Jeg Har Kommet TilbakeAuthor:
Ronald D. Moore is responsible, love it or hate it, for the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica and its characters. The Stargate franchise and its related characters and concepts belongs to MGM. Not mine, don't sue, et cetera and so forth.Summary:
The Cylons find there are more than just the remnants of the Thirteenth out there willing to help them evolve…Joe's Note:
Been working on this with Mackon peeking in every so often, since this is based off of his Tribble #3351
. Finally gotten it to a vaguely comfortable posting point, so I figured I'd toss it out there to see what people thought. The Midguardians come from one of the Tor not-quite-continuity nBSG books and I might also incorporate bits and pieces from the Dynamite "Final Five" and "First Cylon War" miniseries. Don't own S4 on DVD so doing ref work on the former becomes more difficult, and the latter has yet to really be developed period although we might see it a season or two down the line in Caprica
. Now, without further ado… fic.
The phone rang.
The phone rang again.
The phone rang a third time.
Lips pressed firmly against her skin, her lover's mumbled words sent vibrations running up and down Rear Admiral Helena Cain's neck. "I am going to go get some lube from Garner, grease up that phone, and shove it up Kendy's tight little ass. For frak's sake, does she know what time it is?"
Letting out a chuckle as the phone continued to ring, Cain propped herself up on one elbow, the move dumping a rather disgruntled looking Gina Inviere onto her back on the bed beside her. "Lieutenant Shaw has a 'tight little ass', huh? Should I be worried about my girlfriend having a wandering eye?"
"Hmmph. I spend half my shift each day talking to that ass. It's hard not to look." Gina pondered that for a moment before giving a slight shrug. "Can't complain, though. Working with her means I have a pint sized subordinate to shove into all those access ways and crawlspaces when I need to run cables." Another shrill ring made her wince and she pointed across the room. "Wanna go answer that? Or should I pick it up and tell Kendy that you've come down with a bad case of just-been-frakked and are too worn out to come to the phone right now, and would she like to leave a message?"
Helena let out a snort of laughter as she rose from the bed, taking the sheets with her and leaving an indignant Gina to squawk and scramble for a new source of warmth. "And that's why you're not allowed to answer incoming calls on that line anymore, if you'll remember." Picking up the handset, she pinned it between her head and shoulder as she wrapped the sheets around her body tighter. "Good morning, Lieutenant. Very, very early in the morning. I trust you have an exceedingly good reason for disturbing me?"
Not that she really doubted such was true; Lieutenant Kendra Shaw was constantly displaying a level of professionalism that belied her young age, which was why Cain preferred to assign the young Caprican to Officer of the Deck duties as often as her schedule allowed. Especially since her second most competent OOD was prone to fits of scathing verbal abuse that sent her underlings whining to Helena about the treatment. "Admiral, the group has spread out along the Armistice Line as per your orders. CAPs were deployed from all Viper carrying vessels along with Raptors to assist the smaller vessels. Just now, we detected another of the strange neutrino spikes that scared Colonial Fleet Headquarters…"
"Which is why we're stuck on this asinine mission…"
"…and according to our CAP pilots, a vessel that looks like a Columbia
-class battlestar just emerged from some sort of tear in space." Wait, what? That didn't make a lick of sense. "Now it's just sitting there, just inside the Cylon side of the Armistice Line. I reckon the next move is ours but what that move is… well, that's a bit above my pay grade, ma'am. Respectfully requesting your presence so I can be relieved by someone who knows how to handle something like this."
Groaning, Helena dragged her hand over her face. She was too frakking tired to be dealing with this kind of shit. "I don't suppose I can tell you to just sit and stare at it until either it does something or six hours pass, whichever happens first? No, don't answer that, Lieutenant. That was a rhetorical question. I'll be right up. But for the love of the Gods, get someone from the mess to send a cup of coffee up for me. A big one." Hanging up the phone, Helena staggered back over to the bed and sank down on the edge. "Great. Frakking Cylons. With a battlestar. That emits neutrinos when it tears space open and goes hopping through. This was supposed to be an easy mission: spread out BSG 62 along the Line and camp out for a month. How in Hades did it go FUBAR on the first day?"
