and Zarek rejoined with them in the corridor. They assembled near the elevator bank.

" Ground floor?" Kara asked, noticing the condition of the president.

" Grab the cat and bring your gun." William answered as the elevator doors opened and the group entered.

" going home, sir." Kara pushed the button.

Part 9

There was no security at the entrance, and the jamming had already ceased, allowing Adama to contact the Galactica and appraise them of their situation.

Colonel Tigh responded by saying he would send a raptor down with escort.

Nothing had happened to their vehicles either. Apparently, security was busy with something else. As they reached the airport, the group found a Raptor waiting for them.

Overhead a flight of Vipers patrolled.

The area was eery calm.

The raptor pilot had his gun out but holstered it as he recognized his Commander.

" Commander Adama sir, I have message from Colonel Tigh for you. He says he's got Sara her sisters looking him over."

Out in space

Colonel Tigh found reason to pace. Closing on his position, were two John f Kennedy class space carriers. The Lexington and Ticonderoga, if he had heard correctly.

The funniest thing he ever heard had followed not much later. The commander of the Lexington, a commodore Cassel, had ordered him to surrender.

Tigh ignored the communication, finally ordering the radio shut down. He then gave his next order " Battle stations!"

Aboard the Lexington, commodore Cassel found time to study a a lidar display on the Galactica. Being nearly three times the size of a Kennedy class carrier, Cassel had his reservations wheter or they'd be able to capture the vessel. But, since he was a man that followed orders, he would give it his best.

" Any answers on our messages?"

The communications officer shook her head " Negative sir. They're either ignoring us or they just turned of their radio."

" Allright, hit them with a full targeting solution, hold your fire however." Cassel grimaced. He really wanted to see how the big behemoth would react to that. He got his answer not much later.

The Galactica, turned, and charged the Lexington.

" She's coming straight for us!" Cassel only watched, awestruck. The Galactica, was fast for her size. " Evasive, now!" The Lexington began moving, but, Cassel noticed they would be too late.

" Sound collision." An alert began wailing.

The Galactica missed the Lexington, but not by much. For a brief moment, Cassel thought the gator like vessel would take off his bridge.

" They missed us, but not by much, sir." Cassel studied the lidar display. Still at full speed, the large warship was moving away from them, launchbays still extended.

At Adamas insistance, Tigh had launched a few patrols. Their orders, map the Earth solar system as best as possible. Although the vipers and raptors had accomplished the mission with ease, for some reason, the Galacticas XO had `neglected' to retract the launch bays.

That `neglection'proved favorable to the launched Raptor and the escort flight.

Aboard the Lexington Cassel studied the Raptor and the escort flight. " Combat retreaval." He muttered to himself.

" Sir?"

" It's nothing, continue tracking retreaval one, and prepare an intercept course, we're going to have to try to keep her in the gravity well."

The two carriers began pulling out of orbit, falling back to the edge of Earths gravity well.

" they're what?"

" Pulling back, sir. They've retreated to the edge of the planet's gravity pull."

" The old man's gonna be pleased with that." Tigh remarked observing the Dradis read out that showed the two Kennedys withdrawing.

" Get an ETA from the Raptor."

" Raptor 452, Galactica deputy is requesting an ETA."

Before the pilot could answer, Adama cut in " Galactica actual is five minutes out. Requesting tac update."

" Two John F. Kennedy class Space carriers, now sitting on the edge of the gravity well."

" Roger that."

William Adamas face was telling as he took Lee and the others to the back of the Raptor.

" We're in trouble, There are two Kennedy class carriers blocking our exit out of the system."

" Which ones?" this from McQueen.

" We don't know yet. But I do need options, and fast." The pilot cut through the chatter. " We're coming up on the outer marker, sir."

" Straight in, and request Major Cottle." Was William's only comment as he looked at Laura Roslin, assesing her condition to be worsening.

The Raptor and the Vipers touched down without effort. Major Cottle, the Galacticas CMO was on hand to meet them as the Raptor was lowered into the pod. As William Adama was the first person out, he was the first person in.

Not much later he called for a stretcher. The others all watched as the medical team hurried off.

" Doc?" The emotion in that one word was enough to make Cottle come to a halt.

" Not good, sir, but I'll keep you posted." He hurried off in pursuit of his team.

William and the others headed for the CIC.

