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

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Steve
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Post by Steve » 2008-09-20 06:35am

Woot! MORE.
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American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Darth Nostril
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Post by Darth Nostril » 2008-09-20 12:10pm

Oh I like this.
Please blow up some more Cylons, I do so enjoy reading those parts :twisted:
So I stare wistfully at the Lightning for a couple of minutes. Two missiles, sharply raked razor-thin wings, a huge, pregnant belly full of fuel, and the two screamingly powerful engines that once rammed it from a cold start to a thousand miles per hour in under a minute. Life would be so much easier if our adverseries could be dealt with by supersonic death on wings - but alas, Human resources aren't so easily defeated.

Imperial Battleship, halt the flow of time!

My weird shit NSFW

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-20 03:13pm

Darth Nostril wrote:Oh I like this.
Please blow up some more Cylons, I do so enjoy reading those parts :twisted:
Patience. You'll get your blood.
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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Darth Nostril
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Post by Darth Nostril » 2008-09-20 04:13pm

[/tongue in cheek] Blood for the blood god! [tongue in cheek] :D
So I stare wistfully at the Lightning for a couple of minutes. Two missiles, sharply raked razor-thin wings, a huge, pregnant belly full of fuel, and the two screamingly powerful engines that once rammed it from a cold start to a thousand miles per hour in under a minute. Life would be so much easier if our adverseries could be dealt with by supersonic death on wings - but alas, Human resources aren't so easily defeated.

Imperial Battleship, halt the flow of time!

My weird shit NSFW

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Master_Baerne
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-20 04:51pm

Well...That was unexpected. Are all the "progenitor race" legends references to the Lords of Kobol, then?
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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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-20 06:01pm

Master_Baerne wrote:Well...That was unexpected. Are all the "progenitor race" legends references to the Lords of Kobol, then?
Maybe about half of them.

But who are the Lords Kobol? That is the question, and shall not soon be answered.
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 Master_Baerne » 2008-09-20 07:37pm

That's extremely helpful on the resolving-of-questions front. :D
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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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-20 10:31pm

Master_Baerne wrote:That's extremely helpful on the resolving-of-questions front. :D
This story isn't supposed to resolve questions.
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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Master_Baerne
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-20 11:45pm

Evidently not, Your Grace.
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 » 2008-09-21 12:10am

Chapter Fourty-Five.


HSMS Dhirisma
At the Second Earth.
28 JANUARY 2170



"So who, praytell, are you?" Ersimia glared down at Vuletic as Doctor Ghimalia frowned silently in the background.

"A Ranger, Anla'shok, from EM-5. I was sent here because we recognized the writing is corresponding to the sites of some Old Ones that are related to interuniversal travel," she explained, feeling rather desperate. "My real name is Sophie Landrieu, and I'm a telepathic operative in their service. I was just here to help in the common cause of civilization--I couldn't reveal myself because we're not authorized to operate here. We're just very concerned about some possibilities from interuniversal travel."

The second cover in case the first had been blown was rather brilliant, and if it worked long enough for her to escape, Sophia was going to make sure the data-collating nerd back at central headquarters in Vienna who'd likely proposed it based on extra-universal research was given some sort of reward for it. Assuming it worked.

"I want to probe you to confirm that," Ersimia answered.

"I won't let you," Sophia, Sophie, replied. "More to the point, we're equal in power, so don't think of trying to force me, either."

"I wouldn't do that," Ersimia sighed. "It is against our religion. And I apologize for the presumption. But we cannot, of course, trust you, so you'll be..."

"Confined to sickbay?" Sophie laughed drily. "I have a broken rib, punctured lung, one stab wound in my left hip and fourteen in my left arm and hand that have, of course, been mangled beyond use. I just want to lay here and hope the ship doesn't get blown up. Though you can, of course, test the veracity of my knowledge another way. I believe I know where there is another base in system."

"Oh?"

"Two, actually. One under Mars, 130 kilometers below Olympus Mons, one in the exact centre of Ceres."

Ersimia nodded. "Fair enough. How do you propose we find them?"

"Fire probes down to the surface with seismic recorders and then lob torpedoes at them. It will delay us only thirty minutes and you'll see that I wasn't here to plumb for information, I know what the hell I was looking for. The shocks will reveal the installations because they're seismically dampened and they won't move."

"Very well, I'll ask Dhirisma to check them out. That doesn't, however, answer the question of whether or not you are telling the truth."

"I have my fighting staff, of course. Bring the olive duffle in my room to me--Dhirisma, she has my permission to access my quarters," she addressed to the clear air.

"All right, and I'll make sure of it," Dhirisma interjected out of the intercom. "I'm sure you're right, Sophie, you're a very kind soul."

Sophia felt slightly embarrassed at that, and mused that she should probably thank the machinists who put together a believable copy--trivially easy--of a Ranger's staff. "Please don't open it yourself, of course. Handling it is somewhat sacred to us."

"Alright," Ersimia replied, turning and walking toward the exit for sickbay. "You'll hear back from me shortly, Sophie, once we've completed the investigation and I have the staff to bring back here for you to show. Get your rest--telling the truth or not, you have been heroic in your good today."

"Thank you, Adept. But I merely fought for life."

"And life is always good. I need to go."

Sophie settled back and smiled up at Ghimalia, beatifically relaxed under the influence of painkillers.

Ersimia had another stop to make, and it was ironically enough Ghimalia's quarters. The quarters she shared with Gina Inviere; it was the Cylon woman who opened the door, looking rather surprised. "Adept, what can I do for you?" She had come a very long way in the past year and a half of Ghimalia's constant efforts to preserve her sanity, after the endless months of rape and torture on the Pegasus. And Ersimia had remembered something in the details that Sophie had told her earlier, while they were in the Antarctic base.

"I need you for something... And I need to tell you some things that you won't want to hear.


*****************************

Dhirisma reached up through the atmosphere over the silent installation, bearing its deadly biowarfare cargo. "Alright, we're at altitude to safely sanitize the facility."

"At your will," Ysalha answered for the benefit of Syraste and the Acolyte Lisandhra who was still mourning her lost comrade.

Now, there was a measure of vengeance. A single heavy assault torpedo was fired straight down through the atmosphere, and detonated in the facility. A ten gigatonne fireball appeared, vapourizing much of it, melting even the incredible materials it had been built out of, and shattering and melting the ice for dozens of kilometers in every direction, leaving a great cloud of radioactive steam to rise into the air of an already dead planet.

"Ersimia has some further instructions for us," Dhirisma continued as she monitored the aftereffects of the detonation and confirmed it would have wiped out any traces of the plague. "She wants us to drop by Mars and Ceres, firing ground probes and torpedoes to confirm the existence of facilities under Mons Olympus and at the heart of Ceres, respectively. So we're bringing up the FTL drives now."

Ysalha nodded, settling back in her acceleration couch as they cleared into gravito-magnetic FTL drives, submerging dimensionally though remaining in real space as they tore to Mars in short minutes and dropped out. Dhirisma was trying to beat the thirty minutes that it would take by Sophie's estimate, and save as much time as they possibly could, anyway. It would take another three days to get to the Cylon homeworld, and they were already several hours behind the not-Starbuck. The gravito-magnetic drives would be their only way to catch up. That, and overclocking the charge sequence in a way that no dumb computer could safely manage.

But the request had seemed sufficiently urgent that it was worth the time, and Dhirisma fired the probe off toward the base of Olympus Mons the moment that she arrived, charging up a flank torpedo launcher. As soon as the probe touched down and the telemetry confirmed it was operational, she fired a 10 gigatonne torpedo to impact on the opposite side of Olympus Mons. It only took a couple seconds to traverse the distance, and then the side of the mountain was scoured with a huge crater as the fireball rose up through the atmosphere, triggering tremendous landslides on the side of the mountain.

The hardened probe, shielded by the bulk of the enormous vulcano, not only survived but sent back the data immediately. "We've got the facility confirmed," Dhirisma seemed somewhat in awe. "The readings suggest the size is enormous--the size of twenty-five arcologies put together. This thing amazes me more than anything else I've seen. The engineering required to build it without disturbing the rock above..."

"On to Ceres," Ysalha whispered. The order was appreciated, immediately executed, as Dhirisma knew well the stakes of what was going on, the magnitude of what was being asked of them all. The experiment was repeated, and the results were the same. Terribly, perfectly true: Sophie was right, there were two other bases, abandoned under the rock and built to incredible standards.

There was no time to process it. They were in a race, and already three hours behind. Ersimia arrived on the bridge, a duffle slung over her shoulder. Gina was with her. "How did it go?"

"Positive for both facilities," Dhirisma answered.

"Greetings, Gina," Ysalha turned back. "Why are you here?"

"Ersimia asked me to come. She wants me to go with her when we arrive at the homeworld." She seemed grimly resolute as she stayed close to the Taloran Adept's side.

"You have a plan for how we are to defeat them?" Ysalha stretched and rose as they made the first jump and then began running at maximum power on their gravito-magnetic FTL.

"Yes. I had Major Syraste's troops rip this out of the wall in the facility," Ersimia replied, tossing a plain black box with a little needle injector in the middle. "A lock, to the people who built that place. It nips a bit of your DNA and scans it. We did scans on it and the DNA that Starbuck left on it is very similar to Cylon DNA. There are a few subtle differences, but that's good."

Her ears folded back, she took a breath and continued. "Based on what I saw in the mind of the creature that controlled Starbuck, the facility on the Cylon Homeworld isn't of his race. It's of another race, a related one, their enemies. And he boasted that he had used the bodies of his enemies as his avatars."

Dhirisma and Ysalha both regarded Gina almost immediately, and she flushed, and nodded. "Ersimia thinks that I can.. Enter this temple of the false God that deceived us," she said as though it took a thousand years of effort to say that. "And it will recognize me as a Lord of Kobol, more or less."

"Alright," Ysalha frowned for a moment. "Well, then, I shall go with you. I--it's apparent now that--I know that whatever still speaks through my head comes from this source. I may have an inside way to it, I may be able to act as a repeater from Dhirisma for cybernetic warfare."

"Don't," Ersimia snapped. "This is effectively a suicide mission, just without the religious opprobrium. Our job is to take down the defences so that you can fire the Tylium boosted Assault Missiles into the facility and then try to knock out the General Assembly Yard, assuming that the facility itself doesn't control it. Which we must all pray it does."

"It won't be for me," Ysalha answered quietly and bit her lip, ears bent forward, rather submissively. "Ever since Dhirisma has started helping me most of my higher functions have resided on the computers here instead of in my body. We've finished that transfer; my body is just an appendage of my personality and existence, which is contained on the ship's computers. I can be booted back up on them--ironically just like that creature probably was on the computers of the Antarctic base--to let me continue to function as an artificial intelligence like Dhirisma. Tisara will still have me, too, after a fashion. We'll use the prize money we're due to receive from the surrender of the Cylon Baseships to turn the entirety of Dhirisma into a foreign holodeck, come to that."

"The jury is still out on whether or not that would be you, or something else," Ersimia replied, in her religious role. "My child... You might very well die and leave behind only a memory of yourself in this shell. A living one, with her own life."

"Then I will die and go to face my judgement. Who would I be if I didn't? And, anyway, even if I die, that which remains will be identical to me and will therefore keep Dhirisma and Tisara happy and content and stable. What more could I ask for on death than to leave behind someone exactly like me to quiet the sobs of my family? I will go, and have my revenge as much as anything else. Let me do this Good."

Ersimia closed her eyes. She did not reply directly, but instead she began to sing the old formulation of absolution. They stood on the bridge, with tingling nerves, as she finished, addressed it to Ysalha and Gina both, and smiled. "Hopefully, I am wrong. If not. Well, the three of us shall join the ranks of the Army of God together."

"I'll go, too, with ten of my best men who may volunteer," Major Syraste finally interrupted from where she had been uncomfortably pacing as the conversation continued. "We have enough capacity in the infiltration pod aboard to be dropped from orbit to the homeworld, and you may need some help."

"Your sacrifice will never be forgotten in the eyes of the Lord," Ersimia answered, and then stepped over to Ysalha. "Let me show you a picture of the world when the great Pyramid appears, so that you can extrapolate the hour at which we should arrive to appear when the Cylons are quiescent. Will you let me..?"

"Of course," Ysalha whispered, thinking about how, in the final reflection, it had all come down to this.

Ersimia left quietly, off to go test Sophie.


Cylon Homeworld,
31 JANUARY 2170



The troops had power armour; the three principals had personal shields. That was about as good as they could get, crammed into the stealth drop pod as their way to the ground. They arrived behind the Heavy Raider carrying the not-Starbuck, unfortunately, and as Dhirisma jumped out--directly into the planet's atmosphere, with the accuracy of her Cylon jump-drive--there was a formation of almost three thousand Raiders waiting for her. She activated her strap-on anti-kamikaze missile boxes and fired at once with the RAMs opened up, and from a graceful altitude of 70,000 meters shot off the tiny stealthed pod toward the sacred island below.

It was empty, devoid of life, as Dhirisma climbed toward the sky only to find more Raiders coming for her, launched by the Cylon ships that were soon to be involved in the ritual and partially inactive. The Raiders however were not intelligent enough to be included in the orders, and so they simply faced the agglomeration of not simply tens or hundreds of thousands but millions, rather more than two million, both from facilities on the surface and from the arrayed ships which could collectively handle some 600,000 Raiders on their own.

Reluctantly, ever so reluctantly, they had let Sophie up onto the bridge under Doctor Ghimalia's observation; the only other person there on the high bridge was Commander Sivara, watching her. She was still rather seriously injured, her left arm blocked off in a heavy and thick healing unit strapped across her body to accelerate the recovery from the dozen microsurgeries the damage had required to be repaired. But she was unquestionably the strongest of the telepaths still on the ship now that Ersimia had embarked on her fateful mission, and she could coordinate the rest of the weaker Acolytes if necessary, which even Sivara couldn't accomplish.

That, and in that green duffle had been the promised fighting staff, which she'd crisply opened and elevated with one hand. It was enough in her weakened state that they largely had accepted her sincerity, though she would have been concerned if the dubiousness and suspicion wasn't omnipresent. No chance of taking over the ship when this is all done, more's the pity. Dhirisma could stop us in a heartbeat, only thirteen strong.. and most of the Company is still here, anyway. Ah well, we should at least get clear.

