I own neither Battlestar Galactica nor Battletech and don’t claim to. There’s no point suing me for borrowing the storylines or characters unless you want a share of an underpaid Civil Servants salary and trust me it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
“I'm not sure who was more surprised when we first ran into each other, us or the Wolvies, either way we both had to adjust fast because the frakking Cylons were still out there. I will say that it was probably the Toasters who ended up getting the biggest shock of all when we reversed roles and took the fight back to them, they never saw that one coming.”Captain Margaret "Racetrack" Edmundson: 3048* * *City of McEvedy – New Circe – 3045 CE
Jennifer Vaun finished reading the summary report and initially lost for words looked past the serious looking military officer sat on the other side of her desk to the painting hanging on the far wall of her office. Sarah McEvedy herself looked down on everyone that ever sat in this chair, often inspiring, frequently intimidating but always there, reminding you of who you are, where you come from and above all the duty you owe to those you lead. ‘Jump drive that functions within a gravity well?’ she asked eventually. ‘Jump drive that can cycle in less than an hour?’ she added doubtfully.
‘And artificial gravity’ Admiral Franks noted. ‘No I didn't believe it either but apparently so’ he continued, shuffling uncomfortably in his own chair, not so much because of the eyes of the former Khan looking down upon them from the wall but rather because he hated his full dress uniform. ‘It's bewildering though’ he continued with a perplexed expression, ‘their sensors are like something from a thousand years ago and the less said about their computers the better’ he told her, ‘but as you say their jump drive is far more advanced than ours’ he said. ‘We know they did
jump in, and where, because their arrival tripped off our warning grid, meaning it can't be completely different in principle to a Kearny-Fuchida drive, but you can fit the unit into a ship the size of a heavy fighter and the power requirements are relatively minimal compared to our own technology’ he told her. ‘Looking at the ship... well like one of our engineers said after looking it over it's like something from the 21st Century added to something from the 41st.’
Vaun put her hands down in front of her on the desk meshing the fingers. ‘And this DNA screening has been double checked?’ she queried, looking to the summary again before her eyes caught the movement of a small bird outside the large panoramic window of her office distracting her for a brief moment.
Franks shook his head. ‘Quadruple
checked and by different teams and equipment’ he replied. ‘No sign of any genetic manipulation but according to their mitochondrial DNA their ancestors and ours haven’t interbred for a very
long time’ he said.
‘Centuries?’ Vaun asked, ‘are they from a lost colony like Neuva Castille, query affirmative?’
‘Negative’ Admiral Franks replied. ‘More like millennia’ he told her with a definite grimace, ‘best guess, according to our gengeneering teams, is that their ancestors haven't done the dirty with anyone who has come from Terra in the last four to five thousand years.’
Vaun blinked and her jaw dropped before she could control her reaction. ‘Four to five thousand years?’ she repeated. ‘I can see a big problem with that’ she stated.
The Admiral shrugged. ‘The fact that we've only had interstellar travel for less than one
thousand is proving hard to reconcile with the genetic evidence’ he agreed. ‘And then there's the language’ he continued. ‘They speak a kind of bastardised Ancient Greek which according to the history department at the university seems to be most like what they were talking around about the time of the Trojan wars’ he said rubbing his chin. ‘Those were roughly Fourteen-Hundred years BCE’ he informed her, ‘I checked.’
‘I hope you're not trying to tell me they're the descendents of Bronze Age Ancient Greeks with stardrives, query negative?’ Vaun asked seriously, narrowing her eyes.
‘Affirmative’ the Franks replied reluctantly. ‘I wish I wasn't but they actually worship the Hellenistic Gods too’ he explained. ‘They call them the “Lords of Kobol” but the names of specific deities are Apollo and the like’ he said. ‘One of my more imaginative, or perhaps I should say fantastical Intelligence Officers is pushing the theory that Atlantis really existed and was even more advanced than Plato made out’ he told her, rolling his eyes to the ceiling.
‘Well what do they
say?’ Vaun asked.
