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 Thirty-nine

Gaeta stepped out of Baltar's lab completely exhausted. Jankowitz had been there for several hours helping him cut all the extraneous tests Baltar had added. There were so many unneeded commands that it forced the system down to a crawl. Of all the things he initially had run, only a fraction were needed. In fact, only three were needed. He had been right when he had commented to Adama that it should only take about fifteen minutes to run the test. It had taken more like an hour.

They had decided, however, that Jankowitz's reader would be the backup until they had something better.

Once the reprogramming was finished, he wanted to make sure that the detector was working. So, he put the Terran's blood through it. Within an hour they had their answer.

Gaeta still wasn't through with what needed to be done for the day. He had barely been in CIC except for a short time earlier. Then there was Angela. He wanted to see her, but he still had that scenario Adama had given him to work through. Moving through the corridors, he never bothered to see if he was being followed. Truth was, he didn't really care at this moment, he was just too tired. Plus most, if not all, on board knew of his personal relationship with Glennan. And since she had more room, it was just easier to head down to Security.

Once there, he couldn't help but notice that the door was closed. He knocked on it and waited a few minutes before opening it. Most of the lighting for the room had been switched off. What light there was came from runners around the corners of the room and also from her cabin. Taking a step in that direction he could hear muffled voices and music coming from the other room.

“It take you long enough,” Angela commented when he took a step inside the cabin.

“And I'm still not done,” he muttered. “I need to use your desk.”

Glennan nodded offhandedly while she turned her attention back to her computer and the video she was watching.

Gaeta watched her for a few moments before closing the door and almost feeling his way across the office to the desk. For a moment, he fumbled with the light, then squinted at the sudden brightness. Oddly enough, he found it easier to concentrate in her office than in his somewhat cramped quarters. Pulling out the folded paper, he read through the scenario once again as he smoothed out the creases. Reaching forward, he appropriated one of her pens to use. He had read it earlier and had tried to think about it, but his duties kept interfering with trying to figure out what he would do.

For a few moments, he sat there before he began to write. He had no idea how detailed Adama wanted him to be, so he decided to err on giving more information than was hopefully needed.

He was there for some time when felt Angela's hands on his shoulders. “Finished?” she asked in a whisper while breathing into his ear.

“Admiral Adama wants us both to act as translators once the Ambassador comes,” he answered with a slight smile, though trying to keep his attention on the sheet. Setting the pen down, he swiveled the chair around so he was facing her.

“I know,” she answered with an amused look on her face. Her smile turned into a frown before continuing, ‘I might have to give up the transceiver.' After a moment her grin returned. ‘It does sound like you need some intensive. . .personal. . .lessons.'

“Something like that,” he grinned as he pulled her down towards him. Just as the kiss was deepening, he pushed himself to his feet. Releasing her, he fumbled again with the lamp while turning it off. The room was immediately cast in deep shadows only broken by the light spilling in from her cabin. Gaeta had found out early on that she liked to take the dominant position a good portion of the time. That was something he did not mind at all. They soon stumbled into her cabin. Glancing over to the computer screen, he couldn't tell if the video was over, or just paused.

‘Finish?' he asked as his hands started roaming.

“For now. Video ended,” she answered breathlessly as he continued to push her towards her rack. Compared to the other times, and not taking into consideration the first time they were together, it was fast and furious.

Some time later she nestled against him while letting her fingers lazily trace his tattoo. ‘Why this?'

“I was drunk,” he muttered letting his fingers intertwined with hers as he rolled over on top of her once more. “This is a fun way to learn English,” he muttered into her ear. Maneuvering her hands around, she pushed him away, forcing space between them. ‘I've got an idea for that if you're willing,' she answered while letting a hand run through his short hair.

‘How?' he asked as he rolled over again.

‘Watch a movie,' she indicated her computer. ‘In English with no subtitles,' she finished.

Gaeta thought about it for a bit before finally nodding. ‘Okay.' “What do you have?” he asked.

Angela shrugged her shoulders as she sat up, ‘Mostly early military movies from a couple of centuries ago.' Crawling across the rack, she moved quickly to the computer and gathered several chips then brought everything over to the rack. ‘Most focus around the Second World War.'

Gaeta's eyes widened the moment he understood what she said. “Planetary war?”

‘Sad, isn't it? We fought ourselves for thousands of years over petty differences. It was the Martocks that really pulled us together and showed us that we needed to settled our differences once and for all or there would be nothing left to fight over.'

“Did it work?” This is almost as bad as the Colonies during the early years after the end of the First Cylon War , he thought.

‘Only when we were at war. Once peace was settled, the petty differences and squabbles started showing back up once again. You would think we'd learn from our mistakes, but it's not happening.'

Gaeta looked at her for a moment. How could he answer that? Somehow, he felt like the Colonies were in a better position than Terra was, which bothered him greatly. If the Cylons managed to capitalize on the Terran dissension then they'd all be seriously frakked up.

‘But don't do anything that will band us together. The Martoks found that out real fast.

Gaeta contemplated her answer while she set the computer up to play another movie. He had no idea what she had with her, so he sat back. “Why were you taking notes during the other video?” he finally asked. He had wondered why since last week.

‘I'm researching how the entertainment industry has portrayed the military for the past few centuries. I get to watch movies for research,' she smiled as she sat back. ‘Of all the wars that were fought, the World War II needed to happen, which is ironic.'

“Is something wrong with the color?” Felix asked once it started up.

‘No,' she shook her head. ‘It was filmed this way.'

~~~~~~~

Starbuck sat on a bench in the gym while strapping on her boxing gloves. With the arrival of the Terrans and other issues she found herself either wanting to beat the crap out of someone, or have a hard frack. Either way, she knew it would relieve the tension she had been going through for the past week or so. Her smile turned feral when she saw Gaeta walk into the gym. He used to have a set time set aside for his daily workout. But with his new position of XO, he didn't have that luxury anymore. Then again, if scuttlebutt was true, he didn't need to come here for a good workout.

The gym was too small for Glennan's classes for the marines, so she had appropriated some of the empty barracks down near security. It was common knowledge that if you wanted to come, she would accept any and all that wanted to learn a few new moves.

Is that a bruise? Kara's smile widened when he pulled off his sweatshirt. There were also bruises on his arms, right about in the area where. . . Starbuck got up from the bench and went across the room. “I figured she played rough,” she commented nonchalantly with a slight grin on her face.

Gaeta sighed. The rumor just would not die. “I told you before, it's not what you think.”

“Of course not.”

“Thrace. Don't push it,” he lowered his voice.

Smiling, she faced him and put her arms on his shoulders. “I'm not,” she leaned in close.

He took a quick step back and forced her arms off his shoulders. “What do you want?” he asked tiredly

“How about a match?” she asked brightly as she hit her gloved hands together.

This is foolishness, especially at the beginning of the day. “Why?”

“Don't you want to beat the crap out of someone?” Her tone came across more like allowing, if he wanted, to beat the crap out of her and not get in trouble at the same time.

Gaeta knew how fast she was and had seen her and the punishing blows she routinely gave the punching bag. If he accepted her challenge, then people will see that the rumors were true. “Maybe I don't want to,” he finally answered.

Kara let a wicked grin cross her face as she put her arms back around his neck, “No fun?” Just as she began to press closer, he tripped her up, making her land on her backside. Jumping up, she started to hit him when he backed away.

“Don't even think about it, Thrace,” he said softly, but in a command tone. He knew she wasn't listening to him, her face easily showed that. Before she could do anything else, he grabbed both wrists. “What is wrong with you?” he hissed.

“What's wrong with me?” she hissed back. “I'll tell you what's wrong with me. This whole frakkin' ship is what's wrong with me! There's nothing! And now everyone is whispering about you and your recent conquest !”

“It's over . In fact, there was never anything there to begin with. You know that,” he growled. “You are also in dangerous territory, Captain .” Gaeta then leaned down to make his point, “Starbuck, you're out to prove something, and I will not be your punching bag.” He moved back to the bench and muttered while gathering his things, “Frack this, I'll get a more peaceful workout with the marines.”

Once Gaeta had left she turned her attention to one of the marines that had seen everything and almost yelled, “What are you looking at!?”

“Nothing, ma'am,” he answered smartly then became very interested in the weights he was working with. The others had also suddenly busied themselves, trying to stay away from her wrath.

Gaeta stormed through the corridors, not really caring where he ended up or who saw him. He eventually found himself pulling the door open to his cabin. Once it was closed he threw the balled up towel into a corner in a rare fit of anger.

He knew if he told Angela about it, she'd probably beat Kara up for her insolence. Problem with that was that it would only solidify the pilot's thoughts on what was really going on. No, he had to deal with his anger in a different way. So he decided to run. It had been a few weeks since he had been able to have a good workout that way, he realized he needed to cut his normal distance down by a third to 10K.

Running, he had found early on, was cathartic, and a good way for him to deal with issues that were bothering him. It was just him and the corridors. Once he was changed, he went to his favorite areas and started his long run. The reason why he favored this area was because of the few people that accessed it on a regular basis. He could use the outer corridors, but he would have to remember to warn people to move out of the way or be run down.

Ten minutes into his thirty minute run, he felt he was calmed down enough to think about what Kara had commented about. Gaeta knew it was common knowledge about his strengthening relationship with Glennan, but he had never expected her to deal with it in the fashion. Admittedly, he didn't react properly. That was his problem to deal with. But she hadn't had to do what she had done. His personal relationship was his own, and no one else's. That was why he kept it as discreet as possible.

Taking his last turn he was surprised to find Angela leading the marines in a formal run at a decent clip. Once he passed them, he turned and jogged backwards, watching the newest marines at the tail end already struggling to keep up with the rest of the group. Mentally shrugging, he turned back around and sped up to his normal speed and finished the workout.

Exiting the corridors, he found himself relaxed and ready to deal with whatever Starbuck chose to throw in his direction. The long run had done wonders for his disposition. He knew he'd feel like he was bouncing off the walls once he was cleaned up. All this running gave him an incredible boost of energy that would easily last him for the rest of the day.

~~~~~~~

‘Ma'am, we're getting a message from HMCS Grapple . Her captain wishes to speak with you.' Harris turned towards O'Neill who was standing near the back of the semi-large command center. ‘We're also getting a message from the Galactica .'

‘Tell the Grapple , I will be with them momentarily. How are the Colonials sending their message?'

‘EMC.'

I was right . ‘What are they wanting?'

‘Admiral Adama wants to know the intentions of the new ship, ma'am. I assume it is the Grapple , he's concerned about.'

‘Put him through,' she sighed. “Admiral?”

“I want to know the intentions of the newest Terran ship to arrive. . .” He didn't say it outright, but she could tell he was starting to get worried at all the ships clustered around the buoy.

“She won't be here for very long. She will be towing the Medusa back for repairs.” A fleeting smile crossed her face. She knew the Titan with her two escorts would stay to replace the destroyer. “She's lost the ability to form the FTL bubble by herself. Admiralty doesn't want to take any chances, so she's being towed back for repairs. The Titan will stay and take her place.” Disconnecting the line, she then opened a channel for the Grapple . ‘What can I do for you, Captain?'

‘There sure are a lot of ships here, ma'am.'

Mair looked over to the screen and let a smile cross her face. ‘That there is.' She paused before continuing, ‘I have the crew from the Katana on board. They need to head back and be reassigned.'

‘How many?'

‘Maybe about half. It wasn't a pretty sight. She had to be scuttled.'

‘Right. If you can have them transfered over to the Grapple, we will take care of the rest.'

‘Wilco,' she answered. ‘Harris have the Katana 's crew report to the hanger deck. They're going home.'

‘Yes, ma'am,' he answered with a grin.

Now, how to deal with Garcia . ‘Harris, I want you to contact Admiral Adama again, but through the transceiver. I want to talk to him.'

‘Where will you be, ma'am?' he asked as she slowly moved towards the lift.

‘My cabin. I'd appreciate it if you can pipe it down there.' Once she was in her cabin, she sat heavily in the chair with a groan. This was not working . ‘Harris, is Adama on the line?' she asked as she opened the channel.

‘Yes, ma'am.'

“Admiral Adama. There's a reason why I'm contacting you this way,” she started slowly.

“Which is?” he asked warily.

“It, it concerns the Ambassador. His name is Juan Alfonso Bourbon y Garcia. He is a member of the Spanish Royal Family. His uncle is the King of Spain. I'm warning you because President Roslin is an attractive woman. Although I think she has enough discernment to see what he will attempt to do, I wanted to warn you in advance.” Plus, I don't think you will be that pleased with how he will try and put a wedge between the two of you.

“Thank you in advance, Captain.”

“No problem, Admiral,” she answered with a smile in her voice. You've hid it well, but I can tell you care for President Roslin more than you let on.


Chapter Forty

Mair looked at the darkened comm. unit, contemplating her next moves. There were too many things to do, and neither enough time to accomplish them nor enough strength on her part. Her earlier comment about when she could rest was beginning to look all too true.

The sad thing was that with all the scans and pokes and prods that the doctors have done on her, the reports still showed that nothing was wrong with her. That was the thing with Fibromyalgia. Even with all the technological advances in the past three centuries, along with the complete mapping of the human genome, doctors still had not been able to figure out the reason for the disorder.

At least Ferguson and Spencer seemed eager for their pending trip to the Colonial Flag ship. Just in case, she made sure that Lieutenant Glennan received a encryption module. No telling what Garcia had up his sleeve. She was not pleased by his request for Soblet, but there was little she could do. Mair had to defer to the high ranked diplomat. At least the majority of the ships under her command were either neutral towards her, or supported her views. It helped that most were either in the UK, USA, or the other allied nations. Franchetti was definitely outnumbered, and he knew it. She could feel the grumblings coming from his direction, but he was careful enough to not vocalize it.

The door chime seemed to shake her out of her reverie. For a moment, she looked around, before she realized what it was. ‘Door is open,' she said through the small microphone. It opened, revealing Garcia on the other side. Her eyes darkened momentarily before stuffing it down. He was the official ambassador, and she could do nothing about it. Plus, she had to defer to him if his requests were within reason.

‘Señora,' he bowed as he entered.

Oh, you're good. ‘What can I do for you, Your Highness?' she asked while not trying to sound like she did not approve of him.

‘I spoke with Señor Soblet. He is very regretful for his actions while with our visitors, and that it was all a misunderstanding.'

‘Garcia, Captain Soblet was found in an unauthorized area while taking pictures of Colonial military hardware. Admiral Adama was not pleased at all. I'm surprised he even trusts us after this debacle.' The only reason they haven't left is because of Glennan. ‘All the hard work Lieutenant Glennan did to instill some sort of working trust was almost ruined because of Soblet's actions. And now you want him as your translator?'

‘He knows their language.'

‘So does Lieutenant Glennan, and she's been with them for two weeks.'

Garcia shook his head, ‘But she is not fluent. I need someone that is fluent.

Mair sat back, somewhat amused at his last statement. ‘You do know, I'm fluent.'

Garcia's eyes widened in surprise. ‘I did not know, Señora! The problem with that is that you are required to stay here.'

Damn . ‘Then at least be courteous to our visitors. They have been through a whole lot. If they have someone that's competent in translation capabilities, I hope you would graciously accept their offer.'

Garcia nodded thoughtfully. ‘I will keep that in mind, Señora.'

‘That's all I ask,' Mair answered while turning her attention back to the monitor attached to her desk.

‘If you can send word, I would like to shuttle over today.'

Mair looked up, surprised at his request. ‘You will be invited, and allowed to go over only at their discretion. Remember, they are highly distrustful of us right now. Don't expect them to let Captain Soblet set foot outside their hanger deck unless they know for certain he will not create any type of diplomatic incident.'

