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

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Sean Mulligan
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Post by Sean Mulligan » 2007-07-09 11:42pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Sean Mulligan wrote:

Have you read anything by Thomas Paine or Mark Twain? Their is also the Granville series by Eric Flint and the studies of the French Revolution by Albert Soboul and George Lefebvre.

I have no intention of turning this into a political debate, nor will I make any sort of political issue out of the philosophy of an alien species in a fictional universe. If one cannot grasp the obvious here, perhaps one should not read fiction.
I didn't mean to start a political debate. I just mentioned some books that have different viewpoints then the one you mentioned and that you might be interested in. I apologize for going off topic. I think that your story is very interesting.

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-07-10 01:28am

Sean Mulligan wrote:
I didn't mean to start a political debate. I just mentioned some books that have different viewpoints then the one you mentioned and that you might be interested in. I apologize for going off topic. I think that your story is very interesting.
I just find it surprising that someone could spark this discussion over the behaviours and opinions of a fictional people, and fictional characters, at all. Believe me when I assure you that my politics are tested on numerous occasions from outside sources.
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 » 2007-10-21 10:52pm

Chapter Thirteen

Onboard the Jhammind, Commander Adama had been given the opportunity to speak with both Lane Ishay and the Cylon copy of Sharon Valerii. The later, in particular, was rather sedated and still recovering from the surgeries, but she was particularly pleased with the treatment she'd received from the Talorans, and Dr. Ghimalia was eagerly and animatedly chatting with her even as she brought Adama in.
The same was true of Ghimalia and Ishay. The Taloran albino with her artificial eyes seemed to be a particularly popular and affiable individual, particularly to other medical professionals. "She was performing marvelously, even on biology she didn't understand, right up until she snapped her leg. But it will be better in a few days."

"A few days?" Adama glanced down to Ishay. "Medic?"

"Oh, Sir, their medical technology is, quite simply, much better than our's. Very accelerated mending, particularly of bone.... The Doctor should better explain it, though, Sir."

"We use injections of certain minerals into the area of the break combined with a sort of micro-effect steroid that rapidly increases metabolism in the area, basically simultaneously providing the materials for the healing process and stimulating the body to do it rapidly," Ghimalia answered readily. "I certainly plan to provide you with what stocks as the Jhammind's equipment can generate. We have nearly a full pharmacological setup onboard due to the long duration of our missions, Commander, so we wouldn't be hurting ourselves at all. The main issue is training your personnel to do it properly."

"Can you?"

"Ishay, as soon as she's on her feet," Ghimalia answered cheerfully, her glowing red eyes vague, but seeming somehow to reflect her merriment. "And, I suppose, as soon as I finish my surgery schedule, but I'm on a mandatory break for the next, hmm, four hours by your watch anyway for safety reasons, so I'm going to likely make dinner and then nap for a while before returning here."

"It would seem better if you slept," Adama hazarded.

"Can't," Ghimalia answered. "I only need--and can get--about, hmm, three hours of sleep under the influence of combat drugs. Which pretty much the whole crew is under the influence of right now. Just as useful for a surgeon as someone carving up the merry cyborgs across the way."

Combat drugs. That sounds exceptionally dangerous, but... "What kind of performance levels?"

"Try a year of only sleeping that long each night, with hyper-clarity for all of the periods that you're awake despite it. Your reaction time is completely maximized, you can ignore pain and injuries and exhaustion simply doesn't happen. They're dangerous, of course, and addiction does sometimes pose a problem, but in the military the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Or going a month without sleep entirely, the same."
Adama closed his eyes for a moment, digesting that one. "It's not something anyone, myself included, would be comfortable with among our people. But I can't deny the usefulness of it. I don't think any military officer could." The fact that he was talking to someone who was drugged up made him wary, though, and he wondered if the same was true of Commander Fraslia.

"Well, I'll relax when I can cook and eat. In fact.." She glanced back to Layne Ishay. "I'll bring you some when we're done, hmm?" And leaving the human medic with just as quizzical of an expression looked back to Adama. "I'll invite you and Her Ladyship to dine with me tonight? Some human food from Earth that I have a fondness for.."

It was a sincere invitation, and Adama took it in the spirit intended. "It would be nice to get some idea of what I'll hopefully enjoy a lot of in the future," he answered, and the two of them headed out after Ghimalia said her goodbyes to the staff and Adama wished his injured medic luck, and swift healing. The Doctor tracked down Fraslia at central damage control, and made her proposal.

"Oh, certainly," Fraslia agreed at once. "I've never had Earth food anyway, and what I had on the Galactica wasn't bad at all, their circumstances of paucity considered, very good actually. In the meantime..." Her ears flexed and her hair was brushed to the side as she addressed Adama: "Allow me to give you a tour of the Jhammind and what makes her a fighting ship as much as your's is, regardless her title?" She was grinning vaguely in her Taloran way, a far greater expression to them than a human.

"I'd be honoured, Commander..."

“Then let's get started,” she answered. “Contact us when you're ready, Doctor?”

“Certainly, Your Ladyship!”

Fraslia led Commander Adama on a circutous route through her ship as only an experienced hand could. Her crew responded as they went with a chorus of "Your Ladyship" which remained strange to Adama, unused to the ostentatious formality of the Talorans which was contrasted with their casual use of technology and easy acceptance of humans alike. In truth, he didn't think he'd ever truly get used to it.

"Commander, why is your crew so comfortable with us? Especially after Caine's behaviour and I think justly, but it doesn't seem like they're all that effected by the recent action."

"All humans seem a bit maudlin to us at times, it seems," Fraslia answered. "The dead are with their rewards, and the living sing songs of them and remember that it's a part of a sailor's life to fight and die. Life is cheap when Good and Evil War."

"That seems brutal to me. You," he paused, not wanting to offend the Taloran but bothered by what she'd sad, "You do feel pain, that you've lost men, don't you?" That was as private an admission as Adama could ever make, oblique, and directed only to another Commander, because only they, regardless of race, ever had a chance of understanding.

Fraslia barked a bitter laugh. "Yes. It isn't that. I'm furiously angry with Cain right now. But for the crew, why would they be? It's my responsibility in the final accounting, and they know me--and if they think I'd done wrong I'd see it in their faces and scarcely survive the guilt. Sort of like poor old Slyperia, hated by the government and half the admiralty, but loved by her crews..." The Baroness said no more, knowing that under no circumstances could the Colonials know about the multiverse. Those orders, both sealed and reinforced by Tisara through Joshart, were very strict.

Adama caught that the subject was not to be continued and fell silent, though not for long, as they had arrived at a room that from the controls he could tell was important.

"Central engineering control," Fraslia commented, and then spoke to the crew: "At ease. Carry on your duties. Lieutenant Kalini?"

"Your Ladyship?" A youngish taloran with blonde hair and more human skin than average, looked back over with bright green eyes and answered Fraslia promptly.

"Report engine status, Lieutenant."

"Reactors one through four operating at sixty percent power, Your Ladyship. We are preparing to shut down reactor one for post-battle testing and inspection and then cycle through the other reactors. Impeller fins all good with cosmetic damage only and we can meet 85% of flank acceleration with one reactor down as per standards." It was clear that some of the exposition was for Adama's benefit.


"Some anomalous readings with the cruising impellers but jump-drive is charged and ready."

"Is the operating status of the reserve fission reactors acceptable?"

"All within norms."

"Power transfer?"

"All good except that the shielding busbars were overtaxed and needed replacement of some of the circuits controlling reverse input. We manually switched over to backups twenty minutes ago and I was instructed to switch back on completion in about another fifty. We're rather short-handed due to simple exhaustion after all the damage control earlier, Your Ladyship."

"Glad there were no problems with the battery busbars," Fraslia sighed comfortably. "We need to keep the guns working if anything else, considering circumstances. And we can still shoot all day, if we need to..."

"Oh, surely, Your Ladyship! Gunnery wasn't taxing us at all." Which underlined the fact that the Jhammind, like most Taloran heavy cruisers, was under-armed for her tonnage, barely exceeding the armament of a large and modern light cruiser in guns only, though carrying more missiles. That part, naturally, need not be said to Adama.

Fraslia turned to her fellow Commander and now began to explain some of the details. "Our power systems are primarily Solid-state Fusion, which we find much safer than anti-matter for these sorts of utilities while still providing suitable power density. Bluntly, since they lack shields, your ships probably only have half the energy production of one of our's of similar tonnage. The backup reactors are simple fission which can run for decades powering coms and basic life support and recycling, which means we have maybe twenty Taloran years drifting in space before we'd perish. Longer, if in a system where we could mine, but then we could probably get the resources to start the impellers up anyway."

"I don't doubt you're right about our ships," Adama answered grimly. "We have similar backup reactors, however, and it leaves me some hope that some sublight ships burned hard and are still alive thanks to recycling and relativity."

"Why! Commander, I'm sorry that I didn't think of that sooner. I should tell Admiral Joshart immediately. That's definitely one boon we can do for your people without restraint. Our ships can start looking immediately for anyone who may have escaped in that fashion."

"I'm glad for the offer, though you may want to consider the risk from the Cylons it would entail."

"That's for Admirals and not me in this matter. My responsibility just lays with innocent life, and advocating where I can for it. My ship is greater, of course, but," she looked wry, "we are not going on any independent assignments anytime soon, and we're only staying because Her Serene Grace probably fancies herself at a considerable disadvantage, and needs every ship she can get, even damaged."

"Thank you," Adama allowed with some genuine sincerity. We need every human life we can find.. He waited while Fraslia availed herself of engineering's coms and returned with a less pleased expression.

"I forget that it all must go through the Her Serene Grace," she explained wryly, and then shrugged it off, more or less. "We will hope she is prompt. At any rate, gunnery, with power systems along the way, for the next part of our tour?"


In the tour that followed, the immense busbars and superconducting cables were impressive, solid engineering. The more impressive thing was when they finally reached the turrets themselves and climbed up in them. Rather than formal military discipline, however, they were met with a raucous round of cheers. "'Tis 'er Ladyship and three cheers for her -- Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!"

Adama watched as rather than take offence, Fraslia responded by slapping the Gunner's Mate on the back, saying: "Good show, Dritan! Your turret's firing didn't have a single blemish, no errors, no misfires, recoil or turning problems and cooling vents and turnover happened all perfectly." She abruptly produced a bag and started around from sailor to sailor, handing out a burnished coin with a Taloran in court regalia on each and every one. "A twenty-four Rial piece for your pockets, lads, as my thanks for two fine-fought guns." He waited until Fraslia had finished before stepping over. "Using our tour to see to the crew as well?"
"Surely, as I think you'd do the same."

"Apt, but our bonuses and rewards are more formal."

"I just take some money out of the Purser's safe, I do confess, but it's usually what they want, beyond Topping the Cannon, which I already ordered all around."

"The meaning isn't one I'm familiar with."

"Double ration of alcohol."

"It's still somewhat hard to digest that you serve the crew alcohol so readily, but I'm convinced you don't have any problems, so I may see about it myself..."

"A happier crew you'd have, Commander." They had climbed up alongside a massive barrel. "This area is normally depressurized in action. Those aren't the gun barrels, but the coolant chambers around them that absorb most of the energy as the barrels recoil half their own length back out of the turret. The coolant is entirely vapourized and bled out in the rather impressive lightshow you may have seen.

"Lots of power in these guns, if they're engineered like that, but the enemy the moment you open up."

"They'd detect it one way or another then, and we do have missiles for truly stealthy situations."

"Perhaps," Adama allowed. "What is the power of the battery?"

"Two guns, with full charge capacitors capable of firing once per every two of our seconds. Yield per shot is one hundred, erm, megatonnes."

"Are all your weapons in similar turrets?"

"Missiles are in trainable mounts, otherwise, yes."

"You've got a very impressive ship, commander, and you must be proud of her."

"Oh God yes," Fraslia exclaimed as she was leading them down, unmindful of her dalliance with blasphemy. "Better as a heavy cruiser than most but capable of exploring for years on end and representing the empire on the fringe, pushing out our boundaries, exploring and fighting alike, she's as good as they get, and I couldn't have a better command than my proud Jhammind!"

Fraslia's expression of delight was infectious, and Adama allowed a grin in reply, thinking of his solid old Galactica in the same terms. They clambered down from the turret, through the barbette, and headed toward some other destination. At that moment, Adama took the opportunity to ask a question that had been on his mind since engineering. "Commander, precisely what is the fuel that you use on this ship for the 'Solid-state' reactors."

"Metallic hydrogen."

"Isn't it very unstable?"

"Well, yes, but that's an advantage as far as we're concerned, leakage is a constant issue, but we also use it as explosive reactive armour. In addition to packing the outer hull we have our main tankage around engineering with light plates to the outside and superdense armour backing. The end result--and we do the same with the magazines--is to make a lucky strike very, very hard."

"Do even worse damage to your hull there, than the initial strike would, though I suppose that you don't have anything critical near the reactors and certainly not any structural pieces."

"They run through the protected area, actually: Might as well give the keel as much protection as you can, too, and the command spaces are buried into the keel there anyway. Except the navigation bridge," she amended, "but that's only manned when docking or on the surface."

"The ship can land?"

"On water only. We can fully submerge to hide if necessary, however."

"That's an interesting capability."

"We find it a useful one in some rare circumstances, at least." By this point they had arrived at their destination and it was indeed the bridge. That cut off Adama's chance to ask what the 'cruising impellers' were, a feature no-one had yet elaborated upon, ironically emphasizing that they were likely important, especially since they were mentioned in context of faster than light drives, separate from the jump drives which the Colonials thought were the only form of FTL. But we thought FTL sensors and coms impossible, too, so perhaps this another... His attention, however, was now on the layout of the bridge. "

"Your bridge is rather different than our's, certainly," he commented as he took in all of the sundry work stations and the larger crew.

"Yes," Fraslia agreed. "Captain's walk--the grilled walkways above--main bridge level, but also the lowered crew working stations. That's so officers can by glancing down clearly see the work-progress of the crew."

"That would keep them from slacking. I also see the very prominent position of the, ah, holo-projector. You use it for tactical plot generation?"

"Yes. I can 'see' the plot through the neural interface but multi-tasking recommends some continued reliance on sense."

"It drives home the advantages the Cylons had over us," Adama replied, somewhat bitter, now, at how his people had responded to the first war. If we hadn't been blindly afraid could we have developed safe technology like this? Technology that could have seen the Cylon plot happening, and stopped it? There was no sane way to dwell on it, however, and Adama was not the sort to do so, anyway.

The moment was broken, at any rate, by the tweet of Fraslia's wrist com. Then, she glanced up and to Adama with a smile. "Well, the Doctor is ready for us, so?"

"Of course."

Fraslia proceeded to lead her counterpart down a transfer tube from the bridge to a connecting vertical life well aft, just fore of the impellers. Here was officer's country, and Dr. Ghimalia's quarters were entered after chiming the door. The albino was working with another female Taloran, definitely quite young and immature. in laying out and preparing the table. "For an officer and lady you're rather good at that, Ghimalia."

"Ah, Your Ladyship, I am simply a bit of a traveler in less formal lands and I cook earth food better than our own."

"Then what have you got for us?"

"Kratini with Ural-paste batter done and mixed with flour to lighten it to a batter, and fried sempal-root without Urul-paste, and the skin left on. The sauce is sort of like ahntahl with herbs but with some 'kreahm ahf tairtair' added. The original human dish is called fish and chips and is served with tairtair sauce. There is also some vinegar of grain to be poured atop it, as is done on earth with their vinegar. It's from a recipe of of Sleahma's family,"she gestured to her batgirl.

"Ah, I'm sure it's most splendid then," Fraslia answered, glancing around the little kitchenette that higher ranked officers had on expeditionary cruisers. She moved to sit at the round table, Adama across from her, Ghimalia to the side, and Sleahma serving them.

"I take it that kratini is a kind of fish, then?" Adam asked.

"Bony fish, not cartilage fish,so it's a rare kind of species but very plentiful in northern waters on our homeworld and raised elsewhere besides. A bit unusual of a choice....."

"Most earth fish are bony, Your Ladyship," Ghimalia explained.

"Good enough for me," Adama responded. "How close is it to the human dish?"

"As close as I could make it with only tairtair as a human ingredient," Ghimalia answered. "The Malt brew I intended for us to drink is very close also, if you drink alcohol. I know some humans do not."

"Oh, one glass'll be fine, but only one."

"Then it's done!" Ghimalia exclaimed, and Sleahma began setting up, ending by bringing out their plates, Adama's first. The taste of the fried food was unusual and more than a little greasy, but once he got used to the contrast of the vinegar and the pepper-laden yoghurt-like dip, it was very good. As per the Taloran custom, Ghimalia did not begin to talk and tell her story until they were slowly finishing off the last bits of the excellent dinner, the two Captains instead discussing some minor operational differences at Fraslia's behest. Adama was quick enough to catch up that Talorans rarely spoke on the main subject at length when eating, and patiently waited, allowing himself the indulgence of imagining eating the real thing on Earth, just perhaps.. Waiting, in the meanwhile, until they were done and Ghimalia began to speak about the years that she had spent on Earth.

That was worth the wait, even if the food was bad, and it certainly wasn't. So he comfortably focused on Ghimalia's tale as he finished up the last of the food, wondering if they'd have desert as well, but gradually forgetting that as he listened to the details of what her life there had been like, and what the people who lived in this place called London were like and the culture and nature of the city itself.

"First impression I had was that it was as foggy and gloomy as Valeria, which I'd visited once before. But London is on a navigable river, not the sea, but she's still connected to it--ah, a Taloran thing to call places by gender, forgive me--and yet as a capital of the largest and most populous of the earth nations she's as modern as old, though flatter than Taloran cities, even Valeria, which is surely the flattest. Now, that's just the vaguest of descriptions so let's start with my flat and those I lived with, if you want to know of your cousins on earth.

"Basically, housing in the district near the university where I studied human physiology was tremendously expensive, so I had to find a roommate. Her name was Deborah and she was of the human monotheistic Judaism, though not precisely observant, though enough that she wanted her kitchen kept a certain way, which I obliged as I knew nothing of human food anyway." She flexed her ears in amusement at the memory. "Deborah's people, well, in religious terms, were favourably disposed to us on account of our restoring them to their ancestral homeland, so she wasn't suspicious of me, but she was understandably surprised by some of my customs, and me, sometimes, by her's, making it very much the learning experience."

"How used to Talorans are earth humans?" Adama asked Ghimalia.
"Not very, I think, for few of us live there and most humans haven't met any of us at all in their lives. It goes both ways, though, so there were plenty of surprises for me as well as her."

"And you lived together as equals, just...?"

"Sharing a room," Ghimalia answered with a nod. "We are both professionals, so we are equals. The racial thing caused some hesitance on her part--mostly because of what she thought her friends might think of her, however--but that, at least, was dispensed with soon enough." She flushed gray-green and flattened her ears. "The surprise part was echoed by the first time I took a shower, and Deborah came in and was rather.. Bothered.. by the fact that I had not locked the door or otherwise indicated I was unclothed and showering. And bothered moreso when I invited her to join me. You see, Talorans of the same sex consider communal bathing extremely normal, and not something to be remarked upon or avoided. Humans do not."

It certainly drew a hearty chuckle from Adama. "Yes, that would bother us quite a lot. Especially the invitation, Doctor. However, if that is the worst that our interactions can bring, I'm very hopeful of our future together. Do carry on."

"Of course! Well, we set down some ground rules after that, and started to settle in with the idea that we were both different, but also the same where it mattered. We were going to the same school, though in different subjects. She was a graduate student in Finance, and I was doing postdoctoral work in human physiology. More or less a normal MD's course, suitably condensed, dealing with all relevant differences so I could effectively operate as both General Practitioner and Surgeon--I'd already trained as a surgeon--to humans as well as Talorans.

"I attracted a fair amount of attention, of course, being not just a Taloran but an unusual one. And it was during summer break there between my two human years I spent on the planet that I availed myself of the very clinic I was studying at to have these put in," she gestured to the implants, "By human hands of those who'd cross-trained in Taloran physiology. It was a good bet all around, reasonably cheap, and my eyesight had been uncorrectable and failing by that point, wearing massive glasses and so on."

"Do they match your old eye colour?"

"Yes, Commander Adama, I had red eyes before as well. Though they didn't glow." She curved her lips into a broader than usual grin. "I was, as with most doctors, an impossibly bad patient, so I don't think I made the best of impressions with all humans, but I, at least, liked those I met. The public houses--pubs--which sell alcohol in the city are always very pleasant, though perhaps as a Taloran I saw less harassment from drunkards than human women would, and among those who trusted me, ended up in a protective role."

"Are the criminals afraid of you?"

"Often they have silly ideas about how our laws work, and avoid us, yes," Ghimalia answered. "But actually we're under the local justice system when there, not the other way around, and the British have a very sympathetic justice system indeed."

"The people whose capital is London?"

"One of them. There are at least a dozen other peoples, perhaps many more, depending on how you define them, under the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenbergs," she explained, having a bit of trouble with the compound name even though she was more used to formality. "Most people in the region just call them the House of Windsor."

"Windsor..." Adama tried the name on for size for a moment, but was distracted when dessert was served by Sleahma. It was, Ghimalia admitted, a more traditional Taloran dish, but for the moment, Adama didn't mind.

"Oh, if you're curious, the supplements were included," she added almost as an afterthought as they'd been eating. "There's some enzymes.. I think this was mentioned before?"

"Yes," Adama answered, less interested in that, then in hearing more of Earth from the closest thing to an inhabitant of it that he could, for the moment, find. And so the conversation continued with Ghimalia's tales of London, until something else occurred to him. "Are there any humans in Admiral Joshart's division that I could meet, Commander?"

"Ah, I would have to ask him," Fraslia answered, abruptly coming from some thought or another. "I know they have other doctors trained to human standards but I'm not sure if there are any presently assigned or not."

"Of course," Adama answered, setting the question aside for the moment, and letting Ghimalia continue long into the evening.

Colonial One

Tisara and Ysalha were happily involved in each other's less than moral indulgences, which came as a particular amusement in the bedroom of the Chief Executive of a foreign government, to Tisara's perspective. They would return to Tisara's flagship the next day, her mission, for the moment, unsuccessful, but with more than a few ideas planted in her head.

Admiral Cain had arrived to plant a few more. The chime at the door shocked the two of them, and by long experience, indulging themselves even while on patrol, Tisara had released her lover in a heartbeat as, in the usual fashion, Ysalha vanished into the bathroom and Tisara pulled a robe over herself and tied it firmly, heading to the door of the suite and keying it open. Nobles were not particularly modest, after all, used to being dressed by others, but in that regard, at least, Tisara and Ysalha had not been assigned the batgirls they should have been provided for a long, long time, and had ended up more self-reliant than the usual.

"I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Archduchess" Cain offered, slightly perturbed, though also a bit amused. She was quite able to guess what the two had been up to, particularly with the absence of Tisara's 'chief of staff', even if she did not know the extent of their deviance.

"No, it's never a disturbance," Tisara answered with an amiable lie.

"Come in?"

"That was what I'd planned." The two sat at a small table, Tisara brushing back her hair and staring down at the short Colonial Admiral before her, intimidating even when in a bathrobe, seaweed green hair and mismatched eyes with scarred face imposing, impassive, unflinching as ever.

"I apologize about the way the vote went, Archduchess."

"You had no power over it."

"That's just the problem, these incompetent civilians fracking their way through life destroying our whole society. They should have never been given the power to destroy our society and certainly they shouldn't have any power now. Commander Adama failed in giving the government any sort of power over a refugee fleet, Archduchess, and you know that as well as I do."

"He did," Tisara agreed languidly. "A military dictatorship would be preferable, certainly, under the circumstances. Necessary, even. Do you plan on one?"

The bluntness surprised even Cain. "Contingencies always exist," she answered shortly.

"Well, for as long as your people exist," Tisara replied acerbically. Cain should have acted sooner, the moment she arrived, if she is as competent as she claims. But I suppose Adama stands in her way.

That seemed to make Cain stop and think for a moment. "I don't actually think the fleet is all that important," she explained. "We stayed closer to the colonies. My staff thinks there might be up to eighty million survivors on each of the major colonies, and nearly as many on the smaller ones. Not counting those in Cylon camps, which could be in the tens of millions too. The Cylons are hunting down those living off the land, on their own, as aggressively as they can, but they can't get them all. Without destroying the whole biosphere, that won't succeed, and for some reason they're unwilling to do that. If we could drive them away, get some idea of how many survivors there are..."

"A bit larger than the raid to cover your retreat that your President proposed earlier today," Tisara answered, her ears flicking. "But that raid could provide cover for your Battlestars in doing just that. I can't control your actions, after all. But it would leave the fleet uncovered..."

"Is that really a problem?"

"No, not really." Tisara was not thinking the same way as Cain, however: "I've received some advanced word from home this evening. It rendered the negotiations my last attempt, personally, actually. The Imperial government is sending up a negotiator to take over from me. I believe you will like her, actually." Tisara was not pleased, but still, the action left her a part of it, and where she had some role to play, she intended to play it as hard as she could. And the instructions left my raid quite open to be executed. Better to be bold now when I have so little left than to be cautious. It has always saved me in the past. "Also they're sending a squadron of dreadnoughts with full support elements."


"Ships twice or more the mass of my battlecruisers, at the least," Tisara explained simply. "Slower, sixty percent of our acceleration if that, but built for main line heavy combat. They're from the armed forces maintained by my branch of the family, the Her August Majesty's Fleet, the Royal Midelan Navy. Eight dreadnoughts, sixteen battlecruisers, eight rocket cruisers, thirty or so heavy cruisers, an equal number of light cruisers, and almost a hundred and seventy destroyers and destroyer leaders, supported by an Imperial Starfleet fleet train detachment protected by destroyer escorts, frigates and corvettes in similar numbers. It's a force that, if the Imperial government decides, could do more than just raid your occupied worlds, but in conjunction with my squadrons and your battlestars, engage in a sustained intensive conflict with the Cylons."

