by AJ Marks
Part 73: Coming Home
Bri glanced outside the window once more noticing the distinct lack of stars. She could make out the shapes of the fleet, or at least one of the battlestars that was close to them. Six battlestars, six cruisers and a dozen destroyers to go with a half-dozen supply ships. The last time she had been though this, they had been on their way to find Earth.
“Hey, whatcha thinking about?” Nall said sitting down next to her.
“Just the last time we went through here,” Bri said.
“Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it,” Nall replied.
“Just a bit,” Bri replied. “So much has happened, I did wonder if we’d ever pass this way again in our lifetime.”
“I know I never did,” another voice said. Bri glanced up to see Jax and Boomer sitting down.
“I can imagine, you were probably just hoping the Cylons wouldn’t follow you,” Bri said.
“Yeah, turned out they had small bases out there already, and the pilots got sick, meaning we had to train new pilots, it was a mess,” Boomer said.
“The pilots got sick?” Nall asked.
“Yeah, Jolly and I, well, we checked out a base, and were in a hurry to get to the party, Apollo’s joining ceremony and well, by passed detox,” Boomer said.
“Boomer, how could you?” Jax said, hitting him slightly on the arm.
“Well, in the long run it actually turned out quite well, but in the short term, well, we only had two pilots, Starbuck and Apollo. Though to listen to them talk, I wish I had been there for that training,” Boomer said. “All he had was shuttle pilots who were all women, and they all turned out to be pretty good.”
“Darn right,” Bri said. She had dealt with enough problems with guys thinking they were better and had to prove herself over and over again.
“Don’t mind her, she’s just had to prove herself over and over,” Nall said. “I think it has to do with her height.”
Green eyes narrowed at Nall who only chuckled. “I’d be careful there, you don’t know what I might do,” Bri said.
“I think over the years you’ve done everything possible to me, and somehow I’ve survived,” Nall replied.
“I’m sure I can think of something,” Bri said, smiling.
“And you know, I’d take odds that you will,” Nall said. “Never bet against her.”
“So I see,” Boomer said.
Bri glanced over to see Jax and Boomer relaxed, and sitting quite close to each other. She felt glad that Jax finally had found someone. The woman had been a constant leader and friend over the years. She felt sure she would have gone to command if it hadn’t been her love of flying.
Bri glanced up at the new presence in the room. She quickly spotted Troy making his way through the crowd before sitting down next to her.
“Still no blue uniform?” she asked.
“Nah, feel more comfortable in this, besides, it’s what Ares wears so I don’t feel too bad on the bridge wearing this,” Troy replied.
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ares in that blue command uniform,” Jax said.
“Oh, he was, told me about it a while back,” Troy said. “When he was on the Pacifica. Said he hated it, always looked up to Cain a bit. Decided when he had his own command no way would he wear it.”
“Sounds like Ares,” Bri replied. She couldn’t imagine the commander in that uniform anyways. And she felt Troy was right, he did look better in the warrior uniform.
“Any word on when we’re outta of this void?” Boomer asked.
“Well, based on the last data, should be another day or so,” Troy said.
“Then what?” Jax said. “They could be waiting for us.”
“Nah, the Fire Ant was sent ahead,” Troy said. “They are relaying a narrow beam transmission about what we can expect.”
“So, we’ve sent scout ships back though the void already?” Nall asked.
“Well, the Colonial Bound has been in and out of the area now several times. In fact I think they’ve been though the void now a dozen times or so,” Troy replied.
“What’s Ares’ plan?” Bri asked.
“Home,” Troy replied. “We’re heading straight to the colonies, then the Cylon homeworld.”
Bri’s eyebrow’s rose, but didn’t say anything. It would be a battle for sure.
Pratt looked back at the President, Xai Chung, and wondered now what had happened. The President had been quiet since his last meeting with the Colonial council.
“I don’t think I’m going to win,” he finally said, causing Pratt to look over at him.
“Sir?” Pratt replied.
“Re-election, seems a senator Osla is winning, promising some hefty things,” Xai said. “Of course me being all over the place, meeting with the council, the military and other things I haven’t had much time to campaign.”
“Ah, the people haven’t seen you,” Pratt replied.
“Yeah, so I’m getting hammered on some issues, and I’m never there that sort of thing. Caring more about aliens than my own people,” Xai said.
