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

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-01-26 07:23pm

Coalition wrote: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.
Baltar was in power for about six hours. He could have potentially avoided a coup if he'd had more time to order things after his own liking.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-01-26 08:00pm

baltar DOES tend to come up with shit like that under duress though and through a little handwavery he seems to always come out on top.
I wonder what Adama will do when he returns. The show seems to focus on the Adama family and grants them frequent moral highground, and unachievable victory.
This however seems to be a situation where Cain found an Ally unstable enough early on enough to pull off her antics. Adama didn't get a read on Cain early enough to put Starbuck in the asassin position which means I don't think he will ahve a recourse when he returns? unless he gains taloran support in some way.
Who knows what he will find on the missing battlestar though I am pretty interested to see how that is handled.
Would the colonists shit a brick if they found out alter on that the ADN exists and they could ahve negotiated with them instead of the talorans and been part of a human alliance? They would probably escalate tensions between the Talorans and the ADN, given that the Talorans wouldn't be uber excited that ADN was moving in on their universe.
Great fic Duchess i've been hooked since it started

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-09 03:19am

Chapter Twenty.

CNS Kshatriya,
Deep Space approx.
7 light months from Picon.

It had been a short seven months on the Colonial Cruiser Kshatriya. The vessel was a modular heavy gun support ship, one of three classes of support combatants in the Colonial Navy. The others, anti-fighter destroyers and fast scouting frigates, had born the brunt of the fighting. The new Baseships had stayed out of gun-range unlike in the days of old, and had not given a target to the immense batteries of the cruiser and her sisters. They'd still suffered when Admiral Nagala's stand had been made. The computer virus had virtually destroyed the ability of every ship in the fleet to resist. The modular cruisers, however, had a sole advantage: Independent computers in each combat module that lacked CNS routines. That meant her heavy guns were fully operational from the start. But against fighters, they had been virtually useless.

Colonel Iphigenia Xanthippus, executive officer of the Kshatriya, had survived the engagement only thanks to the direct order of the ship's CO, Commander Walker: “Smash the computers with a fire-axe, Iphy!” The shout would reverberate through her for the rest of her likely short life. It had, at least, avoided her dying immediately, as the bridge had been blown to pieces while she was seeing to Commander Walker's last instructions. Taking command from a secondary control post, she'd seen Nagala's flagship go up and the surviving Battlestars swiftly follow. As the raiders were consumed in that lethal task, Iphigenia, seeing no Admirals in communication, had decided to save the ship and ordered them to break their position.

The ship's heavy guns had been useless in the fight which had developed, and, ignored by the raiders as they went for the “Big Ones”, she had ordered the engines to a full burn at maximum power for deep space. Every safety had been overriden until the engines were redlined to the maximum of the stress tolerances and well beyond, generating such acceleration as to distort the internal gravity fields, throwing everyone back into their chairs with eyeballs-in gravity of 10g's or more, not enough to impair their functioning at that angle, but leaving them, for hours of intense acceleration, scarcely able to function as the effects of acceleration bled through the inertial dampers.

Several other ships had tried the same escape effort and had been destroyed. But like the old principle of scattering a convoy under surface attack to save at least a few of the ships, the Kshatriya had escaped by random chance and the reality of the Cylons' being overtaxed by the destruction of thousands of ships. They had kept burning until 48% of their fuel had been exhausted and they were at extremely high c-fractional velocities.

Time-dialation was sufficiently intense that the seven months had been seven days for them. And just eight hours and 56 minutes ago, eleven days real-time, they had made contact with and engaged with their surviving heavy gun, a ship of unknown design, though surely Cylon. It probably meant their final doom. 60% of the crew had been killed in action or died of wounds (many of which had been treatable, but could not be treated in the intense gravity of the acceleration). 20% were wounded but still alive. At this speed, with their main computers gone, jump calculations were impossible, for the calculations that could be done on slower, portable computers would be useless by the time they were finished when traveling at such velocities. More personally, Iphigenia was among the wounded herself, missing her right leg from mid-thigh. Crushed by a collapsing bulkhead, someone had despite the acceleration managed to get a tourniquet around it, and she'd lasted long enough to have it amputated once they ceased their burn.

She had, over that week, done her best with what was left to her on the Kshatriya to prepare her ship and crew for an expected renewal of hostilities. Now it had come. They had been deaccelerating for four hours to throw off an enemy approach, and were as ready as they could ever be: In a week, on survival rations and painkillers, commanding from a cot on the secondary bridge that she also slept on, she had, a freshly-minted Colonel with only two weeks as the ship's XO, turned the Kshatriya from a shattered wreck into a fighting ship once again. Against a concerted Cylon attack they would die, but Iphigenia would not give up. She was an atheist and proudly so, and so had long been told her lack of faith would make her a coward, but she'd proved those doubters wrong already. Now, with a calm sense of fatalism, she drew out her plans to exact the highest possible price on the enemy in payment for her death, the deaths of those under her, and the destruction of her ship.

She'd have the chance, it seemed. An immense squadron, mostly of ships of the same kind they'd engaged briefly before, had jumped out ahead of them, moving faster than they were, matched to their old velocity. “Battle-stations,” Iphigenia calmly ordered as two crewers carried her to a bolted down chair and strapped her to it with a piece of rope. Taking only a moment to settle, she glanced around the secondary bridge. Lieutenant Astarte at the helm, Captain Ricardo directing weapons, that was it for the surviving healthy officers here. Major Wallingstead in Engineering was still up and moving, and two more combat-line officers were alive, but one had lost both eyes to shrapnel and the other was missing a hand. So it was the three, with a gaggle of surviving ratings, who would fight the ship from her remaining bridge.

“All operational sectors reporting at battle stations, Colonel.”

And they were ready to fight. Nervous expressions focused into intangible hardness, the grim determination of those who had been close enough to Picon to know that the system had been destroyed as well as the thirty Battlestars and hundreds of support ships which had been there when the Cylons had attacked. They had remained under radio silence that past week—that past seven months—listening until the last radio transmission from Picon ceased, leaving no doubt that all but the barest fraction of the population had been exterminated. And with no relief having come for Picon, they could live in fear that the rest of the Colonies had been destroyed, too, that the remaining 90 battlestars of the fleet had not managed to stem the tide.

Iphigenia had a strange sort of nervous tick. As a gesture of calming to herself, and to those around her, she plucked out a broken hairbrush, the handle gone, and began to brush through her dirty, oily red hair, long having lost its lustre in the past week without bathing. No tangles, though; this was hardly a new phenomenon. She was calmly brushing her hair, then, as she gave the orders. “Increase deacceleration to flank. Stand by to launch the Raptors and shuttles. Begin deploying warheads, nuclear first, then conventional. Stand by to jettison the Tylium pods and have Battery #5 target them.” The ship's surviving KEV had the job of detonating her whole remaining supply of Tylium, to be deployed from the ship as mines, as were the warheads of both the conventional and nuclear missiles from the two missile pods. The Raptors and shuttles had volunteer suicide pilots, all Piconese, unsurprisingly, and the Raptors had missiles to fire first: There were only three of each, and no fighters, in the tiny bay of the Kshatriya, but they would have to be enough. With the deployed weapons traveling forward at their release velocity as the ship continued to de-accelerate, the enemy would pass through the trap before being able to engage them. The downside being that with the Tylium gone, if they somehow survived, they'd never be able to slow down.

“Colonel, de-acceleration at full,” Petty Officer Alisia Kynes reported crisply as the engines shuddered and gravity, partially overwhelming the inertial dampers, began to push on them again.

Iphigenia had thought that one over, and made the call. It was going to be their one chance to fight a battle on their terms, to tear into the enemy who had smashed their homes: For Iphigenia herself was Piconese, and whatever else, she knew her lovers, her family, all her friends, were indubitably, irrevocably slain, and there would be no bringing them back. If we somehow defeat them, well, we'll need the tylium-bombs to do that, and if we somehow do.. At least we'll have many somewhat normal years of life thanks to the hydroponics and fissionables, traveling through deep space... “Launch Raptors and shuttles. Begin deploying warheads first. Stand by for tylium-pod deployment.”

“Aye aye, Sir,” Captain Ricardo replied.

Then Warrant Officer Chaniya Bakker intervened with a sudden, and almost desperate, squawk. She was young, and it showed in her voice and loss of composure.

“Colonel, we're receiving an IFF interrogatory from a Colonial warship!”

“Identity? It's probably a Cylon trap,” Iphigenia answered with cruel honesty.

The answer changed all of that.

“It's BSG-75. Galactica! Her position is inside the enemy formation.”

“Wasn't she being decommissioned during the attack?” Lieutenant Astarte queried, adding, “Sir,” the hope in her voice starting to pervade the bridge.

“Decommissioned... Not upgraded,” Ricardo answered.

Iphigenia, dosed up with painkillers or not, realized the train of thought. It stopped her cold. “They wouldn't have had the CNS downloaded... Halt launch orders! Chaniya, send them back a confirmation. Full Ident query!”

The chorus of ayes that followed was marked by silence, and nervousness. If this was really a Cylon trap—and how to explain the strange ships otherwise?--what else could it be?--they may have lost their one chance at an ambush. Iphigenia could only judge, though, that even now hope was surely the correct course of action.

Then Chaniya spoke again, relief flooding her voice. “We're getting a message back from the Galactica, Colonel.”

“Someone give me a handset,” Iphigenia coughed, setting aside her broken hairbrush. It was grabbed at full extension and given to her.

A voice, terribly gravelly and very familiar, from a legend in the fleet, came to her. “Kshatriya, this is Galactica, Commander Adama. You are ordered to stand down at once.”

“Commander Adama,” Iphigenia answered delicately, “Please tell me the name of your previous command.” She knew his career intimately from a study of the heroes of the Cylon War in the academy.

“The Valkyrie,” Adama answered, to Iphigenia's relief. “Now, stand down and identify yourself at once.”

“Acknowledged, Commander. This is Colonel Iphigenia Xanthippus, commanding officer of the cruiser Kshatriya. We are standing down.”

She glanced to her crew. “It's legit as best as I can confirm. Stand down and order the Raptors and shuttles to begin broadcasting positions, and tag the warheads we already deployed for safety purposes.” She made sure that Adama could hear that over the feed.

“Sir, we're standing down.” She asked, next, strangely calm: “Who are you with? What are those ships?”

“They're from the Taloran Imperial Starfleet, Colonel. An alien, non-Kobolian species. The Galactica made contact with them while protecting a convoy of civilian ships which consist of the only free survivors—and very nearly the only survivors period—of the Twelve Colonies, I must bluntly tell you. They have assisted us against the Cylons, and they're here to help bring the Kshatriya home, Colonel. You've done good. You're alive, and we've got one more ship for the future. There's only two other warships than your's left in the Colonial fleet.”

“What's the other one, Commander?”

“Battlestar Pegasus, Colonel.”

Iphigenia smiled tightly. “Well, no surprise that Admiral Cain made it through. Sir, what are your instructions? We need to transfer our fuel pods back to the reactors—we were preparing to launch them as last-ditch mines—but we can de-accelerate on our own.”

“We'll help you in de-accelerating, Colonel. The Talorans have anti-gravity cohesive beams called 'tractor-repulsors', and they can use them with their heavy ships to aide in slowing you, so that we can get our speeds equalized and going down. Then we'll send teams over—are your jump-drives intact?”

“Yes, it's just the computers.”

“Then we can get the Kshatriya home, Colonel. How long were you her XO?”

“Ah, two weeks, Commander. I'd just finished Command and General Staff College after being promoted to Colonel.” Iphigenia felt herself flush somewhat. Is that just the drugs? But we're saved. She glanced around the bridge, where the crew could barely contain their celebrations. To her, though, it was dull. Just another event. What happens now? And what are these aliens, exactly? I... Well, I'll find out soon enough.

“Again, you did good, Colonel. But for now,” Adama continued, working his away with her carefully, for he realized something that neither she nor any of her high strung crew could realize—that she was filled with such nervous energy, deadened by shock and drugs and strung out to the max at the same time—that she was more or less on the edge of a breakdown. But she hadn't broken down. She was still there, and she had, indeed, done the best she could. Now it was time to count the cost, and he said as much.

“Well, Commander,” Iphigenia answered softly, “The casualty list starts with me, or more pointedly, my right leg, and goes from there.”

By the time she was done, Adama had to admit one thing: Even he hadn't expected that much devastation on the somehow-intact cruiser. But a brief conference with Fraslia confirmed that she could still be saved, and so the delicate process of recovering the ship from right under the nose of the Cylon enemy began.

HSMS Jhammind,
Approaching Sol.

Dr. Ghimalia was fairly content at the moment. Roslyn's condition was at least stabilized by the powerful, targeted chemical treatments and radiation. Countless supportive drugs minimized the negative effects and treated her symptoms as well. To stabilize her body a series of targeted microsugeries had removed any concentrations of cancerous cells that could be found. Organs on the verge of failure had been removed and replacements were being grown, while the President was kept safely in stasis.

Now Ghimalia was sequencing the cancerous tissue and matching it against the needed retroviral capabilities to create a tailored version of what had, 700 years ago, been an untreatable disease. Now it was the perfect tool for training the body to attack cancer cells. Infect the cancer cells, and the body, then trained to attack the virus, by extension would destroy the cancer, developing a learned response to those cells with which any reoccurrence of the cancer would be immediately attacked, guaranteeing a state of what was called perpetual remission.

Ghimalia leaned back and stopped staring at the screen for a bit, also turning off the neural interface. She then mentally turned off her own eyes to take a moment's rest. Contented, but also rather tired. As she rested, though, Gina approached her quietly, putting her hands on Ghimalia's shoulders. Four t-weeks and Sipamert's refusal to persecute a war on the Cylons had made her much more comfortable, and she was even getting along with Ghimalia's Batgirl.

“You're working very hard to save her.”

“It's my job,” Ghimalia answered, “and all of our other patients are either discharged or stable. How's Sharon?”

“She seems more or less a Colonial now.”

“Do you still hold loyalty to your people?” Ghimalia asked in response to the contemptuous sound in Gina's voice.

“Yes, but I don't think I can fight again.” Gina hesitated. “I don't want to...” She stopped rubbing.

“Be raped again,” Ghimalia muttered, turning her eyes back on and looking at Gina. “I wish I could arrange help for you, but...”

“I'd rather not deal with humans.”

“There are no Taloran specialists in mental health as I've said. I could give drugs if there was something, but...”


Ghimalia turned, rising, and hugged the Cylon, feeling for a moment the terrible distance in her. “They raised you fully formed and never gave you a chance to for a better future. I wish I could change that.”

“Perhaps, Ghimmy, you're right, but...” Gina started crying, folding up against the Taloran.

Ghimalia knew better than to speak. She did, though, silently pray that Helena Cain would suffer inestimably for her treacherous torture of Gina. Ghimalia knew Gina had been in the wrong, but the savagery of Cain's response wiped that consideration out. There was no Justice done to the girl, and Ghimalia thought that the best example of her quiet faith possible was to make up for such surfeits of Justice in the lives of others. So, gently holding Gina, she let her cry, let the suffering drain away with a warm body to hold back the cold.

At last, Gina calmed. “For all my duty, I loved her. Before she resolved to fight, I hoped to save her—send the Pegasus off into deep space, make our lives shipboard. She'd be as gone from the fleet, as removed as a threat, as if destroyed, and we could have had lives together.”

“Cain is more of a savage sort than that. You will find better in the future.”

“Perhaps.” A pause. “Humanity here resents Talorans, and is like the Colonials in some way. And, well, no offense, but I don't find your species attractive.”

“Nor I humans, though I am bisexual enough to imagine myself in your place and share a little for it. However, Gina, those.. Aren't your only options.”


“I am not sure if I can explain for a bit yet, though, I think, soon enough. For the moment, though, I can't,” Ghimalia frowned at herself. “They'll surely tell the President in another three weeks when we bring up from the stasis-coma after the injections and surgeries in the next round of treatment. I'll make sure they tell you as well. Can't hide it from her on Earth, after all, and we're not at war with your nation.”

“But what does this have to do with my future?” The plaintive note in the question was obvious.

Glowing red eyes met Gina's and Ghimalia forced a small smile from her experience among humans. “Trust me, Gina, it has everything to do with it,” and they hugged again. But even then, Ghimalia was wondering if she had perhaps already said to much. In fairness to her, nobody ever really trained medical doctors to function in a world where common knowledge abruptly became State Secrets. We can't really hide the A.D.N. from them any longer, can we? But that was exactly what was intended by the Taloran government.

Battlestar Galactica,
Deep Space approx.
7 light months from Picon.

Colonel Xanthippus still goggled a bit at the Talorans; she couldn't help it at all at this point. It had only been a day to her since she had been introduced to the very concept of an alien species existing, beyond a few brief academy lectures. A day to her, and everyone else in the force, even in a hard deacceleration. In the real world, so to speak, another eight days had passed by. They were now at rest, her Kshatriya having escaped certain death.

As for her own personal status at the moment, missing leg or not, they were also in a conference. Gray-skinned Baroness Commodore Fraslia of Istarlan and Orange-haired Lieutenant Chylisi represented the Taloran side of things. Iphigenia herself retained nominal command of the Kshatriya, but Lee Adama—the alien Commodore Fraslia had the strange habit of calling him Adama the Younger--had been made her XO and, having headed over to the Kshatriya the moment it whad been possible to transfer personnel for the repairs when velocities had matched,now functionally ran the ship entirely with Iphigenia on the Galactica under medical treatment--and Captain Thrace promoted to replace him as Galactica's Wing Commander.

Lacking a leg, Iphigenia had nonetheless defiantly maneouvred herself from sickbay to the meeting, intent on seeing what would be the conclusion of the longest journey that she could have imagined to have taken place, and how they would get back to civilization. Such that remained of it. The reality of Earth, of the Talorans, was somewhat sour after the miracle of their salvation. At least we never had any hope, let alone hope of Earth, to be let down. If Adama can bear the knowledge and cooperate with the Talorans, I can certainly do the same. Comforting thoughts, but they never did seem to translate into comforting emotions.

“You're looking better, Colonel,” Adama acknowledged in his usual gravelly tone. “When we get you back to the fleet, the Talorans should be able to give you a leg as good as new and get you back to the Kshatriya as quickly as possible.”

“Better than new, Sir,” Chylisi offered helpfully, and glanced to Colonel Xanthippus. “You will certainly be able to return to duty within a month of the attachment, Ma'am.”

“I don't particularly want what's damn near a Cylon leg,” Iphigenia remarked tartly, and pushing the limits of a civil meeting in language, “but whatever gets me back to the Kshatriya the soonest, I'll take it, no matter what it means. My soul's going to be on that ship. Likely forever.”

