by AJ Marks
Part 63: Beginning Voyage
Troy looked around the bridge of the Argo for the commander. Ares currently stood near Rebecca talking about something he couldn’t hear from this distance. He walked over to Ares stood.
“Relay the information to Commander Adama and Gunther as well. They should have this information and a war council needs to be called,” Ares said.
Troy watched as Rebecca relayed the information to the other battlestars. A war council would bring in all commanders of the fleet together for a conference. They would need a large room for that. Perhaps a hanger bay might be the best spot for such a meeting.
“Troy, glad you’re here, I need you to coordinate with Captain Apollo with patrols. I’d like to use our vipers for long patrols and the Galactica’s vipers for CAP,” Ares said.
“I think I understand. I’ll talk to him, and I think I can get him to agree with that,” Troy replied. “I think he’s still on board the Argo somewhere.”
“Probably taking advantage of the room,” Ares said. “From what Adama’s been telling me the Galactica has twice it’s normal compliment at the moment.”
“That’s going to be a strain on the ship,” Troy replied. He couldn’t imagine the strain on the ship’s equipment for such a large crew. He then wondered about some of the other ships, were they in any better shape.
“Commander,” a male voice said. They all turned to see Apollo walking towards them. That made finding him easier for Troy.
“Captain, we were just talking about you,” Ares said motioning for the man to walk over. Troy watched as it seemed to take Apollo by surprise. He then noticed that Starbuck stood next to him. “What can we do for you?”
“Ah, well, we were wondering if you’ve heard anything about the Galactica’s landing bays,” Apollo said.
“Well, the repair crews have worked hard, and we’ve sent some supplies over,” Ares said. “The last report from your father asked how long we could hold the extra pilots.”
“I see,” Apollo said. “Well, I was just wondering, my son is still over there.”
“I see, I’ll contact Adama about that, I’m sure he’d allow a few pilots to rotate on the Galactica,” Ares said.
“Sounds good,” Apollo said.
Troy made his way out with Apollo and Starbuck after he finished talking with Commander Ares.
“Captain, Commander Ares asked me to get with you to set up a patrol schedule,” Troy said. “He’d like to use the Galactica vipers for CAP, and the fleet’s for long-range patrol.”
“CAP?” Apollo asked a bit confused.
“Oh, right, I’ve gotten used to Earth terminology, a ready squadron,” Troy replied.
“Can I ask why, I know I am probably better than some of your pilots,” Starbuck said.
“Actually it has nothing to do with the pilot, the viper though does,” Troy said. “The original vipers, I think you’re using Mk IIs?”
“Yes, actually some have been upgraded a bit, now they’re called a or b’s,” Apollo said.
“Essentially the same viper we had when we left,” Troy said. “In the yehrens we’ve been gone with the help of the Earthers we’re now at the MkVIII design. Using the S-metal it provides excellent range and a stealth feature. The Cylons have to get real close before the vipers show up on the scanner.”
“We noticed,” Apollo said. “Any chance we might be able to fly them?”
“I’d have to talk with Ares, but I don’t see why not. Transfer a few MkIIs for a few MkVIIIs,” Troy said. “I think we could manage that.”
He thought about asking the crew chief about transferring a few of the vipers. He knew that most of the older pilots could fly the earlier vipers. Some modifications had been done, so perhaps a training of the Galactica pilots to fly the newer vipers might be in order. He waited till he was down on the hangar bay for that.
Baltar sat on the command chair of the basestar waiting for the report from the other Cylon commanders. Lucifer walked in bowing to him.
“Report Lucifer,” he said to the Cylon.
“The reports of the other basestar commanders are all the same Baltar. Their scanners didn’t pick anything up until after they were already under attack,” Lucifer replied.
“What did they see,” Baltar asked.
“From a few eyewitness reports another fleet of Colonial warriors has appeared,” Lucifer said. “There were at least four ships in the fleet.”
Baltar sat back thinking about the report. He didn’t know of any additional ships that could have survived the war. “Were the scanner jammed?”
“No Baltar, that is the strange thing. The Colonial ships didn’t appear on our scanners,” Lucifer replied.
Baltar rubbed his chin thinking about that. A stealth cloak or something like had been developed, but when or where. Being on the council nothing had ever been brought up to him about it.
“Baltar?” Lucifer asked.
“What is it Lucifer,” Baltar replied.
“The other commanders want to know what your orders are,” Lucifer said.
“Tell the basestars to repair their damage, I might still need them,” Baltar replied.
“By your command,” Lucifer said. Bowing the Cylon left the command room to carry out his orders.
