Site Themes:  ColonialViperCylon
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Faoi Dheireadh

By Sondra B

Word Count
Date: 03/28/05
Series
Rating:T
Category: Relationships
Pairing/Focus: W/R
Warnings
Summary: The survivors of the Holocaust have finally reached Earth, but they find out that’s not the end of their problems
Spoilers/Disclaimers:Battlestar Galactica and its characters are creations of Glen Larson and copywrited by Universal Studios. I make no money off of this.
Beta: Mariel & Elly

Colonial speech: " "
English speech:‘‘


Chapter One

“Sir, why is this necessary?”

Admiral William Adama looked across the table to Lieutenant Felix Gaeta, while contemplating his answer. “It’s called strategy, Lieutenant,” he finally answered as he reached across the table and moved a small figurine to another square on the grid placed between them.

The younger man sat back and shook his head as he looked at his watch. “Five minutes.”

A ghost of a smile crossed William’s face while he sat back. “You did much better than I expected.”

“What, five minutes?” Gaeta shook his head while looking at the board, wondering what he could have done better. He was the Admiral’s tactical officer, he knew he should have done better.

“It takes time to learn how to strategize. War College is one thing, putting it into practice is something completely different.” Adama picked up a glass and took a sip of the clear liquid inside it. For a short time he fingered it before setting it back down on the table. “Commander Allen was going to do this once you had taken your position on the Columbia, but things have changed.” Leaning forward, William cleared the board and placed the pieces back in their box, leaving Gaeta to fold up the playing board. “Once you master how to strategize in two dimensions, it is only a short jump to three.”

“Yes, Sir.” Gaeta nodded while looking around the Admiral’s cluttered quarters. Turning back he found Adama had stood up and was putting the sacred game back where he found it. For a moment the older man paused while looking at the books in one of the many shelves that lined the walls. He was searching for something. Feeling slightly uncomfortable, but not by much, Gaeta realized wanted to leave, but he wasn’t dismissed just yet. “Sir, may I leave?”

“Not yet. There’s something I want you to read.” Adama’s voice sounded distracted as he continued his search. Grunting in sudden approval, he turned around with a book in his hand. “Here.” He handed it to Gaeta. “This talks about the different strategies you can employ while playing the Sacred Game. I want you to study and think about them carefully.”

Gaeta nodded as he accepted the book. No doubt the admiral already knew all the different ways that could be used for the game. Adama had even allowed him to take the stronger side, but he still lost. Something was not right.

“You’re dismissed.”

“Thank you, Sir. Uh, Sir?

Adama tilted his head a fraction. “Yes?”

“Do you want this back?”

“For once, Lieutenant, yes. You’re not the first, and you will not be the last to study the contents of it.”

“Yes sir.” Gaeta stood at attention and saluted, waiting for Adama to answer. When it was returned the younger officer turned on his heels and left the rooms for his own rack. Turning a corner, he ran straight into Lee Adama, the Admiral’s son and only living relative. “Sir!” the tactical officer backed up several steps, clearly startled.

“What’s wrong, Lieutenant?” Lee had also moved away, wishing once again that mirrors could be placed in strategic areas of the ship so this sort of thing did not happen.

“Nothing, uh, Major Adama.”

Lee smiled sheepishly, “I’m sorry if I startled you. I didn’t mean too.”

“That’s all right.”

“I see he’s given you a book.” A slight smile crossed Lee’s face as he looked at the thick volume.

“It’s on strategy. . .”

“With the Sacred Game. I know. He had already had me study it. But, don’t worry, he still beats the crap out of me on a regular basis, and I’m not talking about the boxing ring.”

“That’s somewhat nice to hear.” Gaeta shook his head wryly.

“Well, my father’s had many years of experience, and the First Cylon War to learn how to strategize while under a lot of pressure.”

Gaeta nodded, instinctively understanding what it took for Lee to make that admission about the Old Man. “Which means I will never get to that stage.”

“You never know.” Lee gave a slight smile. Now moving away he turned, “Good luck.”

“Thanks,” Gaeta answered while moving around the corner.

Lee stood there for a few minutes, looking down the corridor. As if waking from a dream, he shook his head and sighed. Turning back around he continued on towards Adama’s quarters.

“Dad?” Lee asked as he stepped through the door.

Adama stepped from his small, cluttered office. “Yes?”

Lee hesitated a moment, “I just returned from Colonial One, Sir. Her captain told me that they’re having trouble with their FTL drive. He’s is attempting to get it up and running again, but I’m not sure if that is possible. Dad, you know those ships out there were not made to take what we’ve been putting them through.”

Adama signed as he sat down in a nearby chair. “I know. And I also knew it would only be a matter of time before the civilian ships start breaking down from as many jumps that we have forced them to make.”

“Don’t forget the Galactica.”

Adama let out a short laugh while shaking his head. “I know. She’s almost as old as I am.”

Lee let a flicker of a smile cross his face.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, how are you holding up being the acting XO over on Pegasus?”

It was Lee’s time to sigh as he sat down. “Let’s just say I wish I was CAG over here.”

“Just remember this, the Executive Officer is supposed to be the hardest on the crew, not the commander. You need to push them, not break them.”

“To make the ‘Old Man’ look good?”

“Uh-huh.” William sighed as he settled deeper in his chair. For a second his eyes flickered open slightly then closed again.

A few moments later Lee screwed his eyes shut tightly as he grasped his head.

“You must be prepared for anything and everything,” Adama murmured. “Your mind must not be compromised.”

Lee took a quick gasp as he rubbed his temples. “I wasn’t prepared. That hurt.”

“Son, you will never be given time to prepare yourself if that happens. You must always be on the alert.”

Lee looked up to William, only to find the older man studying him closely. He was still relaxed, but had an edge about him. “I bet Kara’s better than me,” he tried to joke.

“Kara is not sensitive.” William leaned forward and grasped the empty glass on the table before him along with the bottle next to it. Opening it up, he poured some of its contents into it. “Do you want something to drink?”

“No.” Lee shook his head gingerly. The aftereffects still lingering on.

“You’re headache should be gone within the hour.”

“I guess I need to get back to the Pegasus.” Lee stood up slowly and moved towards the door.

“Son.”

Lee stopped and gave William a questioning glance.

“Be careful.”

“I, I will.” The younger Adama closed the door behind him.

For a time William gazed at the door, not really thinking of anything, but letting his mind wander. It eventually settled on the comment he made to Gaeta about how things had changed. They had gone from a thriving twelve planet economy and society with billions of people down to 70 or so ships and about fifty thousand souls. The civilians depended on the safety, albeit meager, that the remnants of the military could give them.

For the past two weeks they had not heard one whisper from the Cylons, but William knew they were out there. They were out there waiting to pick off the civilian ships that dared make the mistake of lagging behind, or trying to make a go at it without the protection the military somehow still provided. If we make mistakes, people die. He remembered calmly stating to Dee during those five hellish days after the Holocaust.

There had been highlights, but those were few and far between. President Laura Roslin had informed him early on of their first birth. He never though that one simple birth could give such hope to everyone. If anything, it gave the people even more hope than he had in telling them about Earth. Getting back up, he removed his jacket and draped it over the back of his chair in his small office. Sitting down he wearily lowered his forehead onto the back of his hands. All he really wanted was one day of rest, but he knew that would never happen. The Cylons showed them no mercy. These days of inactivity were harder on everyone than the days where the Cylons attacked them nonstop.

He had no idea how long he stayed in that position when the phone buzzed and Dee’s voice came over the small speaker, “CIC to Admiral.”

Sitting up, Adama rotated his arm to get the kink out of his shoulder then reached over and picked it up. “Adama.”

“Sir, President Roslin is on the line for you.”

“Put her through.” He closed his eyes as he leaned back and tried to settle deeper in his chair. The cord to the phone kept him from leaning any further back than he already was.

“Admiral?”

“Yes, Madam President?”

“Because of the backlog from recent events, I will not be able to come over for our regularly scheduled meeting. I do apologize for that.” Her voice came across as being apologetic.

“No need to apologize for that, Laura. Just don’t push yourself. We don’t know. . .”

“How much time I have been granted with Baltar’s procedure,” she finished. “I know, but I do have a government to run. I heard it was the same with you when you were, and still are to some extent, recovering.”

“Touché.” Adama let his smile creep into his voice. “I guess that means that dinner is off?”

“For now. I will make it up to you, Bill.” If at all, she sounded even more apologetic.

“We can handle the meeting tomorrow. Because of your backlog it would just be easier for me to shuttle over.” He hesitated before continuing, “Is there anything else I need to know?”

“Only that it still bothers me what the Tomb of Athena gave us. How do we know that the information is right?”

Adama let a smile creep across his face before answering, “It sounds like you’ve started to doubt.”

“Not doubt. I just want to be sure of our destination,” she answered with mock indignation.

“Laura, don’t worry about it. The M8 Astral body is something that we already know about.”

“What will happen when we get there?”

“I’m not worried about that right now. My main goal is to make sure that we make it there alive.”

“Right, I know. It’s, it’s just that I worry about it.”

Adama’s voice softened, “Worry all you want, it’s not going to change the decision we made on Kobol.”

“In other words, if you make your bed you need to lay in it.”

“You catch on fast. What we found out on Kobol is now considered ancient history in our current situation. We need to deal with the here and now, not what could or should have been.”

“Like finding out there were survivors on Caprica.”

“One and the same. I had the same type of discussion with Lee before we lost most of our water. He had not learned how to come to terms with his decision concerning the Olympic Carrier.”

“I see,” her voice was quiet.

“Anyway,” William glanced at the clock. “It is starting to get late.”

“I know. At least I can take my time and read that book now. I haven’t had any time to myself. And you know, I never properly thanked you for giving it back to me.”

“No one has had any time for themselves. Laura, I want you to take care of yourself.”

“I will. See you tomorrow.”

Adama set the handset back in its cradle then settled himself back in his chair while letting a small smile cross his face. He still worried about her, and a deep concern for her well-being was still there, but he could not let that cloud his judgment and ability to make command decisions. Seeing her so ill pained him too much. To this day he still wonders how he will go on without her presence. He had come to rely on her as the voice of calm and reason in their troubled times. The crazier things got the more solid she became.

Ever since he got out of Life Station after his own near death experience he had problems dealing with making the hard command decisions. With Laura now healed, somewhat, he found it easier to make those decisions with her input. He knew they were leaning more and more on each other, it was something he wasn’t sure about.

~~~~~~~

Gaius.

“Why are you still here? I thought you were using Gina,” he answered rather distractedly.

Are you listening to me?

“Of course I am!” He slapped his pen down on the table. This time he looked up. Lately she had not been communicating with him like she used to. Ever since Gina showed up on Pegasus, the woman in his mind had been shuffled off to the side and disappeared for a time. The image from his mind, or model number six, was wearing her revealing tight red dress, apparently trying to get his attention.

Something is going to happen very soon that will change everything.

“You said that before, and look where it got me.” He stood up and gestured around his cramped laboratory. He had barely made a dent in all the blood samples. Their population was just over 50 thousand, and he was expected to run the Cylon test on each and every one of them.

Because you did not believe. Remember god has a plan for everything.

“Like that ship?”

That was our resurrection ship. You also know we are called to reproduce. Six placed her hands on his chest and started caressing him.

Shaking his head, Gaius grasped them and backed away. He much rather be with Gina than with an imaginary, or so he thought, woman in his head.

And for the humans to repent.

“It looks as if most have decided not to.” He released her hands and ran one of his through his unruly hair. “Most, as you already know, still prefer worshiping the Lords of Kobol. Even after the ones that came over to attempt to convert everyone, failed. When all you have left is religion, a person will hold onto it with everything he or she has.”

~~~~~~~

“Colonel, Sir. DRADIS states that it’s the astral body M8.” Gaeta examined the screen at the tactical station closely. Turning around he looked at highest ranking member currently on duty in CIC.

“Bring the fleet to a stop.” Tigh let out a sigh as he picked up the handset in the center console. He heard the command go out when he turned to Dee. “Get me the Admiral.”

“He’s over on Colonial One meeting with the President, Sir.” Dee touched her ear piece, listening closely. “You’re through,” she related after a moment.

“Admiral.”

“What is it, Colonel?”

Tigh looked up at the DRADIS screen set above him. “We’ve reached the M8 Astral Body. I called the fleet to a halt for now.”

“Good. I’ll be over as soon as I’m finished here.”

“Yes, Sir.” Tigh replaced the handset and turned back to Dee. “Who’s on CAP?”

“Hot Dog and Starbuck are, sir.” She paused before continuing, “Sir, Commander Fisk is calling.”

Tigh rolled his eyes before picking up the handset again. “Yes, Commander.”

“Has the admiral been appraised of the situation?”

“Yes he has. He’s meeting with the President right now on Colonial One, and will be back shortly.”

Fisk gave a quick acknowledgment then disconnected the line. After a moment or two he turned back to Dee, “Get on the horn and let the rest of our pilots know that we need them ready. We don’t know what’s out there and if the Cylons are hiding within the M8 body.”

“Aye, Sir.”

~~~~~~~

“Admiral on deck!”

“As you were.” Adama quickly moved around to the stairs and neared the commander’s station set several steps down in the CIC. “So, that’s it?” he looked up at the DRADIS screen for a moment before turning his attention back to Tigh.

“Yeah. I’ve also expanded the CAP. We don’t know what the hell is out there in all that hash.”

“Mr. Gaeta.” Adama turned around.

“Yes, Sir?”

“Any signs of Cylon activity in the area?”

Gaeta examined the information that DRADIS was sending to the tactical station. “Not so far.”

“Good. I want you to have the computers scan the star clusters to see if they match any of the constellations we were given while on Kobol.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Bill turned back to Tigh and asked quietly, “Any word on the civvies’ FTL drives that are giving us problems?”

“No, Sir.” The Colonel shook his head.

Adama looked back up to the DRADIS again. “I don’t like this position. We can be easily pinned against the cloud with no way out.”

“Sir?”

Adama turned to Gaeta. “Yes, Lieutenant?”

“We have a 50 percent match on several of the constellations.”

“That’s better than nothing.” Tigh gave a slightly wry grin.

“But not good enough. I was hoping it would be higher. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that low of a match.” He scanned the room before letting his eyes settle back on his long time friend. “Get me a count of all the civilian ships that we know their FTL drive is failing. We might have to try and find room on the other ships if necessary.”

“Yes, Sir.” Tigh turned and moved over to Dee’s station and said a few soft words. With a nod she began sending out messages. “Sir?” she said after a few minutes.

“Yes?” Adama moved over to her station.

“Ten ships confirm that they need to have complete overhauls of their FTL drives. If they are used again in their present condition the computers will melt and be of no use to us at all.” She hesitated before continuing, “Colonial One, is one of them.”

“She’s small enough to have her permanently docked within either battlestar,” Tigh started.

“But I don’t want to give preferential treatment to her. That may be the base of our civilian government, but what about the other ships?”

“Well, that’s just great, isn’t it,” Tigh grumbled. He continued a bit louder, “Have our computer techs fan out to those ships and see what they can do.”

Dee glanced to Adama for a moment for approval. He gave a quick nod and turned his attention back to the DRADIS screens. “I want the Pegasus to come around, that way both battlestars can be a barrier between whatever is out there and the M8 body.” Moving closer to the table, Adama picked up the phone. “Get me Pegasus Actual.”

“Aye, Sir.”

“Pegasus Actual.”

“Commander, I want you to bring the Pegasus around so we can use both battlestars as shields.”

“Sir, I’m not - -”

Adama cut him off, “Fisk, we have at least 10 civilian ships out there that are incapable of jumping right now. We have to do what we can to make sure those ships, and their civilian passengers, survive.”

The line was silent for a moment. “Yes, Sir. Bringing Pegasus around.”

Adama replaced the handset, hoping that they could get the issue resolved before there was any loss of life. For a moment he thought about having the noncombatant ships slip into the cloud, but quickly decided against it. There was no telling if they could even navigate out of it once inside.

Chapter 2

Jack O’Bryan stood in the center of the bridge and looked out over the people that were sworn to secrecy. Only the highest levels of the government knew of their whereabouts. The large high resolution monitor set on the wall showed the roiling colors of the nebulae they were hiding within. They were hiding so they could keep at bay the hordes of races that were out in the not so distant reaches of space. Terra had been out exploring and minding her own business when they found out how deadly space could be.

It was her idea, though. If it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t be in a position to make sure Terra thrived and succeeded. People thought it ironic and funny at first that she wanted to revive the ancient ways of her people. She had kept at it for some time before they finally agreed to her impossible scheme. Once the approval came, she quietly passed the word to anyone that seemed interested. In less than fifteen years they had made a name for themselves. No one wanted to face “The Finns” as they were being called and her Piranha Strike Force.

“Any change?”

Jack turned around and looked at the honey-brown hair beauty standing behind him. Like everyone else, she wore a brown uniform, but hers bore no rank or markings. She need not have them, everyone knew who she was.

“No, they’re still there.”

She looked at the monitor for some time before speaking again, “I do believe they will be there for a while. Come, Jack, there is something I want you to read.” She turned and moved towards the passageway that lead deeper into the bowels of the ship.

Looking around again, Jack always wondered just what went through her mind. No one knew and she seemed more a mystery than anything else. Rumors had it that she wasn’t born on Terra and that she wasn’t even human. It was impossible, for all government records stated that she was.

“What is it?” he asked as he stepped into the small room. As leader she was allotted a much larger space, but she refused it. She had most of the space converted over to a recreation area for her crew. They worked and fought hard, and she commanded them to play even harder. What was left was a cabin about the same size as was given to the lowest ranked among them. She never thought of herself as their leader, but their servant. Because of that everyone had vowed to follow her to their death if need be. But because of her tactical abilities that had not happened. Hopefully it would not happen for some time to come.

“I found something interesting.” She handed him a large tome with strange writing. He rolled his eyes then looked at her. “Mair, You know I cannot read this stuff.”

She shook her head. “That is something we are going to have to rectify. I want everyone here to know and speak the old tongue.” Mair hesitated before continuing, “Have we had any transmissions come from that group of ships?”

Jack shook his head, “If they did, it’s lost in all this hash. We’re doing good to be able to see them.”

She pursed her lips for a moment, “We’re going to have to figure that out. This is something that we will most likely need in the long run.” Taking the book back, she turned it around and scanned it for a moment. “It is said that in the earliest versions of the invasion stories of the Mythological Cycle the Tuatha Dé Daanan came from the sky. It is never mentioned where they came from, but they were considered to be, and I quote ‘the fairest of form and were a people of magic wonders with esoteric knowledge’.”

“So?” Jack shrugged his shoulders. “It’s just a myth.”

“To you maybe, but it’s also ancient traditions and legends. Every legend has a grain of truth to it.” She closed the book and set it down.

“So what?” he shrugged again.

“Jack, when you first told me that the fleet out there is comprised of humans, it got me to thinking. I’ve always thought we were the only humans out here in the galaxy. That whole fleet throws that viewpoint out the window.”

Jack sighed. “I know.”

“I want to know why they’re there, and what their plans are.” Mair drummed her fingers on the rather large book. “Jack, I want your people begin work on cutting through the feedback the nebulae is giving us. I want to know what’s going on without them knowing we’re here.”

“Always have to have tactical superiority.” Jack gave a short laugh.

“Which is why we’re still alive. We need to be one step ahead of everyone that’s trying to kill us.”

“Or just this ship and you.”

“That too.” Mair smiled warmly at him. “Now get going before I write you up for lagging.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he gave a mock complaint as he waived his hand in her direction while heading out the door. When she was alone once again, Mair looked down to the book and opened it up again.

Jack arrived back into the control center of their ship and settled down at one of the computer stations. Mair really wanted to be able to hear what was going on out there, and he didn’t blame her for her desire to know. He was just as curious of the newcomers as she was.

Pulling up the audio he systematically began to remove the different elements of the hash they were confronted with. When part way through he started picking up voice elements. The more he worked with it the clearer it became. “Damn,” he mumbled. “That almost sounds like. . .” he stopped as he turned to a woman who was sitting beside him. “Angela, could you get the Commander, I really think she needs to be here.”

“Sure,” she commented as she rose from her seat.

A few minutes later he felt a hand on his shoulder. “What did you find?”

Turning his head he commented as he ran through a series of commands, “Listen.” The language that came out was a slight variation of the old tongue. “Holy Mary Mother of God. . .” Mair muttered. Taking a step back she crossed herself as she closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes and leaned back over.

“It would seem that the original myths of the coming of the Danaans was right.” Jack shook his head at the irony of it all.

“My question is why are they there.” Mair took a few steps towards the large screen. It showed nothing of the fleet that sensors revealed to them. Truth be told, they didn’t need the screen at all. It was just something to fulfill the need of “seeing” what was in front of them.

“Do you want to make our presence known?”

“Negative! Not until I know otherwise will we even breath a word in their direction. The Martoks did this before and we lost an entire fleet to their treachery.”

“But they have no idea about the Old Tongue. How would they even begin to trick us like that again.”

“Jack, I cannot do that. Until I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are real, we will stay here until further notice.” Mair turned on her heels and walked quickly to the back of the room and down the hall.

“I guess all we can do is to listen to what’s going on. Anyone here understand the Old Tongue?”