She sought out through the enemy fleet as the great hordes of Raiders rushed in, and found her target. "There, there it is. On the ship and..." The attack came at once, sudden, violent, overwhelming in telepathic energy. She thought back to fundamental sequences of irrationals, the calculations of imaginary numbers that would strength her mind even as the other telepaths on the ship added to her resistance and, with all of them working together, barely stalemated the creature. It was on one of the Baseships, even as the others powered down and they got themselves well clear of the atmosphere, clawing for a higher orbit... The shields began to cascade under the sheer scale of the nuclear missiles striking through the continuous operation of their defensive batteries and Dhirisma's hologram surely grew more tense. But this was part of the plan, too, the most that they could do for the Taloran fleet, now.

The appointed hour arrived. On the planetary surface below, out of the field of nothingness appeared instead a great pyramid, 21,700 meters high, 21,700 meters on each side, dominating the island on which it was built. It tracked the active craft in a heartbeart and computed their courses, and then lavender bolts shot up from the flanks of the pyramid and a beam from the tip swept through space with wild fury. Dhirisma went to full power on her gravito-magnetic drives, and just in time, too. The beam went through the battered shields like they didn't exist at all and nicked off a small part of the stern as they fled.

She felt what best might be described as pain, twitching and then letting her ears flop, seeming slightly embarrassed. "Why does getting 'singed the rear' seem so humiliating?" That said, it was better than the fate of a few hundred thousand Raiders caught in the fire that were instantaneously vapourised.

Sophie laughed like a drunk neurotic at the AI's complaint; the beam would have surely destroyed the ship if it had just been a microsecond faster, or they a microsecond slower in going to superlight. As it was, it had just torn through and detonated the aftermost ERA tank. They rushed into the system, and the sensors soon made the magnitude of the General Assembly Yard clear. It loomed inward of the Cylon Homeworld in the system.

It was tremendous, overwhelming. 81 Baseships of two types were under construction there, in the final process of fitting out. And then there was the spots of gleaming, ever so intense light. Each was like a miniature sun, each shone with all the intensity of the great orb in the centre of the system itself, a field of ten thousand ships of light. Except that they damn well weren't made out of light. Dhirisma refined, calculated, and displayed the composite sensor image as Sophie rested in the release of the faster than light travel where the powers of a telepath were disrupted by relativity from reaching into her, or her's out to their enemy.

"Oh hell," she whispered. "All Vimanas."

"Salvoing missiles enpassant," Dhirisma noted coolly as she began to fire, the missiles dropping down out of the ship's submergence fields and accelerating in toward the General Assembly Yard to do what damage they could, firing until they left range again and headed into the outer system to wait out the thirty minutes for what they needed, for what, without which, the mysterious creature in not-Starbuck might yet be triumphant.

*****************************

"Got to give them one thing," not-Starbuck said, standing in the control room of one of the Baseships, "they are very stubborn." It was just itself, now, the Cylons on the ship lowering their heads in reverent praise, even as the creature once styled, in a distant Imperium of old, the Count of Iblis, watched with beauty the Golden Pyramid containing a second copy of himself, which he had warned, but could not help. This physical form could never enter the Golden Pyramid, just as the eleven undamaged Vimanas of the Lords of Kobol sat in its hangars untouched, their own security devices receiving only instructions from those with the genetic sequence of Sarasavsati Lords, not his own in this fine body of Kara Thrace's.

Someday, he reflected, you will be my equal and mate. But for the moment your loyalty to your old friends and cause is to great, and my need for your body to pressing, so I will keep you suppressed until then, he lectured the silence within the shared mind that he knew to be Starbuck.

Then, he looked at the General Assembly Yard for a moment, thought about something, and laughed darkly. "Ohh, so even if they win, a final poison pill might be possible after all.. No, likely." He gave a signal with his mind, and all at once both the Raiders and the Baseships began to pull back and away from the planet and the General Assembly Yard.

He could still throw the fleet at his enemies, and it had more than seven hundred Baseships of all types left, and more Raiders than they could carry. And if that failed, well, all he really needed was himself and the body he inhabited. But the copy of his personality that controlled the computers of the Golden Temple on the planet might yet win, and so he didn't make his move... just quite yet.

********************************

Gina had opened the outer door with a press of her palm, and then the Taloran troops took point, a short file, forging ahead until they came to the next access point, and again Gina opened it. The facility had a habitable area of tremendous potential size; so there was no coherent aim of where to go except that they needed to disable the base's weaponry.

Fortunately, it seemed to have been designed for permanent habitation by large numbers of people, and that was more disturbingly born out as they began to pass mummified bodies in the corridors in various rictus of agony; they were all in fully sealed combat suits, all of them except for Gina, who had to have her hand exposed, and with good reason. It was quite possible that only Gina was immune in their group; if not, well, they couldn't risk anyone else. And if she wasn't, she was prepared for that and the end of her life that it would bring.

After navigating through the endless piles of naturally mummified corpses, they arrived at what appeared to be a central computer terminal. Gina's palm again served to open the connections, though it was Ysalha who tried accessing it, with the linked firing of data-dumps from Dhirisma over translight coms whenever they could. "It's Old Kobolian, like the other script, and.. Ah yes, here's a map. Let's see where we can place those nuclear demolition charges.."

"Hmm." Finally, a finger tapped in an area leading to the southeast quadrant. "Restricted access area. Probably a power conduit, it's.. Maybe about the right size. And right below it is the 'chamber of the field of nonexistence.'"

Ersimia's ears flicked back up in her helmet. "The chamber of the field of nonexistence? The prescience-blocking effect of the disappearance of this facility--total nonexistence, not merely cloaking, even to telepaths? It would seem correct to me. We can plant one charge in each one, and Dhirisma can attack from the Southeast."

"Those are probably massive radars on the faces of some kind," Captain Syraste noted, and then trailed down. "Look, there's four huge hangar assemblies. Perhaps not so much of a suicide mission after all?"

"Perhaps not. I wonder what that other room is in the secured complex it seems like we're going to have to go..."

The screen blinked out and was replaced by a simple green text message:

"I know you're here."

"Well." Ysalha shook her head. "I think it meant roughly the 'Chamber of Creation'. Come on, let's go. He can't keep us out of the hardwired door controls, and even Gina has supplemental oxygen, even if not a fully sealed suit, if he, or it, tries to vent the atmosphere or use poison gas, and she can seal-lock glove in two or three seconds in that case."

"The faster, the better. I want a look at this Chamber of Creation, anyway," Ersimia started off in the lead until two of the soldiers ran ahead of her. "I doubt we're going to have enough time to take the facility out during the period it's visible, and we likely won't survive to wait for the next period. We set those charges, bring down the field and the southeast quadrant weapons, and that's that."

In no inconsiderable haste they pressed onwards, moving through the vastness of the facility via the automated lifts and through sealed doors. And around them were more and more of the corpses, many of them seeming to be half human and half animal, some simply human, and all of them were very much dead and long since mummified in the dry and recycled internal air.

"There's probably billions of people dead in here," Ersimia muttered at one point, her hand on Gina's shoulder to help along the fragile and increasingly pale Cylon as she took in the level of the ancient slaughter. "Most likely the same plague that claimed the Second Earth, don't you think?"

"That's about as parsimonious as we can guess, and the best we can hope for," Ysalha answered. "But come on, we're almost to this Chamber of Creation...."

"People! Ahead!" Ersimia snapped and dived. The Marines on point were not so lucky; violet beams swept through the air and sliced through their power armour like it didn't exist. Four of the Taloran troops ahead of them were chopped in half by the beams and killed outright; the fifth narrowly managed to get to cover, but the beams started to track through and tear apart the walls themselves with inexorable force.

"They're, they're us," Gina muttered from behind the cover, and then shot up. "STOP SHOOTING! LOOK AT ME!"

The beams abruptly converged on her.. And snapped off as they stared, started.

One of each of the Cylon models. The seven known, and grim Tigh like he was in the lead, and Tory Foster... And Galen Tyrol and Anders... So those are the other two Ersimia said she saw and... Oh. Oh. Oh you snide little bitch, what will you think when you find out?

The twelfth Cylon that Gina Inviere saw standing there was Kendra Shaw.

And the twelve stared back at the party with nervous, frightful expressions, confused and wondering what the hell was going on. "Central command," her counterpart Six finally began, "is screaming at us for us to kill you. But there's something frakked up about that."

"My name is Gina. Your's..?"

"Tylantia."

"Never heard of you before, I'm sorry to say."

"Central just decanted us and ordered us to respond. Said there was nobody left alive in the facility and that you'd killed them. We still don't know what the hell's going on, but..."

Ersimia pushed herself up, and regarded the dead soldiers, and Captain Syraste ever so furious. "You really thought yourselves fighting in defence of this place?"

"Yes," the Tigh-copy snarled. "They pulled a goddamned fast one on us, didn't they?"

"Yes. This facility's computer network has been taken over by an enemy AI," Ersimia explained without elaborating--it was clear that the clones in front of them had basic personalities without any forming, hastily brought out of cloning tanks and probably as confused as hell. But unlike the computer, they, too, could override the hardware with their genetic sequences, and apparently the central computer considered the threat from Gina doing that great enough that it had taken the risk of exactly this happening to form the twelve clones and arm with those incredible tracking-beam rifles and send them after all of them..

"So we're going to have to destroy the facility. All the inhabitants are dead, as you've doubtless seen. No loss to us to take it out now. We have a ship preparing to do it, but we need to disable the southeast quadrant power feeds, take out the Nonexistence Field Chamber, and then get ourselves to a hangar bay and get out." She paused, looking over those confused and uncertain faces--people brought into the world and ordered to kill without even the chance to truly become people. "We'll help you to adjust after that. I think you're clones of the dead, and as you can see, there are others like that here," she gestured to Gina. "Are you with us?"

"Since she is, frak yes," the Tigh analogue answered. "Come on. We've got maps of the interior at least. We can lead you."

Ysalha looked at Ersimia with the unspoken question of if they could be trusted, and the Adept smiled, and flicked her ears in the affirmative, visible from inside her helmet, brushing against with a slight twitch.

And so, having no choice but to leave the four bodies of the dead behind with a prayer for their souls, they forged on and upwards into the Chamber of Creation where the clones had just been decanted, who had murdered those four Marines; and were now trusted, for the moment, as allies against the computer they both fought. They arrived just in time, too, high enough that the now-inevitable venting of the atmosphere could actually kill, but isolation suits that were intact were found, and they moved on again, upwards toward their targets.

"You know, I have a pretty good idea what we're going to find up here," Ysalha whispered as they moved on. There was nothing more to be said for it, Syraste stilll tightly furious and Ersimia simply nodding in agreement. Gina understood what they meant, and looked all the more queasy for it. And in the next chamber, just as Ysalha had predicted, their newfound guides all stopped short and Gina stared in transfixed horror. The mummified and decayed corpses of all twelve of the Cylon models--of all twelve of the Lords of Kobol--were laid out in a robotic research lab above, the true beginning of the humanform Cylon race that some of their children were finally allowed to gaze upon, face to face. Gina retched at seeing the rotted corpse of her own line, their originator, partially torn apart by the sampling robots.

And then, separated from the hardwired command override panel by a space of twenty meters and the robots, the computer finally had a chance to get to them directly if they could just be kept from reaching that control, and turning off the facility's power. The calculation was obvious and instantaneous, and the measures meticulous despite their haste: The robotic dissection systems in the 'hot' lab were at once improvised into combat equipment and used to attack the party with all the vigour they could manage, from perfect deathly silence to an explosion of violence with no telepathic warning. It might be the computer-Iblis' last chance to defeat them, but it might also work.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-21 03:38am

Chapter Fourty-six.


Cylon Homeworld.
31 JANUARY 2170.



It was a choice of the twelve freshly decanted to either turn aside and let the party be annihilated, or stand their ground and fight and quite possibly die. But in reality they never had a choice; the moment that they saw Gina in the midst of their 'enemies' and realized they had been deceived in such a way, they were, at heart, decent people, and resolved to fight and keep fighting until the very end. And their guns were very well suited for completely dismembering the laboratory.

The Taloran troops in their power armour were better defended against improvised weapons, and the six, led by Captain Syraste as the seventh, forged forward and left the three principals of the party behind as they lobbed grenades and fired their REQ railgun assault rifles in rapid bursts. But they took casualties, oh yes, they took casualties and only the fact that the Twelve had chosen to stand and fight with them gave them a hope of success.

And they paid for it. Had they not chosen to stand and make the sacrifice, they could have all lived. Instead, they stood, and at the end, only the Six, Eight, and the analogues of Shaw and Anders remained alive. Captain Syraste was dead with them and so were four of the six remaining soldiers. There was nothing left to be done for them, that was clear, the weapons and the ferocity of the attack were far too intense. The combat, as ferocious as it was, had lasted less than two minutes had completely destroyed the laboratory, fires and energy weapons having mostly demolished the remnants of the corpses of the twelve Lords of Kobol.

Gina pushed herself up and forward toward the devastated other Six, Tylantia, and the two embraced as awkwardly as they could through their rebreathing equipment. "I'm sorry you had to come into the world like this--it seems that all we know is misery and shame. But you did good, you did good."

The Anders copy--he identified himself as Apalad--the Shaw copy, Artithia, and the Eight, Athlekta, stood silent at the devastation. Ersimia walked out among them, as she took the helmets off of the dead Taloran soldiers and closed their eyes after whispering over their bodies. "Forgive us, that we have led you into the death of the first people you knew in your lives, but the lives of trillions, human and my race, Talorans, alike, remain at the whim of those who have captured this facility. Our enemies are strong indeed, and remorseless. We must have faith and carry on."

Even then, though, it was the two Sixes, having cried together but also held each other, Gina holding onto, fiercely, Tylantia who represented her innocence, who turned back to the dazed and dull looking Ysalha.

"The shroud has been activated," she whispered, "and the voice of that computer in my head grows louder and more insistent by the moment, while Dhirisma is silent. We must act before I go insane."