‘They say they're originally from a planet called Kobol and left to colonise twelve planets, which are named after the signs of the zodiac, a couple of thousand years ago and that both their jump drive and artificial gravity technology was originally a gift to them from their “God’s” which they only learned to use in the last couple of centuries’ Franks replied. ‘They haven't specified if they came in a blessed ark with a holy ribbon around it though’ he added in amusement.
‘So Kobol is their name for Terra?’ Vaun queried.
‘No, they think our
ancestors came to Terra from Kobol too and they call us the lost thirteenth colony’ the Admiral replied. ‘When we told them that humanity was originally from Terra, which means they were too, they just laughed and said we needed better history books’ he said. ‘We could have proved it but decided to let that one slide for now.’
Vaun stood up pushed back her chair and began pacing around her office. ‘Why wasn't I informed of all this immediately?’ she wanted to know.
‘I'm sorry Ma'am but we wanted to check the facts before presenting the case’ Franks answered. ‘They clearly weren't from the Clans, or ComStar, or anyone else we ever expected to possibly meet way out here so there were no standing orders on how to deal with the situation’ he explained honestly. ‘I've got to admit the entire story sounds so ludicrous that it took this long to verify it to anyone's satisfaction’ he told her apologetically. ‘This brings us to the next point which was on your summary’ he said. ‘These “Colonials” as they call themselves are supposedly from a fleet of refugees who are out here looking for Terra because their homeworlds have been destroyed and they’re trying to find a new place to live’ he told her.
‘Destroyed by who?’ Vaun asked. ‘Ancient Egyptians?’ she suggested sardonically.
Admiral Franks tried to deliver the reply seriously. ‘Artificially Intelligent robots, some of whom look exactly like humans and are self-aware’ he told her.
‘So not hostile aliens
then?’ Vaun responded deadpan before breaking out into laughter, nearly setting off the Admiral too.
‘They say they can prove it if we contact their fleet’ Franks informed her. ‘Look at it this way, they're on their way towards the Inner Sphere with a jump drive that would revolutionise our entire civilisation’ he said. ‘Can you imagine our edge if we had that technology?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘Can you imagine the slaughter if it fell into the hands of those Successor State thugs or...’ he paused, ‘the Clans instead?’
Vaun frowned. ‘Do we have an idea of these people’s military capabilities Admiral?’ she asked, retaking her seat.
‘No Ma'am but our fighters impressed the hell out of our two guests’ the Naval Officer responded. ‘If you want my suggestion, they're refugees and apparently in poor condition, we don't need to rattle any sabres, our visitors have already rattled a begging bowl so we simply play the friendly benefactor.’
‘How many of them are there?’ Vaun queried.
‘Just under fifty thousand we're told, supposedly they're all that's left of an original combined population of over twenty billion between the colonies’ Admiral Franks replied. ‘The AI’s they've supposedly been running from nuked them back into the stone age’ he stated flatly. ‘If that's true, and I will
want to see the evidence, then that's another reason to prevent these people reaching the Inner Sphere. These jump-drives could enable an enemy to appear directly over a planet and bombard it from orbit before any military could react so we don't want these “Cylon” robots as they call them being led directly towards untold billions of civilians.’
‘Sounds like we can forget about the Ares Conventions’ Vaun said quietly. Despite every major power in the Inner Sphere keeping a stockpile of nuclear weaponry they were very rarely ever used and if anyone ever did utilise their atomic arsenals they would be immediately branded pariahs.
The Admiral nodded. ‘With your permission I'd like to ready our tactical and strategic nuclear deterrents, as well as mobilise the reserves’ he told her. ‘On my own authority I've already ordered both the Zughoffer Weir
and the Bismark
to begin charging their jumpdrives immediately. They were offline for maintenance but we don't want to get caught with our pants down, query affirmative?’
‘Affirmative Admiral’ Vaun replied. ‘I'll call an emergency meeting of the Parliament and explain the situation. Can I rely on you to handle contact with these people?’ she asked. ‘Make a good impression, we might live out here in the wilderness but we're not barbarians and remember we were hunted refugees once ourselves’ she reminded him, looking up at the picture on the far wall of her office again. That was why they had hidden themselves on a planet in a nebula out in the back of beyond all those years ago, they had needed to rebuild, rearm and make ready for the day they would be called upon to take up the sword once again and fight for an ideal only they still embraced.
