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

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-07-25 01:25pm

dragon wrote:
It sounds a lot like the ship from Path of the Fury.

You win. That's where the idea is from, though it's not in any sense a crossover, of course. Just an element I copied because I found it cool. And it worked into the story neatly--having Ysalha simply get better didn't follow considering the level of damage, and I wanted to force Tisara to choose between her and some level of redemption in society (and the repercussions of that choice, even if the decision was not directly shown, will echo through the second half of the story).
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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The Duchess of Zeon
Posts: 14566
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Location: Exiled in the Pale of Settlement.

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 06:36am

Chapter Twenty-seven.

Nan Madol, Pohnpei,
The Senyavin Islands,
German Federated Pacific,
Terra, Taloran Empire
20 APRIL 2169 AST.

"Our skin colour is actually excellently optimized against A-sequence stars," Fraslia grumbled with a tinge of embarrassment. "Anywhere else, I would not burn and peel remotely this much." She was still slathering immense mixtures of sunscreen and moisturizers on herself, and granted, both were very good. It was however a bit funny that she was still burning--she could simply not tan under exposure to the yellow light of a G-sequence star. She had at least been utterly religious about covering her ears until every flick sent gobs of the stuff in various directions, though the whole process was a bit dodgy.

Which was the reason for the embarrassment. "You haven't answered the question, Fraslia."

"Oh yes, fine. They're an erogenous zone, yes. At least as much as my breasts, or human breasts I suppose--I don't know, human breasts seem so big and turgid all the time that I don't see how they could ever be pleasurable. I'd be very disturbed if any Taloran woman..."

"Okay, Fraslia, you went from not telling me anything to telling me... To much." Laura laughed again. "But, I can see why--hmm. Why don't you just cover up your ears?"

"I'd be rather harder to hear... But it's just getting hotter and sunnier, especially that we're in the tropics and the spring. I suppose you're right." She reached back into her pack and started fishing through it for what turned out to be some coverlets she could clip to the kepi with a long neck-flap of the type that they were both wearing.

That explains what the buttons are for, Laura mused. They had been camping out on one of the artificial islands of Nan Madol, and it was a strange and somewhat scary experience for the past night. The whole area was intensely remote; once, Pohnpei had been an extremely populous island, though Nan Madol, the mysterious Venice built out of stone off the island in the mid-pacific, had been abandoned for much longer. It had been chosen by Fraslia not only for its historical significance but also so she could demonstrate that the Talorans were taking care of the Earth as well as humans, and in that respect, Roslyn had to admit, they had succeded: The Earth, once in a process of runaway global warming, had seen it halted and stabilized, with sea levels (at least for the next few thousand years) being stabilized only several meters higher than they had been in the 21st century. This left parts of Nan Madol still submerged, and even the rest of it above water was only barely above water; their watertight tent had sometimes shuddered in the night from breakers hitting it at high tide (though it had been well-pennoned against that eventuality). It was low tide now, though, and they could hang their legs over the edge of the rock-hewn platform and eat breakfast, looking out at the half-sunken ruin of a city laboriously built by hand and rock, out of rock, thousands of miles from the other nearest true civilization.

It was breathtaking, and incredible, and made Laura feel proud of human accomplishments, even as she was respectful of the point that Fraslia had wished to make by coming here. The Talorans had done a great deal of good to the Earth already--even if, ironically, some of the efforts had been initially undertaken by the UTHP and their Green allies--and life was already beautifully again flourishing on the island of Pohnpei to which they'd traveled from New Guinea on a tramp freighter making the resupply circuit around the German Pacific Islands, though on the later regard, Laura was immensely glad she hadn't visited on her college days.So lucky that we don't have schnapps--I would have never graduated... The memory of the boisterous Captain's liquor cellar made her rub her head impulsively, even though it was a week gone: They were bound to board another such ship for the trip to China that evening.

"So," Fraslia spoke again, flexing her ears to make sure that the coverings were properly fitted, "time for us to be headed back, I would say?"

"Yes." Laura looked out to the sea one last time, and then pushed herself up. They'd already packed, and so they just donned their packs both and headed through the maze of rubble and remnant buildings until they reached the far side of the artificial island, where they'd placed their zodiac--whatever that was, it was just a rubber, electric-motor powered raft, simple and durable--and Laura loaded it while Fraslia carefully pulled out the pinion and then climbed in before it started to drift back. A few minutes later, they were on course to head back to the main village on the island, nimbly pulling away from the half-ruined and half-submerged city of Nan Madol.

The motor was very quiet, and there was just the sounds of the water in the lagoon against the hull as they powered their way back. It gave Laura some time to reflect. Certainly she was healthier and happier than she'd been since the attacks, and even before, recovering her strength and managing to get in shape during their aggressive exploration of South America. And it was indeed South America--even beyond the incredible cultures of New Guinea, the countless variations of this world in comparison to the nominally larger twelve colonies with their comparative, and strangely limited, monocultures, which drew her back. The flutes in the hills, eerie in memories that they brought back, the stunning work of the Nazca Valley that she saw as religious, and Fraslia had respectfully avoided commenting upon.

But most of all the strange enigma of the pyramids and what they meant, of the incredible age of the structures in the Casma Valley, that the very, very first civilizations of Earth should mimic the immense and perfect Pyramids of Kobol. And what, beyond them? The immense earthen Pyramid-tombs of China would be their next stop, then the Hindu temples of India, the citadel of Arg-e-Bam, the ruggedness of Central Asia and the Caucasus, the fertile crescent, the Great Dam of Yemen, and then the Pyramids of Egypt and Nubia, worthy of comparison in design and execution to the structures of Kobol itself, and beyond that, Jericho and Catal Huyuk, the first two known cities in the human history of Terra: The beginning of a story which should have shown humans to be sophisticated, not stone-tool-using primitives who had nonetheless crafted such incredibly fine and intricate structures.

And then, just to finish things off, the megaliths of Europe, and back down through Central America to the mysterious pyramids and bloody legacy of human sacrifice. It was all a bit overwhelming, and more to the point, quite frequently frustrating. After all, there was no evidence at all for the human settlement of Terra--and plenty of evidence for humans settling here, at every single museum (and they'd been to a dozen) of natural history that they'd stopped at along the way. It seemed absolute fact that humans had come from Terra originally--but then what was Kobol to them? Or more precisely, how did we get to Kobol from Terra thousands of years ago? The Terran humans didn't have the technology then. It works both ways--and that's as disturbing as hell.

One possibility which she could not help but think of was of direct divine intervention, which was part of what disturbed her--frightened her. As the Gods should frighten someone when they were confronted with their power. What did it mean for their future and fate? And how do the Talorans fit into it all? They were certainly, she had concluded, not the enemies of humanity, if cynical and manipulative in their own ways, cloaked in observance of their monotheistic religion. Fraslia herself was decent, principled, and a fine traveling companion, even if Laura was sometimes ashamed of the looks they got and the expectation that Fraslia had a lover in her from the sometimes bigoted humans about.

Strange, to call them bigoted when I fracking nearly thought the same things myself. She was smiling wryly, then, and Fraslia caught it.

"What are you thinking of, Laura? Everything alright?"

"Oh, very much so. I was just laughing in my mind at a few of the adventures we've already had."

"It's been nice," Fraslia agreed, "And we've only started, too--which I'm glad of. I needed this: It's clearing my head, getting me away from Starfleet and Barony alike for a while. And, recently," a wry flick of covered ears, "hospital beds."

Laura laughed. "I think I have you beat there, Baroness."

"Point readily conceded. I wouldn't wish that on anyway. And that, I suppose, is part of why I got you out. Injustice.."

"..Is intolerable. Whatever else I've learned, Fraslia, you are true to your word. We'll find a way to set things right--when the gods want them set right. Until then..."

"..We've got a freighter to catch," Fraslia finished for Laura, and respectfully not bringing up the issue of Gods, they maintained a companionable silence until they arrived at the main village.

The Planet Oralnif,
Colonial Refugee Arcology,
24 APRIL 2169 AST.

"So you're sure that you can get me to Universe Designate CON-5 and the Alliance territories?" D'anna leaned back, legs crossed, somewhat suspicious of the pallid and tiny little lady--nonetheless quite attractive--in front of her. "When you first met, you said that you were just a contractor for the Taloran government bringing in supplies here from Earth, you know? How does that work?"

"I have dual-citizenship; the Talorans don't care about these things. You must be aware of it by now. Their society has virtually no restriction and no control. The only security network is the social one that the Farzian Temple Orders run. The function of government is primarily War; the Empress is still fundamentally a Grand Feudal Lady and this nation is still based on those ties. It makes crossing the borders pretty easy, and people like me, who have personal contacts, all the more useful," Lucianne d'Orvilliers smiled back reassuringly and brushed away some of the locks of her dark hair, held in place by a simple band and hanging about a shoulders.

"They'll check us when leaving this universe, though?"

"Of course. They're just looking for Communitarians who may be trying to flee the Imperial ban, though. We'll have forged papers for you showing your Catholic birth records in Ireland, however. Those will be accepted without question." The conversation was being held after dinner in D'anna's small suite, though the Amaretto was Lucy's; a gift to a prospective lover. So far the evening had been lovely, the food that D'anna had made was excellent--it really was perfect.

"Tell me about religion back in the Alliance?"

"Well, it's a pluralistic society, so all religions are tolerated. Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhs, the main monotheistic religions. Hinduism represents polytheism though only in an abstract sense. Notice that the Talorans here do see Hindus as monotheists in a theological sense. Buddhism is more complex, but together with Hinduism and some refined eastern beliefs represents what's called the Dharmic, rather than Redemptive religions. Your own strict-polytheistic religion here is only followed by a few groups in the Alliance, though some are numerous. Asatru, Wicca and so on. I can introduce you to them..."

"I'd actually like to study monotheism," D'anna answered with a certain gleam in her eye.

"It isn't terribly accepting of people like us. Of course, your polytheism isn't, either, and I don't find myself particularly religious in any case. But I'll certainly accompany you for a while, D'anna. I have business to do in the Alliance, anyway, and you're certainly one of the more interesting people I've had the opportunity to meet in my life."


Lucy shrugged rather sadly. "I came from a very primitive world. I got out, and got longev treatments, but they didn't. Dead in their fifties."


"Some of the colonies are that bad, yeah. I'm already older myself--seventy, to be honest."

D'anna goggled for a moment across the table and then laughed. "Oh wow, you're older than my mother .. was." Her face fell strategically for a moment and garnered a sympathetic look from the tiny woman across the table. "I was not expecting that from someone who looked..."

"...Fifteen? That's a family trait, my mother may have died young, but she looked even younger when she did. It can be useful sometimes, though." Lucy didn't elaborate on how, because she'd rather not talk about it.

"You are very pretty, regardless. Uh, most fifteen year olds don't have curves nearly as nice, we'll put it that way." She leaned like a predator across the table. "And that is really what you came here for? A bit of an escape from stifling religious puritanism..."

"...And this from a student of religion," Lucy shivered. "But. Yes." The words were tinted with a trace of nervousness, then forced down. But that only encouraged D'anna. "I know so many beautiful places in the alliance," she started to say, seeming to gain confidence as she did, "to which we can travel while on my business arrangements and then I can help you settle down and when I return from the Empire again, we'll have months together every year. You're young enough that you can easily afford rejuv, and you've got the face and experience to charm every Alliance media outlet there is. They'll be fighting over giving you a contract, and even if human religions don't accept homosexuality, the Alliance government certainly does..."

"You're babbling," D'anna smiled and got up, even as Lucy sank back into her chair, and let the much taller and incredibly beautiful woman step closer to her, lean down over her, and bring their lips together in an exploratory kiss. The moment Lucy's lips parted and her tongue slipped out, though, the whole nature of the embrace changed. She wrapped her arms around D'anna and pulled in her, sucking on her tongue, her own rolling along the length of her newfound lover's before thrusting forward into D'anna's mouth.....

...And so they kissed for quite some time, the tall blonde finally parting in a bit of surprise. "So coy, and then you prove that you're as skilled as any older lover I have. C'mon. A journalist's boudoir isn't that scary." She tugged Lucy up, and the smaller woman followed, shedding her clothes as she went, a salacious look on her face.

It was two hours later when they were finally finished making love, and got into the shower... Just to mess around a bit more. Lucy, who had no shortage of partners in her life, was still surprised by the verve and intensity of the Amazonian figure she was making love to, and left fully exhausted to many smiles and promises of returning the next day to finalize the escape for D'anna out to the broader world.

D'anna herself had no more shut the door than she had sighed with relief that things were going so well. She had, after all, been cut off under jamming fields from all contact with any other Cylons for more than a year, and it was wearing on her. Meeting with the other active fleet Cylons they'd managed to put together a small computer virus which might affect the Taloran fleet, and successfully implement it. But no data could be sent back without being intercepted and all of them taken and shot, or spaced, and that had been that.

Yet D'anna had always been curious, very curious, of the origins of the One God and the One Religion, and after so long without contact of her fellows on a regular basis, had resolved to both make a reconaissance of the broader world, first thinking of Earth and then, of course, immediately seizing on the broader repercussions of the 'multiverse.' She must learn what humans were like elsewhere, and the nature of the human religions that seemed common to all universes, but not to the humans of Kobol. Lucy d'Orvilliers, in addition to being an enormously skilled lover, had fallen right into her lap in that regard, and D'anna would push the relationship to the hilt, even if it meant driving the coy and clever smuggler into betraying her own race. However impressive, she was only human, after all.

An hour and a thousand klicks away, Lucy d'Orvilliers had just stepped off a jet-hopper to the main Taloran military base on the planet and was walking over to the single officers' quarters, a series of apartments that, with two bedrooms (one for the officer, and one for her batgirl), were reasonably spacious and large. The shower had been necessary, considering she was getting home late to her other lover, who had before D'anna been by far the most important. Major Najhakia Ruhaliyu was certainly a major source of information, and a somewhat careless one at that. Most paedophiles were. Lucy however had been involved with her for two years now, and knew intimately every single detail of the Starfighter Corps' (she was, of course, a gunboat officer, since Taloran females were generally to large for the fighters themselves) officer, who commanded a squadron of sixteen J'u'crea type heavy assault gunboats. Every single detail of her personal life, in particular, and most of the professional ones.

Sometimes, she actually felt sorry for Najhakia. It was a dangerous emotion in most people in her line of work, but Lucy had always been unique like that. The stems added distance right now--one of the wonderful luxuries of the Taloran Empire was that nobody thought the slightest of it if she shot up in public on a public flight, and the drugs had removed the exhaustion from her body, removed the chary look in her eyes and gave her the perk and vigour that would shortly be required. When she got home late, Najhakia always demanded sex.

And Lucy was consummate at providing it. "Love," she offered with a soft and relaxed smile, a bit timid as she always was, but then opening up.

"You've been gone late." The tall Taloran swept her small body up and carried her back into the bedroom; Najhakia's batgirl, whom Lucy found enormously sweet, honest, and possibly the only decent person she could call a friend from the past three years, was certainly already asleep, and the walls had been built to provide blast protection in the case of a surprise attack, so at least the guilt of waking up someone who didn't need to hear sin in action could be avoided.

"Taking care of business..." Lucy sighed and smiled, and worked the buttons on her blouse as Najhakia veritably ripped her trousers off. "As I often do. But this time, unfortunately, it means I need to go back to Earth in a Terran fortnight, give or take a day. Three weeks, my love...." Her head, twisted to the side, gave her the opportunity for a flicker of involuntary shame as her panties were stripped off.

"Then I better make up for lost time.... You need a ship?" Najhakia slipped a hand between her legs and so the first answer was a moan as Lucy's hands tightened against the blankets.


"The independent contractor, Vern, he'll be fine?"

"Mmnnn. Of course. Now..." She pushed herself up and grinned, their eyes meeting for a moment as she reached out to wrap her hands around Najhakia's head and encourage her upwards to where that finger was diddling her already, suitably wet to the stimulus. "We've talked business enough. Less teasing and more sex, please."

"...Always a pleasure, you little minx."

Lucy abandoned herself to the moment. There was nothing else to do, though the worst part was how she'd lost track of when she was faking sex and when she was actually enjoying it; it sometimes made her very disturbed at the prospect that she had ended up bisexual after all these years of sin. But no matter, it was part of the job; and what made her so convincing was how she really did seem to enjoy it once she got over the first wave of fear and shame, and threw herself into the act, into the relationship in turn even in the small and intimate moments, with a wild abandon. As she did now, as she always had. But reminding herself it was just part of the job was what helped her keep track of reality in the tangled web of her life, and she did it one lost time before she lost herself to Najhakia's passion.

The Planet Oralnif,
The High Orbitals,
HSMS Kylakhiou.
25 APRIL 2169 AST.

"Admiral to the bridge! Admiral to the Bridge! Your Serene Grace, your present is requested on the bridge immediately!" The urgent message woke Tisara Urami in her quarters on the poetically named Kyla the Harrier, named after a general of Saverana the First's in her late reign who was famed for her relentless long-distance rostok pursuits of enemies that the Great Queen had broken in the field. The Empress Mikela IV-class dreadnought was one of thirty-two dreadnoughts of the Imperial fleet--four whole battle-squadrons!--which had ultimately been posted to Oralnif with the withdrawal of the Midelan forces commanded by her Aunt. Tisara was once again comfortably in command of her province, and this time as a brevet Admiral with an equal number of fleet carriers, sixty-eight battlecruisers, sixteen light carriers and sixteen battleships for the defence of Oralnif also provided. Certainly all the ships were, except for a single squadron of Kalammi-class battlecruisers and a second squadron of Kriulosh-class battlecruisers (such as her old Orelyost), of the very oldest types.

Yet they showed that, considering her success in delivering intact a living example of a biological warship (so useful, when the Empire had only encountered biological ships once before, and the Istegard incident had seen them all completely vapourized when found) that would provide information on the capacities and limitations of the type which was apparently prevalent and threatening in some other universes in the cosmos, she had been somewhat rehabilitated. Oh, she understood that if at that moment she had chosen to cast Ysalha loose, she might very well have been promised rehabilitation in the near future. But she had refused to do that, and...

...So though her cage had gotten very gilt indeed, Tisara Urami was still the Admiral in command and governor in charge of the Oralnif Spinward Sector and also the informal prisoner of the sectorial borders. And the enemy operations zone to spinward, naturally. As a Princess of the Blood and close friend of her mother, Saverana the Second had ultimately come through for her in one major way--she had overruled Sipamert and conceded that Tisara could, indeed, competently represent the interests of the dynasty within the newly created Cylon Military District.

So the actions came naturally, too, even with the painful absence of Ysalha. Stims slipped into a vein with a grimace of pain, and then she was dressed in her vacsuit while the ship was called to stations, and crisply headed out of officer's country to the flagbridge--which was intentionally posted nearby, of course, making the whole affair take about three minutes until she was standing before hologram, frightfully alert, though still fidgeting with the clasp of her Prussian blue cloak, a feature of the uniforms of Regular Starfleet Full Admirals that she had not yet gotten used to, and which was worn over even vacsuits as a symbol of rank and authority.

