Battlestar Argo – Part 71

Battlestar Argo

by AJ Marks

Part 71: Plans

Apollo piloted the shuttle towards the Warspite’s landing bay. The ship appeared similar to the battlestars, but he noticed a sleeker look and more weapons than any other ships he’d seen before. He looked over at Starbuck then back at the council and Adama.

“So, what does all this mean?” Starbuck asked.

Apollo looked over at his friend thinking about everything he’d learned about Commander Ares. “Well, if Commander Ares is anything like Commander Cain, I think we’re in for an offensive drive for a change.”

“Offensive, not sure I know what that is anymore.”

“I know what you mean, we’ve been on the defensive for so long I’ve forgotten as well,” Apollo replied.

“Well, if he does go, I think I want to go as well,” Starbuck said.

“I think everyone on board the Galactica wants to,” Apollo said, smiling at that. The Galactica’s crew had actually started working quite well with the crews of the Argo and Enterprise. It seemed more like one large battlestar than three. Vipers flew from one to the other routinely. Patrols consisted of mixed groups, pilots transferred from one battlestar to the other.

He and Starbuck had been on board the Enterprise for the last battle but transferred back to the Galactica to shuttle the Council and his father to the Warspite.

Touching down on the hangar deck of the Warspite the two powered down the shuttle’s engines before the council and Adama disembarked the shuttle. Apollo followed Starbuck out the door where several crewmembers were waiting. They spotted the familiar form of Bri and Nall.

“Come on, let’s go over there, maybe get something to eat,” Apollo said, leading Starbuck over to the two.

“Hey,” Bri said.

“We were going to find something to eat, care to join us?” Apollo asked.

“Sure,” Nall replied.

The four made their way to the small cafeteria on board the ship. Apollo noticed that while the outside looked slightly different the inside seemed very close in design to the Enterprise.

“Is this the same class as the Enterprise?” he finally asked as they walked up to the food.

“Not really, the Warspite was designed differently. Stealth designs are slightly different in weapons and shields. Stealth ships though generally carry more fighters while the non-stealth ships are designed for close combat,” Bri replied.

Apollo felt slightly impressed that Bri knew that much about the different classes. The Colonies had mainly kept the same design now for almost 500 yehrens. The fact that the Earthers had redesigned the class for modifications seemed refreshing for a change.

“I heard that they Council is talking with Earth?” Starbuck asked.

“That’s what we heard,” Nall said. “Seems some new communication technology.”

“It makes things easier, I hope,” Apollo said. “How close are we to Earth?”

He watched Nall shrug and look over at Bri, who looked back at him with the same look.

“You don’t know?” Nall asked.

“I don’t keep track of that,” Bri replied.

“I thought with Troy as the Argo’s second you’d know that?” Nall asked.

“Hey, its not like we spend time talking about star charts!” Bri said.

“Is that an invitation?” Nall asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Dream on,” Bri replied, hitting Nall’s shoulder.

Apollo wondered if he missed something there. Glancing at Starbuck he saw the same confused look. He figured, like he and Starbuck, Bri and Nall had their share of unspoken communications. He hoped that the two governments could communicate.

*****

“Baltar, we are receiving a communications from the Imperious Leader,” Lucifer said.

Baltar glanced down at the screen for several seconds before finally activating it.

“Most excellent Imperious Leader, what can I do for you,” Baltar said, giving a smile despite being insincere.

“It has come to my attention that you seem to know more of what’s going on with the Colonials, even more than normal,” the Imperious Leader said. “How is that?”

“Like I told you before, I think like they do, know what needs they’ll have,” Baltar said, mentally rolling his eyes. But while he spoke another plan formed in his mind.

“Then you know where they managed to build several battlestars,” the Imperious Leader asked.

“That I don’t know,” Baltar said. “Unless your predecessor failed to destroy all the battlestars?”

“Impossible, we do not fail our missions,” the Imperious Leader said.

“No, the Cylons don’t,” Baltar said, seeing Lucifer turn slightly towards him. “I cautioned you for more intelligence, not ambushes. Adama seemed to know exactly when, and where, you were attacking.”

“Then perhaps we have a leak,” the Imperious Leader said.

“Then you’ve learned nothing about humans,” Baltar replied back, his brow furrowing in anger.

