Chapter 12: A New Dawn
I own nothing except Pierce and MacMillon. Everything else is owned by their respective owners.Chapter 12
A New Dawn
“Thanks for the ride… again.”
Kara sat behind Pierce as the American pilot flew one of the Titan’s Jumpers towards the Galactica. The back of the ship was laden down with emergency supplies from several ships, including hers, and several cadets to lug the heavy crates. Next to her in the copilot’s char sat General O’Neill , who was eyeing the Colonial battleship with interest.
“Captain, what’s with all of the holes in the armor plating on your ship?” O’Neill asked Kara.
“It’s an old ship,” Kara explained. “The last of her model in service. Before the attacks, she didn’t actually see much combat, so the fleet cannibalized her armor when the newer ships needed it.”
“Looks like she can still take a beating,” the General reasoned. Kara nodded.
“She really can. Took a nuke hit with only moderate damage.” A shadow passed over her features. “Lot of lives lost, though. Might have been spared if we had sill had the armor.”
O’Neill nodded as Pierce signaled the ship to ask for permission to land. Moments later, the Jumper docked with the ship.
Once again Adama stood with Saul and the President in the hangar, waiting to meet the head of the Earth expedition. Next to them stood Carter, Daniel and Mitchell, who were now mostly recovered from the jump. Sheppard had already taken off in the Titan’s other Jumper and headed down to Avalon, where he was contacting Weir on Atlantis for more supplies.
The Earth officers stood up a little straighter as O’Neill’s Jumper was towed towards them. The back lowered as it was still moving, and Jack O’Neill jumped out. He turned towards them and gave a mock scowl.
“Daniel!” he barked. “What the hell did you get us into this time? Don’t deny it!” he added as Daniel shook his head and rolled his eyes. “I know it was you.”
“Hi, Jack.” The archeologist replied. “Nice to see you too.”
“A simple recon mission, Carter!” he said to Sam, who did her best to hide her grin. “You go, you recon, you come back! How hard is that?”
“It wasn’t my fault, sir.” Carter said, then grinned impishly. “It was Daniel’s.”
“Ah-HA! I knew it.” Daniel threw up his hands in exasperation, even as Mitchell and Carter tried to hold in their laughter. Some decorum was needed, after all.
Rosalin looked over the Earth General critically, obviously wondering at the sanity of their Earth cousins if they put someone like him in charge. Adam and Tigh, though, did their best to hide their own smiles, knowing that O’Neill was just happy to see his people alive and mostly well.
“General O’Neill,” Mitchell interrupted, “This is Admiral Adama, commander of the Colonial fleet.” He introduced, pointing out Adama. Jack shook his hand. “Next to him is Colonel Saul Tigh, XO of the Galactica, and President Laura Roslin of the Twelve Colonies.”
“Welcome aboard, General.” Adama said as they shook hands.
“Pleasure to be here, Admiral.” Jack replied, taking the time to shake Tigh’s and Roslin’s hands as well. “Colonel. Madam President.”
“General, thank you for all of your help.” Roslin said. “I can’t tell you how much it means…”
“Don’t worry about it.” O’Neill replied. “I have Avalon’s jumpers making rounds of all our ships for supplies, and John told me Atlantis will be sending over several pallets of food and medical supplies in the next hour. For now, we brought some over with us.” He tuned to his people. “Carter, you and Pierce see to getting those supplies unloaded. After that, you two go back to the Titan. Mitchell, catch a ride, then head down to Avalon to take over for Sheppard, and tell him to begin prepping the city for incoming.”
“Yes, sir.” Both officers replied.
“Danny, you’re with me. Be diplomatic.”
Daniel grinned wryly. “I’ll try.”
“Okay, listen up kids,” Pierce was saying as Carter, Mitchell and Tigh came around to the rear of the Jumper, “We can’t use our transporters to beam the supplies where they are needed, so we’re doing this the old fashioned way. Captain Thrace has gone to get us some Marine guards; when they get here, everyone grab a case and follow them… ah,” she paused as Kara returned with a small group of Colonial Marines. “Alright, move out, Cadets.” After a few moments where the cadets didn’t move, Pierce scowled. “Well? This isn’t a sight-seeing trip. Grab a case and HAUL ASS!” Both Kara and Carter rolled their eyes, while Saul chuckled appreciatively.
“Now, that’s my kind of XO.”
"Major Pierce," Carter called, getting her officer's attention, "May I introduce Colonel Saul Tigh of the Galactica. Colonel Tigh, Major Pierce, my XO."
Pierce offered a salute, which Tigh returned. "Sir."
"Can the sir, you saved our asses back there." Tigh replied. "You three have to get back to your ship right away?"