Gina just stared at her with wide eyes before rolling onto her stomach and burying her face in a pillow. "I'm going to go to sleep now. Maybe by the time I wake up, you'll have made the world make sense again."
"Wish I had that luxury. Alright, I'll see you later. Don't be surprised if I need to call you up to the CIC later, though; if these really are Cylons, I'll need my network specialist on hand." Gina let out a little grunt, tugging the comforter she'd found tighter around her body. Chuckling softly, Helena dropped the sheets on the floor next to the bed before looking around for her uniform.
Pausing, she sniffed herself.
Perhaps a quick shower first…
Hurrying down the hallway with long strides, Helena fastened her uniform jacket closed just in time to slip through the rotating glass doors and enter the Combat Information Center of the Battlestar Pegasus
. "Despite what you people may have heard about me at the Academy, ladies and gentlemen, I do need to sleep." There were muted chuckles at that as Helena swept through the room, taking her place opposite the Officer of the Deck at the Command and Control Station. "Admiral Cain has the Deck and Conn! You are relieved, Lieutenant Shaw. Set Condition Two throughout the ship."
Kendra Shaw came to attention and snapped off a salute. "Admiral on Deck!" Helena returned the salute after a moment and then Kendra relaxed. "And let me just say, I have never been happier to be relieved in mid-shift than I am right now."
"You know, you're the only commissioned officer aboard this ship that has Ministry of Defense diplomatic training. I should have just stayed in bed and left this for you to figure out." Helena debated for a moment before deciding to let Jurgen keep his rack time unless he chose to wander up from his quarters to investigate; there was no reason to have both the CO and the XO depriving themselves of sleep, especially if this dragged on long enough to necessitate a shift change. She wasn't a young woman anymore, and coffee and stims could only keep her awake and alert for so long. "Sitrep."
"We were monitoring the space on the other side of the Armistice Line when we detected a neutrino spike and a bogey appeared on DRADIS." Manipulating the command table's controls, Kendra pulled up the recorded footage and sent it to the screen in front of Helena so she could watch for herself. "I've added the Armistice Line myself, obviously. Now, almost immediately I diverted the CAP Vipers to investigate while I had the crew prep and launch four of our remaining Raptors. With their more sophisticated sensors, digital cameras, and jump drives, I figured they were the superior craft to use because they could investigate the ship, send images in real time, and jump home if something went wrong."
Helena nodded distractedly as she watched the screen, the Vipers racing out almost to the line and making several passes before the quartet of Raptors hopped into place, sending the smaller fighters screaming back towards the battlestar. A sensible move; something she would have done herself and further proof that her faith in Kendra was well placed. Her attention was quickly drawn to a far more unusual sight: a yellow blip. Green was a friendly. Red was a confirmed foe. The last time she'd seen a yellow vessel was… Helena couldn't remember, honestly. "And?"
Shrugging helplessly, Kendra swapped the DRADIS recording for a series of photos, presumably sent back in a data burst by one of the Raptors. "And it's a Columbia
-class battlestar, essentially. The aft end is emitting never before seen energy readings and the Raptors can't find any sign of weapons, but it's a battlestar. It doesn't have a transponder, though, not to mention we're the only battlestar group supposed to be in the area. Add in the strange method of arrival and the fact that it's on the wrong side of the Line and… well, like I said, I figured that deciding our next move was above my pay grade, so I called you."
Helena nodded; it had been the right thing to do, at least from a procedural standpoint. Granted she was still ridiculously frakking tired and that didn't even begin to touch on how pissy Gina was about being deprived of her favorite pillow… but she'd find some way to smooth things over later. She always did. There was a whoosh behind her and Helena reached out blindly to accept the coffee she'd asked for, bringing the carafe to her lips and taking a long pull. "Has it made any noise? Greet us? Respond to us?"
"No, ma'am. It's just sitting there." Helena met the eyes of Lieutenant Louis Hoshi as he looked up from his console, his head cocked to one side as he listened to the incoming wireless traffic. "It hasn't transmitted anything that I can detect, and I sent the standard greeting packet when it arrived. The Raptors are attempting to communicate with it too, in case it has damaged or limited wireless equipment. No response yet."