Admiral Franks stood up and straightened his uniform. ‘None of us will ever forget Ma'am’ he said, looking at the two flags hanging behind her, one with a star emblazoned on it, the other an animals head imposed on stylised claw marks . ‘God preserve the Star League in Exile’ he intoned.
‘Wolverines keep the faith’ Jennifer Vaun, Lord Protector of the last remains of the Star League, responded automatically.
‘Seyla’ they said together, heads bowed.* * *Colonial One - Colonial Fleet – 3045 CE
Tory Foster took a breath to steady her nerves and knocked on the cabin door. ‘Madam President I know you said you didn't want to be disturbed but you really do’ she announced.
After a few moments the door opened to reveal a very weary looking Laura Roslin. Despite being ahead in the polls the constant electioneering was sapping her reserves and she had hoped to get a few quiet hours to herself. ‘What is it?’ she asked her aide, noting the Colonial Officer stood next to her.
‘We just received word from Galactica
’ Foster replied. ‘One of the Raptors which was on the Caprica mission returned thirty minutes ago, it misjumped on the first leg of the journey and then eventually headed back to rejoin the fleet.’
Laura Roslin yawned. ‘Why did they take a week to get back?’ she asked, and more importantly why am I being disturbed she thought to herself.
The President's Aide collected herself for a moment. ‘They took a week to get back because they found an inhabited planet’ she told Roslin. ‘Inhabited by people from the Thirteenth Tribe’ she added, wondering if she had delivered the momentous news with quite the kind of gravitas it truly deserved.
‘You're yanking my frakking chain right?’ the incredulous President of the Colonies responded eventually after a suitably long thoughtful pause.
Foster shook her head. She had already ignored the request from Admiral Adama to keep this all Top Secret and the rumour would already be spreading around the fleet that President Roslin had led them to the Thirteenth Tribe of Kobol, Baltar’s election hopes were buried now she decided happily, the President had led them to Earth even if luck had played a big part in it.* * *Battlestar Galactica – Colonial Fleet – 3045 CE
Admiral Adama again looked through the glass window at the tall but otherwise nondescript pair of individuals currently sitting in the brig before turning back to the two officers stood next to him. ‘And you're certain
they're not Cylons?’ he asked.
Racetrack nodded, a huge grin plastered across her face. She was bound to go down in the history books as the pilot that found the Thirteenth Tribe and you just couldn't buy reputation like that. She’d likely never have to buy a drink for herself at the bar again either. ‘They took us down to the planet in a type of shuttle they call a dropship’ she told Adama. ‘There's a whole city down there, hundreds of thousands of people, farms, factories, and they didn't all look like clones’ she said. ‘They're human alright’ she said confidently.
‘They stuck us
in a brig too’ Skulls noted. ‘Stuck us with needles as well, then asked us a bunch of questions and eventually we get to meet an Admiral in their Navy who tells us their government is offering the fleet sanctuary from the Cylons’ he said.
‘They cut us loose along with the marines, and sent these two along to prove we weren't making the whole thing up’ Racetrack told Adama, continuing the story. ‘The grey-haired guy is a historian that speaks the best Old Caprican they could find, the one in the uniform is from their Navy’ he said.
Admiral Adama put his hands behind him going into a parade-rest stance. ‘What military forces do they have?’ he wanted to know.
‘We saw fighters, and a small capital ship in orbit’ Racetrack answered. ‘They called it a destroyer, maybe six-hundred metres bow to stern’ she told the Admiral.
‘Armament?’ Adama asked professionally.
‘They didn't shoot at us so I don't know for certain but their technology seemed pretty primitive so I guess they aren't as well armed as we are’ Racetrack reasoned. ‘No artificial gravity on their ships and they were completely amazed by our jumpdrive’ she continued, ‘they've got one themselves but you can only mount it on a large ship and it can’t operate in a gravity well’ she said. ‘You want my guess, they'll be hoping to trade for the design’ she suggested. ‘And they'll pay big.’
Adama looked at their visitors again. ‘A colony of the Thirteenth Tribe’ he observed with a grin he couldn't hold back. He wondered how many more colonies they had and how far away Earth itself was, were they only another couple of jumps away?