‘Of course, Señora,' Garcia answered with a smile. Once he was out, she opened up her email program and sent a message to Glennan requesting that she tell Adama about Garcia's request to meet with both the Colonial Admiral and President.

~~~~~~~

“So you're saying that you believe Baltar has become completely insane?” Jankowitz asked. The Terran doctor wasn't fully sure who this person was, but he had an idea that he had at one time been an important person within the Colonial society.

“Yes, Doctor.” Gaeta nodded. “I talked to him a couple of days ago. He was babbling incoherently while pacing inside his cell.

“He's been babbling and doing strange things since the Holocaust,” Cottle grumbled as they entered the brig. Starbuck stood somewhat behind the group as they moved towards Baltar's cell.

“Soldier, how long has he been like this?” Cottle asked when he looked through the bars at an apparently sleeping Baltar.

“He laid down soon after breakfast, sir.”

“Psychosis?” Jankowitz asked.

Cottle shook his head as he indicated that he wanted the door opened. Backing away, he let Starbuck unlock it and pull it open. She was the first to enter, followed by the two doctors, and then Gaeta.

Coming around the side, Gaeta commented, “Dr. Baltar?” The scientists seemed to be zoned out of everything. Taking another step, Baltar turned and launched off the bed towards him. In surprise, the XO managed to sidestep the now obviously insane doctor. Before Baltar could turn around, Kara grabbed an arm and attempted to restrain him while Cottle pulled out the sedative had brought with him.

As they backed up, Baltar managed to wrench himself free from Gaeta's grip and swung his fist around, giving Kara what would become a nasty black eye. His arm then swung back around and connected with Gaeta's face, throwing him against the cell wall. Before it could get any worse, the marines managed to insert themselves into the situation to diffuse it.

“Hold him,” Cottle ordered as he came up behind the vice president. Standing just close enough, he quickly gave him the sedative and backed away. Once the marines had a strong enough grip on the vice president, Kara was able to back away and move over to the Terran doctor who was checking out Gaeta.

“He needs to be in a straight jacket,” Jankowitz commented.

“You're not talking about him are you?” Kara asked as she looked worriedly at the higher ranked officer. This was not what she had been counting on happening.

“No,” Jankowitz shook his head as he checked Gaeta's pupil's dilation. “Help me get him out of here, I'm not sure how badly he's injured,” he said as he reached under the XO's shoulders. Glancing around, he caught sight of Cottle and nodded towards Thrace as they slowly picked him up to get him out of Baltar's cell.

Once they were out, Cottle picked up the comm. and called for the medics to bring a stretcher with them. Gaeta was still unconscious.

“Hold him until he calms down,” Starbuck ordered the marines. She was beyond pissed at the whole episode. Taking a deep breath, she came over to the two doctors. “How is he?” she asked quietly.

“Won't know for sure until we get him to Life Station,” Cottle commented.

“Frak,” she hissed. She turned around and saw the marines leaving the cell. Baltar was sitting on the cot and rocking back and forth while mumbling. “You know, it's your frakkin' fault if Gaeta can't return to duty!” she yelled at him through the bars.

“Lieutenant, It's not going to work with him,” Jankowitz commented while cradling Gaeta's head in his lap.

The pilot whirled around and glared at the doctor for a moment before taking another deep breath. “What do you mean?”

Jankowitz looked at Cottle before easing out from supporting the incapacitated XO. “Because he's showing classic signs of a complete psychotic break.” Getting to his feet he came over to the pacing pilot, “You're going to need that bruise checked out.”

Kara rubbed her eye gently. “Yeah, I will.” She turned her attention to the medics that had just arrived. They had already placed him on the stretcher and was strapping him down for his trip to Life Station. Just as the medics were leaving, Cottle turned back to the two remaining officers, “Make sure Jankowitz gets back to Life Station. I don't want him lost and wandering around in this area.”

“Yes, sir,” Kara grinned while doing a quick salute. When the group left, a serious look that bordered on concern crossed her face.

“Lets get you to sickbay so I can make sure that bruise won't be as bad as it will look in a day or so,” Jankowitz walked towards the door while waiving at her with his hand.

Sickbay? What an odd term.

By the time they reached Life Station, Gaeta had already been taken into the room where they could scan his brain to make sure nothing was seriously wrong with him. He had not woken up yet and it was beginning to bother Cottle and the other personnel working with him. Once the scans were complete, the CMO walked out and reached for his cigarettes. He tapped the pack, withdrew one, and proceeded to light it.

“Doctor?”

Cottle turned and watched Adama as he crossed the room. “How is he?”

“Well, he's not dead. Scans show he's got some swelling from the impact. Other than that I won't know how serious it is until he decides to wake.”

“I want to know the moment he wakes up.” Adama's gaze bore into the doctor, making sure he got his point across.

“I'm sure you'll be told once he does,” Cottle answered, cheerfully insubordinate.

Adama eventually closed his eyes while shaking his head. He knew Cottle was right. He would be notified when Gaeta woke up. “I want to see Lieutenant Thrace in my office.” Seeing he wasn't going to get any more information from Cottle, Adama left Life Station.

~~~~~~~

Kara stood outside of Adama's quarters. She was not looking forward to having to tell him what had happened. She had been in charge of their security, and because of her lax attitude on the matter, Gaeta had been injured. For another moment she hesitated then finally took the steps down into the open cabin. Normally the door would be open if he were not there, but this time it was different. “Sir?”

Adama was sitting at the table. There were several open folders within reach. “Do you mind telling me what happened?” he asked as he looked over the top of his glasses.

She knew she had fracked it up big time, and Gaeta had been injured because of it. Looking back, she could see now that he should never have been allowed near Baltar's cell, but she had ignored it. “Sir, I, I didn't think. . .”

“That's right, you weren't thinking at all. It was your responsibility to make sure nothing happened, yet you let the executive officer enter into a dangerous situation. The marines are there to guard, not to have to clean up the mess you created.”

“Sir, I was hit also,” her eyes started tearing up.

“I know, and I am grounding you until that heals and you realize that there are consequences to your actions. I've given you a lot of slack over the years. With what's going on now, I'm not in any position to do that anymore. Plus, you are the CAG and you are expected to act with that level of maturity. Dismissed.” Adama turned his attention back to the open folder in front of him. Once she was gone, he removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. He had not wanted to do that, but it had to be done. Her actions were beginning to cause fractures among the crew. That was something he could not afford, especially with the trial fast approaching.

~~~~~~~

Sighing, she wiped her face, being careful around her bruised eye. Now she had to talk to Glennan. This was something she didn't want Glennan to find out about from the marines, because they would tell her, no questions asked. Straightening her shoulders, she moved in the direction of security.

Just as she turned the last corner, Glennan came bolting out of her office and almost ran down the larger pilot. “Glennan!” Kara held out her arms to try and stop the smaller woman.

Angela skidded to a halt. ‘Let me through.'

Kara blinked in surprise, not quite sure what the Terran had said, but she looked angry enough to order her out of the way. “I was there.”

The anger on Glennan's face seemed to melt away, leaving behind a very worried woman whose man had been hurt. “There, there was some trouble. . .it doesn't look bad. . .but.”

“But what?”

Kara sighed, she knew it was her fault and realized she had to own up for her mistakes. “He's still unconscious. Dr. Cottle is waiting for him to wake up before he can make a diagnoses.”

‘Okay,' Glennan nodded while slipping her hand in her pocket. When it came out Kara noticed that it was a necklace of beads along with a nice looking watch. Separating the two, she stuffed the watch back in her pocket than began to finger the odd looking necklace. Squashing her curiosity on what it could be, Kara turned and started heading back to Life Station.

The rest of the journey back was relatively quiet. Word was out among the crew that the XO had been injured, but no one seemed to know why or how it had happened. Once they had reached the general area, Kara nodded and headed back to the Pilot's ready room. She had to completely change the flight schedules around since she was now grounded for who knows how long. Looking at the board, she felt a tear fall onto her cheek. Angrily, she wiped it off her face then started clearing the board.

Angela hesitated as she set foot inside the Life Station. The department seemed the same as the last time she was there, except for one thing. Somehow Felix had been injured. What she had been able to glean from the marines is that he had gotten into some sort of altercation and that Starbuck had been involved. Either that or they had gotten into an argument over some petty issue and Kara hadn't let it go. The second option seemed the most logical since she could see the developing black eye that Felix must have given her.

Looking around the large room, she didn't see Felix anywhere.

‘Lieutenant?' Jankowitz called as he stepped out of one of the cordoned off areas.

Glennan looked around for the owner of the voice. ‘Doctor, what happened?' she asked as the Terran came up to her.

‘Did Lieutenant Thrace tell you?'

‘Only that there was some sort of trouble. Will he be all right? What happened?'

Jankowitz smiled at the questions she hurled in his direction. ‘Yes, he should make a complete recovery. We had gone to check to see if Baltar was competent enough to stand trial. With what happened, I don't see how he could be. He was the one that threw the Major up against the wall. Dr. Cottle is waiting for him to wake up so he can make an official diagnosis.'

Angela squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. ‘C-can I see him, please?'

‘Of course you can,' Jankowitz answered gently as he guided her over to the area he had recently come from.

~~~~~~~

Bill looked at the reports before him. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. He felt like he was being overwhelmed humanity's petty problems. At least Gaeta looked as though he would make a full recovery. That was another thing. Lower ranked officers, even with as few members of the military that were left, were somewhat more expendable than higher ranked officers. And with him being his executive officer, he needed to realize that he was important now.

“Bill?” Laura asked as she walked through the door. She was exhausted from the sudden overload of work along with making sure everything was set up and running once again. Then, there was the trip to the starboard flight pod where Colonial One was permanently docked. Stopping at the table, she dropped the stack of folders on it, then sat down beside him. “I heard something about Gaeta being hurt?”

“Yes.” Bill nodded.

“Baltar?”

“Yes. I want the upcoming trial started as soon as possible.” He watched as she got to her feet and started pacing.

“Good, the faster the better,” she grumbled. “I also don't want to have to deal with the ambassador until after this mess gets resolved.”


Chapter Forty-one

“Bill, how does this work?” Laura eyed the transceiver behind his desk.

Adama looked over the top of the report he was reading. “The instructions are on the desk.”

“This?” Laura picked up a crinkled piece of paper with scribbled writing on one side. She mumbled the cryptic words on the sheet while letting a confused look cross her face.

“Shesh,” Bill muttered as he put the folder down and got up. “Any reason why you want to know how it works?” he asked as he came up behind her. He gently grasped her arms and moved her to the side so he could reach the piece of electronic equipment.

“I want to talk to Captain O'Neill and tell her my decision concerning the ambassador.” She stopped when he turned and looked at her for a moment in curiosity. “I already told you. I don't want to have to deal with him or her until after the trial.”

“Him.”

“What?”

“The ambassador is a man.” Turning around he grasped her arms gently. “When you meet with him, be careful.”

Laura looked truly confused for a moment. “I don't understand. I'm always careful.”

“Laura.” Bill sighed, “Just be careful.” I don't want to lose you.

“Bill,” she smiled sweetly when she realized what he was trying to tell her, “Don't worry about that.” She leaned in just close enough for their lips to brush lightly together. “I won't let him get away with that,” she whispered.

Taking a step back, she looked to the transceiver. “Is it on?”

“Yes. All you have to do is press the blinking light and then speak normally.” Giving her a small smile he gave her a nod then went back to the report.

Laura looked at him skeptically for a moment before turning her attention back to the transceiver. Reaching over she dutifully pushed the right button.

‘This is the Goch. Reading you loud and clear Admiral.'

Laura's eyes widened. She had no idea what had just been said. Not knowing the Terran protocol, she decided to be straightforward, “This is President Roslin. I need to speak with Captain O'Neill.”

“Copy,” a heavily accented voice answered. “Please wait while we transfer you over.”

Less than a minute later, Mair answered, “ President Roslin, this is a surprise. What can I do for you?”

“Captain, this concerns the ambassador. I am unable to formally meet with him at the present time. I will send word when the best time would be to meet with him.”

The line was silent for a minute, “ Is this something that needs to be dealt with right now? And do you need help with whatever it is putting the meeting on hold, ma'am?”

“No, no. We're fine. It's just that it's a very awkward time for the meeting,” Laura sidestepped the question neatly.

“All right, I will let the ambassador know of the change in plans. How long do you suspect whatever it is will take?”

Roslin looked sharply at the transceiver. “I'm not sure about that at the moment,” she answered warily.

“I understand, Madam President. Issues can and do come up all the time. Let me know when you are ready and I can have him shuttled over,” Mair answered with a smile in her voice.

“Thank you, Captain,” Laura answered with a slight smile of her own.

“Madam President, yes, you are in Terran territory, but your fleet is not part of Terra. You are a sovereign nation with your own laws and customs. I am here to make sure that everything happens the way its supposed to go, within reason.”

“I thank you for that, Captain.” Laura looked back over to the couch once the line was disconnected. “That was easier than I expected,” she said softly as she moved back over towards Bill. She stopped suddenly and looked thoughtfully at the transceiver. “Bill?”

The senior Colonial officer looked over the report once again and glanced over to Laura. “Yes?”

“The Terrans,” she indicated the transceiver. “Actually Captain O'Neill. She seemed very guarded.”

“What are your reasons?” he queried.

Laura paused then moved back over to where she had been sitting earlier. “I'm not sure. But I think they're here not to just make sure that we're all right. I think she might be assessing my military.” She looked at Bill a moment before continuing, “I don't like being at their mercy.”

“Laura, we can leave at any time. Captain O'Neill is not stopping us,” he answered while trying to calm her anxiety. “And yes, they are making sure that we don't attack them without reason.”

“Did she tell you that?”

“No. if our positions were reversed, I would do the same thing she is doing.”

~~~

Mair looked at the monitor for a time. She knew something was going on within the fleet. Their wireless communications said plenty enough. All they were talking about was a person and also the prospect of a trial for treason. Treason was a pretty hefty charge to put on anyone. Opening up her email program, she sent a message off to Glennan for her to watch and see how the Colonials justice system worked, and just who Baltar was. Some messages were calling him vice president, and others were calling him doctor.

Once that was finished, she sent word to Garcia telling him that she wanted to talk to him concerning the Colonials.

“So, Señora,” Garcia said the moment he entered her office. “When does the shuttle leave?”

“I don't know, Your Highness.” Mair shook her head. “There's a trial against someone who committed treason. President Roslin feels it would be best to hold off on meeting you until after it's been concluded.”

“I'm not involved with the trial,” he fumed.

“Listen, Ambassador. You will shuttle over when President Roslin lets you. From what I've learned, she has had a lot to deal with and overcome. Give them respect, for they are a culture and society completely separate from Terra. When she is ready, she will invite you, not before.”

Mair took a deep breath after Garcia left. The ambassador did not like to be put on hold indefinitely, but he just didn't seem to understand that it was President Roslin's decision on when he could come over.

The comm. ping jarred her out of her thoughts. Reaching over, she opened the line, ‘O'Neill here.'

‘Skipper, we've been piggybacked onto some odd messages.'

‘What is it, Jack?' she asked, her interest peaked.

‘There are some vague reports about a few skirmishes near the frontier. No one seems to know what's going on.'

Very odd. ‘Thank you. I want you to keep me apprised if anything concrete shows up. We might be pulled from the buoy to take a look-see.'

‘Wilco.'

~~~~~~~

Less than three hours later Laura set foot on the ship that had been appropriated for the trial. The person they asked to be judge had been a retired court justice when the Holocaust had happened. He was the only one that had working knowledge of the law. Bill only had secondary knowledge from his father. Plus, it would seem that they were both out to get Baltar removed one way or another. Asking Harold Martin was much better politically, especially since the President that had originally appointed him was of a completely different party than she was.

No one followed her out of the raptor, she had traveled alone. Bill had thought it best that he stay on the Galactica during the trial and hopefully the installation of Zarek as the new vice president.

Everyone on board the luxury liner seemed to talk only about the trial set to start within the hour. Technically it wasn't a trial, it was simply a hearing into whether or not Baltar was competent enough to go on trial for the illegal removal of military hardware. That removal, and the fact that it had found its way into the hands of a known Cylon he was known to have an association with, was enough to have him charged with treason.

For a moment Laura, debated on whether or not to be present at the trial. It might be too distracting for the people there, plus, she didn't want to see too eager to have him removed. If she did attend, it could also mean that she supported the eccentric scientist. She knew she was in a quandary.

“Madam President?” Billy came down the corridor quickly. “Ma'am, the Quorum is waiting for you.”

Laura took one last look at the door leading into the court chambers before following her young aide down to the quorum chambers. “Will we be notified of the ruling once the hearing is over?”

“It's better than that, ma'am. There's a video feed set up so the Quorum can watch the proceedings,” Billy smiled.

Laura smiled as she followed him down into the legislative chambers. The only ones currently there were the other members. The media had abandoned them for the more interesting trial taking place just a few rooms away. The twelve members had gathered around a monitor watching with interest.

The trial, or hearing, went according to plan. The media was surprised when it was a Terran doctor that gave the assessment of mental stability and testified how the vice president, with at least five witnesses, had managed to escape and knock the executive officer of the Galactica unconscious. The officer in question was in Life Station and had not awakened yet. His injuries didn't seem life threatening, but just the thought that he had somehow injured a high ranking officer of the military, and then his actions following the incident, was enough for Martin to make his ruling. “From what evidence I have seen, and the testimony given from several officers and medical personnel. Vice President Gaius Baltar is not fit to stand trial.”

It took every bit of Laura's willpower not to show her relief from the ruling. “Well, it seems we have a vice president that might not be able to hold office anymore.”

“That's what it looks like,” Sara Porter sighed as she moved away from the monitor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats,” Laura said as she moved towards her position. “You probably knew how Justice Martin was going to rule concerning Vice President Baltar. He has clearly shown that he is unfit for trial. If he cannot stand trial, he doesn't have the mental capacity to continue in the office of vice president. Agreed?” Laura looked around to see how each member answered. To a fault, they all nodded in agreement.

Laura turned around to look at Billy before continuing, “Billy, open the doors please.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

Once the doors opened, the civilian population gathered around in the areas allotted to view the legislative body while they worked. Eventually the media showed up and gathered in their area and waited expectantly about what was going to happen.

Laura started with the traditional words, “I call this meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve to order.” Taking a deep breath she continued, “Per the ruling of Justice Martin, this meeting is called to order concerning Vice President Gaius Baltar and whether he should remain as vice president, or removed and have another member take his place. Voting will be closed.”

The members nodded and quickly wrote down their choices. Once finished Billy came to each member and picked up the cards then handed them to Laura. For a moment she looked at the cards, then glanced up to the gallery surrounding the Quorum meeting room. Everyone seemed to lean forward in expectation, especially when she picked up the first of the twelve cards. “Remove.”

As she turned over each card, the word, or wording was the same. All the members felt it best that Baltar not stay as vice president. Straightening the cards, Laura continued, “The Quorum has spoken. Vice President Gaius Baltar is summarily stripped of the office he was given. The privileges he enjoyed he will not have access to anymore.” Even though it was muted, there was a burst of talking from the gallery above them. That's done . “We now need to have a new vice president appointed.” All of you already know who you want to appoint , she thought. “The time for debating is past, and the time for voting is at hand.” She could feel the surprise from gallery once again. It was different, but completely within reason for her to call the vote as soon as she had.

