"Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2014-09-11 03:14pm

The deflectors are tuned one-way. That's why you can fire out of them too. Or launch through them. It's the stuff coming in that will have trouble; to recall his Vipers Adama will have to lower shields.

Granted, that's only if he has any left....
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Borgholio » 2014-09-11 03:15pm

I feel sorry for poor Cat. The Marines who did that to her should meet a violent and painful end.
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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2014-09-11 03:17pm

Given who her big sister is....
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2015-03-16 02:58pm

After some considerations, I've decided to go ahead and resolve the cliffhanger for everyone by posting 1-10, which is finished. I'll post it over the next week.

And since UF is meant to be a "written" TV series... imagine this next line said in the Majel Barrett voice from TNG and DS9. `;)


Last Time on Undiscovered Frontier...

The command crews of the Aurora and Apley were assembled in the Conference Room at the right time. Robert nodded to Jarod, who opened the meeting. "We've reached the general area that the long-range probes indicated for Galactica's course through this region of space," he said to everyone.


Lucy took a seat on the other side of the desk. From the seat she could see the video Meridina was watching. The architecture was Gersallian and the people milling about were races from N2S7. "What is this?"

"Security footage from the Faith Summit five years ago," Meridina answered.

"I know that face," Lucy murmured. She tapped the screen. "Zoom in. I know I've seen..."

Meridina did so, zooming in on a woman with dark hair. Since she looked Human she was clearly Gersallian, or so Meridina thought. "Lucy, where would you have seen her?"

"The pirate station. The place you and Robert rescued me from, remember? She and this other guy, they were the ones who took my blood."


Magda checked her readings. "Sir... two of the biggest ships are launching fighters and maneuvering to intercept. But most of those ships aren't showing any sign of preparing for combat. From what I see, they don't even have weapons.... and that group of drones is heading right for them."

Zack nodded. "Then we take them out, I'm not letting civilians get killed.”

The Koenig shimmered into view and fired a full spread of solar torpedoes into the mass of drones. The torpedoes closed the distance as the drones began to react and split apart. Zack watched with satisfaction as the torpedoes detonated with brilliant bursts of light, accompanied by further explosions as the drones were blown away by the blasts.


"This is Captain Robert Dale of the Alliance Starship Aurora to the unknown party engaging the civilian ships. If you do not stand down and withdraw, we will engage. “

The Aurora's forward cannons erupted in sapphire fury. Groups of six large bursts of blue energy hammered into one of the ships repeatedly. Red flame erupted from the battered ship's mid-section and lower body as the pulse plasma cannons hammered it mercilessly.


Adama looked over at Tigh and the others, every man looking around in wonder as the voice on the other end made his greeting, now being piped into CIC's speaker systems. "I'll inform President Roslin immediately. But I'd like to ask something first."
***
Robert shrugged, even though he knew Adama wouldn't see it. He imagined they were teeming with questions. "Certainly, Admiral Adama. What do you want to know?"

"Are you from Earth?"

Julia raised her brow and gave him a knowing look. Robert nodded at her in acknowledgement. "Yes, Admiral Adama, we are from Earth."


Meridina felt a sense of unease as the Rio Grande turned toward a long vessel with oval windows.

Lucy looked over at her. "What's wrong?"

"There is darkness here," Meridina answered.


Caterina answered, "It's possible that we could create a direct scanner that would look for cybernetics or whatever else goes into a Cylon. We would need to have one first."

"Tell them Gaius," Six repeated, her voice dropping to a hiss in Baltar's ear. "Tell them about her."

Baltar felt a lump in his throat when Meridina's eyes shifted around. "Um... yes, I think we might be able to help with that." Baltar ignored the look he got from Adama. "We do have one Cylon prisoner on the ship."

"Really?" Robert turned to Adama. "Admiral Adama, do you think Commander Meridina could be allowed to interview this prisoner?"


"Who are you?", the Cylon woman in the brig asked.

"I am Meridina. I am a swevyra'se of Gersal."

"My name is Sharon.”


Baltar drew in a breath, as if to steel himself. "President Roslin has... she's ordered the termination of the Cylon's pregnancy."

His words caused Meridina's jaw to drop open. "You mean she... she has actually ordered the killing of Sharon's unborn child?"


Meridina tapped the comm button on her suit's multi-device and took Sharon and Helo's hands into her own. "Meridina to Transporter Control, emergency beam out now on my signal!"

"I said don't frakkin' move!", the Marine shouted, raising his weapon. When white light covered them he opened fire, but he didn't seem to hit anything as the white light disappeared, taking all three of his targets with it.


“If he doesn't send the Cylon back, I want you to..." Roslin licked at her dry lips. "...I want you to take those Aurora officers into custody."

Adama lowered his eyes.


"Don't move!", one voice boomed back as their weapons came up and pointed at Barnes. "Hands on your head! Get on the ground NOW!"

"What the hell are you....?!" Barnes moved a step forward.

Shots rang out. Blood erupted from his left side and right hip and thigh as two shots struck him. Barnes screamed as he collapsed to the ground

***

Caterina let out a cry of fright. "Wh-what is going....?"

The first fist smashed into her belly hard enough to make Caterina puke. She doubled over and felt her head spin from nausea. "Should've known you were toaster-lovers," one of the men grumbled.

Up against the wall and hurting, Caterina screamed for help. Instead she took another punch, this one breaking her nose and knocking out a tooth. Blood streaked from her injured face as she hit the ground again. "We j-j-just w-w-want t-t-t-to h-e-elp," she whimpered, starting to sob.


"Under the orders of President Roslin, I've placed your people under arrest as Cylon agents."

Julia's jaw dropped open. "You can't be serious," she hissed.


"Admiral, I'm not letting you hold our people hostage like this. We came to you to help you. And you've betrayed that."

***

"Your people raided my ship," Adama retorted. "You broke in to a secure section and you stole away a valuable prisoner, all to impose what you decided was right over the decisions of our official leadership. Who are you to say what we can and can't do?"

***

"I shouldn't have to say that kind of thing!", Robert shouted. The heated tone in his voice was almost startling to those on the bridge. He sounded like he'd been wounded by what Adama was implying. "You should be a moral enough man to know right from wrong!"

***

Adama shook his head at Tigh. Tigh nodded. "All hands, prepare for battle stations!"

***

Julia closed her eyes and gave a nod of understanding at Robert’s shaking head. "Code Red! All hands man battle stations."


Gaeta paled and nodded stiffly. "I'm picking up active scans from weapons systems. Their fighters are locking on to Galactica and to our fighters."

"Lock our weapons on their fighters, if they shoot at our people shoot back," Adama ordered.


"There has to be another way," Julia said. She shook her head. "Something better than this."

"Aurora, enemy fighters weapons are hot. Do we have permission to engage?"

Robert swallowed... and he decided.

"Fire."


And now the conclusion....



Teaser

"Sir, I have weapon locks. Permission to fire?"

Angel's words pierced the heavy thoughts weighing down Meridina's heart. She remained standing for the moment near the rear of the bridge and close to Angel's place at tactical.

Meridina had never imagined it would come to this. She never thought that the darkness she had felt amongst the Colonials would manifest itself so terribly. Hatred, fear, pride, any combination of those sentiments could be seen in the fuel for the Colonial reaction to what she had done.

Not that she regretted the action itself. The Code was clear, and the Code was her belief. Sharon - the pregnant Cylon woman - had been facing the execution of her unborn child due to the prejudice and whim of a dying woman. Meridina could have never faced her mentor Mastrash Ledosh, let along her father Karesl, if she had not acted as she did. It would have been a disgrace to everything the swevyra'se believed in.

She did regret what came after that decision though. She had not made the right choices. Now others were in danger because of her actions, good as they were. The old warning about how even the most light-filled of paths could lead into dark places came to her mind.

She'd told that one to Lucy once, and explained its meaning to her. Lucy's reply had been a Human saying that Meridina found oddly appropriate.

No good deed goes unpunished.

She sensed Robert's momentary indecision. His anger at Adama's obstinance. And his determination not to yield. Meridina had grown to appreciation that determination in the face of evil. Whatever other issues Robert had as a person, when the moral decision was in front of him he was often decisive and fearless in pursuing it.

it would be an admirable quantity if he ever joined the ranks of her order.

But right now, she could see where this was going. She didn't need the future-sensing gift of Swenya to know it either. They would fire. Colonial pilots and crew would die. Jarod, Tom, Cat, and Lucy could be rescued, or some or all could end up victims of Colonial retribution before the shooting stopped.

All of those people were about to be hurt for her decision.

Meridina knew she had made the right choice.

Now she would have to accept the consequences of that choice, no matter the sacrifice.

"Fire."

The moment she felt Robert's order coming, Meridina was already using the console to make sure the order didn't go out over the open channel. She cried out "Wait!"

Angel's hand froze just above the control. Eyes on the bridge turned toward Meridina.

"There is a better way," she said to them, or specifically to Robert and Julia. "A way that will not lead to bloodshed. It could salvage our relationship with these people."

Julia looked from Meridina to Robert. He looked to Jupap at Ops. "Status of the Colonial forces?", he asked the Alakin.

The avian checked his boards. "They are on combat standby still. They have not fired."

Robert sighed and nodded to Meridina. "I'm listening."

"I acted in accordance with the Code I'm sworn to uphold. I will not allow others to endure the consequences of my actions on either side," Meridina explained. "Give me to them."

Robert blinked. "What?"

"Give me to them, put me in their custody," Meridina answered. "If someone is to stand trial for an offense, let it be me."

Robert's first reaction was going to be "Like hell I will". But he held his tongue. He kept his eyes fixed on Meridina, who returned the look. There was determination there. Not a bit of fear.

Get four of his people back, four of his best friends, at the cost of Meridina. Robert had no illusions that the Colonials would be kind to a sympathizer with the cyborg race that had exterminated their friends and loved ones on their homeworlds. Meridina was setting herself up as a sacrifice.

He looked to Julia. "There has to be a better way. There's got to be one."

"I can't think of one," she said. "At least this buys time, right? Time for negotiations? Maybe we can talk them out of being too harsh."

Robert bit into his lip.

"This is crap!", Angel shouted. "You can't trust them, they might just grab Meridina too!"

"Admiral Adama would not break that agreement," Meridina pointed out. "Not in his current situation."

"Like that matters," Angel guffawed. "He's clearly led around on a noose by that snooty President over there. She's the nut who caused this in the first place!"

Meridina looked at Angel. "You're allowing your anger and fear to drive you into paranoia, Lieutenant. I understand that you are afraid for your sister. This will ensure she is returned safely."

"You honestly believe that?", Robert asked her. "I'm beginning to realize there's more to these people than I knew."

"Their suffering has brought them into a dark place, yes. But we will not lead them out of it by embracing our dark impulses too." Meridina stepped up to him and to Julia. "This is the right way to do things. I am positive of that."

Julia let out a sigh. "I think she's got a point there."

Robert swallowed. "They might kill you," he pointed out. "Roslin could have you ejected into space when convicted. Or she might not even bother with a trial."

"Then I will die." Meridina drew in a breath, hoping to calm herself and the others by her example. "I knew I might face a terrible death the moment I swore to the Code, Robert. If that is my fate, then I will accept it, and you must as well."

Robert felt eyes boring into him as the crew looked at him. Everything about the situation stank. Not just the standoff, but here he was, having Meridina suddenly step into the situation to play the holy martyr. A part of him bristled at having his commands interfered with, even if he was happy for it.

"Hail the Galactica again," he ordered Jupap. When he received a nod in reply, Robert steadied himself by putting a hand on his chair and said, "Admiral Adama, I have a counter-proposal to end this standoff."


Undiscovered Frontier
The Human Condition, Part 2




In the Galactica CIC, Adama looked pensive. For the moment, this resumed conversation had at least prevented a shooting war he didn't think he could win. Every moment bought a chance at a solution. He eyed Tigh, who looked at him with defiant concern. "He's chickening out," the grizzled old XO muttered. "He doesn't have the..."

"Would you take that risk, Saul?", Adama asked carefully. "Would you risk the entirety of the Fleet like I did?"

"It worked," Tigh said.

"No, I don't think it did. I think we just got lucky." Adama held up the receiver again. "I'm listening, Captain."

There was a pause. "My security chief is willing to stand trial in Colonial court for removing the Cylon Sharon from your ship, if you return the officers you seized."

"I see." Adama breathed a silent prayer of thanks. He eyed Tigh and waved him off. Four hostages for one sounded like a sucker's bet. But if Adama was going to hang someone for this fiasco, better it be someone who was at least responsible. "I would need to take special measures to ensure she doesn't break out."

"I give you my oath as swevyra'se that I will not attempt escape," Meridina said.

"With all due respect, Commander, we don't know much about your people, and that oath doesn't mean a lot to me."

"If I swore on the essence of my mother and the honor of my father, then? On the Code I have sworn to uphold? I will not allow others to be punished for my actions, Admiral. Not my allies nor your people. If someone must suffer over this situation, let it be me."

"And what's to stop her from doing any more of that mind mumbo-jumbo to get her guards to unlock her cell?", Tigh demanded. "We're going to have to keep her locked up and chained down, and I'm not even sure that'll work. She yanked that heavy cell door off its hinges!"

As Adama thought it over in his head... it made sense. It was the best solution in a bad situation. Losing the Cylon was a small price to pay and any concerns about the Allied Systems bullying them would be dealt with by Meridina's offer to stand trial for her deeds. Roslin might not be entirely happy, and four prisoners for one seemed an unfair trade...

...but it was the right thing, regardless. It had already felt wrong to make prisoners of men and women who were offering aid to them. If someone was going to hang for this, if someone had to hang... the person who caused the situation was the one.

But Saul Tigh was right. The woman's strange power was something he had to take into account. Just blindly trusting her... he needed insurance.

"I'll return all but one of the prisoners in exchange for Commander Meridina," Adama answered. "The other will be kept under custody until the trial has ended. Once Commander Meridina is acquitted or her sentence is fulfilled, he or she will be returned."




Robert shook his head. "That's not good enough," he said.

"It's going to have to be. Commander Meridina is too powerful to keep as a prisoner without insurance, or harsh treatment."

"I will willingly accept whatever confinements you feel are necessary..."

"Sir!" Lieutenant Jupap, the avian Alakin officer at Ops, chirped the word with restrained excitement. "I'm picking up something on the other Battlestar, it's..."

"...what, Lieutenant?", Robert asked, keeping his irritation low.

"Explosions, sir."




The armed men from the Pegasus crew opened fire on Lucy. And they nearly killed her.

Nearly.

Meridina had taught Lucy quite a bit in the past couple of weeks. One thing was how to use the power that now swelled inside of her to know where someone would strike before they did. In the moment before the guns went off she felt that knowledge fill her and called on her body to drop low. The bullets whizzed over her head.

In the same movement she motioned upward with her arm. Kinetic force, the same power that Meridina called swevyra, answered her and directed itself at the armed men. They flew backward and out of the door with sufficient force that it stunned them all. Lucy jumped to her feet and brought her fist down on each of them. She ignored the pain in her knuckles from the blows that knocked out her attackers. She stripped the clips from their guns and took one of the sidearms before she ran on through the ship's corridor. She could feel Caterina's terror and pain in the distance. The Pegasus crew had siezed her as well, and Lucy could feel the chill of the dark forces Meridina had taught her to avoid. Hate, fear, and anger were now heightened across the ship.

Lucy brought up her multi-device while running and checked her functions. She nodded with satisfaction at seeing she could detect the proximity of Caterina's device, overlaying its positional data with the schematics of Pegasus she had used for her installation work.

She also noted her connection to the settings of the shield generator. That was the most important part of all. We have a chance to get out of here, then, Lucy thought to herself as she ran down the gray corridors, trying to evade confrontation and get to Cat.

Hopefully, she wouldn't be too late.




Pain exploded again across Caterina's face as another meaty fist slammed into it. She habitually spat out the wad she felt in her mouth and through her swollen eyes she could see the white tooth mixed with red blood now glistening on the deck.

Powerful hands seized her and held her up. "You frakking toaster-lovers," an angry voice rasped. "I lost my whole frakking family on Virgon! All of them! And you types think you can just turn on us, help out that toaster? Frak you." A knee slammed into her belly. Caterina doubled over in pain and felt the urge to vomit again.

"I-I-I didn't... didn't...", she tried to say. She took a foot to the ribs and hit the floor. "Plea-ease s-stop....!"

Hands grabbed the back of her uniform jacket and pulled her up. One of the larger men smirked and grabbed her by the throat. "That frakking weakling Adama doesn't know how to handle your kind. But we do. Oh we..."

Despite her swollen eyes Caterina made out the fist gripping a pistol that came in from nowhere and struck the man choking her. He let go of Caterina and stumbled backward. The savage pistol-whipping ruined his balance and caused him to fall. The others with him were equally shocked. Freed from the grip on her throat Caterina collapsed again, wheezing.

"Are you out of your frakking minds?!" Kara Thrace stepped between Caterina and her tormentors. "You were sent to arrest her, not beat her to death!"

"You heard the Colonel! They helped that toaster escape! They're all frakking toaser-lovers!"

"She's almost a kid!", Kara shouted in retort. "You're just looking for something to punch because you're pissed off. The Cylons killed your family, Kowal? They killed a lot of people I cared for too and you don't see me acting like a frakking thug! You don't get to just beat someone to death because you're pissed off! This is still the Colonial frakking Navy and you follow your Godsdamned orders!"

"The way I see it, Bucket, there's four of us and one of...."

Caterina looked up in time to see Kara's gun focus on the man who'd delivered the most punches to her. "You take one more frakking step and I put a bullet in your head! Stand down!"

The men all looked around. Each had a sidearm of their own, but they had ignored them while beating up on Cat and each knew that the first to draw would get shot, even if his buddies might get shots off. And nobody wanted to be the first to get shot.

That left them in stalemate.

"You okay, Cat", Kara asked, not looking back.

Caterina had trouble finding words to reply. She ended up sobbing a reply of "No".

"You people from Galactica don't have guts," one of the attackers protested. "You don't know how to deal with people! Admiral Cain knew! She showed us how it was done!"

"Admiral Cain isn't here anymore," Kara retorted. "She's gone! Get over it!"

"Not until the Old Man gets his head out of his..."

By now even Cat heard the pounding steps on the deck. From the floor she could see familiar boots coming down the opposite way. The crewmembers turned to face the intruder.

"Get away from her!" Lucy waved a hand. The man furthest to the left from Caterina's point of view suddenly flew and slammed into two of the others, all three hitting the bulkhead with such force that they were either unconscious or heavily dazed. Kowal let out a cry of challenge and went for his gun.

Suddenly he was lifted off his feet, sailing over Kara and Cat and hitting the wall. He let out a grunt and landed right beside Cat.

Kara looked back as Lucy came up to them. "What the frak...?"

Lucy made a grabbing motion. Kara jumped backward a bit as her gun flew from her hands. "Thank you, Captain Thrace, for helping her," Lucy said. "We'll be leaving now."

"I can't let you do that. You're both under arrest."

"There's no way I'm agreeing to be held against my will," Lucy said. "I've suffered that before. I'm not doing it again."

"You don't have much choice," Kara retorted. "Those shields are up. You can't be transported out. If you keep fighting you'll just get killed. Give up and I'll personally watch you two until the Old Man and your captain sort out this mess."

Lucy answered by bringing up her wrist. Her multidevice display activated and she pressed a button. "What are you doing?", Kara asked.

"Setting the shields to overload," Lucy answered.




Colonel Fisk felt a slight tremor in the deck and looked to Hoshi. "What the hell was that?"

"Explosion in one of the engineering spaces. Light blast, no major..." There was another tremor. "We just had another explosion. Sir... it's the shield generators."




"Pegasus shields are down," Jupap reported.

"We can get Cat and Lucy out!", Angel shouted.

"But not Jarod and Tom," Julia pointed out. "If we just snatch them..."

"I'm not leaving them," Robert said. "Lower the shields." He breathed in, knowing the risk he was taking by doing this. By all rights he shouldn't be lowering shields in this situation, not to retrieve just two people.

"Don't fire, Admiral, please," he murmured quietly.




"The Aurora's shields are going down. I mean, I think." Gaeta looked over the hard-light display's sensors. The sensors weren't quite installed entirely yet, but he was sure he was seeing a shift that showed the lowering of the big ship's defensive screens.

"He's going to get his people off Pegasus," Tigh said. "Bill." His voice lowered to a bare whisper, meaning only Adama could hear the use of his name. "We have the shot."

Adama nodded gently. "A shot."

"Pegasus is requesting orders, do they fire?"

"You're not going to give the order, are you?", Tigh asked.

Adama shook his head. "No. No, I'm not starting a shooting war we can't win."

"Galactica Actual, this is Pegasus Actual. They've removed our prisoners. Admiral, your orders?" There was a hint of disapproval in Fisk's voice, but only a hint, likely an unconscious one.

"Make sure that our prisoners are under watch and don't have those arm devices of their's," Adama said to Tigh. "I don't need them sabotaging us too."

Tigh nodded and went to give the orders. Adama turned his attention back to his receiver. "Captain?"




On the Aurora bridge, tense moments passed before Jupap gave confirmation. "We have them."

Robert and Julia looked at each other and nodded, exchanging a sigh of relief. At tactical Angel was visibly struggling to contain her relief. "Raise the shields again." Robert reached down and pressed the intercom button. "Mister Scott, any ideas on their shields? Can we get a transporter through it?"

"I dinnae think so, Captain. It's nae safe enough."

"I understand." So, right back where we started. But with things more even. "Meridina, are there any ways we can suppress your abilities? Drugs, that kind of thing? That way they don't have to fear you using them?"

"I am afraid such a thing is a very complicated issue," she answered. "Some drugs might reduce my ability to call upon my swevyra, but they would also alter my mind-state. I could become catatonic or violent."

"I see. Thank you." Robert put a hand on his forehead.

"Captain?"

"I'm still here, Admiral Adama."

"Did you get your people back safely?"

"We did, yes."

"That's good to hear." There was a breath on the other end and some silence. "Captain, this situation has to be resolved. I don't want a shooting war."

"Nor do I," Robert answered. He sighed and swallowed. "You want insurance against Meridina breaking free?"

"I must insist."

"Fine." Robert nodded. "As her Captain, I am responsible for her conduct. I'll stay on Galactica until this situation is resolved."

The rest of the crew stared at him in stunned silence.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2015-03-17 08:55am

Adama stared at nothing for a moment. He drew in a breath. "You would do that?"

"As I said. I'm responsible for the conduct of my officers and crew. If someone has to be a hostage to her good behavior, I'm the one who should do it. My command crew can run the ship in my absence. They'll be under strict orders to not interfere in the situation." Adama heard a dissenting voice in the background momentarily. It ended quickly. "Would that be enough?"

Adama considered it. It was gutsy as hell and he respected it. But there were other concerns in his mind.

"I don't like it," Tigh grumbled. "Those kids over there might get ideas in their heads no matter what he orders."

"I know. But it's a chance to get us out of this Godsdamned stand-off." Adama held the receiver up again. "I accept your terms, Captain. We'll arrange quarters for you while you're kept in custody. How do you intend to do this exchange?"

"We're going to fly an unarmed shuttle over. You meet us in your launch bay with Jarod and Tom. We do a standard exchange and they fly the shuttle out."

Adama nodded. "So long as the shuttle is in space within half an hour. Otherwise I won't let it land on Galactica."

"Half an hour. Agreed. Dale out."

There was a tone on the line that told Adama the channel was closed. He put the receiver back on its cradle and breathed in a sigh. "Get a small Marine team for the launch deck and have the rest ready in the adjacent compartments."

Tigh nodded. "We have a complication, actually."

Adama kept himself from sighing. "That would be?"

"The Marines shot Lieutenant Barnes."

A harsh breath came from Adama. "Perfect," he growled. "How bad?"

"Cottle's getting him stitched up. He says the kid'll make it."

There was a faint sigh of relief. If they had fatally shot the engineer.... No use thinking about that possibility now. Adama pushed those thoughts out of his head. "Let Cottle know we need him ready to board the shuttle in half an hour."

"Right away, sir."

Adama watched Tigh leave and turned back to the DRADIS screen. It was filled with contacts; Vipers and the Alliance Mongoose fighters plus the two combat ships from each side. He breathed a sigh of relief that they were still all there.

He'd taken a terrible gamble. And he'd failed. The fact that he hadn't gotten his people killed over it seemed a divine gift. This wasn't like facing down Cain or a Cylon, after all. This was different.

He could have overruled Roslin. Disobeyed her. He could have gone to Zarek or Baltar and had them declare her unfit. But he'd already betrayed her once, and look at where that had left the Fleet. They were lucky to have survived that division. Turning on Roslin to seemingly protect a Cylon infiltrator would have broken the Fleet again.

Adama found he needed a drink. But he held off for the moment. Not until the exchange.




"You're insane!"

Angel's shout caused heads to turn. Robert sighed and said, "It's for the best..."

"That's assuming you can trust them!", Angel continued. "And I don't! We gave them help and they turned on us, there's no telling..."

"Lieutenant!" There was authority in Julia's voice that superceded any personal friendships she felt. Angel stopped at hearing her rank shouted and fumed quietly. Julia sighed and looked to Robert. "Alright. We have half an hour. I'll ask Lucy to get to the shuttles and find something to use. A pattern enhancer or something else that would let us break through their shield to beam you all out."

"Have Lucy meet us in the shuttle bay," Robert said, heading toward the lift door with Meridina. He looked back and focused on Angel. Her eyes burned with anger and worry. "And see if you can get Jarke or Luneri to relieve Angel from tactical. She needs to be with her sister right now."

Julia nodded in agreement. A pensive look was in her green eyes, though, and Robert knew they would be having a conversation about it later.




They met Lucy in the launch bay. The combat-modified runabouts were still in position outside of the ship, clearing deckspace that had been used to bring out one of the smaller shuttles. The Type B was a sleek craft. Like most shuttles and runabouts the warp nacelles were built into the landing surface, reducing structural issues with supporting them in gravity or atmospheric flight. Dark windows of transparisteel provided the pilot a cockpit view without requiring technology. A lift mechanism was holding it above the floor, exposing the belly of the shuttle.

Lucy was already under it with one of the hanger technicians. She was reaching into the single defensive phaser emitter that was beneath the cockpit. "I'll have this out in another ten minutes," she promised.

Robert looked at his multi-device. "We have twenty before we have to get into space. Do you have time to do rig anything..."

"Robert." Meridina looked at him. "I told you, I don't want to trick them. That will destroy what we have achieved."

"Adama's not entirely in control over there," Robert reminded her. "In case they betray us, I want options. Lucy, can you expand the shuttle's transporter capacity?"

"Not in ten minutes," she answered, her head still inside of the compartment. "And I can't put a pattern enhancer or anything that would let it beat their shields."

"Damn," Robert sighed. "What about..."

"This takes time, sir," Lucy continued. "Anything done sloppy might not work, and might also be visible. And that would give the whole thing away, right?"

"So we just have to trust that there won't be any treachery?" Robert sighed at that.

"Pretty much." She ducked her head out of the compartment to look at his expression. "I can attach a pattern buffer that would let the transporter get three people at a time. That's the best I can do."

"That should suffice," Meridina answered before Robert could speak. "You would simply leave me behind."

Lucy frowned at that and directed a pensive look at Robert. "I'm the Captain, it's my..."

"It is your duty to command your crew," Meridina reminded him. "As security chief, your welfare is my responsibility. As a swevyra'se, your defense is my obligation. If there is treachery, I will be the one to suffer for it. I will not allow it any other way."

"I don't like leaving people behind," Robert growled.

"You must get over that, then." Meridina settled her posture. "Because it is not avoidable."

He couldn't help but glare in reply. Robert shifted the weight of his duffel bag and moved away.

Lucy was focused on removing a final piece from the phaser assembly when she peeked to see Meridina was still there and alone. "Are you sure about this?"

"I am."

"It's just..." Lucy swallowed. "I'm still learning how to control this. And you're the only one who can teach me."

"I have made arrangements," Meridina answered. "If I die, another instructor can be provided to you." She showed no emotion at bringing up that possibility. "It is possible you would have to leave the Aurora, however, and train on Gersal."

Lucy stopped for a moment and looked at her again. "I don't know if I want to do that," she admitted. "Just drop everything in my life and leave?"

"That is what our Order is about," Meridina replied. "We give of ourselves to benefit others. We serve." She bowed her head. "I understand if you do not wish to become swevyra'se. I simply wish you to be trained to control the power and restrain yourself from darkness."

"Then we should make sure you come back," Lucy answered. "Now give me a moment and we should be ready to go."




Adama waited with his Marines as the shuttle from the Aurora came to a landing. The tension in the air was thick, and it wasn't helped by the presence of the bed-ridden Lieutenant Barnes and Commander Jarod, who glowered angrily at everyone around him. Cottle remained nearby in case Barnes' condition worsened.

The door to the shuttle opened and Meridina walked out, wearing a set of brown robes and loose pants. Robert was in uniform with a duffel bag over his shoulder. He held it up and slid it to about halfway between the shuttle and Adama's party. Adama nodded to a Marine, who opened the bag and went through it carefully. Uniforms, clothes, and other essentials were pulled out onto the deck. A second Marine came up with what looked like a Geiger counter. He ran the sensor over the bag. "It's clean," the Marine said.

Adama nodded. "How do we do this?"

Robert was busy looking at Barnes in the stretcher and took an extra moment to respond. "We meet halfway," he said. "We continue on to you, the others go into the shuttle."

"Fair enough." Adama nodded to Jarod, who took control of the stretcher. He began wheeling it toward Robert and Meridina, who walked out to meet him in measured steps. Every step of the way Robert kept a close eye on the Marines. In this situation he wanted to reach for the weight of his multidevice on his right forearm, just to remember it wasn't there. All he had was the subcantenous transponder Leo had injected him with before coming over and an open channel to the shuttle's transporter should things turn violent. He fought to control his beating heart as he weighed the numbers and the likelihood of surviving if shooting began.

Robert and Meridina met Jarod and Barnes halfway. Jarod whispered, "What now?"

"Get back to the ship," Robert answered with his own whisper. "Key your device to the comms, if shooting starts you can activate the transporter and close the hatch. But otherwise don't do anything."

"You're really doing this?"

"We are," Meridina said before continuing on. Robert nodded and walked up as well. Jarod barely had time to register displeasure before they were out of mutual sight.

As he got closer he could see the tension in the room wasn't alleviating. Any movement that seemed suspicious, even if it was innocent, might trigger a violent reaction.

With measured and practiced steps, Robert and Meridina were within arm's reach of Adama and his Marine guard just as Jarod reached the shuttle. Jarod wheeled Barnes around and pushed him up into the shuttle. The rear hatch began to close behind them.

Meridina had already presented her wrists. Adama personally took out the cuffs and fixed them on while a subordinate fixed the ankle cuffs linked with the others by a chain. "By the authority of the President of the Colonies, you are under arrest. The charge is assistance to the enemy of the Colonies."

"I understand," Meridina answered, bowing her head.

"Captain." Adama looked at Robert. "You will be placed under guard in the VIP cabin. A line of communication to your ship is being set up and you will have monitored access to your people. Meals will be arranged."

"Of course," Robert said. "Will I be permitted to attend the trial?"

"That will be determined," Adama said. "I'd like you to follow us while we will escort the Commander to her cell. Private Larkins will hold your bag."

Robert nodded, seeing it as Adama keeping everything "above board", so to speak. He handed his duffel bag to the Marine that Adama had indicated. By that point the lead Marine squad had left the landing deck with Meridina amongst them. Adama and Robert took up the rear with the other Marines.




Julia waited until she had confirmation that the shuttle carrying Jarod and Tom was docking before she gave the official stand-down order. Fighters were recovered save for a defensive patrol. For the same reason the Koenig was not re-docked. Similarly, the two Battlestars were standing down.

That didn't mean peace was guaranteed, though. The situation was still tense. Their relationship with the Colonials was hanging on a razor's edge, and it was in everyone's hands to keep it from falling.

With that in mind, Julia motioned to Angel. LIeutenant Luneri, a Dorei woman from the Sindai nation of Hargano with dark purple skin and blue spotting, waited with disciplined patience for Angel to acquiese to standing down. She followed Julia into the conference room. The moment the door closed Angel started speaking. "I can't believe you let Rob go along with that! I can't even believe we're doing this!"

Julia looked at her angrily. "We're trying to keep people from shooting each other, Angel. Rob is doing what he has to, and something that will keep us from getting kicked off our ship when we get back."

"They can't blame him for..."

"They can and you know it! This crew is his responsibility and having his officer go behind his back like that... it would prove everything that Hawthorne and the others fear about Meridina's place in our crew. We have to salvage this."

"At what cost?! Is this what we signed up for, to get betrayed by the people we're trying to help? We should have stopped him, Julie! We..." Angel stopped speaking for a moment. "...if something happens to him, it'll be our fault."

"No, it'll be his. His choice, his responsibility," Julia pointed out.

Angel glared back. "I can't believe that. Don't you feel any worry for..."

"Of course I do!", Julia screamed. "I'm worried about both of them! Just as I'm worried about everything else around here because, Goddammit, it seems I'm the only one who bothers to worry! And now I have you undermining both of us on the damned bridge!"

"If you think I'd just stand by and watch while something like that happens, you're nuts! That's not me!"

"That's what you have to do, Angel!" Julia pointed to the bridge. "Remember that in there, or in here with others, we're not a bunch of close friends. We're a captain and his crew. We get orders, we follow them, and we don't undermine the chain of command by protesting every little thing in front of the whole crew! And I know you knew this when we all signed on."

Angel's lips thinned. Her hands clenched into fists. "Maybe I didn't think it would get this insane," she finally managed. "Maybe I think this military stuff is crap and that we ran things perfectly well back when we were doing things out of the Facility."

That drew a sigh from Julia. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I miss them too. But the past is the past. We decided to stay together and work for the benefit of the Alliance. That means making sacrifices and paying costs." With Angel clearly still on edge, Julia decided to switch to being supportive. "Why don't you go see Cat? She needs her big sister right now. And you need to see she's okay."

Angel nodded briskly. "Fine. I'll go do that. But I swear to God, if Robert gets hurt over there, or if something happens to him..." She seemed to be choking on the word. "Then I say we blow them all to hell. And I don't give a God damn what Hawthorne or Davies will say about it."

With that said Angel walked on to the turbolift door across from the bridge door. Julia watched her go and felt apprehension at what they were facing. And, she had to admit, more than a little agreement. If Robert died over there, if the Colonials killed him... Julia wasn't sure she wouldn't give the order to blow their Battlestars to little bits. She liked to think she wouldn't go that far, but if they were betrayed...

God, I hope you did the right thing Robert.




The cell for Meridina was an open air cell that used a chain-link fence structure around it in a cube. Armed guards were posted around when they arrived. Robert watched passively as the Marines escorted Meridina into the cube. Her shackles were linked to the ground. A bedroll was beside them as the only concession to bedding. "If she has to use the bathroom...?", he asked in a low voice.

"We'll provide her the means," Adama answered. "But she's not leaving this cell until her trial."

"So even with me as a hostage, you still don't trust her to not try and escape?"

"I think it's better to prevent temptation."

Robert looked at him. There was something in his voice that made him think Adama wasn't just talking about Meridina being tempted. "I suppose. So, this trial... how will it go?"

"On Galactica. Lee is looking for a defense lawyer for her now."

"Lieutenant Borja can assist."

"You can discuss that with the attorney."

Robert nodded. "Can I speak with her very quickly?"

"Yes. But not inside the cell."

Robert nodded. He got the feeling that Adama wasn't being paranoid about them so much as making sure others couldn't be. He stepped up to the cell door. Meridina had assumed a sitting position and closed her eyes. "Are you uncomfortable?", he asked.

"I am fine," Meridina answered. "This is quite satisfactory given my current situation. Thank you, Admiral Adama, for your courtesy."

Robert didn't look back to see Adama nod silently. "Listen, we'll find a way out of this. I'll smooth things over with Roslin and give her compensation, something to get her to stop this."

"If you think you can." Meridina took in a breath. "Whatever happens, I am at peace with it. My swevyra is settled."

There was nothing more Robert could say at that point. He stepped away and walked back to Adama. "I'm ready to go to my quarters."

"This way," Adama said, gesturing toward the door.

"After we drop my things off, I want to see Roslin."

"The President is resting right now. I'll have Cottle inform you when she's able to talk."

"There has to be a way to smooth this over without this mess about a trial," Robert insisted. "We can make other concessions."

"It's not for me to decide, Captain." Adama shook his head. "You'd have to talk to Roslin or the Quorum about that."

Again, Robert got the feeling Adama was trying to tell him something. He filed that reference away for later and said nothing more as they walked on in the company of the Marines.




Angel was already fuming when she got to the medbay. Her mind was full of anger toward everything. Toward Robert for his damned "I'm responsible for everything" martyr complex. Toward Julia for that damned speech about the military or chain of command or what have you. Toward Meridina for causing this mess and the Colonials for being obstinate jackasses and...

She entered the medbay through the starboard entrance. The nurses looked at her and she saw one pale a little. Fear suddenly surged in to match her anger. Had something happened to Cat? Had those pagan bastards done something to her little...?!

"Angel, over here."

She looked to where Leo was standing at the entrance to the operating room in operating scrubs. "You're just in time," he said. "I was about to go in. Tom was shot."

Angel snarled. "Where is Cat? Did they hurt..."

Leo pointed to the next section. Angel tromped in. She started to hear a familiar sound. Caterina was sobbing.

She turned her head to the source of it and saw Cat sitting up in a bed, now wearing a blue medical gown. A nurse was standing beside her with a dermal regenerator applied to her face.

Her black and blue face, with blood seeping from her mouth, her split lip, and her nose. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut.

For the moment sheer worry overwhelmed the fury Angel felt. She ran over and gently hugged her crying sister. "I'm here Cat. It's okay, I'm here."

"Th-they k-kept hitting m-me," Cat sobbed. "They k-kick-ed me a-around. I... I-I d-don't kn-know why...."

Tears were coming down Angel's cheeks. "They can't hurt you anymore. They can't. It's okay." She tightened the embrace a little, letting Cat bury her face into Angel's shoulder.

"W-why? I-I was he-helping th-them..."

As Cat continued to sob, Angel put a hand into her dark hair and held her sister close. "They'll never touch you again," she hissed. Rage began to build inside of her. Pure, fiery rage. "Never again. I'll never let them." I'll kill them, I'll kill every last one that tries to hurt you!

Cat's only reply was to cry some more.




Adama was brief in checking on the defenses of the Fleet following the stand-down on both sides. He was due in the infirmary. When he arrived he found Roslin was awake again, looking as miserable as before. "Bill." Her voice was weak and strained. "What happened?"

Adama found a seat before speaking. "We made a mistake and it almost cost us."

"What do you mean? Did you get the Cylon back?"

"He wouldn't back down," Adama said. "I thought maybe he would. He was young, I thought I could get him to doubt what he was doing. But he wouldn't back down."

Roslin nodded gravely. "So we still have their officers?"

"We have two. The engineer on Pegasus sabotaged their shields, she and the other officer over there were transported out by their matter transporters."

Roslin showed no reaction to that. "What about here?"

"I exchanged them," Adama answered. "Commander Meridina offered herself as a prisoner in their stead and agreed to stand trial for taking the Cylon. Captain Dale is here as a hostage to her cooperation."

Roslin licked at her dry lips, prompting Adama to give her a cup of water. "A trial?"

"Yes."

"No." Roslin shook her head. "She would reveal the Cylon pregnancy in her defense. That's the very thing we've been trying to avoid. Everything in the Fleet would go insane if the news went public."

Adama wasn't surprised by the response, but he couldn't quite hide his disappointment. "What do you suggest?"

"I don't suggest anything, BIll. My order is simple. She's a Cylon sympathizer who undermined the security of the Colonies. And she represents an unacceptable security risk." Roslin sipped at the water again. "Throw her out of the nearest airlock."

"We could make it a closed trial," Adama suggested.

"And risk her defense leaking it anyway?" Roslin shook her head. "No, it has to be done this way." She looked at the expression on his face and narrowed her eyes. "I can see you're not in agreement."

"I think your illness may be interfering with your judgement, Madame President."

Her look turned frosty. "Well, Admiral, that isn't your call to make."

"If we did that, then we give up any hope of getting help from these people," Adama pointed out.

"If their help means being subjugated, then what good is it?" Roslin's breath grew raspy. "Have faith, Bill. I was right last time, remember? We don't need them. The Gods have been on our side so far."

Adama sighed. "I think you should sleep on this."

"I don't think it's necessary. The choice is clear." Roslin frowned. "We can't let news about that Cylon baby get out. Commander Meridina knew what she was getting into when she offered to surrender." Seeing he didn't look convinced. "The last time you fought me on something, Bill, it split the Fleet. Please don't do that again."

"Those were different circumstances," Adama replied. "The Alliance can change everything for us. I think you're being paranoid."

"Yet you followed my orders to stand up to them."

Adama's voice became a low growl. "And we nearly got destroyed because of it. You're asking me to sacrifice the security of the Fleet over your fear. I'm not going to spit on the hand Captain Dale's offering."

Roslin looked ready to continue to argue. But she halted. Her strength was clearly drained. "I suppose it doesn't matter," she said. "I'm going to die soon anyway. And you'll be following Baltar." She turned away in the bed. "I wash my hands of this, then. Just leave me to die."

"They might still be able to save you," Adama pointed out.

"I've made my peace with my death, Bill. And right now I'm just so tired I don't care anymore."

With nothing more to be said, Adama left the infirmary.




Even though he was officially the Vice President of the Colonies, Gaius Baltar still preferred to work out of his lab most times. Especially now, as he was going over his notes on the Cylon's baby and reviewing the samples he'd taken from the fetus.

"Distracted, Gaius?"

"Well, now I am," he mumbled. The Cylon in his head was hovering over his shoulder. "I'm still analyzing the child's cellular makeup. I'm trying to find something I can bring to Roslin. Something to get her to agree to the baby living. Then maybe the Cylon will be returned and I can..."

"Don't worry about the child," Six cooed. "She is safe where she is, right now. The important thing is how to deal with the Gersallian woman."

"Knowing Roslin..." Baltar stopped when he heard the door open. He looked up and saw Adama enter. "Ah, Admiral. I see we haven't been blown to pieces by our new friends yet. I take it the negotiations have gone well?"

"That's why I've come to you, Vice President." Adama clearly didn't like that either, not that Baltar quite cared. "President Roslin... is no longer capable of making reasonable decisions."

"Oh?" Baltar frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Captain Dale and his security chief replaced the two officers we had," Adama explained. "Commander Meridina has surrendered to our courts. Captain Dale is staying with us as a hostage to her behavior. They made the agreement on the belief that she would get a trial. President Roslin, in her condition, has ordered Commander Meridina's immediate execution."

"For once, I agree with Roslin," Head-Six said to Baltar.

Balter ignored her. "What? She... but if we did that, then..."

"...then we would alienate our best hope of survival, yes," Adama said. "Doctor, I would like to request that you go to the Quorum on the matter."

"Well, yes," Baltar said. "The President's suffering has ruined her mind, that much is clear." He nodded briskly and tried not to sweat. "I will call the Quorum immediately."

"When you do, I would like to ask that the Quorum take up the issue of Commander Meridina."

"In what way?"

"To negotiate her release in return for other concessions," Adama replied.

Baltar blinked. Behind him, he heard a hiss from the Cylon in his head. "You want to let her go?"

"I can't keep her a prisoner and Captain Dale a hostage for the time period of a full trial. And a trial would mean public exposure of the Cylon baby and provide the peace movement openings for sabotage."

"You can't let him, Gaius," Head-Six insisted. "She could tell them that you warned her about the child. She is a threat to you! She has to die!"

"Well, Admiral, I shall ask the Quorum about it, but surely a closed trial is a suitable alternative," Baltar remarked.

Adama looked at him intently for several sconds. "I'm not sure that's a good idea, Doctor," he answered in a low tone.

"It might be the best, though. People will talk if we let her go." Baltar fought to keep himself from flinching. "Perhaps a private trial by the Quorum? Just to determine if we can safely release her."

"I'll leave that to you." Adama turned toward the door. "Let me know as soon as you have an answer."

After Adama stepped out, Baltar looked back to the Cylon in his head. "You're awfully vicious today."

"I'm pointing out the obvious."

"Are you?", he asked skeptically. "If i didn't know better... I would think there was something more about this Meridina woman and her kind that has you on edge."

"Gaius, trust me. She is a threat to you." Head-Six drew close to him. "Do what you need to, but you need to make sure she dies."

There was something in the intensity in the being's eyes that worried Baltar. Actually it scared him. But he wasn't going to cause a fight he couldn't win either, not even for his own little Head-Cylon.

So he put his thoughts to the side and went to his lab phone. "Communications, patch me through to Cloud Nine," he said upon the comm specialist answering. "I need the Quorum on the Galactica immediately. It's about the President."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2015-03-18 12:36pm

Robert found that the VIP quarters were smaller than the ones aboard Aurora. He quickly set up his belongings and took out the laptop-sized portable system that would let him communicate visually with the Aurora.

First the bridge popped up. Locarno was in the command chair. "Captain, is everything alright?"

"Yes." Robert shifted in his chair. "Where is Commander Andreys?"

"In the medbay. Doctor Gillam just brought Barnes out of surgery. He's going to be fine."

Robert sighed with relief. "Oh thank God." Tom's fine. "Can you patch me down there?"

"Transferring you now."

The screen blipped and changed to show the medbay from one of the interior walls. Leo and Julia were standing around a bed. Tom Barnes was asleep in it. "How is he?", Robert asked.

Julia and Leo turned. "He's going to be fine," Leo answered. "Nothing vital was hit and Cottle got to him in time to stop the bleeding."

"That's good to know."

"What's happened over there?," Julia asked.

"I'm under house arrest. Meridina is chained to the floor of a cube with a platoon of Marines ready to shoot her. All things considered..." Robert sighed with resignation. "This is about the best outcome we could have hoped for. How are Lucy and Cat?"

The look on their faces told Robert he'd just asked a question they didn't want to answer. Leo reached over to the controls off-screen and tapped them. The image shifted to a different bed in the medbay. Angel was still in uniform, sitting beside her younger sister and comforting her.

Robert looked at Caterina's face and couldn't stop the gasp from coming out. "My God... Cat? Cat, are you...."

"She's not okay," Angel hissed, embracing her trembling little sister. "She looked worse when we got her back." Angel's eyes burned with a rage Robert rarely saw from her and knew to be nasty. "This is what those bastards did to her, Robert. They beat my little sister! For nothing! For the sheer joy of it! And you still want to work with them...!"

Robert found his own anger was starting to rise. "I'll handle it Angel."

"It's not going to be enough, they'll..."

"I said I'll handle it!," Robert shouted in irritation, causing her to go quiet, still visibly fuming. "I'll talk to Adama and..."

He heard footsteps and turned to see Adama was standing at the threshold of the VIP quarters. "Yes, Captain?", he asked.

Robert knew he had an angry look on his face. He didn't care. He pulled to the side and allowed the image to show Caterina. She looked away from the camera, but the bruising and wounds on her face were still visible. Angel looked into the camera with a glare that by all rights should have killed. Robert pointed a finger accusingly at the screen. "It's not enough you took my people into custody when they were trying to help you instead of pursuing a more diplomatic action. Or that one of your Marines got trigger happy and shot my officer, my friend. Your people are so out of Goddamned control that they did this to one of my people! Not just anyone, but Cat, and she..." Robert lost his words at that point. The idea that someone would want to savagely beat Cat of all people. Sweet, inoffensive, geeky Cat?

Just what the hell is wrong with these people?!

Adama looked at the screen pointedly for a moment. Robert reached over and cut the transmission. "I'll have it investigated," Adama answered.

Robert shouted, "That's not good enough!"

Adama met his expression coldly. "It's the best you're getting. This is for the Fleet to deal with."

"You people..." Robert sank into a seat. "My God, Cat. She must have been terrified." He looked up at Adama. Had he been calmer, he might have recognized that the old man's look wasn't stern defiance, but constrained shame. But all he could think of was Caterina being beaten. "We just wanted to help. That's all we want. To help. And you... look at you, seriously, look at how you are! Ordering the abortion of a baby because you find her existence inconvenient, hurting the people who came over to give you the means to protect yourselves! All for what?!"

"What about your side?", Adama asked. "Your security chief bluntly violated all of the trust we showed you. She didn't try to appeal the decision. She didn't come to us and offer to take the child. She took our prisoner by force."

"Oh, you really think Roslin would have handed Sharon's baby over if we asked nicely?", Robert guffawed. "Don't even try that. We both know she wouldn't have cared."

"That doesn't justify betraying our trust," Adama retorted. "Because that's what this comes down to. Commander Meridina violated the trust I extended to her."

Robert was still fuming, but said nothing more while he struggled to regain control of his anger.

It was clear the two had nothing else to discuss. "I'll come back when you've cooled off." Adama turned and walked out.




Zack was the last one to arrive to the staff meeting Julia called. He took up her usual seat while she took Rob's. The absence of Cat, Angel, Meridina, and Barnes gave the air further tension; Lucy was sitting in for Barnes.

"We did too good a job," she said. "I mean, the shield systems aren't fully up to spec, but they're pretty secure from transporter exploits."

"I know there are ways to beam through shields," Julia said.

"Aye." Scotty nodded. "But it isnae easy. Ye could kill th' people ye're beamin' out if ye cannae match the shield harmonics completely."

"Can't we?"

Scotty looked to Jarod. "Mister Jarod, maybe."

"Maybe six out of ten," Jarod admitted. "But the shield harmonics can be unpredictable. I honestly don't recommend it."

"Are we even sure about trying?", Locarno asked. "Even if we succeed it'll completely destroy our relations with these people."

"I know." Julia nodded at him. "I'm not saying we will, but I'd like the option if we had to do it."

Zack nodded at her. "We can't leave Rob and Meridina, though," he said. "We need to talk to them and get this smoothed out."

"They've made it pretty clear they don't want to talk about it," Jarod said. "Nothing we offer can change that."

"There's got to be something." Zack looked to Lucy. "You've been learning that life force stuff from Meridina, right? Maybe you and I could go over there and find out what might change their minds?"

Lucy blinked and clenched her fists. "I..." She looked away. "I'd rather not."

"Then I'll go alone," Zack said.

"No," Julia said. When he looked at her with clear frustration, she returned it with a disciplined look. "I know you want to get Rob and Meridina out of there, Zack. But I can't risk any problems with the Colonials right now. You can make calls, but that's it."

"I think this is a mistake," Zack said. "The risk is worth it."

"That decision is mine to make. And I'm in command. So no."

"Oh, that's an original argument," Zack said, rolling his eyes. "'I'm the boss, so I win'."

Julia shot daggers at him and Zack quieted over it. "So for now, just work on finding a safe way to beam through the sheidls we gave them," she said. "For now, we're not breaking the agreement."

She was answered by nods. A sullen one in Zack's case.

"Well, you're all dismissed. Except for Commander Carrey."

Zack stopped rising from his chair and let the others leave first. "I know that things between us have gotten complicated," Julia began, "and that you're probably not thinking things through. But remember that until you get the okay to leave this command, you still have to accept orders, and that includes mine. And while I shouldn't have to say this, your behavior is showing I do, and I don't like that, Zack. I don't like it one bit."

He remained quiet for a few seconds before finally speaking. "Maybe that's become our problem," Zack finally said. "We're trying to balance being friends and being officers, giving each other commands when we used to give suggestions." He looked over at her. "You really like this too, don't you?"

"What do you mean?", she asked.

"This 'Group Mom' thing you've got going on. No, not just that. You like being in command. Even back during our days in the Facility, you were always taking charge of projects and missions."

Julia nodded at that. "Yeah, I suppose I do. It's a lot of responsibility."

"And you've always liked that." Zack sighed. "Dammit, Julie, I don't want to be the troublemaker. But you're asking me to sit here while Rob's in danger."

"I'm asking you to trust his judgment. And mine."

"Really?" Zack looked to her. "I just wonder if this is Rob trying to make up for the screwed up mission with that Darglan base. Putting himself at risk like that..."

Julia sighed. "Yeah, well, you know Rob. Always putting himself at risk when he can get away with it."

"Yeah." Zack tapped a finger on the table. "Listen. I know that those people like me. And my crew. We saved one of their ships. If they know it's me, I don't see how I'd be in danger. Especially if I'm not on Galactica and they can't think I'm trying a scheme to get Rob and Meridina out. I really think you should let me make contact with someone. Captain Adama seemed pretty reasonable."

"Not right now," Julia answered. "Give it a day to see if things finish settling down. Then ask again."

"Fine. A day."

Julia nodded. "You're dismissed."

"Aye Commander," he said, a little flippantly, before walking out of the conference room.




"A private trial?" Tom Zarek looked at the others in the Quorum. "Are you serious?"

"Absolutely," Baltar said. He sat at the head of the table in the Galactica wardroom, the flag of the Colonies behind him. The twelve members of the Quorum were seated to either side of the table. Zarek, representative of Sagittaron, was two seats down from Baltar's right. "There are sensitive matters at stake."

"You mean Adama and Roslin are trying to save face for nearly getting into a shooting war with people who came to help us," Zarek retorted. "If the trial is public then they have to admit what's going on."

"What is going on?", Miksa Burian of Aquarion asked. "What did this Alliance officer do?"

Baltar took a drink. He knew it likely that word of what Roslin had ordered would leak if it the entire Quorum heard it. It was bad enough she was dying and would leave him in charge. If they removed her early, that would put him in the hot seat even faster. And if they tried and failed, it would put him on Adama's bad side, which he preferred to avoid.

On the other hand, they would find out eventually, and turning the Quorum against him seemed even less reasonable. "She took the Cylon prisoner from our cell and spirited her to their ship using their transporter technology." Baltar took another drink as the assembled all stared in bewilderment. "The Cylon is... pregnant."

"What", the Piconese representative blurted out. "You can't be serious!"

"I am. I've examined the fetus extensively."

"Who's the father?", Zarek asked.

"A Colonial Raptor pilot, Helo Agathon. He was taken over to the Aurora as well." Baltar held up a flimsy. "They've filed for political asylum in the Alliance."

"Why?" This was Burian again. "Why would they help the Cylon?"

"By the Gods, I knew it," Sara Porter of Gemenon muttered. "They're siding with the Cylons. They're against our faith and they're siding with the Cylons."

"That's premature," Baltar answered. "In fact, the reason has to do with the Cylon's baby. President Roslin's order is that the pregnancy is to be terminated as a potential threat to the Fleet."

That bombshell silenced the room. Zarek blinked. "She what?"

"She's right," the Tauron delegate said. "It's... it's some kind of abomination, that thing should be terminated."

"This is why the alien officer took the Cylon?", Burian asked. "To save the child?"

"Yes." Baltar nodded. "At least, by her admissions."

"I'm with Roslin, throw the alien out of the airlock."

"That would be inadvisable," Baltar remarked bluntly. "A legal trial would give any sentence we impose the force of law and they would have to respect that. If we summarily execute their officer, the Alliance may very well leave us and never re-open relations. You could even push them into relations with the Cylons." Baltar put a finger on the table. "This is the single greatest opportunity the Fleet has ever had. We have to do this right. If Commander Meridina is to be executed, it should be from the finding of a trial. A private trial by the Quorum."

"Why don't we negotiate for concessions?", Zarek asked. "The technology these people have could revolutionize life for the people of the Fleet. They could help us find a new world to settle. Their replicator technology would give us food and medicine that we need." He looked at the others. "I say forget a trial. We negotiate with Captain Dale or his superiors for compensation."

"And we just let that Cylon get away?", the Tauron delegate demanded. "What will that say to our people then?"

"That we're putting the future ahead of everything else," Zarek countered. "We have a chance to change Colonial society for the better. It doesn't matter how many gods the Alliance worships, if they're willing to help us, we need to accept it."

"I'm with Zarek," Burian said. "I call for a vote on Vice President Baltar's private hearing suggestion. We will interview all of the key witnesses and Commander Meridina herself. We can use a possible decision to prosecute to extract concessions."