They were in time to hear Tigh asking if the returning ships had been picked up on any scanning devices.

" Status?"

" Your return hasn't been picked up, but the two sisters have withdrawn to the edge of the well."

William Adama shifted back into commander Adama mood as his XO told him about his own strategy of evading the two Earth space carriers.

" Good job, xo. Now let's get the hell out of here." The commander turned to look at his helm officer " helm, bow thrusters down 5, forward thrust to full, get us up to speed, slowly."

The Galactica began picking up speed again.

Aboard the Lexington Cassel wondered what was going to happen as the LIDAR displays showed the behemoth accelerating slowly on a vertical axis.

" What the hell is she doing?"

Nearly everybody that was able to, watched the displays. They showed the Galactica, still on sublight, climbing into the vertical until she finally came to a full stop.

A brief burst of thruster fire did the rest. Slowly the battlestar rotated nose up.

The Galactica began floating on a wide geosynchrous orbit of Earth, in noseup attitude.

"Options?" Cassel asked his staff. They had none and told him so.

" Not good enough people, that is one mean mother out there and I want to be prepared if we have to duke it out!" He felt an urge to throw his cap, but resisted it. It would be no good to let his crew see him get mad.

Still, Cassel's staff let him down.

The Galactica was still nose up, and accelerating, but now on a lateral vector.

Out of sheer frustration, Cassel ordered his two ships to close the distance.

" They're coming in, full burn." The ensign manning the Galactica tactical station reported.

" Standby helm and thruster control." In CIC everyone noticed the tension on the faces of their commanding officers. They knew the commander thrusted them, and he knew the crew trusted him.

" Navigation, I want a twenty second countdown on the jump once we exit the gravity pull of Earth." The navigation officer nodded " Ready on the clock, sir."

As Tigh watched the Dradis, he realised one thing " We'll be cutting it awfully close, Will."

The Galactica skipper nodded " If we do this right, they'll need time to straighten out and get back into position. By that time we'll be long gone."

All of a sudden, Tigh found he had reason to smile. The two sisters spread out into a pincer move.

" No awareness of space." Adama didn't return the smile. " They'll learn, either from us or from the Cylons."

At that comment nearly everybody was stunned. How did the commander know that?

" We just bought ourselves some time. Earth needs to change, they need to see that, or we need to make it happen!"

" You're considering a coup?" This came from West.

" Not in the truest sense of the word. Earth needs a governement that sees the danger they're in. In the long run that `ll guarantee our survival as well." Zarek answered, having figured out in which direction Adama was leaning.

McQueen was breathless, West was actively considering taking part in a coup! " Now wait a minute, All of the Marines here have sworn to protect Earth against it enemies, wheter they be from within or without!"

He added for West and Hawkes benefit " You two are considering throwing away your careers!"

For some reason, this struck a cord with Hawkes " What kind of careers, sir, protecting the people or the interest of capital enterprise?"

William Adama then retook his CIC. " Gentlemen, we'll deal with that back home. And right now we need to get there first."

Aboard the Lexington, Commodore Cassel would have loved the opportunity to listen in on the conversation in the CIC, but alas he was still on his own bridge, watching the range between his ship and the Galactica decrease.

" Come on, come on. Do something already." It was too obvious, there had to be a reason! They were doing nothing, something going against all military logic. And yet his ships were drawing closer.

It just didn't make sense!

" Full scan, is there anything else out there?"

The Galactica picked up the scan " Lidar scan, looks like they're trying to find out what else is out there."

" Ignore it, let them waste their power."

William now focused on the Dradis that showed the approaching space carriers.

The moment was nearly there.

" Give them two more minutes then full down and forward." Tigh nodded and passed the order on.

Cassel watched his own screens as his two ships drew close." Still not doing anything?" He asked a nearby ensign. The ensign checked his screens. "no sir, nothing."

" Slow down, engines to half speed." The Lexington began slowing down. The Ticonderoga however, still kept coming at full speed. No matter, William Adama knew his idea would also work this way.

Two minutes and thirty seconds later, the Galactica pitched nose down as her stl engines flared to life at the same time. Presenting her port pod to the speeding Ticonderoga, the Galactica made for deep space.

The departing Galactica caused a flurry of activity aboard the Lexington. Not in the least of their worries was the still approaching Ticonderoga. The Ticonderoga was to fast to evade the Lexington!

