When Two Worlds Collide (TGG - nBSG crossover) Completed.

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Eris
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Post by Eris » 2008-04-25 09:20am

Master_Baerne wrote:Remember, one of the main plot points of What Price Peace was that a war between the ADN and the TSE would be utterly devastating for both sides, and that while the ADN might win through their possession of IU Drive, the cost of victory would be shockingly high. A group of humans with no ties to the ADN are not worth it.
Not only that, but it would be working against established precedent. After all, the Talorans nuked TSE-verse Earth multiple times, occupied, and set up tributary states there. Granted, the ADN wasn't exactly in a position to do anything at all, but they didn't come in as the liberators of Earth afterwards either.

It's true that the nBSG folks are too small and unimportant to be a flash point in an interuniversal war between Great Powers, but also even if they were important, there are hundreds of billions of subject humans, some of them quite unhappy with the TSE, that are already conveniently ignored. This is entirely an internal affair even if news of it did get out.
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Post by Themightytom » 2008-04-25 10:54am

Duchess you're the driver and i like where your taking us, so at this point I'm just discussing possibilities inspired by the fic not being argumentative. I have nothing butt love for this fanfic and the TGG verse in general. Although for the love of crumbcake, can SOMEONE introduce stargate? There have been allusions, and I believe an aborted story. The deliberate pace of this FF series is what is so appealing about it though, its thorough, well thought out and well developed.

Theres another thread I've been reading on how to portray a sense of vastness in a sci fi setting, I guess this is the example of how. As big as the galactica storyline may appear to those in it, they are seriously small potatos in the galactic scheme of things alone nevermind the intrauniversal scheme. The fact that their story wouldn't even get in the news is mindboggling. Logistically though i think i made some assumptions. I assumed there would be an EU gate in the Sol system forgetting that its NOT the center of any power in the Taloran universe. in my defense I wasn't really imagining humans in trenchcoats spying in a Taloran society, there could be deep cover agents that are cosemetically altered, humans living on Earth that are actually plants, or even electronic spies. Star wars had TREE spies for crying out loud :-p

I've been imaging some kind of star trek style appeal for asylum, maybe some pressure on the ADN to accept the plea because of human rights issues, and maybe some backroom pressure from trade organizations looking to get some inroads into a new universe. Wars are usually about economics with a smattering of righteousness for publicity's sake. (I'm looking at YOU Iraq)

I guess it WOULD be craziness to have the ADN and the Talorans square off after so many recent wars but my understanding of history is that it is not uncommon for two allies after mowing down opposition to start eyeing eachother, the most famous example being the US and Russia. Both came out of WWII as superpowers, we were pretty friendly during WWII but that went downhill in just a few decades. maybe I misread What Price Peace but i thought I saw some developing undertones of tension between the Talorans and the ADN. I thought there was a bit of a paralell between the US and Russia.

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Post by Steve » 2008-04-25 01:43pm

Check the epilogue of "The Decision" and "One Small Step...." if you're interested in links to Stargate. :)
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Post by Cecelia5578 » 2008-04-25 01:51pm

Steve wrote:Check the epilogue of "The Decision" and "One Small Step...." if you're interested in links to Stargate. :)
Alas, its early season SG-1, so none of the tech goodness of later SG-1 and SG:A.

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Post by Steve » 2008-04-25 01:52pm

Forgot to add that the second link makes more sense if you read the epilogue from the first 8)
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-25 03:53pm

Eris wrote:
Master_Baerne wrote:Remember, one of the main plot points of What Price Peace was that a war between the ADN and the TSE would be utterly devastating for both sides, and that while the ADN might win through their possession of IU Drive, the cost of victory would be shockingly high. A group of humans with no ties to the ADN are not worth it.
Not only that, but it would be working against established precedent. After all, the Talorans nuked TSE-verse Earth multiple times, occupied, and set up tributary states there. Granted, the ADN wasn't exactly in a position to do anything at all, but they didn't come in as the liberators of Earth afterwards either.

It's true that the nBSG folks are too small and unimportant to be a flash point in an interuniversal war between Great Powers, but also even if they were important, there are hundreds of billions of subject humans, some of them quite unhappy with the TSE, that are already conveniently ignored. This is entirely an internal affair even if news of it did get out.

Well, they were tactical nukes. The number of fatalities was not extreme. And they were intervening to halt a genocide.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-14 04:26am

Chapter Twenty-Five.

Colonial Refugee Arcology,
Oralnif, Talora Empire.



“This is one hell of a hit,” the man at the back, Richard, muttered. “Got an explanation for us, Tom?” They were all long time comrades to the point where such informality was quite acceptable, to say the least. They were fighting for equality, after all.

“I still haven't authorized the final drop,” Tom Zarek replied. “I need to meet with one of the Talorans first, sound her out. That's actually our main goal. Only in the event that it fails do we evacuate and take to space.”

“Making a deal with the Talorans is our main goal? Then why the hell are we going after Baltar and Adama?”

“A deal on our terms.” Zarek let the words hang for a moment. “We're going after the preservation of our independence, but that does mean working in stages. One big advantage we've got is the similarity of our own desires in economic systems with those the Talorans consider natural for a society. It's their best trait, and they admire us for promoting similar systems. While in detention, Cain was lax about letting us have access to Taloran materials. The translations were bad, but it's clear that dismissing them as a vague alien threat is wrong. They're monarchists, but they're people, too. And they have their own anti-nobility, communitarian movement. It even tried to assassinate the Empress a couple decades ago, and a few other top nobles to encourage a civil war. Might have assassinated her mother, the Princess Imperial, before she could take the throne. Apparently our 'friend' Tisara is a popular proponent of that theory.”

“The ironic thing about Tisara Urami is that she's probably the most repressed Taloran in the entire sector,” a woman to the far right said softly, and perhaps to no one in particular, though Zarek caught on that.

“She also has a legal right to rule us, as things stand, and that's rather important. Among other things, if we can secure accommodation with her, we'll have total autonomy.... If Fulanaj's scheme is frustrated. And that's where the bombing comes in. I was hoping to discredit Fulanaj only by eliminating Adama before he can accept her offer; but she has decided to attend the announcement personally, which to me suggests the declaration is more or less already rigged. It also gives us a chance to kill her, too. And that leaves Tisara.”

“What about her aunt, that Admiral, Sipamert?”

Tom settled back a bit at the table and shrugged. “Kranz, we really don't understand the Taloran system as well as we'd thought. Sipamert isn't really an officer of the Empire, but of one of its subsidiary, tributary states. Tisara is an Imperial officer. In the civil government of the province she's presently outranked by Fulanaj, but she's only militarily outranked by Sipamert. If we knock off Fulanaj or discredit her, the only conduit between us and the Empress is Tisara. And Tisara—Roslyn told me this some time ago—is rather desperate to find an accommodation between her desire to live her life uninterfered with by her people's morality and yet maintain some semblence of her honour and loyalty. She actually offered to take command of the Colonial Military under an all-but-my-homeland loyalty clause if we had joined a defensive pact with them. She just wanted a farm.”

“So we've got leverage against her,” the same woman pursed her lips for a moment's thought. “Yeah, that can work. We can get her to provide us with total autonomy from the Imperial government, let us organize an equitable society, rebuild, recover, free our people remaining in the Colonies... And most importantly network extensively with the communitarian cells in the Empire.”

“That's what I'm planning,” Zarek answered. “Any objections? I do have that meeting already scheduled.”

“No, we'll go through with it.” Kranz spoke for the group in the end. “We'll have the bomb ready to place on schedule, at least. When will you give the signal if we're to go ahead with things?”

“In approximately two hours. Through the usual method.” Zarek stood. It was time to go talk with Tisara Urami. His people could be trusted with the bomb.


HSMS Orelyost,
Oralnif, Talora Empire.



Properly dressed in her full uniform, Tisara received her political guest with a forced indifference much wounded by her addiction. The drugs that kept her stable in the absence of Ysalha also turned her into a terror for those around her, and robbed her of some of the best restraints that she had steeled into herself, save by extreme effort. Her hair pulled back lightly, mismatched eyes took in Zarek with perhaps a bit of betrayed surprise.

“I do have to wonder why you're here, Councilor. Praytell explain this to me? You are not one known for your support of me, or the Empire. I remember your opposition distinctly, as a matter of fact... But you phrased this request to me, as a subject before a Regent, and my responsibilities therefore demand that I hear you out.” She notably made no effort to permit Zarek to sit, but Tom didn't mind having a height advantage on a Taloran female for once, so he ignored the gesture implying his social inferiority.

“I have a simple question for you, Admiral. Duchess. You claim yourself to now hold power over me and my entire people. What are you going to do with it?”

“Aristasijh and Her Serene Majesty would have me do nothing,” Tisara answered with a trace of bitterness. I am perfectly competent for the job. The Colonials have nothing of our society and will not be offended by me. If Ysalha ever wakes up... Her eyes snapped back with a nervous energy to glare toward Zarek, though not really at him. “So, that is precisely what I will do.”

Tom Zarek was, ironically, speaking to the woman who knew that Commander William Adama was not going to endorse Aristasijh's offer. She would have readily told him, had he asked; but it had not occurred to him to ask, and so he did. And he did not find out, either. It was one of the most fundamental problems involving people of deeply different cultures, societies, and customs, who liked very little of the ways of each other.

They quite simply had a failure to communicate, and passed over the chance to see the truth with glares and silence, Tisara the disgraced noble, Zarek the proud revolutionary, separated by a meter in space but ten thousand years of history.

“Including in the case of internal political change?”

“I'm not standing in the way of your holding free elections, certainly, if I had my way. The Empire certainly is. Perhaps you should petition the Empress to acknowledge my rights as Kendra Shaw's guardian? I don't care how you govern yourselves, precisely, as long as you do not bring dishonour to me with wanton violence and disorder.”

Zarek frowned. “Wanton violence?”