“What a bunch of fracking felbercarb,” Pratt said. “Don’t you have time to counter his words?”
“No, the election is tomorrow,” Xai said. “Oh well, if he wins, I don’t envy his position. In a way, I think I’ll be relieved to just retire and let Sam Harvey tell Olsa everything.”
Pratt had to nod his head, but that meant one more wrinkle in everything. He hoped the new President wouldn’t abort the missions already in progress. He didn’t get that impression from Xai, but it seemed maybe Xai didn’t pay enough attention to the home front. He guessed only time would tell.
Ares glanced at the scanners locating the basestars. Two were in orbit close to the colonies. They would take those two out, then land at the colonies, perhaps someone survived.
“Commander, we’re about reach detection range for the basestars,” Troy said.
“Launch vipers,” Ares said. He watched the screens as vipers launched preparing for the strike against the basestars. “Are we within scanning range of the planets?”
“No sir,” Troy said.
Ares thought so, but it didn’t matter.
“Commander, incoming message from the Fire Ant,” Rebecca said.
Ares glanced at Troy before replying. “Troy, take over the battle for a sec, Rebecca, transfer the message up here.”
He only had to wait a second before Renee’s face appeared on the screen. “Commander, wanted to inform you of what we found. You were right, the Cylons are constructing another new class basestar.”
Ares nodded his head. He had sent the Fire Ant to scout deep inside the Cylon Empire for any construction yards and what type of basestar they might be building.
“Any scans?” Ares asked.
“Tsk, of course,” Renee replied. “I wouldn’t be calling otherwise.”
“Transfer the file here, I’ll look it over after the battle,” Ares said.
“We’re at the Colonies,” Ares replied.
“Oh, sorry, didn’t know, I’ll let you get back to work then,” Renee said.
“Look forward to the details then,” Ares said, watching the screen go dark. He then refocused his attention back to the battle. He noticed the vipers had engaged the basestars and the battlestars were about in range with the Richelieu, Galactica and Pegasus waiting out of range.
“The latest intelligence is most disturbing,” Baltar heard Lucifer say.
“What is Lucifer,” Baltar said, waiting for the reply.
“It appears our base near the Colonies is under attack,” Lucifer said.
“So, Adama is getting closer,” Baltar said. “Have my ship ready to head to the surface at a moment’s notice.”
“By your command,” Lucifer said.
Baltar watched Lucifer walk out of the command room. The time to execute his plan fast approached and he did not want to miss out because he was waiting for his ship to be fueled.
Ares watched the second basestar explode as the rest of the fleet approached. Phase two now would be underway.
“Okay, scan each planet for signs of a Cylon base,” Ares said. He watched as Troy relayed the information to the fighter squadrons before asking for the general to come up to the bridge.
Ares sat down with Troy standing nearby.
“Well sir,” Troy said. “I guess it’s good to be home.”
“Not quite how I imagined it though,” Ares said.
“No, but still, it’s home,” Troy said.
Ares stopped any reply when the general appeared on the bridge.
“Commander, you wanted to speak to me,” General Otto Roddan said.
“Ah, yes, gather your troops you’re going to be landing, dont’ know what to expect,” Ares said.
“I see sir, any special instructions,” Otto said.
“Just that people might be jittery,” Ares said.
“Of course, it’s to be expected,” Otto replied.
“The moment you have the green light go,” Ares said. “We’re waiting back on reports of enemy fighters.”
“Understood,” Otto said.
Ares watched the general walk back off the bridge before Troy stopped him.
“General, commander, permission to go down with the ground crew,” Troy said.
Ares felt slightly surprised but decided maybe Troy had a vision or something. “I’ll allow it.”
The general glanced at Troy then at Ares before agreeing as well.
“Troy, just don’t make me regret this, I don’t want to have Bri on my bad list,” Ares said, smiling.
“You won’t, besides, I get hurt she might kill me,” Troy replied.
“Good luck,” Ares said.
“Commander, report from green squadron, Caperica is clear, but cannot scan, seems some defenses are still working,” Rebecca said.
“All right general, Caperica is first,” Ares said. He turned as another communications came in, this one from Commander Adama. “Commander.”
“Ares, I take it that you’re sending down troops to Caperica,” Adama said.