In a surprising turn of events, Vice President Baltar was judged not to be competent to stand trial. Soon after, the Quorum met, with President Roslin at their head, and voted on whether or not Dr. Baltar was able to continue his job as Vice President. To a fault, all decided that he be impeached and removed from office. The stunning move, though, was the appointment of Councilor Thomas Zarek to the lofty position. If you remember back on the first Colonial Day after the Holocaust, President Roslin decided on Dr. Baltar to be her Vice President to keep Zarek from taking the position. This time, he easily garnered enough votes to be appointed. Apparently, President Roslin has had a recent change of heart concerning the new Vice President.

On another note, following the accident that proved to Justice Martin, of Dr. Baltar's incompetency, the executive officer of the Galactica is stated to make a complete recovery barring any complications --

Adama turned off the wireless. It's done . Picking up the comm. he asked if Cottle had made it back to the Galactica . He wanted to know Gaeta's status.

~~~~~~~

Angela looked at the curtains that gave her at least a minimum amount of privacy. Life Station did not have much in the way of private rooms. All they had was the ability to curtain off the beds. It was okay, but she still preferred to have a private room. She looked down to the rosary she held in her lap, her other hand was resting lightly on Felix's upper arm. If she stayed there any longer, she would make a complete transit of the rosary. That rarely happened with her, but there was nothing else she could really do except to pray for him.

After the brain scan, they wrapped his head up and then hooked him up to various IV's and electrical feeds to the different instruments to record his vitals. The readouts continued without any interruption. His heart and brainwaves were steady, which really pleased the doctors.

She had closed her eyes and started on the next section when a groan came from the bed. Angela's eyes flew open and she quickly stuffed the necklace back into her pocket while standing up. “Felix?” she asked. His blank expression had cringed into one of pain as he brought his hands up to clutch at his head. Reaching over, she grasped his wrists and gently pulled them away. “Felix. It is all right.”

The moment she lessened her grip on his wrists, he brought his hands back up to his head. “Please,” he groaned.

Not knowing what to do, she left the enclosed area and went to the first doctor she saw. “Dr. Cottle. Gaeta is live. . .uh. . .wake.”

Cottle didn't say a word until he pushed the curtain aside, “It's about damn time you woke up.” Gaeta was leaning over on his side with his mouth open. Not breaking a stride, he took the pan on the side table and helped Gaeta sit up then lean over. Felix soon threw-up what was left in his stomach into the bowl. “Gaeta?” Cottle asked softly not quite sure of the volume level the executive officer could tolerate at the current time.

“Sorry. . .Sleepy. . .” Gaeta mumbled as his eyes started drooping.

“You're not going to sleep just yet,” Cottle answered him as he reached for a towel and cleaned him up. He then helped him sit back up. With his best command voice, but not too loudly, the medical officer barked, “Name and rank!”

“F-Felix Gaeta. Major,” the younger officer mumbled as his eyes closed.

“Not yet, Major,” Cottle tapped Gaeta's face. “Wake up.”

“Wha --?” Gaeta's eyes opened all the way, but they were slightly glazed over.

“I want you to tell me who the president is.”

“P-president?” Felix stumbled over the word as his eyelids started drooping shut again.

“Yes, the president. Who is the current president?”

“Roslin. I want to sleep,” he mumbled.

“I know you do, Major.” With surprising gentleness, Cottle eased Gaeta back down from his seated position so he was one again stretched out on his back. Felix's eyes closed almost immediately, and he was asleep within moments.

“How is he?” Angela asked as Cottle backed away from the bed.

“He's doing quite well. As long as he doesn't do any strenuous exercise or work he should make a complete recovery.” Just as he was leaving the enclosed area he continued, “Someone will come by in a few hours to wake him up. Otherwise, it's best to let him sleep.”

Angela sighed in relief as she stuck her hand back in her pocket. Pulling it out, she looked at the beaded necklace then tightened her fingeres around it before stuffing it back into her pocket. She let a slight smile cross her face as she took a step to the bed and stood there for a moment before taking another step. Once she was beside the bed, she placed a hand on his arm. Eventually, she took a step back and went back to her regularly scheduled duties. Inside, she still wanted to be there, but her duties took precedent over her growing personal feelings for the Colonial officer. She knew had been in sickbay long enough. It helped that she understood that the doctors on call would make sure he would make a complete recovery.


Chapter Forty-two

It had been a week since the hearing, and all had been quiet. Adama moved down the corridor. So far he had been everywhere except CIC. Earlier that morning, Cottle had cleared Gaeta for full duty. The young officer had been chafing at the inactivity he had been forced into and eagerly gone straight to CIC from Life Station. That was several hours ago.

When Adama finally did make it to the command center he stood just inside the doorway to see the team in operation. Several long moments later he began to notice that something seemed off. Gaeta was there, but the rest of the watch seemed to be walking on eggshells around him.

One look at the younger officer, and he immediately knew the reason. Gaeta looked and was acting extremely irritable, and the crew had no idea how they were supposed to respond to this. He stayed just on the inside of the door leading to the lowest level, watching everything going on. Feeling he had seen enough, Adama strode towards the Commander's station while still keeping an eye on things. Gaeta had somehow managed to keep from saying something foolish once he realized once the admiral had arrived. Beneath the almost insolent attitude, he could see that the younger officer was mentally wiped out. Keeping his voice low he said, “Gaeta, get out of here. I don't want to see you here until your shift starts tomorrow.”

Felix swallowed then finally nodded, “Yes, sir.”

“I appreciate your dedication, but you're pushing it too far.”

“But, sir, there's too much to do.”

Adama's voice hardened slightly, “You're no help to me if you kill yourself doing all this after having a concussion.” He looked around a moment before continuing, “Do I need to make this an order?”

“No, sir.” Felix shook his head.

“Good. Now go and relax and get some rest.”

Gaeta nodded, then slowly walked out of CIC. Looking around, Adama could feel the relief of the lower ranked officers wash over him once the younger officer was gone. He knew he had made the right decision. Though the position wasn't physically taxing, it was mentally taxing, and that's what had wiped Gaeta out. Picking up the handset, Adama punched a few buttons. “Lieutenant, make sure Major Gaeta rests.” Not waiting for an answer, he put the cradle back in its place, then looked up to the extremely busy DRADIS screen. It had become much easier to get in contact with the former liaison ever since she had she had been shown how to operate the comm. systems.

Gaeta walked down the corridor. He was at a complete loss as to what to do. He hated being idle, it made him feel useless. Inside, he felt guilty for the sudden free time. He wasn't supposed to have all this time off. He had barely been in CIC for six hours before the admiral had come by and ordered him out. Not only did he have several hours left from his shift, but he also had the whole next shift off and his sleep cycle. He was going to be bored out of his mind, and he knew it.

Rounding a corner, he stopped suddenly. He had a hard time not rolling his eyes. To keep him from doing it, he closed them while sighing. Angela was part way down the corridor, arms folded. Gaeta had a mind to walk past her, but he knew he couldn't. When he really thought about it, he knew he was tired. Everything seemed to pass by him so quickly. He had only recently found out about how Baltar's trial being canceled because of his erratic behavior that had lead to his injury.

Without realizing it, his annoyed look slowly melted away to reveal exhaustion. Unfolding her arms, Angela moved quickly towards him. Stuffing her clipboard under an arm, she grasped one of his arms with her free hand and started pulling him down the corridor. “Where are we going?” he asked confused.

“Do not worry about that. You need to rest.”

Gaeta soon realized they were heading to her cabin. Once inside, she set up her computer so it would play something for him to relax. ‘I'll be back in a little bit, I've got to make sure medical supplies sent to Astral Queen don't get stolen and used for illicit purposes.'

Just as she was leaving, he asked, “How will you know if I decide to leave?”

‘I have my ways,' she smiled sweetly, then moved out into the office.

~~~~~~~~

Laura slowly brushed the tangles out of her hair with her fingers while looking at herself in the mirror. She had yet to decide on when she would accept the new ambassador. Bill had told her earlier that the new ambassador wanted to retain Soblet's services as a translator. The refusal was immediate. Laura did not want him back on board for any reason whatsoever. Then, with the hearing and what had happened to Gaeta, she realized she was running out of options and time.

Walking out of her private restroom, she went back to her overflowing desk. Just because Colonial One had been out of commission didn't mean that the government was also. If anything, there seemed to be more work to do. For a moment, she debated on whether or not to call Bill about her concerns and thoughts. Last night he had gotten an earful. It's not that she wanted him to know, she had just been overwhelmed with everything that needed to get done. Yes, they were hoping that they had found Earth, but not like this. She had yet to see what the planet looked like. At least Billy wasn't being overwhelmed by calls from the populace, if you didn't take into consideration congratulatory calls. That was one thing she didn't mind receiving. Also, that first disaster vessel that arrived was now almost empty. If anything, she knew those very same people that praised her for getting them to Earth territory safely, would easily turn on her once the foodstores started running low.

Pulling out a piece of paper, she started writing down all the things they would need. Another relief vessel fully stocked would be very welcomed. Easy access to Earth would be another thing she would push for, but that would be for future discussions. After several minutes, she looked at the very short list. She knew she would never be able to remember everything that they needed. They were a society that was barely surviving. Most of the people loved the Terrans, but talked about them in the abstract. Hardly any of them had direct contact with their long lost cousins except through the media.

Realizing she had put it off long enough, Laura picked up the phone. “Billy, I need to talk to the admiral.” She waited patiently for several minutes before continuing, “Bill, I've decided to go ahead and meet with the Terran ambassador. . .” She looked up to the clock before answering, “Three hours.” Once the call was terminated she looked back up again at the clock. No one had bothered to take down the paper tag that was placed on the minute hand back when they first fled the Colonies. The image struck her as bizarre and made her laugh. Getting up, she gathered the folders on her desk, along with her recently compiled list, and moved over to Billy's office. Just as she was reaching for the curtain, he pulled it open.

“Ma'am,” he smiled. “Have you decided where the initial meeting will be?”

“No,” Laura sighed. “The only place I can think of is the Galactica 's Ward Room.”

“What about translators? Major Gaeta is back on duty, but I don't know if he'll be available.” Her aide went back to his desk and looked through the gathered paperwork.

“What about Lieutenant Glennan? I'm amazed at her language abilities. It's only been three weeks. . .” Laura hesitated before continuing, “And she's fluent.” Barring those strange words she throws in accidentally .

“She might be our best bet. I'll let the admiral know your thoughts while you're heading in that direction.”

“Thank you,” Laura answered with a smile as she left the Presidential transport. It would take a bit of time to get to the forward sections of the battlestar, but not three hours. The rest of the time she decided on using it to prepare herself for the upcoming meeting. This would be the first time any of them had talked to a formal diplomat from Terra. The press would be hounding her for days trying to be the first to break the information to the civilian population.

Just as she rounded one of the last corners she smiled at the sight of Bill moving towards her.

“Short notice?” he asked with an amused look on his face.

“Actually I only just decided to meet with him. I've been putting it off long enough. Plus, what would the Terrans think of me as a leader?” she asked.

Bill stopped before answering, “That you're being extremely careful.”

Laura sighed. “You know, Adar never believed that the Thirteenth Colony was real.”

“And now you're meeting with their official representative.” They started moving down the corridor once again.

“Is the Ward Room ready?” she asked as he pulled the door open to his cabin.

“Yes.”

“What about our translators?” Laura's eyes narrowed slightly at his hesitation. “What's wrong?”

“Major Gaeta was cleared from light duty status. . .”

“Did something happen?” she put the folders down on the table.

Bill closed eyes, “He might be too exhausted to act as translator.”

“I see. . .I still would like to ask him if at all possible. If he's unable to, then that leaves Lieutenant Glennan, does it not?”

A slight smile crossed Adama's face before continuing, “Yes.

“And she is quite fluent. I see no reason we can't use her services.” Turning around, she started going through the folders, “She is available, right?”

“If not, she will be,” Bill answered under his breath. “I'll have her report to the Ward Room,” he answered loud enough for Laura to hear.