‘Permission to speak freely Sir’ Racetrack requested.
‘Go ahead Lieutenant’ Adama responded, the girl had bought herself plenty of leeway to say whatever the hell she wanted to whoever she wanted in his book.
‘I never bought for certain that you were leading us towards Earth, or that it even really existed’ Racetrack admitted. ‘I'm sorry I doubted you’ she apologised.
Adama smiled, better to be lucky than good he thought to himself. ‘The president has asked for them to be brought to Colonial One’ he said. ‘Think you and your ECO can get us there? I'm sure she'll want to talk to you too so shine your boots, put on your dress uniforms and expect to get your photograph taken’ he advised.
Skulls grinned. ‘The last time we went anywhere we ended up in the wrong place Sir’ he reminded the Admiral, earning a playful punch on the arm from his pilot.
‘And you will
both be spending some quality time in a Raptor flight simulator for that’ Adama replied. ‘Just because the Gods are watching out for you doesn't mean I have to give you any leeway’ he said. ‘They might play favourites but I don't.’
‘Yes Sir, understood Sir’ Racetrack responded, snapping to attention as did Skulls. It was true enough, the Admiral would publicly ream out his own son if he frakked up, that was one of the reasons the Old Man enjoyed such respect amongst the troops. He was harsh, but he was fair.
‘So what do they call themselves?’ the Admiral asked curiously.
‘The planet’s name is New Circe’ Racetrack replied. ‘Yes it's named for the same Circe from our legends too.’
‘The daughter of the Sun God Helios’ Adama recalled quietly. ‘So they have the same Gods we do?’ he asked. Helios was associated with Apollo, his boy might get a kick out of this revelation he decided.
‘They know of our Gods but from what we could tell they don't worship them Sir’ Racetrack told him. ‘They say our Gods and language are thousands of years old from a part of Earth called Greece, they also think that the human race came from Earth originally not Kobol’ she added.
Adama nodded. ‘They've been isolated thousands of years’ he noted. ‘We might need to be careful what we tell them, the truth might upset their society’ he reasoned thoughtfully.
Looking out through the glass from inside the brig Commander Marcus Thorpe of the Star League Intelligence Corps tried to make himself comfortable while they waited. He had been chosen for this mission because he had taken Classical History at university and had maintained an interest in the subject, still speaking a smattering of Ancient Greek although he would have much preferred meeting long-lost Romans instead because his Latin was better. Professor Sundquist the professional academic beside him had in fact been one of his lecturers almost two decades earlier and was far less happy to be stuck in this room, he wanted to talk to as many of these people as possible, compare their histories with his own, and try to work out how in the name of the First Lord they had ended up thousands of light years from Earth thousands of years ago.
‘I still think it's Atlantis’ Thorpe stated, crossing his arms and turning back to the other man.
Sundquist snorted in response. ‘Atlantis was merely a legend based upon the collapse of the Minoan Civilisation’ he replied. ‘You always were a fantasist young Marcus’ he said with a sigh.
‘They thought Troy was nothing but a myth too until Schliemann found it, query affirmative?’ Thorpe pointed out.
‘Affirmative’ Sundquest conceded, ‘but that was over a thousand years ago’ he continued. ‘If Atlantis existed somebody would have found it by now’ he said with certainty.
Thorpe uncrossed his arms. ‘At least I've got
a theory’ he grumbled.
‘No, you've got an unsubstantiated hypothesis’ Sundquist told him. ‘A proper theory is based upon facts it seeks to explain’ he chided his former student. ‘Your romanticised view of mythic history might have served you well in the military, where tales of exaggerated valour and appeals to ancient glory are the stock in trade, but in academia we aren't quite so... florid.’
you get through your time in the Army?’ Thorpe asked, rolling his eyes. Like all citizens of New Circe the old professor would have spent two years in the military as soon as he turned eighteen and then undergone two solid weeks annual refresher training, and one weekend a month in the reserves until the age of forty.
