by AJ Marks
Part 69: Colonies and Earth Meet
Baltar looked down at Lucifer. The Cylon had walked into the command room waiting for instructions to speak. He wondered if anything new had been discovered lately. The last encounter of vipers the pilot reported the vipers disappeared. One moment the vipers were in visual range, the next the vo[ers disappeared with nothing on scanners.
Adama had managed invisible vipers that would account for so much lately. How Adama had managed to outwit every attempt to trap the fleet, like he knew about it in advance. He silently laughed to himself before remembering that Lucifer stood in front of him.
“Report Lucifer,” Baltar said, looking down again at the Cylon.
“By your command Baltar. Reports of the latest attempt by the Imperious Leader had failed again,” Lucifer said.
“He’s foolish,” Baltar said. “Still is no closer to figuring it all out.”
“No, it appears not Baltar,” Lucifer said.
“Did you send my protest of the attack?” Baltar asked.
“Of course Baltar,” Lucifer replied.
“And,” Baltar said after Lucifer fell quiet for a few moments.
“It is the Imperious Leader’s wise decision that only though attacks can we figure out what’s going on. It’s a tactic that has yet to fail us,” Lucifer said.
“Then he’s a fool for thinking that way,” Baltar replied. “Oh well, it’s only a matter of time before he learns to fight this new threat he needs me more than ever before.”
Baltar leaned back thinking of the fame he’d receive when he finally defeated Adama. He heard something from Lucifer.
“What was that Lucifer,” Baltar asked staring at the Cylon.
“I’m sure it is Baltar,” the Cylon replied.
“What else is there to report?” Baltar asked.
“Nothing else, the next plan will have to wait until new basestars can get into position,” Lucifer replied. “The Imperious Leader is bringing up six basestars, including a new series basestar recently completed. It was designed just for this new threat.”
“I highly doubt that Lucifer,” Baltar replied. “Seeing how he doesn’t even know what he’s up against how can you design something to fight it especially if Cain is involved? You may leave.”
He watched the Cylon leave turning to his thoughts once more. Adama seemed to have all the advantages at the moment. The only real information he had was invisible vipers, but how many did he have, and what were they capable of. The information of another battlestar, something the Imperious Leader ignored, caused Baltar hesitation. He had tangled once already with Cain and lost. No, the next time he tangled with the legendary commander he’d have the upper hand. A slight smile came to his lips as he thought about that. He’d wait as long as was necessary to gain the advantage.
Captain Scott waited patiently on the bridge of the Colonial Bound for Commander Adama to appear. So far during the voyage the group of people on board had been nice, except for one of the council members. Adama had told him the member was new, recently elected to the council. Many members were questioned by the survivors after the escape of the Easter Alliance destroyer, and the almost successful kidnapping of the council and escape of Baltar.
Scott learned Baltar had later been released for cooperation in destruction of a Cylon basestar. He felt they shouldn’t have let such a dangerous man go, but he wasn’t in charge.
“Captain, you wanted a word with me,” Adama said.
“Aye, ah did,” Scott replied. He’d been so caught up in his thoughts he failed to noticed Adama walk onto the bridge. “Wanted to let ya know we’re coming up to Colonial Base Four.”
“So soon?” Adama replied. Scott could hear the disbelief in the other man’s voice.
“Aye, seems the Skartians work really well,” Scott replied.
“I’m interested in meeting the group. Does the Earth government know we’re about to arrive?” Adama asked.
“Aye, been in contact with them now for an hour,” Scott said. “Standard procedure now for incoming ships. ‘Specially now that there Cylons are a comin’.”
“I see,” Adama said.
“Ay suspected you wanted to let them other fellahs know that we’re about there?” Scott said. He watched Adama for a few seconds before he finally replied.
“I guess I should,” he finally said. “How long till we dock?”
“About four hours,” Scott replied.
“I’ll let them know,” Adama said.
Scott watched the commander leave the bridge wondering how long he had before the Colonial Bound would be leaving to head back to the fleet again.
Ares read the latest reports. The Cylons still were close by, sending in a few patrols, but they hadn’t launched another attack since that suicide attack that had destroyed a significant amount of the building ships. Since then however the fleet had converted another ship to manufacturing.