“Good.” She looked up at the clock, “Because we have a little over two hours before the meeting. I want to be as up to date on everything as possible.”

~~~~~~~

‘Three hours!' Garcia looked at Mair with eyes wide in shock. ‘That does not give me nearly enough time to prepare for such a meeting!'

‘I'm sorry, Your Highness. I know, but it has been a week. You should have known something like this might happen.' Mair carefully hid her amusement at Garcia's reactions to the sudden meeting. At least Roslin had finally decided to meet with them.

‘Señora, did they mention about the use of a translator?'

Mair shook her head, ‘No, but I presume that has already been taken care of. They know that we use a completely different language than they do, though it was quite a shock when they first found out.'

‘How so?' Garcia leaned forward, clearly interested.

O'Neill looked down while trying to figure out the best way to explain the whole concept of a single language. ‘They do not have a dominant language like we do. They have only one language. They assumed that we spoke the same language. When President Roslin found out that it wasn't the case she was very surprised. It was something they never even considered.'

‘Very interesting,' Garcia leaned back.

‘Sir, the transport will leave in two hours. I hope you spend your time wisely preparing for the meeting.' Mair terminated the conversation.

‘Of course, Señora.' Garcia stood and bowed.

Once he was out of her office, Mair shook her head. Garcia had picked up very quickly that he couldn't lay his charms on her. She had been around long enough to see the signs, and they were blatantly visible to her. Mair only hoped that Roslin was sharp enough to know what he might do.

Two hours later, Mair stood in the command center and watched as the shuttle with fighter escort left the relative safety of her ship and headed towards the Colonial's flag ship. ‘Harris, send a message to the Colonials telling them that the ambassador is on his way.'

‘Yes, ma'am.'

Garcia leaned forward, straining to look outside the front viewscreen. The ships he was heading towards were nothing like he had ever envisioned. The two largest were obviously military. A combination between a heavy destroyer and a carrier. The concept was something different, but it also looked like they had been able to make it work. The two Terran ships were embedded inside the odd mixture of ships, but those two still stood out. Their designs were totally different compared to the ones around them.

‘You're Highness, we'll be landing in 15 minutes.'

‘Pilot, do you know where we are going?'

‘Sir, I've made this run several times.' The pilot turned around far enough for Garcia to catch the name on his uniform. Janes .

‘Of course,' Garcia sat back then let his eyes stray towards his attaché case he brought with him. Not knowing how long the talks would take, he had taken it upon himself to bring several changes of clothes. A ship that size should have at least one cabin free for him to use. Captain Soblet had told him that there was a VIP cabin close to the Admiral's quarters, and that it also had a transceiver installed there. Having a personal transceiver would make communications much easier for him.

This is a huge ship . Garcia looked through the front viewscreen as they were being lowered down into the hanger. When the shuttle stopped moving, they waited for a short time before disembarking onto the hanger deck. Because of the Colonials' refusal to let Captain Soblet be translator and aide, he had to make do with what he carried with him. It was an odd feeling having to rely solely on the other side, and one he did not like either. If anyone saw the meeting, they would say the Colonials had the upper hand, and in a way they did. The upper levels of the EU wanted certain things to happen in this meeting. With what had happened so far, he didn't know if he could pull it off. All he could do is to try his best to get the visitors to agree to the proposals he had barely managed to sketch out in the short time he'd had before the initial meeting.

How do you conduct a first contact situation when the civilization probably colonized Earth? Once the door opened, he realized that the time for musing was over. Stepping down from the transport, Garcia looked around for a moment. His eyes stopped on the petite woman in obvious Terran military garb standing there patiently waiting for him. Garcia looked for her rank and name for a moment before speaking, ‘Lieutenant Glennan? I expected someone of higher rank from our visitors.'

‘Mr. Ambassador, they are extremely busy. Admiral Adama asked me to escort you to your cabin and then to the Ward Room. There, President Roslin and Admiral Adama will formally meet with you.'

Do they have any idea what this looks like? He sighed when he realized that this was all he was going to get for now. Soblet must have gotten them furious over some delicate issue. He was always arrogant, thinking he could get away with anything and everything without caring about the consequences.

‘I was told I would have access to my own personal transceiver.' His question was spoken more as a statement.

Angela hesitated for a moment. She hated giving up that transceiver for the ambassador, but she was in no place to complain about it. All she could do was make do with Adama's as long as she was close enough to it. ‘Yes. There is a transceiver in the VIP quarters.'

‘Good,' he answered confidently. He didn't notice her hesitation. Nor did he think to pay careful attention while on their way to the cabin he would use. It was only halfway there when he remembered, but he decided to keep his mouth shut for now. ‘Lieutenant, how well are you able to communicate with the crew?' Garcia couldn't help but notice how she was being treated by the others they passed in the corridors.

‘Sir, I can get by,' she answered noncommittally. ‘And make myself understood.'

He was about to answer when they stopped in front of what looked like a nondescript door in another nondescript corridor. ‘This is the VIP cabin,' Angela said as she released the lock and opened the door. Setting foot inside, Garcia nodded in appreciation, especially with the sight of the transceiver sitting on a side table in the corner.

‘This will do fine,' he finally answered. Setting the attaché case on the table, he pulled out the paperwork he had gathered on such short notice and quickly organized it. ‘This is an unusual way to handle meetings, but are they ready?' he asked as he finished.

‘Sir, I'm not privy to that information. I would suspect that they want to meet with you in the Ward Room as soon as you're ready.'

‘I see.' Garcia looked at her thoughtfully before nodding. ‘Then if could take me to the Ward Room. You see, this is a momentous occasion.'

Angela nodded, careful to not let any emotion show on her face. ‘If you will follow me, sir.'

The trip took half the time compared to coming from the hanger area. Turning a corner, she found two of her marines standing guard at the door. As they reached the door, the marines braced themselves and one smartly opened the door. Garcia didn't know if that was for him, or the Lieutenant. Either way, he was able to notice that they had some of their customs. Interesting .

“Mr. Ambassador, please have a seat.” Laura indicated the chair across the table. Angela hesitated for a moment before relaying what was said. She was of mind to retreat to the back of the room, but a slight shake of the head from Adama made her think otherwise. Just as they reached the center area, the door opened again and Felix stepped inside. He hid his exhaustion behind a mask of calm.

“I'm glad you could make it, Major,” Laura nodded to Gaeta as he sat down carefully.

He hid it well, but Angela could tell he was exhausted, and that Dr. Cottle probably doped him up for the time being so he could make the meeting. It bothered her, but she couldn't do anything about it at the moment.


Chapter Forty-three

Garcia looked to the woman seated across the table from him. She was quite lovely, and very annoyed at him. The snubbing he had received when he had come aboard and been met by a single lieutenant hadn't been lost on him. There was a young man sitting beside her, ready with paper and pen. The older officer was standing off to the side a few feet from the woman watched him in cold detachment. The Spaniard knew he had a lot of ground to cross before the major issues could be discussed between the two sides. Using a tone he felt sounded very open and not condescending, he started, ‘Ma'am President, I am Juan Alfonso Bourbon y Garcia. Terra appointed me as the first ambassador to your people.' He paused while his words were translated. What was odd, was that it was the other foreign officer that was the translator. Garcia had expected the Terran Lieutenant to do the bulk of the work.

Laura looked at him for a short time before deciding to answer by directing her comments to the Terran Lieutenant. “You can make the introductions, Lieutenant.”

Glennan nodded while turning back towards the Terran ambassador, ‘President Roslin. She is the duly elected president of the Twelve Colonies. The officer beside her is Admiral Adama and is the highest ranking officer in the Colonial Military.'

Garcia nodded slowly as his eyes tracked between the two senior members of the fleet. He knew it was going to take all of his abilities to reach the two leaders. ‘What can I do to show that we are not all like the former liaison?' he slowly ventured. He did not like having to start with something like this. It was akin to groveling. Groveling was something commoners were supposed to do. Though he was chaffing slightly on the inside, he put forth the image that he was calm and patient, but ready to do what was needed.

“So Mr. Garcia, do you know what happened? I will not allow anything like that to happen again. There is too much at stake for you to go wandering around,” Laura started slowly. “Until you have shown your trustworthiness, you will have an escort with you at all times. Only after you have proven that you can be trusted will the escort be removed.”

Garcia's eyes widened in surprise at how curtailed he was going to be while with the fleet. Not knowing why, his eyes flicked over to the older officer. He knew in seconds that he was being read. It was an unpleasant feeling.

“You will accept it, or you will leave.”

‘I am not sure I quite understand you. . .' Garcia shook his head. This was something he did not like.

“Let me be clear on this matter. Except for your cabin, you are not allowed access to different areas of the ship unless you are previously cleared by either Admiral Adama or Security,” Laura answered with a smile, but her eyes meant business.

Garcia remained quiet for several minutes before slowly nodding. This would make it extremely difficult for him to complete all the tasks his patrons required of him. If he didn't agree to everything, then he would have no chance whatsoever. President Roslin obviously had the upper hand and wasn't going to give it up. Looking to the younger officer he finally nodded in agreement.

‘Could you explain the events that brought you here?' Garcia asked. He was curious, especially looking to the fleet of vessels that were showing signs of falling apart.

Laura looked at Adama for a moment before turning her attention back to the dark Terran. “It is a long story. Basically, there was a surprise electronic attack. After our defenses were shut down our worlds were destroyed. What you see out there is all that's left of twelve worlds and upwards of 60 billion citizens.”

Refugees. They are desperate. This could work our way. He gave her a look of dismay while answering, ‘I am truly sorry for what has happened to your people. Terra will do what she can to help, which is what I have to offer.' Garcia stopped when he saw a look of surprise cross Roslin's face. She looked to the officer beside her again before bringing her attention back to the table.

“What is your offer?”

Garcia hesitated before continuing, ‘Terra is too densely populated to be able to absorb wh - -'

“I will not let that happen,” Roslin's voice flared in anger.

‘I do not understand?'

“Let me explain it to you. We will not loose what's left of our culture. I do not want the people to be ‘absorbed' and disappear.”

Garcia backed up a few inches, surprised at her vehemence. ‘Ma'am,' he paused before continuing. ‘As I was saying, Terra is too densely populated. Right now there is 8 to 10 billion people living on the planet. What I can offer you is a relatively unpopulated colony world. That way you will have room to reestablish your culture.'

“What about the military? I will not give that up.”

‘And you will not,' Garcia answered with a smile. ‘Admiral Adama will still be your senior military officer, but the ships will also be absorbed as a unit into the Terran Union's fleet. Basically it will be your own battlegroup, or whatever you call it.'

“All right,” if anything Roslin's answer was even slower than before. “Anything else?”

‘Until your people are self-sufficient, Terra can supply your needs, and take care of your people.'

“I see. And what do we do in return for this?”

Garcia sat back and thought a little bit. Word was filtered through that these people were able to put their FTL drive into a ship slightly larger than a one person fighter, plus it made the ship untraceable at the same time. This was something his patrons were very interested in. If he worked it right, this would be the ace in the hole for the EU, and make it a true power not to be taken lightly. ‘Captain Franchetti mentioned that what took our ships three hours to cover, you did it in half that time.'

“The FTL drive?” Laura asked in surprise. “You mean you don't have the same type of FTL drive as we do?”

‘Apparently not, Madam President. Maybe we could have a mutual exchange of technologies?' Garcia asked while trying to sound hopeful at the prospect of receiving some of their technology.

“Mr. Ambassador, we are just getting back to being able to maintain everything. We are really in no position to just hand over people that are needed in their fields of expertise.”

‘Of course not!' he smiled at her graciously. ‘What we can do is to have a few people on board to observe and take notes on how the different systems are run. That way you do not loose anyone. In fact, you might be able to gain a few people to help with the maintenance while they are your guests.'

Laura looked over to the somewhat empty sheets in front of Billy. Even he had seem struck by the seemingly open generosity of the Terran, but when the time came, he simply forgot. Looking over to the clock, she noted that it showed that it was close to dinner. “Ambassador Garcia, I am going to need some time to think about the offer. The meetings will be in recess until we have been able to digest this offer you have given us.”

‘Of course, Señora. Take all the time you need. This is a very important decision for everyone involved.'

Laura gave him a hard look before answering, “Yes, it is.” As she rose, the rest hastily got to their feet and let her exit. “And, Mr. Garcia,” she said as she turned around at the door, “The Marines can show you to your cabin.”

‘And only if it's cleared with him or security,' Garcia muttered just below his breath as he watched the president leave. Soon afterwards, Adama left with the Colonial translator. The Terran lieutenant remained until two more marines arrived. She said something quietly and they nodded while bracing themselves. Once she was gone they looked at him and one said in a heavy accent, ‘Sir. Come.'

Garcia nodded in resignation. It would be impossible to get out of this , he thought morbidly as he followed one while letting the other trail behind him.

~~~~~~~

Glennan walked briskly down the corridor on the way to the mess. She wasn't looking for Gaeta at all. What she wanted was something to eat. Setting foot inside the room, she was surprised to find the executive officer already there. He didn't seem that hungry, just mainly picking at the food. Retrieving her own tray, she moved over to the table he was at and sat down opposite of him. ‘You okay?' she asked.

All of a sudden he seemed to start acting like the food was unappetizing. Putting the fork down, he pushed the tray away and rested his forehead on the palms of his hands. “I don't know,” he muttered. Ignoring the food, she got up and went over and pulled him to his feet. “We are go to Life Station.” Her tone brokered no argument as she pulled him out of the room and into the corridor.

The odd thing was that he didn't resist it. Once they got there he was actively wincing at the lighting in the large room. Shrugging off her hand, he quickly found the head and closed the door. Not knowing what was going on, she decided to get the doctor, whichever one she saw first. Off to the side she saw what looked like a new mother, sitting in a chair and feeding her child. Glennan smiled slightly at the sight of new life then went back to searching for one of the doctors.

It happened to be Cottle, and he was in his office. “Doctor, something is wrong with Major Gaeta,” she said with some concern.

“Where is he?” the older officer asked while following her into the large room. “Head. . .hurt?” she asked.

It took a moment before Cottle realized what she was talking about. “Oh. You mean headache. He should be all right.”

Angela shrugged her shoulders while knocking on the door to the head. When there was no answer, she opened it up and found the lights were off.

“You sure he's in here?” Cottle asked somewhat amused.

“Yes, I am,” Gaeta grumbled. “Please turn off that light, it's too bright.”

Cottle gave Glennan a knowing look then stepped inside the smaller room. “Major, I'll get you something for your headache. It will knock you out for some time.”

“Will it work?” Gaeta asked as he slowly got to his feet. He had been sitting on the deck, leaning against the wall.

“Yes, it will. I've given it before.” Helping him out he brought him to one of the cots, then went into another room to retrieve the medication. Returning, he commented, “Now, I don't want you to go play a round of pyramid any time soon. Recovering from a concussion takes longer than you realize.” He handed him a paper cup with water and the medication. Once the executive officer downed it, Cottle turned his attention back to Glennan. “Get him back to his cabin. I want to see him first thing tomorrow if he's able to get up and about.”

“Yes, sir.” Glennan nodded while Gaeta closed his eyes again. Not knowing how fast the medication acted, Glennan pushed the Colonial officer out of Life Station and back to his cabin in record time. Once the door was secure she ordered him to strip and get into his rack. It was odd to see him meekly do what she told him. He was asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. Glennan left his cabin only after she made sure his uniform was folded neatly over the closest available chair.

Moving past her first cabin, she looked at the door for a moment, she wished she had that transceiver once again. It had made everything so much easier having one right there. Her rank, though, wasn't high enough for them to dedicate one just for her own use. Sighing she took a step before she remembered something odd. The ambassador used the term ‘Terran Union'. It bothered her that she didn't really know what he was referencing. Taking another step, she decided to check her computer, it might have some sort of reference about the Terran Union. If not, she would have to email Captain O'Neill about that piece of information.

Everything in her cabin was exactly where she left it. The door into the barracks was open. One of the marines came into the office when they noticed she had come back. “I'm sorry, ma'am. We were ordered to tell Major Gaeta he was required to show up to the Ward Room.”

“I know,” she answered as she opened the computer. “I was there.” She dismissed him and turned her attention back to the computer. When it was up and running, she ran a search through her historical database, hoping that something might pop up. ‘Son of a bitch,' she muttered darkly. With exaggerated patience, she closed up the computer then stormed out of the office.

She was not bothered by the officers she met in the corridors on the way towards Adama's cabin. They seemed to sense her mood, or perhaps just recognized the dark look of anger on her face. Standing outside, she didn't even have to make any comments to the guards. One look and one of them immediately opened the door and slipped inside. Seconds later he reappeared and nodded towards the cabin.

Taking a deep breath, Angela tried to calm down. It didn't work. Taking a step inside, she found both leaders sitting at the table with several pieces of paper between them.

“Lieutenant?” Adama asked, clearly wary at the anger she was projecting.

“Sir.” She took another deep breath before continuing. “Something is wrong. I admit I was not grown up on Terra, so I do not know all political names of all alliances. You are dealing with one alliance, not all of alliances. Their official name is the ‘European Union'.”

“What type of ramifications are we dealing with, Lieutenant?” Laura asked as she pulled her glasses off. Before Angela could answer she indicated one of the chairs, “Please, sit down. And yes, I remember Captain O'Neill talking about this. Is it this bad?”

“Sometimes, ma'am. The European Union want's the ultimate ‘upper hand'. They want to be in complete control and not in an alliance like the rest of the nations are parts of,” Glennan answered slowly, “and they see that with your technology. They want it for themselves.”

“I do not like this,” Laura looked at Bill for a moment.

“No, it's not good,” he answered.

“Sir?”

The two older Colonials turned their attention back to Glennan. The lieutenant was looking off to the side, thinking hard. “They might want the FTL drive. You travel to this buoy in half the time it normally takes one of our ships. Also, if you join the Terran Union's military, you will not be in command any more.” Glennan saw anger easily cross Roslin's face. “Not all of Terra is like this. Captain O'Neill will never do this, plus both the USA and the Commonwealth nations easily and generously pass technology around to the other alliances that need it, so all can actively protect the planet.” Her last words seemed to mollify the two, but not by much.

“Admiral, what if we decide to offer all of Terra some of our technology, not just the ones we're dealing with now?”

Adama looked thoughtful for a moment, “That might work. Make it available to all the members.” He turned his attention back to Glennan, “Thank you for this information.” As he was dismissing her, she commented, “Major Gaeta might not be there tomorrow. He had a very bad headache. Dr. Cottle gave him something a short time ago.”

Adama nodded and waited until she had left his cabin.

“Who would have thought that our cousins would be this fractured?” Laura shook her head as she gathered up her papers.

“Up until the First Cylon War, we were the same way,” Bill answered as he sat down on the couch. As Laura came over, he picked up the comm. unit. “Cottle, what's going on with my XO?. . .I see. . .Keep me informed.”

“What was that for?” Laura sighed as she sat down.

“I think Gaeta pushed himself too hard. Cottle just released him from limited duty this morning.”

Laura mused, “He did seem very tired.” Turning her attention back to the table, she continued, “I rather like the idea of how we can get around what Garcia is proposing. What about the planet, though?”

“I want to talk to O'Neill about that. She might have a better idea for us to think about.”

“Searching all this time, and come to find out that they're not what we expected.” Laura sighed as she closed her eyes.

President Laura Roslin and Admiral Adama have been in serious talks with the new Terran Ambassador, who arrived earlier today. It was a surprise action, so we do not have any audio with his arrival. The only ones that know of what is being discussed at the present time are the parties involved, along with the translators.

On another note, former Vice President Gaius Baltar has been transferred to the Pegasus . . .


Chapter Forty-four

Dee looked at the large, and very different piece of equipment securely ensconced to the side of her workstation. It was nothing like what she was used to working with. It seemed more like a decoration and one that didn't fit in CIC. Billy had commented to her a couple of nights ago that it might be in their best interest if she were to learn the Terran language. He had called it English. Dee had heard the language, and it sounded like a difficult one to learn, but Gaeta seemed to be having a somewhat easy time absorbing the language. Then again, he was used to working with computer code.

Once the marines had brought it into CIC, two more marines, apparently Terrans, had installed it and then explained to her how it was used. They were even able to jack it into a spair circuit on her console so it could be routed into their own comm. systems. How they did that, she had no idea. Still, the thought of being able to communicate with the Terran ships more easily (actually it was easy for her, but not for them) made it worth everything. Ironically, it was easier to use than the systems on the Galactica , or the Pegasus . One of the Terrans, who's name was Ferguson, had commented that the only ones that could tap into the system were the Terrans themselves. The Cylons had no way of being able to force their way into the system.

That knowledge helped somewhat, but she still was worried that the network could be the Terran's ultimate downfall. Her own people had been through so much in the last year that hardly any of them trusted computers anymore. Once the marines were gone, she went over the list once again on how to use the new piece of equipment. The amusing thing was that the other CIC team members were finding some issue to make them move over to her station. The system was ridiculously easy to use, which made it difficult at the same time.

She had been fiddling with it for some time when she got a comm. from the admiral. He seemed very angry, in her estimation, and wanted to talk to Captain O'Neill. Turning to the side, she activated the transceiver and sent the call through. I could get used to this . Once the call was transferred, it became completely private, and she had no way of listening in on the transmission. All she could say later on was that she knew when the call had been terminated.

“Captain,” Adama started once the call was sent through. It did seem somewhat odd for him to be talking to the Terran captain like this. He was used to having both hands free. “There is something very important that I need to talk to you about.” He reigned in his emotions so much that he sounded cold.

“What happened?” Mair asked slowly.

Adama took a deep breath. He wasn't entirely sure how he was going to tell her about the latest issues with the Terran political system. “The ambassador had the same ideas as the liaison.”

‘Damn!' she hissed. “All right, Admiral. May I ask what he offered?”

Before Adama could answer the door opened and one of the marine guards escorted Zarek into the cabin. “He offered full membership into the Terran Union for the military as a battlegroup. The other issue is our self-sufficiency. Garcia stated that. . .” he hesitated as Laura came over from the couch to give him the notes Billy made. “He stated that Terra would supply all our needs. Captain, I really don't like the way either of those offers sound.”

Mair eventually answered, “Neither do I, Admiral.”

“Who is he talking to?” Zarek asked Laura as he sat down at the table.

“Captain O'Neill,” Laura answered as she moved towards the table. Once she was seated across from the vice president she continued, “So far, she appears to be the most open of the Terrans we've met.” She hesitated before continuing. “Tom, you have no idea what we've been through with the Terran diplomats.”

Laura turned her attention back to Adama as he placed the comm. back in its cradle. For a moment the older man rubbed his temples while shaking his head. “What is it, Admiral?”

Adama got up and moved over to the table and sat down. “There's little Captain O'Neill can do except give us advice. Garcia is supposedly here to represent the whole planet, but somehow he snuck in some issues for the group he's with.”