“I have learned the humans can be manipulative when dealing with others. Perhaps this was a ploy, a plan to lure us so far away from our homeworld to destroy us,” the Imperious Leader said.

“And you’ve finally blown your circuits,” Baltar said.

“Either way, I’ll be watching you Baltar.”

The communications ended leaving Baltar still angry. He looked at Lucifer who merely glanced back at him waiting.

“Lucifer, how are your connections at the Capital?” Baltar asked, knowing it was time to put his plan into action.

*****

Ares listened in while the Earth council and the Council of the Twelve sparred back and forth. So far nothing much had gotten done aside from the formal meeting, and stuff. There appeared to be a mutual amount of respect for each other. He did have the feeling the Earthers would be more willing than the council.

“Commander Ares, you had something to discuss with us,” he heard President Xai ask.

Caught off guard briefly Ares sat in shock before quickly recovering. “Yes, yes I did. As you know with the addition of the 3rd Fleet we now have a total of five battlestars, eight cruisers and a dozen destroyers. With some quick repairs to the Galactica, Argo and Enterprise I propose to send this force towards Cylon space and attack. We’re building a new base that will serve as the front base.”

“Are you suggesting we attack the Cylon Empire,” Sam Harvey asked.

“Yes,” Ares said.

“Preposterous,” Councilmember Uri said. “Completely and utterly irresponsible I say.”

Ares looked around noticing Pratt and Adama’s faces. He knew Pratt had no problem with the plan, he didn’t know how Adama would feel about such actions.

“If the fleet isn’t here then who will protect us against the Cylons?” Siress asked.

“Don’t you see that’s the problem?” Ares stated. “We’ve fought a defensive war against an enemy who only wishes to destroy us. With that logic we cannot win, only fight until both sides are so exhausted that one side does something drastic. In the meantime countless lives are lost in a wasted effort.”

“You saying the past thousand yahrans have been for nothing!” Uri said, outraged.

“No, but this is the first time we’ve had an advantage in over a hundred yahrans. We have a chance to end this war now, forever, or do you want war forever?” Ares replied looking at Uri.

“I will not be accused of leaving our people defenseless,” Uri said. Ares started to reply when Xai cut him off.

“Earth will support such actions.”

Ares noticed Xai’s statement stopped all conversation. Several members of the Council of Twelve openly stared at the screen. Sam appeared calm despite the implications of the statement.

“You can’t be serious my dear sir,” Uri replied. “Such actions are sure to bring even further problems.”

“The way I see it is that we have an opportunity to end the war as Commander Ares says. You wish for more war then sir?” Xai asked.

“Of course not, but there are other things to do, rebuild our civilization,” Uri said.

“Are you stating that we have no idea what you’re going through? We lost millions of people in our war against the Arbus, lost our history and just now regaining it. We helped another race rebuild their world and have since learned of countless other races who the Arbus treated in the same manner,” Xai said. “And now we’ve learned of another threat to our survival, one who will come for us.”

“There is no proof they will,” Uri said, even as he said it Ares knew Uri didn’t believe it. The councilmember’s voice died out at the statement. For several more seconds no one spoke.

Adama cleared his throat. “Uri, I think the Council remembers the last time you said something like this.”

Ares glanced from Adama to the members of the Council wondering what he’d missed.

“Is it so wrong to want peace Adama?” Uri asked.

“No, I would love to see peace in my time, but I also know our enemy,” Adama replied. “The young and innocent die in wars, but stopping it now could mean so much more. I have to side with Commander Ares as well.”

“Our warriors haven’t been on the offensive for yahrens,” Uri said. “What about defenses?”

“The Earth military is made up of four fleets, each with two battlestars, four cruisers and six destroyers. There is currently one Skartian fleet as well consisting of one large ships and four smaller ships that would help in defense of Earth,” Pratt answered.

Ares had to admit the growth of the fleet over the past year surprised him slightly. The construction abilities of the Skartians seemed very impressive. Earth had eight battlestars, four of which were currently here.

“You realize at the height of the war against the Cylons the Colonies had more than this?” Uri finally said.

“Of course,” Pratt replied. “But half of the ships in the fleet are stealth ships, and most viper squadrons are created with the same materials. We’ve made large improvements in all aspects of offensive and defensive technologies. When the battlestars were first built we had an advantage but failed to us it. As a result the war lasted another five hundred yahrens.”