The remaining soldiers took on the load of the demolition charges, and they pushed up and out of the bio-labs, Gina freezing her hand to the bone in the stratospheric cold as she removed her glove to activate each and every door, hardwiring the security protocols to off and thereby preventing them from being attacked.

They reached the Chamber of the Field without further incident. It was simply a nondescript piece of machinery about which they established the nuclear detonating charge. Ersimia herself climbed up to the next level and confirmed the power conduit was there in what was nearly the worst way imaginable--as she forced open the access hatch, a pulse of energy from the open conduit very nearly vapourized her, and only the security shield around the conduit prevented her from receiving a fatal dose of radiation regardless. "Priestesses shouldn't be messing around with techniks," she muttered softly, and then shouted to those below: "Alright, look, there's a shield here so to breach it we're going to need to wedge the second demolition charge right under the conduit.

"Don't move!" Ysalha's voice echoed below...

..But Ersimia really, really doubted such a peremptory command would have come from Ysalha. The woman wasn't known for her authoritative voice, and from her earlier remarks, she had the worst of her suspicions. Ersimia reached out, and a moment later found herself in telepathic combat with the computer core of the Golden Temple, warring for control of Ysalha's mind through the link that had been established to make her into a Hybrid and remained to the present day through the inability to recognize what it was.

Ersimia had the experience, at least, to fight it. And the knowledge to recognize immediately that it was another copy of the same creature she had fought in Antarctica on the Second Earth. The very same creature, but different: Literally another copy, sent here, perhaps by infiltration, and having diverged. They carried on the same scheme, but in different ways; sometimes at odds, and sometimes together. This she understood from her brief victories, as it pushed back, and a name brushed into her mind in defiance: Iblis!

But then it roared back even stronger, seemed to overwhelm her, left her hopeless and gasping for air. There was one chance--if she could not defeat the creature in direct telepathic combat alone, and that seemed very unlikely at the moment as she felt the pressure in her head nearing a stroke, she could break the link that allowed the AI to simulate telepathic powers through Ysalha. Gritting her teeth, Ersimia let herself drop the 20 feet down to the floor below from the access point. She landed hard enough to almost be knocked unconscious outright, and then she pulled up her pistol... And shot Ysalha Armenbhat. The bullet struck her in the stomach and she staggered back, but it also sent a wave of pleasure through the AI on the other end of the link.

It was just enough time for Ersimia to use every bit of her force and power that she could muster to find that part of Ysalha's brain that had been modified to handle the link and crush it out, eliminate that very component of her psyche. The lessening of the psychic pressure around them was immediate and noticeable, even to those without powers. Now the question was whether or not Ysalha would be left to die.

Ersimia looked at the two surviving soldiers. "Now that we've set the demolition charges, can you carry her out?"

"Absolutely," Sergeant Engarisia, the ranking of the two--the other a mere private of the first class--replied immediately. "We're not leaving anyone alive behind in this nightmare, Adept, Mother of us under God. I promise. How could we? Her weight can be handled by just me with the servos of the armour."

"Praise be to god," Ersimia whispered, and forced herself back to her feet. "Give us an hour to get clear on that charge, and then set the second one. I'll be tending to Ysalha's wound and getting her ready for transit. She is no longer a danger to us."

She turned her attention to stabilising Ysalha while the two remaining combat Marines hoisted the last charge up directly below the conduit on winches, activated it, and dropped back down. That was all that remained; they collected their little party, nine survivors out of twenty-six, and headed on their way as quickly as they could toward the hangar on the southeast quadrant.

Gina, now grimly resolute to see the survivors of the freshly decanted Cylons, with their new personalities distinct from the old matrices and so open and confused, to make it out, overrode her own fear and grief, and systematically cleared their way through the great Pyramid until they got to a lift which shot them out most of the distance from the centre to the hangar. By that time, though, her hand was in late stages of frostbite from the constant exposure to the extreme cold--Ersimia had at least made sure to refasten Ysalha's skinsuit and the self-sealing mechanisms had worked fine, and she was having difficulty opening the last of the doors through to the hangar bay while they steadily ran out of time.

Wordlessly, Artithia removed one of her own gloves and nervously pressed her palm to the control. It opened seamlessly, and they stepped into another long corridor. At the end, the Old Kobolian script informed them it was the hangar, and again she removed her glove and got the door open, and once they were through, cleared and closed it.

"What next?" she asked softly, having grown grimly resolute through the journey in her own way, the softness sloughed aside.

"Try the doors to those," Ersimia answered, gesturing to the line of eleven Vimanas sitting in the hangar. Iblis had never been able to download their schematics from the computers to begin replicating them; he had in the end had to wait until he could recover the damaged Vimana from the second Earth that he could successfully copy. The hardwired DNA sequencing controls prevented him from gaining access, and until this today he had not been desperate enough to try and use the twelve as his minions in the midst of a facility they could, by rebelling, take from him and use to completely destroy him.

Now, with luck,they would. Apalad and Athletka selected the doors of the last two Vimanas in the sequence, marked only by the sequencer locks, and they opened and unfolded out of the hulls seamlessly. An investigation of the interiors quickly brought up a serious, serious problem.

"Each one can only hold six people," Apalad noted as he looked inside. "And we don't know how to run them. I'm going to take a leap here and guess that the only person who can, and knows how to, is her," he pointed to Gina.

"Yeah, I'm rated up through a Heavy Raider and can probably handle one. Is there anyone else here rated as a pilot?"

"Ysalha, of course," Ersimia replied, and leaned down, removing from her medkit a needle that she used to inject another drug into the wounded woman by quickly removing one of her gloves, dangerously forcing her awake.

"Unnh mmn... Damn all, but that hurtsss..." She looked up bleary eyed and then smiled... "Cold as the darkest pits of Idenicamos' slave-mines, too."

Ersimia snapped the glove back on. "Fixed that, at least. We need you to pilot a Vimana."

"It probably won't recognize me," Ysalha answered.

"Well, we've only got three minutes until those bombs go off, and I don't know how much damage they're going to do, so let's at least get inside?"

"Of course..." They split up, then. Ersimia looked significantly to Gina. "They've never had a chance at lives. Now they do. Take all four of them with you, and if we can't get out, tell the world about what happened."

"Private," Sergeant Engarisia drolly ordered. "Get in that spaceship."

With a single smart but grim "Ma'am!" and more than a few dreadful looks, the five so ordered followed Gina into the Vimana and it was sealed up. Ersimia and Sergeant Engarisia, conversely, helped Ysalha into the other open Vimana, and then sealed it shut behind them, strapping her down in the pilot's seat.

Gina found herself easily able to insert into and interface with the neural controls which could read directly off her brain--and the whole craft lit up the moment it had scanned her DNA and sequenced it just like the other security locks. Then the blast waves hit.

The two devices were intended to be as compact as possible, and that meant simple fission devices. Of course, there was very little in the way of weight savings to be had from making them smaller than a certain yield. So both blew off with the force of 15kT nuclear detonations, the same as a hiroshima bomb, give or take, largely overlapping and quite sufficient in the unprotected innards of the Golden Temple to severe the power feed and destroy the mysterious field-generator which left the temple immune to all forms of outside interference including foresight and telepathy. They were 10km away from the initiations, and the massive structure of the Pyramid rocked and swayed heavily under the Vimanas, but proved quite able to withstand and resist the detonations; indeed, main power in the building didn't even fail.

Then Ysalha, more awake now and pumped full of combat drugs in the warmth of the Vimanas that let them remove their vacsuits, reached down and slipped her hand into the interface slot. The computer's words in Old Kobolian were mysterious and miraculous.

"DNA match only 58%. DNA match only 58%. Cross-checking with known authorized users, secondary list. DNA match 99.998% plus with high correlation likely; analyzing variation.... Variation shows that DNA of subject is ten million times more likely to be that of authorized user than any other known individual. Within sufficient security protocols. Powering up."

Ysalha laughed painfully. "Oh God be praised! I must have somehow been added into the computers while a hybrid."

"I suppose. I wonder why he couldn't add anyone else?"

"We do have minds of our own, Adept. Goals of our own. The hybrids aren't so reliable.. That's why I think he drove us mad. And there was some real prescience in what was said...."

"Or the other prophecies are right," Ersimia countered softly, "and there was once a Taloran here."

But outside, they could see blue sky again. The null-field around the Golden Temple was gone. Ysalha reached out where nothing else could and felt for Dhirisma. The link cheerfully shunted back to the translight receiver buried along her spinal cord that had been left in from her time as a hybrid, and Dhirisma understood exactly what she must do.

She instantaneously conducted a jump into low orbit around the Cylon homeworld, while the two Vimanas roared out of the hangar and accelerating clear of the atmosphere at hundreds of gravities reached the point where their engines, redlined to tens of thousands of gravities, carried them to Dhirisma with the speed of interceptor missiles and deaccelerated just as rapidly. Dhirisma was already charging her gravito-magnetic FTL drives even as she grasped the incredible Vimanas in her tractor beams and yanked them in toward her ventral hangar.

The moment the internal docking tractors took over and they were tugged inside, she raised shields, and just in time, too, as the countermissile batteries on her hull, the bolt-ons having been expended in the first engagement, were firing at a fresh wave of Cylon Raiders that had jumped in to attack her with incredible vigor.

"Assault Missile launchers to full power," Dhirisma sounded savage on the bridge, knowing how seriously Ysalha had again been wounded and defiled. "Countdown to drive initiation in ten seconds.. countdown to Assault Missile launch in six seconds... tubes one, three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fifteen open and armed....." The shields were hit with tens of thousands or even more light nukes and she shuddered, sheered to the side, their overcharge capacity--the same as a dreadnought!--exceeded and the generators themselves exploding in her hull, causing severe internal damage only contained by the longitudinal and transverse bulkheads and kept by them from destroying her completely; another salvo would completely destroy her. But her drives were still up, the generators were designed to be destroyed and still have the ship fight on, and the ERA had protected her hull from damage by the bleed-through missiles.

And the Cylons couldn't concentrate Raiders with missiles still loaded for another strike in time, or get these Raiders close enough to her for suicide runs before she could fire. It was to late; the Cylons had not run out of capability, but they had simply run out of time, and that was enough.

"Two.. One. Firing."

Eight assault missiles leapt out of their four box launchers slung along Dhirisma's superstructure like she were a Soviet cruiser, accelerating at 40,000g's and with their own defensive shields, straight into the blind spot the sabotage had left in the defences of the Golden Temple.

Another salvo of missiles was launched from the raiders, and Dhirisma confirmed the final telemetry and then brought her gravito-magnetic FTL drives to full power, leaping out of orbit and straight to the equivalent of Warp 3.5, 53.4c, leaving the salvo of missiles to head aimlessly down toward the planet below.

Not like that would cause any damage compared with what happened next. Each of the missiles had had its normal sixteen separable, manoeuvrable final attack busses removed,and a single 10 gigatonne anti-matter warhead placed within the empty space, surrounded by packed layers of carefully arranged Tylium. And then, just to squeeze even more power out of the detonation, when the predicted value of the amount of Tylium packed around the warhead was exceeded, they'd used the remaining weight to surround it in turn with a layer of tritrium to create a three-stage Anti-matter/Tylium/Fusion warhead.

The final yield of each warhead was about 181.5 gigatonnes. The eight bracketed the great Golden Pyramid at equidistant points after tearing through the atmosphere with red-hot plasma formed around their shields and scraping the ground for the last of their runs as they continued to avoid the active defense quadrants, and then they detonated. The final combined yield was 1.455 teratonnes.

Dhirisma escaped only because at superlight velocities she was faster than anything that could, at least, theoretically exist. The power of the detonations was sufficient to completely destroy the Pyramid, or so it seemed. In fact, as incredible as it might be, the reactor shielding briefly resisted the power of the bracketed multi-pulse blasts from the strange Tylium energetic effects. The liberated energy was incredible, almost impossible, and yet the more impossible thing was that the reactor core almost survived despite the vapourization of everything around it including a significant part of the planetary crust.

Then it detonated, charged with all the fundamental power of the universe.

The explosion instantly tore the crust off 30% of the planet, sending out shockwaves through the mantle which destroyed the rest of the crust within microseconds later. Some elements of the detonation--which destroyed all of the hundreds of thousands of Cylon Raiders in orbit within the same instant as well as all those undergoing servicing on the planet, and of course the entire Cylon planetary civilization--seemed to actually be traveling faster than the speed of light, tearing out from the planet like the detonation of the Klingon Moon Praxis had torn outwards in subspace toward the neutral zone.

Except that this explosion was four orders of magnitude greater than the explosion of Praxis. 40% of the mass of the Mantle was blown off the planet with 60% of the crustal mass in total flung into orbit, while the shockwaves shattered the Core into a million fragments and shot a molten piece of the just-liquified crust into orbit from the opposite side of the planet. The superheated matter from the mantle fell back against the core and into the cracks smashed into it and began to melt substantial portions of it, while slowly the planet's matter began to drift back toward the surface in part, with the rest having been comfortably flung into orbit, and 15% of the mass violently ejected into a solar orbit outright. It had been an order of magnitude more energetic than a Vorlon Planet Killer, for that matter.

"Gina, Ysalha...? Do you want to test the combat firepower of those Vimanas of your's? We got a fleet to cut down to size for Tisara," Dhirisma cut in to the Vimanas. "Considering we just blew up a planet, might as well do our bit to on the fleet, too."

Ysalha had already known. Gina's face, on the other hand, turned shock white. But there was no going back now. "I'm with you," she whispered tautly, and thought of Ghimalia, and the innocents with her. There had been very few humanoid Cylons on the homeworld, after all; mostly robotic labourers and cloning and manufacturing facilities. She realized that, as the opportunity had been offered to it, it was right; she had stopped being a Cylon, and become a Taloran. The bridges were burned, and so she thought about the weapons as Dhirisma expertly cut her FTL drive power right in front of the mustered Cylon fleet and flushed her even-numbered tubes, sending another eight of the Assault Missiles with their Tylium charged warheads straight into the middle of the Cylon fleet.