“Commander,” Troy said. Ares looked up waiting for the report. “Wanted to let you know, Bri’s reporting in. Basestar three has moved now to the front of the fleet.”
Ares looked over to the tactical board. It showed the fleet, and the current position of the Cylon basestars, each labeled with a number to identify it except one, which had a ‘B’ next to it. The basestar that Baltar commanded.
“Shifting positions again. Baltar’s trying to figure us out still,” Ares said. They’d been playing a chess game now for a while. He looked to see what Baltar might have planned now. He walked over to the map studying it intently. “Interesting, he might want to drive us here.”
Ares pointed to a spot on the map that he knew held asteroids. He had a tactical advantage of already knowing what lies ahead. He studied the map a bit more. He needed a plan.
“Have the scouts found anything else?” Ares asked.
“Nothing yet commander,” Troy said.
“Yeah,” Ares said. He then realized that the Colonial Bound would probably be close to the first new bases, if Earth continued creating new bases. He didn’t envy Pratt in his position with dealing with the politics of both the Council of the Twelve and the Earth Government. The Council still wanted full control over everything, and even had tried several times to take over the Earth fleet. Ares had threatened to leave that last time. He thought for sure Tigh would have a heart attack over that.
“Commander, incoming message, from patrol six,” Troy said.
Ares nodded, knowing that patrol six was Starbuck and Apollo, in viper VIIIs. Several members of the Galactica’s blue squadron had been fitted with the stealth vipers.
“Put it though,” Ares said, watching as Apollo’s face appeared.
“Commander, thought you might want to know, we’ve encountered some ships from Earth,” Apollo said.
“The supply ships,” Ares said. The news startled him a bit, but at the same time, the supplies would be most welcome. “Escort them in, go on ahead and land on them and we’ll conserve a bit of fuel that way.”
Ares tapped his chin in thought. The ships might come in quite handy.
“Troy, let me know when the supply ships arrive, I have a plan for the latest ‘trap’ the Cylons are setting up for us,” Ares said, then walked out towards his office.
Apollo raised the canopy of the viper looking around at a ship that for once, didn’t appear crowded, or run down. A woman greeted him taking his helmet and informing him that the captain would like to see him. He waited for Starbuck to arrive before heading up to the bridge.
“Feels a bit weird,” Apollo finally said, looking around the ship.
“Yeah, everything looks so, new,” Starbuck said.
“Just don’t let Cassiopeia know you were eye the woman in the landing bay,” Apollo said, laughing a bit.
“Um, I’ll have you know she respects me and knows me very well,” Starbuck said.
Apollo glanced at him waiting several seconds before Starbuck continued.
“And don’t you tell her either,” he said, walking on to the elevator that would take them to the bridge.
A few seconds later the doors opened and they walked onto the bridge.
“Ah, captain, welcome aboard the destroyer Sydney, I’m Mike Tralov,” the man said.
“Thanks,” Apollo said.
“Is there a path you suggest to get though the Cylon basestars?” Mike asked.
“Yeah,” Apollo said walking over to the scanner which showed the positions of the ships. It had taken him a while to get used to the Earth navigation system. It used a holographic technology to display a real-time 3-D image. “Right through here one at a time is the best and the weakest scans indicated.”
“Right then,” Mike said, relaying the information other ships.
“So, how many ships are with you?” Starbuck asked.
“Five,” Mike replied. “Four supply ships and this destroyer.”
“Any trouble?” Starbuck asked.
“No, we did pass the Pegasus though, gave some food supplies to her,” Mike answered.
Apollo grew a bit silent at that. He knew that the Pegasus had survived, and that Cain had died.
“She really took a beating, but she’ll be back in action, better than ever,” Mike said. “The Skartians are the best builders in the universe.”
“The Skartians?” Apollo asked.
“Yeah, oh, you’re Colonials, should’ve guessed, sorry,” Mike said. “The Skartians were allies of Earth in the fight against the Arbus. Nice people, don’t sleep, allows them to work forever, they’ll work all day, taking eating breaks and such. They also love to play. When they play, expect to play for hours.”
“Sounds interesting,” Apollo said.
“Well, everything’s set, not much more to do than wait and hope they don’t detect us,” Mike said, as the first supply ship went though heading towards the fleet.