~~~~~~~

Many hours later the last of the computer techs finally reported their findings to Admiral Adama. On at least half of the ships in question, their FTL computers hard drives crashed and were not able to be brought back up. Adama closed his eyes and sighed. Too many people and not enough space on the other ships. Not only that, but he had no idea how far or how close they were to their goal. With the population so low they could not afford to loose a single soul. He was going to have to come up with something else to solve the problem. Glancing down to his watch he noted the time. Gaeta would be coming by in about an hour for another ‘strategy’ session, though the younger man had come to call it a brutalizing session under his breath. Adama understood the younger man’s view well enough, but that was the only way to learn.

The bosun’s tone sounded suddenly over the speakers accompanied by Tigh’s voice, “Action Stations, Action Stations. Set Condition One throughout the fleet. This is not a drill. Action Stations, Action Stations. Set Condition One throughout the fleet.”

“Frack,” Adama muttered under his breath as he moved quickly towards the CIC.

“Admiral on deck!” Dee called out when she caught sight of Adama.

“As you were.”

“DRADIS contact, Sir!” Gaeta called out.

“Identify.” Adama turned to his tactical officer.

“Cylons, Sir. Two Basestars.”

“Launch all VIPERS.” Adama knew they were in a very bad position. This is it, he thought somberly.

“VIPERS away, Sir.”

“Get me Pegasus Actual.” He moved over to the Commander’s station and picked up the handset.

“Aye, Sir.”

Fisk’s voice came through the speakers, “Admiral, we have to get out of here.”

“We can’t do anything. If we leave the non-FTL ships we will loose thousands, and if we stay we will loose everyone.” Adama disconnected the line without waiting for a responce from the commander.

Another alarm sounded, this one more ominous than the ones before. “Radiological alarm,” one of the specialists called out. It was followed by Gaeta, “Incoming Ordinance!”

“Frack,” Adama muttered. He looked to the DRADIS screen. There had been multiple missles. All but one were stopped. There was now nothing he could do to counteract the homing device it was implanted with. “Brace for impact!”

When the explosion did not happen Tigh turned to Gaeta, “What happened?”

“Not sure, Sir. I think the electrical energy field from the nebulae has messed up the homing device.”

Adama looked at the screen and realized suddenly that it was now heading towards Colonial One. “Get me Colonial One’s captain. Now.” Adama picked up the small handset.

“Admiral!”

“I know. Get away from there as fast as possible, but stay close to that cloud!” Looking up he watched in detached fear the events beginning to unfold before him. At the last minute the nuke angled up and flew past it to impact with the cloud.

Oh gods, I can’t loose her, he thought numbly as he helplessly watched Colonial One be completely overwhelmed by the feedback from the explosion.

“Captain! Captain, can you hear me? Are you there?” It took all Adama’s considerable will to not yell into the mic. In the background he could hear the VIPER pilots as they continued to engage the cylons.

There were several long moments of silence before they received a faint message through the static. “Kryptar, kryptar, kryptar. This is Colonial One. Lost engines, lost life support. Have minimal sensor ability. Need help immediately.”

Adama looked back up to the DRADIS. The government ship was closest to the Pegasus. “Colonial One, do you have thruster control?”

“Affirmative.”

“I want you to emergency dock with the Pegasus.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Docking during a battle is insane, you know that,” Tigh grumbled as he leaned on the center console. Adama’s glare stopped Tigh from continuing with his comments. “Yes, Sir.” He shook his head as he moved a few steps away.

“Get me Pegasus Actual.” Adama turned his attention back to the DRADIS screen.

“Yes, Sir.”

~~~

Mair stood there silent as she listened to the panicked, disjointed messages flying back and forth across the small fleet. They were outclassed and outgunned by the attacking forces.

Angela turned from her screens and commented, “Commander, we have got to do something.”

“I know,” Mair answered softly. “I know what it’s like for them. . .” She turned to look at the screen then made her decision. “Bring the Goch out of the cloud, keep the shields up and have the Piranhas ready.”

“Yes, Commander,” she answered crisply. “There’s a lot of electronic jamming. It also sounds like the attacking forces use some type of electronic attack.” Angela worked her controls, trying to get a clear signal on what they were about to deal with.

“Then we will give them a taste of their own medicine,” Mair mumbled. “Get ready the worm,” she ordered.

“Aye, Sir,” Jack answered while pulling up the necessary information required for a concentrated electronic attack.

~~~~~~~

“Frack, what is that!” Kat’s voice came over the speakers.

“DRADIS contact, Sir! Coming out of the cloud.”

“More Cylons?” Adama asked.

“No know configuration, Sir,” Gaeta answered worriedly.

“Ignore them. If they make any threatening move then we will have to get out of here. . .somehow.”

The ship that emerged was about half the size of a battlestar. At least sixty small fighters emerged from the underside of the ship and started towards the two Cylon basestars.

“Sir, they’re attacking the Cylons.” Gaeta shook his head in confusion.

Moments later all the raiders stopped and the two basestars exploded from within. Everyone in the CIC was stunned at the sudden turn of events. Adama’s voice eventually cut through the silence, “Have our pilots pursue and destroy remaining Raiders.”

“Yes, Sir.” Dee answered. “VIPER pilots, pursue and destroy remaining toasters.”

“Aye, aye!”

With the added support of the unknown ship they were able to quickly eliminate any possible threat the cylon raiders now posed, but Adama wasn’t paying any attention to that. He was watching closely Colonial One attempting to dock with the Pegasus. With only maneuvering thrusters it slowed the process down to a crawl. When the ship was safely docked Adama turned his attention back to the more pressing matter at hand, the new vessel that had helped them defeat the Cylons.

Chapter 3

Kara Thrace, call sign Starbuck, climbed out of her Mark II fighter. They had more than survived, they had kicked butt, but only with the help with the arrival of that unknown ship. Thankfully she had not lost a single pilot. While peeling off her gloves she contemplated what just happened.

Not bothering to change into her uniform, Kara headed straight for the CIC still in her flight suit. Everyone she passed in the corridors didn’t have any answers as to what just happened. Stepping inside the command nerve center she could hear the chatter from both the civilian ships and the comm from the fighters that were on scheduled CAP. “Lee?”

Lee turned towards her voice, but let her continue.

“Have you heard anything from Colonial One?”

A ghost of a smile crossed the younger Adama’s face before answering, “She was able to successfully dock here. The CMO is checking her passengers just in case there is any radiation poisoning. That missile did explode pretty close to that ship.”

“Yeah, I saw it.” Kara shook her head.

Lee looked at her again, “All right, now why are you really here?”

For a moment Kara had a sheepish look on her face before answering, “Well, I, um, I’d really like to get my hands on one of those fighters.”

“You’ll have to talk to dad about that.” Lee shook his head. “We haven’t heard one peep out of them.”

“Major Adama.”

Lee turned around to see who was calling for him. He still wasn’t fully familiar with everyone’s voice, but he knew it would come in time. “Yes?”

“We just received word from Life Station that the President has been released and is wanting to shuttle over to the Galactica.”

“Thank you,” Lee nodded while taking the message he was handed. Turning, he looked to the Commander, not knowing what Fisk was going to do about this.

“Let her go,” Fisk shrugged, “And have the Admiral deal with her.”

“You still have no idea what we’ve been through since the Holocaust, do you Commander?” Starbuck asked.

“Kara.” Lee’s voice held a tone of warning. Moving over closer, he lowered his voice, “This isn’t the Galactica. You have to play by the rules here.”

Some of the earlier tension in Kara’s face drained away, leaving behind naked exhaustion. “I know, it’s just. . .”

“We have all been through a lot. I know. I was there, remember?” He hesitated before continuing, “Get some rest.”

“Not before I finish the paperwork. You know I think it breeds. I leave it alone for one hour and it’s twice as high since the last time I looked at it.”

“Don’t look at me, I’m not CAG,” Lee gave her an amused look as he dismissed her. Giving him a quick salute she turned on her heels and quickly walked out of the CIC and down into the Pilot Ready Room.

~~~~~~~

“Okay, so they now know of us.” Jack shook his head.

“Well duh! We just kept them from being shot out of the skies.” Angela shook her head at Jack’s obvious understatement.

“Children.” Mair turned around to look at them with a stern look on her face. She was rewarded with them looking somewhat contrite.

“Sorry,” they both mumbled.

“We will keep radio silence for now.” Maybe we’ve done too much for them, she thought to herself. “No,” she whispered more for herself as she turned back to the screen. “They were clearly outmatched.” Bringing her attention to the crew she continued loud enough for them to hear, “Have the Piranhas come back on board.”

“Yes, Commander. Do we set up a patrol?”

Mair hesitated for a moment while turning back to the screen. “No, not now. I don’t want to seem too aggressive to them. They are obviously military, so they do have some sort of protocol for flight patrols. Let them do it for us, that is for now.”

The fleet that was spread out before her seemed to have about the same level of technology as the Terran Republic, but they also seemed to have been in space much longer. She wondered if it was an ancient civilization, but had stagnated over the centuries, content in what they had and did not work on pushing the technology forward.

“Sir, just got word from our lead pilot, Johnson. He reports that the fleet was using two types of fighters. One was much more advanced than the other.”

“When you’re at war, you will use anything and everything you can get your hands on to defend yourself.” Mair looked down to the reports she was just handed. “How many of our pilots know the old tongue?”

Jack shook his head, “I’m not sure about that. Probably not very many.”

Mair shook her head, “That’s not good, you know. If need be I will have the computers reprogrammed to only have that language. That way it will force you to learn it.”

“Does it help that I keep this phrase book with me?” Angela commented as she held up a small electronic PDA.

“It’s better than nothing.” Mair gave her a slight smile.

~~~~~~~

Stepping inside his quarters, Adama found his table piled high with paperwork and Laura standing off to the side with her back to the door. Dee had reported to him earlier about the President’s arrival on the Galactica, so he wasn’t that surprised to find her here. Pulling the door shut he stopped it just short of making any sound then moved behind her. Reaching out, he placed a hand on her shoulder. Jumping, she whirled around and he engulfed her in a strong embrace.

Laura stood there surrounded by the warm bands of Bill’s arms. She placed her head on his shoulder and mumbled, “Gods, I was so scared. We could see everything from the windows.”

Bill tightened his arms and let a hand move up her back to reach her neck. “It’s all right,” he whispered.

“What changed your mind?”

“About what?”

“This,” she let her hand slide up the front of his jacket to rest over his rank insignia.

Loosening his arms, he pulled back slightly and studied her face closely. “With the cancer I had time to learn to let go. With what happened today, I realized that I hadn’t done so yet.” He cupped her face with one of his hands. “I almost lost you.”

Laura let a small smile cross her face when he pulled her close again. She thought it felt right and she tucked her face into his neck. Of all the men I could have fallen for, it had to be him, she mused.

As if on cue, they both backed away from each other. “So, who are these people that stopped the cylons?” she asked as she collapsed on his couch.

“Not sure.” Adama collected a couple of glasses and a bottle. “Water?”

“Yes, please.”

“I have yet to ask,” he answered as he sat beside her while placing everything on the table before them. Filling the glasses he placed the bottle back on the table and handed her one of them. “And they have yet to offer any information.”

“I’ve been hearing things about how the Cylons just stopped. Do you know what went on?”

“The only thing I can think of is that the newcomers somehow sent a computer virus.” He leaned back and let her nestle against him.

“You know, with the bit of cylon blood I carry? It’s given me the ability to handle higher levels of radiation. Dr. Cottle gave me a clean bill of health after I came on board.”

Bill was in the middle of taking a sip then stopped. “Really.”

Laura nodded. “Most of the others have to go through radiation treatment. I wish we were further away from the cloud.”

“If you were, the missile would have. . .”

Laura brought her fingers up to silence the words that were about to come out of his mouth. “I know.” She let her attention be pulled back to his table, that had her paperwork on it. “And I hope you don’t mind me using your quarters as my office. I promise that I’ll stay in the guest rooms.

“Who said anything about you staying there? What’s wrong with staying here?”

“Nothing,” she answered flustered. “It’s just this isn’t, this is your quarters.”

“I know.” He gave her a smug grin.

“Then,” she started slowly, “You’ll be staying in the guest quarters?”

“Who said I would be staying somewhere else?” He leaned closer as his voice lowered down to a whisper, “These are my rooms.” Bill watched as her eyes closed slowly as he moved the final distance and brushed his lips against hers. Just as she started responding he pulled back and got up. With the sudden support gone she shot a hand out to keep her from falling.

“Damn you Admiral William Adama,” she groused. Getting to her feet Laura moved behind him and wrapped her arms around him. “You’re not getting away from me so easily,” she whispered into his ear. He reached down and pulled her around to now stand in front of him.

“Laura,” his voice was dangerously low, “If I start I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop.”

Looking into his eyes, she saw how the deep blue now blazed with desire. “Is that why you got up.”

“Mostly.”

Chapter 4

Mair looked up at the figure of the woman she had been named after in adoration while fingering the beads on a necklace. She moved methodically through them while mouthing words. There being no priest out in the depths of space, she had to make due with what was available. Her absolution had to be good enough for now, though it bothered her. She had decided early on that the first thing she was going to do when she stepped back on her native soil of Ireland was to go to confessional. Only then would she feel better.