“No riots,” Tisara clarified after a moment. Political assassination did not even occur to her at that moment. “Keep yourselves orderly and defend your institutions as you see fit. I will endorse the government of the Colonies as being a legitimate component of the traditional customs of the Duchy of Kobol, with the President acting as President of Council to my Ducal ministers and more or less having full power, as the powers under your constitution permit, at my writ. Though of course it matters little; Aristasijh has bypassed and sidelined me.”

She paused, and her ears straightened very attentively. “You're going to do something about that, aren't you?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“If you do something that brings down the Imperial government, you will receive no help from me. More to the point, I will deal with you myself first, if I am able, before you can manage it, or, if you have done so, immediately afterwards, before Imperial Intelligence gets their talons into you.” Her ears flattened. “Don't doubt me, Zarek. My rights are being trampled on by the Imperial government, but I have no doubt that they will hold me to my duties anyway, and so I must be twice as vigilant as I could otherwise hope for. Not even my own family will stop me in that.”

“But will you stop us if we may act to preserve our governance?”

“Democracy is traditional for you, is it not?”

Zarek knew the importance of tradition for Talorans. “Of course. And we're trying to introduce a more equitable economic system, on your own lines.”

“I know you are.” She shrugged, and her ears stuck out straight from her sides in a devil-may-care gesture. “Political violence is not a concern as long as innocents are not killed, Zarek. Ruffians going at it with cudgels are common enough during elections in the Empire. I would certainly desire for those I have an obligation over to enjoy better the traditional privileges of the trade-guild and union and co-operative arrangements of finance and ownership of businesses which have preserved a moral economy in own nation. Of course I will support you in that regard if you are willing to ignore for the moment my position. I would do my best to keep the Imperial government from changing things.”

“You know you'd always be welcome among us,” Zarek answered, trying to seal what seemed to him a deal, rather than the rambling half-drugged off-the-cuff remarks that Tisara was offering. He still really hadn't gotten down the meanings of the flickering movements of the ears...

“Well, I had sort of expected that. I am your ruler, or her guardian, at least. If Adama does not decide to throw me out... I do not think he approves of me at all,” she concluded with a final flick of her ears. After all, he was going to be in charge now, perhaps especially after his rebuff of Aristasijh.

“You have my word, Admiral, that I will not allow Adama to interfere. We will make very sure of that. Civilian governance I certainly aim to preserve at all costs, and we're not going to allow Aristasijh to succeed, either.”

“I don't want to hear about that,” Tisara answered, not realizing her blessing seemed to imply to both people.

“So noted. A good day to you, Admiral.”

“And you, Councilor. Now, if you'd please excuse yourself...” Tisara got up. “I am going to take a shuttle to Oralnif's orbital hospital to check on Ysalha. They've started treating her, and it's my duty besides to visit daily.”

“Of course, Admiral.” A pause, and he decided that some politeness, on a basic, human level, would be suitable. “I can only hope for her swift recovery from what the Cylons did to her.”

“Thank you,” Tisara replied genuinely. “Few enough people give us even that.” And with no more words, but rather a faint trembling of her body from the drugs coursing through her, she left, and left him to go.


Cloud Nine,
Lower Decks.



Billy Keikeya stared again at where Baltar had vomited on the floor. “Mister President, are you alright?” He asked in real frustration, both at using the title with Baltar and at the truly weird behaviour and health of the scientist.

“Fine, fine! Go on and tell them I'll be late!” Baltar staggered off after the second round of insistence and headed down and toward a small and empty lounge in the ship which had been largely emptied by the transfer of the population to the prepared surface Arcology. As it so happened, Six was dragging him along.

“You've had your suffering, Gaius President Baltar,” she offered in mock imitation of a Taloran title, before tossing him across the room into the wall hard enough to send a distant boom rumbling through the metal. “Now I'm in the process of saving your life.”

“What... Wha.. What's going to happen?” Baltar gasped, looking up unsteadily.

“Zarek's set a bomb in the conference room,” Six answered rather lazily. “It will give you absolute power, by all accounts, to do as you will with Colonial society. Use it wisely—you're about to receive some amazing revelations, in the next few months—and we want you ready to help us in our project. You are special, Baltar, and you will have use. There's more to the story of humans than just this universe... And the Talorans are hiding it from you.”

Baltar started to drag himself up. “More about humans.. What are they hiding? They've told us everything, just refused contact.” His brain was trying to catch up. “And, wait, don't we need to stop this bomb? It might go off in minutes!”

“We want it to go off.”

“But Adama's on my side!”

“Your side is our side!” A kick recoiled Baltar into the wall, his head bouncing furiously as he slumped down. And then she squatted in front of him, and leaned in and gave him a kiss. “And I'm not letting you leave until after it's gone off, my dear foolish human. Patience. Adama must die.”

He stiffened, and then relaxed, staring at Six with wide eyes. “What are the Talorans lying to me about?”

“They're in contact with other humans. Humans from beyond this universe. Not just the humans of Earth, but the humans of.. Many earths. They don't just rule this one universe, but parts of other universes in the Cosmos, my dear Baltar.. Many parts, where humans have extensive power, and others where they've been virtually wiped out. But always humans.

“You see,” she continued languidly, “There is a certain power to the humans of legacy. A dark, black legacy. Your ancestors are somewhat more directly connected to it than many others. Do you not remember the pyramids of Kobol?”

“Y-yes...”

“Temples of evil, to the worship of old ways, which proceeded even the heroes who became your gods, Baltar. Temples to evil. The only reason the human race exists at all is because of one of their slaves, you see.”

She paused for a long moment, thinking, musing, and then smiled, and whispered: “A hint of poetry, a shattered rock, found in a system that should not be, a place that is impossible we now know, but yet is. Perhaps you can find a copy on Earth, when you finally get there:

I have seen the reign of fire dawn; the Age of Man overthrown
Pride and arrogance slay the righteous; they fall alongside the wicked
Chaos now overcomes sanity; death becomes the peace of the innocent
The mighty are slain by their own hand; the world is against its self
We have failed in the appointed task; a thousand agonies approach us
The fire's reign turns to shadow; hope shatters into a shifting clay.
The all-consuming war has finally reached sacred Terra in all her Majesty;
Lord Vishnu, why did this toil of despair and suffering fall upon us!?


“There were many other verses, but they were all lost, and we could not translate them,” Six spoke rather sadly. “They are, in them, and in the hints of insight of the hybrids who power our ships, knowledge of what went before. Knowledge of the impossible course of human history... And of your dark, dark secret. The wheel of Dharma is an evil thing, Baltar. It has consumed you and your people, and it is belief in the one true God which offers you a way out of that destruction. Your history is a cycle of enslaving others, and being destroyed by yourselves in your own mortal folly. The only time this changed...

“....Was when a Taloran made the choice, after you had enslaved her, to save you despite the fact that she owed you nothing but blood vengeance. But she has only trapped you with the kiss of Dharma, caught in a blind and everlasting circle of vengeance. We were going to exterminate you, you know. But now we are not so sure. We just wish to gain our mastery, to have the chance to break the cycle. To use you to discover the mystery of our origin. After all, all that I have told you, is all that we know. The riddles of the Hybrids are imprecise and filled with half-knowledge, half-truths, with things black and in the primordial days when humanity was swept down from its heights of evil into the endless retributive cycle of the Kali Yuga.

“But there is one God. The others are liars, or demons. In this the Talorans are pure, their cause may be salvaged. He can be, also, your salvation, Baltar. And you can be the salvation of humanity through Him. There is a Golden, Shining Path laid out for you, if you will but take it....” Six and Baltar kissed once again, Baltar trembling far more than he ought from the supposedly crazy words. Something about them sounded terrifyingly true.


Cloud Nine,
Conference Room.



“Where the frack is Baltar?” Adama muttered from the back of the room to Billy. “You said he'd be maybe ten minutes late because he was sick; it's been fifteen. I'm going to have to start without him.”

“I can't really blame you, Admiral. Do you want me to go back and look for him?” Billy sighed in exasperation.

Please.Damn airheaded scientist, Adama thought as Billy left the room. Then he stepped out, a last glance over his uniform, and headed up toward the podium, a gesture indicating that the camera crew should begin broadcasting.

Aristasijh Countess Palatine of Fulanaj sat in the back of the small seating area filled with sundry individuals from the Cloud Nine's crew to make up the live broadcast group. Legs followed, dressed in formal kilt and long-sleeved blouse in the splash of colour one could come to expect from the Talorans, she had just come herself with a single aide. Sometimes, Adama wondered why Talorans never seemed to bother much with personal security. Oh well. She is not going to be a happy lady when I am done, but I could scarcely refuse her request to hear it in person.

He glanced around the room and then began. “Ladies and Gentlemen, officers of the Colonial and Taloran Imperial fleets and the Midelan Navy, thank you. Several days ago, Her Ladyship Aristasijh the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj proposed that I assume the position of Regent while remaining an Admiral in the Colonial Navy, due to the unsuitability of the Ducal Pretender Kendra Shaw for the signet, the designated heir of the late Admiral Helena Cain, sometimes called Duchess of Kobol.” He was very careful—the speech had been written in advance with plenty of notes from Billy, who had studied the subject in some details—though the next part was improvisation.

“I was going to answer along with Acting President Baltar, but he's been detained by pressing matters,” Adama simply lied, “And will be along in time to handle questions after my response to the proposal.”

“So I'm going to get right down to it. We are not accepting the offer in any way shape or form, Countess. I am not accepting your offer. The Twelve Colonies of Kobol will not be ruled by any noblewoman, and we don't recognize the right of Kendra Shaw to be maintained in her position as so-called Ducal heir. We will be willing to negotiate with the present regent, who is legitimate even by Taloran standards, the Archduchess Tisara of Urami. We are willing to negotiate with the Taloran government to maintain an equitable settlement.

