by AJ Marks
Part 79: Remembrance
Pratt stood in silence at the last transmission from the battle. He couldn’t believe it but somehow he knew.
“Captain Scott here, Argo destroyed.”
Pratt sat down words rushing around but he heard none of them. The Argo destroyed.
“Cylon basestar also destroyed.”
Pratt vaguely became aware as Eric changed the Cylon numbers then slowly, almost hesitantly crossed out the Argo’s name.
“Commander Adama is taking charge,” Scott’s voice said.
“Did that just happen?” Olsa’s voice said.
“Yes, the Argo is gone,” Pratt said, before pushing a button to the bridge. “Get me Weaver and the Orion, General Pakrov, and Chin and Sam Harvey.”
Adama registered the destruction of the Argo in his mind, but knew better than to brood over it. They were still in the middle of a very important battle.
“Tigh, open communications to the fleet,” Adama said.
“Line open Adama,” Tigh said.
“This is Commander Adama to the fleet, this battle isn’t over yet. The Galactica will take over coordination of command. We will win this battle,” Adama said. “Omega, coordinate viper squadrons to where they are needed, work with Bri of Green squad.”
“Yes sir,” Omega said.
Adama watched the atmosphere of the Galactica return to normal. Everyone had their duties and they had performed it for yehrens. They knew they had to win this battle.
“Cylon forces appear in disarray,” Tigh said.
“Baltar was on board, now they are leaderless,” Adama said. “We have them Tigh, we really do.”
“Commander, weapon systems back on line,” Tigh said.
“Take us back in then,” Adama said. “Head over to pick up the escape pods from the Argo.”
Troy felt the escape pod touch down on the hanger deck of one of the battlestars. The door opened and he walked out, being the first one on board he was the first on off. He glanced around noticing he was on board the Galactica.
He turned to see Bri and Nall standing nearby. Bri appeared crying as she ran towards him. He hugged her as almost launched herself into his arms. He glanced over to see Nall walking towards Rebecca.
“I saw the Argo run into the basestar, but wasn’t sure you made it out alive,” Bri said.
“We did, Ares pushed me in, there wasn’t room for anyone else,” Troy stated.
“I know,” Bri said.
“Yeah, I think he knew, and I knew,” Troy said. “I think I was trying to change it.”
“Well, I’m glad you and Rebecca made it,” Bri said.
Troy turned to see Nall and Rebecca still embraced. A strange thing for someone who lived as a ladies man for so long. Now he appeared as if he’d never let Rebecca go. Troy wrapped an arm around Bri’s shoulders.
“Let’s see what’s going on,” Troy said.
“Colonel Troy,” a voice said. Troy looked up to see Apollo heading towards him.
“Captain, what’s the situation?” Troy asked.
“We won the battle,” Apollo said. “Adama has ordered the fleet back to the Colonies to regroup and repair. But the Cylon presence here is over.”
“That leave the outer cities, and few ships remaining,” Troy stated.
“Nothing we can’t handle now,” Starbuck said. “I don’t think anyone here will be willing to stop until they are all gone.”
“From the colonies, no, Earth however, I’ve heard some things about the new President,” Rebecca said. “Commander Ares’ wasn’t impressed with the man and his ability to grasp the situation.”
“How many others did we lose?” Troy asked.
“One battlestar, three cruisers, and four destroyers,” Apollo said.
Troy nodded, while the losses were real, the fleet still would hold a great advantage now over the remaining Cylons. And with reinforcements on the way things would end quickly for the Cylons.
“Adama has already formed a strike group against the shipyards,” Starbuck stated.
Troy nodded, with the majority of the Cylon fleet destroyed, they could go and systematically destroy the remaining pockets of the Cylon empire.
“Colonel, the Commander is waiting for you in the meeting room,” Tigh’s voice said.
Adama sat at the head of the table now the commander of the fleet. A position he understood and easily stepped into once more.
“The Pegasus will need some time for new repairs, the alpha hanger was damage and out ability to launch fighters is hampered,” Tolan said.
“The Enterprise wasn’t hit much, after rearming my crew is ready,” Gunther said.
Adama knew that the Richelieu and Warspite were also ready to head back into battle. That gave him three battlestars.
“First our scout ships will target the next Cylon base for attack, it will be their next largest dockyard,” Adama said. “Then we go after the mines.”
He watched the group nod their head but no one really gave any different opinions.
“I think we should have a service though,” Kim said. “I don’t know about you, but Commander Ares is a hero on Earth.”