Leaning back, she crossed herself while bowing her head and mumbled a few words. With that completed she rose to her feet and backed away. It wasn’t exactly a shrine, it was a grotto for the Catholics that were stationed on the ship. There were other places of worship, synagogues and churches along with a mosque and other temples for the lesser worshipped religions. There was a well known axiom that they still believed: you will find no atheists in foxholes. When the fighting started all the areas set aside for worship became very popular with the crew. She tried to make concessions, scarfs for the Muslim women and other articles of clothing for the others. If it did not affect the crewperson in defending themselves, then she allowed it, within reason.

Mair looked out the door and in the direction of the bridge. She knew she had to be the one to reach out to the strangers. This area of space, though they were on the edge of the Terran Republic was a dangerous place to be, and a group of civilian ships would not last long, even with the protection of two capital ships. They needed to be in a safe place, and for humans, the safest was in the inner Sol system. That area was guarded with the most powerful and heaviest ships that had been built. So far nothing had gotten though them, and hopefully it will stay that way for a long time to come.

She stepped onto the bridge almost twenty-four hours after the skirmish.

“Commander, everything’s been quiet,” Ensign David Harris reported.

“Good.” She looked around before continuing, “Have we picked up any transmissions between the ships?”

“Not so far. Either they’re on radio silence, or they’re using something we’re not in any position to pick up.” David pulled up another image, “There is something else, though I’m not exactly sure what it is. The modulation seems to have a consistent pattern to it, almost like it’s a form of communication.”

“Carrier waves?” Mair mumbled while leaning over David’s shoulder. “They can’t be using radio?”

“Not sure, but now that you mention it, that’s what it looks like.”

Mair rolled her eyes while shaking her head. “They can’t be that primitive.”

“Are we going to contact them?” David looked up.

“Yes, we have to. This is a dangerous area.” Mair backed up a few steps. “If they are using radio, that means we’re going to have to route the signals through our ecm if we want to hear anything they say. I wonder why they don’t have anything more advanced that this?”

“Who knows?” Harris shrugged.

Looking at the image on the Hi-Resolution screen Mair finally commented, “When the system is ready I want you to open a channel.”

~~~~~~~

Laura slowly came up from the depths of sleep and turned over to nestle against the warmth she knew would be there. She grew further awake when she found she was alone. Blinking her eyes she let the room slowly come into focus. The only lights that were on were coming from both the head and a single lamp in Bill’s office area. Closing them she could feel sleep beckoning her once again. It was rudely interrupted by an insistent buzzing sound that started. It was somewhere near her head. It took a moment before she realized that it was the phone. Reaching back, she knocked something over while trying to get to the handset. Once retrieved she put it next to her ear, only to realize that it was upside-down.

“Hello?” she answered sleepily.

“Madam President,” Bill’s voice came across the small speaker.

“I’m awake, I think,” she answered as she sat up slowly. It was then she realized she wasn’t wearing anything under the covers.

“Sorry if I woke you up,” he said softly. She could hear the background noise associated with the CIC.

“That’s all right,” she mumbled as she swung her legs off the side of his rack. Her breath hitched a moment when she felt soreness set in suddenly.

“Are you all right?” he asked, concern lacing his voice.

“No, I’m not all right! I’m sore!” she hissed. “And you very well know the reason why. I’m blaming you for it,” she grumbled.

Bill’s voice lowered to almost a humorous sounding whisper, “It’s not my fault.”

“That’s what you all say,” she countered as she gingerly stood up. “Have you heard anything from that ship?”

“Nothing so far.”

Laura looked to the clock, it was some time after reveille. “I’ll be in CIC within the hour.”

After placing the handset back in its cradle she opened his small locker and retrieved his robe. She noticed that her clothing was hanging neatly to one side. Now sufficiently covered, she went over to her traveling bag and pulled out the toiletries she needed. Reaching his personal head she started setting them up. Looking into the mirror there was a flash and suddenly she was standing on a mound in a green field. Twelve standing stones were placed in equal distances around her and each had carved into them the ancient symbols of the twelve tribes of Kobol. Just as quickly it ended leaving her reeling. She grabbed the edge of the counter to keep her from collapsing. When everything stopped spinning she closed her eyes and tried to bring the image back up. Why now? I’m not taking the Chamilla anymore, she thought to herself. Shrugging, she went back to getting herself cleaned up.

Now standing in the shower, Laura thought about what happened the previous evening. They had crossed a line somewhere during that time, but the thought of what his hands could do made it all worthwhile. She only hoped that wasn’t going to be the only time.

Slipping on her shoes she stood there while wondering if she could walk without showing that she was still sore. She figured it would be some time before she was fully recovered, they had be quite ‘active’.

Taking a step out of Adama’s quarters she found her two marine escorts standing there. One seemed to have a slightly smug grin on his face, as if he thought he knew what really happened the previous evening. Ignoring them, she walked smoothly down the hall and in the direction of the CIC never showing that each step made her muscles ache all the more.

When she reached the CIC she stepped inside and to the steps that lead down into the heart of the room, while her escort stayed just inside. Bill was talking to someone on the handset while a woman’s voice came through the speakers. “-- O’Neill of the Terran Republic Forces. You are just inside our territory. My question to you is what are your intentions.”

“Commander, all we are looking for is a safe place.” Bill looked up and noticed Tigh indicating the side of the room. Turning around he saw Laura had just arrived.

“Admiral, this area of space is a dangerous place to be in. You have two capital ships, but that will not stop the Martoks or any of the other races around here. You are lucky that we found you first.”

“I will keep that in mind.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. Looking back he indicated with a wave of his head for Laura to take the final steps down into his domain.

It took a moment before Laura realized that she understood what was being said, though the woman had a very odd accent along with strange words thrown in ever so often.

“I do not like being this forward, but I feel that we need to meet very soon.”

Bill glanced to Laura, a silent question in his eyes. She nodded. “We can have it over here,” he finally answered. “I can also have our President attend.”

“That will be fine. I can be over in a little more than an hour. Admiral,” she acknowledged his rank before closing down the channel.

“We can understand each other,” Laura said. “Do you think?”

“I’m not sure, and will not guess - -”

“Until you have all the facts. I know, I do remember.” Laura gave him a slight smile. “So,” she looked around before setting her attention back on Adama, “We will be meeting them in about an hour?”

Adama nodded, “Yes, Madam President.”

For a brief moment she was hurt that he used her title, then remembered that as of right now their relationship was to remain secret.

Tigh watched the by-play between the two and shook his head. Somehow they had gone from being at each other’s throats in the beginning to being completely in-synch with each other. He had no idea what was going on between the two of them.

“Saul, it’s the only way we are going to have any chance for survival,” Bill commented quietly. “I want you to get on the horn to Pegasus. I want her represented at this meeting.”

With that said, the two leaders left the CIC to prepare for a meeting they were both wary about.

“I’m not sure about Baltar. I don’t want him to come,” Laura commented softly.

“He doesn’t belong.”

“I tried to get him to resign, but he twisted my words around.” Laura shook her head.

“Sounds like he’s turned into a politician,” Adama commented.

Laura glared at Bill, “Not that way. I would know if he’s acting like a politician. I have a suspicion that something is behind his actions.” Looking down, she realized that she wasn’t as sore as she was earlier. “How long before we know who will be coming over from the Pegasus?”

Bill shook his head, “I’m not sure about that. Shouldn’t be too long.”

They stepped inside his quarters. As soon as the door was closed he turned around and pulled her against him, while kissing her hungrily. “Gods, Bill,” she gasped as he blazed a trail down her neck. “Wait.”

“We’ve got time,” he growled as his hands quickly hiked her skirt up. “For -- ahh -- you. . .” she moaned as he hit a sensitive spot. “Please. . .Later.”

Bill managed to pull back. He noticed she wanted it as much as he did, but she was right, now was not the time. “We need to get prepared. No telling what will happen when this meeting starts,” she said slowly, trying to control her now raging hormones while pulling her skirt back down.

“Then I need to take care of this,” he looked down to the large bulge now in his pants.

“Do you want me to?” she asked sweetly, but with a mischievous look in her eyes.

“If you did, it wouldn’t stop there,” he answered while moving into her personal space. Pulling back again he went into the head.

Taking a deep breath Laura went over to the table and searched through the paperwork until she found what she was looking for. It was a rather battered copy of the Sacred Scrolls, the same copy that got drenched while on Kobol. Opening it up she began to see if she could find any information concerning Earth other than the Legend of the 13th Tribe. Anything that could be of help to them in the coming meeting.

With her thus preoccupied she was startled by Bill’s hands brushing her hair to the side as he reached down for her neck. “I did warn you yesterday,” he whispered. Reaching back with her free hand she easily ran her fingers through his short hair, tousling it. Adama eventually backed up and turned around to check in the mirror that his hair wasn’t too mussed. Deeming everything fine, he turned his attention back to the table and the mound of paperwork Laura had yet to even touch. When he finally sat down he was a good three feet away from her. “What are you looking for?”

“Any other references to Earth,” she answered distracted.

“There isn’t any, I’ve already looked through the Scrolls page by page,” Kara answered as she stepped through the door. Behind her was Lee.

“No Commander Fisk?” Laura asked as she raised an eyebrow.

“He told me he doesn’t want to have to deal with the civilian authorities.” Lee shook his head slightly.

“Because you were my military advisor he thought to send you in his place.”

“Seems that way.” Lee gave her a slight grin as he went over to the table. “So what’s going on?”

“We can understand them,” Adama announced. “Other than an odd word thrown in ever so often, we can understand them as well as if they were from one of the other Colonies.”

Chapter Five

“Do you think they’re from Earth?” Kara asked.

“Starbuck,” Lee looked at her critically.

“Sorry, I was just wondering.”

“It’s too early to tell at this time. The commander I spoke to was a part of what she called Terran Republic Forces,” Bill answered while taking notes on a piece of paper.

“I, uh, saw something this morning.”

“What?” Bill stopped and turned his attention back to Laura.

“I’m not quite sure. I swear to you, I’m off the Chamilla, but this happened in the same way as the earlier ones.” She paused before continuing, “I was in a green field standing on an earthen mound with twelve standing stones circling the base. Carved within each stone were again the ancient symbols of the Twelve Tribes. The scene was much the same as when we were on Kobal, except it was daylight.” She pictured in her mind the image from earlier. “There was something else. Four trails lead up to the center all straight angles from each other, like a circle with a cross on the inside.” Laura shook her head. “I’m not sure what it was, but it seemed important.” It was then her stomach made a rather noisy protest from not having anything to eat since she woke up.

“No breakfast?” Kara asked while flipping through her own copy of the Scrolls.

“No,” Laura answered rather sheepishly. Catching Bill out of the corner of her eye, she tried to stop him as he rose to his feet. “I’ll be all right. Don’t worry about it.”

Adama ignored her feeble attempt at protest while speaking quietly into his phone. “Healthy or not, you still need food,” he answered while sitting back down after he was finished.

Laura finally turned her attention to the two younger officers, they seemed intensely interested in Kara’s copy of the Scrolls. Letting her eyes settle back on Adama wasn’t much better. He was still writing something down. When a knock on the door finally sounded they all jumped. Getting up, Bill went over then came back with a plate of sandwiches. He was careful not to let his fingers brush over hers when he set it down.

“Thank you,” Laura finally conceded as she reached for the food. Looking up to Lee she saw he had a slight smile on his face, one, Laura knew, that easily echoed his father’s.

Lee leaned over, “When it comes to something like this, don’t argue with him.”

“Personal experience, Major?”

He nodded.

“Starbuck,” Bill cut through the quiet conversation. “Their commander is coming over. I want you and your best pilot out there. If they do anything aggressive I want the threat neutralized. We cannot take any chances here.”

“Sir, is there any reasons why?” she asked slowly. Her eyes flickered to Lee for a moment, not sure how he would take the orders either.

Bill was silent for a few minutes while deciding how to answer. “We have ten civilian ships that are incapable of jumping right now.”

Laura sucked in a breath. “Is that why we stayed here?”

Adama stared down at the papers before him. He knew when he answered Laura would be extremely angry with him. He also knew that she would then demand to know if Colonial One was one of those ships.

“Yes.” He hesitated before continuing, “If that other ship had not arrived I would have had those ships slip into the cloud while we would draw the basestars away from the other civilian ships.”

“Admiral, how long had you known about this?” Laura leaned back and crossed her arms.

Bill tensed up, not wanting to answer her question. He knew he had to though. If he didn’t, he knew she would order him to. While glancing up he put his command mask on. He was not looking forward to what was about to happen. “Two days.”

“Two days?!” Laura sat there stunned. “And you didn’t tell me about it? Why didn’t you at least start the transfer?”

Bill almost slammed his pen down. “What was I to do?! We don’t have enough space on the other vessels to house all the civilians on those ten ships? The Geminon Traveler alone has at least two thousand. And both the Pegasus and the Galactica are military vessels, not pleasure liners.”

“You have the space here.”

Adama shook his head. His voice turned deadly serious, “No.”

Before the argument spiraled any further out of control Kara stood up. “You know, I’ve really got to get down to the flight deck.” Saluting quickly she turned around and headed out of the room. Lee was about to follow, but Bill stopped him. “Wait, Lee. I’m going to need you here.”

The younger Adama turned back around and found that the two had managed to calm down somewhat. “Any reason why, Sir?”

Bill took a breath and closed his eyes for a moment. “I want the Pegasus represented when we meet with them.”

Lee’s eyes widened as he comprehended the situation. He sat back down, “You said we can understand them.”

“Yes, though the accent is nothing I’ve ever heard.” Laura shook her head.

~~~~~~~

Jogging down the hall, Kara’s mind kept wandering back to what she just witnessed. She hadn’t seen the Old Man that angry in a long time. Some of her fellow shipmates said he had been furious when she left for Caprica. That, she could believe. Turning around, she found that Lee hadn’t followed her. Hopefully to keep the two from killing each other.

Sliding down some stairs she cursed quietly. She had forgotten about asking if she could get close up and personal with one of those fighters. Reaching the door to one of the pilot bunk rooms, Kara stopped. “Kat. Get your flightsuit on.”

“Sir?”

“You heard me!” Starbuck turned on her heels and moved towards the pilot ready room, not bothering to see if her order was complied. The pilots all knew her though, they would never dare not show up. A few minutes later the darker skinned pilot walked through the doors, just finishing up with the suit. “Any reason why, Sir?”

“The Old Man wants us to play escort, but with teeth.”

It took a moment before Kat realized what was expected. “Now?”

“Yeah, now.” Starbuck turned and headed down to the flight deck, this time with Kat right behind her.

~~~~~~~

Bill went over once again to his office area. This time he needed to talk to Saul and let him know what was going on. Getting off he turned his attention back to the two that were still in his quarters. Moving over Adama made sure that he did not touch Laura in any way. For now he wanted his relationship with her to be completely private.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, how badly damaged is Colonial One?”

Lee frowned slightly. “Not good. I’m not sure how your captain was able to do it, but the entire electrical grid was blown. If we can’t rewire it, then we need to completely replace it.”

Laura looked down to her hands, “That means I’ll be either stranded on the Galactica or Pegasus for the foreseeable future.”

“Looks like it, Ma’am,” Lee answered rather apologetic.

“What about the crew and people on board?”

“Last I heard they were responding well to the treatment. Mr. Keykeia should be back over here in about a week, at the latest.”

Laura let her shoulders sag in relief. Billy had turned into the only family she had left, and she knew it was the same for him.

Eventually Bill got up and began gathering some of the papers he had been making notes on. “Where is this going to happen?” Lee asked as he stood up.

“Ward Room.”

They walked quietly to their destination, each in their own thoughts. Stepping through the door Bill leaned over, “Guard you thoughts,” he said quietly to Laura, not knowing how he could explain the concept to her any better than that. Turning his attention to Lee he nodded slightly as if to re-enforce their earlier conversations. All they could do now is wait. The younger Adama nodded in answer as they sat down and looked at the papers now spread out before them.

~~~~~~~

Starbuck sat in the cockpit and looked out over the inky blackness of space surrounding her. To her right was Kat’s VIPER. The only thing they could do now was wait. Turning around, Starbuck could just make out the rest of the ships if they were not backlit by the roiling colors of the nebulae. The CAP flight wove in and around the ships, making sure everything was as it should be. She had contacted them and let them know some of what was going to happen. Turning back around, she looked at the unknown ship again.

“How long are we going to be out here waiting?” Kat grumbled over the comm.

“As long as it takes.” She could fully understand the other pilot’s boredom. Showtime, she thought when a smallish ship appeared. “Follow my lead. Don’t fire on them unless you are provoked.”

“Understood, Sir.”

Hitting her burners Starbuck’s VIPER quickly accelerated towards what could only be considered a shuttle. Kat’s VIPER close behind. When they reached it they passed on either side and then came back around on opposite sides. The trio quickly moved towards the Galactica and her one functioning flight pod. They had yet the time or the personnel to convert the other one back to a hanger deck. Entering into it, Starbuck let Kat lead the way. The newer pilot’s VIPER eventually settled down on one of the many elevators. Once securely in place it was lowered into the deck where it could be prepared for its next flight.