‘Like a good citizen, I stuck it out and tried to ignore the stupidity all around me’ Sundquist replied. ‘Why anyone would want to make it their career as a preferred choice is astonishing’ he continued disparagingly. ‘Our devotion of so much time and resources into the Armed Forces is a necessary evil to be thought of ruefully in a harsh universe, it should not be embraced so enthusiastically within our culture as it is’ he opined.
‘We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those that would do us harm’ Thorpe responded.
‘Please don't quote Orwell at me’ the old professor requested. ‘Our eternal mobilisation for war rings too much like Oceania as it is’ he stated wryly.
It was Commander Thorpe's turn to snort this time. ‘We're possibly the only real power in the Inner Sphere, the Periphery or beyond which can honesty claim to not
be using 1984 as a guide book instead of a warning’ he retorted. ‘Freedom of speech, elected government, no suppression of information...’ he listed by rote, counting with his fingers.
Sundquist narrowed his eyes. ‘And that's
why I stuck out all the time I found myself crawling through a muddy ditch with a rifle’ he replied coldly. ‘I see the imperfections in our society but we are
the pinnacle of civilisation in these dark times’ he declared. ‘That was clear from the day when the Wolverines landed on Richmond and liberated the camps the Draconis Combine had my ancestors in’ he said. ‘They did it because it was the right thing to do, they still genuinely believed in the principles of the Star League and would fight for them.’
Thorpe solemnly nodded his heartfelt agreement. Although he had plenty of blood in his own line from the Richmond camps, which was of course inevitable after over two hundred years of mixing between those people and the original Wolverines, his family codex showed he was primarily descended from those who had liberated the slaves and political dissidents and he was proud of that.
Over the years the cultures had merged, with the more militaristic Wolverines, descendents of warriors who had followed Star League General Aleksandr Kerensky into exile then later fled the tyrannical machinations of his son Nicholas, gradually adopting some of the habits of the mainly Scandinavian descended Richmond prisoners. They in turn adopted many of the habits of the more numerous Wolverines such as speech patterns. This had led to a society which venerated the Armed Forces because of the Wolverines, education because of all the academics they found in the camps, freedom from tyranny because of the history of both
groups and also, so the old joke went, was abnormally fond of putting pickled herring in field ration packs.
‘Just let me do most of the talking, your job is to translate not negotiate’ Commander Thorpe told the academic as someone entered the brig to lead them to the flight bay.
‘If you'd concentrated better in class you wouldn't need me to be here’ Sundquist replied. ‘And don't think I've forgotten you still owe me that essay on Pliny the Elder.’
‘That was nearly twenty years ago’ Thorpe protested, frankly astonished the old man remembered.
‘And check the spelling before you hand in it’ Sundquist told him sternly. He only hoped the boys handwriting had improved, it used to be atrocious.* * *Colonial One - Colonial Fleet – 3045 CE
They had been met by marines when they arrived on Galactica
too but those weren't standing at attention as an honour guard. Thorpe imagined these particular troops were the equivalent of the ceremonial troops that stood by the gates of the Lord Protectors mansion and he wondered if they were remotely as tough as one of the infantry regiments of the 331st, frankly doubting it.
Commander Thorpe snapped to attention when the marines brought their rifles up into salute and wished he was wearing his ceremonial sword so he could return it properly. It was impractical as hell on a spaceship but strange military traditions lingered on long after their original meaning was lost. The hand to brim of the hat salute itself was originally the tipping back of a visor and remained a military salutation long after knights of yore had gone the way of the dinosaurs.
A woman perhaps a few years older than Thorpe stood in front of what appeared to be a delegation. He surmised she was this President Roslin and noted her leader-like bearing, and also by her knee length skirt the fact she had a pretty nice set of legs.
The Colonial Admiral who had flown with them from the warship stepped forward between Thorpe and Roslin and began speaking, his words being translated by Sundquist. ‘Madam President’ he began, ‘may I introduce Commander Marcus Thorpe’ he said. ‘Commander Thorpe, may I introduce Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies’ he said formally, then waited for Sundquist to translate.
Thorpe saluted, his action met by a nod from Roslin’s head. ‘Madam President’ he began. ‘On behalf of Jennifer Vaun, Lord Protector of the Star League, I offer the greetings of the colony of New Circe and the Star League In Exile’ he replied. ‘The Lord Protector offers an invitation for you to visit our colony and for your people to find respite from your journey on our world’ he announced.