"Not immediately. Why?"
Tigh smiled. "Got time for a drink?"
“Here’s where we stand,” O’Neill started. He had been given a short tour, and then the group moved into Adama’s quarters. He, Daniel, Adama and Rosalyn were sitting and sharing in some of the Admiral’s brandy, which O’Neill sipped. “Sheppard is down in Avalon right now powering up the unused parts of t he city and inspecting them. The whole complex is in very good condition, and I estimate we could start moving some of your people down there within a few days time.”
“We should start with the sick and injured first,” Adama put in. “I’m assuming they could be given better medical care down there than we can give them up here, even with your supplies.”
“As soon as I get back, I’ll put in the call to Weir and have her start sending over doctors.” O’Neill took another sip, noting that the brandy was very good. “This is good stuff.”
“One of the few bottles I managed to hid from Saul.” Adama said wryly.
“In the meantime, I can start having our engineers looking over your ships and helping with repairs.”
“That would be appreciated.”
“If I may,” Rosalin put in, “and I’m not ungrateful at all for all of your help, believe me. But in my experience , this kind of ‘help’ isn’t a one way street. What would you expect from us in return?”
“Blunt. I appreciate that.” O’Neill nodded, then leaned forward. “Look, I know your civilization is in tatters right now, and you don’t have much. And I’m not the person who will be making any deals- I’m just here to do the right thing. At the least, I can say we would be very interested in your jump drive technology, as well as your rail-gun designs. But that’s just the military man in me talking; I leave that to the professionals.” He nodded to Daniel, who took over.
“As soon as I get down to the city, I’ll put a call into to the I.O.A. to open negotiations, and we can get details worked out for some kind of lasting alliance. For the moment, though, and until we would be ordered not to, we will protect you and your people.”
“After, even.” Jack said mildly. At Daniel’s raised eyebrow, Jack merely shrugged. “The President likes me.”
The three were silent as Pierce flew back towards the Titan. the three had enjoyed a shot of some of Glactica's finest moonshine in celebration of their victory and had shot the breeze for a few minutes before boarding the now emptied Jumper. the cadets were staying on the Galactica to help unload supplies and, in Cassandra's case, to help out in the infirmary. Carter eyed her ship speculatively, checking for any obvious signs of damage. She didn’t find anything.
“Good ship,” she said, then glanced to her second in command. “Good XO.”
“Good crew,” Pierce countered.
“You all did a good job out there.” Carter noted. “How did you know…”
“I didn’t,” Pierce replied. “It’s just- they had been in one section of space for a while. I figured that the Cylon’s would be able to locate them. I told Ramsey to keep the shields on standby.”
“So when they did show up, you’d be ready.” Mitchell reasoned.
“So they jump in and fire, the shields snap on automatically, you take the hits,” Carter mapped out verbally. Pierce nodded.
“Then we switched to cloak, and they thought we were destroyed.” Pierce finished. “Colonel Sheppard told me about how he did the same thing to Atlantis to fool the Wraith. Figured if it worked once…”
“As I said, good work.” Carter reiterated. “When we get back on board, I want to land the ship at the city, and I want a full inspection crew crawling over the hull to make sure everything’s still in top condition. While we’re doing that, you can help Sheppard power up the remainder of the city and inspect it. Cameron, coordinate our efforts with the Colonial fleet for resupply and any medical needs they have after you talk to Dr. Weir.”
After several hours of preliminary negotiations, O’Niell and Jackson returned Avalon while the crew of the Galactica began the process of sorting and distributing the newly arrived supplies. Late into relative night, Raptors could bee seen shuttling much needed medical supplies to the ragtag fleet.
While things were starting to settle down on the old Battlestar, Admiral Adama sat with Lee, Laura, Colonel Tigh and Kara in his private quarters to discuss the days events.
“It certainly has been a hell of a day.” Lee said, sitting back in his seat with a glass of his father’s bourbon. “First you,” he gestured to Kara, “show up with people who claim to be from Earth; then they manage to defeat a massive Cylon force with three ships and only a relatively small amount of help from us; and now we’ve been offered a safe have and a possible road to Earth.”
“Eventually.” Laura said. “Though I don’t think the peole will care too much if we settle on some other planet at this point. Gaius was gaining a lot of ground, pushing for settlement here.”
“How is this going to affect the elections?” Adama asked. Laura smiled.
“Baltar’s trump card was this planet. Now that we have an open offer to settle here from the Earthers, along with a city in which to settle in- and given the fact that, while he sat in on negotiations, the current President is making all of the decisions…”
“You got the election locked.” Tigh said with a relieved sigh. “Thank the gods….”
