Battlestar Orthrus

Feast or Famine - Part 2
Episode 3 - Part 2

A single rookie raised her hand.

“Yes?”

“What if we find survivors?” she asked.

“If they’re not hostile, bring them back. I have no doubt that they will be angry, confused, and scared. Explain to them them that, although this is not a rescue mission, they can come back with you if they assist you in getting the ships prepped.” Matthews swept a slow gaze over the room. “As I said, we’re all that’s left. Any addition, quite frankly, is a boon at this point.”

“Sir, we’re flying in with Raptors. What happens if we run into a nest of Cylons banging around?” Ferrell asked.

“Glad you asked, lieutenant. Judging from previous Raptor sorties into the Colonies, there is a lot of debris floating in orbit. Unless you have the terrible luck of jumping into a squadron of Raiders, I don’t think that will be a problem. I suspect that your problems will start once you get ground-side.” Matthews walked back to the map and pointed out the targeted colonies.

“Current intel reports that there is one basestar in orbit around Canceron. Leonis and Sagittaron each have a pair.” Matthews turned back to the pilots. “Best way to avoid them is to jump into the upper atmosphere to avoid detection, cut power, and perform a controlled descent.”

The room burst into surprised mutterings. Matthews stood and waited for the talk to die down. He knew what he suggested was difficult, bordering on insane. One wrong misstep, one wrong miscalculation and you’d be lucky if you didn’t end up jumping into the middle of a mountain. “You have a choice, people. Jump into atmosphere and avoid a lot of headaches or you can jump into orbit and use the debris to cover your approach. Frankly, the further out you are, the greater your chances of being spotted. I don’t need to explain what will happen if you are. Any other questions?”

Ferrell raised his hand. “Where do I sign up?” he asked unenthusiastically.

“Congratulations, lieutenant. You’re leading the mission to Sagittaron.” Matthews nodded in the direction of the CAG. “Captain Spansel will be leading the mission to Leonis. As for Canceron, Lieutenant Malcolm Kirkland will lead the mission, but I’ve also selected another person to assist him. Granted, they won’t be in charge, but will defer to the officer on hand.”

CUT TO:

INT. CLOSE UP – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

In the foreground we see PETTY OFFICER GALENOS VAREN, a convict turned enlisted. He is seated at his station, manning the forward batteries of the battlestar. In the background, Holden looks up from her station and speaks.

“Galen, the commander wants to see you in his state room.”

A cold chill spread down the petty officer’s neck. Frak, what did I do?, he thought as he got up and was relieved by a specialist who gave him a derisive sneer.

“Looks like you’re going back to the brig, ’vict,” the man muttered, shouldering past Varen to man the station.

Varen ignored the jab. He knew what the score was. He was there at the pleasure of the Colonial Fleet, thanks to a new program to divert non-violent offenders from the Canceron tylium mines. His tour of duty was as long as his sentence – five years. They told him up front, one frak up and he’d be back on a prison shuttle back to Canceron to fulfill the rest of his sentence. That was two years ago. Now, with all that had happened, he didn’t know where he stood and it scared the frak out of him.

Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer. Please let me have my station to come back to, he thought as he left CIC and headed to the bow of the ship.

CUT TO:

INT. MED. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS – MAXWELL’S STATEROOM

Commander Maxwell is seated in one of his chairs, reviewing a file that is laying on the table before him. There is a knock at the door.

“Come,” Maxwell ordered.

The hatch opened and Petty Officer Varen walked in. When he caught the commander’s eye, he stopped and briskly saluted.

“Sit down,” Maxwell said, returning his gaze back to the folder before him. Varen quietly walked over to a high back chair and sat down opposite the commander.

“Galenos Varen,” the commander intoned, lifting up a piece of paper and scanning it.

“Yes, sir.”

“Petty officer, second class,” the commander said, still reading. “You run the forward batteries on the Orthrus.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You are also a convict,” Maxwell said, putting down the paper and giving a critical glance in Varen’s direction.

The stare sent a cold spike into Varen’s chest. He did not like the way this interview was headed. “Yes, sir.”

Maxwell returned his attention to the file and shuffled through the papers in it. “Well, son. I’ve bin goin’ through ye fitness reports n’ I hav’ t’ say, I’m actually a wee bit jealous o’ ye. Ye visited Dr. Kale more than I have in my entire tenure here.” He looked up and looked the enlisted. “Kin ye explain t’ me why?”

“Well, sir. When you spend as much time in the sparring ring as I do-”

“I unnerstand tha’. But why are ye makin’ yeself a punchin’ bag for th’ crew? I un’nerstand nae many o’ th’ crew take a shinin’ t’ ye. But, tha’s nae th’ way t’ gain friends, boy.”

“Well, sir. None of them actually like me.”

“’N tha’s while I called ye here. As ye may know, we are runnin’ low on supplies. More importantly, we hav’ no mining or refining capabilities in the fleet. The reason why I called ye is because o’ this.” Maxwell pulled a picture from the file and showed it to Varen. It was a shot of Varen’s right arm, showing his gang tattoos. “Ye from Canceron, are ye nae?”

“Yes, sir.” Varen handed back the photo to the commander who, in turn, put it back into the folder.

“Are ye familiar wit’ th’ northern pole?”

Of course Vern knew of the place. It was a penal facility where the Colonies sent their felons to mine for tylium. “Yes, sir.”

“I’m goin’ t’ offer a deal t’ ye. We have a mission t’ Canceron t’ acquire needed vessels for our fleet. If you succeed in this mission, I will make ye a full member o’ th’ crew.” Maxwell shut the folder. “Your obligation as a convict will be expunged.” The commander leaned back in his chair. “Dinna know why ye were convicted, dinna really care. What I need now are minin’ n’ refinin’ vessels. Since ye from th’ colony, I think ye hav’ a better lay o’ th’ land than most. Keep in mind ye don’ hav’ t’ d’ this. But, I would really appreciate it if ye did.”

Varen’s fear melted away after hearing what the commander had to say. He was being offered a chance to wipe the slate clean and get some respect. By the Gods, he was going to take it.

“Where do I sign up?” asked the petty officer.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSFLIGHT DECK

A flurry of activity is seen on the deck. Raptors for the operation are being prepped. The volunteers for the away mission are moving in for a final briefing by the XO.


“All right, listen up. I’ve given the Raptor pilots jump coordinates for the first leg of your trip. You will not be jumping directly to the Colonies from here. You will go to a different sector and then from there, jump to the Colonies. The spool up period in between jumps will be approximately twenty minutes. You have five minutes before launch.” Kellan gave the volunteers a last look over. “Good hunting.”

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Feast or Famine
Episode 3 - Part 1

FADE IN

INT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS – MAXWELL’S STATEROOM

Maxwell is at his desk reviewing records from Zero Hour and fleet maintenance reports from archives. There is a knock on his door.

“Come.”

The hatch opened and Matthews walked in. “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes. Shut th’ door n’ hav’ a seat.”

Matthews sat down in one of the high backed leather chairs in front of his commander’s desk. He observed his commander poring over voluminous amounts of paper stacked in front of him like a makeshift wall. “Can I-”

The commander held up a finger, still reading. After putting the page on a stack to his right, he pushed the stack to the edge of the desk. “Can ye review tha’ stack for me n’ tell me wot ye see?”

Matthews picked up the sheaf and quickly reviewed them. He frowned. “These are all the fleet vessels we lost on Day Zero.”

“Wot’s th’ common factor?”

He XO reviewed them again thoroughly. “They were lost to hardware malfunction of one sort or another.”

“Correct. Now, take a look at th’ drydock listin’.”

“Each ship was upgraded within the last year and supplied with Dr. Baltar’s Command Navigation Program.”

“Now,” Maxwell said, pushing a small stack to his left to the edge. “Review this pile n’ tell me wot tha’ commonality is.”

Matthews sat the previous stack down and picked up the new one. “These are the vessels in our own fleet, including us.” He slowly examined the report. “They were not upgraded with the CNP, either they were too old for it to run. Or, in our case, it simply wasn’t done.”