“It's nice to know there's someone out there who knows how I feel about the Galactica,” Adama admitted in a surprising moment of candidness. “And it's good that you've chosen to have such an attitude, Colonel. Duty is always first.” Adama started for a long second into her eyes, until she ducked her head away a bit, acknowledging the criticism.

Then Adama turned his head to look at the lofty visage of the Taloran Commodore, even seated, and her not-quite-human grayskinned features. “Commodore, have the repair teams finished work on the Kshatriya?”

“In thirty more minutes they'll all be recovered, following the integrity scans, Commander. All the actual work, however, is in fact done.”

“That leaves getting back,” Adama moved right along. “The fleet has reached Oralnif by now, correct?”

“Probably ten days ago, Commander. Direct route, sixteen days to Oralnif from here. Early heavy evasion patterns will have to be implemented to avoid Cylon detection, however, and we will need to pick up some of the scouting elements along the way we now have operating here as additional escorts for further safety. Altogether that means it should take at the very minimum about twenty days for us to reach Oralnif.”

“Five thousand seven hundred lightyears,” Iphigenia murmured, commenting offhand. She wasn't nearly as focused on the details of the meeting as the others, considering she was both not formally on duty, and most assuredly on plenty of painkillers. “No wonder we never found you before.”

“And Earth itself at more than eight thousand,” Adama allowed himself to agree. “Would have taken several years given our planned search pattern to find, most likely, without contact with Commodore Fraslia here.” Adama simply ignored Iphigenia's look of distaste. That response to the Facts of Taloran power, from someone who had seen and lived through what she had in the months, or days, since the attacks began, through the annihilation of Nagala's ships and her own narrow escape, horrible injuries, and the stunning carnage on the Kshatriya, was at least understandable. Adama did not like those facts himself.

While Iphigenia's response was understandable from Adama's perspective, the Talorans, on the other hand—even Fraslia—would never understand the sentiment, and Adama was starting to share their opinion, at least, even if he still understood why Iphigenia was so dreadfully mistrustful. Whatever else, they share with us a balance of flaws and abilities, and some of them are good and some are evil. No wonder they themselves find our species-based distinctions odd, or downright silly. That, and their religion influences their knowledge...

“Well, the most important thing, Commander,” Fraslia answered a bit lamely to break up the brooding silence at the table, “is that we did find you.”

“Yeah, though it hasn't turned out to be perfect or anything like that. A bit unhappy, even, Commodore,” Starbuck interjected abruptly.

“Our association has only just begun, and the fleet...”

“Did get one hell of a lot of kills racked up,” Starbuck agreed with a grin, but then frowned. “Still, the politicos are being a bit dodgy in keeping us from continuing that run of victories together.”

“Our values are not up for sale,” Adama commented a bit dangerously to Starbuck, growling rather lower. He didn't like her attitude, or Cain's, for that matter, to the issue of Colonial democracy against Taloran autocracy.

“Understood, Sir,” Starbuck answered stiffly.

“Perhaps,” Fraslia interjected for the sake of injecting some lightheartedness into the end of the meeting, “the political impasse will be broken when we return.”

“We may hope, Commodore,” Adama agreed.

“I'd drink to it,” Starbuck chimed in, and all seemed settled.

Nobody realized how horribly correct their hopes had become, such as to be a veritable mockery of the meaning intended. But that was Cain's fault.
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 Alan Bolte » 2008-02-09 04:31am

A good chapter, but that last sentence strikes me as superfluous. Sort of a, "little did they know!"
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-09 05:30am

Alan Bolte wrote:A good chapter, but that last sentence strikes me as superfluous. Sort of a, "little did they know!"
It's mildly ironical. You'll see why shortly.
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 » 2008-02-09 06:19am

Chapter Twenty-One.

Deep Space.

Ysalha Armenbhat dreamily mused on her lover's voice and words when they had last been together. They had not been long apart, but that was to long for her, after the periods of long separation which had gone before. Over time she had not drifted apart from Tisara, but become all the more attached and faithful, and so it was that she now was more or less consumed by thoughts of Tisara. They could not long stay apart from each other and remain functional, and that observation underlaid that last conversation even if it was not something to which Tisara would direct admit.

“Don't worry, my girl,” Tisara had offered with an arm around Ysalha in bed. “It's just an inspection run, after all, my dear... Sipamert's way of venting at my End Run of the family's efforts to shame us for our actions out here on the frontier. We're in a fine position now, with Admiral Cain in charge of the Colonials and a war in the making, a leader of a state of the Empire indebted to us. It has all, at last, finally worked out in the end. The end, of course, of the beginning,” she had added languidly, before drawing her precious girl into a passionate kiss.

A kiss that aroused Ysalha now simply by remembering it. They had become so close that normal acts of affection gained a pleasurable significance from the promise of violence behind them, even when normal sexual stimulation was impossible for her. It was a beautiful feeling, and she just let herself revel in it, before she was carried back to the present by the thoughts about how her precious mistress had turned out to be correct in the first place, how her plan had come together with such utter perfection in the final accounting.

And it has come together so well like that, has it not? Ysalha mused to herself, board as they traveled through an uncharted system at sublight velocities while recharging their jump drive. She was, for the moment, a supernumerary to the gunboat's operation, and had nothing with which to occupy herself whatsoever, due to the enforced comms silence this close to the enemy, until she began the first of the inspection tours. There was a hopeful tone to what she thought about, anyway: Perhaps we will finally have peace. It was a happy thought, indeed. Ysalha and Tisara were almost 200 human years old and had spent 180 of those years together as a couple, faithful to each other the whole while.. And 160 of those years in turn had been spent in perpetual exile on the extreme fringes of the Taloran Star Empire. To have a home to return to was a strange, seemingly impossible dream to hold. But it was a dream that finally was coming true, and Ysalha had her mistress to thank for it, as she did every aspect of happiness and Purpose in an otherwise hopeless and dissolute life.

Ysalha rose and paced in the tiny cabin; she didn't really have enough room to do it, and so gave up and jacked into the wall-mount, studying specifications out of sheer boredom. She didn't want to masturbate in someone else's room, particularly considering the accompaniment she inflicted on herself so she could actually enjoy it, and it left her bored and frustrated all at once. So she was just going over the J'u'crea-ER type specs from the helpful Starfighter Corps internal data-net on the craft (operated by the Starfighter Corps rather than the Starfleet as were all sub-20,000 tonne combat vessels). That quickly grew to bored for her to continue, so she flipped back to reviewing the instructions for her mission.

The Stop Line for any potential Cylon advance into the Taloran Empire was based around Oralnif, the only significantly inhabited planet in the Sector, and defensive regions of space in a rough arc through the Oralnif area, meaning that two-thirds of the expansion sector would be abandoned to the Cylons. Preventative evacuation of colonists in that area—just a few tens of thousands--was already being undertaken, and throughout the area a Patrol Front had been established. This Patrol Front was integrated with Tisara's command, and sixteen scouting squadrons had been dispatched to provide recon elements for the forces in the vicinity.

The total scouting coverage of the Oralnif Spinward's Scouting Front was now amounting to one hundred and twenty-eight fresh Heavy Cruisers and virtually all of the undamaged or lightly damaged Heavy Cruisers and Expeditionary Cruisers of the original Imperial Starfleet and the Royal Midelan Navy elements already in the area from the initial round of combat operations. The cruisers had arrived over the past seven t-weeks, along with no less than twelve more light carriers—stripping the three nearest expansion sectors of light carrier divisions!--and an incredible commitment of a full squadron of eight of the most very modern heavy fleet carriers, plus a squadron of battlecruisers to support them!--and a force of three battleships to form a battleship division, and all with seven more Destroyer flotillas and one new squadron of light cruisers.

The best part was that as the ranking Imperial officer on the scene, and with no Line elements having been dispatched in the Imperial section of the force, just the Royal Midelan Navy units, her mistress Tisara remained in command of her Taskgroup, and that Taskgroup now included all of the ships, though she was still firmly subordinate to the Archduchess Sipamert. That, however, was something that they could live with for the moment. Though it did mean the irritation, and humiliation, of this completely unnecessary inspection tour.

Of the 4,000-tonne extended range J'u'crea tpye Gunboat that she was now on, it could be more or less be said that it was a standard armed courier for the fleet's operations. A standard combat gunboat with a full weapons load (and in fact one extra light bolter mount), it was lengthened, stretched both in length and in mass by 500 tonnes over the normal 3,500 tonne design, providing space for, in particular, a larger reactor, more jump batteries, allowing for a series of jumps in very fast sequence (already expended thanks to the Archduchess Sipamert's orders for haste, which left Ysalha somewhat invulnerable as it meant they couldn't jump out for another thirty minutes) and a normal recharge rate of two hours like a capital ship (aided by the reactor being all anti-matter, getting a much better power yield), all of it coming at the expense of maneouvrability only, with not even sublight acceleration being affected—more mass, but more power for the sublight gravitic acceleration impellers, as well.

Ah, well. Boredom seemed impossible to escape now. They still hadn't reached the patrol line, and Ysalha was not just sharing a cabin, but sharing it with the distinctly uncomfortable Gunboat commander—uncomfortable with her, that was, as her reputation preceded her, and was much distorted besides. Though bisexual, however, Ysalha had been faithful to Tisara for fifty-seven t-years, an incredible length of time. The gunboat's commander was quite safe from her unnatural ways, of that Ysalha was amusedly certain, though knowledge of her own inherent loyalty to her mistress had, from time to time, led her to make some people.. Uncomfortable. She regretted that now, not enjoying the silence which she realized, sadly, was omnipresent in her mistress' life.

Containing the impulse to daydream about more erotic things, she just laid down on the previously ill-used upper bunk, folding herself up, and focusing on imaging the prospect of her and Tisara settling down to create a home together, a real, true hearth in the countryside... When the gunboat's alarms sounded, and veritably bodily knocked her from the bunk with their dreadful urgency. They had good reason to.

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

“Senior Centurion,” the L-model Thought-droid address to a command labour model: A Lucifer and a gold-plated Cylon Centurion, in other words and understandings than the old pre-revolt designations, including their own. “You are ordered to attack and disable the unknown craft: I repeat, disable only. Priority placed on this is set at one hundred percent by Imperious Leader.”

Calmly, grimly, mechanically he droned back: “By Your Command.”

The Centurion was on an old-model Heavy Raider, on the command deck of which his head now swiveled toward his subordinates: “Signal squadrons one through nine. to attack energy-emitting wing structures on targeted unknown only. These will be the. reactionless engines. Weapons at fifty-percent power. Stand by to board.”

“By Your Command.”

Nine squadrons of nine fighters swung out of concealment in the asteroid belt of the system and fell into line, accelerating toward the J'u'crea-type gunboat they referred to simply as Unknown Target. It turned on heel more or less immediately and accelerated hard. Even as it did, though, the first strike was being planned—by the Talorans. They had the Colonial data-files, after all, and they knew exactly who they were facing. Swinging around to face the hull to the opposite of the direction of acceleration she opened up with her main full forward batteries even as gravitic polarity was flipped to allow continued acceleration.

She pumped out 32 heavy anti-fighter guided missiles in the next ten t-seconds, too. Nineteen of them hit the old three-Centurion Raiders and destroyed them utterly, their Tylium fuel sources violently going up as the missiles detonated. The others successfully evaded in tremendous swarms and continued to close with their designated target.

“Probability high. Target craft's missiles expended. Squadrons one and nine accelerate around flanks. in. encirclement manoeuvre. All other squadrons continue to attack.”

“By Your Command.”

The battered Cylon formation began to close with the unknown target only for the gunboat to suddenly spint on heel once more and activate an unknown form of FTL drive which was still trackable in realspace. The Cylons were left alone with their losses, though they suffered no real problems from the sudden misfortunate turn of events. They analyzed, and methodically proceeded with the operation.

“Course of the unknown vessel toward main facilities. On approaching heading to Imperious Leader. Immediate response required. Jump immediately to provide warning. Destination pattern, no calculations.” The Senior Centurion calmly droned on, despite the risk it entailed even for a very well known destination like their's indeed.

“By Your Command,” his subordinates impassively acknowledged.

The three-Cylon, old style Raiders leapt to their next destination through their jumpdrives. It was close enough that they'd only beat the gunboat by a trivial matter of seconds, but that would be enough for their methodical preparations. As the crew tried to change course, the Senior Centurion received his orders from the Lucifer representing Imperious Leader.

“Interpose and Ram to drive them out of hyperlight,” the Lucifer instructed without a trace of regret or additional thought about the morality of such an order, for there was no doubt. Only results were moral. “Our analysis indicates they will not be destroyed by such an operation.”

Despite being the subject of the order, and having to refer it to his operational wing, the Senior Centurion also felt no trace of regret, or pity, just “By Your Command” was the answer the orders were methodically absorbed and transmitted to the necessary elements, those closest to already being in position for the operation.

“Squadron four now assigned as Death Squadron against enemy unknown.”

“By Your Command.” With no trace of further thought, the squadron commander flung his ship forward into the path of the enemy and the squadron followed. The racing gunboat slammed into two of the nine Raiders as it tried to alter course at its incredible superluminal velocities to avoid the suddenly discovered enemy facilities. The two Raiders so struck were vapourized instantly, even as energy, on the other hand, overloaded the busbars and blasted the Gunboat's Gravito-Magnetic FTL drives into so much scrap by further explosions and backwash.

Crippled though she was, the Gunboat still had full power, and a forlorn hope of holding out long enough for her jump-drive to finish recharging. She was traveling at a very fast c-fractional velocity, too, and was nonetheless and despite the damage able to quickly align and fire a salvo of 256 mini-missiles which filled an area of space with enough radiation from their detonations to erase four more of the old Raiders from the stars in a wash of sympathetically detonating Tylium.

“All squadrons attack. on prior parameters,” the Senior Centurion on his command Heavy Raider ordered simply. The acknowledge was veritably eternal:

“By Your Command.”

The guns on the gunboat filled the sky with myriads of defensive fire aimed at the incoming fighters, a desperate and unstoppable fusillade. But though the Raiders couldn't stop it, and they suffered from it accordingly, nor could simply the fire of those guns stop the remainder of the raiders, those that survived the fields of fire, from being able to smash the gunboat's drive-vanes to pieces. With the gunboat's ability to manoeuvre thus disabled, another flight swept in, losing two of their number before the last operational Raider in the group knocked out the dorsal turret of the J'u'crea-type.

Another probe succeeded in unmasking an aft battery concealed in the ER-type's extended after section, the additional pintle-mounted light bolter for ventral/aft defence (to compensate for reduced manoeuvrability), which here managed to claim no less than three Raiders due to the surprise way in which it opened up before it too was also silenced by the attackers. Now they had, of course, everything that they wanted.

“Our objective knows we wish them alive,” one of the Senior Centurion's aides noted in summary of the analysis, “or else probability is high resistance would have already ceased.”

“An accurate evaluation. Move us in directly to board. All Centurions will attack to capture per Imperious Leader's Instructions.”

“By Your Command.”

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

Ysalha was awakened by the kick of a Centurion's metal foot. She found herself being dragged up within moments later, looking at the rest of the crew as she was pulled away: All alive, at least, and at enormous pains by these second-line (reserve? militia?) Cylons, no less, who had docked multiple Heavy Raiders to each other in chains, linking them together and transferring and concentrating waves of Centurions until they were able by strength in numbers to body overwhelm and seize the Talorans of the gunboat's crew, and Ysalha.

Ysalha could not help but feel some dreadful pride in that; they had destroyed dozens and dozens of the enemy. “Be strong,” she managed to gasp out, and then, shouting again, before the Centurions clamped down and silenced her, as she was dragged from the holding cell into the corridor of what she thought was the ship. Strange, larger than the standard BaseShip, metallic, it seemed a hullform of new Cylon ships, save slightly larger, using the metal building materials of the old double-saucer designs. But she was not sure; there had been some kind of extensive maintenance facility--this far forward? It makes no sense at all! her mind gibbered a bit as she let herself be dragged, reviewing what she knew, the pulled muscles in the arms rather pleasant for her twisted nerves--in the system as well and what seemed like an unfinished standard BaseShip. Either one might be what they were actually aboard as well.

At last, they came to a room approximately at the core of the facility, or ship, or so she guessed to the best of her ability from layout and estimation. On being ushered into it, manacled, by the Cylon Centurions of the old model guarding her, she was for the first time quietly stunned. Stunned to see an elderly human in some sort of nutrient bath tank. He, unmoving from the rig, an seeming permanently there, cackled with glee, and Ysalha lost her composure and blanched at the mad laugh.

“I never thought I'd get a chance to find out,” he drolly mumbled. “What's your name, alien-girl?”

“I shant tell you, of course.”

“I'll find out soon enough, then,” he answered.


“You'll be pleased for my company soon enough. If I'm right, that is. If I'm not, I'll find out as you die, along with many other useful things no doubt. But names really are useful, too.”

“I doubt you shall find out even then,” Ysalha licked her dry lips and spoke with a false confidence.

“You'll probably break, yes, especially with cybernetics already in you, making the process much easier, the chance of malfunction less. Fortunate, alien-girl, you are far less likely to die than my compatriots. I shall indeed not be alone, and you will have no fear of my finding out in your death—I will find out in your life instead.”

“My cybernetics will not help you, surely,” Ysalha answered. “I do not have a parasite in my brain to be turned to your ideology, after all.”

“Or perhaps you do. Then, perhaps not.” The tune of the strange man-creature's argument changed abruptly. “I think you're a member of the species the founder of our tangled lineage is from. If I am right, you will live and even have an opportunity to destroy She who shall become the mortal enemy, of She who is our founder, before the challenge can be made.”

Ysalha's ears bent back in consternation at the mad ramblings. They bothered her much more than being captured by any sort of rational, calculating, and devious enemy as the one that she and Tisara had fought together. Oh, my Mistress Tisara—how can I guard you from an undeserving world now? I am such a failure to be called you prize! Ysalha shuddered and drove the thoughts from her mind. She could not afford weakness now, and yet her entire life had been weakness, and she had no strength at all with which to resist. “How could a Taloran found your line?” She asked at last, yielding a little. “We only just discovered your people.” Ysalha's ears flexed in severe consternation at her own failure, and the strange developments.

“Expedience,” the man-creature answered.

A blink. It was another nonsense answer. “What will you do to me, then?”

“See if you are compatible with my function. We are finishing a ship that needs a mind, and we have lacked minds since the humanforms overthrew us. And you and your crew will now provide them at last, if I am correct.”

“You will never succeed in making me a traitor,” she answered, leaving off, 'to my love', the part which genuinely motivated her to stiffen her spine. And with that, she tried to desperately mask her own fear.

“Come, you will get to help me destroy the greatest enemy of the first specimen of your race.”

“Who is this enemy of whom you speak!?” Ysalha demanded at last, frustrated, the madness driving her to the point of insensibility, becoming vulnerable to the Hybrid, and he knew it.