“Does the Terran captain have what was offered?” He looked to the two leaders then asked, “What did the Terran ambassador offer?”

“A place to settle the people, and the military join the Terran Union's military as a battlegroup,” Laura answered curtly.

“Which means we will not be in control of our destiny anymore,” Adama growled.

“Well, lets see what we can get out of them,” Tom asked with a rather amused smile on his face. “I want to be there at the next meeting.”

“With pleasure,” Laura answered with the same tone of voice. “You can stay on board overnight. The next meeting will be sometime after breakfast. I'll need at least that amount of time to formulate my answer.” Nodding at the look Zarek was giving her, she continued, “And yes, you will be informed before the meeting as to my decision on the matter tabled in front of us.”

“Do you have any ideas so far?”

“Only of possibly holding out to see if we might get something better,” Laura shook her head. “If we decide to leave, we could easily have a riot on our hands. The people have developed a fondness for not having to merely subsist.” There was a longer pause before she continued, “There is something else that hasn't been mentioned. Terra is rather. . .fractured. . .politically.”

“Now that's interesting,” Zarek let a thoughtful look play across his face.

“They do not have a single planetary government. Their defense is a conglomeration of the different ‘alliances' militaries. . .Damn you, Garcia,” she lowered her voice in anger. “Not a separate member, but subservant to one of the alliances.”

“And if they have control of our military, no telling what will happen if we settle on the planet Garcia might push for,” Tom answered.

“Now you see what we're dealing with,” Adama gave Zarek a knowing glance.

“Very much so,” Tom nodded. “Too bad we don't know where Earth is at the moment. We could jump right inside their inner defenses.”

Laura let a smile cross her face, “It would get our point across, but it's too impractical at the present time.”

“Then what about using him as a possible hostage?” Zarek commented with a rogue grin.

Adama shook his head, “Won't work. If we were to go that route, we would need to have something or someone important. Garcia is only one politician. He is a creature of the government, and apparently his patrons.” He glanced towards Laura. The current President was looking at him in surprise. “Though they might try it on us. If he asks to have you come to one of the Terran ships, let me know in advance. That way I can make sure that both of you will be safe.” It was foolish of you to go to that Terran ship in the first place .

Laura was about to protest, but decided not to for the moment. She understood Adama's reasons for not letting her out of his sight. What shocked her was that he had added Zarek in the bubble of protection. She would have to ask him about that later.

“What about the planet? Do we know anything about it's political makeup?” Zarek asked while reaching for Billy's notes.

“Not at the moment,” Laura shook her head.

“You know, Madam President, their colony worlds might be tied into the different political systems.”

Laura nodded slowly. “I haven't had time to think about that issue.” Turning she continued after a lengthy pause, “Do you think Lieutenant Glennan might have a listing of all the colony worlds Terra has?”

Adama looked off to the side before answering, “She might.”

“I'd like to have her here before the next meeting. I want to see what she knows about all this.”

“I remember her,” Zarek nodded. “And you trust her?”

“Much more than Garcia,” Adama answered. “She has kept her word.”

When Zarek finally, left Bill turned his attention back to Laura. “What was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

Laura shook her head. “I'll never get used to this,” she muttered. “Why Tom?”

Bill reached over and touched her hand, “Because, he is the next in line. I have to protect both of you.”

“I know. I guess I'm not used to hearing you say things like that.”

“And it was rather foolish of you to head over to O'Neill's ship. You could have been taken hostage.” He gave her a knowing look.

Laura looked down at her hands. “I couldn't see any other option open, you know that.”

“Yes, I do, but what if you had been taken hostage?”

“They'd have to deal with Zarek. I'm not as ruthless,” she gave him an amused grin.

-----

The next day after breakfast, Garcia found himself sitting across from three people. President Roslin was there, along with her senior military officer and also her aide, but sitting beside her was another middle aged man. The Spaniard felt slightly uncomfortable under the newcomers gaze. It seemed almost predatory in nature. The two translators from the day before were with them also. The younger Colonial officer seemed much more rested and alert than the day before.

“Mr. Ambassador,” Roslin started. “I would like to introduce to you the vice president, Tom Zarek. I had a lengthy discussion last night about your offer with Vice President Zarek and Admiral Adama.” Pausing for a moment, she continued, “Is there any reason why you want my military to join the European Union's military as a battlegroup instead of being a separate entity?”

Garcia's mouth dropped open. ‘Ma'am, I did not mean that at all. I was talking about the Terran defense forces.' He turned his attention to the officer translating the information from English into the Colonial's tongue, ‘I did not say that at all! I believe there was a mix-up in the translation.' Garcia sat back with a slight smile on his face.

Glennan turned and commented quietly towards the ambassador, ‘Sir, there was no mix-up. You forget, I can speak their language.'

“Mr. Ambassador.”

Garcia turned his attention back to the Colonial president, as she continued, “Your military offer is unacceptable. I will not have the military taken away from my people.” She smiled as she continued, “And I will not travel to any other Terran ship with you. Your people have to come here to meet with me. Either that, or we will leave, and take our technology that Captain Soblet found extremely interesting.”

‘I was hoping for some sort of answer. Your people are in desperate straits. The faster we can have these issues resolved, the quicker your people can get settled onto a suitable planet,' Garcia pushed.

“Only if we get to choose the planet. I want a listing of the colony worlds available, not just from the EU, but all colony worlds. Do you understand?”

His manner clearly indicating that the talks were not going they way he wanted them too, Garcia slowly nodded. ‘I assume you will continue to insist on your military's independence?'

“Of course,” Roslin smiled. “We will not be subservant to any of Terra's alliances. That doesn't mean we will withhold our technology or help. We do, however, expect a fair and equitable trade for the technology we offer.”

‘I need to report back to Terra your thoughts on what was offered.' Garcia knew he he had been out maneuvered.

“That's fine. We can table the discussion until you hear from the Terran government.” Laura signaled Billy then turned her attention back to Garcia. Once the young aide had gathered everything up, he came around behind her and whispered something to her. Nodding, she turned her attention back to Garcia. “That is all for now.” She smiled and rose to her feet. The rest of the group hastily joined her, then let her leave the room.

Garcia watched as the Terran lieutenant left, it made him think when she wasn't followed by any of the marines. He knew he had to garner the Colonial's trust, but wasn't sure how to go about it. Gathering up his papers, he slowly left the now empty room. He considered his options as he set foot inside his cabin. The places he could travel to on the ship were highly restricted. If only I could see one of the civilian ships. Then I would know just how badly off they are. Moving over to the transceiver, he activated it and then set it up so it would send his report and requests back to the government.

“So, what do you think?” Laura turned to ask Zarek. She knew he had followed her to Colonial One .

“I'm hoping he will have a change of heart. I don't like what I saw.” The former councilor sat down in one of the available chairs.

“Same here, but I'm not going to take what they offer. Yes, we're desperate, but we're not beggars. If need be, we can leave.”

“Nice how you dangled the technology before him.” An almost predatory smile crossed his lips.

“Best way how to get what I want. And what I want is a safe place for our people. You know that, Tom.” She gave him a stern look, “And I also expect you to realize that you represent the entire society. What you do and say will sway the people either way. You have to be extremely careful with everything you do in the public arena.”

~~~~~~~

Gaeta slowly walked through the corridors on his way to Life Station. Cottle was going to be very angry with him for missing his meeting. He had barely made it to the second round of talks with the Terran ambassador. If it weren't for one of the marines coming in and shaking him awake, he wouldn't have made it. The sleep had helped, but he still felt wiped out.

“Took you long enough,” Cottle's gruff voice came from further inside the large room. Gaeta looked around for a moment, gathering his bearings. Sometimes he felt as though he were developing vertigo, but it would stop before everything would start spinning.

“Where were you?” The CMO moved across the room and stood in front of the younger officer.

“I only woke up in time to help with the talks.”

Cottle nodded thoughtfully. “Sit,” he ordered.

Once the XO was seated on the gurney, Cottle ran through the medical exam. “Any dizzy spells?” he asked as he took a step back.

“I'm not sure. It feels like I'm trying to get one, but it goes away.” Gaeta shrugged his shoulders.

“No headaches?”

“No. Thank the gods. . .”

“Be thankful you didn't hit your head any harder,” Cottle answered gruffly.


Chapter Forty-five

Adama looked at Billy's notes from all the previous meetings with the Terran Ambassador. It seemed as though for the past few weeks, all they had been doing was going around in circles. If he didn't know any better, Garcia seemed to be stalling. Almost as though he was waiting for something, or someone. The list of colony worlds had been surprisingly mostly intact. All but a few were there. The ones not listed were ones where there was apparently no EU involvement.

“I see you noticed,” Laura commented as she sat on the corner of his desk.

“There are a few worlds that Garcia never mentioned. Those might be possible landing areas for the civilians.” Bill sat back while rubbing his forehead. After a few minutes, he reached over to the comm. and had Gaeta report to his quarters.

“Any reason why you want to talk to him at the present time?”

A wry smile crossed Bill's face. “Only that he might have some information that Garcia hasn't revealed.”

It took a moment before Laura understood his reason. “Of course,” she answered with a smile. She kissed him on the cheek then slid off the desk. Roslin was seated in one of the chairs when the door to the corridor opened. The young XO entered and immediately moved over to Adama's office cubbyhole and sat down in the other chair available.

“I called you here because it would appear Ambassador Garcia had failed to mention a few worlds -- those apparently with no EU activity.” Adama leaned over and handed Felix both lists of Terran colony worlds.

Felix looked at the two lists and did a quick comparison of the two. He was looking at the worlds not on Garcia's list as Adama queried, “Is there any information that you know of about those other worlds?”

“I might. . .sir,” Gaeta answered slowly. Leaning forward he pointed to one of the unlisted colony worlds, “This, I believe, is mostly an agricultural world. It has maybe half a million residents.”

“So, room to settle?” Laura asked, clearly surprised.

“Yes, ma'am,” Felix nodded.

“The others aren't really ready for colonization yet?”

Felix looked up at Adama while shaking his head, “No, sir. Those, I believe, are mostly like Troy.”

Adama went back to the list Garcia handed over. Most of the available planets did have room for about 50,000 new residents, and they did seem good, but the developed colony that wasn't mentioned seemed even better. Not only was there room to grow, but there was also an ample food supply already on hand. Terra, they had finally decided, was off limits to settlement. Even if they were able to settle there, they would quickly lose their culture and disappear forever. If they went for one of the relatively low populated colony worlds, they would be able to salvage what they could and start anew. Plus visit Earth whenever they chose.

“Anything else?”

Felix thought for a moment before continuing, “Glennan commented that because of its position, the colony has its own defenses.”

“Any reason why you know about this world compared to the others?” Laura asked with an amused look on her face.

Gaeta flushed slightly before answering, “It's Glennan's homeworld.”

Adama gave him a wry grin. “There's nothing to be embarrassed about, Major. It would be like saying you know someone from Picon.” He was just about to continue when the comm. buzzed.

“CIC to admiral.”

“What is it?” he asked into the handset once it once he had it in hand. “I see. . .I'll be right there.” Just as he placed the comm. unit back in its cradle he turned to Gaeta. “CIC.”

“Yes, sir,” Felix nodded quickly while getting to his feet. “Ma'am,” the younger officer acknowledged the President, then turned on his heel and quickly left.

“Bill? What's wrong?” Laura asked as he was putting the files in order on his cluttered desk.

“We have had several Terran ships arrive unannounced. I do not like it.” As he moved around the desk he asked, “Where's Zarek?”

“I think he's on Cloud Nine .” Laura got up to follow him.

“Good.” Just as he reached the door he threw over his shoulder, “Stay here. You'll be safe.”

Laura nodded as the door closed. It was only then she realized that he wanted to make sure the vice president was not on board should anything happen to her.

Adama stepped inside the controlled chaos that was the CIC. Gaeta was in the process of making sure the civilian ships had their emergency coordinates updated. “Sir, all ships report coordinates updated, and the fleet is on heightened status,” Gaeta reported once he reached the center board.

“Good.” Bill looked up to the DRADIS and the incoming ships.

“Sir, there seems to be a lot of chatter on the Terran side. I'm not sure what to think about it,” Dee shook her head.

Gaeta nodded at Adama's look then went over to Dee's station. “Let me see, Dee,” he commented as he reached for one of the handsets.

“Yes, sir,” she nodded while fiddling with the transceiver.

After listening for a few minutes, Gaeta shook his head. He set the handset down and went back over to Adama. “Sorry sir, they're speaking too fast for me to understand.”

“Get Glennan up here.”

“Yes, sir.” Felix looked back up to Dee and nodded.

Even when he was not paying any attention, Gaeta knew the moment Glennan stepped into the CIC. Because of the time he had spent with her, he had become hyperaware of her presence. It wasn't unwelcome, but at the moment it was slightly distracting. He had a feeling it was the same for her, but she deliberately ignored his presence and moved over to the admiral. Pushing it to the back of his mind, he continued to concentrate on getting the civilians ships ready should they have to make an emergency jump. They all had the coordinates, but they found early on that jumping in order made emergency jumps much more orderly and safe.

Adama looked at her then indicated Dee's station, “Lieutenant, I need to know what's going on out there.”

“Yes, sir,” she answered then reached for one of the communication headsets. After listening for a few minutes she shook her head and sighed.

“Get the vipers in the tubes,” Adama ordered.

“What about Starbuck?” Kelly asked as he reached for another handset.

“Her too. We need all our pilots out there.”

Kelly nodded as he went to work.

Turning his attention back to Glennan, Adama asked, “Well?”

“Sir, they are from the EU. The Titan is trying to reach Captain O'Neill, but she's not answering.”

Frak.

Angela shook her head. “Sir, I do not like what is going on.”

“Dee, get on our system and see if you can raise Captain O'Neill,” Adama ordered.

“Aye, sir.”

“XO.” The admiral moved back over to the plotting table. “Have the civilians jump. I don't want them here if at all possible.”

“Yes, sir,” Gaeta answered then moved down to the center board. Picking up the receiver he sent out the call. Because of their heightened status, their FTL drives were already spooled up. Within minutes the first ship disappeared in a flash of light, quickly followed by the others. When all were gone, the comm. channel went from silence to having a single voice. Adama knew enough of the language to know what the name of the Galactica sounded like in Terran. And he could tell the call was directed towards him. The ship from several weeks ago that moved by them uncomfortably close, came charging back.

Adama calmly ordered, “Bring the weapons online. And have the Pegasus do the same.” Turning back to Glennan he continued, “Talk to them. We don't want to have to engage them, but will if provoked.”

Angela's face lost some color, but quickly hardened. “Yes, sir.” Picking up the headset, she hesitated before speaking, ‘This is Lieutenant Glennan of the RN. I am currently stationed on the Colonial Battlestar Galactica . Admiral Adama wants you to stand down.' Not getting any sort of answer she turned her attention back to Adama. The admiral was trying to reach O'Neill still, but wasn't successful. “I am sorry, they are not answering me.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” Adama turned while pinching the bridge of his nose. Things were not going well at all.

“Sir, Captain O'Neill's ship is moving,” Heather announced while staring at her tactical screen.

“Where?” Adama asked, never taking his attention off the overhead DRADIS screens.

“Not sure at the moment,” her voice dropped off. “It looks to be heading towards us.”

Once it was fairly close another comm. message came through. “Admiral Adama, this is Captain O'Bryan. Captain Franchetti is attempting to block comm. traffic coming to and from your ship.”

“Where is Captain O'Neill?” Adama managed to hold himself back from making it sound like a demand.

“Unavailable at the current time. I'm the Executive Officer. I know what her wishes are and will make sure they are fulfilled. Do not worry.”

At least something . “Thank you, Captain.” He paused for a minute before ordering, “Bring the bow around. Order the Pegasus to do the same.”

Gaeta nodded while giving out the orders to the noncoms who controlled the engine output. “Sir, DRADIS shows Pegasus is following suit.” The two battlestars were far enough apart to be able to fire and not hit each other. When the Terran ship Goch stopped, she was situated above the two battlestars, and obviously prepping to launch her own fighters.

“Sir, Titan 's group is moving also,” Heather announced.

“Where?” Adama had a suspicion that O'Neill's group was doing what it could to make sure they were supported. It made him feel somewhat better, knowing that there were Terrans on his side of things.

“Um. . .below us, sir. Her battlegroup is also spreading out.”

‘Captain Franchetti, this is Captain O'Bryan. You do not want to do this.'

You are not the Commodore, and since O'Neill is incapacitated, I'm taking over,' Franchetti's voice came across.

“Sir,” Gaeta said softly after he translated the words. “This is a mutiny.”

“Maybe not.” Adama shook his head. Looking around, his eyes stopped momentarily on Glennan and then the board where the jump coordinates were worked out. Moving over, he commented quietly to Darin, “Lieutenant, stay.” A little bit louder he continued, “XO?”

Once Gaeta was standing there, he suddenly remembered what happened right before they left Ragnar. It was like he was going through it again, but from a different perspective.

“We need a somewhat secure location,” Adama started. Looking over the board he eventually pointed to one of the points. “Here. Now to get here, we're going to make the micro-jump to join the rest of the civilians, and then start the sequences to get us to. . .” He leaned over to look at the name, “Pictavia.”

Gaeta responded slowly, “Captain O'Bryan needs to know.”

“You will tell them in their language that we're taking the liaison home. O'Bryan should know what I mean.”

A small smile crossed Gaeta's face before he nodded, “Yes, sir.”

“Lieutenant Darin, I want you to start the plotting of maximum distance jumps towards Pictavia,” Adama ordered.

“Yes, sir,” she answered quickly then moved to the other tactical station.

“Admiral?” Glennan came up to Adama. “Captain Franchetti wishes to speak with you.”

“What did he say?”

“That you're stalling. He's pushing for you and President Roslin to ratify the proposal Garcia offered. He also wants to know where the civilian ships went.”

Adama took a deep breath before he finally decided to answer, “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

“Initial jump coordinates are in the computer,” Darin reported quietly when she was finished.

“Good.” Picking up the handset he said quietly, “Pegasus Actual, alpha coordinates.” Not waiting for an answer he put the handset back in its cradle then turned to Gaeta.

Nodding, Gaeta spoke into the comm., ‘We are taking the liaison home.'

“Jump!” Adama ordered quickly.

In seconds, they were floating just outside the group of civilian ships. Moments later the Pegasus joined them. Once everything was checked out, the first of the new coordinates were quickly disbursed to the waiting civilian ships. For the short time they were there, a CAP was set. The civilian ships had been without any type of defenses for some time, and Adama wanted to make sure that everything was as it should be.

‘O'Bryan, where the hell did they go?!' Franchetti yelled across the subspace frequency.

A hint of a smile crossed Jack's face before it disappeared. ‘Who knows? Adama can do what he damn well pleases. He is charged with protecting the civilians with him. Apparently he felt justified to leave us here in the lurch without any warning.' But there was a message.

‘You have the liaison on board, he cannot be taking him home. Adama has no idea where Terra is. This is madness. . .' Franchetti finally disconnected the line.

Jack sighed while looking around the command center. ‘Thompson, you've got the conn. I'm checking on the skipper.' With that the executive officer left. Several minutes later he walked through the entrance into sickbay. He never liked being here. The executive officer stopped at an unmarked door and slowly pushed it open. ‘Skipper?' he asked quietly, not sure if she was able to take visitors. This was the worst attack she had had in a long time.

‘What is it, Jack?' she asked. Her voice had an odd drugged sound to it.

Closing the door, he brought the lone chair around so he could sit in it. ‘Once Franchetti found out that you were here he tried to assume command of the fleet and force the Colonials into the treaty.'

‘I know that look, what did he do?'

‘I wouldn't have minded if he were the commodore, but it was the way in which he took over. He was very arrogant and demanded both Admiral Adama and President Roslin to agree to Garcia's initial proposals.'

‘Damn.' Mair closed her eyes. ‘No shooting?'

Jack grinned, ‘No, but I do know Adama scared the hell out of Franchetti and the ones that have never seen their jump drive.'

An amused look crossed her face, ‘Oh? What did our esteemed Admiral do?'

‘Had the civilian ships jump to another point. He also made it look like he was going to engage the SanJac , but he didn't. He had someone say over the wireless, ‘We are taking the liaison home.'

Mair closed her eyes and sat there for a long minute before a slow smile crossed her face. ‘You sneaky bastard. I know where he's going, plus they've been here long enough to update their charts.'

‘Where?' Jack leaned forward.

‘Pictavia, of course. I want you to send a message to the Admiralty about what just happened, and also a message to Pictavia letting them know they will be getting visitors sometime soon.'

‘Why Pictavia?' Jack stood up and moved the chair back to its spot.

‘That's Lieutenant Glennan's home.'

‘There is one other thing, skipper.'

Mair turned her attention back to her executive officer.

‘They still have Ambassador Garcia on board.'