“Exactly,” Maxwell said, leaning back in his chair. He gestured over the paper cluttering his desk. “I’ve bin goin’ through this every spare chance I get. Somethin’ about th’ day th’ Colonies were attacked didn’ sit right wit me. How were th’ Cylons able t’ pull off such a devastatin’ attack n’ nae suffer as near as many casualties as us?”

“Baltar’s program was compromised somehow. That’s the only answer I see.”

Maxwell leaned forward, putting his elbows on his desk. “I agree, but tha’ leaves ‘nother question. How’d they d’ it? Th’ toasters haven’ bin seen for forty years. How did they manage t’ corrupt a program without us noticin’ a clanker in our midst?”

Matthews grimaced as a realization came to him. “Sympathizers.”

“I’m afraid tha’s a possibility, unless we find evidence tha’ proves otherwise.”

“Why in the Gods’ names would anyone do such a thing?”

Maxwell shrugged. “Slave owner’s guilt? Deluded holy rollers? Who knows? But tha’ doesn’ matter now. This does.” He picked up a piece of paper and handed it to his XO, who glanced over it.

“This is the quartermaster’s report for the entire fleet.”

“Yes, ‘n as ye kin see, we’re startin’ t’ run a wee bit low on supplies. Part o’ tha’ is my fault, keepin’ th’ Orthrus out longer than we should’ve. As lovely as it ‘tis t’ hav’ a pod o’ humanity, we run on our stomachs, unlike th’ Cylons.”

“What do you need me to do?”

“I need ye t’ figure out a way for us t’ become more self-sufficient. Or, at th’ verra least, figure out a way t’ secure more food for us.”

“I have an answer to that, but it won’t be easy.”

“I’m all ears.”

“We make a covert trip back to the colonies using Raptors, sending small teams to get what we need.”

“Sounds good. Get me an outline o’ th’ mission details by next Watch.”

“Yes, Calum.”

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSPILOT READY ROOM

At the podium stands Kellan Matthews. Behind him is a representation of the Colonial solar system. The audience seats are completely full of pilots.

“I’ve called you here to discuss a mission vital to our fleet’s survival. As you may know, we are running low on supplies. Fuel. Food. You name it, we need it. So, I have come up with a plan to address this.” Matthews looked at all the pilots in the eyes before continuing. “We are sending six Raptors in pairs of two back to the Colonies. One will have a squad of marines. The other will have seven deck hands and three pilots. Each Raptor pair will be tasked with a specific objective.” He walked to the solar system map and pointed out each one.

“One group will head to Canceron to locate and obtain tylium mining and refining vessels. Another group will head to Leonis to get disaster pods and older military vessels for our use. The last group will go to Sagittaron and will also secure disaster pods and military vessels.” Matthews turned back to the pilots. “This is a highly dangerous mission, so I’ve made it Two Alpha. Any questions before I proceed further?”

One Viper pilot raised his hand.

“Yes?”

“Why are we going through all this trouble for the civvies? I mean, why can’t we get what we need?”

Matthews’ demeanor suddenly changed. “Name?”

The pilot spoke, “Wass-“

“Stand up,” Matthews said. Confused, the pilot did so. “Name?”

“Wasserman, sir.”

“Congratulations, son. You’re grounded until further notice. Get out of my ready room.”

“But-“

“GET YOUR COWARDLY FRAKKING ASS OUT OF MY READY ROOM!” Matthews’ face was flushed and his eyes were aflame. The pilot turned sheet white at the XO’s response and headed to the exit. “ANYBODY ELSE SHARE HIS MENTALITY? IF SO, GET THE FRAK OUT NOW!”

No one else made a move to leave.

“I HAVE A VERY LOW TOLERANCE FOR SELFISH ASSHOLES. LIKE IT OR NOT, WE ARE ALL THAT’S LEFT. IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE, WE NEED TO WORK FOR THE BETTERMENT OF ALL. IS THAT CLEAR?”

No one made a sound in the ready room. This infuriated Matthews even more.

“IS THAT CLEAR?!”

“Yes, sir,” Ferrell said, slouching down in his seat.

The XO gripped the sides of the podium so hard that his knuckles turned white. It was several minutes before he calmed down long enough to speak. “Here is the rundown. Each group will jump back to the Colonies in orbit around your assigned planet. Each group will make for their objective and secure the needed materiel. With the exception of Canceron, the other two groups are heading to boneyards I’ve selected in order to locate suitable, jump capable military ships to be incorporated into the fleet. They will be needed to supplement the firepower of the Orthrus. I’ll leave the choice of vessel up to the commanding officer of each group, but keep in mind we need ships with low crew requirements as not to stretch us too thin.

The yards selected were chosen specifically because they have disaster pods on site, in the event that the vessels housed there were to be returned to active service. So, load up with as many disaster pods as you can on each ship. You also have a time limit. From the time you launch from the Orthrus, you have twenty four hours to get to the Colonies, get what we need, and return. If that time limit is passed and none of you return, we will consider the mission a failure and jump the fleet to a new location.” Matthews paused to look over the faces that sat before him before continuing. “However, I cannot stress enough on the importance of this mission succeeding. Any questions?”

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Sacrificial Lambs 4 of 4
Espisode 2 - Part 4

EXT. LONG SHOTTELCHINE

A chase camera follows a Raptor maneuvering into docking position with the GT Telchine. There’s muffled sounds as the ship locks onto the docking hatch and establishes a pressure seal.

INT. MED. SHOTDOCKING RAPTOR

Inside, we see the ship is packed to the gills with personnel. Half of them are marines, in which we see SERGEANT CHARLES WATTERS and Private Stine. The other half are mechanics, which Chief Stans is among them.

“Docking complete,” the Raptor pilot announced, flipping a several switches. “Airlock is now pressurized.” The Raptor opened its floor hatch, revealing a small ladder leading down to the hatch to the Telchine.

“Alright, men. We’ll stick to the hallway once we board, just like the old man said.” Sergeant Watters picked up his Leo M12, slipped on the shoulder strap, and started the climb down.

“Uh, should we bring our weapons aboard?” Stine asked uncertainly. Watters looked at the private with a disbelieving look.

“Carry your weapon, private. While we’re here, weapons will be tight. Also, Stine, when we get back to the Orthrus, you and I are going to have a little talk,” the sergeant retorted before climbing down to the hatch. Sergeant Watters rapped on the door with a gloved hand, his strikes resounding hollowly. A moment later, there was a hiss of air, and the hatch opened inward. Beyond it, stood Captain Stolar and a young man with a crop of unruly hair.

“Permission to come aboard,” Sergeant Watters asked. Stolar pressed his lips together before saying anything.

“Granted,” he said eventually, backing away from the airlock to allow the marines to climb down. Once they were on, the maintenance crew boarded, with Stans coming in last.

“Chief Petty Officer Stans reporting for-” Stans said as she addressed the captain, but her words lodged in her throat when she made eye contact with the young man standing behind him. A tingle spread down the nape of her neck and felt a ruddiness warm her cheeks.

The man returned the chief’s stare with a visible swallow and quickly averted eyes. He stared at his feet while Stolar looked flummoxed at Stans’ abrupt silence.

“Something wrong, chief?” Stolar asked.

“Uh, no. No, sir,” Stans said, diverting her attention back to the captain. Stolar looked beside him to the young man, then back to the chief.

“Ah, where are my manners? Chief, this is Samuel. He’s the first mate. He’ll be assisting you in engineering. The FTL drives were delivered and moved there shortly before your arrival. If you have any questions, he’s more than capable in answering them.”

A cheeky smile sneaked over her lips. “Really? That’s great!” She cleared her throat as to dampen her inappropriate enthusiasm. “Uh, good. I can handle the FTL hookup by myself, captain. Feel free to make use of the other deck hands as you see fit.”