Adama sat back looking around at the group. True, Ares even among the survivors Ares had a bit of Commander Cain status.
“I suppose so, but what are we talking about,” Adama said.
Before anyone could reply Tigh’s voice interrupted him. “Commander Adama, please come to the bridge at once.”
Adama sighed before excusing himself and heading up to the bridge. On the bridge he had a lot of confused people.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“We don’t know Adama. It started only a few minutes ago. Wild readings on the scanners focused on one area of nearby space,” Tigh said.
“Cylon?” Adama asked.
“If it is, we’ve never run across anything like it,” Tigh said.
Adama thought about saying more when the readings changed. He watched as the scanner showed something he thought would be impossible, space folded in on itself. In one second everything appeared strange and the next, a ship suddenly appeared. Adama froze at what he saw.
“Incoming communications from the ship,” Tigh said.
“Put it though,” Adama said, knowing that if they were communicating they probably were not hostile. His assessment proved correct when Commander Pratt’s face appeared on the scanner.
“Commander Adama,” he said. “I see we made it.”
“I see so, but what,” Adama said, bewildered as to what had happened.
“Ah, the Orion, a new, or is that old, well it’s an experimental ship,” Pratt said. “A new gate drive allows us to move from one point in space to another in mere minutes instead of months or years.”
Adama stood stunned into silence.
“I have a few people who wish to come over,” Pratt said.
“Um, permission granted,” Adama said. “I’ll meet you myself, Tigh please inform the war council that we’ll be expecting a few more people.”
“Yes sir,” Tigh said.
Adama walked off the bridge towards the hanger to greet his visitors.
Troy refilled his water glass sitting down still slightly in shock over the fact the Argo really was gone along with Commander Ares.
“What colony was Commander Ares from,” Kim finally asked.
“Aquarius,” Troy replied.
“Really, a warrior from that group, who’d have thunk it,” Gunther said.
Troy laughed slightly at that noticing the strange faces. “Aquarius is known more for their scientists than war leaders.”
“Most of the good leaders come from Caperica,” Gunther said.
“Wonder what’s taking Commander Adama so long?” Kim finally asked.
“Must not be that big of a deal, Tigh said we’re expecting more members,” Troy said, not sure who that would be. All he could think of was a few more ship captains and maybe the dockyard captain.
The door opened and Troy stood slightly stunned as Adama, then Pratt, Sam Harvey, Xai Chin, President Osla and a few members of the Council of Twelve walked in.
“Commander?” Troy said.
“Colonel Troy, good to see you again after so long,” Pratt said.
“Um yeah, but how, why, where, of, the Orion,” Troy said his bring starting to work.
“Yep, the gate drive is fully operational on the Orion. We can use it ot send fuel, supplies and warriors to the front in minutes,” Pratt said.
“Why are you here though?” Troy finally asked, speaking for most everyone in the room.
“A ceremony for Commander Ares,” Pratt said.
“It was felt that because he’s done so much for both of our groups of humanity, to do nothing would be a disservice to his memory,” Xai said.
“And we agreed, and its felt that the ceremony shall be here at the colonies, on one of the battlestars,” Adama said. “I suggested the Galactica.”
Troy understood his vision suddenly. He knew what he had seen on the hanger deck and how it tied into the destruction vision he had.
“Then we should make plans,” Adama said.
“And broadcast it back to Earth,” Xai said.
“What about the Cylons,” Sam said, speaking up for the first time.
“They are on the run, and shattered. The last time they were in such a position humankind back off. This time, we’re going to finish the war,” Adama said.
“Then you’re committing genocide,” Olsa said.
“It may be, but the Cylons, except the organic Cylons are already gone. Destroyed by their very creations and they only want destruction for humanity, we’ve talked to them, and even tried to please them. In return, they almost destroyed us, and if for not for the actions of a few men, we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” Adama said, pinning Olsa with his eyes daring him to counter any point Adama had said.
“Commander Adama is right,” Xai said. “When the news broke, the papers and reporters were saying how people felt, sad, stunned, and yet unified to finish what he was a part of.”
“I think the press core can handle the arrangements,” Sam said.
Troy watched as the sketchy outline of the events would occur were laid out before they finally were released. He walked out heading to find Bri. Walking into the room he was surprised by a shout of “Uncle Troy!”
He barely had time to brace himself as a flying dark-haired girl wrapped her arms around his legs.