“Yes, they are clear for launch, is there a problem?” Ares said.
“No, just that many might not believe they are from Earth,” Adama said.
“Hmm, good thing Colonel Troy went down with them,” Ares said.
“Ah, makes me feel better than, I was going to suggest sending down Apollo and Starbuck as well,” Adama said.
“Hmm, might not be a bad idea,” Ares said. “Go ahead, I’ll inform Troy of their joining the group.”
Troy watched Adama sign off. He had grown so used to Earthers and Colonials working together he forgot at times that some might believe Earth as a legend, and think that they were Cylons, or a trick. He wondered what they would find on the planet’s surface.
Troy glanced towards the front looking though the shuttle’s windows. The shuttle bumped around slightly entering the atmosphere but otherwise the pilot kept the shuttle very level.
“Land over there, we’ll meet up with Apollo and Starbuck there,” Troy said, indicating an area where two vipers were heading down to the planet’s surface.
For the first time everyone got a good look as they broke through the clouds. Down on the planet’s surface only the destruction remained. It appeared the Cylons didn’t care at all to even bother building anything on the surface.
“It’s worse than the invasion of Earth from the Arbus almost a decade ago,” Otto said.
Troy had to agree with that. He had seen the devastation the Arbus had wrecked on Earth. This however went to another scale of destruction. Ruins were everywhere he could see.
“I hope those two know where they are going?” Otto said. “Anything on the scanners?”
“Negative, we’re still getting massive amounts of jamming, either someone is deliberating jamming or it was never turned off,” the pilot replied.
Troy glanced back at the group of ground troops in the shuttle. Packed with soldiers armed with no idea what they were to find. He felt slightly relieved when no shooting from the planet’s surface occurred.
“Colonel, incoming message for you,” the pilot said.
“Put it through,” Troy said, wondering what Ares had forgotten to tell him. The voice that came over he recognized right away, and knew it wasn’t Ares.
“What is this going down there where it might be dangerous without me?”
Troy glanced at the rest of the group who had gone silent at the female voice. He quickly grabbed the headset to prevent anything more embarrassing.
“Hey, it isn’t much, just wanted to make sure someone from the Colonies was part of the group,” Troy said, appeasing his wife.
“I’m supposed to believe that, you always want to be in the middle of everything,” Bri said.
“I think you’re jealous,” Troy replied.
“No, I’m following you,” Bri said.
Troy sighed, knowing that there would be no way he could stop her. “I suppose Nall is there as well?”
“Yep, right behind her,” Nall answered. “It’s interesting to not be the one she’s mad at.”
“Very funny,” Troy said. “All right, follow the shuttles down.”
“General, we’ll be on the ground in five minutes,” the pilot said.
“Very good,” Otto replied.
Troy turned his attention back to the window wondering what they’d find on the ground.
Two sets of eyes watched the group of craft fly overhead heading to touch down nearby. They glanced at each other and with silent agreement quickly and quietly made their way back to the tunnel. Taking a special path a short time later they reached a metal door.
The lead person drew a weapon and banged on the door two times, waited several heartbeats before repeating it. An answering knock which he answered with four quick rapid knocks.
The door creaked and groaned before finally opening.
“I have news!”
Troy glanced at the ground around them. For the devastation that had happened nature had already begun reclaiming the soil. There wasn’t much to indicate anyone had survived the attack.
“Form a perimeter, we don’t want any surprises,” Otto said. Troy watched the troops set up as Apollo and Starbuck approached him. He saw Bri and Nall’s vipers landing knowing they would come over.
“Well, this is pleasant,” Starbuck’s said, his voice floating over to Troy.
“Should’ve seen it when everything was still burning,” Apollo replied. “The survivors were not exactly patient.”
Troy wondered what Apollo meant by that but decided not to press it.
“Do you really think someone could have survived?” Starbuck said. “After all, it’s been almost two yehrens.”
“I don’t know Starbuck,” Apollo replied.
“Well, that is why we’re here,” Troy replied, watching as Bri approached him. The general still proceeded to set up the perimeter in case Cylons were around. Of course, there was no telling what sort of welcome they’d receive.
“Report from the air recon sir,” one of the privates said to the general. Troy made his way over to listen in. “Air reports what appears to be a new structure, and we think it’s Cylon in construction.”