Stolar smirked. “Very well.” He looked at the small knot of deck hands and waved them to him. “Follow me, we have some electrical issues at the bow of the ship.” The group moved away from the hatch, with the captain leading them; leaving the marines, Stans, and Samuel at the entrance. Several moments passed, with the first mate and the chief exchanging flirtatious glances at each other, leaving the marines at a loss for words.

Clearing his throat, Samuel said with a wave of his hand. “Uh, engineering’s this way.”

“Lead on,” Stans said with a barely suppressed grin. As they walked away together, she asked, “So, Samuel, do you like Pyramid?”

“Love it.”

“Then I think we’re going to get along swimmingly.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTCOLONIAL FLEETSPACE

The camera has a broad view of all the vessels, with the Orthrus in the center. We see shuttles ferrying passengers from the soon to be scuttled ships. Two Colonial Vipers fly by camera, their wireless conversations overheard. On screen, the following appears:

SENECA SECTOR
10 HOURS INTO REFIT OPERATION

“So, tell me again why you have a problem with this?” Spansel asked, glancing to his right to see his wing man’s Viper.

“Did I stutter during the meet and greet? It’s a waste of resources, both in men and materiel,” his wing man retorted.

“So, you’d rather institute martial law and have us make all the decisions?”

“If it’d keep us alive? Frak yes. What we are doing now is lowering our overall chance of survival. We have more than enough room on the Orthrus to house the civvies.”

“Then what? Once aboard, what would you have them do?”

“Give them something to do. Have them pull their weight, of course.”

“So, institute martial law and press-gang them. Wow, are you sure you’re not related to Cain?”

Unseen by the CAG, Ferrell scrunched up his face into a sardonic smirk and shook his head.

“Sunshine, look, I see your point. Really, I do. But, this is not the time to be doing that. They were literally raped by Cain. The Colonial Fleet’s job is to protect the civilians, not prey upon them like cattle. I’m surprised that they showed up at the meeting. Thank the Gods for Sister Marion.”

“Like you said, my thoughts are irrelevant, captain. I still say leaving them autonomous is a bad idea.”

“Running the government is the civilian’s job, not ours. We’ve got our plates full enough as it is.”

“If things keep going the way they are, we may not have a choice.”

“You may be right, Sunshine. Even so, we don’t have to make that choice today. Come on, let’s do another fly by on the Midsummer’s Dream. Once it’s ready, I’ll be first in line to check it out. I’m dying for some ambrosia.”

“Not if I body check you on the way to the bar.”

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTTELCHINEENGINEERING SECTION

We see the chief hard at work on a dolly underneath a quartet of stacked FTL engines jury rigged together. Samuel is leaning on the master power console, watching the chief do her work.

“Seriously, Anders could run circles around that forward from that team you love oh so much,” Stans said from underneath the Raptor FTLs. “Hell, Holden could do it with his eyes shut.”

“Was that before or after the lifetime ban?” Samuel asked.

Stans rolled out from underneath the FTL. “Either,” she said, smiling. Wiping the sweat off her forehead, she stood up and went to the power controls. “I need to run a check to see if the power is being distributed evenly to all the FTLs. We should be good if it holds up.”

Samuel beamed at the news. “Great, let me call the captain.” He picked up a nearby receiver and called the cockpit. “Sir, we’re finished with the hookup of the FTLs. We’re about to do a power check, but we should be ready to go if it holds.”

“Thank you, Samuel,” Stolar said and hung up. Keying the comm to the PA, he said, “Attention all crew members, please secure any loose materials. Thank you.”

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTTELCHINEMIDSHIPS

Various shots of Telchine crew-members drawing weapons on the Orthrus mechanics and getting the drop on them. The mechanics are zip tied and dragged away from their work, being moved towards the bow of the ship.

CUT TO:

INT. MEDIUM SHOTTELCHINEENGINEERING

Stans is still at the power controls, monitoring the distribution levels. Unbeknownst to her, Samuel’s hand moves to the small of his back, where he lifts up his shirt and reveals a Picon FN.

“Oh, crap. Got a warning light. Let me check that out.” Stans turned off the power, got on the dolly, and slid back under the last FTL. “It’s always something, it seems. Huh, Samuel?”

“Yeah,” Samuel responded, drawing out the Picon. He swallowed hard and moved closer to Stans.

“All right, I think I’ve tapped down the problem. Can you see if the warning light’s off?” Stans glanced down and saw Samuel’s feet standing near her. However, the first mate didn’t respond. “Samuel?” Still no response.

Perturbed, she slid out from underneath the drive. “What are you – Wow.” Stans words slowed to a stop as she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun. She put her hands out in capitulation. “You know, I would’ve gone out with you without that. Seriously, you could just asked me.” She grinned halfheartedly at her attempt to ease the tension that suddenly torqued up out of nowhere.

Samuel’s face looked conflicted. “Jessica, please don’t move.” He edged close to the control panel and picked up the receiver. He waited for a connection. When he got it, he said, “All secure.”

Stolar once again got on the PA. “Attention, Colonial Marines. We have taken the maintenance crew hostage. We don’t want any bloodshed, so if you would kindly hand over your weapons to my crewmen it will be most appreciated. Any resistance will cost you one of your crew. Consider that before doing anything rash.”

Sergeant Watters looked down the corridor, both bow and aft, seeing each time a pair of deck hands armed with pistols approaching them. Surreptitiously sliding the safety off his sub-machine gun, he muttered, “Weapons hot.”

Stine balked at the order. “Sarge, I don’t think that’s a good idea. If we start hot, it’ll be a bloodbath. They’re not trained in these weapons, anyway. Besides, I don’t think the commander wants anyone hurt.” The sergeant looked at him angrily. With an annoyed sigh, he slipped the safety back on.

“You’re right, private. Squad, relinquish your weapons.”

CUT TO:

INT. MED. 2 SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

We see Commander Maxwell and XO Matthews at the Nav table, looking over status reports from the last Watch. Camera pans to Lt. Lang, who is monitoring DRADIS.

On screen, the following appears:

12 HOURS INTO REFIT OPERATIONS

Lieutenant Lang looked at the DRADIS with tired eyes. Stifling a yawn, he suddenly regretted not trying to get some shut eye in between Watches. The next four hours were going to feel like four days.

A blip appeared and disappeared on the furthest reaches of DRADIS. Blinking back the bleariness, Lang tried to get a definitive lock on the object. The best he could do was establish that there was something out there. “DRADIS contact. 90, mark 1117.”

Maxwell turned away from the paper in front of him and looked at Lang. “Kin ye get me a fix on tha’, other than it’s pretty far out?”

“Trying, sir. But I think we need a visual.”

Maxwell glanced to Isabelle. “Ms. Holden, notify Spansel if they kin get a fix on a bogey at 90, 1117 on their scanners.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTCOLONIAL VIPERSSPANSEL & FERRELL

Two Colonial Vipers fly by camera, which then chases after them in a drifting manner. It finally catches up and tightens on Captain Spansel’s cockpit.

“Orthrus, I’m still not picking anything up on DRADIS,” Spansel said, alternating between peering out into the darkness of space and riding the scanner functions.

“Same here, Orthrus. We have a whole lot of nothing,” Ferrell said.

“I still have a bogey flying parallel to us showing on up on DRADIS, Captain Spansel. You should make visual contact in two minutes,” Lang said.

“Orthrus, understood. Will maintain current course and notify you of any sightings.”

The pair of Vipers hit in the afterburners and made an intercept course with the unknown bogey. Two minutes later, Spansel and Ferrell found themselves on the border of a small asteroid field.

“Orthrus, this is Ajax. We’re at the coordinates given for the target. I don’t see anything."

“Tally,” Ferrell said glancing off the starboard side of his ship. “I think we have something.”

“Sunshine, what do you see? I got nothing on DRADIS,” Spansel said, rechecking his scanner.

“It’s… it’s a…”

“It’s a wot, lieutenant?” Maxwell interjected.

“…It’s a big, frakking rock!” Ferrell said, chuckling.

“Are you sure, Lieutenant Ferrell?” Matthews asked.