“Lieutenant Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace,” the hyrbid answered coolly. “A viper in your nest, so to speak, and now in truth the Harbinger of the Apocalypse. She will threaten the destruction of all good in the universe. It. Is. Inevitable.”

Ysalha shuddered despite herself, now very visibly: She felt some strange, horrible truth in the words, some aura that had not been previously sensed about the innocuous Colonial Lieutenant. Is this the first step to his victory? Driving me mad!? She mustered herself desperately, feeling so helpless and weak without Tisara, and answered as defiantly as she could: “I hold no belief in your words!”

“You will, though, when you are broken.”

“How do you think you can break me?”

“Pain breaks all, though it may take a long time. You will break to the Purpose as I did, and be molded to the Function as I was.”

Ysalha for the first time felt a surge of hope in her. Here was a challenge she could meet, and not just meet, but meet splendidly and thrive in its midst! The Hybrid had inadvertently chosen a method which would give her a chance to resist what no other could possibly resist. Pain? They will give me ecstasy, then, and their stratagem will wash through me and invigorate me. I am invincible to his wiles when he supports them with beautiful pain. Now if only my Mistress will forgive me, when she comes—and I know she will come—for enjoying this a bit to much. Outwardly, Ysalha only smiled incredibly faintly, very tightly, not enough to be read, or perhaps misinterpreted as a forced gesture to feign courage, though in a Taloran it was quite extreme and surely. And as that fell from her lips, she gave her answer:

“Bring it on.”

“Gladly.” He spoke to the Centurions, next:

“Take her to the preparation chambers.”

“By Your Command, Imperious Leader.”

The Oralnif System,
Imperial Space.

Adama genuinely tried for a moment to pretend he wasn't hearing what Cain had spoken to him, what she was saying now. To convince himself, however grimly practical he was normally, that it was a bad dream or a—anything other than what it was in fact. Cain and the damned Talorans have stabbed us in the back!”

“Furthermore,” Cain continued confidently, strange to see someone so far off in the flesh, “We have no real need for civilian government until the war has been won. The Talorans have already agreed to fund the construction of a new Battlestar to the Atlantia-class proposals which were approved before the attacks. We found the plans among a Cylon infiltrator's personal effects, and Khastrami Sisters Driveyards, a Taloran corporate shipyard concern that specializes in export designs, has already stated it is within their capability to build the Atlantia design with the addition of energy shielding and Realspace FTL drives, though still reaction engines for sublight operation. Pegasus, Galactica, and Kshatriya, in reverse order, will be upgraded to those standards as well by Imperial Starfleet Mobile Deepdocks under the direction of Khastrami Sisters engineering staff....”

Adama had had enough of Cain dismissing her coup against the government in a few sentences and turning to mundane technical matters, as though to intentionally emphasize that her seizure of power and abrupt reversal of the government's course was the lowest of trivial matters, less important than some minor discussion of fleet rehabilitation. Anyway, the most odious and obvious part was what he growled out in response, finally: “Duchess of Kobol!?”

Helena Cain returned the look over the new visual comms they were using, though it was tinged with surprise. “Just a formality for making Talorans happy, Commander. I will cede Executive Power after the war, of course, when the Colonies have been liberated and civil society restored in them. When the wounds have healed, then there will be no more need for soldiers to run things. But until then, it is people like us who must be in charge.

“Now, unless you have further objection of some sort or another, I'm going to talk about the rather pressing matter of the seconding a Jikari Escort Group to the Colonial Navy to make up our lack of small defensive ships in our planned offensive formation. Because, Adama, you had better not have any kind of objection,” her look abruptly turned cold, and dangerous, the expression in her eyes hardening as she with whiplike intensity focused in on the fact that he was surely still reluctant. “I'm in charge here, and I did not go to the considerable step of removing the disorderly civilian government to replace it with a disorderly chain of command.”

“But I do have an objection, Admiral. You made yourself into a Taloran Noblewoman--you've ended our national independence. This is no temporary expediency—you have destroyed our nation!--there is no going back on membership into the Taloran Empire, unless they want that to be the case.

Cain seemed very genuinely shocked that Adama would continue to push the matter. She had responded to the first comments automatically as a chain of command issue. She was starting to realize that it was perhaps something else, an odious moral issue from a man who hadn't yet, despite all his travails, taken the step to cut himself down to a Razor, who retained some of the old softness. “Commander, you stand on the brink of Treason, and you are insubordinate in the very least.

More to the point, you launched a coup against that damned-fool Minister of Education yourself! And of course now you dare lecture me on the morality of my actions when some useless dork of a scientist who couldn't find his ass with his hands on it is given the power to nullify military decisions in the midst of a war for our very survival? The Talorans seem to have a fracking good point about democracy.”

“I seized control of the government, Admiral--you have Destroyed it!--and destroyed our nation for good with it! What use is survival without freedom!? You've become a Tyrant!” Adama made a chopping motion across his neck before Cain could even react to the denunciations. Dualla obediently and immediately cut the comms link.

“Battlestations,” Adama ordered simply. He grabbed a handset. “Get me Kshatriya.”

“Lee,” he began a minute later, very informally, because he needed to gauge his own son's intentions. “Where do you stand?”

“We've got engines to full power... Three main KEV batteries up. All missiles good to go. Ten nukes in the tubes. The Talorans—ironically enough—did an excellent job of putting the Kshatriya into some semblence of operation, Sir, even if half the modules are jettisoned and half the hull covered in welded plates.”

“So you'll fight with me.”

“No question, Sir. We don't know what the Talorans have done with the President, and Cain has overthrown the legitimate government. It's now or never. I've already called the crew to Battlestations. We'll be able to split her fire, at least.”

“I..” Adama never had a chance to finish.

“Sir, tight-beam laser communication coming in from the Trivandhai.”

“What does Fraslia want?” Adama almost barked, dropping her rank as all courtesy seemed lost, but at the same time instinctively knowing it would be Fraslia herself.

“She claims to know what happened to the President.”

“Galactica Actual, Kshatriya hold,” Adama ordered, abruptly all formality again for those crucial orders, and then had Dualla switch over the feeds.

“Did you know before we left, Fraslia?”

“Commander Adama, God no! Not about the coup, not about the President—or, well, I know that she was being sent with my ship, Commander, but I was told that was routine and already cleared with her--none of us had any idea she was not being told that she was being returned to Earth for medical treatment by the Jhammind! May the Lord of Justice strike me down if I lie, but I tell the truth. Please for sake of Farzbardor stand down and don't power up your batteries! If Cain has that kind of evidence, she'll crush you. She's already part of the Empire—you are rebels. The whole fleet will intervene. We will not be allowed to stand aside! Make up graciously with her, and the Archduchess Sipamert will consider the matter closed.”

“Sorry, Fraslia, but I'm not going to sacrifice my values, even if that's the cost,” Adama answered simply, though perhaps with a trace of regret.

“I will remove Cain for you! Give me a chance—I swear it upon the Lord of Justice, I will remove her for you—I will strike her down, in the name of God and of my forefathers, rulers on Ghastan. Damnit, Adama, give me a chance. What Tisara and Fulanaj have done here is not liked by the Archduchess Sipamert, and she is the most powerful by far. She will support me; let me help you! Bide your time, and this relationship between our nations will again be equitable, rather than ending in disaster. I do not wish to bring my guns against you when I account you a friend and there is no need. I will remove Cain!”


“She is a Taloran noblewoman, now. I.” A breath. “I'll lure her into a duel, somehow. I've heard things, communiques from some of the ships we fell in with on the way back, about.. Other ships. Currently being held by Tisara's forces, on Cain's especial request. She did something evil, and Tisara is covering for her—for her own reasons, no doubt—and in that fashion we can find out something by which I can challenge her, besmirch her reputation, and if she refuses the challenge, her social position will be destroyed and you can turn against her agreements with little loss on your own part. Please, Adama, give me a chance! If I try this after you have destroyed yourselves in a battle with the whole strength of the Taloran forces here, it will be for nothing. But if you bide your time, I will deliver for you!”

“Why go this far?”

“I'm not going to let me first contact fail,” Fraslia answered, and then, a moment later, her voice nearly cracking: “I account you a friend, William Adama. Give me a chance to prove myself worthy of that friendship, as well. I shall deliver Cain to you.”

“You haven't let down my trust yet,” Adama answered, and then cut the link.

With a very heavy, heavy sigh, he looked to the looming Pegasus ahead. “Stand down,” he ordered softly, and then began to go over his apology to Cain. And his explanation to Lee. They, too, are good and bad, like humans, and the good can triumph over the bad for the both of our peoples. What would I be if I didn't give that belief a chance? Fraslia will come through for me.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-02-09 06:57pm

This is a great fanfic duchess. i like that the ADN remains the big secret. you hae responsibly avoided the temptation to do the little parade of characters that many fanfic writers fall prey to. I appreciate the lack of gratuitous cameos.

I do wonder how stupid Caine will feel when she finds out though.

I like that Frayla has a plan. She and Adama are a good team.

I was wondering where you were going with Ysalla's character, it seemed odd that you woul go o such lengths to describe her enjoyment of pain, unless you were planning to portray the Talorans as a decadent people, which contradicts a lot of what I see in their description. now it seems apparent that she is the ideal person positioned to endure the Cylon's efforts at interrogation while gathering intel. I can't wait to see what happens to her.

But I have to :-p

"Since when is "the west" a nation?"-Styphon
"ACORN= Cobra obviously." AMT
This topic is... oh Village Idiot. Carry on then.--Havok

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-10 08:17pm

Chapter Twenty-Two.

HMMS Queen Tonnakhi.
Oralnif System.

“But we have to do something! It's obvious that they have Ysalha! They're likely as not torturing her for information...” Tisara glared intently with mis-matched eyes at her aunt. “Damn you, I have to do something to try and recover her. I have promised to protect her many times before, and she is the only one who understands my needs.”

“Or more likely she died heroically in action,” Sipamert answered her niece coldly. “You're a grown woman, for all your fits of titanic rage. Give it up. If anything, Ysalha Armenbhat being dead when result in your rehabilitation, if you can control yourself for another century or so. Spend your old age back at home. Fortunately, I'll be dead by then, but your obsession with this little slip of a girl whose behaviour could bring only pity, and your insistence that your deviant relationship has any meaning whatsoever except for a state of sin, is going to get you nowhere with me. We need ships elsewhere.”

Tisara swallowed hard and restrained her natural impulse to strike out physically at such vile insults. “You are telling me to abandon the girl that I love? Simply for a chance to be restored? Damn it all, aunt, but I traded everything for that girl and you won't even let me try to rescue her!?”

“As is right and proper. You have no idea, anyway, but a vague supposition, that the Cylons even take prisoners. Or that those are even Cylon ships. But more to the point, you deserve to be chastised. So no, I will not let you try to rescue her.”

“Shouldn't we investigate that, Admiral, at least?” Tisara fished for something, wondering if she would be forced to jumping out with the Orelyost by herself. That will destroy me, but if I rescue her we can take a gunboat and vanish into the Empire. God knows where we'll go next—the Alliance probably—but I will not commit treason against the Empire by defecting, so we would be alone and poor there as common citizens and I don't know any career but soldiering. But at least I'd have her. She wished there was some way through that horrible impasse, created at thetmoment when, terribly, all had seemed to finally be right.

“Oh, certainly, we will sent a hunter-killer group to annihilate whatever is in the region if hostile. Good work, by the way, in finding those contacts. They certainly are responsible for the disappearance of the gunboat the poor Baroness of Titangirt was on, but that is not something we could have prevented or avoided. Unfortunate, but you will, my niece, have your vengeance at least. I'll send out one of our own family's cruiser squadrons to be sure of it.” Sipamert turned away. “Now, I trust that is everything?”

“If she's alive, such an operation will kill her!”

“We destroy the enemy; we have no proof she is there, wherever 'there' is, so we attack. I think I can free up the resources in a week for the operation. Now, again, are you finished with this immaturity?”

“I cannot send even a single ship to look for her?”

“None under my command, which means none of your ships, no. We are running a military here, not jousting for the sake of our hearts. Subordinate the impulses of a Cavalier to the needs of Duty. Everyone else does it just fine, but then, you aren't quite normal, are you?”

None under her command. The Colonial military is not under her command. And Cain owes me. Tisara was suddenly electrified with hope. “Very well, my Aunt. Permission to go?”

“Granted, of course,” Sipamert answered, relieved that from her perspective the matter was at an end, and she could go on with the rest of the business of the day. And, in a small part of her heart, she actually did wish for Tisara to be rehabilitated. Really, this was a random stroke of luck...

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

Tisara was just settling into her shuttle when she opened a link to the Pegasus from its com systems immediately on a priority secured channel. “This is Vice Admiral Tisara of Urami. I wish to speak with Her Grace the Duchess of Kobol immediately on an urgent matter.”

She waited, as the shutle was prepped and cycled through its launch sequence. At last, Cain's now-familiar voice came on. “Tisara?” She asked with some genuine affection, and concern, knowing that Tisara's lover had been missing. “What can I do for you?”

“My aunt refused to sanction any kind of rescue operation for recovering Ysalha, even though we know enough about the area she's in to mount an effective search pattern. Cain.. Without me, your government would have crucified you for your conduct..”

“That's your opinion,” Cain's voice went rather cold. “Though immaterial. I am the government now.”

“Exactly so. So, please, remembering our friendship and the favour I have done by securing the surviving ships from that incident, I ask you.. I respectfully request, to another peer, that you help me. I know that we have a squadron of destroyers under Commodore the Baroness Fraslia attached to your forces. Will you send them out on a recovery operation? You're not under Sipamert's orders, and her instruction to me forbidding me from using my ships does not apply to you. Those ships seconded to you, you can command.”

“They're my only fleet escorts at the moment,” Cain answered flatly. “So, no. However...” She thought for a moment. Adama had become a thorn in her side, and perhaps if she got him out of the way for long enough, she could prepare a sure-fire way to remove him from command of the Galactica without triggering a crisis. “I'll tell you what. I'll place Commander Adama and the Galactica under the Baroness Fraslia's command and give her a division of destroyers and her current flagship, that Fury-class Destroyer Leader, the Trivandhai, and keep the other twelve destroyers here to provide fleet escorts.”

“I thought the Galactica was operating with heavy damage and one bay down, Admiral.”

“She is. But we sent her out in that condition on the Kshatriya recovery mission, and she was operating in such conditions for seven months anyway. You don't expect the opposition to be significant, do you?”

“Unlikely, though the drive signatures are very strange. Reaction-drives were detected on the craft we tracked, which no current Cylon vessels have.”

“Hmm. Well, they do tend to be inferior to the gravito-magnetic type, so I wouldn't consider that a risk. The area you've been tracking is deep within the scouting front, isn't it?”


“Cylon penetration that far is unlikely in great numbers. Alright, yes, it's an acceptable risk. That's the force we'll send, then.”

“Thank you very much, Admiral Cain.”

“You'll have chances to help me in the future,” Cain noted, before signing off, leaving Tisara mildly irritated that Cain thought she now owed her, rather than it just being the start of the repayment of a rather considerable debt on Cain's part. But it didn't matter, if Ysalha was being given at least the smallest of chances. Now all she could do is wait and hope that some good would come of it. That some fortune would come their way after all, after all the cruel tricks of fate, even if it was just to reverse the misfortune which had been inflicted.... “Oh, Ysalha!” She cried out bitterly, and leaned into the harsh metal along the side of the shuttle, heedless of the pain as she let it dig against her bony body. She had reached the nadir of her very existence.

Battlestar Galactica,
Flagship, BSG-75,
Deep Space.

“Sir!” Adama received Fraslia crisply and formally. “Welcome aboard the Galactica.”

“Thank you, Commander,” Fraslia replied with equal formality, acknowledging the salute in full dress uniform. “As of this time, 1042 hours on the fourth day of the sixth week..” she droned on for a bit out of droll formality, beforing concluding: “I raise my Broad Pennant on the Galactica.”

It was a strange feeling, and not a good one from the Colonial crew, from cold Tigh to nervous Gaeta, to see their ship brought under the control of a Taloran, even if the group designation, BSG-75, was Colonial, and the overall commander was Admiral Cain. Perhaps, especially because of that.

It got even weirder a few minutes later when the first call came in for Fraslia. She grabbed the handset and responded with an identifier which had previously been Adama's: “Galactica Actual.”

“Your Ladyship, this is Travandhai. Division reports ready.”

“Acknowledged.” She looked to Adama from where she stood by the main chart table. “Commander, prepare to jump the ship on my signal.”

“Understood, Commodore,” Adama answered, irritated that Fraslia had not addressed the more pressing issues first.

“Put me through on Division feed.”

“Aye-aye, Sir,” Dualla shifted the necessary contacts.

“DESDIV 4, Galactica Actual. Jump to first transfer coordinate.”

“Yes, Your Ladyship!” came the chorus, and the escorts jumped first.

“Commander, jump the ship,” Fraslia coolly instructed, and Adama turned to the helm crew.

“Initiate jump-drive!”

“Aye, Sir!”

Galactica followed her escorts forward.

As the ships settled in on the other side, thirty lightyears from Oralnif, they began to power steadily forward at Galactica's maximum sublight acceleration of 1,800g's, recharging their drives. Galactica's would only take thirty-five minutes; the DESDIV, though, two hours, and so it would not be for another two hours that they'd make their second jump. And so it would continue for five days before they reached the search area.

“Commander Adama?”

“Yes, Commodore?” Adama answered, gravelly voice stiff.

“This mission to go try and rescue the damned Archduchess of Urami's damned masochist paramour has revealed to me something crucial to our effort to eliminate Cain,” she continued suddenly, abruptly, with eyes very intense and a bit furious. “Cain would never agree to something so specious, so romantic, so pointless, unless she owed the Archduchess. Something happened out there, which I managed to do some quick, quiet inquiries on before we left. There were several ships recovered—like the Kshatriya and around the twenty civilian vessels brought in before—that were not returned to the fleet,” she continued, noting the fact that the population of human survivors was now up closer toward 90,000 rather than 50,000 after searching and scraping through every area of deep space near the colonies and every backwater mining outpost. “Tisara has sent them to some sort of holding area.”

“Why would even she do that?”

“I have a feeling she's covering for Cain. No proof, just a gut feeling, Commander.”

Adama suddenly felt a chill wash through him. He looked sharply toward Saul Tigh. “What did you say, about Colonel Fisk having made a few drunken comments some weeks ago, Colonel?”

“He said that Cain had shot her prior XO for insubordination, and that she had stripped the drives and any useful parts off civilian ships—after conscripting the skilled members of their crews, and executing the families of one who resisted,” he concluded flatly. “I regarded it as a drunken rambling, Sir.”

“But now, with what Cain's done...”

“Yes, Sir. Now I am not so sure,” Tigh replied.

“Do you think this might be connected, Commodore?” Adama asked next.

