Alignment of the Stars Part 3

Alignment of the Stars

by AJ Marks

Part 3

Tigh sat in the command chair, Adama had gone off to his office to prepare for the arrival of Commander Tagget. The buzz of excitement swept over the ship, and he knew people were talking about it. He heard it even had started to spread to the other ships. He would do nothing to prevent that. The news would raise moral in the fleet, something they needed desperately.

With the almost jubilant atmosphere, he felt himself relaxing a bit as well. Things were looking up for the first time in a yahren. He had not felt such an atmosphere since the Pegasus had joined up with the fleet. Of course there was the brief excitement of defeating the basestar, the last time they had encountered the Cylons.

“Colonel!” Omega’s voice said, very sharp, and worried.

“Go ahead,” Tigh said.

“We’re picking up Colonial engine signatures powering up in the asteroid belt,” Omega said.

“Colonial engines?” Tigh said, confused, standing and walking over to the scanners.

“We’re reading vipers,” Omega said.

“Colonel, incoming communications,” Athena said.

“Put it though,” Tigh said.

“Cyon basestars powering up in the asteroid belt!” Athena said, her voice loud enough for everyone to hear.

Tigh felt sick at the news and looking down at the communications, expecting Tagget, not expecting the face that stared back at him.

Tagget raced onto the bridge at the urgent call from Zaga. He mentioned something about ships powering up in the asteroid belt. Reaching the bridge, he was greeted by a flurry of activity he had not seen since leaving the Colonies.

“What’s going on?” Tagget asked.

“Several ships powering up in the asteroid belt, three Colonial engines, and now three Cylon basestars,” Zaga said.

“Sound red alert,” Tagget said. The ship went to red alert even as Yvette reported they were getting a communications. He figured it would be the Galactica, and ordered it though. The sight he saw surprised him.

“Greetings,” Commander Cain said, leaving Tagget unsure what he might say. He never expected to see Cain’s face on the monitor. “Have to make this short, time is of the essence. The situation is three basestars lying in wait here for the Galactica. We’ll need both the Sunflare and Galactica to participate in the attack to ensure we all survive this time.”

“Launch vipers, inform the others we’re headed into battle,” Tagget said, quickly making a decision. “Where do you need us?”

“Good man,” Cain said, looking away from the screen. “Your ships is closer than the Galactica, head towards the middle basestar. The Pegasus is there, but won’t be able to take much from that basestar.”

“Got it,” Tagget said, relaying the order to Zaga, and to the Tiger and others. “Tell Captain Orion to stay away from the battle, we’re heading in.”

“Yes sir,” Zaga said. Tagget looked up at the screens, watching the launching of vipers. For the first time since leaving the Colonies they were in a battle. The massive engines of the Sunflare came to life, propelling the warship forward into battle.

Adama looked up at Apollo and Starbuck when the Galactica went to red alert. They knew of no drill, nor did he think Tigh would randomly call such an alert at a time like this.

“Bridge, this is Adama, what’s going on?” he asked.

“Sir,” Tigh’s voice replied, “Cylon basestars powering up in the asteroid belt, along with three Colonial warships, and one is Commander Cain.”

“Are you sure?” Adama asked.

“Positive, he’s asked for us to attack a certain basestar,” Tigh replied.

“I’ll be right there,” Adama said, looking at Apollo and Starbuck.

“How is it, things like this always seem to happen?” Starbuck said.

“I don’t know, but we have a job to do,” Apollo replied, as all three headed out of Adama’s office.

It took only a few seconds before Adama reached the bridge, a mass of activity as people quickly went about their jobs.

“Situation?” Adama said, looking down at the scanners. He saw groups of raiders and vipers engaged already. The Sunflare and her escorts racing towards the battle. The Galactica herself was moving towards the battle as well, but would be the last to arrive. He did noticed two of the basestars had already received damage.

“Three basestars, Commander Cain’s group, the one in the asteroid belt, powered up and opened fire. They obviously knew about the basestars, Tagget’s ships are coming in and attacking the middle basestar. Cain wants us to come in and attack the third basestar,” Tigh said.

“Put Cain through,” Adama stated, watching as the commander’s face appeared.

“Adama, you old wardaggit, wondered when I’d see you,” Cain said.

“How did you survive? No wait, we’ll discuss that later,” Adama said answering his own question, turning to Tigh. “Launch vipers when ready, leave one squad with the fleet for close in support.”

He noticed Cain said nothing about that decision, but Adama had to think of the unprotected ships in the fleet first.