“With a combination of stealth and heavy combat ships we can strike deep into Cylon territory. Destroying building factories, plants and fuel supplies could quickly cripple them,” Ares said.

“Resources were becoming scarce at the end of the war, if we act quickly the Cylons might not have had time to find new resources,” Adama said.

“And the Space around Earth is filled with resources,” Xai said.

Ares knew that for the truth. The first base he had created, Centari One, teemed with metals. One moon in the Earth system also appeared teeming with fuel for a war effort.

“Very well, I shall call for a vote then,” Uri said.

*****

Doctor Weaver made his way across the deck of the ship. He looked around at the hard working crewmembers. He made his way up to the bridge where he would install the latest computers for the ship. Sure he could have sent one of his assistants, but this ship, it came from him home. He stepped onto the bridge and stood there for a few seconds taking it all in.

“Can I help you,” a tall blonde haired man said.

“Sorry, just lost in thought here,” Tommy said. “I mean this is where Commander Cain made some of the greatest decisions in the Colonies.”

“You’re from the Colonies?” the man asked.

“Yes, head science officer on the Argo, now head of technology of the new Earth military,” Tommy said. “I’m here for the computer upgrades.”

“I heard that was going to happen. I’m Talon,” he said. “I was the second in command under Cain.”

“I guess you’re now commander then,” Tommy said.

“Yeah, just hard to believe, I guess I always thought that he’d die with the Pegasus,” Talon said.

“Seems like the way he’d go,” Tommy said making a decision. “Commander Ares I think will probably decide to attack the Cylons.”

“Sounds like something Cain would try,” Talon said. “I wonder if the Pegasus would be repaired in time?”

“Probably,” Tommy said, watching Talon’s face. The tall man sure failed to hide his emotions at the prospect of attacking the Cylons. “The Skartians are the greatest builders I’ve ever seen. Not the best fighters, but wonderful builders.”

“So I’ve seen, don’t they ever rest?” Talon asked.

“Yeah, they don’t need rest like we do, however it seems nature gave us an advantage, we’re quicker, stronger and tougher than they are. Our weakness is we have to rest,” Tommy said.

Doctor Weaver,” a voice said from behind him. He turned to see a couple of Skartians standing there with equipment.

“Ah, Bleeto, normal set up I believe,” Tommy said to him. “I’ll be programming the computers after they finish installing them.”

“Computers?”

“Yeah, we’ve upgrading the Pegasus’ computer so it can communicate with the rest of the fleet,” Tommy said. “It gets interesting with all the different systems to make sure none interfere with the others.”

“Well, it’s why there are so many on the bridge, all the different systems,” Talon said.

“Yep, but you’ll see more room after this, and quicker response times as well,” Tommy said. “And color monitors.”

“Color?”

“Yeah, the Earthers were quite advanced in the electronic field before we arrived,” Tommy said. He felt glad that Ares had managed to keep the battlestar systems separate to prevent a computer attack. Now he had to get the Pegasus read for battle once more.

“I think I’m going to make a call,” Talon said.

“All right,” Tommy said, smiling slightly at the man’s back. He felt sure the Pegasus would be heading back to the Colonies once more.

*****

Troy sat on the command chair of the Argo waiting for the report on the meeting. So far little had come back. They had been talking now for over an hour. He felt slightly surprised by the length of time. Ares didn’t like long meetings.

“Colonel, communications from the Galactica.”

“I’ll take it here,” Troy replied not surprised when Colonel Tigh appeared on the screen. “Colonel Tigh, what can I do for you?”

“Our landing bays are offline for the next cycle,” Tigh said. “Repair crews arrived, these Skartians are very different than I thought.”

“Efficient as well,” Troy stated. “So a cycle, I think the rest of the fleet can handle the patrols for a while. Besides, the Cylons appear to have retreated for the time being.”

“I noticed even Baltar’s basestar retreated,” Tigh said. “I don’t expect them to stay back for long.”

“Nope, also wouldn’t surprise me to see a new basestar design appear,” Troy said. “The Warspite is different and from what I’ve heard the Richelieu class is even larger, and carries more fighters and weapons.”