"It would be nice to make that a certainty," Cain murmured.

"I agree."

"You don't seem like the altruistic type," Cain almost smirked.

"Rather not, but I am not popular with the government at home. A successfully waged operational campaign in my sector, even if I'm not allowed full command, will at least reflect well on me. So, no, I am not altruistic at all. I have eminently practical purposes for, quite frankly, wanting a little war to take place in my sector. And so I could care less about the eminent issues of our right to intervene or the ultimate result to your government. I will, indeed, 'raid' the Cylons as hard as I can possibly hurt them, and in doing so, I will make sure they come back, right into the open arms of a fleet that they cannot beat."

"Then it seems that we can do business with each other, Archduchess."
Tisara still wasn't pleased with the Colonial informality, but she nodded, lightly. Since her goals of possibly inserting herself into the government of a minor power, at least, had definitely been set aside by the exceptionally hostile reaction of the Quorum, a war seemed to be the best way of going about things, and she wasn't going to be easily dissuaded from her goal of achieving one. By stretching her orders just enough, she could guarantee it...

"Oh, yes. My family will be more lenient, I think, than the All-Highest Empress realizes."

"You're related to the Lelolan branch?"

"Oh yes, my Aunt is the commander of the fleet which is coming up," Tisara answered with some faint pride. "Our war to fight, funded by Imperial coin. Our fleets must be funded from Imperial coffers when they are activated in a situation which is not a declared war, and this certainly isn't, yet, and will likely remain so; the Cylons don't seem much on formalities."

"No, no they are not," Cain agreed grimly. "What about my government, then?"

"We'll leave that to the diplomats," Tisara languidly spoke, a hand making a gesture behind her, come-hither in nature, "and have our war one way or another. Your society will not oppose that, all things considered."

Cain watched as Ysalha Armenbhat approached, rubbing her lover's shoulders from behind, silent, in an image of relaxed decadence, though the intelligence burned fiercely in both their faces. Deviant, decadent, but their survival in positions of relative comfort in the face of that warned of their capability. "Well, you can leave it to the diplomats. I have other ideas in that regard."

"And they are," Tisara answered almost sweetly, "none of my business."

"It's better that way for both of us, isn't it?"

"It does seem that way."

"Well, it remains for us to plan our little attack, Admiral Cain. Tomorrow? The flagbridge facilities I have should serve admirably if you bring your staff over."

"We'll start tomorrow, yes," Cain agreed. "I suppose that concludes our meeting." She rose.

"I suppose it does."

Ysalha took the moment to lean in and whisper something to Tisara in a language that the translator did not pick up. "Hmm. Admiral Cain, a moment."


"What do you think of my picket cruisers looking for ships which have gone on sublight burn? My Captain Fraslia of the Jhammind mentioned it to Admiral Joshart, that there might be many sublight ships still around from your worlds which went full burn to take advantage of relativity and recycling, as he put it, to survive. Is it safe enough?

"The Cylons don't have good picket forces. You could do it, yes," Cain agreed, and then, with a look on her face which seemed to suggest a twinge of human sympathy, she added: "I had to abandon fifteen ships with their FTL drives stripped. I couldn't defend them while trying to fight back to liberate our worlds. It was a very, very grim decision, especially since their crews resisted. I tried everything I could to bring them onboard, but they simply refused, claimed I had no right--even in these circumstances!--to 'press-gang' them into military service. So I forced the ones I desperately needed to come regardless, and their families rioted. Some of the civilians got shot fighting my men. I stripped the parts I needed from the other ships, and when they again refused to board the Pegasus, we sent them off with sublight coordinates to the nearest uninhabited star systems that nonetheless might contain life, the best chance I could give them. I can give you those coordinates, if you could try and see if any of them have made it..."

"A very grim thing to do, Admiral," Tisara softly spoke, eyes closing for a moment. "I hope I am never in a situation where I find myself commanding the last hope of my people, in my eyes, and must be faced to abandon all my oaths for the sake of simple racial survival. I would go to my grave troubled, and you have my sympathies for having been forced to make such a choice."

"Well, it can be forgiven if they're found," Cain grudgingly answered. "It was the only viable decision at the time, and I know that I'll be forced to make more ugly decisions soon enough. Including one about my government."

"May your conscience guide you well, there, Admiral. I will see to it, if you bring the coordinates tomorrow, that we have pickets detailed along those routes."

"Thank you."

"Then, may you have a good night."

"As you, Archduchess." Cain stepped out, perhaps more enigmatic in her intentions than she had been before, but no less savage in her capability.
"Give the necessary orders for the general sweep pattern, my girl," Tisara said to her lover with a sly sort of look, though, it was serious enough. "Let's not be remiss in giving those hopeless souls who may have escaped from the worlds themselves, rather than Cain's unfortunate convoy, a decent chance. That woman is hampered by no morality, but I am still a daughter of the line of Valera."

"Of course, Mistress," Ysalha answered, her hands slipping away as she turned back to the portable communications device they'd brought and she unrolled the keypad for it and began typing in the orders. "I, at least, will always know that your heart still beats noble and true."

"And you knowing that, Ysalha, is all that I shall ever need..." But even as she said this, Tisara's six fingers on her right hand drummed the table slowly, and she thought about how boldly she must act, and how successful she must be, to improve their lot from this conflict, comforting herself in that she was doing it as much for Ysalha as for herself, her own life and reputation. There had to be some way to make their relationship a smoothed over and forgotten aspect of who they were, give enough time... And enough daring in a splendid little war.
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Post by fusion » 2007-10-21 11:43pm

I would love to see what this fleet would do to the Cyclons.

Also what do you mean by mega-tonne? Is it megatons of tnt or something else?

Otherwise, this is an excellent fic and don't make me wait so long for the next chapter. :)

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-10-22 12:01am

fusion wrote:I would love to see what this fleet would do to the Cyclons.

Also what do you mean by mega-tonne? Is it megatons of tnt or something else?

Otherwise, this is an excellent fic and don't make me wait so long for the next chapter. :)
Depending on context, it either refers to the mass of a ship or megatonnes of TNT. The "tonne" part indicates it is metric, rather than the english "ton".
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Post by Junghalli » 2007-10-22 01:49pm

Sean Mulligan wrote:As Winston Churchill said Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
Humanity was rather fortunate in that the culture that came to dominate our planet had inherited a democratic tradition from the Greeks and Romans. The culture that came to dominate the Taloran homeworld does not seem to have had an equivalent tradition. I tend to think that in the majority of possible historical scenarios Earth would probably have ended up the same way; we were really rather lucky in that our history had a series of fortituous events that encouraged the rise of democracy, starting with a culture with a strong democratic tradition conquering most of Europe.

I realize this discussion dates back to July but I felt the need to point that out.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-11-01 11:52pm

Chapter 14
The Jhammind

Now, Fraslia had the pleasure of watching her command come back together from the battle damage she's suffered, and the unease of watching Tisara's do the same, morphing from a spread-out reconaissance force into an impromptu battle fleet. With all the organizational skills that her dutiful 'slave' could muster, and Ysalha Armenbhat's were considerable, the Archduchess had professionally concentrated a force of thirty-two heavy cruisers, thirty-two expeditionary cruisers, sixteen light cruisers, eight destroyer leaders, sixty-four destroyers, fourty frigates, and thirty-two corvettes, all to support her four battlecruisers, one battleship, and four light carriers.

The downside was that this left only thirty-two destroyer escorts and eight frigates to cover the retreat of the Colonial refugee ships and the resupply vessels from which Tisara had victualated her ships. To augment them, squadrons of gunboats had been brought forward and some Taloran fighters added to the fleet. More gunboats supported her own force, and Galactica's damaged hangar bay had been cleared for a wing of Taloran light fighters, which could be, if barely, operated off the other vessel.

It had been done in ten days and it was a frightening degree of efficient precision to watch in development. It also required an enormous degree of collaboration with the navy of a country no their own, nor even were they allied with, to fight a war not their's, where no treaty demanded that they should fight. Few doubted it was moral; many doubted how Tisara had gone about it, and the officers were constantly murmuring as she squeezed her sector command for every single ship it had. Rear Admiral Joshart and seven Commodores of upper and lower halves were under Tisara, with an eighth Commodore in charge of the fleet escorts. None particularly approved, but the actions were not sufficient for them to tender formal protest.

To have Starfighter Corps forces under Cain's command certainly pushed Tisara's 'Raid' excuse to the very limit of plausibility, and no doubt some sort of complaint had been sent from that direction, but interservice rivalry protected her. And, beyond that, even with such a reviled figure in command, what they were doing was surely right. The image of the Cylons as being their own universe's equivalent of the strange and disturbing 'Borg' of whom their alliance counterparts spoke was widespread. Fraslia, having dinner with a Cylon certainly named Sharon, and possibly Valerii, at the moment, had been gifted with a naturally more ambivalent view of Cylons and the war in general.

“There is a mattered I wanted to speak to you about, if you'd indulge our odd customs for a moment?” She asked the other woman, as they finished the main course, in the Taloran fashion. One of the more peculiar customs was the Taloran refusal to discuss serious matters over the main course, saving for languid conversation over dessert and drinks when the body's lassitude while digesting prevented a disagreement from becoming that choleric in nature. In this case, it meant that their dinner of a heavy pasta and Urul-paste bread had been finished and sweet tamarindh fruit put out before she began.

Besides, Sharon was with child, and the Talorans were delicately respectful of women in such a state, knowing how precious their own pregnancies were, rare and frequently frought with difficulty, for the species had no small trouble in conceiving. They had hyper-specialized to raise a few children well to an extent even greater than humans, and the mammalforms of Talora Prime were more a direct progression of equivalents of Earth's Permian-era Therapsids than an independent development, with less sophisticated methods of childbearing. The result was that Taloran pregnancy was delicate and excruciatingly painful, with labour normally lasting a whole day or more, a result which had evolved in them over time an intense resistance to going into shock. And, culturally, certainly accorded no small deference to those with child, regardless of their social status.

“Well, of course, go ahead, Captain!” Sharon answered with a smile, her spirits rather cheered by the circumstances she had found on the Jhammind. Together with Karl Agathon on the Taloran cruiser at last, and in comfortable circumstances, she had recovered quickly from the dual surgeries that the Colonial plot had demanded, and had settled down as a respected guest at most of the meals of the officer's mess, finding her treatment bewildering and pleasant at the same time. She was very much treated as a person, and a reasonably important one at that, a nuance of her position that remained more than a little confounding.

“Ah, well, Doctor Ghimalia says your child is quite and due at the regular time for humans with no observable complications. I'm sure you're well aware of that, since she's obviously told you first.” The Doctor had really bonded with both her Cylon charges, and remained the only person with whom Six could interact, a fact that neither of them dwelled on very much, for understandable reasons. Fraslia offered a tight little grin after the words which among Talorans showed great delight.

“Yeah, of course, Captain,” Sharon certainly looked much better from the past two weeks of recovery. “But you've got to mean more than that, I think?”

“Yes, Sharon. There's no place for you among the Colonials, bluntly, who do not even have a home of their own, and have understandable bitterness for you. Your beau will get no favours from them, and will like as not be regarded as a traitor for his relationship with you, if it became more public than with the fine Commander Adama. So if he is more or less exiled here with you, why not simply go to the next step? Come live in the lands of my ancestors on Ghastan Island. But there's a catch....”

“I think the idea sounds good, though I'd.. I'd honestly rather be among humans.” She frowned. “What's the catch?”

“We don't like sex out of wedlock—I don't want to make a comparison with Tisara, though it always recommends itself--and the children of such unions, where they are possible, are normally fostered out for adoption... Which,” Fraslia added quickly as she saw Sharon virtually recoil, “is scarcely a law or something, and certainly not what you desire. Furthermore, the Church overlooks minor discrepencies between the marriage record and birth record. You're a monotheist, so, the process will work for you, and the priests onboard agreed they'd marry you and your, hmm, Lieutenant Agathon, if he consented to the Farzian ceremony.”

“We haven't precisely discussed religion, Captain, and I have my own reasons to be distant from it, but, I can only hope that he'll agree.” Sharon's face grew very bright as she pressed the next question: “Would it be possible for us to stay on Earth, instead, since it's a part of your Empress' domains?”

“Oh, yes, though I'm not sure how the human governments would think of you. However, there is a single, minor Taloran government on the planet, that of Frayuia Risim, the Duchess of Medina. She rules that city and some of the surrounding desert, in commemoration of a military victory.” At this, though, Sharon seemed uncomfortable. It reminded her that the Talorans were indeed rulers of humanity. Fraslia's statements assuaged the matter without ever quite picking up on it. “She is, nonetheless, a fine ruler, and those humans who remain or move into the area are closely integrated with Taloran society. She's one of the foremost experts in the Empire on human customs,” she carefully omitted the infamous Jhayka of the Lesser Intuit for reasons of security, “and I could send you and your beau there with my reference of your suitability as colonists of the desert she's trying to fertilize. There is also plenty of need for skilled civilian pilots throughout the Empire.”

“That would certainly seem a reasonable place to live. Though I've never seen a desert before, except from space. Is it very harsh?”

“We try to turn our deserts into gardens, by sacred mandate of the writings of the Prophet Eibermon. I imagine the same is true in Medina as elsewhere. Would you have an issue, then, with the necessary marriage?”

“No, of course not! To be married by the priests of the one God would be something I'd not believed possible. A new dawn for us.. That you really accept me. Accept me and Karl being together, even.”

“You should ask your beau soonest, then. The quicker it's done the happier the priests will be, and likely yourselves as well.”

“Alright.” Sharon's eyes danced and she got a bit of a sly look. “Just after we're finished with dessert, then.”

Fraslia had the expression of a delighted parent, pleased to have properly arranged things for the girl she'd take a real fondness to. Given a chance to develop on their own, the Cylon bioforms are as sapient as any other lifeform, and altogether very like all the other humans I know. This development should be considered carefully.. Though I know that Tisara doesn't care. “I'd send you back now to Earth, but I'm afraid that for sundry reasons that's not possible. Security, you understand. Technically I am required by Her Serene Grace to treat you and your, ah, less well, friend as paroled enemy officers per her instructions. So, you can be married and then wait things out.”

“The Archduchesses' attack comes first,” Sharon answered quietly. “I find it interesting that she instructed you to treat me as an enemy officer. And I'm thankful that you seem to be treating me very well.”

“Don't be, this really is how we treat captured enemy officers,” Fraslia replied with a wry sort of look. “Biology permitting, it is tradition, and custom, to show proper hospitality. I don't think of you that way at all, though, of course; nor does the law of our state, so your residence will not prove an issue. As for the matter you spoke of, I can't talk about it with you, of course.” Though it is obvious, and we're jamming coms continuously to boot.

“I know. I Just hope you will not overreact and... Commit genocide yourselves. I don't want that on your hands, and I do think that the Cylons at least deserve..”

“To not be dead? A fair assertion, and I'm reasonably confident that we can follow it well.”

“But just as the Colonies seemed to do, Tisara...”

“Keep things in perspective. You 'overreacted' and exterminated the populations of a dozen worlds.”

“Not me,” Sharon answered with a stricken look. “Please, Captain, you know that I see myself more as human.”

“I know. But memories will not die easily, and guilt by association is as common as it is wrong. I hold no hate toward you, but consider the remark fair warning, Sharon. Even among my people you will not completely escape it. But, you can have a peaceful and happy life with your beau and child if you can take that with grace and dignity, both here and on Earth.”

“Thank you for the honesty, Captain, but for the moment I'd really like to just tell Karl, if you'd excuse me early? I'd like to have a happy evening with him and worry about the future later.”

“It's a reasonable request, Sharon, though first, I did want to ask how your compatriot is doing?”

“Better. Doctor Ghimalia calls her by a human name, Rachel, from Earth. They spend a lot of time together but she doesn't really like talking to me. The few times we have it's always ended in some denounciation or another. But she's seeming to come along better, now... Less disconsolate.”

“Your religion condemns suicide as much as our's, and she trusts Ghimalia, or else...”

“Yes. Well, Ghimalia is a cyborg herself, of a sort, and very kind. But, I'd rather like to go, now, Captain..?” She would rather not, on a night with happy prospects, speak of those sad and delicate matters.

“Oh, of course. Give your beau my regards, and celebrate if he agrees. But don't wake Lieutenant Karsini, she's been pulling double watches at commissary while we stocked repairs and supplies,” she spoke of the officer down the hall from Sharon's quarters with a sly look.

Sharon, appropriately, flushed, having gotten to know the somewhat libertine ways of Taloran sly humour. “I'll do my best, really, and thank you again for extending the offer to us.”

“My duty as a Farzian,” Fraslia answered, and then she showed Sharon out, just in time to return to a priority alert in her quarters. The message, contained a general fleet alert along with a request for all the flag and pennant officers to meet aboard the Orelyost for a final briefing before the operation began. The general fleet alert warned her that they were launching the operation the next day. I hope they get the chance to be married, Fraslia thought ruefully, and then summoned her department heads to the main officers' secure briefing room, reminding herself to make it short so they could rest before what would be the first general fleet action for most of them in their lives, herself included. And, may the Lord be Just, that we may live long enough to see another.

HSMS Orelyost,
Admiral's briefing room.

Tisara Urami struck an imposing cut, sitting in the raised chair at the head of the briefing table, her legs crossed in cavalier fashion, her four and a half foot long mass of seaweed green hair plunging over the back of the chair and down toward the floor, long strands spilling down into her lap. Her horrifically scarred face was rigidly expressionless, even as her ears were very animated, and the striking mix of hot orange-red and cold ice-blue eyes, though artificial, reminded her subordinates of the power and charisma such an appearance must have garnered in Valera herself, and how it was so thoroughly perverted in Tisara, proof of the mortality of the body.

She was wearing a yellow jumpsuit with a crimson sash inset with rubies, black belt, boots covered in brown fur, and greened copper spurs. Blue fingerless gloves, and a bright ruby-red cape, completed a defiant riot of colours. Ysalha Armenbhat, in the more colourful old-fashioned uniform that Tisara had worn before the council, stood at her right side, their hands clasped together in a defiant display of affection. Of the ten gathered officers, only Admiral Cain seemed fully comfortable with the situation, lacking the mores of her Taloran compatriots, and occupying the position of honour.

“So, I have concentrated at least ninety-five percent of the firepower of an expansion sector into a single fleet. Not advisable, for most respects, but we don't know the strength of the Cylon fleet, and indeed we'll discover that only the hard way. They certainly have hundreds of Base Ships or else they wouldn't have overwhelmed the colonies so easily, even with their viruses. The plan is, I believe, straightforward.”

“Yes, for us to beam-bait a fleet of unknown strength,” Admiral Joshart answered, probing. “No small task, that, that you presume to ask of us, Your Serene Grace. And bringing along the Iltrani limits our tactical mobility, at that.” Joshart referred to the Ikranilisi-class battleship that comprised the fifth heavy unit of the Taloran force.

“The Cylons are worse in their capabilities of acceleration,” Tisara answered, not mentioning that both of them knew something that she had intentionally neglected to tell to Cain, preferring to keep it as their ace in the hole if it should be needed. “Boldness is all that is required. And we'll be hitting them with long-range assault missiles before they can react. Sixteen sixteens of them... Our heavy cruisers give us the power of a heavy strike force with those missiles, and half as many waiting in reserve.”

“A very expensive strike...” Commodore Jashitil of the light cruisers observed.

“The government complains about expense accounts, not fighting soldiers,” Tisara replied coolly. Ysalha, for her part, had winced as she thought of the expense, but did not speak up, as could be expected. “At any rate, we're all clear on the fact that we'll be launching a very high tempo assault on the defensive forces around Caprica, and then swinging by to drop relief supplies on the surface? Once the forces around Caprica have been defeated, we will withdraw in a direction which should lead, as is the purpose of this assault, the Cylon pursuit away from the Colonial fleet.

“And if they pursue us very aggressively?”

“Then we head for the dreadnought squadron of my matriliege which is coming up,” Tisara answered simply. “The stern chase is a long chase, particularly when over such immense distances, with no great certitude of even finding us. We could certainly prolong it for the few days required to throw them onto the guns of eight massed dreadnoughts, and that would be that. But that's a worst-case scenario.” She paused for a moment, gently clearing her throat. “More, however, I brought you here so that you could hear the precisely details of the Colonial operation to take place jointly with our own. Admiral Cain?”

The human Admiral stood and keyed the commands that she'd been shown would bring up a holographic projection over the table, in this case of the system surrounding a planet labeled Picon. “Ladies and gentlemen, Picon was once the home of all command facilities of the Colonial fleet. It was, by extension, home of our primary fuel supply depots. The Cylon occupation force in the Colonies is now understood based on our reconaissance to be using these own facilities to support their own operations, essentially as a forward base to allow the pursuit of the fleet in the long term to continue, and for operations well coreward of the distant Cylon homeworld to be maintained. The Pegasus and Galactica are going to destroy it, jumping in very close to Picon—attacking any Cylon concentrations on the surface and dropping supplies to any resistance forces on the surface—and launching all fighters with the cover of the planet to leap over and attack the refueling depots. We expect significant reserve forces of Cylon ships to respond despite this; the Pegasus and Galactica will swing around Picon in opposite directions to converge on the Cylon reinforcements moving toward the fueling stations, clear them out with our crossfire, and recover our fighters before jumping clear. I have already gone over these operational plans extensively with my subordinates, including the Taloran starfighter corps elements assigned to support us.

“Your job, of course, is to make sure that further Cylon reinforcements don't arrive in time to threaten our recovery operations. The 'demonstration in force' of your fleet therefore has the critical aspect of assuring that this operation can be carried through successfully. There is a real possibility that it will be necessary for your fleet to jump to Picon, which is fortunately only ten lightyears from Caprica. I understand that despite the limitations of your jump engines, as long as the final jump into Caprica is within twenty lightyears, that can be accomadated instantaneously.”

“That's correct, Admiral,” Captain Armenbhat answered. “We have, of course, made contingency plans for a situation in which we must destroy all Cylon forces in the Caprica system, so that we are not pursued, and then jump to your aide.” What was not being said was that Tisara, Ysalha, and Helena had privately already agreed that Tisara would execute the annihilation of the Cylon forces over Caprica and then swing around to clean up Picon in 'support' of the Battlestars before they withdrew in concert. There was no need to explain to subordinates who hated her that there was every intention to force circumstances to allow what would otherwise be a gross violation of Tisara's operational instructions.

“Then we have ourselves a plan,” Admiral Cain smiled.

“Indeed we do, Admiral, indeed we do,” Tisara murmured, stroking Ysalha's hand. “Officers of Her Majesty, you know well what actions our fleet will be undertaking in the Caprica system. First, we deploy all the aide supplies we can, while attacking targets of opportunity on the surface to give those resisting the continued efforts at genocide and experimentation every opportunity that they have to fight back. Then, we seek out the Cylon fleet in the system, and engage it in main battle at range with the purpose of holding the considerable Cylon forces believed to now be posted there in response to the concentration of prior Colonial relief activities toward that world. If we can draw in their reinforcements, so much the better.

“Remember, however,” she continued, and, with the power of one born of Valera's blood, lied in a strong enough and charismatic enough way as to convince everyone she was sincere, “We will not try to force a decisive result with the Cylon force unless the severe position of the Colonial strike against Picon requires that we do so. In that case, the Midelan signal yulahn siritar atihl bahlat--pounce our foes to the utmost—shall serve as the code for a close quarters engagement. If we have broken the enemy, and it remains for us to annihilate them for the purpose of freeing our rear to go to the Colonial relief, the code will be trikhami-uhl, hack them up.”

“Indulging yourself, Your Serene Grace?” Joshart asked mildly.

“Perhaps,” Tisara allowed in return. “Are we all quite clear on these arrangements?”

“What if we must retire from the system without engaging due to the overwhelming strength of the enemy?”

“Unlikely. It is not believed that the Cylons have more than five hundred Baseships, of which many are the older type. Of these not more than twenty should be around Caprica; they are currently searching, after all, an area of space the size of an Imperial Sector for escapees and survivors of the Colonies, policing twelve conquered planets, protecting their homeworld against raids, and possibly dealing with exploration and other species in unknown and unexpected quarters. They have no smaller vessels much larger than gunboats or, at the most, small corvettes, which the main batteries of our cruisers can destroy with a single salvo. At any rate, the Baseships are very slow, and we all know our tactical capabilities well,” Tisara concluded, hinting at something useful enough that she hadn't even mentioned it to Cain yet. “We will dispatch a series of Operational Cases which will be declared depending on circumstance to deal with such unlikely scenarios, though the basic thrust is to extricate ourselves to range where we have the advantage, and cover the withdrawal of the Colonial forces as necessary. Admiral Cain can communicate with us through a portable FTL transmitter installed aboard her flagship, allowing her to initiate the appropriate cases for her force as necessary and inform us of doing so.”

“Very well. I do believe all our questions have been answered acceptably,” Joshart spoke for the Commodores.

“Excellent. Then tomorrow at Dawn we jump, and three days hence we will be in action.” The meeting was adjourned without further comment, leaving Tisara and Ysalha to their twisted indulgences, and a sleep punctuated by the vague fearful reminders of long Farzian-raised psyches that if they did perish, they could not expect to be united in the afterlife. But Tisara in her heart always knew better; she was of the finest blood, and it had seen her through every battle yet.

HSMS Orelyost,
Caprica System.

Tisara Urami, had she been gifted with the time to think, might have regretted her prior confidence. 233 Taloran warships tore through the definitions and limitations of physical reality and erupted into orbit of Caprica. They were armed and ready for battle, fully shielded and with every gun manned and ready, turrets free-tracking and projectile tubes and arm-launchers loaded.