When the shuttle settled down on the elevator deck Starbuck waited until it had been lowered down then hit her turbos and left to go back to the Pegasus.

~~~~~~~

Mair walked down the stark drab corridor, eyes darting in every direction. Without looking, she knew her only other companion from their ship was doing the same thing. They had been met in the hanger by the Executive Officer. Now she was following their escort with two armed guards trailing behind them. Each time they passed a closed door with writing she was only able to catch a fleeting glimpse of it. Making another turn they found themselves in a hallway that ended with another door. Like the others, this one had writing on it, but the characters were unknown to her. Two guards stood outside and on either side of the door. They were armed similarly to the ones that were guarding them, and looked very dangerous.

Reaching it, they were stopped for a moment while the door opened before them. Mair recognized it almost immediately as a ward room of some type. There were three people already gathered inside. Mair hesitated for a moment before crossing the threshold, while Lt. Angela Glennan followed a few steps behind. The room was of decent size. On the back wall were several flags, but she was not able to see what their designs were. About ten feet in front of them was a table with several chairs. Of the people gathered, only one did not wear a military type uniform.

“You are Commander O’Neill?” Mair recognized the man’s voice immediately. It belonged to the one she spoke with on the conn.

“Yes,” she nodded as she took a step towards them.

“Please, have a seat,” the nonmilitary woman spoke while indicating a chair.

Mair looked back to see where Angela placed herself. The ebony-hair Scot had backed up against the wall, observing everything. Turning back to the group, she quickly found her seat. “You are?”

The woman glanced to her admiral then turned her attention back. “President Roslin. You have already met the head of my military.”

“Why are you here?”

“We are searching for something, a place actually.”

“Does this place have a name?”

After all this time, Laura suddenly felt embarrassed at the symbol of their hope. Looking to the woman before her she wondered what knowledge she held. Beneath the table, she felt Bill’s hand settle gently on her knee, as if to let her know that he was there supporting her decisions. The simple touch wasn’t sexual, but one to lend her strength. “It sounds odd, but we’ve always called it ‘Earth’. It’s an ancient legend of ours that one of our tribes left and found Earth while the other twelve went in another direction.”

“Are you sure that is the name?”

Laura nodded. “It is our last hope.”

Mair nodded thoughtfully and was silent for a minute. “Like I said earlier, you are in a dangerous place. What I want to know is who were the ones that were attacking.”

The two Colonial leaders glanced to each other for a second. “They are attempting destroy us.”

“Terra has enough enemies as it is. You are looking to join this 13th tribe?”

“Hopefully, yes, or at least give us sanctuary before we can go back.” Laura nodded. “What you see out there is all we have left of our civilization.”

“What would you say if I told you that I could get you to a relatively safe place?” Mair asked slowly.

“We all would be eternally grateful,” Bill answered.

Chapter Six

Gaius.

Baltar never bothered to look up from experiments with the cylon blood they now had. “What is it this time?” he didn’t even bother to check to see what she was wearing.

Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the Ward Room?

This piqued his interest. He looked up, noting for the first time she was wearing her blue dress, “What do you mean?” His eyes narrowed slightly, wondering if she was toying with him. Leaning back, he for once smiled at the shimmering image before him.

Oh, just that the Colonial President is meeting with people from another ship.

“That means nothing. She’s met with many people from the different ships.” Six leaned in and caressed his cheek with her lips.

But this one isn’t a member. This ship came from somewhere else.

S-somewhere else?” he stammered as the two front legs of his chair hit the deck suddenly.

The image of Six walked slowly around Gaius while letting a finger trace a path over his shoulders and around his neck. Someplace you might find very interesting, she whispered into his ear.

“’Ward Room’ you say?” Baltar turned around for clarification. The only answer he received was a slow smile spreading across her face.

“I am the Vice President,” he said to himself as he stood up and headed out the door. “I should be informed about the important things in the fleet.” The more he thought about it though, he felt his anger begin to grow. Roslin was leaving him out more and more. Even Zarek was getting more information than he was, he thought disgustedly.

As he moved down the hall, ignoring the crew, he was thankful yet again that the nuke was off the ship. Gina had it somewhere at the present time, but he didn’t know where for sure.

~~~~~~~

“What makes you think that we will truly try and offer you sanctuary?” Mair sat back, trying to get comfortable. There was a niggling feeling in the back of her head for a moment. What bothered her was their seemingly more than ready acceptance of her offer.

“All we need is someplace to regroup and settle on a temporary basis.” Laura closed her eyes for a moment.

“I will need to go back to my ship and contact command before anything else is done here.” Mair paused for a moment, “I would hope you would accept the offer of having a liaison type of situation for our two sides.”

“Having one of your officers over here?” Bill asked, not entirely sure about the situation.

“Yes, and you having one of your officers on my ship.” Mair smiled slightly.

O’Neill’s offer was not what they were expecting. Bill leaned over and said quietly, “I still don’t trust them.” Laura answered with the barest nod.

Pushing back from the table, Laura spoke while rising, “I need to discuss this with Admiral Adama.”

“Of course,” Mair nodded while closing her eyes. When they were open, all three were in the back corner, using hushed tones.

“If we do this, I want someone over there I can trust.” Unconsciously Bill touched her arm.

“I agree with you. The question is who do you trust?” Lee glanced back over to their visitors before bringing them back into the discussion.

“Does it have to be military, can we have a civilian over there?”

“No,” Bill shook his head while dropping his hand. “I don’t think that would be a wise decision. A civilian would be like a loose cannon.”

Laura finally nodded, “All right. Who then?”

“Starbuck’s been telling me that Helo is spending too much time with Sharon. If he is, I think we need to get him out of there and doing something more productive.”

Bill looked over to Lee with a thoughtful look on his face. “I know he is. This is a good way to get him out of there.”

“And doing something constructive,” Laura finished. With a slight indication of her head, they all moved back over to the table. “For now, we will accept the offer of having a liaison over here.”

Mair nodded. “You can have your officer come over when he or she feels ready.”

Feeling the first meeting was over for now, they all stood up. “Before I leave, I do need to tell you that very few people can understand this language.”

“I thought. . .” Laura’s voice faded in surprise while they moved towards the door. The other Terran that had come had moved from her position and moved towards Mair. With a nod the two went out of the Ward Room and back towards the Hanger Deck.

Bill closed his eyes for a moment, from the very beginning of the interview he could not read the two, it was as if they knew they were being watched.

“Dad?” Lee said softly.

“Yeah?”

“I’m not sure if it’s me or not, but I couldn’t read them. I think I need more practice.”

Moving back over to the table, Bill picked up the papers he brought. “No you don’t.”

Just as they were getting ready to leave, Baltar showed up. How he had found out about the meeting, they would never know, but he was here now. “Madam President, why wasn’t I notified about this?”

“About what?” she answered coolly while crossing her arms.

“This!” he stormed into the almost empty room. “Where are they?” He ran a nervous hand through his hair.

“Vice President Baltar, I attended a meeting with my senior military officer. There are some things that a vice president is not privy to.”

“But I should be.”

“Not now because you’re not the president.”

“Oh, but I will be soon enough,” he answered smugly as he left the way he came.

“I swear, I didn’t tell him anything.” Laura held her hands up in supplication. “I have no idea where he gets in information.”

“Same here,” Bill answered.

~~~~~~~

O’Neill and Glennan took the same route back to the hanger that they came in. “How did it go?” Angela asked quietly as they rounded another turn.

“As well as to be expected. They are acting and thinking like refugees, even when they have a military and civilian government. I’m going to have to get a couple of capital ships out here to help them.”

“Will Admiralty allow it?”

“They’ll have too. They’re humans and they are our cousins.” Mair stopped suddenly and leaned up against the bulkhead as she sucked in a breath while wincing.

“How close are we to the shuttle?” Angela asked, worry masked her voice.

“Not. . .far,” Mair answered while gritting her teeth. Why now, why couldn’t it have been on the shuttle, she bemoaned to herself.

“And you didn’t bring your cane.” Angela shook her head as she helped Mair to move again.

“Stop nagging,” Mair groused.

“How you got to where you are now, I will never know.”

“And I will keep it that way.”

The rest of the trip went somewhat slower. When they reached the shuttle Mair turned around and handed the other woman a PDA. “Lt. Glennan. I am making you my liaison here.”

Angela’s jaw dropped. “P-permission to speak freely, ma’am?”

“Granted.”

“Why me?! I don’t understand the language at all.”

“It is a part of your heritage, and plus I trust you to do what’s right.”

Angela closed her eyes. “I’ll never be able to learn,” she complained in her last effort.

“Do not worry about that. You will learn the language very quickly. I dare say you will be fluent in a very short time. The PDA has your basic phrases that you will be able to use. That will get you started. When I get back I will have your things and a transceiver sent over for easier communications.”

Just as Angela was getting Mair settled back into the shuttle, they both heard the executive officer’s voice from just outside. “It seems that the Admiral told me there’s to be some sort of liaison here.” He took a step just inside.

“Yes,” Mair answered as calmly as possible through her pain. “Lt. Glennan here will my, the Terran representative.” She turned her attention back to Angela, “Don’t worry, it’ll be all right.”

Angela gave her a somewhat shaky nod as she held onto the PDA tighter. She had been attempting to learn the language, but this was not the way she wanted it to happen. Taking a deep breath, the Scot backed out of the shuttle and followed the executive officer to what she hoped was a safe place to be. She watched in silence as the shuttle rose in the now weightless environment of the hanger bay and flew out to the ship. When gone, she turned back around and found the XO on the comm talking to someone. Having no idea what was going on, she desperately hoped that it wasn’t bad, though she could defend herself if provoked.

When the door finally did open, another younger officer with black hair stepped through. Something was said, but she wasn’t sure if it was a name or an introduction.

“Oh great,” Tigh complained under his breath.

“What is it, Sir?”

“Lt. Gaeta, the Old Man permitted a liaison on the ship.”

“By the way she’s acting, she has no idea what we’re saying.”

“That’s about it. I want you to make sure she learns.” And with that Tigh left the whole situation in the tactical officer’s lap.

“Sir?” Gaeta asked as he turned around, but Tigh didn’t answer for he was already gone.

Chapter Seven

“Are you sure this is the right thing to do, Bill?” Laura asked as she stepped through the door into Adama’s quarters. “And what was that you and Lee were talking about?”

Adama closed the door behind him. “It’s the best we can do for now. I’m not sure how far we can trust them.” He walked over to a side cabinet and retrieved a bottle with two glasses. “And at this time I do not wish to discuss the issue with Lee.” Adama handed her a glass of water then sat down on the couch.

The sudden awkward silence was cut short by comm buzzing. Getting up, Bill went over to his office area and picked up the receiver, “Adama. . .yes, I did. . .Helo. Have him report here.” Terminating the conversation he placed the receiver back in its wall socket.

“Everything’s changed, Bill,” Laura’s voice came from behind him.

Turning around, he gave a single nod as he went back over to his couch to sit down.

“I can understand you not wanting to talk about. . .” she let her voice drift off.

“It’s something few people know about.” He shook his head, not willing to comment any further on it, then changed the subject. “Commander O’Neill chose the officer that accompanied her to be their liaison.”

“I’m not sure she’ll be able to understand us.” Laura looked around the room for a moment before setting back on Adama.

“I know, but we’ve never had to deal with this type of issue before, even within the Colonies. We might - -” he was interrupted by a knock at the door. Getting up he walked over to the door and opened it up. Lt. Agathorn was standing just outside.

“Sir, you wanted to see me?”

“Yes, Lt. Please step inside.” He would have brought the young lieutenant to his table, but it was covered with Laura’s work, so they stayed somewhat close to the door. After closing it he turned to face the ECO. “I have a job for you, Helo. For the time being I am assigning you to be our liaison on our visitor’s ship.”

“Sir?” Helo blinked in surprise.

“I want someone over there that I can trust. I do inform you that there will be very few people you will understand.”

“Yes, Sir.” Helo nodded, still in shock. After a moment or two he seemed to shake himself out of it. “How long will I be there?”

“Until we can find a suitable replacement,” Laura spoke for the first time.

“But what about. . .” the young lieutenant faded off.

Adama stepped closer and hardened his expression. “Lt. Agathorn, you are a Colonial Officer first and foremost, do not forget that.”

Lowering his head, Helo finally nodded. “Yes, Sir.”

“Good. I expect them to send over another shuttle. Talk to Colonel Tigh and get a transceiver so you can make daily reports, and collect your gear. Dismissed.”

“Yes, Sir.” Helo saluted and turned on his heels to exit the quarters.

“How long?” Laura asked while going back over to the couch when they were alone once again.

“I’m not sure, though I do expect him to head to the brig first.” Sitting down beside her, he gently brushed a lock of her hair off her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. She closed her eyes and leaned into the warm touch.

“Bill?” she asked quietly. “I will have to talk to the Quorum and then the fleet. If we could see everything on Colonial One you can be sure so could everyone else.” Opening her eyes, she looked at him for a moment before pulling back and picking up her glass.

“How soon?” he asked seriously.

“Well, with the Quorum, it will have to be very soon. Normally I would have this on Colonial One, but with it out of commission, I’m going to have to have everything here, including the message to the fleet.”

Bill nodded as he rose and walked over to his table. Searching through the stacks, he found what he was looking for and returned. “You will need to think about what you want to say to everyone.”

Laura slowly reached out and took the notebook and pen offered. “At least I’ll not be disturbed with government matters when trying to figure out what to say.”

~~~~~~~

Lt. Gaeta looked at the woman before him. Her uniform was of a color he would have never thought, brown. It was somewhat formfitting, which he thought might be a bit of a problem. With her not knowing the language made him uncomfortable. It was nothing he would have ever expected. The population of the Colonies all spoke the same language. She was obviously human, but spoke something different. “Ma’am?” he tried, not expecting her to understand. Not getting her attention, he stepped over to her and touched her shoulder. She jumped and immediately took what looked like an defensive posture. Stepping back he raised both hands to show that he meant no harm. “Sorry.”

For a moment she stayed there, breathing hard. Finally calming down somewhat she looked at him in confusion then looked at the instrument she held in her hand. Pressing a few buttons she shook her head with what looked like frustration, then ran her hand through her short hair.

What do I do, he asked himself. Better yet, what do I start with first. Making his decision he tapped his chest with his finger and said, “Felix.”

She looked at him for a long moment before answering in the same way, “Angela.” She looked down again and pressed a few buttons. What she said next surprised the tactical officer, “I am learning, please be patient.” Her accent was odd, but he could completely understand her. He nodded.

Angela’s expression relaxed, as if relieved that he could understand her.

“Come.” He indicated the door and hoped that she would know to follow him. This would be a long few days or weeks until she learned enough to communicate with the rest of the crew, he thought.

Stepping into the corridor he glanced back to see if she had followed. Breathing a sigh of relief seeing her just behind him, he gave her a quick nod and moved off towards the guest quarters. She would be staying there until either a new liaison officer came on board, or she be assigned somewhere else. With each turn he continued to glance back, just to make sure she was still there.

“Where?”

Gaeta stopped and turned to look at her. “Guest quarters.” He turned back around and continued. When they reached their destination it was only around the corner from Adama’s. For a moment he hesitated, not entirely sure if their Admiral was staying in these, or the President. With Colonial One out of commission for the time being, he knew the President had decided to stay on the Galactica for now. Not taking the chance, he went to the second guest quarters and opened the door. It was somewhat sparsely furnished, but much more spacious than any of the officer’s quarters.

‘Thank you,’ she said quietly as she stepped through the door and into where she would be staying for the time being.