The Vimanas were incredibly intelligent, perhaps as smart as New Caledonian crows in their semi-AI computer cores. They picked up on the intent of their pilots as Dhirisma's tractor beams positioned them, like detachable weapons buses for the moment, on the outside of the hull pointing toward the Cylon fleet. Each one selected five of the most powerful ship concentrations in the Cylon fleet and fired, one of the massive underslung missiles at each and pumped out its full internal rotary magazines of anti-fighter missiles at the fifth.

The Assault Missiles with their AM/Tylium/Fusion warheads detonated, and each one managed to take out about ten to twelve Baseships. The Koman Shipkiller missiles from the Vimanas each selected three of the typical three-strong clusters of Cylon baseships and detonated in the midst of the staggered formation. These missiles, small enough be carried to the number of four on a mere 2,000-tonne combatant while Assault Missiles massed more than 4,000 tonnes each, nonetheless proved powerful enough to each, precisely, neatly, and with overwhelming firepower to the point of largely disintegrating them, kill nine Cylon baseships for each missile. The 'anti-fighter' missiles from the internal bays swarmed over their targets and succeeded in crippling another six Baseships--which the regular missiles on Dhirisma and the incredibly powerful guns of the Vimanas opened up upon and finished off in a heartbeat.

Of the Cylons, their fleet had been stunned by the complete engulfing of their homeworld even as they were overwhelmed by the sight of the Golden Temple, and Dhirisma's abrupt arrival and attack had wiped out 166 Baseships out of 713 remaining in a heartbeat while they watched, stunned and unresponsive in numb horror at the destruction of their homeworld.

Iblis knew it was time to leave, and crushing the life out of every Cylon who tried to oppose his escape, directed the possessed body of Starbuck into a Heavy Raider and then piloted it clear, jumping in a random direction immediately. As he had observed before, as long as he had life and Kara Thrace's body, there was plenty that he could accomplish. The game was over; it could begin again. Anyway, this galaxy might be consumed over the next few hundred thousand years anyway. Smirking, Iblis had observed what the combatants hadn't realized yet--the General Assembly Yard, bereft of its control from the Golden Temple by an AI capable of monitoring the internal processes of every single nanite simultaneously, had broken down and was starting to spread out, sections of it having been shoved by the shockwave from the planet, and start to consume the entire solar system short of the sun itself.

What happened next was unsurprising, but still stunning for Dhirisma as she received the message even as she'd been preparing to go superlight again to escape the Cylon retaliation. The historian of several Earths of the Alliance might have noted the similarities of the moment to the surrender of Iraqi infantry divisions in the Gulf War to UAVs from battleships. The surviving 547 Cylon Baseships were signaling their immediate and unconditional surrender to Dhirisma--Dhirisma who, with her shield generators overloaded and destroyed, her missiles and those of the two Vimanas completely expended, and heavy damage--had naturally expected to be needing to flee for her life and the lives of those aboard her immediately. Sophie certainly was expecting to finally die when Dhirisma repeated the message on the bridge, and her and everyone still aboard Dhirisma, as well as the Vimanas in turn, were left in stunned silence.

"Your surrender is accepted," Dhirisma finally sent back, in control of the situation for the moment, while her long range sensors were trilling something incomprehensibly angry. She focused in on it and quickly realized they were scanning the area of the General Assembly Yards. The Baseships and the beautiful fleet of Vimanas there... Were no more. Small components were rapidly being finished off as the ships were reduced more or less to a senseless slosh of random matter.

Uhm, Ysalha, love? I'm going to need your computing power in my mainframe for this.

What's happened? Ysalha was only awake because of the drugs, and due to the injuries her heartrate was ending up dangerously erratic.

That General Assembly Yard has melted down into a Gray Goo Event without the control of the computers in that... In the Golden Pyramid. I need you because they'll recognize you as a Sarasavsati, sort of, and we can maybe figure out their computer language in time to keep them from spreading.

Right. I'll transfer my higher functions to the ship fully for the moment and let Ghimalia drag my body off. Oh, ah, did we really just blow up a planet? She wasn't sure if that was making her queasy, or if it was the injuries and the drugs. But she nodded reassuringly to Ersimia. "Knock me out again," she forced out, and that was that.

For her physical body, for the moment. Still functioning in the computer core with Dhirisma, who, sounding rather surprised, answered back Well, yes, but we hadn't expected to. God, the power--how did they make it!? But we'll never know now, they got to work.

The system did prove able to respond to Ysalha, and with Dhirisma coaching her through the process, they turned the whole computational power available in the Synthetic Control Cruiser's hull to the task of ordering the nanites into shutdown and then double-checking that they'd reached every single nanite, a cooperative venture of incredible skill which only an AI, and perhaps only two AIs operating in concert like this, could have possibly hoped to accomplish.

In the meanwhile, Ersimia staggered her way up to the bridge, and for want of anything else to do, ordered the Cylons to jettison their missiles so a resumption of hostilities while the AIs were distracted would at least give them a small chance of escape. But really, on that front, there was nothing else to be done for the moment, save of course to finally fire off a report to Tisara and hope for quick relief.

Painfully, desperately, for the next ten standard Taloran hours, Dhirisma and Ysalha completed the shutdown of the nanites in the General Assembly Yard and double-checked that every single one had successfully been shut down. The problem was that by the time they had finished, Iblis was more than three thousand lightyears away. But one way or another, even with all the impossible mysteries left in its wake, the Cylon War was over.
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 The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-21 07:16am

Chapter Fourty-Seven.


HSMS Dhirisma,
Cylon Home System,
4 FEBRUARY 2170.



Tisara rushed into Dhirisma's sickbay and very nearly collided with Doctor Ghimalia. She spun past the woman with a litheness that was rarely used outside of her dueling, and came to a stop to stand over the bed of her koina. "God be praised, Ysalha, that I look into your face again...."

There was no more self-control for her, always more tenuous than in most other Taloran nobles. Her body was wracked with tearless sobs and she leaned to cup Ysalha's cheek in her hand. "My brave, brave girl. Patiently, so resolutely, you have taken all this mad cosmos has thrown at you, and there you lay, still mine, still alive. What did I ever do to deserve your devotion? If all my money and gold were to be taken from me right now, I would still be rich to hold you in my arms..."

And as gently as she could, sitting on the side of the bed, that is exactly what she did.

"Mistress,' Ysalha whispered softly, happily. "I think what you deserved me for was that time when you finally figured out why I was the university's champion in the dueling societies, and you broke into my apartment on campus, threw me against the wall, and strangled me until I admitted I was a masochist that revealed it through moans, better than my words." She laughed very softly. "At that point, I didn't believe I deserved you--particularly when the sex afterward proved so ravishingly good. You were my dreams, my mistress. You still are. Tisara of Urami, if I may be so utterly bold, my mistress, as to address you like a familiar, I love you."

Tisara kept sobbing, folded into the bed, in abject relief, in perfect happiness. "I'd trade all my riches.. All my riches, for my perfect, planet-killing slavegirl. All my riches! Hah! Do you know what, Ysalha?"

"We are rather impoverished, mistress, so I don't know what you're speaking of..." Babbling about, you mean, Dhirisma slyly broke back into the conversation.

Both of you, Tisara sharply reminded them of her cybernetic interface to their conversations, again restored, let me put it simply. The Admiralty Law Board has ruled that just because the Cylon Baseships have sapient computer cores doesn't mean that we're ineligible for their equivalent value in prize money. The government will have to release them or try to cure them, and get nothing but the technological knowledge from the ships. But they will also have to pay out the prize money on the third-rate tonnage lists. A bunch of scheming merchants, to give them a third-rate price with the new jumpdrives, but that can't be helped. And it doesn't matter.

You bet it doesn't matter, Dhirisma answered, infected with the mood. That means we have, what, between us? Ysalha secured the surrender of most of the ships, so she gets the captain's cut for those, the marines for the ones that surrendered near Oralnif, Ysalha again for the ship she was integrated with.... You get the Admiral's cut for all of them. And it's more than six hundred ships. I do believe that the final payout will be close to one hundred billion Rialas for the both of you!

Ghimalia stared in some consternation as her patient and her patient's lover started to laugh at each other. Thirty-five Taloran years of exile--more than a human century--had gotten substantially more optimistic.

"Only decent way to make money," Tisara laughed with a ruthless merriment. "No damn scheming usurers or merchant's work or gambling of 'investment' for a noblewoman. And they tossed me out here with nothing and tried to force me to humiliate myself like that to support me. But they were wrong, wrong, wrong. I still have the soul of a dynasty and Valera's blood runs in my veins. The court left me out here to rot, my family disowned me. And now I have finally achieved the victory which will give me a respectable life anyway, no matter how long they exile us for, my love. We'll buy an entire planet for our estate! The only decent way to make money..." She started laughing again. "Force the enemy to surrender, and take their ships! More than six hundred capital ships surrendered to fleets under my command!"

"It hasn't even been repeated since the age of galleys," Dhirisma's voice echoed from the intercoms. "Tisara, congratulations. You..."

"Oh, the first gift is for you, Dhirisma. We'll convert your whole insides into a giant holodeck. Manipulate whatever you wish, give some substance to your form. It will make me much more comfortable, anyway. Which I am sorry to admit, now, but..."

"It's truly alright."

"You are the finest officer I have ever found serving under me," Tisara finished simply. "Simply the finest. And I'm sure that someday you'll receive the accolades you are due for your feats. Thank you. It would not have been possible without you. You complete our family, Dhirisma. You may only be accepted by outcasts and exiles, but among us, we know precisely who you are and how highly you ought be rated."

"That is the most important thing I have ever heard in my life," Dhirisma answered, subdued by the compliment. "A... A family."

"Yes. I'm certainly never letting them separate us. Her Serene Majesty owes me, now. I'm the most victorious living Admiral in the Empire." Even at her gentlest and most happy, Tisara was not modest. "They sent me to the most barren backwater they could find--and look at what I've still given the Empire!"

Ysalha smiled up into Tisara's face, looming over her. "Then we are going to have very happy centuries together ahead of us, the three of us, my love. Oh, my mistress, the love of my life..." And abandoning the last shred of decorum, they kissed passionately until the extent of Ysalha's injuries on an already rather fragile body forced Tisara to gently settle her back onto the bed. They had done what was demanded of them, and some more besides.


HSMS Dhirisma,
Caprica Orbit,
14 FEBRUARY 2170.



"Miss Roslyn, I don't care who you think you are, or who you might have been," Tisara smirked from across her desk. Her ears referenced her prideful bearing. "You were certainly polite to me once, and for that, I am being polite here. But no, I am not going to let you see Kendra Shaw. She has recently been through a very severe traumatic experience and I am her legal protector, so, no, you are not seeing her."

"Oh, but she is."

Tisara looked up and then laughed, her ears showing a rather mocking disposition at the moment. She had certainly returned to being her old and rather intolerable self in public, even if Dhirisma and Ysalha would now defend her kindness to the death when asked.

"The Baroness Istarlan. I should have known you'd be here holding 'President' Roslyn's leash. No, neither of you will be seeing Kendra Shaw."

"She already has," said the third voice, and then it was Kendra herself. "Thanks a lot for treating me like a baby the past year and a half, Tizzy. No, I can take care of myself here." She was dressed in uniform for the first time since Cain's death, and came to attention and crisply saluted before Roslyn.

"Madame President, I cede all authority as Duchess of Kobol to you as the legitimate ruler of the Twelve Colonies, appointed under government procedural norms, and unlawfully usurped. And this I swear before all I hold holy, that to the territories of the so-called Duchy of Kobol I will never again tender claim."

Tisara rocked back, her ears flexed forward. "Do you realize what you just did, Kendra? I will have Ghimalia investigate your sanity."

"Have her do it. I'm a frakking Cylon, not a lunatic." She smiled bitterly to Roslyn. "The twelfth model, more or less. I've met my counterpart. Didn't like it, but it does give me some pride in doing the right thing for the Colonial government. I wish you luck with the Talorans, ma'am. Me... Well, maybe Gina and I will set each other right, eventually. We are all of Cain's legacy in the world, and even realizing what she did... I can't bring myself to hate her. Just like Gina couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger on the bridge of the Pegasus. That's the way it goes. I just tried to do my duty, because whatever I am, I am a Colonial officer first...

"And this is my first chance to do it without frakking up."

"Thank you, Colonel," Roslyn used her rank for the first time in many months, as well. "I won't forget your decision, Cylon or not. Thank you for giving me a chance to bring our people back together. If I have to use half the military to guard you, I'll make sure you're always welcome to return again in the future, and may safely do so. After all, if we're going to have to learn to work with the Talorans, we're going to have to get used to the idea of all of you Cylons in their midst, openly accepted. And I might as well lead the way there."

"Well," Tisara drummed her fingers on her desk for a moment, attracting everyone's attention again. "Forget the medical exam. I'll sign off on it, as a matter of honour, and because we need to get the bloody sector into some kind of order.

"Don't think for one minute, however, President Roslyn, that you are going to be able to avoid integration into the Empire for the Confederacy."

"I know," Roslyn answered rather sadly. "But only as a tributary state. We'll fight, otherwise. Not now, but eventually, and nothing good will come of it. We'll provide a token tribute of one Riala a year to Her Serene Majesty and subordinate our defence policy and foreign policy to the Court of Valera with limited latitude, in the traditional way. And our internal government will be untouched."

"I'll convey your proposal to Her Serene Majesty," Tisara slapped her hand down on her desk. "And until the final situation has been hammered out, I will assume your government to be in charge of the Colonies. So, President Roslyn, how shall we coordinate the continued provision of relief aid to the population on the surface of the Colonies? Do you want to evacuate them until the ecological contamination has been cleaned up from our liberation efforts, or shall we continue to provide them with shelters on the surface."

Roslyn grimaced. She had been out of the loop for well more than a year, and Tisara's ready acquiescence threw her for a different sort of loop, to put it mildly. "Your Serene Grace, as the supreme Taloran military commander in the region," she answered, "I give you full latitude until further notice to continue administrative actions and decisions and relief operations as you see fit."

Then she paused uncertainly before continuing. "So, how badly did you frak up the Colonies while retaking them, anyway?"

"Pretty badly," Tisara answered with a vague flick of her ears. "I see the Baroness Istarlan had not explained to you how our Army secures planets."