They were not prepared for the sight that greeted them at point-blank range: Twenty-seven Cylon baseships of the latest type, and some ninety tiny light corvettes around them, and some fifty-four hundred Raiders on routine patrol. The Cylons, at least, were as stunned as they were, and Tisara snapped her order first, staring three light seconds across space at the tremendously close Cylon force, densely screening the beautiful planet of Caprica below.

“Action starboard! All ships, all weapons, engage!” The Orelyost's turrets swung to starboard and the moment they had tracked in against the target that the central battery director, informed by fleet weapons networking of its most correct target, had chosen, it fired. Twenty one-point-five gigatonne particle cannon erupted, and at that distance, twelve of the shots hit their target. Three other battlecruisers had done the same, and the battleship Iltrani bettered it with an incredible broadside of thirty-six one-point-two gigatonne shots which sloshed a Cylon baseship, slamming by raw kinetic energy the targeted ship out of the Cylon formation while the tremendously colourful eruptions of vapourized organic supercoolant from the recoil suppressors of the Taloran cannon lit up space like celebration fireworks and sent the station-keeping thrusters to full power to keep the ships from recoiling themselves out of formation.

yulahn siritar atihl bahlat,” Tisara ordered in Midelan, the code signal for the fleet to execute its attacks, while the main cannon steadily charged themselves for another salvo, fifteen seconds after the first, while the cruisers pounded out a salvo from their light guns every two seconds. Immediately the destroyers began to shift to deliver their slashing torpedo attacks against the enemy, the destroyer leaders in all of their pride swinging into the lead, communications chattering wildly over cleared signals while their guns and missiles salvoed again and again, and the massive trainable torpedo tubes were swung out toward the enemy, following the plan that Tisara and Ysalha had drawn up to commence a close action with an immediate torpedo attack.

The problem was that such an attack now would expose the destroyer squadrons to the awesome number of Cylon Raiders swinging out vigorously toward them. “You don't think they're armed with anti-ship missiles, do you?” Tisara asked to her submissive lover with a trace of concern.

“Not on routine picket patrol, no. According to the Colonials, they should have all-conventional warheads.”

“Then they pose no threat to our destroyers.”

“That's correct, Your Serene Grace.”

“Large missile salvoes coming in!” One of the flagbridge officers reported coolly, though not to coolly: The salvoes were very large.

The Taloran point-defence was also very good, and the missiles weren't targeted at the destroyers, but at the heavies. This meant that Tisara's other advantage was being used in good stead. With the speed of her battlecruisers in the fleet limited by the need to operate with a slow battleship, they had plenty of power to dump from engines, as designed, into their spare shield banks, giving them the energy shielding of full-sized dreadnoughts. When the first Cylon nuclear missiles got through, only a couple out of hundreds, they detonated harmlessly against the shields of the Orelyost and Ulkash, scarcely causing the slightest of vibrations.

And the main guns of the heavies thundered again, the awesome wump of the guns deep in the hull shaking Tisara's flagship far more than the impact of the enemy missiles had. Joshart's flagship, the Niitrasha, scored the first kill when a golden twinkee blasted through the narrow connecting stalk of one of the Baseships and severed both halves from each other. It was a matter of pure luck; they were to far away to accurately target particular sections of a ship like that.

The destroyers diving in met the lead element Raiders, which had been closest to the Taloran fleet when it had arrived, as they came in. The twin powergun mounts of the destroyers and destroyer leaders started pounding out four shots a second, any one of which had the power to completely destroy a Cylon raider, and regularly did. The Cylons salvoed a huge number of missiles at the destroyer squadrons, but as Ysalha had confidently expected they were all conventional missiles, and the shields of the light destroyers held as they raced at full acceleration through the haze of Raiders, pounding at them with flak and point-defence missiles as well as the heavier powerguns in a continuous hail, throwing as much energy and junk into the stars as they could to swamp the swarm around them in metal and plasma.

“Admiral, there's something you should really see,” Commander Savita on the forward sensor reports turned up, her ears flexing in something going past consternation, and more toward terror.

“Go ahead.”

The tactical plot shifted to the planet Caprica, and a wave of dots coming up from the surface seemed to swamp out the holographic projection entirely. “Sensors are estimating almost fourty thousand standard Raider models, several thousand of the heavy type, and around sixty light corvettes ascending from the surface of Caprica. Since we concentrated on the enemy fleet....”

“We lost a chance to destroy them on the ground,” Tisara answered with something particularly vile under her breath. She had never fought a battle close to a hostile planet before in her life, and that lack of foresight was showing bad.

“Case Utrani,” she ordered abruptly, and immediately.

“Case Utrani,” Ysalha answered, crisply using data interfaces to transfer the message to the whole of the force. “Do we exclude the destroyer squadrons?”

“Yes! They'll have enough velocity and be far enough out, with enough acceleration, to execute their attacks and THEN follow us. By all means, make it clear now!”

“Of course, Admiral!” Ysalha made sure of it, the daring captains of their little destroyers pushing in relentlessly even as the enemy converged, up from the surface of Caprica and all around them, and certainly some of them were armed with nukes where the patrol fighters were not.

Case Utrani was in action, now, and the moment that every squadron of the fleet indicated their readiness and acknowledgement of their orders, Tisara gave the final order... And the main fleet leapt as their Heim field cruising impellers were activated, driving them instantly to 1c, and then increasing rapidly as the fleet tore away from Caprica on the virtues of their second type of FTL drive, which kept them in real space and able to maneouvre, up to speeds of almost 54c. In one moment, the Taloran fleet, as Case Utrani demanded, had gone from trapped by the surface forces to trapping the Cylon fleet against the planet Caprica.

The Utrani had been a famed tribe of the Midelan desert who for millennia had bedeviled the Midelan branch of the Valerian Dynasty, and they had used a tactic from their effavsur to weaken their enemies for a charge of rostok, which in human history would be called the “Parthian Shot”. And indeed, the moment the that the fleet detransitioned to sublight again, the aft assault missile launchers of the heavy cruisers salvoed, sending one hundred and twenty-eight of the massive missiles, with considerable risk to the destroyers of fratricide accepted without comment, rushing forward at thousands of g's of acceleration under rockets, and then their anti-grav drives activated and the 3,000 tonne missiles, the size of a gunboat, were shoved up to tens of thousands of g's of acceleration, boring in on the Cylon force with all the deadly terror a tremendous salvo of Soviet Sunburns might have elicited from an American carrier taskgroup. Countless of the 256 MT -warhead tipped very long range missiles in the standard arm launchers followed in salvoes sent out as fast as they could be loaded and fired.

“We're fully engaged now, Admiral, as we'll have to close the distance again to aide the destroyers in getting clear after they launch their torpedo attacks,” Rear Admiral Joshart warned via coms.


“He's right, and....”

“Prior faster than light coms!” The lieutenant announcing the message continued: “Case Support, Case Support, from the Colonial forces.” Which meant they did, in fact, need assistance. Assistance that Tisara could not give since her destroyers were fully engaged.

“We can't launch fighters if we need to jump soon. We'll need to go at FTL and engage point-blank with the Baseships, take them out and fend off the Raiders as rapidly as we can,” Ysalha offered.

“We can't risk the damage to our ships this far from home. Order the heavy cruisers to fire their forward assault missile launchers. All of them!”

“Mistress,” Ysalha abruptly looked wide-eyed and perhaps a little scared. “Shouldn't we hold some in reserve in case the enemy forces in the Picon system are particularly large?”

“We'll rely on detailed communications from Cain for that. If they can get it through jamming. If not.. If we don't take this risk, my Ysalha, there will likely be nothing left to rescue. Now, order the cruisers to salvo their forward launchers, and prepare us for the FTL move into torpedo range with the Baseships! Let us trust the advice of the Countess of Kriesdihl, and attack boldly when in doubt!”
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Post by fusion » 2007-11-02 07:35pm

Isn't 22 gigatonne overkill especially considering that megatonnes will kill it?

Other than that I liked the mentioning of the borgs... so are you going to finish the starship table thingy that you started?

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-11-03 01:08am

fusion wrote:Isn't 22 gigatonne overkill especially considering that megatonnes will kill it?

Other than that I liked the mentioning of the borgs... so are you going to finish the starship table thingy that you started?


And, please, remember. We're fudging everything for story purposes. This is first and foremost fiction for entertainment purposes, not some sort of debate commentary.
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 » 2007-11-07 03:02am

Chapter 15
Battlestar Galactica
Picon System

The Piconese in the surviving ships of the fleet had a bittersweet reunion with their homeworld. Surrounded by two hundred and fifty two (four had dropped out from mechanical problems) J'u'crea gunboats of 3,850 tonnes, the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus stood in low orbit of Picon, sweeping forward at high speed, and, as ordered, launching fighters as fast as they could. Galactica was able to launch 48 Mk. VII Vipers, 96 Mk. II Vipers, the Blackbird, and 5 Raptors from her port pod and 192 Taloran TVI-48 space superiourity fighters from the Starboard bay which had been restored to service in ten days of manic work by Taloran technicians, for use with the smallest Taloran fighters, which could still barely fit in the launch tubes. The Pegasus was able to launch 576 Mk. VII Vipers and 20 Raptors, the numbers easily replenished by the onboard manufacturing facilities the moment that Tisara had been able to supply raw materials, though many of the pilots on both ships were green reservists, trained on the fleet for emergencies, and others were in fact Taloran volunteers from their Starfighter corps. Nuclear and anti-matter missiles were plentifully provided by the Talorans, including multi-platform 256 MT antimatter warheads fitted to the Tylium-missiles of the two Battlestars to bring them up to the same firepower as the nuclear fits.

The Blackbird cut down into the atmosphere for surveillance and reconaissance as passive sensors attempted to pick up reports from the surface on energy emissions for targeting purposes as they swept around the planet in powered orbit. The fighters were accelerating toward their chosen target, the Picon Fleet Yards' fueling installations, with the gunboats in amongst them. It was going perfectly, and then DRADIS revealed something which cut through the cool professionalism that the Galactica's bridge crew was showing in the circumstances with an icy chill. There was a Baseship being revealed ahead around the terminator line. And another, and another. But all that came from Cain was silence.

“Frak, we can't do it now,” Tigh muttered. “Got to pull off, jump out...”

“I know,” Adama answered grimly. What's Cain waiting for? At any moment, the baseships ahead, and there were more and more being revealed, would respond from their own surprise...

“Recall orders being transmitted!”

The bridge seemed to sigh, and then Admiral Cain's voice cut through. “General Javishurkh agrees with me. We can take them with the aide of the fighters and gunboats. Stand by for close quarters battle.”

“Admiral Cain,” Adama answered as respectfully as could be managed. “DRADIS is now reading seven.. No, excuse me, eight Baseships. We have the advantage of surprise, but they're starting to launch. We need to jump out.”

“It will take to long to recover the Taloran fighters, which can't jump,” Cain answered, and betrayed a moment's understanding of the situation that was fairly deep. “It would be quite impossible to abandon our allies. Anyway, we can take them.”

“Nine, Admiral. Ask for the Archduchess' assistance, at least?”

“Agreed,” Cain answered, and that was that. On the bridge of the Galactica, Adama and Tigh exchanged a grim look.

“Cylon missiles coming in!”

Whippet-fast, the fighters and gunboats swung around to accelerate back toward the Cylons and overtook the two Battlestars, passing them and sweeping through the field of Cylon missiles, where several unfortunates were taken out by direct hits. Then the Taloran gunboats began to attack. The J'u'crea type mounted two internal rotary launchers, and these systematically pumped out twelve fire-and-forget anti-fighter missiles each, a small anti-matter charge detonating a casing of unstable metallic hydrogen to provide maximum blast radius. This long range punch had an incredible effect on the vulnerable Cylon raiders; the entire initial launch force of the Cylons was more or less wiped out. They opened up with their forward heavy powerguns next. Basically twin main guns of a modified and enlarged version of those used on Taloran hovertanks, and largely identical, except in fixed mounts, to those used as anti-fighter weapons by larger Taloran ships, the guns were designed to punch through the energy shields of a 250 tonne tank and destroy it. They had plenty of power for smashing Cylon raiders.

The Cylons also didn't neatly stay in place for the J'u'creas to blast them apart; they were already spreading rapidly as more fighters issued from the enemy ships and shifting around them. The two quad-mounts of light bolters on the wings only had limited traverse, and soon it was left to the twin light cannon in a dorsally mounted turret on the gunboats to provide their defence, along with the short-range rocket packs.

“Full throttle! Course two-seventy,” the radios on the Galactica occasionally crackled with new orders as the fighters now entered the battle, the big, fast-accelerating gunboats taking on the Raiders first. The ship had been buffeted by two near misses, but for the moment the Pegasus in close concert meant that the two ships could overlap their defensive fire networks and hold off the Cylon fire. The purpose in Cain's plan had become more obvious after a moment of thought. She had remembered that each of the Taloran gunboats was also fitted with eight DRADIS-counter-homing missiles, and the Cylon Baseships were unshielded. They could, getting in close enough, possibly cripple the targeting systems of the Baseships. A thin chance to pin the survival of our fleet on.. The Galactica rocked dangerously from another blow which tore through the ship below the bridge, smoke dumping into the ventilation system for a moment before being locked off and cleared.

“Get me a damage report on that!”

“Admiral Cain is ordering main batteries to engage. Save missiles for point blank range.”

“Open fire!”

Outside the fighters were tangling with growing numbers of Cylon Raiders. The main batteries of the two Battlestars combined against a single Baseship, pounding it in a way that the meaty, semi-biological Cylon hulls could not withstand. But there were another eight Baseships, that way, smothering the two Battlestars in missiles. Support would be required for them to blast their way through the Cylon formation.

The fighters of the two Battlestars had served in holding off the Raiders from the gunboats. Now the gunboats were close enough, and almost twenty-five hundred HARMs were sent at the main Cylon force and their light support, driving in toward their active DRADIS emissions. And then they pushed their acceleration all the way to the max and drove in after them, starting to lose more of their numbers to the Cylon counterfire. The bombardier on each of the gunboats coolly began to make the calculations for the torpedo runs, fine-tuning their launching vectors and using neural interfaces to direct the maximization of the effectiveness of the penaids against the Cylon defence, coolly waiting through to the right moment.

Between the massed fire of two Battlestars, now growing closer and closer, one of the Cylon Baseships was blasted out of formation, spinning away immensely damaged. The hulls of the Battlestars were growing in their accumulation of severe damage, however, as unprotected they stood up to the massed Cylon barrages. More and more Raiders were coming from somewhere, and here, Adama was not sure, until they got a report back from the Blackbird.

“There's several thousand Raiders staging on the surface, at least,” Tigh grimly reported to him. “This situation is getting worse and worse, and the Archduchess isn't here...”

“Give the Talorans with us a chance,” Adama answered, expectant of what was going to happen next, even as more and more of the Taloran gunboats were blasted out of the stars.

They reached torpedo range, and 220 surviving gunboats each launched two close-range torps. With 10 gigatonne warheads. Most of them were shot down even by the anemic Cylon defences. A vast majority, in fact, while more of the Gunboats were lost as they turned away and desperately fled for it at full acceleration.

Three human seconds ticked away. Then, three Cylon Baseships ticked away, in fire and detonations of immense power as they were hit by enough of the torpedoes to destroy them entirely. Another two were caught by a torpedo each and left severely damaged, the flashes and intense power completely overwhelming DRADIS. What DRADIS that there was, that is, for most of the Cylon ships, the Baseships and Heavy Raiders and corvettes, had been hit by the HARMs in some way or another. Their firing was crippled, and the number of hits on the two Battlestars plunged, as they raced in toward the shattered formation, three cripples, three intact Baseships. The targeting feeds from several assigned gunboats standing off provided the Battlestars with real-time FTL sensor information, and that gave them a considerable advantage. The Cylons had FTL coms, but their sensors in that area were simple ping-based receivers which had nothing on the complex information that the Talorans could generate, and couldn't be used so effectively for targeting.

In this miasma of sensor confusion, the two Battlestars got into point-blank range, and nosed their way into the Cylon formation. Admiral Cain coolly gave the order, and barrages of nuclear missiles swept from the Battlestars into the Baseships while their guns pounded them at point-blank range. The Baseship between the two Battlestars simply blew up. Another one of the badly damaged cripples was destroyed by Galactica's guns, while Pegasus crippled yet another of the undamaged ones. Two intact and three crippled Baseships, and four completely destroyed, were left behind the passage of the Colonial fleet and the Taloran starfighter corps.

“A fast battle,” Tigh commented grimly. “Our fighters are still extricating themselves. The losses look very heavy.” At this point, not even suspicious Tigh called the Talorans anything other than 'our's'. To much blood had been spilled for those distinctions.

Admiral Cain's prior line came in. “Commander Adama?”

“Go ahead, Sir.”

“We'll destroy the Picon Fleet yards with our own guns.” A moment's pause. “We're coming up on some juicy planetary targets. We're sending targeting coordinates to you.”


Dualla couldn't help it when she saw the data feed that followed. “Some of these are dams and other industrial facilities—if there are human survivors on the surface...”

“Deny the Cylons industrial resources,” Adama answered. “The rich agricultural valleys and cities aren't the places where there will be survivors, regardless. So don't even think about it. Send the necessary orders to the batteries...”

The bridge was subdued as the guns began to fire, and the ragged formations of Vipers and Taloran starfighters came up together, the nuke-armed Raptors having expended their loads of missiles and landing to be resupplied. Even as the guns continued to fire, the Picon Fleet Yards swept into view, and there was the grimmest sight the Colonial officers could imagine. Three Baseships fueling at the Tylium tankage facilities, and, in the yards themselves, three of the elderly all-mechanical Cylon Baseships of the saucer-type undergoing servicing and repairs at what had once been the vital home of the Colonial fleet.

It was also the perfect target of opportunity. “It's worth using up our remaining missiles for,” Cain observed to Adama over their radio connection.

“More Cylons must be coming in. And their defences were already much stronger than we expected.”

“We'll take the risk.”

Systematically, the two last surviving ships of the Colonial fleet put everything they had into the Picon yards, detonating the vast Tylium stores which had been the one year's operational supply of the entire fleet, and then some. It was not a battle, it was an execution. These Cylon vessels were not prepared to fight, and the power of the Tylium reactions guaranteed such immense explosions as to annihilate them before they could pull away to resist, even with ample warning.

“I want us reoriented to provide relief supplies to the surface,” Adama ordered, feeling the strange detachment that everyone did after having destroyed the orbital facilities that they had once called home. The debris of the yards drifted away, hot against the cold of space.

He activated his direct line to Admiral Cain. “Have you heard anything from the Taloran fleet?”

“No.” Even Cain was sounding worried by that point.

“I'm going to start dropping relief supplies to the planet. We can redeploy the fighter forces to cover should the two operational Baseships attempt another attack from around the farside...”


“Admiral!” The shout could be heard over the pickup feed.

Adama, on instinct, looked to Tigh.

“We've got another nine Baseships coming in.”

Now Adama realized exactly how Fraslia must have felt, except in reverse. Where the hell is Tisara Urami!?

HSMS Orelyost,
Caprica System.

Tisara's twin missile barrages had spearheaded the FTL counterstrike of her fleet. The massive heavy assault missiles had bored in to point-blank range and then each one had launched, in every direction, a cluster of 10 GT short range attack torpedoes. The two salvoes had ended up destroying six Baseships before her fleet had even completed its retrograde movement back into close range with the Cylon fleet. There were now just twenty left.

And the Taloran destroyers were attacking from the other side. Eight of their number had been lost from the Cylon missiles and massed raiders—some of them engaging in kamikazi strikes because of their inability to otherwise harm the vessels—and another three possibly from the immense overkill of the Taloran assault missiles which Tisara had ordered fired despite the risks. The remaining 55 destroyers and 3 destroyer leaders in the attack force had, between them, almost seven hundred of the torpedoes, multiple-staged extended range versions of the ones fitted to the Taloran bombers and gunboats. Firing with a chemical '0' stage and boosters initially, a series of Metallic-hydrogen fueled explosive stages triggered by anti-matter, brought the torpedoes up to incredible speed in a couple of seconds.

The Cylon point-defence wasn't capable of handling the assault. Their sheer numbers made it more effective than the point defence against the gunboats over Picon; the greater distance at which they were launched made it easier to destroy them. But still, enough torpedoes got through, targeted in vast waves, to completely destroy four Baseships, ripping them apart with sledgehammers of raw energy greatly above anything that the weak carrier-type vessels could hope to repel. The destroyers raced clear from the formation and accelerated further, losing only three more of their number.

Now Tisara's fleet was in position, though, and the guns of the Battlecruisers salvoed in massive fury from the moment they'd arrived, pounding at the Baseships, more than a few of which were heavily damaged. The battleship joined in, and the cruisers smothered them with lighter fire. Their salvoes started coolly tearing up the battered Cylon formation, as Tisara's orders brought them progressively closer. It was, certainly, worthy of the Countess of Kriesdihl. A torpedo attack by battlecruisers and cruisers. Nobody had attempted one in a century in the Imperial Taloran Starfleet, and even she had abstained in her later years from encouraging such extremely bold, recklessly bold, tactics.

The Cylons were battering them with missiles and they were returning the favour, heedless of wearing down their batteries of long-range missiles in a point-blank engagement in favour of putting as much weight of firepower down onto the enemy as they could, the guns systematically throwing massed salvoes at the enemy each and every fifteen seconds. The worn down and battered Cylon Baseships started to explode, one after the other.

Tisara sat on the flagbridge of the Orelyost, watching as her customary boldness saved her from an embarrassing defeat she could not afford. There were now thirteen Baseships left. She had destroyed more than half of the enemy fleet, and the destroyers were forming up under the cover of the fleet's guns. Highly energized particles traveling at slightly below the speed of light from the Orelyost's own guns finally struck a target with enough power, ripping through biological systems, snapping through the outer metallic carapace, turning flesh and steel into vapourized gouts of plasma, destroying critical systems and severing connections, as to trigger a catastrophic detonation, adding a direct kill by her flagship to the list of triumphs, and reducing the number of the enemy to twelve battered ships.

At that point, the Cylons finally began to flee. Tisara watched as the ships began to move toward the planet and bared her teeth in a smile which to a Taloran was predatory and dangerous, and crowed her victory: “Look at the glory of our puissant arms, driving them into the planet! trikhami-uhl!” Everyone around her looked in surprise at her ordering a pursuit, but not a voice of disagreement was raised. The Cylons had avoided suffering a devastating massed attack from the Taloran heavies' torpedo batteries, but they were now hardly out of trouble.

The fleet angled to pursue, pounding the slow moving and damaged Baseships to the rear which progressively fell behind, the battlecruisers reducing their shield power in favour of greater acceleration to overtake the less damaged Baseships, the Cylon dependence on missiles now showing as the main guns of the fleet kept pounding away, but the enemy's return fire slacked as their missiles were expended, the Taloran forces steadily spreading out as the greyhounds of the fleet charged ahead at speeds only the destroyers could match, guns hammering with a deadly regularity, while the looming bulk of the battleship plodded in a placid fashion, guns anything but as she systematically demolished two crippled Baseships.

And then the Cylon trap was sprung. Hordes of mustered Raiders flung themselves against the overextended battlecruisers. And they didn't stop coming, or slow down. They rammed. And doing it by the thousand, they presented a sudden and immediate problem for the battlecruisers. At higher acceleration, with their shields lower, a potential fatal one. In a moment even the Orelyost was being buffeted, while the main batteries continued to grimly fire at the fleeing enemy.

Ysalha had just had enough. She turned to the silent Tisara, and ostentatiously bowed. “Mistress, I beg of you to issue the suitable order for this situation. We have been receiving further requests for aide from Admiral Cain, and the battle is now pointless. Our battlecruisers are threatened and we must, at the least, avoid the next waves of Cylon Raiders, and re-group into formation...”

“Missiles coming up from the planetary surface!” One of Tisara's staff officers reported in a more alarmed tone. As there was the discretion of the pursuit, the ships had already cut their acceleration to increase shielding and recover some of the losses from the pounding by the kamikazi waves that they'd suffered, with more coming, mustered around Caprica and being flung against them.

“Battle turn-away, Mistress. Signal battle turn-away!”

Tisara struck Ysalha with the pommel of her sword in an immensely irritated fashion, though the vacsuits they were both wearing softened the blow. “Impudent slave!” She said, even in the midst of battle drawing more than a few baleful glances. “We will continue the pursuit.”

There was, however, more dangers lurking on the far side of the planet. As the point-defence guns of the battlecruisers chattered ceaselessly and more and more RAMs were fired the kamikazi problem seemed to be partially solved even as the shields of the great ships were worn down steadily by it. The Cylons would, at least the least, have to keep it for quite some time to pose a threat for the ships at the reduced acceleration, but that also meant that their pursuit was slower, and so far they'd only succeeded in disabling the engines of two more of the Baseships for the trailing cruisers to pick apart.

But with the masking revealed by the arcing powered orbit, so were nine Cylon Baseships, all fresh and with more than ten thousand fresh Raiders with them, and six elderly Baseships of the double-saucer type, which Tisara actually feared more than the others. These were armed, she knew, with the same missiles as the older ones, but had sizeable gun batteries and armour, having been built not to carry some twelve-hundred Raiders but instead to go toe-to-toe with the more common Colonial battleships of the first war, before they'd built a large number of the Battlestars whose existence forced a change in Cylon tactics for the next round, as best as the Colonials could tell.

And another fifteen Baseships was a force that Tisara knew she could not successfully engage. Finally she gave the order she should have already given. “Battle-turn away!” Engines slewing, magnetic fields stretched and bent at high-levels, the ships violently transferred their momentum, crusing impellers briefly engaging to throw them into an FTL regimen where they could cheat the laws of momentum for microseconds, immense forces straining at the massive ships as they slewed and spun on heel, engines whining and hulls creaking, pressure being relieved in some by the snapping of secondary internal supports, the kinetic energy lost in their destruction saving the ships from more serious structural failures, as had been designed.

