Black Alpha One
by AJ Marks
Adama looked around at the frim face of the council staring back at him after they went over the latest numbers. Supplies were running far too low and ships were beginning to show signs of breaking down from their long journey. Even one of the argo ships was suffering despite the priority of repairs to it. He knew, as did the others, if it failed food in the fleet would fall below survivable rates. Even fuel was limited.
“If news of this gets out, there’ll be panic and riots,” Uri, one of the councilmen said quietly. Adama noticed his grim expression seemed more dire than normal. Morale among the civilians was already at an all-time low.
“Are there any solar system coming up which might have supplies?” another councilman asked, as they all looked towards Adama. He felt the weight of the meeting upon his shoulders.
“We’ve investigated every potential system which looks like it might have some potential. However, recently the systems have been barren of anything, making resupply difficult, and any resources there were would have required a lot of effort to mine,” Adama stated.
“We might not have much choice next time,” Uri stated, something they all realized was a possibility.
“We might have to stop,” Adama said.
“What about the patrols?” another senator asked. “We know some patrols are still maintained.”
“Patrols from behind, the area where its most logical Cylons might approach us from. Any patrols to systems are towards ones with the most potential, we don’t waste fuel on leads which are deemed to have a low probability for life or supplies,” Adama said to them. He knew what they wanted and it was true they had not spotted any Cylons for a while. He was not willing to believe they had completely escaped their threat.
“We’ve had no contact with them in almost a year now,” one of the members said just as Adama predicted in his mind.
“Are you sure they are not behind us,” Adama said to him, beginning a familiar argument. “I cannot take that chance. I cannot be wrong, we won’t survive a mistake like that. Knowing where they are allows us the ability to avoid them if possible. Any attack now would destroy many of our ships easily.”
“We understand commander,” Uri sad, looking in the direction of the others who wanted to say more. Adama had some allies on the Council, but understood that in this situation Uri had become one of them. “We’re tired, cramped and scared, worried and fearful of the future, but we cannot let our emotions override our decisions. We must act cautiously.”
“My warriors will defend us to the end, that is the only thing I can guarantee,” Adama stated to the group. He knew they all would give up their lives to protect everyone on board, but he would not throw away such courage in a hopeless situation.
“I pray we receive some good news then, and soon,” Uri said, as the others agreed.
“There has been nothing on the latest planets?”
“No,” Adama replied, the lack of anything had started to worry him tremendously. He hoped for anything, from air to a bit of food, or even someplace they might settle. Such a thought was a last resort to him.
“Potential systems?” Uri asked, as they all leaned in closer to hear what Adama said.
“Our scientists have picked out two, but we’re waiting until we get a bit closer before sending out a patrol, to conserve as much fuel as possible,” Adama said to them.
They all nodded in agreement as the meeting ended and they went back to their quarters, or where ever else they could go on board a warship and still have some privacy. There was little they could do about the supplies if nothing appeared in the systems. They faced a hard reality and one which they could not afford many mistakes.
Adama sat back in his chair hoping they made the right decision. Leading so many out here might have been a mistake. Looking at the numbers he noticed one which concerned him the most. The lack of children being born, and he hoped it wasn’t due to the fact people had given up hope for the future.
Admiral Ryan Anders stood on the bridge of the battlestar Seydlitz, his flagship. They were going to patrol the ‘Black Zone’, a group of sectors which they still patrolled. A few others, the Red, White, Blue and Orange were all patrolled to a lesser degree, but the Black zone was the only which had two battle-groups patrolling it at all times.
“Admiral, Captain Chin of the Kiev is on the line,” Captain Otto said, he was the captain of the Seydlitz.
“Put him through,” Ryan said, watching as Chin’s face appeared on the screen, someone he had worked with several times.
“Admiral, wanted to let you know the Kiev battle group is ready to go,” Chin said to him, the point as usual for him.
“Good, we’re waiting on the final shuttles and passengers to board,” Ryan stated, knowing exactly who they were waiting for even though few people did. He looked over at a console on board all battlestars, but rarely used. Many expressed a desire to remove it for other systems but each time it was blocked by high command. Ryan understood the reason, but felt torn knowing that if it was ever used, everything they knew would be changed by it.
“Admiral, hanger reports that the last shuttle has landed, Ensign Conner is reporting as well.”
“Good, have the ensign report to the bridge,” Ryan stated as the order was relayed back and looked back at Chin on the screen. “We’re ready to move out, prepare to move out in twenty minutes.”
“Understood admiral,” both Chin and Otto said.
The order was relayed to the other ships even as the door opened allowing a small blonde onto the bridge. Few understood her importance on patrols into the Black Zone. People with her specialization were far and few, in fact she was considered the top expert in her field, one he hoped they never used. The door to the bridge opened allowing a small blonde to enter the bridge.