“Okay, how far away,” Otto replied.
“By ground, they’ll be here in less than an hour.”
“We can take the structure out,” Starbuck said. “We have four vipers on hand.”
“True, can you do it?”
“No problem,” Bri stated.
“All right, no doubt they’ve already begun their trek here, so we’ll prepare for ground combat, take that base out,” Otto said to them.
“I guess you get off the hook for now,” Bri said.
“I guess so, we’ve got things to do to get ready,” Troy said.
Troy waited hidden behind several rocks. The attack on the structure had worked, but the vipers had spotted a column of Centurions on their way. The vipers took a few passes then stopped to recon the remaining area for any similar structures. They did know the direction the Cylons were coming from.
A shout first alerted them to the fact the Cylons had arrived. Shortly afterwards the flint of metal caught his attention. Raising his blaster he opened fire along with the rest of the troops. Laser fire filled the air as the Cylons attacked their positions.
He heard the normal shouts as the general passed instructions to the rest of his team. Troy continued to fire making his shots count with good aim. He noticed a few men down and hoped they’d be all right.
He heard movement off to his right and turned, freezing at the sight. Instinct took over and he quickly dove taking both the intruder and him down. He felt the struggle but managed to keep the intruder still.
“Stay still if you want to live,” Troy finally said, finally feeling the smaller body stop. A few moments later the general’s voice rang out that everything was clear.
Troy slowly released his hold on the girl under him before standing up. He noticed wide brown eyes looking at him in slight wonder and confusion.
“Are you warriors?” she finally asked, her voice holding awe.
Troy felt slightly stunned at the question coming from a girl who appeared no more than five years old. Her face dirty and hair stringy from neglect of basic cleaning and Troy doubted she could adequately clean herself in this destruction. That begged the question if there were more. Then he realized that he had yet to answer her question.
“Yes, yes we are,” Troy finally said, seeing the girl’s eyes light up and a smile came to her face. “I’m Troy, I’m actually from Caperica, what’s your name?”
“Theressa,” the girl replied. “Are you here to help us? My mom said the warriors defended us, but they were no more, yet you’re here, and you say your warriors.”
Troy’s mind listened patiently to the girls questions before she finally took a breath.
“Well Theressa, I’m from the Battlestar Argo,” Troy replied.
“But only the Galactica survived, and it left,” the girl said, her voice trailing off.
“The Galactica is with us, it’s returned,” Troy said. “And we have a lot of warriors now. Enough to defend you and your mom. Are there others?”
A slight sound caused Troy to glance up at the bushes. Another two people crept closer. Troy motioned to the general to continue their clean up. He didn’t want to do anything to cause the newcomers fear. A young woman and older male finally stepped forward.
“Mommy, they are warriors, like the ones you talked about,” Theressa said, excitement in her voice.
“Impossible, no warriors are left, at least no organized warriors,” the male finally said.
“Yes, the Argo, I heard, but there is no Argo,” the man said. “I know the Argo was destroyed, I lost my brother on it yahrens ago.”
“True, but this Argo was on a special mission, constructed in secret by Commander Cain almost twelve yahrens ago,” Troy said. “Our mission was to find Earth.”
“Earth is a myth,” the man finally said.
“Are you so sure,” Troy heard Otto’s voice say. “Because I know for a fact it isn’t.”
“Humph, don’t listen, they must be Cylons,” the man said.
“I’m from Earth,” Otto said. “We are here to help.”
Troy almost said more when four vipers landed close by. he felt slightly relieved to see that they all made it, and that it seemed no other bases had been sighted yet.
“Maybe they’ll change your mind,” Troy said, hoping either Apollo or Starbuck would be able to talk to them.
Bri hopped out of her fighter quickly finding Troy. Shaking her head she started walking towards him.
“What’s wrong,” Nall asked. “I saw you shaking your head.”
“Leave it to him to find any survivors,” Bri said. She noticed the three people, a girl who appeared to be Mary’s age, a young woman and an older male.
“I see you found some survivors?” Apollo’s voice said.
“Yes, but they don’t seem to believe me,” Troy said. “Of course they never heard of the Argo or her mission.”
Bri nodded with understanding. She wasn’t sure she’d believe it either if she hadn’t lived it.
“Well, the only battlestar to survive was the Galactica,” the male said.