Troy made his way over to where Bri stood. She had finished asking for volunteers to transfer to the older s. He wondered if anyone actually did volunteer.
“Well, had a few people say yes,” she said to him.
“More than what I thought,” Troy replied honestly.
“I think it came down to the fact that the patrol would be within the fleet, not the boring outer patrols,” Bri said.
“Ah yes, the long patrols, quite boring,” Troy said. “When do you and Nall take off for patrol?”
“Eh, not for a while still,” Bri replied. “They’ve got the Enterprise doing that for now, along with the Fire Ant and Emerald.”
“Longer range scanners on the scout ships anyways,” Troy said. “That and we already know about where the Cylons are.”
“Any word about using the Colonial Bound to hurry back to Earth?” Bri asked.
“Yeah, I think Commander Adama is heading that way along with some of the Council of Twelve,” Troy said. “I heard Ares talking about that. He’d retain full command of the fleet until Adama returned.”
“So, who is in command,” Bri asked.
“I believe Ares is maintaining control of the military from Earth. Adama will remain in charge of the fleet defense,” Troy said. “I know a lot of people are wondering if we should attack the Cylons.”
“We should while we hold an advantage,” Bri stated. “I mean we’ve got the advantage in stealth, they can’t see us, we should be able to strike deep into their territory without them knowing.”
“I see, a deep strike, disable their abilities,” Troy said pondering the idea for several seconds. There would be a lot of planning that would be involved in such an undertaking. But the problem he saw, involved over a hundred, barely held together, civilian ships, many of which should not be in operation at all. Once more ships arrived from Earth to help out, things would be better.
“I take it by the silence you’re thinking about that,” Bri asked.
“Of course,” Troy said smiling about that. He figured it would be something to mention to Commander Ares about. He’d talk to him about it after the immediate crisis of the fleet was over.
Pratt reviewed the following report from Commander Ares. The Galactica had been found, but the presence of so many ships had surprised him. He’d thought that only the Galactica and a few other ships might have survived, not over a hundred. Ares also mentioned that many ships were cargo movers with slow speed, and some should be scrapped right away.
The Hermes had already been sent along with some supplies for the fleet. The next part was building up the fleet at another point. If the Cylons were following the fleet then they’d need an advanced base from which to fight.
“Commander, how are things today,” Pakrov asked entering the bridge of the Daedalus.
“Received more from Commander Ares. It appears the fleet the Galactica is leading isn’t, well, what’s the word, adequate,” Pratt said.
“Is that a polite way of saying some ships are junk,” Pakrov replied.
“If Ares’ reaction is any indication, yes,” Pratt told him. Pakrov chuckled a bit at that thought.
“What’s the plan then?” Pakrov asked.
“It appears that Commander Adama, part of the Council of Twelve and a few other members might be heading to Earth on the Colonial Bound to begin preparations for diplomatic negotiations between Earth and the Colonies,” Pratt said.
“So we might have an official visitor from the Colonies,” Pakrov said. “Perhaps we should let the government know.”
“I’ll wait a bit until I know. Don’t want to raise their hopes up or anything,” Pratt said. “But we should let them know that perhaps several thousand are on their way.”
Pakrov grunted in agreement at the statement. He wondered what the next year would hold.
Troy watched as across the rec room Jax seemed to be in deep conversation with Boomer. He wondered just what the relationship had been between the two and if it had actually been serious or not.
“Mind if we join you,” another voice said. He looked up to see Starbuck and Apollo standing there.
“No problem,” Troy replied. He waited until they sat down before they said anything.
“I’ll admit this is a surprise,” Apollo said waving his hand around indicating the ship.
“Well, the mission was a surprise,” Troy said. “I think Commander Cain wanted to keep this a secret just for this reason.”
“Well, it worked, I just wish you’d arrived earlier,” Apollo said.
“Yeah, but unfortunately the Arbus had a different plan for us. We lost a lot of good people in that war,” Troy replied. “But we also gain a lot of friends.”
“So what were the Arbus after,” Starbuck said.
“Just keeping the other races in check technologically-wise,” Troy said. “For some reason they were afraid of another race with the same technology.”
“Interesting,” Apollo said.
“Strangely enough they are nice people, just paranoid,” Troy said. He didn’t quite understand that himself but sometimes fear was a large motivator. He wondered what would have happened if the Argo hadn’t arrived when it did, or what would have happened if the Galactica and its fleet had arrived in Arbus space? “So what happened to the armistice?”