Great. If it was one of theirs and it had been poking around on the wrong side of the Line, there was only one real course of action: force it back over into Colonial space so the crew could be detained and debriefed or, if the crew was already dead or compromised, destroy it to hide the evidence of their wrongdoing from the Cylons. "Lieutenant Hoshi, open a Colonial priority one channel. Send a hostile challenge to the vessel and put the reply up on speakers. It may be full of Cylons but until we know better, if it looks like one of ours, we treat it like one of ours."
Hoshi nodded and tapped a few buttons, the CIC's speakers crackling once before emitting a soft, constant buzz of static. "Attention, unknown battlestar. This is the Battlestar Pegasus
, assigned to Battlestar Group 62 under the command of Rear Admiral Helena Cain. Identify yourself or we will fire upon you."
As Helena watched the active DRADIS returns, the yellow dot suddenly went red, information slipping into place under the icon representing the ship. BATTLESTAR SLEIPNIR, it read. The name tickled the edge of Helena's memory, but she couldn't for the life of her remember why she might know that word. Then a voice came back over the wireless, disrupting her train of thought.
"Apologies, Battlestar Pegasus
. We have our own identification system and so IFF isn't generally something we worry about. This is the Battlestar Sleipnir
of the Cylon-Asgard Alliance. I just wanted a chance to see my home again and show it off to my new friends. Requesting permission to cross the border so we don't violate Article 14 of the Cimitar Peace Accords?" The voice was rather soft, definitely female and younger than Cain herself. She sounded even younger than Shaw, come to think of it, who wasn't quite fresh out of the Academy but was pretty damn close.
Then the rest of the statement hit her and Cain's eyes widened. Cylons. Admittedly so. Her blood boiled before she managed to suppress the instinctive rage she always felt when she heard their name. They were still in their own space; anything she did would spark a war that she would be blamed for, which was something she really didn't want on her conscience. Besides, attacking the ship at this point would be exceedingly foolish, given the number of mysteries it represented.
Like the female, very human voice. Had they simply evolved their speech synthesizers a bit further? Or was there something more? Little pieces of rumor began to snap together inside Helena's mind. Her sister had been abducted from the surface of Tauron by the retreating Cylons, adding one more to the number of people who were missing and unaccounted for after the war. William Adama had reported some sort of biological experimentation going on down on the surface of the planet assaulted during Operation: Raptor Talon. What if the Cylons had actually managed something in the last forty years? Maybe the Cylons were now robots covered in flesh that looked human? Or maybe they were more like the cyborgs of science fiction programs: bizarre amalgams of human and robot parts?
And where had this weaponless battlestar of theirs come from? With how many times they'd boarded Colonial vessels, it really didn't surprise her that they had the capability to create their own Cylon imitations, but why did they have the desire to? Their own basestars had proven more than a match for battlestars… although there was the human factor to consider. Maybe whatever part-human or human-esque form they'd taken made the continued use of older, robot-centric designs undesirable? Atmosphere, heating, cooling, rest areas, food, water… all things that a semi-organic breed of Cylons might need and the old double-disc basestars didn't provide, based on the two captured examples.
On top of that were these 'Asgard' that the Cylons had supposedly allied themselves with. Helena now knew why she recognized the name of the ship; the fleet's higher ups had begun disseminating information packets about a growing religious sect on Sagittaron called the Midguardians, in case it evolved into something on par with the pre-war Soldiers of One. According to the heretical Book of Edda that the Midguardians followed, Asgard was the supposed home of an entire pantheon of gods and Sleipnir was the steed of the leader of their gods. Humanity had lived on Kobol in peace and prosperity beside the Lords of Kobol for generations before the exodus, according to the Sacred Scrolls. Were the Midguardians right? Did other gods exist? And were they now the patrons of the Colonies' greatest enemy?
"Hello? Battlestar Pegasus
? Please respond; we'd like to know whether or not we're about to be fired upon so we can plan accordingly. We've had trial exercises for our defenses but never a live fire incident and so if you're going to start shooting, I'd love to deploy a few Raiders so they can record the whole thing with their gun cams for later viewing."