Gaeta furrowed his brow for a moment, not quite understanding what she said. It took a moment before he realized that was the other language. It was more guttural, but not harsh sounding. Giving her a slight smile, he went over to the comm and punched a few buttons. “Dee, could you get me the Admiral please? Yes, I’ll wait. . .Sir. . .yes, we’re in the secondary guest quarters. . .The Colonel, pardon my language, dumped it in my lap. . .When. . .all right, but she doesn’t understand much of anything. Yes, Sir.” He placed it back in its cradle and turned back. For a time he was at a loss for words, not exactly sure how he would do this. Adama did want her in the CIC soon enough, but didn’t know when she could go.

~~~~~~~

Mair stepped out of the shuttle leaning heavily on the door frame. Taking a step she then leaned heavily on her cane. What she needed was to get to her quarters and take her medicine, but that wouldn’t do today. She needed to contact the Admiralty and tell and request with hindsight the liaison situation. Of course, she knew they would be angry with her, and also push her to take a medical retirement, but she wouldn’t, she couldn’t. They needed her out here, and her superiors knew that. There was no one nearly as qualified as she was that was available to take over. Even the men and women beneath her weren’t at the same level she was. Knowing what needed to get done, she would do it and then take the medicine and be out for several hours.

There was nothing wrong with her, that much the scans stated, but her crew all knew what she had. When needed, they would vouch for her. That was something she would always be in debt to them. Which is why it was so hard for her to have Angela as her liaison. She would be loosing one of her officers, and that’s something she never accepted gracefully.

Making it to the elevator, she leaned against the wall while directing it to the communications level. Within a moment the door opened. Taking a step forward she could feel as well as see the crew turn to her. Before she could take another wobbly step, Jack came up to her while shaking his head.

‘Don’t even say it,’ she commented while leaning heavily against him. Using her cane as a pointer she indicated Harris. ‘Over there.’

Jack nodded and helped her over. Sitting heavily in a chair she hissed in pain while closing her eyes. ‘Harris, I need you to send a message to the Admiralty about what happened.’

‘Commander, are they refugees?’

She nodded while slowly calming her breathing.

‘Where’s Angela?’

Mair looked up and saw that Jack was looking to the door she had just emerged from. ‘She is our liaison for now. That is until Admiralty decides to get off their collective duff and send a professional out here.’

‘Anything else you want to tell them?’ Jack asked while raising an eyebrow.

‘Only that we’re going to need a couple of capital ships out here, preferably ones that have big guns. I also need to contact them again, we’re going to have to send over another shuttle with Angela’s things along with a transponder for her pda.’

‘Yes, Ma’am,’ Harris nodded letting his fingers flit over the communications console. Bringing up the emc controls, Harris had the signals transmit through jamming equipment. ‘You’re on.’

‘Thank you.’

"Admiral Adama?"

“Yes Commander?”

“I will be sending over another shuttle with Lt. Glennan’s personal items. I will also have a transponder sent over so she will not be completely cut off from us.”

“I understand. I will have our officer return on that shuttle.”

“There is one other thing. I will be contacting my superiors and asking for a couple of our capital ships sent out here. Admiral,” she acknowledged him then had the transmission cut. ‘Harris, per my orders, contact the Admiralty and tell them what we need. You will know where to find me.’

Taking a deep breath, Mair used her cane and pushed herself to her feet and slowly limped out of the command center and back to her quarters.

Chapter Eight

‘Commander?’ Jack knocked on Mair’s door, not quite sure if she was in any condition to have any visitors.

‘Open the door, Captain,’ a tired voice came from the small speaker set in the door controls.

Opening it, Jack found her curled up on her bed, under a blanket, in almost in a fetal position. ‘Bad one?’ he asked as he moved across the small room. Her quarters were sparsely decorated. Passing by her token chair, he brought it with him to the side of her bed and sat down on it.

‘No worse than normal,’ she answered while shaking her head.

Jack looked down to the paper in his hand. Folding it up, he stuffed it in a pocket. ‘The shuttle with Glennan’s things along with a transceiver is on its way. Also, Admiralty’s sent an answer.’

Mair raised her head slightly and looked closely to her First Officer. If he was uncomfortable, he didn’t show it. He was about as unreadable when he wanted to be as she was. ‘Which is?’

Jack touched a panel the chair arm rest. It activated a screen set in a position that Mair could see without having to get up.

Commander O’Neill, per your request we are sending two Scimitar class frigates and two Atlantis class destroyers. They will arrive within the day. You are also commanded to assess the threat level this fleet shows, if any, and take action accordingly. If you see the threat level is sufficiently lowered, bring them to the outer Sol System. You are then ordered to report directly to HQ.

Mair closed her eyes, ‘I knew it would only be a matter of time,’ she mumbled.

‘Will the Admiralty force you to take a medical retirement?’

Mair gave him a ghost of a smile, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised. They’ve started getting very vocal lately in their objections of me being out here with what I have.’

Jack shook his head while protesting, ‘It hasn’t stopped you from doing your job.’

She reached out a hand and touched his arm. ‘Your concern is appreciated, but you’re below me. I don’t think they will take that into consideration when I meet with them.’ Mair rolled over to her back. ‘I would also have preferred to have four Atlantis class destroyers, but the frigates will be able to take up part of the slack.’

‘I guess we need to contact the refugees to warn them about the ships.’ Jack stood up and moved the chair back to where he found it.

‘I can write out phonetically what you need to say to them, but then they’ll answer and ask questions.’ She sat up slowly.

Moving back over quickly, Jack pushed her back down. ‘You’re in no position to do this. If need be I can get the CMO to order you to stay here.’

Mair’s eyes flashed dangerously. ‘Captain O’Bryan, you are treading on thin ice.’

Jack backed up quickly while raising his hands in supplication. ‘I’m only worried about you. You do know we’ve been very lucky so far. I’m just afraid that you’ll have one of your attacks in the middle of a fight.’

Mair dropped her shoulders. ‘If you’re that concerned, then pipe it down here,’ she suggested. ‘They don’t need to know of my condition.’ She gave a short laugh, ‘I wonder what they’re going to think about the destroyers. They’re close to the size of those two big military ships the refugees have.’

Jack smiled. ‘I would think they would be either scared out of their minds, or relieved. Probably a little of both.’

Mair nodded. ‘Let me know when you contact them. I’ll do it from here.’

‘Yes, Ma’am,’ Jack answered crisply while standing to attention. He saluted, even though he knew she wouldn’t be able to answer in her current position.

‘You’re dismissed, Captain.’ She paused while flashing him a smile, ‘Now get out of here.’

Smiling, Jack nodded while backing up. He quickly left her quarters and went back to the Command center. The sound seemed to drop for a moment as everyone turned their attention to Jack. Moments later it rose back up to previous levels. ‘How is she?’ Harris asked as O’Bryan came over to the Ensign’s station.

‘No worse than she would be.’

Harris nodded, ‘And the answer from the Admiralty?’

‘Commander O’Neill will talk to them from her quarters.’ Jack stood up and looked around. ‘Attention everyone.’ He waited until everyone’s eyes were set on him. ‘Admiralty will be sending four ships out here. Two Scimitar class frigates and two Atlantis class destroyers. We will stay with the refugees until further notice. Admiralty has also wanted us to assess the threat level and act accordingly.’

Lieutenant Daniel Thompson, who had taken over Angela Glennan’s position, spoke up for the first time. ‘Sir, I’ve done scans and almost all of those ships are incapable of putting up any type of resistance. In fact, some reports I’m getting back state that some of those engines are getting extremely inefficient, and seem to be getting worse.’

‘We know that, Lieutenant, they most likely know it, but the Admiralty does not. They’re not the ones out here judging to see how dangerous they could be.’ Jack sighed then turned his attention back to Harris, ‘Are you ready for this?’

‘Yes, Sir,’ he answered. ‘I just need to get it piped down to Commander O’Neill’s quarters. Shouldn’t take too long.’ After a moment or two, Harris turned his attention back to O’Bryan. ‘We’re ready now. Just need to contact them.’

‘Commander?’ Jack asked.

‘I’m here,’ Mair’s voice came over the speakers. ‘This is why I wanted everyone to learn the Old Tongue.’

‘How did you know there might be others out here?’ Jack finally gave voice to his curiosity.

‘I didn’t. I’ve always believed that if the language dies, then so does their history. We still need to contact them before our ships show up.’

‘Yes, Sir.’ Harris let his fingers dance over the ECM controls, activating the transmitters.

~~~~~~~

“Maybe I should make a press release and then when we get more information, a full press conference.” Laura put the end of her pen in her mouth. Crumpled up sheets of paper were scattered around her and on the floor, earlier offerings of a possible speech she was attempting to write.

“It would be easier. Do you want me to release it?” Bill asked, looking up from a book he had started reading.

“That might be best for now. How about this: I know you have seen the ship that joined us recently. We are here in the Galactica’s Ward Room because Colonial One is not in any condition for government press releases. Admiral Adama will be able to tell you more of their arrival. We do know they seem to be fully human and we can understand some of them. They have offered us a safe place to either settle or re-coop our losses. As of right now there has been an exchange of liaisons on either side. If you all remember, they easily destroyed two attacking Cylon Basestars and kept us from loosing any of our civilian ships.” Laura set the notebook down on her lap while looking hopefully towards Bill.

He shook his head. “You make it sound like you’re in a press conference. This will be press release, so just get to the point.”

Laura dropped her shoulders while closing her eyes. “I never knew just how hard speech writing is.”

“It’s not speech writing that’s hard, it’s the press releases that’ll get you in the end.”

A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth, “Sounds like you have personal experience with it.”

Adama shrugged his shoulders, “Some.”

“All right, I guess I’ll try it again.” She tore off the sheet and started crumpling it up.

“Don’t do that, what you’ve got is a good start. Just work from there.”

Laura looked up quickly and nodded slowly as she smoothed it out Closing her eyes again she started concentrating on what she could say. Her thoughts were interrupted by short buzzing, then Bill answering the call.

“What’s going on?” Laura asked as he moved across the room

“I’ll let you know,” he answered while opening the door.

“Wait, Admiral,” she called.

Bill turned around to find her slipping on her shoes. “I’m coming with you.”

He seemed to think it over before finally offering his arm. Taking that as a ‘yes’, Laura came up and curled her hand around his arm. When their fingers touched, they both gave a short squeeze then released to a more formal position. “Where is the liaison?” she asked as they moved into the hall. Her marine guard fell into step behind them.

“Secondary Guest Quarters.” Just as they were passing the door, Laura stopped. “I would think it would be a good idea for her to come.”

“That, and the fact that Lt. Gaeta is with her. I would prefer him to be in CIC.”

Laura shook her head while smiling. “What are you waiting for?” Releasing his arm, she moved over to the door and placed her hand on it. She hesitated when she realized that it wasn’t closed all the way, so she pushed it open. The Terran was sitting down and pointing to something and had Lt. Gaeta tell her what it was then entering it into some type of small computer.

Laura turned her head to look at Bill, “She’s learning our language.” The President turned back to the scene before her then stood to the side letting Bill enter. “Lt. Gaeta.”

“Sir.” Gaeta stood quickly to attention.

“As you were. I would prefer you to be in the CIC right now.”

“Sorry, Sir.” The lieutenant looked down.

Bill’s voice lowered, “Off duty you can help her learn. I need you in CIC.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Come.” Adama ordered while turning around and leaving the rooms.

Gaeta glanced to Angela for a moment, surprised that she was smiling. “Come,” she repeated while moving to the door. The lieutenant nodded while following her out.

When they reached CIC, Adama immediately went over to Dee and grabbed a handset while nodding.

“Admiral Adama.”

“Admiral, I wish to inform you out of curtesy that I have received conformation that we will have four ships, two frigates and two destroyers on their way. They will arrive sometime today.”

“Thank you, Commander.”

“And a shuttle with Lt. Glennan’s personal items is on its way, along with a transceiver for easier communications.”

Adama’s brow furrowed, “This is difficult for you?”

“You have no idea what we have to do to speak to you like this.” O’Neill paused, “Is my liaison there?”

Adama turned around and found that Glennan had followed them to the CIC. Her eyes were wide and taking in everything around her. “Yes.” Walking over to her, he handed her a headset.

Angela slowly reached out and took it then put it on the way she saw others in the room do it.

‘Lt. Glennan?’

Angela gave a smile of relief. ‘You have no idea how good it is to understand someone.’

‘Don’t worry, it’ll come. You’ll be fine. And I trust you do to what’s right. I want you to watch and assess their threat level to us on the inside. This comes from the big guys.’

‘Yes, Sir. I understand,’ she answered while nodding. Looking around she found they were watching her, but with blank looks on their faces.

‘Good luck.’

“Admiral Adama?”

Angela handed the headset back to Bill. “Yes, Commander.”

“I will work with your liaison to help him or her understand us here.”

“Thank you, he will greatly appreciate your help. Commander,” he acknowledged her then disconnected the line.

“Admiral,” Laura asked from across the plotting table. “It sounds like they have a totally different communications setup than ours.”

“It would seem.” He turned his attention back to the liaison.

Chapter Nine

Angela let her eyes move around the multi-layered, multi-stationed room. It was obviously the heart of the ship she was on. The odd part was that it had no HD screens showing what was going on outside the ship, not that it was needed. There were much smaller screens all over the place that were giving sensory data to be acted upon. One of the cluster that was hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room had many [blips] on the screen and one off to the side marked with a different color. That one had to be her home ship.

The military organization she represented was an integral part of the Terran Defense forces; but, like the highly specialized teams of old, such as the Navy SEALS or Delta Force, they were allowed to have some freedoms that other organizations were not given. Even though the rules seemed relaxed, they weren’t, the minimum requirement of every officer on board was to have a black belt in any form of martial arts that the officer chose. They were also encouraged to take up a specialty. One of Angela’s was infiltration. This assignment though was going to be much harder because she was not notified beforehand and that did not need to hide. Her orders were to assess the fleet’s strengths and weaknesses, if any, and act accordingly. If the nerve center of the ship she was on was any indication, the fleet was having a hard time dealing with the situation.

The men and women stationed in what she would eventually find out as the Combat Information Center, CIC for short, were exhausted. They seemed alert enough, but with one more glance around the room, she could tell that they had not had any decent down time. No rest. I wonder how long this has been going on, she thought to herself.

“Lieutenant Gaeta, I need you to take Lieutenant Glennan to Life Station so Dr. Cottle can examen her.”

Angela turned when she heard her name. Hearing everyone using the Old Tongue was almost too much for her to take in. She saw Admiral Adama talking to Felix, she had yet to learn his last name, and it sounded like their short conversation was about her. There was another exchange then the younger officer turned his attention to her. “Come.”

Nodding, she followed him up and out of the room. Once out in the corridor she turned on her pda and scrolled down through the phrases, looking for something she could use. When she found what she was looking for she lightly touched his arm to get his attention then asked, “What is your name?”

He seemed confused for a moment, as if he thought that she already had that information. A moment later, he realized what it was she needed. “Lieutenant Felix Gaeta.”

Angela closed her eyes, trying to figure out what the first word was, it had to be a rank, she had heard Adama use it before while in CIC. Not knowing if hers was any different she decided to use the English designation she was used to. “Lieutenant Angela Glennan.” She paused then continued, “Where?”

Gaeta’s brow furrowed a moment before answering, “Life Station.”

Angela searched through her limited database for anything that would match what he just said. Not finding anything, she shrugged her shoulders then let him lead her through the ship’s many corridors, hoping that she was right in letting him do this without any question from her. Somehow she knew that they needed to learn to trust her as much as she needed to learn how to trust them. Until her language skills improved sufficiently to not need her pda for those reasons she would be at their mercy.

She was just starting to put the new entry into her limited database when they turned a corner and ran into someone who seemed like he was in a hurry. He was somewhat lanky and had a shock of hair and rumpled clothes that easily pegged him as being a civilian.

“Where are they?” he demanded.

“Dr. Baltar, please,” Gaeta attempted to sidestep the demand.

Angela watched the conversation with guarded curiosity. Dealing with the military was one thing, civilians were another thing all together. They were the loose cannons and it was best to be cautious around them in a crises.

Something seemed to catch the unusual civilian’s attention and he swung his eyes to her. The intensity of his gaze made her feel uncomfortable. Without thinking she moved into a defensive posture.

“Hello there,” he asked in his smoothest voice.

Angela decided to play dumb for the time being. Soon enough she wouldn’t have that luxury. His eyes glanced down to her pda and his eyes changed subtly. Cocking his head as if to listen to something, the civilian slowly reached for her lifeline. She jerked the small computer out of range and glared at him, as if daring him.

“Now is not the time, Dr. Baltar,” Gaeta shook his head, but was watching Angela closely. He could tell she had shifted her weight to something different. Taking her arm, Gaeta pulled her to his other side so she wouldn’t have to deal with the half-mad scientist.

“She’s not a member of the fleet.” Baltar crossed his arms. “You know she could be a Cylon, one can never be too sure.

“This is something I cannot answer. You’re going to have to talk to either President Roslin or Admiral Adama.” Not wanting to answer any more questions, Gaeta managed to get them past the Vice President and into the corridor where Life Station was located.

‘Strange man,’ Angela mumbled while shaking her head.

“What?” Gaeta glanced at her.

“Sorry, not. . .know. . .words,” she closed her eyes in more of frustration than anger. When she opened them up she finally noticed the walls in the corridor. They were covered in pictures and notes. My God, she thought to herself as she slowly took in the enormity of these peoples loss. When Terra lost the Titan Colony it was bad enough, this had to be ten times worse for them. Indicating the walls, she shook her head. “Sorry,” she said softly.

He nodded then indicated the door at the end of the hall. Opening it up, she found herself in their sickbay. What shocked her was that it reminded her was the chaos of a hospital on the front lines of a war. An older individual with a lab coat came up to them when he noticed their entrance. “Is that her?”

“Yes, sir,” Gaeta answered as he backed away.

Shrugging her shoulders, Angela followed the obvious doctor deeper into the chaos. Glancing around, she could see the unmistakable signs of a medical system strained beyond its capacity. The exam went fairly quickly and she very soon was walking out and back into the main area. What surprised her was the fact that Gaeta was still there.

“She’s clean.”

Gaeta nodded while opening the door. Once outside he brought her quickly through the corridors, apparently not wanting to meet up with Baltar, to the secondary guest quarters. Opening up the door they found that the shuttle had already come and gone leaving her personal items in her quarters.

“I have to get back to CIC,” Gaeta commented, hoping he was understandable.

Angela nodded somewhat distracted while opening up her large duffle bag never hearing the door close behind Gaeta. Pulling out a soft case, she smiled relieved that they had packed up her computer and sent it over. In a smaller case was a re-charger that used oxygen to power its batteries, that way she wouldn’t have to figure out how to keep her electronic equipment batteries charged up. At the bottom of the bag and folded just as neatly were two day and one dress uniform. Those she immediately unfolded and hung them up in the closet provided. What was left was her pajamas and toiletries, or so she thought. In a case off to the side she found quite a few e-books along with movies. Bless you, Commander, she thought with a smile on her face.