"They used over two hundred thousand fusion and fission devices to suppress Cylon resistance on Caprica alone," Fraslia admitted.

"Oh ye gods," Roslyn sighed in exasperation. "Trying to live with you people is like being run over by a freight train. Two hundred thousand?!"

"Well, that is why you are wise to let the experts remain in charge of the cleanup," Tisara finished, having again recovered some of her smugness. "Thank you, Madame President. Now, if you do not have anything else for me while you organize your provisional government...?"

"No, we don't. Thank you, Your Serene Grace, for making this much less painful than you could have." With that, Fraslia and Laura left the room, leaving Tisara and Kendra Shaw alone.

"That was very brave and honourable of you," Tisara finally spoke. "Others may not understand it, but...."

"I'm a Cylon, and Cylon things will never be welcome in the Colonies," Kendra answered simply. "And Cain would... Loathe me, now, anyway. No reason for me to be in charge. I wouldn't even be good at it, Your Serene Grace."

"I don't think she would, actually. She only wanted the best for Gina, in the end, when she saw her death before her. She was capable of recognizing that you are simply human, however it appears your genetic code was modified in your ancestors long ago from the human norm. Fear not for your future, at least. I will provide for you."

"Thank you, Admiral," she spoke a bit more informally. "Mostly right now, though, it's a lot of figuring out who the frak I am." And with that, Kendra left as well.

As they were reading back to the hangar bay having secured what they desired, Roslyn was already trying to get her grip on the situation. "First thing's first, we get in touch with Lee Adama. He is my shoe-in for Vice President, and we'll start reconstituting the original Quorum of Twelve from there. Everyone is still alive for except for Zarek...."

"There is one more serious problem, though, far more important than even the fate of the provisional government," Fraslia reminded her with unwelcome softness. "Baltar. He'll be here in six or seven days."

"Yeah, I know. And if someone gets angry at that traitorous bastard..."

"It could all yet end in blood."


Confederation of the Twelve Colonies,
Caprica, Taloran Empire.
20 FEBRUARY 2170.



For Baltar, there was only terror now. The voices in his head had been silent for the past three weeks. He had not seen his Six one single time in that whole period as he traveled out to Caprica from Talora Prime. He received not a single prophetic vision and no more aide. There had been a terrible pain in his head at the time the visions stopped, and now he was beginning to suspect, or fear the worst.

The problem was that if he gave up his prophetic mission now, the Talorans would kill him for being a false prophet who had actually tricked the Empress with, presumably, satanism. The huge religious pilgrimage still in progress suggested as much, and so he had felt he had little choice at this point... Except to continue ahead and indeed become a false prophet, long enough to escape, anyway.

Except that going on preaching to the freshly liberated Colonials about the benefits of Monotheism was not exactly safe, either. But at least he had a chance of surviving that for just long enough to escape, whereas there was no chance of surviving rescinding his status as a Prophet. He could only hope that it would all come together.

And yet, as he flew down through the atmosphere of Caprica on a Taloran shuttle to see the shattered surface of the world he had pretended was his homeworld, the magnitude of his lies and his sins began to bear down on him, and what he had wrought, the tens of billions who had died. How could he really be blameless?

This fatalism inspired him to preach even if it wasn't the only way to survive his life, in a strange and mystical sort of absolution.


The Springs of Aytarishah,
Brilar Province, Grenya Colenta,
Talora Prime.
28 FEBRUARY 2170.



Naked they walked together down to the water, eyes heavy with the strangeness of the gasses in the air, the caves lit only by the flourescent microbes which lived in the water, turning it into a liquid fire into which they plunged, rising up and around their legs and filling every nook in their bodies. It was unique, rich, laden in minerals, with the steam already around them that they breathed in, and let it fill them.

Saverana and Jhastimia. Valera and Taliyah. They had arrived, and the arcane ritual preparations--ritual baths before a dip in a ritual bath, prayers and the chanting of hymns in the pilgrims' temples around the area of the springs--had fortified them for the descent into the incredible heat of the water, so soothing and yet nearly to the point of burning, while the sulphuric atmosphere of the caves, which would tend to kill a human, merely made them a bit lethargic, as if the heat and steam had not already.

Saverana had of course already heard the reports from the Oralnif Spinward. It was incredible, impossible, and her mind was filled with that last bit of Ersimia's report: "It is clear that Talorans were integrated into the power structure of the Sarasavsati State." If one accepted that the whole thing existed in the first place, and that humans had been scattered through the galaxy by a powerful ancient force, and raised up by them into its power structures through genetic modification, it would have been insulting to one's ancestors to imagine Talorans somehow less fit for the same treatment.

But it was still mysterious. What ancient priestess found herself in the arms of an alien race, and still had the courage to preach the doctrine of her faith? And is this what Baltar now does? Or is he the servant of this Iblis? These were the answers that she sought as she slipped into the caves.

A Chamber of Nullifying Prescience. The exact translation of the target of Ersimia and Ysalha's raid had been provided to her as well, and it had certainly stirred a lively debate at the Imperial council, held by satellite video in the evenings as she made the pilgrimage.

A drop of water condensed from the roof of the cave and fell into the pool before her as she closed her eyes, and held onto Jhastimia's hands with her own. The sound echoed around them. All drops of water in an infinite sea. Prescience.

....Prescience....

Another drop of water.

The inhalation of the mixture of gasses in the atmosphere, perhaps? Or the wishful thinking of what she desired to be true?

But in this cave, God revealed hints of what ought be to the line of the Sword of God.

Saverana, Second of that Name, saw a visage like Valera's, but hideously cut. Tisara....

And she saw her standing over Gaius Baltar, as he was covered in blood.

And then last, and fleeting, though it seemed to exist for all eternity, she saw the inside of the very cave in which the springs of Aytarishah existed, and she saw in them, the impossible. A human woman walked where humans could not breath the atmosphere, terribly short, and stepped down into the sacred waters.

A drop of water.

The vision faded into unconsciousness before she could see the face.

Jhastimia was at her side immediately, helping the Empress out of the pool, as the priestesses came, and aided them both out, and into the temple which abutted the entrance. It was not until very late that evening that Saverana had recovered enough to issue her Imperial Rescript based on the question of the validity of the Prophet Gaius Baltar, accepted as the absolute revealed Will of the Lord of Justice under the circumstances, just as the confirmation of Holy War without quarter had been so accepted when Mikela II last made a journey here in preparation for her traveling to the front to assume personal command of the Imperial armies against the communitarians.

Gaius Baltar, so-called prophet, is a Heresiarch in the direct service of Idenicamos the Deceiver, who used foul magics under the influence and direct power of Idenicamos or else his servants to briefly deceive the Imperial court and pass off a long-open secret as divine revelation. It would surely please Us that he ought be put to death by the customary punishment for a Heresiarch, and that his teachings should in all cases be suppressed and burned, that any followers he might have accrued should see the error of their ways; and those who were deceived by him into aiding him, shall be repaid from Our personal treasury and funds three times again what they gave to the Heresiarch, that they might prosper from righteousness rather than be destroyed in their worldly lives by the world of the Deceiver.

But the message didn't get to Caprica in time. Not nearly in time.
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2008-09-21 04:11pm, 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 Master_Baerne » 2008-09-21 10:45am

And so Baltar continues to be the luckiest person ever to walk the universe. Let's all hope the Talorans catch him eventually, the traitorous fiend.
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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Location: Exiled in the Pale of Settlement.

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-21 03:49pm

Just as a note: Iblis does not have the same abilities or limitations as in the original Battlestar Galactica. Like Moore, I'm using terms and ideas, concepts and synchronicity, between the original and new Battlestar Galactica, not directly drawing off capabilities and intentions and so on. In short, Iblis is something entirely different here--but still a clever, evil manipulator.

...And he will appear again one more time in this story, and in.. Several other stories.

As for Baltar, just wait until the next (and last) chapter.
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 Master_Baerne » 2008-09-21 05:30pm

That's good; Iblis and the Ship of Light's obscene power levels were something that always bothered me about the original series.
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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Location: Exiled in the Pale of Settlement.

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-22 02:33am

Chapter Fourty-Eight


Keolin, Caprica,
Twelve Colonies
1 MARCH 2170.



Keolin was a small town of 45,000 people before the Cylon invasion with a few outlying suburbs; the whole urban area, noted primarily be being a place two railroads met with a river and possessing mostly light industry and a few quarries, was less than a hundred thousand souls before the invasion. It was in the mountains, however, and small enough the initial Cylon strikes had devoted a single neutron bomb to it. The enhanced radiation warhead had killed 70% of the population but only caused total structural loss to 50% of the buildings in the urban area. Poison gas and biological warfare had finished off most of the rest, though some of the population, considering geography, had been well-placed to escape into the higher mountains and rural areas, national parks and other areas of refuge.

Some of those had survived the two years of occupation before the Taloran Army had arrived, and they'd come back. The Talorans had turned Keolin, occupying its intact warehouses, into a distribution centre for aide to the surrounding populace, and as news of the Cylon surrender crept around, the people had begun to return from the forests in general, no matter where they had once lived, seeking shelter, food, water, medical aid. And often seeking to find out the fates of their loved ones, as well.

And so this great mass of humanity had descended on the place, until 200,000 people were there. It did simplify the provision of relief aid, but the combination of 50% less housing and twice as many people guaranteed that the inevitable expedient solution, infinite rows of tents and shacks and prefabricated housing, had been thoroughly indulged in, and the remaining buildings were also packed, not only with refugees but with Taloran soldiers posted there and the Starfleet personnel handling the relief, which of course pushed more of the locals into the refugee camps.

The meadows along the river provided a landing place for the endless lines of Taloran cargo shuttles and Assault Landers being used in the cargo shuttle role, and it had naturally been this place that they'd set Baltar down at the day before. There was another reason for that, though. It was now the home of Laura Roslyn's provisional government, set up in the local district's administrative offices--more or less the equivalent of a County Seat--for want of any more suitable structure left on the planet, and the local District Courthouse was serving as the temporary seat of government.

The people had spent two years surviving against the Cylons. Demographics demanded they were country people, especially by the standards of Caprica. Red meat and potatoes voters in old American parlance, the equivalent of the NRA. They'd had guns in their trucks the day the Cylons came from the sky, they knew how to go into the forest and live there and not be found. Oh, sure, there were others, the specialists, the cut off soldiers, the guides, and simply the lucky and the very capable, who'd made it those two years.

But most of them were people who'd survived because their lives were harder and more connected to the land and the forests in the first place. They were usually quite religious and fervent in their worship of the Twelve Lords of Kobol, again by the standards of Caprica, and they had just been put through Hell at the hands of the Cylons and their monotheistic religion.

And it was to them that Baltar started preaching. It started small, just another lunatic rambling. But then people began to hear what he spoke of, his message of love and tolerance and compassion, all under the arms of one God. He stood tall on a crate and continued to speak as loud as he could project his voice as the sun rose high in the sky, and more and more of a crowd gathered, and began to murmur as they listened.

Murmur, and grow angrier. Angrier still when someone finally recognized, beneath the long beard and straggly clothes, that it was Gaius Baltar. The news of his conviction had been spread through various sources in the fleet, and the idea of his supposed hand as a prophet of God in comparison had not been well-received by anyone around here, that was for sure, who were tense enough as it stood about the Farzianism of their erstwhile saviours.

Boiling over emotions in the hot sun, sick and tired of bland Taloran food and two years of miserable, stinking hell leading to nothing more than refugee camps, it all boiled over against the form of Gaius Baltar, and boiled over fast. First, someone threw some garbage, an empty plastic cup or two. Baltar nervously shrugged those off and began to hurriedly emphasize peace and tolerance and compassion again. Hurriedly.

Then, the first rock slammed him square on the chest, and he staggered back. Another struck him, and he fell off the back of the crate with the crowd screaming in rage and delight and rushing forward. Of course, this moment had been planned for; several Colonial military personnel had been sent there by Roslyn and dragged Baltar off with the aide of nightsticks and stunners, but that just enraged the crowd more. Even as they got in a truck that hauled Baltar to the local district prison, the current military headquarters associated with the provisional capitol, a huge mob rolled out of the refugee camp and into the intact portions of town.

Now they were prepared, and the Taloran disregard for security measures that would be normative to other people showed its negative side. While the right of people to bear arms was accepted as a matter of course in the Taloran Empire, there were surely times that it was less wise. This was one of them, especially since most of them were armed with weapons which had been dropped by the Talorans themselves only weeks prior in case the Cylons returned, and they were all heavy, military-grade combat weapons.

The mob stormed through town, firing shots at anyone who seemed associated with the government, and soon surrounded the prison and the nervous military personnel inside. The demand of the ringleaders was rather universal: "Give us Baltar! Give us Baltar! Give us Baltar so he can HANG!!"

A few shots fired in the standoff soon triggered a general exchange of bullets, and two Colonial Marines inside and eight members of the mob were killed. Frustrated in trying to storm the building by force, the furious mob started flinging improvised incendiaries on it until it dutifully began to smolder. The Colonials called for backup, of course, and a Taloran armoured personnel carrier arrived fifteen minutes later as the building began to actually burn.

It successfully extricated the personnel in the prison, and Baltar, but as it was beginning to leave someone used one of the anti-tank missiles the Talorans had dropped on the vehicle. It was, fortunately, a third-rate model not intended for use against shielded vehicles, and the shields on the APC, though they collapsed, protected the vehicle from damage or destruction and it was able to beat a hasty retreat before other missiles could be fired or else they would be forced to open up into the mob to defend themselves.

The mob followed it to the courthouse, screaming, over and over, "DEATH TO BALTAR! DEATH TO BALTAR! GIVE US THE TRAITOR!"

As Baltar was brought into the courthouse, the mob surrounded it as they had the now fully engulfed prison (the fire spreading to other buildings as the fire response personnel couldn't get to the building due to the mob, and Taloran starfighters couldn't carry water tanks, just foam suppressants that would suffocate the people in the streets nearby), and the incendiaries were quick to reappear, though the stone building proved rather more resistance, for the moment. But the railgun bullets clattering and screeching their way deep into the stone and shooting out every single one of the windows was scarcely reassuring.