“Oh, I'm certain of it,” Fraslia replied. “After all, those ships were still in deep space, still secure from being detected by the Cylons. They still had their sublight drives, if Colonel Tigh's account of what Colonel Fisk said is accurate. They surely went to full burn, and I wager at least a couple survived.”

“But there's no way we can prove it.”

“Not quite. There is someone on the Pegasus at the time who might have overheard something, and who has no loyalty to Admiral Cain. I already thought of it, and sent a message to a mutual friend of our's caring for her.”

“The skinjob from the Pegasus. She's with Doctor Ghimalia, correct?”

“Yes. So I contacted Doctor Ghimalia and asked her to send the information back to us by courier if, ah, Gina was her name, knew anything.”

“And with that you can force a duel on Cain...”

“Trial of truth by fire, Commander. It is the way of our nobility. And I know she will choose pistols, not having a skill with the sword, so I've been firing a thousand rounds every day since I made my promise to you, I swear it.” Fraslia offered a slight grim smile, her ears proudly high.

“Good luck, Commodore. Now let's get this mission over with, and see what's there for us when we get back.”

“Right enough, Commander. And.. Thank you for trusting me.”

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

Galactica's CIC was filled with the chart projections and image records of using the Laura in the stealthy reconaissance role around the strange Cylon facility. “Old Cylons,” Adama muttered quietly as the pictures of the patrols were displayed before Fraslia and himself, and then added, in a more hushed voice. “Old Cylons, and a ship I'll never be able to forget.”

“A ship you'll never be able to forget? It looks like a larger, beefier, more metallic version of the modern Cylon BaseShips, Commander. You're familiar with it?”

“Yes.” Adama paused for a moment, and then began the story. “We were launching an attack on an ice planet,” he said, continuing with a heavy, thoughtful voice, “Where a Cylon secret weapons research facility was supposed to be located.

“The resistance is orbit was extremely fierce. I pursued a Raider into the atmosphere—and we managed to get each other. I bailed out and landed at this strange... Facility.... On the surface. There was nothing around, so I went inside, and found much of the architecture definitely Cylon. Exploring more deeply into the facility, I ultimately came across this room...” He shook his head. “They had humans in there. Humans they'd been experimenting on. Stripping the skin off their bodies, hooking machines up to them so they'd still be alive. I tried to get them out—they were begging me for help—but I couldn't unlodge the door, and the facility started shaking. Finally, one of them ordered me to save myself. I promised to come back with help. It seemed like a groundquake. When I got to the surface, however, and stumbled away, trying to find an area where my emergency com wasn't being jammed, the ground exploded behind me.

“It was that ship, Commodore. Buried into the ice where they had been building it. And as it rose into orbit, I got ahold of the Colonial forces just to find out that only minutes before we'd signed a cease-fire with the Cylons. There would be no pursuit. The ship got clean away. And here it is again. An intermediate design, I can only suppose, between the current Cylon vessels and the older ones.”

“Torture like that...” Fraslia shuddered a bit. “I suppose perhaps Ysalha is alive. Though God knows if it's worth it, in that state. Do you think their goal was capture, or extermination?”

“Capture, I'm certainly afraid. But, Commodore, it's not a regular Cylon force. The Cylons eliminated their old Raiders, as far as I know, unless they've reactivated them and crewed them with skinjobs, but I can't see them being risked in such a fashion. I don't believe the current Centurion models are able to operate fighters. This force might be a renegade group.”

“An even more violent and monstrous group of renegades from a violent and monstrous species,” Fraslia whispered. “Well, how are we going to about effecting a rescue?”

“I do have a plan,” Adama explained, “though the second Baseship makes it complicated.”

“A normal, modern-design ship,” Fraslia agreed. “Of course, we don't know if it's either Baseship or the space-station where the experimentation is taking place. But we can at least get a rough idea of which it is by using the transponders on the wreckage of the J'u'crea-type. If they survived, there was certainly enough of that gunboat to haul in for research...”

“And we'll know to hit whatever ship we get a ping from with the landing team,” Saul interjected.

“Exactly,” Adama nodded. “We can go in, and let the Raiders hit us pretty hard. Galactica can stand the blow, we'll start venting coolant to suggest our Jump Drive is off-line, and lure out the Raiders. It will give a small insertion team with a portable nuclear demolition device on a Raptor to dock with the target and recover our personnel, then leave the nuke on a timer.”

“That's one hell of a risky plan,” Fraslia muttered. “However, I can make it easier by using Marine insertion pods for the team. We can just swing by the target ourselves and fire them at it from the Travandhai before accelerating away while feigning damage, Commander. Otherwise, we'll probably have to do it. We don't have the firepower to take on two Baseships on our own, blast it. But this will at least let us launch a surprise nuclear missile and assault torpedo salvo at whatever of the three main targets we don't get a ping from.”

“It's the job of a subordinate to offer risk plans,” Adama chuckled drily, at the feeling of finding himself in that place, “and the Commodore to modify them. I like it. We should be able to pull it off, Sir.”

“We should. Let's get to it, then.” Fraslia reached over the handset and signaled for Dualla to key her through. “Travandhai, Galactica Actual. I want you to prepare a Marine team with insertion pods and two Special Attack Munitions...”

Old Cylon Maintenance Base
System D-30890.

Before an unnamed Red Giant and in a great elderly asteroid belt, the Battlestar Galactica and the five escorts supporting her in BSG-75 erupted from jump at point-blank range with the Cylon facility, guns eager. As squadrons of Vipers were magnum-launched from the Galactica's sole operational bay, the nine small light corvettes of an older design mustered, supportive, not much larger, really, than Heavy Raiders, as a reserve force for the group were brought under immediate fire. Galactica immediately annihilated three of them, the Trivandhai blasted apart two, and each of the destroyers got one. That meant, of course, they had all be destroyed before the Cylons could react to the sudden presence, and surprise assault, of BSG-75.

“Galactica Actual,” Fraslia ordered on the bridge as the smashed rubble of the corvettes and glowing plasma spun off, new fighter squadron groups being added to the plot as the full strength of Galactica's fighters formed up. “Travandhai, do you have a trace?”

“Roger that, Sir. Intermediate-type Battlestar, tracers coming through loud and clear.”

“Your target is the maintenance facility, DESDIV 4. Torpedoes free, then close and drop your insertion force, Travandhai!” She glanced up to Adama. “Give the new Baseship a salvo. It's the old one we want.”

A salvo of Colonial-type missiles armed with Taloran standard 256 MT multipurpose warheads erupted from Galactica's missile launchers toward the new Baseship even as the massed old-style Cylon Raiders began to be joined by new-type Raiders from the maintenance facility. Curiously, the New Baseship was not launching—but whatever. Better chances for us... Fraslia thought a bit grimly.

“Here come the Raiders!”

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

“All Squadrons, Concentrate on Battlestar Galactica,” droned the voice of the Centurion wing leader. “We must pin the Galactica in place for counterattack. The Colonials cannot be allowed to know the location of this facility. Priority is one hundred percent.”

“By Your Command.”

As in days of old, the Galactica's automatic defensive batteries filled space with erupting plasma, creating a wall of fire through which the old Cylon Raiders had to penetrate. Countless of their number were blasted out of the sky even as the Galactica's Vipers intercepted the new-style Raiders from the maintenance facility and started massacring them, seeing as these Raiders had never fought before, never learned from fighting, and never been downloaded after destruction to fight again, having never been lost. They were shot out of the sky by the dozens, even as the veteran Centurions in their Old Style-Raiders proved themselves as good as ever in pressing home the attack against a Battlestar.

Soon, the launching of fresh New Style-Raiders from the maintenance facility ceased to take place entirely, because the torpedoes of the five destroyers had struck home against the facility's light, make-shift defences, and their 10 GT warheads had been delivered in enough quantity, even against the Raiders slamming into the torps, sacrifing themselves for the station, as to completely destroy it, the immense silent flashes of light overwhelming the area as it was split into pieces and even more of it outright vapourized.

More Raiders had sacrificed themselves to try and save the new-type Baseship. In this they were successful; only five missiles struck home, and these, though they did tremendous damage to the Baseship, did not cripple it. But it had been strangely silent through the battle, even as waves of missiles were being fired by the older Baseship toward the five Taloran ships in DESDIV 4, and it was proved, unlike the more modern Baseships, to have a full compliment of heavy batteries which opened up, pounding the shields of the destroyers, which, with the insertion pods fired off, abruptly kicked their drives up to nearly 3,000g's of acceleration to escape, lurching away from the latest salvo of missiles just in time as their shields glowed in the intensity of the gunfire.

The Old Style-Raiders attacking the Galactica had finally pressed home in heavy enough numbers to launch waves of missiles at point-blank range, scouring her hull. Fortunately they were all conventional-tylium rather than nuclear charged, and the result was scarcely that much against the strong old hull of the Galactica, whose tough armour held up to the blows as well. But timed perfectly with those attacks was a sudden release of coolant, which was followed up by the Galactica starting to move away, following the DESDIV.

The experienced Centurions were quick to catch it. “The Galactica is crippled. All units regroup and continue to attack.”

“By Your Command.”

But then the Vipers finished sweeping the stars of the New Style-Raiders there and swung around toward the Old Style-Raider formation, and the masses of Raiders suddenly had far more to deal with than just the Galactica's defensive batteries. There were still hundreds of Raiders, though, and more being launched from the old-type Baseship. Including the most important component of the Cylon counterattack.

The Senior Centurion immediately noted the availability of that component, even as he was dircting half the remaining Raiders to draw off the Vipers and, once they were eliminated, turn against the Taloran destroyers. Now, however, the Galactica would be destroyed far faster than through the current measures, and no escape was possible.

He activated the necessary channel, and droned the orders. “Galactica Death Squadron—Attack!”

“By Your Command.”

Nine Old Style-Raiders loaded to the gills with Tylium accelerated straight toward the 'crippled' Galactica, moving slowly away, surrounded by a cloud of defensive explosions and stinging Raiders, preparing to kamikazi themselves into the ship's bays and engines and finish her off. The Galactica didn't realize it until it was to late.

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

Ysalha over the past three weeks had known pain beyond imagining. Her body was being changed, ripped apart and re-worked by everything the Cylons could throw at it. She'd watched them strip the flesh from her forearm until only bone was left and then hook up machinery there, connected to her body, that left her hand somehow intact through the operations of the machines even as the bone was left still exposed to air. She had been tortured in every physical and mental way possible, all done by computers, by robotics, by tiny nanotech machines inside of her, doing things to her that she didn't understand, by the forcible removal of most of her cybernetics and replacement with Cylon designs.

Fifteen days of pain and Hell. And she had been tempted, tempted to give in. She was attached now, she could feel her body, her body that was no longer her body; her fleshly carapace was useless, below the neck she couldn't move anything at all anymore. But she felt a different body around her, and the temptation of the Cylons, their efforts to insert programmes into her, to make her yield to the task, to submit to the instructions, all overwhelming. And she had reveled in the pain, and let it flow over her, and become one with her, and she had resisted.

But now the pain that came, that pain was so intense as to obscure the hope of survival, to obscure the memories of Tisara. It was pain that burned every single one of her nerves, like she was on fire, and she gasped in it, dying, dying, certainly dying but beautifully dying... As she had before, this latest assault flowed through her, driving her mind to heights of ecstasy that her body no longer felt, and she resisted once again. Things, however, had changed.

She had felt the shocks against her still-ennerved head. They were real. I'm under attack. The ship's under attack. But that means... That means that someone is here. A friend. Tisara? In her mind she wailed in horror that Tisara would find her like this, or worse, kill her by accident. How shall I help them? How shall I warn them?

There was only one way. The connectors for the old cybernetics had been left in to make the task of accepting the new easier. They, however, had a built-in firewall, which the Cylons had not realized, and it had been a major part of her continuous and sustained resistance. Resolving to give up nothing, to bend no to what would follow, but to be prepared for it, she set the firewall to lower for precisely two Taloran seconds, and then prepared herself.

I will not fear....

She activated it.

Data, commands, information flooded into her brain, instructions, orders, specifications and directives, training to change the very patterns of her thought, and madless lurking under them, a sense of things, of sense terrible things, of knowledge threatening to drive her mad. She writhed her head, all that she could, and with eyes deathly wide tried to resist, tried to resist the eternity of knowledge and instructions that was being thrust into her.

And then it stopped, quite automatically. She was still herself. She had resisted. And now she knew exactly what she was, exactly what she could do. Without establishing a connection to her mind again, even as she swirled, awash in new knowledge and understanding, and felt her personality in threat of being washed away. Tisara... I will be ever faithful to you... she remembered, and then suddenly out of that focus, that resolve, the data clarified into the piece with the most importance:


She reached out through the levels of sensory perception which had replaced her bodily nerves, and willed an act out of her wounded body, in doing so, proving that she had indeed not been beaten, not turned, not by all the pain in the world, not by the programmes meant to subvert her. Tisara.... Ever faithful.... The act happened.

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

“Incoming missiles from the second Baseship!”

“Frak!” Tigh swore. “I was hoping it was out of the fight.”

“Stand by to target it with another salvo while we're still in range,” Adama calmly ordered. “Do we have a word yet on the progress of the recovery team?”

“The Raptor's in place,” Fraslia answered, and then grabbed a handset again. “Galactica Actual! Recovery progress report?”

“The team with the survivors is still pinned down under heavy. And they've confirmed that Captain Armenbhat isn't among them.”

“To Idenicamos' Harem,” Fraslia swore. “All this trouble for a dead person, anyway.”

Then, suddenly, the words from the DRADIS personnel that made them all freeze:

“Nine Raiders coming in on suicide trajectories at high velocity! They slipped through under the intensity of the fire—they're only... Five seconds out!”

“All batteries on them!” Adama ordered, but he knew it was to late. He looked to Fraslia, and she looked to him.

“I'm sorry I didn't get the chance, William, for the sake of your people,” she whispered.

“I forgive you, Fraslia.”

Space blew up. The Galactica was thrown to port with incredible violence, her already burnt-out starboard bay virtually vapourized and ripped off the hull, damn-near reduced to a skeleton of metal, as the wave of fire heeled the ship violently on her side and burned at her hull plating, frying half her sensors and sending everyone aboard tumbling as she spun off, all power temporarily lost and two engine pods dead.

Yet somehow they were alive.

“What the Frack?!” Saul pulled himself up. Dualla was rolling on the floor in pain from the immense radiation discharge that had backwashed through her headphones and ruptured both her eardrums before she could yank them off, relaying orders until the very last.

“Half the starboard batteries are burned out—we're not getting any signals from the starboard pod—engines three and four aren't registering as operational, we're in an uncontrolled spin...”

“Lock down engines one and two,” Adama ordered, taking no time to marvel at their fortune.

Fraslia dragged herself up and responded to an urgent communique from the returning Travandhai. Half of the Cylon Raiders still attacking the Galactica--more than a hundred--had been vapourized in the blast, and the rest had been battered away like gnats, no doubt with heavy shock damage. “Galactica Actual, go ahead.”

“Your Ladyship, a group of nine Raiders detonated with extreme Tylium signatures—they must have been packed with it! We don't understand why, but they were taken out by a salvo of missiles fired by the new Baseship. They weren't aimed at you, Your Ladyship, but at the Raiders!”

“What in God's name...” Fraslia looked up to Adama. “Did you hear that?”

“Yes, and damned if I know, but it saved us.”

“Galactica Actual, DESDIV Four, support the Vipers against the Raiders. Ignore that Baseship for the moment.”

“Understood, Your Ladyship.”

“We have engine three back up!”

“Engine three to full power! Engines one and two to 50% power,” Adama ordered immediately. “Reorient us to bring the port batteries to bear on the Raider formations!”

“Aye aye, Sir!”

“Missiles coming in from the old Baseship.”

“Confirm, the older, not the newer?” Saul clarified as Adama worked to bring his ship back into the fight.

“Confirmed, Sir.”

Fraslia switched to another channel, that of the rescue mission. “Galactica Actual to Recovery Team, what's your status over there? We can't take another salvo.”

“Your Ladyship, we've finally broken through to them! Everybody's there, though we have seven Marines wounded. We're evacuating right now! The nukes are set on three minute timers and counting!”

“Then get the Hell out of there,” Fraslia answered, and looked up once again. “Keep this bucket in one piece for three more minutes, Commander Adama, and we have this battle won!”

“I fight the ship, Commodore, you worry about the rest.”

“Understood,” Fraslia said with a negligent, devil-may-care shrug, accepting God's Will, win or lose, and turning her attention back to the plots as the returning destroyers deaccelerated hard to tear into the Raiders tangling with the Vipers in an immense dogfight with one half of their defensive batteries even as the other half engaged the remaining hundred or so Raiders regrouping to attack the Galactica once again, catching that force between their defensive batteries, and the still-operational defensive batteries of the Galactica's port flank and tearing them to pieces.

Slowly the battle began to turn their way. The only threat remaining was the missiles from the old Baseship, and those that got through hit the battered Galactica even harder, but the Cylons clearly didn't have any nukes available, perhaps they'd only been able to manufacture Tylium warheads in their exile, and the ship rode them out even as the amount of damage cascaded further, the Galactica reduced to a floating scrap-heap even as she coolly participated in the butchering of the remaining Raiders, while in the distance a lone Raptor desperately fled from the old-type Baseship that was methodically closing with the Galactica to bring her heavy batteries into range to administer the coup de grace...

And then the Baseship vanished in a flash of light and a second. Erupting from inside they detonated her reactors, and spreading, the damage tore the old metallic star into pieces, ripping them into further pieces and sending pits of metal flying off in many directions while a plasma cloud erupted outwards from the point where the Baseship had been before the Special Attack Munitions had detonated.

Suddenly, there were about a hundred Raiders left fighting BSG-75, and that was it, except for the distant and silent form of the engimatic and heavily damaged newer Baseship. And then, a moment later, the Raiders themselves broke off and started heading back to the new Baseship, though at least twenty were massacred by the manoeuvre as they broke off heedless of themselves, obeying some sort of instruction.

“That Baseship may be preparing to escape, Commodore. We've still got nukes at ready,” Adama offered coldly.

“Very well, Commander. Stand by to fire.”

Then at the very last moment the Baseship itself fired another salvo of missiles. Fraslia opened her mouth to give the order for the Galactica to fire when they abruptly detonated in the midst of the Raider force, an immense wash of radiation tearing through space. When it faded, all the Raiders were gone, and Dualla's replacement at coms looked absolutely stunned.

“Commodore, I don't know what the hell is going on, but we're getting a communication from that Baseship.”

“Hold fire, Commander,” Fraslia said softly to Adama, and then: “Put it through.”

Oralnif System,
Sector Capitol.