" Full evasive, get us the hell out of here." The Ticonderoga was already filling the external camera screens as Cassel ordered his ship to move.

The helmsman and the engineers on the Lexington knew their business just as well as the people aboard the Ticonderoga. Their only stroke of luck, was the fact that their commander had ordered the ship slowed down.

The Ticonderoga missed the Lexington by nearly the same distance as the Galactica had when she passed between the two vessels earlier.

" Where's the Galactica?"Cassel asked as the damage reports told him his ship was still in one piece.

" Still on the Lidar, sir. She'll be clear of gravity in about twenty seconds!"

The sound of something hitting metal penetrated the tranquillity of the Lexington CIC.

" Shit! Allright, get us clear from the gravity pull, then set the Eckerlys and get us a course to Beta 3!"

Aboard the Galactica, William Adama was no longer in the CIC. Just before his ship cleared earth's gravity, a call had been placed requesting both Adamas to come to the Med bay.

Major Cottle met them as they came in. His face was solemn, downcast " It's bad. There's nothing more I can do. It won't be long now."

William and Lee walked over to the bed.

" Hello, captain Apollo, Husker." Laura Roslin her raspy voice echoed through the nearly empty med bay. Lee glanced at his father, noticing if he had noticed the president her face. His father however seemed to be unusually preoccupied by Laura Roslin.

He was holding her thin hand in his own, gendly stroking it. His way of saying it was alright.

Lee looked on. " We did it, din't we Husker. We brought them home, didn't we."

William nodded " We did, Laura, we did." He continued to hold her hand as he noticed her eyes getting glassy. He tried to wipe a tear away for her, but found tears starting to roll down his own cheeks instead.

" Is Lee there?" again that raspy voice.

" I'm here, madam president." Lee fought to hold back his own tears, but wasn't succeeding either.

" I've really come to depend on you, Lee." Instead of answering, he walked around the bed and sat down on the other side as the pa system announced they were jumping.

" I've come to depend on your strength and determination as well, Laura."

" We'll be home soon, Laura." Were Williams last words.

Father and son Adama continued to hold their president hands until the Galactica reemerged from her jump. By then it was all over.

A remorsefull Major Cottle came in " Commander, Captain, I'll take you `ll want an official notification in my report." William nodded and moved away, trying to hide his grief. Lee followed.

In the corridor a few people were waiting. Amongst them were Tigh, Zarek and Kara Thrace.

Each of them felt sympathy for the Adamas as they came out.

Lee Adama and Kara embraced. Tigh did nothing as Tom Zarek put a hand on William's shoulder " She was with some of the people she truly loved and respected."

William heard the words but didn't listen to him. He walked of in the direction of his own quarters.

Lee and Kara went to Lee's quarters. They would all deal with the grief in their own respective manner.

The funeral was a few days later.

Colonial forces lined the street to Laura Roslin her final resting place. Behind them were the people. The soldiers were lined up in such a distance as to allow the people to see the ceremony.

The casket was carried on a Marine vehicle. Behind that, came William and Lee, on foot. Zarek was with them, as was Baltar. Though officially the vice president, the scientist had as yet to be sworn in.

" It's god's work, his plan is coming together, Gaius, and you'll be part of it. God has plans for you." With her usual timing, Six appeared.

The blonde Cylon, model number six, was dressed rather approprieate for a funeral. Black leather boots going to her knees, complemented a tight and relatively short black fabrick skirt. Along with that she wore a short leather jacket, also black, along with a black blouse of some very thin fabric.

Baltar acted as if he didn't notice her.

" Now, is not the time."

" God has a time for everyone, Gaius." With that she disappeared.

After Elosha blessed the casket, and asked the Lords of Kobol to guide Laura Roslin her spirit, there was an overflight of four vipers. With that, the ceremony was concluded.

An informal get together was held at the convention center near the space drome.

Tom Zarek used the time wisely to talk to William Adama. Out of instinct, he also kept his eye on Baltar.

As the still vice president left, Zarek decided to follow him. At his father insistance, Lee went along. For some reason, Baltar never saw them.

He led the two men straight to his own assigned shelter.

" Looks like Doc Baltar `s just going home." Lee remarked as he saw the shelter.

" Looks aren't everything. Am I politician or a terrorist in your book, captain?" Zarek asked scoldingly.

Lee got the hint. Then he noticed something in front of a window.