"No!", the Tauron shouted. "We can't be that weak!"

"We're already weak," Zarek countered. "And I'm tired of it. Better to make a deal now while we have an advantage. I second Delegate Burian's motion."

Baltar dutifully counted up the votes as they came. The motion was brought forward and passed by eight votes to four. The meetings and trial would be held on Galactica.

Now he just had to decide whether to listen to the Cylon in his head and ensure Meridina died.




Roslin spent most of the day in and out of sleep. She could feel the end was coming on.

A part of her welcomed it.

It had just gone so insane. These other humans, their talking about multiverses, about Earth being the home of Humanity and not Kobol, it was so much. Just too much.

This, the Cylon having a baby, it was like the entire universe was conspiring to drive her mad even as it killed her. Roslin felt adrift and she had grabbed onto whatever constant she could to stay stable. The need to protect the Fleet, to keep it from falling apart, just as it would if the Cylon having a baby was made public, or if they bowed to the Aurora's crew and their imperious behavior.

Roslin looked around in the infirmary, groggy-eyed, her mind struggling to focus. What could she do to end this madness? She hated the thought of leaving her people such a mess.

"Madame President?" One of Cottle's nurses walked over to her. "Ma'am, are you okay?"

A small and wistful smile crossed her face. "I wish I could say I was. Where is Billy?"

The nurse looked out of her vision. There was the sound of her aide being roused and after a minute or so he stepped into Roslin's view. "Ma'am?", he asked.

"Can you deliver a message for me?"

"Yes, of course."

"I want to see Captain Dale. As soon as possible." She licked at her dry lips. "While I still have time."




The dreams came again.

For Robert, they were familiar imagery, still chilling and terrifying. Third Reich starships burning planets. Fassbinder killing Beth. The girl in the red and gold clothing leveling everything around her, begging for his help. He could feel the burns on his body as an armored, red-haired figure urged him toward a distant red light, spewing forth destruction. A dark robed figure looked at him from a throne raised high. He turned and saw a young girl, maybe eight years old with disheveled red hair, huddling beside him in fear. Dark energy came from the robed man's upraised hand.

He expected pain. Instead he was in a room on Galactica. He recognized Adama, Tigh, and what looked like the Colonial Quorum at a table. Meridina was sitting beside him. A shot rang out and blood erupted from Meridina's temple. She tumbled over dead into his arms. "Meridina!", he cried out. He looked up in time to see someone holding a gun to his head. He could just make out blond hair framed around the face.

The gun went off.

Robert sat upright. A brief cry had been coming from him when he awoke, terminating as he regained control with wakefulness. His arm reached out for Angel before he remembered she wasn't there. He was alone.

He reached over for his time piece. It was still morning on both ships. He had gotten maybe four hours of sleep. Robert rubbed at his eyelids and cursed the starkness of the dream. It seemed so much more. And he knew he wouldn't be going back to sleep any time soon.




Lucy woke up screaming.

The images still stuck in her head. Meridina and Robert dead. Guns going off. She'd been helpless to stop it, like she was seeing it as a ghost and not a person. She touched her arms as if to reassure herself that she was flesh and blood.

As she did so, she realized that it wasn't just a dream. It didn't feel like it was one. Her senses, the new ones, were still tense and excited. Meridina had told her that sensing the possible future was one possible outcome of her growing attunement to her swevyra. Or it could have been her experiencing the thoughts or dreams of someone else.

Her first thought was to seek out Meridina and ask about it. Her mind quickly reminded her that Meridina was currently a prisoner over on Galactica. She would get no answers from Meridina.

....couldn't she? Lucy thought about it for a moment. Could Meridina feel her mind? Could they communicate? She breathed in. She could try, couldn't she?

You cannot try. You must do. Lucy smiled a little at the thought of Meridina's rebuke to those thoughts. She curled her legs up and set her hands on them in what felt like a natural meditation pose. She focused herself, her essence, and reached out, seeking another. Meridina? Meridina! Are you out here? I want to talk! Please?

Nothing.

She bit into her lip and concentrated. She would make a connection, she would do something about this, she had to. She....

Images came to her head. Not of Meridina and Robert dying, but of an open field, grass and trees. A sky? It was interspersed with a big starship with a wide dome. Other images came. There was a blond woman, other figures... another woman, a bit older looking. Something familiar about her, very familiar. A gun was changing hands. "This will be our chance," someone said

Lucy opened her eyes. She knew that hadn't been a dream. It was something more.

Trust your feelings. Meridina's words came to her mind. Your swevyra will show you the way through your feelings. Trust in them.

Which meant she had to find the ship.

As an assistant department head Lucy didn't have quarters near the hull, so she had no window to look out into the fleet. But she knew she had seen that ship before. She went to her personal monitor and accessed the Rio Grande's sensor logs with her personal clearance. Ship after ship from the Colonial fleet popped up. She isolated them by size and....

"Bingo," she murmured to herself. "And I cannot believe I just said that out loud."

The domed vessel was on the screen, along with its name: Cloud 9.




The VIP quarters Robert had been put in had a small shower stall. He was grateful for that, feeling like he needed one. An old note reminding people of water rationing was still visible at the entrance. He smirked at that. At least they'd topped off the Fleet's water reserves before everything went insane. At least I won't feel guilty for taking a long shower, he thought while letting the warm water wash over him.

When Robert emerged from the shower, towel around the waist, the door to the room was opened. He recognized Billy Keikaya, Roslin's aide, who looked as exhausted as he felt. His clothing was disheveled in a way that testified to his living in the infirmary now. "Mister Keikaya?", Robert asked. "Can I help you?"

"President Roslin wants to see you," he said, his eyes bleary.

"At this time of night?"

"Yes. And she'd like it as soon as you can get there."

Robert rubbed at his tired eyes. He had thought about trying to sleep again. He acquiesed with a sigh. "Let me get ready."




The Marines on watch followed Robert and Billy to the infirmary. Robert watched quietly as Billy checked on Roslin to ensure she was awake. He nodded to Robert and Robert stepped up, accepting a chair from a nurse while Roslin turned in her bed. She looked even worse now. "Captain," she said. "Thank you."

"It's nothing," Robert said.

She remained silent for a moment. "Do you have anything you want to ask me, Captain Dale?"

He did indeed. But Robert didn't want to press the matter. "I admit to some curiosity, but you're not feeling well. I would rather you rested."

"I'll sleep when I'm dead," she muttered in reply. "Which won't be long from now."

"Despite everything... Leo will still help you," Robert said confidently.

Roslin turned her head to face him. "I believe that. But I think it's too late."

Robert nodded. "So... that's it? You're just choosing this? You're choosing to die?"

Roslin's silence resumed. "You're not pleased with me, are you Captain?"

"Honestly?" Robert shook his head. "No, I can't say that I am."

"I understand that." Roslin's weak voice cracked a little. She reached for the styrofoam cup containing water. Robert grabbed it before her weak fingers could knock it over, preserving the fluid from spilling. He gently handed it to her and let her take a drink. "But do you understand us?"

"I've tried. But I can't. Not when it comes to that baby." Robert shook his head. "Why would you order such a cruel thing? Why would you kill that child?"

"The very existence of such a thing is a threat to the Fleet," Roslin insisted. "It will... people won't understand. They'll become angry and lash out."

"That doesn't justify murdering a child."

"One life for thousands," she answered. "Do you even know what that child could be? Who knows what the Cylons are planning?"

"I don't. Do you?" Robert sat back in the chair and crossed his arms. "Or are you letting fear decide what you're doing?"

"Every day," she countered. "I'm afraid of my people dying out, Captain. I'm afraid of losing any more than we've already lost. And I'm afraid that the world has gone mad, and that you're the reason why."

"Really?"

"It's not your fault," she sighed. "But you're changing everything. You've taken the most fundamental facts of our history and ripped the foundation out from under them. As news of this spreads, my people are going to.... Gods, I'm not sure what. Lose their minds, perhaps."

"Your people have been through a lot," Robert agreed. "But is this the legacy you want to leave them, President Roslin? Look at what fear has already done to them? They shot my friend. They beat up my other friend, they were trying to beat her to death. All because of their hate and their fear. Now look at where it's gotten us?"

Roslin' shook her head. "Do you know what it's like, Captain? To see everything you love destroyed?"

"I know what it's like to have my world crumble around me," he answered. "I lost my parents and my sister. I lost the family home." An old and familiar pain panged within him. "I.... I moved on, yeah. And I've lost people since then. I've had to be responsible for sending people to die. It hurts. Every time. And..."

Roslin looked at him expectantly.

"I'm afraid," Robert admitted. "I'm always afraid I'll end up sending a friend to die. They're the closest I have to family now. I..." He swallowed. He thought of what would happen if he lost any of the people close to him. "I'm afraid I'll lose more people. That I'll lose my world again."

There was a nod of reply. "Yes," Roslin said. "This is all we have left. And we could lose it again. And I can't let that happen. I... I can't lose what we have left. No matter what."

Robert swallowed and nodded. "Yeah. But maybe..." He swallowed. "What if you fail to make a new world because you're too scared of losing what you had? I had to rebuild my life and it made things better in the end. Maybe it's going to be hard for your people to understand the truth, but how much better off will they be when it's over? You'll have a world again. Allies who will protect you from the Cylons. Your people won't be running and trying to save what little they have left."

There was quiet after that. Quiet until Roslin finished processing what he had said. "It's odd to see idealism like that still alive." Roslin took another sip. "If only we'd met you sooner."

"Yeah." Robert nodded. "Madame President, Meridina wasn't trying to... she meant it for the best. Isn't there anything we can do...?"

"Not now," she said. "It's come too far. It's out of my hands. You'll have to ask Baltar and the Quorum tomorrow."

Robert nodded. "Okay. Yeah."

"For what it's worth..." Roslin sunk her head onto the pillow. "I'm sorry about your friends getting hurt. There's been enough suffering on this Fleet."

"Thank you," Robert answered. It wasn't the best of apologies, but for the moment.... well, what better was he going to get with Roslin in this condition? Better to make progress.

He remained seated until Roslin had returned to sleep. At which point he nodded to the detail watching him and had them escort him back to his VIP quarters.




The feeling of fingers on the hairs of his neck jolted Baltar back to wakefulness. He blurted out a wordless protest at the sudden waking. The stiffness in his neck and arms made him realize he'd fallen asleep against the worktable in his lab. "Good morning, Gaius," the Cylon in his head purred.

Baltar rubbed at his eyes and yawned. "Oh, thank you very much," he muttered. He blinked his eyes to adjust to the lights of his lab and his head turned toward his monitor. "Wait... what?" Results from some of his studies of the cells from the Cylon's baby were showing. "That can't be right... can it?"

"Oh, it can," the head Cylon said. "You know what this means."

"I need to find Adama," Baltar said. He pulled on his lab coat and rushed toward the door.




Meridina had rested surprisingly well despite the chains and having to sleep on the deck. She returned to her meditations upon awakening. She let her swevyra pulse quietly inside of her, feeling the life around her, sensing the flow of energy, practicing her focus and senses as if she were in her quarters and not a cage.

The stiffness and anxiety of her guards spiked. Without opening her eyes Meridina spoke out, "Hello, Admiral Adama. You wish to speak with me?"

"How did you know it was me?", he asked.

Meridina opened her eyes and looked at him. The commander of the Colonial fleet was pulling up a metal chair outside of the cage. He looked moderately rested. "I sensed your swevyra," she answered. "You have a particularly robust life force."

The look on Adama's face spoke of his instinctive disbelief. "You can do that? You can sense people with.., your mind?"

"Not my mind. At least not like that." Meridina put her hands together in front of her. "I am a farisa as well, yes, so I can sense minds even without using my swevyra. But it is with swevyra that I feel the life forces of others. I can see what is within them. If they are in darkness or in light."

"Darkness?"

"It is cold and terrible," Meridina said. "It clouds judgement, it corrupts mind, body, swevyra, and soul. It is found everywhere that fear, hate, and anger dominate." Her eyes fell. "I have felt much darkness in your Fleet. Painful darkness. I fear for the souls of your people."

Adama crossed his arms at that. "Is that so?"

"It is. Look at your poor leader. Her fear led her to the terrible orders she gave. The extinguishing of a new life and the attacks upon those who came to give you aid." Meridina focused her eyes on him again. "Where else could such terrible demands come but from darkness?"

"So you decided to take matters into your own hands," Adama said. "You violated your orders from Captain Dale and our laws."

"Yes." Meridina nodded. "I did. To protect an innocent life."

"Why?"

"Because it is the Code. 'Do not injustice to another. Defend the weak and innocent. Do not act in hatred or spite. Let courage within you spark your swevyra. Stand firm even when alone. Be to all a swevyra'se without fail. Do all these things though it cost you your life.'" Meridina's heart swelled as she repeated those words. They were the core within her. They were the light that guided her. Others might view them with cynicism or believe them too simple, but she did not.

Adama was in thought at hearing those words. "Those are nice words. But the world doesn't always work like that."

"It does not," Meridina agreed. "Which is why I hold to them as I do."

"You realize you could be executed?", Adama said. "If we find you guilty, you will be shot or spaced."

"Yes." Meridina drew in a breath. A brief surge of fear came up and was reflexively forced out of her mind. "I have faced death before, Admiral Adama. I have seen the horror of those ends. And I have long understood such might be my fate, either at your hands or those of another. If that is what I am called upon to do, I will do so."

Adama remained quiet for the moment. "You didn't have to surrender to us," he said. "Why did you do it?"

"To save the others," she answered. "And to save your people."

"You were afraid that Captain Dale would have destroyed us?"

"Not just that." Meridina looked him directly in the eyes. "Since I came here, I have sensed the darkness amongst your Fleet. All of the pain and despair and grief of your people... and your fear. Fear is the basic fuel for darkness, Admiral Adama. My people have long taught that fear drives the mind and soul to anger. The anger becomes hatred. And hatred leads to suffering."

"We're already suffering," Adama pointed out. "We've lost almost everything."

"Almost, yes," Meridina agreed. "But not everything. It is when all light is gone that all hope is lost, that life loses meaning, and all fall into darkness. Your people would be lost forever. I do not want that. I would be an example to the Colonies of light, of standing for what is right and dying for it, and to keep your people from losing the hope that the Alliance now provides you. If my life must be extinguished to ensure your people are saved, to rekindle the light within your hearts..." She bowed her head. "....then I make the sacrifice willingly."

There was quiet in the room. Adama put his hands together and considered the young woman. "You believe in this?"

"With all of my heart," Meridina pledged. "I am a swevyra'se of Gersal. I stand for Light and the Code of Swenya. I honor her teachings, passed down from the wise Reshan, tempered by Swenya's spirit, and given to my people to guide them. That is the calling that has been in my heart since i was young."

The sincerity of Meridina was evident to Adama. He thought bitterly on what had transpired. How much of this was his fault? He knew Roslin's judgement was being impaired by her illness, but he let his own fears of breaking the Fleet again lead him into the confrontation that now saw this noble woman chained down and threatened with death.

He didn't like the Cylons. He was irritated beyond words with Helo's affection for the damn Cylon, the one wearing the face of the traitor that had shot him. He still didn't trust her, for all that the Cylons loved to play the long game.

He would have spoken more if Gaeta hadn't shown up at the door to the cell. "Admiral? Vice President Baltar wants to see you. It's urgent."




Lucy was at Zack's door when he emerged. "Did you get my message?", she asked.

"Yeah." Zack nodded. "Glad to see you changed your mind. Now we just need to change Julia's."

"I think I can," Lucy said.

They walked to the nearest turbolift and got in. "Bridge," Zack said after they entered.

"So..." Lucy cleared her throat. "You're still leaving?"

"That's the plan," Zack answered.

"You really think that will make things better?"

"Maybe, maybe not, but I know that staying here is suffocating me," he answered.

"So it's... that." Lucy nodded. "We want to help you, you know that right?"

"Yeah. But this isn't something I can get helped with," Zack replied. "It's something I have to do for myself."

There was nothing more for Lucy to say. They remained silent until the lift let them out onto the bridge. "Angel's taking the day off, I see," Lucy murmured upon seeing Lieutenant Jarke at Tactical. Ensign al-Rashad was at Science. Seeing Caterina was missing reminded Lucy of what had been done to her and she breathed a silent prayer that Cat would recover emotionally from the beating.

Julia was in the conference room, using it as an impromptu office space mwhile she ran the ship. The morning reports were piled beside her while she munched away at a breakfast pastry. "....delicate situation, Commander," they heard Admiral Maran saying. "While I applaud Commander Meridina and Captain Dale for defusing it, allowing anything to happen to either will go too far for the government. We already have Congressman Palas talking about an investigation. If the Colonies do anything to hurt Meridina, it will destroy any hope they have of getting Gersallian support for resettlement near the borders. I can't guarantee the Dorei will be willing to go it alone on their defense. You need to make this clear to the Colonial authorities."

"I'll try, sir..." Julia started skimming a datapad. "But the more we push them, the more likely they might just act ouf of spite. What Meridina did cost us a lot of trust with them."

"I imagine so. Whatever you and Captain Dale do out there, Commander, the President has your back." Maran briefly went silent. "And just so you know, Your guests' asylum requests are in the system now. Whatever happens, you can't return the Cylon named Sharon or Karl Agathon to Colonial custody."

"I imagined as much sir."

"Good luck, Commander. Maran out."

There was a chirp to confirm the channel ahd closed. "Well, that's handled," Julia sighed. She looked up to them. "Let me guess. Here to ask for permission to go over again?"

"We need to go to Cloud Nine, Julia," Lucy said. "Immediately."

"Well." Julia's expression showed some surprise. "You've changed your mind. What happened?"

"I reconsidered it," Lucy answered. "I need to go over there."

"What would you do over there?", Julia asked. "The Quorum is returning to the Galactica for their hearing about Meridina."

"I was thinking it might be good neutral ground to talk to Adama, maybe through his junior officers," Zack said. "His son's a cool guy. Maybe we can discuss things. Not just this mess with Meridina but getting mutual cooperation back on track. Or if not Adama, maybe the civilian leadership of the Fleet?"

Julia seemed to consider it. "It is a good idea, in general. I can call Adama and see what he..."

"Bridge to Commander Andreys." Jupap's chirping voice interrupted them. "Admiral Adama wishes to speak to you."

"Speak of the devil," Julia said. She put away her breakfast. "Put him on, Lieutenant."

After several moments the old man's voice rumbled over the speaker. "{i]Commander. Vice President Baltar wants to make a visit to the [/i]Aurora concerning the Cylon baby. He's determined something special about the child."

Julia blinked. "Well, I can certainly meet the request, but I'm shocked you're considering it in these circumstances, Admiral."

"Only because of what he's found. He needs to discuss it with your Doctor Gillam. But due to the situation, I need a guarantee of some kind."

"You mean beyond having Captain Dale as a hostage?", Julia noted wryly. She looked to Lucy and Zack. "Well, we have our own request. Commander Carrey wants to talk to someone on the Cloud Nine. He thinks that we can get a dialogue going again on cooperation."

For a moment there was silence. "I can send a couple officers to meet with him."

"Great. Our people will transport over to the Cloud Nine in an hour and you can send Doctor Baltar to us. Anything else, Admiral?"

"The Quorum will be meeting in a few hours to debate what's going to happen to Commander Meridina. I'll keep you informed of any decisions."

"Please do, Admiral. Andreys out." Julia tapped a key to cut the transmission. She leveled a look at Zack and Lucy. "Alright. Head over there. See what they might want to release Meridina and get this crisis over with."

"Without telling them that the bosses back in Portland are talking about cutting them off if anything happens to Meridina?"

"Uh, yeah," Julia answered. "Best to do it that way for now."

"Sure." Zack looked to Lucy. "Want to get some breakfast before we go?"

"Alright," Lucy answered. She felt she'd need it to settle her nerves. The energy inside of her was starting to vibrate with the feeling that something bad was about to happen.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2015-03-19 08:58am

Lee Adama stepped off the shuttle from the Galactica and found Tom Zarek waiting for him. "So, Captain." Zarek smiled at him. "I've heard you're coming to meet with officers from the Alliance ship?"

Lee smiled diplomatically. "You hear a lot of things, Mister Zarek."

"I'm good friends with the ship's staff." Zarek followed Lee to the door leading away from the landing bay. "I've got an hour before we're due over on Galactica. I wouldn't mind meeting this officer."

"Of course you wouldn't Zarek." Kara walked up. "Captain."

"Captain. Although we don't have to be formal." Lee nodded at her. "Nice to see you. I hear you had some trouble."

"A bit." Kara eyed Zarek. "So, when does our party show up?"

They were answered by the sight of an Alliance shuttle entering the last berth in the bay. It came to a perfect landing beside Lee's shuttle. The side hatch opened and Zack stepped out with Lucy behind him. Lee and Kara saluted first, recognizing Zack's superior rank. "Commander Carrey, good to see you again," Lee said.

Zack straightened his spine and nodded. "Captain Adama, Captain Thrace. You remember Lieutenant Lucero?"

"I do." Kara nodded at Lucy. "I'm glad I didn't have to shoot you yesterday, Lieutenant."

"I'm glad I didn't have to smash you into the bulkhead, Captain," Lucy answered with a thin smile.

Kara smirked briefly before her expression darkened. She wanted to ask about Cat Delgado but not with Zarek in earshot. Lucy sensed the desire and, on her own, added, "Lieutenant Delgado's good as well."

Zarek stepped up between them. "Commander Carrey? You're the commander of the Koenig, right?" He offered a hand. "Good to meet you, Commander. I want to give my personal thanks to you and your crew for saving the Faru Sadin."

"Likewise, Mister..." Zack took the offered hand.

Lee moved his eyes toward Zarek. "This is Representative Thomas Zarek of Sagittaron," he answered. "He's a member of the Quorum."

"Your... legislative council, right?", Lucy asked.

"Yes," Zarek answered. "We're the civilian government that runs the Fleet alongside President Roslin." He smiled at Lucy. "You are?"

"Lieutenant Lucilla Lucero, operations officer," Lucy replied simply.

"Ah. Were you one of the officers the military tried to seize when Roslin and Adama nearly ruined everything?"

Lee and Kara shot looks at Zarek. Lucy and Zack couldn't help but notice the tension. Lucy nodded slightly. "I was over on Pegasus, yes."

"My apologies, Lieutenant, for any harm caused," Zarek said. "The Quorum is planning on investigating this entire incident thoroughly. We hope to get this situation resolved so that our relations with your people can be put back on track."

Zack nodded and looked to Lee. "Well, I came over to try and get some cooperation going again. A lot's going to rely on your people releasing Meridina, though."

"I thought so." Zarek smiled. "I have a reserved table at one of the best lounges on the ship. Why don't we head there to discuss matters? Captain Adama can take over for me when it's time for me to head to Galactica."

Zack noticed the obvious consternation from Lee and Kara. But he also knew that he was dealing with a political figure who had the sway to make things work more smoothly. He nodded. "Sure. I'd like to."




Julia was waiting in the shuttle bay when the shuttle carrying Baltar arrived. He instructed the pilot to remain on standby and pulled out a briefcase. "Commander." Unlike his prior tour, this time Julia had the feeling she wasn't getting undressed behind his eyes. He was actually intent on something else. "I'd like to go straight to your medbay."

"Doctor Gillam is waiting for you," she answered. "Follow me." She led him out the door. Two security officers, a blue-skinned Dorei and a red-feathered Alakin, fell in to escort them.

When they arrived in the medbay Leo was waiting for them. Sharon and Helo were at one bed with life sign scanners active behind them. Caterina was still in the other bed for observation, sleeping quietly in the arms of her big sister. Baltar noticed them and the remaining bruises on Caterina's face. "Did we... do that to her?", he asked.

"Yes," Julia answered... simultaneously to his head Cylon. She moved around and stood beside Julia. Baltar took notice for a moment but kept any thoughts about two beautiful blondes being beside each other from entering his head.

"I'm sorry," Baltar replied. He looked at Leo. "Doctor Gillam?"

"Doctor Baltar, yes?" Leo extended his hand and allowed Baltar to shake it. "Your preliminary information was pretty interesting. I've been running my own tests, but I never imagined..."

"Imagined what?", Sharon asked.

Leo turned and looked at Sharon. "Your baby's cellular structure is... well, I've never seen anything like it. The cells are biochemically flexible to the extent that they're quite capable of repairing cellular damage."

"So our baby is what, more surviveable?", Helo asked.

"More than that," Baltar replied. "The child's cells could likely be used to heal others."

Leo shot a look at Baltar. Julia saw this and realized what Baltar meant. "You mean... President Roslin?", Julia asked.

"Probably," Baltar said. "The baby's cells could send her cancer into complete remission."

Leo perked up at hearing that. "Which would buy us time for treatment to get rid of it."

"Exactly," Baltar said.

"You're okay with this, Doctor Baltar?", Helo asked. "I mean, you'd be President..."

"That presumes, Lieutenant Agathon, that I want the job," Baltar answered. "I have many interests, being President isn't necessarily one of them."

"She tried to kill my baby," Sharon protested. "Now you're asking me to risk my child to save her?"

"The risks are non-existent," Leo assured her. "We won't have to cut anything, we'll use microprobes to gather the cellular material we need."

"I assure you, your child will be perfectly safe," Baltar added.

Sharon bit into her lip. She looked to Helo. "Not unless they return Meridina safe and sound," she answered.

"Pardon?", Baltar asked.

"I want Meridina returned safely to the Aurora," Sharon answered. "Let her go. And I'll consent to the operation."

"President Roslin may not have that much time," Julia said. "She's pretty bad."

"That's her fault," Sharon answered. "Meridina was ready to risk her life to save my baby. She's risking her life now to save the Colonial Fleet. I'm not helping the woman who could get her killed." She looked intently at Baltar. "Meridina for the treatment."

"The Quorum is intending to discuss whether criminal charges will be levied today," Baltar said. "But I don't think we can get an answer that quickly..."

"Don't expect me to say yes until you do."

"Don't, Gaius."

Baltar saw his head Cylon move beside Julia and toward Leo. "Don't do anything to let Meridina go," the head Cylon insisted. "She has to die." The blonde smiled and purred, "Besides, that would make you President."

"But I don't want to be President!", Baltar blurted aloud.

"Then I suggest you listen to the woman." Angel stirred from the bed. She glared at him. "You give us back Meridina and Robert and your President gets her cure. Otherwise you'd better be ready to hear 'Hail to the Chief.'"

"Lieutenant..." Julia shot a look at Angel.

"Gaius...." The Head Cylon was glaring at him. "She's a threat. She has to die. No matter what."

Baltar swallowed. "I... I...." He looked fearfully at the head Cylon, which meant he seemed to be looking at Julia. She looked at him quizzically, not sure whe he seemed so upset and frightened of her. "I understand. Yes, it's your choice. I'll... well, we'll see what the Quorum wants to do." Baltar looked to Julia. "Commander, I would like to return to Galactica. I need to prepare for the Quorum meeting."

"Of course. This way, Doctor." Julia escorted him out of the medbay.

Angel looked at the pensive look on Leo's face. "You don't seem happy," she said.

"I'm not," he replied. He glanced toward Sharon. "I understand you're angry, and you have the right to make this decision.... but I don't agree with leaving a woman to die."

Sharon didn't answer him. She looked to Helo and laid her head back.

Leo retreated to his office to look over readings. Angel followed him, vibrating with anger. "Have you forgotten what that evil bitch caused?", she demanded.

"No, I haven't," Leo answered. "But that doesn't mean I want her to die." He looked squarely at Angel. "And if you were in your right mind, you wouldn't either."

Angel crossed her arms. "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"It means that you're so mad you're not thinking straight," Leo replied. "I know you're a better woman than this, Angel."

"She caused Cat to get hurt. Because of her Rob is over there, in danger. All because she wanted to kill a baby. So you tell me why I should give a damn."

"Because you're a better person," Leo answered. "At least, I thought you were a better person."

Angel's nostrils flared. She looked like she'd been struck. For a moment it looked like she was struggling to speak, but she gave it up and stormed out of the office.

Leo sighed. Angel was passionate to a fault at times. He darkly wondered how much of this was her frustration at Robert not letting her come with him. As much as he enjoyed seeing his friends being happy, he was starting to doubt it was such a good thing given their new jobs.

He decided to get his mind off this by turning his attention to the scans he had of the half-Cylon baby's cells. This was a biological mystery he would love to solve.




Lucy had to admit her surprise. She was convinced Zarek's focus on economics and politics would cause Zack's eyes to roll up into his skull and his brain to go into shutdown mode. But he remained attentive the entire time, responding to Zarek's remarks about economic unfairness or the oppression of the Sagittarons by bringing up bits from their former lives in Kansas. Zack wasn't an economist, of course, but with her input he talked up how replicator technology altered supply and demand for an economy.

"You're a pretty smart man, Commander," Zarek said, pointedly shaking Zack's hand again. "Hopefully we can implement this replicator technology across the Fleet. It would make the lives of our people a lot happier."

"Hopefully we can get to that," Zack agreed. "We just need to clear up this situation with Meridina over that Cylon."

Zarek smirked and ignored the uncomfortable looks from Lee and Kara. "Yes, well, I believe we can get that out of the way today. I'm going to bring everything up in the Quorum to make it clear Roslin acted stupidly. Not that I don't admire her accomplishments, but I think Roslin's sickness has ruined her mind."

"I'm not one to speak about her, honestly," Zack said. "But..."

There was a tone. Zarek pulled out a mobile phone unit and answered it. "The Quorum's ready? Fine, I'm on my way." He closed it and stood. "It was great talking to you, Commander. I look forward to seeing the Colonies and your Allied Systems working together in the future." He offered a hand and Zack accepted it. Zarek walked away.

Lucy and Zack watched him go for a moment. When Zack was sure Zarek was out of earshot over the background chatter of the lounge, he looked back to Lee and Kara. "Well, that was fun," he sighed, taking a drink from the club soda Zarek had ordered for him.

"You handled yourself pretty well," Lucy remarked.

"He certainly took a liking to you, Commander," Lee said. "It can be tricky when Zarek does that."

"I learned how to deal with that stuff from Rob and Julie," Zack said. "I smile and nod a lot and say something here and there to break up the monotony. Honestly I don't even know half of what I said about replicator-based economics." He set the glass down. "So, can we talk about cooperation?"

"Sure." Lee nodded. "I think the Admiral wants this Meridina situation out of the way. If we can get anything to show for it, to show you understand you crossed the line with us, I think you'll find that the Quorum will let her go."

"Okay." Zack put his hands together. "What do you have in mind? More shield generators? Replicators?"

"Well..."

"...actually." Kara leaned in. "What if you helped us raid Caprica?"

Lee gave her a look. Zack blinked. "Your capital world, right? The one the Cylons nuked?"

"Yeah. There are survivors," Kara answered. "I've seen them myself. They're fighting a war with the Cylons that they can't win. Sooner or later they're going to run out of radiation treatments and they'll all die."

"And you want to raid Caprica to give them supplies?"

"No," Kara answered. "I want to raid Caprica to get them out. We can bring them to the Fleet. Hell, with your technology we could hit all of the Colonies. There's got to be more survivors."

Zack nodded. "If I remember right your home systems are weeks away from here. I'm not sure we could launch an operation like that so easily."

"It's not so far if we use Cylon drives..."

Lucy started to look away, letting Zack debate the idea with Kara. As her eyes scanned toward the front door of the lounge she saw Zarek was still standing there. There was a woman with him, blond, looking away from Zarek and talking. Lucy focused on her senses, feeling with her life force, and felt their speech come to her. "....private meetings, Councilman? What about the transparency we were promised? How can you keep the people of the Fleet in the dark about what's going on with the Earth ship?"

There was something in that voice that got Lucy's attention. Zarek answered, "Sometimes we have to be careful about the information we give out, Ms. Biers. You know that. But I assure you, the findings of the Quorum will be publicly....

"How can we guarantee we get the full truth if everything happens behind locked doors?", the woman retorted. Lucy focused on the voice. She knew she'd heard it before.

Zarek sighed. "What if I let you in on the session then? You can report on the findings when the Quorum agrees to go public. And not a moment before. That's the best I can do for you."

The woman seemed to think on it. "You drive a hard bargain..."

Lucy's eyes widened.

She knew that voice.

And just where did you come from?

I hear your ship had some form of... teleporter?

We have tests to run. We'll let you know a final price when we get back.

Lucy focused again, trying to sense Zarek's sight. She couldn't mind-read like Meridina so she couldn't do it directly. But Meridina had shown her how the power she was using could sense things even without direct mental link. She tried to focus on the image.

"Lucy?"

"Shh," she hissed, ignoring the look on the faces of Zack, Lee, and Kara. "That woman...."

"Who?" Lee looked beyond. "Are you talking about D'anna? The reporter leaving with Zarek?"

They did indeed step out. Lucy couldn't get the image in her head and growled in frustration. "I need to see what she looks like," she insisted. "Please."

"Her news show is on in a few hours..." Kara began.

"I need to know now," Lucy insisted. She turned to face them. "Picture her in your minds. Please, trust me."

Lee and Kara exchanged looks. Kara knew some of what Lucy could do but Lee had not yet seen it. When Lee looked to Zack he shrugged. "Hey, I've seen the stuff Meridina can do, and Lucy can do it now too."

"Alright, fine, do your mumbo jumbo and..."

Before Kara finished the sentence she sensed something in her head. The image she had of D'anna Biers almost slipped but she kept it. "You're actually reading my frakking mind?"

"I'm just sensing the image in your head, it's not entirely clear but..." Lucy felt the image come clear in her mind. She gasped and fell back into her chair. "Oh God, I was right. I was... oh God it's her."

"Who?", Zack asked.

"The woman who tried to buy me on Djamar Station. Remember, back when we first met Meridina and the Gersallians and the Dorei?", Lucy said to him. "When those pirates abducted me?"

Zack's brow furrowed. "But... that doesn't make sense, the Colonies haven't come this far out before, and definitely not to the frontier of Dorei and Gersallian space."

"What are you saying?", Lee asked. "That you've met D'anna?"

"That's her!", Lucy insisted. "I remember her. She was with this other guy, this... dark-skinned bald guy..."

Kara grabbed Lucy's forearm. "What did you just say?"

"Dark-skinned bald guy. Uh, a little lighter in color than Leo," Lucy answered. Lucy thought of the two of them together. The blonde woman - D'anna, she could swear - watching as the man drew blood from her.

Kara's jaw dropped. "Frak me," she said. "Frak me... I see his face. How the frak..."

Lucy blinked. She didn't think she was projecting the mental image that much...

"He's a Cylon I saw on Caprica," she continued. "And.... oh frak me.."

"Excuse me?" Lee looked at the two women. "What are you two talking about?"

"She's one of them," Lucy said. "That... that explains why Meridina has footage of her at that Faith Summit that got bombed five years ago. And how she was at the station."

"Who's one of what?", Zack asked.

"D'anna Biers..."

"....is a frakking Cylon," Kara finished for Lucy.




The final Quorum members were preparing to board the shuttle to Galactica. Zarek was going to go last and have D'anna with him.

"Excuse me." D'anna got Zarek's attention. "I'll be right back." She motioned to a man standing off to the side, waving at them. "Interviewee. Before this happened I was scheduled to talk with him today."

"Well, don't keep me from giving him the bad news," Zarek answered. "Although if he's patient, maybe he'll get that interview today after all."

"Thanks. I'll be right back." D'anna hurried over to the man, dressed as priestly clergy. "What is it?", she asked.

"You know your purpose," the priest said. It wasn't really a question.

D'anna nodded. "I do. But is the ship..."

"It is," he pledged. "The Humans only got one. You will be welcomed back with open arms."

D'anna nodded and looked very reassured. "I look forward to it. I'm tired of living here."

"Aren't we all?", Brother Cavil said, a sarcastic smirk on his face. "Remember. The Gersallian must die. Everyone else is extra."

"She's the priority target. I'll shoot Captain Dale and Admiral Adama afterward," D'anna whispered back.

"Yes." Cavil put a hand on her shoulder. His voice became loud. "Of course I understand, my dear child. This is a momentous event, you should be there to observe it. I will patiently await your return!"

D'anna smiled and nodded before she pulled away. Zarek gave her an amused look as she boarded the shuttle before he did.

All of this time living amongst the Humans, and it came down to this. A great blow to be delivered for the Plan. For God.

And she would be the one doing it.




"So let me get this straight." Lee held a hand up. "You two are going to accuse a leading journalist of the Fleet of being a Cylon with evidence based on reading minds?"

"No," Lucy sighed. "Based on the fact I saw her years ago on a pirate station where she tried to buy me. In the company of a known Cylon."

"But that link is based entirely on Kara seeing inside your mind somehow," Lee protested. "This... it just isn't going to work."

"So we need proof," Zack said. "Something that confirms someone is a Cylon."

"Doesn't Doctor Baltar have a Cylon detector?", Lucy asked.

"It didn't work before," Kara snorted. "And I bet he's already tested her."

Zack smirked and clapped his hands together. "Well, a good thing Baltar's not the only genius around here, right? Let's take this to Jarod and Cat and see what they come up with."

"You mean we'd build our own Cylon life detector?", Lucy asked. "How would we know it works? We'd need a... Cylon...." Lucy laughed. "Of course. We have Sharon."

"Bingo," Zack said. He stood up. "We'll return to the Aurora. You two want to come?"

"Probably better if we don't," Lee said. "I'll get back to Galactica and see what I can do to stop Biers."

"I'm going too," Kara said. At that, the two groups headed off from the lounge.




Robert had an early breakfast and was ready when Tigh came to collect him. "They're moving your friend to the starboard hanger deck," he said.

"Thank you, Colonel." Robert took a final check of his uniform in the mirror and stepped out to join the older man. The Marines followed them as they walked through the corridors of the big ship. Robert noticed Tigh was struggling with something. But he kept quiet.

Finally Tigh broke his silence. "Thought you should know the Old Man is going to clean house over on Pegasus."

"Ah?"

"We heard about what they did to that sweet little scientist girl," Tigh continued. "It's a Gods-damned disgrace and I don't mind saying it."

Robert fought down a surge of anger over what had been done to Cat. This was, at least, something being said in the right direction. "Yes. It was."

Tigh made a noise from his throat. "Not that I think your people were right. All this talk about being our friends and the first thing you do when we're not seeing eye to eye is poke us in the eye." Tigh turned his head and faced Robert. "Just how were we supposed to take that, huh?"

"Well, obviously not well," Robert remarked. "We both screwed that up. But we weren't the ones who were going to force a woman to abort her baby."

"You deal with Cylons long enough, you're going to lose that attitude about them quick," Tigh retorted. "As far as I'm concerned, you can keep her, and Helo too if she's that damned important to him. But if you trust them that quickly you'll get burned. Understand?"

"You might not believe how many times I heard people tell me that about people they hated."

"Oh yeah? How many of them got nuked by the people they were warning you about?"

Tigh's question was right on the mark. Robert frowned and sighed. "None."

"You kids think you're smart, but that won't do you a bit of good if you walk around just trusting people," Tigh continued. "The Cylons are bad news. Keep that in mind."

At that point Robert didn't think the discussion would go anywhere else, so he ceased talking about it.




Julia entered the medbay and found Zack, Lucy, and Jarod in the corner, Leo nearby and checking on Cat. "You said something big happened over there, what was it?"

"We found another Cylon," Zack answered.

Julia's jaw dropped open. "What?"

"Not just that," Jarod continued. "But going by Lucy's description, it's the same being who tried to buy her from the pirates at Djamar Station over two years ago."

"Or a copy at least." Lucy held up her multidevice and showed the image of a blonde woman. "They call her D'anna Biers. She's this big time video journalist for the Fleet."

"And you're certain that's her?", Julia asked. "It's been..."

"I won't forget that day," Lucy said, almost harshly. "I... it's not something you forget, Julia."

Julia nodded in understanding. "Okay."

"Besides, Meridina and I found her in other footage," Lucy said. "That Faith Summit the Dorei nations held back before our contact? The one where Captain Potana from the Mayala had his entire family blown up? She was there too. She's the leading suspect for planting at least one of the bombs."

Julia let out a breath. "Meridina said the Cylons already knew about the Gersallians and Dorei, but this is beyond that. I mean, if it's true..."

"...odds are it is," Jarod interceded.

"...if it's true, the Cylons have been attacking two founding nations of the Allied Systems for years." Julia gritted her teeth. "I need to tell Admiral Maran. And we need to do something about this..."

"We are," Jarod answered.

"That's why they're taking up room in my medbay," Leo called out, looking up from where he was treating the fractured bones in Caterina's face.

"We're putting together a scanning protocol to detect humanform Cylons," Lucy clarified.

Julia blinked. "Really? How? Our sensors haven't been able to pinpoint any Cylons in the Fleet."

"It's an issue of resolution," Lucy replied. "The sensors used for those kinds of lifesigns aren't programmed to look for the internal indications that a Human has Cylon bits inside. That's what we're fixing here."

Jarod held up a medical scanner. "Just doing some final tweaking. We're using Leo's examination of Sharon and her baby to establish a base point for scanning differences between Human physiology and Cylon."

"Good. When will it be ready?"

"Twenty minutes or so, need to finish patch updates," Lucy replied.

Julia checked her multidevice and the clock on it. "Alright. I'll go call Maran."

"Of course."




Meridina remained in cuffs for the procession through Galactica, surrounded entirely by the Marines with Adama alongside her. She noted the way he was looking about. "Are you concerned, Admiral?"

"A little," he admitted.

"This would be about the other Sharon being shot?"

He didn't look at her or give any indication of how much that thought annoyed him. "Maybe," he conceded.

"I shall be careful to observe for attackers, then," Meridina pledged. Bound hand and foot she had only limited mobility, but some people could be surprised what a swevyra'se could do even in her situation.

As she said that, Meridina did feel a tingle of warning within. She felt like something might happen, she just wasn't sure what.




D'anna took leave of Zarek outside of the hanger deck. She slipped away from him by alluding to a need to use the restroom and was directed to the nearest "head" by helpful crewmembers. The Galactica facilities were unisex, but at this point they did include semi-private stalls. Knowing it was the best choice she had, D'anna went to work. From her personal bag she pulled several ceramic pieces out, rods and flat pieces and the like.

It would only take her ten seconds to assemble the light firearm and put the clip in. Five shots. It would have to be enough.




Lee and Kara came in hot to land on Galactica. The flight deck officer confronted them at the exit. "What is your problem, your velocity was..."

"Fleet emergency," Lee said. "Where's Admiral Adama?"

"Off with the Quorum, I think. Starboard hanger."

Lee nodded and, with Kara, they took off.




Zack watched impatiently as Jarod and Leo fussed with the scanner. "The setting should be working," Jarod protested.

"It's not," Leo countered. "See? Human scale returns. Nothing to say she's a Cylon."

Sharon sat passively. Helo stood nearby, looking ready to hold her hand and frustrated at seeing Sharon used as a test subject. "Maybe there's just no way to tell?", he said.

"No. We should be able to detect the electronics inside of her body," Jarod answered. "The bioelectric field shouldn't be this close to baseline normal."

"What if Cylon bioelectrics only trigger when a Cylon's actively using their electronics?" Lucy suggested.

They all looked at Sharon, who shrugged. "It's not something we just consciously do or not do," she said. "It's a part of us."

"That Quorum meeting is about to start," Zack reminded them. "We need a way to prove D'anna Biers is a Cylon, and this is our best hope. There's got to be something...."

"Why not try a focused electromagnetic scan?"

Eyes turned toward the nearby bed where Caterina was sitting quietly. She looked far better now. The worst bruises still showed a little but she no longer looked like she'd gone twenty rounds with a heavyweight boxer. Caterina slid off the bed and smoothed out her hospital gown for modesty's sake. She walked over. "The Cylons probably have signal shielding built into their electronics. But that kind of shielding will stand out if you run it through an EM scan on the right wavelengths."

"That's not a bad idea," Jarod said. He handed Cat the scanner. "What do you think?"

Cat accepted it and started tinkering with the object. She tried a setting and got nothing. She focused and went through them, seeing if she got any results. Just as Jarod went to take back the scanner, Caterina called out, "Wait! I've got it." She prompted Jarod and Lucy to look. The scanner was shining gold over Sharon's profile. Cat moved it to scan Helo and Zack, but there was no golden aura like on Sharon. "There, see? The scanner senses the insulation. You can see she's a Cylon."

"Brilliant," Zack said, applauding.

"I'll say." Jarod put an arm on Cat's shoulder. "Way to go, Cat, that was a great idea."

A smile broke through Cat's expression. She blushed slightly.

"Carrey to bridge." Zack took the scanner and went for the door, Lucy behind him. "Alert Galactica, we need to get over there now."




D'anna returned to the large hanger deck and smiled at the Marine guard at the door. She handed him her personal bag and he gave it a quick check before satisfying himself there was nothing inside of it. Since landing on the ship had required going through more extensive security procedures she wasn't subjected to the kind of search that might have revealed the gun she had assembled. She was waved in and found a seat in the front row. She had pencil and paper in hand to complete the facade.

Most of the Quorum was already in its seats and the handful that weren't had gravitated around Baltar. D'anna considered shooting him if she could, but Cavil's priority list was still in her head. The Gersallian, then her captain, and then Adama. Baltar would come fourth if she could actually get the shot off.

She steeled herself, ready to implement this phase of the Plan.



On the bridge of the Aurora Julia watched Jarod resume Ops. "So this device can find Cylons?"

"Yes. Cat found the right EM wavelengths to pick up their internal signal insulation." Jarod ran his hands over the Ops station. "I think that given time I can refine our ship sensors to do the same, but I'm looking at hours of work."

"So we need to get the device over there." Julia leaned forward. "Put me through to Galactica."




Tigh took up the phone when he got notification of the signal. "Colonel Tigh? This is Commander Andreys. We have a device that can scan for Cylons, we think one of them might be going after the Quorum. Can we send a shuttle over?"

Tigh frowned. "Awfully convenient," he murmured. "I'm afraid that's a no. The Admiral's orders were strict; no ships coming in during the meeting."

"This is important, Colonel."

Or a trick. Tigh allowed the suspicious thought to nearly come to his tongue. But he didn't give it a voice. If they were right - and Gods knew they had the techno-wizardry to pull it off, as far as Tigh thought - then this was something worth the risk. "I'll get Adama", he said. He nodded to Dualla. "Patch me through to the hanger deck."




The Marine phalanx with Adama and Meridina entered from the door opposite of where D'anna had come. She had expected that and wasn't ready to take her shot anyway. Not until she was seated beside Captain Dale at a table facing the makeshift half-circle where the Quorum were taking their seats. She needed every second.




Adama saw the tension go through Meridina's body. "Something wrong?", he asked.

"There is danger here," she murmured. Meridina's swevyra'se was buzzing with a warning sense. Something was dreadfully wrong.

"What kind?"

"I'm not sure," she had to admit. "But there is real physical danger in this room."

Adama's skepticism nearly had him dismiss her words. But he didn't. His instincts told him something was wrong here. The room was a big target for the Cylons, after all, even with all of the security to ensure the proceedings remained private. He cursed the necessity of using the larger hanger deck over the smaller but more easily-secured wardroom. Before he could say anything, one of the Marines called out to him. "Admiral, it's CIC for you, Colonel Tigh says it's important."

Adama went over and accepted the phone. "Adama here."

"I've got Commander Andreys asking to send people over. She says she has a Cylon detector and that one of her people identified a Cylon in the Fleet."

"Suspicious timing," Adama murmured.

"Damned suspicious," Tigh agreed. "I mean, don't their shuttles have those transporting devices? If we let one get within the shields..."

"Yeah. Put the Commander on for me." Adama remained quiet until he heard the clicking of the channel being piped in. "Commander Andreys, this is not the best timing."

"I know," she said. "But Commander Carrey and Lieutenant Lucero just got back a short while ago with the news. Lieutenant Lucero saw a suspected Cylon over on Cloud Nine."

"Were you field-testing this device you say you have?"

"No. She says she's seen the woman before. Years ago on a trading outpost on the outskirts of Gersallian space. None of your people could have been that far out, but Sharon says the Cylons have been poking around the edges of Gersallian and Dorei space for years now. She would have to be a Cylon to have been there."

Adama frowned. "You'll understand my skepticism, Commander."

"I know. But this is something we can use to make up for what Meridina did. We could gift you the scanner and the means to make more. It's a handheld device."

"If it works," Adama answered. "You wouldn't happen to have the name of..."

"Admiral, Captain Adama's at the door," one of the Marines said. "He wants to see you." The Marine leaned in. "He says they found a Cylon on Cloud Nine."

Adama put two and two together. "Bring him in, quietly." He started visually scanning the crowd. Meridina was still tense, far moreso than she'd been at any point of this crisis. And he could feel it in his bones. Something was wrong. He started scanning the crowd of Quorum aides and members of the Galactica crew being brought forth for testimony. His eyes moved across the crowd.

"Commander, are you still there?"

"Yes. You wanted the name of the person Lieutenant Lucero believes to be the Cylon?"

"Yes." Adama's eyes kept scanning the room. They passed across the front row of seats and he saw...

"D'anna Biers."




D'anna kept looking at her targets. Robert Dale looked pensive but unaware. He had more mundane concerns at the moment. The Gersallian was different. She looked... tense and concerned, if not outright fearful. Like she knew that someone was coming to kill her but didn't know who it was or how her death was going to be brought about. That worried D'anna.

Adama was on the phone along the wall. People moving about obscured her sight of him at points. But she watched his eyes scan the crowd. They swept over her and stopped for a moment.

A moment enough for D'anna to begin feeling suspicious. Was she somehow betrayed? Should she just shoot now? What if...?

Adama's eyes kept going. D'anna calmed her thoughts and returned to looking around.




Meridina felt the intent come across her conscious. There was someone here with the intent to do violence. She was certain of that now. She started looking around the crowd and knew she would be the intended victim.

But where would the attack come from?




Adama forced himself to keep his eyes sweeping. D'anna Biers, a Cylon?! The thought filled him with disgust and horror. She was in the perfect position to undermine the Fleet with her journalism. There were few people he would be more horrified to hear were Cylons.

"That's a big charge, Commander," he said.

"We can prove it. We've tested the scanner, it works."

"And all I have to do is let you penetrate Galactica's defenses. I'm not sure I trust you that much, Commander."




On the bridge of the Aurora, Julia cringed and put her hand to her forehead. That was the problem, wasn't it? Trust. Adama had to trust her and she had to trust him. And after everything that had happened.

This is your chance, a voice inside of her said. Convince him and beam Meridina and Robert out. You can sort it out later. It'll even be better for them since they won't do anything to make the government back in Portland cut them off!

Locarno and Jarod gave her looks. They didn't have to say anything. They knew the temptation she was facing.

It was a strong one, too. All it required her to do was violate Adama's trust - should it be extended again - and decide what was better for the Colonials. She was certain she was right about what they needed. But...

No. That was not how this should go. They had to start building a relationship of friendship with the Fleet. That couldn't happen if there wasn't any trust.

"I understand, Admiral," she said. "We've got trust issues going on here. But shouldn't we move past them? It's the only way any of us can be safe from the Cylons. Meridina stole your prisoner. Your people shot one of our's and brutally beat another. We've each done something to the other. Let's stop it. Please. We have to."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2015-03-20 12:17pm

Adama was mulling it over when Lee and Kara were brought up by the Marine. Lee leaned in close. "It's Biers," he said in a low voice, nearly a whisper and just as good as one given the noise in the background. "Lucero recognized her."

Adama nodded. "You believe her?"

"I do," Lee answered. There had been no mistaking the horror and instinctive fear on Lucy's face.

"Yeah." Kara nodded. "I don't know what these people can do, but I... she showed me the face of the guy she said was with Biers. It was that Cylon I met on Caprica running the fake hospital. She saw them together, Admiral."

Adama's jaw clenched. He didn't ask again if she was sure. He could see it blazing in Kara's eyes. Lee looked just as certain. He was ready to stake everything on his impression of Lucy Lucero.

Which meant the Cylon was here. Now. It had wanted to be here. It was up to something.

Trust. The key issue was... could Adama trust Commander Andreys? Could he trust the woman to respect him and not snatch back her captain and her crewmate the moment the Galactica's shields lowered? If he was wrong.... then the entire Fleet and Quorum would be humiliated. They would never recover from that.

Every thought in his head told him it was a bad deal. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that he could do to hold Commander Andreys to her word. She had every reason to retake her people. He wouldn't even really be able to blame her for that, when it came down to it; protecting her own like he would protect his own.

"Sometimes you have to roll the hard six," he mumbled to himself.

"Sir?", Lee asked.

"I'm about to do something potentially stupid," he sighed. He held up the phone again. "Biers is here, Commander. Starboard hanger deck. Send your people and the scanner over by your transporter, we need that thing now." Adama flipped a switch to reconnect to CIC. "Tigh, lower the shields to allow a transport from the Aurora."

"What? Say again?"

"Lower the shields. Now."

There was clear hesitancy in his voice. Adama almost repeated the order before he replied, "Lowering shields."




"Galactica's shields are lowering," Jarod said. He didn't point out he could get transporter locks on Meridina and Robert. There was no need.

Julia's temptations returned. Augmented by what Adama had said. The Cylon was there. It - she - could be up to something! Robert and Meridina were in danger! Beam them back, you don't have to risk anyone else....

Her hand hit the intercom button. "Bridge to Transporter Room 4. Beam over now. Starboard hanger deck. The Cylon is there!"




Adama half-expected to see Meridina and Robert disappear.

Instead two more figures materialized nearby. He recognized Zack and Lucy. "Raise shields again," he ordered into the phone.

"Yes sir," Tigh said with relief in his voice.

Adama could feel the same relief in his. He noticed the looks Baltar and Zarek were giving him, indeed the eyes turning toward the new arrivals, and felt the relief surge even stronger. He had shown trust and Andreys had honored it; now she was showing trust in him by giving him two potential hostages.

"Admiral, what is going on...?" Baltar asked.

Adama went to answer.

But he didn't get the chance.




D'anna's attention went straight toward the two pillars of light that coalesced into two figures. More of the Alliance officers... she even recognized one as having been on Cloud Nine earlier.

That made her apprehensive enough. She looked to the woman... just as the woman looked at her.

Her.

At that point, D'anna knew she had been identified.

So she pulled out the gun, aimed at Meridina, and fired.




Meridina had been looking away from D'anna when she felt the warning through her swevyra'se. The arrival of Lucy and Zack had distraced her from one threat she thought she felt, an aide of one of the Quorum members who radiated disgust and hate at her.

And for all of her skill and power, that warning time was simply not enough to prevent the attack.

Meridina tried to jump anyway even as the gun barked out. The shackles on her ankles limited her movement and kept her from getting clear of the shot. Pain surged throuugh her chest from where the bullet struck her body, ripping through flesh and bone to lodge in her ribs. Blood erupted from the wound and hit the floor while she was in mid-air. She hit the ground and wheezed. She fought against the pain and looked up.

The blonde woman. She hadn't noticed her yet. But she was there... and Meridina remembered her. The woman from the Faith Summit videos. The one Lucy had seen on Djamar. Even she could remember the glimpse she caught of Lucy's prospective "buyer" from that day when she had met Robert and Lucy.

With everything that had happened... she hadn't realized the true ramifications of what Sharon had said about her people knowing the Gersallians and Dorei.

She didn't have time to say anything, though. The mysterious blonde pointed her gun at Meridina's head. She would be dead in a second.




Meridina had a second to live when Lucy acted.

She gathered her will and grabbed the gun with it, lifting upward with enough force to try and yank it out of D'anna's grip. The Cylon woman was stronger than she looked and, as it turned out, actually joinde the gun in the air. Shot after shot rang out, sending bullets into the hull plating. A scream came from one aide.

After four shots went off the gun clicked, emptied of ammo. Lucy let go and the Cylon plummetted to the ground. Two of the Marines who had been guarding Meridina grabbed and restrained her. "The Plan will succeed!", D'anna screamed. "God will not be denied! He will not be denied!"

"Who are you?!", Lucy shouted. "Why did you take my blood the last time?! Why..."

"Lucy." Robert stepped up to her and shook his head. He looked to Adama and nodded. Nearby Baltar, Zarek, and the Quorum were watching with stunned faces. "Admiral Adama?"