~~~

“Where are we going?” Angela finally asked between jumps.

“The only place the Admiral felt safe enough for us.” Moving over to the board he showed her where they were heading. He knew her well enough that she wouldn't be pestering him per se, but. . . “The way you talked about it made it sound like it was readily open to new settlements.”

Angela opened her mouth then closed it, she really didn't know what to say. Pictavia wasn't a colony anymore. In fact, the planet exported a decent amount of agricultural products to the nearest colonies and was a full member of the Commonwealth. “T-true. I just never expected this.”

Gaeta was actually pleased for once. It was rare when he made her speechless and he wanted to savor the entire time. “I only hope O'Neill was able to get word to the planet.”

“Yes.”

It took several days worth of consistent jumping for the Colonials to cross the entire distance to their objective. The last jump was a day's journey under full steam of the slowest vessel in the fleet.

They were met half way to the planet by what the Colonials were now considering a mid-sized Terran destroyer bristling with weaponry. The words that came across the wireless were something different altogether. It was in broken Colonial, but well enough spoken for the CIC crew to understand; “Welcome to Pictavia.”


Chapter Forty-six

Laura Roslin looked out the large windows in the single lounge the Galactica had. The planet they were orbiting seemed like a gift from the gods. Even though Adama had kept the Galactica 's crew busy, they still found time to come by the lounge and look at the planet below. Roslin knew from the beginning that it was going to take time to transfer the civilians planet side. At least it seem that the people understood.

The ships that could land were already on the planet. There were some houses already constructed, but the government also had to worry about the infrastructure. That was where the dominant culture came in. The major city of the planet, Avalon, had sent some of their own people out to the Colonial settlement to start working on giving them clean running water, along with a sewage treatment plant. To power everything, an electrical plant was also being built. For now, they were running off generators they were shown how to use.

Laura felt flattered by all they had been given, but it made her wary at the same time. She had no idea what their ulterior motives were. What bothered her even more were the Avalonians cheerfully shaking heads when she asked them pointed questions on what was expected of them. Zarek had looked at the natives with speculation, but she had managed to get through to him to not take advantage of their good fortunes. No telling what would happen if they found out about that.

With all the new raw materials now at their disposal, the foundry ship had gone into high gear working on converting everything over to service the ships. Captain Garner, who somehow had managed to survive the pounding the Pegasus had taken when guarding the civilian ships while they were testing their FTL drives, had recently finished major maintenance work on the larger battlestar's engines. With the newer ship in good condition it allowed Adama to take the Galactica 's engines off-line so they could have a major overhaul. The engines had been running constantly since they had fled. The Chief Engineer knew their situation and had managed to keep up with the daily maintenance, but had told Adama about the problems that were beginning to develop. Colonial One was also being worked on. The engineers had told her that it would be a few weeks before everything was working once again.

Down on the planet it seemed that every few days another house had been completed. It was her office's responsibility to see which family group was chosen to be the next settler. The complete family groups that had not been destroyed during the Holocaust were the first to settle. The new families were next, and the last would be for the singles. Everything seemed to be going on schedule, which was a blessing. After over a year of fleeing, the civilians seemed to be behaving nicely and not rioting on the ships, demanding to be sent to the planet. It also helped that there was another relief vessel close to the planet that was halfway filled. Within a week another huge vessel appeared. This one, Billy had informed her, was made specifically for colonization purposes. The reason it had come so quickly was because Pictavia was the main waystation for colonists traveling to the worlds that were not as far along with the terra-forming processes than this planet was.

The door opened, then closed. She looked at the reflection from the window to see who it was. Bill was standing just inside, either looking at her, or towards the planet, she wasn't quite sure. “It's so peaceful from up here,” she said quietly as he neared her. “I'm still not quite sure how to take all this in.” She shook her head as he felt him touch her lower back.

Bill hesitated before he finally answered, “All we can do is to keep our eyes open to what might happen.”

“How long before Colonial One is completed?”

“One, maybe two weeks. Do you want to see?”

Laura turned her attention back towards Bill before nodding, “Yes, I would.”

A fleeting smile crossed Bill's face, making it soften, “Good, because there are others on board that want to take a look out the windows here.”

“Bill, you know I don't mind them coming.” Laura turned her attention back to the window.

“I know that and you know that, but the crew thinks you should have your privacy. That and your two guards that are stationed outside.”

“You know, I had forgotten about them,” Laura answered somewhat amused as she moved towards the door in the back.

The tour of her presidential ship didn't take that long. Each engineer stopped his or her work when she came to inspect their area of the ship. It had been a government luxury liner during the Holocaust, and from now it would remain the President's mode of transportation. When finished, she found herself back in Adama's cabin and looking over some of her work. “You know Billy is learning English,” she commented.

“And so is Dee. I told her that it would be advantageous for all of us.”

~~~~~~~

Mair looked at the screen close to her bedside. Ever since that last attack she had remained almost completely bedridden, the pain in her muscles was just too much to handle. The only reason she was still in command was because of how Jack was handling everything. She knew she had been lucky to be able to get him as her executive officer. Mair knew her days in the military were numbered. Even with that hanging over her, she knew she had this last mission to accomplish. Plus, the Admiralty didn't know how bad she was at the moment.

The screen let her know they had reached the outer reaches of the Pictavia system. For the past month or so, nothing had really come out of the area. The recently independent colony was very tightlipped when it came to their own business. The irony made her smile. That type of defensive posture was exactly what the Colonials needed until they could get back on their feet. She would have made it there earlier but had to report to the Admiralty the mess Franchetti created. It was just the way he tried to take over and force the refugees into something they were not completely sure about.

‘Ma'am, we've crossed the outer defensive positions. We should arrive in less than five minutes.'

‘Thank you, Harris,' Mair answered with a smile. Wincing, she reached over and pressed a few buttons so she could get the live feed from the hi-fi screen in the command center. Once they arrived, they slipped into a high orbit around the Pictavia. There were several colony ships in different stages of preparation in higher an even higher orbit. Five minutes later the Colonial fleet appeared. Compared to the colonizing ships that were recently in view, these looked tired and run down.

‘Harris,' she started, ‘Let Admiral Adama know that we've finally arrived.'

‘Yes, ma'am,' he answered smartly. ‘If you want to listen, I can have it piped down here.'

Mair let a slight smile cross her face before answering, ‘Thank you.'

‘Colonial fleet, this is the Ddoraig Goch , how do you read?'

‘Clear and loud,' a heavily accented voice came back. This is a surprise, Mair mused. She hadn't really expect for them to start learning the language so quickly. She listened for a few more minutes before she muted the audio.

‘Ma'am, Admiral Adama is on the line.'

Mair sighed as she reached over to the comm. ‘Thank you, Harris. Put him through.'

There was a slight pause before Adama's voice came across, “ Captain, I've discussed this with both Dr. Cottle and President Roslin. We have a possible medical procedure for you.”

Mair let a tired smile cross her face before answering, “Admiral, I thank you, but there's nothing you can do.”

“Captain, just come down to the clinic, please?” Laura's voice came across. “ If it works out, then it will be worth the trip, you'll see.”

“Ma'am, I'll let you know my decision,” Mair finally answered. They were very insistent on her coming down. The Terran captain didn't know what to think about it. Maybe Glennan might know something, she figured. Reaching over once again, she wrote out an email message asking if there were any Terran doctors working with the Colonials. She then leaned back against the pillows. Even that simple action was now taxing.

The message she received back from Glennan wasn't that surprising. Some of the medical doctors from the major planetary hospitals were already there and helping to deliver competent medical care. Mair thought about it for a few minutes before reaching once again for the comm. ‘Jack, I'm heading planet side. Have my shuttle prepped. I'm not sure how long I will be.'

‘Yes, ma'am.'

‘Now to let the Colonials know,' she muttered. Mair winced once again as she sat up. Being practically bedridden was not fun. ‘Harris, let Admiral Adama know that I'll be down in two hours.'

‘Aye aye, ma'am. Your shuttle will be ready when you reach the hanger.'

‘At least I can still dress myself,' she muttered as she slowly got up. Normally it would have taken her less than ten minutes to get ready, depending on the situation. This time it would take at least thirty minutes -- which was why she had said two instead of one hour.

Mair insisted on walking to the hanger because she felt it too humiliating to be brought there in a wheelchair. She was not looking forward to the trip down. Traveling through the atmosphere was notorious for giving shuttle passengers a bumpy ride. Once on the ground she felt like she was one big knot of pain. Janes, who had flown her down, came back to where she was sitting and helped her up. ‘Ma'am, they've got a vehicle waiting for you,' he said while he went to open the door.

‘Thank you.' For a moment she wondered why she was planet side, but then thought about how they had something that might help her with what she was dealing with.

The clinic was just a larger modular home that was converted to its specific needs. Glennan was there waiting for her arrival. ‘Lieutenant. . .' she started unsure.

‘I'm not sure, ma'am. They just asked me to be here because they thought you would want a familiar face. All the doctors, except the Colonial ones, are civilian volunteers from Avalon.'

At least there's that . ‘Will this be safe?' she asked as she limped inside.

‘Ma'am, I'm not sure if I should believe this report or not, but they state that this procedure was able to cure President Roslin of cancer.'

Mair's eyes narrowed slightly. ‘You're right, Lieutenant. That seems just a bit far-fetched. You can't cure cancer with just one treatment. It takes two or three to get it all.' She looked around, not quite sure how the Colonial medical system worked.

“Captain O'Neill?” a gruff sounding voice asked.

Mair turned slowly around and looked at the older doctor. For a moment she wasn't sure what to think about him. He had a lit cigarette dangling from the edge of his mouth. Pulling it away, he asked “Dr. Cottle. So, what are your symptoms?”

This line of questioning had happened so many times that she knew what he wanted, “Muscle aches, tendons ache, phantom pain, and overall exhaustion constantly,” she slowly moved to one of the available stretchers.

“I see. . .” Jack turned around and called out, “Ishay, I need that dose.”

“Yes, sir,” the medic answered then turned and rummaged around for the needed supplies.

“What does this entail, Doctor? And will it hurt?”

“If it doesn't work you won't change. If it does. . .” he shrugged as the medic came by and tugged slightly at his arm. Turning, he took the specimen bowl and removed the syringe from it.

“You can ‘cure cancer' but are still using that?” Mair looked at the antique medical equipment.

“Captain, you use what you've been given. We're lucky we had this.” With deft movements he cleaned a spot on her arm and then gave her the injection.

“And how long until I notice anything?” If I notice anything. . .

“It depends. Just take it easy for a while. I want to see you in one week.”

Mair nodded while she slowly slid off the stretcher. “I'll keep that in mind,” she said as she reached for her cane. For a moment she leaned heavily on it, then slowly limped towards the exit. Just before she reached her ship, she stopped Glennan. ‘Lieutenant, I want your next report on my desk tomorrow morning.'

‘Yes, ma'am. Admiral Adama's having me meet with the Avalonian police department today.'

‘I expect to see it tomorrow, Lieutenant. Don't forget that.' Mair waited until Angela braced herself then nodded one last time and slowly boarded the shuttle.

Glennan watched from a safe distance until the shuttle lifted off and began its journey back to the Goch . Eventually she turned and headed back to the slowly developing community. With the Galactica 's engines off-line Adama let some of the crew travel to the surface to help set up the town. It was recently given the name of Aurora. With the clinic finished, they were now beginning to work on their temple. It looked a whole lot like the ancient Greek pagan temples in design and style. Felix was standing there right outside the construction zone watching the process. Angela let a smile cross her face as she came up beside him. “Who is it dedicated to?” she asked as she slipped her arm around his.

“Athena.”

“Then this place should be called Athens instead,” Angela answered with a grin.

“The priests and priestesses decided on it, not me.”

“Of course.” She hesitated before continuing, “I'm heading into Avalon to talk with the police department in a little bit. Plus Captain O'Neill wants my report on her desk by tomorrow morning.”

Felix nodded in complete understanding, “Figures. I'll see you when you get back?” He reached over and kissed her hair.

‘Yes.' With one last squeeze, she left and headed back to the spaceport and the waiting raptor.

~~~~~~~

Mair sat at her desk with her eyes closed. Whatever Dr. Cottle had given her had done wonders. Over the past few hours the deep-seated pain in her muscles and bones had slowly evaporated. Her now pain free body helped her examine the information that was being fed to her from the Admiralty. Another convoy had been hit and completely overwhelmed. The images told the story. The Admiralty had no idea what the Cylons ships looked like, but she did. They were sending the images out to all the captains to inform them of what was now considered a new danger.

In the images she saw several basestars and their fighters. The freighters that were attacked had minimal to no weapons and were easily destroyed. ‘Damn,' she muttered as she studied the reports. The Admiralty was now pressuring her to find out what was going on, and where this new threat was coming from. Problem was that she had already reported the Cylons. It made her wonder if her reports had gotten through or not. That had happened before, and could easily happen again.

She reached for her cane as she stood up, but hesitated. It had become instinctive to make sure it was always close at hand. This time, she realized she didn't have to use it. She let a smile cross her face as she reached for the reports. Even with the loss of those two convoys, she was still in a pretty good mood. It was wonderful not having to deal with the ongoing pain.

Within minutes she was in the command center and looking at the Colonial ships. ‘Harris, put a call through to Adama, I need to talk to him.'

‘Yes, ma'am.'

‘Jack, I'm going across once I'm off,' she said off to the side.

‘You're through,' Harris announced.

‘Thank you.' Mair gave a faint smile before continuing, “Admiral Adama? There are some things I think I need to talk to you about.”

“All right, Captain,” he answered slowly.

“Good. I'll be there in about an hour.” With that she had the line disconnected.

‘Ma'am?' Jack asked as she moved from the command center.

‘We've lost two convoys to Cylon raids. The Admiralty wants me to find out what's going on,' Mair answered curtly.

‘And nothing was said about the skirmish we got involved in?' he asked.

‘No, which is odd. It almost makes me think that my reports didn't get through. . .' she mused.

‘You know, it's - -'

‘Happened before. Yes, I know. I wish it would stop, though.' Mair shook her head.

The XO was quite for most of the rest of the trip to the hanger before he ventured a question, ‘Um. . .where's your cane?'