“Bearing 03, mark 1117. Speed 5 knots?” Ferrell inquired.

Lang checked DRADIS. “Yes, that’s the target. It isn’t showing up as debris, though. It’s marked UNKNOWNHOSTILE.”

Ferrell rolled his eyes. “Gods,” he muttered, taking off the safety to his weapons. Orienting his Viper towards the asteroid, he squeezed the trigger, sending several auto-cannon bursts at it. In a haze of dust and shards, the rock disintegrated.

“Sunshine, what the frakking Hell?” Spansel yelled.

Ignoring his CAG, Ferrell asked, “Orthrus, is the hostile gone?”

Lang checked DRADIS, the unknown contact winked off the screen. “It’s gone.”

“You’re welcome, Orthrus. Thanks again for using Sunshine Technical Support Services.”

“At least it wasn’t a basestar bearing down on us,” Matthews chimed in.

“Sir, we’re at the 12 hour mark,” Holden said to Maxwell. “I’ve just received word from the Midsummer’s Dream. The refit of the FTL drive is approximately at 10%. As for passenger transfers, both the Trident and Acheron’s Kiss have been successfully ferried theirs over to the Midsummer’s Dream. The respective crews are removing everything of value. Should be finished within the hour.”

“They’re movin’ a wee bit slow on th’ FTL, but tha’ canna be helped. Stans would’ve had tha’ thing hooked up already. Instead she’s over on th’ Telchine, makin’ tha’ insufferable arse Stolar happy.”

“Calum, you have to at least to understand where he is coming from. They got frakked over by the very people he thought would protect them,” Matthews replied.

“N’ I’m tryin’ t’ rectify tha’, if he’d let me.” Maxwell turned to Isabelle. “Speakin’ o’ which, hav’ we heard from th’ Telchine?”

“No, sir.”

“Then get them on th’ line n’ see wot’s th’ holdup.”

“Telchine, this is Battlestar Orthrus, what is your refit status? Please respond.” Isabelle only got dead air as an answer. “Telchine, respond. What is your refit status?”

Nothing.

“Ms. Holden?”

“Sir, we’re not -” she stopped when the comm printer activated. “Just a moment, sir. Something is coming in.” She tore off the sheet and read it, her face bleaching to the color of the paper.

“Ms. Holden? Wot’s th’ matter?” Maxwell said, moving to her station. With a trembling hand, she gave the report to the commander, who read it. A crimson shade blotted over his face.

“Oh, for FRAK’S SAKES!” he shouted. Matthews walked over to his commander, not comprehending the sudden change in Calum’s mood.

“What’s going on?” the XO asked. The commander shoved the paper into his hands and Matthews read it.

ATTENTION BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
HAVE TAKEN MAINTENANCE CREW AND MARINES HOSTAGE
DEMANDS TO FOLLOW

Maxwell barked at his communications officer. “I want Ajax n’ Sunshine t’ eyeball Captain Stolar. I dinna want a fly by, I want them t’ park their arses in front o’ th’ Telchine with weapons free, t’ fire on my orders.”

Holden nodded and called up the CAG’s channel. “Ajax, this is Battlestar Orthrus. Orthrus Actual wants you to position your Vipers in full view of the Telchine’s cockpit. Weapons free.”

CUT TO:

EXT. CLOSE UP SHOT – SPANSEL’S VIPER

It’s obvious that Captain Spansel is mystified by the orders.

“Orthrus, this is Ajax. Is there any particular reason as to why?”

“They have taken the maintenance crew and marines hostage. They are also not responding to our hails.”

Over the channel, Spansel heard Ferrell exhale an ‘I told you so’ sigh. “Great. How’s that civilian autonomy working out for you, captain?”

“Shut it, Sunshine. Orthrus, this is Ajax. Confirmed. We will do as ordered.”

Turning their Vipers about, Spansel and Ferrell made a bee line to the Telchine.

CUT TO:

INT. MED. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

Camera returns to Commander Maxwell.

“Contact th’ Telchine again. Keep hailin’ them until they answer. Also, give me a connection,” the commander ordered, picking up a receiver and awaited for a reply from the civilian vessel.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTTELCHINECOCKPIT

We see Captain Stolar standing by the communications console of his ship, a nervous co-pilot at the controls in front of him.

“Are you sure we should’ve done this?” Stolar’s co-pilot asked.

“It’s too late to back out now, Ciler.” He smirked when he saw two Vipers float to a stop in front of the cockpit. He shook his head when he noticed one of the Viper pilots waving to them. A buzz from his communications console tore his attention away from them. Taking a deep breath, Stolar picked up the receiver and flipped the switch to activate it.

“Attention, Telchine. This is the Orthrus. Orthrus Actual wishes to speak with Captain Stolar.”

“This is Captain Stolar. What can I do for you, commander?” Stolar turned back to give a stolid glance at the Vipers positioned before him.

“Well, first ye kin release my men. Otherwise, ye lookin’ t’ receive a quartet o’ HD-70s up ye nose.”

A warning chime made itself known. Ciler said, “They’ve locked on to us, sir.”

“Wot possessed ye t’ do this?” the commander wondered.

“Commander, are you familiar with the expression that begins with, ‘once bitten’? I’ve had enough of this. Enough of being run over roughshod by the military. No more. Your men are free to fire on us, we won’t evade. But then, that leaves you explaining to the rest of a very hysterical fleet why you fired on an unarmed vessel.”

There was a pause. “Wot d’ ye want?”

“My demands are simple. One, you will deliver a disaster pod to us. Two, you will provide transport for any passengers that don’t want to come along with us. Lastly, the Raptor currently attached to us will allow us to board and commandeer the ship. If these demands are not met, we start killing your crew members.”

“I wish t’ speak with my chief.”

“Very well,” Stolar said, adding the comm from engineering to the call. “Samuel, put her on.”

There was the sound of the receiver being handled, then Stans voice was heard. “Hello, commander.”

“How are ye?”

“Never felt so loved, sir. No complaints.”

“So, ye finished repairin’ th’ Telchine?”

“The Raptor FTLs are hooked up, but I haven’t finished running the final diagnostics. I need to do that before the ship is jump ready. But, there’ll be a whole slew of problems if this doesn’t work. There’s a possibility of a power outage throughout the entire ship. Emergency power would be okay for life support, but nothing else.”

“Chief, do wot th’ captain wants. We’ll get ye home soon enough.”

Stolar cut the line to engineering. “Now, do we have a deal, commander?”

“Yes. We’ll get everythin’ prepared n’ will contact ye when it’s ready. Orthrus out.” Maxwell slammed the receiver back into its holder.

Isabelle looked confused. “Why did she tell us all that?”

“What do you mean?” Matthews replied.

“I mean, why did she go into so much detail about the problems if the FTLs won’t work?” Isabelle asked.

The commander’s sullen face broke with a grin. “Ah, clever girl.”

“What?” Matthews asked.

“She gave us a heads up. She’s plannin’ on sabotagin’ th’ ship durin’ th’ FTL test. Once th’ power goes out, th’ Telchine should start driftin’. Tha’ would be th’ best time t’ stage a rescue.”

“Sounds risky,” Matthews said.

“Got any other ideas?”

Matthews shook his head.

“Good. Ms. Holden, recall th’ CAG n’ tell Ferrell I wan’ his arse up here as soon as his gear touches down.”

“Yes, sir.”

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSPORT LANDING PODBOW SIDE

A pair of Vipers come in for a landing, flying off CAMERA RIGHT.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

Matthews and Maxwell are positioned at the Nav table, on it are miniature representations of the Orthrus, a Raptor and the Telchine. In the background, Ferrell and Spansel arrive, marching through the sliding doors and joining the party.

“Here as ordered, sir,” Ferrell said, crossing his arms. “What’s the plan to get our people back?”