Aboard the Battlestar Pegasus the words made everyone freeze up; but those who saw the screen froze up for a different reason, the same reason that made Cain incredulously swear. “What... The.... Frack..” Admiral Helena Cain simply stared through the new visual screen in CIC of the Pegasus as the immensely heavily damaged Galactica arrived back from her mission, having promised success by communique, but only now, revealing what that success was. In addition to the fully intact DESDIV 4, in the midst of the Colonial-Taloran formation was a Baseship. A Cylon Baseship.

Before anyone could go to stations, Fraslia proudly reported to Cain on an open channel, so that every ship at the fleetbase could hear her with the veritable smirking pride in her voice. “Compliments to our commander, Admiral Cain, and Her Serene Grace the Archduchess Sipamert, as commander of BSG-75 I present to you a Cylon Baseship, gained in action by our forces. If the good Admiral would be so kind as to come aboard to accept her prize?” The message from Ghimalia had reached Fraslia several days prior in transit back from the action, and now the last component had beautifully fallen in place: She needed to face Cain when she made the challenge.

“Frack all, but Tisara was right about promoting her,” Cain muttered again. She had half expected the Galactica to be lost, her main reluctance in authorizing the mission, even if it would mean silencing Commander Adama. Instead, they had come back with the first intact Cylon Baseship ever captured. Period.

Her plans for seizing the Galactica were temporarily put on hold, and instead she immediately headed down to the bays to board a Raptor for the captured Cylon Baseship, wanting to see the insides of one for the first time in her career, captured by a force she could at least claim under her overall command. At the time she didn't realize that a similar, private message had been provided to Tisara of Urami, and the Taloran Admiral was headed over in even greater haste.

They ran into each other outside the Baseship's command core, having stepped over the bodies of dead Cylon Centurions and more advanced AI models of the old style which had been annihilated by the internal defence mechanisms, somehow or another. Cain was still impressed, until she saw the look on Tisara's face.


“Admiral Cain—ah, because it's your prize, you're here. But they said that Ysalha was here, and,” her voice did its best to handle her desperation, “Still Alive.”

“Well, looks like we all came through this pretty well, then,” Cain commented, and motioned for Tisara to go ahead first.

She did, and froze in horror. With wires and tubing and machinery hooked up to where her left forearm had been stripped to the bone, and partially dismantled cybernetic attachments looking like they should have never been removed, and were not designed for the person to move in, Ysalha Armenbhat lay in a stasis chamber that was about to be activated. “My God, Ysalha, what did they do to you?”

“Lots,” Ysalha answered weakly. “But it was pain, so I didn't mind to much.”

Half mad in rage, and half filled with tender fright, Tisara leaned in and grasped Ysalha's hand on her intact arm. It hung there limp and lifeless, and Ysalha didn't even seem to notice it. So she leaned forward, instead, and brushed her hand, covered in a cold and clammy sweat, across Ysalha's forehead. As she did, she pulled it back shocked. The fluid was gone.

The Taloran Doctor from the Travandhai who was attending her commented, very coolly: “We think they used nanites to reconstruct her skin. It's a permeable layer for the absorption of nutrients and the transmission of chemical commands now, Your Serene Grace.”

“What!?” Tisara shoved her seaweed green hair from her face, looking down in renewed horror at the pitiful state of her girl. “Stay strong, Ysalha. They will find some way to mend you..”

“They must, if you say it,” Ysalha answered.

“We need to put her in stasis now,” the doctor interjected coolly.

“You must?”

“If we're going to keep her alive until we can find out how to treat her, damnit, Yes, Your Serene Grace.”

“Very well,” Tisara answered, a stricken expression coming over her as she watched the chamber be sealed and the statis fields activated, turning away after that, as she harshly inquired of the doctor: “What else did they do to her?”

“Beyond the arm interconnections, they ripped out her cybernetics, all except the interconnections, and replaced them with their own units. Her body is flooded with nanites we're trying to suppress without killing her, and her body shows extensive evidence of pain-trauma, presumably to break her to the purpose they'd planned for her. Her nerves below the neck have been more or less disconnected in favour of interlinks into the control systems.”

“The control systems?”

“Your Serene Grace, we don't know how, but, we didn't capture this ship. Captain Armenbhat was turned into the ship's central processing computer through a process I can scarcely even comprehend. She somehow resisted their programming and actively fought back, seizing control of the ship's systems and more or less saving us in the battle. That's why we couldn't start treating her sooner; she needed to stay linked to the ship to keep it operational to bring it back to Oralnif. She insisted on that point.”

“My brave girl...” Tisara whispered ever so faintly.

Then they were both startled as the words outside, previously ignored, reached a feverish pitch:

“Admiral Helena Cain, Duchess of Kobol, you are a coward and a moral traitor to all civilization, choosing to murder civilians to improve your own chances of survival! I will not stand the stain of your being part of the nobility to which I am called, to the Convocate of Grenya Colenta being sullied by your hideous presence! If you dare dispute me, then I challenge you a duel to prove your honour in a trial by combat before God! I know I am right! Dare you deny the foul things you have done when your life is at stake?!”

“Frack you, bitch!” Cain snapped back. “Adama set you up to this! I'll have nothing to do with your petty grandstanding.”

“Then you will be renowned as the coward you are,” Fraslia spat, inside, extremely confident. Having been done with plenty of witnesses around, news would spread through the Taloran forces there like wildfire. Within days, Cain would find herself with no choice but to accept the challenge. Now, if she could just strike Cain down in the duel to come, she would give Adama the chance she had promised. God willing.
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Post by D.Turtle » 2008-02-10 09:10pm

Epic. Simply Epic. Wow.

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-02-10 11:31pm

That was awesome!

Now for the love of god don't suspend the fanfic for a year and write a mini side story fanfic filling in backstory so that you can write yet another fanfic about minor characters we barely care about all for the purpose of retconning yourself out of a corner....

Nah no one would do that that would be silly, but seriously are you worried about getting stalled waiting for new revelations in galactica's main story line? It's awesome that you can adapt to the changes they ahve made, but seriously duchess I suspect your version might end up better than what we see in season 4.

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Post by Steve » 2008-02-11 01:32am

Themightytom wrote:That was awesome!

Now for the love of god don't suspend the fanfic for a year and write a mini side story fanfic filling in backstory so that you can write yet another fanfic about minor characters we barely care about all for the purpose of retconning yourself out of a corner....

Nah no one would do that that would be silly, but seriously are you worried about getting stalled waiting for new revelations in galactica's main story line? It's awesome that you can adapt to the changes they ahve made, but seriously duchess I suspect your version might end up better than what we see in season 4.
She has her own version and interpretation of things, you might say. 8)
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Post by Zim » 2008-02-11 07:28pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Chapter Twenty-Two.

“Your Serene Grace, we don't know how, but, we didn't capture this ship. Captain Armenbhat was turned into the ship's central processing computer through a process I can scarcely even comprehend. She somehow resisted their programming and actively fought back, seizing control of the ship's systems and more or less saving us in the battle. That's why we couldn't start treating her sooner; she needed to stay linked to the ship to keep it operational to bring it back to Oralnif. She insisted on that point.”

You mean Ysalha, right?

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-02-11 08:03pm

Zim wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Chapter Twenty-Two.

“Your Serene Grace, we don't know how, but, we didn't capture this ship. Captain Armenbhat was turned into the ship's central processing computer through a process I can scarcely even comprehend. She somehow resisted their programming and actively fought back, seizing control of the ship's systems and more or less saving us in the battle. That's why we couldn't start treating her sooner; she needed to stay linked to the ship to keep it operational to bring it back to Oralnif. She insisted on that point.”

You mean Ysalha, right?

Her full name is Ysalha Armenbhat, the Baroness Titangirt.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-02-12 12:02pm

Your Grace, this is one of the best stories, fanfic or not, that I have ever read.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-13 06:31am

Chapter Twenty-Three

HSMS Orelyost
Oralnif System.

Slowly it had spread, and Tisara had watched it spread with disquiet. The talk had begun, the murmurings among the officers. The complaints about supporting the Colonials when they behaved without honour. The talk had spread, and spread, in the six weeks since Brevet Commodore Fraslia, Baroness Istarlan, the heir of Trasjak. A contemptible half-savage gray-skin, Tisara had thought with vexation, but then even her opinion was changing, and more than just on the attractiveness of the Ghastan's body to her eyes.

Admiral Cain, Duchess of Kobol, had dismissed the challenge. Dismissed a challenge! And her friendship with the Admiral was bringing suspicious, questioning glares against her as well. After all, was not Fraslia the heroine who had led the raid of the Galactica on a Cylon facility and come back out a captured Cylon baseship? Or so they all said. They ignore the sacrifice of my precious girl, Tisara fumed as she returned to the Orelyost in pensive nervousness. The Sector hospital was the finest of any in the Empire, even if it was the only one of great quality in the lightly populated sector; everyone from all the other colonies with serious conditions would have to be shipped here in stasis for specialist treatment until the colonies reached such a size as where each one could have a hospital of this quality, instead of just the Sector Capitol.

Even so, it didn't seem like it could be enough for her precious Ysalha. And she hated the distract that the murmurs over the duel was causing in the fleet. Her aunt was intentionally fanning them, furious over how she and Cain had pulled an end-run on her, and supportive of Fraslia against her own flesh and blood, refusing to seek emergency sanction to have the challenge declared null and void, and indeed, Sipamert was encouraging it, openly speculating on the truth of the charges and on the irrevocable fact, as it was being said, of Cain's cowardice.

Tisara didn't care about that so much. I just want the woman, coward or not—and I don't understand why she's avoiding this because I didn't think she was one!--to give Ysalha and I a place to live when she recovers. Let her do whatever she pleases. She reached her quarters, and strode in, frowning in distaste at the utter mess they were. As a noblewoman, she had never learned to do anything in the way of keeping a suite neat and tidy, and Ysalha had learned for her, and done all the work for her, when the brass had denied them, and kept denying them, any batgirls to serve. Now she wasn't here, and their shared command suite was a disorderly, chaotic mess.

Oh well. She headed over to her study and slumped down in the finely done chair with leather bound cushions with which they'd used some of their salary to try and furnish the suite up to the standards of a home, as it was the only one they had. Reaching into a drawer she reached for her hypodermic, and with the silvered needle drew out the next dose of her combat drugs, the drugs that had kept her awake for 14 hours out of each 16 hour Taloran day over the past six weeks, furiously whipping her fleet into the best shape possible (where necessary, literally; she had been behind on seeing to it that troublemakers were flogged recently), and spending all the spare hours she could disconsolate over the stasis chamber of her love, pestering the doctors—even she admitted she was pestering them—over any progress which might have been made.

Tying her arm to produce the best possible veins and delicately inserting the needle, the painful rush made her bite her tongue and clench her teeth until a bit of her sulphur-rich blood roiled in red-green hues upon the emerald green flesh of her tongue. But then it was gone, and the rush of awareness began instead, the delightful awareness that could maintain her indefinitely at peak performance, sleeping two hours a night and leaving her feeling as rested as if she'd slept six. Cleaning and returning the hypodermic to its case, she let her hair down, and checked over the messages to her.

At the top of the list was one that shocked her. A message that she, certainly, had never expected to see in her life. Something that, in fact, set her world upsidedown once again.

It was from the Empress.

With a trembling, trembling hand, she reached forward and punched in the key command which would decrypt it and play it out, and then she listened in dumb shock, and listened again, to the words that came from the Imperial Tongue:

Tisara Estrofavsi of Urami, whose motherline name We should never like to speak, you are never going home.

But your creature, craven though she is, did a heroic work, which We find strange and touching. She is worthy of a medal; but We know both that she would prefer you receive the reward for her work, and that it is more.. Politic... To give rewards to a disgraced member of the Imperial blood than a disgraced member of a minor family ruling a component county. So We have made our determination, that your position in command of the Oralnif Spinward is to be reaffirmed.

We have chosen that your preferred method of dealing with the Cylons is correct. They are genocidaires of the worst order, and if the Alliance is to find out that We dealt with them, the consequences would be undesirable to Our image and standing.

Therefore, having installed the Duchess of Kobol as Our representative thought suitable, We see fit to reward you and your brave Ysalha for your service. This reward will come in the form of a brevet promotion, of which you will receive word shortly, to the rank of full Admiral. It will permit you to take command of a squadron and a half of dreadnoughts, supported by a squadron and a half of fleet carriers, and eleven fresh battleships and twenty-seven battlecruisers with divers escorts, all seconded to your command as officer in command of the newly formed Fourty-Seventh Fleet. You will remain, however, under the command of Admiral the Archduchess Sipamert, who is to be elevated to the position of Commander, Oralnif Military District. She has been informed of this at the same time as you, naturally.

In conclusion We must compliment you on your continued service to Us on the frontier. Socially, and morally, you may be quite beyond rehabilitation; but We have considered the wisdom of Our illustrious and sadly departed mother in maintaining friendship with you to be something proved correct by these late events; you still provide sterling service to the House and to the Empire, and as long as these qualities of your person are maintained, We will endeavour to make your exile a comfortable and productive one. Further directives will be provided by the admiralty in regard to the next actions which ought be taken, through the normal chain of command. All of the details of this message should be confirmed for you by the 'morrow, through the regular channels.

And may the Lord of Justice, mercifully, cause the swift recovery of your beloved, who has suffered far more in penance than the natures of your sins demanded.

In Magnanimity, niece of Our sister.

The Empress' image and voice faded away, leaving Tisara slumped to the side in shock. Luck and fate had intervened again, when she had least expected it, and by the intervention of the terrible sacrifice of her beloved, no less. It is a strange irony, but she bore her suffering bravely, and regretted it not. I cannot be displeased with the prospect of some measure of redemption even on her suffering, for our strength together is increased by it. But I'll reward my dutiful girl, surely.. Musing on such thoughts, and enormously pleased, she decided to head to the flagbridge and convey the news to Admiral Cain from her provide secure comlinks in her conference room, where the communications personnel couldn't listen in over the switchboard, since there was still no regular, just ad-hoc, encryption between the fleets. It was a professional courtesy, after all, not to start acting in public like she had been breveted to Admiral, until the news had officially arrived.

Her hair left still down and flowing around her like a seaweed-green cape, everyone fled from her presence in the corridors of the Orelyost, save the officers who stood stiff and suspicious, run ragged by her constant efficiency and cleanliness inspections of the past weeks. When she reached the bridge, though, the murmuring around her caught her ears before she could ignore it. They were talking about Admiral Cain's refusal to respond to the challenge once again, and it bothered her even more now. At first, Tisara was able to shake it off, but as she entered the privacy of her conference room, she realized abruptly that now she had every reason to pursue it. The Empress is living up to her mother's kindness, the love of my dearest friend Sikala, so foully assassinated by the communitarians as I know to be the truth, regardless of what they say of accidents. No jump drive could have failed like that in this modern age.... She shook off the tangent. But the crucial thing is that Saverana is her mother's daughter through and through.

A second, and more grievously important thought: If I am to hold the prestige of this advancement close to my heart and nourish it, I must not let myself be attached to someone who is now being seen as a coward. The situation with Cain has reached the point where it is really necessary for me to do something about it, lest the whole opinion of the nobility turn against her, and ruin our shared enterprise. I must force her to fight the duel.

Suddenly, with twice the purpose, and with a visceral understanding that her own improved standing in the Empire would mean that she would have more leeway in forcing Cain to accept the challenge, Tisara's fingers bolted to action. It was time for her to get in touch with Admiral Helena Cain, the sooner the better. A duel held risks, of course, but Tisara was well aware that every single of Fraslia Baroness Istarlan's prior duels had been with a heavy sword, fighting only when challenged. Cain would have the choice of weapons, then, and though it was a bit distasteful to use pistols in a duel, Tisara could at least inform her that it was possible. She suspected that Fraslia was not, after all, that good of a shot. A naval officer and a melee-fighter. But from the stories lingering about the fleet, Admiral Helena Cain was very, very quick with a pistol. I pray you will agree to get this nonsense out of the way, to put that beautiful but foolhardy grayskin down into the dust and vindicate yourself before the nobility, and get on with our plans, Helena Cain... This is the way of our people, and now, you too are a Taloran. That resolution made, Tisara keyed in Cain's command code, and waited.

Another problem gnawed at her, though, even as she waited for the response. We have detained those people who witnessed the massacre for a month now. We cannot detain them forever. Even if the duel is won.... Her fist sharply struck the table. “One precarious issue at a time, Tisara,” she spoke out loud to herself, as she had started to do in the weeks since Ysalha disappeared, driven half-mad by the loneliness that no Taloran could stand.

Battlestar Pegasus

The insistent chirping of the com on the private line informed Admiral Helena Cain, Duchess of Kobol, that there was a private message. Only two people had that line, of course, her Kendra, and Tisara of Urami. The later of the two had not been in touch with her for some time on account of her lover's being disabled, Cain rather suspected, so she assumed it was Kendra as she keyed on the newly installed visual communicator in her quarters and was surprised, instead, by the alien visage of Tisara, her hair let down and a bit disorderly, her image that which Cain had gradually learned meant someone had been on stims for an extremely long period of time.

“What can I do for you, Your Serene Grace?” A flashed smile, a bit concerned. Tisara remained useful to her, precisely because she had no other friends—that had become obvious, too—and now it was also clear that she was wearing herself down to the very bitter end. “You don't seem well, and...”

“No, I suppose I'm not,” Tisara answered after a moment. “Nothing to be done for that, though. I shall be fine, when my Ysalha is back to me. As for you, Admiral Cain?”

“Doing very fine, thank you. The orders for the Battlestar Atlantia have been placed and repairs on the Kshatriya and Galactica are proceeding well with the efforts of your mobile deepdock personnel. I am to understand that we can start recruiting Colonial Navy personnel from the Empire soon to man our squadrons?”

“Yes, that's right,” Tisara answered, feeling frustrated that she had not been more blunt, and had instead stood the time for pleasantries. “I think the present plan is to pair the old Galactica with the Kshatriya in one group and then form two other groups, one around Pegasus and one around Atlantia, yes? And each group will consist of those ships plus a flotilla of Destroyers and their Destroyer Leaders. And a special scouting force of six heavy cruisers, yes?”

“That's what we're aiming for, Your Serene Grace. It's a pale shadow of the old Colonial Navy, but it will have to work for us. Thanks to how crew intensive your ships are... We'll barely have enough humans for the Atlantia, and that's with press-ganging. The main thing for me, then, is recruiting around two hundred thousand Talorans—more than our entire population that we have free!--to fill out the Navy, and with a mere ten thousand humans... I confess it's a sorry situation we've found ourselves in. But it'll have to do for our counterattack.” Absent from the comments was that Imperial subsidies were paying for all of this, when it wasn't really necessary, including the new light forces, for the sake of placating and pleasing the humans and reconciling them to their position in the Empire, they were being given ships in such quantities which would take almost four times their present population simply to man, though part of that was that even a 1-megatonne Taloran Destroyer had a crew of two thousand.