With everything now unpacked, she set up the charging device and placed the pda next to it. Only when the battery was completely discharged would she recharge it. First though, she needed to make her preliminary report. Turning the communications on, she checked to see if the transmitter was working.

‘Hearing you loud and clear, Lieutenant. Isn’t it a little soon to be making a report?’

‘Maybe, Sir,’ she answered into the built in microphone. ‘Then again, there was something that bothered me.’

‘And that would be?’

‘Captain, I was just in their sickbay. . .There in desperate need of medicines over here. Do you remember that popular television show from the late 20th century about a mobile hospital in a war zone?’

Wasn’t it a comedy, or something?’

‘Yes, that’s the one.’ She paused before continuing. ‘It’s about like that over here. They’re in desperate need of both space and medicines. I would think it would be good PR for us if we got the Mercy out here.’

‘I’ll relay that info. Anything else?’

‘Only to thank the person that packed my gear. I really appreciate the books and movies that were sent.’

‘Happy people are. . .’

‘Productive people, yes I do know that.’

~~~~~~~

Gaeta stepped back into CIC to finally finish his shift. Looking up to the DRADIS he could see the unknown vessel still sitting quietly off to the side, as if they were supposed to be there. Taking another glance, he noticed that the President wasn’t there, probably went back to the rooms she was using. Wasn’t she in the Admiral’s quarters, he thought to himself. Though it couldn’t be, because it was somewhat obvious that he was still in his quarters.

Pushing the odd thoughts to the back of his mind, he decided on telling the Old Man what had happened prior to his arrival in Life Station.

“I already know. He came here and made his objections very vocally.”

Gaeta winced. “Sorry, Sir. It’s just that I could tell the Vice President made Lt. Glennan very uncomfortable.”

“Why am I not surprised at that,” Adama shook his head ruefully, thus terminating the conversation for now.

A short time later Adama left CIC to make his late shift rounds which would end with him going to his quarters instead of CIC. Once gone, Gaeta let his eyes drift to Captain Kelly. The other officer shrugged his shoulders as if to say that it was none of his business.

With the change of shift, Gaeta followed some of the other officers out of CIC and into the corridors. The group quickly dispersed in different directions. Stepping into his cramped quarters he spied the thick volume on tactics. He hadn’t had the time to study it, let alone just open the book. It was the sight of that that made him remember his strategy lessons with the Admiral. I’ll let him know that I haven’t had any time to myself, he thought as he left his quarters and moved in the general direction of Adama’s. Once he reached the corridor he could tell the President was staying there, what he wasn’t sure was where the admiral was at.

Shaking off the thoughts Gaeta came up to the door and knocked, letting the occupant or occupants know of his arrival.

Just as the door was being opened, Gaeta realized he could have asked one of the marines if Adama was there, but it was the President that opened the door. “Madam President?”

“Yes Lieutenant?” she asked as she backed up, letting the young officer into the room.

Looking around, he found a pile of folders on the Admiral’s coffee table. He then opened his mouth but stopped when he saw Adama in his office cubbyhole. “Sir,” he hesitated. “I’m not sure if I’m ready for the next one.”

Adama looked up from the report he was reading and removed his glasses. “No one is, Lieutenant.” Looking over to his table, Bill checked to see if Laura had finished moving everything.

“I’ll be quiet,” Laura smiled as she settled on the couch while reaching for the top folder.

Bill ignored her comments as he turned around and pulled out the ancient game of strategy. While he was setting it up on the table Laura asked, “Have you heard anything about Colonial One’s condition?”

Gaeta looked to Adama for a moment before answering, “The ship has to be completely rewired. It will take some time before it’s completed. Sorry.” He shook his head.

Laura nodded thoughtfully. “What about the passengers?”

“Responding very well to their treatments. Mr. Keikeya should be released in short order, along with the other civilians.” Gaeta let the sides of his mouth tug upwards slightly when he saw President Roslin’s visible relief.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” she answered with a smile.

Nodding Gaeta turned his attention back to the game he knew he would loose in a matter of minutes.

 

“How is the release coming along?” Bill asked after the door closed behind his tactical officer.

“Slowly, but I think I’m close.” She looked down at the folder in her lap. She was now sitting in one of the chairs in his office. “You know I’m not sure what the name of that ship is out there.”

Bill shook his head then answered, “The liaison would know.”

“True. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. How about this: A ship of the Terran Republic Forces has helped us in the last few days. Not much is known of them except the fact that they are human we can understand them. We will pass on more information as we find it.”

Bill nodded in agreement. “Good.”

“It’s nice to know I have your full support in this,” she commented dryly.

“Always,” he answered as he came over to her chair and pinned her in it.

“So,” she started, eyes dancing in amusement, “is this some sort of coup?”

“If you want,” he answered as he let his fingers caress her neck lightly.

Removing her glasses, she set them to the side along with the folder and pen. When she stood up Bill grasped her wrists and pulled them behind her back. “Now I’ve got you where I want.”

“And where is that?” she answered barely above a whisper.

“All tied up.” He grinned as he reached for her neck.

“Bill,” she moaned softly, “Not that I don’t want you to stop,” she managed to pull away from him slightly. “But the Quorum really needs to know about this.” He pulled her close again ignoring her comments.

“Later. . .” he spoke in a broken whisper as his hands began wandering.

“Later. . .” she agreed as she ran her hands through his hair.

Chapter Ten

Lieutenant Karl Agathorn, call sign Helo, looked across the maintenance deck at the odd looking shuttle. Two noncoms had removed what looked like a duffle bag along with several soft cases. He had heard somewhere that the bags contained the personal items of the Terran liaison. I still can’t believe I’m doing this, he thought to himself. A liaison. Who would have thought. Eight months ago, who would have thought any of this would happen. Eight months ago, he was on his way to Picon Fleet Headquarters to get his next assignment. It seemed a lifetime ago now with all that’s happened. When there was a pause in the activity around the strange shuttle, Helo finally took a step towards it. Unlike the raptors, the oddly shaped ship had a real ramp.

“Good luck, Sir.”

Helo turned around to address the voice, it was Galen Tyrol, “Thanks Chief.” He leaned closer while lowering his voice, “Make sure she’s okay.”

Tyrol closed his eyes then finally nodded.

Turning, Helo quickly walked up the ramp. It was hard leaving the Galactica when Sharon was on board and due in about a month. He felt like he was never going to see her again. Shaking off the foreboding sensations he stepped into the shuttle.

It was unlike anything he had ever seen in his life. He had been on many other Colonial military vessels along with Galactica, and he had been on several of the civilian ships. The technology in front of him seemed highly advanced, but also primitive at the same time. There were two pilots up front and were talking quietly in a very odd sounding language, it seemed guttural, but not at the same time.

When he sat down the two turned to look at him. They don’t understand me, he thought in surprise after trying to ask them what to do to get strapped in. This was completely unexpected, and a total shock. The pilot finally shook his head and got up. Coming over to him, he expertly strapped in the ECO in. When finished he sat back down in the pilots chair and activated the door hatch to seal them in.

“Thanks,” Helo said, knowing full well they had no idea what he said. Soon enough he felt the ship shudder slightly and when he looked out the front he could see them leaving the relative safety the ancient battlestar provided and out into the inky blackness of space. The ship they were heading towards, was an odd one. The Galactica was at most a third larger, but the unknown ship seemed to exude power and deadly force.

The rest of the trip seemed to be a blur. The shuttle quickly ducked below the vessel and into an opening maw. Helo stayed in his seat watching what the pilot was doing as the ship connected with what looked like an extended door. The docking went smoothly. Once the pilot released his restraints, he knew it was all right for him to do so. Looking at the metal clasps, he tried to remember how it was latched. Soon enough he was able to get it released, and he got to his feet. Using hand signals, he figured out that they wanted him to follow though the outer hatch. Once out he turned around and noticed his duffel bag had already been removed and was being taken in a different direction. Stopping a woman before him he pointed at it, not knowing what was going on. The apparent deck hand smiled at him and gestured for him to follow.

Hoping he was doing the right thing, Helo finally decided to follow her. The trip took him through different areas of the ship, but he had no time to really examine what he was seeing. When they finally stopped, the ECO found himself in front of a nondescript door. The deck hand said something into the small speaker and a woman’s voice answered. Soon enough the door was opened and his guide left.

“Are you going to stand out there?”

Helo’s head whipped around and looked into the room, small office actually. He answered as he took a step inside, “I thought no one could understand me.” The woman before him was seated at a desk with a monitor off to the side.

“Very few do.” She stood up slowly and reached out a hand. “I’m Commander O’Neill. Welcome aboard the Ddoraig Goch.”

“Thank you, Commander.” Karl approached the desk and took her proffered hand then sat down.

O’Neill settled down in her chair but a flash of pain faintly flickered across her face before disappearing. Reaching over she entered a few commands into the computer. “Lieutenant Agathorn, your Admiral never did mention who he was sending over at first. I had to ask to find out.”

Helo furrowed his brow for a second, not sure what she was referring too. “I didn’t know until I was in Admiral Adama’s office.”

O’Neill turned her full attention back on the Colonial lieutenant. “Lieutenant, because of where we’re at and safety issues I’m allowed a little more leniency than a normal commander is given.” Pulling her hand from behind the computer she opened a drawer and took out a small electronic piece of equipment. She placed it on the desk between them. “Right now, we do not know what characters you use for writing. I’m hoping you can help fix that problem.”

Helo nodded.

“This will help you during your stay here. Like I mentioned, as soon as the characters are converted over to the ones you use, we can reprogram this pda so that this language we’re using will be the default.”

“What will be on it?” Helo leaned towards the desk.

“Basic phrases that you can use to be understood. Phrases that only require a yes or no answer.” Reaching down again, she pulled a pad of paper and a pen out and placed it on the desk. “Here you can put your alphabet down so we can start with the programming.” She noticed his confusion. “Even though we can understand each other I use a completely different written language compared to yours.”

Helo nodded slowly as he reached for the pen and paper. He paused a moment then began writing down the characters. When finished he pushed the paper towards Mair and turned the sheet around so she could see what he had written.

‘Apparently not,’ she muttered as she looked at the sheet. “Are you sure about this?” she asked.

“The alphabet?” Helo leaned back slightly.

“Yes.” Mair closed her eyes, trying to come to grips with what she saw. It was one thing to understand him, and another to see it written down before her. “I want you to see something,” she finally commented as she turned around the monitor. “Now I’m not stating that we’re related or not, but I want you to keep this in mind.”

“You’re kidding, right?” he asked as he turned his attention back to O’Neill.

“I’m not. But like I mentioned before, I’m not entirely sure if we’re related or not, or if it was a fluke that our two cultures picked the same characters for writing.” A tone sounded from the door interrupted her. Reaching over, she turned the monitor back around and touched the screen. ‘Yes?’

‘This is Captain O’Bryan. You were wanting to see me?’

Mair glanced to the Colonial lieutenant before looking to the door. ‘Yes, O’Bryan. You may enter.’ Turning her attention back to Helo she continued, “It will be much easier to do the conversion because of the similarities of our alphabets.” Out of the corner of her eyes Mair noticed Jack come into the room and stand by the door. “In fact, it shouldn’t take but about 5 minutes, that is if your spelling is the same as it is for ours.”

Helo shrugged his shoulders, “Not sure.”

Mair pushed the paper back over to him along with the pen, “Then I want you to write down the phrases I’m going to give you. That way the computer will be able to extrapolate how you write this language.” She turned her attention back to Jack, ‘I’ll be with you in a moment.’

“It will also be good for you to learn the dominant language spoken on board, though my crew does have varying degrees of communication abilities in this language.” The next part with the phrases went fairly quickly and when finished Mair looked over the phrases and sentences. “Fairly close to what we use, though much simplified.” Bringing it over to the monitor she quickly imputed the phrases into the system and let the computer finish the extrapolation. When it was finished the screen flashed two times. Plugging in the pda, she watched as it uploaded the information then rebooted. When it came back up the default language was the Colonial tongue.

“Lieutenant, because of the same alphabet, you can use this to learn our language. Don’t worry, you’ll have me and one of my officers to help you.” She looked back up again and nodded in the direction of the other chair in her office. ‘They use the same alphabet.’

Jack’s eyebrows rose as he sat down. ‘Interesting. Though I believe Glennan will have a much harder time.’

‘She’ll adapt.’ Mair switched languages, “Lieutenant, this is Captain O’Bryan. Even though he has rudimentary skills in this language he should be able to help you.”

‘Captain, I want you to help Lieutenant Agathorn in learning English. If it makes you learn his, all the better.’ She let a smile cross her face.

‘Is he their liaison?’ Jack glanced at the man beside him.

‘Yes.’

“Lieutenant, I will be contacting your Admiral to let him know that there is a hospital ship on it’s way. Lieutenant Glennan was worried at the state of your sickbay.”

Surprise then relief crossed Helo’s face. This was completely unexpected, and much needed. For a moment he wondered how Sharon was fairing. If the hospital ship got here in time, they might be able to make sure she would stay healthy until their child was born. “Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to us.”

Mair hardened her expression. “Remember this, just because we’re doing this doesn’t mean that we will trust you automatically. Terra is going through a very difficult time and she has enemies all around. Trust is something your people are going to have to earn.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Helo nodded.

~~~~~~~

Bill drowsed contentedly with his eyes closed. Laura’s dark burgundy hair was splayed across his chest hiding his long scar. Bringing his hand up he ran his fingers through the thick locks admiring the silky feel it created. After a moment he craned his neck to check the time. “Laura, come on.”

“Five more minutes,” she mumbled.

Bill shook his head with a wry smile. “I know, but we need to get that press release out. Plus, our clothing is in a pile on the deck.” Laura raised her head and looked to his office area. “I guess you’re right,” she mumbled while nestling against him again.

Sitting up, Bill rubbed his face and let his fingers run through his hair then swung his feet to the floor. Reaching down he grasped their underclothes and handed them to Laura.

“I guess this means I need to get up,” she mumbled as she sat up then started slipping her clothing on. “And contact the Quorum. Thank you,” she said as Bill handed her clothing to her. He already had his trousers on and was in the process of pulling on his tanks. When she stood up and had nothing but her shirt on Bill came over and cupped her face and gave her a firm kiss. She smiled as she brought her hands up and around his neck.

Releasing her, Bill went over to his office looking for the release while letting her finish getting dressed. Soon enough she was coming out of the head not looking at all like she had just had a tryst with her fleet admiral. Stepping behind him she reached over and snatched the paper out of his hand. “Thank you,” she smile as she turned around and moved over to his comm.

Bill shook his head while muttering, “What have I gotten myself into.”

“A torrid affair, Admiral,” she answered while picking up the handset. “Duella, I need to have the Quorum meet me over here in Galactica’s Ward Room. . .Thank you.” Laura placed the set back in its place and walked over to Adama. “Care to join me?” she gave a slightly seductive smile.

He raised his hands as if to cross them but she grasped them after placing the paper down. “If you let me release the statement, then I might,” he answered while pulling her close again.

Smiling again, Laura backed away. “Then have at it.” She indicated the phone and the release.

Shaking his head he turned and reached for the comm unit. “Dee, I need you to release this to the press.” He quickly rattled the message off then put the set back up. “It’s done. No telling what’s going to happen.”

“Probably Hades being let loose?” Laura put on her glasses then walked over to her pile of folders and notebook. “You know, we still don’t know much about these Terrans.”

“I’m hoping Helo can help us there. He should be settled in by now.”

“He’ll have an easier time than the Terran’s liaison. I almost feel sorry for her.” Laura shook her head as she went over and slipped on her shoes. “I’m going to have so much fun,” she muttered as she opened his door and walked out into the hall. She had set up her folders in the Ward Room when the members of the Quorum stepped inside.

“Any reason why you didn’t tell us about this?” Tom Zarek crossed his arms.

“Because it’s a military issue, Tom,” Laura answered while standing up. “I have copies of the press release for each of you. When we know more I will have a full press conference.” She handed each of them a single piece of paper.

“What about us?”

“I’ll talk to you before the conference. But at this time, there’s not much information that we have on them.”

Chapter Eleven

Laura watched as the Quorum members exited from the room. Even though the meeting had been rather short, it was still exhausting. The elected officials had been angry at not being told of the current events. When she was finally able to explain it to them, they were more readily accepting of their situation. Looking down, she flipped through the top folder once again, it had the state of the ships whose FTL drives were still down. The techs had managed to fix two of them, but the rest were now slow going. Then there was Colonial One. That one was going to take several weeks at the minimum before they’ll even consider it flight worthy again.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes?” Laura looked up at the one addressing her. It was one of her guards.

“Will you be heading back?”

After a moment or two she finally nodded as she stood up. It would be good for Lieutenant Glennan to meet with the Quorum even with the language problems, she thought as she gathered the folders. Reaching across the table she straightened the free sheets then placed them in an empty folder, the one they came from initially.

“Yes, I am. Thank you.” Picking them up she nodded towards the door. When she stepped through the door into Bill’s quarters she found him going through her folders.

He looked up. “Good. I can’t seem to find my list of the ships whose FTL drives are still down.”

