Earth At Last Part 1

Earth at Last

by AJ Marks

Part 1

Two vipers cut through the vacuum of space, moving towards a single solar system. It had several planets, an asteroid belt in the middle and one sun.

“Hey, Starbuck, do you read any signs of life from any planet?” Apollo asked, having looked at his scanner. It showed the planets, but nothing else.

“If there is life, they are jamming us really good,” Starbuck replied back to him.

Apollo looked back down, not seeing any evidence of jamming. Moving on they approached the first large planet in the system. A large blue planet with several moons, a slight disk that many large planets had. It actually looked quite pretty, if you did not think about the fact the planet was deadly to human life.

“Well, a bit interesting to look at, but nothing here,” Apollo said.

“Yeah, how about we split up, we can conserve fuel and get this done faster,” Starbuck said.

“All right, I’ll take the planets on the far side of the system, you take the ones on this side,” Apollo said.

“Okay, see you in a bit,” Starbuck said, peeling off to head to nearest planet, another large planet before seeing two smaller planets past the asteroid belt.

Apollo headed off mentally calculating his path to conserve fuel and scan all the planets in one pass. He had no idea if they were even being watched. Someone on one of the planets could easily be watching and he would never know. That thought always disturbed him. He would have to bring that up next time, see if they could devise a way so that if something did happen, the other pilot could escape and warn the fleet.

Taking a look at where Starbuck was, he moved on seeing the first planet on his path was a small red planet.

Commander Adama paced in the command center, taking a moment to look over at Colonel Tigh. They had sent out the patrol and now waiting on what the system held. He hoped they might find something useful, anything right now would help out the fleet.

“There’s been no word yet from either Apollo or Starbuck,” Tigh said, reading Adama’s mind about the question he wanted to ask.

“I know, its still too early,” Adama said. “I hope they find something, or at least fuel.”

“So do I,” Tigh replied, both knowing the fuel situation on the fleet. Things had started to get bad lately. Food seemed to be the only thing they had in supply right now, the argo ships were thriving at the moment. But if they lost fuel, then things would deteriorate rather quickly in the fleet.

“Bring the fleet to a stop until we hear,” Adama said, making a decision about the future.

“Yes sir,” Tigh said, relaying the order to the rest of the fleet. Adama knew as the order went out the tension by the captains on the other ships would increase. A fuel saving tactic that he hoped worked out for the better.

Starbuck maneuvered past the asteroid belt heading towards the next planet. So far the first two he had approached contained nothing. Now approaching this planet he took a moment to check out a few asteroids. Some were quite large, others small and wondered if the debris has been a planet at one time, or always a belt of asteroids.

He looked at his scanners, not that he cleared the asteroids, and concentrated on the planet. He looked on feeling his heartrate pick up at the possibility. His scanners told him there might be life on the planet.

“Apollo,” he called out. “I think I found something worth checking out.”

“Okay, but maintain contact,” Apollo replied. “I’ve had nothing but dead planets, or gas giants with interesting moons.”

“Gotcha,” Starbuck said, heading down into the planet’s atmosphere. The green of the planet was briefly obscured by the clouds he flew through before finding himself looking down at a lush green vegetation as he went down even further.

“Apollo, you’re not going to believe this, but this planet,” he trailed off at what he saw before him.

“Starbuck? What’s going on? Starbuck?” Apollo’s voice said, shaking him out of the shock he was in.

“Holy frack,” Starbuck said quietly.

“What’s wrong?” Apollo asked, his voice concerned.

“You’ve got to see this Apollo, the planet looks like it was involved in a war,” Starbuck replied, looking down at the crater in front of him.

“I’ll be there in a few microns,” Apollo replied. Starbuck had not seen such devastation from space, but now, closer to the surface, he could see the evidence of the battle.

He flew around a bit more waiting for Apollo to catch up with him, taking a moment to look at what he saw.

“What is this?” he heard Apollo’s voice say, as he joined up with Starbuck. Both looked down upon the wreckage of buildings and what was, at one time, a city.

“Well, someone was here,’ Starbuck said. “What do you think we do next?”

“I don’t know,” Apollo said. “Let’s take a look around and see if we can find out who did this.”

“And hope it wasn’t the Cylons,” Starbuck said.

A young man, dressed in black pants, a white shirt and carrying a small computer made his way down the corridor, turning into a large command room. He moved quickly towards the center of the room where the commander sat.

“Report,” the commander said, looking at the soldier.

“My lord, there are indications that the two pilots have landed on the surface of the planet. Our initial scans are correct, they are human,” the soldier said, handing the pad to the commander.

“Are they sure?” he asked, taking a moment to read over the data in front of him.

“Yes, we are quite sure. Intel wishes to capture one of them,” the soldier said.

“Make is so,’ the commander replied. “We must be sure about this.”

The soldier saluted, and walked out knowing how important this information was. It could change everything for them, and the commander knew it.

Starbuck and Apollo slowly walked through the streets, or at least they assumed it was street. The destruction appeared to come from laser blasts. At the moment, it did not appear to be Cylon inflicted, but both wanted to be positive before saying anything to the fleet.

“Hey Apollo, you might want to look at this,” Starbuck said, picking up a book. Apollo walked over wondering why Starbuck had such a long face.

“What is it?” Apollo finally asked.

“Both good and bad news, take a look at this passage,” Starbuck said, handing the book over to Apollo.

“A history book,” Apollo said, seeing the cover. He still had no idea about Starbuck’s attitude.

“Yeah, but look at whose history,” Starbuck replied back to him.

Apollo took the time to read the text more carefully before seeing what Starbuck meant. He looked back and forth between the book and Starbuck a few times before saying anything.