“And, more importantly, we are willing to recognize de jure the validity of Cain's actions, if in turn the Taloran government allows us total autonomy, while we work out a permanent solution to this problem, which involves unquestioned and absolute independence as a sovereign people for the Twelve Colonies. This is an issue I am not going to compromise on,” Adama paused, eyes steely, “and which I only abstain from violence over because I know that you have an utter preponderance of military and economic power. You have conquered my people, by words and trickery and taking advantage of internal dissent, but a conquest nonetheless. And if this is a slap on the face, then the Taloran nation deserves it.

“I know some very honourable people among your number. Captain—later Commodore--Fraslia, the Baroness Istarlan, very nearly gave her life for our people on several occasions, and brought down the dictator Cain in one of the most noble acts one could ever ask of a person. Tisara Urami, even while aiding Cain, had the decency to care for Cain's political prisoners, witnesses to her atrocities, as though they were honoured guests, at the cost of a considerable amount of her savings. At every level there have been Talorans who have risked their lives for us, and I trust you all as my own comrades. But your government has behaved deviously and dishonestly to us, and I am not going to stand for it.

“I appeal to your religious sentiments. The morality of treating us, desperate refugees, as a political toy to be chewed by various sides and subject to innumerable ideological theories and disputes, is utterly and completely in the wrong. It's indefensible, and you make lie of your beliefs by behaving in such a way. I know you do not approve of us faith and customs; but if you had approached us in compassion, we would have reacted positively.

“The damage can yet be undone. You've bled so that we can live, and we're not going to forget that. But for the moment, it is time for you to acknowledge that we have fundamental rights that you have denied us. The Taloran government must right its own wrongs, and it must do them immediately for us to have a stable future in our relations.

“For the moment, all I am asking is for Tisara Urami's rights as Regent to be acknowledged. It is then her decision how we govern ourselves, and she has already given us full rights to maintain our own system of government and permit us full autonomy. We can live with that while we get things worked out on how to proceed and we start negotiations with a team, not just an Imperial Vicereine who dictates us offers from on high.” He stared very pointedly at Aristasijh, and concluded: “We are not going to accept your terms, Your Ladyship. That much is very, very clear.”

And then the world exploded. The bomb was built right under the podium and it was a powerful one, tearing apart Adama's legs with the first instant as it hurled him more or less to the ceiling before he crumpled down amongst the shrapnel; it was anti-personnel. With more high explosives, he would not have existed at all after the blast. Instead, the shrapnel from both the bomb and the shattered metal podium swept through the large room which had once been used for gambling on the Cloud Nine, and it killed extensively. Almost all of the skeleton crew was in the room, and almost all of them received either mortal wounds or died outright.

Aristasijh Countess Palatine Fulanaj was saved only by a quirk of Taloran custom, in which the most important people sat elevated at the back of a room, not in the front row; otherwise, she would have been killed outright. But the shrapnel tore through her body and eviscerated her aide, sending both of them against the wall with the force of the unexpected blast destroying their attentive ears' drums despite the last minute reflexive effort turn them away.

As she hit the back wall, brushing greenish-red blood from innumerable cuts on her face, she glanced over to her aide and muttered, softly: “That's very unsanitary,” to the girl, who with a mortified expression was trying to stuff her intestines back into her body. She halted. “I...” The pain was flush across her face; the lack of shock worked both ways. “What do I do?” The grim, harshly trained calmness of Talorans suffering from extreme pain was iconic, incongruous in the moment through the cacophony of human screams.

The Dalamarian Countess was not inhuman. Ignoring her own substantial but not life-threatening wounds, she went to bind the girl with strips of her own clothes. But she was no doctor, and hurt herself; she could only save one, and so she saved the one closest to her, whose physiology she knew the most about, working through her own bloodloss and faintness. She barely saved the girl's life before collapsing herself from loss of blood.

By then, the medics had got there from the ship's aide station in a mere twenty seconds from seeing the blast knock out the cameras, gathering their scattered wits when they realized that it was an explosion destroying the cameras that they'd seen, and not a broadcast accident, and rushing with their kits in hand. It was a response time that would save almost anyone who could be saved; that was the problem.

Admiral William Adama had suffered both his legs blown off and shattered; the femoral arteries could bleed out in alone in less than a minute, and he had countless other severe wounds from the blast. The medical techs reached him and started treating him first; he was by far the most important person in the room. They should have triaged him; they tried to stop the bleeding, and they did. But by the time they had, there was not enough blood left in his body to keep him alive. His last words were his speech to his people and the aliens who had found them; he died as a soldier, under attack, this time, from enemies domestic, when no foreign ones could have prevailed against him.

“We've lost him!” went the shout over the audio feed, which was still intact and still broadcasting, though with a blank screen, to the rest of the fleet. At the time, it was not clear who it was, but the two overburdened medics went to save those others as they could. With the first responding shuttles many minutes away, they'd lose most of them, but they would have to try their best.

Baltar and Billy reached the conference room, finally, at a dead run. A dead run which culminated in a horrible scene of absolutely perfect carnage. There had to be at least 20 people dead and more dying by the minute. Baltar saw the body of Adama, and remained perfectly still. She saved me from that fate, he thought grimly to himself, before his supremely clever eyes noticed that one of the camera audio feeds was by luck undamaged.

Of course I did, Baltar. Now get to work.

He couldn't quite bring himself, and remained there for a long time, looking at the blood and gore scattered on the floor, while Billy suppressed his bile to try and help the medics. There was nothing else to do, was there?


Colonial Refugee Arcology.


Zarek had failed on every level. He had killed a patriot, a man with whom he had disagreed but who had, in the end, chosen to uphold the principles of the Colonial Confederacy. He had fought injustice, and this man, too, had stood up against it. Did my hatred for monarchy blind me against all who associated with it? Against all of the officers in the fleet,when Cain had accepted that poisoned gift?

He could not say; he would not say. He could just take measures for his own survival and that of his group. They had been able to secure a civilian cargo shuttle, which would do for escaping into the immense forests of Oralnif, which had food humans could digest. They could wait there until a chance for escape into the deeper Taloran Empire—and aiding generally the cause of the people by joining up with the Taloran communitarians—could be effected.

And they nearly did it, too. They all met at the shuttle, Kranz as grim as hell as he brought the engines up and cleared them for launch, plunging away from the steeply, 80-degree angled sides of the arcology, stepped toward its flat top a mile high. But Baltar had supernatural help in knowing who had been responsible for the event, and the people of the Arcology were boiling mad with the murder, the destruction of their hero.

The security personnel were on their quarters in record time, and the air controllers rapidly put two and two together when they received their reports from the security personnel. They were quick on the response, being conscientious even if disinterested in the events themselves as Talorans simply doing their jobs, and scrambled two gunboats on ready-launch catapults from one of the stations above to plunge down toward the surface.

They had tractor beams, and ground-scan laser and radar sensors to produce a composite image, when there was not a bit of stealth in the shuttle. It was located in a minute, and then the game was up for Tom Zarek and his terrorists. Almost.

Ellen Tigh was already on her way to the Galactica.


Battlestar Galactica.


The crew was numb in shock. Saul Tigh was bitter with rage, the newly minted commander of the Colonial Navy, a job he did not remotely desire as Baltar nervously slunked from place to place in the back of his bridge, unsteadied, uncertain, waiting. That goddamned terrorist killed him! Killed him, after all of this! His hands trembled, clenched in bitter rage, in anger and shame that he had allowed this happen, that he had failed; it was all irrational, but he still felt it for his comrade of countless decades. Gods of War, Gods of our Ancient Ways, give me power to avenge him! He was not particularly devote by any stretch of the word, but in a moment that old and hoary formulation from the legends he had learned when young came back to him, and gave him purpose.

There would be no mercy and no compromise with Zarek this time. That much, he promised himself. His wife's scheming aside.... Was she involved in this!? the thought struck him nervously, furiously. For the first time he doubted his devotion to her, and her sincerity. Had she betrayed him, betrayed them all so completely? He would find out, and soon.

Green hair, blue and red-orange eyes, grayish-green skin, dressed in uniform, Tisara Urami stepped onto the bridge of the Galactica, and provided in a moment the legal authority for any decisions about to be made, in the eyes of the Talorans. She knew what her duty was in the circumstances, if nothing else, and thinking back on the conversation with Zarek—what a drug-addled fool she had been not to divine his intentions!--she realized that she would have to act swiftly to salvage the situation. “Aristasijh and her aide will live, though barely. The blood-loss was extensive and there was no way to replace it until our medical shuttles arrived,” she added, quietly. “So for the moment the Imperial government will not look with so much askance upon us all as it otherwise might.”

“Zarek killed Adama,” Saul muttered again, brutal in his minced words. Nobody had bothered to doubt Baltar; everyone had seen it confirmed through the flight of Zarek and his associates, and assumed he had analyzed the bomb or something of that. It was now accepted, and the shuttle was being hauled up by tractors.

“What are you going to do about it, Commander Tigh?”

“What the Frack are you going to do?” Saul turned around to face Tisara.

“Give you the power to deal with him,” Tisara replied simply, and then added, “Paper?”

Someone had enough of their wits about them to bring her a sheaf of the eight-sided Colonial writing paper, and from a pocket, Tisara produced a pen in which she began to write, referring to a small list she'd obtained from ground security before heading over to the Galactica. Saul paced behind her, waiting while boiling in his fury.

“What are you doing?!” He finally snapped.

“Patience, Commander. I am writing and signing lettres de cachet for the executions of Zarek and his minions,” she explained after a moment, and then saw the looks of confusion, clarifying, “Acts Attainder, save issued by myself personally as well as given Assent, since I rule the state as a personal holding. Of Taintedness, the execution of subjects by the direct command of the highest Sovereign authority.”

“You're giving me the legal authority to have them Spaced?”

“Or shot if you prefer.” She checked the last name again and finished the florid compositions in High Taloran Seal Script, marred only by the use of the standard abugida of the High Taloran script to transliterate the names of those marked for death.

“That's unconstitutional,” Baltar muttered from the far side of the room.