“Omega, inform the fleet of the situation and we’re headed into combat. If they receive the order, they are to scatter,” Adama said. “Helm, take us in, battle plan alpha.”

“Sunflare should engaged in a few centons,” Adama heard a voice say.

“Good,” Cain said.

Ares sat on the bridge of the Argo, looking around at the crew. They were a good crew, and had served well. Bri, Troy and Nall all stood up on the bridge next to him.

“Commander,” Rebecca’s voice said, causing him to look over at the dark-haired woman. “We have reports, the two forces have engaged.”

“Who is winning?” Ares asked, rubbing his chin, glancing up at Troy.

“It appears the Colonial warships in the asteroid belt powered up and got in the first shot, the group from the planet is about to engage and the Galactica is heading into battle, launching her vipers,” Rebecca said.

“About what we expected of Cain,” Troy said.

“Yes,” Ares said, knowing the time was coming. “Status?”

“Almost ready commander,” Pratt replied.

“You don’t think we should head out now?” Bri asked.

“You’re just ready to kill some Cylons,” Nall replied, as the two looked at each other.

“Nall, don’t give her a hard time,” Rebecca’s voice said from where she sat.

“Short leash,” Bri said, with a sight laugh.

“Don’t worry, I’ll find some time to harass you,” Nall replied back to Bri.

“Just remember, if she washes your laundry, mine is not to be mixed with yours,” Rebecca said.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered,” Nall replied.

Ares looked at the group who had become so close during the journey. Now they were finally returning to help the group they could not a yahren ago. He still felt guilty about not being in the position to help and the Colonies were destroyed. He worked hard after that and now, that hard work would pay off in a way he hoped would make a difference.

The Excaliber’s fighter groups raced out towards their targets. The first attack by the Excaliber struck the hangars on the basestar. The Pegasus also targeted the hangars, before quickly retreating back among the asteroids, using them as protection as the basestar recovered from the initial attack and returned fire.

With damage to the hangars on two basesars it reduced the number of raiders that were launched, allowing the bombers to fly in and inflict even more damage. Enough raiders did launch to keep some of the vipers occupied.

On board the Excaliber Cain felt a rush of excitement about the battle. A rush he had not felt in a yahren. Making quick judgments about where ships should go, and what they should do. He was in his element once more.

The Sunflare approached the battle, opening fire on the basestar, which appeared to be focused on the Pegasus. The Tiger opened fire the same time, as their powerful weapons impacted on the top of the Cylon ship.

The third basestar had held back, but now approached the other two in an effort to engage the Colonial ships. The vipers of the Sunflare engaged Cylon raiders, ships exploding all over the place.

“Damage report?” Cain heard Teck ask as the Excaliber rocked with another hit.

“Minor damage to deck twelve, repair crews already in route,” Stonic said.

Cain took a second to look at the vipers coming in from the Galactica, knowing that some of them were probably from the Pegasus, including Sheba. He hoped they all survived.

“Damage to the basestar,” Calvin said.

Cain saw that the two basestars engaged were suffering heavy damage. However one thing disturbed him a bit. None of the ships were trying to escape, nor had any sent out a signal. Something felt off about the battle despite the fierceness of the attack. True, his strategy was sound, but he always expected the unexpected.

He looked to see the Galactica finally engaging the third basestar, which was starting to suffer hits from the bomber squadrons. They were targeting the weapon systems, as the raiders would probably already have left the hangars. With the Galactica now engaging, destroying those weapons proved vital. Cain understood that especially after his last battle.

“Reading critical damage to the basestar,” Voss said.

Cain looked down, seeing the basestar’s damage reach high levels. It would not last much longer, that much he felt sure about. The Excaliber kept firing, even as return fire diminished from the damage the basestar had received.

“Scratch one basestar,” Teck said.

“Yep,” Cain said, knowing there was still two others, and the battle was not over. They held the advantage, and he pressed forwards. The Excaliber and Orion moved on towards the basestar the Galactica was engaged with, taking a few shots at the other basestar while in passing. The Sunflare and Tiger were handling their assignment with what appeared to be ease. Then again, without the raiders, those two ships were designed for such battles.

So far no ship had received heavy damage, which was good news. He wanted to make sure a little damage as possible occurred. He had one damaged battlestar, and they might need every bit of firepower in a later date on their journey. He could not predict the future, but he wanted to make sure things were good for the future.

Starbuck turned his viper once more, lining up another Cylon raider. He had not seen this many raiders and vipers since the war. It made him feel a bit nostalgic for the old days, before the destruction of the Colonies. He turned to see a viper with a Cylon on his tail. Quickly moving he shot destroying it.