Adama was already giving orders to the Marines. A corpsman amongst them was tending to Meridina's wound and giving advice to an aide who had been hit in the arm. "Admiral, shall we take the prisoner to the cell?", one of the Marines asked.

"One moment." Adama looked to Zack. "The device?"

Zack nodded and handed it over. Adama turned it over in his hands. It looked relatively simple. A few buttons, a display showing a frequency wavelength, and a screen showing everyone in bright blue silhouette. He brought the device up and pointed it at D'anna and the Marines flanking her. They remained blue. D'anna lit up with gold light. "I'd say it works," he said. "Get that thing out of here."

D'anna began screaming again as she was dragged out.

"A Cylon detector?", Robert asked Zack.

"Yep. Lucy, Jarod, and Leo slapped it together. Cat figured out the best way to use it." Zack smiled at him. "And Lucy and I spotted the crazy blonde over on Cloud Nine and Lucy recognized her from... where was it?"

"Djamar," Robert said. Looking at Biers he thought he could remember her face too, although there had been a bunch of pirates between them so the memory wasn't the clearest one he had. "Holy crap. The Cylons have been messing around on the frontier for years, haven't they?"

"Looks like it," Zack murmured.

Robert nodded and looked over to the Quorum, where eyes were on Zarek. "I had no idea...!" the Sagittaron protested. "Who believed Biers was a Cylon? I mean, come on!"

"Maybe you're one too," the Tauron delegate barked.

"He isn't," Adama barked back. He held the scanner up to the Quorum. "Going by this thing none of you are."

"Right." Baltar settled back into his seat, looking like he was sick. He looked to Robert. "Captain. I believe I speak for the Quorum and the entire Fleet when I say that we are grateful for your people revealing this treachery to us. And for the technological means to find other Cylon infiltrators."

"You're welcome, Mister Vice President," Robert replied formally.

There was hushed muttering in the Quorum, but Zarek and Baltar ignored it as the former whispered to the latter. "Ah, yes, that makes sense," Baltar said. "Captain, seeing as how the efforts of your people have helpfully replaced the Cylon prisoner your officer seized, I think it is safe to say the Quorum is willing to let the matter be dropped. I can hold a vote if it is liked."

"Tauron will not stand for this miscarriage of justice, this defiance of..."

"Then Tauron's representative can sit down," Zarek declared, glaring at the Tauron representative.

"I demand a vote!"

"Very well," Baltar said. "All in favor of dropping the matter concerning Commander Meridina?" He raised his hand alongside Zarek. Eight more hands went up within four seconds. "All against?" The Tauron rep and two others raised their hands sullenly. "The motion from Tauron fails. The Quorum hereby drops all charges against Commander Meridina. I imagine she will need medical treatment," Baltar continued, "but she is free to leave when the doctors clear it, as is Captain Dale. Hopefully not immediately, however." Baltar nodded at Robert. "I also believe a resumption of talks is in order?"

Robert smiled slightly. "Yes, I would agree. I'm grateful the situation is clear so that we can resume discussing the relationship of the Colonial Fleet to the United Alliance of Systems."

"Well, since we're gathered here..." Baltar looked about at the Quorum, still assembled as they were. "...perhaps we should start by discussing the means to produce these new Cylon detectors..."




Ship's Log: 6 June 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. The crisis with the Colonial Fleet has passed and we are resuming cooperation on several important matters. I have remained on Galactica to continue talks with the Quorum, but we will soon be transferring these discussions to Cloud Nine.

However, this has allowed me to be present for the most important fruits of our cooperation.


Robert stood with Adama, Billy, and Baltar as Cottle and Leo finished the examination of Roslin. She was sitting up in her bed, very weak but not quite so weak as the last time Robert had seen her. Leo showed the results of his medical scan to Cottle, who nodded. "The cancer is gone," he announced. "Complete remission."

"Is it gone for good?", Roslin asked.

"Probably not," Leo conceded after exchanging a look with Cottle. "But we can deal with it now. Early detection cancer prevention treatments can keep you cancer free."

"So she's effectively cured?", Robert asked, just to make sure of things.

"Yes," Cottle said. "She is."

Roslin blinked and took in a breath. "How...?"

Cottle and Leo glanced toward each other. Baltar was not so reluctant. "Cells taken from the Cylon baby," he explained. "They have cancer-destroying properties that we used."

Roslin stared at him. "What?"

"The baby saved you, Madame President," Baltar answered. He smiled slightly. "The universe has a funny way about things, doesn't it?"

Roslin breathed in and looked away. "Yes. I thnk you're right. What else have I missed...?"

"Billy can bring you up to speed from your bed," Cottle said. "You're going to need time to recover, so get used to seeing me every day for the next week."

"So you say, Doctor." Roslin licked at her lips. "Before you go... I would like to talk to Captain Dale and Admiral Adama."

They stepped forward while Billy moved away and Baltar left. Roslin liked at her lips. "Captain, I want to thank your people for their patience," she said quietly. "i'd like to put this behind us."

"So would I," Robert answered. "We need to trust each other."

"Agreed. I want to arrange compensation for your officers that were harmed by our people. I know we don't have much to offer, but if they need anything from the Fleet, tell them to ask and they'll get it."

"I will." Robert leaned forward a little. "Madame President, we've each made mistakes, but I'd like to think we can work together despite them. I'm making solid progress with your Quorum on setting up permanent relations."

"Thank you." Roslin grinned weakly. "I've come to realize that your people are the best thing that have happened to the Fleet since we left our homes. I thank the Gods we haven't been driven apart. Whatever happens from here on out, your Alliance has my support."

"Thank you, Madame President."

Roslin nodded and the general gesture and look told Robert his part in the conversation was over. He left to return to discussing things with the Quorum. This left Adama and Roslin to talk. "Feeling up to getting back on the job?"

"No," Roslin admitted. "I 've thought about just giving it to Baltar." She held a hand up. "Don't worry, Bill, I'm not. I have to go on and do what I can for our people."

Adama nodded.

"You trusted them," Roslin said. "Despite everything that's happened, you trusted them."

"Yes." Adama found a seat. "I admit that it didn't look like the smartest choice, but it was the right one."

"I agree." Roslin nodded. "I've made some mistakes, Bill."

"We all have."

"But mine were worse. The idea of questioning what I've believed for so long, it made me take bad decisions. By all rights I should be dead because of them." Roslin blinked. "That Cylon woman would have had every right to deny letting them use her baby for my treatment. I mean, I tried to kill her baby. By the Gods, Bill, why was I so scared that I ordered something like that?"

"We all were," Adama answered her. "There's no telling what a half-Cylon child means for us."

"Still..." Roslin shook her head. "Things have to change. We've been so scared that we haven't dared to really hope for something better, and we almost lost our first real hope since the attack. We can't do that again. We can't afford it. These people are our best hope, even if they're not the Thirteenth Tribe, even if Earth is our homeworld or whatever else we have wrong about our past." She seemed to search for more thoughts, but her fatigue was clearly getting the better of her. "Thank you for trusting them, Bill. Thank you for avoiding my mistake."

Adama nodded quietly. "You should get some rest," he said. "We need you back to full health." After she nodded and laid back down Adama stood up to leave. He had a few things to arrange in CIC first, but after that he was due on the Aurora. He had something he needed to do.




Baltar returned to his lab and sighed. Roslin had survived. He wasn't going to take a leadership position he wasn't sure he wanted. Everything had come out quite alright, all he needed to do now was get ready for the next Quorum session with Captain Dale and....

"You fool."

The voice made him spin and face the frowning visage of the Cylon in his head. She was dressed more modestly than usual; she wasn't here to tittilate him. "Pardon?", he asked.

"Meridina is still alive," the head Cylon said. "She's still a threat to you."

Baltar rolled his eyes. "Listen, with what happened I couldn't exactly demand we continue trying her. Zarek carried a majority in the Quorum."

"You didn't even try!"

"Why?" Baltar walked around the table and glared at her. "Why is this woman supposed to die? Why are you so determined to kill her? Why do the Cylons want her dead more than they would want to kill Adama or me?"

"Because God demands it," the head Cylon hissed. "Her kind are the enemies of God. His plan requires her death."

"What Plan? How is she an enemy of God? This doesn't make sense!"

That lovely face contorted in anger and Baltar expected to get yanked by the tie again. But slowly she seemed to control her anger. "I understand, Gaius. Your means are limited. God understands." She smiled thinly and put a finger on him. "God will ensure shhe does not meddle with the Plan. Meanwhile..." She looked down and away from him. Baltar followed her eyes.

She was looking at the sealed letter Roslin had left for him earlier in the week.

"...I wonder what President Roslin had to say?", the head Cylon cooed. "Maybe you should open it..."




Adama went over on a Raptor to the Aurora, piloting it himself. He landed in the fighter recovery bay along the top of the drive hull and received instructions from there to his destination.

The medbay of the Aurora looked almost alien to him. Displays were built into the walls, the beds weren't the same, and the signs of the high technology of the Alliance were everywhere. He was met at the door by Commander Meridina. "Feeling better?", he asked her.

"Yes," she answered, smiling slightly. "They're ready for you."

"Thank you," he answered, moving past her. A dark-skinned nurse that Meridina referred to as Nasri showed him to a wing. On one bed he saw Lieutenant Barnes, now pouring over a PADD and looking mostly recovered, and on the other was Lieutenant Delgado. She didn't look too bad now, with only a little bruising, but Adama had seen an image of her after the Pegasus crew had abused her. The security camera picture hadn't been pretty.

Seated beside Caterina, Angel Delgado was in her predominately black duty uniform with olive brown tactical trim. The others were still in civilian clothes. And all looked intently at Adama. "Lieutenant Barnes, Lieutenant Delgado." Adama put his hands behind him. His expression remained reserved and his voice firm as he spoke. "I've come to thank you for the help you have provided to the Fleet, and to issue my personal apology for the injuries you received when you were taken into custody during this past crisis. It was never my intention that any of you be harmed. And I know that it was a violation of your good will to seize you while you were giving us aid. On behalf of the Colonies, of the Colonial Fleet, and of myself, I am sorry. I ask for your forgiveness."

Angel was staring daggers at him. Cat slowly looked at him, clearly uncomfortable with making eye contact. She swallowed. "I.... thank you for the apology, Admiral Adama. I forgive you."

Hearing Cat's reply, Barnes remained quiet for another moment, pretending that he was focused on his personal reader. He set it down and sighed. "Sure. I'm not happy with you people, but at least you're admitting that you frakked things up with us. Apology accepted and you've got my forgiveness. Just don't frakking shoot me again." He returned to his PADD.

Adama nodded. He turned to face Meridina. "I'm sorry for any discomfort we caused you, Commander."

Meridina nodded. "And I am sorry for not attempting diplomacy with you and President Roslin first. Had I done so, perhaps this matter would have been handled without violence."

"Apology accepted," Adama said happily.

Angel slid off the bed. "I'd like to ask you something, Admiral," she said. Her voice was a little flat, almost emotionless. Meridina cast a look at her, full of worry and concern. She knew that the voice was deceptive in what was really going on in Angel's heart.

Adama looked to her and nodded. "Your question, Lieutenant?"

"Who hurt my little sister?", Angel asked.

"Crewmembers aboard Pegasus, who are being disciplined for their behavior," Adama answered.

"That's not what I asked." Angel drew closer. Barely-contained rage was starting to drip into her words. "Who is responsible for my little sister getting beaten? I want to know."

Adama looked over the young woman. She reminded him of Kara with her body language, all angry tension and raw physicality. He knew that she wouldn't be satisfied with his answer, or any other answer he was enjoined to give. She wanted names. She wanted something to grasp.

So he gave her a different answer.

"As Admiral of the Colonial Fleet, I am responsible for the conduct of the men and women under my command." He leaned in toward her, given his slight height advantage, to look her eye to eye. "So if you want to hold someone responsible, you'll have to settle for me."

Angel was quiet for a moment. "Fair enough."

The next thing Adama knew, his back was hitting the wall behind him hard. Pain shot through his face as he slid to a sitting position against the wall. He brought a hand up to his face and felt blood trickle from his lip and nose, the result of Angel's fist slamming into the space at his nose and mouth. He cracked a grin. Damn, she is fast, was his thought. He barely remembered seeing the punch as more than a blur.

"Woh," Barnes said, peaking over his digital display. Cat said nothing.

Meridina gave Angel a dissatisfied look. "Was that truly necessary?", she asked.

"Yes," Angel replied laconically, returning to her sister's side.

Meridina sighed and offered Adama a hand. "My apologies Admiral," she said. "I shall take you to get medical attention."

"It's fine," he answered, rubbing at his jaw. He followed Meridina out off the room. "Remind me to invite the Lieutenant to Galactica for fight night. A punch like that should make her a regular."




Tag



Two days later, Adama, Lee, Kara, and Colonel Fisk were assembled in the Aurora conference room with the senior officers of the ship. "We've finished integrating the sensor systems," Adama said. "Both of our Battlestars have the promised scanning ability."

"Good," Robert answered. "Now as for parts..."

"I've got a question." Kara held a hand up, but only after speaking. Eyes turned toward her. "It's all nice and cuddly to cooperate over this stuff, but the fact is we need more help than this. We've got people back on the Colonies who are still alive, fighting the Cylons. But they're not going to last much longer."

"We've gone over this, Captain Thrace," Adama said, a little exasperation evident in his voice. "It's too far away. Too many jumps, not enough fuel, and the Cylon fleet would be ready to attack us."

"Maybe we have another way," Zack said. "I mean, I can take Koenig in close under cloak and..."

"Going by starmaps, the Colonies are another two weeks away at maximum warp," Locarno said. "You're talking about spending that much time stuffed to the gills iwth people, if there are any more left."

"So we're just supposed to forget they exist," Kara scoffed. "We can be there in hours with Cylon jump drives. And..."

"Wait." Caterina held a hand up. Robert pointed to her. "The Cylons can jump further than you, but that's not from better drives, is it? I mean, they're not any more robust, they just have the means to calculate further jumps."

"Yes."

"Then the answer is perfect," Caterina said, smiling. "We use the Aurora computers and the long range probe data to calculate jumps even further than the Cylons. It'd shave a lot of time off."

"That would require having the Aurora joining the expedition," Lee pointed out. "Unless you have the means to build us better astrogation computers."

"We only have so much raw material for computer parts," Barnes said.

"Aye, and we've used some already for th' shield systems an' sensors," Scott added.

Kara frowned. "So we're back to not doing anything for all of the people back there? Admiral, remember..."

"I know they helped you and Helo, but we just don't have the means," Adama said bluntly. "Your plan would require about every Raptor we had left.."

"Why can't we just put a jump drive on the Aurora?", Caterina asked. Everyone looked at her and her shyness made her blush. "I-I mean... w-we find some ast-asteroids, b-build some w-with raw ma-material..."

"Nice thinking, Cat," Zack said to her, smiling.

Julia raised an eyebrow and looked at Robert. "Tom, Scotty?", she asked.

"Well, we did put in some spare space to accept secondary drives," Barnes admitted. "I mean, Farmer did, given all of the data the Facility had on higher bands of hyperspace. I suppose we could install a jump drive."

"Aye, but th' power, lad, th' power we'd need tae make these jumps." Scotty shook his head. "We'd have tae disconnect th' warp drive an' power our jumps directly from th' main reactors."

"So we couldn't use warp and jumps at the same time?", Robert asked.

"Nae sir, not at all."

"And it would take hours to change all the connections back and forth," Barnes continued. "Even with every engineering and operations hand on task, it would take a while, too long to switch back and forth."

"I see." Robert scratched at his chin. "Still..."

"Building a jump drive large enough for this ship would require a yard," Colonel Fisk said, smirking. "It's not happening out here."

"Why not build it on Cloud Nine?", Cat asked. "It's got a lot of internal space..."

"Carefully designed artificial garden space," Fisk clarified. "Building a drive there would expose the environment to all sorts of toxic materials."

"So that plan won't work anyway," Zack lamented.

"Well, actually..." Cat had stopped stuttering, but with everyone looking at her again it came back. "Th-there is a-another pos-possibility."

"Yes, Lieutenant?', Adama asked directly.

"If we h-had a d-drive already b-built.... we could j-just beam i-it in and in-install it..."

"I can't risk pulling any drives off our ships," Adama answered.

"So we don't," Zack suggested. He looked to Kara, who smiled widely as she realized what he was thinking. "We get the drives we need by another route."

"That is?", Adama asked.

"Simple." Zack put his hand on the table. "The Cylons have been hunting you, right? I say we return the favor. We hunt them and take the drives from their Baseships. They should be large enough for Aurora."

Robert and Julia looked at each other and then Adama. "It's awfully risky, Commander," Adama said. "But it's not impossible."

"Hunt down the Cylons and steal one of their drives," Julia asked him in a deadpan tone of voice.

"Yes. That's what we should do," Zack said. "We cripple their ship, take it over, install the drive, and boom, the Aurora can jump. Then we can lead some of the fleet back to the Colonies and rescue anyone we find that's still alive."

"Oh, I like it," Kara said.

"I like it too," Lee said, looking at his father. "On top of rescuing people, it might give us a better look at the extent of the Cylons' forces."

"I'll have to get approval of the mission from Portland," Robert said. "But the chance to get a clearer picture of what they're doing on your Homeworlds, that should convince President Morgan and Admiral Maran."

"So it's a plan?", Julia asked. "We hunt the Cylons down, take a drive from one of their Basestars, and head back to get survivors?"

Adama nodded, seeing Kara smiling widely and looking particularly happy with Zack. "It's a plan," he agreed.

"Well." Robert smiled slightly. "Let's get started on it."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-07 09:33pm

Teaser

The Starship Koenig twisted in space, her dorsal phaser blazing away at Cylon raiders on her tail. The ship completed its maneuver and turned slightly to face its main target: a Cylon Basestar. One of three in the immediate area. Missiles and railgun rounds from the ship lashed out at the smaller Koenig, which maneuvered sharply with rolls and turns to avoid most of the hits. Blue energy shined against the hull from full hits and bright blasts from proximity nuclear initiations.

"Shields holding at sixty percent," Magda reported from Operations.

Zack nodded, keeping his focus on the fight. "Status of the fighters?"

"No friendly casualties yet."

"Good. Sherlily, prepare to lower dorsal shields." Zack reached down and punched his intercom. "This is Carrey. Are you ready, Commander Meridina?"

"We are, Commander," Meridina answered.

"You heard the lady, Ap." Zack pressed the comm button. "Captain Adama, we're ready."

"We read you, Koenig," Lee answered. "All Vipers form on me."

"Extend shields around our fighters," Zack ordered.

With Lee's Vipers flying close escort, Koenig moved in close to the Basestar. Around them other Vipers and the Mongoose fighters from the Aurora were steadily eliminating the Cylon fighters.

Apley's expert piloting kept most hits from striking them. Lee's pilots matched his maneuvers closely, keeping their vulnerable fighters within the extended shields. They gave suppressing fire that shot down several of the Cylon missiles before they could get close while Koenig's blazing phaser cannons took out more. A spread of solar torpedoes raced across the distance and smashed into one of the arms of the Cylon Basestar. Explosions rippled up and down the arm and its weapon emplacements went silent.

"Drop shields! Commence beaming!"

For several seconds, Koenig was vulnerable to enemy fire as she sent boarding teams over to the Cylon ship components. Missile and rail gun fire converged on the ship and was fought back by the escorting fighters and Koenig's own weapons. Nevertheless the ship rocked violently as one nuke got through and initiated on its armored hull. Powerful rounds slammed into the housing of the port nacelle.

Magda finally brought the shields back up. "Transport complete," she reported. "Shields are holding at forty-five percent. We have minor damage on all decks, partial armor loss on Deck 2 starboard section, and some damage to the port nacelle housing."

Zack gritted his teeth. That was too close. "What about the engines?"

"Warp drive inoperable."

"Not surprising," he muttered. He hit the intercom button. "Bridge to Engineering. Derbely, I need shield power back."

"I'm on it!"




"Shields still holding at ninety percent," Jarod said on the [i}Aurora[/i] bridge.

"And Pegasus?"

"Their shields are at eighty percent."

On the viewscreen phaser fire from the Aurora sliced along the arm of one of the Cylon Basestars. Weapons fire receded from the enemy ship. "Over seventy percent of Basestar Bravo's weapons are now offline," Angel said.

"Excellent. Prepare to lower shields." Robert hit his intercom. "Commander Kane, we're about to send you over."

"We're ready, bridge."

The Aurora traded shots with the other Basestar, which was focusing on them almost exclusively now, freeing Pegasus to use the transporters rigged into their ship to send Marine teams to do the same job. At the right time Jarod dropped the shields and the Aurora beamed the strike team over.

"Let's get these ships disarmed and disabled," Robert said. "We've got a schedule to keep."




Undiscovered Frontier
"Necessary Risks"



Ship's Log: 9 June 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. We have successfully completed our attack on the Cylon Basestars shadowing the Colonial Fleet. Although we took a few casualties in the battle, we gained our primary objective by salvaging enough parts out of the Cylon ships' drives to build a jump drive for the use of the Aurora. Soon we will know for sure on whether we can bring the [i]Aurora with the raid on the Colonial Homeworlds.[/i]

Robert sipped at the morning coffee that was waking him up before looking back at his panel screen, where Admiral Maran was looking at him. "The engineering teams are working with their Colonial counterparts to put the pieces together for one intact jump drive. The trick is going to be the course calculations more than anything. Our Darglan computers are powerful enough to lengthen the jump range beyond the Cylon standard. Jarod and Cat are crunching the numbers now."

"I see." Maran nodded. "President Morgan has okayed the operation."

"That's good to know. Even if we save just a few thousand.... it should really improve morale for the Fleet to get survivors from their homeworlds." Robert set his coffee down. "President Roslin has asked me about the relief convoy."

"Princess Syrina cleared it with the Council of State yesterday. First Minister Henzi is going to require some of what President Morgan called 'horse-trading'." Maran smiled with contemplation at the intricacies of the politics of the Dorei Federation and its 185 nations. "But we should have a convoy ready to go out by the end of the month."

"It's going to take them the better part of a month just to get here," Robert mused. "Can we really stay out this far until late July?"

"Probably not. Honestly, Captain, the President is already planning on ordering you to get back here by the start of next month." Maran's expression hardened. "Admiral Lithgon has reported increased Reich activity on their end of the Krellan Nebula. They're using the nebula's sensor shadow to obscure some of their ship movements."

"What about probes? Cloaked ships?" Robert frowned. "You could call in the Weaver or the Rodriguez."

"We're not willing to poke at the Nazis again. Not after what happened with your ship. We're still trying to get them to talk but all we've gotten is silence." Maran shook his head. "It doesn't look good, Robert. The more this situation lasts, the more I'm convinced that we're going to have a war."

Robert winced. "We'll try to get this operation wrapped up quickly."

"Good." Maran held up a PADD. "Now, about your other matter. Commander Carrey's transfer request. I have a few questions from you on this situation..."




Robert, Julia, and Zack were waiting in the shuttle bay for the arrival of the shuttle from Galactica. Behind them Commander Kane and an honor guard of Marines were standing with rifles at parade rest. A newly-replicated copy of the Colonial flag - or rather the Colonial bird-insignia seal on a flag - was held up by one of Kane's honor guard while another held the Alliance flag.

"Seems rather silly to go through all of this for a strategy conference," Zack whispered to the others.

"Orders are orders. Extend full courtesies," Julia replied. "That means we follow protocol on visiting government dignitaries."

"Right." Zack sighed. He briefly fidgeted with the golden tassels hanging from the epaulets of his dress uniform jacket. "So we're wearing dress uniforms for a standard meeting."

"Yes. Now shush."

Julia hushed him for good reason, as the door on the shuttle opened. Admiral Adama stepped out with his son Lee, Captain Kara Thrace, and Colonel Fisk behind him. Tom Zarek and Dr. Baltar emerged next.

They felt some surprise at seeing President Roslin up and about as well. Or at least she was for stepping down. Her aide Billy Keikaya came up behind her with a wheelchair that she settled into. After she did so she looked around at the shuttle bay.

"Permission to come aboard, Captain?", Roslin asked.

"Granted. President Roslin, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you aboard the Aurora," Robert said to the woman who just a week before had caused two of his friends to get hurt and had nearly started a shooting war between them. It made him grateful that he left Angel on bridge watch. She didn't forgive so easily.

"Thank you, Captain Dale." She nodded and smiled thinly at the assemblage. She was already looking healthier after a week of treatment by Leo and Doctor Cottle. The cancer that had nearly killed her was in complete remission and anti-cancer treatments were underway to kill it permanently. "I admit I'm still rather weak from my recovery. As much as I would like a tour of your ship, I think we should get down to business."

"Commander Jarod and Lieutenant Delgado are waiting for us," Robert answered.




The command crew of the Aurora and Koenig were gathered with Roslin and the Colonial contingent in Briefing Room 2. A set of curved tables were arranged in a circle around each other with a holographic projector in the middle. The two groups sat in their listed spots while Jarod went to the holoprojector. "Madame President, Admiral Adama, Captain Dale." Jarod nodded at them. "We've been going over the data from the long range probes that came into proximity of the Helios systems." He tapped a key and brought up a holographic space map. Icons lit up on both sides. "We're here." He indicated one icon with the Alliance torch insignia and the Colonial seal side-by-side. On the other end was a larger Colonial seal. Around it small dots glimmered in the holographic projection, with a few more visible between the two icons. Small red markers popped up at a few points along the way. "Going by the records from the Galactica and what we can piece together from the destroyed Cylon force, the Cylon fleet is currently located in these areas."

"A search pattern," Adama said, noticing the layout of the purported Cylon fleets. "They're out looking for us."

Jarod looked to Caterina. She swallowed and nodded. "Space is too big. And what we've seen of their sensors means they don't have the means to scan long-range for the Fleet."

"They've probably relied upon Cylon infiltrators to keep them informed of our movements."

"That's our best guess." Jarod nodded. "And since we can find them now, their ability to pass information on is limited."

"It's going to take a while to use those hand scanners on everyone in the Fleet," Adama remarked. "Have you made any headway on using ship sensors to locate Cylons?"

"No sir," Cat said simply. She licked her lip. It was very apparent that Cat was speaking carefully and deliberately. "The sensors for detecting life don't let us scan for their insulation. At least, they don't yet."

"How long would it take for you to make that work, Lieutenant Delgado?", Roslin asked.

Roslin's voice was, if not friendly, at least gentle in tone. She clearly recognized Caterina and Adama noticed the slight change in her expression, the guilt at knowing what had been done to the brilliant young Alliance science officer and how it was due to her orders.

Nevertheless Caterina, who had so far managed to control her shyness, clearly started to lose her control. "W-well, Ma-Madame President," Caterina stammered. "It's a m-matter of...."

"It's an issue of resolution, Madame President," Jarod finished for Cat, looking at her with understanding and concern. "The sensor we developed for Cylon detection relies on ultra-fine resolutions to detect the tell-tale signs of a Cylon in biological form. Ship-based sensors aren't made for that kind of resolution at that scale, just as how our ship-mounted sensors didn't detect your cancer."

Roslin nodded. "I see. Can these technical limitations be overcome?"

"We would have to build an entirely new sensor system," Jarod answered. "That takes time."

"So that solution is out, then," Zarek sighed. "We're stuck with the hand scanners. And any Cylons left will go out of their way to avoid them."

"Maybe we can install versions of the scanners at chokepoints on every ship," Meridina suggested.

Jarod nodded. "That we can do."

"Then it's something the Fleet will implement with your assistance, Captain Dale," Roslin said. "However, I would like to return to the issue of this operational plan that Captain Thrace and Commander Carrey have been proposing."

There were nods. Zack and Kara stood up and walked over to join Jarod. "Lieutenant Delgado and I have been analyzing the drives and their physical limits. Since the real limitation is how accurately computers can control the jump effect to certain distances, our ability to apply the processing power of the Aurora's computer cores allows us to plot jumps even further than the Cylons."

"How much further?", Adama asked.

"Around fifty percent," Caterina answered, having found her voice. And very deliberately keeping her eyes off Roslin. "Maybe seventy-five percent with our most optimistic projections."

Lee looked at his father. "We could jump back to the Colonies in about six jumps that way."

"As few as four if our best estimates prove true," Caterina confirmed.

"What if we have a jump miscalculation?", Fisk asked.

"We use subspace transmissions," Jarod answered. "And we calculate a rendezvous point."

Adama nodded. "And if things go south we can always abort and form back at the Fleet."

"Just how much force are we taking for this?", Zarek asked. "Are we going to leave the Fleet undefended?"

"No." Adama shook his head. "Galactica will remain behind to cover the Fleet. I'll transfer my flag to Pegasus for the operation."

"And who's going to be in charge?", Baltar asked.

Robert looked at Adama and nodded. "As far as we're concerned, you're an allied force, and the military chain of command is clear. For this operation I consider myself under Admiral Adama's command."

"Thank you, Captain." Adama nodded to the officers in the center area. "Captain Thrace, Commander Carrey, now that we know we can do this, can you tell us what we're doing?"

Kara looked at Zack, who nodded and hit a key on the holo display. A series of points linked the Fleet to the Colonies. "It's a smash and grab," Kara said.

Zack hit another key to show an icon representing the attack force jumping across the points. "We jump in, scan for life signs, and then beam as many people as we can off each of the Colonies before the Cylons can react."

"Given the speed of their communications and jump drives, they'll react pretty quickly," Julia pointed out. "They'll swarm us."

"That's why we split up," Zack continued. "Pegasus and Koenig will cover one group and Aurora the other. And if the Cylons react in force, the Aurora will move to engage. We've already seen that the Cylon Basestars don't have the firepower to hurt this ship."

"You can't jump frequently, though," Adama pointed out. "Once the Aurora is committed to one area, she's stuck there until the drives can spool back up."

"Yeah, I know." Zack looked at Jarod. "How long would it take for warp to be restored?"

"Going by what Scotty's been saying?" Jarod shook his head. "Hours. Unless we rework the drives in a yard, the reconfiguration is manual. Even with every member of engineering and operations on hand, we're looking at two hours for a switchover. An hour if Scotty pulls a miracle."

"Knowing Mister Scott, he may just do that," Robert said. "But I don't like the thought of having to wait that long. Unless we absolutely have to, we'll stick to using the jump drive exclusively for this operation. Which means we need... how long?"

"If you keep the drives spooled up, you can do it every ten minutes or so," Lee said. "But that will wear the drive out."

"And we're already cobbling it together from the remains of three different Cylon capital drives." Jarod nodded. "So we can only keep the drive spooled up for so long. I'd suggest that before our final jump we take a few hours of downtime to run drive checks on all ships."

"I have a question," Baltar said. He shifted forward in his seat. "Commander, Captain, have you given any thought to how many people we can reasonably bring back? If we run out of room from the first Colonies we go to, we could end up leaving people from the other Colonies behind. This could be a political nightmare for the Fleet if some Colonies get more people rescued than others."

"A good point, Doctor," Zack conceded. "That's why we want to get volunteers from the Fleet."

"Excuse me?", Roslin asked.

"We'll ask some of the larger passenger-carrying ships to join our rescue fleet," Kara clarified. "The more volunteers we get, the more space we have for people we get off the Colonies."

"And we're just supposed to risk all of those civilians?", Balter asked pointedly.

Zack shook his head. "Honestly I doubt we'll get that many ships. And we can't accept any that provide a vital service to the Fleet. What few we do get, well... we temporarily evacuate the people living on those ships to the ships remaining behind. Cloud Nine alone has all the space we need. Between that and Galactica's unused hanger, that's space for thousands at least."

"When it comes to bringing people back from the Colonies, the Aurora has space for thousands of refugees," Julia added. "Captain Farmer estimated we could bring aboard twelve and a half thousand without overloading the ship. For a short time we could probably double that."

"That alone would be about half of our population," Roslin noted. "Finding all of those people places to stay is going to be... difficult."

"We could always bring some back with us," Robert noted. "There are refugee stations and camps that could accept them until we find you a planet to settle."

Roslin nodded. "I see."

"So we're not landing on any of the Colonies?", Zarek asked. "We're just using the matter transporters? Are we putting them on each individual ship?"

"We can rig some transporters on each ship that volunteers, yes," Robert said. "And assign transporter control officers to operate them. It might slow down our operations, but transporter operations training is universal throughout our engineering and ship operations departments and preferred in several other fields. Even trainee officers could handle some of the load, so long as we're not making them get too fancy."

"If we do have to land, I suggest we have Marines on standby," Commander Kane said. "Just in case of the unexpected."

"Agreed," Adama said. "We'll coordinate with you on that. Are there any more questions?"

There were none for the moment. "Then President Roslin and I will deliberate on whether to launch this operation or not," Adama said. "Expect our answer by tomorrow. You're all dismissed."




Once everyone was out of the room, Caterina leaned against one of the tables and let out a nervous breath. "Everything okay?" She turned her head and saw Jarod was standing by the door.

Caterina shook her head. "Not really," she admitted. "I thought I was doing well. But..." She plopped into one of the chairs. "She's the reason I got beaten. I can't get that out of my head. Why did they have to hurt me?" Tears were forming in her eyes. "I w-was just th-there to help t-them..."

Jarod took a seat opposite from Caterina's. "I know."

"A-and they sh-shot Tom..." Caterina sniffled and wiped at her right eye. "I'm sorry, I, I just..." When he didn't say anything she continued. "Look at m-me. I'm b-being a big ba-baby."

"You went through something horrible. It takes time to come to grips with that."

"Be-being a sh-shrink again?", Cat asked him. "Mister Pre-Pretender?"

"Don't need to go into that to know what's hurting you," Jarod answered. "You just have to understand that it's okay to be upset about it. You're not being a big baby, Cat, you're just a very sensitive young lady."

"Maybe too sensitive..." Cat had managed to get her sniffling under control by this point. "What am I going to do? I keep falling to pieces. I can't be like this and do this work. Maybe I should just leave..."

"You're stronger than you think, Cat." He patted her on the back. "Listen, why don't you take the rest of the day? Lieutenant Lumwe needs a bridge watch for training anyway."

Cat nodded. "He can have it. But I need to get back to work."

"We've done all the preliminary calculations for the planned jumps," Jarod pointed out. "We really don't need to do any more until we get final confirmation of when we're launching."

"Not this," Cat answered. "It's the data from that Darglan database we recovered in S4W8. We got a lot of raw astrographical data as well as a few new universal coordinates to try out. I'm hoping some of the data will lead us to their Facility in S4W8." She lowered her eyes. "It would at least be something after that mission went so badly."

Jarod sighed and nodded. "Yeah, you're right about that. Want any help?"

"You're going to have your hands full helping Scotty and Tom get that jump drive installed," Caterina pointed out. "I'll be fine." She wiped away the last tear in her eye. "I promise."

Jarod nodded and gave her a pat on the arm. Cat stood and walked out of the conference room.




With the bridge watch over and his official day wrapping up, Robert returned to his quarters and went over the final bits of paperwork so helpfully sent down to him by Julia. He went from scowling to amusement before finishing.

He had just filed the last report when the door opened. Angel walked in, still in uniform. Robert rose from his chair and met her just past the door. It was closed by the time they embraced and their lips met in a quick kiss. "Hey. Nice day?"

"Yeah," she said, smiling slightly. "Actually, I was pretty mad at things today, but shooting up Cylon Basestars in the tactical simulations let me vent."

"Ah, good." Robert gestured to the table. "I figured we'd decide on dinner when you got here and then..."

"...actually, I'm just coming by to pick up a couple of things," Angel said. "Cat's still having trouble sleeping so I'm going to spend a few nights with her."

Robert blinked and nodded. "Oh. Alright." He nodded. "Yeah, if she needs you that's the best thing to do."

"And yet you sound disappointed," Angel noted.

He sighed in reply. "Yeah, I guess I am. I was looking forward to spending the evening with you just in case we're running off to the Colonies tomorrow."

"Ah." Angel nodded. "Well, I can't blame you. Carpe diem was pretty much my argument for us getting back together, after all." She settled into the chair for the moment. "But Cat's still.... Rob, you didn't see her...."

"I saw the pictures," he answered, shuddering.

"Even that wasn't enough," Angel said. "They beat her so badly, I mean, Leo was considering surgery to fix her face if he couldn't repair the damage." She glanced out the windows. "And here we are, being buddy-buddy with them again."

Robert could hear the edge in her voice. "Angel, some of them did that. But that doesn't mean they're all guilty. I mean... from what Lucy says, it was Captain Thrace that stopped the beating. And she's the one pushing this mission."

"Yeah." Angel clenched a fist. "Yeah, I know. But it doesn't change the fact that they hurt her, Rob, and I wasn't there to stop them. I'm supposed to protect Cat. For God's sake, she's all I have left!"

A stab of irritation went through Robert. What about us? Don't you have me too? But he didn't give voice to it. Not just because he knew it would be wrong to say it, but because... did she really have him in the same way her sister was hers? As in family? The two of them were a couple, but he couldn't lie to himself on how close they were, or rather, how not close they were. Since they'd gotten back together Robert had been waiting for the day the other shoe dropped. "I know. Angel, I know how much your little sister means to you, and how much she looks to you. Give her as much time as she needs. I'm just asking you not to take things out on the Colonials."

Angel looked beyond him. Robert watched her wrestle with her emotions. "Yeah, you're right," she conceded. She stood up and went to the nightstand where her things were kept in a drawer. She pulled out the small carrying bag she'd brought them in and started putting them back. "I need to get going to make sure Cat gets a good supper before she goes to bed tonight. You'll be all right?"

"I'll be fine," Robert assured her.

"That's good to hear." She finished zipping the bag up and walked beside him. Angel leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Love you."

"Love you too," Robert called back to her as she went to the door. He said nothing more as she left.




Adama had a restless night. He didn't get many restful ones these days, of course, but this one stood out. The questions weighing on his mind demanded he consider every angle. Every potential issue.

On the one hand, he owed it to the Fleet to protect them. If this adventure went south, the Fleet would lose Pegasus. Galactica alone could only do so much against Cylon forces and being overwhelmed was a distinct, and frightening, possibility.

On the other hand… ever since Starbuck had returned from Caprica with news of survivors, Adama had felt gnawing frustration that he could do nothing to come to their rescue. And they deserved that. Leaving someone behind… it struck at the very core of his feelings, no matter how often he had felt it necessary.

But it wasn't necessary here. Now he had a powerful asset that they could use to rescue thousands of Colonial citizens on the Colonies and give the Cylons a real bloody nose too.

How could he pass that up?

When morning came he went to the VIP cabin that Roslin was staying in while finishing her treatments with Cottle. She was looking a bit healthier today. But Adama could see the lines on her face from a night of worrying. "Did you have any better sleep than I did, Bill?", she asked him.

"Not likely," he admitted.

"It's a big decision. Risk the security of the fleet to maybe save a few thousand survivors." Roslin remained silent for several moments. "If you had asked me to authorize this two weeks ago, I would have said 'no' right out. Even with the Aurora available."

"I'll stand by your decision," Adama assured her. "Whichever way you go."

"I know." She nodded. "The damnedest thing is… my head is telling me I should say no. That we should be satisfied with what we've managed to walk away with."

"I know the feeling."

"...but I can't get that ship out of my head, Bill. Every time I think about the Aurora, I start to feel hope like I haven't felt in… a very long time." Roslin drew in a sigh. "And I can't just listen to my head on this one."

Adama waited expectantly for what she was to say next.

"You've got my permission, Bill," Roslin said. "Find as many of our people as you can and bring them back. May the Gods be with you."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-08 01:52pm

Once word came down from Roslin the Aurora crew got to work. Every engineer and operations officer with the necessary aptitude began to take the assembled engine and, with input from the engineering officers sent by Galactica and Pegasus (in a bemusing reversal of the ships' prior roles), prepare them for operation. The warp drive was carefully disconnected from the ship's power systems in order to power the stolen Cylon jump engine. Gardner from Pegasus oversaw the process of replicating whatever parts they had not been able to salvage from the Cylon ships.

Robert was waiting in his ready room going over the usual reports and paperwork demanded of him when Julia entered. "They're almost ready," she said. "Scotty wants to do a test jump in two hours."

"Right. He says it will work?"

"If it doesn't, the safeties will kick in. And Jarod's confident that there are no reasons it wouldn't work."

That prompted a nod. "Well, if he is…"

Julia took a seat and crossed her arms. "Having second thoughts?"

For a moment he said nothing. But as he collected his thoughts, Robert finally nodded. "Yeah, a little," he admitted. "We're going to be plunging into the heart of Cylon-held territory using a drive cobbled together from battle salvage and some guesswork. We have no idea on the actual strength off the Cylon forces in the Colonies. And even if we prevail, we won't be able to get everyone."

"Unless there aren't many left to get," Julia noted. "But I get your point."

"And there's no telling what effect it would have on the Fleet if we have a disproportionate number of people from some Colonies over others. We could be introducing major political instability in their system.."

Julia nodded at that. She had made similar calculations. "Those are all good points. But I think the potential benefits make it worth the risk. The Fleet will get a morale boost from this. And it will give us a better look at Cylon capabilities."

"And it might convince the Cylons to be less intrusive on our frontier," Robert noted. "It could buy us time. Especially with the Nazi situation."

Despite everything, Julia could tell he was distracted by something. And it wasn't too hard to guess. "Everything okay with Angel?"

"Why wouldn't it be?"

"Because you seem distracted," Julia answered.

"Nothing much to say. Things are going steady. She's not staying with me at the moment, Caterina is still recovering so Angel wanted to stay with her a few nights."

"Ah." Julia had no immediate reaction to that. She had some thoughts on the matter, of course, but nothing to share. Especially not with Robert. "And yet you seem a little put off."

"I suppose," he admitted. "But it's not important. Especially not when you consider what we're about to get up too."

"Right." Julia stood from her chair. "Well, I need to go have a talk with Jarod about how many of his ops people will need to be assigned to the Colonial ships that are volunteering to join us. Meridina and Kane will be assigning personnel to assist and scan for Cylons."

"It makes me wish we had brought more personnel," Robert sighed. "Or had more time to train Adama's people."

"We don't always have the luxury of time," Julia noted. "So, let's make the best of it."

That prompted a thought from Robert. On what he had discussed with Maran. "As for making the best of things," he began, "I'd like to get your opinions on something I'm discussing with Maran. It's about Zack's request."

Julia's face made it clear how she felt about Zack's imminent departure. "Alright, I'm listening."




Meridina waited patiently for her chance to see Robert while final preparations for departure were made. Security teams had to be assembled, arms distributed, assignments made… it was the the part of this position that she had heard the others call the "paperwork tyranny". Monotonous, surely, if necessary to keep organization going strong.

Once this process was complete Meridina was able to meet with Robert. in his office. He nodded to her and asked, "Meridina, I guess everything is ready on your end?"

"It is," she said. "But I have a request to make."

"Yes?"

"I would like to stay with the Refugee Fleet."

Robert stared at her for a moment. He would be wondering about her motives, obviously. And wondering why she would stay when they could use her help. "May I ask why?"

"It is… a feeling," she said.

"Ah. One of those feelings then?" Robert sighed. "Meridina, this is going to be hard for me to justify…."

"Not necessarily," she said. "President Roslin and her people could always use assistance in securing the many refugees evacuated to Cloud Nine for this rescue mission. Since my subordinates and Commander Kane have matters well in hand for the rescue, it should not be out of the question that I stay and help President Roslin maintain order."

Robert considered that line of thought. "I'll grant you that it is justifiable there, yeah." He sat forward in his chair. "You think the Cylons still in the Fleet are going to try something?"

"It is not a surprising thought, no," she said. "They know our scanner works They know we will soon be able to detect them across the Fleet. Instead of waiting for the inevitable they may attempt an attack."

"One you can possibly sense coming." Robert contemplated that. He had his own gut feelings on the matter, feelings that said she was right. "Okay. I'll approve it. But I can't leave Lucy with you, she'll be needed here to help with operating the jump drive and the evacuation."

Meridina nodded. "Her training has progressed enough that I believe she can make it on her own for these next few days," Meridina agreed. "I will inform her of what her training requires while alone and then prepare to embark for Cloud Nine."

Robert nodded. "I'll inform Adama and Roslin."




The preparations for the raid had created organized chaos in the fleet. Shuttle after shuttle disgorged residents of several of the Refugee Fleet ships, all tasked to join the Pegasus and Aurora on their expedition. Personnel from Cloud Nine struggled to accommodate the inflow of ship after ship of people displaced, at least temporarily, from their "homes".

Galactica's functioning landing pod was undergoing the same process, with shuttles bringing in loads of refugees to be settled in the starboard module for the time being. Admiral Adama watched this press of bodies continue working their way into the ship and past the Cylon scanners being waved by two technician petty officers. Tigh and Lee stood to either side of him. "Don't you think we should be taking Galactiica instead?", Tigh asked. "Leave Pegasus with the fleet?"

"I want to bring as much force to bear as I can," answered Adama. "Just in case."

"Do you think the Cylons will put up a fight with our new friends around?", Tigh asked.

"They'll have to. Just letting us fly in without resistance will make them look vulnerable to the Alliance."

Lee almost expressed his wish to go with them. Adama nodded at him, he recognized what the look meant. He put a hand on his son's shoulder. "If things go bad, keeping the fleet and President Roslin going will be on you."

"I understand," Lee answered. "We'll follow the course that the Aurora plotted for us and get the Fleet to the safety of their Alliance." Lee reached forward and hugged Adama. "But I'd like it if you were the one leading us there."

Adama nodded. He would have said more but a look at Kara stepping out of a shuttle reminded him they were almost out of time. He gave Lee another pat on the back and excused himself from the two.

"Colonel Fisk and the Pegasus are ready for you, Admiral," she said when he stepped up. "And despite everything, we've got three Alliance technical officers setting up their transporters."

"Good. I don't want any problems." Adama shook his head. "After seeing what they did to Lieutenant Delgado, I'm concerned with the discipline of Cain's people."

"The idea of returning to the Colonies to pick up our people has them excited." Kara climbed into the shuttle beside Adama and took the pilot seat while Adama took to the co-pilot seat. "I don't thnk they'll give us any problems."

Adama answered with a wordless nod. Their shuttle launched from Galactica just behind an empty one going to ferry in another load of evacuees. The shuttle peeled away in a different direction, leaving Adama the sight of the Aurora in her place along Galactica. She looked different, alien, compared to the aesthetic designs of the Colonial ships. As they moved along he was able to watch Koenig make a slow and careful approach to the opened doors of her launch bay. "Hell of a thing," he mused.

"Yeah," Kara agreed. "I always figured this would be a raid on Caprica with a group of Raptors to get a few dozen people. Now we're going back with enough ships to carry out thousands."

"The Cylons won't make it easy."

"Let them try," Kara said. "You saw what the Aurora did to those Basestars."

"I did." But what Adama didn't feel he needed to mention was that the Cylons would learn from that. When they challenged this rescue mission, they would have a plan drawn up to account for the power of the Aurora.




Aboard Cloud Nine, a group of people - lost among the crowds of thousands being set up to live on the ship for the short-term - remained hunkered together in a spare room.

Among them stood Cavil, still in priest garb.

"The scanners are being spread out among the fleet," one of his charges said. "It won't be safe for us much longer."

Cavil nodded. "Regrettably, our effort to drive a wedge between the Human groups has failed."

"Well, we need to do something," another of his followers protested. "They're raiding the Colonies now to free more of their people. The Plan is in jeopardy…"

"The Plan will be completed," Cavil insisted. "As promised."

Another voice spoke up. This from someone wearing the garb of a technician assigned to Galactica. "They have stolen our technology for the new ship to make the jumps. This could be an opportunity."

"It is quite the opportunity, yes…" Cavil nodded and grinned slightly. "And it will be used. As for the rest of us, we must prepare. Our time is short and there is much to be done…"




There was quiet tension on the Aurora bridge when the time for the test came. Everyone was at their assigned stations. "All systems are green," Barnes said from Engineering. "Everything checks out."

"Do we have a destination plotted for our test jump?"

"We're going to make a baby hop first," Jarod said. "Just ten light years."

"Right." Robert nodded. "Whenever you're ready, Jarod, Nick."

The two went to work. "Navigational data loading now. Jump plotting."

"Transferring power to jump drives."

"Course plotted. Feeding to jump controls now."

After several seconds Jarod looked back. "Ready when you are."

Robert wasn't the only one to take in a forced breath. "Here we go," he murmured to himself. And he gave a nod. "Jump."

At the press of a button, power from the Aurora's banks of naqia reactors surged into the giant jump engines assembled in the ship's spare machinery spaces. Energy surged until the drive generated the jump field. In a flash of white light Aurora disappeared from her place among the Refugee Fleet.

On the bridge everyone let out a breath. "So." Robert nodded. "Nothing went wrong."

Jarod chuckled. "Just as I said."

"That was so cool," Caterina added enthusiastically. "That subspace shift, the way it works… I'm going to spend hours going over it! I've got papers to write!"

"Engineering tae Bridge. All systems intact. Th' drive is powered down, spooling up can commence in twenty-five minutes."

"Thank you, Mister Scott," Robert replied. "Jarod, please signal Pegasus with our coordinates."

"Signalling now."

After another forty seconds, several flashes of light filled the holo-viewscreen. Pegasus and over a dozen ships of the Refugee Fleet appeared. Jarod put an incoming hail on speakers. "Congratulations on your first jump, Captain Dale," Admiral Adama said.

"Thank you, Admiral," he answered. "Next time we'll try for a long-distance jump, so long as Mister Jarod and Mister Scott concur."

"It should be no different," Jarod said.

"Aye, sir. Th' principles were th' important part, and we've just confirmed they work. Th' only problems a long range jump cud prove is if th' calculations are off."

"I'm starting them now," Caterina said. "They should be done by the time we jump again."

"Well, good to see everything is getting off to a good start then," Julia mused.

Robert nodded. "Now we just have to keep it that way."




The refugees seemed in fairly good spirits on Cloud Nine, spreading their blankets and mattresses out on the well-kept lawns and over the pavilions of the luxury liner starship as if it were some grand camping experience. Meridina thought of how this might have actually become an improvement for them. They Had spent months living in the cramped quarters on all sorts of starships, after all.

But more to the point, she could sense a change growing in the Fleet's populace. When they had arrived she had felt uncertainty, fear, grief, and anger that sometimes went over the line to hate. The Refugees had been understandably traumatized by their sufferings and it made Meridina's heart ache to consider that suffering. But now there was a gentle thrum of hope and of happiness. The replicator food stores that Captain Dale had arranged for the ships of the Fleet ensured everyone received a full meal, at least. After the regrettable confrontation that Meridina had caused by her actions, it seemed that the Aurora crew had resumed acts of personal charity, sharing little items and luxuries with the suffering co Colonials. This is how a people heal. This is how those falling into Darkness are brought back toward the Light.

"You look content, Commander Meridina."

Meridina turned and faced President Roslin. She was still in a wheelchair from her weakness, but whatever physical issues she had, her spirit seemed to be recovering. This woman, who just a week ago had done the unthinkable, and who had then ordered Meridina's execution without trial, now seemed to appraise her with friendliness, and warmth. Perhaps dashed with guilt, too, given the emotions Meridina felt emanating from the Colonials' ,political leader.

"You don't wear the same uniform as the others?", Roslin asked.

Meridina had, for various reasons, opted not to wear the basic Stellar Navy uniform she typically did in normal duty situations. She was instead clad in the robes and armor of a Gersallian Life swevyras'e, or "Life Force Knight" as Lucy insisted on terming it. "This is my uniform, Madame President," Meridina replied.

Roslin nodded. Meridina was aware she looked out of place with her blue robes over dark purple body armor, with the striped rank insignia of a Lt. Commander on her collar. ""I have heard that your people are considered 'Knights'."

"We are," Meridina said. "Sworn to the Code of Swenya, which has guided us for three thousand years."

Roslin nodded. "Three thousand years…. that would mean your people have been doing this since Kobol was our home."

"It would appear so," Meridina answered. "Although much has changed in those years."

"How is it that your people are not more advanced than this, then? From what I have heard, there are civilizations in this Multiverse that are just as advanced as you but have not had such a long life."

"All civilizations, cultures, and species progress at their own paces, Madame President. We Gersallians tend to believe in contemplation and acceptance of what we have. I have been told this differs us from the Humans we so closely resemble."

"Maybe," Roslin agreed. "

"There are other races besides mine that tend to be slower in advancement," Meridina continued. "Perhaps the longer a race lives, the more patient their members are It is our experience that the Dorei tend to be as impatient and changing as Humans do."

Roslin nodded. "Commander, I have heard stories about your… abilities. Can you tell me why you thought it necessary to stay with the Fleet and not join your ship and crew on the rescue mission?"

Meridina considered that question. She almost prevaricated, but it occurred to her that honesty was a superior policy to such acts; it would inspire trust. "I have uneasy feelings about this, Madame President. I fear that the remnant Cylons in your fleet may attempt something due to the success of our scanner."

"The thought had crossed my mind," Roslin agreed. "Colonel Tigh has Marines on standby if something happens."

"I fear that may be what our foes are relying upon," Meridina admitted. "Their greatest concern must now be your people reaching the safety of our space."

""Yes." Roslin nodded. "I need to go see my people now, Commander. Once again, I thank you for your help, and I am sorry of what came between us."

"Thank you, Madame President. Please, have a pleasant day."

Roslin rolled off in the wheelchair and left Meridina to her thoughts. Through this general brightness, physical and emotional, Meridina thought she could feel a darkness but she wasn't sure. She had to be ready.




Cavil hadn't expected to find dissent among the others. And he had never anticipated the dissent he found from the one he expected to be most willing for his plans.

The Number Six model had adopted a name. Gina. Gina Invieve. And she had suffered horrifically the abuses of Admiral Cain and the crew of the Pegasus.

"This is for the best," he insisted. "If you don't, they'll find you with their new technology. And they'll do it all to you all over again."

Gina didn't look at him. She just kept looking off into space. Beside her were fliers from the Demand Peace movement. "The Plan," she murmured. "What is it?"

"I don't follow," Cavil answered.

"What is the Plan?", Gina asked. "And what has it brought us?"

"It's the Plan of God," Cavil said "The plan to punish those who enslaved and abused us. Who abused you."

"So God demands death?"

"God demands justice. The annihilation of those who believe in false deities."

Gina's eyes looked back to the fliers. "I wanted to hate them all," she said. "For what they did to me. For my suffering."

"They should pay," Cavil insisted.

Gina picked up one of the fliers and held it to Cavil. "Even the ones who wrote this?"

Cavil stared at her. He took the flier and read it. The Demand Peace movement listed out all of the "crimes" that the Colonial society had committed against the Cylons before and during the last war. It spoke of the military causing the Cylon attack, of the military's continued desire to wage a war that could never be won, and how the only hope for peace and the future was to accept the Cylons and make peace with them.

"They only say these things because they know we will annihilate them," Cavil said. "They would never say them otherwise. Cavil threw the flier aside. "You can't abandon the Plan. God's will must be obeyed."

"One of them is the only reason I got away from Cain's torturers," Gina remarked. A haunted look filled her eyes. "I'm just… tired of it all. Tired of the treachery and death. If this is what must be done, I'll do it. She said those words with the lack of conviction that Cavil had been looking - She said those words without any of the conviction Cavil had desired. They weren't the words of a true believer in the Plan of God, simply the saying of someone who looked ready to die.

She will have to be boxed, Cavil thought to himself. He couldn't afford her thinking such things.

The funny thing was that Gina would probably consider that fate a mercy, if it meant an end to her existence.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-09 02:30pm

They were at the last jump before the relief fleet would begin their run around the various Colonies. While Scotty and Barnes attended to checking the jump drive and making sure it was functioning, Admiral Adama came aboard with Thrace and Zarek in order to go over their final plans.

"We'll start here," Thrace said, standing beside Zack at the main holo-display in the briefing room. "Aquaria. From here we can move on separately to the other Colonies and rendezvous at Caprica."

"Isn't Caprica the known location for the other survivors?", Robert asked. "Shouldn't we start there?"