Adama felt the shuttle land on the ground. The first time in a long time he would be on a planet’s surface, and this time with friends, he hoped. He looked around with the other council members who also appeared to be waiting to see what would happen.
Scott opened the door and walked out. Adama followed along with the other two members. He spotted a warrior standing next to a man dressed in a different outfit, it looked a bit strange to not see robes.
“Commander Adama,” the warrior said walking up to him. “I’m Commander Pratt, current Commander-In-Chief of the Earth military while Commander Ares is away.”
“Commander Pratt, are you also from the Colonies?’ Adama asked.
“Yes sir,” Pratt said. “I was Argo’s second in command on the way out here. Served on board the Pegasus before that.”
Adama thought about that for several seconds. “Then you knew Commander Cain?”
“Yes sir, we also met once, on board the Pegasus for a war meeting, just before the assault on the Gandor’s moons,” Pratt said. “I met you in the hanger bay and escorted you to the meeting room.
Adama thought back to that battle, and the meeting to discuss the assault. He could remember the meeting, but not Pratt, not that it meant much, but the fact that Pratt knew things could only mean the man had served on board the Pegasus.
“Allow me to introduce to you the President of Earth, Chang Xai,” Pratt said, indicating the man on his left.
“Pleasure Commander Adama,” the man replied.
“And his advisor, Sam Harvey,” Pratt said. Sam gave a slight nod towards Adama and the rest but didn’t say anything yet.
“I am Commander Adama, a member of the Council of Twelve, as are these two men, Cronus, and Jason.”
“Let us head to the meeting room where we can be comfortable,” Pratt suggested. Adama followed the group down the hallway to the meeting room. He spotted a large screen, to go with a large white board on the wall that looked as if it was used for writing on. He looked a bit more at the screen noticing that the Earthers were indeed much more technically advanced in computers than the Colonies were. He didn’t know if that would be a good thing or not.
Adama sat down waiting for the rest of the group before anyone spoke. Across from his sat the Earth president, Chang Xai, who appeared to look them over.
“You must believe under normal circumstances how hard it would be to believe that we come from the same hone-world,” Xai said finally. “If it hadn’t been for the war against the Arbus I doubt we’d even be here talking to you.”
Adama remembered what he’d been told by Commander Ares and the others. The Earthers history of Kobal had been destroyed by the Arbus. Sam was the next person to speak up.
“I was one of the first the group from the Argo contacted. I worked at NASA at the time. It took considerable wrangling to create a group to help out the Colonies,” Sam said. “I’m sorry to say we were not in time.”
“Thank you,” Adama said, speaking up at last. “I’ve heard many things from both Commander Ares, and from the crew on board the Colonial Bound. You have truly worthy people here on Earth.”
“Yes, but now we have another problem, actually two problems,” Xai said. “One is the Cylons. The closer you’re fleet comes to Earth the greater chance the Cylons will notice us.”
“Yes, that is a concern,” Adama said.
“The second is your people,” Xai said.
“If I may say, there is a third problem, the Galactic Alliance,” Pratt said.
Adama raised his eyebrows at that wondering who this ‘Galactic Alliance’ was.
“Ah, yes, forget about them,” Xai said. “A group of other worlds that like to butt in with advice.”
Adama covered a chuckled at that remembering when the council tried several times to butt in only to find their decisions to be wrong and placed the fleet in greater danger.
“Well, that third one I don’t know much about, but we can do something about the first two,” Adama said.
“Agreed,” Xai said. “We’re currently converting one of the bases to handle the incoming Colonial citizens, a make-shift colony if you will, outside the base your government will have full authority.”
“Sounds like you’ve thought about this for a while,” Jason said the first council member to speak up.
“”We’ve given thought to it ever since the news came to us,” Sam said. “It was actually Commander Pratt’s idea for that. There would be too many problems in combining the governments at this time.”
Adama sat back wondering about that. The council didn’t like to give up power quickly. He had the feeling the meeting would become very interesting indeed.
Troy stood on the bridge watching as Commander Ares plan went into effect. It really did appear quite simple. They had empty another three passenger ships after unloading the supplies from Earth.
