Earth at Last
by AJ Marks
The commander paced back and forth on the bridge, impatiently waiting for the test results. A smaller man sitting in a chair watched him pace back and forth.
“Be patient my friend,” the leader said.
“I know my lord, but it’s hard,” the commander said, sitting down on a chair across from him. “It’s just I don’t think we can afford to be wrong about this, too much is at stake.”
His companion studied him for several seconds before saying anything. “I know my friend, we won’t fail our masters again. We did so once before.”
They both turned watching an aide walk into the room. He walked up handing the paper to the lord who quickly read through it before dismissing the aide.
“Well? What does it say?” the commander asked, wishing for some good news.
“It appears that the Cylons will be mounting a full scale attack on our visitors,” the leader said. “They have not noticed us yet.”
“That would give us an advantage,” the commander said, thinking about tactical advantages they could use. “It will also complicate things.”
Before either man could say anything else another aide entered the room, handing another report to the leader.
“Well, this is what we’ve been waiting for,” the leader said, handing the report to the commander.
“Do you believe what they’ve said?” the commander asked, then looked down at the report reading though it.
“Well, they’re human, that much is certain,” the leader replied. “But from what history texts that remain, there is no mention of an advanced tribe or race in their past. There are some like Atlantis, but that is a legend.”
“Perhaps its time we spoke to our visitors again,” the commander said. “I have a question that might make things easier.”
The leader followed the commander out of the room.
Commander Adama made his way slowly down the now empty corridors. Now gone were the constant stream of people, moving around, working on systems, or looking for a spot to rest for a while on a crowded ship. Instead an almost overwhelming sense of despair hung over the ship. Reaching his office he sat down wondering if he should even try to overcome the general mood on the ship. A knock on the door brought him out of his musing.
“Come in,” Adama said, watching as Starbuck walked through the door.
“Hope I’m not intruding commander?”
“No, of course not,” Adama said, watching the man sit down. “I was thinking, have I led us to our deaths?”
He watched Starbuck look up at him in shock. “I don’t believe that commander. We both know staying at the Colonies, we’d already be dead. At least now, there is still a chance of survival. If we have the chance, there is still hope.”
“It’s just there is so much death,” Adama replied. “So, what brings you here?”
“Well, this is going to sound silly, but I didn’t want to be in my quarters,” Starbuck replied, shifting slightly in his seat.
“No, I completely understand,” Adama said, recalling the feeling he had after the Colonies had been destroyed.
Apollo sat in his cell, along with a few others. Each of them gave a similar account of what happened, even down to the questions asked of them. It made Apollo question what they wanted from them.
“Does anyone know who they are?” one asked.
“If I was to guess, probably the winners of the war on the planet,” Apollo answered, having thought about it for a while. It was the only answer which made any sense to him.
“And what of the Cylons?” another one asked. “Are they involved here?”
“I doubt it, when they showed me a raider, they had no idea who they were,” Apollo said.
“Great,” one replied back to him.
They all looked over at the door, as the commander and a shorter man walked in. Apollo had not seen the shorter one before, and wondered what might happen next.
Omega watched over the bridge, something he had done many times over the yahrens. Now things were different, the fleet had started to split up and leave. Not wanting to wait until they were attacked to hop to escape. No one knew when the Cylons might attack, only that it could happen at any moment.
“Sir, long range scans indicate several basestars approaching our position,” one operator said.
“Contact the fleet, let all captains know of the situation and get moving,” he said looking over at the communications officer. “Are they within fighter range?”
“In about thirty minutes,” the reply came back.
“Prepare to go to red alert.”
Omega looked over at her, noticing how pretty she was, not for the first time, and now wished he had asked her out when he had the chance. Now he had little chance of it ever happening. Sighing he looked at the rest of the bridge crew. “I’m going to inform the commander of the situation, if the Cylons launch fighters go to red alert.”
“Understood,” the reply came back as he made his way off the bridge.
“You are human, that much we know for sure,” the shorter man said to Apollo and the group before continuing on. “The question of how that is remains to be answered.”
“I have no idea how to answer that question so you’re satisfied,” Apollo answered. He went to say something else when he was interrupted.
“It is irrelevant at the moment captain,” the commander said, causing Apollo to frown, but managed to remain silent. “We must move quickly to save humanity. I have one question for you, have you ever heard of Atlantis?”
“Atlantis, no, but we did have a battlestar named Atlantia,” Apollo said.
“Actually captain, the battlestar’s name was derived from a legend,” one of the others said, his voice trailing off for a second. “It was one of several names the Thirteenth tribe called themselves.”
“Then, with that we have something in common, I am Lord Arkis, this is Commander Derkik,” the shorter man said, giving the first introductions. “Now, tell us more about these Cylons, for they are invading our space.”
Apollo looked at the others before deciding to say something. He had nothing to lose in telling them everything he knew about the Cylons.