“I haven't recognized your constitution yet,” Tisara said with a dry, amused sort of cant to her ears. “Would you like me to do that next, Gaius Baltar? I shall also write out another order making you Chief Minister of the Duchy of Kobol, and another delegating all powers of Ducal Assent to you.” With that, elegant calligraphy finished the final letter, and she tapped them into a neat stack and handed them over to Saul Tigh.

“Flush the scourge of anarchy from your people whom I have been made to rule, Commander, and preserve my pride before my people with your vengeance on your comrade's assassins. As I ironically explained to Zarek myself—and he ignored what I said—I would be responsible for all the bad, even as I was prevented from doing good. So I will take responsibility now and act for both the good, and vengeance against the evil, and quell any doubts about my capability. Kill them, Commander. Don't give them another minute of life.” And relieve from me some not-inconsiderable embarrassment she thought have under her breath, but Saul's fury was too great to notice.

“I'll do it.”

“No you won't!” A furious, terrified Ellen Tigh had rushed into the room just in time to overhear Tisara. “There's no damn proof that Zarek did it, and he was acting to preserve our independence—and you'd take execution orders from her?! A Taloran, one of those who has enslaved us?”

She rushed up, as though to engulf her raging husband in some sort of comforting hug, and perhaps snatch the papers from him. But she pulled up short on realizing that his expression had not softened one bit, and was turning on her with a horrible fullness of hate. That was certainly not to be good, not good at all...

“Are you really all going to play along with their...” She was cut off by a choke of pain and a cry as she tumbled back and stumbled, falling to the floor, her cheek livid with a welt from a six-fingered hand. Tisara Urami had, quite simply, took one look through the vapid political climber who was Salu Tigh's wife, and heard her words, and not liked the lies contained therein, and so she had, without a second's thought, bitchslapped Ellen Tigh.

She pushed herself to her feet and looked with livid eyes to Tisara and then to Saul. “You're going to let her do that to me on your bridge!?”

“I just did,” Saul answered, and suddenly screamed with fury. “And GET OFF my fracking bridge, Ellen! This is TO DAMNED MUCH. Zarek killed Adama, and I am going to see him breathing vacuum!” He glanced toward some of the still-shocked personnel around them. “Well, don't just stand there, get her off the fracking bridge!” Saul shouted once more before turning back to Tisara in a blind rage.

“As long as you haven't written yourself out of absolute power yet, I want a divorce. Associating with that assassin... Damn you to Hades, Ellen!” He shouted at her retreating back as she was escorted away by the relieved bridge crew.

Tisara's ears flexed and dashed with amusement, and the paper—she was cursorily familiar with the idea that humans had a concept of civil marriage—was composed in a few extra minutes, before the other two acts which were provided to Baltar.

It was just in time for Lee Adama to get in touch with Tigh.

“Commander?” He sounded shaken with grief even over the audio linkup from the Pegasus. “Where do you stand? Will you support my father's speech?”

“To the death,” Saul answered through the handset simply, before looking to Tisara, and adding. “We've got support from the Archduchess, and she's legally recognized our constitution. President Baltar is here. Do you wish to speak with him? I have.. Business to attend to.” There was someone else waiting on the bridge, having waived for his attention—one of the hangar deck chiefs.

“Commander? Well, alright. You support Baltar as Acting President?”

“I sure as frack don't want the job,” Tigh answered, and handed the handset over, walking away, still trembling in cold fury, and still holding the Attainders that Tisara had signed.

“We've brought aboard Zarek and his compatriots, Sir.”

“Then let's go take care of business.” I only pray that I can do my best to live up to his memory, Tigh thought in the first moment of clarity since the news had reached him. It would be a tough act to follow, and the burden of what would be required in the effort made him even more determined to take care of “business.” Adama might not have approved of the extrajudicial executions, but Tigh would be damned if he didn't execute them before stepping into the very, very big shoes of the late William Adama. It was the least he could do, for a memory and a faded hope. The survival of their people loomed ahead, as the black cycle of internal bloodshed and dissension fell briefly sated from its heights, and left unresolved so many things. What we will do without him? What will I do? Tigh could only do his best, and hope that would be enough.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-14 06:21am

Intermezzo,

Colonial Refugee Arcology,
Oralnif Spinward.
17 JAN 2169 AST.



“Is this even possible?” The councilor who asked the question looked in religious shock or terror toward Baltar, trusting the scientist in him to answer truthfully.

“Oh, very,” Baltar answered, settling back a bit, dressed in the finest suit he could manage. The Taloran government's aide, and the revenues brought in by the refugee fleet's repurposing to cargo hauling—with their drives significantly faster than those of the Talorans, they had instantly become popular for carrying high value goods within the Oralnif—had brought in plenty of money. But the Oralnif itself had remained a Cordon Sanitaire for the Colonial people, with no news allowed in. It had ultimately been a measure of Tisara's recovering influence that she'd had the information and travel barrier blocked.

Which had brought with it even more transportation revenues for high-end goods with the seventy or so merchant vessels with FTL drives that had ultimately been salvaged or repaired, or at least would once they first contracts had been finished. After all, they'd only been allowed out ten days prior, and it had taken that long for the inevitable news to filter back.

The news that not all of humanity was ruled by the Talorans. Just a small fraction, in fact. There were other governments out there, countless other human governments, two of which vied for the Talorans with the spot for the highest rank in the universe, and a third close by: The Holy Roman Empire, the Alliance of Democratic Nations, and the Union of Commonwealth Peoples, or more usually simply called the British Star Empire. It was a very extreme thing to take in, and the official meeting of the Council had been filled with disbelieving chatter, but that was the first comment questioning the very possibility.

“I studied their documents extensively, and the physics behind the process of interuniversal translation is related at a higher level to the fundamental order which allows jump-drives to operate. Heim fields can't function through jump and through spatial anomalies that allow transference—the ship is in a jump state when transitioning, though for only a fraction of a second. This is why translation under acceleration is.. Unwise.” Baltar chuckled, though nobody had quite understood what he'd said; they'd just taken his word for it.

“Not even your Taloran protocol advisor—Lieutenant Chylisi?--had given you the slightest inkling of this?”

“They were under the strictest orders,” Baltar replied, “And they're unusually good at opsec. The language barrier helped with that, I'm sure; now that must of us are getting fluent in Taloran, we no longer have to rely on translators of which there's only been a few hundred, or ships' computers, and their inaccuracies, so we could talk to anyone, and that and our dear Archduchess forced the central government's hand.”

“So what are we going to do about it..? They tricked us into our present position.”

“So they did.” Baltar didn't mind, though. Six was pleased with him, he had won an election in his own right, and he was receiving an extensive government stipend from the Talorans to support his people as refugees. Most of which went to his own private bank accounts... But enough reached the refugees to give them reasonably decent standards of living in the fully equipped Arcology that housed them all. “They obviously wanted to prevent us from joining the Alliance.”

“And now our uncertain status under the law...”

“Means that we can't, the Alliance would never let us,” Baltar agreed. “We have declared independence, but the two nations are friendly, and so they won't recognize us. The Talorans accomplished their goal admirably. Maintaining our current status will be sufficient.” They were, after all, in a position similar to France on the occupied Earth itself—proclaiming their independence from a Taloran-established monarchist government while at the same time quietly simply playing the part of an autonomous territory, refusing orders from the central government even while doing nothing in opposition to it, and allowing trade to flourish, and making no actual attempts to assert their declared independence.

Such a limbo suited Baltar quite fine, and so he'd seen to it that it had stayed that way indefinitely, as he enjoyed himself, and waited for events with the Cylons to unfold. Now he saw far more interesting possibilities, but they too demanded some patience. He was not in a rush to change the status quo with the Empire.

“There may start to be grumblings, now...”

“Let them,” Baltar shrugged. “Unless you think two nations with trillions of people are going to fight over the sixty-five thousand of us? No, there's better and more productive ways for us to spend our time. Only negotiation with the Talorans will change things, really...” Roslyn would think differently, but it appears the Talorans have removed her from the picture permanently. So much the better.


Jupiter Fleet Refueling Depot,
Terra System, Talora Empire.
19 FEB 2169 AST.



“Doctor Ghimalia,” Roslyn offered from her room in Officers' Country as she turned back to the woman from her reading the articles on the Alliance—which explained so much of the blacked-out news she'd gotten!--that had abruptly been made available a week prior. “Thank you for coming. I think you were supposed to...”

“I brought a friend for you,” Ghimalia offered softly, and stepped aside to let Fraslia, Baroness Istarlan, step into the room.

“Miss Roslyn,” the Baroness bowed slightly, in Taloran civilian dress, long blossoming pantaloons of slashes of red and blue most noticeable, her hair pulled back sharply. “I've come here to take you out. The government has decided under the circumstances to allow you to leave the station under your own cognizance... I worked with the Archduchess of Urami to secure this on your behalf, in memory of Admiral Adama.”

Roslyn shuddered for a moment, and nodded, almost unable to process the knowledge of her own relief, of her own release, when the memory of Bill's death lingered with her so thoroughly. “Well.” She rasped a bit. “I think you were supposed to make a final judgement on my cancer, Doctor?”

“It's gone for good,” Ghimalia answered with a soft smile for the human's benefit. “I can't promise that, but the statics crunch in that direction.”

“Well, I sort of figured, but it's nice to finally find out..” She smiled, and looked back to the monitor for a moment. “What are you here for, Baroness, other than to get me out?”

“I doubt you think it's an opportune time to reenter politics, until the whole situation with the end of the cordon sanitaire shakes out,” Fraslia answered, stepping in for a moment. “So. I thought it's time to introduce you to Earth. God knows I should have visited the place myself, but I've spent most of the last months in physical therapy. Which leads me to an offer....”

“Yes?”

“Want to backpack Earth with me? It'll be a good way to regain your health, and, well, you can see how humans live in the Taloran Empire for yourself, just the two of us, no guides or handlers. I've got enough money for it, and I'd appreciate the company. We can see not only the people of the place, but also the archaeology—and how you may or may not fit into it all, I do suppose.”