The rest of the fleet had imitated the manoeuvre with less severity, and Tisara had avoided losing any more ships. Now it was time to figure out just precisely how much they could do, and this Ysalha started on, offering a twistedly fond smile to her lover despite the earlier blow, which no Taloran noble would have tolerated, should have tolerated.

“How much charge do we have available on the fleet drives?”

“Seventeen-point-five lightyears of jump range, Your Ladyship,” one of the staff officers reported, the last two words with an overt pitying tone.

“Choose Point Zika,” Tisara ordered abruptly, a recovery to her characteristic quick decision. “Six lightyear jump for us. Inform Cain immediately. But we will not jump. Instead, I want full power for the crusing impellers. Bring us up to fifty-four c, escape pattern Ultia. We will not give the Cylons here a pursuit vector, so that we may fall upon such ships only as pursue Cain with overwhelming force. She must survive at Point Zika long enough for us to arrive...”

Battlestar Pegasus
Picon System.

“Serious hit to the port pod! We have reports of external bay depressurization... We can't hold out longer against this many Raiders, Admiral!” The utter desperation on the bridge of the Pegasus was palatable as hordes of Raiders swamped them, their defending squadrons having been recalled so they could jump. And the jump would surely bring them no real mercy... The huge numbers of reconaissance craft would flood out and track them down.

Except that they had an ace in the hole. “Point Zika,” Cain ordered, ignoring the latest reports. “We've got confirmation from the Archduchess, frack all of who knows what took so long. Make the jump!”

The Galactica's pods retracted, the Colonial fleet vanished. Confidently, the Cylons followed. Their FTL sensors were imperfect in the extreme, and in the past they'd relied on spies in the Colonial fleet, useless here. But they did give them a basic idea of the direction and magnitude of the Colonial fleet's jump. So they spread out their scouts, and jumped on their own, eight Baseships, one having been destroyed by a few lucky blasts of Pegasus' forward batteries after being thoroughly nuked by the re-launched Raptors, which followed the Battlestars in the jump.

The Taloran fleet was not at point Zika. Even Cain, at this point, felt an icy chill through her heart. Did I misread Tisara? Is she coming to our aid? Or we have been betrayed? She picked up the handset. “Commander Adama, how are your squadrons along in preparing for another strike?”

“Admiral, we've suffered almost fourty percent losses in all squadrons and two of my Raptors have been destroyed as well. The ship herself has extensive damage in sixty percent of outer hull sectors. If the Talorans don't arrive... We need to jump and evade as necessary, Admiral.”

“We'll hold for the moment, until we can get a hand on all damage and re-arm our squadrons,” Cain answered. “But we hold position and prepare to jump at a moment's notice.”

“Admiral...” Adama began to protest. He thought better of it. “Very well, I understand the orders. Galactica standing by.”

“About time. The man got to used to running the show in the past six months,” Cain muttered softly over the cut connection. “It would be nice if we had the missile banks of the Talorans right now...”

“We only have two missiles left,” Commander Fisk agreed. “And those of Galactica are entirely expended. If they do catch us, Admiral....”

“I know. But we wait. Let's get on damage control and move on from there.” Where are you, Tisara? They did not have to wait long before the Cylons arrived.

HSMS Jhammind,
Arriving, Point Zika.

A cylon raider lodged in her gut, having failed to explode, and two others scattering and pitting her hull, massive sections blown out as the explosive-reactive armour saved the ship from destruction, the already battered Jhammind was a wreck, aship that would have been sent home in any normal circumstance. But here they stood, in their squadron formation, available to soak up damage if nothing else. They still had their two five-tube trainable torpedo launchers and a single main turret operational, one of the worst damaged of the cruisers, and understandably considering that they had gone into the battle already just patched up from prior heavy damage.

What Fraslia nor even Tisara herself realized as they arrived was just how close to the Cylon forces they were coming in. The jump was essentially random in that respect, at close range. 219 Taloran warships arrived at the arbitrary grouping point in deep space to find themselves face to face at spitting distance with eight Baseships which had already launched their Raiders toward the Colonial forces. If the bridge hadn't been buried deep in the keel, Fraslia was sure she could have seen the enemy with her bare eyes. And that meant the orders were obvious. “Torpedoes, action port!”

The fixed tubes of the heavies were receiving the same orders. Not one grand salvo of torpedoes, then, as it was from the cruisers which sent a wave of them toward the enemy, but the torpedo tube commanders on the Battlecruisers and Battleship fired independently, the moment they sighted the enemy, aligning their tubes by limited traverse and programming their firing angles before slamming the levers which explosively vented the torpedoes by compressed air clear of the hull before ignition. It was an example of discipline and initiative at once, that the torpedoes were already being fired, or in some cases, fired already and reloaded, by the time that Tisara had appraised herself of the situation. The central battery directors of the ships, in a situation where they were in main combat and no order to cease fire had been given, also simply opened up.

They received orders to launch their fighter squadrons, all two of them, to aide the fighters of the light carriers, finally being launched now, and those of the other ships, normally reserved for scouting purposes but here being used to add weight of numbers to an attack on the rear of the Cylon raiders harrying the desperately battered Battlestars. The bombers and gunboats, however, unprotected with the fleet between them and the enemy's fighters, swung the moment they were launched and in twos and threes flung themselves in uncoordinated initiative attacks upon the enemy.

The result of independent targeting meant that almost all of the CBDs focused in on the three nearest Baseships, and they were raked with the concentrated power of five capital ships. Torpedo battery targeting was in a similar fashion. Of the Jhammind's ten torpedoes, only one hit. It was enough to cripple one of the further damaged Baseships, however, and bereft of Raider cover the bombers and gunboats recklessly pressed in from every single direction while the five great capital ships demolished one of the nearest Baseships and their fire, more organized, more precise, became to chew through the others.

As the rapid-fire of the torpedo tubes exhausted their limited stores in the space of two minutes of firing, the capital ships rolled, presenting fresh shield banks and fresh torpedo tubes. The attacks by the bombers and gunboats continued, two Baseships coming apart under the hammering blows while another one was lost to the concentrated gunfire of Tisara's fleet.

Jhammind, her torpedo tubes reloaded and fired again and again as they trained and tracked with the Cylon Baseships, equally pounded away with her single intact twin turret. The Cylons focused their missiles on the heavies, and were finally rewarded with a shield failure on the Ilkranisi which allowed four missiles to get through and pound the old battleship, not so well shielded at low accelerations as this when compared to the dreadnought-scale shield banks of the battlecruisers. She heeled sharply to starboard and slewed out of line under the power of the nuclear detonations and the kinetic force of her own ERA being set off, internal armour below the ERA stopping the remaining force of the detonations easily enough and her gravitic impellers shifting force and direction to restore her to position in the line. The battleship might not have the energy shields of a battlecruiser, but superdense exotic metals aplenty in her hull, layered with immense high-end ceramic plates and covered with the metallic hydrogen ERA tankage made the 28-megatonne ship completely unimpaired by the hammer's blow of four almost simultaneous direct nuclear events against her hull, of considerable yield, her guns blasting back an arrogant answering salvo the moment her thrusters had righted her.

Other missiles were getting through as well, hammering and tearing through the ranks of the cruisers. One of the light cruisers was finally overwhelmed, having been damaged in the earlier engagement at Caprica, and its battered hulk was pounded to death, all power lost and spinning off, drifting, sections of superstructure and stub wings blown off and huge chunks torn from the hull, permanently killed if nominally intact. But for that minor blow to the Oralnif Spinward's taskforce, a thousand deadly hammer-strikes had been dealt to the Cylons.

The continual wave of torpedoes and gunfire was indeed rapidly demolishing the remaining Cylon Baseships while their Raider forces were caught between two fires. Between the torpedoes and the guns of the battlecruisers and the Ilkranisi two more were completely destroyed, and the surviving two had suffered enough. They jumped clear with the haste and precision of Cylon drives, calculating in advance for this moment for several minutes, and those Raiders which had a clear path to space followed them. The remainder, which was most of them, were butchered in the space of minutes.

“Medical, please report,” Fraslia asked with an almost grim and automatic manner to her words.

“We've got at least six hundred fatalities in the crew, I think,” Dr. Ghimalia's voice came back. “Doctor Frysi is in surgery right now. And I need to start another one, Your Ladyship, so leave us alone. We have thirty surgeons... And three hundred people who need surgery to live. No time for estimates. Work with the unhurt.” She preemptorily cut off the channel.

Fraslia slumped back. “I can't believe that damned fool didn't kill us all. A pervert and a sadist, but of Valera's blood even so. She saw us through...” A shaky laugh echoed across the bridge. “I suppose I underestimed her, after all. Now, if we can only get clear in time to survive...”

The bridge ignored her battered, exhausted ruminations, and focused on the immense amounts of damage control which by this point served to simply keep the poor ship from falling apart. She was very close to doing just that, and Fraslia had more than her own disjointed ramblings to worry about in the rubble of a stricken ship with a savaged crew.

HSMS Orelyost,
Point Zika.

Ysalha Armenbhat staggered on her feet with an almost drunken exhaustion. One missile had penetrated the Orelyost's shields and caused further shock damage (on top of that from the battle turn-away manoeuvre) which was making her rather cranky cruising impellers act up. The best performing ships were never sent to the Oralnif Spinward, after all (particularly mechanically), and she was worried about the possibility of their flagship being unable to operate in realspace FTL manoeuvres, forcing it to stay with the battlestars. Her basic intelligence and instincts told her that they only had minutes, or seconds.

“Mistress,” the words came as readily as ever—their discipline and reserve completing forgotten in this harrowing ordeal of trap and counter-trap, jump and counter-jump, of endless manoeuvres and blows at a far higher intensity than the Taloran Starfleet was used to operating--the blow from Tisara's pommel, in a way, having been a reaffirmation for her of the equally deranged Archduchess' love. “We need to jump to escape point Yta, via waypoint 10. That should throw the Cylons off long enough for us to have two hours to make spot repairs and recharge the drives for a full jump. We can try to stabilize the cruising impeller, to, but before then I recommend we form up with the Battlestars...”

“Agreed. Start recovering the space superiourity fighters immediately; they have the priority. Interceptors and bombers should remain on patrol with the gunboats and they will make the jump with us, and be recovered while we recharge our drives.”

“I've already ordered the recovery of all survivors from the Utharin,” Ysalha answered a bit presumptively, referring to the light cruiser. She knew the failures of her lover and mistress, after all. “Along with such escape pods as were launched.”

“Very good. I am glad we recovered most of the survivors from the destroyers as well. I fear we have certainly left some of our crews in Cylon hands; but if the Cylons continue their depravity against us, they shall find us most unobliging foes, so let us trust in that to quaint their black hearts.”

The forces completed the recovery of their space superiourity fighters, and jumped clear. Nobody had any idea how hard the pursuit would be over the next few days, and indeed, the next hours would be the most relaxing for the forces of the two fleets. The Cylons had suffered very badly on that day, but they had also learned, and begun to formulate goals; but not knowing even the strength or size of their new foe, they proceeded with a worthy caution. It was a well-considered policy, considering the Midelan dreadnought squadron which was already coming up fast.
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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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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-11-14 02:05am

HSMS Orelyost.
Deep Space.

Thirty thousand Talorans packed into the immense battlecruiser, ten times the crew of the Pegasus of similar mass, and there was a reason for it. The operational combat crew at any one time was only around 15,500; in short, two shifts could be maintained even during combat situations, the second half of the crew being used simply as a flood of backup damage control teams (there are never enough of those) and a personnel reserve. The main difference was in the officers and warrants and other specialists. They needed to be on their feet at almost all times, and for that, there were combat drugs.

Sickbay handled most of them. For some, however, it was simply a private affair. Tisara Urami pushed slightly on the plunger, awake after about two and a half hours of sleep which had let her as refreshed as nine. After the confirming squirt, always the same from the finely silvered needle, she slipped it into a clearly visible—having been in space for so long she was virtually translucent in her white skin overlaid with gray-green tint—vein and depressed the plunger very exactly. A bodily shudder ran through her, quick and convulsive, and she pulled it out.

And then she drew another dose. “It's the epitome of trust, you know, to share this needle with you...”

Ysalha, already dressed, smiled shyly, her sleeve rolled back. “Thank you for it, Mistress.”

“I sometimes think, that each dawn I die, when I wake and realize here I am, with this suite as the extent of my domains. But then I recall that in it, I possess you, and my troubles are eased. The trade.. Was a worthy one.”

Ysalha gasped a bit, flushing more intensely gray-green. Tisara had never said such words before. “Do you fear...?”

“I just wanted to get some things out of the way in the case of what happens next.” The needle was slipped in, and Ysalha injected. The main difference was that as her body gave such a convulsive shudder, she moaned deeply in wild abandon of pleasure. There was really nothing better for her, though it would take a true masochist to find pleasure in the harsh combat drugs.

Removing and cleaning the needle, before putting it back, Tisara then abruptly grabbed a data transfer case, and seizing Ysalha roughly by the neck flipped up the false-skin protecting the connection jack, slipping the case in place and activating it.

“Data coordinates for the jumpdrive,” Ysalha murmured, returning quickly to being all business. “You want to override our pattern and make this our next jump? The next pre-planned jump is coming up soon.”

“So go up to the bridge and do it now.”

“Of course, Mistress.”

“One other thing. Once we arrive at our new destination, I want you to trip Orelyost's sensors and coms for a three-point-eight full spectrum generation burst.”

Ysalha suddenly jerked. “But that will bring the Cylons right down on our heads, and we've been running hard and fighting rearguard actions for a week! We can't handle the fleet pursuing us; it's more than thirty Baseships at this point.”

“We can't. But do it.”

Ysalha's eyes widened in recognition, and she dipped her head. “Of course, mistress. Permission to go?”


Tisara watched her lover go, removing the transfer case first, and then pulled up the copy of her sealed orders on a private, non-networked computer. The ones transmitted to her just before she'd taken the fleet out on her raid by the incoming Royal Midelan Navy forces. They'd been intended as a way for her to bring the Colonial refugee fleet to safety, not for this, but the Colonial refugee fleet was safe, and it was Tisara's fleet that was threatened. And her Aunt, really, wouldn't care that much, even if she'd be a bit surprised.

They'd been under strict silence regimes since the twin battles of Picon and Caprica, but now.. Now it was time.

Ysalha reached the flagbridge and coolly used her overrrides as the commanding Admiral's chief of staff to signal the new jump coordinates to the entire fleet via tight-beam laser pulse. A blinking query came back from the Pegasus: Please advise course shift purpose. CAIN. And Ysalha answered, without a beat: Physical alteration in random jump sequence to avoid Cylon prediction. A moment later the Pegasus simply provided receipt of receival and adherence. The two ships were in close proximity, as the Orelyost's cruising impellers were still down. The constant Cylon pursuit had not given them an opportunity to be repaired, so the flagship, one cruiser with impeller damage, and a frigate, formed up close with the two Colonial ships.

The flagbridge was a picture of crisp efficiency courtesy of combat drugs. Nobody was suffering the effects of fatigue, and it was very much business as usual. The countdown from below in the standard bridge to the jump was rebroadcast, and then as the coordinates were completed and everything was cleared with the last ship reporting full charge, the fleet jumped as one. The atmosphere of the Taloran ships was permeated with further gasses, more drugs, which prevented the crew from suffering the negative effects of a jump on the human psyche and body. One moment they were there in deep space, and the next moment they were in a star system twenty-eight point nine lightyears away.

Ysalha smiled, thrilled at the knowledge of what would come next, and rather like a naughty schoolgirl stepped over to the vacant FTL command section of the coms banks. She casually tripped it on, flipping a cover off a switch and flipping it up. Then she very lazily pushed a series of three buttons in sequence and slammed the side of her hand down into about twenty. “Oops.” The sarcasm was reverent as the timeclock she'd activated ran by the tenths of seconds and she hit the console kill control switch again at just the right moment.

And then someone was in her face, and she was confronting a drawn pistol of Commander Slitrami's. “You damned sinful whore! You've brought the enemy right down upon us, and by Farzbardor if we won't see Her Serene Grace forced to...”

“Kill you?” Tisara's voice cut across the bridge like a knife. “Quite possibly, Commander. You're from the gentry, and I could get away with it easy enough, a bloodprice to your family. Step away from her, damn you, for I ordered her to do it, and this sort of suspicion is unbecoming of our fleet.”

The gun was immediately lowered, and the flushing Slitrami backed up, realizing that she was being confronted with Tisara's service pistol herself. “At any rate, we're all under the influence of combat drugs,” Tisara continued languidly, “So please remember that we're a dozen times more high-strung than we would be without them.” She holstered the pistol. “Fleet signals, scramble all fighters, stand by for engagement with the enemy. We can't jump for another two hours, anyway, but we won't need to. I want a course prepared to, hmm,” she glanced at the holographic projector of the system. “That large gas giant one-half distance unit out from the star. Initiate immediately while fighter launch and assembly continues. My Aunt loves gas giants.”

“Incoming message from Admiral Cain.”

Tisara stepped over to the central command chair and tapped open the channel herself, while remaining standing. “Don't worry about it, Admiral. And I'm sorry I couldn't discuss it with you. Not even right now.”

“Don't worry?! We're about to be attack by overwhelming force, and the transmission came from your flagship. Do you have those Cylon prisoners aboard..”

“They're still on the Jhammind. I ordered the transmission, Admiral.

There was a long silence. “I believe I understand. Cain out.”

“Ah,” Tisara looked around at the happy and more confident expressions on the bridge. “I see that people are starting to figure out what is going on. Yes, for the record, my family is coming to pay us a social call. Now, attend to your duties, for we'll surely be attacked first. They're arriving in thirty-eight minutes.”

HSMS Jhammind
System DN10808014

“Do you want to walk across the bridge of death so readily? No, I won't kill you, Gina,” Ghimalia said easily, using her real name as it been revealed to her, and only her. She had not repeated it, though most of the crew of the Pegasus knew, of course. “I'm a doctor, and I've been trying to heal you. I've said that on numerous occasions. Suicide is a sin by both of our religions, and by mine, murder...”

All of Ghimalia's spare time these days was taken up by the delicate effort of comforting the battered Cylon prisoner. She alone understood human physiology enough to know that the efforts of a psychiatric professional were badly needed, and lacking one, she turned to the attempt herself out of a natural moral decency. She wasn't going to let one of her patients die now that she'd survived the operating table.

And Gina responded with more than a little trust. Ghimalia was more of a cyborg than not, after all, from the glowing red eyes to the jack in her neck and the vast storage of her personal internal hard drive, containing an endless list of medical facts and details. It could not teach her how to be a surgeon, but having learned, it provided the knowledge in textbook form for everything in xenophysical treatment that her education could not hope to precisely cover. Others were squeamish about such things, but since the moment that Ghimalia, loving visual art, had been told as a girl that she would someday go blind, this had been the natural response. Her thyroid was gone, too. A replacement could have been grown, but the regulator put in instead only needed to be serviced and recharged on a yearly basis, and it had the extra effect of releasing chemicals into her body just like hormones, allowing her to much more finely take the combat drugs if necessary, and to permeate herself with treatment drugs which helped to protect her skin from cancer or simple thermal damage in the face of her albinism's particular vulnerabilities.

“I confess I wish that our peoples weren't fighting,” Ghimalia continued. “We seem more suited for each other than the fractuous democratic colonies with their polytheism. We could have given you the respect and dignity as sentients that you deserve...”

“But instead we killed them all, and in doing so committed to you an unforgiveable crime, an unpardonable sin.” Gina slumped against the good Doctor, and laughed bitterly. “I won't even pretend, though, for I hate her. I hate Cain.. She couldn't even give me a good death...”

“What an endless cycle,” Ghimalia answered. “Must it really continue? Oppression breeds revolt, and independence breeds revenge, now, let us repeat the cycle. Now the Colonies have been humbled, but we will give them a chance to avenge themselves upon you... And that mostly through the efforts of a sadist seeking her own redemption on the bodies of those she does not know. No, I'm very sorry, Gina, that we got ourselves wrapped up in this conflict. But don't seek such vengeance against Cain. In doing so, you'll just complete the circle of hate. There is only tragedy there... The pre-Farzian histories were what feasted upon cycles of fate-mandated blood-spilling and oath-bound revenge killing. You are such a committed monotheist you cannot end your own life. So don't fall to such a pagan sin.”

“How do you stand being a soldier?”

“I just patch them up, mostly,” Ghimalia answered. “And the Empress commands, we Obey. It's the way things have always been, and likely, always will be. You can at least be assured that we would never visit slavery or destruction on your people. We fight wars between militaries.”

“Lots of people say that. But we weren't people, and that was good enough excuse for her...”

Ghimalia didn't press who 'her' was. She'd already figured it out. “You are a member of Homo Sapiens, Gina, a sentient species originating from the planet Terra. I'm a scientist, a medical doctor. I damn well know that you're human by any classification possible. You have some differences, to the point of warranting a designation as a subspecies, but fundamentally your genetic code is the same. And your cybernetics make you no less of a sentient being than mine do for me. You scarcely have more machine than I do, by Idenicamos' harem! Now, it is certainly a mystery how technologically advanced humans came to inhabit the planet Kobol thousands of years ago when the archaeological record of Earth shows they were no more sophisticated than stone-throwers, and even my own species had scarcely broadly used steam engines and repeating rifles. At any rate, Gina... You've been through a lot, and I'll protect you from that in the future. You have my word. It's all I can give, but it means a lot to me. If you're just a machine, after all, then so am I.

Gina hugged against Ghimalia and sobbed in relief. But the moment was very short lived, for the com buzzed insistently.

“Doctor Ghiamlia”

“This is Doctor Frysi”, the voice came, annoyed and insistent. “We need you down here right away. The Cylon fleet has just jumped in, and with the ship in the state it is, we're going to have plenty of casualties soon enough. You should have already been at your station.”

“I'm dealing with a patient,” Ghimalia replied a bit irritably.

“Mental problems are an issue of Will,” Frysi answered with the Taloran standard line in the medical sciences. “Attend to the physic, physician, for that is what can kill. Report immediately, or I will have you disciplined.”

“We aren't in action yet!”

“Which means you have enough time to get here before you can't. That's an order!”

“Of course,” Ghimalia answered, stretching and sighing as she stepped away from Gina. “My apologies. I hope...”

“You mean a lot to me,” Gina answered simply, still crying, though she did not avoid the Doctor's attempt to leave and attend to her duties.

Battlestar Galactica

“What the hell game are you playing at?” Starbuck tossed off to one of her Taloran counterparts suiting up, a lithe and short male with the distinctive high-ovoid helmet required on a flightsuit because of the Taloran ear configuration.

“Wish I knew, Lieutenant. But the enemy is coming on, and we've got to stand and fight now, thanks to whatever Terrible Tisara is planning. She got us this far, at least.”

“I'm real pleased to know that she has such an endearing nickname. I don't suppose anyone important knows..”

“Oh, everyone does, but nobody likes to talk about why.” The man finished sealing his helmet. “We're headed to opposite bays,” he said through the crisp radio feed now working. “Good luck and good fighting, Lieutenant.”

“And hard drinking afterward!”

“We did bring our own stores, if this damn running fight ever ends.”

“That's why I love you people so much! Feels like I'm right at home, as a matter of fact.” And doesn't it, really? It's nice having them aboard the ship. There was something deeper to that which she didn't viscerally understand yet.

“Keep yourself in one piece, then!”

“We'd better keep the whole damn fleet that way!”

They ran to their launch positions. There was no more time for anything except fighting, and he light humour concealed the fact that everyone in the force, regardless of species, knew that time was short if the surface was all that was apparent to this battle. Nine Baseships had already arrived, and they looked fresh. The pursuit force must be being vectored in to a closer jump already, Tisara angling the fleet toward the massive gas giant before them, almost large enough to be a Brown Dwarf, to use its myriad of huge moons to keep the next Cylon jump at a distance.

On the bridge of the Galactica, a similar, but much more dour, conversation had played out between Tigh and Adama. Saul Tigh had every reason to question Tisara's sanity, but Adama had seen the development in a different light, listening Tigh out politely before very gruffly answering, “It's a very convenient accident. Almost an impossible level of incompetence.”

“We don't know how their systems work.. Convenient? The Cylons want to destroy them as badly as us, it's clear. Especially now. They clearly hate all biological life, Sir.”

“I'm not talking about any kind of collusion, Colonel. I'm talking about the possibility that we're the bait in a trap. A trap for a very sizable element of the Cylon fleet.”

“You believe their claims to such a massive Starfleet?”

“I don't know,” Adama answered simply. “We're going to find out very soon.”

“Or end up dead. We should make plans to jump out independently; we're not hindered by the Taloran recharge limitations. Our drives are more sophisticated.”

“Not yet.”

“New targets on DRADIS!” The message intervened in their conversation.

Adama turned. “Estimate?”

“Twenty new, six old Baseships, plus many light. The original pursuit force. They're launching immediately, missiles and Raiders.”

“Defensive batteries on automatic,” Adama answered, watching the plots develop intently. The Taloran ships with their deep missile banks were engaging in counter-fire already.

Pegasus signalling, Sir.” Dualla spoke up.

Adama grabbed the right handset. “Admiral?”

“We're maintaining course, but vector our fighters to intercept the incoming Raiders. All light craft are going to work to draw them off from the fleet while we try to widen the gap. They don't have a speed advantage on us, even damaged. Understood?”

“Roger that, Admiral.” Adama put the receiver down. “Cain is very confident in the matter,” he remarked to Tigh, adding before he turned his attention elsewhere: “I suspect that means something important which can't be communicated directly to us. Or possibly even with her. Remember that the fleet is rife with Cylon spies according to the Taloran estimate. I doubt they trust anyone for dissemination of tactical information. We'll wait and see. And Cain won't give us a chance to do anything else, anyway.”