He watched as Apollo and Starbuck shared a look before Apollo answered. “The fleet had gathered for the signing of the treaty. Zac, my brother, and I were on patrol when we encountered two empty Cylon tankers.”
“Empty, what were they doing so close to the fleet?” Troy asked. It sounded strange to him.
“At the time we didn’t know, so we went to investigate,” Apollo replied. “Heading into the cover of the moon we found what was going on. Hundreds of raiders filled the sky and then chased us when we left to warn the fleet. They attacked us and we destroyed four but damaged my brother’s viper. So I quickly headed back to warn the fleet.”
“From what I heard Adama wanted to put the fleet on alert but the President over-ruled him. So the commander put the Galactica on alert, messed up a great hand,” Starbuck said.
“What did the President say when the Cylons were approaching,” Troy asked. That confused him a bit when the President should’ve known better.
“That’s where Baltar came in. He kept the President from calling an alert and sabotaged the defenses of the Colonies,” Apollo said. “Now he hunts us with a Cylon basestar.”
“What was he to gain from helping the Cylons?” Troy asked.
“The only thing I can think of, total power over the Cylons. The enslavement of the human race,” Apollo replied.
“Or perhaps the destruction of humanity,” Troy said. “Perhaps the Cylons are really using him to destroy the remaining human fleet.”
“Well, either way it doesn’t really matter. We’re hunted and without a home,” Starbuck said.
“I think that’s about to change,” Troy said. “We have a supply base, thought its not close, and more ships with updated systems and designs and weapons. The Earthers adapt to technology very quickly.”
“A fresh set of eyes,” Apollo said. “Sometimes we get stuck, for example, the Galactica is almost five hundred yehrens old.”
“And the Argo didn’t have much design differences with the Galactica,” Troy said. Things would change and Troy hoped it was for the better.
Bri sat back turning slightly to make sure that Mary still slept. Nall was on patrol and Rebecca had duty on the bridge. So Bri was watching Mary. Almost everyone on board the Argo had come to watch out for the young girl. In fact Mary wasn’t the only child on board the ship anymore. One of the women had given birth on the way.
Turning back to her paperwork she sighed a bit with the amount. Being squad leader sometimes sucked. Too much paperwork and not enough time in the viper. At least she didn’t have to worry about training any new recruits. The voyage from Earth to the Colonies had meant everyone aboard had been trained. Now though, that might change with some additional recruits from the fleet.
“Bri, how are the reports coming,” another pilot asked.
“Slowly, sometimes I wonder why we have to do these things,” Bri said waving the data pad around. She had pretty much finished though. Just a few more to go, and report back to Earth who had been killed. The squad had been fortunate with only three lost. The pilots from the Galactica hadn’t fared as well though. She’d heard they’d lost almost half of their pilots, of course they had been outnumbered over ten to one.
The addition of the Argo and Enterprise’s vipers had evened up the odds very quickly. The Argo held almost eighty vipers and the Enterprise one hundred. Add to that the Galactica’s eighty and that made two hundred and sixty vipers, not including spares.
“Well ma’am, I’m glad I don’t have to do that yet,” the other pilot said.
Bri glanced over at the ma’am part. She wasn’t that old, not even thirty yet. They appeared about the same age, the only thing she could think of was her rank. “Well, I guess after a while you get use to it, maybe.”
“If you say so,” he replied. “What’s the next step?”
Bri thought about that. A ‘War Meeting’ meeting had been called of all the ship’s captains. “I’ve heard a ‘war meeting’ is next. Commander Ares wants to see what condition the fleet is in before embarking on any unnecessary repairs just yet.”
“Oh, yeah, I guess that makes sense,” the man replied. Bri noticed that he fell silent once more as she looked back over at Mary, who still was asleep.
She wondered what the future would hold for everyone. Would the war with the Cylons continue and if so, how long? She really wished she had the answers to those questions, but had to settle for the normal everyday answers.
Ares glanced at the hanger as more people continued to arrive. The Enterprise had been chosen because it had the larger hangar. He glanced over at Commander Adama waiting to see if everyone had arrived. His captains were already there, at least those there. Captain Renee and Bruce would be absent. The scout ships were on the lookout for any new threats.
Ares could already hear the whispers of invisible ships, Earth and a lot of other things including Cain. The news of Cain’s death hadn’t spread though the fleet yet, but he hoped that Cain’s decision to begin this mission might help the low morale of the fleet. His own fleet didn’t have that problem yet, unlike the Colonial fleet. However a new life seemed present to him in the actions and words he heard.
Finally Adama walked up and took the stand. Ares watched as it took several seconds for the crowd to quiet down. He spotted his group standing around clustered off to the side. Most already understood what the situation was and what type of voyage back would be involved.