Adama looked over at Starbuck, who was being more quiet than usual. “Captain, what’s your assessment of them?”
Kara took a breath to gather her thoughts. “They want to help us. That’s the impression I got. They could have let me die out there, but they managed to get me onto their ship- how in the gods they did that, I’m still not sure. And I wasn’t the only pilot they rescued, either. On top of that, they have the technology to back up their offer. Their’ ships can do stuff that I’ve… they’ve got windows, for Fraks sake! Honest-to-gods windows! And they can afford to have them because of those shields! But you can tell that they only recently made it to space. You can tell the way they fly their fighters- they fly like they’re still in atmo. They were starting to get chewed up by the Raiders before their big ships managed to take out a couple of Base Stars. And those ships only carry a small number of fighters- if the Cylons throw enough Raiders at them, they can overwhelm the shields and take out the carriers- and this is after they decimate their fighter cover.”
“We can help them their, Bill.” Tigh put in. “We can show them how to really fly. But we need their help.”
“I agree.” Laura said. “Tomorrow, the Admiral, Captain Thrace and myself will be taking a tour of their city. If we decide it’s viable, we’ll see about starting to land some of our ships and get the people settled into quarters. If not, well… we’ll take it from there.
The next morning, Major Pierce flew General O’Neill and Dr. Jackson back to the Galactica. They were greeted on the flight deck by Starbuck, Adama and Roslin, and exchanged brief pleasantries.
“If you don’t mind, we’d like to take one of our craft down.” Adama stated with a slight smile. “Colonel Tigh insists.”
O’Neill glanced at Daniel and Pierce, who both shrugged. “Fine by me.” He said finally. “Lead the way.”
The small group piled into a nearby Raptor that the Chief just finished inspecting. He handed a clipboard to Starbuck, who signed it absently.
“All systems good to go, Captain.” He said, slightly nervous in the presence of the Earthers. Now that things had calmed down, the reality of the situation was beginning to take hold. “Good flight.”
“Thanks, Chief.” Starbuck said, handing the clipboard back to him as she climbed on board. Adama was next, and gave Laura a hand up. “Oy…” O’Neill groaned as he hauled himself up onto the small wing of the craft, his knees screaming in protest. Daniel was next, and turned to Pierce.
“Need a hand?” he asked. Pierce smiled tightly.
“No, thank you.” She replied. She turned around and hauled herself up until she was seated on the wing, then swung her legs around and slowly clambered to her feet. Her bad knee was shaky, but thankfully didn’t give out. She climbed into the craft, and the door began to lower.
“Hawkeye, saved you a seat up here!” Starbuck called. Pierce made her way to the second chair and collapsed into it, then began fumbling with the harness. She sighed in relief as she saw it was a standard 5 point flight harness.
“This time, you tell me how to land.” Starbuck said as she powered the craft up.
“Uh… you sure that’s a good idea?” Daniel asked from the back. Pierce shot him a withering glance.
“One bad landing, and they all get on your case.” She grumbled.
The small craft was towed to the nearest elevator, and soon was on the long flight deck of the Galactica. Starbuck easily powered up the twin engines and accelerated out of the pod, banking towards the planet below. It was quite a sight before her- the nearly 40 ships full of Colonial survivors, flanked on all sides by massive Earth and Alien warships. It comforted her to know that those ships were facing away from the fleet- a gestured intended to show that they were not under imminent threat by their new allies.
“Bank ninety, accelerate for entry.” Pierce said, checking their position using her Mark-1 eyeball. She pointed at the southern continent of the planet, clearly visible to them now. “Thataway.”
Starbuck shot her a sideways glance. “That’s your idea of directing me in?”
“You wanna pull over at the nearest gas station instead?”
As the pilots continued their good-natured bickering, Daniel was explaining how they had found the city to Laura and Adama.
“We learned a lot more about the Ancients during this search, more at one time than we have in a long time.” He threw a quick glance at Jack, who merely rolled his eyes. “It was really quite fascinating…”
“So these Ancient had powers, but where not gods.” Laura tried to clarify. “How is that possible?”
“Evolution.” Daniel replied. “The Lanteans were around for hundreds of thousands of years. They evolved, much like we did. The Asgard believe that one day we will achieve the same level of evolution as they did, as a matter of fact.”
“But how do you know that they weren’t gods?” Laura pressed. Jack sighed.
“Because I had the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into my brain a couple of times, and the second time I had an ability to heal mortal wounds with a touch. But since I hadn’t ‘evolved’ enough,” he emphasized, using his fingers as quotation marks, “it nearly killed me. Both times the Asgard had to save my butt.”