“Understood, Sir.” Tigh answered in an unusually quiet way.

“Signals from Admiral Cain, we are to fall in behind the Taloran battlecruiser Ghimsar to establish an interlocking defensive pattern...”

HMMS Queen Tonnakhi
RP 1438.

“Time is T minus two minutes to planned jump. Coordinates are locked in to designated arrival point. Stand by for combat jump, all hands, stand by for combat jump. This is Condition One, Action Stations. Prepare for action on jump.”

“Are all inteceptors, bombers, and gunboats deployed?”

“Yes, Your Serene Grace. First, second, third, and fourth destroyer flotillas are also in position. All cruiser squadrons report ready. Rocket cruisers standing by for immediate launch upon targeting.”

“I want all Assault Missile targeting linked. With the fleet's ammunition expenditures being paid for by the Imperial government, we'll hit them with an overwhelming salvo, presuming the fleet that Admiral Urami is guarding to be heavily opposed,” commented Admiral the Archduchess Sipamert of Ritak.

“Beginning one minute countdown for jump.”

Sipamert turned, crisply dressed in the close fitting and tight trousers and conformal three-fourths coat, cross buttoned at the top, of the Royal Midelan Navy, all wine-dark in colour with a banded yellow sash and gold fringing, white boots and gloves and kepi that left the ears free completing the uniform. “Time for us to suit up,” she remarked to a man close by her side. In the one Taloran minute, about eighty-five human seconds, they completed suiting up and finishing up their own personal preparations. The jump needed no input from the commanding Admiral, after all.

“Tell me as much about these Cylons as you can when we arrive, Trisalkh.”

“Of course, Your Serene Grace.”

“Fleet jump!”

Two hundred and eighteen ships of the Royal Midelan Navy jumped into action. The Pegasus had been of the largest ship class of the Colonial fleet, massing 27 megatonnes when completely empty; Galactica had massed only fourteen. The Taloran battleship accompanying Tisara's fleet had massed 25 megatonnes. The Royal Midelan Navy dreadnoughts now arriving in the system of the Queen Tisara-class massed 49.5 megatonnes when completely empty. Their fully loaded mass was two and a half times that, and that did not count the 3 megatonne detachable weapons pods on each immense stub wing. The ships, overall, were 3,225 meters long, and there were eight of them, as promised. Each, fitted with four quadruple, six triple, and four twin turrets on the wings, could put thirty-eight 1.5 gigatonne particle cannon to the broadside, and fire them once every twelve seconds.

Massive, heavy-hulled versions of the slim battlecruisers of Tisara's fleet, they looked like longer, somewhat sleeker versions of a battleship, and far, far more massive, looming in their cool, brooding power. With the usual celerity, the moment they arrived their guns began to track toward the enemy fleet which now found itself caught between TF 889 and Midelan Battle Squadron Eight.

“Starboard missile batteries, engage the distant covering force of the enemy,” Sipamert ordered crisply. “Assault missiles against the main enemy body.”

“No civilian ships detected.”

“Tisara probably has them hiding behind the second gas giant and is trying to draw off the enemy,” Sipamert mused. “the covering force is in a pursuit position for such an arrangement. They're in no danger at the moment, at any rate.” She tapped the armrest of her command chair for a moment, and then gave the order: “All batteries commence firing. All starfighters and gunboats remain in covering positions.”

Each dreadnought fired fifty-one gigatonnes of kinetic energy at its target in the form of a tiny stream of hyper-accelerated atomic particles. Their broadsides were a third again the firepower of a battleship with a fifth greater rapidity, and were only limited by the twin turrets not firing, masked to broadside or by the missile pods. The launch officers, pleased at the chance to do something they had, as members of a minor navy of the Empire not used on the frontiers, never done before. They were emptying an entire attached missile pod into the enemy. Each dreadnought sent 2,500 missiles toward the enemy's distant cover fleet. It was a one-shot salvo, but a one-shot salvo which had six times the power of the gun salvo that the dreadnought had just put into the enemy, and, unattrited, enough power to destroy a dreadnought by itself. And in an example of copious, luxuriant waste, each dreadnought had targeted a single Cylon Baseship.

To the port, against the closer and larger Baseship fleet, the salvo was repeated, even as the eight missile cruisers in the fleet and the fleet's battlecruisers, dreadnoughts, and heavy cruisers salvoed off almost a thousand assault missiles altogether, the larger and immensely expensive devices being used here against a close range enemy in a way that gave them a disadvantage, the same with the port salvoes from the weapons pods of all the Midelan ships. The missile pods being empty, they were immediately ejected from the stub wings with explosive charges, allowing the twin turrets to immediately fire in four-gun salvoes at the enemy to follow up the far more vast ones just delivered.

Sipamert, observing her by-the-book execution of an engagement against enemies to each side, one stronger than the other, didn't notice until later that Trisalkh had collapsed to the deck of the bridge, mumbling, and then screaming, loud enough to distract them all: “They worship her! They worship her! They don't understand, she's mortal! And the lover knows! She knows in her heart! She is here... She is here. They are the savage brood of a savage race and their creation is by savage ways of old! All savagery, all blood...”

He stood, and now everyone on the flagbridge was distracted by the psychic's deranged rantings. “This is the fate of those who enslaved her—don't you understand?” His voice became almost feminine. “I am fire, I am blood, I am agony. Saved from their folly once, will they be saved again.. Does love alone provide justification..? Prophecy cannot be escaped, and even gods can die; so I deny my own divinity. Not mortal, but not against God, and all worlds are from one. They are creations of evil and so is she and so shall be the lover, but all, spirits still!” They restrained him, but still he ranted.

Sipamert struck her house psychic a blow to the back of the neck and he collapsed, a desperate necessity in the heat of battle. “The enemy has the power to drive psychics to temporary insanity,” she remarked coolly, though the incident left her more than a little dazed, and frightened. Of their material power, however, there was no doubt. The first salvoes were striking home, and the second energy salvo was now fired, while much smaller numbers of missiles—eighty or so to each broadside of the dreadnoughts—were being fired even ten seconds.

She shook off the surprise of the madness that had engulfed Trilakh when he had reached out to gaze at the enemy, and concentrated on fighting her battle. Her answer was, surely after all, correct. It just remained for the forces of opposition to be dealt with, and that was a small matter for Battle Squadron Eight, it was rapidly becoming apparent...

Battlestar Galactica.

The battle had been going badly for TF 889 and the Colonial fleet. Though some of the Cylons had been lured off in pursuit of the starfighters and vipers, which were suffering heavily, the majority of them had honed in on the fleet and launched a series of harrying attacks. One heavy cruiser which had suffered severe and prolonged damage in the chase had already been destroyed, and two very badly crippled ships were in severe position, while many of the more heavily damaged vessels served to simply sit in line, scarcely with a single gun working, and soak up more damage to keep their fit counterparts in the fight. The heavies were riding it out, though the unrepaired damage to the Battlestars from before was coming back to haunt them.

Constant swarms of Raiders swept over them, and the Cylon willingness to use suicide tactics was making the development overwhelming as damage seemed to cascade over them, the bridge smoking from several near misses which had caused no significant amount of damage. Almost all targeting was purely by manual at this point, and the starboard bay had severe fires which had yet to be contained, and they had been debating the necessity of venting the bay when the Midelan Battle Squadron Eight had arrived.

What followed was more of a show to them than anything else, one almost horrifying despite who it was directed against. The first salvo of the Imperial fleet did heavy damage to eight Baseships, and the missiles homed in right after it. Enough Raiders were diverted whippet-fast to intercept many of the missiles, but enough got through that in devastating waves of long-range and heavy assault missiles the Cylon fleet was simply gutted. With eight of the Baseships already heavily damaged, and those having been targeted by the long-range missile salvoes as well, eight were destroyed. The heavy assault missiles accounted for another three and more damaged. Eleven of twenty of the modern Baseships in the fleet were destroyed in the first 12 seconds.

By then, though, the six older Baseships were moving forward. These, heavily armoured and equipped with extremely large cannon at the expense of Raider compliments, were better able to stand up to the pounding of the Taloran dreadnoughts than the all-fighter and missile carrier Baseships, and with the massive pod and assault missile salvoes having been expended—the Cylons seemed quite aware similar such overwhelming barrages were absolutely impossible—they took on the Taloran dreadnoughts to buy enough time for the rest of the Cylon force to escape.

Abruptly the fighting ceased for TF 889 as the Raiders fled. The shielding of six of the dreadnoughts lit up as the Cylon cannon began to strike them, missiles roaring in behind them but mostly destroyed by the immense defensive barrages of the Taloran heavies. The armour of the elderly Cylon ships, continuously presenting a good angle due to the double-saucer shape of the vessels, held up surprisingly well to the Taloran fire, directing the damage into fairly small areas of penetration inside their hulls.

The problem was that the cruisers, battlecruisers, and two of the dreadnoughts were unengaged with their guns, and these ships were pounding apart the rest of the Cylon fleet anyway. The Cylons had faster and quicker calculating jump computers, but it was still not proving quick enough to save them, the energy weapons helped by continuous if smaller salvoes of missiles coming at a faster rate, and the range was close enough for the light particle cannon secondary armaments on the dreadnoughts to hammer at their opponents as well.

Waves of kamikazis joined in the Cylon attacks, while Adama recalled the Galactica's battered squadrons, the damage control situation for the moment contained and under Tigh's direction. The kamikazis were there to try and relieve further pressure on the Cylon fleet and for a while they succeeded, but the overwhelming firepower still was blasting apart the Cylon forces, destroying four more of the new Baseships, crippling two others. The remaining three were able to jump out in time, the older Baseships—only one lost—following them, along with the Raiders.

Of the covering force, six Baseships had been destroyed outright. Two were crippled. The remaining one had used its weapons and Raiders to cover the other two, which at such an extreme range was highly effective, until they could both escape, and the undamaged Baseship had followed it. That battle had been over in the period tens of seconds, let alone minutes, and the battle with the main Cylon fleet had lasted not much longer at all. The Raiders, capable of jumping, all easily made it clear, with more surviving than the remaining Cylon ships could possibly handle, but they had considerable range which made it reasonable for them not to remain and be wasted in more suicide attacks.

It had been a simply incredible display of firepower, and if the Talorans had hundreds of these ships, the Cylons would truly be utterly doomed. There was no other way to put it or consider it. “But where does that leave us?” Adama asked gruffly to himself. And more importantly, will they really want to help us? Material power without that desire is useless, or worse than useless, and things haven't gone well on the political front. Enough of that. “Progress of the starboard pod fire control efforts?”

“Eighty-five percent contained by local damage control teams, Sir. Not nearly as serious as the one back at Ragnar..”

HMMS Queen Tonnakhi.

“You can be assured that they'll start using a lot more of those double-saucer ships in the future,” Sipamert observed coolly as Battle Squadron Eight secured from action stations. “What were our losses?”

“One light cruiser, the Ourasan, was destroyed by early coordinated fire by the saucer-ships, Your Serene Grace, before they concentrated on us. Eleven fighters and gunboats lost in the crossfire. Minor damage and engineering casualties from overexertion of powerplants reported on all other vessels only, and only fourteen incidences along those lines at all. Shield depletion and strikes absorbed by armour on the rest of the fleet at most. Many ships entirely unengaged by the enemy with no damage whatsoever. Your flagship, Your Serene Grace, suffered only shield depletion, though the banks are still recharging from the power of the enemy batteries, which was considerable for a ship of that size.”

“Very well, Captain Trukam. Thank you.”

She turned toward the holo-projector on the bridge. “Get me Admiral Urami.”

“Of course, Your Serene Grace.”

The image of the black sheep of the family resolved itself on the holotank. “Tisara!” Sipamert snapped nastily. “Where in all of Idenicamos' black halls is the civilian fleet that you're guarding?”

“Presumably following Commodore Ilasuljh's directions in returning to a more settled area of our space, Aunt.”

“Don't you dare use such a familiar term with me, regardless of your current success. At any rate, luring off the enemy makes sense.” She paused for a moment. “How did you do it?”

“I raided the occupied human worlds here as a diversion.”

“You will have a lot to answer for in doing that. It appears that we're now in the midst of a war, though it seems that the enemy has plenty of these semi-biological ships which don't stand up well to our fire, and few armoured combatants capable of main battle. Did you lose any ships in your engagements?”

“Total losses amount to two corvettes, one frigate, and one expeditionary cruiser, lost in the pursuit, a heavy cruiser lost in this action, a light cruiser lost at the concentration point after our raid, and eleven destroyers and three destroyer leaders lost over Caprica, along with hundreds of fighters and gunboats overall,” Tisara answered grimly. “You arrived with absolutely overwhelming power and surprised them. They surprised and almost trapped me twice, and fighting my way out cost us heavily.”

“You shouldn't have raided so deep into their space, especially without a declared war. If the civilians are safe, all will be forgiven, and since I'm assuming you were regularly facing forces of that size, which is no small accomplishment with your fleet... Perhaps your future position in what has become a rather important sector will be somewhat enhanced. If not...” Sipamert shrugged. “Do not expect any favours from here, however. We're here to clean up your mess. It was just thought at the time that it would be political instead of military. Though, I must say, if you weren't what you are, your services as an Admiral and fleet commander would be much appreciated by the Empire. Perhaps that should give you some reason to reconsider your sins.”

“You're speaking of this in public!?” Tisara shot back, horrified and incredulous.

“Your private life ceased to be private when the elder Armenbhat sister published her evidence, took her punishment for doing so with grace, and left you to your fate. If this is thoroughly humiliating to you, Good. You need to be humiliated, for the sake of your soul and more importantly, the family. Because of you one of our dreadnought squadrons has been dispatched here, and we just lost a light cruiser in action. The universe already knows, so I'm just making sure it also knows of our displeasure. Though you've handled this situation well, we have not arrived to fight a private little war for you—which is what I suspect you want--and I'm going to supervise our broad-based withdrawal to a more defensible line inside the Oralnif Spinward.”

“Am I to be relieved, then?” Tisara asked very quietly.

“I said that if we confirm the safety of the civilian ships you might even receive a small reward. As it stands, no, you are simply my subordinate, in command of Taskforce 889. And there will be no more offensive operations for the moment. These Cylons bother me, and we will figure out why before proceeding. You will not, do you understand, not prejudice the possibility of talks with them now that the supreme power of our Navy has been demonstrated to their fleet with the destruction of twenty-four of their mainline combatants in eight minutes. The Empire cannot afford a foreign war in the midst of one of the largest fleet upgrade cycles in history combined with the deployment of certain technologies it is perhaps best for us not to discuss here even on a secured short-range com, and that is no doubt why we were sent instead of an Imperial squadron—but the Empire is still paying for my deployment, and my orders are explicit that the frontier only must be secured. The Countess Palatine Fulanaj will be dealing with the political aspects. From this moment forward, I expect you to concern yourself with the management of your Taskforce. One thing you have lost, therefore, is your plenipotentiary powers in the Oralnif Spinward. Is that clearly understood?”

“Yes, Admiral, I understand your orders,” Tisara replied quietly.

“Very good. Then form your Taskforce on mine; put me in touch with the Colonial Admiral, and prepare to jump as soon as our engines have recharged. We will try and make touch with the refugees as rapidly as possible.”

“Understood, Admiral.” Tisara glumly cut the link; civilization had caught up with her after all.
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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 Darklight » 2007-12-03 01:32pm

Loved the fic, like the cross very much, tried to read the other fics at the beginning of this one but all of the links didn't work anymore.

The Cylons aren't going to be that easy taken out, can't wait to see how the Cylons are going to react and bring new or old style Basestars into the fight and giving them new upgrades.

Get more out soon

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Post by Master_Baerne » 2007-12-04 08:35pm

Brilliant! Pray continue, Milady Admiral the Duchess of Zeon.
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1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2007-12-17 02:23am

Chapter Seventeen

Rag-tag fleet,
Colonial One
In the Oralnif Spinward.

The arrival back at the fleet was attended by no inconsiderable celebration. Both Battlestars had survived, after all, and the triumph had been spectacular. Human losses had been in the hundreds of lives and Vipers only, whereas Cylon losses in the seven days of fighting had been almost fifty capital ships, and numerous light ships and Raiders of all types. It seemed that the Cylons had received a decisive counter-blow of the type that people had before only dreamed about. Certainly, before the intervention of the Talorans, it had been impossible. To the traumatised survivors of Kobolian humanity, those pathetic remnants on their ships, a light was at the end of the tunnel. They could finally taste vengeance for the uncounted dead relatives they all had, and their survival seemed assured.

Since Tisara had been banished to her taskforce, the show was her Aunt's when the Talorans arrived with the Colonial fleet in victory (and having borne by far the greater weight in it), and Sipamert, at least, tended to have more Fraslia's air than that of her deranged niece. She was, however, more orthodox than the Ghastan Islander would have been, and her distaste for dealing with polytheists had to be carefully masked. Moreover, she was dealing with a Laura Roslyn who was sicker still than before as the cancer took a firm and dangerous grip on her body. The Colonial president was left with little choice but to receive the Admiral from her sickbed, and in some way it served to illustrate their relative power, the tall and commanding Archduchess and the frail President.

“Your Excellency,” Sipamert offered neutrally, ignoring Billy as he stood by the President's side respectfully, the nurse in the room having made herself scarce. “My apologies on your condition, and I hope that your recovery may be swift, and this meeting isn't to much of an imposition. However, I thought it was important that we arrange a chance to speak face to face so that we can lay down my intentions.”

“It's terminal,” Roslyn answered simply. “But for the moment I am very much in control of my faculties and able to continue to direct our fleet, and our government.”

“My apologies.” Sipamert allowed a look of consternation to cross her face. “Might our doctors perhaps be of some use?”

“It wouldn't hurt, Your Serene Grace,” Billy answered.

“Ah, Billy..” Laura laughed wryly. “Forgive me, Admiral, but, yes. I suppose it wouldn't hurt.”

“I understand there's an expert on human physiology on the cruiser Jhammind....” Billy added.

“I'll check the records and see about arranging for such an officer to be sent here, if true,” Sipamert answered. Her own fleet, made up of Midelan subjects, had no humans, unlike the Imperial fleet, and no doctors trained to work with human physiology therefore. “Certainly I hope we can do something for your condition, Your Excellency. However, for the moment...”

“Yes, business. The first of which is to extend the official thanks of my government for the tremendous effort of your people in helping save us from the Cylons,” Roslyn concluded. “Regardless of our differing political philosophies, the actions that your nation has taken put you very firmly in the category of some of heroes to us. We can only hope for further cooperation...”

“Well, it's our intention to escort your refugees, and military vessels, to the heavily fortified Oralnif System, which serves as the capital of this expansionary sector. It's also the government for the colonies in this area which haven't organized into recognized governments yet, allowing us to administrate centrally during the initial stages. There are plenty of resources available there to relieve the issues the people of your fleet are facing, and for them to go down to the surface of a habitable planet for recuperation after such a long confinement.”

“That's all very welcome, Admiral. But I take it you don't plan to conduct further offensive operations?”

“That's correct, Your Excellency,” Sipamert answered, somewhat irritated about the Colonial President's disrespect for her titles. But the humans could not read her ear movements, and her face remained quite impassive. “We have already done a great deal in your cause without any gain for our nation, but simply out of the morality of a fundamental belief in the defence of innocent life. The Countess Palatine of Fulanaj is coming to negotiate the appropriate treaties with you and your government to secure your safe resettlement.”

“What about the people left behind in ships, possibly? Or those on the surface of our homeworlds in the Cylon experimentation camps? We know that they're there; we can't leave them, Admiral.”

“I cannot undertake offensive operations on your behalf, and considering the strength of the enemy I rather advise against you using your naval forces to that end. That said, we are continuing the Archduchess Urami's initiative to use her scouting elements to scan deep space near your homeworlds while avoiding enemy concentrations, in hope of finding ships which went to a high sublight burn and have now gone silent in deep space. We'll conduct rescues of the crews of such ships whenever possible.”

“That's a disturbing unwillingness to aid what could be millions of people who are being tortured to death,” Roslyn replied coldly.

“I would help them if I could, Your Excellency,” Sipamert replied in an equally cool voice. “However, we must establish treaty relations between our governments before the Empire's cause in such a war could be seen as legitimate. So, considering the failure of the Archduchess Urami's earlier efforts, I suggest you take a serious view toward what the Countess Palatine Fulanaj proposes.”

“I'll welcome formal negotiations with a trained and experienced diplomat,” Laura replied. “But those delays are not welcome to those who may be suffering.”

“And we do not have the resources here to persecute a war against a nation which has likely more than a thousand ships. We will, however, certainly refuse to make any arrangements with them unless they immediately release all civilians held in such camps, I can assure you. The Taloran Empire does not allow genocidaires to continue their horrors, though we must also act only when it is realistic and practical to do so, that we may avoid issues with the standing of our government amongst other nations and to safeguard our own people. We'd also certainly handle the logistics any voluntary repatriation that they might agree to permit.”

“Do you seriously believe that the Cylons would permit a 'voluntary repatriation'? Their goal is the extermination of humanity, and perhaps of all biological life.”

“The Cylons are, by all accounts, biological,” Sipamert answered crisply. “Your Excellency, my government is not going to fight your war for you, and particularly not for free. I understand that the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj is extensively empowered to make agreements with you, that may change those statements, and change them swiftly. But for the moment, all I can do is bring your people to safety.”

Don't get infected with victory disease! Laura thought to herself. Like everyone in the fleet the news of the spectacular successes had engendered a certain degree of optimism. “Very well, Admiral. Thank you for the actions of your fleet, and I'm sure our people will come to equitable and formal relations soon enough. I apologize for pushing the issue so harshly, but you must understand..”

“Yes. None of us find the idea of what's likely happening there to be anything other than horrific,” Sipamert agreed politely. “But for the moment, I will secure the safety of your civilians here, and then allow the Countess Palatine Fulanaj to deal with those matters, you and her, as diplomatic representatives ought.”

“Of course.”

“As for the short term.. Shall I arrange that doctor's visit immediately?”


“Then, Good Day, Your Excellency.” Sipamert strode out without further ceremony.

“I liked Tisara more,” Roslyn muttered to the closed door, slumping back a bit. It was an opinion she very ironically happened to share with someone else in the fleet.

Colonial One,
Deep Space.

“I wish someone had told me about this earlier!” Ghimalia exclaimed in her usual rather animated condition, walking along beside Dr. Cottle and Commander Adama and her ears flexing back and forth once and then flattening in consternation. “Her Excellency's condition is indeed certainly terminal with the sort of treatment you've been providing, though I confess it is the best that you can offer—please, don't take offense, it's the simple truth!”

“I know it is,” Cottle answered starkly.

Billy Kekeiya grimaced from behind the main group. “Doctor Ghimalia,” he offered politely, “I do wish we'd thought about that before Admiral Sipamert brought it up, but... Well, she's aware of her condition being fatal. Still, please have some consideration of the fact that we'd been trying all our best. We feel terribly bad that we weren't able to provide treatment before for the President.”

“Don't worry about it,” Ghimalia answered after a moment. She knew she wasn't the best with bedside manner, but this was a very important person. “I take it her condition has taken a turn for the worse, at any rate?”

“You'd be correct. You can see the most recent files,” Dr. Cottle replied, as they came to a stop before the President's quarters and handing them over, on paper.

Standing outside the door, and not going in for the moment, she crisply read through the notes, asking for clarification of a few terms which her flash-learning of Colonial speech—ironically with Gina's aid—had not yet covered. “Well, I need to take some scans of the cancer growth,” Ghimalia unslung a heavy bag she'd been carrying the moment she handed the papers back, and took a device out of it that looked like a big old camera. “If you'd allow me in? But the rest of you should remain outside. My clothes are permeated with radiation-resistant metals but for your's aren't, and even in the miniscule imaging qualities we shouldn't be exposed to it where possible. For safety's sake.”

“Of course.”

Dr. Cottle led Ghimalia inside, the Taloran woman ducking through the door and taking a first look at her patient through her glowing red artificial eyes. “Your Excellency,” she offered politely, a bit flustered, certainly, to be treating a head of state.

Laura Roslyn had been bedridden over the past several days, though, and it was hardly better from her point of view, considering the lack of dignity in representing her nation in such a way. “I understand there's something you can do for me, Doctor,” she answered. “Not to mention that you've been to Earth, which makes you unique in my eyes.”

“Oh yes, I have! Though it's hardly unique; during your treatment I'll tell you as much as I can about the planet. As for your condition, well, it is actually perfectly treatable, Your Excellency, though I warn you that it will be a long and painful treatment, not anything quick and easy. We must train your body to attack the cancer.”

“I see,” Laura answered. “Can the treatment be done here?”

“No, Your Excellency, I must take you to the Jhammind at the very least to begin regular intensive treatment. Possibly to Earth for specialist care.”

“To Earth..” Roslyn was silent for a moment, thinking of the strange circumstances which might finally bring her there. And how they did not connect with prophecy at all, which more than disturbed her in some ways.

“Yes. Though I am not sure yet as to if that step shall be necessary. For the moment, I first need to run some tests, and then confer on the results, and make sure you're healthy enough to carry on the work of state, as Her Ladyship the Ambassador has arrived, I'm to understand, and wishes to meet with you urgently.”

“So, an ulterior motive,” President Roslyn laughed, trying to interject a bit of humour into the process. It was made easier by the Taloran doctor promising her some hope where before there had been none at all.

“Nothing of the sort, Your Excellency, I promise. But I imagine you don't wish to leave such important negotiations to someone else.”

“You're right, I don't. Alright, what sort of information do you need for these tests?”