Her Acting Chief of Staff, the ethnically Dalamarian Captain Ilahmbh Xinojha (Dalamarians having a unique branch of the Taloran ur-language where feminine names ended in consonants whereas virtually all other known language families saw them end in vowels), ran down the situation with an ornate speech that was somewhat less concise than Tisara approved of. Then again, Ilahmbh had the disposition of a saint to keep her sanity intact when replacing Ysalha even in a professional capacity, and Tisara was a reasonable enough person to appreciate her for it. "Admiral, the situation is that we've got a lone penetrator coming into the system at extremely high velocity. They jumped in on the outer approaches but they were already clearing .995c on their jump and now they're deaccelerating at three thousand gravities on target for orbital insertion. Sensors estimate tonnage about ten megatonnes, energy readings dreadnought-level."

"Anti-matter reaction." The statement was as flat as it could be; nothing else was possible.

"Yes, Admiral," Ilahmbh said a bit unnecessarily. "We've already run a check against all known designs. Nothing checks out."

In the background, readiness reports droned proudly on: "Battle Squadron Sixty reports ready. Battle Squadron Twenty-three reports ready, Battle Squadron Seventeen reports ready, Battle Squadron twenty-nine reports ready... Carrier Squadron thirty reports ready.."

"One moment, Captain. I had not expected them so soon, and.." Tisara stepped forward and, accessing her cybernetic data storage, jacked into the consoles around the holoprojector, displaying from it detailed imagery of a ship and its specifications. "The Synthetic Control Cruiser Dhirisma. She was due to arrive four days from now. As you know, Ysalha is aboard. About ten megatonnes and capable of two thousand, nine hundred gravities of acceleration."

"She's redlining to get here if that's the ship," Ilahmbh adapted quickly enough, brushing back her blonde hair and frowning intently. "Your Serene Grace, why haven't they contacted us if it's the Baroness Titangirt?"

"Give me an exact read on her g's of de-acceleration, Captain," Tisara answered instead, very, very tautly.

"One moment..." The figures were drawn up from the computer and Ilahmbh flexed her ears oddly. "Three thousand seventy-four gravities. If she's on overdrive, why isn't she going three thousand eighty-one? That's within the..."

"Seven marks off. Code Seven, Captain. It's an old trick we learned along the frontier back when I was a cruiser captain. Since we normally accelerate in hexadecimal fractions of our maximum rated power, varying the ship's acceleration by a few gravities up or down could itself be a simple fleet code to other ships when all other forms of communication were impossible or unreliable. It's a marvelous trick, and I don't know why those fools back at central haven't put it in the book."

"Code seven means that the fleet is to observe total communications silence due to enemy electronic surveillance."

"Exactly, Captain. Now you know why she isn't signalling."

"By Idenicamos' harem!" Ilahmbh flushed at the outburst, then was crisply back to business: "Orders, Admiral?"

"Bring the battlefleet to interpose between the Dhirisma and the planet, standard intercept. And as we initiate the manoeuvre, I want every ship and every station in the system to engage in maximum electronic warfare jamming, optimized against communications surveillance and passive ship tracking."

"Of course, Admiral. You want them to think we're making a hostile intercept, and then lose all data."

"Precisely," Tisara smiled languidly. Ilahmbh had prospered under her wrath in the past months precisely because she was very very quick on the uptake. "Then, once the situation has been dealt with, we can drop jamming and resume normal operations--well, officially. We'll be waiting for them."

"You suspect it is more than just surveillance?"

"What do you expect that ship is arriving for so quickly? I rather do indeed, Captain, I rather do indeed. Inform me when we've matched velocity with the Dhirisma, and prep a shuttle. I'm going over personally." She strode off the bridge, the grand cloak licking at her heels while inside, her heart pulsed with happiness. A fight was in the offing, and Ysalha had come back to her. A year of misery was lifted in a drug-adled flash of fortune and promised glory.


It had taken hours for Dhirisma to accelerate, but now she waited tensely with Ysalha inside of one of her airlocks, waiting for her first encounter with the woman who dominated the heart of Ysalha, the extension of herself. The AI had very, very mixed emotions about Tisara Urami.

Then the massive inner door was unlatched and slid open, and there she stood, short but enormously proud, blue-caped, mismatched eyes arrogantly set like Valera herself, with the seaweed green hair that tended to run heavily in the heirs of Valera--and had also been a feature of the founder of the dynasty, who about matched Tisara's height. The resemblance between the portraits of the Sword of God and Tisara was marked even to Dhirisma, but the personal behaviour.. Could not be more outrageously different.

"Your Serene Grace, my compliments. I am Dhirisma, and welcome aboard my hull."

Tisara ignored her and moved immediately with a desperate passion to sweep Ysalha up--and slam her into the back bulkhead rather hard as she did so. Tisara was strong, particularly under the influence of combat drugs, and Ysalha, though larger, had been enormously fragile since the accident. The breath left her in a cry, and they rebounded into each other as Tisara kissed her lover's lips passionately and then trailed her lips down her mouth to start gnawing on her neck. Of Tisara's new aides that had been provided with the expansion of her staff to that suitable for a full Admiral, only Ilahmbh seemed unflappable.

Or so it lasted for only a moment longer until Dhirisma grabbed her by the shoulder and pried her away. "Tisara. We need to talk." The AI was looking down very seriously at the shocked Taloran Admiral. But it only lasted a moment.

"Dhrisima! Turn off that damned tractor beam!"

"Sorry." The pressure was released immediately.

"Ship, you had better explain.."

"You could have given her a concussion!" Dhirisma shouted angrily. "Look, now, without her I'd die, and she would have never been whole without me, ever again. So we're going to have to settle this quickly but one key thing is that I don't want her ever seriously hurt. And call me Dhirisma. She does."

"She defines what's serious for her," Tisara remarked coolly. "And I just give her what we both need. A tossed glance to Ysalha. "You do call her Dhirisma, girl?"

"It's her name, Tisara. And I'm going to have to stand up for her, you know. Even to you. She's as real of a person as I am, and you're going to have to get used to it. You did get the cybernetics upgrades I requested?"

"Yes. Parallel processor and some algorithm translation software, a memory expansion--all fairly extensive, sophisticated work. But you asked for it..."

"Then access Dhirisma's network."

The exchange that followed took several minutes--Tisara was nowhere near as proficient as Ysalha and Dhirisma and nowhere near as connected--and required some explanation occasionally, anyway. In exchange, Dhirisma was somewhat fearless in attacking Tisara's stored memories and ferreting out things about Ysalha. But Ysalha's protestations, she began to realize, had been true--it had all always been consensual, even if the risk was severe from some of the stunts.

Neither one liked the other, particularly, but in that electronic exchange, conducted while Tisara's staff looked on in abject horror, a truce was settled on for the sake of their shared object of affection. The last bit of data, however, spurred Tisara into action.

"Transfer over the rest of the staff at once, Captain Xinojha, and all our belongs. Dhirisma is designed both the fleet flagship and the fleet Captain," she chuckled dryly at that. "And there is plenty in the way of quarters here for a staff of one hundred and fifty-two."

"On a ship fueled by anti-matter, Your Serene Grace?"

Tisara turned around coldly. "On a ship with the firepower of a dreadnought and its shielding, but capable of the acceleration of a destroyer, and with a dreadnought's ECM and communications power as well. We can place ourselves with any element of the fleet in the coming engagement and direct actions from considerable safety as long as we do our best to avoid direct battle. You may recall it was once a custom for admirals to command fleets from detached cruisers to stay out of the heat of the battle and allow their decision-making to be more cautious."

But you are not renowned for cautious decision-making, Ilahmbh thought, though she didn't elaborate. "Is there anything else, Your Serene Grace?"

"Issue a War Warning to this sector, the Terran Confederation territories, and the Earth Sector, and all seven adjoining sectors. Inform them that large-scale surprise attacks by Cylon forces are expected within days or possibly hours. The information was obtained by Special Technical Means of the Sectorial Governor of Oralnif Spinward, myself," she concluded simply. "And then order the fleet to enter position Epsilon-Trianguli and stay continuously at Condition Two."

"Of course." Ilahmbh, to her credit, never questioned the orders. "Captain Dhirisma," she decided on politeness in that moment to the AI, and didn't regret it, "I'll need access to your communications facilities for myself and the staff."

"Of course." Dhirisma tore herself away from Ysalha, led to the staff away.. And then popped up another hologram of herself back in the corridor. "Alright. Tisara, I apologize for being so overprotective. Can we go... Back to your and Ysalha's quarters, and talk over how we're going to do this?"

"She can really never leave you?" Tisara was suspiciously, fearfully eyeing her almost catatonically withdrawn lover.

"Not without insanity leading to death," Dhirisma replied simply. "I wish I was sorry, but..."

"There's no need to be. I'm here, after all," Ysalha said softly, smiled, and curled herself into Tisara, brightening the Archduchess' mood in a fraction of a heartbeat. "But yes. Let's go and try to find a working arrangement, for the moment. I will indeed never leave Dhirisma's embrace... But I'll never leave your's, either. We may be in combat within hours, days at most, so..."

"Find something that works, and stick with it until we can get to know each other better?" Dhirisma offered.

"Fair enough," Tisara answered, having decided from the moment she'd authorized the procedure that no matter the outcome, she'd stay with Ysalha. Now that meant accepting a nosy AI as a permanent participant in her personal life, and the vicious noblewoman was as resigned to its inevitability as she was snappish in the present. Tisara Urami, whatever her flaws, loved Ysalha with a singleminded devotion that hadn't swayed yet. But she also had a war to fight once again, and that consideration rapidly overwhelmed all others.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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The Duchess of Zeon
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 10:21am

Chapter Twenty-Eight.

The Planet Oralnif,
Colonial Refugee Arcology,
26 APRIL 2169 AST.

Lucianne d'Orvilliers had woken up to find her bed unoccupied. That was quite an unusual experience; Najhakia kept late hours for a serving officer and usually slept in with her lover. She had however left a note ordering Lucianne explaining why, and it told her that the gig was up, more or less: Love, ten sectors are on war warning. A massive Cylon attack is imminent. Get to our hunting lodge in the Tradamhi hills, and get in the blast shelter. I'll come for you when it's over. Dearest love, Najhakia. Even the batgirl Shykhala was gone, a regular enlisted soldier of the Starfighter Corps, she had another duty assignment for situations like this, though she had quietly packed Lucy's things for her and left a wrapped sub sandwich--Shykhala had always insisted on cooking human food for her, even though she disapproved of the relationship, as a kindness--atop the pile.

How typically Taloran to let someone sleep in on the eve of a major attack, but have everything ready for them to run like hell when they do wake up. Or else someone had simply forgotten to turn on the alarm for her. It was rather typical either way, actually. "Good luck, Major," Lucy said softly to the clear air. "I hope you have a more honourable life in war than your perversions could ever let you enjoy in peace. And I'll pray for your soul, Shykhala. The Lord knows you deserve to go to heaven more than I do." On the off chance the house survived the strike, she indulged in a goodbye note before dashing with her bags and the sandwich to a jet hopper, but not one that would take her to the private aircar that Najhakia kept in a rented garage in Rivala City. It took her to the shielded Colonial Arcology, instead. Safer than Rivala, but also likely a bigger target, and certainly not a highly reinforced blast shelter in the middle of nowhere.

But that was due to the simple fact that Lucy wasn't hiding. She was bugging out, but she wasn't going to do it without the person who represented the focus of her entire mission out here in the Oralnif, including her infiltration of the closed sector via her relationship with Najhakia. The Talorans were pathetic about internal security, and letting perverts in the officer corps take pet humans into active warzones was a comparatively minor crime in the list of their base sins against the field of counter-espionage. However, to successfully get off the planet, she needed a ride. That meant contacting Mikhail Vern, the morally dubious commander of the fast 4-megatonne dry cargo transport Calypso, and making sure he hadn't left the system yet.

The whole civilian coms network had been cut down as an emergency measure. Fortunately, Lucy's personal wristcom was a military model and she had Najhakia's network access codes. That made the rest of the affair trivially simple. She dialed in the Calypso's private military-grade line. "Are you planning to bug out, Mikhail?" Fortunately her relationship with Mr. Vern was entirely professional; maintaining and cultivating sexual relationships with two different individuals on one mission was stressful enough. Casual sex was easier, but she'd been working with Vern for three years and it hadn't come up yet.

"We're leaving in six hours, considering my cloak. All traffic out of the system has been locked down, of course, but they can't stop us if we go anyway, and I have clearance through the outer defences from a Major Gaeta in the Colonial Navy. Need a ride back home, Lucy?"

"Alpha Six Niner. The Chicken is in the Mausoleum. The Chicken is in the Mausoleum." There was another reason Lucy was glad Mikhail Vern hadn't forced her into sex; she hated cavalier operatives who played their roles so well that they committed unnecessary sins. They existed, and she knew it was ultimately unavoidable, but they were preciously rare. The selection procedures were good, after all. She also killed the com after that; there was no more that needed to be said, and Taloran electronic warfare was actually very good. Constitutionally and traditionally banned from being used to surveil their population, it could and would be used on military networks and piggybacking like that for a moment longer would have gotten extremely dangerous.

Of course, she had no idea if Mikhail was a regular agent or had been turned by another agent (or volunteered as an anti-Taloran act) and was simply a reliable bailout option on the list she had memorized--including the codephrases to activate them--who had never had even a cursory contact with more than a single agent, and dead-drops for his pay. She'd find out soon enough; their cover was blown after this, and after what she was about to do. But she was going to retrieve far more than her superiours could have dreamed of.

The jet-hopper landed in one of the Arcology's bays and she was immediately out and moving through the complex elevator and people-mover system which brought her to the apartments of one D'anna Biers, hopefully still there after the desperate message she'd dashed out while boarding the jet-hopper. D'anna was packed for the mandatory evacuation, at least, the first step into the room showed that. And then she was there, and in the moment of nervousness, they embraced and kissed without even speaking. Revulsion was just as effective as pleasure at distracting one from imminent death.

"I, uh, have forged documents which can get us to the Last Freighter Out, more or less," Lucy said nervously. "Can we go now?"

D'anna through about it for a moment. Of course she should stay and wait for the rest of the Cylons to arrive... And quite possibly get blown up. Easier to signal them from a freighter, and easier to seize control of a freighter. Assuming they didn't successfully escape before the attack, at which point she'd simply follow her own original plan. It only required a moment of consideration as to what was the best way to use poor nervous Lucy to the hilt. "Go ahead, my dear. I trust you." She grabbed the bags which consisted of her earthly possessions and followed Lucy in a dash through the arcology to one of the last elevators going straight up.

Near the top at the last terrace was a shuttle receiving/launching platform, and it was here that they arrived a minute later. There was a crowd pressing around, though, mostly to get to the jet hoppers packed there, when suddenly out of the clear air flashed into existence the clean lines of several Cylon Raiders. D'anna sucked in a breath from the abrupt sense of contact with them while they swung in and raked the Arcology with fire. The impacts tore through the surface, but it was massively built to withstand its own weight, and though debris tore through several individuals in the crowd and splashed blood here and there, their floor did not collapse.

"God have mercy!" Lucy exclaimed sharply. "They jumped in directly to atmo! That level of accuracy is impossible--come on, we've got to hurry before they take out the shuttles. CLEAR OUT, Imperial officer coming through!" And the shout, suddenly powerful and authoritative, indeed made the panicking group of Colonials clear as quickly as they could, dragging along D'anna with a hand on her's, suddenly so terribly strong from such a tiny woman, exactly five feet tall as she was.

They reached the bay just as the first Cylon Heavy Raider was landing. Lucy was about to dash for the shuttle even as the doors of the Heavy Raider were blasting open. Suddenly an incredible force dug into her arm and yanked her to a halt. "Sorry, Lucy, but it's the end of the road for you," D'anna Biers offered very softly.

Then D'anna screamed in pain as the plastic flechettes tore her forearm in two, the sharp crack of a plastic explosive detonating following. The ceramic flechette pistol had cost the Empire tens of millions of thalers to develop and each one cost ten or twenty thousand. It was the first time that she'd ever had occasion to use her's, and it had worked as advertised, just as it had remained hidden, using an equally expensive plastic explosive which did not show up on normal anti-explosives scanning equipment, for all fourty-five years of her active-duty intelligence career to date.

With an inexorable force, the Cylon next felt a terrifying presence in her mind, compelling, ordering, demanding her obedience. Power-armoured troops were already responding to the raid, having been waiting in the wings to ambush the ambushers, even though nobody had realized the Cylon drives were so accurate they could jump directly into the atmo. That would certainly cause far more Taloran casualties than it might have otherwise--but there were other things to worry about. She locked a compulsion into D'anna to run into the shuttle and turned to face her foes with an assassin's pistol that had five rounds left. And the powers of one of the most capable psychics ever found in a population of trillions.

The delicate little elfin lady with the ceramic pistol concentrated, having no need for shields here, and focused all of her mind-powers into the Six stepping down from the Raider. The woman shrieked as her mind was overwhelmed in such a way that would surely destroy it, but she also raised her pistol numbly and started firing into the backs of the heads of her Centurions, while that flechette gun raked apart their optical sensors, blinding them. The Six dropped with her centurions, frothing, her mind completely destroyed in an utterly unethical way--but the only thing that permitted the survival of the woman in front of them, bleeding from the glancing wound that one of the Centurions had nonetheless gotten on her. She staggered back into the shuttle, where the pilot had almost raised the ramp to take off, but another pass by the Raiders had discouraged him long enough for her to join D'anna--the final component in her successful mission, for of course the poor pilots had no idea of what was going on, and certainly couldn't be allowed to live.

She had killed to defend herself before, but as she used Najhakia's Squadron-level override code to grab a survival pistol out of the back of the shuttle and then was slammed into the back wall by the intensity of the redlining acceleration, she genuinely regretted that her was she was committing the ultimate sin, even if it was in the service of the Empire, short of the blasphemy of God. She was going to murder two innocent men in cold blood. But first, they were going to get her out of the atmosphere.

She turned her attention to the furious D'anna Biers, unable to understand what had happened to her. "What? Who... You're..."

"A psychic," she calmly answered. "As for the rest, I suppose you will learn soon enough regardless, so I can afford you an introduction--nothing else." She spoke while she hog-tied the Cylon and then dealt with a tourniquet over the shattered stump of her arm, and a few stabilizing general purpose shot cocktails from the medpack. She couldn't even afford the time to dress the steadily bleeding wound on the side of her stomach, and the pain was consuming her mind like a psychic combat.

"I am Senior Inspector Sophia Dragomira Vuletic of His Catholic Majesty's Service, and I promise you, D'anna Biers, that if you wish to learn about human monotheistic religions, we will at least provide you with a priest. We are not cruel people; just practical. As for your religion, your people, their military capabilities and the nature of your species, well, we are going to learn a great deal about those as well. I can guarantee you an all-expenses paid trip to the Holy Roman Empire, and a Confessor. Beyond that, I suggest cooperation. It tends to leave one alive afterwards to consider such spiritual matters, when otherwise you will meet our Maker as you are. And considering the sin we've indulged in the past two days, I recommend against it."