“Ensign Conner reporting as ordered sir,” she said, saluting him. He knew she might be young, but she was also the senior person of her group, having been trained for ten years for this mission.
“Arriving a bit late?” he asked.
“Sorry sir, but there was an update to the computer that Captain Koehn requested,” she replied, mentioning her superior.
“Very well, wish he would have informed me first so I would have known,” Ryan said watching as the ensign shuffled her feet uncomfortably. They both knew it wasn’t her fault if Koehn hadn’t said anything. “Go ahead and get to work,” he said.
“Yes sir,” she said heading over to the rarely used console and got to work.
“Captain Koehn seems to do that a lot, gets in trouble with Admiral Cave over it as well,” Otto said.
“Well, he was the one who discovered how it all worked,” Ryan said.
He thought back to the ‘event’ and the reason why they patrolled the Black Zone. Few knew about the reason, and even most in government didn’t know. Many senior staff knew, as did the group the ensign worked with, but the official reason why so many ships patrolled this sector was a signal had been discovered. Several computer wizards had manufactured the signal to justify it, but there were many conspiracy theories which argued against it.
A few of the conspiracies even mentioned the real reason, the asteroid which had crashed was not an asteroid at all, but a space ship. The group demanded the truth and made up all types of reasons why the government was lying about it.
The patrol itself had become a running joke in the military, people calling it a waste, and the far left radicals catching on saying it was a waste of money and why the military should be decommissioned now. They stated humanity was at a point where they didn’t need a military
Ryan always felt shock at hearing such words. He knew if the real truth ever got out many would never accept the truth which was why they decided to keep it a secret.
“Well, here we go again,” Otto said to them as the engines powered up and the fleet moved out.
“Yep, and personally I hope we find nothing,” Ryan whispered back to him. Others might want to find proof that aliens existed, but he didn’t. He knew better than to doubt. Out there among the stars waited a race which wanted to destroy all of humanity. And out there a group of humans were fighting them.
Boomer walked along the corridor of the ship along with a crewmember of the ship looking at everything. The commander wanted a report of the argo ship right away and he and Jolly were sent to check it out. Surprisingly the corridor was fairly empty compared to other ships which were packed with people. He thought the argo ships might have more people on board than this.
“Well, the biggest problem is one of the recyclers,” the crewmember stated surprising Boomer.
“What’s wrong with it?” Boomer asked.
“It’s leaking,” the crewmember said. “if we can’t get it fixed it will ruin the entire machine, and if that happens, we could be looking at the inability to retill the soil for the next harvest.”
Boomer didn’t have to know much to know that wasn’t good news. If they lost one of the argo ships their food supply would become critical. He looked over at Jolly who seemed to understand the same problem. Things were looking bleak if they didn’t find materials to repair the machine.
“The techs are working on a way to fix it, but each time the problem gets worse,” the crewmember said to them. “We’re trying everything we can, but that’s only one of many things failing.”
“Sounds like every other ship in the fleet,” Jolly said.
“I’ve heard,” the crewmember said, as they walked into a room where the captain waited.
“Ah, so glad the commander is taking this seriously,” the captain said as Boomer and Jolly walked in.
“He takes everything seriously,” Boomer replied. “He’s under tremendous pressure.”
“Yes, of course,” the captain said. “I’m afraid what I have to tell you won’t ease that pressure.”
“What do you mean?” Boomer said.
“We have one more growing season, after that I’m afraid the soil won’t be fertile enough to grown anything,” the captain said. “We’ve talked to the other argo ships, we might be able to transfer some soil back and forth, but I doubt the fleet has the fuel for such things.”
“Its an option I will give the commander,” Boomer said.
“Even then the strain on the machines would be tremendous,” the captain said. “But that’s not all, the ship has a deteriorating hull, I’m not sure how much longer it will be structurally safe. It’s a flaw of all argo ships, the other two will eventually succumb to such problems as well.”
Boomer knew that bit of information, as did the commander but everyone hoped the ships would last longer before showing signs of problems.
“How long?” Jolly asked.
“It might fail this season, I don’t know,” the captain said. “I have my crew working in shift to limit exposure to areas which are the weakest to limit any causalities when it does happen. Everyone on board is a specialist, we really can’t afford to lose any of them.”
Boomer wanted to say something, but knew in their reduced numbers the people who knew such information was limited. They could not afford to lose anyone, or any ship right now.
“If we were back at the colonies, things would be easy, we’d just do into dock and replace the failing sections,” the captain said.
“We don’t have the supplies to even manufacture replacement hull parts,” Boomer said.
An uncomfortable silence hung between them as they each understood the problem at hand.
End part 1