Fraslia glumly returned to the room in the basement that Roslyn and most of her staff was sheltered in. Fortunately the Quorum hadn't moved yet, and Lee Adama was still on his Battlestar. "They all have military grade weaponry, Laura," she sighed. "I can have the local Colonel-in-charge come through and clear them out, but we both know that the Army's rules of engagement against mobs don't include warning shots since they just make the rioters think they're invincible. We could easily get thousands of them killed doing that, and that situation would just be disastrous for any efforts at a peaceful arrangement between our peoples."

"And if we let Baltar die?"

"Tisara, knowing the way she thinks, will probably interpret Her Serene Majesty's orders regarding Baltar in such a fashion that she kills every single human in the city of Keolin and a fifty kilometer radius from it over the age of about fourteen in retaliation for the murder of a Holy Man whose mission the All-Highest Empress had personally sanctioned. And those MANPADs are full military grade; we can't evacuate from the air without risking a shoot-down, almost certainly, and that would trigger a violent suppression as well."

Laura Roslyn sighed heavily, leaned her head forward and held it in her hands for a moment, and then straightened. "No more choice, then."

"Shall I call in the Colonel's troops?" Fraslia sounded quite grim.

"No. That isn't a choice. I mean, there's one option for me. I'm going out and there I'm going to try and talk them down."

"Oh merciful God, Roslyn! One hothead could kill you with a twitch of his finger!"

"We'll at least put out a flag of truce first. But I have to go. Every other choice leads to the deaths of thousands. What's the risk of my life in comparison to that?"

"Nothing," Fraslia confessed, and took a deep breath. "I dearly wanted to show you the highlands of Ghastan, Laura. You have been a fine friend. May my God protect you regardless of what you believe."

"Thank you, Fraslia. You taught me that we're all just people in the end, all sharing good and bad in the same flesh, and different flesh. And of the people I've met in my life, there were many who were evil and many who were very decent. And Adama was right; you were one of the decent ones. And so was Doctor Ghimalia. Please tell her I thought that, if you run into her again? I hear she's running with Tisara's crowd now, but.."

"They can't keep me off her ship, no. I will."

"Thank you." Roslyn paused for a moment, and made the other, necessary decision. "If they refuse to see reason and something happens to me, hold out long enough to get troops from the Battlestars down here to recover Baltar. Better a few thousand dead than hundreds of thousands, and better still for our shared futures that we do the killing than you."

"Of course. .. I, just to be on the safe side, I'll start making the arrangements now. ..Good luck." Fraslia sagged against the wall and watched the Woman King go.

The flag of truce was of course improvised. Talorans did not tend to carry them around--a black flag was a sign of surrender among their people, not white--and they disliked surrendering anyway. Someone ultimately used a tablecloth and managed to hang it out a window without getting killed. The problem came as some of the Taloran detachment that had sent out the vehicles tried to establish a barricade across one of the windows low to the ground. Their height guaranteed they were visible, and there were a couple snipers who'd positioned themselves seven hundred meters from the courthouse on the last remaining seven-story little high rise in the city, all its windows smashed out by the bomb going off and presently filled with little tent slums within the concrete core, sheets and scrap metal and wood making partitions. So several of the snipers on the top of the building that windy day saw the movement and fired, not realizing the shooting had otherwise generally stopped.

One of the Talorans dropped with one of their own bullets striking through her armour from a high-powered sniper rifle of their own make. It expended enough of its energy that she survived, but her colleagues didn't immediately realize that, and having been directly attacked, responded under the present rules of engagement without really thinking the situation through. They were conscripts, after all, and the highest ranking was a fresh junior Sergeant, no long-service NCOs to consider the implications of what had happened available, and certainly no officers.

The support squad opened up on the crowd in the general direction they had thought the bullet had come from with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Dozens in the packed mob were dropped instantly, and the smoke and the chatter of the automatic from inside the building was clear to even the people on the opposite side, where Roslyn now stood on the steps and had just begun to speak.

The shout "TRAITOR!" filled the air dangerously, and it was no longer aimed at Baltar, but at her.

In a last desperate effort to stave off the violence, she shouted back: "Look, I'll surrender myself to you!" And started forward with her arms spread wide in a gesture of peace that should have been universal. But the movement, to the furious and hair-triggered, was not obviously forwards; it was just movement, and therefore an attempt to escape. It didn't really matter who fired first.

A half a dozen people did, with the typical REQ-49's six-round bursts of 4.9mm hypersonic penetrators, and ten of the tungsten slugs tore through Laura from different angles and directions. It was exceedingly merciful, as deaths from mobs go; she died before she hit the ground.

When Fraslia heard the news, the mob was already rushing the building, and she was called to its impromptu defence rather than having a chance to mourn for a friend. Crudely organizing the armed personnel into fire teams and ordering them to shoot to kill, she immediately got in a call to the Colonial fleet in orbit. Redoubtable Saul Tigh, who without his wife's baleful influence, and the memory of his friend William Adama to guide him, remained in command--in respect for him, Tisara intended to, and continued to, absolutely suppress the knowledge he was a Cylon--and reacted to the event furiously, but with the grim recognition that it was just the latest sad chapter in their long fall.

Colonial Marines were quickly shipped in to the landing fields in the meadows somewhat away from Keolin, and using Taloran armoured personnel carriers fought their way through the crowd, blasting them back until they fell apart in their resolution and courage and fled. Per Fraslia's instructions, though at risk--and the loss of seven killed--the Marines had made it obvious who they were to the rioters, and thereby avoided a general breach between the liberated citizenry and the Talorans, and succeeded in extricating Baltar and taking him up to the Taloran fleet. 1,046 people were killed that day.

The next morning, Baltar woke up to find himself under arrest by Tisara Urami in her role as the Sector Governor for the crimes of Heresy and Lese Majeste. The message had arrived. Too late.


HSMS Dhirisma,
Caprica Orbit.
3/4 MARCH 2170.



"I want to go to the planet to witness the execution," 'Sophie Landrieu' frowned toward the hologram of Dhirisma. "Surely Her Serene Grace will give me permission? She is presiding over it personally, and, well, I want to record a cultural custom like this. It is distinctly medieval, and is not the moral point of public execution supposed to be that it's just that, public?"

"We haven't cleared you through the Interstellar Alliance yet," Dhirisma answered, and flattened her ears. "And really, you don't seem like the sort of person who'd appreciate a public execution. But I'll ask for you. So that's what you were heading into the shuttlebay, to try and get EHRS-190 down to the surface?"

"Yes, a pity it left already."

"Well, the next shuttle will be around in another twenty minutes. I guess you can wait here while I ask Tisara--it wouldn't be right of me to make you go back up into the personnel areas of the ship when you might just come back down a second later." She smiled affably and concentrated on sending a message to the surface.

Sophia Vuletic had succeed in unobtrusively telepathically connecting with one of the crewers on the EHRS-190 flight a few minutes before, and viewing the bay through his eyes had identified the security stun field projectors and gas dispensers in the shuttle bay. The position she'd been standing around somewhat confused at was no accident, and so with her good hand--the left arm was still in a support cast, having been so badly damaged that it would take months longer to fully heal and months longer than that to regain full functionality--she produced the flechette pistol for the second time in Taloran space--this is getting to be a bad habit--her mind inanely told her, as she raised it in that incredibly fast, trained gesture pressed the trigger.

The explosive flechettes blew through the security projectors even as Dhirisma's hologram whirled about to face her with an utterly shocked expression. "SOPHIE!?"

"Sorry," Sophia looked a bit wry. "You're very sweet for a computer, Dhirisma, but also quite naive."

The bay doors slammed shut. "I don't know how you think that you're going to escape, Sophie. Or whomever you really are."

"By getting someone else in a substantial bit of trouble, the poor woman. Also, your security measures suck." Just as Sophia had predicted, when she walked over to the crisp, long-range scouting model of the J'u'crea-type gunboat, one of two in the bay (along with four shuttles and two light assault landers, the reduced full compliment of the Synthetic Control Cruiser), and entered Najhakia's command access codes, despite it being months prior, the gunboat still obediently opened its doors. They really have a lot of catching up to do. One of them is making people change their access passkeys on a regular basis. That one is very complex, but it's always the human factor which does them in, and in this case, it's really glaring. Oh well, they're just as smart as we are; I will be the first and last Habsburg agent to pull this off.

She jauntily waved to Dhirisma's hologram at the door and then sealed it shut, strapping herself in and using the Taloran-standard adapter for her neural interface the Evidenzburo's equipment office had provided her with to jack in while she inputted the access codes again and tossed her day bag--a pity everything else had to be left behind, though they'd let her carry the staff so they might still well convince themselves she'd been a Ranger, so much the better--into the equipment locker to the side while she called up full power.

The rest of her team had escaped a long time ago through normal channels, their mission done; it was time for her to join them, but first it meant a blind jump. Very little that she could do for that. Getting out of the bay...

"Dhirisma," she keyed the docking intercom even as she activated the dorsal bolter turret on automatic and aimed it at the docking bay's guidance tractor beam. "Let me out, or I'll blow my way out. You just got yourself repaired."

"Fine, crazy lady. But there will be interceptors waiting on the other side, and stealing an Imperial gunboat is a rather serious felony."

"It's just part of my job... Thank you, Dhirisma. And you know I'll drop a bomb down the main tractors if you try those, too."

"I know."

The main space doors opened and Sophia guided the gunboat out on manual thrusters and the moment she was clear brought the main engines to full power and began to accelerate clear of the fleet. As promised, a squadron of interceptors was angling in on her, so she powered up the Heim effect field drives and went supralight in the middle of the fleet; exceedingly dangerous, though mercifully nobody ended up dead because of it.

The moment the interceptors had followed her and were on a pursuit vector, tracking with missiles--after the details of her escape, they considered sufficient warning had been given and everything now was shoot-to-kill--she dialed in the coordinates to a random system seven-point-seven lightyears away, killed the variable geometry to the acceleration vanes, and then pulled up the nose, hard.

That brought the angled gravito-magnetic vanes or fins up into an unfavourable angle, when they were normally designed to configure. The fields were excellent at fore and aft speed and acceleration but poor at other forms of acceleration except rotational; in this case, pulling the nose up directly vertical made it like the fins were trying to accelerate her straight downwards even though she was still traveling in the same direction, which was substantially more inefficient and meant her velocity cut in half instantly to about 26.5c--without any corresponding drop in power.

The sixteen interceptors blew past her, and just for the hell of it, Sophia couldn't resist painting them with her missile targeting sensors. "Apparently they've never heard of Pugachev's Cobra," she muttered softly. "No surprise with those manned missiles the Talorans love to turn their fighters into." The trick had been picked up in CON-5, which also had gravitic drives--she still had no idea where the name originated--though she'd nervously seriously expected to do it short of stunt flying. And then she dropped out of Heim effect FTL entirely, and promptly activated the jump drive.

Another jump brought her to Picon, and there she abandoned the Gunboat in a remote field on the surface--doubtless it would be found in short order--made her way to the nearest refugee camp, and with another day's effort (and using more than a little telepathic manipulation to make the Captain of a Earth-originated freighter hauling relief supplies notice her instead of the dozens of other desperate women who'd descended on him from the refugee camp--especially with the lame and bandaged arm) slept her way into a Supercargo's spot on his freighter for the trip back, and probably a bit more. That was, however, trivially easy, and so Sophia Vuletic escaped back into another month and a half's travel to get back to Vienna and the completion of her two missions to the Taloran Empire. And really, there was a sinful part of her that was boastfully proud at how she was just as skilled a lover with only one hand as with two.


Keolin, Caprica,
Twelve Colonies
4 MARCH 2170.



The end of Baltar had been enacted by a sadist of the highest order. Tisara Urami was in a foul mood, to be sure, and hearing that the Empress had been duped by a charlatan and Heresiarch under the control, most likely, of her escaped enemy Iblis who had tried to savage the mind of her lover, and who had created the processes which had crippled her in the first place.. This made her all the way, in no uncertain terms, absolutely unwilling to consider mercy and on the contrary very interested in the most savage of punishments of imaginable.

The crimes of Heresy and Lese Majeste were at any rate the only crimes which had never really been reduced to lesser punishments. Lese Majeste typically demanded hanging from a high place until suffocated, and this, Tisara certainly planned to incorporate. But the crime of Heresy, properly that of issuing false prophecy and doctrine in the name of the One God, had not been updated since the reign of Mikela II, who had been the last person to oversee the execution of a nominal heretic for heresy instead of, for instance, rebellion or a lesser sort of crime which was generally preferred as a way to quickly dispense of enemies of the State.

That meant that Tisara had felt free to lay down the punishment which, standing over the condemned on a raised platform in the city--she had a personal shield on, of course, but the execution of Baltar was making the refugees enormously happy, if for all the wrong reasons--and thereby continued to please the denizens of Keolin and the Twelve Colonies generally by laying down the sentence for the crimes of Heresy and Lese Majeste on his head. "That, the condemned, Gaius Baltar, shall in the lands of my law, Governor of Oralnif Spinward, Archduchess of Urami, Princess of the Blood, Tisara Valeria," and she wrapped her crock sharply against the railing, "know the punishment for Heresy and Lese Majeste, gross deception using infernal magics against the All-Highest Empress and Heir of the Sword of God, be that he shall first be led to the pillory and scoured by whips until his flesh is rent from his body, and then unmanned by axe, and then, verily, led to the gallows hereby erected, of twenty-five meters in height, and elevated on them, hung by the neck, until suffocated to death, at which time his corpse will be crushed by vehicles of war," a quick substitution for Rostok, of which none were available, "and then displayed on the steps of the house of the provisional government as a warning to all of the wages of Heresy."

Baltar was sobbing as he screamed, one last time, "Oh my God, Your Serene Grace, can't... Can't you just shoot me? God, god, god no, someone help me...!" And most of the time in his life, someone had. But now Baltar had finally run out of time, and Tisara made sure he was going to know it.