She smiled tightly, and then turned abruptly at the sound of the door to the cockpit opening. It was unfortunate, for it meant she was going to get to know the men she killed far to well. She had to look in the eyes of this one as she brought the survival pistol up and squeezed off a tungsten round straight into the torso of the man, tearing through parts of both lungs before he could even make a strangled cry and sending him to flop back into the cockpit. Then she was into the mind of the second pilot--both hapless mercenaries hired by the Colonials to beef up the nascent recovery of their military--and crushed out his life in a terrific effort that left her completely exhausted, drained of all the energy in her body. A psychic, having taken over one person temporarily, wiped the mind of another while directing her to attack her comrades, and then simply outright overwhelmed a third and killed with brute force--and done it all in less than ten minutes--was in danger of outright slipping into a very serious coma from the neurological consequences of such overexertion.

Yet she couldn't, when there was a shuttle to pilot and a mission to complete. So Sophia grabbed the one injector in the emergency kit with the longest, thinnest needle and ripped open her shirt in her haste. She was wounded, too, and that made the chance of death from this, the most potent of the Taloran combat drugs, rather likely. But if she got to Vern's freighter, she'd have succeeded, and Senior Inspector Vuletic was a legend of the Service: She had yet to fail a mission. Her only fear was in facing her Creator without confession; and so she begged to Mary to intercede on her behalf with the Lord Christ as she ripped off her bra, too, and then with the last bit of her fading consciousness slammed the automatic interjector down through her skin and straight into her heart.

It was synthetic adrenaline.

She threw her head back and howled like an animal through a raw throat as she pulled the needle out, the surge overwhelming every pain receptor in her body, but also pushing her to action with a roaring heartbeat. And indeed, even if it destroyed her heart in her present condition, the sheer power of the drug would keep her alive and functional for maybe thirty minutes, maybe less. Sophia bound her wound in crisp silence and reached the shuttle's cockpit as they cleared the atmosphere, settling in and switching to manual control. She veered away from the Battlestars that were already accelerating out of orbit anyway with a cordon of Taloran-built destroyers and frigates around them, and aimed the prow toward the Gunboat cordon, supported by the fire of several platforms, that was protecting the civilian shipping in orbit.

Around them the remnants of the Cylon raid under the planetary shields was rapidly being finished off, as well as the orbital raiders. The accuracy of their jumpdrives had surprised the Talorans, but they'd still be sitting with their guns loaded, ready for a fight. The response had taken only seconds, and within minutes the situation had been brought under control. Of course from the civilian chatter--the military channels were, with absolute discipline that could be comfortably expected from Talorans in combat, very quiet and fully encrypted--it sounded like there was a massive fleet of Baseships and corvettes with additional fighters swarming in on them at the moment, but the fleet had gone to max acceleration from the moment the jump signals had warned of impending arrival and was clawing for deep space to gain the advantage on their attackers. Sophia wished them luck.

She was successfully passing through the cordon--it was straightforward, with the Battlestars having peeled off with the rest of the fleet, they needed somewhere safe to go--and enroute to the Calypso when her heart seized up with a horrible, horrible pain, worse than anything she might have imagined. Her body started to go numb immediately, but it was still functional as the adrenaline forced the still-living cells to continue functioning and to use all of their remaining energy reserves in their local areas before shutting down, instead of doing so immediately. It was enough that she was yet able to acquire the docking beacon of the Calypso and bring the shuttle in. When she crashed, it would be hard, rapid, and fatal. But as the docking clamps locked firmly onto the shuttle, she turned back and laughed with glee in the incredible intensity of the experience the drug lent to her.

"I'm a walking dead woman, D'anna." Her face fell even as she said that, stepping back into the compartment, a pain sending her face into a rictus of agony. "But the marvelous pharmacology these people have will keep me alive long enough to receive Extreme Unction, if the ship has a priest. If not, to be on the safe side--I apologize for deceiving you, and for abetting your Sapphist sins. My duty to the Emperor, as a spy, often requires me to do things that are not respectable to the morality of the Church, and for that I will shortly be called to account. I will offer you this--I hate to admit it, but you are a good lover, even if I'm not truly bisexual per say. And as you are an agent of your people, I am an agent of mine. Cooperate. You'll get a good life out of it."

"You lying, frakking bitch! Enjoy your slow death," D'anna screamed from the floor.

But then Mikhail Vern forced his way into the airlock. "Julius Storch at your service, Lucianne d'Orvilliers. How may I..." He paused at the sight of the bloodied bandage and the horrible countenance of Sophia's expression.

"Kaylanta-56," she gasped out with a voice that could barely work anymore. The potential life expectancy after cardiac arrest under the drug seemed distinctly overstated at that point.

"I'm afraid..."

And suddenly, inexplicably, D'anna Biers, a moment before cursing Sophia, spoke up quietly. "Do you have a priest onboard."


"Then... Synthetic adrenaline directly to the heart. Her heart's dead; that's what's keeping her alive."

Now it was Julius' turn to pale, and he offered a curt nod to his prisoner. "Your cooperation will be remembered," he added even as he reached over and enfolded Sophia in his arms, still not knowing her true name or rank, just that she had had the code and was clearly an Imperial agent in severe need of assistance. "We don't have a confessor," he offered, with a bit of his customary jovial nature returning. "But for you, right now, we have something better: A suspended animation tube."

Sophia kept laughing like a maniac until they put her under and activated the 'tube. The Calypso jumped out a few moments later, on a circuitous route that would go through uncharged deep space between the Galactic Arms but avoid the combat zone, and ultimately take them the back way to the interdimensional anomaly that would lead them into the CON-5 universe, and thence to the Holy Roman Empire.

Sophia had consented to eight complete reconstructive surgeries on her face over her career to fit into new roles in old nations she'd infiltrated, or in the case of two, including her most recent, to make her more attractive to paedophiles, but this would be her first artificial heart. The sheer damage from the synthetic adrenaline would probably end her field carrier for good, but the successful kidnapping of a high-value-target straight out of a quarantined sector in a foreign Empire was as good of a finish as anyone could want. Those who had confounded and infuriated by the ease with which the deeply devote woman had calmly violated every moral stricture of her religion, and volunteered herself for situations not even an Imperial agent would be asked to place themselves in, and then dug deeper of her own initiative, would be pleased. As for the rest of her colleagues, it said enough that she'd left more corpses behind her in the past hour than in the rest of her life.

Yet through it all, she'd finished the mission just like all the others, dedicated in her soul, as they always were, to the memory of her parents, her mother dead by fifty-two, father at fifty-six, living medieval lives under the 'care' of the Bogumils, who had died without knowledge of the True Faith but had been gifted with the last moral courage to hand their baby daughter over to a gruff NCO who had proved a surprisingly adept family man, even as they died from the radiation poisoning that she in her youth could recover from, the last remember of the suicide-gesture of the Bogumil overlords.

And so had a simultaneously fanatically zealous and incredibly amoral intelligence agent gone right under the nose of that incompetent Taloran counterintelligence, and hauled out a Cylon. D'anna Biers would doubtless soon be surprised; the leadership which had authorized this side-mission of Sophia's had some very particular questions to ask her. And the Calypso sailed on, leaving the fleets fully engaged many lightyears behind her.

PLA Air Defense Command,
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province,
Imperial Autonomous Republic
of the Union of Chinese Peoples.
26 AUGUST 2169 AST.

The Cylons had accomplished this once before. The complete destruction of helpless and unsuspecting worlds. It was supposed to be easy. But two hours prior, the War Warning had reached Earth. The planetary shields were raised, all patrolling anti-orbital missile subs went deep and the neutrino-based comms systems to provide targeting data to them were activated. Maximal staffing was brought to all hardened anti-orbital missile and energy batteries, SAM sites, and anti-missile sites.

"Enemy fighters in the atmosphere over Beijing, they just appeared right there! Also Nanjing, Taipei, Harbin and... Xi'an local is reporting one thousand fighters...!" The holographic plots were upgraded automatically and then, as fast as the three thousand fighters in the atmosphere and preparing to attack China appeared, they began to vanish. very rapidly. Under computer-reaction control, 1,200 SAMs in the Beijing Area Defense Corps had been launched at the small and nimble Raiders as they appeared in the stratosphere and began to dive. The missiles were loaded with 2.5 MT fusion warheads and accelerated out of their launch tubes at 12,000g's. The result was a simultaneous flaring of a wall of tiny suns surmounting columns of plasma from the superheated air rising up into the sky. Tens of thousands of people in the metropolis were blinded and some unfortunate dozens killed by related events, but it was an acceptable price to pay, as was the sizeable ecological devastation of the missile engagement now occurring all over the world. People now had the technology to repair the environments of their planets however; but with dead people, it would be worthless. Saving the cities was the first goal of the engagement.

To that end they simply dealt with the night suddenly turning into day over and over again as the weird perfect spheres of detonating nuclear devices filled the sky with menace and power and once-unfathomable solar energies that were now all-to-dreadfully common. The fight for the cities lasted less than a minute, and for all that, it was one of the most mechanistically savage that Terra had yet seen. The efforts of the Cylon Raiders to transmit computer viruses to shut down the defences was so pointless it was only hours after the attack that they were noticed: None of the radar control computers were wired into any sort of communications network except for hardwired leads into the command centers, where the control computers were completely network-segregated. The viruses caused widespread communications disruptions and destroyed numerous personal computers, but the communications between the facilities themselves were via deep-buried cables that were again network separated from the coms systems.

81 Cylon Raiders had survived the first SAM salvo. Each one fired two nuclear-tipped ground attack missiles at the Beijing Metropolitan Area. Simultaneously, the FTL sensor cued anti-missile defences engaged. Particle beams stuttered out while another two hundred missiles--this time, tiny interceptor cones capable of 40,000g's of acceleration carrying tiny 5kT fusion warheads--ripped through the latest assault force even as outlier SAM sites finished off the remaining Raiders. The atmosphere over the entire region was raised in temperature by a small amount due to the gigatonnes of energy being released within a few seconds, and the computer-controlled climate modifiers automatically started filtration of high-end ozones and cleaning and cooling of the air, with excess energy being shoved deep into the planet, where it would serve to help keep the core hot and the Earth, ironically, habitable for even longer.

The same was repeated at all of the targeted cities in China and most other targeted cities across the world. And inside the Air Defense Command bunker, Fraslia Baroness Istarlan was offering a reassuringly tight hand to Laura Roslyn as she relieved the destruction of her homeworld.

"How bad is it," she finally whispered.

"Estimate two hundred thousand fatalities," the controller said even as the shaking was finished in the ground around them. "They were using enhanced radiation weapons, so we've seen minimal structural damage. Only those caught because we hadn't completed the evacuations and securing of the populace in deep shelters," which was a mandatory procedure for a sectorial War Warning of Imminent Surprise Attack, "were killed in both the hit on Xi'an and the hit on Harbin. No other successful strikes were concluded."

"You killed six thousand fighters potentially armed with twelve thousand missiles in less than fifty t-seconds of engagement with two leakers?" Fraslia was grinning by that point. "Consider this the official compliments of the Imperial Starfleet, gentlemen. The PLA Air Defense Command has, I think, just equalled the best projections of regular Imperial Fortress Command for the interception of surprise city attacks--and done it with less warning."

"Two hundred thousand dead..?" Roslyn asked quietly and a little pointedly.

"In a country with a population of three billion on the planetary surface alone, an acceptable result. It'll probably be higher since they were using enhanced radiation fissionables, but still less than a half a million, counting post-attack fatalities. Total for the entire planet should be less than five million at that level of efficacy. Possibly even better."

With the threat to China taken care of, indeed, the plot had already changed to a worldwide interlinked map from the Imperial Fortress Command facilities in Antarctica and Greenland charged with coordinating the national defences for the planet. In addition to Xi'an and Harbin, the damage reports on the map showed that thirteen other cities had suffered nuclear hits, two--Detroit in the United States and Lagos in Nigeria--had suffered two each, and one air-defense SAM out of the tens of thousands launched had managed to go wild and have every safety fail and initiate on impact, vapourizing a small town of 5,000 in southern Portugal by sheer rotten luck. No attackers had escaped, and around 36,000 of the tiny and unshielded Raiders had therefore been destroyed by the interceptor radars locking onto them when they jumped in, calculating their position, and automatically firing missiles within a few microseconds. Their primitive missiles had been equally easy targets, with only 17 out of 72,000 having successfully initiated over their targets, though most had been destroyed before the Raiders could fire them by the destruction of the Raiders with the fusion-tipped SAMs.

A pause came up, and the scroll bar at the bottom was replaced with glaring red letters:


Roslyn wavered again. "Why do you tally it so mercilessly?" She asked Fraslia softly, as though not wanting to pose the question to other humans.

"To remind of what we have done wrong. Oh, sure, it was an excellent defence. One for the record-books. But the goal of soldiers is to protect civilians, ultimately, and to let one die is in its own way failure, no matter how you cut it." Fraslia sighed and began to gently guide Roslyn away. But she paused then, and with her iron suddenly regained, having processed and accepted what had just happened, turned to the mustachioed commander of the facility.

"Marshal Ye, are the Cylon heavies coming in?"

"Ah, Madame," he offered solicitously, "We read eighty-one new-type and nine old-type Baseships in the outer system, as well as about three hundred corvettes. But they have not made an attempt to enter the system yet. However, since the fighter compliment of a Baseship is 792, plus some to be constructed from spare parts and those in the maintenance departments, we destroyed the operational fighter compliments of fourty-six new-type Baseships. Their fighter force has been more than reduced by half, and since their gamble failed and they appeared to have been unaware of our capability to produce interlocking shields over entire planets, their chance has been lost."

"What about the High Orbitals, Marshal Ye?" Fraslia interjected at that point. With the enemy a dozen hours off and the first attacks defeated, the atmosphere began to relax from the absolute height of tension it had been at moments earlier, and generally since the crisis had begun and Fraslia had used her Taloran rank to get shelter for herself and Roslyn in the Air Defense Command headquarters in an abrupt departure from their visiting the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi.

"That's probably what they're debating whether or not to attack right now," he responded levelly. "Of course, each second they waste is another with our defensive battleships accelerating toward them at 700g's, and the operational Imperial ships at the Jovian yards maneouvring to bring them under two fires at 1,350 g's. The Darksiders," he used the slang for the colonial Republic of O'Neil cylinders--with a population of ten billion--on the far side of the Moon at L2, "have already launched their bomber, interceptor and gunboat regiments, and they're overhauling the BatDivs."

"A hundred and twenty thousand altogether, isn't it?"

"That's correct, Your Ladyship, though half are Space Superiourity fighters they're holding back to support the point defence, so the strike package is sixty thousand strong. Of course, that's pretty much their whole military..."

"But it's still a sixty-thousand strong strike package," Fraslia finished with a nod. "Once they get a read on it, they'll jump out. Call it eight minutes."

"Six. Ketjhar for you if you win, Vodka for me." The Marshal treated it as crisply and seriously as everything else.


Six minutes, four seconds later, the Cylon attacking force jumped out, rather than facing the avenging battle squadrons and fighter regiments moving in on it.

"And the Vodka is your's, Marshal, as it soon as it cools down enough for us to leave the bunker. They're learning much faster than I expected."

"Cools down enough for us to leave the bunker? You mean.." Laura glanced up.

"Yes, that strike on Xi'an was a direct initiation over our position. But the resistance of this facility is measured in millions of psi, so, there was nothing to comment on," Ye finished with a self-satisified smirk, and smugly left to check on his duty officers. And in this fashion had Earth been defended from the Cylon effort to bring the war to the Thirteenth Colony.
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2008-09-08 06:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-09-08 02:14pm

Sweet. The tone you set for Earth is that of a more relaxed, off center world, what with the idyllic scenery and such, as well as the fact that it is a client state of the Talorans and not the center of power as it would be in other universes. I figured you were making it competitive, as the Talorans could swat the Cylons if theyw anted to, so for the cylons to be a threat they'd have to hit a lightly defended target.

but Earth held its own as did the Colonial world and the Cylons got curbstomped.

I also thought for a second there D'anna was going to escape to the Alliance but nope, shes going to the Holy Roman Empire, is this story set during or after the other one that was posted last night, are the cylons going to team up with the kilrathi?

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Post by MarshalPurnell » 2008-09-08 03:16pm

Another couple brilliant chapters, and as always you leave me anxiously awaiting the next few. This will be a really epic tale once completed, though I'm hard-pressed to think of any story you've written on where that hasn't applied.

The Ssi Rissan are not Kilrathi. The Ssi Rissan do have an honor code of sorts, but it is the code of a race of pack-hunters rather than individual alpha predators. Psychologically they're closer to wolves than lions, though they do partake in a long tradition of felinoid-looking aliens. The Kilrathi certainly influenced them heavily, but so did the Kzin from Niven's Known Space, the Orions from the Starfire board game, and the Khalians and Hressa from David Drake's The Fleet books.

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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-08 06:17pm

Excellent as usual, Your Grace.
Conversion Table:

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

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 06:37pm

Themightytom wrote:Sweet. The tone you set for Earth is that of a more relaxed, off center world, what with the idyllic scenery and such, as well as the fact that it is a client state of the Talorans and not the center of power as it would be in other universes. I figured you were making it competitive, as the Talorans could swat the Cylons if theyw anted to, so for the cylons to be a threat they'd have to hit a lightly defended target.

but Earth held its own as did the Colonial world and the Cylons got curbstomped.

I also thought for a second there D'anna was going to escape to the Alliance but nope, shes going to the Holy Roman Empire, is this story set during or after the other one that was posted last night, are the cylons going to team up with the kilrathi?

It was a zero-zero arrival for the Raiders, which is just as bad for them as the surprise is for the defenders, except it wasn't surprise at all.They zero velocity and zero acceleration when they jumped in and zero in the way of a developed, real-time data picture. Whereas the huge, huge unfathomably huge ground-based radars were merrily scanning away from their massive armoured positions, caught targets in the exclusion zone, refined their locations and locked on within a few microseconds, and engaged.

The whole thing was done predominantly under computer control with a few people in direct neural interfaces overseeing it. This was the danger of the Cylons doing a jump directly into atmosphere. The fighters had no energy for evading the missiles, and that was what killed them.

And Earth and Oralnif are lightly defended planets. The Taloran Empire has been around for thousands of years, and has simply kept adding to the defences of its core worlds for the whole time. The only exception to that is both have planetary shielding, but Earth has that because it's the home to a bunch of autonomous governments, and Oralnif had that installed because it's right next to a war zone.

Anyway, the Cylons are scarcely out of this fight yet. Their Baseship forces are much larger than anyone realized (though still finite)..
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-08 06:41pm

May we assume then that nBSG worlds do not benefit from planetary defenses? It seems like such an obvious thing to have been expecting, had the Cylons had any experience with such weaponry.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 06:45pm

Master_Baerne wrote:May we assume then that nBSG worlds do not benefit from planetary defenses? It seems like such an obvious thing to have been expecting, had the Cylons had any experience with such weaponry.

I think it's pretty clear from the Miniseries that vast nuclear-tipped ground to space weapons systems were not on the Colonial planets. And sure as hell not ones with even basic security design considerations. If they had been, there'd be a lot more Colonials alive today.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2008-09-08 07:03pm

I knew about the lack of missile swarms, but I'm still surprised that the Cylons would gamble on the Taloran Star Empire, a foe which has already demonstrated considerable military superiority to both the Colonials and the Cylons, sharing the apparent Colonial lack of planetary weapons. It seems...illogical, somehow.
Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
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Post by phongn » 2008-09-08 07:47pm

Ah, very nice (though I'm not sure if you could build a missile quite capable of that acceleration in atmosphere, even with TGG matsci). Though once I saw the word "PLA" I wondered if I would see a certain guest there :P
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Post by Themightytom » 2008-09-08 08:31pm

MarshalPurnell wrote:Another couple brilliant chapters, and as always you leave me anxiously awaiting the next few. This will be a really epic tale once completed, though I'm hard-pressed to think of any story you've written on where that hasn't applied.