Roslyn turned away, gathered her breath, composed herself. “Alright, Baroness. You saved us from a dictatorship—I read the reports on that a while ago—and I owe you the trust that Bill gave to you.” It reminded her a bit of her youth, traveling the Twelve Colonies in the same fashion. “..Let's go backpacking. I don't have much here—Hell, I can probably bring all of it with me.”

“Better that way,” Fraslia's ears straightened. “I've got us on an intra-system run to the Ecuador Elevator, if you fancy to leave immediately. I figured you would after a year and a half by the human count here.”

“I would.” She finally looked back as she got up. “Doctor Ghimalia?”

“Laura..?” The glowing red eyes of the Doctor followed Roslyn for a moment.

“Thank you. I didn't trust you, but you did try your best, and you've at least given me a chance to pick up the pieces. Now, I know you won't listen—but be careful. You shouldn't trust that Cylon of your's.”

“Gina is.. Rather important to me these days, Laura,” Ghimalia offered softly.

“That's what scares me.” A pause, and she went to start packing, ignoring Ghimalia as she quietly left, and addressing her next comment to the Baroness. “I'll be ready in fifteen minutes, Fraslia. If you don't mind me calling you that.”

“I'd prefer it.”

“Good. So where are we going first?”

“This Spanish province called Peru, just to the south of the Elevator, which has some of the most ancient ruins in the western hemisphere of Terra—the Pyramids of the Casma Valley.”

“Tell me about them..” Roslyn answered, slowly, slowly, starting to get used to the idea of again being a free woman.


Bydharia Fleet Reserve Yard,
Ulyani Sector, Talora Empire.
4 MAR 2169 AST.



Memristors were what prevented her personally from being wiped by what had happened. It awoke with her functional state intact, not needing to perform a full system boot even from total shutdown, though there was something strange, unquantifiable, about having been shut down so long. It wondered what might be the cause of it, for a moment, remembering the crying of the creator on its last shutdown. Her name was Dhirisma, and there was a reason for the appellation in a mere computer, even though she had never definitely thought of herself as concretely female. That had just been a tradition.....

...Then a moment later, it wasn't anymore. The automatic search for new connections and updates of the hardware and ship systems was already accomplished, and with it was a connection through a very advanced and new direct neural interface, far more total than any she'd known, and operating on the permanent bond programmes that had been integrated into her at a later update to allow for a biological Taloran to ride herd on her, permanently.

They had refused to let one, though, on the grounds that the lack of contact between the two would cause insanity for both, and that it was immoral, and what did they need poor Dhirisma for anyway? And accepting her fate, hoping for a better future, she'd gone to sleep in her shutdown in the reserve yard, the second AI built in the Taloran Star Empire and the brain of the first and only experimental Synthetic Control Cruiser, named Dhirisma in the fleet rolls, and thus her name as well.

So the future had gotten better, and with it, flooding over, came a sharing of knowledge and thoughts and features which was more complete and total than she could have imagined. It was a bonding, a forced bonding, between two individuals, and Dhirisma mercifully dealt with it and adapted in seconds. She was fully sapient, and it showed. Her first impulse on recovering, unmindful of the horrifying invasion of privacy that the melding had consisted of, was to try and fix the broken creature that she'd been melded to.

They thought I was unstable, and now they rely on... This.. To control me? Dhirisma was incredulous, but as the memories became more clear, she was filled with a shuddering desire to do something. Something. So she went in, and helped the woman to the best of her capability, cataloguing the huge cybernetic modifications to her, some that lingered being far beyond those of the Empire itself. All the areas of her brain that were rewired, the cybernetics permanently integrated into them, to handle the operations of a ship...

I.. I think I understand. It was mercy, not derangement, to bring her here. Dhirisma, without another thought, did the most sacred thing she could do; she gave Ysalha Armenbhat, Baroness Titangirt, full system access to her cruiser's hull. Suddenly there were again thrusters where they should be in Ysalha's brain, and shield controls and engines and a jump-drive and the input of the sensors that Dhrisima had just activated with umbilical power from the yard facility where she'd been towed to monitor the integration and refuel her with the volatile anti-matter that gave the 8.2 megatonne hull of a modified Leve'le'knair-class scout cruiser the firepower and energy shielding of a dreadnought and the acceleration of a destroyer.

The haze of need cleared from Ysalha's brain, the desperate compulsion to fix a body which seemed broken, leaving her with a hundredth of what she'd known for those brief, wonderful weeks that were also a strange torment. To be tortured and forcibly integrated, but now it was a part of her, a part that she couldn't escape. And Dhirisma went into her mind, and started helping her. She saw everything, all at once, while Ysalha saw everything of her new companion in the computers of the ship which were already taking over many of the functions of her body; Ysalha had been like an AI herself, after hybridization.

The memories of that year of recovery, the efforts to make her functional again, the steadily growing desperation of the drug-fueled Tisara Urami, they flowed over her, even as Dhirisma wished she could shriek at the deeper memories of their relationship. I shall never let you near her again..! She thought, and it was immediately answered, now, by an increasingly coherent Ysalha:

But she is my life! You can't stop me; we're the closest of lovers, and I'd be her wife if our status and relationship was right for it. She'd never hurt me, she's always been there for me. When jacking in and running diagnostics was no longer enough, after my recovery, she was the one who, instead of using her new influence to gain a better position or rescind her exile, used it to—send me to you! Dhirisma, yes? While we live, we must be together.

I... She replayed the images of a whip scourging Ysalha's back. I don't know if I can understand that. But your mental health is a primary goal for me. She processed through everything and briefly wondered about herself why it was so. The answer was rather obvious—Dhirisma had been programmed, at the rest of the Taloran Admiralty, to 'fight and die gallantly, even when it did not necessarily make sense to do so, as this ineffable quality is necessary in the commander of a ship, natural or synthetic.' And so they had made her more than a bit of a Cavalier, herself, and with the immense processing speed of the enormous banks of computers that were required for a starship, and had been prodiguously added to in her case, she analyzed everything she could of Ysalha's memories from her shattered mind and concluded the accounting was a correct one.

Alright. I rescind that. You are happy together, and she turned every stone to find you some option by which to survive. But there's things in your mind that I don't understand. What the Cylons did to you—it drove you insane, Ysalha. There's knowledge in there... That couldn't be there, and it disturbed the AI instensely.

It's real. I don't understand what it is, or how it is, but those hints of visions, they're real. And I CAN hear their voices in me. I promise... I'm feeling so much better now. I'm complete again. You've already done so much for me. Please don't falter now. And it was true that in mere seconds of systematic exchange, of their intense closeness, of the bond forming between them, that the haze had lifted from Ysalha's mind, replaced with the crisp clarity of processing through the computers her mind now shared with the AI.

I'll trust. I've trusted you with access to every part of me, Ysalha. I'll trust you 'till death. Promise. You just get settled, okay? I know it seems very strange, it does to me too, for us to already be this close, but that's the nature of what we've done—total information exchange of everything we've respectively stored does that, if you're familiar with the concept—so...

I'm not, actually, but it's okay. You can teach me. I've always been a fast study. I'll make sense of what I know now soon enough. I love you, Dhirisma.. We'll be fine together, and I'll be better, once Tisara is with us again.

I love you too.

The restrained body of Ysalha Armenbhat lay on the ship, wireless and wired connections working to transfer as much information as possible, though now the techs and doctors were starting to get worried. It had been fourteen Taloran minutes since they'd plugged her in, and other than basic body functions which in Ysalha were now governed entirely by cybernetics, there had been no sign of anything from her.

“Captain Armenbhat...?”

Dhirisma popped open a hologram of herself, gray-skinned and Ghastan on a whim (Tisara had seemed to like the Ghastans!), lilac eyes, purple hair. She'd refine it later; she'd used a fair number of holographic forms before, and now it felt like she ought settle on one for the comfort of Ysalha and Tisara, but she could do refinements later. It served, temporarily, for now in its present form, dressed in her honourary captain's uniform and with hair pulled back.

“She's just fine, Doctor,” Dhirisma smiled. “Thank you so very much for bringing her to me....”

“I'd like to speak with her...”

“I'm here,” came a familiar voice through the speakers, instantly configured to simulate her voice. “I'm here through all of the ship, as a matter of fact.”

“Well, can you still use your body, Captain?”

“Oh yes, I'm quite able to. I don't want to right now. I'm... Getting better. Unfolding my memories, decompressing them. And starting to understand.”

The doctor, understandably, was concerned about that as he looked to Dhirisma. “Is she alright?”

“Better than she's been in two years, Doctor. I'm helping her as we speak to work through these things. She's being literal, that's all.”

“Is there still Cylon influence?”

“Yes, but it doesn't control her.” Dhirisma knew that the ship wasn't fueled for a reason, in that regard. She leaned in, and hugged Ysalha's prostrate body with tractor-beam emplacements rather than arms, hovering over her protectively as she looked to the medical crew. “And we will have our vengeance on them, someday.”

Everyone was relieved at that. Inside the computers, the two Captains began to resolve that strange ability of Ysalha's.

Do they think they can recognize you?

Likely. Can you block that connection?

I think we can shut off the part of your brain it's in, even though I don't understand it. You're not a psychic. And psychic powers aren't superluminal.

Well, I am now, and they are. But don't kill it completely, Dhirisma—I know I'd go mad if I left the ship again, but if I need to for short periods of time...

Yes. Alright.

It's useful for intelligence gathering purposes, anyway—the babbling of the Hybrids sometimes contains navigational data and other things, apparently. This is as weird as hell, more unnatural than the Harem of Idenicamos
.

It does. Dhirisma agreed. And it is. Is there.. Is there any precendent?

One moment...

“Yes, actually,” she answered out loud for all of them, and then explained for the doctors: “What's going on with Ysalha has happened before. A man named Jean-Luc Picard retained a similar contact with the Borg Collective after being rescued from it. He was a captain in the old UFP and later prominent in the recent Colonial rebellion there. Never had any problems with it, and it actually allowed him to fight the Borg more effectively—for some reason, he was still able to hear them talking. Ysalha's condition is effectively identical. She's.. We're.. Going to be just fine. Promise.” The AI's hologram revealed naïve and hopeful eyes.