Matthews waved his hand over the miniatures. “Glad you asked, lieutenant. Here’s the plan. We will have a Raptor, with a squad of marines aboard, on positioned near the aft of the starboard landing pod. That way, it is out of the Telchine’s sight and close enough to us as to mask her signal.” Matthews reached over and picked up the Telchine for emphasis. “In our communications with the chief, she made it clear, sub rosa, that she’s planning to sabotage Stolar’s ship.” He placed it back on the Nav table.

“She’s going to short out the entire power system, leaving life support untouched. Our signal to move is when the Telchine starts drifting.” Matthews picked up the Raptor and placed it next to the Telchine. “When that occurs, the Raptor will jump alongside the ship, board her and secure it.”

Ferrell gave the briefing two thumbs up. “Monumental, sir. Stellar, even. So, why was I called up here?”

Maxwell smirked as he turned to the pilot. “Because ye’ll be leadin’ th’ boardin’ party.” Ferrell arched an eyebrow and pointed to himself.

“Me? Why?”

“Consider it ye reward for readin’ bodice rippers while on CAP.”

Spansel broke into a grin and stared at the floor, trying not to laugh.

CUT TO:

INT. MED. 2 SHOTTELCHINEENGINEERING

Camera focuses on Samuel, in foreground, with Stans in background. He seems nervous holding the gun, but still has it trained on the chief.

CUT TO:

INT. CLOSE UP – TELCHINEENGINEERING

We have a close up of Stans at the power console. She nervously glances at Samuel, then back to her work. Camera tightens on her hands as she changes several settings and flips switches. A display goes red, then another, unseen by Samuel. When the final display goes red. Stans quickly presses a button.

With a hiss and a shower of sparks, the entire engineering section of the Telchine went completely dark.

“Oh, frak!” Stans said, as she gave the appearance of trying to get the ship’s systems back up. “Where are the lights? Where are the frakking lights?” She added an edge of panic to her voice. “Samuel, where are you?”

In the darkness, she heard his voice, not too far away. “I- I’m right here.” The tone of his voice told Jessica that he wasn’t too thrilled with pitch blackness either. Good. It would make the next bit easier.

She felt around clumsily and moved uncertainly towards where she heard Samuel’s voice. She jumped when she bumped into him, but then pulled herself in close and hugged him tight. Instinctively, Samuel wrapped his free arm around her, keeping the gun pointed at the deck.

“Just give it a sec, the lights will be on soon.”

Jessica inwardly grimaced. No, they won’t, she thought. I cut off the emergency lights before shorting the system. Taking a deep breath, she said, “Sam?”

“Uh, yes?”

“Despite the situation, I’ve been wanting to do this all day,” Jessica said, pulling the first mate’s head down and kissing him. Her mouth opened and she teased his lips with her tongue. He responded, their tongues intertwining and their lips caressing. She felt his heart pounding against her and a pleasant shudder went down her spine. Before she lost courage, Jessica broke the kiss.

Samuel panted in the darkness. “Wow.”

Unseen by Samuel, Jessica frowned. “Which makes this unfortunate,” she said.

“Wha-?” Samuel’s words caught in his throat as Stans kneed him hard in the groin. He let out a long groan as the aching pain surged throughout his lower extremities. He felt something hard hit his jaw and he blacked out. The gun clattered to the floor, followed by Samuel shortly after.

“I am so sorry about that,” Stans said to the unconscious man while wringing out the pain in her right hand. She picked up the Picon FN, moved back to the maintenance console, and flipped a few switches. The emergency lights in engineering came on slowly. She trained the weapon on Samuel and waited for her rescue.

CUT TO:

INT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

Camera hovers near Lt. Lang’s station. The officer is watching DRADIS intently. Suddenly, the console beeps and the icon representing the Telchine begins to slowly move.

“Sir,” Lang reported, “the chief’s done it. Telchine’s adrift, bearing 225, speed 3.3 knots.”

“Notify Raptor on standby, begin boarding action,” Matthews ordered.

CUT TO:

INT. MED. SHOTSISTER JOSEPHINECOCKPIT

We see the interior of the Sister Josephine’s cockpit. CAPTAIN STEINER is at the controls. The hatch opens and Sister Marion enters with a platter of food.

“Here you are, captain,” Sister Marion stated as she put the tray down. Steiner smiled when he saw the spread.

“Thank you, sister,” Steiner said as he picked up a sandwich and began to eat. Sister Marion turned to leave, but something outside caught her attention. Putting on her glasses, she squinted as she tried to make the object out.

“Captain, what is that?” she asked pointing at a distant point near the aft of the Orthrus. Captain Steiner looked out to where she pointed, then consulted DRADIS.

“Uh, I think it’s a Raptor, sister. It’s been sitting there for a while now.”

CUT TO:

OTS SHOTSISTER MARIONCOCKPIT

In the background, we see a flash of a warp bubble.

“Where did it go?” she asked. Steiner checked DRADIS.

“Let me see,” he said as it looked the instrument over. “It’s reappeared. It’s on the far side of the Orthrus. It’s next to the Telchine.”

A cold fear gripped the nape of her neck. “Oh, no.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTTELCHINE

We see the Telchine slowly drifting. A Raptor comes into view and moves into position to dock.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTTELCHINECOCKPIT

Captain Stolar is trying to contact Engineering, but is getting no response.

“Samuel? Sam? Come in.” Stolar tried a few buttons to activate reserve batteries, but the board stayed dead. “Godsdammit.” He slammed the receiver down. “Ciler, can you activate emergency power?”

Ciler’s hands flew over the controls. “No, and I’ve tried everything, sir.”

Suddenly, they heard a dull thump and the ship shuddered underneath their feet. Stolar’s face darkened in anger. He drew out his Dragon Mark XIX and barked at Ciler. “Come with me.”

Ciler jumped at the order, grabbing his Aquarian PM and following.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTTELCHINEAFT LOCK

Camera is centered on a darkened hallway. Suddenly, from OFF CAMERA, we hear the hiss of air and the creaking of an airlock door. From CAMERA LEFT, Ferrell enters into view. He is in a full combat rig and armed with a Leo M12. He covers the various avenues that could be used to reach them. Satisfied that there are no hostiles, he motions for the rest of his squad to join him. They all crowd around him, awaiting orders.

“All right, girls, it’s time. I’ll be on point. Tandem. We’ll search each hatch we come by. Do not fire until a target confirmed hostile, got it?”

“Yessir.”

“Night vision on,” Ferrell said. A high pitched whine echoed several times as each marine turned on their equipment. Switching his on, the entire environment was awash in an eerie, green glow. Hunching down, the lieutenant padded down the hallway, his squad following behind. They checked every hatch they came across, but the rooms were either empty or filled with odds and ends.

When they approached a T-intersection midships, they ran into a trio of mutineers coming from the starboard side of the perpendicular corridor, thirty meters from their position. The mutineers were armed with the confiscated Leo M12s. They moved carefully because of the lack of light and were relying simply on their adjusted eyes to see.

Ferrell signaled for the squad to halt, brought up his weapon, and opened fire on the middle mutineer. The burst perforated the man’s midsection and he stumbled to his knees, dropping his gun. A marine bracketed Ferrell’s position on the left, opening fire and winging another mutineer.

Their opponents returned fire, but weren’t able to hit them. Bullets ricocheted off the steel walls, causing many of the marines to hunker down behind nearby bulkheads. The mutineers scattered and Ferrell fired at the one he previously shot, winging him again. The marine on his left leaned from behind cover and fired off another burst, killing the wounded mutineer with a head shot and hitting another in the chest, the last one sliding to the floor leaving a wake of blood on the wall behind him.

Two more mutineers appeared from the starboard hallway, taking quick glances from cover, only to be driven back by gunfire from Ferrell’s squad. They returned fire blindly, hitting nothing.

Suddenly, one of the mutineers leaned out of hiding on Ferrell’s left. Before he could train his weapon on him, the man fired, hitting Ferrell in the chest. Although protected by armor, the kinetic energy sent him flying back into the wall, gasping for air. Wheezing, he scrunched behind a bulkhead to recover while his marines laid down suppressing fire.