Adama and Thrace exchanged looks. That was enough for Robert to understand the choice was not military or practical, but political. "Julia was the one who inquired, "You're both Capricans, right?"

"We are," Adama admitted.

"And if we went to Caprica first, the others would accuse you of unfairly favoring your own world over theirs. But if Caprica goes last, then they can't question the order."

"Not as effectively, anyway," Leo observed.

"Do we have any solid indications on the Cylon fleet, Jarod?", Robert asked.

Jarod and Caterina exchanged looks and shook their heads. "Nothing definitive," Jarod said. "I'm not sure if this means they're not maintaining a close patrol of the Colonies, or…"

"....if this is a trap," Thrace added for him. "That they know we're coming and are waiting to jump us."

"That is my concern as well," Adama said. "Until the evacuations are done, we'll need to keep a constant CAP out."

"That'll be a strain on our flight crews," Julia noted. "But it's worth it."

"After Aquaria, where do you think we should go?"

Adama listed out the remaining colonies in order. Aurora and half of the expedition would move on to Canceron while Pegasus went to Aerilon. From where they'd split into the different systems, Helios Beta for Pegasus and Gamma for Aurora, before converging in Alpha and ultimately meeting back up at Gemenon.

"Given the size of the Helios Cluster, Koenig can effectively switch between groups if we sustain high warp speeds through the entire period," Zack pointed out. "We can also move ahead and start small-scale evacuations on the other Colonies ahead of the rest of you."

"It would be better if you acted in the support role, Commander," Adama replied. "Keep your ship at the halfway point between Pegasus' group and Aurora's."

"It's your call, Admiral," Zack said. "I'll keep our long range sensor sweeps active and be ready for any incoming signatures."

"Are the other ships ready to begin evacuations?", Robert asked Jarod.

Jarod nodded. "I've already consulted with our officers on the accompanying vessels. The transporter systems are as ready as they'll ever be. Backup pads are in place should we get a short in any of the systems. But we will have to be careful with the pace of the evacuation. And any battle damage to the ships in question, especially to their power systems, could knock out the entire portable system."

"Our priority will be keeping the Cylons off of those transports then," Robert noted. "Angel, please make the necessary tactical preparations."

Angel nodded at Robert. Very business-like, too. A Just as it should be, but he admitted that customary familiarity might have made him feel better.

"It appears everything is in order,", Adama noted. "With that, I consider this briefing adjourned. May the Gods be with us all."

That won a number of nods from the assembled. Adama had to appreciate the irony that he had just given that exhortation to people who were, by custom, monotheistic.

With everyone filing out of the room, Robert stepped up to Adama. "Admiral, you don't seem entirely comfortable."

"I don't see the Cylons letting us get away with something like this," Adama admitted. "They're going to hit us. Hard."

"I get the same feeling," Robert admitted.We just have to wait and see what they try, I guess."

"Keep your eyes open.

"Good luck, Admiral," Robert said.

The Adama's response was a nod that said the same sentiment. Adama and Thrace departed to return to the Raptor that they had taken over to Aurora[i].




It was after their final briefing and meeting to determine the courses the evacuation fleet would take splitting up after the colonies of Helios Delta if no resistance was met, coming back together in Helios Alpha to check Picon and Tauron before merging for the final two Colonies, Gemenon and Caprica. Jarod remained behind to clear up the briefing room before it would be time to finish the final drive checks.

Julia came back into the room. "You've been busy the last few days," she observed. "Maybe you should take some time to rest before we make our plunge."

"I'll be fine," he answered. Julia regarded him with a hint of skepticism. "Jarod, can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"Do you still beat yourself up over the Dalek attack?"

Jarod looked up at her and considered that question. The Daleks had forced them to destroy the Facility to keep the Darglan technology out of the Daleks' metaphorical hands. During that time Jarod had matched wits with one of the creatures, trying to keep control of the Facility computers from its stubborn hacking attempt. At best, he had delayed the creatures only; the Dalek had consistently outmaneuvered him in the equivalent of cyberspace. Nullifying every code change, eliminating every counter-intrusion software written on the fly. He had faced a creature far more intelligent than he'd realized.

"I suppose you could say that, yes," he admitted to her. "Farmer would still be alive today if we had stopped the Daleks."

"Maybe," Julia admitted. "But how many of us would have died if you hadn't held them off."

"We nearly lost everything because I wasn't good enough," Jarod mumbled. "I've always relied on my smarts. My ability to figure things out. That Dalek… he made me look like a putz."

Julia walked closer, shaking her head. "No. None of us understood how intelligent and powerful the Daleks were. You saved our lives that day, Jarod. That's the past you should focus on. Not the loss of the Facility. Things worked out regardless."

"Again, tell that to Carlton Farmer."

Julia sighed wistfully. "Alright. You don't want to let it go yet. Just, please don't be afraid to talk about it."

"In my own time," he answered. As he did so, he felt that familiar disbelief and anger at having failed so completely. He knew that couldn't happen again.

No matter what. He had to [i]win
the next time. Or he might lose everything… and everyone.




The flotilla of ships jumped right into the orbital space of Aquaria. The planet below bore the scars of the atomic devastation of the Cylon attack on the landmasses standing out from her oceanic surface. From sensors Caterina could see the remnant radiation circling the planet. She shook her head. "I… I mean, I always knew this was the result of major nuclear initiations, but to actually see it…"

"Steady, Cat," Julia said softly. "I know it's horrifying. But there could still be people alive down there."

"Right. Scanning now." Caterina ran the light sign scans. "Remember that I can't tell the difference between Humans and Cylons up here."

"Yes. That's why we're going to beam up samples from each concentration of life signs you find," Julia noted.

"Okay. Starting scan." Caterina went to work. A sense of uncertainty came over the bridge as she did. Would there be anyone alive down there?

It passed when Caterina's voice picked up to her more happy, excited tone. "Life signs! Several hundred of them, at least!" It looks like they're scattered in some of the smaller islands without major city centers."

"Start beaming them up" Robert said. "Jarod, coordinate with the transporter operators on the other ships."

"Maybe we should broadcast first?", Caterina suggested. "I mean… think of how scared they'll be just being yanked up like that."

"This is why we've got someone from the Fleet waiting for them here," Julia said. "There's no guarantee any of the survivors have anything we can broadcast to."

"And when it comes down to it, we're still pressed for time." Robert took in a breath. Julia noticed that. "Is everything okay?"

"I'm just feeling… off…" Robert admitted. "No Cylons yet? Not even their fleet?"

"I know." Julia nodded. "All we can do is complete the mission and see what they throw at us."

"It'll be something big," Robert said. "I'm sure of it."

But there was nothing more to be said about the intense anxiety Robert felt about the situation. All he could do was wait while the transporter operators on all of the ships did their work.




The evacuation was proceeding better than anyone might have expected. Adama remained quiet and introspective as he overheard the reports coming in to the Pegasus CIC. Lieutenant Hoshi relayed the successful transports of the last identified survivors on Virgon.

"Bring our fighters back home for jump," Kara ordered from her place near him. she looked apprehensive and for understandable reasons; the number of survivors on the various Colonies were pitifully small. Only a thousand from Aquaria, 300 on Aerilon, and their last report from Aurora revealed there were only 400 from Scorpia. Sagittaron, Canceron, and Libran had each yielded over a thousand, many of them suffering from radiation sickness. Leonis had taken them a couple of hours; there were a surprising 2,400 survivors to be found.

But survivor counts over 1,500 seemed to be the exception, not the rule. From all appearances the Cylons had openly hunted down and killed any concentrations of survivors they could find on the various Colonies. It made anger fester in Adama's heart at the sheer brutality the Cylons had shown; extermination just for the sake of extermination.

"Makes you wonder how this fighting will inevitably end," he muttered.

"Sir?", Kara asked.

"The Cylons want us all dead," Adama said. "Why? What's their purpose? Why do they hate us so much?" Adama's expression grew dark. "And what will they do once we have the colony world in the Alliance that Captain Dale says is being determined?"

"You think they'll still attack us even there?"

"Seems to me that they'll stop at nothing to murder us all," Adama noted. "They've been toying with us the entire time, hunting us like animals…. why would they stop simply because they find we're in Alliance territory?"

"Maybe we should look into leaving this universe then?", Kara asked. "I mean, this whole 'Multiverse' thing that the Aurora people having going on. I've heard some of them talk about an entire world and colony set aside for people like us, people needing a home."

"New Liberty?" Adama nodded. "Yeah. Yes, Captain Dale spoke about it with me. He thinks that we might be better off settling some of the open space on that world and working with their New Liberty Colony."

"Other Humans," Kara said. "It'd be… well, I don't know. Interesting? We'd have to learn how they live, find ways to get along…"

"The question is, give or take a few generations, would there be anything left of our people?", Adama observed. "Would we still be the Humans of the Colonies of Kobol, or just one part of the greater whole? Our grandchildren talking and acting and praying like them?"

"They'd be alive, I guess."

Adama nodded. "Yeah. But it's when I think of that outcome that I come to understand why President Roslin wants us to have our own world."

"Well, there has to be other worlds out there we could colonize, in all those other universes. Somewhere we can get away from the Cylons."

Adama didn't comment on that thought. There was a part of him that rebelled at it. Mostly from his understanding of what that meant; they would be forever abandoning their homeworlds to Cylon occupation. Sure, one day in the far future the Alliance might drive the Cylons out, but by then their descendants would have been living together on a new world for how long? How many would decide to stay on a virgin world they had helped to build up instead of returning to the broken, irradiated Colonies?

It was silly. But he couldn't help but see it as a betrayal of all of the people who died . Of everything that made the Colonists from Kobol whom they were.

"Last flight is landing now, sir," Hoshi reported. "All ships are ready for jump."

"It's time to finish this," Adama said. "Prepare a jump to Tauron. And keep your eyes open. The Cylons are up to something. There is no way they would let us get this far without something up their sleeve."

"Preparing FTL jump now… fleet reporting readiness."

Adama looked to the plotting. Aurora would be off to Picon while they were at Tauron and the ships would rendezvous to finish Gemenon and Caprica last. And he was certain it was at Caprica that the Cylons would show their hand. That was his only explanation for why they had yet to launch any further attack.

And we had better be ready for them.




Koenig moved quietly through the interstellar space between the Helios cluster stars, under cloak and watching for Cylon activity. Zack sat at his command chair with a cup of rich replicated coffee. Hours of waiting and near boredom were growing more and more tense by the second.

"So, where do you think we'll get assigned?", Magda asked him.

"Hrm?"

"When we leave Aurora," Magda continued. "Where do you think the fleet will assign us?"

"Probably a frontier patrol," Zack mused. "Or back to M4P2 so we can chase the Batarians around."

"I wouldn't mind going home myself," Apley said. "As in, being assigned to the Abdis command back home."

"I don't know if I'm the diplomatic type," Zack admitted. Abdis in D3R1 tended to be a posting requiring careful diplomacy to balance the ever-continuing tensions of the Sol Republic and the Colonial Confederation. Both being members of the Alliance had not entirely eliminated the decades of heated ideological differences.

That would be a tricky posting, but a chance to do some good," Zack considered in his head.

"Shooting up Batarian slavers sounds more fun," April said from Tactical.

"There's always going back to S5T3," Magda pointed out,. Patrols along the Cardassian border, dealing with Maquis…"

"Would be nice to visit DS9 again sometime," Zack pondered. "I owe Commander Sisko a few baseball games."

Magda sighed. "You yanquis and your baseball. No appreciation for real football."

"Speak for yourself, Lieutenant," April answered. "I was captain of the high school team."

"Oh really?"

"I scored five goals in my senior year," April continued.

"I never went for either kind of football," Zack admitted. "Huh. I wonder what kind of sports the Colonials like to play?"

"Probably nothing like we have," Apley noted. "Well, unless they're actually long-lost descendants of Earth colonists. Maybe they were on this 'Kobol' world for so long that they forgot they came from Earth? In"

"An interesting thought, sure," Zack mused.

There was a tone at Ops. "Signal from Pegasus," sir." Magda looked back at him. "Still no opposition. They're jumping to Tauron now."

"Take us into the Helios Alpha system, Ap," Zack said. "We'll go scout out Gemenon."

"Changing course from patrol route now."




Robert had taken some time to eat in his ready room while the evacuation of Picon's 2,000 or so survivors continued. Julia entered with a happy look on her face, a new thing given how dour everyone had been as the hunt for survivors had proven so difficult and unrewarding. "Well, I do have some good news for their Fleet," she said.

"What?", Robert asked.

"The Piconese survivors apparently have a ship," she said. "Some of them survived by hiding their ship in a jungle canyon and keeping it powered down. Lucy is planetside helping them get the ship spaceworthy. Her jump engine is intact and they'll be able to join us. Jarod calculates she can hold up to around fifteen hundred people comfortably."

Robert raised an eyebrow. "That is good news. The Colonials could use that extra space."

Julia's smile faded. "I know you were hoping to recover more people, Robert. But we shouldn't have held out too much hope for a lot of survivors. As it is, just our half of the fleet has gotten nearly 6,000 people out. Picon is just one of the lucky ones."

"One wonders how Mister Zarek will take it that only eleven hundred of his people survived," Robert mused.

"Not well. But at least it's eleven hundred more," Julia observed.

"I'm just wondering what comes next," Robert said. "Because this can't be the end of it. The Cylons are going to continue pursuing Adama's fleet. I'm surprised they haven't already attacked us, they have to know we're here."

"I think they'll hit us over Caprica," Julia said. "Angel and I are in agreement on that."

"Maximum terror and effectiveness?", Robert proposed. "It makes sure they get a shot at annihilating all of the survivors in one swoop."

"Yeah. Laurent and his people are ready for a combat launch the moment that time comes."

"And what about Zack?"

"Currently waiting under cloak at Gemenon."

"Good. We're almost done." Robert looked out the window at the broken planet of Picon. He felt unsettled. So much death. It's like I can feel it in my bones, in my soul. "I'm tired of flying through this graveyard."

"You and me both," Julia answered.




At Gemenon Koenig was already finished scanning the planet when the two halves of the rescue fleet jumped into orbital space. Zack nodded when Magda informed him Pegasus was hailing. "Koenig here, Admiral," Zack said as soon as the channel opened.

"Commander, I want you to move on to Caprica. The Cylons are most likely to ambush us once we're completing the Caprica evacuation."

"Understood, Commander. We'll get underway right away,. At full impulse it shouldn't take us long."

"One other thing," Adama said. "Captain Thrace wants to go with you."

"Oh?"

"She'll be taking a team of Marines led by Commander Kane," Adama continued. "Just in case the resistance on Caprica is under siege."

Zack looked to Magda. "Have the transporters ready. As soon as Captain Trace, Commander Kane, and their teams are here, we'll head on out."

After a few minutes Kane and Thrace stepped onto the Koenig bridge. Kane was in Marine combat armor and Thrace was wearing what passed for Colonial field gear, complete with a sidearm. Both were carrying the new Cylon detectors. "Zack."

"Starbuck." he nodded back. "It's going to be an hour or two at full impulse. Might want to find somewhere to sit."

"What, can't you just use those 'warp drive' engines to get there faster?", Kara asked.

"Warping through a gravity well is a tricky business," Zack answered. "Especially if you're moving at distances rated in light-seconds. Sometimes it's just better to take it slow."

"Besides, if there is a Cylon ambush waiting for us, we're more likely to see it coming in at impulse," Sherlily pointed out.

"Yes. My esteemed tactical officer raises my other concern," Zack said. "Last thing we want to do is warp right into the gunsights of a Cylon ship."

"Even under cloak?"

"Magda can explain how a ship coming out of warp doesn't necessarily remain completely undetected," Zack remarked. "Normally I'd be all for getting this done. But it's best to be careful for this one."

"Good point," Kara conceded. But she still seemed very impatient.

"I'm guessing you know someone down there?", Zack inquired.

"Yeah." Kara nodded. "Yeah, you could say that."

"Don't worry, Starbuck," Zack said. "We'll get him back. All of them. "

"If they're still alive," Kara mused sullenly.

"Until we know otherwise, they're all alive, right?"

"Yeah." She nodded. "Right."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-09 10:03pm

When Koenig made orbit of Caprica Magda began scanning immediately. "I'm detecting Human life signs at various points on the planet."

"Numbers?", Kara asked urgently.

For a moment Magda examined them closely. "At least…. twelve hundred."

Thrace sighed and lowered her head. "Gods, that's... " She swallowed. "I had no idea that there were so many left."

"The question is, how many are Cylons?", Zack asked.

"Well, several dozen are very isolated all across the planet," Magda noted. "With a few I'm picking up concentrations of refined metallic substances. Presumably those are the Cylons."

"I'd put a solar torpedo into each and every one of those concentrations if I could," Zack mumbled. "But that's not what we're here for. Magda, anything on sensors?"

"Just some planet-based sensors. They can't see us, that's for certain."

"But they can probably call in help," Zack noted. "April. Lock on to each of those locations. The moment that the fleet is due to jump in, I want a torpedo dropping on their heads."

"They seem to be concentrated around the largest of the cities," Sherlily said. "I think I can get them all with one spread."

"Good."

"So now the question is, how do we get down without being seen?", Kane asked. "I don't suppose any of the shuttles cloak?"

"Nope," Zack said. "But there is one trick I remember Sisko talking about back on DS9." Zack reached over and hit his intercom. "Engineering. Karen, do you think you could pull off a transport under cloak?"

"It'll be tricky. But I might be able to get you enough power. The problem would be the cloaking field disrupting the transporter beam."

"Any way to account for that?"

"Give me a moment to think. The problem is that if I weaken the beam too much - weaken the field - the cloak won't hide us from detection by most common space-detect systems."

"Well…."

While this discussion went on Thrace walked up to Operations. She leaned over beside Magda and pointed to a part of Caprica. "Can you show me more about this group?"

Magda nodded. "Sure." She zoomed in the vie, allowing the clump of life signs to become more refined and show more individual people. "Looks like thirty-six life signs. No, thirty-seven. All Human."

Relief was visible on Thrace's face. "Thank the Gods, they're all still alive."

Magda nodded. "I'm not detecting…" She squinted. "Wait." She hit a few keys and shifted the view to a short distance away. More life signs were moving across the screen joined by other signatures the sensors were detecting. "Those aren't Human signatures. Those are energy signatures. I'm detecting metal concentrations…."

"Dammit," Thrace breathed. "Commander, we have a situation!"

"What?" Zack turned to face them.

Magda answered, "I'm picking up what looks like a Cylon attack group approaching one of the concentrations of Human life."

"Crap," Zack sighed. He looked to Kane. "Get your people ready. I'm sending you and Captain Thrace down." Zack looked to Apley. "Bring us in toward the north pole of Caprica, Ap. As close to the atmosphere as you can get us."

"Commander, this might not work. If their sensors are too refined or we make too much of a disturbance in the upper atmosphere..."

"it's a risk I'm willing to take, Karen," Zack answered.

"Right. I'll get my best people to the main transporter room then. Good luck. Engineering out."

By the time this was said Thrace and Kane had already left the bridge.




For weeks, Samuel Anders had been nursing a hope he knew to be unlikely. That Kara Thrace would return with reinforcements from Galactica. That he and his band of survivors might actually survive.

Today his hopes and prayers were answered.

Albeit not in the way he expected.

He and the others were cleaning their firearms in the central, open area of their base when the half-dozen pillars of light formed in front of them. When they dissipated he saw Kara standing among five other people. Two were in Colonial uniforms, but the other three had on body armor that he had never seen before and carried guns like out of some science fiction serial.

Another group of lights appeared nearby about five seconds later. Six more beings appeared in their number, all of them with the strange armor and weapons. As Anders went to speak Kara's name, his eyes widened as he focused on one of the appeared beings.

Despite said creature's helmet, he could see that he or whatever it was was not human. A blue beak protruded from its face like a bird's beak.

"By the Gods?!" The cry of surprise caused several people to start going for weapons.

"Woh! Woh, hold it!" Kara held her arms up. "They're friendlies!"

"What the hell is going on here, Kara?!", Anders demanded, still shocked.

"It's okay," Kara said. "They're our allies against the Cylons. We came down because the Cylons are moving to attack you, right now!"

"Speaking of Cylons…" Kane raised his head from looking at a display on his arm. "Sensors have them almost to the perimeter of the compound."

"That's ridiculous," one of the others said. "They'd…"

Gunfire erupted in the distance.

"The pickets." Anders nodded at Kane. "Right. Everyone get your weapons! They're coming for us!"

"Ijala, find a perch!", Kane shouted.

Ijala chirped in reply. The Alakin Marine pulled out his sniper rifle and went for the nearest building with a roof he could snipe from.

"Dijalas, Mendelssohn, you're on the north end. Lewis, Rashid, South!" Kane finished assigning four of his other Marines to the other main points of the compass. "I don't want those toasters coming in on our blindside," he explained to Anders.

More gunfire temporarily interrupted Anders. When it was over he nodded in agreement. "So what now? How did you just appear like that?"

"Beamed down from a ship in orbit. And no, we can't just beam you out, they'll detect our ship and the rest of the fleet isn't here yet."

"Fleet?" Anders looked to Kara. "They're going to drive the Cylons out?"

"No, just to get you out," she answered. "We've been sweeping the Colonies getting all of the survivors we can."

More gunfire came from downhill. "Time to talk is over," Kane said. "Get your guns and find some cover!"




Shortly after the last transport was finished on Koenig Zack finally asked," Any sign they detected us?"

"None at the moment," Magda said. "But…"

"But? But what?"

Magda was busy looking over the sensor returns from the surface. "I've been scanning all of the remaining life sign groups. I'm now detecting more energy signatures approaching each."

"A concerted attack," Apley pointed out. "They're going to wipe the Caprican survivors out."

"Can we do anything about it?", Zack asked.

"We don't have the security personnel or surplus crew to hold all of those points," Sherlily pointed out. "And if we fire torpedoes we might just hit friendlies in the process.

"Yeah. Of course. Because nothing can be simple. Alright, get me Pegasus."




Roslin and Billy were at the restaurant on Cloud Nine enjoying their late lunch. Roslin felt good to be able to hold down food again. She also noticed that she wasn't the only one looking better. "My illness was a drain on you too," she noted.

Billy didn't deny it. "It was my job to take care of you, Madame President. I felt helpless to see you dying like that."

She nodded. "I understand." She turned her head to look outside. Children were playing in the grass under the supervision of a pair of adolescents. "Despite everything, people seem so much happier now."

"Meeting the people from Earth - or whatever they are - is giving everyone a feeling that we have a future." Billy took a drink and put his fork into his salad. "I mean... a place we can go to be away from the Cylons. Somewhere we don't have to worry about them chasing us. Maybe we should go to one of those other universes they have so the Cylons can never find us."

"It's a thought," Roslin agreed. "I'm just happy to see so many smiles again."

Unfortunately, it wasn't a smile that was on Lee's face when he stepped into the restaurant. He saluted to Roslin, who nodded back. "We have a situation, Madame President."

"What?" She considered the possibilities. If the Cylons had begun attacking there would have been an alarm across the ship to jump. That was the plan for any Cylon ships coming in.

"We were ready to begin the scanning procedures," Lee said. "But... well, there's a protest now."

"A protest?", Roslin asked. "Over the Cylon scanners?"

Lee nodded. "Yes ma'am."

Roslin took in a breath. She set the salad fork down and nodded to BIlly. "Let's go, Billy. I need to talk to these people. We need to make sure they're not being manipulated by Cylons."

"I've already signaled Commander Meridina to meet us there," Lee said. "It's at the podium for the address you planned later."

Roslin didn't answer that. She was already thinking through all of the possibilities of what was going on.




Adama was listening, along with Robert from Aurora, to Commander Carrey's report. Inwardly he mused that this was likely not a coincidence. The Cylons had yet to challenge them because Caprica was clearly their chosen battlefield. "Do what you can, Commander. We're almost done here."

The line cut, but Adama remained on with Dale. "We can jump ahead, Admiral," Robert said. "I have enough security and Marine personnel to secure those ground sites even if we can't safely bombard from orbit."

"It's risky, Captain," Adama pointed out. You'll likely trip whatever Cylon trap is waiting for you. And if they launch at us instead, it'll take time for your drives to cool down for another jump."

"I know. But I think it's a necessary risk, sir. Without it hundreds of innocent people will die."

Adama noticed the attention of the CIC crew. Undoubtedly they were already weighing his choices against Cain's. An amusing thought since Cain would have undoubtedly started a war with these people over the Cylon Sharon.

They could judge as they wanted. He would make his decision based on what needed to be done, not to measure up to a dead woman.

"You're right," Adama agreed. "It is. Jump ahead, do what you can. We'll follow as soon as the last ship signals readiness for the jump to Caprica."

"Yes, Admiral. Jumping now."




Meridina's senses were alert. She followed Roslin to the improvised stage so she could address the citizens who were protesting the scanners. "They're all fake!", one man yelled. "They're here for the Alliance people to turn us against each other and conquer us!"

"Really?", Roslin asked. "Because I have seen these devices. They work. They have been demonstrated to me and to Admiral Adama, who supports their use."

Cavil stepped up through the crowd, acting every inch the humble priest. "Please, Madame President, understand their fear," he said calmly. "It is easy to forget how wild the stories are that cross our fleet. We have heard about how certain Alliance personnel, such as their security officer, can enter and alter minds.''

"Are you suggesting I am being mentally influenced?", Roslin asked, bemused.

"I'm only saying how people might take it," Cavil answered. "You know I have often tried to tend to the souls of our people and assuage their fears. I did not want any misunderstandings." Cavil looked to Meridina. "Can I help you?"

Meridina had indeed been paying careful attention to him. She sensed deception. She could not be sure what kind, not without entering his mind, but this man was not being as honest as he depicted. He had a greater agenda. "I am merely contemplating the issues, sir," she answered politely. Now was not the place to be confrontational. "I understand that fear can be a powerful agent in the minds of people. Especially those who have already lost so much."

"Then you would understand why it might be best, to delay these scans?", Cavil asked her and, through her, asked Roslin. "Until Admiral Adama comes back, perhaps. When people will feel safer."

Roslin put her hands together. "I understand that so much change has come to the Colonies lately. I'm sympathetic to you all. I was scared myself at first. To have so many things questioned. To find out how much there was that we didn't know about the universe- so to speak - and our place in it. But I learned, the hard way, that fear is not the answer to this. We must face the future as it is. And we must not let fear cloud our judgement. " Roslin shook her head.

Meridina looked back to Lee, who was quietly looking through the scanner he had brought along. His gaze was fixed on the readout screen. She stepped over and looked at what he was seeing.

He had focused the scanner on the crowd. Most were showing up as blue figures - Humans.

Built several, not many but several - were gold.

Cylons.

Cavil seemed to focus on Meridina and Lee. A small smirk crossed his face.

Meridina had only seconds to react. She used her power to push Roslin and her wheelchair off of the podium.

Force erupted from beneath the spot where Roslin had been sitting. The blast knocked both off their feet as well as the Marines brought along for Roslin's security.

The impact from that fall dazed Meridina momentarily. Gunfire began to erupt around her.




Aurora jumped into orbit of Caprica. The moment she did, Koenig decloaked and sent a spread of solar torpedoes into the surface of the planet, hitting the identified positions of Cylon communications and sensor arrays.

On the Aurora bridge, Julia was busy working with Lieutenant Kemap, Meridina's second in command, and Lieutenant Gurel, the senior Marine commander on the ship. They were already preparing to beam down even as Robert gave the order to launch all of Aurora's fighters.

"Koenig's torpedo bombardment is complete," Jarod said. "From what I can tell, they completely suppressed the Cylon control and communications in this system.

"They're not likely to take long to see what we've done, though."

"Teams beaming down now," Angel reported.

"Angel, do you think you can take out the Cylons with orbital fire?", Julia asked.

"In a few of these cases, yeah, but I'm risking friendly fire in some cases."

"Do what you can," Robert ordered. "Every point you can't send someone down, we'll dispatch teams and begin evacuations."




In Anders' resistance base, Kane eyed an approaching Cylon robot through the scope of his assault rifle. His finger squeezed the trigger and bolts of azure light slammed into the machine. Its polished gray exterior turned red and orange wherever the bolts scourged its hide. Sparks erupted from within and the red eye died down. Given that the firearms of the resistance weren't doing so well, Kane didn't seem surprised by the looks his Marines were getting from the others. This was the first firefight between the Cylons and Alliance troops, and Kane intended to make the Cylons fear the combat firepower of an Allied Systems Marine.

He drew a bead on another Cylon pouring fire into a Resistance position, keeping them pinned in. Before he could pull the trigger a bolt of orange light came from behind and overhead. Ijala's shot took the Cylon's head clean off.

"Gods, we're going to actually win this thing, aren't we?", Anders said, surprised and gladdened at the same time. "Where did you find these people, Kara?"

"They're from Earth," Kara answered, smirking. "Or something like that. It's a really long story."

"Sir, no fire from the south yet. But I think they're moving to flank," said one of Kane's Marines over the radio.

"Engage and destroy if they come close, but hold your position." Kane keyed his command frequency to the ships above. "Kane to Koenig, got any ETA on our pickup?"

To Kane's pleasure, it was Commander Andreys who answered. "We're completing an evacuation of a pressed survivor position. Standby."

"Good. Because we've got several dozen people down here who need evac."




Julia nodded. "Understood, Commander. We'll get those people up ASAP." She looked to Robert. "Interesting timing, don't you think?"

"I don't think it's just timing," Robert answered. "This is intentional." He looked back to Cat. "Anything on long range sensors?"

"No," Cat answered. "I'm not picking any subspace spikes. Nothing consistent with the Cylon fleet."

"They could be hiding," Julia pointed out. "Adama said something about an anchorage? Ragnar?"

"So they could just jump right on top of us."

"Shields are still up whenever we're not beaming," Angel said. "They won't get any first hits on us."

"We've finished evacuating the most threatened groups," Jarod reported. "Transporters are standing by to pull Kane's group out."

"Start the process."




Kara left cover to begin lining up the non-combatants of Anders' group for transport. "Just stay in these positions," she said. "Stay in them and you'll be fine. "You're going up to a ship."

The first group was taken a moment later. Kara moved on to the second group as they lined up. Dammit, I should have remembered one of those scanners. But at least they've got them up on the ship too. We've got to get these people out of the firing zone or someone's going to get killed.

As her eyes passed over another waiting group, she spotted one pair of eyes and the face that went with it. Familiarity struck her. She'd seen….

"Oh frak," Kara cursed. "Stop him! Stop that priest, he's a Cylon!"

Kane and his Marines responded immediately, wheeling around with weapons raised.

The Cavil unit in Anders' resistance couldn't keep the smile off his face, even though he had just been outed. The contempt he felt for even these advanced Humans swelled eagerly at the mistake of letting the attack distract them.

His finger was already on the activation key of the transmitter he carried with him. He pressed barely a moment before Commander Kane put two rounds into his torso.




In Engineering Scotty looked up at hearing the alarm tone. "What in blazes is that?", he asked.

Nearby Lucy, working with him on keeping the rigged jump system working, went over to a monitor. "That's odd. That jump drive… there's some sort of activity coming from it…." Lucy's eyes widened. "Jamming field! Get a jamming field up now!"

Scotty was too far away from the relevant control, but one of the engineers got to it immediately and did as ordered.

The lights went out a moment later.




The first sign that something was wrong on the bridge was when Jarod noted activity in the ship communications system. "That's odd," he said.

"Jarod?"

"Something's being transmitted through the communications syst…"

The lights on the bridge died out, replaced a moment later by the white emergency lights.

"I'm getting widespread system failures across the ship," Jarod reported. "Something's locking out our controls."

"What just happened?", Robert asked, although he already knew the answer. Cylon virus, it's got to be, but how?

"It's some sort of virus. Advanced, very smart, it's already learning..." Jarod's hands started running over the Ops station controls. "I'm trying to purge it but it's putting up protective controls. It's usurping administration control of our computer control systems."

"What systems do we still have?", Julia asked.

"Life support's on a closed automatic network, it can't access that. Manual helm control is possible, armor and hull self-repair systems are also isolated, but we've got no shields and no FTL, FTL communications are out."

"Send a signal to Koenig…"

"Not advisable," Jarod pointed out. "This thing could use our signal as a piggyback ride into Koenig's systems."

"Subspace spike!", Cat shouted. "I've got a subspace spike on sensors, it's….!"

On the screen, flashes of light appeared. From within them the shapes of Cylon warships formed.

"How many?", Julie asked.

"Ten, at least," Caterina said. "They're launching fighters!"

"Direct our fighters to intercept… dammit, are our fighters affected too?"

"Not from what I can tell," Jarod said. "But if we try to tie our command-and-control into their networks the virus might spread."

"Enemy boarding ships launching too!"

"Evasive maneuvers," Robert ordered. "Evasives, now!"

"I'm trying!", Locarno answered. "But manual helm control hasn't giving me a lot of options!"

The ship began to shake steadily as Cylon fire struck the hull. Robert clutched the arms of his command chair. "Jarod…?"

"I'm trying to keep it out of the other systems. The virus keeps shifting its position in the computers, writing itself new permissions and access authority every time I cut off one of its access points."

"Can you get us engines back at least?"

"That's what I'm trying, please stop distracting me!" Jarod kept at his work, writing new command access procedures on the fly and using them to try and cut off the virus from the systems it was shutting down remotely. It retaliated each time he tried, circumventing his new protections.

It's happening again, he thought. His mind flashed back to the Dalek that had beaten him for control of the Facility's systems.

Once again, he was losing.




The plight of the Aurora was not lost on Koenig. "What the hell?!", Zack had cried out upon seeing Aurora's acceleration decrease and her shields drop. And then the Cylons jumped in. "What's going on?"

"It looks like they're suffering multiple system failures," Magda reported. She reached over and tapped several keys. "I'm picking up further transmissions from the Cylon ships. They're trying to access our computer systems."

"Can they?", Zack demanded.

Magda shook her head. "No. The firewall precautions Jarod and I set up are too strong. The signal receiver is isolated from computer control and can't be used as a conduit for their virus coding."

"Well, thank goodness for small favors, right?"" Zack nodded to Ap. "Okay. Code Red, Ap." As the klaxons blared and the running lights for the ship turned red, Zack turned to Sherlily. "It'll take us too long to actually deal with those Basestars. Concentrate your firepower on any boarding ships. I'm not letting them put any forces on Aurora.

"Roger that."

"Accelerating to combat speeds," Apley said.

"Get me Adama."




Adama listened with consternation to the report from Commander Carrey. A thought occurred to him; that jump drive system they'd installed. The Cylons must have left a little surprise.

"How long until the fleet is ready to jump?" he asked Hoshi.

""Two ships are reporting mechanical troubles. They need ten more minutes to check their drives," Hoshi answered.

Adama nodded. So that was it. He had a choice; stay and protect his defenseless ships an
"How many of our people are on those ships?"

"All of the Aerilon survivors," Hoshi answered. "And most of the Leonis survivors."

So that was his choice. Risk those ships and the precious survivors on board them, further hope for their people, or risk that the Cylons might either destroy the Aurora or, even worse, seize her and reverse-engineer the technology on the powerful ship.

"Inform those ships that they are to jump to Caprica when ready," Adama said. "As for the rest of the fleet, we're jumping for Caprica. Have the civilian ships make the jump to two thousand kilometers out and maneuver to the opposite side of the planet from the Cylon forces there."

"Yes sir," Hoshi said. "I'm recalling our Vipers now. Estimate two minutes until we can jump."

"Tell them they have one minute," Adama answered. "All hands, Assume Action Stations, Condition One."




Cavil knew he had been found out, but that had been expected.

What he hadn't expected was to see the Gersallian woman react quickly enough to save Roslin. That irked him; the blast meant to kill her had simply thrown others on the podium back.

"It's a Cylon attack!" he screamed, wanting to laugh at what he felt to be a sort of joke at the Humans' expense.

The attack occurred with brutal swiftness. Cylons pulled out guns and started firing into the crowd. More explosives went off. Not all of the blasts were deadly, it was simply meant to add to the chaos. All across the ship more bombs would go off and other Cylons would begin setting off attacks with their firearms.

Of course, that wasn't the only thing being done. With this scanning technology the Cylons in the Fleet were all dead. That much was certain. But with the ships nearby to catch their minds and resurrect them, there was no fear in that. Simply the duty to God, the need to kill as many of these apes as possible.

What surprised Cavil was the speed with which the Gersallian recovered. The Cylons knew of these 'swevyra'se" of course, but they had always been careful never to face them.

That policy proved wise given what happened next.

Meridina moved with speed even the Cylons couldn't match. One moment she was barely back to her feet, but the next there was a sharp metal sound in the air and her blade was out and extended. There was a shimmer of blue around the memory metal blade as it swung out and deflected a bullet intended for Roslin's head. Cavil scowled and started pulling the trigger repeatedly, but it was to no avail as the lakesh caught each bullet in mid-flight. Meridina calmly lifted her hand and extended her arm. Cavil felt like he had been hit by a shuttle.

The other Cylons were starting to react, turning away from the Colonial people they had been shooting with abandon. They faced Meridina with guns drawn. Surely the amount of firepower would keep her from deflecting all of them.

And she wouldn't have deflected them all, true. But that didn't mean anything, as it turned out. Meridina dashed forward and reached her arm out again. Raw force sent the Cylons flying She got to the nearest one and with a single cut removed the male Cylon's hands from his wrists. He screamed and fell. The next Cylon compelled Meridina to go for a more permanent solution, a blow to the neck that sliced out the carotid artery.

Lee struggled to his feet. He looked up in time to see Meridina slice through the ranks of the assembled Cylons with perfect poise. He stared in disbelief at how fast and decisive she was. Every strike fell home. Every Cylon shot was deflected or evaded, as if she knew where they were going to shoot. The only reason we ever held her prisoner was because she let us, he realized

Billy, defiant of the firing, rushed to Roslin's wheelchair. "Madame President!", he called out, reaching for her. Roslin looked daze as her hand came up, feebly, to reach for him. "Ma'am, we have to get to safety!"

Billy's shouts drew the attention of one of the remaining Cylons, a blond woman that Lee recognized. Shelly… Godford, he thought, if he remembered the name correctly. She w as drawing her weapon into a ready position. Lee could see she was only seconds away from killing Billy, Roslin, or both. There was barely enough time to think when pulled his weapon and fired. Blood erupted from the Cylon's body where his bullets struck home.

A moment later Meridina knocked the Cylon over with her abilities. The threat had passed.

"Captain Adama, do you read? This is Corporal Hansforth, sir."

Lee pulled out the radio he'd taken. "I'm here."

"We've got reports of violence and casualties all over the ship, sir."

"It's the Cylons," Lee said. "They've launched a terrorist attack. The President is wounded but alive."

"Orders?"

Lee felt frustration come to his face. "Deploy the Marines. Try to quell the violence without killing any civilians. Just make sure the Cylons aren't killing them either. And make sure the Quorum are protected!"

"Roger that, Captain."

There was a grunt of pain. Lee saw the last Cylon go down with Meridina's lakesh over his head. She'd just smacked him with the pommel. There was some blood on her robes, but the sword was surprisingly clean for all the cutting it had just been used for. "Captain Adama." She nodded respectfully. "Do we have any more information."

"It's a general attack," Lee said. "The Cylons are going out in one massive strike."

"Yes. I suppose it makes sense from their perspective." Meridina sighed. She was clearly not as unmoved by the carnage as she had seemed. "But I sense greater things planned than a mere shooting attack."

There was a choking laugh nearby. Cavil got up on his side. "You can't stop us," he said. "You'll never stop us. Our way is the way of the future."

Lee and Meridina stepped up to him. "You were a Cylon all along," Lee said, frowning.

"The worst part was pretending to follow your false gods," Cavil answered. "You have … it's so funny, you have no idea who it is you worship. No idea…"

Meridina looked at him with curiosity. She no longer sensed deception, not immediate deception. "I am unaware of how their religion has any bearing on this."

"It has everything to do with it!"," Cavil laughed. "Stupid organic meatbags, that's all you are. "

Lee's retort was immediate. "That's funny, because from where I stand, it looks like you're just as organic as we are."

"No," he rasped. "I'm more. I'm so much more…."

Meridina went to inquire further but stopped. "A distraction," she said.

"What?", Lee asked.

"He is distracting us. This entire attack is meant to grab our attention." Meridina knelt beside him. "What are you really planning?"

Cavil smirked. "Why don't you find out, Mindwalker?"

Meridina considered that response for a moment. "You want me to read your mind. You…" Her eyes widened.

With only seconds to spare, she threw herself on Lee and knocked him clear.

Cavil's finger was already pressing the detonator.

The explosion would have killed them both if Meridina had not jumped at just the right time. Instead she and Lee rolled on, coming to a stop on the natural grass with burning wreckage and charred chunks of cyber-ized flesh lying around them. "Frak it," Lee mumbled. Pain was shooting through his side.

Meridina put a hand on him. She felt bruised and worn too. She felt certain there was nothing broken though. After a moment of concentration she said, "You have a cracked rib. My apologies."

"Better than being blown to pieces, I guess," Lee answered hoarsely.

Meridina stood and focused. She felt out with her essence, her very life force, for the injury, and did what she could to mend it. Lee stared at her in some amazement at feeling his pain recede. "We are not in circumstances that would have allowed me to heal you more fully,' she explained.

"Thanks anyway."

Meridina nodded. She turned her attention away from him for the moment, sensing for what may come, what was going on. Looking for…

There.

"We must hurry," she said to Lee.

"What? What's wrong?"

"This was all a ruse," Meridina explained. "The real Cylon plan is still progressing. I believe I can find their operative."

"Well…" Lee reached down and checked his sidearm. He still had several rounds in it. "Lead the way."




The advancing Cylon combat drones continued to pour fire into Anders' burning resistance encampment. Kara and Anders hid behind a one of the disabled vehicles for cover . "Some rescue," Anders remarked.

"Frakking Cylons," Kara growled. "They must have sabotaged the Aurora with a virus. Something hidden in that jump drive."

"It sounds that way," Kane said from his own nearby cover. He poked his head out and let out a spray of fire. They could hear the Cylon he targeted shrieking as it was ripped up by the burst. "I can't raise them on comms!"

"Suggestions?", Kara asked.

"Yeah. We hold out until help arrives," Kane replied.




Koenig plunged into the group of Cylon fighters and heavy raiders approaching Aurora's port side. Her phaser cannons blazed away with pulses of amber light. The Cylon ships, even the heavy ones, burst like eggs as they were hammered in turn by the fury of the attack ship. Behind her a flight of Mongoose fighters peeled away and engaged another of the Cylon boarding ships. Their own pulse weapons peppered it with energy fire. One of the pilots let loose with a missile that finished the raider ship off.

On Koenig's bridge the ship rattled. "Direct hit from the nearest Cylon vessel," Magda said. "Shields holding at eighty percent."

"I really didn't want to find out how much those things could possibly hurt us," Zack noted. "Ap, evasive maneuvers where you can."

"I'm trying, but I can't do much if we want to keep those boarding craft off of Aurora," he answered.

Dammit guys, what's taking so long. The Cylons couldn't have knocked out your systems that badly… could they?




On the Aurora there was another harsh shaking as more Cylon weapons impacted on the hull. "Damage report," Robert said.

With Jarod busy dealing with the virus, Julia had taken over that task. "Damage to Decks 18 through 23, Section G, and Decks 25 and 27 Section L," she said. "Self-repair systems are repairing what they can, but with our systems compromised they're being overloaded."

"Angel?"

"Weapons systems aren't responding," she said. "I can't aim my fire, if I just shoot I might hit our side."

Robert almost asked Jarod for an update, but held himself back. Jarod was clearly locked in intense combat with the Cylon virus in their system.

Cat's voice spoke up. "Subspace spike!" She looked at him with a smile. "It's the Pegasus!"




"DRADIS contacts confirm ten enemy base stars," Fisk reported to Adama.

"Raising shield systems." This was from another officer on the bridge, Lt. Kendra Shaw.

"Great circumstances for a full combat test of the shields," Adama sarcastically mused to himself. Aloud he gave the necessary orders. "Engage the basestars nearest Aurora. I want our Vipers to keep any enemy boarding craft off of her."

With Adama's order the Pegasus plunged into a battle that just two weeks before would have looked suicidal. Her railgun mounts opened up with fury on the nearest Basestar while Vipers shot from her launch deck.

"Don't accept any incoming communication from Aurora," Adama said. "Not until they get that virus under control."

"Assuming they can," Fisk mumbled.

Adama grunted. He didn't think that possibility needed mentioning. Besides, the kids over there were smart. Fighting these kinds of viruses was their thing.




Jarod was ready to grind his teeth with frustration. This… thing was out-thinking him at every turn, circumventing everything he threw at it. It refused to release its iron grip on the Aurora's defensive systems or propulsion. The only progress he could claim to be making was that the virus couldn't start locking out more systems while it took up commandeered processing power fighting him.

Not again, he thought. "I'm not getting beaten again," he said to himself. "Not by something like this."

"Jarod?', Julia asked.

"Not now," he barked back,too intent on decorum or protocol to care. He took a moment to ponder the foe he was up against. A virus specifically tailored to render ships helpless, to identify any software obstacle to its control and bypass it or, over time, eliminate it. That was the key. How could he deal with this thing? Get it to stop going after the vital systems, to trap it in Aurora's computer systems?

The ship rocked heavily again, reminding him of their time constraint. "Hull breach on Deck 6," Julia declared. "Emergency forcefields not responding."

"How many?", Robert asked.

There was strain in Julia's voice too when she answered, "I can't tell. Not yet. At least five people were in that section."

Jarod closed his eyes for a moment and thought about this problem, even as he kept feeling the pressure of the situation push him down. Every moment he failed to get the ship running again, members of this crew were dying. How long before this kind of thing killed one of them? The wrong hit and the entire bridge might get taken out - certainly the Cylons were going to start targeting the bridge soon enough. ''I'm picking up damage to Deck 10, Section C," Julia said. "One of their breaching pods got through. I'm sending Marines and security to contain the Cylon boarding party."

Jarod got back to work. They were running out of time.




The Cylons moved with machine precision into the Aurora after breaching the hull. They came across a damage control party and opened fire just as the party reacted to their presence. Two of their targets fell with no life signs remaining; the others fled down the corridor. The Cylons moved ahead, not so much in pursuit but to achieve their objective: access to the ship's control bridge.

They neared the lift when the counter-attack began. Pulses of particle fire destroyed the lead Cylon utterly, leaving only a pile of half-molten scrap. The Cylons reacted by turning and firing to force their foes back into cover. There was a flare of energy ahead; their rounds were striking a personal forcefield.

Their fire redoubled. One Cylon activated its anti-personnel grenade launcher and loaded an explosive grenade.

It never got the chance to fire.

A series of objects flew ahead and into the Cylons' midst. They had never seen such objects before. Their systems did calculate the likely purpose of the items and they responded appopriately; two of the raiders jumped on them to preserve the rest of the attacking force.

The resulting explosions blew those raiders apart. It also turned their broken, shattered pieces into projectiles that battered their comrades. The Cylon team began a tactical retreat, obeying the tactical command programming to find another route that was not defended.

They fell back toward their breaching pod... and into another hail of fire. This time from even heavier weapons.

The Marine fire was precise and rapid. They were the hammer to ship security's anvil, and the effect of their firepower showed. The Cylons whipped around frantically, returning fire, but their weapons proved insufficient against the protective gear of the Marines. The two last Cylons poured enough fire into one target that they got through his shields and managed several successful hits.

This proved only a slight retribution for their destruction.




Meridina followed Lee through Cloud Nine to the engineering decks, past signs warning about authorized personnel being required and the like.

As they approached the reactor chamber Meridina could feel an increasing sense of pain and anguish. Bewilderment, uncertainty, anger… it was all indications of a traumatized mind.

When they arrived they found one Colonial sitting against the wall. The young woman was breathing hard and clasping a wounded arm. Blood was pouring from the gunshot wound and onto the ground.

Banks of tylium-fueled reactors were arrayed across the room. Standing beside one, at a control station, was a blond-haired woman. Meridina and Lee had already seen another like her, with the Cylons at the crowd, making who she was seem obvious.

But this Cylon was different. She was the source of all the emotions Meridina had been sensing as they approached. Meridina felt deep surprise at what she was sensing. For this woman's feelings to be so strong…

"Please, do not do this," she said.

The Cylon woman looked at her. There were tears already streaming down her eyes. "Don't," she ordered, looking at Lee and his drawn gun. She opened her blouse; a belt of explosives was underneath. "I'll blow up," she threatened. "And the reactors will go."

Why do you wish to destroy yourself?", Meridina asked. "I do not sense the same conviction in you as in the others."

"Because I don't have a choice," she said. "Because I'm not going back."

Meridina stared at this frightened being and wondered what she meant. That left Lee to make the connection. "You're Gina Invieve," he said

The Cylon seemed to nod a little.

"Whom is this 'Gina'?", Meridina asked Lee.

"She was a Cylon infiltrator on the Pegasus," Lee explained. "After the attack, the crew discovered who she was. They…" Lee swallowed. "Admiral Cain was out of control."

Meridina didn't need further explanation. She had known what the Pegasus crew had done to Cat. With their brutal commander still alive? And the attack on their worlds fresh? Gina's suffering was evident, even if thoughts of it weren't constantly flowing from her mind to confirm all the horrid details. "You will not go back," Meridina pledged. "I will not allow you to be harmed."

"You can't stop them from hurting me," Gina said. "And you can't stop the Plan."

"What is it?", Meridina asked. "What is the Plan?"

"We're not told the full Plan, none can know it. It unfolds piece by piece, as they say God intends."

Meridina nodded. "Yes. Sharon said much the same thing." Meridina kept a serene expression on her face as she approached Gina. "I feel your fear. I understand how much you suffered. But I will protect you. Just as I acted to save Sharon and her baby."

Gina seemed more confused by this than disbelieving. "Why? After all that we've done, why?"

"Because, it is the right thing to do," Merinda answered. "Because you are a wounded soul who needs to be healed. You did not kill the people of the Colonies. Your leaders did."

"You shouldn't be here," Gina said. "You're not supposed to be out here. The cycle has to end…"

Meridina kept herself from asking about what Gina was talking about. There would be time to satisfy curiosity later. "Gina, you have suffered too much, yes. Please, let that suffering end here. Do not be the source for more. It must end.."

"Don't take another step closer," Gina insisted. "Not one more step!"

Meridina nodded and stopped. She got onto her knees in a meditative position. "Very well. I shall remain here and we can talk peacefully."

Lee stared in disbelief as Meridina set her weapon to the side and looked back to Gina. "I pose you no threat, Gina Invieve. You are not at any risk by my hands. All I wish to do is talk."




Anders' base was now almost completely overrun. The handful of surviving fighters who hadn't been beamed up before everything went to hell were joined by their Marine rescuers in the central structure of the facility. Outside gunfire still raged from the Cylon war machines trying to mow them all down. At every possibly interval Kane and his men popped back up out of a window to pour more fire into them.

But just because they were using energy weapons didn't mean ammunition was unlimited., Several of his people were short now of the energy clips that let them fire their weapons. "Looks like they're preparing for a big push," Kane remarked while checking out side the corner of a window.

"We can't hold here," Kara noted. "We need to do something."

Anders smirked. "Well, there was my final 'Frak you!' measure."

"Oh?" Kane looked at him. "That would be?"

"We built a bomb," Anders explained. Big enough to level the whole place. It would be our final farewell if the Cylons ever arrived to wipe us out." He frowned . "I'm not much for dying, but I had always figured that if I were going to, best to take as many of the frakkers with me as I go."

"Heh." Kane smirked. "Good thinking. Where's the bomb?"

Anders gestured to a tarp in the middle of the structure.

"Can you set it now?"

"Guess we're giving up on the rescue?", Anders asked.

"Nope." Kane looked back and smiled. "I've got a plan."




Koenig shook once again. "Shields down to forty percent," Magda warned. "Slight damage on Deck 2 port side."

The Cylons were clearly more interested in capturing Aurora than destroying her, but they weren't showing the same restraint toward Pegasus or Koenig. Zack watched Pegasus' jury-rigged shields flare blue again as several more Cylon shots slammed into her. "Status on Pegasus?"

""Their shields are barely above fifty percent," Magda said.

"Right." Zack eyed the display. "Pick that Cylon on our port side. Take us in close."

"How close?", Apley asked.

""Close enough to skid the paint off if we want," Zack declared. "Sherlily, torpedoes and phasers, please. Keep them coming."

"What are you doing?", Sherlily asked. "At that range we won't be able to evade."

"Not them, no," he admitted. "But their buddies ….."

Apley allowed himself a grin. "Of course. They keep shooting at us too, they'll hit their friend."

"Exactly. Take us in!"

Koenig raced in toward her target. As she drew close several Cylon shots that missed them slammed into their target instead. Sherlily added to the mayhem with phasers and torpedoes. Explosions plumed from the basestar's hull at the onslaught. as Apley kept them weaving around the ship's emplacements, giving Sherlily all of the time she needed to hammer the enemy ship.

Behind them several of the fighters from the Aurora came soaring in to support their attack. Anti-ship missiles dropped from their hardpoints and slammed into the wounds Koenig was carving into the Cylon ship.

The coup d'grace was delivered by two Raptors from Pegasus. Apley flew them clear of the basestar just in the nick of time. The nuclear warheads in the Raptors' missiles blasted through the weakened armor of the Cylon ship and set her tylium reactors off. The entire ship blew apart.

But that was just one basestar, Nine more remained in the fight - nearly eight now, given how badly one was faring against Pegasus's guns - and Aurora was still helpless before them.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-10 09:00am

Back on Caprica, Anders was finishing the arming fuse. "Are you sure about this?', he asked Kane.

"Damned sure!", Kane answered.

"This is Godsdamned crazy!", Kara laughed.

"Goddamned crazy is our job, Captain," Kane agreed.

Anders nodded and set the fuse. "Twenty seconds!"

"Alright everyone! Now!" Kane motioned to Rashid, who blew the south wall down and immediately opened fire. Ijala came up beside him and sent off a shot with his sniper rifle that blew the head off another Cylon machine. The Alakin sniper jumped to the next bit of cover while the other Marines behind him came up and poured fire into the enemy in that field.

Nobody stopped for long. There was a cry of pain as rounds found Anders' leg. "Come on!", Kara shouted, and she pulled him up. Kane noted with approval that Lance Corporal Toussiers was quick to give her aid, helping Kara pull the injured Anders along with them.

The Cylons from the other angles surged toward the house and on to their rear. Which seemed bad, especially as they had yet to get clear. But that was, in truth, exactly what Kane had been counting on.

At the twenty second mark, the blast deafened them all and sent them flying. Kane scrambled back to his feet despite the disorientation of being thrown down. An inferno raged behind them, complete with bits and pieces of Cylons scattered about. "Ha! Semper Fi, you toaster bastards!"

The rest of Kane's Marines got up just as the remaining Cylons ahead of them recovered from the blast. Particle fire ripped through them and finished opening the way to safety for the assembled survivors of Anders' resistance.

"Mission accomplished," Kane declared.

Now all they had to do was wait for Aurora to get them out.




The reactor chamber's silence was thick with tension. Lee felt sweat on his brow as he waited for something, anything, to happen. Even if it was the Cylon setting off her explosive and starting a chain reaction that could destroy the ship.

The quiet tension was getting to Gina as well. "I'll kill us all," Gina insisted. "You'll die too. You'll die."

"I am ready to die," Meridina answered. "I knew the moment I took up my lakesh that the Code might require my life. I chose to take up the burden anyway because some things have to be done. Evil must be confronted. What was done to you, Gina Invieve, was a terrible evil. Regardless of what your people did to the Colonials, evil cannot atone for evil. Would that I had been there, I would have raised my lakesh in your defense."

"Commander…" Lee began. He was hoping she would do something more than talk; the lives of everyone on Cloud Nine were at stake.

"Captain Adama, please. It must be done this way," Meridina urged.

Lee swallowed and nodded. He hated not doing anything about this situation, but he could see that the wrong move from him would cause Gina to set off the bomb and destroy the ship.