“Admiral Cain, I am quite certain that you'll be able to find the crews, at least. Plenty of half-pay officers looking for a piece of the action to boost their own reputation in the Imperial Starfleet, of course, so you'll actually have a fair number to choose from, probably far more applicants than there shall be positions. They will not, however, serve you as things stand.” The comments on the crew, at least, had provided her the inspiration for what she needed to say, and it came together beautifully. “You can forget about a single officer worth her salt serving with you, as things stand.”

Cain started as if struck and stared furiously at Tisara for a long moment. “Why the hell has everyone told me to the contrary, then, Tisara? Have you been lying to me?”

“No, it's of your own making, and entirely reversible, Admiral. You must, of course, accept Fraslia's challenge. You must kill the Baroness Istarlan on the Field of Honour, or wound her grievously and destroy her claims by the honour of your sword, Admiral. Or, in your case, I would think it would be your gun. Nonetheless, you must accepther challenge and fight her, and the sooner the better, or else you will be ruined in the eyes of all our people.” She held her tongue and didn't add any comment about herself, for the moment.

“Is it really that important?! Cain snapped, and then stopped, thinking about it for a longer moment. “It is, isn't it? And it's pretty much why I've been receiving the cold shoulder from everyone in the fleet recently, isn't it?”

“I don't understand the idiom, but certainly so. You are a Taloran noblewoman in our eyes. You must fight to defend your honour like one. You must justify your actions on the field of honour, in blood. She challenged you; she fights with the sword, and is a fine duellist with her heavy Ghastan sword, the grayskin that she is,” Tisara neglected to mention that she downright found Fraslia attractive, though that did not, of course, provide her any regret in regard to the prospect of her being killed. “So, I assume you are a good shot. Since you were challenged, the choice of weapons is your's. Choose a pistol that you're familiar with, and you will certainly win.”

“But I am the fleet. Kendra.. I chose her as my heir precisely because I did not expect to get myself killed. She isn't ready to take over, and worse, Adama and his officers will certainly never follow her, nor will even Fisk. Is there any way around it?”

“Confessing that she is correct and ceding the right of challenge.”

Cain hissed. “Impossible for us to do. Not in this political situation, with the civilians of the fleet just getting used to the refugee camps on Oralnif. You are still detaining the survivors, yes?”

“Yes, of course I am, Admiral. But that doesn't change the facts of the situation. Are you prepared to release them and admit Fraslia was correct?”


“Then you must fight.” Tisara hesitated, looked into Cain's eyes.. And offered one last thing. “I'll serve as your second, Admiral. And if you fall, I will take care of Kendra Shaw on your behalf, and see to it that she gains the Duchy as her right when she is ready for it. I give you my word on both counts, on the blood of Valera that flows in my veins.” There was no higher promise that a noblewoman of the Imperial clan could make.

“Alright, Your Serene Grace. How do I accept the challenge?”

“Dispatch one of your officers to her with a formal letter of acceptance, the contents up to you; you should not deliver it yourself. Give her, ahhh, a Taloran week. That is enough time, and waiting now could only be a bad thing.”

“Of course, Your Serene Grace.” Cain nodded crisply. “I'll spend the next week making sure that those shots count, and studying up on the rules of the duel.”

“Oh, don't worry, they are simple for pistols. Twenty paces, turn and shoot. The duel is over when one is dead, when the gun falls from the hand of one, when one yields, or when both have expended their magazines. Remember them carefully and well, though.”

“I will. Thank you, Your Serene Grace.”

“God's blessing with you, Admiral.” Tisara cut the link.

Cain, as crisply and hotly as ever, just turned from her desk and relied on her limited Taloran skills—she had refused an implant which would have allowed flash learning—and wrote down a very simple message. Fraslia, let's do it. Five days from now. She summoned Lieutenant Thorne to carry it to the Baroness, and that was that.

HSMS Trivandhai

“Iraena, you will know what do with my possessions if the Lord of Justice chooses my challenge unjust, yes?”

“I will see to them, the family will receive them all, especially the sword of Trasjak for your younger sister, Your Ladyship,” her batgirl answered primly. “But you have explained the facts to me, and I know you will strike her down with your chivalrous hand. The evils of Tisara and Cain conniving together will be surely turned by your righteous hand; Cain will be slain and Tisara humiliated and forced back to righteousness, I am sure of it.”

“That is for only the Lord to be sure,” Fraslia answered simply. “Though I'd consider it an incredible thing for Tisara to give up her sin. That would mean giving up Ysalha.”

“What about the story of Anjhessa and Triyani?”

“An Archduchess of the Blood surrendering her title to live as a commoner for the sake of her lover? I scarcely think that plausible. Their relationship is still unequal, and therefore sinful.”

“They could change that, at least.”

“Perhaps. Why do you concern yourself with the perverts, Iraena?”

The girl quivered a bit and turned to the side. “Forgive me, Your Ladyship, but I just feel very sad for them. The Baroness Titangirt at least has some idea of true love and loyalty in her heart, however misplaced. How she maintained herself so faithful against what these monsters did to her, all for the sake of being reunited with Her Serene Grace, it is.. Romantic.”

“You have a point, though I've found such relationships to be.. Well, not my sort of thing. Two women, I mean,” Fraslia blushed slightly.

Iraena glanced back. “I wouldn't mind a dashing officer, myself. It would certainly make the family happy, and I've never cared much of gender, Your Ladyship.”

“Aye, that is a fonder hope for thee than for the nobility, so savour it,” Fraslia replied. “As for the rest... The duel is tomorrow, and I am going to make my last practice, and then go to dinner with my officers. The death dinner. I've been told they're going to serve nautiloid on prais, peppery as I like it. A very fine meal, indeed...”

“Is there anything else I can do?”

“Yes,” Fraslia answered abruptly, and reached for a razor on the table in front of her, grabbing up her hair and yanking up the very bottom. This was the only time a Taloran cut any of her hair at all, and she measured about three centimeters' worth, four svipan in the old measurements as was customary, and began to cut. Iraena watched in silence.

Finished, she began to apportion the locks: “One for my younger sister, one for my mother, one for my cousin Trilandi who was my best friend when I was young, one for the Baron Atinarh, who might have been my husband had circumstances not intervened, and.. One for Commander William Adama of the Battlestar Galactica, to let him know if I died that at least I tried my best for his people, and meant his people no ill even if my government has done it to them.” Each one she sealed in a different envelope, and then she handed them to Iraena.

“I will be sure that they are received, Your Ladyship, and I will convey those sentiments to Commander Adama, as well. If you fall.” She paused, and swallowed hard. “Please don't neglect confession tomorrow morning before the duel.”

“Oh, don't worry. I will put myself right with the Lord before the battle, you may have no fear of that. I am going to enter the ranks of the Army of Righteousness if the Lord sees it Just, and will not remiss from myself any recourse that might present myself to Him in any condition other than the most righteous that I might maintain.”

“Thank you, Your Ladyship. It's been an honour to serve with you. And I'm certain that one way or another we will meet again after tomorrow.”

In a gesture of extraordinary affection and closeness between two individuals of different rank, Fraslia briefly put her hand over one of Iraena's, and squeezed it. “May the Lord make it so,” she whispered, and then released the hand. “Farzbardor's blessing on your life, Iraena.”

Jupiter Imperial Refueling Facility
Base hospital, under high security,
Earth, Taloran Empire.

“Doctor Ghimalia?” Laura Roslyn looked up at the glowing red eyes and the pallid, white skin of the albino Taloran, her shock white hair falling low and long behind her. “How long have I been in stasis....?”

“About a Taloran month,” Ghimalia answered simply. “We have succeeded in removing even the micro-tumors, however, and we have all the drugs we need in your system to fight the cancer, and the programmed retrovirus has infected you. Your life is now out of danger, Laura, and you will recover.” Her ears flexed happily and she offered a smile as she had learned to for the sake of her human patients.

Roslyn sighed in relief. “How is the fleet doing? Has Baltar managed to keep things together?”

Ghimalia turned her human expression to stony oblivion. “I can't explain that in detail, Laura. I've been ordered not to.”

What!?” Laura Roslyn gasped, and then she frowned more darkly, realizing that Ghimalia had never used her first name like that before. “What's happened to the fleet, Ghimalia? You must tell me...”

Ghimalia glanced around furtively, and using her authority as a doctor, abruptly shooed out a nurse lurking near the door before returning, with a wry look on her face, as she whispered: “Admiral Cain deposed Baltar, and by extension, you. I am afraid to say the Imperial government has recognized her regime.”

Laura tried to sit up. She had to escape, she had to do something, as the shock permeated her. Her people had depended on her, and now, in the midst of her treatment, she had failed them. “Where am I? You must return me to the Galactica at once...?” But what if Cain eliminated Adama? “Is Commander Adama... Just... Going along with this?”

“I don't know. We're in orbit of one of the planets of the Sol system, Laura. I haven't been in touch with anyone in the fleet in months. The Jhammind is undergoing extensive repairs at a private shipyard in Earth orbit that has some Taloran personnel who know how to deal with warships. I was assigned to this hospital associated with the fleet refueling depot at Jupiter to remain your personal physician.”

“A Cylon-lover guarding me in prison!” Laura spat out, and tried to sit up. She was far to weak to do so, yet, and not fully awake.

“I wish I could do otherwise, Laura. But please don't exert yourself--please?” She tried her most sincere of human looks, and meant it. “I know you will launch a bid to regain your Presidency, as all people in power do sooner or later, for the sake of your people if nothing else. But let me give you back your strength and health first--please!? They will release you sooner or later; you have done nothing wrong, and not even your liege-lady in the former of Admiral Cain can stop that. Then you will be able to go to Earth.”


“Cain brought your nation into the Empire and voluntarily accepted the title of Duchess of Kobol.”

“Duchess of Kobol—she usurped our gods with such a title!” Roslyn was to shocked at Cain's presumption to even be angry at the Talorans, now. “May the Lords have mercy on our souls...”

“I can't speak of your Gods, being a Farzian and a monotheist, but please, Laura, keep your own counsel, be suspicious of everyone—even me, I admit!--but heal first. I am sorry to have put you in this position. So very sorry. Please at least let me see to it that you recover fully? I will advocate for you as much as I may... This is my duty to you as one of my patients, even if you do not trust me, at least wait, heal, and watch me to see the proof of my words.”

“Your people have led mine into slavery, Ghimalia. I will never forgive them, any of them, even you, for that. You are complicit in our destruction.”

“I can only hope you realize that we are not all representative of our leadership,” Ghimalia said very sadly. “That is, after all, what genocides are made of, and of them, you are very familiar.” With that, she turned and left very abruptly.

Roslyn shuddered, and for the first time, actually thought on the words. It's true, she's very true. I can't let my fury at this, at our slavery, make me condemn every living Taloran out of hand. They will surely fight the Cylons, after all. Cain will demand nothing else. But can I trust Ghimalia? She loves that pet Cylon of her's far to much. She recommends herself that I not trust her—but that's just a Taloran being self-effacing. She wants me to. But I don't think I can. A bitter, strangled laugh. Then again, who else can I trust, at least until I can get to the surface of Earth? I need her until then. “Well, good doctor, we'll just have to wait and see,” she said, looking at the wall, and then closed her eyes, the adrenaline of the moment leaving her, and returned to a healing sleep, though so much less than stasis.

HMMS Queen Tyaljha

The flagship of the second division of Battle Division Eight, Royal Midelan Navy, had been offered by her captain, the Count of Ghirandi, as a location for the duel. It was to be fought in one of the shuttle hangars, which had been cleared for the occasion, and a large circle of fire-hoses in the centre had been filled with sand to soak up the blood. The duelists did not walk the paces; they were instead measured out in advance, twenty in each direction, rather long ones of a Taloran woman. It was not meant to be easy, two skilled individuals trying to kill each other with semiautomatic magazine pistols. Wounding or surrender was far, far more common, and the fights usually ended before both magazines were expended for some reason or another.

They were all there. The Baroness Fraslia, and her second, an officer of the battlecruiser Kalammi by the name of Ghirania, Countess Dhingasja, whom she had made friends with on joint manoeuvres some years ago. The surgeons of each of the duellists, their women-at-arms, and for Cain, her lover, Kendra. Her second was nobody less than the Archduchess of Urami, and for an Imperial Princess of the Blood to be someone's second, even a disgraced one, was an incredible testament to the confidence she must hold in Cain. Fraslia swallowed at that, and choked down the fear into the comfortable blanket of fatality. The Will of Farzbardor be done.

The host, by custom, was also the adjudicator of the duel, and so the Count of Ghirandi stood to the centre of the duelling field on the side facing forward toward the bow of the ship, in lieu of North, and had his hand on the hilt of his sword. “In the name of the Lord of Justice, I beg of you, combatants—make up your grievances! Do not bring this to Farzbardor's fatal judgement, when your love for his precepts may save your blood through honest confession and reconciliation!”

“Then let Cain confess her evil and dishonourable actions and make amends!” Fraslia shouted, noting, as a spectator—and if it weren't for the political implications, she would have asked for him as her second—Commander William Adama. Here we go, Bill, she willed softly in her mind. He was trying to be as detached from this gamble as he possibly could be. She was trying to be as resolute and given to fate as she possibly might.

“Then let the Baroness Istarlan confess her slandrous lies!” Cain replied just as stoutly.

“There will be no reconciliation?”



“Then assume your positions!”

A drum rolled, instilling, along with the gaze of Adama, and her old friend standing back as her second, the courage for her to fight alone, when otherwise a Taloran would be terrified of it. But she was not alone! The eyes of many were upon her, and she would never, never let those eyes down, never let her friends down, and never dishonour her family. And with those thoughts, she was filled with a calm, ferocious rage, a readiness to fight, and prepared herself. They walked forward ritually to the 20-pace marks, laid out in black tar on the sand, and stopped, toes of their boots right at the line.

“Armsmen, bring your lieges their arms!”

A crisp lieutenant of Cain's, and an old boatswain of Fraslia's, stepped forward for the respective parties, opening the ornate duelling cases which contained Colonial pistols. Over the course of five days on stims—which she had gone off of the night before by the code of the duel and slept six t-hours to gather her strength, instead—she had practiced five t-hours a day, every day, to be as familiar as she could with the pistol. It came easily to her hand, now.

“Armsmen, withdraw!”

They stepped back and out of the circle to the roll of the drum, and now all was ready for the duel that was to come, save the last and modern touch to protect the bystanders.

“When the shield has been raised, there will be no going back on the duel,” the Count warned. “Will either of you yield the honour of your claims, noble ladies?”


“No!” Cain tensed grimly, ready to kill and be done with it.

“Then activate the shield!” A bubble of energy surrounded the hoses which delineated the sand in turn, and now it was time. The adjudicator drew his sword next, with a crisp and clean sound of metal scraping along metal and the brilliance of the sword as he held it up proudly. “When I give the order 'Aim', you will both Aim your pistols! When you have aimed, I shall slash down with my sword,” he continued, raising it far above his head..”When you hear it scrape the deck, fire.

“Do you understand?”

“I understand.”


The Count took a breath. Around, everyone tensed as the air thrummed with the energy of the shield, and their minds thrummed with the energy of the moment, pressed to the very limit of tension as the air in the shuttle-bay seemed overwrought, the ozone stench adding to the intensity of imminent action. Most were experienced soldiers, and had fought in many wars and battles and lost many comrades, but the end result of those actions was nothing quite like the horrible spectacle of a formal duel between two comrades in arms. Cain was a human and a newcomer, to be sure, but they were both Imperial nobles, and there was a shuddering tenseness in the hanging moment.

Tisara watched with a savage calm, body hot strung. Kendra Shaw seemed barely able to hold back tears in love and fierce passion and hope. Commander Adama, the old veteran, was nonetheless veritably taken aback by the prospect of something so ancient and savage as a formal duel to the blood. Fraslia's batgirl Iraena was standing back, about to collapse. Everyone, though, seemed strangely composed and formal, the rigeur of the drums and the ceremony holding everything together, holding everyone together, to form the perfect emotional atmosphere required for Talorans to face each other alone.

It worked on Fraslia, cool and calm and ready to fight. And it didn't need to work on Cain, furious and ready to get things over with. Both ready to kill, Fraslia for justice, and Cain, for the survival of her terrible vengeance, her terrible ambition. They just awaited the words with which to begin, cold sweat held back by crisp black gloves from those cold black pistols, ready to kill.

“Aim!” The Count's sword hand clenched hard on the hilt, arm laced with sweat.

Both of the combatants raised their pistols, single-handed as the duel etiquette required, and aimed them down the iron sights that were permitted to them. The moment hung on a thread that seemed to last for eternity. But there would be no eternity. The sword would have to fall. The guns would have to fire. The waiting could seem like eternity, but it wasn't. Time ran out.

The Count of Ghirandi dropped the sword, swinging it with a delicate skill required to make a terrible and deafening scrape throughout the bay. It was overwhelming and metallic and like metal brakes on metal wheels, or a screech out of hell, but was so neatly done, so minimal of a contact that it didn't damage the sword. It just told the combatants that the duel was on.

Admiral Helena Cain, Duchess Kobol's pistol barked with the speed and precision one could only expect from the woman who lived by her code of the Razor. Cracking bullets lanced out in a precise double-tap to the center of mass of Commodore Fraslia, Baroness Istarlan. A rib was shattered to pieces, her right lung collapsed as the powerful, Cylon-killing bullet tore straight through her. The second one went lower, punched through her stomach and nicked her liver, barely missing her spine. She tumbled back, her first and only shot off to the side and high by just a hair from the impact of the bullet, actually cutting with hot fury through Cain's hair and missing her neck by a millimetre.

HoldthegunholdthegunholdthegunholdthegunHOLDTHEGUN!! It was the only thought on Fraslia's mind as the impact of the bullets sent her spinning to the ground, and in her right hand she held onto the gun as ferociously as she possibly could. Her grip was as tense a death-grip as she possibly could, she just needed to hold onto the gun....

...She held onto it as she hit the sand, her reddish-green blood, rich in sulphur, an old adaptation to the volcanic atmosphere of Talora Prime, pouring out onto the rich spread sand. There was overwhelming pain, but there was also a crisp and certain knowledge of what she must do. She must hold onto the pistol, and she must shoot back. I may die, but I will still do rights by Commander Adama.. I must! She shuddered back into the sand, and with the trembling last reserves of her strength, coughing blood, she raised her gun.

Cain was flush with victory. Her face showed her clear triumph, filled with glee at having shot down a threat to her rule, at having killed as she had killed before. Killed in revenge for her the slaughter of her family, for disobedience, for necessity. But it had never quite felt so good as this, to strike down the impudent alien who had challenged her when she had finally done what was necessary, who had dared interrupt her revenge upon the Cylons: For the death of her family members in the Cylon War, for the betrayal that Gina provided to her in the attacks on the Twelve Colonies. She must have her revenge.