The mutineer who shot Ferrell leaned around the corner again. This time, the lieutenant was ready for him and pulled the trigger. The man’s throat exploded and he fell on his side, choking on his own blood. Over the din of gunfire, Ferrell heard someone shout from down the corridor.

“WE GIVE UP!” The statement was quickly followed by weapons clanking onto the deck.

“Hands where we can see them. Come out in the open, kneel down, cross your legs, and put your hands behind your head. Don’t move from that position or, by the Gods, I will drop you,” Ferrell called down the hall. Two men moved to the intersection and did as the lieutenant commanded. Ferrell signaled for three of his marines to move forward and secure the prisoners. After they did so, he moved forward to interrogate them.

“Where are the others? The marines? Maintenance crew?”

“Maintenance crew is locked up in our quarters located near the bow of the ship. The marines -” the deck hand’s sentence was cut off by someone thumping on a nearby hatch.

“I think we found them,” Ferrell said as he headed to the door. “Knock, Knock,” he said as he unlocked it. “Honey, we’re home.” Beyond it, stood the marines huddled together.

“What took you so long?” Stine quipped, getting a withering glare from his sergeant.

“Can it, jar head. If you jackoffs would do your jobs properly, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Come on, grab your gear and secure the prisoners.” Ferrell turned to one of the deck hands. “Where’s the chief being held?”

“Last I know of, she’s still in engineering.”

Ferrell looked to his sergeant. “See if the chief’s all right. Head aft with two others. Go.” The NCO nodded, motioned to two of his squad, and they moved off while Ferrell and the remainder of the squad headed to the bow.

They were halfway there when gunfire erupted from the direction they were heading. In the muzzle flare, Ferrell made out two figures, one of which was the captain. There was a glancing hit to his vest and he hugged the bulkhead. “You’re outnumbered, Stolar. You’re outgunned. Surrender or we will open fire.” Pressing his luck, the lieutenant leaned out and glanced down the hall.

Ferrell watched as the mutinous captain taciturnly tossed his weapon down in front of him and nudged the other crewman to do the same.

“First smart move you’ve done all day,” Ferrell said, motioning his squad forward to secure the prisoners.

CUT TO:

INT. CLOSE UP SHOTTELCHINEENGINEERING

We see Stans still in her guarded position over Samuel off camera. In the background, An upper hatch opens and a marine cautiously moves into engineering.

“Chief?” the sergeant called down. Stans’ tense body relaxed.

“All clear down here,” she replied. Motioning to the inert form of the first mate, she said, “Um, he’s going to need an ice pack, for two places.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTTELCHINE

A Raptor detaches itself from the Telchine and flies off screen CAMERA RIGHT.

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSHANGAR DECK

A Raptor is parked CAMERA CENTER and we see marines and their prisoners being off loaded. Ferrell and the group of prisoners are greeted by Matthews.

“Any problems?” the major asked.

“A few casualties, none of ours, sir. Three down. Five taken into custody.” The lieutenant gestured in the direction of the mutineers.

“Send them to the brig, lieutenant,” Matthews ordered, giving an intense stare at Stolar, who stood unrepentant. The captain was jostled into movement and vanished down the hall. Matthews moved to a communications console, picked up the receiver, and dialed CIC.

“Wot d’ ye hav’ t’ report?”

“Mission successful, Calum. Three confirmed hostile casualties, five captured, including Captain Stolar. Currently, all of them are headed to the brig.”

“Good. They kin spend wot lit’le time they hav’ left there prior t’ sentencin’. CIC out.” Maxwell hung up the receiver. Just as soon as that was done, Holden got the commander’s attention.

“Sir, we’re receiving a hail from the Sister Josephine.”

Knowing where this was headed, Maxwell pursed his lips, lifted the receiver, and nodded to his communications officer. “Sister.”

“Commander,” came the sister’s reply. “I was calling about what happened on the Telchine.”

“It’s a military matter, sister. None o’ ye concern.”

“On the contrary, I think it is. Permission to come aboard the Orthrus. I’d like to talk to you in person.”

“Permission granted, but ye nae changin’ my mind.” Maxwell hung up the receiver. “If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my quarters. Matthews has command.” He turned on his heel and stalked out of CIC.

A short time later, the XO returned to CIC. “Where’s the commander?”

“He just got off the line with Sister Marion. He’s in his quarters,” Isabelle responded. Imagining how that conversation went, Matthews shut his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“Call the flight deck and get a pilot and crew over to man the Telchine. Contact the Sister Josephine and have them notify the civilians aboard the Telchine what has occurred, if they don’t know already. Has the chief come back yet?”

“No, sir. She’s still on the Telchine, fixing a few things.”

“Get her on the line,” Matthews said, picking up a receiver. There was a pause and then Stans picked up.

“So, how’d I do?”

“Actually, superb, due to your quick thinking, chief.”

“I can be more than a pretty face, sir.”

Matthews chuckled. “Good to know. Once you’re finished on the Telchine, head over to the Midsummer’s Dream. They’re having a Hell of a time without you.”

“Understood, sir. Telchine out.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTSPACE

A fleet wide shot is given, with the Midsummer’s Dream in the background. A pair of Vipers come into view from CAMERA RIGHT.

The following appears on screen:

20 HOURS INTO REFIT OPERATIONS

“From what I hear, the chief’s almost done hooking up the FTL on the Dream,” Ferrell remarked. “Amazing what that girl can do in the span of rack time.”

“As glad as I am to hear that, I’m getting worried. We’ve had no contact from the Cylons in all this time,” Spansel said.

“We did have a rock thinking it was a basestar.”

“Cute, but you know exactly what I mean. Let’s just hope she can finish up and we can get out of this sector.”

CUT TO:

EXT. LONG SHOTSPACE

Establishing shot of empty space. Suddenly, there’s a warp bubble and a Cylon Raider appears in the background. Its keening engines grow louder as it heads CAMERA LEFT. Camera pans along with it, ending with a 2 shot of the Raider and the Colonial fleet in the background.

CUT TO:

INT. CLOSE UP SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCIC

Close up of Lang’s features as he reacts to his DRADIS readings.

“DRADIS contact, 87, mark 863,” Lang said as he spun in his chair to face the XO. “Sir, it’s a Cylon Raider.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” Matthews said. “Alert CAP to intercept.”

“Raider course unchanged, distance 542.”

CUT TO:

EXT. CLOSE UP SHOTCYLON RAIDERSPACE

The Raider’s visor goes up, and its red eye slowly oscillates.

“Sir, it’s scanning us,” Lang said as he adjusted several controls.

“Put the CAP on speaker,” Matthews ordered. As soon as it was ready, he spoke. “We’ve got a Cylon incoming. Weapons hot. I want that bird downed. Repeat, I want it downed. If it gets away, we’re screwed.”

“Orthrus, this is Ajax. Sunshine and I’ll take care of it,” Spansel said as he oriented his ship in the direction of the Raider and increased speed. Sunshine followed suit. Moments passed before they were able to make out the outline of the Cylon ship, and its red eye, only to see it flip on its axis and speed back the way it came.

“Little frakker is fast,” Spansel said as he armed missiles. At the rate it was going, there was no way to close to cannon range before it got away.

“Missile lock,” Sunshine stated. “Missile away.” The weapon streaked to its target, exploding against the rear starboard quadrant, sending chunks of armor into the void of space.

Spansel’s lock indicator went green. “Weapon lock,” he said as he pressed the trigger. “And weapon fire.” The missile uncoupled from its rack and sped to its target. His missile struck the middle section between the engines and the head of the Raider, sending it into a staggered spin. A contrail of smoke and wisps of fire were now visible.

Ferrell locked another missile on the crippled ship. “Have another going away present, frakker,” he said, pulling the trigger. The missile swiftly closed and struck the Cylon’s head. It exploded, sending the Raider flying into several pieces. “And, we got a splashdown,” the lieutenant drawled.

“Good shot, Sunshine,” Ajax said with a sigh of relief.

“Yeah, yeah,” his wing man returned.