"I can sense it in you, Gina Invieve," Meridina said. "A desire to do good. To end the suffering, this cycle of hatred between the Humans here and the Cylons. But bloodshed can never end hatred. It only feeds the darkness with the fear and anger and hate that it creates. Don't give in, Gina. Please, do not give into that darkness. Choose life. For yourself and for others. There is hope for you and your kind."

Gina met Meridina's eyes for several crucial seconds. Meridina felt all of the emotions roiling up within the heart and being of Gina Invieve. Including some surprising feelings of guilt, of treachery.

She loved Cain, Meridina realized. Despite what she was doing, she fell in love. The trauma of what Cain had allowed to be done to her had no doubt made the betrayal all the worse for her, not just Cain's betrayal of what they had, but her own betrayal.

Was she wrong to have not acted by now? There were a few ways Meridina could disable Gina, could stop her, but most were likely to be fatal. And every moment she waited, it made it less likely she would stop the Cylon woman in time.

Was she hesitating? Hesitation was not something a swevyra'se was supposed to do; it weakened the use of one's swevyra.

But she couldn't just kill Gina. She was a victim too. A victim of leaders who had caused this horrible genocide, who had put her into that position, and exploited her loyalty.

"Have hope for the future," Meridina pleaded to her. "Follow the Light. Step away from Darkness. I implore you, see that there is worth in these people and in yourself. Breaking the cycle can begin with you. With one decision."

Gina took in several more breaths. She looked to the reactors and then back to Meridina and onward to her suicide vest.

And then Gina let out a cry of frustration and pain.

Her hand went to the belt and pulled at it. It came loose. She threw it to the floor and collapsed to her knees, weeping.

Meridina did not move quickly. She stood only long enough to move beside Gina Invieve, whom she put her arms around. "Thank you," Meridina said.

"Don't let them take me," Gina pleaded. "Not again."

"Never again," Meridina promised. "I will make sure of that." As she said this she looked back at Lee with a stern expression. It made clear she would brook no dissension on this and that was good enough for him.

"I'll go and check on how the others are doing," Lee offered.

"Thank you, Captain. I will take Ms. Invieve somewhere private." Meridina watched him go before returning her attention to the weeping woman in her arms. "It will be fine," she assured her. "You have made the right choice. And your future will reflect that choice."




On Aurora, the ship remained mostly immobile and completely defenseless against the Cylons. Fire was pouring into their hull now, even as the auto-repair systems struggled to restore it. "I think they've given up on boarding us," Robert observed as they continued to shake. "Jarod?"

Jarod said nothing. He was too busy. With one hand he was still writing circumvention programs, trying new and more complex algorithms to override the virus' remote shutdowns of the vital systems. This proved futile; the virus adapted to each one in turn and re-asserted control over those systems. Shields, weapon aiming, helm control…

But this was now just a distraction. Jarod's real focus was what he was doing with the other hand. It was the kind of multi-tasking only he could hope to pull off.

Julia noticed something was up. "Jarod? Why are you isolating the tertiary auxiliary computer core?"

"You'll see. I'm transferring ship functions over to it now. With it isolated we'll get most control back and the virus won't be able to touch it." He finished his final touches on that and loaded the final programs from backup memory. A near-perfect clone of the shield and weapon control systems was now installing in the aforementioned auxiliary core. It was almost surprising how compacted the core was. Jarod imagined the core was storing backup data as it was, but it clearly held more data than he'd thought it did.

"I'm getting helm control back," Locarno said. And indeed in the following moments the other functionality was due to restore itself as well.

But the virus had other plans. Detecting the transfer of control, the virus reacted by beginning to transfer itself into the core with the other programs, keeping a slender thread of command open through the connection to keep its lock-down on the main core and systems.

"We've lost helm control again," Locarno reported, sounding irritated.

"Jarod…"

Jarod didn't reply to Julia. He was too busy. He had to make sure. He used his own connection into the auxiliary core to run purging programs and force the virus to rewrite its adaptations on the fly. It had to transfer its functions completely into the auxiliary core to resist the extra computing power.

All of its processes.

At confirming that, Jarod smiled. "I've got you," he muttered.

The virus had understandably locked down the connection to the auxiliary core to keep him from cutting it. He had fully anticipated that.

But what the virus didn't know, could not know, was how the cores were designed. How Jarod and Farmer and Barnes had set them up for just such cases. What he and Barnes had later done with the lessons learned from the Dalek invasion of the Facility.

Jarod reached to one corner of his panel and pressed a button. The button controlled a circuit, a manual one isolated from the software operation of many ship systems.

With the press of that button, the physical connection of the auxiliary core to the others was cut completely. And with that, the virus was now trapped. Helpless inside the auxiliary core.

Jarod laughed with triumph. "I've got you. Now…" With the virus cut off, it could no longer reimpose remote lock-down on the ship systems it had secured. Jarod swiftly deployed a new set of override commands that eliminated the lockdowns and restored central system control. He tapped a key. "Engineering, this is Jarod. You've got reactor control back."

"Aye. Restoring full power… now."

The emergency lights were replaced by the main lights of the bridge. "I've got helm control!", Locarno declared, smiling.

"Aiming control for weapons is back online," Angel said. "I'm raising shields!"

Just as she said that another series of nuclear-tipped missiles came in from the Cylon ships. Before these weapons had destroyed the armored hull they'd impacted, blasting away debris and threatening to irradiate people within the ship. Now they crashed almost harmlessly into the raised deflector shields of the Aurora.

Robert felt a rush of excitement. "Well done, Jarod," he said, unable to keep from smiling. "Lieutenant Delgado, please let those Cylons have it."

"With pleasure," Angela purred. A feral grin was already crossing her face; she had felt her own frustrations at their evident helplessness, and now she could give vent to them.

Aurora's main battery opened up a second later, directed at the nearest Cylon ship on her bow. Bursts of sapphire energy slammed into the unshielded Basestar and nearly blew it in half. A follow up barrage of phaser fire from the bow-facing strips completed the job. The Cylon ship was torn apart in an explosion.

Aurora surged forward, her shields at full and her weapons blazing. Her forward cannons again found a victim to rip into while on both port and starboard sides her phasers were blazing away. Solar torpedoes erupted from her launchers and wrecked another Cylon basestar scourged by the barrage of phaser fire. Robert watched with satisfaction as Aurora set into her tormentors like a bear freed from its cage.

"Shields still holding at ninety percent," Jarod remarked upon a series of impacts. "They're throwing everything they have at us and they can't make a dent."

Robert nodded. "Maintain firing until they withdraw, Angel."

"You're assuming I let them withdraw," Angel said.

Robert exchanged grins with Julia while Angel and Nick continued to assault the Cylons. But as he observed this sight, a prickly feeling came to Robert. A sense almost of deja vu. I've… seen this before, haven't it?", he asked himself.

He closed his eyes and focused. Yes. Yes, he had seen this before. He'd seen Aurora tearing into ships like this. In his dreams.

Suddenly he found he could barely keep up the smile. One of my dreams… it came true, he pondered. He thought back to things Meridina had said, about sensing the future, and felt dread build up.

This might be a victory, but not all of his dreams were so appealing. Visions of Nazi warships setting New Liberty ablaze, of Nazis murdering his cousin Beth and countless other colonists he knew on that world, came to him. A new sense of horror filled Robert that even the victory here could not get rid of.

There was a flash of light. "That last Cylon ship just made a jump," Caterina said,. "There's no way for me to track where they went."

"Let them run," Robert said. "We've had enough fighting for today." He nodded to Jarod, who re-established the communication line to the other ships. "Aurora to Pegasus. Thanks for the assistance, Admiral."

"It appears your crew had things well in hand," Adama noted. "Did you manage to purge the Cylon virus?"

Robert looked to Jarod. "I've contained it in an auxiliary computer core for the moment," Jarod answered, knowing Adama could hear him. "Although I'm also going to spend a few days fixing up our main computer systems. They're a mess of override programs and access workarounds right now."

"Can you jump?"

"Before we do, I think Scotty and I need to take a look over those jump engines," Jarod replied. "Just in case there are any more surprises."

"Understood. We'll finish the evacuation of Caprica in the meantime. Adama out."

Jarod stood up. "Sir?"

"Go ahead, Jarod," Robert said. "Go help Scotty make sure this thing isn't going to screw us over again." He forced himself to smile again, for Jarod's sake. "And Jarod? That was magnificent. You did good."

Jarod nodded. "Thanks… Robert." He gave a nod and smile of his own and headed to the turbolift doors while an Ensign at the secondary tactical station shifted over to assume Ops for the time being.

Once in the turbolift, Jarod drew in a breath and sighed. That had been so close. Far too close.

But he'd done it. He'd won, and saved all of their lives in the process. He'd outsmarted that damn Cylon thing.

Their technology in starships might have some inferiority to ours, but their computer programming is impossibly good, Jarod pondered to himself. That wasn't just a virus, that was an AI. But there would be time to consider that more thoroughly later. They had to check that jump drive over thoroughly, and quickly, so they could get back to the Refugee fleet and be assured the virus didn't have a copy waiting to surprise them.




Kane, Kara, and the others ended up being beamed up to Pegasus, where the medical staff quickly helped deal with the injuries among Anders and his people. Kane and Kara reported to the CIC to report their success. Kane saluted Adama smartly. "Admiral, our operation was a complete success."

"So I've heard." Adama turned and faced them. "And the Aurora is clear of any further Cylon virus issues."

"What happened over there?", Kara asked.

"Apparently that Cylon drive we cobbled together had a hidden data module in its machinery," Adama said. "That Cylon that slipped past you activated it remotely once he was on the Aurora."

"So everything should be good now?", Kane asked.

"I'm told Mister Jarod and Mister Scott have already purged the data module of any copies of the virus," Adama said. "They should be ready for jump shortly. Captain Kane, I'll have you returned to your ship with your Marines immediately."

"Of course, sir."

Once Kane was gone Adama and Kara exchanged looks. "Well." Adama's voice was sounding growlier than he seemed to actually be. "Looks like your rescue mission was a bit more exciting than you'd intended, Captain Thrace," he remarked.

"Indeed, sir." Kara nodded. And she smiled too. "But we got what we came for."

"That we did," Adama agreed. He looked back to the DRADIS screen. "Hard to believe how things have changed so much already now that we've met these Alliance people. I just took Pegasus up against 10 to 1 odds and won We were holding our own even before the Aurora came back online."

"They're great people, sir," Kara agreed. "Thanks to them, we just rescued thousands of our own from whatever the Cylons had in mind for them."

"A shame that they'll be going home soon," Adama said. "I wouldn't mind having them accompany the fleet on our way to their space."

"You could always ask them about the idea, sir?", Kara pointed out.

"I already intend to. In the meantime, why don't you go get some rest? Check up on your friends from that resistance force." He looked back to her. "You're dismissed, Captain."

"Before I go, sir?" Kara remained standing there. "That Cylon. He's a priest back on the Fleet. Brother Cavil."

"So I heard," Adama answered. "I'll inform Roslin as soon as I can."

At that Kara nodded and walked off, leaving Adama to his thoughts.




Roslin listened patiently as Lee finished his explanation of what had happened and what was going on. "Only thirty dead," she breathed. "Thank the Gods. I hate to say that, but given what they might have done…"

"We'd all be dead if not for Meridina," Lee answered.

"So you've said." Roslin put a hand on her chin. "And the Cylon she stopped in the reactor deck?"

"They're in a private suite I arranged. Under armed guard," Lee answered. "We'll see what happens when the expedition gets back."

"Yes." Roslin accepted water from Billy to quench the slight thirst in her throat. A bandage from the medics on Cloud Nine was handling the bruise on her arm from where Meridina had knocked her over to save her life. "At least they came through alright. I was worried that I was letting the Admiral and Captain Dale take too much of a risk..."

"It was a necessary one."

That prompted a nod. "I agree." Roslin took another sip and returned the cup to Billy. "Well… I suppose that's enough said. Now, we should probably talk about the housing issue…"




Ship's Log: 13 June 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. The Rescue Fleet has made its rendezvous with the Refugee Task Force unit as scheduled. It is my pleasure to announce that altogether we rescued over eight thousand people from the remaining twelve colonies. It was, perhaps, not as much as was hoped for. But for those eight thousand people, and for the Fleet as a whole, it's still a great boost to morale.

The Cylon virus' ability to attack our systems has been a puzzling development. How did they get such a capability to adapt their virus so quickly to our Darglan-based computer technology? This is a mystery I will leave it to Commander Jarod and Lieutenant Delgado to solve whenever they can. On a final note, Commander Meridina returned to the ship with a story of her own to tell and, unexpectedly, another Cylon refugee seeking asylum in the Alliance.


Robert and Meridina stood in the medbay watching Leo and Nasri give an examination to Gina Invieve.

"She has suffered terribly," Meridina remarked. "It would appear Caterina and Lucy were most fortunate in their own dealings with the Pegasus crew."

Robert sighed and shook his head. "It makes me think. About..."

"About what?"

"The human condition," Robert answered. "We can do such great things and turn around and be utterly despicable."

"Such is the way with all sentient life," Meridina replied. "All are open to the allure of darkness, just as all are capable of following the course of Light." A worried look came to her face. "Robert, I sense great anxiety in you. I do not think you should feel that way about this mission, it was quite the success."

"It's not the mission, it's…" Robert swallowed and sighed. "After we got the systems back and Angel went to town on the Cylons, I realized that… I was feeling Deja vu. That I had seen this happening already, seen our ship rip through the Cylons' forces."

Meridina appraised him carefully. "Truly?"

"Yes I saw it in one of those dreams I told you about." He looked into her eyes. "Does this mean my dreams are going to come true? That I can actually…"

"It simply means this particular one was the path the future was on," Meridina assured him. "Do not let it worry you, Captain."

Robert nodded. He wasn't entirely convinced of that, but he knew he should let it rest.

Besides, sometimes things more ominous and frustrating and annoying than visions of the future were at hand.

Things like paperwork.




Lucy was the last to arrive in the tertiary auxiliary computer core chamber. Contained on Decks 15 and 16, the two deck-high chamber held thee centralized core structure that contained the hardware of memory and processors for the tertiary core, providing the ship with emergency extra processing power and memory in the event of an emergency.

Jarod and Cat were already present. at the controls for the core. Nearby was a blackened spot that separated two sections of wiring. This would have been where the emergency physical isolation circuit had been placed, made to burn out the wiring completely and cut the physical connection of the auxiliary core to the main computers. That was how Jarod had saved the ship.

"You're just in time," Cat said to her. She looked up from where she was sitting by Jarod. "We're just about to examine the core."

"Examine… oh." Lucy nodded. "You're going to examine the virus in its isolated state before you wipe the core.

"That's the plan," Jarod said. "With a sample of the virus we'll be able to understand more about how the Cylons'' coding could attack our systems."

"Sounds like a worthwhile cause," Lucy agreed. She pulled up a chair. "I'll monitor the core from here and make sure the virus doesn't try anything nasty."

"That works. Okay… initiating search now… It might take a few minutes, there's a lot of corrupted data from my bait."

"I've got the time," Lucy answered.

"Really?" Cat blinked. "Because between your actual; shifts and all that weird mystic stuff Meridina's having you do, I didn't think you had a lot of time for yourself."

"I get enough," Lucy answered."Oh. Well, that's good. I guess." Cat looked back to her screen. She gave a puzzled look at it. "Jarod, are you seeing this?"

"That depends," Jarod began. "What is it?"

"I…. I'm not finding any trace of the virus in the core," she answered. "Or anything from your bait either. It's like someone wiped the whole core."

Jarod brought up his own screen. "Huh," he said. "You're right. The virus' coding has been deleted. It's just a bunch of inert data in the system now."

"So you're saying something made the virus inert?", Lucky asked.

"Yeah. I mean, the basic coding is still there. But all of the executable elements have been removed. Like someone ran a program specifically to shred the command elements of the virus."

"What… how could it do that? We didn't have any protective software in our auxiliary core, did we?", Cat asked.

Jarod shook his head. "Nothing in here but some backup data for the main systems."

"Maybe the Cylons' viruses are programmed to go inert after a while?", Lucy said. "So nobody can recover them and examine them?"

"No," Jarod answered. "This isn't right for that. Too much of the code is intact. I could use this, right now, to write sniffer programs and security gates to specifically thwart this virus. Whatever this is, it isn't to protect the virus from being examined and countered."

"Damned peculiar then," Lucy agreed.

"Well, the important thing is that the computer systems are okay," Cat said. "We'll get the connection re-established soon and everything will be back to normal." She gave Jarod a look and a smile. It was one he returned with sunny enthusiasm.

"Well, you're a bit sunnier than you've been lately," Lucy commented. "Something new?"

"You could say that," Jarod answered. "Everything is fine now." Jarod started tapping keys. "Let's go ahead and set up a firewall around this virus, we can transfer it to an isolated system for for further study."

"I'm on it."

"Same here."




Sharon and Helo had spent the crisis helping where they could. This had primarily meant seeing to the refugees transported up from the Colonies. Now that those people had been moved over to the Colonial Refugee Fleet, they had the stateroom Commander Andreys assigned to them to themselves.

Helo was busy looking out of the stateroom's window toward the fleet. Galactica loomed closely in the view. "I feel a little odd,' he admitted. "It seems like I had just gotten back. And now I'm leaving again. Probably for good."

Sharon stepped up beside him and took his hand. Her other hand settled on her belly. "I understand," she admitted.

"Same for you, right." It wasn't a question. They were both well aware that they had become exiles. "What do you think about that New Liberty Colony that Commander Andreys and Doctor Gillam talked about?"

Sharon smiled gently. "I think it's a great place to find a fresh start. But there are plenty of worlds. I don't think we're in a hurry."

"No. We're not," Helo agreed. He turned and faced her. "I'm just happy that after everything's that happened, you're finally free. And we're together."

"Sometimes I wonder if it's just a dream." Sharon smiled back at him. "If so, I never want to wake up."

They didn't say anything after that. They shared a kiss instead.

Just after the kiss ended there was a tone at their door. "Come in," Sharon called out.

The door swished open and Commander Meridina stepped in. "Helo, Sharon." She bowed her head and received a similar gesture in return. "I don't wish to intrude, but would you mind giving me assistance with something?"

"Anything," Sharon answered.

Meridina stepped to one side. The two watched as a Gina Invieve stepped in, head bowed. "She is in need of help," Meridina said. "Someone willing to show understanding. I thought you two might wish to provide it."

Helo and Sharon exchanged looks. Those looks turned into nods. "Yes," Helo said. "Of course."

Meridina smiled and nodded. "Thank you." She turned and looked at Gina. "Whatever your life was before, whatever you did or what was done to you, that is over. Here you are among friends. People who will care about you as a person."

Gina nodded. "I'm grateful," she said. "I just want to put the past behind me."

"Yes. It is best for your heart and soul. My apologies,but I have some final duties to attend to."

With that spoken, Meridina left the traumatized Cylon woman to the care of her peer and Helo. Meridina suspected there were none better-suited to helping the poor woman.




Zack had just finished securing the Koenig when he got the call to Robert's ready room. He made his way via the turbolifts to the bridge. Julia stood up from the command chair. "Thanks for watching our back out there, Zack," she said.

He allowed himself a smile and nodded. "You're welcome, Julia." He swallowed. "Despite… everything, how I feel, how you feel…. you only ever have to ask and I'll help any of you in any way I can. I won't let… my issues come between me and my friends."

II know." Julia thought on it and decided she could risk a friendly hug. Zack accepted it in the spirit given. "Somewhere out there is someone for you, Zack," Julia assured him. "It might not be me. But she's out there."

"Maybe," he murmured back. "But for right now, I just want to get on with my life."

They parted ways. Zack nodded to Barnes, who had an apprehensive look on his face. Zack understood how upset his friend had to be. he might be Robert's best friend for the most part, but but he was definitely Barnes' best friend, full stop. And now he was leaving him behind.

Sorry, Tom. It's something I have to do..

Zack stepped into Robert's office. Robert was consulting the holo-display image of Admiral Maran over subspace. Telltale crackles told of how the signal was not quite real-time, taking several seconds to pass via subspace between Aurora and the IU transceivers that connected them t Portland int.

But what Zack hadn't expected was to see Adama present as well, standing to the side.

"Ah, Commander Carrey." Maran nodded. "Good to see you. You came just at the right time."

That made Zack curious. "Sir?"

"Captain Dale informed me of your transfer request," Maran said. "I believe you are looking for some time to operate independently?"

"I am, sir."

"Well, as I told you and your friends some time ago, these sorts of things can become permanent. And no assignment is truly independent." Maran folded his hands. "However, I believe I have an assignment that fits your desires without leaving you prospects of being shut off from a return to Aurora in the future."

"Sir?", Zack asked.

"Commander Carrey." Adama was speaking now. "I've requested that the Alliance provide the Fleet with assistance for our journey toward Alliance space. "I would have preferred it being the Aurora, but I'm told they're needed elsewhere."

Robert nodded to second that.

Zack put two and two together. "You want me. Me and my crew."

Adama nodded as well. "Correct. I'd,like Koenig to join us as a scout for the Fleet. And a little extra firepower wouldn't hurt just in case the Cylons start pursuing us again."

Zack looked to Maran. "So you're assigning me to join the Colonial Fleet?"

"For the time being, yes," Maran answered. "Until they reach Alliance space."

Zack looked to Robert, who grinned slightly. Zack returned it. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, my crew and I would love to do that. But how are we going to work out the FTL drive issues?"

"I've got an engineering team working with Aurora's machinery shops to build a jump drive big enough for the Koenig," Adama answered. "They tell me they're already in the process of assembling it."

"And you won't even need to spend hours changing systems around," Robert added. "Maybe half an hour to swap drive systems, at most."

Zack nodded. "Well… that's just… that's awesome, yeah." Zack nodded to Maran. "Thank you, Admiral. This is the sort of assignment I was looking for.'

"I expected as much, Commander."

Zack looked to Adama, who quietly extended his hand. Zack took it immediately. "It'll be a pleasure to work for you, Admiral Adama," he said.

"Likewise," Adama agreed.
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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-10 09:27pm

The debriefing was held on Aurora. Roslin and her aide had brought the entire Quorum this time, with Lee accompanying them from Cloud Nine while Adama, Thrace, and Fisk arrived from Pegasus. This time Roslin had insisted on waiving the ceremony and Robert had (gratefully) agreed.

The debriefing went smoothly. More than smoothly. The rescue fleet had accomplished all that it could have reasonably hoped to. The further destruction of nine Cylon Basestars, combined with the casualties inflicted earlier in the week, would make the Cylons take a pause in threatening the Fleet any further. The eight thousand survivors were being distributed among the fleet. Space would be a bit tighter now, but it wouldn't be a problem for the ships, especially with the one gained at Picon.

"You've all done so well," Roslin said to the assembled officers of the various ships. "Eight thousand of our people rescued from Cylon hands. And these new technological gifts to help us feed and sustain ourselves for the remaining flight to your space. I couldn't ask for better allies.":

Robert responded quickly. "We're honored to have aided you, ma'am."

"On behalf of the Colonies, I thank you for your bravery and service." Roslin's expression turned somber. "And our condolences go out to those of your crew who perished in this operation. They will be remembered as heroes of the Colonies."

Robert rose. "Thank you, Madame President, for your kind words and the sentiments toward our fallen crewmates. My crew and I are proud to have helped rescue so many of your people. Just as we're proud to have established positive relations with your people, as we were sent out to do." Robert allowed himself a smile. "I'd also like to state that Admiral Maran has confirmed that a convoy of ships is being prepared to meet with the fleet and escort it into Alliance space, if that is your desire."

"It is," Roslin said. She looked to the others, who nodded. "The Quorum has agreed to a motion made by myself and Representative Zarek. We will seek sanctuary in the territory of the United Alliance of Systems. We're still determining which of your offered worlds we will accept. Honestly I suspect that this decision will not be settled until our forthcoming elections. But we will be on our way."

"I'm glad to hear it. I think that the Colonies will be at home in the Alliance. Our societies have much to offer to each other."

"Will the Aurora be accompanying us into your space?", Baltar asked.

Robert shook his head. "I'm afraid that we have been called back. There is still some battle damage the Aurora will require yard work to fix and my government believes we're needed elsewhere." Realizing how that might sound, Robert added, "Instead, we are leaving Commander Carrey and the Koenig to join the fleet." Robert looked to Zack, who nodded and grinned. "Commander Carrey has been looking forward to independent operations for himself and his crew. Working with your fleet as a scout was something Admiral Adama and I felt was a perfect fit."

"I'm looking forward to working with the Colonial Fleet on its way to Alliance space," Zack added. "My crew and I will be glad to help your people in any way required."

"I think the crew of the Faru Sadin is well aware of truth of that commitment," Roslin answered, smiling. "You and your crew will be welcome with the Fleet, Commander, as if you were our own."

"You will be our own," Adama added. "As far as I am concerned, Koenig and her crew will be a part of the fleet and will be given the same treatment I would give to any of my other subordinates."

"I'm honored, Madame President, Admiral."

After Zack sat down Robert said, "It may be some time before we see you again. But I'd like to express my best wishes for the rest of your journey. I look forward to hearing about your arrival at your new home, whichever world you choose."

There were a number of nods of agreement at that.




When Baltar got back to his lab, he took a seat and breathed a sigh of relief. "They're not staying," he said. "She is not staying."

His Head Cylon appeared beside him, slinky red dress and all. "Yes," she purred. "That is good."

"You never told me why you wanted Commander Meridina dead," Baltar said.

"Because, Gaius… she is the Enemy." His Head Cylon appraised him like she was wont to do sometimes, when it seemed like she wasn't sure if she wanted to punish him or not. "But I understand your reasons for letting her live."

"It wasn't my choice!", Baltar protested. "There was not a single thing I could do to justify harming her after that D'anna Biers tried to kill her."

"Our chance will come. One day." The Cylon spirit thing, whatever it was, smiled at him. "Now. The election."

"Yes." Baltar felt spite well up within him. Roslin's letter to him, her presumed final words after her death and his succession, had been a slap in the face. A preachy, sanctimonious prattling by a jumped up schoolteacher. And he wasn't going to take that lying down. "I'm running," he said.

"Against Roslin."

"Yes, against her." As he said that he knew it would be hard. Roslin's popularity was going to soar over these past events. A bitter irony given how close she had come to spurning their new allies, just to get the credit for making them allies. "I'm going to put Roslin in her place. I'm going to become President of the Colonies."

"Good. God is with you on this, Gaius." The Cylon leaned in close to him. Baltar could swear he could feel her breath on his neck in a sensual, arousing way. "All is going according to God's Plan..."




Across a space of thousands of light years, a number of figures gathered around a central location. Eleven in all.

Chief among them, the First began speaking. "Things will still progress according to the Plan," he assured his brethren.

The Third looked at him with narrowed eyes. "I am not so sure. We did not anticipate contact happening so quickly."

"We were supposed to keep any Colonials who fled from approaching the others," the Seventh added. "This failure may cost us everything."

"Do not be alarmed, my brethren," the First insisted. "Again, this changes nothing. A handful of remnant Humans will not change the fate of our enemies. Their doom will come in due time."

"And the Alliance?", the Eighth said. "They will interfere."

"They will have other concerns. As we have known. As we have foreseen."

"You underestimate them," the Second said. "Just as you underestimated the Gersallians before. The Enemy's order of knights are powerful. We must avoid conflict with them."

The First snarled at him. The failure of the plot to turn the aliens against each other did rankle, yes. What should have been a savage religious war was defused by those same damnable meddlers. "Thanks to the action of our Third and Fourth, we now have our own weapon to turn on the Enemy should they interfere further," he said. He looked off into the shadows. "Come."

A lone figure joined them. Hands of light bronze reached up and pulled down the hood of her robes. The face they all saw was that of a young Human woman. Her dark hair was naturally curled toward the ends. Her eyes were blue in color.

"Greetings to the Twelfth of our kind," Cavil said "Please, demonstrate the talents."

The Twelfth nodded. "By your command." She turned to the others and reached out to the Seventh. He started to gasp for air. The rest watched in stunned silence as the Seventh fell to his knees, choking and clawing at the air between him and the Twelfth. She showed no immediate emotion but her satisfaction was evident.

And everyone noticed how her blue eyes turned into an unnatural gold.

The First waited until the Seventh was facing severe damage before he announced, "Enough."

At the First's command the Twelfth pulled her hand back. The Seventh sucked in air greedily.

"We can now face the Enemy on even terms," the First said. "Twelve will provide us with the finest of our infiltrators. Once the proper training is completed, of course."

The others nodded in agreement. They had been suitable cowed by the newest demonstration of the First's power.

"Let the Humans run," the First continued. "Let them scurry into the arms of the Alliance. Their fate is still sealed. God has spoken. The Plan will succeed. The Enemy will be destroyed."

"God has spoken. The Plan will succeed. The Enemy will be destroyed."

The twelve continued the chant until the meeting broke up. The First looked to the Twelfth. "I am pleased," he said. "You have done well."

The Twelfth nodded in gratitude for his thanks and departed as well. The First was left to consider their plans.

Soon. Soon they would find the Gift. They would have the power to destroy the Humans, to destroy the Enemy, and to rule as they were meant to.

God's will would be done.




Zack was the last of his crew to get their things off the Aurora. Not from any desire not to leave, simply because he had arrangements to make with the rest of his stuff.

Which was why Robert was in the room with him helping him pack up the last few pieces. "Beth's got a storage locker lined up and ready," he said to Zack. He held up a picture of Zack with family members when he was younger. "A shame Koenig doesn't have room for all of this."

"Well, you know, she's not built for it," Zack pointed out.

"Yeah." Robert shook his head. "Zack, I'm sorry."

Zack finished putting his baseball mitt into his duffel bag. He turned and gave Robert a confused look. "What?"

"I'm sorry that I haven't been able to help you deal with… things," Robert continued. "I'm sorry that I let things get so… distant when it came to us. So distant you feel like you need to leave."

Zack sighed and shook his head. "It's not like that, Rob. I… honestly it's not too much distance that became the problem. It was the lack of it." Zack set the duffel bag down on the table. "Listen, things got heated over that LA33 disaster. Yeah. You've made mistakes and I've made mistakes. I just did whatever I had to, you know?"

"All we can do sometimes," Robert pointed out.

"Exactly. But when the day's over, Rob, you're still my best friend." Zack chuckled. "Hell, we've been friends since we were what, five years old?"

"A couple months after I turned five," Robert answered.

"Yeah. I mean, the only people your age who knew you longer were your sister and Julia," Zack pointed out. "I'm not going to give up on twenty years of friendship, man. I just got frustrated, that's all."

"Yeah." Robert tried to think of what to say. Apart of him wanted to talk Zack into not going through with this. Into letting him find someone else No matter how late it was.

But he couldn't. He knew Zack felt this separation necessary. Whatever risks it posed. And since Robert had been the one to get him pulled into this life, who was he to deny Zack the room to fully grow into it?

Maybe serving with Adama will be good for him. Adama's got the experience to help him deal with things.

Zack remained silent for the moment. "So." He checked his multi-device. "It's about time, I guess.

"Yeah." Robert sighed. "It is. I'll walk you back to Koenig."

They remained quiet on the walk there. When they got to the corridor leading to the airlock, they were no longer alone. The rest of the Aurora crew turned out. Leo came up to Zack first and gave him a supportive pat on the shoulder. "Good luck, Zack," he said. "Keep in touch."

"I will, Leo."

From Angel it was a handshake. "Take care of yourself out there, Zack.," she said.

"I'll do my best," he promised.

"Good. Because if something happens you, Cat will cry." Angel gave him a mock glare. "And I'll have to hurt you then."

"See, you do love me… for given values of love." Zack chuckled and moved onto Caterina who, enthusiastically, put her arms around him in a hug. "Woh. Hey… Cat? Have you been eating a lot of protein? I think you're going to crack ribs soon."

"I'm going to miss you," Cat said. "I wish you weren't going."

"Aw, Cat, don't worry. I'll be back before you know it," Zack said. "Now… about those ribs…"

Cat let go of him. Scott gave him a smile and a handshake. "Good luck, lad. I'll look forward to hearin' any stories ye've got when ye're back home where ye belong."

"Thanks, Scotty. Take care of things while I'm gone, alright?

"As if ye have to ask, lad."

Jarod gave him a handshake. Nicholas Locarno did as well, wishing him luck. While accepting a hug from Lucy Zack realized someone was missing.

Julia stepped up and gave him a hug. "You okay?", she asked.

"Where's Tom?", Zack inquired, seeing a distinct lack of Barnes in the group. "I know he's upset, but…"

"A moment." Julia considered him and gave him another hug. "Be careful out there, Zack. We're going to miss you."

"I'll miss you too," he answered, patting her on the back as briefly as he could.

When the hug ended attention turned to the end of the hall. Barnes was standing there in his uniform, with tool belt on, and a duffel bag on his shoulder too.

"Tom?", Cat asked, confused.

"I'm going," Barnes said.

Zack looked at him. "What?"

"I said I'm going with you," Barnes repeated. "Karen's going to have her hands full overseeing the modifications to the Colonial ships and stuff. You're going to need an extra set of hands in engineering. And I know Koenig just as well as she does."

"The paperwork's already signed," Julia said. "The temporary assignment has been logged."

Zack looked back to Tom and sighed. But he couldn't keep the grin off his face. He gave Barnes an affectionate, friendly smack on the shoulder. "Coming along, eh? Mister Scott, are you sure you'll be fine without Tom to keep things in order?"

"I'm sure I can manage," Scott answered, grinning knowingly. "Best if you bring your friend along. I cannae have th' lad frettin' about ye bein' gone th' entire time, now can I?"

As Caterina gave Barnes a hug, everyone had a moment to reflect on just what this meant. Barnes was going to stay with the Fleet, with the people who had shot him just over a week ago, simply because he wanted his friend to have a buddy along.

Zack understood that too. He had to concentrate to keep any tears from forming

"I hope I am not too late." Meridina stepped up and grinned at them. "I wanted to see you both off as well."

"Not too late at all," Zack said. He offered her a hand. She took it and gave Zack the handshake. "Please, keep them safe."

"I will. I promise you." Meridina and Barnes shook hands. Afterward she stepped back and nodded her head in a goodbye gesture. "Mi rake sa swevyra iso, Zachary Carrey, Thomas Barnes."

Zack returned the nod. "Mi rake sa swevyra iso, Meridina."

Meridina's eyebrows went up. "You've learned the proper pronunciation." She looked to Lucy with some humor. "Hopefully Lucy will learn it as well as you have."

Lucy chuckled at that. Her blue eyes glinted with amusement and a bit of mischief. "Well, I was starting to think of it as a fun way to tease Meridina after a particularly hard training session."

Meridina gave her a bemused look. "It appears I may have to make things yet harder for you then."

That earned her a playful glare from those same blue eyes.

To that exchange, Zack took a moment to respond. "I had some down time to look the pronunciation up, actually." He stepped up to the airlock with Barnes behind him. "Alright everyone." Zack turned back to them and waved. "Be careful, stay safe, don't be strangers... and Rob, if you dump Angel again you'll have earned every bruise."

"Yes," Angel said, smirking, "he will." She gave him a knowing look that made Robert blush and caused the others to chuckle and giggle at his expense.

After another moment Robert recovered from that. "Good luck out there." He gave Zack a meaningful look. "Come back to us when you're ready."

Zack nodded back. "Yeah. We will."

"Adios, compadres!", Barnes called out.

Everyone remained and watched as the two entered Koenig's airlock. "Well." Robert sighed. "It's time for us to depart too."

They left for the bridge.




Tag

Everyone took their normal places upon the return to the bridge, save the conspicuous absence of Barnes from the Engineering station. Lucy had taken it instead. She brushed a lock of her curly dark hair out of her eyes and focused on her screens.

"Koenig is ready to launch," Jarod reported.

Robert nodded and restrained a desire to sigh. "Alright. Let her go."

"Completing launch procedures now. "

They watched on the screen as Koenig pulled out of the launch bay and moved over to a new position by Galactica. A light appeared on Jarod's board. "Hail from Galactica."

"Put them on."

It was audio only, as usual. "Aurora, this is Admiral Adama."

"We read you, Admiral."

"This meeting has been a turning point for our people. I hope to see you again some time. May the Gods, or whomever is out there, watch over you."

"Godspeed, Admiral Adama," Robert answered. "Godspeed to all of us."

"Farewell, Captain Dale. Adama out."

"Well." Julia settled completely into her seat. "This was quite the first contact mission."

"Yes it was," Robert agreed. "So… Jarod, you were saying about that jump drive?"

"We removed the data module from it," Jarod answered. "But the entire thing was never meant to be used constantly and our return trip left some of the components nearly burnt out."

Julia spoke up next. "Were there any problems hooking the warp drive back up?"

"None at all. Scotty thinks we need to take it easy on the way back, though. He recommended no higher than Warp 9."

"That'll add a couple of days to our trip back," Robert noted.

"Best not to wait around, then," Locarno operated his board. "Laying in course to Gersal, Warp 9."

Robert and the others waited for Locarno to finish that task. The Refugee Fleet covered the holo-screen. Almost 60,000 souls, huddled together in a ramshackle fleet. The few survivors of billions of slaughtered people and all that was left of a unique Human civilization. Robert pondered on how much things had changed for these people since they had met them. The Colonials had been given the one thing that made their situation tolerable.

Hope.

Despite everything that had happened, he and his friends had given these poor people hope that they had a future beyond fleeing the Cylons.

"So." Julia was clearly thinking out loud. "How much do you think Hawthorne and Davies will protest all of the risks we took on this mission? And our decisions?"

"They can try," Robert answered. "But we can show that whatever risks we took, they were necessary. And that the outcome was better for them."

"Course laid in."

"Alright, Mister Locarno." Robert nodded. "Take us out."

The Starship Aurora accelerated past the Refugee Fleet and turned. On a number of the ships curious Colonials watched with awe and joy as the large starship pulled away, becoming ever smaller against the backdrop of space. The warp nacelles lit up with bright blue light for a moment, after which the Aurora surged forward at warp speed on her way home.




Adama watched Aurora disappear from the DRADIS scopes. "There they go," Tigh said. "Hope they stay safe out there."

"I thought you didn't care much for them, Saul?", Adama asked.

"Well, they're rough around the edges. Need some discipline." Tigh smirked. "But, hell, they were a good enough sort. They gave us a lot of help right when we needed."

"They still are," Adama noted, looking at the DRADIS signature for Koenig. Commander Carrey's ship had taken up its new position ahead of Galactica. "Lieutenant Duala. Put me on with the rest of the fleet. I want to make a quick address."

Duala blinked at that. It was quite the request; it would require each ship putting Adama on their internal PA systems. "Yes sir. I'm patching you to the other ships." Duala keyed the necessary channels and opened the necessary bandwidths to carry the signal. "Admiral Adama wishes to address the people of the Fleet. Please open this channel to ship PA systems."

After about twenty seconds Duala looked up. "You're on, Admiral."

Adama nodded. "This is Admiral William Adama addressing the people of the Fleet. A lot has happened in these past two weeks. We have met new allies of incredible capability, but most importantly, incredible charity. Thanks to the help of Captain Dale and his crew, we are better prepared to defend ourselves from the Cylons than we've been ever been. And we now count another eight thousand of our own among us again. We are now setting course for Alliance space. Earth is there. We can't move in just yet, but it's there. As are so many other Earths over the Multiverse we've been introduced to."

"But we're not going alone. The Alliance has pledged its aid to us. We are already due to meet with a convoy in some time that will provide us with material aid and protection. Until we meet that convoy, however, we have not been left alone by our new friends. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Commander Zachary Carrey and the crew of the Koenig to the ranks of this Fleet. You may have heard of these people. They risked their own destruction to save the Faru Sadin from a Cylon nuclear attack. They helped us get thousands of our people out of the occupied Colonies. And now they are staying behind with us, to help protect the Fleet until we get to the safety of Alliance territory."

Adama let that last point sink in for a moment before continuing. "It is my hope and expectation that from this point onward, Commander Carrey and his crew will be treated like any other part of this Fleet. They will be shown all of the courtesies you would show to any member of the Colonial Navy." He gave a look to the rest of his crew in the CIC, who all looked on with support. So he finished with, "So say we all."

"So say we all.," the CIC crew echoed. The speakers echoed with more repeats of the same line as other ships in the Fleet echoed Adama's words.




Adama's address had been heard on Koenig as well. Zack nodded to Magda. She put him on as the final echoes were carrying, allowing him to add his own "So say we all" to the chorus.

"Thank you for your support. Adama out."

Once the line was cut, Sherlily remarked, "Always good to be appreciated."

Zack smirked at that. He looked over to where Barnes was sitting at the engineering station for the bridge. "Settling in?"

"Sure," he said. "Although it's a bit redundant up here compared to the Aurora."

"Well, Karen's going to start making the rounds of their ships to set up shields and all sorts of stuff, you'll be getting plenty of time down in Engineering."

"I just wouldn't recommend changing too much," Apley added. "Karen has her own system in place."

"Yeah, I understand that," Barnes said. "So, ready to give this new jump drive a spin?"

"As soon as Adama signals our course."

"We're receiving that now," Magda said. "Galactica is signalling the fleet to prepare for a jump."

"It's a shame we don't have Aurora's processing power," Barnes sighed. "We're months away from the Dorei frontier at the rate these ships can jump."

"Ah, it's no big deal," Zack answered. "Think of it as a chance to get away, Tom. Spread our wings a bit."

"Yeah, sure. Until some Cylon starts shooting our ass up."

"Don't worry, Lieutenant," Sherlily said. "I'll return the favor."

"Jump set in," Apley said. "We're ready."

"Jump when we get the go signal."

"Right. Five, four, three, two…. one."

With a press of a key, Apley jumped the Koenig in time with the rest of the Refugee Fleet.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-15 10:33am

Teaser

Ship's Log: 2 July 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. I'm pleased to record that the warp drive system overhaul that Commander Scott required is now complete. With our repairs completed I am looking forward to departing on whatever mission we are called upon to complete next.

We have yet to receive a replacement for the Koenig, left behind to provide additional support for the Colonial Refugee Fleet. It remains to be seen whether we will receive the replacement ship before we embark on a new mission.


Robert finished putting in the morning ship's log and took a sip of coffee. It was replicated and lacked the flavor of the coffee he could have gotten from Hargert in the Lookout. But with departure imminent, he thought it best to save time by eating breakfast in his quarters.

Well... that wasn't entirely his motivation.

He looked back as the shower door opened. Angela stepped out with a towel wrapped around her from shoulders to hips, revealing muscled arms and legs. Her wet hair glistened in the soft light of his quarters. He smiled at her and gestured to the plate of eggs and pancakes he'd replicated for her. "Hungry?"

She responded by leaning over him and kissing him on the cheek. "Thanks." She settled into the chair opposite him and began to partake of the breakfast while drying off. "You were up early."

"Yeah." Robert gestured toward his computer monitor. "I wanted to make sure all of the dock paperwork was in order."

"Well, we got that damned Cylon drive out and over to the tech people where it belongs," Angel said. "And Scotty's finished the drive overhaul. It looks like we're ready."

"Mostly. There is something I wanted to show you." Robert picked up a digital pad and handed it to her.

Angel set her egg-covered fork down to accept and read it. Her brow furrowed. "You're expanding our torpedo locker? Two hundred extra torpedoes for the ship?"

"It seems reasonable."

"S4W8," Angel sighed.

"Nothing new from there," Robert said. "Just the same reports of Reich activity near Krellan Nebula. Fourth Fleet's on position in the region. I hear they're forming a Ninth Fleet to join Lithgon's forces. But it'll be a week before they can get into place."

The reminder of the possibly imminent war in a universe where Nazi Germany prevailed in World War II turned the breakfast into a working one. Angel let her expression turn into a frown as she sat the pad down. Her appetite drained away. "Have another dream?", she asked.

"Not last night," Robert said. He grinned thinly at her. "Thanks to you, I think."

She returned the grin, even if she didn't feel it. "That's sweet of you. But I'm just... worried, I guess."

"We all are."

"Not about Nazis. Not about Cylons either. About you. You're blaming yourself for what's coming," she pointed out.

Robert couldn't deny it. "I have good reason. It's my fault."

Angel's temper flared. "Dammit, Robert," she hissed. "Stop this failed messiah crap. You made a bad call. But let's face it. Nazis, Robert! Nazi's for Christ's sake! We're going to end up at war with them anyway!"

"It's how soon that is that worries me," Robert remarked.

"Alright. Yeah, you're not going to stop this." Angel shook her head. She pushed the plate away. "You know what? I'm done with breakfast. I'm going to get dressed and check on Cat." She stood from the chair.

Robert opened his mouth to call out to her. But he said nothing as she entered the bedroom. He couldn't think of anything to say. Anything that she'd accept, anyway.

She'll calm down, he assured himself. She's just being protective of me, I need to recognize how protective she is.

He said nothing further, even after Angel stepped out in a brisk pace. She'd left in such a hurry she hadn't even taken the time to brush out her wet hair.

Robert decided to finish his breakfast. But he only got a few bites into it when he received a call over the ship intercom. "Bridge to Captain Dale," the chirping Alakin voice of Lieutenant Jupap said.

Robert sighed and hit the response button on his desktop. "Dale here."

"Admiral Maran is calling over IU radio for you."

"Relay it to my quarters." Robert looked down to make sure his uniform undershirt had no stray bits of breakfast on it in the moments before Maran's gray-haired visage appeared on his screen.

The Gersallian admiral looked none the worse for wear. "Captain, I've been informed that Aurora's drive overhaul is complete and you're due to launch today?"

"Yes, Admiral," Robert replied.

"That's good news," Maran answered. "Because we have a mission for you. Something we think is suited for the Aurora." His expression shifted to show the weight of what he was about to ask. "S4W8, Captain."

Robert frowned. They'd had enough experiences in that universe so far. It was one of those alternate timeline types of universes, and one with a particularly nightmarish outcome to history; The "Third Reich" of that universe now stretched across entire sectors of space and commanded a starship force that was potent and dangerous. Robert and the others had been the ones to accomplish first contact with the Reich, actually working with them to deal with pirates that based themselves in the Krellan Nebula along their border.

But then, of course, had come 33LA. "Anything else on the diplomatic initiatives, Admiral?", Robert said. "I can't imagine the Reich will be happy to see us around given what happened at 33LA."

"Still no response to diplomatic contact attempts. We're seeing continued Reich fleet activity near Krellan, but our analysts are starting to believe this may be saber-rattling, or even a feint. Lithgon's continuing to observe near our end of the nebula."

"So, if it's not trying to get them to talk, what is it?', Robert asked.

Maran put his hands together on the desk. "According to your report of the first meeting with Captain Lamper, he spoke of something called 'the Remnants'."

"He did. I got the impression they were Humans who defied the Reich."

"We have confirmation that this is true. The Phosako have informed us that a grouping of these Remnants have been moving on the periphery of their space recently. We would like you to make contact with them."

"As in you want us to meet these 'Remnants' and get to know them."

"Yes. We'd like to know more about them. And, if possible, to take them as an ally should the Reich attack."

Which is probably a certainty at this point. Robert nodded. "We'll jump to S4W8 once we're out of here."

"I'll have coordinates relayed to you. There are several Phosako patrols in the region that will provide assistance. I needn't remind you that relations with the Phosako are of immense importance in this time. Make sure everyone maintains their diplomatic composure."

"Of course, Admiral."

"I look forward to hearing your report on the first contact, Captain. Maran out."

Robert reached for the communications key after Maran's image disappeared. "This is Captain Dale to Bridge. Inform the Command Staff we have new orders. I want everything ready for our scheduled launch."

"Yes sir."

And with that done, there was little Robert could do save finish his rapidly-cooling breakfast.




Undiscovered Frontier
"The Survival of Hope"



Most of the Command Staff were in the Main Conference Room when Robert arrived. "Sorry if I'm running late," he said. "I was just conversing with Admiral Kermayis about getting our final replenishment done as highest priority. We can't afford delays in launching."

As Robert took his seat, he noticed two chairs were empty. Barnes' chair, obviously, although Lucy was supposed to be taking it up for the moment, and Meridina's chair.

Right. They went planetside this morning.

"Admiral Maran has new orders already?", Julia asked.

"Direct from President Morgan," Robert confirmed. "We're heading to the frontier of Phosako space."

"Back to Naziverse, then," Leo muttered.

"Exactly." Robert put his hands on the table. "They want us to make contact with the Remnants."

"The who?"

To answer Leo's question, Julia spoke up. "When we made first contact with Captain Lamper, he said something about the Aurora being too large and powerful to be a Remnant ship."

"They must be the outcasts of the Reich and its conquests," Jarod said. "With nowhere to go in Human-inhabited space, they'd have to head out into the frontier."

"So what, they're freedom fighters?", Angel asked.

"Presumably, although more likely they're more like the Colonial Refugee Fleet," Jarod replied. "Constantly moving through space, having to stay ahead of the Reich's expansions. At best, maybe getting to settle a planet every generation or so and getting pushed off when the Reich's explorers find them."

"I'm guessing the President would like them on board in the event of a war," Julia noted. "But that doesn't sound like they'd be very capable of fighting one."

"Not directly," Jarod agreed. "But there's still so much we don't understand about Reich space in S4W8. The Remnants could have knowledge of how things work in the Nazi Empire. Worlds with viable resistance movements. Political divisions within the Reich government. We already saw some evidence for that."

"You mean the fact that Captain Lamper treated that SS guy like he was a rabid dog needing a leash?", Angel said, smirking.

"Exactly." Jarod nodded. "If we're going to war, this is information we can use."

"And the Remnants could know it," Robert said, finishing the thought. "So our objective is to find them and open a dialogue."

"The Phosako were polite, but I'm not sure they'll want us poking around on our frontier." Julia shook her head. "I doubt 33LA endeared us to them either."

"We're scheduled to link up with a Phosako patrol cruiser, the Diligence, tomorrow," Robert answered. "Apparently the Phosako actually want us to meet the Remnants. They'll be helping us locate them."

Caterina actually grinned. "Oh, that's great! I like the Phosako."

"They didn't quite like us, dear sister," Angel reminded her.

"I'm not sure you can say one way or the other," Leo pointed out.

"They seemed all right tae me." Scotty leaned ahead in his chair. "What concerns me is these Nazi scunners. Dinnae tell me they might nae be showin' up."

"We have no reports on Reich activity in that zone," Robert said. "But I'm sure Cat and Jarod will be keeping an eye out." Robert eyed the chronometer. "Well, I know we all need to make final launch preparations, so I won't keep you. Any questions?"

"I've got one." Julia tapped the table. "We don't have a support ship anymore. What's Command doing about that?"

"I'm told one will be assigned to us shortly," Robert replied. "But I wasn't told anything beyond that."

"Good to know we'll be going in without that backup," Angel muttered, crossing her arms.

"We do what we can," Robert said. "Julia, can you message Meridina with the new plans?"

"I'll do that right away."

"Good. Alright everyone, this meeting is over. Let's get to work."




Lucy Lucero among the vaulted ceilings and thick columns and felt a sense of wonder tempered by her irritation. She expressed the latter by fidgeting with the blue robe over her shoulders. It turned out that comfortable wear was not always a perk of having super mind powers or life force energy or whatever you wanted to call it.

Meridina looked at her with bemusement as they crossed the Courtyard of the Great Temple. "It is not wise to keep a Mastrash waiting."

"Yeah, sorry," Lucy answered. In truth it wasn't as great a sacrifice to don the robes as Lucy otherwise felt. What was more aggravating was that they were likely to depart today.

But instead of preparing Aurora for launch, she was down here dealing with this "swevyra" stuff.

Okay, so I have all of these powers now, but I still have other stuff to do, she thought. Loudly.

She knew it was loud because Meridina faced her with patience written on her expression. "I understand this is an imposition, Lucy," she said. "But these things must be done."

"Your boss wants to see me… why? They don't trust you in doing this?"

"There are some…. issues, perhaps," Meridina remarked delicately. "Although I am hoping you are finding compensation in seeing this place."

Lucy looked over the structures around them again while they approached the main building. It almost reminded her of pictures of big European cathedrals, not counting the fact that instead of high spires and roofs they were built circular and round. It was still quite stunning, especially when one looked back over the sprawling capital of the Gersallian Interdependency in the valley below, with all of the tall building spires shining in the yellow sun of Gersal. They've had interstellar government since before the Greeks had city-states, Lucy thought. It did give her a sense of humility. Among the explored universes so far, the only species that could claim a similar age of interstellar reach were the Asari in M4P2 and the Goa'uld of R4A1.

As they entered the structure there were more robed individuals milling around. Some had blue robes, like those being worn by Meridina and Lucy, while others were in simple light cream-colored ones and a few reds. " of the robes mean something?", Lucy asked.

"They can," Meridina said. "The light-colored ones are for those who work with the Order but do not have swevyra attunement sufficient to wield our power. The blues are us. And the red are those of our Knights assigned to security."

"Any other colors I should know about?"

"Green denotes those who are not trained in combat but have shown skill in healing," Meridina continued. "And purple is for Mastrashs. Purple with blue trim are for Mastrashs on the Council."

"What's the difference between that last set? I mean, between a Mastrash and one who's on the Council?"

"It is an issue of denoting one's time in the Order. To get a seat in the Council they must provide decades of service and show incredible understanding of the way the energies of the universe and of our life force intertwine."

"So basically, they have to put their time in and show they've been keeping up on the work," Lucy said.

"Yes, that is one way of putting it," Meridina said.

They approached a door flanked by some of the red-robed security people. They looked intently at Meridina and Lucy and gave Lucy the uncomfortable feeling her brain was being picked at. "What's behind here?", she asked, looking up and up and up at the high double doors of what looked like fine crafted wood.

"The Council and Assembly Chamber," Meridina answered. "The Council meets here and can hold sessions with an audience."

Once inside the doors, Lucy muttered, "And by audience you mean a crowd big enough for a football game."

It was like entering a great stadium from the floor level. Across from her and around were rows and rows of seats stretching skyward. In the middle of the chamber there was a large round table made of stone, finely carved and designed. Chairs ringed the table.

Beyond the table, in an indention within the wall beyond the table, there was a vaulting painted image. Lucy looked up at the image. The figure was a woman, tall and graceful-looking, wearing a tattered robe and holding a lakesh blade. The lakesh was painted as if it had an otherworldly light to it, more light than substance. At her feet were a series of figures in dark clothing. "Is that…?", Lucy began, walking up to the giant picture.

"It is Swenya, yes," Meridina answered. She took in a breath and didn't disguise her own awe. "It was not contemporary, unfortunately. Much of our art of the time was lost in the Uprising of the Brotherhood."

"The who?"

"Those who had given in to darkness," Meridina continued. "A secret clique under the Mastrash Kohbal that attempted to usurp control of the planet a hundred years after Swenya's death. They were inevitably defeated and destroyed. But they caused great suffering before they were driven off Gersal."

"That sucks," Lucy muttered. She walked up toward the altar or whatever it was at the foot of the painting. Several surfaces glinted in the light; protective glass coverings. Lucy looked down at a tattered pair of blue robes. "Let me guess," she said. "Swenya's?"

"Yes," Meridina said. "Her robes… her sandals…" Meridina rested a hand on the glass covering in the center, "...and her lakesh"

Lucy looked at the lakesh of Swenya. It had no blade that was visible. The hilt was rounder than that of the lakesh Meridina used. "It looks like your hilt design changed over the millennia."

Meridina answered with a nod.

"Does the blade work? I mean, you could use it in ceremony?"

"Sadly, no. It was broken millennia ago and it never functioned afterward."

Lucy looked back at the case and the sword within. She put a hand on it. The idea of fixing the sword came to her. Silly, perhaps, but it would be something to see the lakesh of a woman who was evidently considered the heroine and founder of the Gersallian order.

"It is quite the sight, is it not?"

Lucy and Meridina turned from the artifacts of Swenya and faced a new arrival in the chamber. The older, wolf-haired Gersallian man drew a pleased smile from Meridina. "Mastrash Ledosh." She bowed her head respectfully. "This is Lieutenant Lucy Lucero."

"Mastrash is a word for 'Master', isn't it?', Lucy asked while giving a bow of her head too.