“Thanks,” he heard a voice say.

“No problem,” Starbuck replied.

“Raiders heading towards the fleet,” he heard Apollo’s voice say. “Blue squad engage.’

Starbuck turned his viper on an intercept course. He knew what might happen if those ships got loose in the fleet. He could see the squad which remained coming out to engage the Cylons are well. They might not stop to engage, especially if they were suicide raiders. One could cause severe damage to a civilian ship.

Racing towards the fleet he caught up to one group of raiders and opened fire. One shot and one kill, so much easier when he was behind the raiders. He noticed a few others exploding as the battle became engaged. He knew a lot of lives were on the line, and ever raider destroyed meant one less problem later on.

Several additional vipers joined in, from squads he had not heard of before. He knew there was another ship out there, and the fact they had encountered a battlecruiser, the Sunflare. However the recent developments meant there were even more battlestars. Apollo mentioned two additional ships. He really had no time to think about such developments.

“Hey Starbuck,” Boomer’s voice said.

“Yeah?” Starbuck replied.

“Do these guys appear unwilling to engage?” Boomer asked.

Starbuck took a second, as he destroyed his fourth raider in the group. The incoming viper squadron blasted through, but the Cylons never stopped.

“Yeah,” Starbuck said, uneasy. His passing thought becoming a full fledge realization. “Suicide raiders.”

“That’s what I thought,” Boomer said.

“Then less talk, more engaging,” another voice said, one he didn’t recognize.

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Starbuck said, firing again at a new trio of raiders.

“Ease up Strider, they know,” another voice said.

The group continued knocking off Cylons, even as the distance closed to the fleet.

“Protect the Argo ships at all cost,” Apollo said.

“How many are there?”

“Three,” Starbuck replied, taking a quick moment to calculate where the ships were. The number of Cylon raiders dwindled tremendously, as he continued to attack. The raiders were now close enough and started shooting at the civilian ships.

“Adama, some raiders made it into the fleet,” Tigh said.

“Losses?” Adama asked, afraid fo the answer.

“So far, no ships were destroyed, several came under fire, a couple were damaged,” Tigh said. “Losses were light considering. The factory and argo ships were spared.”

Adama felt some relief at that, but knew they still had a lot of trouble. Resources were low to begin with, and with the addition of several ships he wondered what trouble they might have. He looked at the scanners, seeing the only basestar left was the one they were engaged with. The Excaliber joined the fight, and the Sunflare and Tiger were headed towards them as well. Most of the weapons on the basestar had been damaged, so return fire was sparse now.

“Basestar is destroyed,” Omega said, indicating they had destroyed the last Cylon ship. Now all they had to do was mop up the remaining raiders.

“Incoming message from Commander Cain,” Athena said.

“Put it through,” Adama said, waiting as his face appeared on the screen.

“Well, that went about as well as I expected,” Cain said.

“I still don’t understand what happened,” Adama said. He did not complain, after all if three basestars had surprised only the Galactica, the end result would have been very different.

“They’ve been lying in wait for you for two days now,” Cain said. “How is the Galactica?”

“Still in one piece, don’t have the reports of damage, but we’re still operational,” Adama said.

“Good, so is the Excaliber and Sunflare,” Cain said.

“Seems like a raiders made it into the fleet, but damage was limited thanks to the vipers,” Adama said.

“We’ll have to hold a council of war,” Cain said.

Adama agreed, seeing Tagget appear on the screen joining the conversation.

“Seems like you didn’t need our help with that last basestar,” Tagget said.

“No, with the Excaliber’s help and the viper squadrons we made short work of it,” Adama said, looking beyond both men and the condition of the bridge. It could tell a lot of what was going on board. People seemed calm, and no damage. They had managed to get lucky in the battle.

“The Excaliber?” Tagget asked, confused.

“That’s the battlestar I’m currently on, Victory class, was to replace the Columbia class,” Cain said.

Adama recalled the class and nodded. He could remember the argument a several yahrens ago before Commander Paris retired. He was a loyal supporter of the design, especially the third hanger. He saw it as a flexible asset in a battle. But how had such a ship been built?

“Where did it come from?” Tagget asked, seeing another man appear on the screen.

“I’m Commander Teck, and it was Commander Paris who commissioned the ship,” Teck said to them. “He built it in secret. He realized the council was not going to commission a new battlestar until it was too late.”

“Baltar,” Adama said, wondering how long the man had been working to weaken the defenses of the Colonies before the final attack.

“It makes sense,” Cain said.