Sundquist translated, then apparently answered a question from the President. ‘She asked if Jennifer was a woman’s name for us too, and I told her it was’ the professor told Thorpe. ‘Their names are very curious, closer to ours than they should be given the separation of cultures’ he added.
‘There's definitely something weird about this whole thing’ Thorpe agreed. ‘Might I introduce Professor Nils Sundquist of the University of New Circe’ he said to Roslin, ‘Professor Sundquist is our leading Historian in Ancient Terra’ he noted his companions credentials.
After the translation Roslin smiled at the academic turned translator who smiled back before asking a question which the woman answered. ‘They shake hands at formal occasions like we do’ Sundquist told Thorpe who smiled himself and took a step forward offering his hand to Roslin.
Amidst a sudden salvo of photography from the selected members of the colonial press who had been invited Laura Roslin shook hands with a descendent of the thirteenth Tribe of Kobol. The momentous event was slightly marred by a guilty thought that crossed her mind that Baltar’s election hopes were now dead and buried. She could probably keep getting re-elected for life if she wanted, although that life might not be all that long.
‘Aren't you glad you got that Higher Education now?’ Sunquist quietly asked Thorpe in amusement.
‘I thought it might advance my career long-term but I never thought like this’ Thorpe replied. ‘I might not get a ship but I'll certainly get that promotion to captain now’ he said happily.
‘Or they might kick you out of the Navy and make you a diplomat, query affirmative?’ Sundquist suggested.
‘Negative!’ Thorpe exclaimed, ‘And don't even joke about it’ he said in horror.
Laura Roslin wondered what the Historian had said to make the naval officer suddenly grimace but decided not to ask, it could be a cultural thing.* * *Battlestar Galactica – Colonial Fleet – 3045CE
Sat in his laboratory Gaius Baltar stared into the distance, or rather his unfocused eyes were fixed on the far bulkhead as Tom Zarek tried to think of a plan and failed ‘It's all over’ the former dissident and rabble-rouser said eventually. ‘You were already behind the polls but now the word's spreading that we've found the Thirteenth Tribe they won't just elect Roslin they'd make her frakking Empress if she asked for it.’
Baltar nodded slowly, his face expressionless. ‘We should be happy I suppose’ he said eventually. ‘Everyone else will be.’
‘Everyone else doesn't realise how dangerous Roslin is’ Zarek replied. ‘Our fates are in her hands, she's going to be our representative to the 13th Tribe, she'll steer policy towards them, hell our futures are now entirely at her whim’ he hissed.
‘He's right Gaius’ the imaginary blond in the scientist-turned-politicians head agreed. ‘And you might as well start practicing a gracious concession speech’ she told him.
‘What about the Cylons?’ Baltar asked. ‘We could run on a platform that we need to keep moving to escape them.’
Zarek sighed. ‘After nine months stuck in ships the people wouldn't want to keep going even if we'd only found an empty planet we could live on’ he said. ‘Face it, that crazy religious fanatic teacher did what she said she would so we’re frakked.’
‘Unless the Cylons come’ the blond said, walking past Baltar and stroking his cheek, at least in his imagination.
‘Unless the Cylons come’ Baltar repeated.
‘And how does that make us any less
frakked?’ Zarek asked sarcastically. ‘I don't think the bitch should be in charge but I'd rather live than get nuked by a bunch of walking toasters’ he said flatly.
‘They're still following Gaius’ the blond whispered in his ear. ‘They might have lost the trail for now but they'll find you eventually.’
Baltar turned and looked at Zarek. ‘People are still afraid’ he said. ‘We campaign on that fear, try to get the people to think they're only safe if we keep moving’ he said. ‘We could even say we're endangering the Thirteenth Tribe by contacting them’ he continued. ‘From what we know they're far behind us technologically, they don't even have artificial gravity on their ships’ he pointed out. ‘It's our duty to protect them by heading back away from their space.’