"There will be no mercy," she answered. "It is neither appropriate.. Nor have I ever been renowned for giving it, regardless." She barely restrained an undignified and harsh barked laugh as she tossed her right hand imperiously. "Lead him away to commence the sentence." And then, of course, as she watched the sobbing, bound Baltar dragged off, she hastened to the spot she'd arranged for herself from which she could watch. Rarely, after all, did she have the opportunity to watch a person systematically dismembered, and there was none more deserving of her talent for sadism than Gaius Baltar.

First he was tied to the pillory, which bore over it a sign in both Taloran, English, and the main Caprican dialect proclaiming him a Heresiarch, the nearest word to what in Taloran more literally translated as "Propounder of false doctrine." There he was whipped with 64 lashes across the back and 64 lashes across the front with the five-tailed, five-knotted whips of the Taloran military, and after each sixteen they halted to rub salt into the wounds before continuing.

As he was taken down, shattered and half conscious, though sometimes moaning horribly in pain and covered in his blood, his skin flayed half off of him, Baltar was next positioned on the chopping block, and the ready axe of some furious volunteer from the fleet, incredulous that this pathetic creature had dared to humiliate the Empress, raised high a wickedly thick axe, more like a maul, and brought it down between his legs the moment his pants had been ripped from him, severing his genitalia with a single immense blow.

At this juncture the executioners, mostly hard-bitten boatswains from the ships who were quite used to dealing out corporal punishment, tightly wrapped white fabrics about his hips and thighs to staunch the blood, which were soon stained red, and then dragged him to the base of the twenty-five meter scaffold, also surmounted with signs declaring him to be a Heresiarch. Tisara watched it all, even as the rest of the crowd was now thoroughly subdued by the spectacle they had previously been begging for, with a fairly intense level of fascination and interest.

The end came at last, more than two hours into the process, as Baltar was hoisted up to the top of the scaffold by the neck and allowed to dangle there for twenty minutes. He had ceased twitching after the first fifteen, but another five were needed to make sure. On being lowered, his body was confirmed to be dead and his life trained out, and dutifully, a utility patrol car ran over him in the middle of the street closed off for the execution, and then stopped, and backed over him to be sure of the mangling of the corpse. Thus disfigured, the corpse was stuffed into a steel cage which was dragged onto the front portico of the courthouse and suspended from the roof there; and thus ended the life and times of one Gaius Baltar, sometimes scientist, sometimes false prophet, but always a traitor.

And that night, at least, Tisara was quite content to simply and gently make love to Ysalha without any of their usual kinks, fetishes, or sadistic pain. It wasn't all that enjoyable for Ysalha because of it, and she teasingly warned Tisara that a few more executions presided over seriously could damage their relationship; that, at least, got the desired results for her, and the night ended as delightfully for a battered Ysalha as she could want.

Most of the torturers thought little more of it than Tisara and Ysalha had, even as many of the mob who had killed their own President to go after Baltar were horrified. But that was, in the end, simply the difference between a modern mindset, however savage their lives had recently been, and the medieval mindset of the Talorans, for whom executions of evildoers remained a form of family entertainment.

When Lee Adama finally arrived four days later to assume his role as the interim president of the Twelve Colonies at Keolin, he had Gaius Baltar's body cut down and quietly buried into an unmarked grave, and with it, the violence of the war finally and truly ceased.


Keolin, Caprica,
Twelve Colonies
12 MAY 2170.



"I want to thank you for coming here today, all of you--Taloran and human, polytheistic and monotheistic--for it is a very brave thing to do," Lee Adama began slowly and built up, crisply dressed in a business suit as he stood in front of the prefabricated Starfighter Corps command facility that had been expropriated for use as a more permanent headquarters for the Colonial government as rebuilding continued. "I'd especially like to thank Miss Gina Inviere today for her presence and that of Doctor Ghimalia Arethusya."

"As President of the Twelve Colonies I've had the opportunity to review the classified histories of the final engagement over the Cylon Homeworld, and I assure you that, if anything, the version given to all of us here on the Colonies does not magnify Miss Inviere's role, but understates it. Without her the end of the Cylon threat might have never happened, and even the Taloran Empire could have come under threat.

"But that is the past, and for the moment her presence is a proud reminder of the present, in which we can judge her for her actions there in siding with us, and realizing that regardless of someone's background they have the same fundamental rights across all parts of the universe. These rights are, we shall say, a form of Natural Law, and a common bond between all people of all sapient species, regardless of their faith and ideology, that we may universally acknowledge that certain things are right, and certain things are wrong.

"It is with this spirit of understanding that I entered into the negotiations with Her Serene Majesty's Government for the purpose of securing various promises which my predecessor, the late and sadly deceased Laura Roslyn, had become the processing of extracting, and thereby end the sad legacy of Helena Cain's coup which thrust us into so much chaos and confusion and in the end led to the deaths of many good people, my own father included, and allowed the traitor Gaius Baltar to take over leadership of the government-in-exile and cause substantial further damage to our combined war effort.

"I am pleased to report that, today, we have finalized those negotiations. The basic independence of the Twelve Colonies and our shared homeworld of Kobol, as well as several other surrounding planets delineated in the agreement, has been secured." He smiled, and waited out patiently the thunderous applause from the assembled, a mixture of refugees and military personnel, and the polite clapping of the dignitaries and Talorans.

"Under this arrangement a series of permanent treaties will bind the Taloran Empire and the Colonial Confederacy together in a mutual defensive pact and a system for relying on Taloran diplomatic personnel to represent Colonial interests, but nonetheless the interests of a materially separate nation, in foreign nations, while free trade and cultural ties allow us to develop a relationship with the peoples of the thirteenth Colony, Earth, who have so recently suffered in the same war on their further daughter-colonies as we have.

"At a sign of respect for our unique position," Lee Adama continued, and now he was genuinely smiling, "and in exchange merely for our full recognition of the overall rights of Her Serene Majesty to guide our affairs in certain limited ways, it has been agreed that even a token tribute shall be avoided. With all of this considered, and the assent of the Quorum of Twelve, we are here today to sign the treaties which will finally regularize relations between the Colonial Confederacy and the Taloran Empire, and bring about what we all may hope, and pray, will be a new era of peace, recovery, and cooperation. Thank you all."

And then Lee Adama, thinking of the memories of his father and of the brave and wise Laura Roslyn, turned to the woman who had befriended them both, and whom the Empress had, in retrospect, seen fit to handle the last of the negotiations to end the festering sore in Oralnif. Fraslia the Baroness Istarlan forced a vaguely human smile to her lips, and in concert, they took their pens and began to sign.
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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 The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-22 03:15am

Epilogue the First.


Battlestar Galactica,
Caprica Orbit.
20 MAY 2170 AST.



Cally looked down at the message, looked at it again, and then just to be sure, read it a third time. Then she screamed out loud in delight in her quarters. "YEEEESSS! I GOT IN!" And just in time, too. She was being mustered out at the end of her service term now that there was a fleet drawdown while the Colonies tried to use all that remained of their resources to recover on their own, with the Talorans protecting them.

And now she had something else to do with her life, and exactly what she'd intended to do in the first place when she'd joined the Colonial Military. Callandra Henderson had been accepted to the Baltimore College of Dentistry on Earth. Slowly, some lives were starting to fall back in place, and one girl, despite it all, had her dream, however quirky, to finally be achieved.


The Great Carina Nebula,
Special Exclusion Zone,
Taloran Star Empire.
11 JUNE 2172 AST.



"Ada'ren says she has full power to the Tannhauser Drive and we are tracking with the universal targeting mechanism. Predicted destination is slotted between EM-5 and FHI-8 and.. Coordinate lock, Tisara," Dhirisma bubbled with enthusiasm at the scientific marvel building before them.

"By all means, lock onto the universe and tell the Senior Engineering Executive that she is clear to engage the Tannhauser drive as the coordinate lock directs!" It was the only excitement so far in Tisara of Urami's new assignment as the commanding Admiral of the Special Projects Group, conducting secret, independent-of-the-IUCEC backup research to the IUCEC agreements and interuniversal gate manufacturing.

It was a posting on the extreme end of the Empire, the Great Carina nebula, which stood as a bulwark, an impassible wasted space of immense levels of radiation which required the shields to be continuously active, and provided a natural barrier in space between the Talorans and their coreward enemies. But it was also sufficiently impregnable as to be the perfect location for these secret and illegal tests which would give the Empire final and total security in the era of the Grand Cosmos.

The Tannhauser drive on the Zohan BattleCarrier flared into life in its interuniversal transfer mode for the second time in its history, and this time, it was aimed for a specific destination. A destination which, as the huge tunnel through space formed and was held open by the 1 gigatonne dry-weight tonnage mobile platform that was a BattleCarrier, now was clearly achieved:

"Senior Engineering Executive Ada'ren confirms that we've locked on the targeted universe!"

"Send through a probe," Tisara answered confidently, "and let's see if the Tannhauser effect remains stable, and the other side is clear for us to begin exploring."

Dhirisma, just for the hell of it, activated the controls manually. It was a bit, she supposed, like masturbation, but the novelty of the holodeck installation, as lavish as Tisara had promised, hadn't yet quite worn off.

From the back of the bridge, Ysalha laughed softly at her, relaxed and at peace again, and then all eyes followed the probe to a new universe....


And thus begins Standing with Montezuma, sequel to this story and to be co-authored by myself and Eris (my girlfriend Meredith).


Earth, Alliance of Democratic Nations,
Universe Designate LRC-19.
14 JANUARY 2178 AST.



"Thank you for cooperating so thoroughly with us," the alliance officer on extended duty stretched out, and handed over a sheet of papers to the blonde across from him. "Welcome aboard, Captain Juergensen. Your service in the Lyran Alliance is spotless and all your security checks came back clear. You've been authorized to join the IUCEC combined special operations group."

"Thank you very much, Mister Richardson," the woman--Starbuck, once, presently Rachel Juergensen, but in the mind that currently ran the body, Iblis--answered with a fond smile. "I'm deeply appreciating this opportunity for exploration through the IUCEC. It'll also be nice to finally find out what I'm in for." Though I already know, you pathetic little beast..

"Ah, well, that will have to wait another two weeks until you ship out, but they'll make sure you understand fully what we're doing at that time. Thank you very much, again, and we'll make sure your signing bonus is wired immediately. Welcome aboard."


And thus begins The Last Woman Standing, sequel to both this story and One Small Step, and co-authored by myself and Steve.

Please keep an eye out for the Second Epilogue which will be a definitive end to this story, to be authored by Christopher Purnell (MarshalPurnell)
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 Themightytom » 2008-09-22 12:14pm

wow you literally cut Baltar's balls off.

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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-22 04:51pm

I withdraw my earlier statement about Baltar being lucky. That's...An unpleasant way to die.

It's good to know how the Taloran IU Drive project has been progressing.
Conversion Table:

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1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
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Post by Morilore » 2008-09-22 05:21pm

Here I was hoping so fervently that Baltar would get what was coming to him, and you go and make me feel sorry for him.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-22 05:38pm

Morilore wrote:Here I was hoping so fervently that Baltar would get what was coming to him, and you go and make me feel sorry for him.
I am a rather talented writer, and Tisara is a rather talented sadist.
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 The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-22 06:04pm

Epilogue #2.
The Final Update.
Written by Christopher Purnell (MarshalPurnell/Cavalier).


Olympus Mons System Command,
Universe Designate HAB-1
3 JULY 2170


Tucked away in the basement of the ultramodern headquarters of the Evidenzbüro was an imitation of a neo-baroque drawing room, filled with antique period furniture, a few well-stocked bookcases, and old works of art and various souvenir objet d'art collected by directors of the organization over the years. It was almost as if someone had taken a corner of Schloss Schönbrunn and transplanted it to Mars. Appearances, Senior Analyst Ritter Leonidas von Pleven reflected, were deceiving. The room had been constructed of the same materials and in the same style as the rest of the anc... Sarasavsati facility, and it had taken a great deal of work and sturdy wood paneling to create the illusion. A folly of some old director, most of the staff here in the Bureau’s portion of the Olympus Mons command facility believed.

Appearances there were deceiving as well. Behind the wood paneling were some of the most powerful white noise generators and electromagnetic dampening field generators available in Imperial space. With the door brought down and locked, anything could be discussed securely in this room; well, as long as one trusted everyone in the room. On the other hand, the precautions had some annoying side effects...

He handed off the first briefing booklet in the stack he was carrying to Generaloberst Hermann Schulhauser, the commander of the Evidenzbüro and thus the head of all the intelligence services of the Habsburg Empire. He was a stolid, middle-aged looking man whose pike grey army uniform fit tightly at his paunch, with a face dominated by his heavy mustachios and keen blue eyes. Schulhauser was not a man of impressive martial bearing but he was one of the most intelligent people in Imperial space, holding several doctorates in mathematics and linguistics earned at the same time he had been working his way up through the cryptoanalytic section of Army Intelligence. Leonidas and other senior analysts had worried that the man’s common origins and technical focus would harm the agency’s human intelligence focus, but Schulhauser had instead increased the level of systemization in recruiting and placing agents abroad.

Leonidas had found out that was because, far from being sentimental or holding to bourgeois notions of morality, Schulhauser saw the world in numbers and not people.

He handed the next briefing book to Admiraal zur Raum Josias Caine, the head of Naval Intelligence and personal representative of Grossadmiraal Korbel, head of the entire Navy. Caine was a sandy-haired, trim looking Englishman whose expertly tailored light-blue uniform fit him perfectly. He seemed to be the very incarnation of image the Imperial Navy sought to inculcate among the teeming trillions of human space. He nodded slightly as he took the book, and opened it up to begin looking through it while still sitting ramrod straight in his plush wooden chair.

Next up was Director Olaf Rikesgaarde of the Special Projects Division, responsible for Operation Tannhäuser, the centuries-long investigation of the Ancient facilities in the Solar System and elsewhere. The thin, blond civilian was dressed in the ubiquitous black business suit of the civilian intelligence service that made up the bulk of the Evidenzbüro proper. He was a man used to keeping secrets, of respectable reputation as a scientist and investigator but also a talented administrator, which made him invaluable to the Special Projects Division.