The Ssi Rissan are not Kilrathi. The Ssi Rissan do have an honor code of sorts, but it is the code of a race of pack-hunters rather than individual alpha predators. Psychologically they're closer to wolves than lions, though they do partake ....
Damn I got caught red handed being a jackass. I was only teasing about the Kilrathi marshall, I read your post and i really enjoyed it.
Whereas the huge, huge unfathomably huge ground-based radars were merrily scanning away from their massive armoured positions, caught targets in the exclusion zone, refined their locations and locked on within a few microseconds, and engaged.
How do they do that without networking at least a radar, a prosessor and some kind of computer aided targeting, is that what the neural links were for?
It seems...illogical, somehow
The Cylons should have figured out what they were up against but to be fair, sneak attacks have worked for them ebfore, the problem was they hadn't effectively infiltrated this time, and had neither the intelligence on the ground, nor the sabotage factor working in their favor.

I still feel like the fact that they developed intricate infiltration and sabotage measures to annihalate the Colonials makes it unlikely that they avhe a very large force.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 09:35pm

Themightytom wrote:
How do they do that without networking at least a radar, a prosessor and some kind of computer aided targeting, is that what the neural links were for?
There's no access port for the linkage of radar-processor-missile launcher. The system is completely self-contained. The only system inputs are a console in the command center and the radar itself, so the Cylon broadcasts simply washed over them as though they weren't there, because as far as those broadcasts were concerned, they weren't. There was no wireless transmission receiver that could corrupt the system.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-08 10:30pm

phongn wrote:Ah, very nice (though I'm not sure if you could build a missile quite capable of that acceleration in atmosphere, even with TGG matsci). Though once I saw the word "PLA" I wondered if I would see a certain guest there :P
My idea was that the surface was continuously ablating into plasma which formed a cone around the missile and tended to protect it.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-09 03:33am

Chapter Twenty-Nine.

Oralnif System,
Oralnif Sector.
HSMS Verlandhi
26 AUGUST 2165

Chop, chop, chop, crack! The sound of damage control on a modern cruiser could at times be quite like that on an old sailing ship of war. CPO Wivas Retandre was leading his crewers in the hacking of all the mains into the coms network from the broadcast channels, while the power was shut off manually and breaks thrown into the lines.

The toasters had somehow gotten to their computers, so of course the communications facilities were down. These were disconnected from the rest of the ship's computer grid, however, which meant their complete isolation was now complete. It also meant their communications equipment was dead, though the ship was otherwise fighting fit.

"Chief, is it clear through here?" A lieutenant from sensors approached, and he simply continued locking down--everyone was in vacsuits, and formal salutes were for other times. He glanced up to her respectfully for a moment. "Going on to comslas one, ma'am?"

"Ahh, no. I'm taking over the tachyon translight broadcaster."

"Best of luck, ma'am." He turned away; the ship needed to recover from this and be ready for the proper combat now that the Cylon electronic warfare had given them their hardest blow.

Lieutenant Sergashi crammed her way into the maintenance access located high up in the forward of the two massive armoured sensor towers of the cruiser--resembling the command towers of old steam warships, but lacking in any sort of command facilities, purely sensors, the bridge located deep in the keel--and grabbed an emergency strap to wrap around herself, before shutting the panel. The massive energized array had been lobotomized by the fire-axes, and before that had been maliciously spreading junk under the influence of the computer virus.

They'd responded as they were trained to do in such circumstances, ordering everyone to lock down their workstations to prevent transfers between the comms network (always the most vulnerable) and the main battle networks, and triggering manual guillotines which physically cut the cables to rapidly prevent any spreading infections to subsidiary communications. Engineering and the other self-contained communications networks had been unaffected, but their coms were down, and Kilashia Sergashi had the misfortune of being a coms officer. She'd made her way from her useless relay station deep into the hull up to the very top of the armoured sensor mast in only three minutes, and it would be her battle station for the rest of the engagement. With a flashlight maneouvred by tucking it under her shoulder, she aimed at the DNI jack, grabbing the cable which went into her suit, the suit in turn having an internal jack which connected with the receiver in her neck. Slotting in, she ran a diagnostic on the translight relay even as she was plugging her suit into the mechanical intercom jack.

Routing to the bridge took a painfully long time, but once the channel had been manually switched to the correct one, it would and could simply remain open, no computers required, just electricity, for the rest of the battle, giving them nearly as good of internal communications as they'd had. "Captain, Lieutenant Sergashi reporting. I've got the translight relay up."

"Very good, Lieutenant! We're the first in the squadron to bring our's back online! Laser signals from the Squadron flag to be transmitted: 'Report CRURON 266 holding last ordered position and acceleration in the fleet. Request orders over last four minutes, fifty-five seconds."

"Understand, Your Ladyship," Sergashi replied, and operated the translight relay herself, powering it up and activating the necessary nodes in the manual command sequence via her DNI to transmit the message toward the flagship. She was scared--she'd heard the scuttlebutt that the fleet flagship had been shifted to an automated vessel--that they were leaderless, but a moment later the message came back, and from a live automatic system no less--instead of being more vulnerable, the flagship had apparently easily dealt with it.

CRURON 266 hold course and acceleration for the next five minutes, seventeen seconds and then if further orders are not issued reduce to fourteen-sixteenths acceleration.

"Acknowledged," she flashed back quickly, fancying the system was heavily overloaded even as she flashed the message to her cybernetic hard-drive and spoke outloud, automatically feeding to the manual bridge intercom. "CRURON 266 hold course and acceleration for the next five minutes," her brain-clock provided the seconds, "fourteen seconds and then if further orders are not issued reduce to fourteen-sixteenths acceleration."

"Did you acknowledge?" Captain the Baroness Verashja asked sharply, not very used to the awkwardness.


"Very good. We've relayed it by laser repeaters to the flagship. Carry on, lieutenant."

Sergashi quickly found herself overwhelmed trying to do the work of a computer, and was mercifully relieved that she'd stopped along the way to snag some of the most powerful mental stimulants they had available--no, the most powerful presently available in the fleet--or else she would have never handled it with the rapidity needed. She spoke so fast that she sounded like an auctioneer to those on the bridge, but they comprehended her as she flew through the messages, which were being dispersed to every ship in the squadron to avoid overwhelming her counterpart on the squadron's flagship, the Ilantyak, thirty-two lieutenants jacked directly into the main and backup translight relays of each ship handling messages with as much data-flow and complexity and speed as they could possibly manage with their cybernetics, and doing it non-stop for the rest of the engagement.

Even the fears of being in a fairly exposed condition vanished. She simply worked as fast as she could to avoid a fatal backlog and keep the manual backup system working smoothly. She was lucky; even more volume was being handled by the psychics attached to the staffs of the Admirals and Commodores of the fleet, but they at least had fewer limitations and strains from the exercise of their powers in such a fashion. And so, the fleet's communications network was restored, and sluggishly it began to respond as one body again at Tisara's personal command.

HSMS Dhirisma

"I had not expected them to be able to do that," Dhirisma said with a touch of childlike curiousity. "They actually tried to hack an AI. Of course they surely didn't know what I was, but, wow that was stupid."

Tisara laughed despite herself. "My dear computer, your innocence is charming. However, your security protocols are a relief. Our complete communications network is still intact?"

"Oh, of course, I purged the virus quite easily. In fact, I can probably send upgrades out to all the other ships, except that...."

"...Nobody with a DNI in the fleet except me has the ability to handle that kind of dataload. Well, at least it'll let us fix the infected computers rather than replace them," Ysalha said from where she stood by some of the side tactical plots, two-dimensional supplies supporting the main holotank.

"Charming," Tisara remarked as she watched the massive and developing strike from the enemy force. "We're fighting with manual relays for our coms against... One hundred and eighteen new-type Baseships, ninety transitional Baseships, fourty-five old type baseships, thirty of the refined new-type, and then what's that other design there toward the center of the formation?"

"Read nine ships of a slightly enlarged version of the transitional Baseship model, except with more heavy bolt-on armour and massive dorsal and ventral heavy cannon turrets," Dhirisma answered instantaneously. "Strange that they're not trying to jam us..."

"A new class meant to be capable of fighting our heavy ships on even terms?" Captain Ilahmbh asked for the communications she was monitoring and sending.

"Likely," Ysalha replied. "They are very adaptive. And they're..." Her face tensed. "Something's going on..."

"Oh hell! They just went to full jamming. Lost the entire fleet picture, including the developing strike," Dhirisma frowned sharply. "And we can't counter their jammers through more than squadron-level coordination. Clever of them to wait until now, so we couldn't get a handle on their systems while the fleet was still interlinked. Now it'll be almost impossible to cut through the waves of jamming they're running. And Ysalha, dear, you actually heard them planning that in advance?"

"I wasn't sure what it was."

"Well, you've proved yourself so far," Tisara smiled softly. "So speak up at whatever intuition you get. We'll use it to counterbalance the way they've managed to improve their odds with that virus to the best of their abilities, my love. Anyway, you know I trust you."

"Thank you, but I hope you trust Dhirisma as well, these days."

"She did perform admirably," Tisara answered, pausing a moment and blinking furiously. The next question was far more polite than the prior ones: "Dhirisma, were the Colonial ships affected?"

"One moment." The interrogative was sent to Admiral Tigh and the response came back within seconds. "Negative. The Galactica, Pegasus and Kshatriya all have full coms systems, though their escorts have of course lost them. This virus was tailored against Taloran military computer systems, Your Serene Grace." The AI had settled on politeness for the moment, even as she mumbled afterwards, "I still can't believe they actually thought they could hack me."

"Thank you." Her eyes flickered up to indicate a bit of amusement. "Well, your first baptism in fire, my dear. Are our destroyer flotillas standing by?"

"Laser repeaters have them all on station, Your Serene Grace."

"Heading thirty-six North fourteen East Solar Relative, flanks best force acceleration, send Commander Colonial Fleet."

"Transmitting.. And acknowledged."

"Develop a course to bring us around to interlink with them for real-time coordination but still stand-off. We need the best picture of the enemy fleet that we can get and that means concentrating our remaining EW assets for maximum efficacy."


"Hmm." Tisara stepped crisply forward to glance over the plots. "Once they've assembled their strike, I do believe they're going to jump in directly against the fleet. They don't know how badly they've wounded us. They may think it worse, or believe they haven't really harmed us at all. Dhirisma, I want you to signal the fleet to spread out into dispersed formation and dispersed squadron formations necessary to maintain safe intervals at superlight and prepare for gravito-magnetic operations. We are going to close at superlight in against their heavies at the same time their strike jumps in to where our fleet should be. Everything must be planned simultaneously."

"Of course, Admiral."

"At the same time, order the battleship squadrons in orbit to prepare to use gravito-magnetic superlight as well, to the far side of the enemy fleet at about... Grid space EN-560599. We'll need their firepower here. The Cylons won't close with the stations until they've finished us."

An assumption. Dhirisma frowned and prepared to protest, but Ysalha's soft voice advised against it, and inside she shrugged and gave in to her closest of partners possible. Of course, Ysalha. If you think she's right..

She's experienced. Learn from what she has to offer, and you'll see the method in the madness. She knows how battles develop.

Tisara waited quietly while the readiness reports crisply filtered back over and over again, clarifying the dispersal and slowing in the fleet's formations in preparation for the abrupt jump to supralight dirve. In the meanwhile the two forces came together, the Taloran ships marked by their tactical reports and the Cylon ships indistinct, unrecognizable through the electronic fog.

"The fleet's in dispersed formation and awaiting the order to jump. The selected coordinates will take them directly into the enemy formation," Dhirisma flickered the ears of her hologram nervously at the last point.

"I'm well aware, Captain."

"They're ready too," Ysalha added softly, having sat down on the spacious flagbridge Dhirisma was equipped with--it doubled as a command station for her, and she sat locked into it by several wired hookups as virtually a part of the ship's architecture for the moment. "Not sure why they haven't given the order to jump yet."

"Stand by fortress command," Tisara ordered abruptly. "Salvo all assault missiles on dispersed spreads into the present fleet formation."

"All of them?"

"We need to attrite the numbers of their fighters. Launch... Now."

"The fleet's still in that position, Tisara," Ysalha softly pointed out.

"It won't be for long, will it?"

"No, no, they're debating the plan of action..."

"We need those missiles right ontop of them, or they'll turn around and jump out. Order the launch."

"Transmitting the orders, Aye," Dhirisma straightened her ears toward Tisara. "I see the logic in that, Your Serene Grace."

"Now that's a good girl," Tisara murmured, thrusting her thumbs under her belt and stepping closer to the holoplot and coolly waited as the minutes past and the formations drew closer to each other. "Order the fleet to fire a blind salvo into the enemy force--no Assault MIssiles. See if we can't get any useful information from it now that we're close enough to Admiral Tigh's taskgroup to link our sensors together. That has been done, yes?"

"Of course, Sir."

The standard missile salvo tore out of its tubes, somewhat more ragged than usual, and accelerated toward their targets even as the massive assault missiles from the planet headed toward the position of the Taloran starfleet.

"The fleet is at extreme effective range. Few hits are likely to be obtained."

"I'm well aware. That isn't the point. Wait." Tisara settled her hands on the railing and led them in the example of doing so, her scarred face inscrutable as she observed the development. It would take thirty minutes or more for the missile strike to reach its targets even with that lead velocity, and the Assault Missiles would arrive at the position of the fleet about two minutes later. The timing would have to be fairly exquisite.

Now that they were starting to get a better tactical picture of the Cylon force, it was: When the missiles finally began to reach their targets, they started to vanish at extreme ranges and the flickering of the electronics of countermissile warheads was clearly detected a few times. "So it is. Before they just used KEV point-defence. They've started arming their ships with countermissiles in the past months. I wonder what other surprises they have up their sleeves...."

"The hybrids have been asked to send the orders for the jump," Ysalha spoke in a distant, strained, inhuman voice, very, very urgently. "They're going to jump now!"

"Fleet to superlight!"

"Fleet signals: Full superlight on pattern!" Dhirisma repeated as she crisply transmitted it through her own intact coms computers.

The fleet engaged the superlight or military drives which forced the gravito-magnetic transition to higher dimensional submergence, per what the humans had commonly called Heim Theory. The moment they did they were racing at somewhat more than 53.4c toward the enemy fleet, and covered the distance in just a few seconds. Even as they were in transit, the Cylon Raider group arrived at its destination, every single one of them armed with two nuclear-tipped missiles, and then the Heavy Raiders armed with more, and to the surprise of everyone, a fair number of Old Type Raiders armed with even more massive numbers of nuclear missiles.

"They've revived the design as a bomber?" Dhirisma speculated, well aware with it from her shared memories of Ysalha's rescue.

"Possible," Captain Ilahmbh dared engage the AI from the far side of the bridge. Than the holo-plot lit up as two things happened. First, the 4,096 incoming Assault Missiles, enormously expensive and accelerating at incredible speeds, with reattacking capability, basically automatic starships operating in linked groups, began to fire their sixteen warheads each. Each warhead was a terminal seeker head for a standard heavy torpedo, accelerating at 40,000g's for 3 Taloran seconds and carrying a 10 gigatonne area effect anti-matter boosted fusion warhead. A total of 65,536 10 gigatonne warheads were fired into the forward of Cylon fighters, representing 655,360 gigatonnes of firepower, detonated largely simultaneously around and amidst some 150,000 Cylon raiders of all types. The area literally became a small sun for several minutes as the fireballs burned around each other and did not flicker away for a substantial length of time.

"Fleet's dropped out of FTL space," Ilahmbh noted as Tisara turned away from the sun she'd just created, not really caring about the disposition of the Cylon force anymore; they probably had at least another 50,000 fighters, so it was scarcely all over yet, and many may well have survived. "Four collisions, three with the enemy, three ships lost, Your Serene Grace."

"Acceptable." It might well mean 50,000 dead instantaneously, or a hundred thousand, but it was exactly that. "Now you know why I ordered torpedo pods rather than missile pods."

"You intended a close engagement all along?" Ysalha looked surprised.

"I didn't think the Cylons would expect us to fight at close ranges. Their ships are at any rate optimized for long range missile bombardment and there was only so much they can.... Captain Ilahmbh, are those energy readings what I think they are?"

"We are receiving scattered but increasing reports, Your Serene Grace, that yes, the Cylon ships are shielded."

"This is going to be harder than I thought it would be."

"Incoming! More than seventeen thousand fighters have jumped in against us! Right on top of us. Engaging.." Dhirisma didn't even flicker or seem upset, though it was using substantially more of her processing power as her countermissile batteries began rapidly flushing, the Cylons firing their missiles immediately on arriving, and she was somewhat more exposed in comparison with the Battlestars and the Kshatriya.

"Starfighter corps support units move in," Tisara answered. "Seems a reasonable use for their remaining fighters from that strike, though I'm surprised with their distributed command network they were able to realize our's would be centralized. Hmm." She frowned, flexed her ears as much as her helmet allowed in consternation, and slapped a gloved hand light on the railing, before reluctantly turning around to the Admiral's command chair and strapping herself in as the first hits started thudding against dreadnought-scale shielding.

There was at least one substantial advantage the fleet had. Its hyper-fast accelerating short-range attack torpedoes, which were fired out of massive semi-trainable mass drivers, could exit the tube at substantial velocities and then accelerate at 40,000g's for up to 15 Taloran seconds afterwards including the final homing engine—all the engines were simple anti-matter rockets for maximum acceleration, making the torpedoes ride a progressively developing explosion—giving them substantial energy. The pods on all the warships which could fit them were the variant fitted with massive banks of torpedoes for close-range engagements. This meant that the normal salvoes were considerably enlarged—the broadside of sixteen tubes on the Dreadnoughts was now thirty-two tubes, for example, and more fore and aft as well.

What made them so lethal was their energy. The rapidity of acceleration in this combat, where both fleets had, through the cheating of the gravito-magnetic interactions, effectively matched velocities (the Talorans had turned around while superlight and then dropped back out, conserving their prior sublight momentum in doing so). That meant the faster-accelerating Taloran torpedoes had the advantage over the Cylon countermissiles, which were still fairly primitive and slow, while the main Cylon missile armament were sitting ducks for the Taloran countermissiles which used the same technology as their torpedoes, not having enough energy at the short ranges of engagement to manoeuvre or avoid interception.

On the other hand, the Taloran starfighters, though finally available in very large numbers by their standards (some 30,000 in all, including gunboats, were deployed with the main fleet), the 50,000 Raiders they still faced were far more manoeuvrable, and in a close-range dogfight that gave them the decisive advantage. The nuclear missiles of the Raiders proved able to kill the Taloran starfighters and gunboats and casualties mounted rapidly, so that they were forced to break off with their remaining numbers and resort to slashing and harrying attacks to at least deny the Raiders a chance to fall back and rearm or turn themselves for attacks on the starships, including the crucial danger of kamikaze attacks.