“And we’ve returned. I’m Captain Apollo, strike commander of the Galactica,” Apollo said. “This is Lieutenant Starbuck.”
“The Galactica left, we heard it, many of us didn’t make it to the transports,” the man said.
“Jonas, what if they are telling the truth,” the woman finally said.
“Ariel, don’t let your emotions fool you,” Jonas said.
“What about if Commander Adama came down, would you meet with him?” Apollo said.
“Hmm, well, I guess, we can contact Diane, she lived close to his wife,” Jonas said.
“She knew mother,” Apollo said.
“Apollo is Adama’s son,” Bri said quickly seeing the confusion on Jonas’ face.
“All right, we’ll meet with him,” Jonas said. “How long, we must be quick before the Cylons return with another basestar to reinforce the area.”
“Twenty centons,” Apollo asked.
“All right,” Jonas said, before walking away.
“I don’t think he’ll believe us,” Bri said.
“Don’t mind him,” Areil said. “He’s been in charge of our safety for almost a yehren now. We can get some communications with the other colonies, but there are too few of us to do anything.”
“So others survived, best news I’ve heard all day,” Troy said.
“Is it true that the Cylons won’t come back?” Areil asked.
“It’s true, and this time, we’re not stopping until they are defeated,” Troy said. “We have an advantage now and we plan to use it.”
“We’ve had so many close calls where we thought help had arrived. False sightings of warriors, and even of a battlestar but nothing ever came of it,” Areil said.
“You know, this reminds me of what Commander Cain said, the Cylon Empire is about to fall,” Starbuck said.
Adama stepped out of the shuttle and onto his homeworld. It felt strange to him. Everywhere he looked signs of destruction were still evident, but the planet, it was recovering. Flowers were in bloom and new life seemed clear everywhere.
“General Otto,” Adama said to the general who walked up.
“The survivors have given us a location, this way please,” Otto said.
Adama walked down the path where Starbuck and Apollo were already waiting. He looked over to see a small group of people walking towards them. Their clothes were ragged and dirty showing the harsh conditions the people had lived under since the holocaust.
“It’s you,” one of the woman in the group said. Adama glanced up to look. It took him several seconds before he finally placed her, a neighbor of his Diane.
“It does look like Adama of the council,” another man said.
“Jonas, be respectable for a few moments at least,” Diane said.
“No, he is right,” Adama said. “It’s wise to be cautious. A lot has happened, and I never thought I’d be back here.”
“Why are you back, you left?” one asked.
“That’s a long story,” Adama said. “But one I think we all can tell.”
“They said there is another battlestar, the Argo?” the man called Jonas said, pointing to Troy.
“Yes, there are several battlestars with us, and that’s only a portion of the fleet,” Adama said, deciding not to give away vital information. He didn’t know yet if he could trust them. “Like you I’m not sure we can trust you. You could have made a deal with the Cylons, like Baltar did.”
“Those blasted tin cans, no way would we have made any such deal,” Jonas said.
“You know that, but we don’t. Telling you our fleet strength could be dangerous, just know we have enough to defend the colonies once more,” Adama said.
Adama watched as Jonas appeared to argue again when the other man placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Enough Jonas, arguing won’t bring anything back,” he said. “Commander Adama, I’m Able, defunct leader of this group.”
“And you’ve done a wonderful job,” Adama said, before turning to Diane.
“You know,” she said.
“That she’s dead, yes,” Adama replied. “I visited the house shortly after the attack. I knew.”
“I tried to get her to come with us to the city, in a way I’m glad she didn’t,” Diane stated. “I’m still not sure if those who died were the lucky ones or not.”
“Things change,” Adama heard Troy say. “There’s a saying on Earth, when a door is closed a window is opened.”
“You were not here, families were killed, wiped out, and we wondered where the warriors were,” Able said. “Then the death squads came, eliminating everyone who survived. Small packets survived, but not larger than a dozen or so in each area.”
Adama always knew more people had survived than he had been able to pick up with the fleet. Of course, that hadn’t been easy either, starving, always one step away from destruction.
“I think it’s time to regain our homeworlds,” Adama said. “We’d like the locations of all Cylons strongholds on the colony worlds, and then we’ll take them out. Then as Cain said, next stop, the Cylon homeworld.”
End part 73