There were a couple of other black suited civilians in the room he didn’t recognize and who weren’t on the roster of attendees, but von Pleven duly passed out books to them. The door opened briefly as he finished, and two domestic staff entered pushing a pair of carts stuffed with pastries, savory meats and cheeses, breads and vegetables, and coffee-pots, carafes of water and fruit juice, and tea. The servants parked the carts beside the entrance, up against the wall, and promptly left.

“Secure the room, Leonidas.” Schulhauser ordered, even as he got up himself to get some coffee and fix a plate of food. The rest of the participants were likewise interested in refreshments, and Leonidas had to navigate through them to reach the security panel to shut the door and turn on the electronic countermeasures. That was done by punching in a code, swiftly enough completed, and afterward he got in the impromptu line to grab some coffee himself. As briefing officer he wouldn’t have the luxury of a plate of food, but no one would object to his partaking of the benefits of the coffee bean.

After everyone settled back down in their seats, enjoying the plates, Leonidas flipped to the first page of his own briefing book and began the conversation. “We’re here to discuss the implications of new information pertaining to Operation Tannhäuser, and to the Taloran state. Very recently the source Cardinal was involved in the final stages of the Taloran war with the Cylons, and encountered a series of extraordinary revelations. As one of our top field agents Cardinal had been assigned to the area to follow up on the connection between the Ancient facility builders and the Cylon race. As she had been responsible for uncovering this link, she was given Omega Twelve security classification and briefed on the nature of Ceres and Olympus Mons commands and sent back to the Taloran universe. Her mission has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.”

Director Rikesgaarde nodded furiously at the assertion. “Bringing back that Cylon alone opened up all manner of avenues for research. But now, we’ve been able to confirm so much about the Ancient builders and their facilities, she’s handed us the first real breakthroughs we’ve made since cracking the Alnitak facility computer core.”

“I understand agent Cardinal suffered some severe wounds in this mission, and the one before,” Caine spoke up. “How is she recovering?”

Leonidas bit his lip. Cardinal was his responsibility, and her situation was a bit of cause for concern. But they would need to know everything, so as to reliably gauge the value of her work. “Agent Cardinal is recovering, physically, quite well. Her devoted faith has seen her through worse, though some members of my staff are concerned about her emotional state. She has always been a loner, with no real personal life, and a tendency towards the most vigorous penance for her necessary actions in our service. We’ve had such concerns for decades but the quality of her work has been unimpeachable the whole time.”

Caine looked intently at Leonidas, clearly curious. But there was only so much he could safely know about the source, and von Pleven had probably told him everything he needed to know. “Very good then. I think she at least deserves a service medal and file commendation for what she went through.”

“Already being taken care of,” Schulhauser intervened. “She’s the most decorated living agent in Evidenzbüro service, so I am familiar with her work and background. Her demeanor may be a matter for concern by Leonidas here, but all I care about are her results. We can trust her intelligence, though we’ve verified everything we can.”

“Of course we have, sir,” Leonidas confirmed. “If I might be allowed to continue, we’ve uncovered five salient points about the parties responsible for the construction of these ancient, incredibly advanced facilities. These Lords of Kobol, who named themselves Sarasavsati, are clearly responsible for the construction of the Olympus Mons facility here and on the duplicate Earth in the Taloran universe. The Lords of Kobol had a rival faction, represented by this... Lord Iblis character, who seem to be responsible for building the Antarctic base we recently discovered, as well as the Ceres facility and maybe the Alnitak base as well. From what Cardinal says, her particular telepathic specialty was a result of the genetic manipulations of these rivals of the Sarasavsati, for use as pleasure slaves in some sort of sadistic psychic feedback loop. Since the Colonials are known to descend from the Sarasavsati, as do the Cylons, we know that they were genetically human. And furthermore the body of Kara Thrace, a Colonial pilot inhabited by the Iblis intelligence, was said to be genetically identical to the ‘High Caste’ of his faction, we can also conclude that the Ancient rivals of the Sarasavsati were human as well.”

“You can see why I said that Cardinal’s mission represented the first breakthrough in Operation Tannhäuser in centuries, gentlemen.” Rikesgaarde stood up now, to better address the gathering. “We know that there was an advanced human civilization, divided into two factions, in ancient pre-history. We can finally assign a real name to one of the builder cultures, and know the nature of the second. The Antarctic base has provided another clue to the true history of the human race, since there are genetically coded structures that can only be activated by certain humans with a particular gene structure. Those must be the descendents of the faction represented by Lord Iblis. And we have already used our analysis of the Cylon genetic material to show that some Sarasavsati genetic material lingers in the race as well.”

“I say,” Caine began, “you think that we’re all descendents of these Saravasti or their rivals?”

“Sarasavsati,” Rikesgaarde corrected. “It seems clear that both civilizations collapsed. From Cardinal’s report it seems likely they destroyed each other, and a remnant population of both, and perhaps some other populations, became the human race of today. The Colonials of the Taloran universe apparently represented a pure Sarasavsati remnant population, which has not surfaced in our universe or any other that we know of. Which is, to put it mildly, very curious indeed.”

“We have been able to confirm a fourth ancient site on multiple earths, the tomb in the Pamirs dating back over 13,000 years with a radioactive corpse inside.” Leonidas thought this important. “Genetic analysis has been difficult, but there are conclusive Sarasavsati markers there, so we believe it represents another site dating from the ancient builder era. We have been able to confirm its existence on Earth in multiple universes, which strongly suggests that all four facilities may be present in every example of Earth in this particular local branch of the multiverse. It’s harder to confirm the existence of the other facilities without tipping off other governments, but we have managed to do so in a few cases.”

“So.” Schulhauser intervened, deciding to get to the point of the matter. “The obvious answer is that these Sarasavsati and their rivals are part of the pre-history of Earth, and that whatever point of difference exists to create all of our known universes that it comes after their extinction. But why would the Colonial remnant survivors exist in only one universe, and why are there no signs of similar facilities in the system equivalent to theirs in our universe?”

Leonidas stroked his face, trying to appear thoughtful. “Simply put, we don’t know sir. It could be that the Colonial survivors only exist in one universe due to how the odds worked out. Our best guess is that the destruction of the ancient builder civilization was, in fact, the cause of the creation of the multiverse. The energies that both factions would have thrown about would be staggering. We estimate that the destruction of that Golden Temple on the Cylon homeworld unleashed energies equal to those of the collision of the protoplanet that formed the Moon with the Earth, billions of years ago. The war that the Sarasavsati and their rivals fought must have been incredible, and I honestly have no idea how Earth could have survived such a catastrophe, or how the survivors would lose all memory of this advanced civilization.”

“Well, maybe not all memory,” Caine interrupted. “The Bible speaks of the Great Flood, unleashed by an angry God to punish the sins of humanity. The people represented by this Iblis seem to have been completely given over to sadism, to judge by how he treated Cardinal. Perhaps that’s a latent memory of the catastrophe, an allegory of man’s fall?”

“And a topic better suited to theologians,” Schulhauser dismissed. The director was rumored to be an atheist, and at any rate was relentlessly practical. “I see no way we could possibly confirm such speculation.”

Rikesgaarde stood up again, visibly excited. “Oh, there might be something sir! The Cylon we have in custody has noted a lot of similarity between Sanskrit and Sarasavsati, and began translating the Rig-Vedas into Kobolian. The Vedas have long been cited by proponents of the Ancient Uplifter theory as an example of ancestral memory of a war in space, and the Kobolian translation seems to bear that out. Lord Iblis used the term Vimana to refer to his golden fighters, the term also shows up in the Rig-Vedas meaning ‘sky chariot’ but in the translation by Biers it becomes ‘astral war machine.’ There are a few other examples I could trot out, and I would note the legend of the Deluge is found world-wide.”

Schulhauser nodded carefully. “Alright Director Rikesgaarde, that might be a more promising avenue of investigation than I anticipated. Were there any more speculations that the boffins threw out, or that come to mind to you gentlemen?”

Leonidas brought up a final time from the briefing book. “The Sarasavsati and their rivals were capable of incredible feats of genetic engineering. We’ve analyzed Cylon DNA, which we’re told represents the High Caste of the Sarasavsati, and identified any number of vast improvements over human baseline DNA. There may be a revolution in therapeutic genetic engineering if we can ever figure out how to release some of the date...” Leonidas shook his head. “Some of the techniques seem similar to how various humanoforms were manipulated. Betazeds, Vulcanoids, the Klingons from ST-3 universe... all of them seem to bear traces of ancient-builder civilization genetic manipulation. So, provisionally, some of the boffins want to assign responsibility for humanoform existence to the Sarasavsati and their rivals, and confirm the link we’d always suspected between the facility builders and the humanoform creators.”

“A bit speculative,” Schulhauser commented. “Worth exploring more, though.”

“It does occur to me that this Lord Iblis might be a major threat in the future,” Caine cut in. “Cardinal was all but subjugated, and ten trained Taloran telepaths were able to overcome him only because Cardinal exploited that perverse feedback loop. And who knows what other technological marvels he might be able to pull out?”

“It seems clear that he’s the last survivor of his race,” Leonidas observed. “That said, he was able to breed a body from among the Colonials and to duplicate his intelligence, so we can’t be sure he won’t do something of the like again. The plague we uncovered in the Antarctic base represents one of the most pressing threats possible, though the nanite-based construction yard around the Cylon homeworld would have made a potent weapon of mass destruction too. Honestly, we just don’t know what he’s capable of, and one of the boffins suggested a very unsettling similarity between the Antarctic plague and the nanite plague of Shadow origin unleashed in EM-5.”

“Surely not!” Caine objected. “Those Shadows were millions of years old. The Saravasti and their rivals couldn’t be that technologically advanced.”

“We don’t have a sample of the Shadow plague to compare to Iblis’ plague,” Leonidas noted. “But from what we have been able to learn about the Shadow plague, the boffin’s speculations were possible. There’s not a link per se, but the suggestion is that they’re of comparable sophistication...”

Schulhauser held up his hand to stop the briefing. “Obviously another task for the Field Intelligence Service. The more we learn, the more it becomes apparent that we have more to learn. I’ll be briefing His Majesty in person once I get to Vienna, and what I’ll have to say is alarming enough already. Thank you for your time, gentlemen, and if you have any final thoughts please send them to my perscom inbox.”

The meeting broke up then, after some final words of parting. It was an uneasy note to depart on, and von Pleven as the last to leave was left alone in the study to police up the briefing papers and see to their thorough destruction. It left him time to think, but as many answers as recent events had provided, there were always still more questions.
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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 Falkenhorst » 2008-09-22 08:35pm

I would like to add my comment here at the end of this marvelous story. I have followed it since Marina began writing it, and waited patiently during the long pauses when she was doing other stuff. Now that it's finished I'm happy to say that I enjoyed reading it very much and hope to see many more stories from Marina of the same excellent caliber.
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BOTM 15.Nov.02

Post #114 @ Fri Oct 18, 2002 4:44 pm

"I've had all that I wanted of a lot of things I've had
And a lot more than I needed of some things that turned out bad"

-Johnny Cash, "Wanted Man"

UPF: CARNIVAL OF RETARDS

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Post by Alan Bolte » 2008-09-28 04:27am

I enjoyed the ending, and the new spy character, but for a few chapters the space combat was getting to be rather dry, and I found myself just skipping it. Too many numbers, I think is part of it. Also, sometimes the BSG characters' dialogue would slip ever so slightly out of character; nothing I can pinpoint, they start all sounding the same.

Loved the little bit with Cally in the Epilogue.
Rikesgaarde stood up again, visibly excited. “Oh, there might be something sir! The Cylon we have in custody has noted a lot of similarity between Sanskrit and Sarasavsati, and began translating the Rig-Vedas into Kobolian. The Vedas have long been cited by proponents of the Ancient Uplifter theory as an example of ancestral memory of a war in space, and the Kobolian translation seems to bear that out. Lord Iblis used the term Vimana to refer to his golden fighters, the term also shows up in the Rig-Vedas meaning ‘sky chariot’ but in the translation by Biers it becomes ‘astral war machine.’ There are a few other examples I could trot out, and I would note the legend of the Deluge is found world-wide.”
This bit reminds me of the time you discovered that some Indian government website had plagiarized one of your fanfics.
Any job worth doing with a laser is worth doing with many, many lasers. -Khrima
There's just no arguing with some people once they've made their minds up about something, and I accept that. That's why I kill them. -Othar
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-28 04:44am

Alan Bolte wrote:I enjoyed the ending, and the new spy character, but for a few chapters the space combat was getting to be rather dry, and I found myself just skipping it. Too many numbers, I think is part of it. Also, sometimes the BSG characters' dialogue would slip ever so slightly out of character; nothing I can pinpoint, they start all sounding the same.

Loved the little bit with Cally in the Epilogue.
Rikesgaarde stood up again, visibly excited. “Oh, there might be something sir! The Cylon we have in custody has noted a lot of similarity between Sanskrit and Sarasavsati, and began translating the Rig-Vedas into Kobolian. The Vedas have long been cited by proponents of the Ancient Uplifter theory as an example of ancestral memory of a war in space, and the Kobolian translation seems to bear that out. Lord Iblis used the term Vimana to refer to his golden fighters, the term also shows up in the Rig-Vedas meaning ‘sky chariot’ but in the translation by Biers it becomes ‘astral war machine.’ There are a few other examples I could trot out, and I would note the legend of the Deluge is found world-wide.”
This bit reminds me of the time you discovered that some Indian government website had plagiarized one of your fanfics.
It's extremely hard to maintain realism and quality in fanfiction in terms of keeping true to the characters.

Anyway, hold onto that. Because it has some considerable relevance to the metaplot.

Anyhow, the story was 255,000 words long in total, and toward the end I started to get tired of the space combat myself. I actually simply eliminated another space combat scene from the story as I'd planned it, chopping out two chapters entirely, because I realized it was basically fanservice. Of course Starbuck was out of character, but for the most part she was never really given a chance to be herself in the story where she showed up, so to speak.

My main goal later on was to capture Laura, and I'm quite certain I did end up letting the other Colonial characters drift a bit, though I hope I brought them back both with Lee's speech--and remain there had been two years of divergence by that point--and also with the ending Cally scene.

And we will see more of Senior Inspector Sophia Dragomira Vuletic.
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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