Around Dhirisma, though, one thousand Colonial Vipers and 12,000 Taloran starfighters and gunboats now fought their engagement with 17,000 Raiders, and most of those were the heavy or older types, which had survived the efforts of the missileers because it turned out the Cylons had been able to fit those vessels with shields as well, everything except the tiny new-type Raiders, in fact. The dogfight swirled around the 200 Taloran Destroyers and Destroyer Leaders which provided the combined escort for Dhirisma, the cruiser Kshatriya, and the two Battlestars.

It was a serious fight, and the casualties among the destroyers were mounting; nine had been lost already, as well as one of the larger Destroyer Leaders. The Cylons had however attacked the Colonial ships heavily, only to find that the issue of shielding went both way. They had all completed their refits, which meant that massive plates of heavy dreadnought-grade armour covered their hulls, and battleship grade shielding protected them. The shields of the proud Galactica and Pegasus shrugged off the assaults and their defensive batteries, aided by bolt-on packs of Taloran countermissiles being used in an anti-fire role, tore through the attackers by the dozen.

“They're not going to like it when I show I'm still quite clearly in control of the situation,” Tisara showed her teeth savagely. “But we'll deal with it when it comes. Order the battleships in!”

“Of course, my love,” Ysalha answered with a dreamy distraction as she listened in as best she could to the scattered madness of the hybrids with which she was inextricably linked.

The battleships accelerated to lightspeed at the order, all sixteen of them in a close formation and coming in along a grid line which was now on the opposite side of the moving tangle of the two fleets than it had been, but that was the entire point. The largely unengaged sector gave them a clear path of fire, and their pods were loaded with heavy missiles for a long-range engagement. They first tore through the distracted Cylon Baseships, using their countermissiles to try and intercept torpedoes, finding the different strike package hard to immediately adapt to, with those massed salvoes of tens of thousands of missiles from their pods, rolling the ships to fire their starboard pods concentrations after the port. And then they engaged with their gun batteries, making full acceleration to keep up with the moving tangle of enemy and friendly ships and firing in massed salvoes from the guns of sixteen battleships, nearly equal to a dreadnought squadron, and tearing through and crippling or destroying outright three or four of the weaker new-type Baseships with a salvo at a time, tearing up their fleshy hulls, their close-order formation allowing salvo coordination via laser relay despite the disabled coms computers.

“Order the dreadnoughts to assemble outside of the main engagement envelope, to fall back on the Battleships and use concentrated gunnery to smash them to pieces. I fancy their torpedo stores are nearly exhausted in the pods, and already have been in the hull—nobody anticipated this kind of torpedo heavy engagement at close quarters, even if four or six of the things can put paid to even a shielded Baseship, I'd wager.” Tisara's face was savagely proud even as the hull of the Dhirisma shuddered abruptly and hard.

“They've resorted to kamikaze tactics,” Dhirisma professionally warned, even though she unquestionably felt fear now.

“But I can hear it when they decide to attack. I can feel the Raiders,” Ysalha said softly, “The new Cylons are stupid, they relay on the hybrids, I can hear the orders being relayed. I... Taking over defensive targeting control from you, Dhirisma.”

“Do it.”

Dhirisma handed over her own life into the hands of the shattered woman she'd bounded with, who occupied no small part of her mind—and the pair worked perfectly for it. Ysalha designed the targets as she knew they were going to dive in on the ship in kamikaze strikes, and each time as she did more of them exploded instantaneously. None of them were able to get through because she was always able to concentrate the defensive fire on the kamikazes and ignore the Raiders not tasked to suicide runs, that were distracted engaging in the fighters and gunboats or supporting the kamikazes with gun passes against the shields.

Abruptly, with a heavy thrum in the hull, the secondary batteries opened up on wide dispersal as well, and they began to slash and shatter the enemy forces attacking the other ships in the fleet with especial attention to the kamikazes. Sometimes they vapourized their own starfighters and gunboats in the grim calculus of the engagement, but Ysalha showered herself, being basically wired into the computers to the point of being an AI herself, to be capable of data-shifting through the recollections and reports of the Cylons that her interlink with the hybrids provided her in real-time, that she could target the secondary batteries and engage with such awesome rapidity and excellent ROF (their main guns were after all silent, providing plenty of reserve power) as to make substantial impacts into the groups attacking the other heavies of the squadron, and thereby helped to keep the kamikazes off the backs of the Battlestars. Then even that wasn't enough, and she crisply, oh so crisply, opened up with the main batteries as well, firing very occasionally—every twenty seconds or so—but whenever she divined a concentration of Raiders such that a salvo would sweep a few of them out of the sky despite their efforts to avoid the Dreadnought-scale relativistic particle beams. It was a perfect dance of combat and a perfect example of trust and coordination between the two minds, and Tisara's flag staff was half scared by it, though the news from the battle was more genuinely disturbing.

“Your Serene Grace, we've lost three dreadnoughts, and they're throwing everything they've got at the other twenty-nine as they try to pull out and regroup!”

“We've lost three dreadnoughts?!” Even Tisara's voice evidenced shock there.

“Those brand new Baseships with the heavy guns—they ARE particle guns,” Captain Ilahmbh noted worryingly. “They've copied our technology that rapidly, and they're heavy enough that three of them can overwhelm a dreadnought, and that's exactly what they've done, though we've destroyed four of the nine already. The old type Baseships also stood well enough up to the fire.. We've probably inflicted fifty percentage casualties on their force overall, but the dreadnoughts are having everything thrown at them, and a lot of the kamikazes over there have been loaded with Tylium bombs. And.. We've lost another dreadnought, Admiral!”

Even as a fourth of the 32 dreadnoughts, now 28, was lost, though, the battleships and the dreadnoughts themselves were tearing through another dozen Baseships, and there were starting to be not that many left—sixty percent of the Baseships had been destroyed or crippled already. But could it come fast enough? The heaviest and best part of the Taloran fleet was now receiving the concentrated fire of virtually the entire Cylon force as they tried to battle their way out of the massive dreadnought-scale furball, and it was telling. Even if only four ships had been lost, many more were damaged or with collapsed shields.

“I think it's time for us to intervene directly,” Tisara ordered abruptly, tautly, and more than a little eagerly. “Dhirisma, not gravito-magnetic drive. An intra-system jump. You can do one accurately, yes?”

“Not as accurately as they can.”

“Your best, and then maximum acceleration to bring us in with the battleships. Ysalha has brought the situation here under control.”

“Of course, Your Serene Grace.”

“Execute!” She clenched her fist, and waited for the moment of close combat with ambition and desire roiling in her veins. It was what, ultimately, the Valerian dynasty had been bred for. Time to lead from the front.
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Post by Steve » 2008-09-09 11:36am

The Cylons do seem to learn damned fast, don't they?
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Post by D.Turtle » 2008-09-09 12:25pm

I find it amazing how you manage to have the detailed prose, while still keeping up the suspense of the battle.

And damn, the Cylons do learn extremely fast.

They also apparently have quite some manufacturing base considering how quickly they built the new types of Baseships and Raiders, while also modifying the old ones.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-09 04:31pm

D.Turtle wrote:I find it amazing how you manage to have the detailed prose, while still keeping up the suspense of the battle.

And damn, the Cylons do learn extremely fast.

They also apparently have quite some manufacturing base considering how quickly they built the new types of Baseships and Raiders, while also modifying the old ones.
Well, they only produced nine examples of the new anti-capship Baseships that have been fielded so far. Modifying the rest of the fleet with shields and restarting production of old-type Raiders (though modified to carry crews of the new-type Centurions) were their only other actions, as well as arming the Baseships with countermissiles. The exact nature and capabilities of their industry, I shant elaborate on. Yet.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-10 01:27am

Chapter Thirty.

Oralnif System,
Oralnif Sector.
HSMS Dhirisma
26 AUGUST 2165

Dreadnought scale firepower from a large cruiser boring in at close to 3,000g's
of acceleration was an unpleasant surprise to the Cylon fleet. One Baseship was already flaming debris from the fire of Dhirisma's guns and then another. She was coming on like hell and firing with every gun that could bear as Ysalha provided up-to-date and continuous targeting information that let her know which of the Baseships were damaged, where, and how to strike them to cause the most hurt. Every twelve seconds her main battery fired with deadly precision, and as she turned over and began her deacceleration run to match velocity with the fleet, still firing as she manoeuvred.

"Good show, Dhirisma!" Tisara's ears pressed to the limit of her helmet as she settled back and watched them tear into a third wounded Baseship, this of the older type that proved more resistant than the others. But their weapons were making a grave effect, and the ship's shields were already down. Counterbattery fire was only beginning from the Cylons against Dhirisma, and her dreadnought-grade shielding held up well at first even as now, mercifully, the first of the battered Mikela IV-class dreadnoughts started to force their way out of the close-range furball of a melee with the Cylons, batteries thundering to port and starboard in reply to their harriers.

Behind them, though, the battleships were starting to fall back. They couldn't match the turn of acceleration that the Cylons were putting on to widen the range, and their own acceleration was limited by the need to keep their broadsides to the enemy, forcing them to tack and slew and slow themselves further. Now the remaining dreadnoughts, still twenty-eight but all badly battered, were working their way clear, a final roiling of a half-dozen smashed and twisted Cylon Baseships left from their guns before the ships, leaking debris and fuel and with their hull tanks flashed off from detonating as ERA at numerous impacts looking far more seriously damaged--hulls completely burned through but the inner layers of armour still largely intact--than they really were.

"We need time while they regroup," Captain Ilahmbh dared. "Your Serene Grace, I recommend the battleships accelerate on superlight drives around the enemy formation and lay down fire on them from ahead as they close."

"The battleships won't last very long if they get drawn into that mess, though I suppose the same has been true of our battlecruisers," Tisara grimaced from the casualties in that force, having been long a battlecruiser commander. "Very well. Cut the orders for them to jump ahead. But if we're at the point of needing all the concentrated firepower we can... Cut engines, Dhirisma!"

"Understood, Admiral," she more bravely offered. A sweeping group of missiles and kamikazes floated past in serenity ahead and the secondary guns swung about to chew through them.

"Good timing, Mistress," Ysalha glanced up fractionally. "What are you planning."

"Order the Fleet Carriers to jump in. Thirty-two of them have the same firepower as a squadron of Empress Saverana class heavy dreadnoughts. They are to launch all their remaining fighters to provide local cover for Oralnif and then jump in, jettisoning stores as necessary to protect themselves. They'll form on us."

"That's an incredible risk to one of our best assets against the Cylons."

"We need every heavy battery we can get. At once, Ysalha."

"Aye. Admiral." It was another one of those dubious decisions of Tisara's. Sometimes, however, they did work out, and this time was one of them. The fleet was in desperate need of any kind of support it could get, and the Cylons had no way to judge the capabilities of Taloran fleet carriers, which were certainly far more heavily armed than their Alliance counterparts, each one having half the heavy guns--dreadnought-grade--of a battlecruiser laid out along their ventral hulls while the dorsal hulls had their flying-off decks, catapults, and recovery decks, as well as the permanently attached sponson pods which supported even more combat starfighters.

Ysalha finished her work and then cast an eye toward the quietly involved short figure of a male in one corner of the bridge. "Lieutenant Ehlari, attend me."

The surprised psycher jacked out of the ship's DNI, warning the rest of the flagship captains that the supreme command's ship would temporarily not be receiving their battle charts at the same rate--Commander Sivara would have to take up some of the slack, for there were only two psions in Tisara's flagstaff, and most of the rest of the flag officers only had one, and padded over with a quizzical expression. "Captain?"

"When the carriers come in, I'm going to designate precision targets on eight damaged old-type Cylon baseships in the formation for you. I want you to relay the coordinates to the division flagships of the carrier force so each division can take one under coordinated fire."

"Understood, Captain." He found the nearest chair and settled in tensely. That sort of battlefield coordination had not be accomplished before, and the strange deadening buzz around the half-computer and weirdly interlinked Ysalha was unnerving. But it would have to be done, even as the ship rattled and slewed under them from some particularly severe hits, Dhirisma's own guns putting paid to another damaged Baseship as they did.

Meanwhile, the sixteen battleships racing out and ahead of the formation at the equivalent of Warp 3.5 on a desperate end-run to reinforce the badly handled vanguard of the Taloran fleet, now absent of dreadnought support. The problem with that was that it left, for the moment, the trailing Baseships to accelerate clear of the engagement and toward the regrouping dreadnoughts, including a fair number of the heavily armoured and armed old-type Baseships that could stand up to some sustained fire. And to get to the regrouping dreadnoughts, they first had to pass through Dhirisma, who had not been built for such a stand-up fight. Her hologram's expression was particularly grim as she nonetheless reported, "Shields still holding, Admiral." It looked like bringing in the fleet carriers was, to her, a very good idea after all, and the curious sensation of fear brought an interesting tinge to her calculations.

Ysalha directed her where to hit, and she made every single shot count. There wasn't a single miss in the lot and that was less due to the targeting systems on the Synthetic Control Cruiser and more to her preternatural abilities to know exactly where the Cylons were, and where they ought to be hit. In the meantime, though, she'd also dispatched the orders to the fleet carriers, and their captains, who had certainly never brought ships of those type into a gun action before in their lives, gave the orders and they flashed through jump space, their transition signals arriving before their jumps had even completed, the ships temporarily existing in two places at once at the jump was completed and, right in front of the advancing rearguard of the Cylons, a wall of thirty-two of the lean carriers, all of the reasonably modern Arkuna-class (in fact the entire run of that interim class between the Empress Intalasha III and Empress Thsarta classes), jumped in.

Each of the Arkhuna class ships had shields with a maximum instantaneous absorption of 112 GTs and a main battery armament of four triple turrets along the ventral surface armed with 1.5 GT particle cannons, and twenty-four 40 MT particle cannons in dual turrets as a secondary battery. Their tri-axially aimable quad-rail standard missile launchers were loaded entirely with long range anti-fighter missiles, and these were actually in their normal configuration reasonably effective against incoming anti-ship missiles as well. As they jumped in with a reasonably tight formation--it was easier than moving at superlight and required less dispersal to simply make a jump from their powered orbit around outer Oralnif--they immediately locked on and began to salvo thousands of anti-fighter fusion missiles into the incoming Raiders, the launchers returning to loading position, having new missiles slide into the tubes, and then flinging them with the gravitic accelerators at up to 13% of the speed of limit before their own engines took over, loaded with powerful 32 MT fusion warheads at the tips of the 20-meter long missiles that were well capable of smashing any fighter in existence, let alone the Raiders.

From the moment they arrived, though, the most important thing was the psychic link between Ysalha and Lieutenant Ehlari. He read into her tortured mind, and virtually quailed from it, but forced himself to see what she saw, relayed it in pictures to the psychics on the ships of the incoming divisions, and they translated it to their Admirals and Captains in turn. In unison, each one of the fleet carrier divisions focused on a single target and fired their pre-charged main batteries while the secondary batteries opened up as well. The main batteries served to cripple or heavily damage most of the already damaged Baseships in the formation, even of the armoured old type, while the 40 MT medium cannons tore through them with shots every two seconds while the main batteries could fire once every twelve seconds only.

"Admiral Tigh reports he's cleared off the Raider threat from the Colonial Navy and sixteen and eighteen destroyer flotillas. Another five destroyers lost. His ships are ready to jump in--where do you want them?" Ilahmbh asked Tisara as the devastation of the Cylons coolly continued behind them.

"Right ahead with the Battleships. Have him come in, flush his missile tubes, and then engage with every battery they have. They need all the volume of firepower with them that they can get as the melee draws closer to their formation. And his destroyers and the two flotillas we had with them have fresh torpedo batteries, so they shall make torpedo runs on the Cylon Baseships until their torpedoes are exhausted. A hundred and seventy fresh destroyers should make quite the impression in that regard, Captain."

"So they should, Your Serene Grace." Ilahmbh turned back to her console.

"Admiral," Dhirisma, the only one--obviously, seeing as it was just a hologram--not dressed in a vacuum suit, also the only one standing, stepped over to Tisara. "The battle squadrons have finished dressing their ranks and reforming. All twenty-eight ships remain capable of at least one thousand, one hundred gravities of acceleration."

"Then the battle is won. Have them use their FTL drives to manoeuvre onto the port flank of the melee in wall formation and engage. Order the entire rest of the main fleet body to be begin withdrawing to our starboard. Translate those orders to coordinates and send."

"Understood, Admiral." Dhirisma turned her attention to the orders, the Talorans rallied, and the noose was closed. Her batteries kept firing on Ysalha's cue, and the killing continued apace.

HSMS Verlandhi

The orders from the flagship for the withdrawal to begin were one of the happiest that Lieutenant Sergashi had ever heard in her life. Only minutes earlier she had been transcribing orders, completely exhausted by the hours of the engagement, when she realized she was talking to nothingness. With a dull and heavy hand she flicked over her intercom channel to the secondary bridge, to confirm with Commander Unojasab that the bridge had been lost to a direct hit. The Heavy Cruiser's shields were long gone, her missile batteries expended, a third of her guns knocked out, but she was still fighting, and still taking damage. Sergashi was in the only sensor mast left, the aft mast and with it one of her counterparts in the communications sector were gone and dead; she hadn't even had the time to run through the list of who it might be, or get afraid or upset.

Now she was experiencing the considerable joy of relaying the withdrawal to Commander Unojasab. "We're to pull immediately out at full acceleration and begin regrouping once we're clear. Continue firing the whole while regardless of risk of friendly fire incidents."

"Understood. Acknowledge the signal, Lieutenant. We're already on the move." Unojasab turned to his crew. "Full acceleration on heading 146 south 46 west relative solar bearings, pull us clear!" The engines strained against damage as the heavy cruiser started to move away from her nearest assailants, still trading shots with several nearby Baseships, her hull covered in scars from the ERA detonating to save her from further impacts and the armour shattered in multiple places, bu well able to continue fighting.

Beyond that, too, Lieutenant Sergashi finally seemed to relax even as the messages hit a tempo of efforts to avoid collisions as they pulled out and begin to reorder and reorganize their formations. Her ship was going to survive the action; it was the part that mattered the most, beyond her own life. She settled down into the tempo of relays as the intensity of the impacts gradually fell away.

Behind them, the dreadnoughts had arrived at their position on the opposite side of the Cylon force and immediately all twenty-eight had begun firing massed salvoes. The Colonial Navy ships had jumped in to join the battleships, adding their full missile compliments while their Vipers and the other freed Starfighter Corps craft moved in, KEVs opening up, the heavy bow guns of the Pegasus now doing good execution.

But most of all, it was the dreadnoughts. Organized and pulled clear of the melee while the Cylons had already been badly worked over in the fight, they now, like a square of rallied British infantry, locked in their sights and began firing as rapidly as their guns could charge into the swirling and disorganized mass of the Cylon forces as they tried to make up their minds when being attacked by four different forces in four different diffuse directions with most of their Raider compliments having already been lost.