“I give you a compliment and all I get is a ‘yeah, yeah’?”

“Ayup.”

CUT TO:

INT. LONG SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCONFERENCE ROOM

We see Sister Marion waiting patiently at one of the tables. She jumps slightly when the hatch opens. Commander Maxwell, Captain Spansel, and Lieutenant Ferrell enter.

The following appears on screen:

REFIT OPERATIONS COMPLETE

“Sorry t’ keep ye waitin’, sister,” Maxwell said as he sat down, with his pilots taking a seat on either side of him.

“Not at all, commander,” Marion replied.

“I kno’ why ye here. N’ as I said, ye wastin’ ye time.”

“Please, commander-”

“Wot Stolar n’ his lit’le band pulled is a capital offense, according t’ th’ Colonial Articles o’ War. They risked us, nae, th’ entire fleet wit’ their stupidity.”

“I understand that, commander. But before you do anything, please see why he did it. He lost many people dear to him.”

“And we didn’t?” Ferrell spat out, incredulous.

“Be that as it may, lieutenant," Sister Marion continued, "he did what was necessary to protect himself and his crew. I do not agree with what he did, but I do disagree with what you plan to do to them. Please, commander. Show mercy. We are but a handful of humanity in the coldness of space. There are so few of us left. So few.”

Maxwell averted his eyes from the sister.

“My recommendation is to follow the Colonial Articles of War. They need to be made an example of,” Ferrell said, locking eyes with the Gemenese Sister. “If we let this go, it will exacerbate the discipline problem.”

“Now, wait a minute, Ferrell. They deserve more than a kangaroo court.” Spansel rejoined.

“They’ll receive a general court martial, but the result’s going to be the same, given the amount of evidence we have against them.”

“Which has not been heard by the panel yet! Are you listening to yourself?”

Maxwell spoke without raising his head. “She’s right.”

“W-What?” Ferrell asked.

“She’s right. We’re all tha’s left.” Maxwell raised his eyes and met Marion’s. “I’m makin’ a special dispensation, sister. Dinna expect it t’ happen again. Th’ mutineers will be confined t’ th’ brig for th’ next six months. As for Captain Stolar, he’s nae goin’ t’ get th’ same deal. He’ll remain in th’ brig until further notice. Nae, dinna ask me when he’ll be released.”

“But, sir-” Ferrell said. The commander spun to face the Viper pilot.

“I’ve heard ye recommendation n’ took it under advisement. Dinna question my orders again, lieutenant, unless ye want t’ spend time alongside th’ dear captain for insubordination.”

Ferrell held up his hands in supplication and shut his mouth.

“Are we finished here, sister?” Maxwell asked, not looking away from Ferrell.

“Yes, commander,” Sister Marion said softly.

“Good. Now, if ye will excuse me, I hav’ a fleet t’ protect.” Maxwell stood up and walked out of the room, with Spansel and Ferrell following close behind.

Alone again in the conference room, Sister Marion shed tears of thanksgiving to the Gods for their aid.

CUT TO:

INT. MEDIUM SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSBRIG

The camera is centered on a door. It opens and Chief Stans enters

When Jessica entered the brig she saw Samuel sitting on his bed, hunched over, and staring at the floor. He glanced up when he heard the main door to the cells open, and blanched when he saw the chief standing there.

“Hey,” she said.

Samuel looked confused. “What do you want?”

“To see how you are doing and to apologize for laying you out.”

“That’s it?”

Stans glanced to the marine on duty and motioned to Samuel’s cell door. He opened it and closed it once she was inside. “No, I also pulled some strings with the commander. After you’ve finished your stretch, you’re going to be assigned as a deck hand here on the Orthrus.”

Samuel’s face clouded over with distrust. “Do I get a say?”

Jessica scrunched her lips to the side, giving the rhetorical appearance of thinking his question over. “No, but I didn’t think you wanted to return to a ship where the passengers thought that your stunt could have gotten them all killed.”

That realization never came to him until she pointed it out. “Right.”

“I figured a fresh start for you would be just what the doctor ordered. That way, I can keep an eye on you and kick your ass when needed.”

Samuel brought a hand up to his bruised jaw. “Of that, I have no doubt.” When he did that, Jessica winced empathetically.

“Oooh. Really, I am sorry about that. I’d like to make it up to you, if that’s okay.”

“How?” Samuel asked, puzzled. Jessica half turned and got the guard’s attention. She tapped on her wrist four times. The marine nodded with a half smile on his face, waving goodbye as he left the brig. Once he was gone, Jessica slid off her shoes, unzipped her orange jumpsuit, and let it slip to the floor. Underneath, she wore a gray sleeveless T-shirt, with a brown tank top over it, and gray boxers.

Smiling devilishly, Jessica asked, “Why don’t we pick up where we left off?”

Samuel’s eyes remained transfixed on the chief’s slender body, his mind still trying to shake off the astonishment. Regaining the ability to speak, he said, “Uh, okay.”

Smiling at both his body language and response, Jessica approached the bed and sat next to him. Her hands went to Samuel’s head, gingerly touching his jaw, before drawing him in to her lips. She noted that, despite being shy, he certainly knew how to kiss and his hands knew their way around a woman’s body. They both slid back onto the bed, arms encircling each other, and let Aphrodite take care of the rest.

FADE TO BLACK

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Sacrificial Lambs - 3 of 4
Episode 2 - Part 3

“What do we do now?” Matthews asked.

“Excuse me, sir?” Isabelle interrupted. “Why don’t we contact Sister Marion and see if she will intercede with the civilian vessels on our behalf?” Maxwell nodded at the suggestion.

“I guess it’s time for a softer hand. Miss Holden, contact th’ Sister Josephine and ask if they are willin’ t’board th’ civilian ships t’aid th’ injured.”

“Sister Josephine, this is Battlestar Orthrus. Orthrus Actual wishes to know if you will be willing to board the civilian ships to administer assistance.” Holden waited for a response from the medical ship and then looked to her commander. “Yes, sir. They will be glad to.”

“Good. Tell them while they’re there have them ask if th’ civilians would b’willin’ t’send a representative to th’ Orthrus in order t’discuss what happened t’them and t’see if we can find a fix for their problems.” Maxwell looked across the Nav table to his XO. “I am nae goin’ down in th’history books as a commander who left innocent civilians t’die.”

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
We see several shuttles launch from the Sister Josephine, then head to each of the civilian ships.

INT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSSICKBAY

Camera pans over several scenes of medical staff attending to sick and injured. A nurse is writing up the medical history of a small girl, around seven, who is lying in bed with an IV. DR. LARA KALE comes over to the bedside.

“So, who is this?” Lara asked the nurse, who handed over the girl’s chart.

“This is Helena. She’s a passenger from the Trident. Severe malnutrition and dehydration. I’ve set her up with an IV for fluid replacement and we’ll try to get her to eat some solid food once she is able.”

“Thank you, Rowen,” Kale said, looking over the chart. “Good work. Why don’t you start another IV on the patient from the Telchine.” The nurse nodded and left.

“How are you feeling, Helena?”

The child smiled weakly, her cracked lips exposing a white smile. “Better. Thank you, ma’am.”

“Ooh, and so polite,” Kale said with a grin, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. Judging from your chart, you should be up and running back to your parents in no time.”

The smile faded from the child’s face. “Mom’s dead. My daddy was taken away. Is he here?”

Kale’s grin departed, and was replaced by a distressed countenance.

INT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUSCONFERENCE ROOM

Camera takes in the room. On camera left, Commander Maxwell and Major Matthews are seated behind a long table. Camera center, we see Captain Spansel, Lieutenant Ferrell, MARINE CAPTAIN POOLE and Private Stine seated at a table in between the commander’s table and the civilian’s table located at camera right.

Seated at the civilian’s table, there are MARK STOLAR, captain of the GT Telchine; IONNA TZOULAKI, captain of the Kobol liner Trident; AARON VINIK, temporary captain of the GT Acheron’s Kiss; and ANDREW ZINN, captain of the pleasure liner Midsummer’s Dream. Seated along with the civilians is Sister Marion. None of the civilian captains look happy to be where they are, Stolar especially so.