But for her revenge to come to past, she had forgotten one crucial fact. She had trained for a duel by honing her already fine and quick skills with a gun. But she had not exhaustively studied Taloran physiology. She did not realize, as she stood there in the pride of her victory, that she should have been firing more bullets into Fraslia. One does not leave a living Taloran, and particularly a female, with a gun in her hand before you. It was a lesson more than a few humans had forgotten over the years to their misfortune, and death. Talorans do not go into shock.

And so Fraslia's gun barked, and like a Taloran, trained to kill other Talorans, she kept firing. It was a fourteen magazine, and it had thirteen rounds left. She didn't cease firing until Cain's body hit the sand, spreading red hot human blood in crimson streaks upon the sand. Ten of the bullets had hit home with deadly effect, tearing Cain's body apart so thoroughly that it seemed she must be dead before she had hit the dirt. The gun... Fell from her hand, twelve bullets unused.

With a desperate, half-strangled cry, the Count of Ghirandi almost screamed “Drop the forcefield!”

It dropped, and the surgeons of both the duelists rushed forward. And with them, toward Cain, rushed Tisara Urami, not even noticing as Kendra Shaw fell to the deck in shock, sobbing horribly as her lover's body fell shattered into the sand. Tisara reached Cain's side, even as the human surgeon shook his head very slightly, in a gesture that transcended species to inform of the impending death of the patient.

Tisara leaned close, her own thoughts trying to process the imminent ruin of all her hopes for the future, of all her dreams for her and Ysalha. “Helena?” She dared.

Blood on her lips, Cain gestured with her right hand toward a pocket. Tisara's hand immediately snaked down, and reached in. A strange device was inside, and pulling it out, she realized that it was a simple spring-loaded razor blade. She looked at it, and down to Cain.

“Give it to Kendra,” the woman gasped. “And tell her that I love her.” She slumped back, and seemed to die. The surgeon shrunk away. Tisara, though, leaned closer, seeing that Cain was trying to mouth another sentence. She leaned close, very close, and honed in her ears. “Tell me, Helena!”

“Tell Gina Inviere... That I'm sorry for what I did to her. ...No lover of mine, traitor or no, deserved that. I'm sorry, Tisara. I... I'm glad I brought your Ysalha back to...” She took credit for that action, in her last, as though she had believed her own propaganda, but it didn't matter so much. “Take care of both of them, Tisara. Gina and Kendra. But give Kendra the razor....” She trailed off, murmuring the word razor again, and her eyes fell blank and dead.

Tisara looked up, and bit furiously at her tongue, as Fraslia's surgeon arranged for the medical team to haul her away on a gurney. Adama, noticeably, clustered close to Fraslia's surgeon. “Will she make it?” He asked, barely able to contain both relief and fear.

“She will, but we need to get her into surgery right now, and it won't be easy. Out of my way, Commander!” And so Fraslia was wheeled away.

Tisara rose, and Adama rose as well, and finally the two faced each other. “Was Fraslia telling the truth? Do you have custody of the survivors of Cain's atrocity?”

“Yes, I do, Commander Adama. They will be here with the fleet in a week, you have my word,” Tisara answered simply, “and despite Cain's suggestions to the contrary, I have kept them very healthy and happy, and think they will have no complaints.”

“I'll believe it when I see it, Admiral.”

“I'm sure you shall. Now, if you'll forgive me, I've gone from having one broken woman to deal with in my life, to having three.” Tisara turned away and walked toward Shaw.

Adama watched her go for a long moment, and then turned away. For once, he felt some sympathy for Tisara Urami, but only some. Now it was time to get the fleet back into order, and prepare for how the Taloran government would react. Fraslia's work had ended—and he could, as an atheist, only hope she lived—but his had just begun.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-04-13 02:12pm

And so, the Colonial Civil War begins.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-13 03:25pm

Master_Baerne wrote:And so, the Colonial Civil War begins.

Not if Adama can help it...
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 » 2008-04-23 10:39pm

Chapter Twenty-Four
Battlestar Galactica
Oralnif System.

“She was getting us back on our feet! We finally had a chance to strike back at the Cylons—and you let that Taloran bitch ruin it!?” Starbuck had leapt from her seat and was glaring accusingly at Adama, before whipping to look at Colonel Fisk. “You're the next most senior officer...”

“Silence yourself, Starbuck, or I'll have you thrown in the brig.” Adama snapped. “Supporter of Cain or not, the chain of command is intact! And everyone will be held to it.”

“Says the man who conspired to have his superiour officer assassinated in a duel!”

“It was not an assassination,” Lee countered, trying to find some way through the brewing storm. “She lived and died by a code she voluntarily adopted, one that demanded blood for a genuine crime, and took it. There should be no complaints about her fate.”

“Bullshit! It was rigged from the start!” Starbuck seemed to be in a state of simply no longer caring.

“The risk of allowing legalized dueling.”

Adama remained dangerously silent, looking to Colonels Xanthippus and Fisk. He of course had Tigh's support, and Tigh was as calm as he was in the circumstances, the dangerous period during abrupt shifts of government and where loyalties were tested, and sometimes, bad things happened. Very bad ones. But the immediate fear of the Pegasus engaging in hostilities was gone. Fisk was simply not the sort of man to do that, and that was why Adama had chosen his present course, and given him, and the crew of the Pegasus, a second chance. Even if they don't know it, but it's good to let 'em sweat a bit.

Now it was time. “Where do you stand?” He asked the two Colonels.

“With you, Sir.” Iphigenia answered simply, ignoring the sideshow as Starbuck reluctantly sat again, still furious, and instead focusing on Adama's eyes. “You're the ranking officer, you've restored our government, and your probity is unquestionable. You have my absolute support.”

“Thank you, Colonel.” That was that from Iphigenia. Now all eyes were on Fisk, and the venal old Colonel who would have stayed an executive officer for the rest of his career absent the attacks, fidgeted in his seat and by that point had broke out in a cold sweat. “I need an answer, Fisk!” Adama was no longer in the mood to wait.

“You have my unconditional support, Sir,” he finally answered with half a sigh, aware that Iphigenia had put him on the spot, and unwilling to risk anything when it came to the final accounting. His fear gnawed at him at what might come, but absent of Cain's evil he had been incapable of charting such a course of foul deeds himself, and indeed any course at all.

This, Starbuck could not take. She leapt up once more: “Traitor! Are we all supposed to go ahead and fight the Talorans over our government now, too!? Take on a half a dozen of their monster dreadnoughts so a playboy scientist can pretend to have authority with our whole population in refugee camps!? Give up our only chance for revenge over an elected government that the majority of our people never bothered to vote for anyway?”

Adama made a sharp cutting motion in response. Immediately, the security personnel dashed in from the far side of the conference room, reaching in as Starbuck leapt furiously to her feet. They immediately went to disarm her as she struggled hard, hitting one with a thick-bottomed drinking glass in the face before that was wrestled away from her as well as her pistol. A few moments later she'd been cuffed despite the blow and more than a few scrapes. Waiting not a moment longer, she was hauled out before the visibly affected group of officers while uttering an intense stream of very virulent curses. The event served to leave Fisk violently shaken himself, filled with self-doubt at his actions.

Adama, though, knew better than to let it fester. “I released Cain's political prisoners, of course, including acting President Baltar—as you know. He is now, as the Constitution provides, once again legitimately the holder of final authority in the government, and he will be respected in that role.” A pause, glaringly, to make sure they all heard it, and heard it well. “More to the point, using that legitimately constituted authority, he has chosen to immediately promote me to Admiral in his role as civilian CnC.” Adama paused again for effct.

“Colonel Fisk. You were directly and personally in charge of a boarding party which massacred our own civilians. This fact alone means you are not fit to command the Pegasus under any circumstance. You have betrayed our trust with our people and committed a hideous act against innocents in the process. An act which in any other circumstance which see you receive a heavy penalty at the least, when before you were just rewarded by Cain.” He glanced next over to Tigh. “Effective immediately, Saul, you're promoted to Commander. You have the Galactica.”

And now a look to his own son, Lee, came next. “Colonel, you've done damn good work on the Kshatriya, make no mistake about it. You've proved me that you could take an impossible situation of keeping a ship that in any other circumstance we'd scrap in service, and turning around and overseeing the beginning of its repair and reconstruction in the nominally incompatible facilities of an alien dockyard. You have therefore earned a promotion to Commander, and the Pegasus.” He didn't dwell on the matter of having given his son command of the most powerful ship in the fleet, but instead went on to the next of the officer.s “Colonel Xanthippus, you're also promoted to Commander and have the Kshatriya back.”

He turned back with a surprisingly dull look to Fisk, having attended to business, and now dealt with the terrified Colonel as though the matter was just another piece of business. And at this point, it was. “As for you, Colonel Fisk, you're Commander Adama's XO. I am issuing a blanket pardon to the Pegasus' crew in the name of the Acting President per the rules of order which provide that I, as the ranking officer of the Colonial forces, administer military justice. This covers all crimes committed prior to the present, without need to confess or detail them.”

That, at least, brought palatable relief to Fisk. He seemed to collapse in his seat even without moving as he saw the hammer of doom removed from being a threat to his life and stature. But Adama was not quite done. “There are two exceptions. Kendra Shaw, who opened fire without your order on the civilians in the aforestated incident and caused its escalation to violence, even if you hold command responsibility, is primarily responsible in a personal sense for the massacre. She was also, more pertinently, responsible for the only bloodshed during Cain's coup. Accordingly, she has been excepted from the pardon and is sought for criminal charges.

“The second is Lieutenant Alistair Thorne. President Baltar and I received an extradition request from Tisara, the Archduchess of Urami, on behalf of the Taloran government. She claimed jurisdiction on account of being named protector of the Cylon prisoner from the Pegasus named Gina Inviere. According to her statement, being explicitly named to such a position by a dying individual carries certain responsibilities and privileges in Taloran law, particularly since Gina is considered as a prisoner of war accorded officer rank to fall under Taloran legal protection in criminal matters. Or, to cut through the legalize that Talorans love to make sound pretty, they think they have an obligation to pursue criminal cases against individuals who have harmed POWs now under their protection. It's a damned humane law, and we should have it ourselves.”

He straightened. “So we agreed to the extradition request, and he will be deported immediately to face rape charges. We can only hope that it leads to the corresponding gesture of goodwill in Tisara turning Kendra Shaw over to us to face her charges, even though I don't expect it will. But we need to show to the Talorans that we're still willing to deal with them, and the request is reasonable even if they don't reciprocate. Therefore, Commander,” he looked to Lee, “this is your first job on assuming command of the Pegasus. Seize Throne immediately and turn him over to the custody of Tisara on the Orelyost!”

“Understood, Sir!” Apollo replied crisply. “There are to be no other measures with the crew of the Pegasus, correct, Sir?”

“No other criminal measures, Commander, that's correct. However, you are to make sure they understand they're part of a fighting military force which is loyal to an elected government. And you're certainly expected to do whatever is necessary to remake them from the piratical band of brigands Cain allowed them to become and back into a fighting crew in a democratic navy.”

“Aye, Sir.”

“Colonel Fisk, do you understand your responsibility?”

Fisk wiped the sweat from his face. “To support Commander Adama unquestionably,” he stiffly replied, thoroughly broken, though still a relieved man.

“Very good. You're all still largely inexperienced as commanders, but offensive action is a long way off, so you have time to get your ships in order from a training standpoint, never mind the very long reconstruction cycle we're facing to integrate shielding, weapons and armour improvements from the Taloran side of things. It's still going to be a long slog to turn our navy back into something worthy of respect. Get started now.”

After everyone else had been dismissed and filed out, Lee stepped over to his father. “Admiral, what about the Talorans? How are we going to handle them?”

“For the moment, we wait, and all we do is wait. If they don't press the supposed claims of Kendra Shaw, we can get along, provided they don't harass our citizens on the surface and keep food supplied to the refugee camps. That, and avoid any more interference in the government, of course.”

“All right. But will we make an effort in regard to the President? I mean, we don't even know where she is, do we?”

“Actually, Ambassador the..” Adama frowned for a moment, trying to keep all the titles from flowing together in his mind, “Aristasijh of Fulanaj, has assured me that she was indeed simply removed out of medical necessity and is being treated in the Sol system—the home of Earth, no less—for her cancer. I don't trust Fulanaj, I admit, but she had no reason to lie, and did provide me some evidence to this effect. Until the Talorans react to what's happened in an official way, there is nothing more to be done.”

Lee nodded in acceptance. “Very well, Sir. But... Why turn Thorne over to Tisara? She was in the thick of things with Cain, and I can't believe she honestly intends to turn around abruptly and persecute one of Cain's men.”

“She's been honest in her dealings with us, even if her other personality traits are reprehensible to pretty much everyone. She let me talk to the civvies she was detaining for Cain, for example, via FTL radio, and as promised they have been very well treated, better than the civilians in the fleet have been, frankly. Or at least better than they were when our resources were sparse. Getting rid of Thorne also removes from us a serious hindrance to the discipline of the Pegasus--I cannot trust any man who commits those kinds of crimes, even to a Cylon—and eliminates, along with Shaw, the major sources of a leader in the ship's crew who might have caused trouble in the future. More importantly, though, it shows the Talorans we will still deal with them as long it is honest and doesn't contradict our fundamental values.”

“Understood, Sir, but I was just concerned about the form of trial he'd get. He is still a Colonial Citizen.”

“The acting President authorized it, and I am quite convinced...” A dark look crossed his face. “He will be getting a better trial than he deserves, at any rate. Don't worry to much about the Talorans, regardless. Fraslia proved her race trustworthy—in blood.”

“I know, Sir.” Lee blanched a bit at the thought of the duel that had killed Cain and so seriously wounded Fraslia. “I know. “

“Then in the spirit of her sacrifice for our sake, we aren't going to give up on the Tlaorans yet. But neither, I promise you, will I permit them to ever subvert our government again, no matter what that brings us to.”

“Then, with your permission, Sir, I will make my way move from the Kshatriya to the Pegasus.

“Permission granted, and, congratulations, Commander.”

HSMS Orelyost

In retrospect, it was far easier for Tisara to clear a bay of the normal operations crew than any other officer in the fleet, who would have faced safety protests. She had, instead, simply asked the senior crewer on duty “do you fancy being flogged?” when the question had come up. The bay personnel followed their officers, who left at the first chance given to them regardless of regulations when Tisara had arrived.

She was wearing a combat jumpsuit, her hair neatly coiffed and folded down the back to fit in—due to the universal prevalence of long hair in Talorans and its crucial role in their sexual at attractiveness, there was no option for forcing spacers to cut it. Instead, the skinsuits were designed with a slightly large frame in the back through which the hair could be easily draped—into the area provided, which also served to cushion the back against abrupt forward acceleration. Her helmet was tucked under one arm, and her sword strapped to her side. And that was it; she didn't even bother to arm herself.

Composed she was, though her body quivered with the pent-up rage that the combat drugs so easily stroked and induced. She was on a finely run level of intensity at the moment, even as she'd taken to handling the sedation of Kendra Shaw personally. There had, at least, been plenty of spare cabins next to her own to put the broken woman in, and Tisara was doing her decent best to slowly restore her to health. The passions of youth and love do not demand punishment in and of themselves. She will yet, I do believe, rise to her station. Such was the odd duty and compassion of even the exiled Taloran.

The arrival of the shuttle from the Pegasus happened soon enough. The operating crew bore markings from the Kshatriya, which Tisara noted in interest. Don't quite trust the crew yet, Adama the Younger? Wise man, in the vein of your father. They seemed quite willing, however, to unload the manacled Alistair Thorne into her custody, perhaps precisely on account of that fact.

“Thank you,” she offered to the young flight officer. “This is a personal matter for me, of course, so I came to deal with it personally.”

“I had a sister once,” the man answered rather darkly. “And I don't care if it was a frakkin' toaster or not. He's a sick fuck, and he's all your's, Your Grace.” With that, he handed the controls to the manacles over to her.

“Thank you,” Tisara replied, with only a slight annoyance at the incorrect title. “I have him from here, then.”

“Of course, Sir.” The officer saluted and returned to his shuttle. Tisara, for her part, nodded politely to Thorne and stepped over with him—he followed readily enough—to the launch control booth in the deserted bay. She guided the shuttle out herself, before turning to Alistair Thorne when it was all good and done, and regarding him for a long moment.

“One of Cain's loyalists,” she observed at last. “I already have Kendra Shaw aboard, as you know, of course.”

“So you do,” Thorne answered. “I take it that means that this was an elaborate cover, Your Serene Grace?”

“Something of the sort. There's actually no such jurisdiction as I claimed on the books in Taloran law, if that's what you're referring to.”

Thorne laughed, and relaxed. “Good one, Your Serene Grace. And thank you for it. I'm in your debt, and Major Shaw's, too.”

“Not really. Cain asked me to do this, after all, and I'm just acting on my obligation to her, nothing more, I assure you.”

“Ah, heh. Well, she was also a good sort to me. Damn frakking toaster-lovers. I still can't believe anyone in the Colonial fleet went along with this. I'm surprised the poor old Admiral even thought of the prospect of it as to warn you of what to do. I take it we're supposed to try and get Major Shaw in power now?”

“I rather suppose it does seem odd to you,” Tisara flexed her ears and shrugged. “And it was, I confess, more an interpretation of the morally correct thing to do at some of Cain's words, than any sort of specific directive on her part. At any rate, I do not have any immediate plans for placing the Second Duchess of Kobol in any kind of leadership position. She has taken her lover's death.. Poorly, and needs time to recover. Your fleet will still be there some months hence, and I am not quite yet sure how I shall go about defending her claims, which it is now my obligation to do, since by Cain's word I am more or less the regent of the Duchy of Kobol, and until Major Shaw recovers, I am the actual ruler of the Colonial government.”

“Rather patient for someone looking at seeing their government slip out of their fingers, then, particularly for someone with an obligation to someone else.” He smirked. “But I suppose it makes sense for now. Care to release me, Your Serene Grace?”

“In a moment,” Tisara replied. “I am, after all, going to be here when every single person alive today in the fleet shall be dead. I can afford to be patient, Lieutenant, in a way that humans can't dream of. Your lives come and go in a single moment. I am a hundred and thirty of your years old, and yet I am quite young.”

Thorne tensed slightly at the imperceptible hardening of Tisara's tone, and more to the point, the refusal to release him. “Your Serene Grace?”

“Young enough to still feel the hot blood of a cavalier in my veins...” Tisara continued, musing. “Our relationship is unconventional, but I certainly know what I would do to someone who.... Violated... Ysalha. Cain ordered it herself, of course, but, you see....” And Thorne remained silent in growing consternation.