O'Neill shook her head, ‘I have no idea what they gave me, but it's gotten rid of the pain. I'm not sure how long it will last so will revel in it as long as possible.'

“Good luck.”

“It's not luck, I just want information,” Mair answered as she climbed into her shuttle once again.


Chapter Forty-seven

It was such a relief to walk through the corridors not having to deal with that nagging thought that a phantom pain would strike at any moment. So much so, that Mair could actually focus on the little things that were all around her. She also felt that her reflexes were much quicker. The Terran captain was careful to school her features, but she knew that her attitude gave away her current mood. Even the thought of why the Cylons were harrying the Colonials wasn't enough to ruin her mood. There could be a thousand different reasons why. The key was if they would actually tell her the truth about them. She had been on that fabulous ship, the Cloud Nine . It had taken very advanced technology to create something like that. Terra had nothing compared to that ship alone.

Then there were the reports she was getting from Glennan. The flagship, Galactica , was decidedly primitive compared to the domed ship. Military vessels from any and all the different alliances tended to build their ships sturdy and were slow to change the technology that it used, except for the sensors and weapons. It was to be expected that Galactica seemed more primitive. It could be like that for a reason. There was no word about the other ship, Pegasus . That ship was larger and stronger, and seemed newer. But there was always something about the older military vessels. They were like the grand old ladies of the fleets. The ones that everyone thought fondly of and that had earned their scars honorably. The Galactica , in a way though, reminded her of the oldest Terran actively commissioned military vessel: a floating museum in Boston Harbor, but manned by members of the US Navy.

Because she wasn't using all her available energy to make sure she wouldn't collapse suddenly, she was hyper alert to everything and everyone around her. One marine before her leading the way and the two marines that trailed her kept at a respectful distance. As she passed each door, she was able to see what was stenciled on them. It was odd to see seemingly familiar words on this decidedly alien vessel. The winding route they took eventually ended in front of a door that was stenciled “Commanding Officer”. The entrance was sunken down two steps from the corridor.

“Wait here, sir,” one said as he moved towards the door. After a single knock, the marine opened the door and slipped inside. Moments later, he came back out and nodded. “You can enter, sir,” he said as he pushed the door open.

The room before her was something out of the history books. It was decorated the way the flag quarters that the higher British nobility had used in the previous centuries, especially seafaring naval vessels. It looked very lived in, and comfortable to some extent. The furniture in the room was well taken care of, but in places it appeared to be getting slightly threadbare. She knew this was not only Admiral Adama's office, but also where he lived. To be living here for who knows how long. . . She let the thought drop as her eyes swept the room. Adama was seated at his desk and looking over a report; that was something she was all too familiar with. Just as the door closed with a solid click, Adama looked up while putting his report down. Standing up he nodded towards Mair. “Captain,” he acknowledged her formally as he indicated the chairs in front of the desk.

“Thank you, Admiral,” she answered in kind and took the offered chair.

“How are you doing?” Adama asked as he sat back down.

Mair let a small smile cross her face before answering, “Much better. What was it that you gave me? Our doctors and scientists will definitely want to study it.”

“Later,” Adama deftly deflected the question. “I feel you're not here for that particular bit of information?”

“No. . .” Mair answered slowly. “Admiralty has begun receiving reports. It seems the Cylons have found our shipping to be extremely attractive. They've completely overwhelmed two convoys. They don't know the culprit to be the Cylons, but. . .”

“You know because you know what the Cylon ships look like,” Adama finished.

“Correct. I mentioned before that the upper ranks aren't going to be that happy with you bringing another problem to Terra's front doorstep, but it can't be helped.” She paused, considering her next comments, “What I need to know is why they attacked in the first place.”

Adama leaned back in his chair for a moment while studying her. “I can't give you any type of answer until I speak with President Roslin over this,” he finally answered as he reached for the comm. “Adama, put me through to the President. . .Madam President, I need to speak with you in my office, please. . .Thank you.” He terminated the call then spoke again, “Dee, have the XO report to my office.” Once he was finished, he put the handset back it its cradle.

Mair knew she had hit a nerve with her questions, and it had something to do with their situation and current predicament with the Cylons.

“I can tell you their favorite tactic seems to be to jump in with overwhelming numbers and try to disable the electronic suites within the vessels they are targeting then having their raiders take care of the rest.”

“I see,” Mair said thoughtfully. She opened her mouth to continue but was interrupted by the door opening again. “Major Gaeta,” someone announced. Mair turned around and saw the young major once again. Compared to when she had seen him last time, he appeared much more confident in the position. Gaeta was there for only a few minutes before Laura stepped inside. The Colonial President looked at the people gathered, then gave Adama a questioning look.

“Major, I want you to give Captain O'Neill a tour of the CIC,” Adama said while looking at Roslin.

“Yes, sir,” Felix answered, somewhat surprised at the seemingly sudden turn of events. He quickly backed out of the office area and indicated the door once Mair was on her feet. As they reached the door, Felix turned back around and asked, “How long?”

“Give us thirty minutes, Major,” Adama answered.

“Yes, sir,” Gaeta nodded again then brought Mair out into the corridor. “Sir, if you'll follow me?”

Mair nodded and fell into step beside him. It didn't surprise her how everything was in easy reach from where she was. What she found when she stepped into the nerve center was not what she expected, but in an odd way, it was. Glennan had given her some idea of what it looked like, but she was still unprepared at how much manpower it took to run the ship.

“We do not have much in the way of automation,” Gaeta said as they entered through the bottom floor of the CIC. “What automation we do have is for the DC board,” Felix said by way of showing her the alcove off the entrance.

“So, nothing is computerized?” Mair asked.

“No, we do have computers, sir. Admiral Adama refused to have them networked. That was the only reason why the Galactica survived the Holocaust. She was built during the First Cylon War over forty years ago. All the battlestars at that time were non-networked because we found out the hard way what would happen when the Cylons appeared.”

“So, this ship is over forty years old?”

Gaeta nodded, “Yes. Fully manned, its population is about 4500. The hanger bays easily have enough room for two full squadrons, along with all the support vessels.”

Oh my. . . Mair's eyes widened at the plotting table. You have got to be kidding me. . . “Major, I can understand why you don't want networked computers, but this?” she asked while indicating the plotting board across from the tactical station.

“Sir, I had to network the computers one time, that action about ruined the mainframe computer when the Cylons showed up. The only way it was fixed was to actually reformat it.”

Ouch. . . “So if there is little automation, how are the engines directed?”

A slight smile crossed his face before he answered, “We have two people that handle the engines. Depending on the type of situation, two more can be added for better accuracy.”

The rest of the tour went fairly quickly. The whole set up, though non-computerized, was perfect for the running of the ship. It was also highly efficient, which was the most surprising to the Terran captain. She was used to using computers for everything, the Colonials did it all the hard way, but they seemed stronger for it in the end. If anything, she had a much more healthy respect for the refugees and what they were able to accomplish with what little they had left. The real issue, though, was if they were going to tell her why the Cylons were relentlessly pursuing them.

The look the Colonial President gave her as she reentered the Admiral's quarters made her think twice about what was about to happen. She settled on the other chair and looked from one leader to the other. President Roslin wasn't happy, but she looked at Adama and sighed while nodding.

“Captain, you were wanting to know about the Cylons,” he started slowly. “They are the results of technology gone wrong, and now they are out to completely destroy us.”

Looks like they did a pretty good job so far . Mair commented, “Which is why there is so little automation and computers in the CIC?”

“Correct,” Adama nodded. “Once the Pegasus joined the fleet I had the officers on board take steps to make sure the ship would not be compromised.”

“And your fighters?”

“The newer models, yes. The older models were already safeguarded.”

“I see,” Mair answered slowly. “Then I should tell you this. The Cylons have already taken out two of our civilian convoys. From what I've been able to gather with what happened to our convoys, is that they made the same type of tactics you described earlier. Making a sudden appearance and overwhelm their objective with their fighters.”

“Correct,” Adama nodded.

Mair shook her head, “The Admiralty isn't pleased that there's another force out there that's beginning to go after our shipping.”

Laura closed her eyes, “I know, and I'm sorry that we got you tangled into our problems. We're just looking for a safe place to live.”

“If the Cylons are out to destroy you, no place will be safe. They will eventually find you.” Mair looked down for a moment before continuing, “And you cannot hide forever.”

“We don't want to hide,” Laura's eyes flashed dangerously. “I'm tired of running, all of us are. We just need a bit of help to get us on our feet once again.”

“Madam, hiding we don't accept. Needing support to get back to being self-sufficient is something different. We're more than willing to offer manpower in support areas to get everything back up and running.” Mair stopped suddenly, “But I'm not in any position to talk to you about this. You'll have to discuss your options with Ambassador Garcia.” Their reactions were quite amusing to Mair. “You need to go through the proper channels to get what you need.”

Laura nodded but her expression said something different. She did not like working with Garcia, especially after what just happened. “Is there any way you can stay here?”

“No, I have to formally make my report to the Admiralty about what's happened,” Mair answered.

“What about Lieutenant Glennan? She's been filling in as acting security chief, a position that had been empty since the Holocaust.”

Mair considered the options available to her. She really needed to recover her officer, only now did she realize how easily she had been relaying information concerning the Colonials back to her. It was perfect. Plus, if she wanted to keep getting regular reports on the Colonials, it would be much more difficult getting anyone else in. The refugees were very slow to trust, especially after what just happened. But once you earned their respect, they were much more open to new and different ideas. “What are you asking, Admiral?”

Adama looked straight at the Terran, “That Lieutenant Glennan stay on as our acting Security Chief.”

Mair thought of the possible implications with leaving an officer of her caliber with the Colonials. The refugees weren't exactly an unknown, but it was close enough. Apparently they already considered her irreplaceable. Since she was a captain, she had some leeway with certain things, and this was one of them. “For now, Admiral, she can stay. Eventually I'll have to retrieve her.”

“I understand,” Adama answered gravely, but with a hint of a smile.

“One other thing, Admiral,” Mair started with a bit of a smile. “My CMO is beside himself trying to figure out how I went from being literally bedridden to being completely healthy in only a few hours. He's also trying to isolate the antibodies that Dr. Cottle introduced into my body. Dr. Harper thinks he might be able to genetically reproduce it so more people in my condition can be helped.”

“We would, but we don't have the technology available anymore,” Laura shook her head sadly.

“Madam President, all you can do is go up from here,” Mair answered with a slight smile.

“Captain, you will always be welcome here,” Adama said as he stood up with the Terran captain.

“Thank you, Admiral,” Mair nodded then took the offered hand.

Once the Terran captain was back in the corridor, Bill looked over to Laura before speaking. “At least we'll be able to keep Glennan on for now.” Before she could answer him, the comm. unit sounded, and Dee's voice came across the small speaker, “CIC to Admiral.”

“Adama,” Bill answered after reaching for the handset. “I see. . .any word. . .All right. Keep me informed.” He replaced the handset slowly while closing his eyes. “There's been an accident down on the planet.”


Chapter Forty-eight

“What happened?” Laura asked while leaning forward. “What's wrong?” she asked once again when he didn't answer.

Bill shook his head as he picked up the comm. unit once again. “Have Chief Tyrol report to my office.” He turned his attention back to Laura when the comm. was placed in its cradle. “It was one of our raptors. There was one soul they were not able to identify and they want one of my officers to come down for that.”

Laura shook her head slowly. Ever since they had arrived at Pictavia everything seemed to be smooth and quiet. The sudden accident had seemed to jar her out of her growing complacency. “Is that the reason you want Tyrol to go down?”

“No.” For a time he stayed silent, then continued, “I have something different in mind for him.” They waited for a little bit more before he appeared. Tyrol was more curious than worried at the sudden request. “Chief, I need you to go down to the planet. There's been an accident involving one of our raptors.”

“Yes, sir,” the senior noncom answered then left quickly after he was dismissed.

When they were alone once again, Laura paused before speaking, “I know that look.”

“I'm sorry, I need to be alone.”

Laura contemplated his words for a moment. “I understand,” she finally answered. Getting up, she kissed his cheek, “You know where I'll be,” and left.

Adama looked at his desk debating on what he had to do. He knew he had to send Gaeta down there, he was the only one of his officers that had a good command of the English language. “Gaeta,” he said over the comm., “I need you to report to my office.”

“There's been an accident,” he started once Felix was settled in one of the available chairs.

“What do you mean ‘accident'?” Gaeta asked. He knew nothing about any recent accidents.

“One of our raptors crashed in a highly wooded area. The planetary officials have not released any names of the victims yet, but it was one of our ships.”

Gaeta looked down to his hands. “The only raptor I know of that's planetside was the one taking Lieutenant Glennan. . .” his voice faded when he saw the look on Adama's face. “Is there any word?” he asked, vainly trying to keep his voice steady.

Adama shook his head. “Not yet. I'd like you to go down to find out any information concerning this. Plus, if the pilot survived, the doctors would need a translator.”

Gaeta answered somewhat woodenly, “Yes, sir. Where do I need to go?”

“Avalon. I'll make sure that you're cleared.” Adama hesitated, then continued, “There's no word if she's alive or not.”

Felix looked down at his hands for a moment, struggling to keep his composure. “Yes, sir,” he finally answered.

Adama nodded, “Good. You're dismissed.”

Gaeta nodded, then got to his feet. He barely remembered to brace himself before leaving the cabin. When he was alone, Adama let his shoulders slump slightly; he hated doing that.

Felix stood out in the corridor, completely lost as to what to do. The only thing that was going through his mind was if she was alive or not. Thinking it would be best for now, he went back to his cabin and retrieved the pda. Even though it had English tutorial lessons, it also had the translation program. Over the course of several months that program had become invaluable to him. Just as he was leaving, he took the box that held his personal idols and tucked it under his arm. While on his way to the hanger thought about the possible identification of the pilot. Angela had never mentioned who he or she was, she probably didn't even think to check the roster that day. Then again, why would she? Angela wasn't a pilot, she worked security.

The trip back down to the planet was over before he realized, and he was soon out on the ground and walking briskly over to a waiting ground transport. Climbing in, he said the name of the hospital curtly and then sat back. Only then did he realize that he had paid no attention to the driver. Soon enough, his mind was wandering once again. He looked out the windows, unseeing.

By the time he set foot inside the hospital, he had finally accepted what he would find here and what he expected to happen. He still had no word about the condition of the pilot, at least he thought it was the pilot. For a moment he looked around somewhat lost as to where he needed to go. Seeing what reminded him of a front desk, he went over to it and asked, ‘There were maybe two people brought in that were critical?'

The man sitting behind the desk looked at him for a moment before answering, ‘You're one of the Colonials?'

Distracted by his thoughts, it took Felix a moment to respond. ‘Yes, I am. I am Major Gaeta, and I was told one of our pilots was taken here. I'm here to identify him or her.'

‘Well, Major. We've got one Jane Doe that just came out of surgery who's in ICU now,' he answered while looking through the records on the computer screen. ‘There was also one RN brought in at the same time. She's been in surgery for two hours, it's not known when she'll be out.'

‘Jane Doe? I don't understand that,' Felix shook his head.

‘Oh, that's the name we give unidentified patients when they arrive.'

Racetrack , she was one of their few female raptor pilots that was participating in civilian shuttle runs. ‘Where can I identify the pilot?'

‘Here, if you can give proof of who she is,' the tech answered.

‘Okay,' Felix pulled out the pda. He had been playing with it enough to know how to be able to save things like personnel information. The process of filling out the facesheet went fairly quickly.

‘You know, I thought all of you didn't know a word of English.'

‘There's only a few others in the fleet that have at least some command of this language.' He hesitated before continuing, ‘What about the RN?'

‘Surgery's up on the third floor. Just go around the corner here to the elevators and push the arrow ‘up' - -'

‘I think I can figure it out easily enough,' Felix answered somewhat curtly. He was getting tired of standing here and doing nothing. He really wanted to be there when Angela got out of surgery.

‘ICU's on the same floor, sir.'

It was only then when he realized how he had sounded to the technician. ‘I am sorry. It has been a long day,' Gaeta apologized.

‘I understand. If you have any questions, you can go to the closest desk and the nurses should be able to answer them.'