“Frack, father won’t like this,” Apollo said, a hint of sadness to his voice. “If this is earth, then we’ve come all this way for an empty planet.”

“Looks like there was quite a war, but I don’t think it was Cylons,” Starbuck said, looking around the area once more.

“No, but if it was, the fleet would be sitting dead in space,” Apollo said.

“Easy targets,” Starbuck agreed.

“Let’s get back to the Galactica, we need to report this,” Apollo said,

“That’s a great idea, this place gives me the creeps, feels like someone could be watching us,” Starbuck replied, taking a moment to look around for any trouble.

They were both on alert while walking back to their ships. Starbuck figured that someone from the war might still be left, but he did not want to find out this way, not without reporting back to the Galactica. They had to split up as they approached their vipers.

Starbuck felt two men jump him as he neared his viper. Quickly rolling with the attack he jumped up, and quickly fought back, not wanting to hurt anyone. Drawing his blaster, and put on stunned he fired. He looked around not seeing Apollo anywhere.

The emotions of going after Apollo against reporting back to the fleet warred inside him. Finally, picking up the book, he jumped into the cockpit and blasted off. He hoped whoever had Apollo on the planet, did not harm him until they returned.

The battlestar Galactica kept watch over the fleet, sitting motionless in space. On the bridge Commander Adama waited for news from the scouts. He hoped for some good news. He looked down as Omega looked at the scanners.

“Sir, one viper returning from the system,” Omega said. The news could mean several things.

“They might have found something,” Tigh said, trying to be positive.

“Perhaps, but until we know for sure, it’s wise to remain on alert,” Adama said. “Do we know who is returning?”

“It’s Lieutenant Starbuck,” Omega replied. The news did nothing to calm any fears in his mind. Every possibility still remained and until he talked with Starbuck, no situation would be tossed aside.

“Let’s hope for the best, and Apollo stayed behind for conduct further tests,” Adama said. He also wanted to be positive, if nothing else for the crew of the ship. He waited as Starbuck’s viper landed, and came up to the bridge. He watched Sarbuck walk onto the bridge, holding a book, and looking concerned.

“We should talk in my office,” Adama said, seeing Starbuck nod in agreement.

“Colonel, you have the bridge,” Adama said, sharing a look with his second in command. Both understood that this might not have been a good trip, and something went wrong. Now he had to find out what went wrong, and how bad it was.

Apollo groaned as consciousness came back to him and memories of what last happened flashed back to him. Someone attacked him as he and Starbuck made their way back to the vipers. He tried to fight back before it all went black. By the tenderness on the back of his head someone had struck him there, knocking him out. The question now, where was he and who attacked him?

He looked around the cell which appeared quite typical. Four walls, a single door, and bed, sink and toilet. Did the same person design every cell?

He paused, hearing the rumbling of an engine, and he figured he had to be on a starship, but that brought new questions. If there had been a ship, why had it not appeared on his scanners? Were these people aliens, or even worse, the same ones who attacked Earth. If so, then they probably thought he was from Earth, and their enemy.

Apollo slumped back onto the cot, wondering how this could get any worse.

He hoped Starbuck had managed to get away and warn the fleet. Of course there was too many unknowns to report about for the commander to make a real decision. He figured out he had to work on his own, and not expect a rescue.

The door to the cell opened, and he found himself surprised by the fact a human stood there, and not some alien as expected. The figure motioned for him to follow, as Apollo stood, hoping to gain some answers.

The fact his capture was human meant he might be able to talk his way out of this, or that some of the inhabitants of Earth survived.

Adama sat down listening to Starbuck inform him of a planet that had life on it. They landed and then the destruction that occurred on the cities of the planet. From the descriptions of the devastation Adama had to conclude it was done by weapons that were at least as efficient as theirs. But that brought up a new question, who had done this attack and destroyed probably an entire planet.

“We found this book,’ Starbuck said, handing the book to Adama, who fanned through a few pages and looked back up at Starbuck. There had to be an explanation of why he brought it back. “It’s a history book of Earth.”

The words shocked Adama. “Earth?” he repeated, looked down at the book trying to gain some answers.

“That’s what I read in it, and if it was Earth, it went through one major war. I’m not sure that anyone who survived is friendly to outsiders,” Starbuck said.

“Cylons?” Adama asked.

“Not sure, doesn’t appear to be,” Starcuk replied.

Adama nodded, sitting back in the chair and thinking about what he had been told. Apollo had been attacked, as had Starbuck who managed to get away. He was almost the same when they had returned to the Colonies after the attack. The survivors were scared, angry, and confused. However, Adama also had a problem with supplies in the fleet. He pushed the communicator waiting a second for Tigh to respond.

“Commander, everything all right?’ Tigh asked.

“I’ll inform you later, but set course for the system, we might find some supplies there,” Adama said, not mentioning the fact it was Earth. He would have to think about that.

“I’ll inform the fleet,” Tigh said, ending the conversation. Adama looked up to see Starbuck looking back at him confused.

“You have doubts,” Adama said. “It’s about supplies, we don’t find any and we’ll be floating dead in space. And if we are dead in space, I’d rather be near a planet that can support life than in the middle of nowhere.”

“I still don’t like it,” Starbuck replied.

“You and Boomer can go search for Apollo, and anyone on the planet’s surface,” Adama said. He also needed to know if there were people on the planet’s surface. They would be able to tell him what happened, and if they needed to move on quickly.

“Thanks,” Starbuck said, partly looking relieved that they would not completely abandon Apollo. Adama silently wished him luck in finding Apollo.

Beyond the scanning range of the Galactica, a single patrol ship noticed the edge of the Colonial fleet. After following for a while and calculating where the fleet was headed, it turned and headed back to its base. It had to report this development.

End Part 1

Go on to Part 2

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