" What the frack?!?"

" Does he have somebody in there, or what?" The scientist was more then having a good time, from what the two men could see. He was naked, and seemed to be going up and down.

" Come on, something about this doesn't make sense."

Making sure they weren't noticed by the still busy scientist, the two men approached the house.

Part 10

Much to the surprise of Lee Adama, Tom Zarek had another hidden talent, which turned out to be picking locks.

Being as silent as possible, they worked their way over to the room where Baltar was......... otherwise occupied.

They could see he wasn't completely naked, but he was getting there. His fly was open, his shirt was undone and his hair was a mess.

" Oh please don't do this, what if somebody walks in." Baltar muttered. Slightly audible to Lee.

Six gave a brief laugh "Who says they haven't already." Grasping his jaw and nibbling on his ear, she turned his face in the direction of Lee and Zarek.

Eyes wide with fear he watched them. Eyes wide from shock, they watched him.

" What's up, doc?"

" You have to admit, there's humour in that." Six blurted out rather pointedly " And since you're not up, yet, I believe he has a point."

Zarek noticed Baltar briefly ignored them. " So who are you talking to, doctor Baltar?"

Six had another message for Baltar " You know your options now, trust in god!" With that said, she disappeared again.

Slowly, the scientis got up and rearranged his clothes " Gentlemen, I'm sure we can come to some sort of agreement."

" Indeed, I for one would be very interested in hearing why you sold us out to the Cylons through your navigational program." Now it was Lee Adama's turn to look surprised. How the hell did Tom Zarek, until not so very long ago a prisoner, know of this?

Baltar's face echoed the same sentiment.

He began stuttering and stammering that it wasn't his fault, that he had been tricked and deceived by no less then a Cylon in the form of a beautifull woman. Zarek ignored it and approached the scientist, with every intention of knocking him down.

The only surprise was Baltar beating him to it!

An unexpected blow sent Zarek backwards and down to the floor. Shortly thereafter, Baltar found himself on the floor, with Lee Adama on top of him. As the captain was about to hit him, Baltar managed to throw him off.

" What the frack?"

Lee rolled into a chair, shattering it. The impact did leave him dazed however.

Now the old was facing the young. Six chose that moment to reappear.

" So now what, Gaius? Adama's son over there is of interest to god, but this old man Zarek, god considers him a thread to his plans."

" And what do we do with that?"

" We, remove the threat?" Baltar started approaching Zarek.

" It would seem, Mr Zarek, god considers you a threat to his plans."

Zarek didn't move. Instead, he changed his posture into one of defense as Gaius charged.

Although both managed to get blows in, Zarek was the first ro reel back, allowing Baltar his opening. Picking up a chair, he threw it through a windows and leaped out. Zarek quickly followed.

Somewhat after those events, Lee Apollo found himself alone and awake on the floor of a ruined house.

" Ow, my head.." as he got up he felt a major headache coming on.

Not knowing what happened, Loee began moving to the door, hoping to find someone who could tell him what had happened.

At first he was unsucessfull. However, as he struggled down the road leading to the spacedrome, he ran into Cally.

" Captain Adama, what's wrong?" Cally was looking over the Galactica CAG with worry. After all he looked as if he had just gone three rounds with an Earth Marine, all of them at the same time.

" Did you see either Doc Baltar, or Tom Zarek?" Lee gasped.

She nodded " I saw Zarek, he was heading for the space drome." Cally noticed the captain's eyes going wide. " What's the matter, sir,?"

Lee ignored her and moved on as best as he could.

At the space drome Tom Zarek found himself sneeking around again.

Baltar was nowhere to be seen. Wheter or not he was a coward or not, Zarek knew the colonial scientist had answers to some questions he had. Questions about the colonies, and some of his activities.

In short, Tom Zarek knew, And that's why Gaius Baltar had tried to kill him.

He noticed the row of parked Hammerheads in the distance. One of them seemed to have active systems.

As stealthily as possible, Zarek began his approach.

Gaius Baltar was sitting in a Hammerhead, frantically working the systems. He wanted, no needed to get away fast. If Tom Zarek caught him......

" Going somewhere, doctor Baltar?"

Zarek stood to the side but still below the cockpit holding the pistol he had used while on Earth. Gaius Baltar found himself staring down the barrel.

Again, Six appeared " Get ready to duck, then do exactly as I say."