Ledosh returned the gestures respectfully. "I believe that is an approximation that works in your Human tongue." Ledosh looked over Lucy. "Your swevyra burns brightly. Meridina tells me your training is progressing well?"

"I suppose," Lucy said. "I've had to use my, uh, 'powers' a few times already."

"Lucy is a quick thinker, Mastrash," Meridina said. "I cannot give her enough credit in that regard."

"Well, that is good to hear."

"So, uh, how is this going to work now?", Lucy asked.

"You will be trained in the basic uses of your power," Ledosh said to her. "Should you choose to join our Order, you will be trained in more advanced techniques."

"Joining your Order means…"

"Well, you would come to Gersal," Ledosh answered. "We would give you further instruction in our ways here at the Temple. In time you would serve in the field alongside a knight like Meridina. When judged ready, you would be made a Knight yourself."

"So I'd have to leave the Aurora," Lucy pointed out.

"Well, yes," Ledosh said.

"Why can't Meridina train me? Besides, she's in the fleet, why can't I be as well?"

Ledosh drew in a sigh. He gave Meridina a careful look that was returned evenly. "Young lady, Meridina's current status is something of an exception to the rule. Our knights do not usually serve with armed services. Our place is to protect the innocent and administer justice, not to serve as military personnel."

"Oh. Well." Lucy shrugged. "I guess. I mean, I can see. But I'll tell you right now, Mastrash Ledosh, that I have no intention of leaving the Aurora."

"I understand," Ledosh said. Lucy noticed his expression remained passive and accepting. Nevertheless she got the feeling he had not liked her answer. "That is your choice."

"Mastrash, would it not be permissible to train her further in anticipation that Lucy could then train other Humans in ways that more closely fit various Human cultural practices?", Meridina asked.

Ledosh looked at Meridina with consideration. "You mean to emulate how we dealt with the Dorei."

"It seems the most reasonable course to take," Meridina said. "Humans have their own cultural views and concepts, indeed, still have many diverse ones from what we have seen."

"You will remember, Meridina, that our introduction of the Dorei to swevyra did not go smoothly."

"Oh?" That piqued Lucy's curiosity. "What happened?"

Meridina lowered her head. "There were…. difficulties. The diversity of religion and race among the Dorei, much like your own species' diversity, prompted distrust between nations that had closer relations to Gersal and those that did not."

"The Dorei had yet to form their Federation," Ledosh said in elaboration. "We drew closest to the most spiritual and friendly of the Dorei nations, like the Astra and Lushan. Others felt endangered by this. Once swevyra began to be trained among those Dorei nations those who were not as close to us became aggressive and hostile. Other factors went into play as well, but the result was what the Dorei call their First Unification War. Millions of innocent Dorei died."

"It sounds like an obvious side-effect of First Contact, though."

"Perhaps," Meridina allowed. "But it was not in keeping with our purpose. Our inability to assert our neutrality led to attacks on our people as well. In the end, the Dorei states that formed the Dorei Federation won the war, although a second one was required thirty years later after the equally disastrous First Contact with the Jeaxians to finish unifying the Dorei."

"I apologize for the impromptu history lesson, Lucy Lucero, but it is necessary for us to illustrate the reluctance my people would have to contemplating the training of Humans outside of the order."

"And so you think people wouldn't approve because they're afraid it'll cause conflict between Human states."

"It is perhaps more complicated than that, but basically the answer is yes." Ledosh nodded. "They would rather not train you at all than train you outside of the Order and its rules."

"So, bottom line is, Meridina can only show me the basics," Lucy said. "After that I either have to leave the Aurora or give up on learning more."

"This Order is built upon sacrifices of such sorts, yes," Ledosh said. "We have all made them." He looked to Meridina.

Lucy did too. Meridina shook her head. "It is nothing. I appreciate how close you are to the others on Aurora."

Lucy said nothing to that. She supposed she shouldn't be shocked at it, after all. These people were warrior-monks or what have you, naturally they'd want to instill discipline and train someone like that.

"Making a decision at this point will not be necessary for you, Lucy Lucero," Ledosh said kindly. "It will still be some time while Meridina teaches you the basics of swevyra."

"Yeah." Lucy nodded. "And I suppose I only get the cool memory metal sword if I sign up?"

"The lakesh, you mean?" Ledosh smiled and nodded. "Yes. They are the symbol off those who serve with us."

"Right. Yeah, I get that." Lucy looked back to the display of Swenya's relics. Lucy's eyes settled on Swenya's weapon, to be precise. "Has anyone ever managed to make Swenya's blade work?", Lucy asked out of curiosity.

"No. Not for thousands of years,," Ledosh said.

"Do you ever try?", Lucy asked. "I mean, just to see what it was like? I'm guessing it was one of your species' first attempts at a memory metal construct like that."

"There are certain… requirements one must fulfill to even be allowed to touch the hilt," Ledosh said. "Actually trying to activate the blade within has no standing rule in our Order."

"Huh." Lucy turned to him. She offered a hand. "Well, whether I come back to sign up for the robes and knight stuff or not, it was a pleasure to meet you, Mastrash Ledosh."

Ledosh considered her hand for a moment before smiling and accepting. "Ah, yes, your handshake." he nodded. "May whatever choice you take be the calling in your heart, Lucy Lucero. Mi rake sa swevyra iso."



They were walking out of the Temple again and toward the shuttlepad when Lucy looked to Meridina. "It's pretty lovely here."

"It is," Meridina agreed.

"Everyone sacrifices, he said," Lucy pondered. "What was your sacrifice?"

Meridina remained silent for a moment. "My sacrifice was to lose my father," she admitted.

"Huh?" Lucy furrowed her brow. "What happened to your father?"

"He is a Mastrash as well", Meridina admitted. "Once I agreed to be swevyra, I was no longer his daughter. I was his student in the Order."

Lucy took that in. "Yeah, that's rough," she said.

"I believed the cost was worth it." Meridina felt a pang of sadness. "We all make sacrifices for what we believe in. You are already familiar with the things one might have to endure in doing the right thing, yes?"

Lucy's skin crawled. She knew precisely what Meridina was referring to. "I don't like thinking about that," Lucy said to her. She flashed back to that damned room in the Duffy home. She remembered terror and pain at the hands of Patrick Duffy. "Being tortured to death wasn't something I expected to happen," Lucy mumbled.

"I can only be grateful you were rescued," Meridina said quietly. "I am truly honored, Lucy, to have you as a student in swevya."

Lucy took in a breath and recovered from those old memories. "Yeah. I'm glad too. And thank you for showing me how this stuff works." She grinned thinly. "Or, at least, showing me what you can show me."

"Simply because I cannot show you the more extensive abilities does not mean I cannot advise you in developing your power on your own," Meridina said, her voice low. "I could not show you things, but I am morally obligated to make sure you do not dabble in the darker powers that misuse of swevyra can cause."

"I suppose that makes sense," Lucy answered. She brought up her left arm and pulled the robe sleeve back enough to reveal her multidevice. She tapped a key on it and brought up the chronometer. "Given the time, maybe we should get going. The ship's due to launch in an hour."

"That is advisable, yes," Meridina noted.




The bridge crew was all set when Robert got to the bridge. Lucy was again in Barnes' place at Engineering, reminding him again of how Zack and Tom were gone. "And will be for the rest of the year, probably," Robert mused to himself under his breath.

"All moorings are clear," Jarod said. "We're no longer connected to the station."

On the viewscreen they could see the vista of Gersal's surface and its western ocean below them. A Gersallian dreadnought starship loomed ahead, nearly the same length as the Aurora but wider.

"Impulse engines to one quarter," Locarno said.

"I thought thrusters only in these places, Nick?", Julia asked.

"It's an old Starfleet tradition," Locarno answered, grinning. "To make sure the Captain is awake and paying attention, I've heard. But you're right. Switching to thrusters. 20 kph and rising."

Robert and Julia exchanged sly grins at Locarno's remark.

Aurora's thrusters gently pushed her out of the confines of the docking space they had occupied. Once they were fully clear Locarno returned the ship to one quarter impulse. Aurora picked up speed. Soon they were away from the station and making for sufficient open space to jump. "Establishing link to Harris Station for jump," Jarod said. "I'm getting the necessary telemetry,"

"Jump when ready."

It never got old for them. Watching space split open with an interuniversal jump point of swirling green color. That sensation that rippled through you as you passed between universes.

They emerged on the other side at Harris Station. Several warships from various Alliance member states were milling about the station. They were the nucleus of a new fleet for self-defense with an increasing number of original construction to join starting toward the end of the year. There were a few ships Aurora's size to be seen. A Dorei battle starbird, two FedStars battleships, an Alakin capital warbird with sleek winged form and red and yellow coloring to contrast to the purples and blues of the Dorei starbird. It was a demonstration of all the various ship aesthetics that existed in the Alliance. The diversity of the Allied systems in action.

"Set a course for the Phosako frontier, Mister Locarno," Robert said. "Warp 9.2."

"Course laid in," Locarno answered "I'm using the coordinates Admiral Maran provided. We should be there right on schedule."

"Engage when ready."

Aurora turned away from Harris Station and jumped to warp speed.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-15 11:06am

Oh, credit where it's due. Ash's Boomstick from SB did some editing work for me, and Kartr_Kana and TimothyC were giving me input on the story.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-16 09:00am

Caterina had turned over the bridge science station to one of the junior science officers so she could return to the Science Labs, 1 in this case, to continue another project. Angel soon arrived with a container of food in one hand. "You missed dinner, Cat," she said, her voice partly scolding. "Again.."

"Sorry," Caterina answered, wincing. "I just got really busy here."

Angel put the plate down at the work station beside where Cat was working and looked at the screen. She recognized it as raw data being examined. "Isn't Jarod handling the computer scrubbing and fixing?"

"That's already done," Caterina insisted. "This is something else."

"Oh?"

"It's the data we recovered from that Darglan data site at 33LA," Cat answered. "I've been making some progress restoring some of the files that were lost or only partly downloaded before we had to get out."

"Right." Angel put a hand on her sister's shoulder reflexively. Being reminded that she had nearly lost her sister twice in the span of a month was not welcoming. "So?"

"So what?"

"What's so important about it?', Angel asked. "So important you're spending most of your free time in here now?"

"Angel…. that other data facility said there was a full-scale Darglan Facility in this universe," Cat replied. "Do you know what this means?"

"You're worried the Nazi jerks might find it first, aren't you?", Angel said.

"Exactly! If I can find any data on its location, we'll know for sure if it's in danger of being found or not."

"Right. That makes sense." Angel tapped the food container. "But you're still going to have to take breaks to eat, little sister."

"I had a nice lunch, I'll be fine."

Caterina made a face a moment later as a very audible growling noise seemed to come from her stomach. Angel crossed her arms and smirked.

"Okay, so I didn't eat lunch today," Cat admitted.

"Cat, I love how enthusiastic you can be about things, but you need to remember to do things like eat too. You're still recovering from what happened on Pegasus..."

An involuntary shudder went through Cat. "Please, don't remind me about that," she sighed. "Please."

"Right. Sorry."

"I'll eat in a moment, okay? I just want to see if this data compiling routine will…."

Before she could finish, the data on the screen stopped flowing. An error message popped up.

"Ugh. I was so close," Cat groaned. "So close."

"How about you eat, get some rest, and come back at this fresh tomorrow?", Angel suggested.

"You're probably right," Caterina sighed. She looked to Angel. "So, are you moving back in with Rob?"

"Are you ready for me to?", Angel asked. "You've been having nightmares."

"Yeah, but I did well enough last night," Cat answered. "I'm starting to sleep better. Really. Go be with him, sis, I'll be fine."

Angel sighed at that. It seemed that between Cat and Robert she was spending most of her time not sleeping but hugging someone gripped in bad dreams. At least if it was getting better for Cat…




The nightmares came to Robert again.

The familiar imagery returned. The cybernetically-enhanced alien from M4P2. The girl in the red and gold clothing. Lamper with his eyes shining an inhuman blue. The ruins of the New Liberty Colony. Strange warships blasting Aurora repeatedly. Same as always.

He heard a scream. Robert turned and watched Julia, stripped down to what looked like undergarments, writhing in agony in a metal chair. "Julie!" He reached out to her.

But he couldn't get to her. He was in a dark room. A star burned outside the window. "You can't save them all," a man's voice said. Robert turned and saw a strange man with odd blue eyes appraising him coldly. At his feet were Angel, Cat, Zack... everyone. Unconscious. Or dead. "If you can't accept that, you'll lose them all. We'll all lose."

The figure faded. It was Julia again, sprawled out on the floor. Robert watched a familiar face look over her. The man in the dark uniform looked at him with unnatural eyes of yellow and gold and smirked. "She will be mine, Kapitan," the voice of Fassbinder, the SS man, cooed.

Robert yelled in rage and charged at him. He brought his fist up to strike. But before he could there was a flash of red light from behind. Pain surged through his belly. He looked down to see red light and...

Robert woke up. Not with as much of a start this time, more of a gentle tremor. He believed this is why Angel didn't stir and seemed to remain fast asleep at his side. He drew in a breath and laid his head back against the pillow. Already the images from his dream were fading back into the background of his mind. They didn't make sense to him. So many faces he didn't know, he didn't recognize. The image of Julia suffering was the one that stuck out the most strongly in his head. I can't let these dreams impact my judgement again, he thought. He'd allowed his fears to be amplified by them before. It had contributed to his bad call over the 33LA mission. I can't let that happen again. Even if Meridina is right and they really are potential futures.

Looking at Angel made him think of what she had said earlier. He knew she spoke from worry. Worry that he was trying to take on too much and not unburden himself to others. He understood that. He darkly wondered if he was starting to come off as brusque and unfriendly to the others.

"I can't do that again," he muttered to himself.

"Mmmmm?" The querying sound came from Angel.

"Shh. Sleep," he urged her. She'd need to be at their best in case they ran into into trouble.

Of course, the same applied to him, so Robert turned over and tried to go back to sleep as well.




The Aurora dropped out of warp near the uninhabited star system Everyone had assembled on the bridge for this meeting. "Well, there's nothing special about this system," Caterina noted. "I mean, beyond it being a system I've never scanned before. Three gas giants in the outer system. A rocky world with carbon dioxide and methane atmosphere. No asteroid belt or anything. No settlements."

"An empty, useless star system, basically," Locarno noted. "Perfect place for meetings off the beaten path."

"Is it?", Julia asked. "Because if anyone detects ships here they're going to know they're trying to avoid being seen together."

"Good point," Jarod agreed.

"So, where are the Phosasko?", Robert asked.

"We're about five minutes early," Julia said. "Maybe they're going to show up right on time?"

"Looks like it," Cat said. "I've got them on long range sensors. They'll be here in three minutes."

"That's reassuring. Anything else on long range sensors? Or any trace of recent ship transits?"

"Nothing," Cat answered. "Looks like there might have been a ship through here days ago. There is an old radiation pattern mixed with basic gases from sublight drive byproduct. But it's so old it's almost completely faded."

"Well, nothing for it then. We wait for the Phosasko."

When the Phosako ship came out of warp, it did so within 20,000 kilometers of the Aurora - an incredibly close range. "That was pretty precise," Locarno noted.

"It's not surprising," Jarod noted. "They're pretty good at precision behavior."

"Oh?"

"You didn't see their traffic patterns on their homeworld," Jarod mentioned. "The Phosako don't have traffic jams. They're a very sociable species."

A light appeared on Jarod's console. "They're hailing."

"Put them on."

Robert knew what he was going to be seeing when the Phosako captain appeared on the screen. The Phosako were bipedal and mammalian, typically shorter and stockier than Humans. They had blue fur covering their skin to give them something of a bestial, almost feline appearance. The feline nature of their appearance was aided by their eyes. Typically yellow in color, the eyes of the Phosako had bands and patterns of color in their eyes that could look like swimming movement to a Human and be incredibly disorientating. Differences between individuals tended to be in actual size variation and, from what Robert recalled, specific details in their facial structure and sometimes the tint of their fur.

The Phosako on the screen, clad in the gray tunic and jacket of the Phosako space forces, gave a slight nod. "Captain Dale. I have heard of you. I am Vessel Commander Kelsuulo of the Diligence."

"Commander Kelsuulo, my pleasure to meet you, sir."

"I will transport over to meet with you in ten of your minutes. Is that satisfactory?"

"It is, Commander. I'll be waiting for you in the transporter room."




Kelsuulo accepted Robert's greetings with quiet introspection upon his transport to the Aurora. "You have become something of a known quantity among our forces, Captain," Kelsuulo said while accepting the offered handshake. "We are most fascinated by your recent attack into Reich space."

Something about the way he said "fascinated" didn't make him seem to be approving.

Robert didn't let himself think of the decision that led to that error. "Some judgement calls have to be made, I made them. And that one was wrong."

"An understatement, certainly," the Phosako commander judged. "But that is not the matter at hand. You are looking for the nomadic humans of this universe, are you not?"

"The ones called the Remnants, yes."

"Interesting title for these transients. Come. I will share my information with your command crew as planned."




The Conference Room was ready when Robert arrived with Kelsuulo. "I appreciate your hospitality, Captain Dale. It is easy for us to forget that there are Humans capable of providing such in this universe now." Kelsuulo sat down at the table across from Robert's place, allowing him an easy view of the entire Aurora command staff.

"Thank you, Commander," Robert answered, putting on a diplomatic smile. "As much as I enjoyed our visit to your homeworld earlier this year, I'm afraid our mission could turn out to time sensitive. We won't be able to satisfy curiosity with the Phosako as much as we would like."

"Of course. You are here instead to find the Remnants." The Phosako captain put a furred paw against his chin. "I have had some encounters with them in my career. They are not permitted settlement in Phosako space, you see, but we have allowed them to trade with our worlds. They tend to move around the edges of our territory."

"Pardon me, Vessel Commander." Julia raised her right hand slightly. "Why is it you don't let them settle? You still have plenty of open worlds on your periphery."

"Yes. But to give sanctuary to these people would invite the violence of the Terran kadahuli."

"The Nazis, you mean," Robert said.

"Yes. I believe that is what you call the dominant Human government in this continuum," Kelsuulo remarked. His jaw worked from side to side, the Phosako equivalent of a nod. "The... Nazis. You are perhaps aware that they are prone to sudden outbursts of irrational savagery. They have delusions that others have hostile intentions toward them and employ violent demonstrations to ward off the same. They have already exterminated three species that we made contact with in the decades prior to their arrival in our region of space."

Robert swallowed at that. "Yes, that sounds like Nazis to me," he sighed.

"Then you can understand our desire for discretion." Kelsuulo settled his hands on the table. "The Council could not afford to provoke them by granting sanctuary to the nomads."

"Can you tell us anything about the nomadic Humans, the Remnants?', Robert asked. "What their motivations are? Their tendencies?"

"Other than their wish to avoid being exterminated by the kadahuli?" Kelsuulo shrugged. "I believe they are of specific ethnic groups and nationalities that the kadahuli are intolerant toward. In my own dealings with them they have appeared to be fairly diverse in their colorings, their languages, and their traditions."

"So basically… anyone the Nazis hate," Julia said. "Which is most of the Human species."

"Or anyone who'd rather live out beyond their space than be a second-class citizen," Jarod added.

"Those two seem to be the primary characteristics that all Remnants have in common," Kelsuulo said. "As for the group currently on the outer edge of our space, I believe they are one of the more nomadic elements. In your terminology they are a religious and ethnic group… I believe the Reich calls them 'Juden.'"

Robert blinked from surprise. "Juden?"

"Yes."

"Jews, in other words," Jarod noted.

"Wow. " Cat's eyebrows went up. "You're telling me that Jews managed to survive a history where Nazis conquered the world?"

"Not easily, I'd guess," Jarod remarked.

"This group tends to be one of the better organized bands," Kelsuulo noted. "And even more cautious than the others."

"Hopefully they'll know how to get in touch with the other bands."

"I imagine you seek their alliance against the Reich?", Kelsuulo asked.

"More like their knowledge," Robert answered. "There's still a lot about the internal processes of the Reich that we don't understand."

"And with the 33LA incident making war likely, your government needs as much aid as it can get." Kelsuulo nodded. "A reasonable endeavor, yes. It will be interesting to see how you manage it. We are still uncertain how to take your Alliance."

"Pardon?"

In response to Julia's inquiry, Kelsuulo shifted his chin slightly. "My apologies. I should note that, among my people, it is common to believe the Human species incapable of orderly large-scale governance. It appeared to us that the largest Human organizations that could function in collective sanity were relatively minor ones in the order of a few million, like the Remnants you speak of."

Leo looked at him with surprise. "So you think that if we're too big we all get like Nazis?"

"Not necessarily, but it did seem that you lacked the... reasonable nature that would permit governance of large populations. Many of us speculated that Humans might also have other, entirely unknown forms of mass social madness, with the Nazis happening to be the least dysfunctional option available in Earth's industrial age. If so, their success would be explained by evolutionary processes. The Alliance's appearance has, obviously, compelled us to reconsider the question."

"And you don't think the Alliance proves we can?", Angel asked.

"You were nowhere to be found in our universe until a year ago. We are still considering the question," was Kelsuulo's answer.

"Aye, cannae argue with that, I suppose," Scotty said. "I'd think we were all a pack o' scunners myself if I only had Nazis tae measure Humanity by."

"Thank you for appreciating our position. I will add that we are happy to have the Alliance as neighbors. Your colonies are providing economic advantages to our worlds that did not exist before."

"Is there anything else you can tell us?", Julia asked.

"I am afraid I cannot give you further specifics. I am quite certain the Remnants know who you are now, Captain, and that may aid you in treating with them. Or it may not. May your reason prevail over such difficulties." Kelsuulo stood from his chair. "My ship will forward to your vessel our known locations of Remnant-held outposts and meeting places, I hope your work bears fruit, Captain Dale. I personally believe the Reich will be at war with your Alliance by the end of the lunar cycle."

"Thank you for your assistance, Vessel Commander," Robert said, not bothering to bring up his somber prediction. He stood up. "I will escort you back to the Transporter Station to be returned to your vessel."

Kelsuulo responded with a wiggle of his chin. "Of course."




With the Phosako captain departed, everyone else had returned to the bridge. "Commander Kelsuulo is away," Jarod said.

"I'm bringing up the coordinates he relayed to us." Locarno looked over the resulting data. "It's in unclaimed space. At our normal cruise warp we should be there within several hours."

"Let's get started then," Robert said. "Take us out."

"Engaging now."

After Aurora jumped to warp Angel noticed Cat was looking especially intent on her screens. "Cat?", she asked. "What's wrong?"

"Huh?" Cat looked up. "Oh. Nothing, sorry. I was just a little…"

"What was it, Cat?", Julia asked.

"Just… it looked like a bit of noise in the background radiation. But nothing special. I was just making sure my systems were properly calibrated so we didn't get any false signatures. We're good."

"Make sure you keep an eye out ," Robert said. "The last thing I want is to blunder into an ambush."

Cat nodded in reply.




Lucy kept her breathing regular and paced to help focus. With all of the blood rushing into her head it was not easy. She almost asked Meridina why this upside-down hand-stand exercise had ever been created, but knew better than to interrupt her own focus. Or invite that knowing bemused grin that Meridina always got when she heard Lucy protesting one aspect or another of the training.

And this is only the 'basics'?, Lucy groaned to herself. It made her intention to stay on the Aurora all the easier to keep.

"You're distracting your focus with thoughts," Meridina noted. She was again doing the same thing. And, again, holding a heavier object - an entire weight from the gym - while Lucy was still using the notepad.

Lucy frowned and kept her concentration. One hand holding her body up, aided by the power in her life force, while the rest of that power was going to keep the digital notepad rotating in mid-air beyond the reach of her right hand.

"Good. Yes, very good," Meridina noted. "We are done." She set the weight down and, with barely any effort, jumped off with her one hand and landed on her feet.

Lucy set her notepad down and tried to do the same. Much to her surprise, she actually managed it today. Mostly. She nearly fell over again upon hitting her feet.

"This is pretty complex stuff for basic training," Lucy said.

"It is standard training to develop the necessary focus when using your swevyra," Meridina replied. "The advanced training you would have done on Gersal would have involved more difficulties. Higher gravity, larger objects, irregular surfaces. There are many such things to challenge your focus."

Definitely a good thing I didn't stay on Gersal… Out loud Lucy asked, "Are you upset about my decision? To stay on Aurora?"

"I am not," Meridina admitted. "To be honest, Lucy, I believe your destiny, and my own, is to be met on this ship."

"Huh. Destiny and stuff?"

"Yes." Meridina smiled and nodded. Lucy looked over and noticed a couple of people were starting to stare at them.

"We probably look like loons saying things like that in the gym," she noted to Meridina.

"Humans have difficulty understanding the idea," Meridina said.

"Some do. Although for most people, destiny stuff is in literature."

"Interesting." Meridina took a seat and pulled a bottle of water from a cooling container they had brought with them for the training session. "For Gersallians, destiny is a way of expressing your potential, and where you are best suited to be in life."

"But doesn't that undermine your freedom to choose your path?", Lucy asked. "People can change their minds about what they're intending to be.

"That is a countervailing belief, yes. But I believe that destiny is expressed best when these decisions are made. Just because one has a destiny doesn't mean you are following that destiny correctly. It can take a long time to realize what destiny means for you."

"Huh." Lucy took a sip of her own water. "I got the feeling Ledosh wanted you to get me into joining full time."

"It is fine. I believe there is a greater conflict on the horizon. I believe the place you need to be is here, on this ship, with this crew." Meridina looked toward the other people in the room. "I can feel it in my very soul. This ship, and crew, are meant for great things. Many destinies will come together in the actions of the Aurora."

"Well, we'll see where destiny takes us then, I guess?", Lucy said. She held up her water bottle. "To destiny?"

"Yes." Meridina accept the gestured offer to clink water containers with Lucy.




Angel always preferred the punching bag when she needed an outlet. There were less bruises on her sparring partners' faces that way. Her muscles tensed under the bronze of her skin before being released with each punch. Sometimes she mixed it up by kicking the bag too.

"Another fight with Robert?"

Angel looked over and saw Julia step up. She was also in the service-provided sports bra and shorts for physical training. Gloves were already on her hands. "Not a fight," Angel answered. "Just… nothing, really."

"Ohly 'nothing really'?" Julia took up a bag beside her and gave it a few jabs to warm up. She didn't have quite the same developed muscle tone as Angel's, looking more lean than built. She threw off a couple of quick jabs followed by a slight kick to the bag. "Angel, I know you. This is your 'I need to punch something because I'm frustrated' thing going on."

Angel sighed and gave the bag another strong punch before stopping. "Fine. Busybody." She ignored Julia's follow-up laugh. "Cat's still having nightmares from what those bastards did to her on Pegasus," Angel said. "And Robert's been having nightmares too."

"He mentioned nightmares lately. But I thought that was just nervousness from the 33LA problem."

"I'm sure it's more than that," Angel said. She punched the bag again. "I've never seen him so riled up from dreams before. He's really agitated about it."

"Which means we have to be there for him. Keep him from making any more mistakes." Julia gave her bag another punch.

"Yeah." Angel stepped back from the bag. "You want to spar?"

"With that vicious mood you're in? Am I going to take a kick to the rib this time?"

"Hey, last time was an accident, I swear," Angel insisted. She grinned thinly. "And I'm a bit more mellow now, if you've noticed."

Julia smirked back. It was an ever so thin reference to her and Robert being together again. Despite the complaints about nightmares it had seemed to improve their demeanors. Hopefully they would continue to be happy together.

It'd be nice to have that, wouldn't it? The thought came and went before Julia could stop it. "Alright," Julia said. "You're on. Best out of three?"

"Sure," Angel agreed.




It was with trepidation and some irritation that Robert reported to the medbay after receiving the request through the ship's comm system. No sooner had he taken a step into the bay did he hear Leo all out, "Over here!"

Leo was already waiting for him by one of the biobeds. Robert sighed and walked up. "You wanted to see me?"

"Don't pretend you don't know what this is about," Leo said. "You're overdue for your checkup."

"Rapturous joy," Robert sighed. "I think you get too much enjoyment out of getting to boss us around like this."

"Makes up for all the frustrations you put me through when we were starting out," Leo answered. He pulled out his medical scanner. "And all of those times I had to keep you from frying your brains with the infusers."

"That was mostly Cat and Tom," Robert protested.

"And when it wasn't the infusers," Leo continued, as if he hadn't spoken, "it was keeping you from wasting away." Leo smiled thinly. "Well, at least you're eating right again. I'm not showing any of the nutritional deficiencies you had back at the beginning of this whole mess."

"You can thank Hargert's cooking," Robert answered.

That made Leo chuckle. "That works for me." He held the scanner up to Robert's head. His smile started to vanish. "Are you sleeping well?", he asked.

"About as well as I can," Robert replied.

"Your brain chemistry is a little off," Leo said. "Symptomatic of sleep deprivation."

"Maybe it's the nightmares."

"Nightmares?" Leo tapped a few keys and - of course - ended up shining a light into Robert's eyes. "What kind of nightmares?"

"I… well, not normal ones," Robert replied. "Just feelings of being elsewhere and of nasty things happening."

"Huh." Leo tapped another key on his scanner. "I'm showing definite signs of your brain chemistry being a little out of whack. I'd like to give you a small sleep aid if this keeps up."

"Aren't those habit-forming?"

Leo gave him a sardonic look, as if he was slightly offended at the insinuation that he wouldn't know that. "I was about to say that I'd like it if you had a psychiatric evaluation of sorts first. Nightmares recurring like that may be psychological and not physical. Sleep aids wouldn't help so much. Especially since the ones that might suppress your brain dreaming would also mess your brain up in other ways if taken for too long."

"And we wouldn't want that. Although Julia thinks my brain is already messed up enough."

At that Leo smirked. "She may be onto something." Leo reached into a satchel. "Now, let's….

There was a beep from Robert's multi-device. "Bridge to Captain Dale.

Robert brought his right arm up and tapped the comm key. "Dale here."

"We're approaching the first system the Phosako provided us," came the answer. It was Locarno, manning the bridge for the moment. "So far there are no signs of a ship. But sensors show indication of a vessel having warped through recently."

"Good. Relay that info to Jarod and Cat and set course for our next system. I'll be up shortly to relieve you. Dale out."

"I guess I'd better hurry," Leo remarked. "And you can tell me about those nightmares you're talking about."

"They're nothing something I can describe easily," Robert warned.

"That's fine. I'm not trying to find meanings from them or anything. I just figured it would do you good to talk about them with someone else. Have you talked to Angel?"

"I think Angel has enough on her mind helping Cat recover from that beating," Robe said a little too urgently. "I'd rather not burden her with my problems too."

"She's your girlfriend, right?", Leo said. "She's there for you. You think Angel would be happy to know you're playing the chivalric route with her? Like she was some wilting flower?"

"Of course not," Robert replied. "But I also know she's got a lot on her mind with helping Cat feel better. I'm not going to ask her to choose between us or overburden herself between the two of us. I'm a big boy. I can handle it."

"The sleep deprivation says otherwise," Leo retorted. He sighed. "But I know when you're not going to take my advice. Just remember that there are people who will help you, alright?"

"Of course." Robert nodded. He tried to convey his understanding with a small smile. "You guys, I mean, everyone… you've been the reason I haven't gone nuts."

"Tell me about it." Leo almost said more, about how self-destructive Robert's relentless need to be the hero could be, but thought better of it. He went back to the checkup. "Anyway, now I need you to open your mouth and say, 'Ahhhh'.

Robert glared at him. "You're not being serious."

Leo nodded at him, holding up the tongue depressor.

"I'm not a kid," he protested.

"If you behave, Captain, there will be lollipops."

"You're incorrigible…"




Everyone was back on the bridge, later than usual for their given shifts, when they arrived at the next system. "Three minutes from exiting warp," Locarno said.

"Which system is this?", Julia asked.

"System 29IR on the survey maps," Jarod answered. "A long range probe already scanned the system months ago. Gas giants, some moons that might have useful mineral resources, and a couple of terrestrial planets with one Venusian planet." Jarod tapped a key. "Hrm. This system is flagged for further study. The survey found signs of naqia deposits in the asteroid belt beyond the third planet. And significant supplies of Ripleyite."

"Ripleyite? Isn't that…."

Jarod nodded at Robert's query. "A room temperature super-conducting mineral. Something you can use in building antimatter generators, among other things."

"Sounds like it would be useful for space-dwelling semi-nomads," Julia noted.

"I'm picking up ships on sensors now," Cat said. "They're close to one of the terrestrial moons with a strong magnetosphere. It's why I didn't see them before."

"That might be them," Robert said. "Jarod, prepare to hail…"

"I'm picking up weapons fire between the ships," Cat added.

Julia and Robert exchanged concerned looks. "Code Red," Julia said. "Sound General Quarters."

The klaxons went off briefly as red lights came on around the bridge. "Laurent reports fighters are ready for launch," Jarod said.

"Can you tell us anything about the ships?"

"One's definitely larger than the other," Cat said. "And I'm picking up a couple of smaller ships now. Their energy signatures indicate they're offline."

"Preparing to bring us out of warp," Locarno said.

Aurora dropped from warp speed into the area of the moon where the battle was taking place. On their viewscreen two ships immediately stood out. One was large, wide, and powerful-looking, colored white and blue with weapon scouring on several locations. There were four large warp nacelles arrayed in an X pattern around the main body. This vessel was nearly the size of the Aurora but looked older and more run-down. Blue energy flared along the hull as emerald energy fire poured into the ship's side. It retorted with similar energy weapons that scoured the foe.

Their foe was a sleeker vessel. Built like a shark in space, a predator ship certainly, with thick cannon blasts erupting from the bow to rake into the big ship's side again. The shields of the large ship were clearly starting to falter. Near it were the two smaller ships, both disabled by weapons fire.

"Which one do you suspect is the Remnant?", Robert asked.

"For all we know, it's both," Julia pointed out.

"Going by sensor scans, I can't tell," Jarod replied. "The Phosako records have multiple specific energy signatures existing for all Remnant contacts."

"Well, that big ship's not as heavily-armed as she could be for her size," Cat said. "From what I can tell of her structure, a large section of internal space is given to other functions. A lot of life readings, that's for sure. There may be more than 5,000 people in the big ship."

"That sounds like Remnants to me," Julia said.

"Agreed." Robert looked to Angel. "Lock on to the attacking ship at my signal. Ready all weapons. Jarod, put me on."

After hearing a tone from the Ops station and getting a nod from Jarod, Robert spoke up. "This is Captain Robert Dale of the Alliance Starship Aurora. We request both vessels cease this fight and explain their grievances to us."

"Yeah, that's going to go over well," Angel remarked sardonically. "They're locking weapons on us now."

"Who?"

"Both ships."

Robert blinked in surprise. "Well, I didn't expect that. Put me back on." When that was confirmed he continued, "I repeat, this is Captain Robert Dale of the Alliance Starship Aurora, representing the United Alliance of Systems. We come in peace. I'm looking to speak to the band of Humans known as Remnants who wander this region of space."

The moments passed. The second ship promptly turned toward them. "They're locking weapons fully," Jarod warned.

"Brace for impact."

The smaller ship opened up with the same emerald energy weapons. Aurora shook slightly. "Shields holding at ninety-four percent."

"Return fire."

Angel's hands went to those appropriate keys. The pulse plasma cannons on Aurora's bow opened up with sapphire fury. Bolts of blue energy slammed into the the enemy ship as it maneuvered toward them. Its shields held for the moment. "It looks like their shield strength went down by a third with that volley," Jarod said. "They're maneuvering to get to our side."

"They're quick too," Locarno added. "I don't think I can keep them from getting out of the bow arc."

"They'll wish they hadn't," Angel said even as she was readying her starboard side weapons.

As the enemy ship came up and poured fire into their starboard, Angel readied the phasers. Beams and pulses of amber light lashed out from the phaser strips and pulse cannon emplacements along the starboard hull.

"Their shields are below fifty percent," Jarod reported. "Ours are still at ninety."

"And I think they know that," Locarno remarked. "They're breaking off."

"Let them," Robert ordered. "If this is really some skirmish between Remnants, I don't want to let them…."

Before Robert could finish, the big vessel finished coming about. An energy cannon emplacement in the bow fired off a shot. An emerald lance of enormous power lashed out through space and struck the rear shields of the escaping ship. Missiles erupted from emplacements in the bow and raced across the range, exploiting the weakened shields in that arc. Two went off against the shields and two more slammed into unprotected aft hull. The other ship stopped its forward acceleration and began to drift off-course.

Small craft began to emerge from the sides of the big ship. They moved toward the crippled vessels, the greater number of them toward the ship that had just been crippled. There was a tone from Jarod's console. "They're hailing."

"Put them onscreen," Robert answered.

The man that appeared had faintly-tanned skin. His face bore some wrinkles in his brow, the kind you see with someone used to carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. His short dark hair was graying. A set of brown eyes appraised them carefully for several moments. "I am Arik Shaham," he said. "Master of the vessel Tikvah. I have heard of you and your ship, Captain Dale. I apologize that it took me so long to remember your name. We must be cautious of other ships."

"Thank you, Captain Shaham," Robert answered. "Who was attacking you?"

Shaham frowned. "Bounty hunters," he replied. "Privateers who hunt our people to win rewards from the Reich."

"I see." Robert took in a breath. At least this hadn't been a Remnant versus Remnant fight like he'd feared. "It looks like you have some vessels disabled. Can we provide assistance?"

Shaham seemed to consider it. "We are running low on medical supplies. And I lost my chief surgeon a month ago. If you can provide us assistance with the wounded…"

Robert nodded. Julia went for the intercom key. "Bridge to Medbay. Please prepare for wounded."

"Right away.," Leo answered.

"We're ready to receive your wounded," Robert said.

"My thanks, Captain," Shaham said. "In the meantime, you are out here to meet with us?"

"Yes," Robert said.

Shaham's expression darkened slightly. "You wish us to fight the Reich at your side, undoubtedly. This I cannot do."

Robert shook his head. "I didn't think you could and we're not out here to ask you to commit to any military alliance. We're out here to learn more about you and what you know of the Reich's internal structure and details. Any aid you give in that will be more valuable than having you on the battlefield when the time comes."

Shaham considered that. He nodded slightly. "Very well spoken, Captain. I will transport over to your ship shortly. Is there space in your shuttle bay?"

"Our shuttle bay has plenty of space, yes," Robert replied.

"I will arrive shortly then. Shaham out."

After Shaham's face disappeared, everything on the bridge quieted. "So much for sleep," Robert sighed. "We need to get this meeting off right."

"I'll see if Hargert can provide some finger foods to the conference room," Julia offered.

"A great idea. In the meantime, secure from Code Red. And make sure to get those wounded to Leo."

A series of affirmations answered him.




Robert and Julia were waiting in the shuttle bay as the shuttlecraft came from the Tikvah. It was painted light gray in color with no visible warp drive on it. Its shape reminded Robert more of a skycar from the FedStars' planets than a shuttle like in their shuttlebay.

After some discussion, it had been decided to avoid the full trappings of state, if only because there was no recognizable government that Shaham had alluded to. Robert and Julia were in their normal duty uniforms. Meridina had opted for hers as well.

The side of the craft opened. Arik Shaham stepped out of the side. He'd evidently been piloting. Beside him was a woman who looked perhaps a few years younger. She was not too thin but hardly solid in build. Dark hair and olive skin made her look more Mediterranean than Arik. There was only a slightly lighter coloration on the young woman who stepped out behind them, wearing a sleeveless blouse of vibrant blue color compared to the older woman's faded yellow color and the utilitarian gray of Shaham's suit.

"Captain Shaham." Dale nodded. "Welcome to the Aurora." He gestured to Julia. "This is my First Officer, Commander Julia Andreys."

Arik nodded his head. "A pleasure to meet you," he said in accented English.

"That's not translated, is it?", Julia asked. "You know English?"

"It's a common language for those of us who flee the Reich," Arik answered. "The first of those to flee came from North America."

"I see." Robert nodded.

"My wife, Sarah," Arik said, gesturing to the older woman. She smiled at them out of friendliness. "And my daughter Na'ama."

Na'ama Shaham was gawking at the size of the shuttle bay. "What is this one?', she asked, gesturing toward tone of the runabouts.

"That is the Vistula," Julia replied. "She's one of our twelve runabouts."

"We name them for Earth's rivers, usually," Robert added.

Na'ama continued to look at the craft with wonder and curiosity. Her parents gave a glance in that direction and returned to business. "My thanks, Captain Dale," Arik said. "I don't know how many of my people might have died if you had not come along."

"I'm glad we could help," Robert said. "It's why we went out into space in the first place."

"We have heard so many rumors of your people," Sarah said. "Where they come from, what you are. I'm curious to learn about you."

"The rest of my command staff is assembled in the conference room for us," Robert explained. "We're more than willing to share information."

"Lead the way, Captain."




On the way up Julia and Robert had barely been able to hide her own mirth at just how excited Na'ama seemed to be at seeing the Aurora. Whatever Tikvah was like internally, it apparently didn't have Aurora's azure-paneled corridors or any of the other aspects of the ship. She repeatedly asked about the ship's capabilities and size in a way that made both of them think of Caterina.

"Cat's going to love this girl," Julia whispered to Robert, who smiled and nodded in agreement.

Once they were in the conference room introductions were made. The Shahams sat at the other side of the table to face the Aurora command crew. "Your ship is so interesting to see," Arik admitted. "I'm afraid our vessel would lack in comparison."

"Having to fit 5,000 people and the means to maintain them in a ship of your size can't be easy," Jarod noted.

"What was that weapon you used on the enemy ship?", Angel asked. "The energy signature reminded me of Nazi super-disruptors, but the power of it was crazy. The Scharnhorst's main batteries don't match it."

"It was a super-disruptor cannon we salvaged from a destroyed Reich dreadnought," Arik answered. "They are typically fixed to those vessels as spinal mounts."

"You defeated a dreadnought?", Robe asked.

"Alas, I cannot claim credit," Arik answered. "It was during a war ten years ago. The Reich attacked an alien species, the Kameli. Kameli ships managed to disable and destroy one of their dreadnoughts in the final days of the war."

"I always liked the Kameli," Na'ama said sadly.

Robert had a bad feeling about how that war ended for the Kamali. "I see. Well, I suppose it's useful to have something like that."

"It has saved us more times than I can count," Arik answered. "But to get on to business… You said you wished to know of the Reich, Captain?"

"We need to know more about it," Robert explained. "How it's organized. If there are any weak points in its power structure we can exploit in event of a war."

"Of course," Arik said. "We do not keep in touch with many sources of information in the Reich's territories, but I am familiar with some of the unrest that can occur in the worlds of the subordinate nations." "He nodded to Sarah. "Sarah is something of a historian and can help explain how the Reich's structures came to be."

"We'll be grateful for anything you can tell us," Robert assured them.

"Might we ask questions of you, Captain?', Sarah inquired.

"Of course," Robert replied.

Sarah and Arik exchanged looks. Na'ama looked more attentive for the conversation's direction.

"It is a matter of some… importance to us," Sarah said delicately. "But might you know how many of our people are left in your multiverse?"

Robert considered that question. "Your people? You mean…"

"Jews, Captain," Arik said quietly. "How many Jews survive in your Alliance? And in other worlds?"

Understanding dawned on Robert. "I see. Well, to be honest, I haven't counted."

"A few billion at least," Jarod said.

The Shahams gawked at him.

"It can vary by universe, of course," Jarod answered. "But in general…. You're looking at over five billion in the Alliance alone. And that is being conservative. And there are Jewish populations on a lot of worlds, even small ones." Jarod looked at Caterina. "How many Jews do you think are on New Liberty? From all of those missions we ran into the Eastern European ghettos and the Pale of Settlement in C1P2?"

"I think around 10,000," Cat answered. "In the New Liberty Colony alone."

"Ten thousand," Arik said with astonishment. "On one colony."

"Five billion…."

The Aurora crew became uncomfortably aware that this information was having an effect upon their guests. Tears were already flowing down Sarah's eyes. Na'ama looked about ready to weep with stunned joy.

Even Arik, for all of his stern demeanor, seemed to suddenly be thunderstruck.

A horrible realization came to Robert at that moment. On why their reaction was so extreme. He looked to Julia, who nodded. She had realized the same thing.

It was Meridina who openly spoke what they were thinking. "You are the last of your people in this universe," she said gently.

"Yes," Arik answered with his voice hoarse from the feelings coursing through him. "The Jews on Tikvah are all that is left of our people."

"Five thousand," Jarod murmured.

Faces across the room darkened. It didn't take much to imagine why.

Leo was the first to speak up. "I imagine you have health problems with a population that small."

"It's not enough to maintain proper genetic diversity," Sarah agreed. "We have had to turn to genetic engineering to try and alleviate the effects. But there is only so much our means allow us in that direction."

"The Nazi, they hunt us without pause," Na'ama added. "For centuries they have hunted us, destroying our colony ships, our population vessels, any colony we have planted on a world."

"We once settled a colony with much of our population that escaped Earth," Sarah continued for her daughter. "It fell to the Reich a hundred and fifty years ago. Two million survivors of the Nazi purge of Earth, wiped out in a manner of minutes. Only two hundred thousand escaped."

"And still they hunt us," Arik finished.

Robert put his hands together on the desk and lost himself in thought for a moment. It was upon seeing the fiery, cool look on Julia's eyes that he realized what he had to do next.

"We can give you a home," he said. "A place."

That drew the attention of the Shahams. "Captain Dale?"

"A new colony world if you want it," Robert continued. "Or a place on New Liberty. Regardless of which you chose you would have a new home, in another universe, far away from the Nazis."

The offer left them quiet for several moments. "That is a…. handsome offer, Captain," Arik replied. "We will consider. Until then, feel free to ask any question you have."

"Before we start." Julia gave Robert a look before turning back to the Shahams. "Is your warp drive operational?"

"It was disabled during the attack," Arik replied. "My engineers believe it will take the next two days to finish fixing it."

"Two days." Julia shook her head.

She looked to Scotty, who nodded back. "I think I can find somethin' tae help with that, sir," he said to Shaham.

"Your assistance would be welcome," Arik answered.

And the reason was clear to all. If the Reich's hunters found and engaged a crippled Tikvah, they could complete the extermination that their forefathers had begun centuries before.

And without a word needing to be said, Robert and his people were in clear agreement. They would not let that happen.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-16 09:01am

Author's Note: Phosako used with approval and input from Simon_Jester. The Shaham family used with approval and input from Coyote .
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-04-16 04:14pm

This puts me in mind of the "Jews in Space" sketch from the end of History Of the World,Part 1
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake


"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-17 10:23am

That thought did briefly cross my mind. Although the subject matter is rather more serious.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-17 10:29am

Ship's Log: 4 July 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. We remain in place in system 29IR to provide support for the Remnant vessel Tikvah. According to Mister Scott the ship is still half a day away from warp capability. Engineering teams are working with those on the Tikvah to get the ship back to warp capability as quickly as they can.

In the meantime I am left haunted by the weight of what we have found. We came out here to get information we might need to effectively oppose the Reich in a war. Now our mission may be vastly more important; saving the last of an exterminated people from extinction. I can only hope we're up to that task.



Robert looked up from his computer in his ready room when the tone came in from the bridge. "We have Admiral Lithgon on subspace for you, sir," said Lieutenant Jupap.

"Transfer him to my ready room, Lieutenant."

"Aye sir."

The face of Admiral Lithgon appeared. "Captain Dale." His voice had a bit of an accent to it, a sort of faded Commonwealth accent, almost English and almost Australian Robert thought. "Admiral Relini informed me of your progress." The older man shook his head. "My God. I'm actually surprised there are any Jews left in this universe."

"Not many," Robert said darkly. "And we're doing what we can to get them warp capable again."

"You think the Reich is going to attack them while crippled?"

"I'm certain of it."

"Do what you can for them," Lithgon answered. "Things are quiet around here, thankfully."

"Nothing new has happened?"

"The Reich activity has slowed down as of late. Granted, that might mean they're ready for whatever it is they're planning, or maybe they're getting cautious due to our increasing ties to the Phosako."

Robert shook his head. "I can't imagine these people will just let things slide. We entered their space. We blew up two of their ships."

"I agree. They're coming one day. But every day they don't come is a day another ship leaves the yards," Lithgon pointed out. "So I'm content to see them do nothing."

"I hope everything is fine with Fourth Fleet?"

Lithgon nodded. "We're on station near Krellan. Just to make sure the Reich forces across the border don't try anything. Fourth Fleet is the most powerful combat fleet in the Alliance right now so that has to be giving the Reich serious thoughts."

"Once this is over, Aurora can be there in a day's travel at high warp," Robert pointed out.

Lithgon smiled at that. "Yes, you do love to put that Darglan warp drive through its paces, don't you? But I don't think that would be necessary, Captain. The truth is, Aurora isn't meant for fleet operations like this. You're better put to use dealing with whatever issue or crisis the President and Admiral Maran think needs your attention."

Robert thought on that. He shook his head. "If something happens, I'm the one responsible for it happening. It's not right that you're on the firing line and I'm not."

"It's not about right or wrong, Captain. It's about what is needed for us to get through this situation," Lithgon pointed out. "And right now, the Aurora is needed where she is. If war does come about, the President will need your help keeping other sectors quiet, not facing down Reich war fleets."

And leaving others to die for my mistake, Robert thought darkly. "I can see your point."

Lithgon grinned at him. "You'll do your part, Captain. I'm sure of that." Lithgon looked away for a moment and accepted a digital pad from someone. "Duty calls, Captain. I'll talk to you later. Be careful out there, and good luck."

"Good luck to you too, Admiral. Dale out." Robert leaned forward and pressed the key to shut down the comm link.

"And that leaves me nothing left but paperwork," he sighed, turning his attention to that labor.




Lucy found the Tikvah to be a remarkable ship, from an engineering perspective. The hull had clearly been intended to be a colony ship, but had undergone major modifications since its original purpose. Hydroponics bays provided a small amount of food, just sufficient to prevent starvation in the colony's population, and a meat vattery provided raw cloned cell meat - beef and fish from what she had seen - to supplement their diet with animal nutrients.

Still, it was clear these people were living on the very edge of the precipice. Most looked, if not malnourished, slightly underdeveloped. Some had illnesses that they lacked the medicine to properly treat or manage. They lived in small spaces and their days were spent between what seemed to be enforced inactivity or frenzied work to keep their ship running. Their clothes were mostly unadorned and threadbare. One young woman had come to her offering a small ring if she could get a fresh set of clothes.

A ring. With a jewel and everything. For a set of clothes that Lucy could effortlessly replicate back on Aurora. She'd never forgive herself if she took the girl up on that offer.

That said, for all of their horrible conditions, despite everything… she didn't feel that darkness that had permeated the Refugee Fleet. The people here didn't show anything like the attitude of the refugees from the Colonies of Kobol had. While they had been terrified, angry, and quick to become nasty when pushed, these people actually seemed… hopeful. The one girl had offered the ring for clothes and others offered to sit and eat with her; not with her rations, but with their own portions. They had so little, but they offered it freely.

"We give them hope," Meridina noted. She stood beside Lucy and observed, a short distance away, one of the engineers teaching a group of adolescents how to maintain one of the power conduits. "For all that they have lost, hope still burns bright in their swevyra."

"It's all they've had," Lucy observed.

"Yes. Sometimes that is all one can have. And sometimes it is all that one needs." Meridina looked to her. "I did not mean to interrupt your work. I am here to oversee the return of some of their wounded. And to gauge their ability to resist boarding parties."

"Is there any real threat of that?", Lucy asked. "The Nazis want to blow them out of space, not abduct them."

"There is more than one way to do that," Meridina reminded her. "But I think this ship is about as secure as it could be. Their ship militia seems to have things well in hand."

"That's comforting to know," Lucy answered. She looked back to the plasma conduit. "Sorry. I need to focus on this. I'm surprised this conduit hasn't gone boom yet."

"I will await your return to the Aurora, Lucy," Meridina answered.




Julia and Scotty beamed over to the Tikvah and were led directly to the meeting room. On the way both had ample chance to notice how different this ship was. Darker, crowded, more confined spaces, with the interiors dull brown and yellow with faded gray in spots. Some of the bulkheads had to be opened manually by the young man escorting them because the automatic systems had failed.

Arik Shaham was waiting for them. This time he had a couple of young men with him. One was darker skinned than the other, and it was the second that drew Julia's attention for how much he resembled Arik. "This is my son, Yonatan," Arik said. "And my second in command, Benyamin Shameel."

"Commander Julia Andreys, and Commander Montgomery Scott," Julia answered, gesturing to herself and Scotty.

"Welcome to the Tikvah," Shameel said. He grinned at them. He had a well-kept beard and Julia considered him quite handsome, with a light olive complexion.

Yonatan seemed somewhat less cordial. He nodded briskly at them.

"I know our vessel isn't much," Arik answered. "But I hope you find our hospitality acceptable."

"More than," Julia assured him.

"Aye. Ye've done us a fine greetin', sir," Scotty agreed. "My teams tell me yer systems are workin' well given th' age on 'em."

"Yes," Arik nodded. "Starship maintenance is something we all learn. Every citizen of Tikvah over the age of 12 knows how to fix a power conduit or repair a burnt out circuit."

"She's an old girl, but she's healthy an' strong," Scotty observed. "A credit tae her crew, certainly."

"Speaking of them." Julia gave them a warm smile. "I was going to offer some replenishment for your food and medicine stocks. Aurora has replicator systems and raw materials to provide humanitarian assistance in a crisis."

Arik allowed himself a chuckle at that. "It is a shame our appetites were so horrible last night," he said. "Those 'finger foods' that your gallery served looked rather appetizing. Simple vegetables and vat-cloned meat get exhausting on the palate after a while."

"Hargert would be happy to send your people some meals," Julia said. "Although it might take him some time to make enough for your entire ship."

"There will be time enough for that later, Commander Andreys," Arik answered. "For now, we will focus on the repairs we need"

"Of course." Julia nodded. "As for our other offer?"

"I have submitted it to the community," Arik answered. "I intend to vote yes."

"Perhaps ye should let us send ye through to another universe now, Captain Shaham," Scotty recommended. "Just in case."

Arik smiled softly at that." "That is my thought as well. But abandoning our universe of birth is a major question for our people. I'm awaiting a final word from our Rabbinical Council on the matter." He sighed. "Although if need be I will act and deal with the repercussions later."

"It would probably be better to get the warp drive fixed first," Julia said. "Jumps between universes have specific spatial aspects to them, you can jump to somewhere further away relative to your starting position, but there's still a margin of error and you could end up deep in interstellar space."

"I understand. Hopefully our drives will be up shortly."

"Is there anything else I can do for you before Mister Scott and I examine our work teams?"

"Nothing," Arik answered. "Although my daughter has asked for permission to visit your ship again. She's quite taken."

Scotty and Julia exchanged knowing looks. , "Aye," Scotty said. "An' I think we have just th' lass tae show her around."




Caterina was quick to show Na'ama to her science labs. "This is Science Lab 1," she said happily, showing her into the chamber. There were port and starboard exits, with them coming through the port, with the middle being a series of control consoles and sensor displays, both 2D and holographic 3D. Even now models of some space phenomena were being displayed on various instruments. "We mostly study space phenomena here and computer systems work. Science Lab 2 is where applied physics simulations are run and readings looked over."

"Is there a Science Lab 3?", Na'ama asked. The young woman's eyes shined brightly with wonder.

"Deck 20," Cat answered, grinning widely. "Biological materials. It's mostly run by Leo and his medical staff with some of our biologists. I'll have to take you down there before we're done and see if Doctor Ke'mani'pala is on duty."

"Who is she?"

"She is… a relative term. Doctor Ke'mani'pala is a Gl'mulli. They don't really have genders. The Gl'mulli are a gelatinous species who sense their surroundings through sensitivity to energy and electromagnetic fields."

Na'ama's face betrayed her surprise. "Really?'

"Yeah. And they're really good at microbiology."

Caterina found a seat at one of the stations and invited Na'ama to sit beside her. Na'ama felt the science officer's enthusiasm to be infectious to her. I wonder what it's like. Getting to travel to so many systems, so many universes, and just explore.