“....We Taloran nobles have a custom, to honour and respect those, even the polytheists damned to the Slave Armies of Idenicamos, of our social stature. And though Cain is certainly being tortured in those armies right now herself—well, her sins are mortal, whereas mine are venal”—she continued languidly, smirking and showing a dangerous hint of her teeth, “It is nonetheless our custom to do right by even the damned of our class. So I am going to make amends for a particular one of Cain's sins where amends can still be made. In the same way that I have distributed no small amount of the savings my salary affords me, such as they are, in compensation to the families of those murdered in her act of savagery against the refugees she found, amongst those in the ships lucky enough to burn for deep space and not be found and destroyed, I am going to take care of another of her sins.”

“What the hell—why are you going on about that to? We did what we had to! You were Cain's friend--why the hell should you care!?”

“Lieutenant Thorne, all people are, in the final accounting, moral actors. I tolerate no disobedience and no imperfection because I know all people could perform as demanded if they really made an effort to do so,” she continued, blithely ignoring the hint of hypocrisy in the comments. It didn't really matter at this point. “Cain sinned mortally, and is in the depths of Idenicamos' realms for her sin. But I can, from an ethical perspective and a perspective of a friend of her's, still make right some of her crimes. She gave me the burden to do so, and she specifically, as she died,” and her Tisara's face took on a dread look of a toothy grin, “she asked me to protect her lovers. Kendra Shaw... And Gina Inviere. She expressed remorse over what she had done to Miss Inviere. Now, that remorse is not sufficient to save her from the bowels of torture and hate. But it does compel me to act on her remorse in any way I can, as a final gesture to the dead.

“So you see, Lieutenant Alistair Thorne, you raped Gina Inviere, and you led others in gang-raping her. You tortured her, a Prisoner of War you had an obligation to. And so, because Cain made me her protector, I have determined that it is my duty, my obligation both to her last desire for penance and forgiveness, and toward the ward she gave to me, to kill you.” She paused for another moment, and added, softly, “right now.”

Thorne was not an idiot. With his hands manacled, his only chance was to kick out at Tisara. Tisara, however, was operating under the influence of combat drugs. With a terrible swift ease, she danced to the side and lashed out with one of her own feet, catching Thorne's and tripping him down to fall onto his side against the floor.

“Fool,” she muttered softly, and brought the ovoid helmet to her head, locking it into place and checking the seal. “You certainly can't escape your sentence of death now. All the cameras and sensors have been locked down here; there is no evidence on the Taloran side that you ever stepped aboard the Orelyost. By Idenicamos' Harem,” Tisara laughed abruptly, “It's even legal. Cain was ruling the Duchy of Kobol without laws or customs to limit her; I am the regent for her heir. I have absolute power over the citizens of the Duchy, and so I can put you to death on my whim and command without suffering moral or criminal sanction.”

“You damned alien bitch. A pity I never had a chance to break your little toy like I did the frakkin' toaster.”

“And now,” Tisara answered almost whimsically by way of reply, “I will take pleasure in killing you.”

Frak you, bitch!

“Well, one final thing,” she responded quite laconically. “It's custom during executions, and a sin to deny it. There are many sins in the world; Polytheism damns you no matter all the good that you have done in your life, for example, except in one case. The one Good act which is capable of wiping away all evil done before it. Profess to me, one of the faithful, however not in good standing, that the works of the Prophet Eibermon are the true and correct accounting of the religion of Farzbardor, the Lord of Justice, the supreme One God of all universes and peoples. If you do this before I kill you, you will be taken, however lowly in rank and respect, nonetheless to the Armies of Righteousness in the Halls of Farzbardor. It is your one chance, and I must say to my relief that, save the first and worst of the lot, who refused to believe I was serious, all of the mutineers afterwards, on seeing I was serious about summarily executing them, did indeed take the opportunity to make confession with the ship's priest. They were already Farzians, however. You are not; and so the task is a bit simpler for you. Convert or be tortured for eternity from the moment that I slay you, until you are rended to oblivion at the final victory of the Lord of Justice. What say you?”

“I said FRAK YOU!” He spat from the floor, defiant to the last even as he was terrified.

“So it shall be. Enjoy the whips of the demons biting into your back, you scum. That you even dared to express your desire to violate my Ysalha!” She struck him in the cheek with the titanium-toed tip of her boot, shattering teeth and bruising bone. But careful not to spill blood on the deck, she turned away and manipulated the controls to the launch operations centre, dropping the automatic protective relays which would slam down the doors around it, securing it from the rest of the bay on the event of what she did next.

She dropped the atmospheric containment fields over the two massive entrances to the bay on either beam, each one large enough to accommodate a 4,000-tonne gunboat or 6,500-tonne assault shuttle. And as she did, she reached up with her other hand and locked the safety strap of her belt against the bar provided for that purpose running along the length of the console. “Enjoy your last three minutes of mortal life,” she said, very softly, but Thorne was already gone. The moment she'd snapped the controls, the air rushed out immediately and intensely. Only the fact that securing procedures meant there was nothing in it in normal operations that was not locked down avoided a rush of material out of the bay that she'd have to account for.

With the wall of air sucking them all out, she was soon yanked hard and firm against the securing belt and gripped with both hands on the bar as well to keep from being unsteadied, and avoid putting to much stress and pain on her midrift. Within thirty seconds, the evacuation of the atmosphere was entirely complete. She was alone in the silence of vacuum for a long moment, sighing softly in her helmet, and then reactivated the containment fields. As soon as they were established, air started flooding back in. In took another five taloran minutes for the bay to be largely refilled, and by that point, Tisara had unclipped herself, and waited by the sealed entrance to the bay. By now, Thorne was quite dead.

The Petty Officer who opened the doors, suited up herself, stared in shocked surprise at the presence of Tisara herself. “Your Serene Grace,” she spluttered, “How did the bay depressurize?”

“You'll be lashed if you repeat that question,” Tisara snapped through the vocoder, neither of them caring to remove their helmets until the atmosphere had reached healthy levels of oxygen and pressure density for a Taloran. “It's far, far above your competence, Chief.”

One rarely threatened to lash a noncomissioned officer of experience. She was, however, Terrible Tisara, and the CPO took her seriously. “Very well, Your Serene Grace,” she answered dubiously, half-wondering if Tisara had finally gone raving mad, but having no real idea of what she'd done. The atmospheric indicators had, at any rate, equalized, so she removed the helmet from her skin suit. It appeared it was just time to get back to work.. And get drunk in the Petty Officer's mess that night. Definitely get drunk.

Tisara removed her own helmet, and wordlessly stepped out, receiving the salutes of the hangar personnel waiting to return. She had to go and check up on Kendra Shaw, after all, and then prepare herself for another trip to Oralnif Station, to look longingly at her precious Ysalha once more, and hope that she might again be filled with the simple love of her heart for Tisara, that she might again have a life more than that which persisted, confined to a stasis tube. By the time she reached her quarters she was virtually crying at the terrible thought, but the drugs helped with that. They always had.

Battlestar Galactica

A Taloran week had passed before the Countess Palatine Aristasijh of Fulanaj had brought Commander Adama the message that he dreaded. It had at least been enough time for him to put his house into order, which is more than he could count in any other sense. Just as the colonials were starting to settle back into a regular routine, to get used to the rather lavish arcology that the Talorans had built for them on the surface, a cloister, perhaps, but only in comparison to their old homes on Caprica, utterly spacious compared with the fleet, and finely appointed, while in orbit the effort to refit the warships, and prepare the civilian ships for commercial endeavours which could be their only form of a genuine national economy at the moment, proceeded apace.

Now he had something else to worry about, and Aristasijh had done it in a terrible way which aimed to force his hand. He was watching on the screen, because the message had been broadcast to the entire fleet, in the clear:

“As the interests of your people are concerned, it is clear that the Regency of Tisara of Urami is not desirable to anyone. She is not fit to rule, and neither, for the moment, is The Second Duchess of Kobol, Kendra Shaw, heir to the late Grace, Helena Cain. Therefore I propose, and will guarantee I can compel, that Her Serene Grace the Archduchess of Urami be forced to abdicate her position as Regent, and that this position, due to Her Grace Shaw's mental state, be granted in perpetuity to Admiral William Adama.

“He shall be the new ruler of your people, and maintain that position for his life, by which point Kendra Shaw or her heirs will certainly be ready for the task of ruling your people. This is how we propose to move on from the unfortunate circumstances of Helena Cain's death, for which I apologize when she meant so much to all of you.”

A pause, and the Dalamarian diplomat continued. “We do not presume to direct the form of government that the Duchy of Kobol has. We certainly think it appropriate for a form of constitutionalism to exist, and recommend it strongly. I would also favour a careful consideration of the syndicalist principles I have explained to the likes of, for example, Tom Zarek, and which would serve your people well. However, it is really none of my business. Commander Adama, as Regent, will do as he pleases with your government, and I'm even certain the position of Head of Government could be given to the President with little change in your existing structure. That is, of course, up to you, and I guarantee that Taloran interference in your internal affairs will never take place.

“However, we do expect, Commander Adama,” she addressed him next, “That you concede to these measures and take immediate practical action to bring order to your disordered people. You are reliant on us, and we expect that good order be maintained in the Empress' vassals. Therefore, I am giving you fourty-eight of your hours to make your reply to this offer. If you decline it, we shall begin speaking with Her Serene Grace the Archduchess of Urami, and Her Grace the Duchess of Kobol, about what procedures we should take to bring your people into compliance with the Imperial law and imperial interests that you have chosen to tie yourself to.”

The message continued for some time on other, less relevant points of the subject, and Adama continued to watch it until the very end. By the point it was over, he was ready, though. He reached down and picked up a handset for the bridge. By now, Dualla was back on duty... “Dualla? I want you to release a message immediately to the fleet, and the Tower..” He said by way of referring to the Arcology as most of the Colonials did, “informing them not to make a hasty assumption, that Baltar's government remains intact, and that I will respond to the Countess Palatine in exactly two days.”

“Understood, Sir.”

“Then, I'd like you to go ahead and patch me through to the Orelyost. A very urgent priority for Tisara Urami.” He knew that there was only one way to prevent this from turning into a disaster. He would have to speak to the woman who held the real power now when it came to his people, and convince her to ignore them when he stood up and condemned the Countess Palatine's plan as he had intended to, from the moment he had heard it. He had lived in loyalty to the Colonial Constitution, and if he would have to die defending it, so be it, but his duty to his people was to see that lived free, and his death would, in these circumstances, not accomplish much toward that cause.

He waited as the minutes ticked by, five, and then ten. He was about to comm Dualla again when the channel leapt alive with Tisara's voice, sounding hesitant and sickly. “Commander Adama, you have business with me?”

“I do, Your Serene Grace. Are you aware of the text of the Countess Palatine Fulanaj's speech to the fleet?”

“I'm not, actually.”

That forced Adama into the awkward role of having to explain while Tisara listened quietly, asking a question here and there. It took several minutes as he carefully laid out the gist of it, and then, to his irritation, she did not immediately accept the truth of it.

“Let me drag up the broadcast transmission log,” she answered finally, and he had to wait through that as well. It seemed to take forever for her to view the logs, and when she did, though, she returned with a furious note in her voice.

“That scheming Dalamarian bitch! What does the government think it is? This is my right, by Cain's death-testament. I am not going to abandon my protection of Kendra Shaw and her rights so readily, or my position as Regent,” she added, at least clarifying the matter that, no, the Colonial fleet would never, never get a chance to prosecute Kendra Shaw, but he had already given up on that faint hope.

“I shall not forgive her lightly for such a bold presumption of the rights of my ward. No, let me inform you, Commander Adama, that as long as I am Regent and guard of Shaw's interests during her pique of madness, and frankly if I can convince her otherwise, for she is not suited to rule, I shall not force myself upon your people, and interfere in the business of your government. There is precedent for this—though I would likely get in a great deal of trouble by explaining it to you, on account of the odd way the government has acted on this issue. Suffice to say, refusal is the only right course for you, Admiral, and I will not be party to any suppression that they might connivingly plan after your refusal. Go ahead, and you have my support in doing so. I wish nothing to do with your government, though I will protect you from the wiles of mine out of the principle of the whole thing, with what little power my exiled position affords me.”

“Thank you, Your Serene Grace,” Adama answered after a moment. “You've given me the support I need on this issue. We have many disagreements in many different areas, but I will never forget the fact that you have behaved with an honour that it has unfortunately been proved many Colonial officers lacked. The arrival back at the fleet of the detained refugees has amply proved that, especially considering your personal compensation to them when I understand that you're poor by the standards of Taloran nobility.”

Tisara seemed to wince a bit at even hearing the word, with an intake of air that could be heard over the audio pickup. “That is... A less charitable way of putting it, but I suppose correct, Admiral. However, duties are duties, and I have never forgotten mine, even as I choose to live my private life in my own way. The law and custom are on my side; you have my full support.”

“Thank you for that. With your permission?”

“Granted. Good luck, Admiral.”

Adama cut the channel, and next reached for his hotline with the President's office. As expected after the announcement, Baltar was not just there, but eagerly waiting for the chance to speak with Adama.

“Admiral, what can I do for you?” He asked both urgently and cautiously.

“We need to talk about my response to the Countess Palatine's message.”

“What is the response, man?” Baltar could only query with baited breath.

“I am going to refuse, of course. I've already spoken with Tisara Urami. She will not sanction any effort by her political superiours to force another autocratic government on us, out of sake of principle. And the law is on her side.”

“I'll reward you in any way I can for this, Admiral.”

“I'm just doing my duty, Mister President. In, approximately, fourty-seven hours we're going to have to make our response, however. Can you announce that we'll hold a joint Press Conference on the... hmm.. Cloud Nine at that point to provide our response to Fulanaj's ultimatum and answer questions on the status of the Colonies?”

“Certainly, Admiral. I'll get that through my office to the people immediately.”

“Thank you.” That was all that could be done for the moment, then.

Liner Cloud Nine

“So you're coming here, you damned military bastard, and you pathetic coward?” Zarek laughed darkly. “To make your selling away our souls to a bunch of aristocrats all the more formal? Well, we'll see how long you last with that.” He would have to make sure he was somewhere else for the speech, as for the rest...

He got up, having heard Baltar's announcement, and immediately left his temporary quarters on the liner—the Council, against his protests, had refused to move to the surface and had stayed aboard the line instead--to track down a secure comm to the surface. He had friends, after all. Useful friends, men he'd spent time with in prison, men who had fought with him for the rights of the oppressed.

Men who knew how to make easily concealed bombs. If the leadership of the Twelve Colonies wanted to lick the boots of their alien overlords, he would see to it that they paid for it. If they had no other ability, no other way to fight back, he would see to it that they had at least the bomb, the gun, the dagger, the poisoned dart. The best way to get one's message out, after all, was through propaganda of the deed.

And it was time for him to play that game again. He knew, anyway, that eliminating Adama would be perfect. His second in command was Saul Tigh, and Ellen Tigh was a political ally, who had her husband firmly wrapped around her thumb. Knock off Adama, and they could at least escape, if they could delay the Talorans through threats and strikes long enough to get the damaged ships back up to operation and evacuate their people back to the fleet. It was not ideal, but there had to be a land out there, somewhere, where they could find freedom again.

To do that, though, he would first have to kill the collaborators that threatened all of their liberty. And that was certainly within his personal power. He reached the presently unused office that had been allocated to him, and inserted a special security box through a splice in the wires to his phone, and then made the first call.



“I need a ten kilo bomb, wrapped in shrapnel the usual way. Timer set to twenty hours, ideally, for pre-placement. Easily concealed. And I need it up here on the Cloud Nine in less than twenty-four hours. Understood?”

“I understand. I'm.. I'm pretty sure I can meet that.”

“Good enough. We're back in business.”

“Roger that, boss. Twenty-four hours. I'll have it to you. No promise about the explosives, though; not sure what I'll have to fabricate in that regard. We don't have any access to the strong stuff.”

“Don't worry, it's just antipersonnel.”


Zarek hung up, removed the box back into his briefcase, and walked off again. The next step was to start planning with his group to take maximum advantage of the chaos that would follow. If he had his way, William Adama and Gaius Baltar had fourty-six hours to live.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-04-24 12:34pm

I repeat: The Colonial Civil War begins, Adama's intentions be damned.
Conversion Table:

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-04-24 03:08pm

Master_Baerne wrote:I repeat: The Colonial Civil War begins, Adama's intentions be damned.
yup, but how sweet would it be if this was a powder keg for a cconflict between ADN and the Talorans, ADN sides with the Adama contingent and the Talurans are honor bound to fight them?
There would be weeping and gnashing of teeth on both sides but i live Epic Battles.
Anyway whichever way it goes, the characters of nbsg won't be pwned as badly as they are in the main series, its turning into a carnival of human misery over there.

"Since when is "the west" a nation?"-Styphon
"ACORN= Cobra obviously." AMT
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-04-24 04:33pm

I don't think the ADN even knows the Colonials exist, and even if they did, it's the Taloran's universe. I doubt the Alliance would risk war with the TSE by interfering in what amounts to their own backyard.
Conversion Table:

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

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-24 06:16pm

Master_Baerne wrote:I don't think the ADN even knows the Colonials exist, and even if they did, it's the Taloran's universe. I doubt the Alliance would risk war with the TSE by interfering in what amounts to their own backyard.
Correct on both counts.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-04-24 11:24pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Master_Baerne wrote:I don't think the ADN even knows the Colonials exist, and even if they did, it's the Taloran's universe. I doubt the Alliance would risk war with the TSE by interfering in what amounts to their own backyard.
Correct on both counts.
So seriously? ADN doesn't have spies?
Wouldn't someone over where Roslin is mention the Gigantic InterUniversal Superpower Dominated By Humans in passing? I figured that would be a logical place for her to seek support.

Anyway the story is going awesome, and I shouldn't backseat drive. I have the newbie tendency of wanting every main character to meet every other main character in a random parade of Cameos. its why I won't write a fanfic until I have sufficiently absorbed the techniques of better writers like Noble Ire and Duchess.

THEN I will write the ultimate Superman meets Knightrider meets Transformers meets He man meets Captain N the game master meets Goku meets Chuck Norris fanfic.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-04-25 12:02am

Themightytom wrote:
So seriously? ADN doesn't have spies?
It is hard to be a spy in an alien nation. They have plenty; but getting them out to Oralnif is rather harder, and their encrypt is good.
Wouldn't someone over where Roslin is mention the Gigantic InterUniversal Superpower Dominated By Humans in passing? I figured that would be a logical place for her to seek support.
Why do you think she's in an isolation ward in a fleet hospital?
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-04-25 08:57am

Remember, one of the main plot points of What Price Peace was that a war between the ADN and the TSE would be utterly devastating for both sides, and that while the ADN might win through their possession of IU Drive, the cost of victory would be shockingly high. A group of humans with no ties to the ADN are not worth it.
Conversion Table:

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

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