Talking with Captain Mike had given him news from Earth. A small fleet of supply ships had been constructed. A fleet of six would journey from the closest base, in this case CB4, to the fleet. Each fleet would start to consist of one or two tankers, three or four supply ships and a destroy for escort purposes.
Now using the now empty tankers and supply ships civilians had been transferred to the ships to take back. The ships in the Colonial fleet that were in bad shape were the first to be unloaded. Now two of those ships were now converging on the ‘trap’ the Cylons had laid out.
“Contact in a few seconds,” Rebecca said.
The three ships were all under control from the Argo.
“One the basestars is now appearing on the ships scanners us the ships to ram the basestars,” Ares said.
Troy shook his head at that tactic. Using the ships of the fleet would cause a pause for some of the leaders in the Cylon Empire.
“Green squadron standing by, as is the Leopard,” Troy said. He looked over to see Ares.
“Tell them they are not to engaged unless they have to. I want to see what the Cylons will do,” Ares replied.
Troy thought the same thing. He never knew of using civilian ships for such a tactic.
“In range commander,” Rebecca said. “Engines on full, course set.”
Troy now knew the only thing left was to wait and see.
Baltar watched Lucifer walk into the command room. “Lucifer report.”
“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer answered. “The Colonial warriors are using a baffling tactic.”
Baltar’s eyebrows rose but didn’t say anything. Nothing would surprise him.
“Three ships from the Colonial fleet have entered the asteroid field, and appear headed towards the basestars as if to do combat with them,” Lucifer said.
“Hmm, maybe Adama is hoping to spring the trap or set one himself. He probably has a squadron of vipers waiting for when the basestars go after the ships,” Baltar said.
“The Galactica herself has made no attempt to leave the fleet, surely Commander Adama knows of the trap already?” Lucifer said.
“Perhaps, or he’s luring the Imperious Leader into a trap of his own, wanting us to waste our resources in such battles,” Baltar said, thinking it over in his mind. Then he also had that report of vanishing vipers. He felt certain Adama would be using his secret weapon again. “Keep a close eye on the battle, I think Adama will be using his new vipers again. Keep me updated.”
“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer replied.
Baltar watched Lucifer walk back out of the command room.
Troy watched the scanners with the rest of the bridge crew. The Cylon basestars seemed to hesitate for several seconds wondering what the Colonial ships were actually up to.
“Cylon ships have opened fire,” Rebecca finally said.
Troy looked over to the damage indicators which showed damage starting on the ships. The engines still worked making the ship large missiles.
“First impact in five, four, three, two, one, impact,” Rebecca’s voice said.
Troy noticed one blip on the scanner that winked out.
“Calgary is reporting one basestar with heavy damage,” Rebecca said. “Second impact, now.”
Troy watched waiting as the finally the third ship impacted on the intended target. Three basestars now damaged without any risk to the fleet. He had to admit Ares’ plan seemed strange at first, but now he felt the tactic would cause the Cylons to pause and fall back.
“Get me Colonel Tigh,” Ares said. A few seconds later the Galactica’s current commander appeared on the screen.
“I take it the plan worked,” Tigh said.
“As the Earthers say, hook, line and sinker,” Ares said. Troy could hear the smile on Ares’ face.
“Do you really think this will cause the Cylons to stop trying to ambush us every couple of microns?” Tigh asked.
“Not really, but it did damage three basestars,” Ares said.
“Didn’t destroy them, frack,” Tigh said.
The plan had been for the ships to destroy the basestars, but that part of the plan failed. Still everyone had to consider it a partial success at the moment. How successful Troy didn’t know at the moment.
“I don’t think we have to worry about this ambush though,” Ares said. “It did save some supplied and ammo for sure this time.”
“We won’t be able to repeat it though,” Tigh said.
“I know, we’ll think of something else though,” Ares said.
Tigh nodded his head before signing off. The rest of the bridge crew went back to work. They had several patrols out around the fleet keeping an eye on the Cylons.
“The Cylons basestars are retreating,” Rebecca said.
Troy felt a bit of relief at that news. The plan worked to the point it stopped any attack from the Cylons. The question now would be how long before they tried again. Looking back at the map he noticed Ares looking at it as well. He’d done that many times over the course of the past week or so.
“Commander, something wrong?” Troy asked.