"I'm running a data recompiler here," Caterina explained. "It's going through scrambled data we recovered from data we recovered from an alien computer system. It could have some important stuff on it."

"Really?" Na'ama touched the nearby console and found a key to bring up the coding. "I've studied lots of computer systems since I was a child. My mother considered it important to be able to record our history."

"You must not have a lot of open computer space over on your ship," Cat noted.

"No. But we have enough." Na'ama started typing in little commands. "I think I can apply one of our screeners to this."

"Screeners?"

"Yes. It's a program that analyzes the raw data and finds natural patterns in the data that hooks up to other fragments. It's excellent for defragmenting information."

Cat looked at her a moment before her smile turned into a laugh. "Why didn't we ever think of something like that?! Can you show me the plans?" When Na'ama nodded and used the console to hook into her systems on Tikvah, Cat called up Jarod.

By the time Na'ama was done, Jarod had arrived. "What have you got?"

"I'm ready to run the pattern compiler now," Na'ama told them.

"Let's do this," Cat agreed, smiling.

Na'ama giggled with excitement before hitting the necessary keys. Together they watched the program start to work, examining the data and slowing patching things together. "Wow," Cat said. "That's pretty good."

"I never imagined it would run so well," Na'ama said. "Your hardware is just so much better than ours."

"This could be a big help." Jarod tapped her on the shoulder. "Thank you, Miss Shaham."

"Please. Na'ama is fine."

"I'm Cat." Caterina offered her hand.

Na'ama nodded and accepted it. When the handshake was over she looked back to the systems. Her eyes followed various screens until she was looking at what looked like sensor returns.

What she saw made her frown.

Cat noticed it. "What's wrong?"

"What are these sensor readings?', Na'ama asked.

Cat looked at them. "Oh, you're looking at yesterday's sensor logs. They come from the first systems we came to in our search. It's some kind of power surge I figured it was in background space, maybe a flare-up of subspace energy, or barring that, a ship having a momentary default."

"No," Na'ama insisted. "It's not that." She looked up with growing horror. Her mind raced to things her parents had shown her, the work her father had given her in learning how to examine sensor returns. "You saw this on your way to find us?"

"Yes." Cat saw the way her face was looking. "Na'ama?"

"No. No no no." Na'ama shook her head. She couldn't keep her fear out. "It's them."

"Who?", Cat asked.

"The Nazi, the Hunters," Na'ama answered. "It's one of them."

Jarod, having overheard, leaned over her shoulder to look at the screen. "How can you tell?"

"I've seen these patterns before," she said. "It's from how they hide their ships from detection."

"You're saying that's a byproduct of their cloaking system?", Cat asked.

"Yes." Na'ama looked to her. "Did they follow you?! They might have suspected your purpose, please, did you see that signature anywhere else?"

"No… no, I didn't," Cat replied. She looked back to her station and changed it to connect to the sensors. "Here, let me run a long range scan. I'll see if I can pick it up anywhere…." Cat stared at the screen.

"What?", Na'ama asked.

Jarod was looking too. "Caterina, that's the signature."

"And it's almost on top of us," Cat said. She jumped from her chair. "We need to hurry!"

Jarod slapped his multi-device. "Jarod to bridge!"

"Locarno here."

"Nick, call Code Yellow!"

"What? What's wrong?"

"That signature Cat thought she saw at the rendezvous with the Phosako, it may be a Reich hunter vessel."

There was an intake of breath from the other end of the comm line as Cat and Jarod left the lab and entered the main corridor. They turned and ran on toward the lift doors. The ship running lights turned yellow as they did.




Robert got to the bridge just as Jarod and Cat did. "Report."

"Na'ama Shaham recognized that background energy signature I saw yesterday," Cat said. "It's a Reich hunter ship under cloak. And I'm picking it up again."

"What?" Robert felt his mind race. Did we lead them to these people…? No. No, that other ship might have already been transmitting their location. "Inform Captain Shaham." Robert looked to tactical. Angel was off-shift, so Lieutenant Luneri - a female Dorei - was on station. The purple-skinned, teal-dotted woman was already preparing the weapons. "Lieutenant, track that power signature. The moment it pops up I want you to hit it with everything."

"Yes sir," Luneri responded.

"On my mark, prepare to raise shields," Robert said. "Do we have any messages from Tikvah?"

Jarod nodded. "Shaham's people are preparing for combat. They're ready to raise shields the moment the enemy ship appears."

"Can they maneuver? I hate the idea of giving them an open shot, shields or no."

Jarod shook his head. "No. Their engineering teams had to take impulse drives offline to continue repairs to the ship's power grid."

"Dammit." Robert smacked his fist to the arm of his command chair. He felt his mind start to race. "They're sitting ducks. Nick, can you maneuver us to cover them?"

"If that ship is half as agile as I think it is, we could never stop it from getting by," Nick answered.

"I'm detecting a shift in the background energy of the anomalous signature," Cat said. "I… I think they're coming out of warp…."

"Lieutenant, can you lock on?", Robe asked.

Luneri worked furiously at her console. "Sorry. But I'm not getting a solid lock on the other energy signature."

"Even if you could, there's no guarantee you'd hit. It's an anomalous area, the ship could be anywhere within that volume of space," Cat pointed out.

"Regardless… manual aim, Lieutenant. Fire phasers when ready."

"Aye, sir," Luneri answered, going to work on her console.

The phaser strips on Aurora's starboard side lashed out, one by one. The beams of amber energy stabbed at empty space over and over again. But nothing seemed to connect.

"Cat, can you get a clearer image so we can shoot more accurately?", Robert asked.

"I'm doing my best, but the effect isn't localized enough."

More phaser streaks joined the other. Tikvah fired a few bolts of disruptor energy as well. But nothing hit.

Then it appeared. A squat, compact, shark-like warship painted deep black. There were no markings, nothing to see that announced their affiliation. Bot it wasn't hard to know just whose ship it was.

Luneri's aim las was true this time. Phaser fire lashed repeatedly against the small warship's shields. "Firing torpedoes!", the Dorei woman announced. Sparks of blue white light lashed out toward the Reich ship.

Just as torpedoes erupted from its main launchers.

The Aurora's torpedoes impacted first, defying the last minute maneuvers of the hunter ship. The small ship's shields broke down and two of the torpedoes made impact on bare hull. There was a flash of intense white light, the result of an anti-matter explosion, and then nothing was left.

The torpedoes of the hunter ship didn't cause such catastrophe on the Tikvah. One was even destroyed by the disruptors on the Jewish refuge vessel.

But the other two torpedoes made impact.

The first slammed into the Tikvah's shields. It soon became clear that the torpedo was meant to deal with them; the moment it made impact there was a wave of energy from the impact point and the Tikvah's shields wavered.

This allowed the second torpedo to bypass them directly and slam right into the upper starboard nacelle of the Tikvah's warp drive system.

The resulting explosion consumed that warp nacelle in fire. The Tikvah spun slightly from the force of the blast. Lights across the ship began to flicker off. Robert watched this in horror. "Jarod! Report!"

"Their warp system is crippled," Jarod answered. "I'm reading major feedback through their power grid. With all of the makeshift repairs they've had to do, it couldn't deal with the hit."

Robert watched the great habitat ship list in space and felt his stomach twist. "How many losses have they taken? What about our people?"

"I'm trying to establish communications again." Jarod's hands moved swiftly over his controls.

After several moments they got a signal. "Aurora, do you read? This is Commander Andreys."

"This is Aurora. Julie, how are things going over there?"

"Bad. Main power is offline. Most of auxiliary power is going to life support systems, and even those are offline on four decks in the engineering spaces. Mister Scott and their engineers are trying to assess the damage…. Robert, I'm sorry. But this ship is crippled right now. I don't think we'll be getting her underway any time soon."

"We took out the Reich hunter ship," Robert answered. "Hopefully that means we've got some time."

"What was that ship?", she asked.

Arik's voice came over the comm line. "A stealth attack vessel. They train to launch attacks like that, cloaking and firing shield-piercing torpedoes before an enemy can react. I suspect their commander thought he could evade your torpedoes"

"How do you defend against it?', Robert asked.

"By being able to go to warp and evade," was Arik's bitter answer. "I apologize, Captain, but I must see to my crew and people. We have casualties to attend to."

Robert swallowed. And there are so few left… "I understand. We're standing by to assist. Commander Andreys, please return to the ship so we can discuss our options."

"I'm on my way back now."




Everyone was gathered in the conference room on Aurora. "From what I've heard, the Tikvah is completely crippled," Robert said to his assembled command staff, including those returned from Tikvah. "What options do we have?"

"Well, the warp drive is completely out," Lucy said. "Tikvah needs major yard time too even hope of rebuilding it. And if the Nazis are gunning for us here, we don't have time to get a yardship out here."

Meridina nodded. "What if we were to create a jump point for them? Could they not escape through it?'

"There's no guarantee that they'd arrive close to a system," Caterina pointed out. "They could end up stranded in interstellar space."

"Actually, that's not the main problem," Jarod said.

"Aye." Scotty shook his head. "We cannae send th' ship through a point. She'll come apart if we put her engines tae th' necessary power tae enter a point."

"Maybe we could use our own SIF field to reinforce their structural integrity?', Lucy suggested.

"Nice idea, lass, but it's nae possible any longer. Even our ship cannae project an SIF field of th' necessary intensity and size. Nae enough tae protect from acceleration and th' gravitational shear of a jump point."

"So we can't jump them out or bring them under warp tow," Julia said.

"Nae, Commander, we cannae do any of that." Scotty shook his head. "If I have a day or two I might be able tae rebuild her systems enough tae be taken under tow by th' Aurora."

"That does seem to be our best choice," Jarod agreed. "I'll run the calculations to make sure, but…"

Before he could finish, there was a beep over the comm line. "Captain." Lieutenant Luneri was speaking from the bridge. "We have a ship on long range sensors coming in at high warp. According to Ensign al-Rashad, it has subspace fluctuations consistent with an anti-matter pulse drive."

Robert swallowed. "Relay the sensor information in here, Lieutenant."

"Aye, Captain."

A moment later the holo-projector over the central table activated to show the relevant sensor readings. Jarod, Cat, and Scotty examined them closely. "That… is a big subspace signature," Cat said.

"Real big," Jarod agreed. "I've not seen one this big yet."

"Can you identify it?", Julia asked.

"It's not on any of our recognition charts," he answered.

"Maybe Captain Shaham will know," Julia said to Robert.

He nodded and pressed the key on the table to re-open the channel to the bridge. "Lieutenant Luneri, put us through to Captain Shaham immediately. Prepare to relay sensor information."

"Aye."

After several moments Arik's voice came over the speaker. "Captain Dale. What can I do for you?"

"We're relaying a sensor return to you," Robert explained. "It just came up on long range sensors."

There was a short pause. Then not so short. Arik's voice was shaky when it came back. "Captain. That signature… that… that is a dreadnought."

Robert felt like he'd been punched. "What?", he asked, incredulous.

"I have only seen this sort of pattern a few times," Arik explained. "It is from the power assembly of an Aryan-class dreadnought."

Everyone looked at each other. Even Angel frowned. The Alliance didn't know much about the Aryan-class, the dread pride of the Raumskriegsmarine, but what they did know was that it was a full-sized dreadnought that likely had few, if any, equals in the Alliance fleet as it was now.

And the Aurora, advanced as she was, was not a dreadnought.

A Hebrew curse spat on the line. "I know this signature. That fluctuation pattern… yes. It's him."

"Him?", Angel asked.

"Oberführer Hendrik Eicke, commander of the Eichmann," Arik answered. "He and his ship have hunted us for years. He would be arrogant enough to risk the Phosako to pursue us…"

Robert groaned. "A ship named for Adolf Eichmann…" He shook his head. "Damned appropriate, I guess. How far out are they?"

Caterina hit a few keys to show the actual location of the signature, including speed and direction. "They're picking up speed. I think… no more than half an hour. Maybe forty minutes," she answered.

Julia shook her head. "There's no way we can get the Tikvah ready for a warp tow or jump that quickly."

Robert looked around. He swallowed and thought on the situation. Whatever happened, he couldn't abandon these people. But if they stayed, he knew the Eichmann, or any other ship of that class, would make short work of Aurora. "We're too far from Harris Station to ask for reinforcements," he said. "They'd never arrive in time. That leaves one last option." Robert drew in a breath. "We beam them over to the Aurora. All five thousand of the Tikvah's residents."

"Five thousand people. In half an hour?! Ye'll be puttin' heavy strain on all of our transporter systems!", Scotty protested. "Ye'll fry out everythin' from th' Heisenburg compensators tae th' subspace channel stabilizers!"

"But it is possible," Lucy said. "We can average about six people every fifteen seconds on just one transporter station. And we've got six on the ship. Twice that if we include cargo transporters."

"And the runabouts can manage another two per runabout," Jarod added. "The problem is sustained pace. Eventually we might have issues if there are any parts that go down."

"Still, it's our best hope," Robert noted. "And if push comes to shove, they have their own light ships. We can cram as many of them as possible into our shuttle bay and launch deck."

"That means no launching our own fighters," Laurent pointed out. "My pilots wouldn't be able to return."

"I know, Commander," Robert said. "But it's something we'll have to do."

"Couldn't we dock one of their attack ships into the Koenig's dock?", Julia asked. "That might carry another few hundred people, minimum."

"Something to consider," Jarod said.

"We're running out of time, though," Lucy said. "We need to start a transporter evacuation now if we want to be done when that Reich dreadnought shows up."

"Right." Robert touched a button beside him. "Captain Shaham, are you there?"

"We are, Captain Dale."

"My crew and I have discussed the situation. Our only chance now is to beam your people over to the Aurora."

There was a moment of silence. "As in your matter transporters?"

"Yes."

"I…. see. Yes. I understand. But can you fit all of our people together? Will I need to leave anyone behind?"

"Not if we hurry," Robert said. "Get your people ready immediately. We're going to start transporting in the next few minute or so. If you have any shuttles or craft that can dock with our ship or land in our fighter hanger or shuttle bay, send them separately."

"We will commence evacuation immediately. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf. Shaham out."

Robert looked to the rest of the table. "Lucy, go to Transporter Station 2 and do what you can. Mister Scott, you're on Station 1. Jarod, I need you at Operations making sure everything's running smoothly. And I want all cargo transporters going as well. We've got maybe thirty minutes left before that Reich dreadnought shows up. Let's get these people out of here."

Everyone left as quickly as they could.




Arik was no stranger to crisis. His people had suffered so many close calls over the years that he was used to them. This crisis just happened to be the worst of many.

"Take only what you can carry with you immediately," he urged into the ship's PA system. "It is a sacrifice, I know. But there will be opportunities to reclaim that which we lose."

His order circulated through the ship. Section by section, the representatives of the Tikvah Knesset responded to show their deck and sections as ready. Fifty responses in total, each representing one hundred or so people. Less than that in some cases given their recent fatalities.

And the wounded. They will need to be evacuated with care, he pondered, even as Sarah came up to him. "Yes?"

"I cannot carry everything, she said. "Arik… our history. Our records. We will lose so much if…"

"We can write histories again, love.," he assured her. "We'll be alive to do so."

She nodded. "I understand. I was just hoping there was a way to make sure they were preserved."

"I will carry what I can." Arik looked to Yonatan. "Help your mother. Carry the data drives to the Eagle."

"Father, you should let me stay with you," Yonatan protested. "There's still enough power in the capacitors to fire the super-disruptor once."

"And what good would that do?", Arik demanded. "Against a dreadnought?"

"It is something," Yonatan insisted. "Maybe give us an opening to plow our ship into them…"

Arik seized his son's shoulders. "I know you wish to prove yourself a worthy leader of our people, Yoni. You will get your chance. But I need you to live. Go with your mother. Help her and get her into the Eagle. It is under your command."

Yonatan's eyes widened. "Father?"

"It's yours, Yoni. Shameel and I will direct the evacuation until all is complete."

Yonatan's mouth dried. He realized what his father was saying. "Father, please…."

Sarah teared up. "Arik, you're not going to…"

Arik gave him and his worried wife a reassuring smile. "I will not throw my life away. Unless we have no choice, I will see you again on Aurora. Go now, and if the worst comes and I go to my judgement, tell Na'ama how much I love her."

"We will," Sarah promised. She reached around him and gave Arik a kiss. "Please, come back to us."

"I will," Arik promised. Now go."

They did so. Shameel looked at him. "Sir, what do you have in mind?"

"In case the Eichmann arrives early, we must have a backup plan," Arik answered. "Come. We have much to discuss."
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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-17 04:18pm

Robert was watching the seconds tick away as they ran out of time. "Status?", he asked, mentally counting their time left to be within five minutes.

"Three thousand six hundred and sixty relayed by transporter," Jarod answered. "The runabouts have brought in another three hundred. Four hundred from the assault ship that just docked and ninety-five from their remaining shuttles."

"That leaves almost five hundred," Robert observed. "We're running out of time, we need to get those people out now."

"They're going as fast as they can, but we've already had delays from transporters being overextended," Jarod explained. "Transporter Station Five is still down. And Cargo Bays 2 and 7 have their transporters completely offline now due to strain."

"Are we going to make it?", Robert asked. He counted on Jarod's "Pretender" mind to do the math immediately.

"It'll be close," was all he said.

"Right." Robert looked around. Julia was off the bridge currently to oversee the settlement of the evacuees in specific parts of the ship, if just to ensure they weren't in the way if they had to fight off the arriving enemy warship. With Lucy and Scotty off manning transporters that left the bridge engineering station manned by a young Gersallian ensign, Mataran, but everyone else was in their proper place.

With a tap of a button Robert brought up a small holo-map zoomed out from the star system enough to show the approaching wapr signature. This might every well be the fight of his life, at least in terms of starship combat, if they couldn't flee before the process was over. And that was looking more and more likely.

"Susquehanna just reported in," Jarod said. "Their transporters have gone down."

"Bring them back in," Robert replied. "In fact, bring all of our other runabouts back in before that ship gets here. I doubt we can hold it off long enough for them to get to safety anyway."

"Orders sent." Jarod noted another item. "The last of the Tikvah shuttles is coming in for a landing, routing them to the fighter landing hanger."

All Robert could do was urge his people on mentally to finish in time. He kept a count as they neared the magic number, just past five thousand. And I know we can outrun that bastard.

They still had two hundred left, though, when Caterina cried out, "They just accelerated! They'll be on top of us in forty seconds!"

Damn! "Code Red," Robert ordered. "Angel, take whatever shots you can."

"Should I raise shields?"

Robert looked again at the figure. Two hundred and twenty-six. Two hundred and twenty-six people who would die if he ran. Captain Shaham was one of those two hundred and twenty-six; he'd be widowing Sarah and orphaning Yonatan and Na'ama.

Sometimes you can't save them all, he thought to himself.

But even as he did, another part of him simply rebelled at the idea of leaving anyone behind for these people. For Nazis of all people. "We don't leave people behind," he reminded himself.

"Hail from Tikvah," Jarod said. He put them on without asking or saying so; there wasn't time.

"Captain, if you can survive long enough to get the rest of my people off, I may have a way to buy you time," Arik said.

"I'm up for anything, Captain Shaham," Robert replied.

"Keep his attention then. Can you extend shields around Tikvah?"

"We'll lose so much shield effectiveness that it won't work for long," Jarod warned.

"We don't have a choice. Do it." At least this way we can sustain the evacuation.

"Extending shields," Angel said.

"Ship coming out of warp now!"

On the screen the enemy warship decelerated from warp. It was an ugly thing. The ship, which was nearly three hundred meters longer than the kilometer-long Aurora, had a gunmetal gray hull spotted with disruptor cannon emplacements, some of them quite large, and a battery of missile cells to go with the evident torpedo launcher in the bow. Like all Reich ships it had that bizarre slant in the middle of the length, spending about a third of its length in a ten degree incline before the hull straightened again for the drive hull section. Blue Bussard ramscoops were joined to warp nacelles that shined blood red. The ship's angle, coming at them from "above", showed the ventral side of the hull. A large Nazi swastika emblem - black cross on white circle on a square of red - was emblazoned one deck "under" a trio of large spinal-mounted weapon emplacements. They were clearly the super-disruptors that Robert had already seen used by Scharnhorst back at 33LA, but even larger than that battlecruiser's weapons.

An additional insignia was visible at several points; two lightning bolts side by side. Or rather, two "S"es side-by-side.

Robert waited to see if they would make a surrender demand.

Suddenly the three spinal mount weapons opened up, sending a trio of emerald disruptor beams at Aurora. Because Locarno was already maneuvering the ship away in an evasive maneuver, although one that wouldn't uncover the Tikvah entirely, only one of the beams struck their extended shields.

The shield met the beam... and yielded. The disruptor beam slammed into their primary hull.

Robert felt a tremor go through his heart and gut.

Just one shot. Even with shields extended...

"Starboard shields failed!", Jarod shouted. "Shield cohesion down to fifty-four percent!"

Even as he asked that fire already erupted from the other disruptor emplacements on the enemy ship, joined by missile bombardment. The interceptors on Aurora retorted to shoot down the incoming projectiles, but disruptor beam after disruptor beam struck at Aurora's overtaxed shields. The shields yielded on a couple of the larger shots, allowing the penetrating energy to scour Aurora's azure hull in multiple places.

Even as Jarod was busy reading off the damage, Angel was letting loose with everything she could. Phaser beams retaliated and slammed into the bow shields of the Eichmann, joined by whichever cannon emitters she could bring to bear. But they couldn't present bow or aft to the ship, not without uncovering the Tikvah to the dreadnought's murderous barrage, so there was no using the more powerful pulse plasma cannons or any effective barrages of torpedoes. What torpedoes Angel did fire, as a test, were taken out by intercepting disruptor fire due to the need to turn.

"Effect on shields?"

"Negligible," Jarod answered. "Their shields are still at over ninety-five percent."

Which means they can hammer us with their best weapons and we can't touch them. Robert looked to his displays. Whatever this plan is, Shaham... please hurry. I can't wait much longer and risk damage to our warp drive.




Arik had only three people with him. Shameel, the best shot, was at tactical, Miryam Levitsky was keeping an eye on the power readings at their auxiliary engineering station, and Michael Zedner was at the helm, preparing for his order to turn the ship.

"Sir, you realize this ship will start falling apart the moment we achieve full acceleration?", Miryam said.

"Well aware of that," he answered. "But it'll only start."

"And we only have one full-power shot from the super-disruptor," she continued.

Arik smirked and said, "I know. Status on the Aurora?"

Shameel checked his board. "They've taken hull damage. Their shields are already failing. They can't survive much longer."

That prompted Arik to check his displays. Only a bit longer...

"Shouldn't we let them go?", Shameel asked. "Better that most of our people get away than none do if they are lost."

Arik had thought of that. But the thought made him feel sour. No. He would not leave another of his people behind to die at the hands of the Nazi, not if he could help it.

You are being foolish, he imagined Sarah saying. And maybe she'd be right. But with these circumstances, he had a chance to save them all. And to give the SS a good black eye.

"Almost there," he muttered. "Almost. Standby to fire."




One of the secondary consoles sparked as Aurora's over-extended shields took another direct hit from the Eichmann's main weapons. This time all three beams hit. "Shields down to thirty percent! Hull breaches in Sections G and H, Decks 4, 6 through 10, and 14," Jarod reported. "Emergency forcefields in place."

"Any casualties?", Robert asked.

"None yet," he replied.

"I'm still not doing much to their shields," Angel said.

"Then forget it," Robert barked. "Mister Mataran, divert all weapon power to shields. Auxiliary power too."

"Aye sir," the Gersallian officer replied.

"Shields stabilizing at sixty-two percent," Jarod added. The ship shook again. "One of their anti-matter missiles got through." Jarod shook his head. "They're drawing to within five kilometers. At this range our interceptors are going to have trouble acquiring their missiles."

The turbolift doors opened and Julia marched in. "What's going on?!", she asked.

"We're taking a battering while the evacuation finishes," Robert said. "Captain Shaham has a plan."

Julia went to her seat and buckled her harness on. "This is crazy, Robert. We've gotten almost all of them off, if we take more hits like that we could lose the warp drive. We should leave."

"I know," he said. "But if Captain Shaham's plan..."

"He's not the captain of this ship," she retorted. "You are. Make the call."

Robert was ready to retort but stopped. He knew she was right.

But he also wasn't about to just abandon Shaham. He pressed the comm key to open the tactical link. "Captain Shaham, we can't stay here. I'm risking my entire ship..." They shook again as the Reich vessel's big guns laid into them once more, causing more consoles to spark from feedback. "...waiting for this plan."

"There are only fifty of us left, Captain. I just need fifteen more seconds."

"Shields are back down to thirty-eight percent," Jarod warned. "Primary Generator 2 just overloaded and went off-line. We have to restore the shields to normal or we'll lose the entire system." The ship shuddered again. "Thirty-two percent. Damage on Decks 22, 25, and 31."

"Enemy range is now six kilometers," Locarno warned.

"If they get any closer our interceptors will never intercept their missiles," Julia said. "Robert...."

"Ten left," Robert answered. "Almost there."

"Robert, you need to..."

"Captain, move your position, now!," Arik shouted over the tac-comm line.

"You heard the man, Nick!", Robert bellowed. "Full impulse! Evasive maneuvers!"




The Aurora accelerated suddenly, throwing off the aim of the Reich dreadnought just as more of its disruptors lashed out. Missiles that had been meant to crash into the ship's overextended shields instead flew into empty space. They had not been programmed to lock on to the Tikvah so they started to turn to pursue Aurora, causing them to fall victim to Aurora's pulsed-fire interceptors.

A couple of disruptors now sliced into the unshielded Tikvah, causing explosions to plume from her damaged, unshielded hull. The vessel started moving as well. Her structure quaked as she did; bereft of a structural integrity field, the old ship was starting to fall apart from the stress of the sudden acceleration.

On her bridge, Arik watched the Eichmann loom ahead. He thought of all the time he'd run into that ship. Into that villain Eicke. All of his people who had died at the hands of Eicke and his fanatics.

That would end today.

Due to the short range, Eichmann only had seconds to react to the sudden rushing hulk of the Tikvah. The massive dreadnought started to turn to port to get clear. Zedner's hands flew over the helm controls to adjust Tikvah's attitude, ensuring she followed the movement.

They wouldn't ram bow-on-bow. The Eichmann's maneuvering ensured that. But that was fine by Arik's reckoning. He didn't want to hit there.

In fact, Eicke and his helmsman had given Arik the target he'd wanted all along.

And as the red ramscoop of the Eichmann's starboard warp nacelle filled the bridge viewer, Arik felt an intense sense of satisfaction. "Fire!"

Shameel's finger stabbed down on the control. A thick beam of emerald energy erupted from the bow of the Tikvah. The dying ship's last defiant shot at her tormentors slammed into the Eichmann's shields.

They held.

But that was anticipated. It wasn't about penetrating the shields but weakening them. Making sure they weren't coherent enough to tear Tikvah apart from the impact. And now they weren't; they yielded before the power of Tikvah's mass and acceleration.

Arik breathed a silent prayer for the future happiness of his family and waited for the end that would inevitably come upon impact.

There was a sudden jolt as the Tikvah slammed into the Eichmann's warp nacelle.

And a strange sensation filled Arik at that moment. Was this what death was actually like? Tikvah's anti-matter fuel was going up. This had to be what it felt like to be....

....and suddenly he was elsewhere. A chamber, standing on a platform of blue and white light, facing a young woman in an Alliance uniform that he realized he knew.

"We got 'em!", Lucy Lucero shouted. She hit a key on her control. "Bridge, last survivors off Tikvah!"

And at that, all Arik could do was laugh. Judgement, it seemed, would be put off for another day.




The old Tikvah did not die quietly.

Already falling apart, wounded, crippled, the converted habitat ship slammed into the warp nacelle of the Eichmann. Her hull and structure, already weakened by the acceleration to the point of collapse, was crushed instantly by the impact.

The same impact also undid all of the magnetic field projectors In her anti-matter fuel bunkers. It crushed the smaller projectors attached to each pod of anti-matter fuel.

And thus matter met anti-matter and, as nature dictated, the two types of material annihilated each other in a burst of gamma ray photons and neutrinos. The resulting annihilation released massive quantities of energy that overwhelmed the structure of the Reich dreadnought's warp nacelle. The plasma surging within the nacelle was released from confinement, leading to further explosions that blew the nacelle apart. Debris and atmosphere freely surged from the wounds that appeared in that corner of the ship, the result of a catastrophic loss of electrical power due to feedback through the system.

The Eichmann was lamed now. But not toothless. The power loss did not take out main power on the dreadnought and her weapons, at least those facing Aurora, continued to blaze away.




Robert and Julia watched the destruction of Tikvah with wide eyes. My God... did he... Robert heard Lucy's cry come over the speakers. He felt a hopeful grin come to his face as a reaction.

But there was no time for celebration. Despite everything Eichmann was still shooting. Her super-disruptors again raked across Aurora. Even with shields restored to their proper tight projection, the ship still shook violently. "Shield effectiveness down to twenty-five percent," Jarod warned. "We just lost another generator. Stress damage to upper starboard nacelle."

"We've done all we can," Robert insisted. "Get us out of here, Nick."

"Yes sir!", Locarno answered. His hands seemed to fly over his controls as he laid the appropriate course into the system and orientated Aurora properly. The ship shook again even as he did so.

And then they were at warp. "Are they able to pursue?", Robert asked. "Backup warp field generators or something like that?"

"No," Jarod answered. "Their warp drive is crippled. Completely."

"I can confirm that," Caterina crowed. "They're not showing any sign of engaging warp drives. We're free and clear!"

Some cheers came from the junior officers on the bridge. Julia drew out a sigh and gave Robert a meaningful look. "We need to talk," she said.

"I know," he answered. "Stand down from Code Red, everyone." Robert sighed. Best to get this over with. "Jarod, you have the bridge." He stood up, nodded to Julia, and walked toward the ready room office.

Jarod left Ops, letting it be taken up by Mataran, and got to the command chair by the time Julia followed Robert into the office. Robert didn't bother sitting down. He went over to his desk, turned, and faced Julia. "I took a risk, yes."

"A stupid risk," Julia hissed. "You should have left the moment that dreadnought started pouring fire into us, Robert!"

"We would have left two hundred people to die if I had," he countered. "Including Captain Shaham, the leader of these people."

"Leaders come and go! We had saved most of them!" Julia shook her head. "That was stupid, Robby. Goddamned stupid."

Robert stared. It was not often one heard her use such language. And using his childhood nickname in that context? That was almost a violation of everything they'd been to each other.

"I get it," Julia said. "You want to save everyone. You have something to prove by standing up to the Nazis, to show you can face them in a fight. But this wasn't the time or place or circumstances! We're lucky we had no fatalities, Rob!"

"You would have left them behind?", Robert asked. "Really? You would have taken the Shahams' father and husband away?"

"Yes," she answered. "I would have. Because your job is to fulfill our missions and protect this ship and crew. You had accomplished all reasonable objectives on that score." Julia pointed back to the bridge. "You can't always be the white knight! You can't always save everyone when you're in that chair, Rob! You have to be ready to make the tough decision to save what you can and leave others behind."

"And what if it was you, Julie?!", Robert shot back. "Or Angel or Cat or Zack?! What if I had to leave one of you behind?!"

She stopped speaking for the moment. "I understand, okay?" Julia had found her voice again. "I understand you don't want to leave anyone behind. And I would hate myself if I had to leave any of us behind like that. But that's what we signed up for, Robert."

Robert looked at her intently. "Do you mean that?"

She nodded. "I do."

"You... would want to be left behind?"

"To save the ship? Yes."

"Left behind to someone like Fassbinder? Or to people like the Batarians, the Dominion, the Cardassians?"

Julia swallowed. Robert found his dream coming back to him. The idea of what those powers might do to her as a captive, might do to any of them... "If you're asking do I want to get tortured or enslaved or God knows what else?" She shook her head. "No. No I don't. I pray nothing like that ever happens to any of us. But it could. And that's part of our life now, it's something I've accepted."

"I've felt what the Cardassians do to people," Robert said.

"Through that mind-link Meridina had with the Maquis prisoners earlier this year?", Julia asked.

"Yes." Robert swallowed. "And I've dreamed... I've dreamed of things being done to... well, to you."

"More of those nightmares."

"Yeah. And..." He shook his head. "The very idea of you going through that, Julie? I... I can't. I can't stomach it. I can't imagine having any one of us go through that. And if it was because I left one of you behind..." He closed his eyes and lowered his head, trying to prevent any tears from flowing. "God, if I had to abandon one of you to torturers and slavers... I... I...." With a struggle he found his voice. "...I couldn't forgive myself, Julie. I can't leave anyone behind."

Watching Robert struggle like that was hard. Julia realized she'd touched a nerve. "Robert, you can't let these nightmares get to you like that."

"I can't do that to any of you," Robert insisted. "I can't live with the thought."

"Robert. You're the captain of this ship. You have a job to do and we all know that. Nobody could blame you..." She caught herself. "...except yourself. And I know you would. So listen." She stepped up and took him by the arms. "If that day ever comes, Robby... if you ever have to leave me behind to save everyone else, and the bad guys take me and... start hurting me." She swallowed and closed her eyes. "I want you to forgive yourself."

"I won't be able to," he admitted.

"Let me finish," Julia urged. "Forgive yourself. Focus on your job. Because I won't give them a thing. And no matter what they do to me, I'll know one thing." Julia pulled him into a hug and talked directly into his ear. "I'll know you're coming for me, okay? That you're going to save me. Just as I'd save you. Because we'd all do that for each other."

Robert listened to her say that and felt an ache in his heart at the very notion. "I'd still be responsible for your suffering."

"And you'd make up for it by rescuing me." She pulled back from the hug enough to face him, eye to eye. She smiled at him. "Because... well, let's face it Robby. You've always enjoyed the idea of being the White Knight."

He stared at her for a moment. And then, despite the twisted up feelings inside of him, all of the fears of those nightmares being potential futures plaguing his mind as of late... he laughed. A low, steady chuckle, growing and causing Julia to giggle and then laugh along with him. "I'm too much of one, Angel says," Robert said between laughs. Tears started flowing from his eyes.

"You are," Julia insisted. She let her tears come freely as well. "But that's what I love about you. Knowing that your heart's in the right place. There are worse flaws than being unwilling to accept that people are suffering."

He nodded. "I understand," he said. He pulled back from the hug a bit and turned to his desk. "I... I should probably get a report started for Admiral Maran. And call up Beth to see about arranging living space for five thousand people."

"Yeah," Julia agreed. "You should. I'll go man the bridge."

"Who's getting the people into living spaces?"

"I've got Leo coordinating with Sarah Shaham." Julia took a step backward. "It won't be for long. We should be able to make a direct jump to New Liberty by the time we return to Harris Station."

"They might be able to get some transports out to ferry Shaham's people to New Liberty," Robert said. "Although God knows I'd love to visit."

"Yeah." Julia straightened her spine. "Permission to return to duty, Captain?"

Robert nodded at her. He watched her turn to leave and found himself speaking again. "You know, Julie.... I've had a thought lately."

She turned back to face him. "What?"

He looked at her directly. "Maybe... I don't know..." He sighed. "Have you ever considered we have the wrong jobs?"

Julia smiled at him and shook her head. "No. I can't say I have."

"I'm not trying to be self-abusive or anything. I'm just thinking..." He smiled at her. "Maybe you should be the one in the big chair."

"Well, I'm in it often enough...", Julia pondered aloud, keeping her smile wide. "Captain Julia Andreys... sounds awesome, doesn't it?"

"I think so, yes," Robert said.

She shrugged at him. "Maybe one day, right?" And she went through the door.

As it swished to a close behind her, Robert sighed and said, "Yeah. One day." He drew in a breath and focused his eyes on his computer screen. "No more time for emo thoughts," he mumbled to himself. "Paperwork calls, Captain Dale. Paperwork calls."




Ship's Log: 6 July 2641; ASV Aurora. Captain Robert Dale recording. We have returned to Harris Station to begin repairs to the ship and send Arik Shaham and his fellow survivors from Tikvah on to their new lives. We are transferring his people to a waiting transport ship that will ferry them to New Liberty Colony.

According to Admiral Relini, the Phosako were unable to vector in any ships to deal with
Eichmann before she regained limited warp capability. The SS dreadnought has apparently managed to retreat successfully toward Reich territory. A part of me wonders if we could have finished the SS ship off instead of fleeing when we did, but given the tense situation already existing I'm quite sure that blowing up a Reich dreadnought would have instigated the war we're hoping to keep delayed.

Whatever happens, I look forward to seeing Arik Shaham and his family off.



The last of the transport shuttles was sitting in the main shuttle bay. The Eagle, the attack vessel Yonatan Shaham had docked to Aurora was already alongside the transport Star of Boise for its imminent jump to Universe H1E4, and the Shahams themselves were the last of their people who were going to transfer over to the two ships. Robert and the command staff of the Aurora were assembled to see them off.

Arik happily shook Robert's hand. "Thank you, Captain Dale. You and your brave crew have given us all new hope for a bright future."

"We're proud to have saved you," he answered.

Arik nodded. "I... apologize, Captain."

"Hrm?"

"I put your ship in danger," he continued. "I was so devoted to getting all of my people out, and to trying to harm those who have killed so many of us, that I didn't think of the trouble I might have caused you. I am thankful that none of your crew died because I refused to leave anyone behind."

Robert exchanged knowing looks with Julia, who grinned at him. "Yeah, I feel the same way," Robert assured him. "I hate the idea of leaving people behind too."

"Sometimes people in our position have to make hard choices. I'm just glad that our refusal to accept that caused no greater harm this time."

"Your cousin runs New Liberty, I'm told?", Sarah asked.

"Yes. Beth." Robert nodded. "She's already getting places set up for you. I mean, you'll start with prefab housing, but there are plenty of materials for full houses. And the economy on New Liberty is getting bigger all the time. There's a big boom in mining in the region and New Liberty provides a lot of consumer products and raw foodstuffs to the mining operations. Not to mention the thriving trade in hi-tech consumer gadgets for H1E4 Earth."

"And I'm told Mister Godedsky and the Rabbinical Council of New Liberty are eager to see you," Julia added. "They've done a lot of work on reconciling differences between Jewish traditions caused by different universal standards."

"We've done our best keeping our's," Sarah said. "I can't wait to see what we may have lost, or may learn, from the others."

"I'm just happy to know we're not all that's left," Yonatan said. "We're not on the verge of extinction any more."

"No you're not," Jarod said.

"I have a question," Meridina said. "'Tikvah'... what did that mean?"

Arik and his family smiled at the Gersallian Knight. "'Hope'", Arik answered.

"I see." Meridina nodded. "A fine name for your ship. I am sorry that it was lost."

"The ship may have been lost, but Hope is never lost," Sarah answered. "It survives in hearts even when everything seems lost. Just as our old home will survive in our hearts."

"Agreed," Meridina replied. "May Hope continue to bring Light to us all."

Arik checked the watch on his wrist, set now to ship time. "Well, the Captain of the Star of Boise shouldn't be made to wait for us. We had better get going."

"I wish we weren't," Na'ama said. "I'd love to stay on Aurora longer. This ship is wonderous."

"We're always back for the anniversary of the Colony founding," Robert said. "We'll see you next May."

"And I'll give you a real tour next time," Cat promised Na'ama.

Na'ama smiled back. "I'd like that."

Arik led his family in turning to board. He let his wife step in first. Na'ama was to go next, but she stopped and turned. "Caterina!", she called out. "Let me know how that computer screener works for you!"

"I will!", Caterina called back.

Na'ama waved again and ducked into the shuttle. Yonatan followed her. Arik went to enter and stopped. He looked back to the Aurora crew and smiled. He gave a bow of his head and then saluted them. "May the Lord of Hosts protect and guide you, my friends."

"God be with you too," Robert answered.

Meridina bowed her head respectfully. "Mi rake sa swevyra iso."

Arik got into the shuttle and closed the door behind him. Everyone waited as the shuttle's engines powered up and gave a wave goodbye as it turned and left the shuttle bay. The doors slid to a close behind the shuttle.

"Aye, that was a job well done," Scotty said. "Now, I'm off t' make sure th' repairs are gaein' along properly."

"And Meridina and I are late for mind powers practice," Lucy said, teasing her mentor. Meridina smiled gently and shook her head.

"We've all got things to do," Robert said. "So let's get to them."




That night, Robert laid in his bed and felt Angel's head settle under his chin. With everything that had happened, it wasn't surprisingly they had made love to each other, and intensely at that. Angel sucked in a breath. "I wish we could have finished those bastards off," she said. "They killed so many of those poor people."

"I know. But... let's face it, blowing up a Reich dreadnought would have sent things over the edge."

"Maybe. But we know the war is coming." Angel's fingers moved over Robert's rib. "So, you and Julie."

"What?"

"Your argument in the ready room after the fight at 27IR," Angel said. "What did you discuss?"

"The necessities of command," Robert sighed. "And the idea that I might have to leave someone behind one day."

"Like me?", Angel asked.

"Anyone," Robert said. "Julia said she'd hate herself, but she'd do it."

"Sounds like her." Angel shifted a little. "Could you do it?'

Robert thought on it. "I don't think so," he admitted. "I... I just don't think so."

"Yeah. Julia's got a good heart too, but she's... she's a boss lady. She's Ms. Responsibility, Ms. Professional. She'd turn her heart off and make a call like that." Angel settled her forehead up against Robert's chin and kissed him over his heart. "But you can't. And that's why, despite everything, I love you."

"Thanks," he answered. "Angel?"

"Yes?'

"Do you see us... lasting?", he asked. "Because I know we've been distant at times. And there's the whole fraternization issue and..."

"What I think," she began, "is that sometimes things end. And we've ended before. But right now, I don't give a damn. I've got you right here, and you've got me, and we're going to settle off into sleep together and see what tomorrow brings."

"Sounds... good, yeah," Robert replied, after which he yawned. Angel yawned too.

They dozed off.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-18 12:27am

Tag

Caterina didn't bother getting breakfast in the Lookout. She got a thermos of coffee, a doughnut, and went straight for Science Lab 1. It was empty when she got there, as she knew it'd be, so she was all alone to check the progress of the computer data compiling that Na'ama's programed was doing. Cat had to stifle a yawn before taking a sip of coffee and a bite of fluffy, replicated goodness. She would have to thank Jarod for helping her perfect the food replicators' doughnut-making.

After another bite she started tapping keys to see what data had compiled. There were a few more universal frequencies and designations to compile. Always cool. And some astrographical data...

Cat's eyes widened. She nearly knocked over the thermos as she brought her hand over and smacked the comm key on her multi-device. "Delgado to Dale!"

For several moments there was no reply. Cat decided to repeat herself. "Delgado to Dale! I need to see you, to see everyone! This is important!"

After what seemed like a whole minute, Robert answered, "I'm here."

Cat could barely make out a familiar groan and a mumbled sentence, the only words she was able to recognize being the equally-familiar phrase "crazy sister". Her cheeks flushed pink as she realized she'd interrupted her sister and her sister's boyfriend at an inopportune time.

Then her eyes went over the data again and that bit of embarrassment faded. "It's important! I just got some crucial data from the 33LA Darglan facility recompiled! This is... this is huge!"

After another two seconds Robert said, "Alright. Staff meeting in an hour."




Everyone had gathered for the meeting, Lucy in Tom Barnes' place, and Cat seemed ready to explode. "You have our attention, Caterina," Robert said to her.

"Okay. Na'ama Shaham gave me a program she called a screener, but it's more appropriately a VI data pattern recognition program," Cat explained, her voice almost squeaking with excitement. "And I've been using it to compile data fragments from our dumping of the 33LA facility's records before we blew it up."

"Did you find something?", Jarod asked her.

"Yes, yes I did!", Cat shrieked in excitement. She hit a key. The system brought up a large starmap, showing a chunk of the local galactic region. An overlay showed known astro-political borders. An entire section of space became highlighted by a field. "According to the recompiled data, this area - in N2S7 the Dorei call the system at the center of this spot BTA-992260 - is the location of the Darglan Facility!"

That got everyone's attention. "You're sure?", Lucy asked.

"Positive!" Cat tapped several keys, bringing up text data. "I don't have all of the coordinates yet, I can't say which system, but the galactic coordinates I do have show it has to be somewhere around here!"

"Good work, Cat," Julia said, smiling.

"This is.. Incredible," Robert added. He looked over the map and felt a bit of a frown form on his face. "But look where it is."

"The edge of Nazi space," Locarno observed. "The Facility is probably outside of it going by the margin of error, but even then it's a hell of a lot closer to their core areas than ours in this universe."

"That's the downside," Cat admitted. "But it's no big deal. Either we take the long way around or… or maybe attempt a jump from N2S7? Or another universe. Then we can scan for the signs of a DT field and narrow our search."

"Cat, that's risky," Jarod pointed out. "Without something to lock onto, the spatial aspect of the jump gives us a wide margin of error. We could end up jumping right on the Reich border. Maybe even over it. Even if we don't violate their space, their patrols will notice us jumping in. They can't help but notice it."

"So we go the long way around," Cat said. "Or… or we send a probe or something…"

"If the Nazis got their hands on anything we could rig to lock jumps onto, they could reverse-engineer it," Lucy warned. "Maybe not make an IU drive from it, but there's no telling what problems we could get."

"Aye, lass," Scotty agreed. "It wouldnae be safe unless we warped directly there. An' they'd see us comin'."

"A cloaked ship could possibly make the trip," Julia pointed out. "Maybe one of our old Darglan light utility ships? Weaver, Rodriguez..."

"I can bring it up with Admiral Maran," Robert said. "He'd have to make the call."

"We've got to do this," Cat insisted. "This… the opportunity here! Once we have that Facility there's all sorts of Darglan technology we might be able to further replicate! More universe signatures to find!"

"And we could make sure the Nazis never get it," Angel added.

"Yeah, that too!"

"I'm sure Peter or Jasmine would be up to the mission," Julia said. "Jasmine's been doing good training with…"

They were interrupted by a tone from the bridge. Jupap's voice crackled in. "Captain, we're picking up a distress signal on all frequencies."

Robert blinked at that. "What?" He could see the others were as confused. "Where's it coming from?"

"Identifying… sir, it's coming from the… the Liberty, sir."

Jupap's announcement felt like a thunderbolt slamming into the room, draining it of all the positive enthusiasm Caterina's find had filled it with. "What?!" Robert stood up. "Feed it in here!"

Everyone turned and looked at the flatscreen monitor behind Robert. The image came alive with crackles of signal disruption. The command bridge of the ASV Liberty was showing through the signal problems..

It looked like a mess.

Flames licked up from electrical fires consuming control consoles in the background. Smoke was obscuring some of the other figures rushing around. In the center of the screen a female Dorei, with teal skin and dark blue spots, was looking right at them. Light blue blood oozed from a piece of metal that had gone through her left shoulder, her left arm now dangling uselessly at his side. A cut on her forehead was pouring thick blue blood into her purple eyes. "....out of nowhere," she was saying. "I repeat, this is Lieutenant Commander Anjema Torsama, Second Officer of the Liberty. The Fourth Fleet…" There was a burst of static that cut the signal briefly. "...heavy attack. We are in need…." Another burst of static. "....assistance. I'm in command… Admiral Lithgon and Cap-... -bury are dead. We've taken heavy casualties. Over three quarters of the Fourth…. destroyed. They're killing us! They're wiping… out!"

"Where's this signal coming from?!", Julia shouted.

"The vicinity of Krellan Nebula," Jupap answered.

"...out of the Nebula…. Impossible, but they did it! The ambush… overwhelming for-.... drives inoperable! We're…. slaughtered!"

Torsama looked off the screen. A voice, barely audible, screamed, "They're coming back!"

The Dorei woman nodded. "I repeat… Lieutenant Comm-... Anjema Torsama of the Lib-...We have been amb-... by a Reich fleet coming out of… -lan Nebula! There are hund-... of them… made them earn it, but we cannot st-.... -em! The Fourth Fleet is be-... annihilated! You must pre-.... -or invasion!" Torsama seemed to look to something slightly beyond the screen. "The Supreme One for-… us all and grant… mercy." She closed her eyes as tears started to flow down them. A moment later Torsama was thrown off her feet by the ship shaking beneath her. Cries and screams came over the line.

And then the entire image disappeared in a final and violent burst of static.

The Aurora crew simply stared at the empty screen for several minutes. "...what…" Caterina sniffled. "Oh my God, what just…."

"You heard her," Jarod said quietly. "The Nazis attacked them."

"The entire Fourth Fleet." Julia's voice was full of horror. Her face paled. "There were over two hundred starships in that fleet. A dozen dreadnoughts. The Liberty. The Agamemnon. The Argus."

"The Park was one of their scouts," Locarno reminded them all. "Ibraham was commanding her."

"Two hundred of our best ships," Robert gasped. He fell backward into his chair and nearly slid off of it and onto the ground. "Gone. It's… it's my fault. It's…"

Julia swallowed and looked to the others. "Okay. Okay, let's get to work. Jarod, Angel, Scotty, we have to have the ship combat ready, and combat ready now. Patrice, make sure your pilots are prepped for immediate launch."

Laurent nodded.

"I'll get medbay ready for combat casualties," Leo said, saving Julia from having to give that order.

She nodded in thanks and looked to Caterina, who was crying. "Cat. Cat, get a hold of yourself. I need constant long range sensor sweeps. We can't let them take us by surprise." When Cat didn't immediately reply, Julia stepped up to her and grabbed her by the shoulders. "Cat, sensor sweeps!"

"R-...right!", she answered. "Right, sensor sweeps!" She looked to Lucy. "I need you to make sure our systems are calibrated."

"I'll ensure our security personnel are ready for any contingency," Meridina said. "Commander Kane and his Marines are still on the station, but we'll get them back as soon as I depart for my office."

"Good." Julia nodded. "I'll get with Harris Station's quartermaster and make sure we've got a full combat load for extended operations. Alright everyone, we need to get to work!"

They filed out and Julia looked to Robert, who was still staring off into space. "It's my fault," he said. "I… I… this war… I made the decision about 33LA… this is my fault, Julie."

Julia put a hand on his shoulder. Her green eyes showed sympathy for him. "The crew needs you, Rob. I'm just the First Officer. You're the Captain. Everyone in here might be willing to accept me taking charge for the moment, but the other officers and the crew? They need to see Captain Robert Dale somber and ready for action. They need someone to show confidence. Okay? This is no time to feel guilty about things."

Robert closed his tear-filled eyes and drew in a breath. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry. I…. I just…" He slammed his fist against his chair arm. "God damn them," he swore. "And damn me for… yes. You're right Julia." He stood from the chair and took another breath, trying to compose himself. "Make sure everything is ready. I need to get a hold of Admiral Maran and find out our orders."

"I'll wait for you on the bridge." Julia turned and left, leaving Robert to make the call.




An hour later everyone, junior officers and command staff, were watching as Robert emerged from the conference room. He had total composure now. There was no sign of the tears that had flowed from his eyes. No indications of the guilt within him, or of the feeling his nightmares were coming true. His face was locked in a stoic look of calm, collected command.

"We're ready for orders, Captain," Julia said, standing beside her chair with her hands at the small of her back.

Robert looked at her and nodded. He looked to everyone else. Ensign al-Rashad was sitting at the Auxiliary station nearest Sensors, where Cat had also regained emotional control. Jupap was at Communications and Lieutenant Luneri beside him at Secondary Tactical. Scotty stood beside where Lucy was seated at Engineering. Angel looked at him expectantly from Tactical. Commander Kane and Meridina stood to either side of her. Laurent was over by the port rear turbolift door. Jarod and Locarno were, of course, at Operations and Helm. And Leo was in the seat to the left of the Command Chair.

"Thank you for being here, everyone." Robert swallowed and walked up to his chair. He didn't sit down. "Commander Jarod, please put me on ship-wide address."

"Yes Captain." Jarod hit the appropriate keys. "You're on ship-wide."

"Attention, everyone. This is Captain Dale. I have an announcement to share with you all." Robert took in a short breath to steel his nerves. "We've confirmed that a Reich invasion fleet has entered Alliance space along the Krellan Nebula. The Fourth Fleet moved to intercept them, but were ambushed by an additional fleet of Reich warships that emerged from the nebula when the battle began."

Robert stopped speaking for the moment, knowing that his crew needed to digest this information. "Despite Admiral Lithgon's best efforts, the Liberty and her entire crew have been lost. Almost every ship that was with her was lost as well to overwhelming force. There are only a few surviving ships that managed to escape the battle. The Fourth Fleet has ceased to exist."

"In light of what has happened," he continued, "President Morgan has sent official notice. By order of a Joint Session of the Alliance Council, the United Alliance of Systems has formally declared war on the Third Reich. We are now at war with the Nazi Empire."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-22 04:14pm

Teaser

Streaks of green, blue, and amber energy criss-crossed the orbit of the planet called Trenik. Small fighter craft buzzed in every direction, fighting their own duels in the airless void in keeping their counterparts away from larger targets. Ships continued to streak through this fire, taking hits against their protective deflector fields that would lit up bright blue over and over, all seeking the safe distance from the planet's mass in order to escape from the ongoing conflict.

An Alakin warbird came up beside them. A winged ship of red coloring and yellow wings, the vessel was firing repeated blasts of blue energy from the particle cannons in its prow and main body. Green energy ran across its faltering shields repeatedly until they collapsed. Flame plumed from the red hull where the energy bolts and beams now struck the armored hull plating. Ahead of this winged warship a gray-colored vessel moved into position, pouring missile and energy fire into it and blocking its path and that of the smaller ships it was protecting. The gray vessel lacked the sleek beauty of its foe; it was boxy, with smoothed edges, and its hull slanted in the middle to a lower section that bore twin engine nacelles much like the gold-colored ones at the tips of the wings of the winged starship; save that instead of the gold, it was tipped with blue light and majority red in the bulk of the nacelle's surface.

And along the upper and lower armored hull plating of the ship was an insignia known and dreaded across the multiverse.

The hooked cross, black, set on a white circle in a red square.

The insignia of the Third Reich; the Nazi Empire.

The Nazi warship was clearly getting the better of its winged adversary, which was too busy protecting those helpless civilian ships beside it to maneuver freely. The Alakins did not back down from the fight, but it was a losing fight.

This changed when a series of sapphire bolts of energy slammed into the flickering shields of the Nazi cruiser. Amber bolts and beams played over the shields and overtaxed them, leaving them weakened to the blue-white sparks of light that now passed effortlessly to crash into the hull of the gray-hulled ship. Its weapons quieted. Energy and flame briefly erupted from its damaged hull before defense mechanisms staunched the wounds.

Undaunted, Starship Aurora continued her attack.

The azure-hulled starship loomed gracefully over the stricken winged ship. Again her bow cannons blazed with sapphire fury; again the Nazi cruiser's shields failed. This time her torpedoes were joined by further blue bolts and torpedoes from the winged ship. The damage nearly gutted the enemy ship.

"Sedan-class cruiser is turning away, she's badly damaged and trying to get out of the fight" Jarod reported on the bridge of the Aurora. The ship shook again; their wounded foe was firing at them in defiance. "Shields holding at sixty percent."

Robert kept an eye toward the tactical display of Trenik and its orbital spaces. "Angel, finish them off," he ordered.

"Exactly what I'm doing, sir," Angel answered from tactical. Under her control the Aurora's weapons continued to batter their foe. "Their shields are failing. A few more good hits and…"

"I've got more warp contacts coming in!" Caterina turned in her chair at the science station. "Subspace distortions are consistent with anti-matter pulse drives!"

"Great. More Nazis," Julia breathed from her seat at Robert's right.. "Jarod, what is our status on the evacuation?"

"The last evac ships are lifting off now," Jarod said. "The current convoy is going to warp in three… two… one!"

The civilian ships that had fled Trenik elongated one-by-one and disappeared; bound at warp flight speeds away from the raging battle.

The ship shuddered again. "Shields at fifty-seven percent," Jarod said.

"The Wakipa's shields are failing," Julia added. "Captain Dukap is having to maneuver his ship away from the fight."

