Adama's Retirement, Take Two
Tales of the Outer Sphere
By Nopporn Wongrassamee the Evil Author
Summary: Battletech/BSG – A series of self contained short stories set in the Fifth Column universe.Adama’s Retirement, Take Two
17 June 3072
“So, here we are again,” Admiral William Adama said after he finished the requisite greetings.
He stood at the podium, back straight as he addressed the small audience of dignitaries and press. They were assembled in the starboard maintenance bay instead of the flight deck this time. The aged Admiral was at a retirement ceremony and it was in his honor.
Still, there were differences this time around. No one was making Adama retire; no one in the Zodiac Federation would dream of it. But age was beginning to catch up with him, and his health was starting to fail. It was better to go now before his mind began deteriorating and he started making really bad calls.
At least this time, the Galactica wasn’t being put out to pasture too. Warships were far too vital in this day an age, even if you lived in what everyone else thought was the back end of nowhere.
“Some of you were here last time,” Adama continued. “Some of you were picked up as we fled the Twelve Colonies. And some of you joined us after we picked this world to settle.” He sighed. “It’s been fifteen years since that day when the Cylon Empire forced us to flee. During the traumatic events of that day and the days that followed, I imagine most of us had forgotten the exact details of what happened. But on that same day it all began, we were having a ceremony very much like this one.
“Back then, I asked what right that we as a species had to survive,” Adama told them. “We still committed the same sins: theft, murder, greed. When the Empire attacked us, many of us thought we had gotten the answer. Our Cylon creations had the same sins we did and more. Somehow, humans were supposedly better because we never leveled worlds and committed genocide.
“Only today, even that illusion has been stripped away. Today, the Inner Sphere is wracked by war and death on a scale no one from the Twelve Colonies had ever even dreamed of. Or rather, we did dream of it, but even our most terrible nightmares pale before the reality we’re hearing of. And from what anyone can tell, the death and destruction is poised to get worse.
“But that is the Inner Sphere. Most of us think that it doesn’t concern us because our very remoteness protects us. However, we are not that remote all. Already, we have begun taking in refugees fleeing the carnage. Some of us call it charity. Some of us think we are profiting at the expense of our fellow humans. But one thing is clear to me: if refugees can reach us here, then so can any of their persecutors.
“My only hope is that we can get through the day without suffering another invasion,” Adama concluded. There were a few tittering laughs at the macabre joke.
Then the alarm klaxons went off.***
“Report!” Adama barked as he entered CIC.
“We have five ships inbound from a Pirate Point one hundred thousand kilometers out, sir,” Commander Karl Agathon replied. He did some quick math in his head. Damn this Thirteenth Colony metric system! “That’s a little over sixty two thousand miles.”
“Pirate point?” Adama grunted in surprise. “That means KF drive.” That meant that these guys were no one local since the Federation had been making a tidy profit upgrading everyone’s dropships with their own FTL drive. “Who is it?”
“Intruders aren’t broadcasting IFF and the recon Raptor couldn’t make out identifying marks before being fired upon,” Agathon continued. “They did ID the classes: one Overlord, one Vengeance, one Triumph, one Achilles, and one Sovetskii Soyuz.”
“Sovetskii Soyuz?” Adama repeated, pronouncing the alien name awkwardly. He frowned. “Clanners?”
“Sirs,” Petty Officer O’Dea called. She was a fresh faced kid as a lot of crew members were, and her accent marked her out as a Spheroid. “The intruders are broadcasting a message on all frequencies.”
“Put it on, Cassie,” Agathon replied.
“…surrender your primitive vessel and your world to the divine glory of the Blessed Blake and join with us as we lead humanity into a new Golden Age of the True Star…”
“Cut that garbage off!” Adama snapped. The voice stopped in mid-rant. “Word of Blake,” he muttered.
“Toaster worshippers,” Agathon agreed with disgust. It said volumes about his opinion of the Word of Blake religious fanatics that he used the term considering that “toaster” was a derogatory term the Colonials used for their old enemies the Cylons considering that Karl Agathon was himself married to a Cylon. That tended to make him come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who used the term “toaster”.
“What’s our status?” Adama asked.
“We have a hundred and twenty Vipers in the air,” Agathon reported. “Another fifty are coming up from Roslin along with thirty assorted heavy fighters.” He hesitated. “The Starbuck’s in the outer system. Gaeta reports that the Starbuck’s FTL drive is currently offline. He’ll be able to get here in another twenty minutes, but not before then.”
“We don’t have twenty minutes,” Adama replied, staring at the blips on the monitors representing the incoming ships. “If the Word of Blake runs true to form, they’ll be in firing range of Roslin long before then.” He frowned. “They used KF drives and a jump point. And evidence of artificial gravity?”
“Um… no sir,” Lieutenant Omega, the Colonial officer on Dradis watch, replied after a quick consult with his station. “Thermal plumes indicate that all of the intruders are using pure reaction drives.”
“KF Drives, pure reaction thrusters, only one warship along with any escorts that she can carry,” Adama muttered under his breath. He turned to Agathon. “Commander, I do believe the Word of Blake is underestimating us. As soon as the civilians are off Galactica, take us out of orbit and onto an intercept course with the intruders.”
“Yes, sir,” Agathon replied and gave out the necessary orders. “Sir,” he said quietly to Adama when he finished. “This could be a ruse to draw us away from the planet. They could have ships with our FTL drive waiting to pounce on Roslin as soon as we’re out of position.”
“Possibly,” Adama acknowledged, “but somehow I don’t think so. What do you make of the force we can see?”
“If I recall correctly, a Sovetskii is half the Galactica’s size but has roughly the same firepower,” Agathon replied slowly. “With the Dropships and the fighters they’re probably carrying, that puts us at roughly even force levels. But that’s why I think they’re trying to draw us out of position so an ambush force can jump in.”
“Maybe, but some how I don’t think so,” Adama replied. “No, if they had any kind of ambush force waiting, they would have sprung it directly on the Galactica and wiped us out before we could respond. That means this is all they have.”
“But sir,” Agathon protested. “All the news reports agree that the Word’s always used overwhelming force for invasions. Why would they change now?”
“Because they think they do have overwhelming force,” Adama replied. “We don’t have an HPG here so their ability to spy on us is pretty limited. You heard them; they called the Galactica primitive. They don’t know that we’ve upgraded the Galactica’s armor, or that we have more ships under construction. I think they think that we’re just another backwards Periphery nation without much in the way of heavy industry.”
“And if you’re wrong, sir?”
“Then we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” Adama told him. “And I’ll be damned if we let the ship I can see into range to rain death and destruction down on our homes. Not again.”
“Sir, Civilians are all away,” Cassie reported.
“Well, Commander,” Adama said. “Let’s go toast some toaster worshippers.”