“All right, listen up everyone there’s a lot going on that needs telling,” Adama said trying to get silence in the hanger. The conversations died down as many realized their questions were about to be answered
Ares got himself ready knowing that he’d be one of the ones to be called upon to answer questions. Right now though Adama give everyone a slight briefing of what had occurred.
“I’m sure everyone has questions but if everyone waits until everything has been told then it might help answer most questions.” Adama stated.
Ares listened as Adama mentioned what had happened during the fight and the orders that the captains had received. He knew that the situation the fleet had found themselves in wasn’t good. The fleet had been overrun by superior forces. One battlestar against five basestars, not exactly great odds, even with the addition of his fleet, but with the firepower of the two cruisers it had even the odds.
“I understand that some questions will come from this but we’ve found a group from Earth,” Adama said.
Ares heard the low whispers as Earth was mentioned. Many still, like he had, thought of Earth as a myth, a legend that didn’t really exist. At least that’s what he thought for a while, but slowly changed his mind then they reached Earth.
“I realize that many of you don’t think Earth exists, but some commander of our military ten yehrens ago sent out an expedition to find the thirteenth tribe. Many here on this ship are from Earth, it’s their home and they are here to help us,” Adama said to them.
Ares could see a few of the Enterprise crewmembers watching with interest. They were from Earth listening to the conversation with interest. Not long ago they were in a similar situation when Earth was invaded by the Arbus. It had been the Colonials on board the Argo that had helped save Earth and fight a war.
“There are still several basestars out there so we’ll need your cooperation in the future. I’d like every captain to fill out their ship’s problems. We’ll be slowly scrapping inadequate ships as other ships arrive. Earth is still a distance away from here so there are a few options, and with the addition of the new ships we have a slight advantage for now,” Adama said to them.
Ares nodded his head in agreement at that. The decision to ferry several citizens and others from the fleet on board Earth ships would speed up the process especially if some of the slower ships could be scrapped, or used for another purpose.
“Commander Ares of the Earth fleet feels that we can start a convoy system to Earth ferrying people back to Earth and bringing back supplies for the fleet. Each voyage would reduce the strain on the remaining ship allowing some ships to be able to go faster,” Adama said. “Questions?”
“Commander, why can’t the ships that can go faster go with these ships,” one ship captain asked.
Ares stepped forward for that question. “It’s simple really, many of our ships are made of a stealth material that the Cylons can’t track. They don’t know about Earth or where it is. This is our advantage over the Cylons, something we haven’t had in recent history.”
“How would you know about the Cylons,” another captain asked.
“I served on board the battlestar Pacifica for ten yehrens before being reassigned by Commander Cain for this mission,” Ares stated.
“And what was this mission?”
“To find Earth and prepare it for the Cylons. Using the planet as a base of operations to create a new fleet, or in the worst case, a last stand,” Ares replied.
“Right now with the help of Earth the fleet has an additional two battlestars, and seven support warships to go with six supply ships,” Adama said.
“Each ship, with the exception of the Argo is made out of what is called S-metal,” Ares said. “A metal that we discovered in our travels to Earth. With their help we were able to construct a new fleet.”
“How far away are we?”
That had been a question Ares had been expecting. “At your current speed, about another six to eight yehrens. But with Earth ships the distance closes to about a half a yehren from this distance to the closest known base.”
“Known base?” another question came.
“Yes, when the fleet left Earth we had started building a series of bases headed towards the Colonies to reduce supply time when the fleet had been found. At the time the first base wasmpleted and that was almost a yehren ago now. With the help of the Skartians I imagine that at least another two bases operational.
“Then you don’t know,” the captain asked.
“Due to the Cylons and the importance of secrecy only communications to Earth are allowed unless Earth has fallen under another attack,” Ares said to the group.
“Another attack?” several voices said.
“That is a long story, but the Earth came under attack from a group called the Arbus, the war had just ended when news of the Colonies came,” Ares told them. “I’ve sent my second-in-command the course information so supply ships don’t have to worry about missing us.”
“On the first voyage back several member of the council will be going as well as myself. It will be needed to start the process of preparing a path for our people once we reach Earth. I will return but the rest will be up to the council members,” Adama said to the group. “While I’m gone Commander Ares will be in charge of the military of the fleet, and will take my place on the council.”
Ares almost glanced at Adama at that announcement. He hadn’t been expecting that. He’d have to talk to Adama about the Council and see what is going on and what he’d have to prepare for.
End Part 63