“Hard to believe that the Earthers have built so many battlestars and different designs,” Tigh said in a bit of wonder.

“They try and keep things new and updated. Two battelstars to the Argo design, not including the Argo, four to the Warspite, and now at least one Richelieu, and that doesn’t include the three we lost during the war,” Troy said.

“Incredible,” Tigh said.

“Colonel,” Rebecca’s voice interrupted him. “Incoming message from Commander Ares.”

“Excuse me for a moment Tigh,” Troy said, watching the other colonel nod before switching the screen. Ares’ face appeared. “Commander?”

“Troy, what’s the condition of the fleet?” Ares asked.

“Well, aside from the Galactica, I think every ship is combat ready, many could use a quick tune up to the engines though,” Troy replied.

“All right, get together with the Colonel AJ on the Warspite and relay what supplies we need. I want the fleet ready to move out when the Pegasus arrives,” Ares said.

“The Pegasus?” Troy asked.

“Yes, it’s undergoing refits right now, that will give us six battlestars here with the arrival of the Richelieu. The Enterprise and Argo are to split duty at the moment to patrol towards Cylon space. Commander Gunther already states his ship can begin the first patrol,” Ares said.

“Yes sir,” Troy replied.

“Good, I’ll be back aboard shortly then,” Ares said, signing off.

The screen went back to Tigh who also appeared slightly confused.

“We’re going on the offensive?” Tigh asked.

“I don’t know, sounds like it once the Pegasus arrives,” Troy said. “Ares only told me to get the fleet ready.”

“Adama was a bit more forthcoming, said Ares mentioned an offensive into Cylon territory,” Tigh replied.

Troy thought about that for several seconds. “Sounds like Ares,” he finally said. “If the Cylons get any closer they might find Earth, then our advantage is gone.”

“True, wonder what they thought of the sudden appearance of so many battlestars?”

Troy wondered the same thing. Would the Cylons gather their resources and attack, or sit back for a feww moments to gather intelligence. At the moment he had no idea.

*****

Bri flew her viper between two battlestars looking at them. On her right, the battlestar Galactica, on her left the newest battlestar, Richelieu. The overall design the same, but the new class had a sleek dangerous look to it. In a small way the ship reminded Bri of the shark.

She never thought she would see so many battlestars again. In visual range she could see the Warspite and Argo, to go along with the Galactica and Richelieu. The Enterprise had gone on patrol at the moment so would be back shortly.

“So, think it’s true?” Nall’s voice said. “Think Commander Ares will go on the offensive?”

“Yeah, I do,” Bri replied. “After all, it does make sense when you really think about it. We have those tin cans on the run for the first time in years. Is Mary going to continue to stay on the Argo?”

“I don’t know, with the latest base here I think Rebecca is thinking about settling down,” Nall stated.

“And you?” Bri asked, already knowing that Rebecca had thought about it.

“I think knowing they are closer will help. I mean last time we didn’t know how long we’d be gone, after all two plus years is a long time,” Nall replied. “Mary is already approaching four years old, and it’s almost that time to start her in school.”

Bri listened to Nall talk about things she once thought impossible for Nall to say. Of course the fleet base would be well defended, and she had the feeling that the Argo would return frequently for return trips.

“Seems that the base will make a good colony as well later on. Might try and get a good spot early on for a nice house here, sell the one back on Earth,” Nall said continuing on.

Bri thought about that as well. She felt slightly relieved she and Troy had sold their house on Earth. She’d have to bring up this with him if Nall and Rebecca were thinking about buying one here. It made a good spot, close to Earth and the Colonies, if they were recovered.

“You know, sounds good, but we still have to defeat the Cylons,” Bri said.

“I know, just making plans, looking to the future,” Nall said.

“I’ll let you dream for now, until the reality sets in,” Bri replied.

“I’m always looking for the future, no matter how faraway it is,” Nall replied.

“I know,” Bri replied, thinking about the number of times Nall tried to get her into his bed.

“I heard the Pegasus is under repairs,” Nall said.

“Yep, saw it in the reports, the Skartians are working double time on it. Ares has given Tolan command of the ship and it’s to report here when done,” Bri replied.

“Good, six battlestars, an impressive fleet for sure,” Nall said.