“Oh, nothing from you personally, except for your body. From which I will need a blood sample, which I can gain through diffusion, and some magnetic and radiation imaging scans which I can do right here with portable equipment, of course. The two are used together to create a comprehensive image of the cancer spread, whereas the blood test to evaluate your body's changes under the influence of the cancer, and its response to the growth of the cancer.

“At any rate, once I know the severity and type of the cancer I'll need to perform a biopsy, Your Excellency, to obtain samples of it. Our normal method of treatment is to tailor a virus to the cancer cells which infects them and in doing so convinces your body's own immune system to attack and destroy the cancer cells. As a supporting treatment, we inject small radioactive pellets into large cancerous tumors and then use chemicals in your body which only activate in the presence of a source of radiation, minimizing the negative side effects while simultaneously attacking the cancer with chemicals and radiation.” She was, very professionally, already setting up her equipment.

Dr. Cottle was listening in admiration to the vibrant and young Taloran doctor's enthusiastic descriptions of the process. She certainly had the situation well in hand, and the technology made him blatantly envious. There were many, many patients he could have saved with such treatments in the past.

“You know,” Ghimalia commented as she swapped down the veins on Roslyn's left arm in preparation for the blood sample, “I do find it amazing that the Cylons have such proficient medical technology compared to your own when they have only been independent for the span of a few decades. Their humanforms do not suffer from any sort of diseases as this thanks to the quick action of what I think are nanites, though I haven't been able to sample them reliably yet, and for those diseases which can't be cured by such technology, they've largely gene-engineered them out of existence. It doesn't seem much related to your technology base at all.”

“They used human experimentation, by some accounts, long before their present round of horrors,” Roslyn replied very quietly. “You've been studying them, at least, I take it?”

“Oh, of course. I... Well.”

“Doctor?” Laura frowned.

“Surely, but, did your personnel have to gang-rape Gina like they did? That was really quite uncivilized.” Ghimalia simply couldn't help the blunt question on behalf of Gina by that point.

Laura froze for a moment, and even ignored the pinprick as the blood was drawn. “They're not people, Doctor. But. You're right; even then it was an unacceptable act, and Commander Adama had informed me of it. Now that the situation has calmed down I intend to take it up with Admiral Cain. I admit I don't seem to see it in the same light...” But you do, and that's important right now.

“They are people, Your Excellency, with respect,” Ghimalia said as she slipped the vials into storage and then made the final adjustments to the scanning device. “Doctor Cottle, I'd suggest you take this opportunity to leave,” she noted, and waited for him to go before continuing. “At any rate, Your Excellency, they are close enough to humans to reproduce with at least limited success, which means they more or less are humans, or within a very close range of it. And they are certainly fully sapient, with largely biological brains which have only been heavily augmented. You cannot call them mere machines, the bio-forms. They are, in conclusion, assuredly living people, even if they are clones.”

“A bit biased, Doctor?” Roslyn answered, noting the inevitable as she looked very pointedly toward the glowing red eyes of the woman who was going to try and save her life. “You're a cyborg yourself, after all. Haven't you considered that might be clouding your judgement?”

Ghimalia frowned visibly. “No, Your Excellency. I'm just a scientist, applying a scientific perspective to this. My own cybernetic implants really are utterly incidental. I don't regard myself as different from a normal Taloran because of them, nor would any other Taloran.”

“Science isn't everything in the universe, Doctor, and you should be careful about letting it rule your thought process completely.”

“As you say, Your Excellency,” Ghimalia answered uncomfortably. “Though for us, the spiritual world of religion and science are naturally complimentary, and religious explanations do not intrude upon scientific understanding. I don't really think your religion says that Cylons are inhuman, and the genetic testing is very clear, while they meet every established neurological test of sentience that I can administer...”

“Please, Doctor, let's just talk about Earth.”

“Of course, Your Excellency,” Ghimalia answered very quietly and after a long pause, acquiescing to the change of subject as she began her scans of the President's body. She had the same duty to all of her patients, after all. But her usual animated talk of London was somewhat dampened by her thoughts of Gina, and her awareness that most of the humans here certainly mistrusted her simply because of her own need for cybernetic enhancements, and their unquestionable usefulness which had led to more. I hope I can find somewhere safe for you, Gina, she mused as she continued to work, disturbed by the awareness that her eyes of light and metal made her more alien to these people than her genes.

HSMS Orelyost.

“Captain Lady Fraslia the Baroness of Istarlan,” Tisara of Urami mused allowing, staring, unblinking, at the rigid posture of the gray-skinned Captain before her, only the very day after Dr. Ghimalia's evaluation of President Roslyn. “You successfully initiated first contact with the Colonials and maintained a peaceful situation, while taking reasonable and prudent measures to secure the survival of the civilian refugees. Since then you've handled your ship in action very well, despite participation in a series of actions in which she suffered progressive serious damage, which at present is sufficient, despite the able repairs of your crew, to necessitate her indefinite repair. Commander Dhamis of Rasamblid is due for promotion, is she not?”

“That's correct, Your Serene Grace,” Fraslia replied with stiffness, not relishing, at all, being called before the sadistic pervert.

“Well, then, guiding the Jhammind back to Earth Drydock and overseeing the repairs there will be a suitable duty for a Commander in prelude for promotion to command of a cruiser. So, she will receive that assignment, and I am reassigning you. You can take an officer with you as your Chief of Staff from the Jhammind, of your choosing.”

“Chief of Staff?” Fraslia at last professed some surprise.

“I'm Breveting you to Vice Commodore. We lost heavily in our Destroyer Leaders for some very unfortunate reason and I managed to wrangle out a replacement from the internal Sector that sent the escorts for the Countess Palatine Fulanaj, who should be arriving tomorrow, in addition to a fresh Destroyer Squadron. You'll take that replacement ship, the Trivandhai, and assume command from her of the 149th Destroyer Squadron until a regular Vice Commodore can be assigned to replace you. At that point I will be recommending you for List status, on half-pay with a commendation in favour of assignment as Commanding Officer of a Battlecruiser the moment such a slot is available.”

“Well, Thank you, Your Serene Grace,” Fraslia answered, flustered to be complimented and promoted by Terrible Tisara, of all people. “When shall I take command?”

“As soon as the Trivandhai arrives, Captain, you will shuttle over to her with your chief of staff and such servants as the two of you are assigned, and raise your broad pennant aboard her.” Tisara handed over a sealed copy of the orders, along with a second. “Deliver these to Commander Dhamis, if you would. They are her instructions for assuming command and taking the Jhammind back to Earth drydock.”

“Of course, Your Serene Grace,” Fraslia answered coolly. “With your permission, then?”

“Granted.” Tisara watched her go, and waited a moment before buzzing Ysalha into her office, who had already been waiting outside.

“She's rather attractive for a grayskin, isn't she?”

“Oh, Mistress, you shouldn't talk about her so, she is nobility,” Ysalha answered, “and such terms are impolite after all.”

“Ahhhh, I suppose you're right enough there,” Tisara answered after a moment. “But the intention of the compliment still stands.”

“Oh, she is very pretty,” Ysalha agreed sincerely. “At any rate, Mistress, Admiral Cain has responded to our communique. She wants to know if we'd receive her on the Orelyost for a meeting about the information we have...?”

“I was hoping for that, dear. Order the dining staff to prepare for a banquet. Who is she bringing?”

“Just one staff officer, a Major Kendra Shaw,” Ysalha replied, a bit dubious-sounding at the strange mishmash of ranks in the Colonial military, as they all were. “I got the implication from the talk that they're.. A bit more than that.”

“Well, I don't think Admiral Cain's taste, however good it is, could match mine in you.”

“Thank you,” Ysalha flushed slightly. “Shall I return her message, then, and confirm the conference over dinner?”

“Yes. I want to give Cain a fair chance, after all. When those cruisers bring back the refugees otherwise...”

“Quite. It was.. Well, I can't begin to say.” Ysalha's ears showed her consternation. “Why are we helping Admiral Cain, considering what she did?”

“Oh, not really helping her. She is barbarous, little doubt of that. Just.. Giving her a fair chance,” Tisara replied. “It is not like the government of the Colonies has endeared itself to me, and I know what I would do in her situation.”

“Very well, Mistress.”

Four hours later, Admiral Cain arrived aboard the Orelyost with a very interesting, grim figure, dark of skin in the ways that humans were but Talorans could not be (Fraslia's light gray the only real equivalent, the pasty- rather than translucent—which was normal—white with gray/green overtones of the Dalamarians the second). Both Ysalha and Tisara stood while they entered.

“Your Serene Grace, I'd like to introduce you to Major Kendra Shaw,” Cain announced.. And where words would be awkward or insufficient, simply leaned in and kissed her lightly.

“Major,” Tisara allowed a closed-lip smile, polite to a Taloran. “This is Captain Ysalha Armenbhat, the Baroness of Titangirt,” she gestured to her lover, and then graciouslytoward the chairs. “Please, both of you, do sit.”

After they had all seated, servants brought in dinner, which Tisara and Ysalha naturally began to eat in the Taloran fashion. Their silence rather unnerved the humans, though, and in the end Admiral Cain broke the silence herself. “How long have you to been together? And why the silence?” She was as blunt as ever.

“It's customary not to discuss serious things until dessert,” Tisara replied, somewhat surprised at the difference. The question asked, though, was not really a problem. “Oh, about a hundred and fourty of your Caprican years. There's been several gaps in that where we weren't living with each other, but, the affection has always been there.”

“It's going to take me some time to get used to your lifespans,” Cain muttered softly.

“Understandably. What about yourself and Major Shaw?”

“About six months,” Cain replied with flat honesty. “She was there for me when I needed her,” she added, and declined to elaborate.

They finished the rest of the meal in a rather uncomfortable silence. Though the necessary digestive supplements had been incorporated by Tisara's cooking staff, the food was unfamiliar, and rather rich by the standards of the Pegasus over more than the past year, or even the peacetime Colonial military, where the accomodations were not nearly so lavish for Admirals.

It was finally Ysalha who broke that uncomfortable silence, feeling it necessary to give Admiral Cain the unpleasant news herself, so as to avoid troubling her mistress with it. “Admiral, ships of Taskforce 889 have recovered the twelve surviving civilian craft of that group you encountered, along with some others unrelated to it. They tell us a very interesting story which we have withheld, for the moment, of reporting to anyone else, about how your crews boarded them, forcibly press-ganged members of their crews, and shot the families of those who resisted.”

Kendra and Cain were very, very silent. Cain had not seriously expected any of them to survive; she had overestimated the intensity with which the Cylons were pursuing survivors. They were toying with us, more than anything else, all along... “Go on,” she said through gritted teeth, relieved, at least, that the two were assiduously polite despite it. “I expect that my fellow officers would see reason, but the President is not... Should not, be President.”

“Quite,” Tisara agreed after a moment, and continued herself. “More fortuitously, we believe we've located another Colonial warship.” This time, she had their full attention as she activated what had looked like a sculpture in the middle of the table but was actually a holographic projector. It showed footage of a very familiar vessel design. It was in horrible condition, scarcely seeming to be in one piece, and the engines were dead and quiet, though from the conditions of the recording it was clear that the velocity was incredible. One lone turret beat a silent drumbeat of heavy fire toward the monitor, and then the recording ended.

“You see, Admiral Cain, it was quite certainly a colonial ship. But they had no means of knowing who we were, and naturally fired on the cruiser which made this recording. They're currently at a high c-fractional speed about a quarter of one of our lightyears from one of your minor mining systems. I was going to contact you anyway to arrange one of your ships to go and effect a rescue, in the company of some of our vessels, as we have tractor beams which can slow a ship that I suspect is completely out of fuel and went to a full sublight burn for sake of simple survival.”

“Didn't have a name?”

“The area you normally have name plates for has been completely destroyed in this vessel,” Ysalha explained, bringing the recording back up and re-highlighting a particular section.

“So what does this have to do with the other recoveries.” For all a third surviving ship was wonderful news in the fleet, the information she did not want reaching Laura Roslyn was a bigger concern for the moment.

“I've been given the impression,” Tisara began in a very sly voice, “That Vice President Gaius Baltar is an easily sidelined, weak-willed intellectual. As you have certainly heard by this point, in three days, President Roslyn will be transferred to the Jhammind, where the human specialist Doctor Ghimalia resides, to oversee her treatment. At that point, Baltar will be acting President. Now, I know that your Commander Adama is a major supporter of the President...”

“I'll send the Galactica to do the recovery operation,” Admiral Cain finished with a wicked smile on her face, seeing the chance that had been immediately offered to her.

“Why, of course. As for my part, I'll send the 149th Destroyer Squadron to provide escort for the repair ship Trilankha, and the expeditionary cruiser Salammbha to do the tractor-assisted deacceleration. It'll be a somewhat risky operation, that close to the centres of Cylon power, but that means that, under stealth, it will simply take perhaps, oh, a fortnight to complete the deacceleration, and however much longer to slow the ship down, or refuel it if possible.”

“Thank you, Your Serene Grace. I am going to remember this for a long time,” Cain grinned.

“I recommend one thing before proceeding, however,” Tisara continued, never actually, for reasons of deniability, saying precisely what she was referring to. Anyway, everyone in the room already knew. “You should talk to the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj when she arrives before.. Acting. From all I know of her reputation, she will be favourably disposed.”

“Thank you for the advice. We'll get on it the moment we return to the Pegasus.”

“God bless your endeavour, Admiral.”

HSMS Jhammind.

“Captain,” Commander Dhamis of Rasamblid's voice chimed from the bridge, alerting her at once, as Iraenia finished packing, to what had taken place. “If I'm not disturbing you..”

“You're not, so, what is it Commander?” Fraslia answered, packing away her carved pictogram rocks herself.

“The Battlecruiser Kalammi with escorts has arrived carrying the Countess Palatine Fulanaj.”

“Very well, Commander. Open your sealed orders. I will be on the bridge to handle my part in their instructions,” which they both knew already, “and hand the ship over to your competence.”

“Of course, Captain. And congratulations on your promotion.”

“Thank you, Rasamblid Heir,” Fraslia replied a bit wryly, and went to cut the connection..

“I'll miss the Jhammind, Your Ladyship,” Iraenia commented, thinking the conversation over. But then Dhamis' voice returned.

“Captain, another thing. We've just received some orders from the Orelyost electronically. For you, not the ship.”

“Transfer them through, Commander. Oh, and, are preparations ready to receive the security force for President Roslyn, as well as the medical party accompanying her, Rasamblid Heir?”

“Yes, Captain. We won't have a problem with it when you're gone, I promise,” Dhamis laughed softly.

Fraslia smiled fondly. “It has been good serving with you, commander. I'll see you in a few hours.” At that, she switched the view to text mode, selected the fresh orders file, and watched as the text came up, a directive ordering her to take command of a force consisting of the expeditionary cruiser Salammbha, the repair ship Trilankha, and 'to coordinate with Galactica as commander of the 149th Destroyer Squadron on a recovery operation to be detailed by Commander Adama, Colonial Service.' “Interesting.... Tisara has a great deal of confidence in me,” she remarked out loud, and added, wryly: “Or else precious little at all...” But at least I shall get to work with Commander Adama again, while we leave the diplomats to handle affairs back here.

It was a sentiment fairly felt throughout the fleet, whose spirits were equally improved by the appearance of the name-ship of the largest, newest Battlecruiser class in the fleet and eighteen fresh escorts to bolster the losses of TF-889. But the truth of the matter was that the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj was not terribly diplomatic at all, and this Tisara had, from the days when the old Princess Imperial Sikala had kept her informed of the goings-on of the court, known very well indeed. She did not think by the advice she had given to Admiral Cain that she was risking the wrath of the government, as she had suffered from Sipamert.

Rather, she expected that she would make Fulanaj inordinately pleased, and so her hopes were not lost after all. Fraslia had no idea that her commanding officer had chosen her not because she was hated, or liked, but because she wanted the Taloran who had been the friendliest to Commander Adama out of the way, too, just to be on the safe side. Coups work best when they're made into a very predictable business. Tisara had innocently issued the repair orders to the Jhammind in full knowledge that President Roslyn would be aboard. With the informal process by which the retention of the ship in the area for the President's treatment had been requested, there was no record of that request having been made. It was a perfectly innocent mistake.
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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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Baltars day.

Post by Darklight » 2007-12-19 12:34pm

Nice new part.

Get Baltar mesh up Cain's little plan to take over, could be fun to see him show some backbone and intelligence.

Keep the parts coming.

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Jedi Master
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Post by Coalition » 2007-12-19 10:23pm

Baltar and Cain. This will either wind up a mental deathmatch, or both in bed together.

Or both.

Then again, Cain does have a gofer, so Shaw might be sent to do the dirty work/deed.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-01-05 01:46am

Chapter Eighteen.

Rag-tag fleet,
On the Colonial One.

The Countess Palatine Aristasijh of Fulanaj was a six foot, two inch tall Dalamarian woman, pasty white skin with blonde hair that was by Taloran standards rather short, lapping down just a few inches below her waist. Green lips were pursed into a smile that showed intense dimples, accentuated by very high and prominent cheekbones, and clear blue eyes made her look deceptively human with a gently rounded and modest chin. She bowed graciously to Roslyn, who was well enough on the drugs that Dr. Ghimalia had provided to make a more dignified meeting of it, though she hadn't even started full treatment yet. The results were still being analyzed.

Her reputation as an iron diplomat was somewhat overrated. In person, particularly to the ruler of a sovereign state, she was quite friendly.

“Well, it appears that we've received the first ambassador in the history of our nation, Countess,” Roslyn answered after a sigh which rather seemed to be relief. “It is, frankly, quite pleasant to finally be speaking to the civilian government of the Taloran Empire rather than your military personnel, I must admit.”

“I apologize about your having to deal with the Archduchess Tisara of Urami, Your Excellency,” Aristasijh answered primly. “Unfortunately, we had no idea that any sentient life existed beyond the limits of explored space here, so we assigned her to this position as exile in the expectation that there were no first contacts for her to potentially interfere with. She is not suited to them.”

“I won't say that her effort was anything other than in good faith,” Roslyn answered. “But it lacked considerably in subtlety, and the Council did not approve of it. Have you been made aware of what she proposed?”

“I am,” Aristasijh flicked her ears back. “Those terms are not relevant to my government's interests in these matters. We much intend to recognize your control of the Twelve Colonies, Kobol, and even a number of surrounding planets.”

Archaic Taloran phrasing sometimes frustrated Roslyn, but here the meaning was very clear, and very welcome. They finally had what they wanted from the Talorans. And with that simple admission now it was time to go forward.

“Thank you, Countess, for giving us the simple recognition that we want. We're very eagerly looking to work with your people under such terms to regain our homeworlds.”

“We do have terms under which we'd undertake such an operation,” Aristasijh replied. “We expect that the direction of your government will fall under guidance of the Taloran Empire, and your military operations would be conducted jointly with our's, under our direction as well.”

“The direction of our government?” Roslyn's pleasure at the exchange abruptly collapsed. “Are you expecting us to join the Empire?” The words came out very tepid, and that was not unwanted.

“No. As a matter of fact, we'd have no interest in that. The Empire is a monotheistic organization, and I am to understand that your religion has twelve deities. That is unacceptable in the Empire.” Before Roslyn could be relieved, her blunt recitation of facts annihilated that brief hope. “Rather we are expecting you to name Her Serene Majesty the Empress as the Protector of your Republic, vested in her person, rather than in the structure of the Empire. We are looking to establish a joint military command, establish treaties of free trade and integrated commerce, and to assume the direction of your foreign policy. You would be granted absolute autonomy in all other affairs, and the arrangement will be governed by treaty, not by tribute. These are the terms by which Her Serene Majesty's government will undertake your war on your behalf.”

“They're completely unacceptable,” Roslyn answered without a moment's hesitation. “We will not even entertain negotiations on such terms. You have managed to go from the terms of the Archduchess Tisara, who at least tried to provide a scheme agreeable to our people, to one that is completely unacceptable, and indeed offensive to our prior friendly relations.”

Aristasijh didn't even blink. As a matter of fact, like most Taloran nobles, she never blinked at all during the conversation. “Your Excellency,” she answered in an almost.. Amused.. Tone. “You have less than sixty thousand people in your entire nation, which consists of a few dozen civilian vessels and two heavy combatants. Her Serene Majesty's Starfleet has three thousand such heavy combatants, and the crew of one of those eight dreadnoughts out there, with its onboard troop capacity, amounts to the same population as your entire nation; two battlecruisers exceed it. Do you fully comprehend that you in our eyes have the firepower of a single dreadnought and a single carrier, escorting a refugee fleet that we could fit into a single arcology in one of our cities?

“Talora Prime has a population larger than your entire nation before the Cylon attack, and that is only on the surface, with again that amount in orbit. Our Empire has seventy thousand regularly inhabited planets and claims fifteen thousand more. We have as many armed starships as we do planets in the Imperial Starfleet alone, and our population, between the Empire and the Jikari Autonomous Republic, numbers well in excess of twenty-one trillions. To ask for an equal relationship with the Empire is ludicrous. We have already helped you, when as a sovereign state we would have no reason, nor obligation, to provide you with help whatsoever. If you want that help to continue in such a military fashion as you expect it to, you will do so by coming to an arrangement which guarantees the security of the Empire in the Oralnif Spinward region.”

“You will not threaten us! We're a sovereign, free state, and that is our justification, Madame, no other. I'm not going to lead our people into slavery before a foreign monarch after all they've already been through. We won't bow simply to the scale of your state, or acknowledge your rights because you declare yourselves the stronger. I'd think your entire species a threat if I hadn't seen the eminently humanitarian and downright compassionate behaviour of your officers, and it's both contemptible and ironic that your military personnel have proved more willing to respect us than you, a diplomat trained to bring about peace.”

“Trained to represent the interests of the Empire, not, I fear, of chivalry,” Aristasijh answered with a trace of bite.

“And how does your Empire presume to be unchivalrous?”

“The Empire protects is own, Your Excellency.”

“And what of those in Cylon torture camps...” Laura seemed to spit it out, however metaphorically. “They're not in your interest?”

“I, of course, will contact the Cylons, and warn them sternly that they will face nothing from us except hostility without an immediate withdraw from your worlds and release of all of your civilians, as we will never recognize the conquests of genocidaires. That is certainly an Imperial policy. If they attack our borders, even in consideration of the.. Provocative acts of the local commanders... We will, of course, consider the situation to be one of a state of war, and act appropriately.”

“You want to negotiate with them?” At that point Laura very nearly lost it. But she reminded herself that the threats had not been without substance. “Ambassador, they will not negotiate with non-artificial lifeforms. I have little doubt of that. And for all your toleration of cybernetics, I doubt they see you that way. Particularly after you have attacked them.”

“We will just be negotiating from a position of strength,” Aristasijh replied coolly. “They will withdraw from your worlds, and we would recognize their independence and establish regular relations with them.”

“And they won't agree,” Roslyn replied simply. “Or if they do, they will simply bide their time and then attack you, using the same methods that brought us low. Your cities will burn just like our's did, Ambassador.”

Aristasijh snorted softly, her ears flattening back. “This is a minor colonial conflict, Your Excellency. You've seen our dreadnoughts. There are more than a thousand more like those eight in the whole of the Empire, and that is just the active-duty forces; there's almost two hundred more in reserve. And for every such ship, we have innumerable lighter vessels. You haven't even seen our fleet carriers yet. All your own reports admit that the only reason the Cylon nation adopted such surprise tactics, and indeed they were a base treachery, was on account of their inferiority in firepower. You had one hundred and twenty capital ships, and less than a thousand armed light ships of all types down to the smallest simple patrol and communications craft. Even with your surface defences, we really doubt the Cylons have more baseships than a few hundred, of which they have lost more than fifty, and we, have not lost a single capital ship.

“In orbit around Talora Prime alone there are more warships than both your nations combined have ever owned. If they come on and attack us as they did you, they will simply pay for it. No, Your Excellency, we have nothing to worry about on that regard. And neither do you. Seventy thousand inhabited systems pay homage to the Empress in Valeria, and there are seven armed ships in the Empire for every planet. I do not expect you to be moved by those words, or by the idea of more than twenty trillions of individuals in our nation. It is clear that you have your ideals, and they are contrary to those of the Empire. Very well. The offer is for the moment with-held. But you will not, Your Excellency, interfere under any circumstance with the interests of the Empire toward a peaceful accommodation with the Cylons. It is up to them if they obey that, or break it, and if they break it, then one hundred and twelve of the wall can demolish their fleet in five minutes of firing.”

“You'll be surprised at the tenacity of the Cylons.. Of their thirst for destruction,” Roslyn answered quietly. “Do you really want us integrated into the Empire?”

“Yes, Your Excellency, within the limitation that you will never be part of the Imperial structure, but rather in a personal relationship with the Dynasty. And in such a case, those same one hundred and twelve of the wall could be here on a moment's notice if you agreed. In a month, at any rate, and the campaign would follow shortly enough after that.”

“Then you want us in the Empire for something. What, Ambassador? What is important enough to you that it makes it worthwhile for this band of refugees to lose its independence? Perhaps it is the situation of the rest of humanity....” She glanced over to the silent Billy. “Bring Zarek in.”

“Of course, Madame President,” he answered, stepping over to a door in the room from whence, Aristasijh realized with a moment's irritation, the councilor had been listening in on the conversation.

“This is Councilor Tom Zarek,” Roslyn explained. “I had him listen in to these negotiations, which I hoped would be positive, to assuage council mistrust that I was giving anything away to you. As it turns out he has instead been witness to a petty attempt to intimidate us into submission.”

“Trying to threaten the President? All for the insatiable aim of preventing free humanity, lest our independence inspire those ground under your boot-heel to rise up again and fight? Or are you just so insatiable for conquest that fifty thousand people are worth the time of four hundred warships if they don't dare kow-tow to the pompous and thin-blooded Autocrat that you serve?” Zarek word's cut, but the response was surprisingly neutral.