“He used the defeat of the 5th fleet as an example of why we need to back off,” Tagget said.

“Any idea about where that snake is?” Cain asked.

“Last I saw him, he was alone on a planet that we dropped him off on,” Adama said.

“You had him?” Cain asked, disbelief in his voice.

“It was part of an agreement, he helped us defeat a basestar,” Adama said.

“You had to make an agreement with him,” Cain said.

“Started recovering vipers,” Omega said.

Adama turned to for a second. “Losses?”

“Coming in now, but it seems pretty light, fourteen at the moment,” Omega said.

Adama nodded, the losses were light, but still tremendous. Vipers they would have to replace, and new pilots to train. They lost more during the last battle against the Cylons though.

“Did Sheba make it?” Cain asked.

Adama took a second to wait for the reply from Omega, who nodded his head. “Yes, she did, a tremendous warrior, takes after her father,” Adama said.

“Hopefully not too much,” Cain said honestly. “I wasn’t the best parent, so hopefully she had a lot more of her mother in her.”

“And her father’s ability to survive,” Adama said. He could sympathize with Cain, most commanders suffered with relationships due to the stress of their position. Most were divorced, or had lost their family somewhere along the way.

“How are you doing Tagget?” Teck asked. Adama watched as the man looked at the screen before replying.

“Found something to fight for once more,” Tagget said, not saying much else. Adama realized both he and Teck knew of Tagget’s depression after his family had been killed. Anoterh hazard of the war. Adama paused in thought, wondering if the young girl he had seen when he first received communications with the Sunflare had anything to do with the man’s change.

“Sir, the report from the fleet is in,” Tigh said.

“Okay,” Adama said. “If you’ll excuse me a second, paperwork.”

He switched the screen looking at the reports. Two of ships were damaged more than they first thought, but no ships engines suffered. The two ships had severe hull damage, and were currently holding, but needed immediate repairs.

He switched the screen back, seeing the men waiting.

“What’s the word?” Teck asked.

“We have two ships with severe hull damage,” Adama said.

“The Pegasus can take some, it’s almost empty, but in need of repairs all over,” Cain said. “The pervious battle wasn’t kind.”

Adama knew Cain meant the battle where he took on three basestars. Everyone thought he had been destroyed, but no one would say for sure he had been killed. Most fully expected the Pegasus and Cain to reappear, much like he had.

“What do we do now?” Teck asked.

“Set up a mining operation, we probably all can use the fuel, and explore the planet a lot more,” Adama said.

“It has edible food, the tests came back,” Tagget said. “We have experience in that, no argo ship.”

Adama marveled at how far his group came without such a ship. His fleet leaned heavily on the three argo ships, without them their journey would have ended some time ago.

“We have some supplies,” Teck said.

“And we’ll check to see about raw materials for the factory ships,” Adama said.

“You manufacture stuff?” Teck asked.

“Yes, converted a couple of ships, first to creat parts for the vipers, then to make new ones,” Adama said. He noticed a slight look of shock on the face of Teck, but then again, from his scanners showed, Teck had a small fleet, as did Tagget. He had the two hundred plus civilian ships to take care of.

“The Excaliber had an excellent meeting room, I propose her for a meeting place, provided Teck has no objections,” Cain said, looking over at the man.

“No, no objections,” the man said.

“Then we’ll meet in say, two centars,” Adama said.

“Sounds good,” Cain said.

The communications ended as Adama stretched slightly. The last little bit had been surprising indeed.

“So now what commander?” Tigh asked.

“Bring the fleet into the system, and start working to see how many people are on board those two ships, can they be repaired, or should they be abandoned?” Adama said. If they were abandoned, what parts would they strip out of her to use. “I’ll be in my office.”

“Yes sir,” Tigh said, watching as Adama walked off the bridge.

Cain went over every detail of the battle in his mind. He still had a problem with something, but had yet to figure it out. Standing in the rec room of the Excaliber he looked down, seeing he stil had one centar before the meeting, he went back to his thoughts.

“Something wrong commander?” a voice said, interrupting him. Cain turned to see Colonel Stonic standing there. The man had been the colonel of the base which built the Excaliber, and been taken aboard after the destruction of the Colonies.

“Perhaps, or just my overactive imagination,” Cain said.

“Perhaps if you spoke it outloud,” Stonic said.

“Ah, just they didn’t act like normal,” Cain said. “We surprised them, outnumbered them, and they refused to run. There is something else that I’m missing.”

“Like what?” Stonic asked.

“I don’t know, they didn’t even try to send out messages,” Cain said, pacing a little bit in a circle as he thought about the problem. He tried to figure out why the Cylons had acted so strangely.