Laura sighed. “This may end up being the biggest sticking point of this whole affair. We have two very religious groups in our government, and I’ve already begun to hear rumbles.”
“Well, tell them if they don’t like it, they’re more than welcome to go at it on their own!” Jack said mildly, drawing an amused glance from Adama.
“I’ve been tempted to do that…”
“You DID do that.” Laura pointed out.
As Starbuck headed in the general direction of Avalon, she noticed Pierce’s silence. She glanced over to see her gritting her teeth. “Are you okay?”
“Knee.” She replied simply. She gave her fellow pilot a wan smile. “Forgot how much the Jumpers damp this down.” She looked forward and smiled. “There she is.”
Starbuck’s eye snapped back to from, and she gasped. Sitting before them was the massive Alterean city of Avalon, its tall spire rising majestically into the morning sky. Roslin and Adama moved to get a glance, and both gasped at the sight.
“Frak me.” Laura breathed, drawing surprised, yet amused glances from the other two Colonials.
“Make for that large, open dome on the east side of the city. That’s the shipyard,” Pierce explained. “You can land in there.”
Starbuck nodded and maneuvered the small craft between the spires, doing her best to keep her eyes up front instead of staring all around her. It was almost like being back on Caprica, she thought, minus the radiation and roaming Cylon death patrols.
Starbuck banked the Raptor and engaged the VTOL thrusters, gently lowering the craft through the open ceiling of the Shipyard and landing gently on a small, raised pad normally reserved for the Jumpers.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Avalon.”
The group took an almost leisurely tour through the city, stopping in several of the large skyscraper towers that dotted the city and checking out the accommodations to make sure they were livable.
“Colonel Sheppard had been opening up the city, and has a basic layout for us,” Jack was explaining as they made their way to the central spire which housed gate control. There are several areas in each tower with large rooms and large, open areas. Once your people get settled, they can open shops to try and get your economy started again.”
“That would be great, but we’ll need to coordinate security for that.” Adama replied. “We have an extensive black market operating, and they wont be to happy with that.”
“How much of the city would you be willing to turn over to us?” Roslin asked.
“I would figure on about two-thirds.” O’Neill replied. “There will be areas that are off-limits to all but authorized persons like central power station, the control room, and several key labs throughout the city. I figure we can share the shipyard.”
They came to the door of the control room, and it slid open at a wave of Pierces hand. The group walked in, and the Colonials looked around with interest. They were on the an opened, lower level that was dominated by a large, round ring set into the floor at the far end. To their right were steps the led up to what was undoubtedly the control center itself, which was enclosed in a clear material of some sort- Adama very much doubted it was regular glass.
Starbuck was eying the ring with interest. “Excuse me,” she interrupted, pointing at it, “But exactly what-” she was cut off as the symbols in the inner circle of the ring suddenly flashed to life and a loud hum, pierced by bursts of sound, began emanating from it.
“Incoming wormhole!” Sgt. Harriman called out, and suddenly the Stargate blossomed to life, a large pillar of pure, destructive energy shooting 6 feet out of the center, before snapping back inward. As it disappeared, it left behind a gently rippling pool of azure energy that was quickly enclosed in an energy shield, and the Colonials gasped in shock.
“What the frak..” Starbuck started, but was quickly silenced as the Sergeants’ voice called out. “Receiving IDC- IT’s Dr. Weir.”
“Let her through.” O’Neill called out, and the shield was dropped. A lone female figure stepped out of the pool of energy, which lingered for only a moment before vanishing into nothingness. Dr. Weir looked at the group and gave a warm smile.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Elizabeth Weir,” She calmly strode over to Laura and held out her hand. The Colonial president took it tentatively and shook it. “I’m the Chief Administrator of Atlantis, Avalon’s sister city.”
“And what is that?” Laura asked, nodding at the gate.
“That’s the Stargate, and it’s one of those things we’ll need to fill you in on.” Daniel replied, nodding at Elizabeth in greetings. “Why don’t we head up to the conference room? This may take a while.”
As Daniel led the Colonials up the stairs to the conference room, Elizabeth said a quick hello to Pierce, then turned to O’Neill. “General O’Neill. I come with news.” She said, the smile leaving her face. “And it’s not particularly good.”
“Oy..” Jack grumbled, rubbing the back of his neck. “All right, hit me.”
“General MacMillan has resigned from the Air Force.”
“And that’s bad news?” Pierce asked. “Heck, maybe know I can actually get a promotion….”
“Major…” Jack growled, and Pierce wisely shut up. Jack looked back to Wier. “Why?”
“Because he was offered a better job.” Elizabeth sighed. “William MacMillan is now the head of the I.O.A.- and our immediate boss.”TBC