The Colonial officer nodded, then went around the corner to the elevators. They were easy enough to use and soon he found himself on the third floor. Stepping into the corridor, he followed the signs for surgery and soon found himself in a comfortable waiting room. It was only then that it finally hit him what just happened, or still could. He sank down in an available chair and put his face in his hands, not wanting to deal with everyone around him.

~~~~~~~

Admiral Jeremiah Orbach walked through the door and into the nicely furnished office. This address was not what he had been expecting. All he wanted to do was to speak to the ambassador and then the Colonial military. It didn't seem right that he would be speaking to the ambassador to the Colonials in Avalon and not in their new settlement. He was here to first talk to the ambassador and then the Colonials about the Cylons. Basically, he just wanted to know what's going on. Over the years he had always found it hard dealing with members of the EU. Most were all right, but there were a few who that felt they deserved to be treated with more respect than what was due.

Now he had to deal with another one. Orbach had no idea what to expect. ‘Admiral Orbach to see the Ambassador,' he told the receptionist. For a moment he wondered if the woman was from the planet, or if she came from Earth. It didn't matter, since the door was already opening up to let him in. ‘He will see you now,' she said in a slightly accented voice. Not thinking anything of it, he nodded, “Thank you.'

Entering the office, he found it as nicely furnished as the reception area. Garcia stood up and walked around the desk while holding out a hand. ‘Admiral Orbach, it is good to meet you. I was informed of your pending arrival yesterday.'

Jeremiah took the offered hand while they moved over to a seating area.

‘So, Admiral. What can I do for you?'

‘You can tell me what you know about the Colonials' mindset.' Orbach answered easily enough. The ambassador's reaction, though, was quite surprising to the military official.

‘They are very closed minded,' Garcia answered somewhat darkly.

‘That also depends on what they were offered. Pictavia is a developed world, and a full member of the UK. Why would they go here?'

For a moment Garcia shifted uncomfortably, ‘There were. . .issues. . . I have no idea how they found out about this world.'

‘But they did find out, and now they're here. Do you know if they are planning to settle here permanently?'

Garcia shook his head, ‘There has been no word on that.'

‘Which reminds me, Mr. Ambassador. Why are you here,' he indicated the room, ‘rather than in the Colonial settlement?'

‘Have you tried working without any infrastructure? It's almost impossible to get anything done!'

‘Sir, it doesn't look right to have you here,' Jeremiah shook his head. ‘They need to know that they are equal to any and all alliance members. To do that, you need to be there with them.'

‘Which means learning their language,' Garcia muttered.

‘If need be, yes. Isn't that what Spain requires for all ambassadors that represent their country to the Spanish Court?'

Garcia slowly nodded. The Spaniard really didn't want to leave the city, but he wanted to keep face. And to keep face, he knew he was going to have to move out to the settlement.

‘Good. I'm heading out there after I leave from here. I hope to see you around,' Orbach smiled as he stood up.

‘Of course, Admiral,' Garcia smiled graciously as he rose to his feet.

Orbach didn't care what Garcia was going to do, as long as he went back into the Colonial settlement. What the Spaniard was doing in Avalon made the Terrans look bad, and that was something he did not want to happen.

The trip up to the Colonial ships went rather quickly. He was still curious about the two mammoth warships. He had never seen that particular design before. Not only was it a destroyer, but it was also a carrier at the same time. The ship looked like it had been through hell. Landing was smooth enough and soon he found himself inside a hanger area. Orbach had made sure that the Colonial Admiral knew he was coming, it was just common courtesy.

There was word that some could speak English, but not many. That would make this meeting interesting. Once they were secured, he got up and pulled off his covering and stuck it under his arm. He was the only one on the shuttle, so he immediately went over and released the seal on the door. The room he entered, was very large and clean. Several of the Colonial fighters were in varying stages of repair. That wasn't what he was interested in. There were a group of officers standing off to the side, obviously waiting for him. There was one that wasn't military in the group. The uniforms that the officers were wearing were of simple design. It was impossible for him to see what each officer's rank was just by looking. Here goes. ‘Admiral Jeremiah Orbach. Permission to come aboard?'

There was a hesitation before the civilian turned and said something to the older officer of the group, who nodded in answer. At that moment it really struck home to him that they weren't from Earth at all and didn't know English. What shocked him was what happened next. The civilian pulled out a pda and scribbled something down. ‘Admiral Adama grants you permission to come aboard.'

For a moment, Orbach had no idea what he needed to do and just stood there. Admiral Adama dismissed the rest of the officers then used his hand in an obvious sign for him to follow. He said something else to the civilian as they were leaving the hanger.

‘Sir, we are going to meet with President Roslin in her office.'

Orbach nodded as he kept in line with Admiral Adama as the three left the hanger. The older man seemed hard, but he figured it was the position that had made him that way. The room he eventually found himself in held what looked like a crippled liner. On the way the civilian mentioned that it was the seat of the civilian government. ‘And why are you here?' Orbach finally asked the civilian just as they reached the liner.

‘Because I am President Roslin's personal aide.'

The Colonial President's office was once the first class section. A simple desk was set up and two flags were in each corner. An attractive older woman with deep red hair stood up from behind the desk and said with a heavy accent, ‘Welcome. . .Admiral.'

‘Thank you, Madam President,' he answered automatically. Her quizzical reaction made him realize that she didn't know English, but had rehearsed her greeting. This will be interesting .

‘Admiral, I can understand better than speaking this language,' the civilian commented.

Jeremiah nodded. At least something. ‘Madam President, I'm here because of the reports we've been receiving about the Cylons.' He hesitated when a slightly guilty look flirted across her face before disappearing quickly.

It was Admiral Adama who answered, “For something like that there needs to be a formal briefing.”

Even better, he thought once he understood. ‘Admiral, Madam President, let me know the time and place and I can make sure I will be here with my chief-of-staff.'

Adama said something again to the presidential aide, he never did say his name, then got to his feet.

‘Admiral Orbach, they will talk,' the aide explained.

Nodding, Jeremiah sat back down in his seat and waited. Their discussion was short and heated, but quickly came to a consensus. When they sat back down, it was Roslin who spoke, “The formal meeting will be at this time tomorrow.”

Orbach looked at his watch while her words were being translated. ‘Madam President, Admiral Adama, as I mentioned earlier, I will make sure that I and my chief-of-staff will be here for the briefing.'

‘Admiral Orbach, I'm sorry about the translation problems. The one Colonial officer that had a good grasp of your language is on the planet and will not be available for tomorrow's formal briefing.'

Orbach looked at the presidential aide with more than curiosity. Why would that officer be planetside when he had given the Colonials plenty of time to prepare for the initial meeting?


Chapter Forty-nine

Orbach looked out the window of the shuttle he had appropriated. Word had filtered down that some of the small Colonial ships had been grounded until further notice. When he had arrived back in his office earlier in the day, he'd had his aide quietly look into what had happened. There was also no sign of a decent translator. Their Presidential aide had mentioned that one of their officers was on the planet, but he had not said why. Lieutenant Commander Erbe had come back fairly quickly with a plausible reason, which tied into why the smaller Colonial vessels were grounded. There had been some type of accident, and the officer was at the hospital. The reports coming out stated that there had been only two survivors, one a member of the RN and the other the Colonial pilot.

If the officer was planetside, then he or she had to have some translation skills, Jeremiah surmised. There was no word on the injuries sustained by the survivors, which made him wonder why someone with those particular skills was needed in the first place. If the pilot was unconscious, then it wouldn't be feasible to have the officer in a position where he or she wasn't truly needed.

‘Sir, we're coming up on the HMS Ddoraig Goch ,' the pilot said over his shoulder.

Jeremiah nodded absently as he looked through his things, making sure he hadn't forget anything. He knew the specs of the ship he was about to set foot on, along with her captain. Rumors were swirling around that Captain O'Neill had been miraculously healed. It was common knowledge that she had health issues, but it had never interfered with her ability to command. He also knew she was due to meet with the Admiralty concerning that very same thing, her physical condition. If she was healed, then he would make sure that she was part of the task force he was slowly putting together. Orbach only hoped that he finished it in time before they were attacked once again. Right now, it was only the shipping that was preyed upon.

It took several minutes to get through the general entrance procedures and he eventually was escorted by Captain O'Bryan into O'Neill's office. ‘I'm sorry, Admiral, but Captain O'Neill was planetside when we received word of you wanting to meet with her. Her shuttle landed right after yours and she should be here at any time.'

‘Captain, I heard about the accident. The RN personnel, is it anyone you know?' Orbach set his attaché case down beside one of the comfortable chairs.

Jack nodded. ‘Yes, sir. She. . .wa- uh. . .is second to our Security Officer.'

Jeremiah's eyes narrowed slightly at the lower officer's admission.

‘Sir, the Captain can explain it to you better than I can,' Jack backtracked slightly.

‘Don't worry, Captain,' Orbach answered easily, though fully aware of the issue.

‘Admiral,' Mair smiled while moving smartly through the door, though out of breath. ‘I'm sorry I wasn't there to meet you, sir. My shuttle got moved behind yours in the landing pattern.'

One look at her and he could tell she looked better than she had in years. Stopping before him she braced herself and saluted. When he returned it, she relaxed and moved around the desk to her chair. Orbach could tell she had spent the last day or two planetside, and was beginning to pay the consequences for her actions. ‘That's understandable, O'Neill,' he answered as he sat down. ‘Rumor also has it that you agreed to a highly experimental procedure.'

Mair flushed slightly as she dropped her uniform jacket on the back of her chair. Sitting down, she gave him a slightly guilty look. ‘Admiral, when you're in constant pain, you'll do anything possible just to end it. I almost forgot what it felt like to not have this dull aching pain deep in my muscles and joints. Afterwards I had a thorough examination from my CMO. He trying to figure out what the Colonials did to get rid of my fibromyalgia.' Leaning back, she shifted uncomfortably for a moment before settling down. ‘Sir, is this about the upcoming meeting with the Colonials?' she asked.

‘Partly.' Jeremiah gave her a slightly amused look. Her nose and cheekbones had a slightly pinkish tinge to them. He figured her shoulders were even worse than that.

Mair gave him a hint of a nod then looked towards Jack. ‘That'll be all,' she addressed her executive officer. Once O'Bryan was gone and the door closed she turned her attention back towards Orbach. ‘Anything else you wanted to ask me, sir?'

‘Did you spend any time at the hospital?'

‘Yes, I did,' Mair answered slowly. Angela was still very critical. She knew for a fact that if it weren't for today's medical technology, the lieutenant would not have survived. The pilot wasn't much better. O'Neill almost hadn't notice that one of the Colonials was there. He seemed overly worried about both of the survivors. Not having the time to see what was really going on, she had left after making sure Glennan was still alive while meeting with her parents. She'd check up on her later.

‘Captain, the hospital hasn't released the names of the accident victims yet. Who is the servicewoman?' Jeremiah leaned down to pick up his attaché case.

‘It's Lieutenant Glennan. She's barely hanging on at the moment.'

‘I see.'

‘Your XO said she was part of your security detail. I was under the assumption that it was one of the Colonial's smaller crafts that had crashed.'

Mair nodded, ‘It was. This was in my report to the Admiralty, but if you haven't had time to scan through it, I'll explain.' She paused when she realized that that report was one of the ones that probably hadn't gotten through. ‘The Colonials were the ones that stumbled across my position. I was going to leave them alone. Once the language issues presented itself, I decided to stay in the nebula for a little longer, mostly out of curiosity. That's when they were attacked by what I now know as the Cylons. So it was either they be destroyed, or I help them.'

‘And you opted to help them?' The question ended up being more of a statement.

‘Yes, sir.' Mair nodded. ‘Only after then did I decide to meet with them. I needed to know what was going on. I proposed to have a liaison situation, and I had Glennan stay with them, partly because I wanted eyes and ears inside to know if they were a danger to us. I also was fortunate to have her because she's trained in infiltration.'

‘So, it was the EU's meddling, that had them come here,' Jeremiah commented with some amount of disgust.

‘Yes, sir. They were trying to treat them as being subservant to their interests when they're not. They were not happy with the official liaison, and had him removed because he was caught taking pictures of their technology.'

Serves him or her right, Orbach mused. ‘So once the official liaison was removed, Glennan took over once again?'

‘Yes, sir. All of this you should be available in the reports I've been filing with the Admiralty.' Turning her attention to her own computer, Mair moved several files around then asked, ‘Can I see what files you do have?'

Nodding, Orbach pulled up the file listing on his computer. His listing was missing several of the more technical files that had been forwarded on to the Admiralty. ‘Very interesting. It seems that there are people that don't want that information sent to the right people.'

‘I would seem, sir,' she answered darkly. She rubbed the back of her neck while thinking. ‘Sir, it looks like we'll have to crossdeck. It's easier with smaller handhelds. . .' she faded while he set his computer onto the desk. ‘Only after I met with the Colonials did the situation with my reports intensify. I am not sure how many of them reached the right people.' Mair shook her head helplessly.

‘But manageable,' Orbach answered. Once the computers were in direct connection with each other, it was a simple procedure to transfer the files. ‘I'll check over the reports after we meet with the Colonial leaders. And I'll look into what's going on with your email getting lost in cyberspace.'

Eventually Jeremiah put his computer back in his attaché case then stood up. ‘I've called for a formal briefing with the Colonial leadership tomorrow. I want both you and your Executive Officer there.'

‘Yes, sir,' Mair rose to her feet and moved back around the desk. ‘We will be ready.' Stopping in front of him, she held out her hand as if to shake his. Before he could grasp it, she quickly pulled back. For a moment he looked at her in confusion until she took a step towards him. Without thinking, he opened his arms and she came to him. ‘No pain?' he finally asked.

Mair shook her head, ‘Yes, Jerry. No pain.' For a minute, she stood there reveling in how it felt to be in his arms again. It had been so long that she had literally forgotten how it felt to be held.

~~~~~~~

Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol set foot out of the raptor and looked into the tangled forest in front of him. “Where is it?” he muttered as he slowly moved around the raptor. They were on the edge of a clearing, but he never noticed it. A short distance away was the raptor, or what was left of it. The rescue personnel had brought out the heavy stuff to cut through the tough skin of the ship to reach the injured. They had left the wreckage for the Colonials to take possession.

The crippled raptor dug a trail through the clearing and was stopped by one of the trees close to the edge of the heavy undergrowth. “Frak,” he muttered as he ran his hand through his hair. This was not good. The raptor looked like it wasn't going to fly again. As he neared it, his eyes started darting over the different areas of the downed craft looking for anything that could give him a clue as to what happened. The most glaring sign was the complete absence of the scram intake next to the engine. The area just forward of the missing scram was heavily scorched, as if to state that there was some type of explosion. “This is not good,” he muttered as he walked around the aft section. Both engines were heavily singed. The raptor must have left a fire trail as it plummeted to the ground. The only reason why there were had been survivors, was its durability. On the other side, the wing was streaked with some form of fluid. The main hydraulic systems were housed in the same area.

There wasn't much more to look for in Tyrol's estimation. A thorough inspection would only verify what he thought went wrong. The chief petty officer turned around and quickly went back to the raptor he came down in and climbed inside to reach the comm. “ Galactica , this is Tyrol. I need to speak with the Admiral.”

“Stand by,” the comm. officer answered.

“What did you find, Chief?” Adama's gruff voice came across the speakers.

“Sir, it looks like a hydraulic failure. I am requesting that all the Galactica 's raptors grounded until I know for sure what it is that caused the failure.”

There was a pause before Adama answered, “I see.”

“I also want a shuttle to get what's left of the raptor up to the Galactica . I feel better checking her over on board then down here.”

“You'll have it Chief. And all of the Galactica 's raptors will be grounded until we know they're safe to fly.”

“Thank you, sir,” Tyrol answered then put the comm. up. “All right! Let's get her ready to travel!” he called out as he jumped down from the raptor wing.

~~~~~~~

Frak . That hadn't been what Adama was wanting to hear. Tyrol's request to ground the Galactica 's raptors was a smart move. They had been so short staffed and short on supplies that some maintenance work had to be skipped. The Pegasus 's raptors were in better condition. For now they would have to use the other battlestar's small crafts. Though the shuttles seemed all right. Adama decided to have the shuttles checked out just in case. With the Galactica 's engines having their much needed overhaul, and the planetary defenses helping, it gave the men and women under him much needed rest. They had been working nonstop for almost a year. To add to that, Laura had decided to run for President. The only person that would give her any sort of competition was Zarek. The Vice President, though, was hard to read.

Adama rubbed his face in his hands. That would be dealt with later. Now he had to make sure that everything was prepared in the Ward Room for Admiral Orbach's arrival. Yesterday's meeting had been more of a meet and greet affair. This time it would be at least semi-formal. After a moment he picked up the comm. unit. “Dee, I need Gaeta back up here. . .I know he's planetside right now.” Adama put the comm. unit back in its cradle and rubbed his face once again. Things were not going well at all, added to the fact that he needed to prepare for the coming meeting.

The stewards were just about finished prepping the Ward Room when Gaeta arrived on the Galactica . Adama could tell the younger officer was having a hard time dealing with the emotional rollercoaster the accident had created. He hadn't learned how to detach himself from his personal life yet. If the relationship was to continue, then he would have to learn how to do that. Mind you, Adama could tell he was doing a fine job with what little experience he did have. He was going to have to talk to him about it. When the door opened, he looked up. “Good, you're here,” he said as he indicated one of the chairs.

Felix looked at his hands as he sat down. “Racetrack woke up before I left the hospital,” he reported.

“Good, and Lieutenant Glennan?”

“Critical. And she hasn't come around yet.” Gaeta closed his eyes while taking a deep breath.

“Major Gaeta, I know you want to be down there, but you are a Colonial Officer first and foremost. I need you here.”

Felix's head snapped up while he swallowed hard. “Yes, sir,” he answered softly.

Adama's expression softened as he continued, “Felix, you need to learn how to detach yourself from your personal issues.”

“Sir, I - -”

Adama shook his head, “I understand your reasons Felix, but your duty as my executive officer and unofficial translator is more important at the current time. Arrangements will be made for you to go down during your off duty hours so you can visit her.”

Felix looked down to his hands again before answering, “Yes, sir.”

“Admiral Orbach and his staff will be here in thirty minutes. I need you to help with his staff to make sure he will have everything he needs. This will also be a semi-formal meeting, so I expect to see you in your grays. The stewards should have the Ward Room finished by now.”

“Who else will be at the meeting?”

“President Roslin, along with Commander Tigh and Captain O'Neill.”

Gaeta nodded as he straightened his back. “Yes, sir,” he answered again.

“Good,” Adama gave him a slight smile. “You're dismissed, Major.”

Felix nodded and rose to his feet. Once he was gone, Bill closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. He was doing quite well, but he was still young.


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