“Well, hello Mary, how are you doing?” Troy said, only slightly surprised at seeing the youngster. He didn’t know that the Orion had picked up more than a few passengers.
“You don’t seem that shocked to see her,” Bri said.
“Not really, we had some surprise visitors during the last meeting. Commander Pratt and a few others arrived,” Troy said.
“Ah, should have known,” Nall said. “So, what’s the verdict?”
“A memorial for Commander Ares,” Troy said. “I’ll know more when they finalize everything.”
“Well, right now I want to know what everything was about between Bri and the commander,” Nall said. “You said wait until after the battle, well, it’s over.”
Troy glanced at his wife waiting to see what she’d say.
“Well, I’m pregnant.”
Sam Harvey glanced down at the schedule of events that had been scheduled. He had one speech, something he had a hard time working on. He thought back to that time so long ago, when he had first met Ares. He had thought the man’s name had to be a joke, no one named their kids after Greek gods or goddess, at least not after the god of war!
After meeting him Sam had to admit he liked the man. Someone who spoke from his heart tempered with his mind. He always seemed one step ahead of his enemies, either on the battlefield or the political field. He thought back to when the first meeting between humans and the Arbus had been scheduled. Ares hadn’t believed the Arbus one bit to the point he took off with the Argo only to reappear at that disastrous meeting. Sam almost died in that meeting.
“Problem?” Xai said, sitting down across from Sam.
“Just my speech, nothing unusual,” Sam replied.
“Ah, the Commander Ares. You know I still remember my first meeting with the fierce commander,” Xai said. “I had been recently elected to the council. He strode in overriding everything and everyone regarding the Arbus and the war. I have to say he’s probably the main reason we survived that battle. I never realized his determination until after I became President and learned of the Cylons.”
“His first priority,” Sam said. Ares had been driven, much like another commander he had heard of, Cain.
“I think the universe has a way of evening the balance out over time. Men like Ares and his type show up when things become too desperate,” Xai said.
“Sounds like an old Chinese proverb or something,” Sam said.
“No, just simple observation of time,” Xai said. “I believe Osla is in for a hard time now. I’m glad to no longer be President.”
“Oh,” Sam said, a bit surprised. “Can’t say I liked my time as president.”
“Yours was probably the hardest, most trying time of recent human history. Organizing Earth which had almost ceased as we understood it once more,” Xai said. “No, I had the constant war, the threat from the Arbus, and then the Cylons. Olsa only has the Galactic Council, and they are wimps.”
Sam laughed at that. He only had to deal with them as an advisor, not as the leader. “It’s a bit hard to believe though, I’ve known Ares and his group almost since they arrived. I never expected this.”
“Don’t think anyone was,” Xai said. “But he opened the door for a more lasting peace in our galaxy.”
“I hope you’re right, I really do,” Sam said.
Troy wrapped an arm around Bri as they made their way down to the hanger bay of the Galactica. He saw many who he knew, especially those left from the original voyage of the Argo from the Colonies. He understood that for many of them, they mourned not only the loss of Commander Ares, a friend, but also the Argo, a home.
Troy spotted Gunther, the original leader of red squadron, before he had been promoted and Jax took it over. He spotted several of the crew from other departments, and a few engineers one of whom he recognized had followed Able, or Ilbis. They had lost many of their ranks with the Arbus war, and later against the Cylons even with the technologic advantages they held.
Renee, stood off the side, one of the original bridge crew, and now in command of the Fire Ant. A command she had held since the ship had been built. Much the same as Pratt still commanded the Daedalus. The hardest hit group had been the pilots, few remained over the years. Jax, Bri, and Nall were but a handful who still flew others like Gunther and himself had retired from the cockpit stepping up to command positions.
Troy and Bri stepped up beside Nall and Rebecca, who had Mary with them. Glancing down the hanger people from all over the fleet had gathered. A raised platform had been elected and standing on it he saw Pratt, Xai, Sam, some of the council of twelve, and the current President of Earth. Behind them, the flags of Earth and the colonies stood out, and behind that, on the wall, a large picture of Ares. Troy briefly wondered how the commander would have accepted all this ceremony for him.
“Well, quite a turn out,” Nall said interrupting his thought.
“Yep,” Troy said. “Have Jax and Boomer set a date yet?”
“Next week, they want Commander Adama to seal them, he said he would,” Nall replied.
“Good for them,” Bri said.