Laura turned around to make sure the door was closed before speaking, “I think I have it.” Walking towards him she checked through the folders with her until she reached the one in question then handed it to him. “Sorry.”

Their fingers brushed for a moment and lingered for a few moments before separating. “And the Quorum?” Bill backed up while pulling out the report.

“No more than usual. Although Tom Zarek seemed a bit more vocal than normal.” Laura went over to the coffee table and placed the folders on top of the ever growing pile. “Apparently they weren’t happy about being left out.”

“Why am I not surprised,” Bill muttered.

“When she’s ready, I want Lieutenant Glennan to meet the Quorum on Cloud Nine.”

“Any reason why?”

“It will show that we both have been telling the truth about the new ship.”

~~~~~~~

Gaius, you can learn everything there is to know about our visitors.

“Visitors?” Baltar stopped and looked around suddenly aware of everything around him. “Oh, yes the visitors.” He began moving once more down the corridor in the general direction where his lab was at.

All you need is what she’s holding in her hand.

“I’m not going to talk to you - -” he stopped short when Six’s hand grabbed his tie and whipped him around and against the wall. “ - - out here,” he finished.

God commands you to be obedient, she leaned in close. She seemed so real he could almost smell her.

“I can’t just come up to her and ask her for it!”

When has that stopped you? she returned smugly.

“She’s not alone, you do know that,” he feebly attempted to backtrack.

Ask for it; if not just take it. You can even have your fun with her. Six released him suddenly and backed up giving him room to collect himself. For a moment he hesitated then a slow smile crossed his face. Should be interesting, he thought to himself. Now all he had to do was to find her.

He had no idea where to begin to look, but he did know she had been with Lieutenant Gaeta earlier. Starting with that, Baltar headed towards the area he knew the lower ranked officers normally congregated. It was similar to the place where the pilots gathered, but different at the same time. The area was one of the few places where they could actually relax, and more often than not, get drunk at the same time.

Stepping inside the room Baltar let a smile flit across his face, he was lucky. He felt as if he had been handed the best triad hand you could get. She was sitting at one of the tables eating dinner with her ever present viewer type of contraption she kept with her. Beside her was an open book. What surprised him was that she was alone. His face fell when Gaeta came over and sat down beside her.

If I handle it right, I’ll be able to get it away from her, he thought suddenly. Glancing back he saw a smiling Six. Turning back around, Baltar slowly walked across the sparsely crowded room. Just as he passed by the table, he reached out and grabbed the viewer. When he was a few steps away he did a double take when he glanced down at the screen. A computer! It’s a computer! he thought in awe. Baltar didn’t have much more time to think about for he was suddenly flipped around. For a moment he thought it was Six until he saw the petite woman standing before him, obviously fuming. She held out her hand as if to tell him to return to her the piece of equipment. When he didn’t comply she did some strange movement and the next thing Baltar knew he was on his back with her foot holding him down. Reaching down, she snatched the computer out of his fingers that were temporarily numbed with shock and went back over to the table she had just vacated.

Looking around, Baltar found the room silent and still. They were all looking at him and how a much smaller woman had been able to throw him to the floor without any apparent effort on her part. She has to be a Cylon, he thought miserably. How else could she have achieved what she just did. Getting to his feet, the vice president made a hasty exit. There has to be another way for me to get that computer. Computer! It’s a frackkin’ computer!

‘No one touches my stuff,’ Angela grumbled as she pushed the pda in front of her. Looking up, she noticed how everyone was still watching her. They weren’t exactly wary, it seemed more like shock and then humor rather than anger. Turning her attention to her companion, she gave him a small smile. He nodded then went back to the book he was reading. Curiosity getting the better of her, Angela finally leaned over to see what their language looks like. She blinked hard at first, not sure of what she was seeing. “Felix?”

Getting his attention, she brought the pda back towards her, and pulled up one of her entries to point at it. He seemed to be just as taken back as she was. Angela knew their cultures were related, but she felt it would not be good to show that relationship just yet. The character issue, though, was something she would have to discuss with her CO during her next report. The language shouldn’t be that much more difficult to learn, she thought to herself. Angela saved then closed the file before logging off. At the current time her pda was working off battery power. She only wanted to use the backup battery when she wasn’t near her charger, even though the specialized batteries lasted at least 7 hours.

The room went silent again when she heard what she assumed was the bosun’s whistle. Everyone started scattering when words were repeated over the intercom. This has to be General Quarters, she thought as she grabbed her pda and followed Felix out of the room and into the controlled chaos of a ship going to battle stations. Just as he reached the door he skidded to a stop and went back to the table. Retrieving the book he had left he said, “C’mon,” as he passed her on his way back into the corridors. Angela had no idea where he was going, but had no choice but to follow him. He made a quick stop and went through a side door and came back out without the book he had earlier then took off again down the hall. A few quick turns and she was completely turned lost, but still had Gaeta in front of her. With one final turn she found herself back in the nerve center of the mammoth ship. Everything seemed controlled, but tense at the same time. From her previous experience in the room she knew the screens coming down from the ceiling were their version of radar.

Angela’s home ship was still off to the side, but there was nothing else there to be worried about. The whole thing confused her, not that she was already confused.

“Admiral on deck!” Angela turned around and found it was their communications person that had spoken so loudly.

“As you were.”

Looking up, she could see Adama coming around and down into the center. “What do we have?”

“Sir, there is a definite blank area here, and it’s moving towards us.” Tigh pointed to a spot on the center table board.

“Blank area?”

“Most definitely. It’s absorbing our DRADIS signals.”

Adama considered the possible implications. The longer they waited, the worse off they could be in the end. “Bring the weapons online. Are the vipers ready?”

“Coming online as we speak, sir. And we’ve got a message from the Pegasus.”

Adama went quickly over to Dee and retrieved a hand set. “Galactica Actual.”

“Sir, we have nothing on our DRADIS.”

“Commander, there is something coming towards us. Your DRADIS would only filter out the dead spots.”

The line was silent for a minute, “Launching vipers.”

“Sir, Pegasus, is reporting their vipers are launched,” Dee reported.

Adama nodded. “Launch VIPERS.”

Looking up to the DRADIS, everyone could see the screens now flooded with ships. “Get me Starbuck.” Adama brought the headset back up.

“You’re on,” Dee answered.

“Starbuck, this is Galactica Actual. What do you see out there?”

“Nothing much, Sir. Wait. . .We’ve got a ship out here. Never seen anything like it before.”

“Hold off on engaging them until we know for sure who and what they are,” Adama ordered.

“Yes, Sir.”

Turning to Gaeta, he asked, “Do you think she might be able to tell us what’s going on?”

Looking to Glennan, Gaeta finally shook his head. “I’m not entirely sure.”

Even with her very limited abilities to communicate with the Colonials Angela had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but she wasn’t completely sure. She could also tell they were talking about her. What did shock her was just how primitive the Colonials actually were. It’s just like one of those old World War II movies, she thought to herself. How they had gotten this far in space was a surprise in itself. Maybe they don’t know any better, she finished.

“Admiral, Commander O’Neill is sending us a message.”

Adama nodded while answering, “Commander, would you mind telling me what is going on?”

“I want you to stand down. That is the first of our ships to arrive. I am not sure just how your sensors work, but if there wasn’t anything before there should be in a minute or two.”

Everyone in the CIC stopped and looked at Adama. If her words were true, then they would have an easier time protecting the civilian fleet. When the blip showed up there was a collective sigh of relief.

“Commander, why didn’t we see it?” Adama asked.

“Because that ship was built with stealth capabilities for gathering intelligence information and not be that easily seen by standard sensors.”

“Stealth frigate?” Tigh asked, clearly surprised.

“Apparently so.” Seeing that everything was exactly as Commander O’Neill had stated Adama decided to bring them down. “Set Condition Two and recover vipers.”

Gaeta nodded while reaching for a handset. “Attention, set Condition Two. Repeat, set Condition Two.” He placed the set back in its cradle and looked back over the room before stopping on Angela. She seemed to be engrossed in the layout of the CIC.

“Sir,” Dee started. “I’m receiving transmissions from the civilian ships wanting to know what just happened. They seem very jittery.”

Adama nodded while sighing. “I’ll let the President know. She’ll know the best way to handle it.” He gave her back the headset then left the CIC.

Gaeta followed Adama with his eyes wondering if there was something going on. Tigh caught his gaze and the younger officer shrugged his shoulders. Now moving past Angela she asked, “Guest quarters?”

Gaeta nodded. Truth be told, he wasn’t supposed to be in the CIC at this time. This was eating into his twelve hours off shift. He indicated the exit with his head then headed out. Looking back he noted that Angela was behind him. When she caught up with him he left. With only a few turns they were now in front of her temporary quarters. ‘Thank you,’ she said while opening the door.

Not knowing what she said, he only nodded in agreement then left to go on to his own cabin.

Setting the pda down, she hooked it into the power source then turned on the transmitter.

‘Any reason why you’re contacting us at this time.’

‘Yes, because of what just happened. They were terrified over here. What happened?’

‘The second shift ood was a little slow on the uptake. It was our fault over here. So. . .is there anything else that we might find interesting.’

‘Yes, as a matter of fact there is. I have no idea how they got to space, but they’re painfully primitive over here.’

‘That bad?’

‘Not really, but it looks like they use manual control over the operations of the ship. Now with their other capital ship I’m not sure. It could be better, then again it could be much worse.’

~~~~~~~

“Admiral, I already have nervous people out there. What were you trying to do, frighten them even more?” Roslin asked angrily as Bill stepped through the door.

He closed the door behind him, “No, I was trying to make sure that they would stay alive. It was an unknown ship and the only way we could see it was because it was absorbing our DRADIS signals.”

“What are you talking about?” Laura asked now confused.

“It is a stealth frigate.” He came over to her and rubbed his hand up and down one arm.

“You mean to tell me that they have an actual ship that has the abilities that the Blackbird had?” Laura backed up slightly.

“Yes. The Pegasus didn’t even pick it up even with their more advanced sensors.”

Laura shook her head. “Do you have any idea how much I’m going to enjoy this press conference? It seems that anything either of us do just adds to what I need to tell the press.”

“Not everything,” he answered while cupping her cheek gently.

She gave him an admonishing look while grasping his arm. “Not all of the press is going to be there, thank the gods.”

“Any reason why?” Bill asked, now curious.

“Most were on Colonial One. I do know the ‘Colonial Gang’ will make it, along with Biars. They were both on Cloud Nine during the initial attack. Other than that, I’m not sure.”

Chapter Twelve

Mair looked across the command center waiting for Captain Mark Donelson’s shuttle to dock within her ship. What she witnessed earlier bothered her greatly. She had no idea how Adama was able to detect the frigate.

‘Ma’am, Captain Donelson’s shuttle has successfully docked.’

Mair turned her gaze towards Ensign Harris. ‘Thank you. Have two marines meet Captain O’Bryan outside the shuttle, unarmed, and escort him to my office.’ She turned and walked out of the room while still pondering the previous issue. It was one that would not be answered any time soon. Donelson maybe good, but he was wordy at times. It was also a blessing that the first one to show up didn’t dislike her with a passion.

‘Yes, Sir,’ she heard the answer behind her. Turning a corner, she stepped into her office. The one good thing about the size of her ship was that it would give her a few minutes to prepare herself. Donelson will want his own questions answered. Sitting down she reached over and wrote out her questions to the issues set before her.

‘Change of protocol?’ Mark’s voice came from the doorway.

Mair looked up and let a smile flit across her face. ‘Not really. What we’re facing is a first contact situation.’ She stood up as he entered the room. Coming around the side of the desk she accepted his salute which she reciprocated. Relaxing she then reached out a hand.

‘First contact?’ Mark asked as he sat down.

‘That about sums it up.’ Mair walked back around and sat down. ‘Although it’s turning out to be much more than that. The reason why I told you to put your blip enhancer on is because they were somehow able to detect your ship without the regular means.’

Mark narrowed his eyes. ‘How?’

‘I’m not sure just yet, but that is one thing I will be checking into. It bothers me too.’ She hesitated while scrolling down the page currently on her monitor. ‘Did you count the ships out there?’

Mark nodded. ‘Yes, are they going to colonize somewhere?’

‘That’s what it seems like. I’ve already talked to their admiral and civilian president. They have been very forceful in stating that what you see is all that’s left of their culture. I’m not exactly sure how to take it.’

Mark looked away for a second before answering, ‘Refugees?’

‘It would appear so, but yesterday they were attacked by a clearly superior force.’ Mair leaned back and placed her pen on the desk.

‘And you couldn’t help yourself,’ Mark answered wryly. ‘One of these days your actions will bite you in the ass.’

‘Not if I do my homework.’ She hesitated before leaning forward and pressing a button set into the desk. ‘Listen.’

The transmission that came out was still somewhat garbled, but you could tell it was a human language. ‘The scary part is that I can understand them, and talk to them. They also state that they’re looking for Earth.’

Mark looked thoughtful for a moment before answering, ‘Have you told them anything?’

‘Hell no! I do not trust them.’

‘Then how are we going to find out anything about them?’ Mark crossed his arms.

A slow smile crept across her face, ‘Because I already have someone over there. Her real job is to assess the situation from the inside and report as to what type of threat they will and are posing to Terra. It helps too, that she knows how to infiltrate.’

‘Who?’

Mair tensed up slightly before answering, ‘Lieutenant Angela Glennan.’

Mark shook his head. ‘You’re walking a tightrope with sending her over there. I would have her pulled, but knowing her, she’s already started making alliances, or friends.’

‘I know of her problem and why she’s still only a lieutenant, but she was the best at the time.’ The only one at the time, she finished silently. ‘I trust her to do what’s right, barring any blowups.’

Mark finally nodded. ‘I wanted to let you know they’re getting the Mercy ready as we speak. Brilliant stroke.’

‘Don’t credit me. That was Glennan’s idea. I told you she’s good, she just got that hot temper from her father.’

‘Comes with the blood?’ Mark asked innocently.