“Why do you think that we oppress humanity?” It was very polite, and nothing was said about the frightful charge of lese majestie.

“Our own people, even now, are willing to sell out the little man for profit. You have all of those planets, all of that wealth, and you've been sitting on it for longer than any human can live. I have no doubt that among you there's plenty of decent people—all ground down to the bottom of the system just like most are here! But at least in a democratic government there is some hope, if in practice in the colonies it never worked right.”

“What rights do you consider important?”

“For starters, the free ability to unionize at any job....”

“Which is of course a fundamental part of the economy of the Empire,” Aristasijh answered. Zarek's statement had led directly into a speech she herself had been preparing for the Council based on Tisara's reports. She realized at once that now was the perfect time for it, instead, and as it was her tendency to provide an actual speech impromptu with only general details and facts prepared in advance, she began at once without further prompting, in an impressive feat from a skilled orator.

Zarek paused. Roslyn blinked. Billy looked on now in intent interest.

And the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj showed her wits. “Perhaps you also want this right extended to trade specialists? Done; Guilds exist. Now, to give them actual political power? Done. Unions and Guilds have representation both at the level of the Imperial States and of the Imperial Deputies themselves. Their membership elects their representatives. Co-operative owned farming equipment and common land for farmers to share to balance out their production? Commonplace; the first for freeholders and both for tenant farmers. Private companies and traded corporations pay on average twice the tax rate of individuals, but co-operative organizations are exempt, allowing seven of the ten largest firms in the Empire to be entirely worker-owned and operated. The workers send their children to co-operative schools through college in some cases, they go on to jobs in the co-operative industries. The goods are delivered by a truck co-operative aligned with them in exchange for reduced cost of goods and services in the co-operative owned stores, which are provided with those goods by the co-operative managed factories.

“The organization of the Empire is explicitly anti-capitalist and the Imperial economy is based around principles of Distributivism, formulated in human terms by the Terran philosophers G.K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc—whose works I can easily arrange to have provided to you—approximately six hundred and fifty Terran years ago, or, if you prefer a word of more meaning, Syndicalism. The Syndics or Unions form the basis of organized labour work; distributivism forms the basis of the organization of the economic capital. Co-operative farming is based around individual plot management with co-operative operation of machinery and, for tenants, shared land which diversifies their production in area to reduce the likelihood of a completely failed crop, and provide a village reserve. In all cases healthcare is entirely provided by the Farzian Temple Orders, and education largely so, and the most successful children of even the meanest peasant may enter the Farzian church for considerable success in life, or if their capabilities are sufficient, go on into the educated class or military officer ranks, the later conferring status in the gentry by definition for them and their children. And if they need financial assistance, the Farzian Orders will provide them with interest-free loans.

“Save for the enforcement of religious confession and system of support, which is against our interests for the sake of other monotheists, all of these services are provided to humans as well, and the great faiths of the Terrans duplicate them, or their governments. They are free to move within the Empire as they please, and though the economy of their homeworld remains mostly capitalistic, the right to form such co-operative organizations is vigorously upheld under the broad standards of Imperial law, and the revived legal traditions after our intervention, which saved the lives of several billion humans in the breakaway orbital colony republic of Orientale. No, Your Excellency, Councilor, the Empire is not oppressive. We constantly and consistently uphold the principle natural Right as being ineluctable but nonetheless absolute. Our government does not presume a right to interfere in the lives of its people in ways both unnecessary and tyrannical in their innovation of form and function. We simply give where the giving is necessary, and support those who need to be supported, both State and Church alike. If there is some waste, well, we do not believe that government, nor the economy, nor society, should be based on efficiency. We reject such arguments entirely. Our state, our economy, and are society, are organized on the understanding that the fundamental nature of sentient beings is endowed by God, and that the foundation of the Imperial State is based on the Principle of the Divine Order of the Cosmos under the Supreme Majesty of the One God, Farzbardor, the Lord of Justice, who bodily ascended without dying the foundress of the Dynasty, called Valera, into the Hosts of Righteousness as the Sword of God, and on that justification, legitimized the rule of the direct female-line descendants of Her body until Judgement Day.

Aristasijh paused for a moment, stately, commanding, her voice not threatening but proud and lilting, delivering the speech as though she could envision the divine order of the Cosmos spread out before her, the legions of Farzbardor spreading with it and subduing the chaos of the Adversary, of Idenicamos, scattering deception to the winds with a righteous reign of Truth and Justice. And she smiled very vaguely, and dipped her ears politely. “And that is why we don't want you in the Empire, Your Excellency, Councilor.”

“But...” And then Roslyn frowned faintly. “Religion.”

“Correct. Most humans are monotheists. We regard polytheism as an inherent and fundamental part of the deceptive powers of Idenicamos, the creator of evil and chaos in the universe, the Master of Deception, who confuses people into worshipping his demons. Socially, morally, ethically, religiously, we have not the slightest desire to bend our social order for the sake of integrating your's, you understand, Your Excellency? Our religious are fundamentally incompatible, and so I can assure you that you will never be part of the Empire. All we desire is for your Colonial government to link your foreign policy and defensive arrangements to that of the Empress by ceding a few sovereign rights in a treaty guaranteeing absolute internal autonomy. In exchange for that the Imperial Starfleet would be put to your disposal.”

“You never answered my original question,” Roslyn replied simply. “For all that this diversion about your religion and social order has been.. Interesting.” The word masked a far more bleak assessment.

“We have our reasons, Your Excellency. Primarily, though, they stem from the simple desire that the Oralnif Spinward was a useless backwater before, and we do not want it becoming otherwise. We intend to return it to that status as quickly as possible.” She flicked her ears. “Surely, Your Excellency, we would not have assigned someone who is reviled as much as Tisara of Urami to this sector as anything other than punishment, and because we fancied she would never encounter anyone here. A new military frontier? This far out? Unthinkable, Your Excellency. That is what we are trying to avert. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.”

“I still don't understand why every other Taloran I've met seems to hate the Archduchess as a matter of course,” Roslyn replied, moving the conversation away herself for a moment to process what it meant.

“She is a sexual deviate,” Aristasijh answered simply. “And as you know that homosexuality is sanctioned and acceptable to our religion, I will suffice to say that her relationship with the Baroness Titangirt is of a deeper and more perverse nature than she shows in public. The details became public about thirty-five Taloran years ago, and they have been shoved from assignment to assignment on the Rim since.”

“Your people may talk a lot about freedom, but you sure are interested in what happens in someone else's bedroom,” Zarek observed, feeling a vague pang of sympathy all of a sudden for the woman he had so sharply assaulted, both unwanted and unexpected, and then giving an inner shrug as he thought to himself, she's just paying for all the excesses of her class in a way that happens to condemn them all the more.

“Actually, it was published by Ysalha's older sister. She was exiled, also,” Aristasijh added. “We dislike it immensely when such matters are brought to public attention, as a matter of fact.”

“Well, back to the subject at hand. What will you do with us then, Ambassador? Because at this time we certainly will not accept any arrangement of Imperial protection, even if it is outside the structure of the Empire,” Roslyn laid it out coolly, the final statement for the matter, while Zarek folded his arms sternly to reinforce that at least on this matter he stood with the President.

“We will give your fleet passage through our space to such distant sectors as will prevent a Cylon pursuit, and allow you to settle some unclaimed planet in those reaches as you may see fit,” Aristasijh answered. “That is the only other option. Though of course if you consent, we will provide for such of your people as who wish to leave to head to Earth where they may be given hearings by the local governments for citizenship, and if any are rejected, we will bring them to your new territory, at our expense. Until you have decided whether or not to take up this lesser offer, we will defend you at the Oralnif Spinward's fleetbase headquarters over Oralnif, and make sure that no further Cylon attacks against your people take place. If we can secure the release of your civilians, then we will also pay for their safe transport to such a world as you can establish for yourselves in a distant reach of space.”

Roslyn sighed. That was scarcely the Earth they had all dreamt of, but under the circumstances... “I was going to report to your cruiser, the Jhammind, later today for treatment. Further negotiations will be in the hands of the Council and the Vice President. But that offer, at least, we cannot categorically reject, though it is a far step down from what Tisara offered. At any rate, due to the assurances about me during treatment still hold?”

“I am afraid that she overstepped her bounds...” Aristasijh's ears dipped forward. “Oh, surely Your Excellency, we would mean no ill intent against you. Your treatment will go forward with all the safeguards, and any others I can arrangement, and if you must be taken to Earth for further treatment then we will arrange for your return to the fleet on the fastest courier available the moment it is safe for you to travel. We are, in all respects, at least a civilized people.”

“We're civilized peoples.. Who seem to have lost more common ground today than gained it. But I don't doubt that about the Talorans I've met, at least,” Roslyn answered, save perhaps Aristasijh herself. She was more apt by this point to believe it about Tisara than the stern diplomat. “You have, at least, forthrightly communicated the beliefs and intents of your government, and established, I suppose, the grounds for further negotiation. I believe, however, nothing more substantial can come from this meeting.”

“Oh, I quite understand, Your Excellency,” Aristasijh answered, before glancing to Zarek. “For the record, Councilor, if your interest is in social justice, I support you wholeheartedly. A moral society is necessarily a Just one, and that includes in seeing to the needs of the lower classes.” Her mouth twisted to the vaguest of expressions of wry amusement. “It is a.. Noble.. Sentiment.” Glancing back to Roslyn: “At any rate, Your Excellency, I wish your health the speediest recovery possible.” She turned to go. “Good day, Your Excellency, Councilor.” If not her, than perhaps another...

HSMS Trivandhai, DL-1187.

“This is my Flag Lieutenant, Chylisi,” Fraslia introduced the orange-haired girl to the officers of the Trivandhai in conclusion. “At any rate, Captain Rikhond, you've received the orders?”

“That's right, Your Ladyship,” Jhalam Rikhond, the common-born Captain of the Trivandhai answered crisply. His executive officer, a Lieutenant Uralstia, was to his right, and his department heads had been clustered around the table for the initial briefing. The Captain himself was somewhat tall by male standards, of fine bearing and excellent green hair.

Don't look at the boys to long, Fraslia thought to herself. Such things were always bad, though between a flag captain and his temporary commander.. Less so. Restraint recommended itself, even if he was now part of the gentry by dint of his rank. But Fraslia had long been without any marriage prospects, and by random luck of the draw she had ended up with a predominantly female officer compliment on the poor Jhammind.

“Thinking of your old ship, Your Ladyship?” Jhalam solicitously asked.

“Yes,” Fraslia answered after a moment. “She was very heavily damaged, though I trust Dhamis to return her safely to Terra for refit. Especially considering the rather important cargo aboard, the Colonial President.” She glanced at the chrono on the wall of the meeting room. “Hmm. And it appears that they would have just jumped out, too. It's a pity Her Excellency had to leave for treatment. Will likely delay the negotiations, and I understand from Lieutenant Chylisi that her second is, though kind, not particularly professional. Ah, well.”

“Not our place, Your Ladyship?”

“Now, anyway. It was interesting to negotiate directly with a head of state for a while. Not a bad thing to have on one's record. At any rate..” She stood, hands placed flat on the table, and looked down at all of them, from Jhalam to Chylisi.

“So you're all aware of our mission. Our DESRON has been operationally tasked with guarding a repair ship and supporting the Galactica as she makes contact with a heavily damaged Colonial warship moving at extreme-c velocities, what is, based on our scouting, more or less certainly the last survivor of their military force. We know nothing about her other than that she has enough personnel left to fire a single heavy cannon, and they certainly don't understand that we're friendly. So it will be Commander Adama's job,” she specified him by name, just as well to get them used to the man they'd be working with for the next tenday or so, for they were all fresh from coreward to the situation at hand. “To more or less talk the crew down over there, by the presence of the Galactica, showing them that we're friendlies and that we can help them, deaccelerate them with the cruiser's help and get their drives back up and headed for civilized space.”

“Very straightforward. It's just us, Salammbha and the Galactica, though, Your Ladyship?” The Trivandhai's captain queried.

“Correct. If Cylons come in strength, we'll have to fight a delaying action long enough to evacuate the survivors and blow the ship before retreating.

“Well, that will be interesting. Your Ladyship, we're only ten minutes from our scheduled first jump, though..”

“Ah, yes. I have taken a bit of time with instructions and operational discussion. You're all dismissed. Lieutenant Chylisi?”

The orange-haired young female rose and followed the Baroness out as the meeting was dismissed, heading up to the already manned and quite expansive flag-bridge of the Destroyer Leader, a 2 megaton ship of a class which translated as the Fury-class into English, and commanding a squadron of sixteen 1-megatonne destroyers.

She settled into her command chair on the flagbridge, and immediately ordered a hailing signal sent to the Galactica. It was rewarded by a visual communication—the systems had been set up in the past days—directly from the bridge, and Fraslia was pleased to see her friend as hale as he had been before the Caprica and Picon battles and the long chase.

“Commander,” she offered, politely, not expecting deference from someone in a foreign navy.

“I heard about your promotion, Commodore. It's well deserved,” Adama offered with a bit of a gruff smile. “Nice that they have us working together again. Are your ships ready for the jump?”

“Ready. We have the coordinates for the first concentration point locked in,” Fraslia answered. “Sorry that our ships are only about half as fast as your's.”

“I've gotten used to it.. Commodore.”

Fraslia smiled, just to be distracted by her comms lieutenant on the flagbridge. “Your Ladyship, the Salammbha and Trilankha report ready.”

Acknowledging the message, she turned back to Adama. “Commander, if you'd take the honour of giving the signal?”

“Of course, Commodore. We'll see you on the other side momentarily. Adama, out.” With that, the visual disappeared, and the last two minutes ticked away until the squadron of twenty ships jumped away from the rest of the Colonial fleet and its Taloran escorts, in the opposite direct from the wounded Jhammind's return to Earth, an insensate President Laura Roslyn aboard in the midst of treatment from Dr. Ghimalia, not knowing that she had already been taken away from the fleet.

HSMS Kalammi,
Ventral Hangar No.1

Admiral Cain stepped out of the packed Raptor, giving Major Shaw a friendly pat on the shoulder before going out to meet the Countess Palatine Fulanaj by herself. The Taloran cruiser with President Roslyn aboard had just jumped out of system, and Adama had followed with the Galactica on the recovery operation that fortune and Admiral Tisara had arranged for Helena Cain's triumph, and survival.

“Admiral. You said you had extremely urgent business for me?” Aristasijh's expression was neutral, but she saw enough of the situation as it stood, the precise timing of Cain to arrive the moment after both Roslyn and Adama had left, the arrival on a military transport, and knew exactly what it meant. She was an old hand politically, and she knew that coups were assiduously planned to take place at moments just like this. Reason led her to believe that one was taking place.

“I do, Your Ladyship,” Admiral Cain answered. “It is come to my attention that the suicidal remnants of the Colonial government, attempting to preserve a system designed to maintain the lives of billions when we are dealing with fifty thousand survivors aboard a few dozen ships, has made a choice which could endanger the millions of lives remaining on our homeworlds, as Cylon prisoners or guerillas, out of certain specious notions of political ideology. Well, it's my job as an officer of my nation's military to save those lives,” she continued the carefully rehearsed speech, no small amount of which had been provided to her in a sealed communique, written by Ysalha Armenbhat at Tisara's behest. “And under those circumstances I am prepared to take the humanitarian course, though it necessarily means usurping the government which styles itself as remaining in power, a ludicrous proposition when it consists of a few survivors, on a few ships. What is needed is a military hand, Your Ladyship, and I am seeking your permission to institute it.”

“You want my authorization for a coup against your government?”

“Yes. I was advised to seek it.”

“You were advised correctly. Who told you?”

“The Archduchess Tisara of Urami.”

“Hmm.” Aristasijh smiled vaguely and flicked her ears. “She's extremely intelligent. Pity she's such a pervert. Well, she was right, Admiral. You know the terms. We'll give you the nearest habitable border worlds of the Oralnif, Kobol, the Twelve Colonies.. Everything that lies in between those worlds. Total autonomy as an independent country merely acknowledging the Sovereign Protectorship of the Empress with a treaty of locked military alliance and a token tribute. We will recognize you with the style of the Duchess of Kobol and put at your disposal three battle squadrons of the Imperial Starfleet for eliminating the Cylon threat and liberating your homeworlds. That is what I offered your President, and that is what she refused.” Aristasijh held up her hand. “Do not, however, answer me right now. Answer me when you control the government of your state. I assure you, however, that if you give me five minutes time, I will go to the bridge of the Kalammi and make sure that the rest of the fleet does not intervene in any fashion in what follows. If you can secure your power, through whatever methods you prefer, then you have done enough. We will immediately recognize you as the legitimate ruler of the Confederated Colonies of Kobol, and we can begin immediate negotiations to cement your place in the Empire and finalize the arrangements of your war-strategy.”

So just as I predicted, this is what it comes down to. Accepting temporary alien overlordship for the chance to unite humanity in resistance to them, while at the same time bleeding them to annihilate the Cylons. I could not have been more prescient, Cain mused. She offered Aristasijh a vague smile. “You will see if such a situation exists soon enough, Your Ladyship. I am going to the Colonial One right now to confer about an.. Urgent.. Situation with Acting President Gaius Baltar.”

“I understand,” Aristasijh answered with a trace of a cavalier's smirk. “All the luck to you, Admiral Cain, and God's blessing. Today, Order and Justice will triumph over the forces of chaos and sin. Now, I shall let you be about your business, and recommend that you hasten to your.. Conference. Good day, Admiral.” Good riddance, it's about time someone has stamped the boot down on this circus, the irritated diplomat thought. Dealing with the minor affairs of a dozen human worlds filled with polytheists at the very edge of known space was scarcely the sort of task she was used to being assigned, and it had grated on her, as it was more or less the simple job of integrating them into the Empire at the necessary cost and shoring up the frontier with a short, lightning war, and this could now, at last, be arranged, with no more haranguing demagogues or long lectures on government required.

“Good day, Your Ladyship.” Cain turned and headed straight back to the Raptor. Returning inside, she glanced around at the craft, absolutely jam-packed to the gills with the most loyal, handpicked Marines from the Pegasus who had been involved in the suppression of the fifteen ships they'd found, and who had every reason to act against the Colonial government with her. “It's a good. Ask the Kalammi for launch clearance.”

It took them only a moment to receive it, and they launched, while Aristasijh was issuing her instructions to Admirals Sipamert and Tisara to hold the fleet at position regardless of circumstances developing in the Colonial fleet via secured tight-beam laser communications. Sipamert frowned, and cast a glare to the holotank. Tisara, smirking, knew exactly what was going to happen. She ordered her Taskforce to begin conducting routine diagnostics, and went below decks to spend the next several hours out of sight, disinterested in the actual results of the coup, for she was now sure that it had been approved of, and celebrating at the minor victory with Ysalha, in their usual obscene ways.

Outside of the Kalammi, however, standing well off the Colonial fleet, Admiral Cain's Raptor made a rendezvous with another commanded by Lieutenant Thorne, assigned to dock with the Cloud Nine and arrest the Council, if the Coup was on. The Coup was on, and the necessary message was communicated by flash lamps between the two Raptors at very close range. They immediately split off, Thorne's heading on a circuitous route around the fleet to avoid attracting attention, while Admiral Cain's ducked past the Pegasus to make it look like it had just been launched, while a routine request to speak with 'Acting President Baltar' was made while the Raptor approached the Colonial One. Permission given, they proceeded in to dock while all aboard checked their weapons and armour and readied themselves for any resistance aboard.

“It's time to end this farce,” Cain muttered, and then glanced back to Shaw, smiled tightly, and kissed her. “Remember what I told you. Like a Razor. And now we cut off the most extraneous thing left to our people, and become better for it.”

“Like a Razor,” Shaw grinned tightly. Compared to the civilian ships they had commandeered before, for the rotten carcass of the Colonial government, she felt no sympathy at all. So much the better.
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Cain's Coup

Post by Darklight » 2008-01-13 03:11pm

So is Baltar going to be surprised by cain or will he have anticipated Cain trying to take over with Roselyn gone?

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-01-13 06:08pm

ugh I thought there was an update

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-01-13 07:28pm

There will probably be on next weekend.
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 » 2008-01-21 02:06am

Chapter Ninenteen.
HSMS Orelyost

Tisara Urami sometimes got a bit more worked up than she should. The knowledge of Cain's coup beginning confirmed her good mood, for starters. Succeed or not, that she had correctly interpreted the government's will was the important thing. Her standing with the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj could only increase because of it. If the coup actually succeeded, well, then Admiral Cain would owe her: Owe Tisara her earthly position, and her very life (for Tisara knew, at least, what the Taloran admiralty would do with someone who had done the things Cain had done).

A person so thoroughly in her debt, a person ruling a protectorate of the Empire, would be the means of finally guaranteeing her and Ysalha a home. That was a thing, the idea of a hearth, a place to return to, a place that was their's, that they had lacked for almost fourty long Taloran years of internal exile, bouncing from ship to ship, station to station, with no place to think of, no place to repose, no soil to feel under the feet as their's, and no chance of it at all in the future. The respect gained and the debt that Cain would owe her finally offered the prospect of her gaining all that she was left wanting for her life: A manse to settle in, with a fireplace to sit by, book in hand, fritaj-liqueur poured out, faithful servants, and most of all, Ysalha curled 'round her feet in perfection happiness and submission. All other ambitions that her intellect informed her were practicable, she had already achieved. Her nature had place all others out of reach. But this, this she could still have.

So she celebrated the small but hopeful improvement in her fortunes in a way not abnormal for her, with joyous and intense lusts and passions, by inflicting herself on her lover in those ways which pleased them both. Or, more bluntly, she whipped Ysalha's back to shreds, cut through her face with razors, drove pins through her nipples with needles and burnt her arms with a hot iron. All while they had sex, Ysalha deliriously pleasuring her even as Tisara wrought such savage tortures on her, moaning and gasping in pleasure as her tongue was well-employed on her mistress. It was the best sex they'd had in quite some time, and they both savoured it thoroughly, Ysalha driven mad in pain and then brought to the heights of ecstasy with the slight caress to brutally tortured nerves, while Tisara's position of power and the psychosomatic pleasures of inflicting torture that the sadist enjoyed guaranteed their ecstasy was quite mutual.

The masochist and the sadist alike, in physical and psychological compulsions, could not get enough of their savage union. Every savage act of Tisara's served to heighten their mutual pleasure in fucking to impossible heights, and that was what counted. The screams were plentiful and unrestrained, but that was by now quite common on the Orelyost, and the suits nearby were long unoccupied. After all, better a smaller room while on deployment than to be kept up regularly by the Admiral and her Chief of Staff sharing in depravity. It went on for hours, until at last, of mutual exhaustion, they collapsed against each other. But here Tisara had a duty, which, as the disciplinarian she was, as much as a sadist, she immediately set about regardless of her own exhaustion, and in so doing showed some twisted form of love and conscientious concern for Ysalha.

The damage which Tisara had inflicted would have been, before modern medicine (antibiotics, at least), quite possibly fatal to the delighted and ecstasy-ridden Ysalha. But now it didn't even warrant immediate medical treatment by any specialist. Tisara herself could take care of the wounds to the point that Ysalha could put off the doctor's visit until she felt like it the next day, easily enough. Granted, Tisara had trained herself precisely for that task, and knew just what to do to repair the damage she'd inflicted. She kept the medical tools in an ornate old family medicine chest of immense age and ornate silver gilding covering the finely carved wood, and a ruby inset above the lock. It was unlocked, as usual, though, and she crisply removed what she needed: Spray-bottle of skin-sealant, spray bottle of synth-skin (used in conjunction on the slashed open back), compressor-accelerators for causing rapid flesh-binding in the deep razor slashes on the face and the puncture wounds of the nipples, and a sloughing agent for the burned flesh, the last of which would be followed up by synth-skin and sealant. The work was done without anesthetic, which meant that the feelings of the forced rapid healing were painful enough to serve as the night's finisher for Ysalha, who, unable to go into shock thanks to Taloran physiology, had deliciously and clearly felt every second of it. The treatment left her gasping, exhausted, and fallen in a pile of ravaged flesh against the bloodied and tangled sheets of their bed, as perfectly sated as she could ever dream of being in her whole life. Ysalha felt very lucky, indeed, and the strangely tender treatment showed that Tisara agreed on the count of fortune. Their love was obscene, but there was no doubt they saw it as love.

"Oh my dear girl," Tisara sighed as she put away the medical instruments reverently in their case, shutting it and returning to bed. They usually slept in the filth of their own carnality, and cleaned in the morning. Which had a strangely pleasant purifying effect, in such circumstances, and they were both to exhausted to do anything else tonight regardless. "I think we're on the verge of maybe, finally, being able to settle down."

“I don't think my life will ever be more complete, mistress,” Ysalha answered in heavy moans and sighs, hardly calmed from the aftereffects of the flesh-healing devices. “But if it pleases you, 'tis a fine thing by me.”

“Spoken as by your nature,” Tisara's ears showed her pleasure as she curled against her happily battered lover, both nude. She pulled the sheets over their sweat-bathed bodies, damp in places from Ysalha's blood, and relaxed in contentment.

“I know that you long for the company of equals, the feel of soil in your hands, the thrill of the chace when hunting... All the things I feared and dreaded, mistress, you revel in, and all that I love in you: My misborn slave's heart beats for your power. But I fear, too, for the chances that they will ever let us have that sort of life even in the colonies, or in a protectorate.” Ysalha was terrifyingly lucid, as she usually was after their depravity, though Tisara could tell from her constant quivering that she remained on knife's edge.