Troy turned his attention back to the front where Commander Adama approached the podium waiting until he had everyone’s attention. “Welcome you all, this is a sad, yet great day in human history. Today, we celebrate a great victory over the Cylons, the perseverance of humanity from great dispair and how a few men and women can change the course of the universe.”
Troy quickly glanced around knowing that Adama meant the entire crew of the Argo, not just Ares. They all stood slightly straighter, taller than they had been at Adama’s words. Everyone seemed to understand Adama had meant them all and all and not only Commander Ares.
“Almost fifteen yehrens, or years for our friends from Earth, a group of commanders, led by the legendary Commander Cain, decided to build in secret a new battlestar. These wise commanders understood more than their leaders how the war against the Cylons was headed, and that if drastic actions were not taken, all might be lost. They picked a man who thought like them, who could act independently, without hesitation and do what needed to be done to undergo a mission never before undertaken in our history and to look for a legend. That legend, Earth,” Adama said.
Troy remembered that voyage quite well. There were more than a few who never believed in Earth, until they found it. The adventures they had on that voyage strengthened them more than a normal voyage of a battlestar ever could.
“Along the way, this crew of orphans from the Colonies became a family, a family with a mission. That mission took them on a journey, upon which a commander of extraordinary talent oversaw. Commander Ares, a man who was created by legends and came his own legend among the stars,” Adama said.
Troy couldn’t argue that. In fact many of them had become heroes to an entire generation back on Earth. Many had died, and more had sprung up to take the torch and persevere.
“Under Ares’ leadership they found Earth, in her most desperate time. A time which almost doomed humanity, but they fought, saving not only humanity, but other races, such as the Skartians. Ares understood what a warrior is. He protects and fights for those who cannot. He fought the Arbus, even knowing that another half of humanity fought against extinction from the Cylons. And with Earth, and their fight to survive, they defeated the Arbus, freeing an entire sector of the galaxy creating a new way of life. But even as the ashes of that war cooled, he received news that halfway across the galaxy the Cylons had managed to destroy the Colonies.”
Troy could remember that day still sitting at the desk when the word came fo the destruction. They all had the feeling that they had failed the mission. The only real glimmer of hope had been news that the Galactica had survived.
“Ares had a habit of showing up at the right moment. The Galactica leading the few survivors had been found by the Cylons after fleeing the colonies. The Galactica outnumbered, and out gunned fought for survival when Ares with the Argo and the fleet from Earth arrived turning the tide against the Cylons. It was Ares who wanted to finish the war against the Cylons. With new technologies from Earth we have almost succeeded. I won’t rest until his vision become reality,” Adama said. “To do anything else, would tarnish the memory of Commander Ares.”
Troy glanced slightly over to where the President stood. He hoped the man understood now exactly what the Cylons were and how dangerous they were. Troy watched Commander Adama step down from the podium allowing another person to step up. Troy watched as the others dignitaries spoke with varying lengths before finally Pratt stepped up, the last speaker. Troy wondered what Pratt would say and had a feeling his speech would deal more with the crew of the Argo and how Ares fit into their lives.
“Commander Ares was my commanding officer, but he was more than that to those who served aboard the Argo, he was my friend, my brother. To others, a father, or an uncle,” Pratt said. Troy noticed he glanced down at Mary before continuing. “We were a family thrown together and forged out of necessity, and loyalty. He cried for those who died, and rejoiced for new additions to the family even though he, like I, were confirmed bachelors. I think we were married to our ships too much to get involved with another girl.”
Troy and a few others laughed at that. Ares rarely left the Argo except for important functions.
“Knowing Ares, he understood when the Argo was dying, and he ordered the death of the ship that he wouldn’t be leaving. He understood more at that moment than most men do in a lifetime of trying to understand the universe, and he was at peace with himself, and the universe. Now we say farewell to one who touched so many,” Pratt said. “Good-bye old friend.”
Troy blinked back a few tears as he stood behind Bri. He wrapped his arms around her as she leaned back into him in the moments of silence that followed the commander’s speech. He placed his hands on Bri’s stomach, knowing a new life was growing there. The Cylons hadn’t been eliminated yet, but their threat was minimal now. And after the Cylons, he felt sure there’d be new challenges, but that would be for another day.
The End (for now)!
When I started writing this story, I had a list of characters, and an end scene. The one where they are all standing there at Ares funeral, and Troy had his arms wrapped around Bri. It turned out to be a very interesting journey.
Again, thanks to you all for reading it, and hoped you enjoyed it.