Mair rolled her eyes. ‘I hate to burst your bubble, but not all of us have that hot Irish temper.’

~~~~~~~

Gaeta looked around the hall after dropping Angela off at her cabin. What happened in the common room was serious, and it was something he needed to report to his superior, which was Tigh. Because of who she represented, he wasn’t sure if the XO was the best one. At worst, it was a major diplomatic incident that the vice president committed. Making up his mind, he decided that the Admiral needed to know about this more than the XO. But, he thought, he needed to let her know he would be unavailable for the next hour or so. Turning back around, Gaeta headed back over to her cabin to let her know.

When he reached her temporary quarters he knocked. A few moments later she opened it up. It was obvious that she had changed and was going to try to work out in her quarters. She was wearing pants that had clearly seen much better days and a sports bra.

Holding up a finger she first stopped then beckoned him to enter the room. Without picking up the pda she asked, “I go to gym?”

Gaeta smiled and repeated slowly, “I want to go to the gym.” Getting an idea he pointed at her and motioned to repeat the phrase. When she started repeating what he just told her, he shook his head then pointed directly at her. It took her a moment before Angela understood what he was referring to. When she did, she smiled and repeated slowly in her language, ‘I want to go to the gym.’ After he repeated it she backed up and grabbed a well worn shirt and pulled it on. Her wanting to go to the gym was a perfect solution for him.

Nodding she reached for a towel which told Gaeta that she was ready. When they left he made sure that her cabin door was secured then moved off in the direction of the gym. At least one level and several minutes later he stopped in front of another door. Indicating it he said, “Gym.” With a tug, he pulled the door open and took a step inside. Glancing back he made sure she had come in with him. She smiled as she dropped her towel on a bench then pulled off her shirt. Finding a clear spot, she did a few simple stretches, for apparently most were already done in her cabin, then began the slow graceful movements of tai chi.

Standing off to the side Gaeta watched her movements with more than a slight bit of interest. Glennan had the graceful movements of a night predator, and the slow movements she was doing now only accentuated it. A quiet sounding snicker off to his side alerted him to the fact that one of the marines thought her actions were amusing. He apparently hadn’t heard of what she did less than an hour earlier. When she stopped she turned her attention to the marine and with her hands indicated that she wanted him to join her on the mat. This is going to be interesting, Gaeta thought, though he knew he had to leave soon enough.

“Wait,” he pushed himself off from the wall he was leaning on. Looking around he found a scrap of paper and pencil. On the paper he wrote two things for Angela. The first one was to find him and the second to get back to her cabin barring anything. Coming over to her he handed the slip of paper to her and through mostly gestures he was able to explain what they were. Nodding, she took the paper and then pencil and wrote two more things beside his scrawl. He then showed her his watch and the clock on the wall and managed to let her know that he would return in about an hour. Turning to the marine he repeated himself. Out of the corner of his eye he could see her entice another marine onto the mat. Turning he watched as she easily knocked him to the floor and the marine’s complete shock at the sudden turn of events. Getting up he tried again, but the result was the same as before.

I wish I could be here to watch, he thought to himself as he backed towards the door. Just before he left she helped the marine back up and then began teaching him what she just did.

Gaeta had a slight smile on his face the entire trip to the Old Man’s quarters. The marine’s actions were typical, they were used to boxing and weight training. Because of Glennan’s size she was at a complete disadvantage. The movements and fighting style she used seemed to favor no one in particular. Turning a corner he caught some whispers and then a lower officer stopped him to tell him about what happened to the vice president, or what they thought what happened to the eccentric man. He gave a brief nod and moved on down the hall towards the Old Man’s cabin. When he reached the door he waited while one of the marines went inside to let him know he wanted to talk. When the marine returned and nodded, Gaeta stepped through the door. Adama was sitting at his desk with what was most likely some reports he received earlier. Standing at attention he saluted and waited for Adama to acknowledge him.

“What is it Lieutenant?” Adama asked after returning the salute.

Relaxing slightly Gaeta walked over to the office area and indicated one of the chairs. Getting a nod he sat down still at attention and started, “Sir, there was an incidence of petty theft in the common area attached to the junior officers quarters just before the Terran warship arrived.” He hesitated before continuing, “Vice President Baltar attempted to steal Lieutenant Glennan’s property. It is the piece of equipment she’s been using to help her with learning our language. Lieutenant Glennan attempted to recover it from Vice President Baltar using visual communication, but the Vice President refused. She then removed it from Vice President Baltar’s possession after forcing him to the deck. Lieutenant Glennan at first attempted to restrain Vice President Baltar from removing himself from the situation which compelled her action of forcing him to the deck, and taking her property back.”

Adama sat back while he trained his eyes on his tactical officer. “Lieutenant, were there any witnesses?”

“Yes, sir. There were five witnesses.”

“Are you one of them?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Where is Lieutenant Glennan at this time?”

“At the gym, sir, with the marines. Lieutenant Glennan knows I will return in about an hour. If she’s not there she has a piece of paper that will help her navigate the corridors of the Galactica back to her quarters. Either that, or to find me, Sir.”

Adama nodded thoughtfully while pulling out a sheet of paper, “You’re dismissed, Lieutenant.”

Gaeta stood up and saluted again. As he was turning around Adama spoke again, “I will want to have both you and Lieutenant Glennan back here after the press conference the President will call within the hour, and I want the names of the other four witnesses.”

“Yes, Sir.” Gaeta nodded then left the admiral’s quarters.

Once again in the hall he shook his head while he physically relaxed. The Vice President’s actions demanded to be reported. After a moment or two, he began moving back down the corridor this time to his department. He needed to check up on his people and make sure everything was running smoothly before retrieving Angela from the gym.

“So, Baltar’s committed petty theft?” Laura asked as she walked out of the head.

Adama looked up, “Yes, and petty theft is and will not be tolerated onboard the Galactica.” Reaching over, he picked up the handset and spoke into it, “Have Sgt. Hadrian report to my quarters.” He lowered the receiver and placed it back in its cradle, “I don’t trust him to come with a just a simple request.”

“I don’t either,” Laura answered as she moved back over to the couch. “I guess I’m going to have to find a place to put all this stuff.”

“I think the rooms you usually use are available.”

“Really? You know, I might do that.” Laura looked to the ever growing pile and then to Bill’s desk. His was relatively clean. “I might end up getting more work done, too. Not that I’m complaining.”

Bill shook his head, “I know you’re not. Don’t worry about it.”

A short time later the marine sergeant stood in the middle of Adama’s quarters. “You were wanting me, Sir?” she asked.

“Yes, Sergeant. I need you to escort Vice President Baltar here.” His eyes told her that her questions were not going to be answered by the odd request.

“Yes, Sir,” she answered crisply. Turning on her heels she exited the room and indicated for one of the marines to follow her.

“He’s not going to be happy about this,” Laura commented with a smile in her voice.

“Doesn’t matter.” Bill rose from his office chair and moved over to the couch. “I’ll help you move your work over to the other cabin.”

“Good,” she answered with a smile while handing him at least two-thirds of the stack while taking the rest.

Bill shook his head as he followed her out and into the rooms she had now designated as her working office. Once everything was arranged they both headed back to Bill’s quarters, but not before he gave her a quick kiss.

Once back it was not long before they could hear Baltar’s protests. When the Vice President entered he strode over to Adama and demanded, rather loudly, “What is the meaning of this? The Vice President should not be ‘manhandled’ like what just happened. I want to lodge a formal complaint!”

“You are here because of your actions less than an hour ago.”

Baltar’s mouth dropped open then shut. “That too, I want to lodge another complaint. I was pushed to the floor without due cause.” For a moment a smug look crossed his face then disappeared.

“I have five witnesses state that you, by petty theft, attempted to take something that was not yours.” Moving very close, Adama lowered his voice, “And I do not tolerate theft of any kind on the Galactica. It doesn’t matter that you’re the Vice President. Until I see otherwise, you will be on probation for your actions.”

“B-but nothing h-happened.”

“That means nothing,” Laura spoke up from her spot on the couch. Getting up she moved towards the two men. “This took place on a military vessel. If anything happens like this again I will not have the jurisdiction to transfer it to the civilian authorities.”

Baltar stood there stunned. He expected the President to stand up for him in front of Admiral Adama, and with her words she just handed him over. “When I’m president this will not happen.” Turning around he stomped out of the room while muttering to himself.

“Do you think he’ll realize what he’s done?” Laura asked as she went back over to the couch.

“Honestly I don’t know. If it happens again the lowest form of punishment I can get him, being a civilian, is to have him be removed from the Galactica.”

Picking up the last remaining folder, Laura thumbed through the sheets. The information it held was too small for her liking. Even with the liaison there was not a lot of information they had on the ship and the one that showed up. “Have the press been notified yet?” Looking up she saw Bill shake his head.

“I would think that they have a pretty good idea that a press conference will happen sooner rather than later,” Laura commented as she moved over to the comm unit. Picking it up she spoke a minute later, “Duella, I need you to let the press know that there will be a press conference in the Ward Room in about thirty minutes.” Placing it down she commented, “It’s done. Should be interesting.”

 

Baltar walked down the hall fuming at what just happened. He was a civilian, and nothing happened. She should have been the one to be reprimanded for her actions. Turning a corner he stopped suddenly. Gaeta and that woman were in front of him. She also didn’t have that computer with her.

She doesn’t have her computer with her, Six’s voice whispered in his ear.

“Shush, let me watch,” he answered in a whisper. When they turned another corner, he noticed the general direction they were headed. It looked like the guest quarters. “I would think that she leaves that computer in her room when wearing those clothes,” he muttered.

Chapter Thirteen

Starbuck climbed out of her viper and looked across the hanger deck. The hands were scurrying around, making sure everything was working at an optimum level. The fighter to her left had the markings of cylons shot down during the fight. It still baffled her to do something like that. She knew she was good-because of that she didn’t have to broadcast it to the rest of the fleet. Kara let her flight action speak for itself. Now out of the cockpit was a different story.

Stripping off her gloves she thought once again of the dark ship that seemed to appear suddenly on DRADIS. It’s a frakkin’ stealth ship! she suddenly realized. It took most of the trip to the ready room for her to recover from her shock. Once inside though, she found Lee working on the pilot rotation.

“That ship out there’s a frakkin’ stealth ship, Lee. I completely missed it.”

Lee stopped what he was doing long enough to cast a glance in Kara’s direction, “Dad didn’t. He was the one that called for Condition One.”

“How?”

“You can ask him yourself. You’ve been transferred back to the Galactica. Pack your gear, Starbuck.”

“I never thought I’d be happy about returning to the bucket.” She hesitated, “Wait, who’ll be CAG over here?”

Lee never turned to look back at Kara, but smiled to himself.

“No way! You mean they’re going to let you fly out there and be the XO?” Kara flopped down in one of the chairs.

“Who said the CAG needs to fly, though I do wish I could go back out there again.” Lee turned around and headed back over to the rows of pilots chairs. “Dad said I’ll eventually get used to it, though I don’t think I will. There’s just too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it all and fly at the same time.”

“I know what you mean.” She seemed to not want to talk anymore but did anyway, “I wish we could go back to Caprica.”

“Starbuck, the radiation alone will kill you, if not now, it will later on.” Lee placed a hand on her shoulder. “I think we have to accept the fact that we can’t go back.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. Just because I accept what you’ve said doesn’t mean that I like it.” She pushed herself to her feet. “It’ll take a bit for me to gather my gear.”

“You might end up playing ferry. By the time you’re ready, Billy should be also.”

“Really? You know Dee will be happy about that.” Kara winked at Lee then turned around and left the ready room for the pilot’s quarters.

Less than an hour later Kara had finished putting her duffle bags in the raptor when she turned around and saw Billy Keikeya walk across the hanger deck, not quite sure where he was going. “Your flight’s over here,” she called out when he got close enough.

Billy looked up then quickened his pace when he recognized her. “You’re going to the Galactica?”

Kara nodded as she stepped to the side letting him enter the ship. “I’ll be flying you over, so don’t worry.” Dee wouldn’t be happy with me if I did anything to him, she thought to herself with some amusement. Sealing the door Starbuck moved back up to the pilot’s seat. “How much did you hear while in Life Station?”

“Bits and pieces here and there.” Billy shook his head.

“Hm. Well, let’s just say we’ve got visitors. There are two ships out there from the Terrans.”

Billy’s eyes went wide, “How. . .what. . .”

Kara gave him a grin, “You can ask President Roslin. She’s due to have a press conference any time now in the Ward Room. You know she will be pleased you’re back.”

With a slight jar, the ship was released and Starbuck flew it out from the hanger and in the direction of the Galactica. “If you get up here I can show you the two ships. Nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Nodding, Billy unhooked the restraints and moved to the front seat beside Kara. When he was settled, Kara angled the small ship slightly towards the first of the Terran ships. “That’s the first ship to show up. They saved our asses out there when the Cylons attacked.”

“How big do you think it is?”

“Not sure, it looks to be about a third smaller than Galactica but that means nothing.” Angling the ship again she aimed in the direction where the DRADIS blip was coming from. “The other is over there, though it’s almost impossible to see. Pegasus wasn’t able to pick it up, I have no idea why the Galactica did.”

“I guess we’ll find out later.”

As Starbuck nodded the space out beyond the fleet lit up in a blaze of light. Frack! she cursed to herself as her eyes attempted to adjust to the light. While reaching for the communications channel she cleared her throat, “Galactica Actual, this is Raptor 120, Starbuck. What the frack just happened?!”

“Galactica Actual is not available at this time, Starbuck. You are to remain on your present course,” Tigh’s voice came across the speakers.

“That’s not right,” she mumbled to herself. “What’s going on here?” Starbuck finally asked with impatience. The fleet wasn’t on Condition One and the alert fighters had not been sent out. The whole situation bothered her.

“It is none of your concern, Lieutenant. Continue on your present course.”

“Yes, Sir,” and she disconnected the line with a snarl. I’m going to find out what’s going on here, she mentally told herself. Once the raptor was secure in the Galactica’s hanger both Billy and Starbuck were out of the ship and heading in opposite directions. A short time later Billy slipped inside the Ward Room and moved off to the side. The President was behind the podium and attempting to answer the questions from what members of the press were able to attend. Somewhat off to the side stood Adama. Roslin glanced over in his direction and let a small smile cross her face before disappearing, letting him know she saw him. Nodding, he leaned up against the bulkhead while waiting for the conference to end.

She had reported that there was not much known about the ships that had shown up. What she did know was that two more ships were going to come, bringing the Terran contingency up to four ships. Four very deadly ships. They were at the Terrans mercy, and they knew it.

The possibility that they might have come from Earth was already discussed and taken into consideration. They could understand the first captain, but none others. Which was when the subject of the liaison had been raised. “At this time we do have a Terran officer on board.”

That revelation only brought more questions from the press, though oddly enough the most vocal of them all, D’Anna Biars, seemed oddly quiet. She just stayed seated - - hand moving briskly taking notes amid the ruckus.

When the conference finally ended, Laura stepped from behind the podium and moved over to Billy. “I am so glad you’re all right,” she smiled as she placed a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s not something I want to repeat anytime soon,” he answered quietly.

“Same here. Look - -” she hesitated as she looked around, not wanting to reveal any possible scandalous situations. Catching D’Anna out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the reporter seemed somewhat unsteady on her feet. The blonde eventually moved slowly out of the room and into the hall. Once the room was empty she continued, “The secondary guest quarters are in use. I have my work in the Primary. I want you to stay there, if you so choose.”

Billy furrowed his brow for a moment, trying to figure out what she meant. He nodded when realization crossed his features, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”

“Not yet. Only if you’ve been compelled.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Billy nodded. “You know most on board might know about it but are keeping silent.”

“Madam, President.” Bill came up to the two of them. “If you need me, I will be in the CIC. Two more Terran ships just arrived.”

Once he had disappeared one of the members of the Colonial Gang, came back very quickly. “Madam! Something’s wrong with D’Anna!”

“What do you mean, Plya?” Laura went back to her things, but Billy waved her off letting her know he’d retrieve them.

“I’m not sure, she just ducked into another room. James went to look for her and found her collapsed on the floor.”

“And you didn’t call for at least a medic?” Laura asked incredulously.

“I think James said he would do that. Wait - -” she stopped when Laura turned back around to Billy.

“Billy I need a medic sent to. . .” Laura turned and raised an eyebrow.

“Same hall, three doors down to the left,” Plya finally answered.

“Already on it, Ma’am,” Billy answered as he reached for the phone.

~~~

Starbuck set foot inside the CIC, for a moment she felt like she was coming home. She held onto that feeling as long as she could before things got ugly.

“Starbuck,” Adama’s voice stopped her short from doing anything stupid.

“Sir?” she asked, then hastily saluted. “What just happened out there?”

“Two more Terran ships have arrived.” Bill stepped down into the center area and the board.

“I know that. I was out there. One of those ships is the size of Galactica!”

“We were notified beforehand of when and where they would arrive. So far they have done exactly as their intentions stated,” Tigh answered with no small amount of frustration towards Starbuck.

Kara backed away from Tigh and turned her attention back to Adama. “Sir, how come Pegasus didn’t pick up the first of the arrivals?”

“Because here we don’t have the ability to filter out any unwanted background noise. The ship showed up as a blank spot, absorbing the signals the DRADIS was putting out.”

“And the Pegasus would have filtered all that out,” Starbuck finished while nodding.

“Starbuck, I want you to unpack your gear, you’ll be CAG over here now,” Adama finished.

“Yes, Sir,” she answered with a salute and walked briskly out of the room and down to the pilots ready room. They needed to know she was back.

~~~~~~~

Angela woke up some time before reveille. Sitting up she could just make out the furniture in her cabin from the dim runner lights in the corners. It never ceased to amaze her that the ship seemed so primitive, yet complex at the same time. Turning around she turned on the lamp and blinked at the sudden light. It felt like the dead of night, though ships never truly ‘shut down’. There was a clock next to the bed, but she wasn’t entirely sure it kept time the same way that analogue and digital clocks did on the Terran ships she had been assigned to over the years. If she was correct, it was in the middle of the night for them. ‘Great, just what I need,’ she mumbled to herself.

‘I might as well,’ she commented to herself as she got up from the bed. She had enjoyed yesterday’s the workout very much so, especially to be able to show the marines here that brute force isn’t always the best course of action in a situation. Pulling on a working set of BDU’S she sat down at the table and pulled out one of the few actual books she kept with her and a notebook. Rummaging in her bag, she found a pen and then went back to the table and opened book. The people she was with didn’t seem to be that religious, but then she had only been on board for little more than a day. Hardly time to see and observe all aspects of these new people. She looked at the beaded necklace her father had packed in her things when she first went off for training. Angela knew it irked her father that she had decided to go with her mother’s denomination instead of the catholic church he was raised in. It wasn’t that, it’s just that it was easier not having all that liturgy to deal with during the services.

Twenty or so minutes later she was finished and closed up the book and notebook then pulled out her computer and turned it on. Once booted up she pulled out one of the book chips her fellow officers had sent along. Plugging it in, she let the computer pull the book up to the screen and she read for about an hour.

When boredom finally overcame her she decided to head back to the gym before breakfast. Angela had an idea of where she needed to go, but wasn’t quite sure. Once changed into her workout clothes she stepped out and pulled the door shut. Confused for a moment on which way to go Angela finally chose the hallway to her right. When she rounded the corner she found two marines guarding the sunken steps into another room. Before she took another step, two more marines showed up. Guard change, she surmised. Angela smiled slightly when she recognized one of the soldiers from yesterday at the gym. Throwing the towel over her shoulder she came up to the four men and asked, “I want go gym?”

The marine she recognized smiled and nodded. Once the turnover was completed she followed the soldier through several halls. Two corridors before they reached the gym she actually recognized where they were going. When they reached the gym she nodded to the marine and stepped inside. She was surprised to find several other soldiers utilizing the weight training equipment. Because of yesterday, they now had an area set up for her to do her warm-up Tai Chi. When she was finished she worked on a mixture of Katas and Palates. She found it was easier to exercise if she kept mixing things up.

By the time Angela was flooring a more adventurous marine she heard the door open and close. Glancing to the side she saw it was Gaeta. He was obviously dressed for working out. The distraction was long enough for the downed marine to get the upper hand with his brute force technique. With a quick move, she twisted out of his grasp and turned the tables on him. The whole door thing bothered her as she released her hold and stepped back. Normally she wouldn’t be distracted by movement like that off to the side. Chalking it up to having her senses on high alert because of the strange environment, she shrugged it off.

NEXT