“Come in,” Commander Adama said at the chime to his door. He watched Omega walk into the office, and noticed the look on the man’s face.
“I wanted to inform you that long-range scans have picked up five Cylon basestars,” Omega said, giving even worse news that Adama had expected.
Both he and Starbuck stood. He noticed a look of shock as well on Starbuck’s face at the number they would be facing. Adama expected to be outnumbered, but not five to one.
“Call red alert,” Adama said to Omega. “Is the fleet splitting up?”
“I informed all captain of the situation and to start leaving now,” Omega replied.
“Good man,” Adama said. “Tell navigation to plot a course to the nearest basestar and engage.” He hoped by moving towards the battle they might give the fleeing ships even more time to escape.
Omega left the room to carry out the orders. They all understood what would happen next. They were the sacrifice to hopefully save humanity. Each of them had something to fight for, either family or revenge.
Starbuck started for the door before stopping and turning back. “It was an honor to serve under you sir,” he said, extending his hand.
“It was an honor to have someone like you under me,” Adama said, shaking Starbuck’s hand.
“Then I’ll see you on the other side,” Starbuck said, walking out the door as the ship went to red alert. Adama remained in the office for a few seconds longer watching the retreating form. He knew Starbuck’s words came from the heart, but he could only feel tremendous sorrow for what was about to happen.
Taking a moment to look at the burned picture of his wife, one ofhte few things he rescued from his house back on the colonies. With the ship now at red alert, and people expecting him on the bridge, he took one last moment to look around the office. It had been his home for many yahrens, and now, he would leave for the last time.
“May the gods have mercy on me, I tried my best,” he said to the empty room before turning and walking towards the bridge. He put as much confidence into his walk as he could.
Boomer and Jolly stood next to each other, neither saying a word. They both knew they were fighting for time, to give others hope. They both figured neither would live though this battle, and despite that, they were calm, ready for battle. They turned seeing Starbuck come down the lift.
“Well, looks like this is it,” Boomer stated, trying to sound natural, but his true feeling betraying him. “Are you ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Starbuck replied, clapping his hand upon Boomer’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s make the Cylons regret the day they decided to tangle with us. Bet I take out more Cylons than you do.”
“You’re on,” Boomer replied. The challenge momentarily made them forget the odds of the situation. They made their way over to the vipers, climbing into the cockpit, putting on their helmets and waiting for the permission to launch.
Starbuck listened in on the reports coming from the bridge about where to head first to engage the Cylons. He knew what their job was today, and their odds. He glanced around once last time of the hangar bay, realizing that he probably would never see it again, unless a miracle happened. Taking out a picture of his wife and daughter, he placed it on the cockpit instrument. Going though the start-up sequence he waited for the order to launch.
Adama stood on the bridge, watching his crew work, treating as if the upcoming battle were any other battle. He felt both proud and guilty, knowing they were headed into a battle they could not win. Walking over to the internal communications he switched it on.
“May I have everyone’s attention please?” he said, watching as everyone on the bridge turned towards him. “I wanted to tell you all how proud I am of you, and that a commander could not have asked for a finer crew. We fought hard, and yet our toughest fight is about ahead. We fight now for our very survival, for those who flee. Those who survive will look back upon us with pride, make us all proud.”
He switched off the mic and went back over to his command chair.
“Cylon raiders launching,” Omega said. “Do we launch now?”
“What is the situation of the fleet?” Adama asked.
“Ships have started to leave, all are moving at least at some speed,” Omega replied.
“Launch all vipers, tell them to engage the Cylons as far away as possible,” Adama said. “Navigation, flank speed, the moment we’re in range open fire, ready all missiles.”
“Nearest basestar targeted, increasing speed,” the reply came back. “Missile launchers standing by awaiting orders.” “All vipers have launched.”
Starbuck took a breath before releasing it and bringing his thumb down on the thruster button. The g-forces pressed him back into the seat as the viper accelerated out of the launch tube. The vipers launched in order, avoiding any collisions on launch. They formed up and headed towards the nearest raiders.
It took only minutes for both sides to close and the killing started. Space became a death zone as both sides opened fire. Lasers flashed through space even as fighters on both sides exploded.
Starbuck lined up another raider quickly pressing the fire button watching as it exploded before moving on to the next target. He would waste no time today with talking. Raiders were beign destroyed at a large pace, but they were taking losses as well. The big difference would be the Cylons could launch wave after wave against them.
He took a moment to look at the scanner, seeing the Galactica heading towards the nearest basestar. He knew the two would be engaged shortly, but there was little he could do about the battle. Surprisingly once he engaged in battle, his nerves from earlier disappeared. His scanners indicated another incoming wave, and he prepared for the next battle.
Back on board the Galactica Adama watched the scanner as the ship passed close by the engaged vipers. He noticed the difference in design on the upcoming basestar, and hoped that id not mean he would be outmatched too badly. He hoped to provide some time for the fleet to escape. He would do everything he could to destroy the basestar, after that, he felt little hope.