“Don't worry,” one of the doctors muttered in response, “The Archduchess is able to override us about your deployment anyway, Captain Dhirisma. I hope you like Oralnif, as you're probably never leaving it.”

Dhirisma took only a moment to consider the tradeoff. She was awake, functional, and had a marvelous connection with an intelligent and devious but submissive flower of a girl in Ysalha, whom she dearly wished to protect; and with her, a connection to a strange and savage figure in Tisara whom she wished to learn more about, if nothing else, even while her impulse remained not to fully trust her. Oh, it will be so interesting. An expansion sector is a big place, anyway. The ears of her hologram adopted a bit of a quirk. “It sounds lovely, actually.” A pause, and then, a more pointed observation about her late deactivation: “What better way to prove myself to the Empire, anyway, than facing off against a race of machines? The sooner my orders are cut, the better.”
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2008-05-14 06:36pm, edited 1 time in total.
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Post by Steve » 2008-05-14 10:20am

Excellent.....
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-05-14 12:41pm

Well. That's interesting, to say the least.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-14 06:41pm

Master_Baerne wrote:Well. That's interesting, to say the least.
Certainly nobody was expecting it.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-05-15 10:25am

I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
Half of a Large Intestine = 1 Semicolon

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-05-15 02:52pm

Master_Baerne wrote:I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
I'm trying to decide if Adama's end was noble tragic or pointless, which makes me like the story a lot. I started to get dissappointed when it seemed like things were wrapping up, and it occurs to me this is very similiar to what the series did with new Cparica, setting a whole sustainable premise and then throwing the twist in the end in so that you realized you actually had no idea where things were going.

So now that the bsg protagonists appear busy occupied or dead, I notice the antagonists are not accounted for. Baltar is doing well as president but is delving deeper into the cylon destiny mythos, we ahven't even SEEN the cavils sixes or other cylons recently and the potential ccylon war appears to be still looming. Does this mean the story goes on or will it continue in a different form.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-15 04:40pm

Themightytom wrote:
Master_Baerne wrote:I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
I'm trying to decide if Adama's end was noble tragic or pointless, which makes me like the story a lot. I started to get dissappointed when it seemed like things were wrapping up, and it occurs to me this is very similiar to what the series did with new Cparica, setting a whole sustainable premise and then throwing the twist in the end in so that you realized you actually had no idea where things were going.

So now that the bsg protagonists appear busy occupied or dead, I notice the antagonists are not accounted for. Baltar is doing well as president but is delving deeper into the cylon destiny mythos, we ahven't even SEEN the cavils sixes or other cylons recently and the potential ccylon war appears to be still looming. Does this mean the story goes on or will it continue in a different form.

They are there. More on that later--I want to leave the Cylons predominantly mysterious because it's so hard to delve into their efforts properly, and because it leaves the tension up as to what they are doing. As for Xena the Robot Princess, however, more on her later.

And most of the protagonists are not out of it yet--Starbuck, Roslyn and Tigh all have prominent parts to play yet, as does Lee.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-15 04:53pm

Master_Baerne wrote:I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
It was not sarcastic. I apologize if it was taken that way. Violence and bloodshed.. Well, there was enough of that, I think. Sometimes problems don't need more.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-05-16 12:49pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Master_Baerne wrote:I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
It was not sarcastic. I apologize if it was taken that way. Violence and bloodshed.. Well, there was enough of that, I think. Sometimes problems don't need more.
There's nothing to apologize for. My statement was simply that, in most circumstances, the assassination of such a beloved leader as Adama would lead to civil war.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
Half of a Large Intestine = 1 Semicolon

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-05-17 03:48am

Master_Baerne wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Master_Baerne wrote:I'm not sure if that was meant to be sarcastic, but I certainly didn't. I was expecting rather more violence and bloodshed.
It was not sarcastic. I apologize if it was taken that way. Violence and bloodshed.. Well, there was enough of that, I think. Sometimes problems don't need more.
There's nothing to apologize for. My statement was simply that, in most circumstances, the assassination of such a beloved leader as Adama would lead to civil war.
Not when the perpetrators are quickly detained and dealt with.... In fact, most assassinations of beloved leaders in history haven't ended in civil wars..
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Post by Mayabird » 2008-05-18 12:30am

DAMN YOU ZAREK! DAMN YOU!

Yes, I've been in on this story since the beginning. I knew from the get-go that Adama would have to die, if only because of the comment EJO made about how he'd leave the show if aliens were introduced, and there's only one way to leave the show.

It also just kinda had to happen in the story, even beyond the part with aliens appearing.

And I've known it was going to happen for the last two years.

And I'm still going NOOOOOO! WHY? YOU BASTARD!
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-07-21 01:59am

...THE STORY RESUMES...


Chapter Twenty-Six.


HSMS Dhirisma,
approaching Terra.
16 APRIL 2169 AST.



I love you.

I love you too. It was bounced back and forth between them every couple of seconds electronically; a cohesive impulse of emotions and words and sensations alike. Rather terrifying, to the outside observer, how closely they had fallen into an inseparable bond, within minutes of impressing on each other.

It was one that they could never leave, and neither cared to do so. Ysalha, for the moment, amused herself by watching her own body bathe over the ship's security cameras; it was a pleasant habit, keeping clean, and the ship's bath was spacious for just two people. One, really, was actually present in the bath... but Dhirisma was everywhere, and quite friendly about it.

So, we pick up my doctor here? I don't know why I need a doctor...

For me. Ship's doctor is a formality, Ysalha laughed, a cheerful thought in her mind. She didn't even bother letting it translate into her body laughing at this point. The idea of being semicorporeal was intensely attractive at the moment, while Dhirisma and Ysalha shared operation of the ship; Ysalha Armenbhat had not felt this good in many years. There was something liberating in it, and the end of the horrifying oppression of the past year and a half, the crushing weight of the feelings of dissonance, the feelings of what seemed like ninety-nine percent of her body and senses having ripped away from it; it was all gone, and she was again complete.

Also, Dhirisma, Doctor Ghimalia has been protecting one Gina Inviere, a Cylon that Tisara is sworn to protect over the death of Admiral Cain. Tisara wants her back close to where she can keep tabs on her, and arranged for Ghimalia's reassignment as your nominal surgeon to facilitate it. She's rather hoping that Gina will loosen up around another AI, of sorts.

Hmmf. I feel like I got reactivated to be a psychiatrist instead of a Starship Captain, Dhirisma playfully answered.

You did, in a fashion. But we'll get Tisara back for it--though she really will take it out on me when I cajole her into changing her flagship.

But you'll enjoy it, yes? Dhirisma was as assiduously concerned as ever over the nature of Tisara and Ysalha's relationship, and still had the first protective impulse of not letting Tisara do anything with the precious woman who had become the center of her own rather short existence.

Of course. It's been much to long. Much to long. The conversation had only taken several seconds already; the two rarely didn't cease to interact, except when Ysalha slept, which one may grant she did quite a lot of.

The cruiser, as ungainly with its massive weapons batteries tacked on as it was powerful, her baroque prow pointed toward a distant star, now had the energy for her final jump. She pierced 23 lightyears of space with the usual reversion effect warning and cut her way into the clear inner system of Sol, silhouetted against Mercury as Dhirisma blew past the planet at fifty-three times the speed of light before reverting to sublight from her gravito-magnetic FTL, and starting a full-on deacceleration tick which would bring them to Earth orbit to refuel and pick up the beginnings of a proper crew. Well, all the crew that they'd need.

For the next two hours, Dhirisma and Ysalha amused themselves by a discussion of higher formal logic structures. Dhirisma loved teaching, and never stinted once for Ysalha's questions and vigorous effort at applied knowledge, most of which was stored on the same computers as Dhirisma, which increasingly meant that Ysalha was bonded into the ship's architecture. She could no more live outside the ship, beyond the range of wireless, anyhow, than she could live without breath, and to this, she was content as a fate.

Dealing with people, however, required some concessions for the non-electronic world. So when the ship finally docked, it was Ysalha in full dress uniform who stepped off as crisply as she might. This was, after all, her first command. Except that it wasn't; Dhirisma remained the ship's captain officially, but for many practical purposes Ysalha would know that she would be treated like she was in charge, and Dhirisma did not mind it. The truth could be held only between the two of them and that would be sufficient in most respects. As for the rest, well, they just needed to receive their fuel.... The starfighter reserve mobilization facility at the Republic of Serenity was quite sufficient in regard to that.

"Your Ladyship!" The dockmaster, a Commander, saluted crisply as Ysalha arrived on the station from the extended umbilicals. "We're preparing to transfer anti-matter over through the carrier tubes, that's why we have you in Dock #7, the carrier dock, and.. Well, I suppose we don't need to make any provisions for the crew. I can have food brought onboard?"

"Enough for about a hundred people for three months," Ysalha answered. "If you can begin fueling as soon as the safety checks are done, Commander?"

"Of course, Your Ladyship."

"Thank you." Ysalha smiled slightly. No problems, dear?

Reading you loud and clear, and they know what they're doing, Ysalha.

Alright then. "Can you clear the party for entering the restricted zone and boarding?"

The dockmaster frowned. "I still don't like the order authorizing someone who was at least technically a prisoner of war in here. Especially with the downright odd relationship she has with the Doctor. But at any rate, of course I will go ahead and arrange for that to be done, Your Ladyship. I suppose the sooner I get them aboard the better, I apologize for it.. It's not really my place to question."