“No, just thinking, I think I want to go on the offensive for a change. But I’m going to need Commander Pratt’s help,” Ares said. “Yes, I think I know where and how.”
Troy watched him leave the bridge still not sure what the commander had planned now.
Baltar swiveled in his command chair upon hearing Lucifer enter the room again. The Cylon hadn’t been gone that long but it appeared something had happened. He frowned wishing that Cylons could show emotion so he could gage if the news would be good or bad.
“Report Lucifer,” Baltar said, his voice echoing in the command room.
“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer replied. “The battle is already over.”
That got Baltar’s attention rather quickly. He waited for Lucifer to continue and explain what happened.
“The Imperious Leader has ordered the basestar to retreat and to return home for repairs,” Lucifer said. “It appears that the Colonials used the three ships as decoys, before using an unusual tactic. The ships were used to ram three basestars.”
Baltar sat up straighter at that news. Adama had used three precious ships of his fleet to ram three Cylon basestars. Something failed to add up with that tactic. He knew from his time on board the fleet how thinly spread the resources of the fleet were. Each ship had been packed with no room for more people.
“Are you sure about this Lucifer?” Baltar asked.
“Yes Baltar, the three Colonial ships rammed three basestars, only though the excellent designs of the basestars and the armor did they manage to survive,” Lucifer answered. “However the three ships will require extensive repairs before returning to the fleet.”
“Impressive tactic Adama but something doesn’t add up,” Baltar said.
“This is the second time the Colonials have reduced the ships in the fleet, perhaps they are short on fuel again,” Lucifer said. “Reducing the number of ships reduced the fuel used in the fleet.”
Baltar nodded at the Cylon’s thinking, and could be logical except for one problem. “It might be Lucifer, but humans require more room than Cylons do. You can’t stack humans up in small areas for a long period of time and expect us to survive. No something else is going on, something that smells like Cain’s work.”
“You still believe that the legendary Commander Cain is with the fleet?” Lucifer asked.
“Of course, who else could lead the Colonial fleet though the multiple traps the Imperious Leader has laid for them,” Baltar replied. “Only someone like Cain would think of using ships to ram Cylon basestars.”
“Should I inform the Imperious Leader of this?” Lucifer asked.
Baltar sat back thinking for several seconds before finally answering. “Go ahead; it will be interesting to see what our illustrious leader will do then.”
“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer said, bowing slightly then turned and left the command room.
Baltar looked up to the ceiling thinking. If Cain really had rejoined the fleet then he’d have to be careful. Last time Cain decided to attack three basestars just to get to him. AS long as he didn’t allow Cain to know where he was, he had the advantage.
Pratt looked across the table knowing that things actually had gone quite well. Governments could be quite stubborn, to the point of refusing the best deals because it might appear they were weak. However with everything that had happened to both civilizations both sides appeared to have changed slightly.
“I think we can live with this arrangement for the moment, it will give our people something to do, a way to fight back,” Jason, one of the Council of Twelve, said to the group.
Pratt looked at Adama who appeared slightly shocked that the council members had agreed to such an agreement so easily. The ships returning with Colonials would settle on the planet where base Centari One sat, the first base that had been built.
Pratt almost said something when an aide walked into the room straight for him. “Sorry commander, but a report just came in from Commander Ares.”
Pratt activated the data pad the aide handed him. Quickly reading though the information he glanced back up over at Commander Adama then back down at the pad.
“Is there something wrong commander,” Adama asked. Pratt could hear the concern in the man’s voice.
“No, the supply ships found the fleet and will be returning shortly with new civilians,” Pratt said, handing the pad to Commander Adama who read it.
“Is he sure about this?” Adama asked.
“No, but it just might make things easier in the long run,” Pratt said.
“What,” Xai asked, looking between Adama and Pratt.
“We’re about to set up a trap of our own,” Pratt said. “Ares wants to send a complete fleet to prepare an ambush for the Cylons.”
“Some of those ships won’t have the s-metal,” Sam said.
“I think that’s the point senator,” Pratt said. “The further we engage the Cylons away from Earth, the more we can dictate the battles. We know more about the systems, asteroids, and other things that are in space from here to the Cylon. The Cylons are on a defensive, now’s the time to strike.”
End Part 69