Here We Go Again
Tales of the Outer Sphere
Here We Go Again
Day 3, Month of Cameron, Year 2354 Post Colonization
Caprice Star System
Cyrano Star Cluster
“Paulo! Tina!” Starbuck said with his patented devil-may-care grin as he climbed out of his Viper.
“Welcome aboard, Starbuck,” A-Paulo replied. His manner was much more subdued but no less friendly. That’s right; the A Line vat-born were obsessed with self control. Paulo looked over Starbuck’s shoulder. “Your people are still flying those old things?”
“Hey, Vipers may be old, but they’re reliable,” Starbuck protested. “Unlike the latest and greatest Raptor you’re flying.” He glanced slyly at Tina. “How is the temperamental hangar queen? And your Raptor for that matter?”
“Hello to you too, you old mercenary,” A-Tina replied with a roll of her eyes. “You have any recent conquests worth bragging about?”
“No, but things are looking up,” Starbuck replied with a barely disguised leer.
“Hmm, so what do you think of the Galactic-A?” Tina asked.
“Oh, she looks fantastic,” Starbuck replied. “Smooth lines, perfect curves…”
“Lots of power, long endurance…” Tina added.
“Okay, can you two NOT flirt in public?” Paulo interrupted. “I mean… ew.”
“Paulo, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Tina told him indignantly.
Starbuck just grinned shamelessly.***
“What’s happening?” Commander A-Damma barked as she entered the Galactic-A’s Command Center.
“Ma’am, we’re getting reports of Cylon Attacks through out the Cluster,” reported Colonel Tigh. “It’s… bad. There’s reports of some kind of giant Basestar that’s glassing planets with a monster energy weapon. Pion and Aria have gone off the air. The other planets are currently engaging attackers.”
“Ma’am! Cylon planet killer has just jumped into in system and is moving toward Caprice!” Lieutenant O-Megan reported.
“Jump us to Caprice now,” Damma snapped. “We have to stop that thing!”***
The planet killer slowly imploded in on itself as the released singularity at its core tore ravenously through its former prison. But A-Paulo had no time to watch as he evaded incoming fire, spun his Raptor, and pumped a stream of heavy ion pulses into the offending Raider.
Pinpricks of light snagged his attention and he groaned as he realized that the source was Caprice. Denied their planet killer, the Cylons had resorted to conventional orbital bombardment. As Paulo watched, the apple-core shaped Basestars rained heavy ion bolts down onto the planet.
“Galactic-A to all fighters,” came A-Damma’s voice. “Civilian ships are lifting from the planet. Defend them at all costs!”
Spinning his Raptor again, Paulo gunned his engines as he rushed to obey his gene-donor’s orders.***
Balt-R was still in shock when the Centurions ushered him into the darkened chamber, but even then his mind soaked up details. The room was large and circular and empty of anything but a central column made up of nothing but wiring, tubing, and structural framing that all ran vertically from ceiling to floor.
“Greetings, Admiral Balt-R,” a feminine voice said from nowhere.
The voice shook Balt out of his stupor.
“What did you do?” Balt demanded. “Dear Lords, what did you do?”
The walls vanished, and Balt found himself standing in space. Below him, a planet burned as Basestars bombarded it. Glowing clouds obscured the surface such that Balt couldn’t even tell which Colony he was looking at.
“Do you not like our gift, Admiral?” the voice asked, sounding genuinely puzzled.
“Gift? Gift?” Balt repeated disbelievingly. “You’re killing everyone!”
“Of course,” the voice replied. “How else does one reach Ascension? Is that not why you invited us here?”
“I thought you were coming to just discuss philosophy!” Balt roared angrily. “Not…” he waved helplessly at the carnage below, “this!”
“Ah, our mistake then,” the voice replied in an offhandedly dismissive manner. “I take it this means you do not wish to Ascend at this time?”
Balt opened his mouth to snap off a retort when self preservation instincts finally kicked in. “Uh, no, that won’t be necessary,” he said quickly.
“In that case, perhaps you can help us?”
“Help…” Balt-R reigned in his temper. He looked around. “Look, do you have a face? It’s rather annoying to be talking to empty air.”
“Oh, that’s right. You solitary types prefer physical cues. My apologies,” the voice said as the column began moving upward. Half a woman rose out of the pit. It was only half because her torso ended below her rib cage, from which emerged more tubing and wiring. Where a regular human would have hair sprouted more wiring and tubing. She was lifted by means of a pair of structural members wrapped with myomer were attached to her back that gave the impression of spreading wings. Only her face and arms appeared normal. “Greetings, you may call me Lucifer,” the woman said. She paused and tilted her head in consideration. “Or Lucy if you prefer.”
“And now to the matter at hand,” Lucy continued. “Several ships including one of your Battlestars have fled our beneficence. I believe they will seek a world call Terra.”
“Terra?” Balt echoed. Terra was a myth; everyone knew that! “How do you know that?”
“Because we have listened to the voices on the cosmic winds,” Lucy explained. “We listen and they tell us what is to happen. They say Twelve Worlds die and the last Battlestar will gather unto it the remnants and lead them to Terra. When you found us twenty years ago, we knew the time was near at hand.”
Oh Lords of the Great Sphere, Balt thought. The Cylons were all insane.***
“There is a place we can go!” Damma declared to the assembled warriors, and through them, the rest of their rag tag fleet of one hundred and thirty ships. “Legend has it that when we left Cobol, one clan came not with us, but settled a far away world known as Terra. To most of us, it’s a legend. But through studies of ancient writings, I know where Terra is. We will go there, and our brothers shall shelter us from the Cylons. Seyla?”
“SEYLA!” echoed the crowd.***
“Listen, Terra is a myth!” Balt argued with the crazy cyborg. “It doesn’t exist!”
“Of course it exists, Admiral,” Lucy disagreed. “We come from there, after all.”