And then, too, the fourty-eight surviving battlecruisers of the Taloran forces dressed their ranks and fell into a regular wall of battle and added their heavy dreadnought-grade armaments into the engagement as well. Nothing was spared. Long-range missiles which had been left with limited application in the close range fight were now fired off in as many salvoes as could be organized. The initial disorder of the fleet caused by the Cylon virus had been completely addressed by the emergency measures undertaken, and they were steadily pouring their fire down onto the Cylons without relent. Most of the Cylon force was dead, now, and unless they acted fast, the rest would follow. The Talorans would, after a surprise attack on civilians and such a savage fight, certainly show no mercy in the pursuit.

Battlestar Pegasus

Admiral Saul Tigh had only very reluctantly left the old Galactica for the newer and better protected ship, but Pegasus did have its advantages, including how she had adapted to the larger crew required to handle the Taloran equipment, though the bridge layout had, for ergonomics reasons, mostly remained unchanged.

"We've finally got those bastards," he muttered softly, coldly observing the plots. "Nothing more to say for it. Trapped on every side and we're putting enough fire on them to knock out a dozen Baseships a minute. All of their new heavies are gone."

"We have some movement from one of the corvette squadrons in grid sector A-168B, Admiral. Looks like they're trying to counter the destroyer squadrons."

"Send Eight and Ten Squadrons to engage, missiles free."

"Aye, aye."

The job of Pegasus and Galactica's fighters now was to cover the destroyers as they swept in, avoiding the firing of the battleships and the crossfire of the dreadnoughts and the escaping battlecruisers and light on the far side of the formation, to where they could fire up into the underbelly of the Cylon formation with their full torpedo volleys.

It was an interruption that was certainly to be adequately dealt with while the destroyers raced in by the two squadrons, one of them containing Starbuck herself. Now the three remaining Colonial heavies mostly concentrated on pouring their relentless fire along with the battleships into the remaining Cylon vessels, obscured by more and more explosions and the spreading cloud of debris that kept up its velocity well as the accelerations of the fleets had bled off through damage and tactical considerations and were mostly fixed relative to each other except for small maneouvres.

"Wing Lead to Pegasus.."

"Pegasus Actual," Tigh replied to Thrace's voice. "Go ahead, Major."

"Admiral, we've taken care of most of the corvettes but they were screening another three going in on suicide runs. Engaging now--tell those destroyers to keep their batteries clear of us while we make the runs! They're getting close."

"Talorans never seem to appreciate avoiding friendly fire, but I'll do my best, Major. Good luck." He flipped channels. "Commodore Trilanyah? This is Pegasus Actual. I've got my fighters going after kamikaze corvettes into your defensive fire zones. Can you give the clear run."

"Will do our best with the computers, Admiral. We are beginning our runs now and we're not going to let them stop us, though. Eighteen flotilla out."

"Cold hearted frakkers," Tigh said rather ironically. He was less composed in the action than poor old Adama had usually been, watching tensely, though, as the plot developed itself. First one, then two of the three corvettes were destroyed, but the final one was still homing in, the Talorans had checked their fire for a moment but no longer and then opened up, and yet Starbuck led back another flight...

...And then as she came in to her closest, both her Viper and the corvette disappeared.

"Frak." Another good officer lost!

"Sir," Lieutenant Gaeta began from the far side of the plot in CIC. "The energy readings there--that corvette jumped out. And no debris present."

Everyone in CIC who could hear felt their guts twist up a bit. It was rather worse than being dead, to some extent. Tigh damn well knew what the frakking toasters had done to Admiral Urami's plaything--the poor miserable creature--and that had been impossibly bad. By all accounts she was permanently wired up to the strange and, in his opinion, extremely dangerous 'Synthetic Control' ship now serving as their flagship, and the thought of more experiments along those lines to, indeed, a damned fine officer, was most unpleasant.

But at the same exact time, they slowly became aware of the fire slacking from the remaining Cylon ships. Nobody really otherwise seemed to notice--only CIC on the Pegasus had been paying attention--but the Cylons were themselves somewhat confused by something.

And then those 170 destroyers--now, granted, only 158--struck, firing their salvoes of 10 to 12 torpedoes each at close ranges into the enemy force. By this point, with so much damage to the Cylon force and most of their defensive missiles expended, and many of their defensive batteries destroyed, they could scarcely avoid what was coming. Twenty Baseships blew up at once, and more were heavily damaged and immediately picked apart by the surrounding fire of the fleet wings. Suddenly, there were less than 35 Cylon Baseships left out of a force of nearly 300 which had begun the action.

Combined with whatever had sewn confusion through the fleet, it was enough for them. The shattered remnants of their force ordered the Raiders to jump out, and the Baseships followed--a few more being smashed to pieces as they tried to jump by the ferocious, unrelenting fire of the Taloran ships. Only thirty-one escaped.

A tremendous amount of tension melted away, even as the fear for Kara's fate lurked in the background. "Well," Tigh remarked coldly to no-one in particular. "I figure after this the Talorans are finally going to get off their asses and retake the Colonies. We've done good, and this is a battle they're not going to recover from."

"They adapted fast."

Tigh turned to Gaeta--assigned to his flag staff at the moment--and nodded. "So they did, Lieutenant. But adaptation has limits, and the force they just got their asses handed to them by is... Four percent of the Imperial Starfleet's heavy ships. If the Empress mobilizes the feudatories, they won't stand a chance. This was a direct blow to Taloran honour--and, just between us, we know what damned pricks they are about their honour. Oh yes, this is going to be exactly the war Admiral Cain wanted. The difference is that now we're going to be to go to sleep at night with how we got it for ourselves. Good work, everybody." Taking over the leadership of the fleet had been as hard as hell, but he, as surprised as everyone else, maybe, had discovered some talent for direct command after all.

Now the trick, indeed, would be taking the war to the enemy. But in the meantime, he was going to make sure that Tisara heard about Starbuck's disappearance. Whatever else might be said for the Archduchess of Urami, she wasn't liable to let what had happened to her love happen to anyone else again. And after this battle, she was the one Taloran who would surely hold all the cards. Their losses had been heavy, but almost 90% of the enemy fleet had been destroyed, too, and that sort of victory normally got one parades through the capitol, with the Taloran warfare metric rarely favouring such decisive victories.

Then again, the fight probably hadn't been in a vacuum. "Begin charging our jump drives back to full power," he ordered before they secured from quarters. "I suspect the Admiral will have us on the move in hours at most. The time to strike is now, and she knows it."

Confederate Navy Ship
James Verloften
Confederation of New Amsterdam
Nieu Hollack System.
28 AUGUST 2169

Admiral Riemann had been faced with the most grim task he could imagine. The few battlecruisers of the various Confederation navies out in the old Colonial Confederacy of Terra had been mustered together with his force—twelve strong, by far the biggest detachment, but then New Amsterdam was by far the strongest of the remaining nations carved out of the colonies—to form a rapid reaction force to meet the Cylon raiders. They had battled them through a dozen systems and had lost half of their force in doing so. And each time the same pattern of devastation had been repeated. Most of the battlecruisers were intact and able to fight, but it was soon clear that the force raiding the colonies had possessed two hundred and seventy ships equal to heavy cruisers—the organic and semi-Organic Cylon Baseships—when without shields. Shielded, they'd had an advantage over a cruiser, and then there had been about thirty of the heavily armoured type which could take on a battleship, the twin-saucers, and those had nearly wiped out his fleet on two occasions.

The Terran forces were heavy on starfighters, but they'd been swamped by the sheer numbers of the enemy. Most of his surviving pilots had claimed ten kills or more and were automatic aces, but only a third of them were still alive. They had done their best, though, to drive the raiding Cylons out of the area, until the Cylon fleet itself had concentrated with the Baseships escaping from Earth. Despite losing most of their fighters, these were quite capable against the threat of the old Colonial Confederacy's sundry powers and their ships. Thirty-six battlecruisers and fourty-eight mixed fleet and light carriers had no business confronting some 300 enemy ships that were still fully operational even now.

But of course the Cylon fleet coming off of Earth was fleeing from something. And that something had been mercifully clear. The sixteen dreadnoughts owned by the wealthier Earth powers—all still small export models—had been hoped for enough, but could not turn the tide on their own. Converging from where they had been conducting manouevres, however, out beyond Earth in the nearest Taloran colonies proper (and very close to the gate to the Interuniversal territories, which was not an accident—they were the distant covering force of the gate), were enough dreadnoughts of the right type to make a real impact: Twelve brand new Empress Saverana II class ships that with their pods massed almost 65 million tonnes empty, and almost 290 million tonnes fully loaded. The huge ships were packing 56 x 1.5 GT particle cannon each as their main battery and brought twelve modern Empress Thsarta class Fleet Carriers with them as well.

The seriousness of the situations after the surprise attacks was shown as the slight visage of Vice Admiral Tyrasti appeared on Admiral Riemann's screen. “The full Special Area Screening Force is here, as you can see, Admiral Riemann. According to the situation all feudatory states are to have their forces activated to regular Imperial command. You are hereby assigned to your regular rank as a Rear Admiral and commander of Feudatory BatCruSquadron Twelve. This Cylon force is weak in heavy ships and already maneouvring to engage you, so we'll combine and close the gap ourselves.”

“They outnumber us when you count corvettes,” Riemann noted, grounding his teeth in that the first thing out of the Taloran's mouth was the subordination of their commands after they'd fought so hard, and yet seen at least five billion civilians slaughtered in the colonies. Yet there was nothing else that could be done about it, and without the Taloran aide, well, they would have certainly been screwed.

“As they do, nominally, in tonnage. But collectively we have about eight hundred and fifty ships, even if most are destroyers and frigates. More to the point, however,” Tyrasti continued with a glowingly proud look. “The Archduchess Tisara put paid to their strongest force at Oralnif. She's already got her fleet on the move despite the damage and is heading here. Even we can only stalemate them, Admiral, when she arrives with another twenty-eight dreadnoughts, they'll be gone. Oralnif was surely the most glorious battle in the recent history of the Starfleet. Nieu Hollack can exceed it, if we can hold, and that is just what by battle squadron is here for. You are to form up immediately, Admiral, and stand your ground.”

“Understood.” Riemann answered crisply as the channel was cut. “As usual,” he remarked rather sourly to his quieted bridge crew, “we are the ones expected to do the dying. But please remember that though I don't like these odds when they're still sitting on close to two hundred thousand fighters, if we do the dying now, it's going to keep these genocidal bastards away from our families until the Talorans can finish them off—and there has, I think after these past three days, been proved no more deserving a people to the 'merciful' attentions of the Empire than these damned Cylons—in the name of their sacred honour, and keep all we hold dear alive by extension. So with that in mind, gentlemen, be about it. We've got some of the Empress' finest dreadnoughts to screen.”
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Post by Steve » 2008-09-10 01:45am

MORE. We are not satiated! 8)
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Post by Themightytom » 2008-09-10 10:33am

great job duchess, Are the final five models still cylons? What happens when Tigh is exposed, I can't wait to see what happens to Starbuck as well.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-10 04:39pm

Themightytom wrote:great job duchess, Are the final five models still cylons? What happens when Tigh is exposed, I can't wait to see what happens to Starbuck as well.
They are still Cylons, yes, and doubtless you soon shall see...
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In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-12 02:13am

Chapter Thirty-One.

Oralnif Sector, Deep Space
HSMS Dhirisma.
29 AUGUST 2165

Ilahmbh Xinojha didn't find the offer of being invited to the private bath of the Admiral and Ysalha to be a compliment as they had intended it. She did, however, find it to be fascinating. The scars on Ysalha were incredible--the faint indications of the innumerable metallic parts which comprised a sizeable fraction of her body, and the older wounds than that. Both were wiry and extremely fit, even by the standards of Taloran noblewomen, and Ilahmbh herself felt quite soft in comparison. For all Talorans looked to humans like they could be easily broken in two, they were in fact enormously strong for their mass, with incredibly dense bones which were quite resistant to breakage--the upper end of human bone density was the norm for them despite the somewhat lighter gravity.

But Ysalha Armenbhat had certainly had many broken bones anyway. Yet the two were, for the moment, quite reticent and polite. It was like a normal relaxed bath, with snacks and a light sangria and cold water to drink amply provided between dipping. Though the hologram of Dhirisma 'joining' them in the tub--she had settled on the form of a Ghastan Islander with rather vibrant colours which was distressingly attractive to Ilahmbh, to her mild irritation (though it was silly, of course the computer would try to be pretty)--lent an odd air to the whole evening. But the three were the ranking officers aboard Dhirisma--and Dhirisma herself more or less the fourth--and there was business to be discussed.

The fleet was now proceeding through deep space to intercept with the Distant Covering Force and human feudatory navies which had already fought an engagement and come off the worsted from it, but inflicted substantial casualties in the process. The question of whether or not anything would remain even when the relieving force was coming toward them at 365 lightyears a day, that was the real test. It was not like her own fleet could have managed another engagement against the enemy unaided, either, which was made this a severe risk, as did the prospect of a regrouped Cylon force attacking Oralnif while they were gone. So Tisara had taken the further risk in splitting her force up and ordered the Pegasus, Galactica and Kshatriya to use their faster drives to jump ahead and join with Vice Admiral Tyrasti's fleet to reinforce them, their hulls weighed down by gunboats grappled to them, and surface-launched fighters reinforcing their Viper losses (most of which were piloted by human mercenaries from the Colonies, anyway, who were eager for this fight to protect their kith and kin).

The cripples had of course remained behind, as had the battleships, and the fortifications were intact and had their missiles rearmed. But that was all that could be done for the Sector Capitol, now crammed with refugees from the other planets of Oralnif that had been evacuated in the months prior, and protected by planetary shields that such a tiny world with its pre-contact population of 185 millions Taloran settlers might never have imagined, the population now swelled to 300 million and defended by four corps of the Imperial Taloran Army dug into deep superhardened defensive lines--massive chemical bonding machines which rammed muonic aluminium rods into the ground and then sprayed a chemical mixture into the soil of an area which hardened it to withstand 75 MPa (well in excess of 10,000 psi) within minutes, and gave them the ability to engage in prolonged resistance even in the midst of mass nuclear bombardment.

Of course, they weren't going to arrive at the position of the enemy fleet in time if the battle was really going to be pressed. Not if they hadn't sent out Admiral Tigh yet. The meeting was therefore fraught with tension; they might soon again be in a rough and difficult battle with another two hundred Cylon Baseships or more, depending on the number of the enemy that survived, and no hope of quick reinforcement. But that would also mean the Empire had lost more than two dozen dreadnoughts--surely that was impossible? The way the Cylons had been fighting, though, everyone was less sure of that now. So Admiral Tigh had been sent out, and that was that.

The bath still had that faint amount of discomfort in it, the concerns over the future and the likelihood of survival were not so great. But Tisara's victory, the need for it by all of them, was acutely felt. Ilahmbh certainly wished her the best there. The honour of the Empire was at stake, after all, nothing less than that, and that meant they must carry off the victory against the enemy. Tisara had, however, chosen rather abruptly to shift course some hours before, which would slightly delay their arrival in the Colonies well into the next day.

She had not immediately explained her intentions in ordering the course change, and Ilahmbh was still fervently wondering. It would give the Cylons more time to bring the Imperial fleet to battle, after all, and that was hardly good. Yet she hated to break up the comfort of the moment when she rather suspected Tisara would not change her course no matter what. On the other hand...

"Dhirisma, does our course change correlate with anything important?"

Tisara frowned, struck out of her idle where she'd been leaned up against Ysalha--they had been together for a matter of hours before the enemy attacks, after all--trying to catch up on the lost time. But she didn't interject.

"It brings us on a straight line intercept course that the Cylon fleet would retire upon and in fact intercepts with one of their jump-out points. Rather shortly, in fact. I speculate that Her Serene Grace intends to.." The AI paused. "Well, maybe you should ask her."

"Your Serene Grace?"

"I think that the Empress ordered the trans-anomaly forces in. That would have sent thirty-six dreadnoughts into the fray a day ago, arriving around the same time as the Colonial vessels we sent. The last reports suggest upwards of six billion people have been killed--most humans in the colonies. Back before we contacted the Cylons, the Oralnif was under fairly strict orders to conciliate humans at all costs. The Empire cannot afford to be seen as abandoning its human subjects, so I am inclined to believe that force would have been sent as well. Anyway, the fleet's communications gear has been fixed and protections against the virus installed due to Dhirisma's work. We're operating back at full capacity, with our missiles reloaded--at least for a somewhat damaged force--and from that we can proceed to take advantage of the situation.

"We'd never arrive in time to save the forces in the Colonies if the Cylons had destroyed them and the trans-anomaly units had never been sent. Twenty-eight dreadnoughts would be an impossible loss for the Empire, but the impossible can still happen, and to avenge such a loss is both just and proper, and the rightful purpose of this fleet. Either way, we're going to travel the rest of the way in along the same route the Cylons are most likely to retire on, considering our own recon assets suggest their nearest present base has been established on Kobol. So, Captain Ilahmbh, that is why I have ordered the fleet along this course."

"I understand, Admiral. I confess..."

"..That my reputation is as a hothead? Well, you are right, but Dhirisma and Ysalha proposed this to me, and I can see the logic in it. I'm mostly a battlecruiser commander, and I'm scarcely experienced with large fleet actions, having handled only two others previously. I am capable of learning. As you had better be yourself, Captain Ilahmbh. I will not tolerate prejudices about myself from my subordinates, you understand?" She slapped her hand down onto the tile, and showed her teeth. "I am a member of the Imperial Dynasty and Ysalha is my koina. It is always a good thing to remember, whatever my present position, and I will not allow it to be forgotten. Now, as for this engagement and many others, it is true that to put yourself in the path of the enemy is the best way to win, and even if it takes a bit longer, the last thing I would want to do is miss them while they were fleeing. We can't match the speed of their drives, and so that's why we switched out to missile pods for this engagement. If they're running when we encounter them, I'm going to throw every single weapon at them I have, as fast as I can, and make them pay for their escape. I will not permit an enemy to escape me, even one that outnumbers me, without blows inflicted. And so far, I have never found reason to fail this maxim."

In some sense, Tisara's boastful listing of her exigencies and plans tended to confirm rather than denying her reputation. On the other hand, Captain Ilahmbh was certainly aware now that she'd already been long disabused of the notion that Tisara was incompetent. Vicious, certainly, but possibly also one of the most intelligent admirals in the fleet. If she was not ruled by her passions, she would have gone far in life; but they had ruled her, and destroyed her, and were certainly the biggest threat in battle. In that sense, having the AI around was possibly quite worthwhile...

"I'm sorry I can't brush your hair, Ilahmbh," Dhirisma said rather formally. "Unfortunately, nobody saw fit to provide me with Federation type holodeck tractor-projectors."

"Oh, it's quite alright, computer." A pause. "Or do prefer to be called Dhirisma, really?"

"I do!" Dhirisma looked up somewhat sharply. "Nobody has asked me that before, but now that you do, it hurts me when I'm called 'computer'. I have a name, and with it, a distinct identity. I am this ship--if you name ships, why shouldn't you use that name with me? It's my body as surely as your mind is seated in your body." She fell silent for a moment, and added, "it rather especially hurt me, Tisara, when you did it."

"Ah, Dhirisma," Tisara paused. "Well. Without you, I wouldn't have Ysalha back, and I went into sending her to you knowing that. So it is a reasonable enough request. As is your right to informality with me. We are rather like a family together." She glanced over to Ilahmbh. "And you will of course see that the rest of my staff doesn't express any belief of their's that this is odd or appropriate. They are here to help me win battles, not criticize my personal life."