“It's your place to be fearful, dear. Don't regret it. It's mine to be bold. ...And I still desire these things, so let me strive for them. I will never be parted from you again as long as we live, but let me strive for more than that. It is your's to trust me in such things, in balancing our love with my ambition, even as sometimes I have learned to hear your words of caution, so much wiser of my tendencies and abilities than those of all others. As for now, though, my girl, I know from your shivering and fears that you're still quite worked up. So let me help you to sleep.”

“Of course, mistress,” Ysalha answered, her body badly needing rest to start the processes of healing, though her adrenaline levels were still quite high.

Tisara nodded gently, and reached for the needle case. She took a vial of a powerful muscle-relaxant and drew out the carefully measured amount that was required. She turned, then, back to Ysalha and pulled her right arm from the blankets. Tisara had grown so skilled that her lover completely lacked collapsed veins, despite the frequency with which this occurred. The needle was slipped in and Ysalha moaned in delight as it penetrated her and the drug filled her veins.

“Isn't that so much better, my girl?”

“Oooh y-yess...” Ysalha sighed happily, needing nothing more than what had just been done to feel great heights of dissolute pleasure. But Tisara wanted her to also sleep, for her own good. So she cleansed the needle, calmly washed the inside in distilled water, and filled it again with a standard sleeping drug that would likely put her out for nine Taloran hours. Tisara had decided Ysalha needed it, and she could be without a Chief of Staff for that long. Enough time for Cain to sort those democrats out, she thought to herself as she took Ysalha's limp left arm, hanging over her delightfully, and shot her up again.

Without another word, Ysalha was out in fifty seconds, and Tisara pedantically cleansed the needle and syringe and then settled down to follow her to sleep. She woke up much sooner, however, for despite all her happiness and contentment she was very curious about what had taken place in the Colonial fleet, about how successful she had been through Cain. So, eager and intent to find out the outcome of the events she'd set in motion, she got out of bed six t-hours later, showered and dressed, and headed for the bridge. Now it would be time to find out that which had happened whilst she was... Otherwise indisposed.

Some hours earlier, on Colonial One

Gaius Baltar had found treachery to be a rewarding career choice. So far it had not only given him love (though it was a strange one indeed) but also power. With Roslyn off indefinitely in Taloran space receiving treatment for cancer, he was the effective Head of State of the Colonial Confederacy. And that meant that the Talorans treated him with a sort of pompous deference he found suitable. The respectability he had always craved was now in hand.

The question was what do with it. Baltar thought association with the Talorans was a quite reasonable idea. They, by their own statements, wanted peace with the Cylons. According to the briefing that President Roslyn had given him, their nobility even had a curious interest in social justice. He wanted to investigate that in more detail, and accordingly, his sole presidential act since taking office about four hours earlier was to request from Aristasijh copies of the human works she had referenced in her conversation with the President and Zarek.

Baltar was a genius, and the Taloran translation algorithms had proved up to the task of converting the texts into Colonial script with reasonable clarity. The result was the he progressed through the political writings of Hillaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton with considerable celerity. They were well thought out and powerfully argued, of that Baltar doubted not. They were also fundamentally based around principles of 'Catholic Subsidiary', that is, of religious order. That the Talorans had found them suitable among human authors did not seem surprising. Vigorous monotheism was, it seemed, the order of the day in most of the rest of the universe. Another work had been sent, and it was this one that Baltar was reading at that moment: Du Pape (“The Pope”), by a fellow named the Comte de Maistre. It was the incredible effort of a proud bigot, strong-willed and inflexible in all matters, and in possession of potent but rigid powers of reasoning, brilliant but embittered, in Baltar's view, acting in continuous defence of centralized monotheistic religion, of monarchist governance, and of an integrated social order.

Such a political system is alien to us. And the ultimate incompatibility of our political systems is made brutally clear. If the Talorans think that the best thinkers among all of humanity are those who condemn democracy and scientific materialism, and equate mass butchery of innocents as being the 'apotheosis and logical consequence of their destructive spirit', then ultimately the co-existance of our... “systems is impossible.” Baltar realized he was standing on Caprica again, back at home, with Six sitting in front of him, coiled, relaxed.

“You have no idea how committed they are to God,” Six laughed, not very pleasantly. “Did you know what they did to a group they call the communitarians, back, oh, one thousand three hundred years ago? It was during the reign of the second Empress of the unified Taloran Empire. They nuked them, nuked almost sixty cities in all, to halt their offensives. Killed millions of civilians. And on the counterattack, if the people didn't repent and rejoin the orthodox belief of Farzianism, they were frequently driven into the sea or executed in mass. They're so much more like us than they realize, except more hypocritical. They've genocided two species themselves, even if they're mostly telling the truth about everything else. Granted, we think those acts were justified, but then we think our own were, too.”

“I didn't think you'd adopt the role of inquisitor so readily,” Baltar answered a bit bitterly.

Six was up and knocking him into the wall before he could react. As he slumped down, gasping for breath, she proceeded to knee him in the face and then kick him in the stomach repeatedly until he lurched over and vomited. It was possibly the most severe beating she'd ever delivered in these dream sequences, and terrified him more than anything else to date. Broken by it and left slump in a pile on the floor of his old home, Six stood above him, smirking. It had taken mere seconds of ferocious power to accomplish.

“The righteousness of some actions is unquestionable. We, if anything, admire the Talorans. They are bringing you to heel, and probably to the worship of the one God. But you still have a place in our plan, Baltar. The Talorans are hiding things. Things which are useful to us, and our plans. You'll learn them in time, and when you do, you will become the agent by which we humiliate and disorder all of humanity that shares your sins. And not all of it does. You'll understand that, soon enough. But first you're going to have to suffer. Because you hold a very special place in these developments, one that will play out at the crucial moment, and it will be in charge of what remains of the Colonies. That I can promise. But for the moment... You suffer.”

Baltar shuddered and prepared for another blow. Six watched him, and laughed. “No, no, not from me. Blame your fellow humans.” And with that, the scene vanished and he was returned to the Presidential office aboard the Colonial One. Staggering up to his feet, he wondered what she'd meant. He felt, he knew, the distinct feeling that simply getting beaten up hadn't been part of it. Oh well, I have the last of the best wines in existence to make me feel better. Ugh. He glanced down at his own vomit, and stepped over to his desk, pushing the buzzer that brought in Billy Keikeya.

“Clean that up, or get someone to,” he ordered, a bit shakily. “I'm going to go nap in my suite. Please inform me if anything.. Genuinely important comes up.” And with that, he left, not even allowing the executive advisor to get in a single word edgewise.

“Not really a people person, are you?” Billy muttered after Baltar had left the room.

Baltar's own concerns were mostly focused around the panic Six had left him in. Suitably, it was reciprocated by reality before he even got to his quarters. The intercoms on the Colonial One crackled alive with a dreadful message from the ship's Captain: “All hands, all hands! We're being boarded! They're Colonial Military but they're firing! Resist as possible—this is a coup against the government!”

Some armed security personnel caught up with Baltar before he could really react, starting to go back to his office but realizing that would be foolish. Instead, they tried to hustle him down to the shuttle bay on the ship, dragging him along in a most un-presidential fashion. But all they managed to do was take him directly into the path of Cain's boarding party, the Admiral having anticipated the response to her effort. Major Kendra Shaw was waiting as Baltar and the two guards turned the corner, with four men, and they fired at point blank, Baltar covered by the blood of his erstwhile protectors as they fell to the ground, unable to get a shot off. He was immediately surrounded by soldiers.

“Do you realize, Major, what you're doing!?”

“Saving humanity,” Shaw answered. “Especially from buffoons like you,” she added, and then, to her men: “Take him away, eh?” They started dragging the cuffed Baltar back to the Raptor. It wasn't long until Cain returned with Billy Keikeya, equally cuffed, and two other presidential advisors, along with the Colonial One's captain.

“J see you're the one who got our 'vice president'. Good work, Major. Until further notice you're the commanding officer of the Colonial Heavy,” she said, using the old registry to denigrate Roslyn's pretensions. “Keep half the Marines aboard while I haul back our prisoners.”

“Yes, Sir!” Kendra saluted stiffly, all professionalism for the moment with her lover, whom she idolized, and could not see her doing any wrong.

“Then see to your ship, Major,” Admiral Cain answered, allowing herself an affectionate smile after that before she climbed up into the nested Raptor and activated the coms connection. “Lieutenant Thorne, report your status?”

“The Council has been secured, Sir, no casualties in their ranks. We've got one dead and two wounded from resistance onboard, nine fatalities in the non-essential personnel on the liner.”

“Very good, Lieutenant. You know what do next. Keep them in chains and get them back to the Pegasus. And congratulations. This operation has proceeded as smoothly as I could have hoped.”

“Affirmative, Sir.”

With that, the two raptors undocked from the civilian ships they'd seized, giving no sign or evidence, really, of the fact that they had done so, as they'd been jamming the simple civilian transmitters on the vessels from the moment they'd approached them. For now, the rest of the fleet had no indication that there had been a coup, and they didn't receive news of it until Admiral Cain returned to the Pegasus in person.

Battlestar Pegasus

Admiral Cain strode into CnC on the Pegasus proudly, confidently, and serene in the knowledge of her success. Now it was time for things to get down to business, after all, and that was always what she'd been about.

She returned to the Pegasus' bridge to see Fisk waiting somewhat nervously. “Sir!”

“It's done. Colonel,” she observed. “Given me an open channel to the fleet, and bring the ship to quarters. We'll address them all at once.”

“Understood, Sir.” Fisk quietly went about his assigned task, waiting for Cain to compose herself and give the address.

Once the Pegasus was brought to stations and the channels opened, Admiral Helena Cain began her address, as calmly and crisply as always was, even when she had, just now, deposed the government of her nation in a military coup d'etat.

“Survivors of the Twelve Colonies, soldiers of the Colonial military, this is Admiral Helena Cain. I am bringing you news today of how your political leaders have deceived you. You are being led into an exile without hope of seeing other humans, or of ever regaining your worlds or your loved ones, to bury or to liberate from Cylon slavery. They are doing this on thin and specious ideological grounds, and I could not morally stand for it in any way whatsoever.

“We have millions of our people in Cylon rape and death camps, and millions more living off berries in the woods while they're bombed and nuked by the Cylons indiscriminately to finish off those few survivors. We should be fighting to free them at any cost, not running away because we're afraid of the Talorans and their form of government. And because your civilian leaders have refused to do that, in the name of everyone who remains in Cylon slavery and all those who have been killed, I have arrested them, and declare myself President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol for the duration of the Emergency. Martial Law is now declared for the fleet and all territories. We will regiment our society for the purpose of fighting back, and we have the Talorans as allies who can sweep aside the Cylons like bugs. Our Victory is inevitable!

“We will make them pay! And for that, a reasonable sacrifice is needed,” Cain continued after a long pause as the crew's cheering roared up through the ship to her and reverberated through CnC. Only as it fell did she continue in full: “We are going to enter a protectorate arrangement with the Talorans, in exchange for their aide and our full autonomy, we will acknowledge the Empress as the supreme Protector of the Colonies of Kobol. Now,” she said with a slightly wry expression, “you may ask what the point of winning the war is, if we are to simply find ourselves part of a greater, and alien, Empire. But if you do you're a moral coward, unable to accept the fact that our worlds have been occupied and the survivors there are being butchered in death camps. If this is what we need to do to rescue them, then we will do it. And we will stand at the head of a Taloran fleet which will bring the war straight to the Cylon homeworld!

“I have been promised by the Taloran representative to our nation a fleet of immense proportions. We all see the eight dreadnoughts out there, one single battle squadron of their fleet. They're sending us four more. The fleet which cut through fifty Cylon baseships will be increased five-fold. This time, the war will not stop until the head of the last Cylon has been struck from its body! We WILL liberate our people and our homeworlds, and we WILL be victorious. If the toasters want to play a game of extermination, we will show them how it's played! Today, my citizens, my comrades, we stop running. Today we turn and we fight!

“And for those who say we are sacrificing our values? We're doing what we need to do to survive! And survive we will, survive and strike back. We are going to again stand on our homeworlds, and it is to that aim and that aim alone that I have dismissed this farce of a refugee government. The Council will next meet on Caprica, in the Councilor buildings, as rulers of a star nation, and not as an ineffectual collection of people stuck on a ship, trying to legislate the lives of fifty thousand of us like they were an actual government. From this day forward, my decrees will govern our fate, and you may know that I promise you a stern but fair, all-out effort to regain our colonies. And if you want to dabble in the moral treason of suggesting we need to hold our heads and refuse Taloran help, then I am going to give you one chance to change your mind, and that chance is right now.”

She paused, composing herself, and spoke a more reasoned argument next: “The simple fact is, there aren't enough of us left to form a functional nation. We need the economic, military, and even social support of the Talorans to survive. And more importantly, we need it so that we can gain open and free trade, passage, ties, and right of residence with every single other human nation in existence. That transforms us from a few refugee pariahs into a solid and strong nation which has liberated its colonies, gone from fifty thousand refugees to millions rescued from slavery or hiding in caves, the millions who can rebuild. The millions who can travel to Earth, see it, and from it, draw settlers, lovers, technical experts, all human, and all the people who will rebuild our civilization. We need Earth to survive as a civilization. And so we need the Talorans. Those are the simple facts of the situation.

“Do you want to live in the Stone Age again? Do you really think that you will have anything better, fifty thousand people on an unsettled world, with no infrastructure except that scavenged from these ships, which are already falling apart from a lack of maintenance? Fifty thousand people; not enough for a civilization. Just a tribe. And that's what you'd be, tribalists, primitives, forgotten and alone, on a world we have never known, with no chance of ever revenging ourselves upon the Cylons for our dead and reclaiming our sacred soil! That is what the policy of refusing the negotiate reasonably with the Talorans would have brought us, and it is to save us from that fate that I have acted in dismissing the government.”

Cain smiled, a tad darkly, as she came to her conclusion. “So are you with us or against us? Are you going to go all out for the liberation of the Colonies, or are you going to engage in the base moral cowardice of refusing to fight to liberate them simply because we have to make some compromises with the most powerful start-nation to have ever existed? A nation that will, in return, support us wholeheartedly with their military forces? If you want to be a fool, then you are welcome to go ahead. But there will be consequences. I expect you all to give your all for this sacred war to reclaim our colonies and crush the Cylons once and for. There is no compromise, no negotiation, and no exceptions. WE FIGHT!

The cheers throughout the Pegasus were utterly crazy by that point, the crew working to out-do each other in screaming deliriously at the top of their lungs in support until they began to gain more discipline again, beginning the ominous drumroll chant of more than seven months prior, “SO SAY WE ALL!” Again and again, until thundering, deafening, they seemed to shake the very bulkheads of the Pegasus herself. And through it all, Admiral Cain waited patiently, calmly, for them to get it out of their system. Then she could actually get down to the work of issuing the directives which would regiment the fleet to her will.

Throughout the fleet the response was considerable different. In the Pegasus' brig, the Council and Roslyn's aides alternated between disbelief and despair, save Zarek, burning in anger that things had finally come to pass as he'd expected. And Baltar, wondering, wondering, how far he would indeed suffer as Six had promised before being vindicated. Elsewhere...

Some people cheered along as eagerly as they could, yelling themselves hoarse, caught up in the infectious intensity of the moment, in the electrifying and power words Cain offered. They wanted blood-vengeance, they wanted to fight with the invincible aliens on their side. Others prepared to fight against the orders, chilled to the bone by the loss of all their values in this military coup. Many, numbed by the loss of all they had ever known, simply continued to function. But now it was time for Cain, literally enough, to lay down the law.

“It is now time for a systematic effort to begin that will allow us to offer a credible component of the forces liberating our own colonies,” Cain began, continuing rather eagerly, and certainly sternly. “Personnel from the Pegasus will be assigned to each ship in the fleet to guarantee cohesion, while we travel to a fortified location in Taloran space where the noncombatants can be protected by Taloran defensive forces while we build our strength up for the offensive. All militarily useful materials will be listed at that point for requisition on arrival. All skilled personnel required for the war effort will be drafted to that purpose. I will approve any exclusions personally, and let me assure you, you better have a good reason if you come to me for one. What remains of our society must, down to the youngest child able to work, be regimented into a cohesive force operating for the purpose of survival, combat, victory! Freedom of the press is hereby ended. Systematic investigations of everyone in the fleet to root out Cylon spies will be made. These investigations will be conducted on a summary basis. Hoarding of critical supplies will be punished harshly on my discretion.

“Raptors are being immediately detached with personnel detachments to each ship in the fleet to enforce these provisions. Resistance to their boarding will be punished. If you try to leave the fleet, you will be on your own against the Cylons. I guarantee it, and you will not last long. This is the way things work now, and they are going to work that way because it's necessary for our victory--and it is to victory that I, and we, will remain committed! The liberation of our Colonies, and our revenge on the Cylons is coming. The dead will not be forgotten! And that is my sacred promise. Cain, out.”

There were cheers again, but as they died down, Fisk quietly stepped over, and softly observed: “Sir, what about Adama?”

“He tried a coup before himself,” Cain answered confidently. “Presented with a fait accompli, he may complain for a bit, but he'll settle down and be a good boy soon enough. Hell, we didn't even have to kill anyone except a few idiot security personnel. By the time the Talorans cure the damned Secretary of Education of cancer, if they do, nobody will even remember who the hell she was. Now, get me the Taloran battlecruiser Kalammi. I need to speak with the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj.”

HSMS Orelyost.

Tisara Urami was a bit sleepy as she arrived at her flag bridge, sipping from a handleless mug filled with chakrash-root tincture. She stalked along the catwalks of the upper bridge and then descended to the main command pit, observing everything that was going on with her mismatched eyes, short stature and lowered head making her seem perpetually morose but also predatory. Finally, and mostly to humiliate her after her conduct during the running battle with the Cylons toward Ysalha, she approached Commander Slitrami from behind.

“Your Serene Grace,” she saluted stiffly as she whipped around to face her superiour. “What may I do for you?”

“Have you been monitoring what happened in the Colonial fleet over the night, Commander?”

“You ordered us not to interfere, Your Serene Grace,” Slitrami answered, looking down at Tisara and adopting a rather petty tone, vaguely threatening of sarcasm with the lazy way her ears tilted.

“Well then, find out for me. Contact Aristasijh on the Kalammi and tell her I want to speak to her. And yes, I know you're about to tell me that you're not the communications watch officer. Do it anyway, Commander. It's an order.”

“Your Serene Grace,” Commander Slitrami answered stiffly, and turned to go.

Smirking slightly, Tisara moved languidly over to the central command chair and settled down into in, bringing up a tactical plot, to, at least, see if any of the Colonial ships had left. Or possibly been destroyed. None had. That suggested whatever happened had been quite abortive—very bad—or else had been executed flawlessly. Which would be very good indeed. She didn't have to wait much longer, anyway, before the tactical plot was taken over for holo-projection of the Countess Palatine of Fulanaj.

“Your Serene Grace,” Aristasijh bowed politely, hiding her distaste for Tisara with some genuine admiration, now. The woman had precisely guessed her orders, and materially aided them. That would advance Aristasijh's career, and it showed that, however depraved, Tisara of Urami was still a Princss of the Blood and second heir to the Great Queen of Midela, a direct-line descendent of Fileya, second daughter of Valera. Her perception was acute, and the forged resemblance of the seamless artificial eye to the natural mismatched set of the Sword of God chilling in its accuracy. She most assuredly retained her uses to the Empire.

“Aristasijh of Fulanaj. Who is the President of the Confederation of the Colonies of Kobol?” Tisara asked, still sipping from her mug even as she spoke with the Imperial ambassador, her legs crossed in her regular service uniform, minus helmet, comfortable and very sated after the last night's indulgences, to be sure. It allowed her to fall back on the discipline of her youth, and come across as perfectly calm as she inquired about the results of her efforts.

“Admiral Helena Cain,” Aristasijh answered levelly. “Thank you, by the way, Your Serene Grace. You have materially aided Imperial diplomacy here. Cain is amenable to all our terms, with a few minor additional requests we can easily meet. Then I will be able to read a Royal Patent of Nobility from Her Serene Majesty in her capacity as August Majesty of Grenya Colenta creating the Head of State of the Confederation the title of Duke under protectoral privileges, and allowing her to name her successors as she see fits.”

“End run around the Convocate?”

“Her Serene Majesty wished this matter resolved quickly, and the Kobolian humans are certainly not part of the Empire, nor are they joining it, so the Convocate has no authority. It is a treaty of protectorate, and Her Serene Majesty can elevate anyone she wishes to the Grenyan nobility. It is only the Imperial and Federal Nobility which is limited by the Convocate, as you know well. In this case it is a simple declaration of the status of the Head of State of the Kobolian humans being, by definition, recognized as a Grenyan Duchess. That will settle them right proper, and we will have the minor modifications to the treat—well within the prescribed Imperial limits—hammered out by tonight. Admiral Cain is actually coming aboard the Kalammi now that she's secured the Colonial fleet to complete those negotiations.”

“Hmm. Why are you telling me?” Tisara asked, a bit curious that anyone would be volunteering information to her.

“You had a hand in Imperial policy. You should know the result. Speaking of which, consider this your invitation to dinner on the Kalammi, Your Serene Grace. To celebrate the protectoral status of the Kobolian colonies.”

“And the beginning of a war against the Cylons?”

“No, you already started that, Your Serene Grace,” Aristasijh answered. “At any rate...”

“I won't go without Ysalha.”

Aristasijh frowned for a minute, and then shrugged. “Very well. I am about to—if provisionally, granted—give notice of the conference of a title of nobility on a military dictator; since that is scarcely high company in the first place, you can bring along your creature if you wish to. You've proved yourself to be a benefit to the Empire out here, and whatever your aunt continues to think of you, and I doubt she will be pleased at all to see you there, let alone accompanied, you have indeed materially aided the aims of the Empire. I am an honest person, Your Serene Grace, so I am not going to forget, deny, or minimize that. A century of silence on the cocktail circuit has probably left you overflowing with many interesting stories for dessert, anyhow, so.. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

“Thank you, Countess,” Tisara answered simply. “You are being more decent to me than anyone else has been since the poor old Princess Imperial Sikala died, her ship bombed by the same communitarians the Princess Jhayka...”

“With respect, Your Serene Grace, your presence, and that of your.. Creature.. Is welcome at this dinner. Your conspiracy theories are not.”

“Very well,” Tisara answered neutrally. She wasn't going to miss her first formal banquet in literally a century, even over the details of the death of her closest friend. “Twelve hundred hours, Countess?”

“Twelve hundred hours, Your Serene Grace.”

“I'll see you then. And, please, send my congratulations to Admiral Cain. Orelyost, Out.” As the holo-projection of Aristasijh faded, Tisara took another long draft from the mug, feeling much more focused. She'd have to let Ysalha sleep for another three hours, and she'd probably need a stimulant, but her precious girl wasn't going to be missing their first chance for a banquet together, well, they'd never had one at which they'd actually been recognized, considering the difference in emanation between them. It appeared that the sheer audacity of their open relationship had ultimately paid off in that regard, at least out here on the frontier.

The chances of that manse on a big farm were increasingly reasonable ones. “Well, Admiral Cain. I hope you understand what I did for you,” she said softly under her breath. Some sort of arrangement about the survivors of Cain's prior act, which even Tisara found repulsive—though it had unquestionably proved useful to her—would have to be found to keep them from causing to much trouble. But for the moment, she had the first substantial hope for change in her life since Sikala had crushed it all in her mysterious and so unfortunate death. All she needed now was a few victories in the splendid little war with the Cylons which would now surely result, and she would surely be rehabilitated enough to settle down in the Protectorate without complaint by the government. I think I'll ask for the Naval Ministry, too.. Even with only a dozen ships, it will be a nice post to keep me busy. And I'll finally be able to properly discipline a naval force! Fancy that.... But Tisara should perhaps have been more cautious about making plans before the last roll.
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2008-01-21 04:33am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Alan Bolte » 2008-01-21 03:51am

Raiders are being immediately detached with personnel detachments to each ship in the fleet to enforce these provisions.
I assume you mean Raptors.

On Tisara and Ysalha: absolutely disgusting, and somewhat erotic. Bravo. On the rest, well, I love your writing, and this is par for the course.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-01-21 04:22am

Alan Bolte wrote:
Raiders are being immediately detached with personnel detachments to each ship in the fleet to enforce these provisions.
I assume you mean Raptors.
Oops. Corrected.
On Tisara and Ysalha: absolutely disgusting, and somewhat erotic. Bravo. On the rest, well, I love your writing, and this is par for the course.
Thank you. They're Supposed to be absolutely disgusting, of course. I wanted Tisara to be someone whom, in fact, you would feel bad about the way she's been treated.
If she wasn't Absolutely Disgusting. But she is.
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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 » 2008-01-24 05:38pm

An excellent chapter, worthy of both this tale and yourself. I applaud your efforts and your literary prowess.

Now, with the groveling done, when can we expect more? :D
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Post by Coalition » 2008-01-26 07:14pm

I hav eto admit I was thinking of Baltar looking at the troops coming in, and making a new plan.

Specifically, he negotiates an easy transfer of power to the military, and invites Major Shaw in, with several troops. Baltar then starts to go over the daily business with Shaw, listing all the trivial details that Shaw will now be responsible for. Watch Shaw's reaction as she realizes the sort of mess that Baltar is handing her. Baltar then walks around, grabs a few books, and tells Shaw that in the brig, Baltar will be the one getting a full eight hours of sleep now.

If Baltar was feeling nice, he would have had his guards stand down instead of fighting, as that would save Colonial lives. Chances are, most of those guards were female, to make sure Baltar was safe 'all the time'. This provides a bloodless transfer of power, and if Baltar surrenders himself, but not the Vice Presidency, he can always claim it later when Cain, Shaw, or other military get tired of dealing with the routine details of day to day operations.

Of course, Baltar will need a close liaison with the military. He will likely demand Shaw as the 'best' for the 'positions' in mind.

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