“Yep, I wonder what will happen when we finally move out? Hopfully the war is close to an end,” Bri said.

“Yeah, I heard a rumor about the Galactic Council. They want to help this time,” Nall said.

“Really, here I thought they were full of hot air,” Bri said. “Guess some things change after all.”

“Yep, hey, its time to head in,” Nall said.

Bri glanced at the time noticing that their fuel tanks were half full. “All right, after you.”

*****

Baltar watched as Lucifer walked back into the command room. “Well, report?”

“Things back at the capital are not good Baltar,” Lucifer said. “There are reports that the continued losses to the small Colonial fleet has caused some to begin to doubt the Imperious Leader’s decisions.”

“Excellent,” Baltar said. “I think it’s time to repair our ship Lucifer. Make plans for it to be done at the captain docks.”

Lucifer stood still for several seconds before the Cylon replied. “The capital docks Baltar, are you sure you wish to leave Adama and the Colonial fleet?” Lucifer asked.

“Don’t question my orders,” Baltar replied. “I have my reasons.”

“By your command Baltar,” Lucifer siad, bowing then leaving the command center.

Baltar thought about his plan. The fact that the Cylon government was torn only helped him out even more. True they wouldn’t accept him as leader, but if he put a puppet up on the government stand, one who he could influence highly, then he’d be in control, and one step closer to his goal.

*****

Ares glanced around at the other council members now that the meeting had ended. Many glanced in disbelief in his direction, but the President had backed him up had allowed him to go though with his plans.

“Commander Ares,” he heard Adama’s voice say. He turned to look at the older man, who had seen so much.

“Commander Adama,” Ares replied, waiting.

“I’ve learned though the journey the Council, they’re trying hard to do what they feel is right for the survivors,” Adama said. “They’ve had to come the realization, as I did, we didn’t have the resources or people to fight the Cylons in a war. That took a while for and now they have to readjust their mindset again.”

Ares stood still not having thought of that before. True the council had had many months to get used to the idea of Earth and more ships, he had not gone though the destruction of the colonies.

“I guess it’s a bit ironic then, if it wasn’t for Cain I wouldn’t be here,” Ares said.

“We all owe Cain so much,” Adama said.

“He was my first squadron commander,” Ares said. “When he moved onto command positions aboard the Pegasus I wanted to join him, but there were no open spots. I took a position on the Pacifica under another former squadron member. Then they wanted someone to command the Argo, I had no idea what I was getting into.”

“I don’t think any of this was covered in training,” Adama said.

Ares laughed a bit. “No, don’t remember this in any training, but we have a chance now to take what we’ve learned and do something.”

“You really think we can win,” Adama said.

“Yes, the only other alternative is run and hide,” Ares said.

“I see,” Adama said.

“I think we have the advantage, the Cylons scanners still haven’t adapted to our S-metal. The longer we wait the more likely they are to adapt. We must press our advantage now,” Ares said.

“You think six battlestars will do it?” Adama said.

“We never had that many in service at any time,” Ares said. “I think we can get away with this, that and the ships are undergoing a small refit, repair and upgrades.”

“Yes, Tigh told me about the Skartians who came aboard the Galactica,” Adama said.

“They understand what’s at stake,” Ares said. “Their home-world had been destroyed once already. We’re helping them out as much as they help us out.”

“I had an interesting conversation with one named Keela,” Adama said. “He hold you in high regard.”

Ares looked down at the compliment, something he didn’t get that often to his face. He heard them all around, a few whispered words about his abilities. A leader who didn’t know the word fail, he had heard once.

“An interesting place isn’t it,” Adama said. Ares looked up to see the man glancing out the window. “Command, a living legend.”

“That’s Commander Cain, not me,” Ares replied.

“That’s where you’re wrong, and right,” Adama said. “Took me a while to realize many of us are living legends. Many survivors look at me that way, and I see many Earthers look at you that same way. You are that blend of Cain and myself, military and politics.”

“Don’t consider myself one,” Ares said, but even as he spoke the words he seemed to understand what Adama meant. “I think I’ve got some planning to finish up. The Pegasus will be here in two days.”

“Of course,” Adama said. “I need to look in on how our people are settling down.”

Ares watched the commander leave before heading towards the hangar and going back to the Argo.

End part 71

Continued in Martin

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