On the screen the Alakin warbird pulled away in space, trying to avoid further fire from the burning Nazi heavy cruiser. Angel was still firing into it; another barrage from Aurora's pulse plasma cannons in the bow caused the starboard nacelle of the Nazi cruiser to explode.

A sense of elation went through Robert when the next spread of solar torpedoes crashed into the enemy ship. White energy erupted from within the Nazi cruiser's hull. A moment later, the remaining debris and scrap metal was a dead, hollowed hulk in the orbit of Trenik.

That wasn't Lamper's ship…, he thought, recalling their first contact with the Third Reich not half a year before. Even then he, and Captain Joachim Lamper, had agreed with each other that regardless of their ability to work together against pirates, war between their governments was inevitable. "We are your nightmare and you are our's," Lamper had said.

And he had proven distressingly right.

"What about the Bolivar?", Robert asked, referring to the FedStar heavy cruiser that had accompanied them to Trenik.

"Still engaged to the other Nazi cruiser," Julie answered. "It looks like they're winning."

"Signal Wakipa, tell them to fall back to the last convoy, we'll keep the enemy reinforcements off of them."

"Signalling…"

"Oh my God…" Cat looked up. "Those warp signatures! Captain, one of them…"

Several more Nazi warships dropped out of warp ahead of them. Robert recognized four as Z-2500 destroyers. Their shield-disruptor torpedoes could pose a threat, but in general he wasn't afraid of even four of them, not with Aurora's advanced technology. More intimidating was another of the Nazi cruisers.

But even more intimidating was the big ship in the center of the formation.

"Confirmed. New contacts are led by an Aryan-class dreadnought," Jarod said, with far more calm than the situation merited.

Robert swallowed. They had faced one over two weeks ago. It hadn't been a conventional fight, and they'd gotten away after laming the dreadnought with a ram by the habitat vessel Tikvah. But this…

"We can't stay here," he said. "Evasive maneuvers!"

Locarno did what he could, and what he could do was very fancy flying with a kilometer-long starship. But they weren't a light ship that could shift and dodge incoming fire with the ease of an attack ship.

Missiles erupted from the enemy cruiser, joined by disruptor fire. Their interceptors met the incoming missiles and shot them all down. The disruptor shots played over their shields without effect. "Shields at fifty-six percent," Jarod said.

And then the dreadnought fired.

Its three spinal-mount super-disruptors were right on target. Their emerald beams lanced right into Aurora's shields. The ship shook violently from the resulting strain on her defensive systems. Communications exploded in sparks. The Alakin lieutenant manning the station, Jupap, fell back from the station with the skin around his hand digits smoldering.

"Shields down to thirty percent!"

At the Engineering station, Lucy Lucero looked up. "We've lost one of the primary shield generators, diverting power to secondaries! Port shields have lost cohesion!"

The ship kept rocking as disruptor fire poured into the weakened port shields, scouring hull and tearing into the armor of the Aurora. "Multiple hull breaches," Jarod warned. "Armor self-repair systems are working to cover the damage."

"Bring the bow to bear!", Robert shouted.

Locarno did so, enabling another shot from the enemy dreadnought to miss. Behind them the Bolivar moved up. Its design was arrow-like, long with sharp, sleek aesthetics. Phaser fire erupted from the cannons in the ship's prow. It was moving in fast with its gravitic drive lit up an intense blue.

Aurora's fire joined the Bolivar's. Angel let the Reich dreadnought have it with a full barrage from the bow pulse plasma cannons, the bow-facing phasers, and the torpedo launchers. Bolivar's own armaments continued to lay into the Reich ship.

But unlike the cruiser, the dreadnought's shields didn't fail from the barrage. "Enemy shields still at ninety-two percent effectiveness," Jarod said.

"Sweet Mother of God, how much punishment can those things take?!", Angel shouted, even as she poured more fire into the enemy dreadnought.

The Aryan-class dreadnought opened up again. This time, her target was the Bolivar. Bolivar jinked to avoid the super-disruptor shots and evaded two; the beam that made impact slammed into the ship's shields and destabilized them.

Unfortunately, this provided ample opportunity for the enemy Z-2500 starships to slip in. Intense bursts of white energy came from their blow emplacements. "Disruptor torpedoes!", Jarod shouted.

Aurora's interceptors fired, seeking to intersect the incoming torpedoes with particle bursts that would detonate them. But the energy fields propelling the projectiles - and providing them shield-disrupting power - kept most from being destroyed.

Again Aurora shook hard. The first two torpedoes slammed against her bow shields and caused them to flicker and degrade. A third slammed into the ventral hull of the primary section. The ship's shaking was so intense that the crew were being bruised by their harnesses. A cry of pain caused Robert to turn and see where sparks were still flying from tactical. "Angel!", he called out.

Angel looked up. Her hands moved gingerly back to their station as emergency systems restored the control panel; she'd suffered an electrical burn to her hands. "I'm fine," she lied. "Dammit, we've lost two of the bow pulse plasma cannons."

"Bow shields have lost cohesion!"

But what had happened to them didn't compare to Bolivar. Her shields failed completely on the first torpedo strike; four more of the torpedoes slammed into her one by one. Flame and energy erupted from the crushed prow of the cruiser and her gravitic drive started to die down.

The Nazi dreadnought fired again. And she didn't miss. All three super-disruptor beams bored into the Bolivar.

The FedStar cruiser blew apart in a white fireball.

More shots were striking Aurora's hull even as this occurred. "Bow shields aren't stopping anything!", Lucy shouted.

"We've got damage on all decks in the bow area sections!", Jarod added. "Hull breaches in Decks 3 through 10 and 12 through 15!"

"Come about! Get us distance!", Robert shouted. Locarno swung the Aurora away from the monster dreadnought, turning to port to present the starboard shields.

Just in time; the dreadnought fired again. Aurora shook hard. "Shield systems down to twenty-five percent," Jarod warned.

"Incoming disruptor torpedoes!" The Z-2500s again.

Despite the injuries to her hands Angel was able to use her phaser cannons to blast all but two of the torpedoes away before they slammed into Aurora's shields and exploded. Because the shields were still strong on that side the torpedoes didn't collapse them and the fire that poured into the starboard shield was resisted. For the moment.

"Captain Dale, you must withdraw!" The voice over the tactical comm line was Dukap's, identifiable by the chirping nature of Alakin speech translated into Human vocabulary. "Wakipa can cover the last convoy until its escape."

"Captain Dukap, your ship's shields are out, you won't last!"

"No. But our people must get to safety. And the fleet cannot afford to lose the Aurora as well. Withdraw, now!"

Robert clenched his teeth. Like most captains in the Alliance service, Dukap had seniority in rank and in rate. Most officers would consider his orders binding.

But it rankled. The idea of leaving someone behind.

The ship shuddered violently again. This time it was secondary tactical that exploded in sparks. "That dreadnought still has a bead on us," Jarod pointed out. "Our shields are collapsing!"

"The entire shield system is failing!", Lucy added.

Robert knew he had no choice. "Recall all surviving fighters! Now! Locarno, full impulse, break off from the fight! Jarod, have the transporters beam as many of our escape pods in as they can while we pass by."

Aurora broke away from the engagement. Her Mongoose fighters followed, coming in for a landing as she moved away from the planet. Around them intact escape pods, from ejected fighter pilots, began to disappear in columns of white light.

"The dreadnought's turning toward the planet. Enemy cruiser…" They shook again from another hit. One of the auxiliary stations sparked. "...is trailing. Two of the Z-2500s are pursuing us and trying to lock torpedoes again."

"Fire aft weapons, make them break off."

At Angel's command the rear-facing pulse plasma cannons fired. The two emplacements sent repeated bursts of sapphire energy that the nimble dagger-shaped warships jinked to avoid. A spread of torpedoes found one and battered its shields down enough that the last two torpedoes hit bare hull, leaving the ship a flaming wreck.

Behind them, the Reich cruiser engaged the Wakipa. The stricken Alakin warbird poured fire from her particle cannons into the fresh enemy. It was to no avail beyond keeping their attention as the final group of civilian ships broke from lower orbit and approached a safe position to warp out.

The dreadnought's disruptors lashed out. The spinal super-disruptors struck home on one of the solid-hulled civilian transports. The civilian ship literally disintegrated under the attack until it disappeared in a white ball of energy. Several of the other ships took hits and began spewing flames and atmosphere, their safety systems overtaxed by the assault.

Another barrage would have destroyed most of the remaining ships. But Captain Dukap maneuvered his ship to intercept that fire. Instead the fury of the Aryan-class ship vented against the armored hull of the Wakipa. Flames and debris spewed forth from the wounds that resulted in the warbird. But the Alakin ship defiantly retorted with torpedoes and particle cannon fire that battered the shields on the cruiser.

The Reich warships began a maneuver to get around the dying Wakipa and get at the civilians she was protecting. But they were too late. Robert felt a surge of elation at seeing the Wakipa's surviving charges start going to warp, one after the other. In the span of about five seconds, they were out of the system.

Wakipa turned toward her foes. But that was all she would do. Several beams and bursts of emerald disruptor fire tore into the warbird. The super-disruptors of the dreadnought ripped her guts out and sliced her wings off. A missile found her engineering spaces a moment later.

All Robert and his friends could do was watch as Captain Dukap and his crew of four hundred plus Alakin died in a white fireball of matter-antimatter annihilation.

Nobody immediately noted that the Reich destroyer pursuing them had decided not to risk the fate of her sister ship and had turned away. "Laurent's last flight is coming in," Julia said, if just to end the stunned silence on the bridge.

"Set course for Harris Station, Mister Locarno," Robert said quietly.

"The Reich ships are taking up orbits over the Alakin colony sites," Jarod reported. "They're firing."

Robert forced himself to watch the result. Emerald beams and bursts of energy slicing into the surface of the healthy garden world that the Alakin had settled just eight months before. Entire towns and cities being blasted into ruins in a matter of seconds.

Just as they had in his dreams for months.

"How… how many?", Robert asked. "How many didn't make it out?"

Jarod checked his numbers. Probably just for show, Robert figured; he would know the numbers in his head already. "There were still sixty-two thousand five hundred and sixty-four civilians on the planet and two thousand Alakin on that transport that was destroyed. Counting the nine thousand we beamed up, that leaves roughly forty thousand survivors from Trenik."

"Oh God…." Robert felt like throwing up.

Caterina looked at them with tear-filled eyes. "There are no more life signs coming from the planet's surface," she said. "They're… they're all dead."

"Flight deck reports all fighters have landed," Julia said, trying not to think about Caterina's report. "Commander Laurent is still counting casualties to the flight group."

Robert buried his face in his palms. "Get us back to Harris," he ordered, speaking through his trembling hands. "Maximum warp."

Locarno obeyed immediately. Aurora jumped to warp, leaving behind her victorious enemies and the thousands they had failed to save.


Undiscovered Frontier
"The Art of Diplomacy"




Ship's Log: ASV Aurora; 23 July 2641. Captain Robert Dale recording. We're still ten minutes out from Harris Station. Repairs to the ship have proceeded as fast as Mister Scott and his engineers can manage. The hull breaches caused ten casualties, six fatalities. We were able to recover all of our ejected flight crews, but we still lost eight pilots. This means I've lost roughly ninety-seven crew since the war started, another four hundred and eighty wounded. And as for the war…..

We're losing.

Since Krellan Nebula the Reich's warfleets and armies have been relentless. Every colony within thirty light years of the Nebula has been abandoned or destroyed. With human colonies the Reich lands troops and seizes them; if they're non-Human, they're bombed from orbit. Thousands of innocent Alakin, Dorei, and other species have died in just the past few weeks.

And it's all my fault.

I started this war at 33LA. I know I did. Everyone tries to tell me this was inevitable. But we would have had more time if only I had held back at 33LA. If only I'd canceled the operation the moment we had the security breaches that Changeling caused.

All of this blood is on my hands too. And I'm not sure how well I can live with myself any more.



Robert looked up from his computer monitor at the tone at his ready room door. He hit a key on the hard-light keyboard to file the log. "Come in," he said.

The door slid open and Julia stepped in. She was holding a digital pad in her hand. Robert accepted it and moved his hand over the hard-light interface to check the data. "Looks like we won't be spending any major time in the drydock," he said. "This time."

Julia nodded. "Yeah. And Leo wants you to know that Angel's burns weren't severe. She's getting dermal regeneration done now. She should be cleared for bridge duty tomorrow."

"Good." Robert hput a stencil to the pad interface and signed his name in holographic light. A final stenzil press to the surface filed away the official damage report. "How's the crew holding up?"

Julia slid into the seat across his desk. "Morale could be better," she admitted. "People miss their friends that have gone down in the fight."

"Yeah."

"Everyone's wondering about these reports that the Ninth Fleet beat them back at Grenaris," Julia continued. "If we managed to pull out a win here, maybe we can hold them back before they get to Harris."

"They'd already be to Harris if not for the Phosako," Robert observed. "Their attack on the Reich's fleet bases after Krellan Nebula is the only reason the Reich's blitz hasn't gotten that far yet."

"Probably," Julia agreed. "So that's a win for us, I guess. We're the ones who made first contact with the Phosako and made sure they would see us as natural allies."

"Not quite natural, if you remember what Commander Kelsuulo was telling us ," Robert pointed out.

Julia remained silent for a minute. "The crew needs you to be a leader right now," she reminded him for the upteenth time. "They don't need to see you wallow about in self-pity and guilt."

"My decision caused this war," Robert pointed out. "If we'd only had more time…"

"It wouldn't have mattered if the Reich had found that Darglan data facility," she said. "Then they'd have eventually found the Facility Cat's talking about. And we wouldn't even know it existed yet."

Robert went quiet at that. "You think we were the only ones who could have done that mission?' he asked.

"I think that if you had delayed, there was a good chance the Reich would have realized something was up and would have intensified patrols there, those patrols might have found it. Probably would have eventually." Julia leaned forward in the seat and reached across the desk, settling her hand on his. "I think, Robert, that we had already tipped our hand. You had to act then and there before the Nazis could respond."

"So you would have made the same call I did?"

"About that? Yes." She shook her head. "I would have told Zack about Draynal, though."

"Yeah." Robert sighed. His decision to not speak on the suspicion he and Meridina had felt, without evidence granted, that Lieutenant Draynal was not whom he had seemed had been why Zack had not paid any mind to his "last-minute" (and forged) transfer to Koenig for the 33LA mission… which had allowed the Changeling to sabotage the ship and cause the battle with the Nazis at 33LA. A call that he regretted bitterly, as it had contributed to Zack Carrey's alienation from the others and ultimately his desire to depart Aurora and get a different assignment for his ship, the Koenig. "I miss Zack," Robert admitted. "If he were here, he'd probably put an arm around my neck and try to talk me into a baseball practice or something."

"He'd know what to say, that's for sure," Julia agreed. She tried not to think about how Zack might feel over the situation between them, though. Sometimes she still had trouble accepting his confession of romantic love for her. "Anyway, I should get back out there. We're coming up on Harris Station by now, I'm sure."

"Probably" Robert agreed. "Maybe we'll have some good news…."

"Jarod to Dale," came the voice of the ship's operations officer. Jarod was presumably manning the bridge while Julia was in here. "We're arriving at Harris. You… should come and see this."

Robert and Julia exchanged worried looks and went to the exit. They arrived on the bridge, where Jarod stood up from the command chair. His eyes were still fixed on the holoviewer. They turned and faced it.

Harris Station was still burning.

It wasn't destroyed. They could verify that in the first several seconds. The core of the station was completely intact, as were many of the arms reaching out from the center to provide docking ports. But several of those arms were wrecks of metal and debris. Half of the drydock facilities were visibly destroyed.

Even worse was the number of ships that had been laid to waste. A Dorei starbird to their left looked completely dead. Several other ships were in various stages of disrepair.

And in one of the drydock berths, the dreadnought Achilles had been reduced to a burning, twisted wreck.

"What the hell…?!", Julia gasped.

Robert took his seat while surveying the destruction. "Jarod, signal Admiral Relini. Tell her that we're ready to dispatch rescue teams to assist."

"Sending the signal now."

"Looks like we've got some friends here," Locarno observed. Robert looked toward the distance and noticed what he meant.

Hovering near Harris Station was a fairly-sized flotilla of starships. He'd seen them before: Phosako vessels.

"Hell of a way to greet our allies," Locarno muttered.

"It doesn't exactly make us look good," Robert agreed.

"I'm reading debris from Reich attack ships," Jarod noted.. "It looks like this was some sort of mass raid. I guess our side got some before they could retreat."

"Yeah." Robert shook his head. They kept losing ground, day by day, and now this? Harris Station was the main fleet base in S4W8. And the Nazis had just given it a hard drubbing.

"Admiral Relini is responding," Jarod said.

The Dorei woman appeared on their holoviewer. She was blue-skinned and teal-spotted, with long purple hair bound up in a series of bunns at the back of her head. Piercing blue eyes looked at Robert and his crew, and they were fraught with tension and maybe nervousness. "Captain Dale." She didn't look pleased, or even relieved. "I haven't had a chance to read over your report from Trenik."

"Bolivar and Wakipa were destroyed," Robert answered. "We got most of the evac ships out before the main Nazi squadron arrived." He swallowed. "They had a dreadnought."

Relini nodded. "I see. God help them all." She looked distant for a moment. "As you can see, we are not in any condition to give you proper repairs."

"According to my operations officer our self-repair systems can handle the damage."

"That is good. I'll have Station Control relay a station-keeping position for you. You'll be wanted over on the station in a few hours, I imagine, so you may want rest."

Robert thought that curious. In general Relini and Admiral Rutsinov had not wanted him to be around for strategy meetings of any kind, not that he had particularly minded. "Admiral, I've never attended anything before…"

"And you won't be now," she answered. "[ii]But I have been informed they'll want to see you.[/i]"

"Who?"

"President Morgan and Admiral Maran," she replied. "They're due to arrive in a few hours to meet with the leaders of the Phosako for a war summit.

Suddenly the Reich raid on Harris made more sense. "Then this raid…"

"Undoubtedly an attempt to forestall the meeting, or a mis-timed effort to exploit it for an attack. Either way, it will progress as planned, and the President has relayed to me that he will have a personal meeting with you to discuss a report from your science officer."

Robert's eyes widened. "Oh. Oh yes, that one. I'll be ready for their arrival and when they call for me, Admiral."

"See that you are, Captain. Relini out."

"Morgan must have seen our report about the new Facility," Julia said. "Think this is a plan to do something about it?'

"I don't know," Robert answered. "We'll see."

"You look like hell," Julia pointed out to him. "You should go and get some sleep."

"Don't need it." "Didn't want it" was the more truthful reply, but he didn't say that. What good was sleep when his mind was constantly wracked by nightmares?

Julia gave him a stern look. "No sleep means poor judgement, Robert. Get some. We need you rested."

Ah. It was that look. Robert sighed and nodded. "Alright. I'll go get some shuteye. Call me if anything happens."

"You'll be the first to know," Julia lied. And he knew full well she wouldn't call him for anything short of a Nazi attack.




After being released from the bridge Caterina had rushed back to Lab 1 to check on the decryption of the Darglan data from the 33LA facility. It had become her main past-time since the war began; they needed to find that alternate Facility before the Nazis got any indications of it. And since its acquisition is what helped lead to the war anyway…. it felt like a way to justify all of the death that Cat had seen over the past three weeks.
'
There were a few more universe designations from the data. Some technical schematics. A late entry to the Omega Threats list, even. But nothing more on the coordinates of the S4W8 Facility. If only we knew where it was, exactly. We could find a way to get to it without alerting the Nazis…

The door swished open and admitted Angel. Her hands were still bandaged to protect the dermal regeneration that had healed her burns. "It's getting late, sis," she said to Cat. "You should get to sleep."

"Don't wanna sleep," Cat said. "Too busy trying to find that Facility."

"You've been running that program for weeks. And you admitted it'd take months to reconstruct everything." Angel went up and hugged her little sister from behind. "It'll still be here tomorrow."

"But don't you see. This… this is why so many people are dying now." Cat shook her head as tears came to her eyes. She thought of all those innocent Alakin on Trenik. "It'll mean nothing if we can't find it. We have to before they do."

"And we will. But not if you're too sleepy to do your job right," Angel pointed out.

Cat couldn't argue that. "Give me a few minutes," she said. "And I'll go to bed. I promise."

Angel nodded. "Still having bad dreams, Cat?"

"I'm not always having nightmares, Angel," Caterina protested. "And sometimes they're a bit of both and weird. I keep having these dreams of being chased through the ship by a big rock monster carrying a club."

Angel smirked at that. "Really?'

"Yeah and there's this really tall English guy running alongside me, wearing this really cool purple jacket and tie. " She shrugged. "But I can never remember much else when I dream of that."

"Dreams are like that sometimes." She felt relieved her sister was having something other than nightmares about the beating she received on the Battlestar Pegasus. Angel looked over one of the consoles and tapped a few keys. "Another Omega-level threat, huh?"

"Yeah. Must have been an extra one that our old Facility wasn't updated with."

Angel brought up an image. It was a small object that soon expanded into a humanoid form. "....what is that?"

"I'm not sure. It looks like some kind of gem-based life-form that form their own bodies, presumably made of hard-light or bio-replicated mass," Caterina answered. "I'm not even sure how such a species could evolve naturally. It might be artificially constructed."

"Somehow they don't sound more dangerous than Daleks…" Angel tapped a key and the humanoid figure was shrunk to stand beside a planet that became gradually hollowed out. "....unless that's what they do to planets. Okay, yeah, they're as bad as Daleks, I guess."

"A lot of those Omega level threats are really scary," Caterina observed. "But I guess you don't need to be one to do horrible things."

"Yeah."

"How many colonies have we lost?", Cat said. "how many people have died already? And we're just a couple weeks into this war. What if… what if we can't stop them? They've got so many ships…"

"We'll stop them, Cat," Angel insisted. "Remember, they can't hit our shipyards. We'll just keep building ships and sending them through."

"Unless they manage to get enough debris to recover our IU drives," Cat pointed out. "Or if they get their hands on that Facility. Then they can attack us everywhere."

"That's not going to happen," Angel insisted. "Now, finish up what you're doing and go to bed. Okay?"

Cat sighed. "Okay."




Robert was grateful. He had been so exhausted he had slept without a nightmare.

Which was a good thing given the sight he woke up to.

The remains of Ninth Fleet.

He stood on the bridge and watched the wounded dreadnought Churchill limp into one of the few surviving drydocks she could be taken in by. The ship, from the British Stellar Commonwealth of Universe C5O2, had clearly been put through the wringer and she was evidently one of the luckier ones.

"Sixty-four ships," Locarno sighed from the helm. "Out of how many?"

"One hundred and eighty," Jarod said somberly.

"At this rate we're going to run out of ships faster than we run out of colonies," Angel muttered.

"At least the Park survived again," Julia noted, seeing the small Darglan-model utility ship take up a small dock near the core of the station. "Ibraham's been doing great keeping her alive."

Robert allowed himself a slight grin. Despite everything, the fact they hadn't lost everyone they knew at Krellan Nebula to the Nazi attack had been a bit of a silver lining in this terrible dark cloud that had settled over their lives as of late. "Hopefully the Ninth Fleet gave the Nazis a bloody-enough nose that they'll have to back off for a while," he mused.

"Interuniversal jump point forming," Jarod said. "I'm getting massive power signatures coming through. One of them… it's the Kentan."

And it was clear why. The Kentan was a massive vessel, single-hulled, with warp pod nacelles on either side and slightly angled upward by thick armored pylons. Launch decks on the top and bottom of the ship allowed for the massive Gersallian flagship to disgorge hundreds of starfighters; along the sides of the ship were massively coil gun emplacements joined by legions of retro-fitted phaser strips.

"The flagship of the Gersallian fleet," Julia murmured. "A dreadnought-carrier. Who would have thought of something like that?"

"The Gersallians," Robert answered drolly.

It wasn't alone. Beside it was a very large Dorei starbird, nearly the length of Aurora but much wider and with far more weapons on her. "That's the Dormari," Jarod observed.

"Flagship of the Dorei Federation," Robert murmured. "Named for the founder of the Federation and its first President."

Behind these ships a third one came out. It was the closest to the design of the Aurora, with a clear distinction between the primary and drive hulls but no neck or slant like Federation or Nazi ships. "The Cincinnatus." Robert shook his head and smiled. "Flagship of the Earth Confederacy. I always wondered if we'd see her."

"It looks like someone's pulling out all of the stops." Julia marveled at the colossal ships now approaching Harris.

The large dreadnought joined the other flagships in taking up station near the station. The flagship of the Earth Confederacy of H1E1, its purpose here was fairly clear by the extra ID signal being given off. It had a special designation today: "PTN".

Presidential Transport - Naval.

"Looks like the President is here," Robert said, standing up. "I'd better go get ready. Julia, you have the bridge."




It was four hours before Robert was escorted into the Admiral's Office of the station. He found Morgan and Maran standing with Admiral Relini and… yes…. Admiral Davies. Robert showed no reaction to the hard look he got from the latter. "Captain Dale." Morgan gestured to a seat and sat down himself at the head of the kidney-shaped table. Robert was seated in the inward curve of the table, the President and the others on the opposite side. "First off, I would like to extend my gratitude for you for the fine work you did in the unsettled areas of N2S7. Princess Syrina and Director Anjila have informed me of their gratitude for your peaceful contact with the Colonies."

"And yet you have made an enemy of that machine civilization with a direct assault on their positions," Davies pointed out. This won him cold looks from the rest of the room. "You seem to be making our Alliance a lot of enemies lately, Captain Dale."

Morgan's look made it clear that he didn't appreciate Davies' remarks. Again Robert got a bad feeling about the tension in the room. It reminded him of when the Defense Committee had basically exonerated him over 33LA. He'd been given a reprimand, yes, but compared to the clear inclination of Davies and Defense Minister Hawthorne to remove him and the others from the Aurora, it had barely counted as a slap on the wrist. And Davies had not been happy.

"Additionally, your rescue of the people from Tikvah has been a morale boost," Morgan continued. "I'm informed that Arik Shaham and his people are already providing useful political intelligence on the Third Reich and further contacts with other Remnant bands that are proving vital intelligence as well."

"Thank you, Mister President," Robert answered.

"I'm sure you have questions about your new orders," Morgan said.

"I imagined we would be kept with Ninth Fleet," Robert answered. "Or at least under Admiral Relini's command. Aurora might not be a match for a dreadnought, but we can fight pretty much every other Reich warship we've seen so far. And we're able to evacuate thousands of colonists more than most ships our size."

"All true," Maran conceded. "but that's not where we need you."

"Oh?"

"Effectively immediately, Captain Dale, you are being re-assigned," Morgan said. "We're pulling you and your crew off of the front."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-04-23 09:08am

Robert sat silently for a moment as he digested that news. He was disgusted to feel some relief upon hearing it. To be away from the soul-grinding mixture of battle terror and foreboding between desperate combats. To not have to worry about whether he was about to warp into a Nazi trap, or have their attack ships de-cloak and fire their shield-disrupting torpedoes at him. They'd be out of the war.

And leaving hundreds, thousands, of other crews to suffer that in their stead.

"Is there an issue with my performance?", Robert asked.

It was clear that Davies would have answered "Yes", but Morgan shook his head. It was Maran who spoke. "No, Captain. You have performed as well as could be expected given the situation."

"Then…"

"Captain, you were never meant to simply be used for field duty in the Stellar Navy," Morgan said. "Your ship was intended to perform missions my office deems vital. Right now, we need you elsewhere, not here on the front."

Robert considered that. He still didn't like it, but he could at least understand it and see it wasn't meant to be a punishment. "I understand, Mister President." He looked at Maran. "My new orders, then?"

"I'm transferring one of the Alliance's best diplomats to Aurora," Morgan explained. "You'll be supporting him in a crucial series of negotiations."

Robert nodded and swallowed. "So… I'm going to be working with diplomats then," He asked.

"Yes," Morgan said. "It's a vital mission, Captain. The outcome of this war depends on these talks."

Robert realized what he meant. "This is to gain allies, then?"

"It is." Morgan looked at his admirals, who nodded. "I'm not going to lie to you, Captain. It looks bad. We'd only just begun to ramp up fleet production, and if I push the members of the Alliance too far…. we might have some of them withdraw."

"Not everybody thinks we should be fighting this war," Davies pointed out.

"I understand the political situation might be… problematic, sir," Robert agreed. "So you can't mobilize fully for this war."

"Not yet," Morgan said. "Because as things stand, some member states of the Alliance are arguing for us to withdraw from S4W8 instead of waging a major interstellar war to stay."

"But that won't work. If the Reich finds the Darglan facility here…."

"I know, Captain, I know," Morgan answered. He barely glanced toward Davies, who kept a hard look on his face. "But not everyone believes that is worth the price of a war. They don't think the risk is too great. So I have to be careful about how much I push the other states. And that means we need allies."

Robert nodded. "And you want me to help win them over to our side."

"Yes. You'll be supporting our negotiator."

"Where do I pick him up?", Robet asked.

"He's already here." Morgan hit a key. "Send him in."

The door to the side entrance opened. Robert turned in time to see the figure walk in, wearing a purple robe with blue trim over a white vest and trousers. He realized he recognized the figure. "Mastrash Ledosh." He nodded and grinned. "It's good to see you again, sir."

"A sentiment I agree with, Captain Dale." Ledosh nodded. He looked to the President. "It will be my honor, President Morgan, to work beside Captain Dale on your behalf and that of the Alliance."

Robert glanced over in time to see Davies' look turn into an open scowl of hostility. He clearly thought very little of this appointment.

Robert, however, thought far better. This was Meridina's mentor. One of the leaders of her Order of Life Force Knights, trained in the same powers as she was, and a capable diplomat who had joined the Gersallian negotiators that helped write the Alliance charter and constitution. He was, arguably, one of the key figures in the foundation of the Alliance. "I'm looking forward to working with you again, Mastrash," Robert said. "So, where are we going?"

"We're still pursuing diplomatic endeavors on multiple fronts," Morgan explained. "But for now, we have a crucial summit for you to join."

"Where?"

"Sol System. Universe S5T3."

Robert blinked. "You're looking to negotiate with… but they'll never…"

"Yes," was the answer. "And we will be negotiating with the purpose of winning the support of the Federation and Klingon Empire." Ledosh had some optimism in his voice. "The Light be willing, we may even win their full alliance and their entry into the war with the Third Reich."

Robert sat in stunned silence. "You… really think we could get the Federation to join the war? That doesn't sound like them. They follow their Prime Directive pretty closely."

"I have studied their history," Ledosh noted. "So I am familiar with their General Order #1 and how it was shaped by events like the issue of the Valakians and Menk. I agree that the Federation is very stringent in its application of the Prime Directive. However, it is my hope to show them that, their penchant for non-intervention aside, the potential of the Third Reich to gain interuniversal technology makes their participation vital."

Robert put it all together. "And since we're the ones who've determined that there's a Facility near their space, we're perfect for demonstrating those facts." Another realization came. "But, for the Federation and Klingons to join the war…"

"....they would need IU drives, yes," Morgan said. "The Council is willing to accept that as a term."

"You're… you're talking about…"

"....giving away our monopoly on the technology, yes," Davies answered. "Unfortunately, Captain Dale, we have a war to win now. Prices must be paid. By all of us."

Robert processed that. He realized this was not the only group of governments that the offer may be given to. It had been presumed that the Alliance would only share IU tech in very special circumstances. Now… they'd be giving it to other powers in exchange for support in the war. Powers that could potentially be at odds with them one day.

No wonder Davies was so upset with him.

"I will transfer to your ship shortly," Ledosh said. "I hope to depart for the Federation capital by the end of the day."

"Yes," Robert said. "Of course." He looked to Morgan. "Is there anything else, sir?"

"Nothing, Captain Dale," Morgan said. "You're dismissed. Good luck and Godspeed."

Robert nodded and left with Ledosh. Once they were out of the door Ledosh bowed his head. "Allow me to get my things."

"Of course," Robert answered.




Julia had left Jarod in control of the bridge while she went to her office to look over the repair paperwork. As always, Scotty had filed his in record time, and Leo had filed the medical reports on their casualties. Five of the wounded had debilitating injuries that would end their service. Julia felt a twist in her gut at the names; three of them were denizens of New Liberty.

She knew she was supposed to feel equally bad for all crew members, but there was an extra hurt for those from New Liberty. They were, after all, "her people". She had personally helped in the rescue of so many of them over the years. To know that they had lost some of those people, whether to death or debilitating injury, meant more strangers on the Aurora. "The day's going to come," she murmured to herself, thinking of what it would be like when there were no New Liberty-ers left on the crew.

"IU radio transmission for you, Commander," Jarod said over the intercom. "It's Commander Carrey."

Julia felt some pleasure at that. "Relay it to my office." She looked at her screen and grinned wearily when Zack's smiling face appeared on the screen. "Hey Zack. How are you doing?'

"We're hanging in there," he answered. "Tom's stopped flinching whenever he sees a Marine from Galactica now."

"That's good to hear," she said "No Cylons, I hope?"

"No, the toasters are keeping their distance. We gave them a good bloody nose at Caprica. I think they might just back off until we get to safety, but they're evil religious robots, so who knows what they're thinking?" Zack chuckled and shook his head. "Nah, nothing wrong out here, it's you guys I'm worried about. I've heard about what happened."

"Oh, yeah," she answered. "Yeah, it's been rough."

"I hear from Admiral Maran that our support convoy might be delayed another week," he said. "And there won't be a permanent escort beyond Koenig."

"Given how many ships we're losing, I'm afraid it's not avoidable," Julia answered sadly. "Zack… it's a good thing you're out there. It's been horrible here. The Nazis have killed hundreds of thousands of alien colonists so far."

"Dammit," he answered. A bust of static went through the line. "And it looks like Tom's adjustment to our comm systems is going a bit wacky. We really could use Aurora for long range comms, I'm afraid our array has issues maintaining real-time connections.."

"I know. But duty is duty. And speaking of that, Robert should be back from meeting the President soon."

"Well, hopefully you all have a safer mission coming," Zack answered. "It's selfish of me to admit it, but I'd sleep better knowing you were off the front. Tell Rob I said hello, right? And give him a big hug. I'm sure he's beating himself up over this."

"I had to pull the whip away to stop him from self-flagellating," Julia answered. "Verbally, anyway."

"Yeah. And mind giving Cat a hug too? From me and Tom. Oh, and Starbuck wanted me to tell Cat 'hello' for her too."

"I'll pass that along," Julia said, allowing herself to smile widely for the first time in a couple of weeks. "I hope you make it safely to Alliance space soon, Zack."

"So do we. I'll pass on word to Roslin and Adama about the convoy delays. They'll understand."

"Thankfully."

"Alright. I've got a meeting with Adama coming up soon, I've got to vamoose. I'll call again when I can. Carrey out." Zack's face disappeared, replaced by the torch insignia of the Allied Systems.

It's good to see him smiling again, Julia thought. She started to get back to work. At least until Robert called for her to come to the command staff's conference room.




"So that's it?", Jarod asked, the staff now meeting in the conference room. "We're off the front?:

Robert nodded. "We're doing diplomatic detail now."

"Why do I get the feeling Davies is behind this?", Angel muttered bitterly.

"I get the feeling he'd still rather have us cashiered and the Aurora turned over to a 'proper' crew," Robert answered. "No, this is President Morgan."

"I am rather pleased to hear it is Mastrash Ledosh who will handle the diplomacy," Meridina noted. "He is an excellent choice."

"Yeah." Robert nodded.

"I'm just glad to be getting out of the war," Leo admitted. "I'm tired of having to put people back together." The look on his face belied the half-lie he'd just told; his real reason evidently had more to do with when he could put people back together, not the act of doing it.

"That's why it's so important that this mission succeed," Robert said. "The Alliance needs help. Any kind of help. Getting the Federation and Klingons to give us at least material support would go a long way toward that."

"So we're basically the British asking for Lend-Lease, right?", Cat inquired.

"That could be how it goes," Robert said. "But we'll take what we can."

"Well, good to know they still have some confidence in us," Julia observed. "Is there anything else?"

"Nothing at the moment."

"We still don't have a replacement for Koenig?", Jarod asked.

"Apparently not," Robert answered. "We need every ship we can get at the front, so it makes sense we don't get a replacement when leaving the front. He checked the time. "Mastrash Ledosh should be ready now. Time to head out to the bridge."




Ledosh arrived on the bridge within a minute of everyone getting back into places. "I am ready to depart, Captain," he said. "If you lock your jump drive on to the vessel Pillar of Light, it will bring you to the Sol System of S5T3."

"This mission's been in planning for a while then, if they're already at the Federation's Earth," Robert said. The Alliance did have an embassy on Earth, but for obvious reasons it did not maintain anything that a jump drive could lock onto. No tethering probes, no vessels on station with jump drives capable of being locked onto. A concession, and an honest one, to Federation security.

"Yes," Ledosh said. "But it has taken time to get the meeting set up. They will be ready shortly."

"Alright then. Jarod, go ahead and set us to Universe S5T3. Get Pillar of Light's drive code out of the database and lock on."

"Doing so now," he answered. After several seconds he hit a key and nodded. "Lock confirmed. Ready to generate jump point."

"Jump."

The Aurora generated a jump point that tore through the very fabric of reality between universes. The ship accelerated through and decelerated as it exited.

They didn't arrive in orbit of Earth but rather Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn. A boxy brown vessel was ahead of them. Its warp nacelles, angled downward, had a gold coloring to them, and the brown and yellow coloring was distinctly Gersallian starship design aesthetic, particularly the blue highlights. It contrasted pleasurably with the saucer-and-drive hull distinction of the Federation starship, an Ambassador-class if Robert remembered correctly, that was beside it. A Klingon attack cruiser was nearby in a different orbital plane. A single hulled ship with the nacelles stretching outward and downward from the rear, it looked distinctly predatory; befitting the Klingons, certainly.

"So, we're not having these talks planetside?", Robert asked.

Ledosh shook his head. "Due to the… sensitive nature of some of the subjects in question, Captain, we will be hosting them on this ship, and away from normal travel lanes in the solar system. I believe you have the appropriate facilities?"

Robert nodded. "We do. And Hargert is an excellent choice for catering."

"Then it is settled. I will return to my quarters and inform the delegates that we will be ready in three standard hours. I hope that is sufficient time to prepare the proper facilities, I would very much like to get talks commenced before the day is out."

Robert looked to Julia, who nodded. "I'll get everything set up in Conference Room 1," she said before departing the bridge.

"Then I shall go make the necessary notifications and meditate for the time being," Ledosh said. "I will request you alert me to the arrival of the delegates, Captain."

"Of course," Robert replied. "Do we know who the delegates will be, yet?"

Ledosh nodded. "The Klingon delegation is being led by a member of the High Council. Councilor Kurn. As for the Federation delegation, Councillors T'Latrek and Bera chim Gleer will be leading their delegation with the assistance of Exterior Vice-Secretary Tanno. I was also informed that Starfleet has appointed an advisor to the Federation team as well, who will be coming with his staff."

"Oh?" Robert was curious at that. "Who?"




Two hours later, Robert was patiently waiting at Transporter Station 3. "The Federation vessel Excalibur has transmitted that it is ready to send over its first delegate," the Gersallian woman at the station told him.

"Beam him over," Robert answered.

A column of white light appeared on the pad and coalesced into a familiar human figure. "Permission to come aboard, Captain?", the man asked in that proper English accent of his.

"Permission granted," Robert said, allowing himself a small grin. "It's my pleasure to finally have you aboard the Aurora, Captain Picard."

Captain Jean-Luc Picard nodded and grinned in return. "And my pleasure to finally get to see this magnificent starship." He stepped down from the pad and looked back to it. "The transporter system feels a little different than what I'm used to."

"The Darglan transporters don't use the matter-energy conversion process yours do," Robert replied. "It's something about subspace tunnelling of matter. You'd have to ask one of the engineers for specifics."

"Perhaps I shall," Picard replied. He offered his hand and Robert took it. "I have a great many questions about this ship."

Robert nodded. "And I can give you that tour, finally. If we have time." Robert grew somber. "I heard about the Enterprise. My condolences."

"Thank you." Picard nodded solemnly. "But there are plenty more letters in the alphabet. Before long I suspect another Enterprise will be announced."

"And hopefully you'll be in command," Robert said.

"Hopefully so, yes." Picard's expression turned not sour, but rather reserved. "Captain to Captain, Robert…." The switch to his first time meant they were switching to the informal as they stepped out into the corridor of the Aurora. Robert was leading him on to the Conference Room. "I thought it best to give you some forewarning."

"Of?"

"I'm aware of what your Alliance is seeking from these talks. You need to know, now, that the Federation cannot give you the assistance you will be requesting."

Robert didn't frown. He'd expected they couldn't do everything that Morgan and Ledosh were hoping for. But he had been hoping for something, at least. "I'm not expecting the Federation to go to war on our behalf, Jean-Luc," he said. "Not even against literal Nazis."

"It's not simply an inability to wage war, Robert," Picard answered. "With the lingering threat of the Romulans and the new Dominion threat from the Gamma Quadrant, the Federation cannot afford to get mired into another conflict. Not even with just material aid."

Robert remained silent at first. Finding the door to the Conference Room he entered. Tables and chairs had been set up for the three negotiating powers, with name plates already arranged. He was to be seated with Ledosh, as was Julia; the others of his crew were obviously meant to sit nearby as potential witnesses. In the area between the tables the main holo-projector was ready and now that they were in private, he felt he could speak more freely. "Okay, so no weapons. But certainly you can do something."

"I'm sorry. But I don't see that happening," Picard admitted. "The Federation is stretched too thinly. Even recovering from the Borg… we have too many other commitments to give anything meaningful."

That was not what Robert wanted to hear. "Jean-Luc, please. You haven't seen the refugees. The people who went out to start a new life and were driven from their homes with barely the clothes on their backs. And they're the lucky ones."

"I understand the scope may be horrible, but it's a matter of…"

Robert stopped and turned to him. "You didn't see them. You haven't seen the Nazis literally wipe a colony of tens of thousands of beings off the face of a planet! I have! And you're telling me you can't even spare the materials to resettle the people who escaped those massacres?!"

Picard looked at him quietly for a moment. Their eyes met. "You couldn't have saved them," Picard said. "I'm sorry, Robert. I'm sure you tried your best. But you can't save everyone."

For a moment Robert simply stared at him. "I guess I wasn't hiding it very well," he finally said.

"I'm afraid not," Picard replied. "And I suggest hiding it better when you deal with the delegates. Otherwise these negotiations may very well turn out that way."

Robert couldn't say anything for a moment. He was thinking about what was being said. And finally he felt a smile creep up on his face. "You want to help us," he said.

Picard's expression softened. "I believe it is in the best interests of the Federation to do so, yes. Not to mention that it is ethically paramount to resist the violent and barbaric regime your Alliance has found itself in conflict with. Especially if there is any chance such a regime might just acquire your interuniversal technology."

"Right." Robert nodded. "Well, there's a chance."

"Surely you put effective security to prevent their salvaging."

"Multiple redundancies and everything. Once in a while even our own crews trigger them and can lose a drive," Robert answered. "We can't keep this technology hidden from others forever, I mean eventually someone who's worked on them or knows them could sell enough information to give away the secret. But in the short-term, we don't have to worry about salvage."

"Then why do you say there's a chance?"

Robert thought on it for a moment. On whether to tell Picard or not. He decided to start with a question. "You told me to call you Jean-Luc in private."

"I did."

"Why?" Robert asked. "You're a captain with decades of experience; i'm young enough that you were captain of a starship before I was born. Why do I get the first name basis with you?"

Picard didn't answer at first. He walked over to the chair he would be sitting in and considered the nameplate assigned to him. "Starfleet is not like other organizations with a military background," he began. "Every species, every nation, has its own ideas of military discipline, of appropriate behavior. We could never have accommodated them all, so we have forged our own approach."

At that Robert nodded. The Stellar Navy had much of the same issue. Even their name was sometimes considered too Humanocentric; the Dorei and Gersallians had lobbied for the term "Stellar Fleet" heavily before being outvoted.

"This process began when it was just the Earth Starfleet. And for two hundred years, the Federation has worked to find the best to captain starships," Picard continued. "It's been something we've been working on since Captain Jonathan Archer took the first Enterprise out to explore the Alpha Quadrant. The most we have learned is that finding those best qualified to command starships is an art more than a science. There's only so much you can train someone to take on that.." He seemed to be considering a word. "..awesome responsibility," he finished, and Robert knew he was using the word "awesome" in a literal sense, not the vernacular that Tom or Zack might have. "In the end, starship captains are as likely to be born as they are to be trained. They require certain traits, certain ways of thinking, to succeed in the captain's chair. And when you find someone with those characteristics in one of those chairs, then there is no room for issues of seniority or age. A good starship captain is worth encouraging, no matter how young or untrained they might be."

Robert remained quiet as he thought about that. "I understand what you're saying."

"I've heard about an incident with the Reich two months ago," Picard continued. "With your ship in the middle of it."

"33LA," Robert replied. "We were… tracking down the possible location of a Darglan facility."

"The Darglan." Picard recalled the name. "The alien species that developed the interuniversal drive."

"Right. Caterina had designed a program to sort through recorded sensor logs across the fleet, looking for the signs of a Darglan dimensionally-transcendental field in operation. She found one that was in the system In system 33LA. So we got permission to investigate with the Koenig…."

Robert explained everything that happened. It didn't take long. As he did, Picard looked on in understanding. And when he was done, he nodded. "I see. And you think this incident fueled the war?'

"There's no way they did it over what happened to the Eichmann," Robert explained. "They had to have been planning on that attack for months, sneaking ships into the nebula, arranging means to communicate through the interference inside of it. 33LA had to have been the reason."

"Or perhaps they always planned to attack," Picard pointed out.

"Maybe." Robert shook his head. "But that's your answer. That's why we think there's a chance they could get IU drives. There's a Darglan Facility right outside their space. And we can't even get to it, not without drawing their attention right to it. And…" Robert closed his eyes. "...I can't stop thinking of all the people dying in this war, and that the choice I made at 33LA might be why."

At that Picard nodded. "Sometimes, we make the wrong decision," the older man said. "It can't be avoided. The important thing is to learn from it. To accept the error and move on."

"Hard to move on if I'm the one who started the war. I'm the one who didn't trust my people and who put them in harm's way when I knew there was something wrong."

Picard shook his head. "You can't think like that. Besides, I would have done the same thing you did."

Robert looked at Picard. "What?"

"I would have sent Commander Carrey and his ship out," Picard said.

"You would have?"

"In those circumstances, yes." Picard nodded. "The stakes were too high, the timing too critical. Such technology cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of a society like the Third Reich. You were right to send Commander Carrey on that mission regardless of the security risks discovered. Even if it had cost you the Koenig, it would have still been the right decision."

Robert remained quiet at that. It was one thing for Julia to say it. She hated him being mopey. But Picard? With all of that experience? The same man who had once lectured him on the need to consider the consequences of his actions?

"And Draynal?", Robert asked.

"What about him?" Picard shook his head. "The hard part about dealing with this Changeling threat is that they can so easily replace any of us. By the time you had any solid evidence about Draynal or idea that the Changeling had fully compromised your systems, the Koenig had already departed."

"I could have warned Zack."

"About what? A possibility about an officer with an otherwise fine record? With no proof beyond vague feelings from possible psychic sources? That's not something people ordinarily do, Robert. It would undermine the fundamental trust that must exist between officers serving together." Picard looked intently at him. "Yes, it is true that your decision had a negative consequence that another choice might not have provided. But that is with hindsight. A good captain considers all options, but doesn't shy away from a necessary choice simply because they're not sure of what could happen. Be aware of the possible consequences. Don't let them blind you to the necessities of the moment."

Before Robert could reply to that, there was a tone over his multidevice. He pressed it. "Dale here."

Julia spoke up on the other end. "We just received a signal from the Mok'ba. Councillor Kurn is ready to beam aboard."

"What about the Federation team?"

"Captain Korsmo already signaled that Councillors T'Latrek and Gleer will beam over at the planned three hour mark with Captain Picard's staff."

"What about the Vice-Secretary?"

"Apparently he has transporter phobia," Julia explained. "He's requesting permission to bring a shuttle over."

Robert looked to Picard, who shook his head. "The Exterior Vice-Secretary is an eccentric Bolian, a political scientist nominated to the post," Picard said. "I see no harm."

"Clear him for the main shuttle bay," Robert said into his multidevice.

"Doing so now. Do you want me to inform Mastrash Ledosh of Kurn's impending arrival?"

"I'll do it," Robert said. "Does Hargert have the meal ready?"

"Most of it. Apparently there are certain… elements of Klingon cuisine that proved troublesome."

Robert laughed at that. "Well, hopefully they'll understand. Have Meridina and Angel meet Kurn at Transporter Station 2 and escort him to Conference 1. I'll go rouse Ledosh. Dale out."

"I'll wait here for the others to arrive," Picard said when Robert lowered his arm. "And I hope you consider what I've said. I've seen promising careers fail to meet their potential because a captain loses confidence in their decisions."

Robert nodded. "It's something to think about. Thank you, Jean-Luc."

"You're welcome, Robert."




Robert had attended diplomatic meetings before, so that part was nothing new to him.

What was new was having the other side more interested in arguing against each other than debating the points proposed by his side.

"Again, Councillor Gleer, your logic fails," T'Latrek said. The older Vulcan woman was one of the Federation's elder statespersons; the packet Robert had read on her as the meeting came into focus reminded him of just how different some species were. She was older than his grandparents would have been if they were still alive and had served on the Federation Council for over seventy years. She had been one of the staff members of the Federation president who negotiated the Khitomer Accords. And for Robert, it didn't bode well that she was arguing against Federation assistance for much of the same grounds Picard had cited in speaking to him.

Bera chim Gleer scowled at the Councillor at the opposite end of his table. Aides flanked him, compared to just the one young Vulcan woman beside T'Latrek, with Picard and the Bolian Tanno in the middle. "This is a matter of the security of the Federation," Gleer retorted. "How is that not logical?"

"It presumes facts that are not in evidence," T'Latrek said. "It presumes a threat where none has been made evident."

At that, Mastrash Ledosh stood. "Madame Councillor, I had my own reservations about the first reports on the Reich's characteristics, but I found those reservations to be in error. I plead with you not to make the same error."

T'Latrek turned and faced Ledosh. "Emissary Ledosh, you are in error to believe I am not unaware of the extremes of the Nazi Reich. I have studied Human history in my own time and am well aware of the origins of your enemy and the threat they would pose. But I do not agree with your assessment of imminent danger. We have only your word that there is a facility of the Darglan that might provide them with the interuniversal drive technology."

"We have the data, Madame Councillor," Robert protested. "We've made it available to you."

T'Latrek's eyes turned to him. She appraised him with cool detachment. "Captain Dale, your reliability as the source of this information is sadly suspect."

"I beg your pardon?", Robert asked.

"You have a known history of interference in the affairs of other societies that did not match your standards," T'Latrek remarked. "According to your own government, you have already instigated hostilities with an alien species known as the Goa'uld without any provocation."

"Now just a minute." Leo rose from his place in the seating area. Cat and Jarod were beside him; in the next row over Picard's people - Riker, Data, Worf, and Troi - were watching with interest. "The Goa'uld enslaved an innocent woman and violated her to conceive a child. All we did was protect her and her village."

T'Latrek raised an eyebrow but did not speak. Gleer did, however, but not to score a point against his rival. "Captain Dale, your crew has no standing to speak unless called upon by a delegation. I insist you restrain them or I will move for their expulsion from the proceedings."

Robert sighed and looked to Leo, who was glowering right back at the Tellarite. "He's right, Leo. I'm sorry, but these things have protocols."

Leo looked to Robert and let out a grunt of frustration before sitting down.

Before Robert or anyone could then address T'Latrek's earlier point as Leo had tried, there was a loud smack of a fist on a table. Kurn stood in his seat. "Enough of this petty squabbling," he growled. "The Klingon Empire is not afraid of battle. But we are not hirelings to be paid like a pack of Ferengi, nor we are war targs to be unleashed at your whim." Kurn fixed his gaze on Ledosh and Robert. "The High Council is willing to join the Alliance in battle against these speciest to'baH Humans. But the Klingon Empire will require the Alliance to share with us the drives we will require to send our ships and warriors into the battle."

Ledosh nodded. "My government is aware of the likely price of your participation, Councillor Kurn. I am authorized to negotiate the terms."

Gleer let out a squealing hiss of frustration. "I protest! The Alliance giving the drive technology to just one power will destabilize the entire Alpha Quadrant! If the Klingon Empire receives this technology, so must the Federation."

Kurn smiled a toothy smile at his official allies in the talks. "If the Federation wishes to join its allies in gaining the spoils, I hope it is prepared to join in the battle to win them."

T'Latrek shook her head. "The Federation does not involve itself in the affairs of others. The Prime Directive…"

"...is not a suicide pact," Gleer growled. "If the security of the Federation requires it, we should…"

Before their discussion could continue, there was a tone from the ship PA system. "Bridge to Captain Dale," Julia said.

Gleer glared murder at their table for the interruption. Robert restrained the sigh that started to form in his throat and keyed his multidevice to answer. "Dale here."

"Captain, we have a shuttle approaching and demanding docking clearance. Sir, the shuttle, it's… Romulan."

Kurn snarled at that. Robert looked to Ledosh with concern, and the Mastrash for once seemed genuinely surprised.

T'Latrek was not. "The only Romulan shuttle that is kept in Sol system belongs to Ambassador tr'Lhaer."

"The Romulan ambassador to the Federation?", Robert asked. "But how did he know about this meeting?"

"An intriguing question, but one must never underestimate the ability of the Romulans to gather information," T'Latrek said. "I would request you grant the docking clearance. I suspect that he has come to insist on Romulan participation in these talks. Failure to accommodate him could prove to have severe consequences in the near-future."

In other words, the Romulans might get really nasty if they think we're shutting them out of the talks. Robert looked to Ledosh, who nodded assent to the suggestion. "Commander, send them to the main shuttle bay. Have security standing by to escort the Ambassador to Conference 1."

"Doing so now."

Conversation quieted until the Romulan ambassador arrived. He was wearing a dull brown and gray suit with the bowl cut that seemed typical of Romulans, male and female. An aide flanked him and Meridina was standing just behind him, quiet and introspective. A table was moved up to join the others and the Romulan took his seat there. "How interesting," he said.

"Welcome, Ambassador tr'Lhaer," Ledosh said politely.

"My thanks. I had presumed the lack of an invitation was merely a bureaucratic oversight by the Alliance government. Wars have such a nasty way of causing disruption in the operations of a state." Tr'Lhaer folded his hands together. "But I get the idea I was never to be invited at all."

"And we would have been the better for it," Kurn growled.

That won him a moment of condescending amusement before tr'Lhaer nodded to T'Latrek. "Madame Councillor."

"Ambassador."

"We may not have diplomatic relations with the Alliance, and we have only limited interest in their affairs, but it is not hard to imagine the Alliance's purpose here." Tr'Lhaer looked now to Robert and Ledosh. "You have provoked an enemy stronger than you had anticipated, Captain Dale. Now the Alliance you represent is losing the war you caused. It cannot demand further sacrifice from its own people lest they simply abandon it. So you have come to us with pretty gifts so we will shed our blood for you."

"We came, Mister Ambassador, because the Nazi Empire is a threat to us all," Robert retorted. "If they get IU drive technology…"

"Your point, such as it is, has been made, Captain." Tr'Lhaer looked to Ledosh. "So this is your strategy. Play up the threat of this empire acquiring the technology to convince other states to join the war caused by your own foolishness. The Romulan Empire has no interest in supporting such foolish behavior, regardless of other considerations. Although that too must be addressed."

"Meaning, Ambassador?", Ledosh asked with angelic patience.

"Meaning that the Romulan Empire cannot and will not tolerate its rivals gaining access to your technology." Tr'Lhaer folded his hands together on the table. "We will not dictate to whom you can devote your forces, of course, or if you will provide aid or sell resources to the Alliance. But if either the Federation or the Klingon Empire is provided the interuniversal drive technology without Romulus being granted its use as well, the Romulan Star Empire will consider it an act of war. And we will declare war on both parties of such an exchange."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik


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