" Come out of there, traitor!" If it were day, on duty personnel would have come running. Luckily now, there was noone around to hear how Gaius Baltar failed to comply and how the shot fired by Tom Zarek missed him.

Acting on orders from Six, the Cylon model always present in his head, he managed to start the engines, seal the canopy and effect something of a liftoff.

Now he was in control and that terrorist turned politician would find out what that meant.

He managed to bring the strange fighter around and activated what he thought where the weapon systems.

Zarek, didn't move. He just stared, not moving an inch from where he had been standing.

" You know what you have to do, Gaius."Six remarked, eyeing the situation while making herself as comfortable as possible on Baltar's lap.

She disappeared again, with Gaius' hand still hanging near the trigger.

He grasped the control column, his finger hovering near the trigger.

The squeeze was simple, and when the dust cleared, there was nothing to be seen.

Nothing to the front, one problem solved.

Realizing Baltar would fire, Zarek had ducked down and managed to get under the guns of the earth fighter. While the fighter hung still, he pulled a couple of wires. Then Tom Zarek removed himself fronm his precarious position by roling out from under the Hammerhead and moving to the nearest hangar.

" He's moving to those hangars on your left." Six again.

Gaius manipulated the controls to bring the fighter around. By the time he succeeded, Zarek had disappeared.

However, there was another problem as Baltar began moving out.

" Doctor Baltar, I know you can hear me, power down your vessel and return to the base." It was the voice of Lee Adama, the son!

Baltar checked his rear display. The Viper was sitting on his tail, a perfect target for the tailgun.

He toggled the switches to be rewarded with a bare audible servo engine whining and straining to the bring the turret on the target.

" My dear Captain, I do not the slightest intention of surrendering to you."

Baltar's voice sounded oddly detached to Lee. He saw the rear turret swing about just in time to evade the burst of fire that came from it.

The Hammerhead raced away, with the Viper in hot pursuit.

In space, far from the prying of the electronic eyes of the colonial sensor platforms, a phenomena occured. From it, emerged a scimitar shaped craft that proceeded to the new colonial homeworld with something that could best be described as a shroud device.

The viper was still on the Hammerheads six o clock position. No matter what he tried, Gaius Baltar couldn't shake his opponnent.

" Need help again, Gaius?" She was here again, acting seductively, and dressed in the same way too.

He looked at her face, ignoring everything else. " Yes well, making my escape will be a bit troublesome with that viper still behind me, can't you do something about that?"

Six turned away briefly, acting as if she was looking behind her, and talking with someone. She then turned around.

" Give the ship full throttle, and turn her around."

Lee watched as the Hammerhead turned around and came straight at him! Out of instinct, he commenced an evasive maneuver. Only then did he realize the forwards guns hadn't fired.

Switching on his turbos, he went off in pursuit.

" Why didn't the guns fire, I had him in my sites. There's no way I could have missed!"

Six didn't respond. Instead she answered " Hold on Gaius!"

The Scimitar that appeared was huge in comparison to the ones that had been seen in space by the Colonials. This one again fired on Apollo, only to miss again. Lee did notice that the shots came very close this time.

Again he evaded, but this time, the Scimitar demanded his full attention.

Turn and burn, sliding and other assorted maneuvers. Lee was putting his mk VII through every maneuver he could think of. Still the Scimitar stayed on his tail.

There is a certainty in combat. The uncertainty of the outcome.

Lee managed to clip the starboard wing of the Scimitar but it didn't matter all that much.

Still she came at him. Suddenly a voice filled his helmet " Nice try, captain Adama. But as you can see, my ship is still fully functional." It was the voice of a woman, a woman Lee thought he recognized.

He filed the thought away for later as he continued to evade the Scimitar.

Suddenly the fire stoped coming.

" Sorry we're a little Lee, but Cally didn't quite understand what was going on. Zarek lives by the way."

The Scimitar promptly turned, heading straight for Kara Thrace, coming up in her mk II .

" Remember me, bitch?"

The Six model opened fire, and just like Lee, Kara swiveled out of the way.

" Two can play that game." Kara brought her viper around and stitched the Scimitar with a burst from her vipers guns.

Again it had no clear visible effect.

" Watch it Starbuck, this one's got armour."

" got it Apollo."