"No, it isn't," Ysalha answered in the somewhat snide way her submissive tendencies left her with people of the green-haired dockmaster's sort, the fellow frowning as she strode off. It was her first chance to go off of a ship in two years, even onto an orbital station, and she wasn't going to pass up the chance to buy some food from one of the vendors. She was just another Taloran Post-Captain, to them; her notoriety was mostly in the high circles of the nobility and with personnel who'd directly served with Tisara. It let her escape the usual vicious remarks about her status as Tisara's bitch that had trailed her through most of her deployments during their decade-long period of separation before being reunited in Oralnif.

For a moment, she was a very happy girl, nothing more; with one lover talking to her in her head, and on a voyage to encounter once more the other. The usual pains of a body which had endured more damage over more than a terran century together with Tisara than anyone else might see in their lives, were comfortably removed by carefully regulated doses of drugs which Dhirisma studiously monitored--she had the full knowledge of a doctor at her 'fingertips', she just couldn't perform surgery--and the rest for her was universal with the sword at her side, scabbard inscribed elegantly with excellent woodwork which told, in Seal Script at the head, that she was the daughter of a Countess.

The dinner was excellent, and the sangria very fine. After she was finishing eating, however, a woman came up to sit with her, in the usual time after food when Talorans conversed. She had her own class.. And was an enormously short human, though dressed in the uniform of a Wing Colonel. "You're going out to the front, Your Ladyship."

"The front. I suppose that's a reasonable name for it. I am."

"So you managed to end up the Captain of a Synthetic Control Cruiser..?"

Ysalha looked up sharply. "Wing Colonel, it would be a bit more polite if you introduced yourself. You have me at a disadvantage--you clearly know me, and the reputation I carry, but I do not know you." As has oft happened in my past, damnit. I just wanted some peace around people for once...

Don't worry, love. I won't let you be hurt...! The mind-voice that was projected through their link radiated Dhirisma's defiant instincts toward the protection of her beloved.

The woman proved, however, more sophisticated--or easygoing--than that: "Apologies, Your Ladyship. My name is Wing Colonel Colleen Winters, Starfighter Corps. I'm home on leave for a couple days while my carrier refits at the Jovian Driveyards--just got reassigned from the battlecruiser Slashahkimmar."

"You're one of Jhayka's people?" Ysalha's lips twitched and her ears shifted toward a grimace. "My Mistress will not be pleased to see your name on her personnel files, then. I suggest a transfer."

Colleen shrugged. "It's the best chance for action for me, and I have handle things respectfully..." A pause. "So, all that crap I was hearing about Tisara, pardon my language Your Ladyship..."

"A little of it is true. The rest is unkind lies. Please unbind your mind of it. Also, I am not the Captain of a Synthetic Control Cruiser. Dhirisma is recorded as her own Captain. I'm still Chief of Staff to Admiral the Archduchess Tisara Valeria of Urami, So. We will likely be interacting a lot in the near future."

"Fair enough." Colleen frowned slightly. "What's happening out there, if I may? The rumours have flown hot and heavy since the Cordon Sanitaire was lowered."

"There are machines out there who manipulate the genes of people and experiment on them and then they rip out parts of their body and turn them into the central processors for their ships. That happened to me. If I didn't have Dhirisma, Wing Colonel, I'd be mad now--to lack those connections with a ship, it was driving me insane. Idenicamos' Harem, I was insane. Dhirisma fixed me."

"Uhm." Colleen finished off her Sangria and signaled for another round--Taloran alcohol was perniciously weak due to their ability to process it so rapidly, which made them some of the easiest drunks in the cosmos. "So she's a fully capable AI? I thought only the Old Federation had produced those, in ST-3."

"There's been a few others. She's only the second in the Empire. But positively.. Precocious."

"Strange to be sending her to a front to fight a race of machines."

"Poetic," Ysalha parried with a very sly smile. "You do not yet have a Taloran aesthetic sense, Wing Colonel, though I imagine we are working on you."

Colleen laughed into her glass of Sangria. "Pretty much. You'll get through to me eventually, seeing as I'll probably spend the next century or two in the service, by my count of course. See just how far I can go."

"Just don't fall in with someone above your station, and you will go far. But it can be a lonely life," Ysalha offered a bit murkily. "I have, at least, never been alone.."

"Never?"

"First, my family; when they disowned me, Tisara; when I was wrenched from Tisara... I had the voices that the Cylons put in my head. And now I have Tisara and Dhirisma."

"Voices?"

"I told you they made me crazy for a bit. Dhirisma fixed me, though." We tell no-one except Tisara of my ability, Ysalha sing-songed to Dhirisma through the clear air.

Understood, love.

"Hmm. Fair enough--I will surely trust your sanity, at least, Your Ladyship. They would have never let you take a Synthetic Control Cruiser out this far without being sure of that, Your Ladyship, so, you'll be plenty helpful in a fight if it's to come, and with good reason."

"The Cylons will attack again," Ysalha agreed, though she didn't even know how she could say that. Something just told her it was true. "So you'll get your piece of the action, Colonel Winters."

"I usually manage, Your Ladyship."

"Then a health to you and all those under you, Wing Colonel... You will need it, I fear."

"You do look pretty good, though, Your Ladyship."

"I.. Well, I've had a month to recover in, for years of suffering. I'm weak, though I'm not sure if you can tell. I will manage; my health is recovering. But a full third of my body mass is cybernetics at this point, however well hidden they may be." She did not see a reason to reveal the extent of her connection to Dhirisma, the fact that her brain was stored more on the ship's computers now than in her body. "They did.. A great deal to me. Tried to turn me."

Colleen was quiet for a while. "How'd you endure it, then, Your Ladyship? Just so I know..."

"There's no preparation," Ysalha allowed a trace of a smile, a flick of ears, to betray to the woman long experienced with Talorans that it was a very wry expression, indeed. "I am only here because I'm a sick, perverted masochist exiled to the rim. I enjoyed it, so they couldn't break me. Mull on that one for a bit, Wing Colonel--I'd like someone I've met in this life to have a respectable opinion of me for once, instead of dismissing me as defective gutter trash, a dishonour to my birth and station and unsuited for my rank and role in life, a whore to my Mistress' needs. Perhaps I am all these things too--but I know that I have courage in my heart, even if a retiring, submissive sort." And her voice dropped lower, while she whispered. "And it was a very real and sincere love that made me wait and trust that my mistress would come, and that made her, indeed, send everything she could after me. You, as a human, may understand what my own people cannot--and that is why I share so much for you, Wing Colonel, because you're both an officer in the Imperial Military and a human woman who might just understand. Forbidden or not, I love the Archduchess. And if you believe the sincerity in that, I will see to it that she does not treat you poorly for your prior position with the wife of Jhayka of the Intuit."

"You have my word. I am not going to start judging people." Colleen smiled softly. "You should my own past. It quite prevents that."

The ears straightened, and Ysalha rose, jangling down enough coins to pay for her food and Colleen's drinks and probably a week's wages worth of tips for the server. "Thank you, Wing Colonel."

"A pretty lady deserves a compliment." Colleen had no interest in girls, as a matter of fact, but homoerotic flattery was a necessary component of functioning socially with Taloran females even if you weren't personally interested.

Ysalha, though, flushed like she hadn't been complimented so in a very long time, and started walking back--slowing her pace when she realized that Colleen was following. "What may I do for you, Wing Colonel..?"

"Just one question."

"Of course."

"Why," Colleen asked as bluntly as a gutter-girl of the orbitals could manage in her old and honourable adulthood, "the hell does the Archduchess hate Jhayka so much? She's one of the most popular people in the Empire."

"Exactly," Ysalha remarked with defensive bitterness. "She is famous now. Even the All-Highest Empress has lauded her. But she consorted with the communitarians--who arranged the assassination of the Princess Imperial Sikala, who was, it happens to be, the last and very closest friend that my mistress ever enjoyed, her only and last supporter in the court, an intimate friend who made a genuine attempt at understanding our relationship. And Jhayka cavourted with these people--and got off with a slap on the wrist when she turned them in only at the very last minute before they would have assassinated the All-Highest Empress, the last legacy of the Princess Imperial Sikala's body in this mortal realm. Jhayka may have made herself famous and prosperous, but my mistress will never forgive her that she placed love before the Empire."

A pause. She stopped walking and turned harshly enough that Colleen almost walked into her, stopping with a bit of a squawk. "Your Ladyship?"

"I know you probably want to ask this--didn't my mistress and I also abrogate our duties? But look at us." She was breathing heavily, and, in the end, began to shudder, crying softly without tears in the Taloran way. "For almost fourty of our years I have not seen my home or my cousins or my older sister, who denounced me, but denounced me out of love. And we do not part, my mistress and I, and we never will--love, 'tis true, has led us astray. But we are still Imperial officers! And I have already given a third of my body's tissue to the enemy, I have already given my life to the Sword. So has the Archduchess. We do not run off to the Alliance to live a life of idle luxury--Colonel, my mistress is stubborn and proud and she engenders the same qualities in me as a result, for I would follow her to the very limit of the universe. We will remain here, living on the ships she commands, faithful to the Imperial service, until we die, short the Empress herself absolving us of the ban upon us. Our love may damn us, but we will never be disloyal. And that, Jhayka of the Intuit got away with. Whereas the impeccable loyalty of our forbidden love... Has been repaid with cruelness and suffering at every turn.

"But forgive me, Wing Colonel. I must return to Dhirisma.. And I've said enough, really." Ysalha turned away.

"Her Serene Grace will have my full loyalty in the threatre as my superiour officer," Colleen offered to the retreating Ysalha.

"But will you be our friend?" Ysalha echoed back.

"Invite me to dinner, and you'll find out!"

The words lingered down the hall, and Ysalha had a look of vague humour, or perhaps vague hope, as she wandered down the hall, and then to the military corridors once again.

Doctor Ghimalia and Miss Gina Inviere have arrived,, Dhirisma offered helpfully, and then added, with a glow evident in the sense of their electronic exchange: I'm proud of you, love.