The odd query brought Helena back to reality, the brunette staring up at the ceiling mounted speaker in suspicion. They wanted to be fired on? Was this some sort of trick? Convince the Colonials to fire on them first and then use it as an excuse to break the treaty and come pouring across the border? Picking up the corded handset attached to the command table, she slashed her finger across her throat and waited for the buzz of static to die, indicating Hoshi had transferred communications to something a bit more private. "Sleipnir
, this is Pegasus
Actual. May I ask who I'm speaking with and why you'd like me to shoot you? Not that I have a problem with blowing the frak out of Cylons for no reason at all; I'm just a little curious."
The young woman whose voice she'd heard over the speakers chuckled softly. "If you're Pegasus
Actual, I suppose that makes me Sleipnir
Actual? Gross. I might need to change my ship's name, then, even if it does offend the little grey guys. Until I figure that out, maybe you can just stick to calling me Zoe? Zoe Graystone."
"You can't be. She's dead." Ignoring the comment about 'little grey guys', Helena focused on the bigger and more definite problem. She recognized that name; every child of her generation knew it from the post-war history books, before the 'victors' began rewriting things to blot out bits they didn't want the next generation to know about and ponder. Zoe's death at the hands of monotheist terrorists had unhinged her father, who, in that blurring of the line between genius and madness, had gone on to create the Cylons. "She's been dead for nearly sixty years."
"I got better?" That made 'Zoe' chuckle again briefly before growing more serious. "It's a long and complicated story, to be honest. I don't suppose we can discuss this face-to-face? It'd be a lot easier."
"Contact! Bogey on the Cylon side, nearly three times the length of the Sleipnir
and close to our own size." Helena watched the DRADIS screen for herself as Hoshi continued a running commentary. "Raptors are reporting the same space tear arrival method, but ship bears no resemblance to any known Colonial or Cylon design. Ship is executing a slow turn to bring itself just over the Sleipnir
… still moving… accelerating again… and it's gone."
Tearing her eyes away from the screen, Helena cleared her throat. "Zoe? Would you care to explain that?"
"Oh, just the Bilskirnir
dropping off a few people who changed their mind about coming along for the ride. Well, assuming I get to visit Caprica and all. Which reminds me, where are we standing on that? And the whole shooting situation? Frak, I'll settle for just getting the meet 'n greet underway at this point."
Snorting, Helena traced a finger along the DRADIS display, her finger following the line that Kendra had been nice enough to overlay again to denote the boundary between Colonial and Cylon space. "And how do you propose we do that? If I send a Raptor over to your ship, the Colonies are in violation of the accords and you can attack at will. And you're not willing to cross for the same reason."
The line was suddenly full of a soft babble of voices, an unintelligible rumble that seemed to be a mixture of greetings repeating over and over. Then Zoe's voice cut through it all, causing the noise to die off. "Hey! Everyone out of this part of the datastream until I'm done. Just because we can process the code doesn't mean her ears can handle it. Frakwits." She sighed noisily and for some reason, Helena flashed back to being back on Tauron with her mother and sister, her mother's face set in an exasperated smile as she chided her daughters for their latest stupid stunt. "Alright. Can you ask Lieutenant Shaw to move around to your side of the command table? Just want to open up as much space there as possible."
Helena waved at her subordinate, pantomiming some instructions that the young Caprican that finally convinced her to move to the proper position. "Done." Then two things hit her: the Cylons knew where people in her CIC were standing and she had just taken orders from a Cylon. She wasn't sure which was more disturbing. "And why did I just do that, pray tell?"
"So we can meet without violating the treaty. Sleipnir
out." Before Helena could figure out what that meant, there was a strange, almost musical noise that echoed through the CIC. A bright light flashed and when she managed to blink the spots from her eyes, she became aware of four things.
There were three new people standing in the CIC with her.
The middle of the three, standing one pace forward from the rest, looked like the pictures of Zoe Graystone she just barely remembered from her schoolbooks.
The person to the left of Zoe could have been the identical twin of the woman sleeping down in Helena's own quarters, with the exception of having short platinum blonde hair as opposed to Gina's longer medium blonde locks.
The person to Zoe's right… looked almost like a younger, softer version of Helena herself.