Zarek frowned. ‘I can't see too many people responding to that but it's worth a try’ he conceded. ‘It's all we've got I suppose’ he continued reluctantly. He wasn't even sure he fully agreed himself but the argument about protecting the humans they'd met at least sounded reasonable, they could work on that.
The blond smiled. ‘There you go, raising your electoral hopes by trying to dash the fleets’ she said. ‘I knew there was a consummate selfish politician in there somewhere.’
‘I wonder how many colonies the Thirteenth have?’ Zarek asked rhetorically.
‘Their jumpdrive is primitive from what I’ve heard’ Baltar replied. ‘No more than a handful I’d say.’* * *Colonial One – Colonial Fleet – 3045 CE
Laura Roslin blinked, she must have misheard. ‘How
many people?’ she asked again, noting that the other guests, Colonial Military and the members of the Quorum of Twelve were equally nonplussed. Looking more than uncomfortable at their own presence amongst such important people Racetrack and Skulls were sat near the President herself hoping they were using the right cutlery.
‘Four million million spread across over two thousand colonised worlds within a five-hundred light-year radius of Terra’ Sundquist repeated, before taking another sip of the surprisingly good drink they called Ambrosia.
The President looked across the dining table at the expression on Adama’s face. ‘And you've only had Interstellar Travel for less than a thousand years?’ she asked incredulously.
‘Yes’ Sundquist told her before taking a bite of his meal. The drink was nice but the food itself was very bland he decided.
‘Four million million is called four trillion’ Adama told the academic, the Ancient Greeks had never needed a number that high so they didn't have one .
‘Thousand million?’ Sundquist inquired.
‘Billion’ Adama told him.
‘Thank you’ Sundquist replied, making careful mental note of the new words he was learning. ‘It would have been far more if the Star League had held together’ he opined. ‘Society has regressed considerably in the last three centuries’ he told them sadly. ‘The successor states are far more interested in bludgeoning themselves than exploration and colonisation of the galaxy’ he said. ‘The overall technology in the Inner Sphere is worse than it was five centuries ago’ he told them. ‘Levels of education too, you are surprisingly lucky to run into a world like ours that still regards the teaching of ancient languages and history as worthwhile’ he continued, ‘we truly are the last remnants of the Star League in philosophy as well as name.’
Adama frowned. ‘I'm surprised you're so open about your situation’ he told the academic.
‘The Lord Protector wanted our relationship to start as open as cordial as it could’ Sundquist replied. ‘She also wanted you to realise why it's vital you don't lead these Cylon creatures towards human colonised space’ he told them. ‘With your superior jumpdrive technology, and the lack of cohesive government there, the death toll in the Inner Sphere would be horrendous before enough unity could be established to defeat them’ he said. ‘Back in the Star League era it might have been different, the greatest minds of all the colonised worlds could have back-engineered your drive and then the mighty shipyards churned out a veritable host of warships mounting it before the Cylons arrived but these days...’ he trailed off sadly with a shrug.
‘What kind of military do the successor states have?’ Adama asked professionally.
Sundquist redirected the question to Thorpe who thought about it then started relaying the answer back through the academic. ‘Very small numbers of warships, single digit in some cases, plus thousands of aerospace fighters, but most of their military is geared towards ground combat’ he said. ‘The Clans have more warships and would likely make a better fight of it than the Inner Sphere states, especially given their technological edge over the latter, but with the disparity in jump drive technology they would nonetheless be at severe tactical disadvantage.’
‘With four trillion people and two thousand worlds the Cylons would have a lot of trouble dealing with the Thirteenth Tribe, quantity has a quality all its own’ Adama remarked to Roslin, ‘but the death toll would make the fall of the Twelve Colonies look insignificant by comparison’ he told her, shaking his head at the sheer scale of casualties that were possible in such a scenario.
Sundquist translated that for Thorpe who had only picked up some of it and who nodded agreement and then commented through the historian. ‘The Commander says that's why we want the opportunity to look at your drive technology and produce our own before the Cylons ever find the Inner Sphere’ he said. ‘We feel we can hold the line as it were, and to be honest we're also concerned that if one of the Successor States got hold of your drive and the others didn’t it would alter the balance of power as they rapidly defeated the others and established dominion over the whole of human colonised space.’