While Starbuck and Apollo were tangling with the Scimitar, Gaius Baltar saw his chance to make a getaway. However,

" Doctor Baltar, cut your engines and come to full stop." Gaius recognized the voice almost immediatly. " Captain West, ah yes, I know it looks kind of odd all this, but there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of it."

" Save it for the judge, doc." This came from Cooper Hawkes, who pulled up in a second Hammerhead.

Instead of complying, the Hammerhead with Baltar in it, accelerated.

Again, fire flew to the rear from the tail turret. Again, Gaius Baltar missed.

Again he had a stroke of bad luck. Both West and Hawkes fired and knocked out the engines on the fighter. It began to float.

" I'll keep an eye on him, you help out Starbuck and Apollo." West ordered Hawkes back into the fight as he put his own fighter in front of Baltar, with the guns aimed directly at the cockpit.

While Hawkes was working his way back to the fight between Apollo, Starbuck and Six, they watched. They watched in their own way and debated about their actions and their choices.

Behind them, stood the human. She listened, trying to understand their words, their actions. She knew she had been brought along for a reason.

One of them she had met before. On the planet, what came after that she didn't want to think about anymore.

" Come here and observe." He beckoned.

It was a scanner unit, it displayed spacecraft. She soon recognized three Hammerheads, one of which seemed to have been disabled. There were three other spacecraft nearby, craft she didn't recognize. The scanners told her two fo the three were also flown by human like creatures.

The third was an enigma.

The scanners showed nothing was flying the scimitar shaped vessel. Ships couldn't move on their own now, could they?

She looked again as the single Hammerhead joined the battle.

" Hawkes, we need something with more power to knock that bandit out the stars!" Starbuck remarked as she saw the Hammerhead pass.

" Hmm, let's see her deal with a Fox two then." The casual answer came back.

" You two might want to stay out of the way, this could get ugly."

Lee and Kara wasted no time in getting behind the Hammerhead. Hawkes wasted no time in getting a firing solution on the Scimitar. Finally they heard him call " Fox two!"

Two missiles dropped from the racks, ignited and sped off.

From the pit of her Scimitar, Six watched the missiles as they approached. Her Cylon brain went to work nearly automatically, figuring the point where the missiles would reach the convergance of her guns.

She put the Scimitar on the new vector and waited, finger hovering over the trigger.

All three pilots were disappointed to see the missiles be destroyed. Again, the dogfight commenced.

This time it was a much shorter affair.

Through some fancy flying of her own, Six managed to get Lee completely out of position, while knocking Starbucks engines offline. Cooper Hawkes found his ship drifting through space not much later.

With Lee still not back to protect her, Kara was trying to restart her engines without sucess

" Having problems, Starbuck?"

She ignored the jibe but looked out anyway.

There was the Scimitar again, guns pointed straight at her!

"You know what I find amusing, the fact that you won't wake up in a new body again." Again Kara didn't respond to the remark.

Aboard the other ship, everyone could see the human woman was tense.

" You said returning me to my people was an act of good will. If you destroy that Scimitar you will prove that you can be reasoned with."

He looked at her " They are as us, against Aerotech. We will help them."

Everything went fast from there on out. The ship moved to a flanking position.

She decloaked and fired without warning to all sides.

Her heavy fire was more then enough to literally remove one of the crescent shaped wings.

Coming around, the other ship found its target, drifting with the severed wing. She fired again, allowing yet another human model of the Cylons to cease existing.

Now the entire battle evolved into a new situation as the two vipers and one Hammerhead more or less surrounded the new ship.

" That's a Chig ship , what are they doing here?" As if on cue, the voice of William Adama penetrated the airwaves " All fighters from Galactica actual, we're sending up a recovery craft for Baltar's ship. If you're able to, escort the new vessel down to the main space drome."

No sooner had those words been spoken or the Galactica appeared and launched two Raptors.

One of them made fast to Baltar's ship. The other got into escort position with the Chig ship.

It was tricky and took a whole lot of work, but in the end it all went off without a hitch.

As Gaius Baltar was put in irons and led away Colonial and Earth marines alike, under the command of none other then colonel McQueen surrounded the Chig vessel that had landed nearby.

On his orders, the troops withheld their fire as a hatch was opened.

To everybodys surprise, a human woman was the first crewmember out of the ship. The biggest surprise however was her walking up to McQueen, coming to attention and saluting.

" Captain Shane Vanssen reporting for duty sir!"