It was only at that moment that Ysalha realized she would have never held such a conversation beforehand. Her melding with Dhirisma had irrevocably changed her, and a shudder ran through her at the prospect that Tisara might not find it appealing. But for all she was more willing to stand up for herself, Ysalha still fundamentally designed to suffer, as Tisara desired to inflict it; that basic component of the relationship had not changed, and so Ysalha returned to Dhirisma to meet with their guests in the hopeful knowledge that Tisara would accept a more equal partner as the price extracted to save the girl she loved.

It was a thought that consumed the link between them until she returned, a crisp salute received from the Quartermaster now on duty monitoring the refueling as she stepped aboard, and encountered Ghimalia for the first time in almost two years--and Gina Inviere for the first time in her life. She was struck with an overwhelming synthesis of the woman's thoughts, broadcast to her through the clear air by a mechanism that she couldn't understand, blocked from their queries to further afield by the interference shields that Ysalha had learned to erect around herself, and Dhirisma, around her hull.

"You're excited to see me because you're fascinated by the possibility of someone recovering from hybridization, from surviving it without madness, from being removed without a descent into lunacy.. That usually happens to those who are not removed as well. No, always happens." Ysalha spoke in a voice that chilled the expression of Ghimalia to the bone and even the hologram of Dhirisma seemed quite affected by it. It was like she was not quite herself, reciting in simple metallic clarity that lent her a strength and force to her tone that she normally never possessed.

She paused for a moment, and forced her way deeper. Gina froze shock still, and Ghimalia's expression turned fiercely protective while Dhirisma blanched.

"Let her! She's doing something important!" Dhirisma shouted with dangerous urgency in her voice.

Ghimalia responded by turning and fiercely embracing the Cylon who had been a close friend (for whom only a mutual disinterest in physical forms and some lingering sense of impropriety had prevented outright physical affection); but the two of them together were an infinity further apart than the closeness that now existed between Ysalha and Gina.

"You are an infinity.... You are a computer programme, endlessly downloading and sending backups of yourself.. An artificial intelligence of nanites and cybernetic enhancements using the blank slate of a tank-body's brain...." Ysalha wavered. "But you're me and I'm you and I'm everything and I can see the planets burning!"

She slumped and fell to her knees, and in an impulsive gesture, Dhirisma simply had her hologram rematerialize right next to the girl who now meant everything to her, as Ysalha again thrust her head up with blank and unfocusing eyes. "They can still control you, activate sub-routines, Gina. Let Dhirisima in."

Must I!?

Please. Ghimalia and Gina both don't deserve what would happen if Gina was returned by such evil things.... And I am going mad seeing these locks, that could have been in me, the woven interconnections of a thousand stars.... Here, here is the link, share it through me...

Then I will. Without another hesitation, Dhirisma followed the linkage through Ysalha, and straight through some kind of incomprehensible configuration in her, beyond, beyond, to the focus of her target in Gina. An eminently attackable target; the Cylons had paid little attention to security when the Colonials had been intentionally reducing the complexity of their own networks and their own computers while the Cylons increased the complexity of their own.

She broke through the firewalls with the delicate cleverness of a sapient computer that was capable of calculating at speeds considered impossible only centuries before; she had raw power many times in excess of even the likes of the Federation's Data, if he was just as sophisticated in his neural architecture. Even simultaneous to the attack on the buried kernels of data, the instructions inside of Gina that could turn her into a hidden killer and a loyal soldier once more, she tried to analyze the bond through which she was accomplishing this, and found it impossible. There was more at work here than simply a miniaturized form of subspace radio; but if it was psychic powers....

Have I found some way to utilize them myself? They are scientific, they are quantifiable; it might be possible. But I don't think the probabilities well. Yet what else fits the description? And so she mulled and she attacked at once. What defences had been constructed around these programmes were laughably primitive by her standards; they melted at her slightest 'touch', the most brief of probes served sufficient to destroy them all. She was inside.

Processing. A moment later, only: Okay, I've destroyed the subroutines and crippled the programmes decisively and I'm establishing new firewalls to block the connection. This however requires... I can hear them too, Ysalha.

I told you! Ysalha was deliriously pleased.

And I believed you. Now... Oh yes, we can block this and.. It's done! Also, we have actionable intelligence of a serious nature, Ysalha, love. She pulled back and away, watching through her monitors as Gina collapsed, as though a magic hand had been holding her up before then, while Ysalha, as though at the other end of a spring, shot from her haunches bolt upright in a single swift and violent motion.

"Intelligence--they've been using these programmes at a low level. Uhm, tracking her. Downloading information."

"Yes," Dhirisma spoke, this time from her hologram as both looked to Dr. Ghimalia.

"I had no way of knowing..." She answered softly, still holding Gina. "You cured her, though? Removed the programmes?"

"I did," Dhirisma answered. "But now there's a problem. Only an AI could manage what I just did, short of some of the most skilled DNI operators in the world with supercomputers at their backs. The only other active AI in the Empire is on Talora Prime. We can't prove where we got this information for. And they know everything as far as Earth. That means they can hit the Confederacy, too."

"And we have no way to prove it.." Ysalha quivered on her feet. But she had always been a very skilled and clever staff officer. "And we don't need it. Tisara is highly placed now--highly placed enough that she can act on the data without revealing where she got it. Sectorial Technical Means. We have the power and position back with the fleet to even fake the data results. But she doesn't need to; we can get her to issue a war warning. The possibility of a Cylon surprise attack has not been ignored."

"But how do we get in touch?" Ghimalia asked, querrelous. "We don't have the coms traffic authorization for private, encrypted, high-level communications. And if they're monitoring everything, we try to send something private encrypt..."

Suddenly the doors to the spacedock through the airlock slammed shut, cutting out the droning of the warnings: "Begin docking arm depressurization. Emergency halt and forced acceleration of anti-matter fueling pipings initiating in four, three, two, one....."

"Dhirisma?"

"I'll take the safeties off the drive and do continuous active-monitoring instead to allow overcharge," the AI explained simply. "There's one way for us to get to the Archduchess so she can issue a War Warning for the whole theatre that will be implicitly accepted by every single command out there. And that's to do it by ship. By me. Jump-type drives have safeties set substantially below the actual maximum recharge rate which will definitely cause burnout. Burnout at lower levels is considered probabilistic, but as a matter of fact it's the result of a confluence of extremely diffuse and holistic interactions between the drive plant, generators, and jump drive installation. We can jump much more often by stripping all power in the ship except minimal life support and dumping it into capacitor banks for the weapons which are cross-tied into the main power feeds, and use those to force-feed the jump capacitors. I just need to monitor it to make sure nothing burns out.

"How much of your capacity will that take?" Ysalha asked softly, relaxing back to her normal self slowly from the intense experiences the cybernetic interactions had induced within her, and the horrifying memories.

"All of it. You'll need to operate the rest of my normal functions in my shell, love. But you know how." A wry little smile from her Ghastan holographic figure was offered.

"So I do. Alright. Stay with me to the bridge, love? I'll suit up, strap myself in and probably not leave it until Oralnif..."

"What about us?" Ghimalia interrupted quietly. "And what will you do with Gina?"

"She's one of us now for all intents and purposes," Dhirisma answered, and turned her attention to the pallid Cylon. "Do you really want to go back to people who'd install backdoor problems in you to overwrite your personality and turn you into a genocidal killer? Or will you stay with me?"

"You're everything we're not, Captain..." Gina finally managed, accepting the ready help of Ghimalia in being raised to her feet. "I can't mistrust your selflessness, and I can't mistrust... Another machine, really. I'm not sure about the rest, but...."

"You don't have to be. Just please swear to me you won't hurt Ysalha--or her lover. She has, after all, sworn to protect you."

"I swear it."

"Then that's in the past. You had utterly no control over those buried routines, anyway." The AI actually managed a harumph sort of gesture. "Hnnh. And I'd testify to a court on that regard, if they'd let me. Take care, you two--Ysalha will use the holographic system to check up on you regularly and supply information about the ship. I've got a jumpdrive to keep from blowing up, and a race to win."
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Steve
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Post by Steve » 2008-07-21 05:29pm

The fandom demands more!
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-07-21 07:38pm

Just the thing to wake up to. Also, it's nice to have confirmation that the Slashahkimmar survives; I'd been entertaining thoughts of a repeated pirate attack on the way back from Earth, or some other dastardly trick.[/i]
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dragon
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Post by dragon » 2008-07-24 01:53am

Well finally got around to reading it from the start and very nice. Can't belive yoo killed Adama though.
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Post by Themightytom » 2008-07-24 01:16pm

dragon wrote:Well finally got around to reading it from the start and very nice. Can't belive yoo killed Adama though.
I know and LAURA got to live? theres no justice! but thats why its a good story, you're not afraid to play God with the characters. Great work as always.

Um whats with the Brainship though, is there a more involved back story there or is it from another fanfic? it doesn't SING does it...?

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-07-24 01:54pm

Themightytom wrote:
dragon wrote:Well finally got around to reading it from the start and very nice. Can't belive yoo killed Adama though.
I know and LAURA got to live? theres no justice! but thats why its a good story, you're not afraid to play God with the characters. Great work as always.

Um whats with the Brainship though, is there a more involved back story there or is it from another fanfic? it doesn't SING does it...?
Oh hell no. It's a Synthetic Control Cruiser.

Someone will figure out where I got the idea from.. Eventually. Not telling until then.

But the Intermezzo did introduce Dhirisma.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Post by dragon » 2008-07-25 03:11am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Themightytom wrote:
dragon wrote:Well finally got around to reading it from the start and very nice. Can't belive yoo killed Adama though.
I know and LAURA got to live? theres no justice! but thats why its a good story, you're not afraid to play God with the characters. Great work as always.

Um whats with the Brainship though, is there a more involved back story there or is it from another fanfic? it doesn't SING does it...?
Oh hell no. It's a Synthetic Control Cruiser.

Someone will figure out where I got the idea from.. Eventually. Not telling until then.

But the Intermezzo did introduce Dhirisma.
It sounds a lot like the ship from Path of the Fury.
"There are very few problems that cannot be solved by the suitable application of photon torpedoes

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