‘But you think our drive is safe with you
?’ Roslin couldn't help but ask knowingly.
population is less than that of an average city on one of the more industrialised worlds of the Inner Sphere’ Sundquist replied with a smile. ‘The notion that we might be able to conquer the rest of humanity is amusing but hopelessly unrealistic’ he continued. ‘At best we could pulverise a few despotic regimes and keep the wretched clans at bay for a while but we're not going to be able to restore the Star League by sweeping out of the periphery like the Mongol Hordes’ he said, and then had to explain the reference.
Adama reached for a jug of water and poured himself a glass, noting that Thorpe was only drinking water too. ‘We know your technological base is behind ours’ he said. ‘What makes you think you can fight the Cylons?’ he asked reasonably.
Sunquist translated and then after Commander Thorpe replied translated for him in turn. ‘We're duty bound to try’ the historian told Adama.
The Admiral smiled and raised his glass in salute which Thorpe returned with his own. ‘So we know you've got a military’ he said. ‘How many ships, what technology?’ he asked.
After the question was translated Thorpe took a breath, he had been told to answer honestly but for an Intelligence Officer it went against the grain. He paused then started his reply through the translator.
‘One destroyer, which your raptor crew encountered in orbit’ Sunquist told them. ‘One battlecruiser and two battleships’ he told them. ‘Our largest battleship is roughly the same size as Galactica
, the other slightly smaller’ he said. ‘We once had other vessels but had to strip them for parts over the years’ he explained, translating as Thorpe spoke. ‘Our battleships carry fifty and forty of our latest... metal birds respectively...’
‘The word is fighter’ Racetrack told him.
‘Thank you’ Sunquist replied gratefully, ‘our battlecruiser another eighteen and our destroyer fifty more’ he continued, it was actually a hybrid craft, part light carrier. ‘We also have another one hundred and fifty fighters of older designs based on New Circe’ he added.
Adama was more than surprised at how militarised the small colony seemed to be but didn’t let it show. ‘Armament?’ he queried.
Sundquist started to translate then ran into a wall because there weren't any words in Ancient Greek for much of this. ‘Large mechanical metal throwing machines’ he said eventually then did an impression of a machine gun which made Laura Roslin laugh. ‘Devices... which make large mushroom shaped clouds’ he continued.
‘They've got nukes, things are looking up’ a Colonial Officer remarked.
‘Beams of bright light or tiny particles that cut through metal’ Sundquist announced then stopped because suddenly everyone looked at him.
‘Does he mean weaponised lasers and particle beams
?!’ Racetrack exclaimed eventually.
Adama looked the academic directly in the eyes. ‘How much metal can these beams of light cut through’ he asked seriously.
Sundquist translated and after thinking about it Thorpe held his hands apart a fair distance.
‘At what range?’ Adama wanted to know.
The news that in space the effective range of a Naval Laser or Particle beam against a capital ship was measured in hundreds of kilometres was, it must be said, greeted with some scepticism by the Colonials. The notion that their fighters carried compact Directed Energy Weapons too was dismissed as almost unbelievable.
Thorpe and Sundquist decided not to mention the Laser Rifles their army used and wondered how on Terra these primitives had ever mastered fire.
Note from the Author:The Battletech Universe lacks artificial gravity but it does have a Jump Drive that is is akin to the one used for FTL travel in nBSG. The BT Kearny-Fuchida Drive is however far more limited in that the smallest ship it can be fitted on masses thousands of tons and you cannot safely jump into a gravity-well.The Clans by 3045 have very distinct speech patterns, they don't use contractions except for in certain words. The Wolverines however left the other clans at a time when the modes of speech were still in transition from regular English. They still used normal contractions in speech back then, unlike the mainstream clans did later, but conversely the ritualised contractions the clans did use such as "quiaff?" and the response "Aff" were still sometimes said as the full versions "query affirmative?" and "Affirmative". Separated from the other clans, and much of the rest of humanity, Wolverine speech would likely have retained its proto-clanner roots which makes them distinctive I thought.This fic borrows the background information about Clan Wolverine provided by the book Betrayal of Ideals incidentally.