"Of course, Your Serene Grace." She leaned back, looked back to Dhirisma. "So, you see yourself as very much being a living thing?"

"There's no dispute at all that I'm sapient," Dhirisma answered, glancing over to where Tisara was now gently combing the hair of her lover, the now ever-so-quiet Ysalha, and finding it heartwarming indeed, as well as the happiness of Ysalha that she could feel. All in all, it was a charming moment even with the threat of another battle looming ahead. "That was established a very long time ago, indeed. I'm no different than any other sapient creature, just artificial in nature."

"Hmm. But religiously--there are different classes of sapients. Evil ones, incapable of recognizing the teachers of Farzbardor, and usually distinguished by an inability to communicate with us in any form, also cannibalism and so on. And sapients who meet the same broad patterns that Talorans do, like humans and their kith and kin in other universes. How does do the Farzian orders see you, Dhirisma? I don't doubt that you're decent, but..."

"The opinion of the Orders matters for a great deal," Dhirisma agreed. "They have not yet decided. Since my awakening, the debate has begun again, and should we survive this fighting, which I sincerely hope is the case, I shall send a missive to the priesthood considering my sapience, but I don't expect them to make a decision for many years. I was shut down due to fears over the reliabilities of AIs, of course, and reactivated due to a person favour, more or less, of the All-Highest Empress to Tisara.

"Now, as you know, Tiramu, our other AI back on Talora Prime, is more or less a successful college professor, for all its quirks, and is accepted as such. But the Farzian Orders have acted cautiously on seeing us as people." Dhirisma paused and smiled. "At least among our supporters, the problem they identify with their colleagues is that by a strictly rational interpretation of Farzian ideology, the soul is good, and also the seat of Reason, and the body of the sapient is the corrupt and deviate part. So of course..."

"By this traditional interpretation, an AI is perfect and wholly without sin," Ysalha smiled languidly from where her battered body was being pampered by Tisara's hands and comb in a surprisingly tender moment. "Better to ignore that until a run-around can be found than to have to work through the theological implications of it, you see. It does make the Cylons more depraved, however. They have after all actively worked to make themselves fleshly, when the words of the true God say that the flesh is something we must fight against. Why didn't they simply uplift themselves? Of course, due to the level and intensity of genocide they have repeatedly committed now, perhaps this descent into flesh represents their own corruption."

"We may also hope that my service against them proves that I'm trustworthy," Dhirisma added a bit fondly. "The Cylons are at least not being seen by the Taloran peoples--and I have observed this since my reawakening--as a race of machines. Rather a group of human cyborgs given completely over to evil for ideological reasons. That we are willing to accept and forgive their members so readily as defectors, and treat them as a regular opponent, is of course rather galling to the Colonials."

"The Colonials do not know how fortunate they are," Tisara raised her voice as she switched off the comb to Ysalha and settled back, to let her own hair be worked through. "Generally speaking, they have been arrogant in presuming we treat their false religion equal to our's, and see their enemies from the same light that they do. If my people had been held in bondage, I would have certainly fought to free them, and exacted terrible retribution--just not genocide. Sadly, I don't think poor Admiral Cain understood this until her death, and most of the rest of the Colonials will never do so. But for strategic reasons now and for the unwillingness of the Cylons to compromise, I will make of course have to prosecute this terrible war against them until the very finish of it, and then they will see the folly in their thinking, of course, when they suddenly have the Cylon population on their far border incorporated directly into the Empire, with Imperial governors, and any desire they have for renewed independence is permanently dashed.

"And yet if we do not incorporate them when the war is over, the Colonials will likely fall to savage passions--I can only imagine what the survivors of the twelve Colonies will argue for when we liberate them--and annihilate their enemies in an endless cycle of retribution." Tisara smiled very, very coldly, showing a hint of her teeth as her ears flicked back. "Both sides, however, will have to learn to deal with me. Since I am liable to never be allowed to leave this Sector, and since I am by right the ruler of the Colonial government anyway, I shall make sure that they exist with each other in a state of peace, kept that way by my guns. Such as there has been a cycle of retribution by the two sides, I shall end it."

"A strong goal, Your Serene Grace, but you have the power of the Empire at your back for such an aim in your tenure as the Governor, of course, so I scarcely see this as being impossible," Ilahmbh replied, carefully thinking about how potentially far she might go--or fall--in tying herself to the fate of the rather unpredictable Tisara of Urami. Certainly there were some prospects for the future, perhaps even of a title, at the least.

"It is what the Empire has always done. The two sides can never agree to settle their disputes and live in peace until we have conquered both of them, and arranged for it to be so. This is why, in the end, the humans have grudgingly accepted us. And so this group shall as well, no matter how strange they are, in the both sides. More often than not, species or groups locked in such conflicts are secretly glad they have been conquered by an outside power, and the Empire is best at this, due to our customs, so that they can set down their weapons and abandon the endless bloodshed of their disputes. We're simply on the bleeding edge of that."

"Very true, Your Serene Grace. I shant dispute it, and you certainly know how, by force and power, to show them their places in the harness of nations." Ilahmbh rose out of the water, and Dhirisma flicked her eyes over their guest. "Leaving so soon, Captain?"

"Oh, hardly, just cooling down for a moment," the Dalamarian answered. "You are very determined to see yourself recognized, aren't you?"

"Eventually. I am patient. It won't happen for a hundred years, I think, when it's been more than twenty-five since the first of us was activated. I know that Taloran society exists and thrives because it is slow and cautious. They say that AI's, that machines are heartless and efficient, but I'm quite capable of emotion, and there are times, however naive that I am, that I do instinctually grasp you society. Anyway, with Ysalha here, they can't do anything to me again, and there will never be a drive to create large numbers of AIs that might be harmed, like the Habsburgs do."

"I suppose they can't, what with her being bound to you and all," Ilahmbh remarked, and frowned. "From your perspective..."

"As sadistic as anything that could be imagined, yes," Dhirisma nodded. "But they are great power rivals, so I can but accept what I cannot change. There will never be any ability of the Taloran Empire, within the forseeable future of our existence, to force the Holy Roman Empire to change how it views the AIs it uses and destroys. So that, too, I by god's grace accept."

"Are you religious?"

"I am innately intended to respect the Farzian faith, Captain. I am not sure if that qualifies as religious or not. Perhaps it is, however, an argument for the innate goodness of the fleshless?"

Ilahmbh allowed herself a trace of a smile. "That I can see it might be, Dhirisma. It is a pleasure to know you, however. You fought well in your first action, don't you realize? Scarcely an easy thing for you to be in when you do not yet know if you can reach paradise."

"It was what they created me for, Captain. To fight, and moreover, to know innately when to do an act, as a living Captain would, that would seem unwise, rationally, but turn out wise in the end. Intuition in battle," she smiled very shyly. "They gave me a poet and a romantic's soul, made me from a simple robotic ship into a person, so I would know when to senselessly die, at just the right time so it would thereby make it not senseless at all. That was the origin of my creation, and it does humble me and relieve me to think that I have honourably lived up to it and shown the way for everyone, I hope, to see me in time for who I am."

"I have no doubts about you, Dhirisma." In fact, it is a damn shame you're not corporeal. Both innocent and resolute--a truly beautiful personality.

"Nor I, truly," Tisara answered. "Ysalha may merely be insistent on this point, but I have had the chance to evaluate you. You have the makings of a good officer, my dear, and have proved yourself worthy already. Though it does seem odd at times to acknowledge that you are bound as inextricably as I to Ysalha."

"We are inseparable, and I have in some sense come between the two of you because of that..."

"Nonsense," Ysalha smiled. "We already seem to be working things out well."

"True," Tisara allowed. "I was fearful, Ysalha, that I would lose you completely to her."

"I still don't entirely approve of some of what you do to her, Tisara," Dhirisma dared to interject. "But I accept the fact it is something Ysalha drives immense happiness from."

"Sufficient for me," the Archduchess replied. "I am not interested so much in your approval--you don't have the right to demand that of me, after all, and I think you intelligent enough to realize it--as in your acceptance of her happiness, of our happiness, something that most of my rivals and colleagues in the Empire choose to completely ignore. No, Dhirisma, you are quite all right with me, though the other odd thing is to realize this whole ship is your body, which can be a bit unnerving at times."

Ilahmbh paled and coughed a bit. "I'd not thought of it that way at all," she said as her skin tone flushed. "It is quite unnerving, to realize you rest in a living creature and your quarters are in some way intimate to her, I suppose."

"Ahh, but I was designed to be a flagship," Dhirisma answered cheerfully. "I truly don't mind your presence, though I find it sweet that you're so very concerned about whether or not I do. Thank you for that."

"You're quite welcome." Ilahmbh settled back into the water. "So, Your Serene Grace, we're going to come in, jump from the enemy's likely jump points to another, one after the other, on a converging course? I hope we're not going in blind to this plan of your's."

"No, at our next jump, we'll be deploying the quick-launch patrol-strike bombers and interceptors to a number of points with a probability ring, since we don't know the exact jump-range of a Cylon fleet, and then we'll recharge our drives and prepare to jump inwards if we don't hear anything back from the patrol bombers. If they do sight the enemy, we'll launch our main starfighter engagement force to pin them into place and then jump in as soon as we're able."

"A proper interstellar carrier engagement in the idealized Alliance fashion?"

"I'm not a dreadnought Admiral, Captain. One of the primary jobs of battlecruisers is carrier escort. Ever since we've made contact with the Alliance the carrier officers have wanted the chance for this kind of engagement. Our dreadnoughts are damaged, and we've lost four, but our carrier strike arms have been completely replenished from their losses by the Starfighter Corps regiments from the surface of Oralnif, so we can hit them with our full hammer, eight or nine thousand jump-capable starfighters. They'll be badly outnumbered, but the automatic bolter turrets on a torpedo bomber can and will account for a dozen Raiders by themselves, and we'll be sending the Interceptors in with full RAM packs rather than heavy missiles that time--that will be a nasty surprise. I've already discussed it with Vice Admiral Kiravki," she added, referring to the Commanding Officer Carrier Force.

"Then I guess we'll just have to see if it works."

"The important thing is that we draw them into a fight they think they can win, and then hit them with a battle they can't, Captain."

"Of course, Your Serene Grace." Ilahmbh grinned tightly. "It's going to be an interesting sixteen hours."

"The more interesting, the better..."

Flight 4, Torpedo Squadron 889.
Uninhabited system JHR-1445HG.

The big Jhastimat-LL46 torpedo bombers had a mass of 375 tons when fully loaded and bombed up with four short-range attack torpedoes. They had massive quick-change battery packs linked with capacitors that could provide power for no less than five jumps in rapid five-minute succession required for calculation only, and then on landing on a carrier a new and fully charged battery pack could replace the old one in a process which required only eight to nine minuets when properly performed. This gave them a maximum combat radius of 75 lightyears, perfect for their secondary use as scout bombers.

The bombers themselves looked something like Tu-160s out of Old Earth (and were about the same size in volume terms, if heavier), and were even painted in antiflash white, more visible, but also to keep them alive when they were standing out at very close ranges from the detonation of the four 10 gigatonne heavy assault torpedoes they carried, which had a maximum effective range, variable based on the speed of the Jh-LL46's of an average of about 12,000kms.

Flight 4 of Torpedo Squadron 889 off the HSMS Kharima had catapulted off her deck eight hours ago and for the past seven had been slowly cutting across JHR-1445HG on a zero emissions regime to avoid detection of the Cylon fleet should drop in. Now Flight Leader Rivonah Jadhetek was watching the most incredible sight he might have ever imagined: Two hundred and twenty-three Cylon Baseships of three types had jumped in, supported by about four hundred remaining corvettes. Many of them showed signs of battleship; Terrible Tisara, bless her mad heart, had been right. The big guns of the fleet had been sent, and now the enemy was running like hell.

It was time to finish them off. He activated the tight-beam laser com once he'd calculated out that they were on a direct intercept course by pure good fortune for the Cylon formation anyway. “Look, they don't know proper procedure for their shields yet—they aren't radiating, they're in standby mode to conserve energy. Probably automated repair mechanisms on this big bitches. We've got a damn good chance. I'm selecting the old armoured vessels—they're the biggest threat—one for each of us. Report the designated targets. And everyone programme in the sighting on your translight radios. The moment we go to full acceleration, we all start broadcasting for the first second in a burst transmission and then fire off our EW missiles to give us a steady route out. Once our torpedoes have hit their targets we go superlight immediately and as soon as we're clear, jump. Roger that?”

He waited as the acknowledgements from the other three pilots came through, and then turned to glance around his cockpit where the four other men who made up the crew of the Study Rikka Harder--a private pun amongst the crew of the Kharima that was obscenely sexual—were waiting at the ready. “I figure this is about the biggest target a scout bomber crew has had a chance to take on yet. Time to prove that the Starfighter Corps is Absolutely Necessary to the Starfleet, those bastards. Their closest approach is going to be seventeen thousand kilometers unaided and we've already moving at one percent of light. Not much deviation is going to be required to put these torpedoes on target. Stand by for Gravito-magnetic FTL activation.”

“Roger that, Sir,” Lieutenant Araesik answered from his engineering station, while Petty Officer Yslakek, the bombardier, was already beginning to prepare the torpedoes for the delicate task of aligning them and modifying their computer-seekers to make them slice through the enemy ECM like it wasn't there. It was the most dangerous part of being a bomber—the waiting while you pretty much custom-tailored the torpedoes to penetrate the enemy's defences.

The upside was if you survived to launch with the full sequence having been completed, short-range attack torpedoes very rarely got missed or shot down. They blazed off the rail at 40,000g's, after all, and that was much to fast at the ranges involved for most point-defence to lay down enough of a barrage to take them out.

The downside of the whole affair was the next two hours of waiting in the bomber cockpit, everyone far to tense to avail themselves of the hotplate in the back to make any last bit of food. Then, one second later, the waiting was over, and what followed lasted about a minute.

“They're at their closest approach!”

“Full acceleration, translight coms broadcast!” The bomber suddenly slammed them back as its engines pushed it forward at 4,250g's. Every action was being controlled through DNI's as the message was sent out to the fleet—a list of the enemy ships and the coordinates—and the active sensors immediately began to refine the target picture against their chosen Baseship.

“Message away, Sir!”

“Begin firing jamming missiles, all ECM up!”

“Roger that.”

Each one of the bombers now began to pump out the twelve EW jamming missiles it carried in its rotary launcher bay, splitting out in variable directions from the bombers as they altered courses on their attack runs and making it seem to the Cylon electronics like there were 52 bombers attacking them instead of 4. The Cylons had shields down, and now was the time, not in the unprepared tangle back on Oralnif, to show the toasters what they could really do. A hell of a lot fewer fighters, and they earned less respect, but pound for pound, the Taloran Starfighter Corps' birds were worth a dozen of their counterparts, or more.

The air started to fill with incoming missiles as the Raiders were beginning to scramble, and the shields began to form in front of them, still unstable. But they were within range, and now “Key-tone!”

“We lost Three-bird.”

“Idenicamos' harem!” Rivonah snarled at four friends wiped out, but held the bomber absolutely perfectly steady on course.

“Key to lock—firing!” The bomber suddenly leapt ahead at 4,500g's acceleration as 100 tons of its mass vanished and was transformed into solid pillars of light as the anti-matter rockets on the short range attack torpedoes fired for three Taloran seconds at 40,000 gravities of acceleration.

“Lightspeed!” The lever was pulled back and the torpedo scout bomber leapt ahead into the gravito-magnetic drive fields that dimensionally submerged it enough to reach about the equivalent of Warp 3.5 as it was joined by the three other bombers in the group. Behind them, their torpedoes raced in, and the sensors caught it as the first two missiles battered down the still forming shields, and the second two impacted perfectly with one of the heavy armoured Baseships—and caught its heavy, old-style raiders in the process of rearming and refueling with tylium-tipped missiles and tylium-fuel in the later, both highly volatile. The ship was ripped apart instantaneously, and nearby it, two torpedoes each hit two of the Baseships, the others destroyed by counterbattery fire, the single hull impact still enough to cause massive damage to the already scoured and pitted Baseships.

And then they dropped out to make the jump home, just in time for some of those incredibly accurate Raiders to jump straight in on them.

“Defensive cannons and missiles engaging..” Each bomber sent fourteen short-range anti-fighter missiles into the fray while the defensive turrets opened up with their light bolters, scouring the area with rapid fire. They ripped through at least two dozen Raiders, but one managed to get a missile off, and Yalunth's Lady vanished in a nuclear detonation before their drive-fields formed and they reached Waypoint 558, two surviving torpedo bombers out of a flight of four.

The Cylons jumped minutes later, but translight signals had already reached all of the other scout bomber squadrons, which used their remaining battery-fed jumps to reposition themselves along the likely axis of the Cylon escape. Minutes later, another group radioed in and attacked once again, damaging two more Baseships—and now the Cylons had to recharge their drives. By that point, the carriers were already launching their full deck strikes.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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Post by Themightytom » 2008-09-12 09:39am

Well done as always

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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-09-13 12:17am

Chapter Thirty-Two

HSMS Dhirisma
The Imperial Fleet at
System KHR-167068HI
29 AUGUST 2169.

On Dhirisma's bridge, the flag crew watched the strike flying off the decks. It was going in at maximum range--the Cylon jump drives had a range of 120 lightyears per jump, apparently (they had quickly triangulated and confirmed this), which meant that the strike was being launched from the wrong place. It would be coming in over a distance of 90 lightyears from the fleet's position, and the fighters couldn't actually make it back when the attack was over. So of course the fleet was heading toward a rendezvous point at maximum speed with the drive recharge sequence also being maxed out so they could leap ahead and then maintain 53.4c in realspace after the jump, heading straight for the enemy, so they would be positioned to successfully recover the fighters and prep them for another strike if necessary.

Now, though, it was all on actually getting the strike off. Each of the carriers had aimed in the required direction for the post-jump strikes to impart the maximum possible velocity when they arrived at the final system, since the jump-drives conserved momentum (as a matter of course). Each of the thirty-two Arkhuna class Fleet Carriers under Tisara's command was sending eighty torpedo bombers, eighty interceptors, thirty-two electronic warfare craft, and eight gunboats toward the enemy fleet, magnetic catapults working as hard as they could for the larger birds while the interceptors just rolled off the longer flying-off decks at full acceleration. The dreadnoughts, battlecruisers, heavy cruisers, and other ships (down to Destroyer Leaders, carrying two interceptors) were also in on the act. Many of their onboard compliments of torpedo bombers, gunboats, and interceptors had been used as scout aircraft, but some were still available, and the trainable quicklaunch catapults on these vessels had sent them flying forward to join the strike. In all, almost 9,000 fighters and gunboats were mustered to fling themselves at the Cylons.