A black centurion walked up to the commander, who looked down at the group.
“The Galactica has ignored our raiders and appears headed straight towards us. The tactics are illogical for the data,” the centurion said.
“And what of our raiders, have they destroyed the vipers yet?”
“They are encountering heavy resistance, our losses are high. Another wave is being sent into deal with them,” the centurion replied.
“Then it’s only a matter of time before the race known as mankind is gone forever from the stars,” the commander said. “Have two other basestars brought in to ensure the Galactica is destroyed. We have time to destroy the rest of the human fleet.”
“By your command,” the centurion said, turning around and heading out to carrying out its orders.
Apollo walked down the hallway beside Lord Arkis and Commander Derkik. He glanced around at the hallway and other people they passed. They all appeared human, but looks could be deceiving and he did not get his hopes up. He noticed the highly advanced state of technology around him and for a second wondered how they would handle the Cylons.
“By Kobal!” he heard of the others exclaim as they walked into a large room. Apollo looked up seeing a window, and what was beyond it.
They had a large view of a lighted cavern, probably a hollowed out asteroid. It was what was scattered around the asteroid that caught his attention. There were several large ships, some larger than the Galactica.
“What is this place?” Apollo asked, turning his attention back towards Derkik.
“You’re in our largest space station,” Derkik replied. “It was carved out of an asteroid, which allows us a great deal of privacy while watching the system. Stealth is a great part of our strategy.”
Apollo turned to look back at the ships, wondering about the ability of the ships. “How many ships do you have?”
“We house forty-five ships in this base,” Arkis replied. “We have other ships around the system.”
“Forty-five,” Apollo said to himself. He never saw such a large fleet. By the time he joined the military the days of large fleets were over. “What are you going to do?”
“Help you of course,” Arkis replied, the curtness of his reply left Apollo unsure. They continued on a bit further through the room and into another room.
“Welcome to our CIC captain,” Derkik said, raising his hands to indicate the room. “From here we can watch everything that’s happening.”
Apollo looked around the large room, seeing people walking around, several large monitors on the walls, and the middle a large holographic representation of the system, including several dots color coded. He walked closer seeing it showed both Cylon and colonial ships, and it appeared a battle had started. He saw the Galactica moving towards a basestar, and a group of vipers fighting raiders.
“What is he doing?” Derkik asked, standing beside him. The Galactica fought the Cylon basestar. Even from here Apollo saw two other basestars closing in.
“Scanners indicate both warships suffering damage,” a controller said.
“The fleet’s splitting up,” one of the others said. Apollo looked up to see the fleet making a run for it in every direction possible. They were not heading in a normal pattern at all.
“He’s trying to give them time to escape,” Apollo said, watching as the scanners showed the ships picking up speed to escape. The Cylons were also closing in on the fleet. “They won’t make it,” he finally observed, wondering if he could do anything.
“And our ships here are too far away be able to help in time,” Derkik said in a calm casual voice.
“Thought you said you were going to help. Instead you’re going to stand here and do nothing?” Apollo said, anger creeping into his voice. “If you don’t do something now they’ll all be killed.”
“Calm yourself captain, the battle is still young. And I said from here,” Derkik replied. Apollo glared at him for a few more seconds before his earlier words came back to him, from here. That meant, he looked up and over at Derkik and then Arkis.
“My lord, section Gamma is ready to execute,” a controller said.
“Tell the second fleet to engage, and prepare the first fleet to move out,” Arkis ordered.
Adama clutched the side of his chair as another hit rocked the ship. The bridge crew regained their composure and continued working preparing the ship for the next move. Even though they all knew the ship would not survive, they worked hard to keep the ship alive. Small groups of crewmembers worked on repairing systems and equipment.
“Commander, we have five basestars now closing in on our position, the rest are heading towards the fleet,” Omega said. “It looks like most will be caught before they reach the asteroid belt,”
Adama felt the hopelessness of the situation closing in around him. He wondered if any ship would survive. Another shout from Omega caused him to turn.
“Scanners indicate ships moving inside the asteroid belt,” he said.
“A trap,” Adama said, more to himself than anyone else. The odds were now beyond their favor, especially if the Cylons had set up such a trap.
“Report centurion,” the commander said, looking down at the Cylon in front of him.
“The Colonial warriors are giving our forces heavy loses, however we will soon overwhelm them,” the centurion reported.
“And the Galactica?” the question came back.
“It is currently engaged with one of our baseships. It will probably win, but the damage it suffered will allow the others to easily defeat it,” the centurion replied.
“And the rest of the human fleet?”
“Our forces are closing in and intercept before they reach the asteroid belt of the system.”
Slowly creeping out of bases in the asteroid belt, warships of all sizes unlike anything the Cylons or Colonials had seen before headed into battle once more. Their crews eager to engage after so long.
End Part 5
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