“Still worried?” Teck’s voice said. Cain looked over to see the man walking onto the bridge.

“Always, its what’s allowed me to survive so long,” Cain said.

“So, what’s the problem?” Teck asked.

“That’s just it, everything went almost according to plan, except how the Cyons acted. No attempt to run, or flee the battle despite knowing they were outgunned,” Cain said. “It’s almost like they expected us.”

“That’s impossible, we’ve detected no Cylons around us for a while,” Teck said. “I think we would have picked up some Cylon patrol, or basestar. And we’ve changed course several times over the past yahren.”

Cain thought about it some more. “Unless they were silent like these basestars were,” Cain said, thinking logically.

“I hate to think that we’ve been followed so much,” Teck said. “Or that the Cylons have that much imagination to lay such a trap. But if they only had three basestars against three battlestars, one battlecruiser, a gunstar and a couple of destroyers, they were not thinking clearly.”

“Or they only knew about a few of you,” Cain said. “I wonder how long we should remain here.”

“We can talk that over when everyone arrives for the meeting,” Teck said.

Cain reluctantly agreed to that. He knew the Galactica probably had been followed, being so slow, but the others, he would ask the question. If the others were followed, and going slow, the Cylons would have had the opportunity to look ahead.

“Commander, we’re getting a communications from the Galactica, wanting to talk to Cain,” Ofica said. Cain looked at her, wonder what Adama might want. He nodded as Ofica put it through.

Adama had finished up the reports of the fleet, overall not too bad considering what could have been. He shuddered to think what might have happened had the Galactica been alone in the fight. The fleet probably would be destroyed by now. The Gods had to have been with him today.

He looked up see Apollo walk into the room, along with Sheba. She looked strained slightly, and Adama guessed it had to be due to the fact her father had come back.

“What can I do for you?” Adama asked, having some thought of why they were there.

“My father is alive?” Sheba asked. The point blank question he expected to hear.

“Yes, I spoke to him myself, he’s on board the Excaliber at the moment,” Adama stated, thought why he was there still was a mystery.

“He did survive, I-I always thought he had, but this, this is a miracle,” Sheba said.

“I’ve learned that miracles and Cain mix rather well,” Adama said. “It was a miracle he was here today.”

“I want to go with you,” Sheba said.

“I don’t see why not,” Adama said. “We can even put though a communications for you.”

“Y-You would?” Sheba replied.

“Of course, family is important, especially now,” Adama replied, pushing the communications for the bridge. “Tigh, would you set up a link to the Excaliber and ask for Cain.”

“Yes sir,” Tigh said, not questioning the order.

It took a second but Cain’s face appeared on the screen.

“Adama, what can I do for you?” Cain asked.

“Well, actually, I have someone who wishes to talk to you,” Adama said, motioning for Sheba to walk over.

“Hi daddy,” Sheba said, entering to where he would be able to see her, Adama moved out of the way to stand next to his son.

“Sheba, look at you, just like your mother,” Cain said.

Adama quietly walked out of the office followed by Apollo.

“I’m going up to the bridge, I’ll meet you in the hangar in twenty centons,” he said to him, before heading up to the bridge for one last check on the fleet.

“Commander,” Pratt said, gaining Ares’ attention.

“Go ahead,” Ares said.

“Report from the battle,” Pratt said. “The three Cylon basestars were defeated in the system.”

“As expected,” Ares said. He knew that with the current Colonial forces at the system, three basestars would be easily defeated.

“Everything is ready,” Otto said, causing Ares to look over at the man. Ares acknowledged the statement before looking over at Troy.

“This is the moment,” Troy said.

“Yes, it is,” Ares replied. “Do we have the long range scans from the system?”

“Coming in now,” Rebecca replied.

Ares looked at the scanner, seeing the system, the spots for the Pegasus, Galactica, the unknown battlestar and the battlecruiser, along with the ships of the fleet the Galactica was leading. He took a moment to study it before finally making a move.

“Helm, plot your position here,” Ares said, making a position in the scanner.

“Yes sir,” the reply came back.

“Good, prepare to execute,” Ares said, turning to Troy, Nall, Bri and Gunther. “Well, better get going.”

“Right,” Troy said, moving off the bridge and heading towards the hangar.

“Colonel, sound red alert,” Ares said.

“Yes sir,” Pratt said, smiling slightly. The bridge of the Argo was bathed in red as the klaxons sounded.

Ares looked back at the scanner, knowing this time, they would make a difference.


End Part 3

Concluded in Part 4

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