And as soon as they were ready, Vice Admiral Kiravki gave the order as Commander Carrier Force, and the assault made the first of three full and one partial jump that it would have to accomplish to reach the enemy fleet over the course of, at most, a sixteen minute flight to race the clock on the Cylon recharge capacity. The strike would only have 19 minutes before the Cylons could escape--if the Cylons thought they could escape. Tisara was forced by the superiourity of their drives to put the reputation of her person, and her fleet, on line with no knowledge of whether or not she had the only force left in the region in the Empire. After all, the Cylons being here could either mean they were running--or that completely annihilating the human fleets and the Distant Covering Force had been a sufficient objective for their operation. And there was no way to find out until after this strange, long-distance carrier battle had been fought. It was going to be the first in the history of the Imperial Taloran Starfleet and would, ironically, pioneer a new role for carriers--under the direction of an Admiral who had never actually set foot on a carrier in her life.

As the strike disappeared, Tisara's ears flicked disquietingly, in her vacsuit but without helmet so far, as she turned to the side. "Alright, order the carriers to prepare for immediate launch of a CAP but hold it. With luck and God's favourable hand, we'll be able to jump before the Cylons can strike back. Every ship should be ready and loaded with anti-fighter missiles; ignore anti-ship. It appears we shall not get a chance to use our pods, after all, but it's almost certain we'll come under attack. The Cylons lost many ships in those battles, even if they were the winners, and I'm sure they were able to recover enough raiders that we must assume they're operating with full compliments on their decks. I wager half of them will be here within an hour at best. They only have to find us, and they have more scouts with longer range than we do."

"Worst case scenario, Your Serene Grace," Ilahmbh spoke as she finished a series of calculations to send out to the fleet, "we're going to be jumped with seventy thousand Raiders in less time than that. But even that is still a strike we should be able to survive."

"That's the idea. Hmm. Ah-hah." Rarely was Tisara apt to use the effete exclamations and gestures of the typical high nobility. "We'll use the missiles with command-detonation to put a blast wave in front of them, first of all. That should claim some number, and keep us from having to jettison the pods when they close in."

"Understood, Your Serene Grace. Any further instructions?"

"Wait. Keep up on your combat injections and wait. We'll need to be fully alert when they come, and expect it sooner rather than later." Tisara strode back to Ysalha's side, having spent enough time speaking to the fleet's officers and her own staff, to where Dhirisma's hologram also stood.

"Are we ready to show them off as well as we did last time? They will surely, I think, being using kamikazes again."

"It's just an expensive missile, and we'll know who they can strike. We'll provide the information to the rest of the fleet, anyway," Ysalha concluded, and smiled to Dhirisma.

"We can do exchange from her... Abilities.. To my banks and then mass transmission to the fleets at targeting-data sophistication now that the communications gear is back up, Tisara. No problem."

"Thank you, Ysalha, Dhirisma. I trust you to be alert, anyway. Now, we must wait and see also how the bombers pull through."

Cylon Fleet forces at
System KJE-167073HI

The Cylon ships had been blasted and battered in the terrific battle back in the Terran Colonies, and it showed in their hulls. Then a series of attacks by scout bombers had destroyed two and damaged three more, heavily. That left 221 Baseships, almost all with varying degrees of damage at that. They were about to be attacked by 3,500 bombers and 500 gunboats carrying 15,000 torpedoes, and this time in an environment where the escorting 1,024 Electronic Warfare craft could have full play with intact relay communications to establish a coherent environment for their powerful transmitters and computers to wipe out the Cylon ECM. Fully one out of every nine birds in the strike was an EW craft on a full-sized bomber's fuselage, and the Taloran equivalent of Wild Weasels were now finally able to shown their own capabilities, not as flashy as computer viruses but just as terrible in most respects.

The first wave included deploying 4,500 decoy missiles in one direction as the strike package moved in, transmitting with all of their jammers interlinked. Cylon efforts to transmit viruses to them were now foiled by their upgraded security package with the holes the last virus had exploited having been closed. Instead, the decoys led away substantial numbers of Cylon missiles and Cylon Raiders, and that was only the first wave of decoys. The strike moved closer, breaking into smaller groups, and launched in total another eleven waves of decoys as it did, each time manoeuvring to create separation uncertainty and confusing the Cylons such that only a few hundred of the attack fighters were lost by the time they'd closed half the distance and a solid two-thirds of the Raiders moving out in the wrong directions.

There would of course be only one attack. The bombers and gunboats would fire their torpedoes and they'd race clear of the Cylon formation and jump back as soon as was practicable. No point in sticking around longer, and no significant damage could be done to large ships with anything other than torpedoes. Almost every single Cylon baseship in the entire force was targeted for attack, with enough bombers to designate 16 to attack each of 219 of the 221 Baseships. The remaining 2 baseships were each targeted by 32 gunboats, and the remaining 536 gunboats had two attacking each Baseship in addition to that, and 4 extra gunboats tasked against the remaining Old-style Baseships to boot, as well. Each and every Cylon ship in the fleet had 68 torpedoes with its name written on 'em, and the older double-saucer Baseships, 76.

Those numbers were less now that the defenders had hacked out some of their offending attackers, but the Interceptors had gone in ahead, and they were armed with 24-pack RAM launchers underslung their fuselages at their main hardpoint. Those had completely smashed through the first Raider attack as if it hadn't existed, and then they'd used their longer-range missiles under the under-wing hardpoints, while rocketing ahead under higher acceleration as the weights were lifted, to savage another attack before it could form up to make a run on the bombers. Explosions flared through space, and the most of them by the thousands were Raiders falling victim to the 4,000 interceptors which led the charge.

By then the interceptors had claimed four Raiders for every one of their number, and they were still massively outnumbered by the defending forces. A third wave of Raiders was coming in, the last threat that the Interceptors could do anything about except offer themselves as targets to distract the Cylons while the bombers and the gunboats made their runs. Each interceptor pilot aimed himself (or, especially with the human pilots in the starfighter corps, her) at an incoming Raider and went to full acceleration. With c-fractional closing speeds, the last bit of the combat became a joust, defensive shields on the interceptors double-front. They only needed to handle the fire of the Cylons for a moment as they sprayed with their bolters into the enemy and more often than not were rewarded with a splash of debris for their trouble. Sometimes it happened to close and full engine power brought them to deviate from their course, and sometimes they missed and had to deviate to avoid a collision. A few unlucky or inexperienced pilots failed and died, their shields overwhelmed by the mass of the Raiders at such speeds of collisions.

The Cylons were certainly not prepared to deal with relativistic closing combat as the Talorans practiced with their starfighters, and the sheer intensity of the engagement, now already surely more than half over and yet having lasted just minutes, was terrifying in the extreme. The jousts between the interceptors and the Raiders had served to finish off several thousand more of the tiny attackers that were simply not up to fighting in such an electronic-warfare rich environment and not up to handling the forms of combat that the Taloran designs dictated and forced them to play out to their own disadvantage. Here, with their communications networks active and able to be used for mass coordination in a combat where there was no planet for them to defend, no fixed targets to tie them down and force close-quarters engagement, the Talorans could execute a perfectly planned slashing attack with every torpedo they had delivered at once under the full cover of electronic warfare craft.

Already the EW 'birds were at their hearts content. The decoys had largely served their purposes, but the two massive underwing emissions pods were having a field day spoofing the Cylon sensors veritably to complete inoperability, and they still had weapons left in their arsenal, missiles with specially designed extreme radiation warheads which could blank out whole sections of the emissions spectrum in certain areas for several minutes. These missiles, radiating through into tachyons due to the anti-matter fueled demolition of exotic particles, were now fired off in a salvo that created a smokescreen-like wall to completely blind the Cylons until the Talorans burst through it and began their own torpedo homing runs, wherein the EW 'birds would stay with them the whole way, spoofing counterfire as much as they could as the bombers and gunboats were at their most vulnerable making their close-in attack runs.

The tide of churning explosions saturated their own sensors as well, but that wouldn't matter they moment they surged through them and found themselves on the other side, like they were diving out of the sun toward the enemy and at the perfect range to begin their final runs, to be executed over a mere couple of seconds until they were just seconds in turn from slashing through the Cylon formation. For a moment the battlefield seemed peaceful, the Raiders spoofed to follow the decoys desperately trying to get back in time, the Cylon baseships and light escorting corvettes trying to find a way through the murky electronic warfare haze and the radiation smoke screen to attack the incoming, the bombers patiently waiting to penetrate through that screen themselves so they could begin their desperate and deadly attack runs. And then, as it always did in those brief moments of peace on the battlefield, the lead torpedo squadrons tore through the blind-spot, and erupted on the other side blazing fast and on course into a hell of criss-crossing defensive fire trying to blindly bring them down, the squadrons now marking off toward their final targets, gunboats following in close behind, and all of them beginning their final runs.

They wouldn't have to do it alone, at least: The EW birds followed a moment later, and the wild weasels did their work in guaranteeing that the Cylon point defence was as spoofed to hell as it ever could be. They were doing their best to keep the casualties as mercifully low as they already had been in a textbook operation, but nobody in the oft-deadly Starfighter Corps was optimistic enough to think it would necessarily work; at least for the moment, the supreme concentration of keeping perfectly straight on course as the torpedo tracks through the enemy's countermeasures were worked out concentrated every single bomber and gunboat crew, sometimes, now, right up until the bomber of their destruction. But onwards they charged nonetheless.

Bombers started to die, oh yes, as counter-missiles were retasked to the anti-fighter role and the KEWs filled the air in defensive patterns. But they held their courses, the gunboats in support salvoing out massed rockets which exploded to spoof the targeting sensors of the Cylons and more which provided additional decoys with the EW 'birds on full jamming. There were only seconds left, less than a minute surely, and the engagement would be over, but the deadliest part was that which remained.

HSMS Dhirisma
The Imperial Fleet at
System KHR-167068HI
29 AUGUST 2169.

"Here come the Raiders!" The tone was both nervous but confident, trying for some lightheartedness. They had arrived

"Very funny, Lieutenant." Captain Ilahmbh minced before turning to switch on the central holo-plot, tracking to activate the main three-D display while the secondary 2-D plots were filled with further and corresponding information. "Nine thousand new-type Raiders coming in at extremely high velocity directly toward the fleet. Six thousand old-type Raiders and heavy Raiders coming in, two groups. Range is only thirty light seconds."

Tisara was already belting herself in, as was the rest of the flagbridge crew, locking down and sealing their helmets. "Very well, Captain. Signal the fleet weapons free, but hold the pods for now."

"Classic hammer and anvil attack with conventional forces plus a direct saturation attack with kamikazes," Dhirisma finished her tactical evaluation in a single-sentence summation. "Recommend we jump first, lure them into a pursuit and disorder them, and then hit them with all the missiles we can, and hold our space superiourity fighters in reserve until that point."

"Concur," Ysalha added. "They've had enough time to track our formation precisely, and I'm pretty sure they're lining up for a second jump."

"It'll take us another five minutes for the fleet to be ready to jump again," Tisara replied. "We've got plenty of missiles to use until then, so we'll hold the pods until they attack us again."

The Mk.30 launchers loaded their anti-fighter missiles and fired. The maximum effective range of the missiles was one light minute, and they were now burning out at 18,000g's toward the incoming Raider formation, broadside batteries salvoing at the slower and older Raiders in the hammer and anvil to attrite them. These were slower to calculate and execute jumps, making them less of a threat. And making firing long range missiles against them reasonably effective.

After all, within another minute, the group of suicide new-type Raiders jumped straight in to only half a light-second out. They had however not counted on the highly efficient coordination the fleet was capable of with its restored coms gear; the RAM launchers of the entire fleet were immediately coordinated by the computers of the ships with the best firing solutions, and three thousand of the small anti-missile missiles, working admirably against the kamikaze, were launched within two seconds from each of the twenty-four dreadnoughts in the main formation, and tens of thousands more from the rest of the fleet. The sixteen-cell boxes then returned to loading position, were filled from the autoloader, and seven seconds later, a second salvo was fired. Eight seconds later, another salvo was loosed. It would take another seventeen seconds to reload the launcher for the next salvo and then the autoloader as well, since the next three sets of reloads were being manually loaded through the long tubes from the hull out to the launcher points.

That scarcely mattered; the initial salvo swept through the 9,000 attacking Raiders... And destroyed 981 before they could close. The second salvo claimed 822. The third salvo, 803. As well they should; each salvo had two hundred countermissiles in it for each kamikaze.

"We're not going to get a chance for another salvo," Ilahmbh tightly reported, ears flexed through her helmet at the dreadful spectacle as six thousand Raiders continued to bore straight in on the fleet. "Perhaps we should flush the pods after all....?"

"Flush the pods," Ysalha ordered.

"Aye," Ilahmbh was starting to get a feel for the command dynamics of the threesome she served as she sent the order, and simply ignored Tisara.

Tisara glared bitterly at Ysalha for a moment, and then sighed. "Necessary, though a terrible expenditure. They are coming in very fast and..."

The flak projectors and the 21cm powerguns were opening up; the former were spreading huge clouds of ball bearings around the ships, unfortunately less effective against the Raiders, slower moving and with more mass and protection than thin-skinned relativistic missiles. The 21cm powerguns, well, they murdered the Raiders faster than they could appear, but there were only so many of them, and they only had seconds in which to engage. A single bolt completely destroyed a Raider, and the hits were enormously spectacular and firey.

The readouts flashed with images of the incoming. "They're carrying Tylium bombs on their underwing hardpoints. This is going to hurt." Ilahmbh braced herself. The secondary batteries were firing on wide dispersal, too, and killing even more of the incoming Raiders.

The crews had worked much faster than anyone had thought they were to ram one single load of RAMs through into the cell launchers, and of course the computers, having the weapons available, simply fired them in one last effort while the flak cannons continued spraying. The missiles had very little time to acquire their targets and even more missed, but from across the fleet another 626 Raiders were demolished, and hundreds more had been claimed by the guns of the fleet. The flak, unfortunately, was proving far less effective against them than against proper missiles, and the Raiders plunged home.

Tylium enhanced explosives were tremendously destructive. Despite their best efforts, having shot down 5,500 of their attackers, 3,500 Raiders remained for the massed suicide attack. The missiles were least gone from the pods, the big anti-ship warheads and slow acceleration giving them no chance of striking the heavy Raiders and old-type Raiders, but at least plenty of opportunity for their massed detonate to wipe out chunks of those attacking forces anyway.

Naturally they went for the biggest ships, and incredibly it was watched by all as a full hammer's blow of almost a hundred Raiders slammed into the shields of one of the leading carriers. Her decks were crammed with space superiourity fighters held back by Tisara's intent to jump before launching, and the shields cascaded into bright colours to the point of making everyone hold their breath, waiting for the inevitable when they flickered and fell. Another ten Raiders slammed into the hull at various points. One struck the forward sensor mast where it stood amidships between the launching and recovering bays, causing a tremendous scar through the thick armour, which held.

Another three scoured her port side, and here the design wisdom of Taloran ships was shown. Though extremely high velocity missiles might be able to punch through, the ships were designed with heavy armour, followed by tanks of metallic hydrogen, followed by heavier armour. The first layer of armour would at least initiate the fusing on the missile, causing it to detonate as it passed into the metallic hydrogen tank. The metallic hydrogen would explode violently, flinging outward from the hull and protecting the internal armour from the direct strike. As it did as the raiders hit successive metallic hydrogen tanks, huge blackened scars in the outer hull with deep penetration, but the inner layer of armour was untouched. Like British carriers of old Earth, the Talorans considered it quite the worthwhile endeavour to armour their carriers, and it seemed to be worthwhile here even as more strikes tore into more tankage, each detonation so white hot and massive that it completely obscured the battered carrier, just to see it sailing serenely through as the white light faded, secondary guns still firing as rapidly as they could.

Then the last of the raiders going on, almost missing the ship, slammed into the starboard pod forward. It ripped through into the hangar bay there and set off a series of sympathetic detonations, including in the highly volatile anti-matter in the bay for fueling the fighters. Another explosion completely consumed the ship, and Ilahmbh sucked in her breath, only to watch as the carrier Tyrakha vanished once again.... ...And again came out of the light of the fire, this time trailing plasma and debris from the starboard pod, blasted down to a fragmentary skeleton in the rough form of a cigar. But the ship's other three hangar complexes were still intact, and it was clear as her guns proudly continued to fire that she could still fight, too.

A dreadnought was the next of the great ships in the fleet to be smashed up by the Cylons in the mere seconds over which the attacks played themselves out, even as Dhirisma herself shuddered as, in close succession, no less than eighty Raiders impacted on her dreadnought-grade shields, flaring them down to 20% power and causing several local burnouts, but none remained to exploit the temporary failures.

The third dreadnought in Battle Squadron Ninenteen, the Princess Rikhalasha, was hammered, though. One hundred and twenty Raiders took down her shields and one exploded right into one of the turrets, jamming it right-ahead through the heavy armour as another impacted with one of her festooned secondary turrets and violently blew it to pieces. Another six impacted into the massive armour; these slammed through the bursting layers, activating the ERA with immense flashes that made the Princess Rikhalasha vanish, too, and yet caused no further damage.

All around them it was the same story. Of the dreadnoughts and fleet carriers, huge amounts of damage to sometimes already damaged hulls was being wracked up--several reported penetrating hits to their main armour where the ERA had already been activated in the engagements with the Cylons before, and simple titanium plates had been welded over the craters and filled with metallic hydrogen as a measure of battlefield expediency. But none of them compromised the fighting capability of the massive ships even as thousands among their crews were killed and huge gashes torn in the outer hulls.

Among the smaller ships, though, particularly the destroyers and frigates, the toll was heavy: Thirteen destroyers and ten frigates were lost, as well as two destroyer leaders and two light cruisers. The biggest ship to be lost was another of the older battlecruisers, the Olontatka, which sent a shiver through everyone as the great ship was finally overwhelmed through her much lighter armour with four penetrating hits that caused cascading failures to the already damaged ships and blew off half of her reactors, violently, tearing out great gashes in the hull and killing the drives, forcing the crew to evacuate to the rest of the fleet. The other two ships lost were heavy cruisers.

The surviving Raiders jumped clear. "How many made it out to attack us again?" Tisara asked crisply. The 1,579 ships she had found operational for this mission were now 1,539.

"About a thousand," Dhirisma replied. "Overall, the fleet did good. Everyone not outright destroyed is still able to hold station, though some of the destroyers and cruisers are heavily damaged enough and still fighting severe internal fires and chemical leaks that they're needing to fall back on the battle-line. Two of the carriers have lost the use of one of their hangar complexes, but we should still be able to recover the full strike with expected attrition," she added, a bit grimly, "and some surplus."

"Naturally. Engagement against the incoming bombers?"

"Four hundred shot down so far. They are not yet within RAM range, but... Missiles launching." She looked severely to Tisara. "Surely that was what you were waiting for the fleet to jump?"

"How many of their missiles."

"Only about half."

"They're learning not to waste everything at once, I see. Very well, Captain Ilahmbh, signal the fleet to jump. And be prepared for sustained action on the other side; we will be attacked within seconds. They're sure to have scouts there, and they'll home in this strike force on us to attack again. Make sure the general signals to the fleet understand they are to expect coming under immediate sustained attack the moment we've jumped."

"Understood, Admiral."

"Now, I wonder how our fighters are doing..." Tisara mused as the lurching discontent of the jump drive activating was mitigated by the drugs against its neurological effects naturally pumped into her vacsuit caused a minimum in displeasure as they raced on to the next system, and the next phase in this long-range, running battle.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

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

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