“I’m glad ye willin’ t’come over t’talk,” Maxwell began.

“Like we had a choice,” Mark Stolar said, his face not even bothering to cover up his disdain of the military officers seated opposite him.

Sister Marion leaned forward in her chair and looked at Captain Stolar on the far end. “We understand your feelings, captain. We are trying to come to a resolution to your difficulties.”

“Difficulties caused by the Colonial Fleet,” Stolar shot back. “Thank you, Sister, but I really don’t want any help from these people.”

“Be that as it may, captain,” Matthews replied, “I know there are no words to express what was done to you and the rest of the civilians in your fleet.”

“I don’t know, how about ‘press-ganged’, ‘massacred’, or ‘betrayed’? Those are some words to express what was done to us,” Stolar retorted.

“Ye hav’ a right t’be angry, captain. And by all means, go ahead and vent on us. But, once ye done, kin ye please explain’ t’us wot happened t’ye?” Maxwell looked at the indignant captain, who in turn looked away in disgust.

“We were found by the Pegasus,” Ionna Tzoulaki began, breaking the uncomfortable silence that grew in the room. “We were a fleet of fifteen defenseless ships, so when we saw the battlestar, we thought our prayers were answered by the Gods.”

“Only that’s not what happened,” Aaron Vinik said quietly. “We heard over the wireless that the Pegasus sent over an armed contingent to the Scylla. They were demanding all our spare parts and skilled personnel that would replace the losses on the Pegasus. When the people refused to go with them, they warned us that they would start killing family members of personnel who did not comply. We thought they were bluffing. But they weren’t. Ten people were murdered to drive that point home. When they came to the Acheron’s Kiss, the original captain fought back. Needless to say, they put him down. That’s how I came to captain the vessel.”

“They took everything of worth that wasn’t bolted down.” Zinn said. “FTLs, food, communications, even our transponders. Once they were done looting us, they jumped away and left us to die.”

“You said there were fifteen ships, but there’s only four of you. What happened to the others?” Matthews asked. The captains looked at each other with guilt.

“They’re gone,” Stolar said, crossing his arms. “A Raider popped in near us three days later. It jumped away and when it returned, it brought a whole bunch of friends with it. The only reason why we four survived was because we shut everything down on our ships, including life support. While the Raiders concentrated on blowing the frak out of the others, they left us alone and jumped away once they were finished. Since that time, we’ve had to do it two more times.”

“I unnerstand tha’ th’ worse off on ye respective ships hav’ been transferred o’er t’ th’ Sister Josephine and t’ our own sickbay. Kin ye give me an accurate accountin’ of the passengers you each hav’ on board?”

“On my ship, we have 200 passengers, but only ten out of the full complement of crew on the Trident. Fifteen of my men were taken,” Tzoulaki offered.

Vinik was next to speak. “The Acheron’s Kiss has 195 passengers and I only have ten crew members, including myself.”

“The Midsummer’s Dream has 125 passengers, mostly professionals on a chartered retreat. We have a full staff of 300. My crew took a hit, lost around 200 out of 700.”

Stolar was the remaining holdout and he seemed content with staring at the wall.

“Captain?” Maxwell asked. Stolar remained taciturn.

“In order to expedite matters, commander, I will speak on his behalf,” Sister Marion said, casting a sideways glance to Stolar before continuing. “The Telchine has twenty crewmen and nearly a 100 passengers on her.”

“So, what we have here are skeleton crews, minimal passengers spread out over four ships. Et cetera, et cetera,” Ferrell said.

“You have an objection, lieutenant?” Matthews said.

“None of them have FTL drives and any help we give them is a stopgap measure. We are dealing with finite resources. Best course of action is to have the civilians abandon the vessels and come aboard the Orthrus or the Sister Josephine.”

This time, Stolar spoke up. “I am not abandoning my ship, neither is my crew. I can also say that the refugees aboard the Telchine really don’t want to have anything to do with you Colonial fraks. Not after what happened last time.”

“I think the lieutenant is right,” Tzoulaki said, nodding in his direction. “We have only a little over two hundred people. I am more concerned about them than the Trident.”

“The Kiss has the same amount. I never wanted to be the captain to begin with, so I don’t mind abandoning ship.”

Meekly, Chief Stans raised her hand. “I have an answer to the FTL problem,” she said quietly.”

“Welcome to hear it, chief,” Matthews said.

Like an elementary schoolgirl about to give a presentation, Stans nervously hitched back her chair and stood up. Straightening her uniform, she took in a deep breath before speaking. “Well, the Gemenon Travellers are mass produced, they’re also old. Now, we have a bunch of Raptors. I’ve done some calculations regarding FTL capability. To get a Traveller to be jump capable again, I would need four Raptor FTL drives, daisy chained together. The bigger problem is the Midsummer’s Dream. Because of its large size, there’s no safe way to generate a warp field big enough with just Raptor drives alone. If we used one of the spare FTL drives from the Orthrus, that would be more than enough.” After she finished, she quietly sat back down.

“Good work, chief. I think it would be best t’ keep th’ pleasure liner. It would be somethin’ t’ distract th’ civilians.”

“And we have more than enough room to take in people from the Trident and the Acheron’s Kiss,” Zinn added helpfully.

“And it would ease our burden on the Sister Josephine. A few hundred people less on the medical ship would improve conditions immeasurably,” Sister Marion said.

Ferrell shook his head.

“Hav’ a problem with tha’, lieutenant?”

The Viper pilot remained quiet, threw up his hands, and sat back in his chair.

Returning his attention to Stans, the commander continued. “Start work on dismantlin’ th’ Raptor FTL drives and get an assessment on each ship. If th’ damage is too great, we’ll take what we can and scuttle th’ vessel. I agree with Lieutenant Ferrell, we need t’ consolidate th’ civilian population. With regards t’ donatin’ our spare FTL, I’ll think about tha’ before makin’ a decision. Captain Stolar, if ye want ye ship, ye kin keep it. As an act of goodwill, I’ll assign th’ chief t’ work on ye FTL drive system personally.”

“Glad to hear it,” Stolar said curtly.

“Now, then. With tha’ settled, we’ll let ye get back t’ ye ships. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

The civilians, along with Sister Marion, all stood up and walked out of the conference room. As soon as the door was shut, Ferrell burst out.

“What in the Hell was Cain thinking?”

“I’ve known Cain by reputation, and met her a handful of times at fleet social gatherings. I didn’t think she was capable of this.”

Maxwell looked at his XO. “There’s a war on, major. Right or wrong-”

Ferrell cut his commander off. “Killing our own?”

“People make choices, I dinna say I agreed with what she did, lieutenant. We will consolidate th’ civilian population into th’ other vessels.” Maxwell looked at the chief. “And as much as it pains me t’do it, we will transfer th’ spare FTL over t’ th’ Midsummer’s Dream.”

Ferrell choked back a sarcastic remark, instead making a protestation through clearing his throat.

“Your objection will be taken under advisement, lieutenant,” the commander said, giving an unkind stare towards the pilot. He turned to Captain Poole. “Security will be a five man marine squad. They won’t be meanderin’ around th’ ships. They will be positioned by th’ airlock and will only move if there’s an emergency. I don’t like sittin’ in th’ open waitin’ for Cylons t’ jump in. If they do, it would be a verra bad situation. Captain Spansel, set up a patrol schedule with ye takin’ th’ first shift. I want this operation t’ be done as quickly as possible. Any questions?”

None were forthcoming.

“Dismissed.”

Spansel walked out of the conference room to the flight deck in a glowering silence, casting a disapproving glace at Ferrell every once in a while.

“What?” Ferrell asked after the captain looked at him for the fifth time.

“You just had to open your mouth.”
“Of course. I think we’re wasting valuable resources to make nice with the civvies.”

“Your thoughts are irrelevant, lieutenant. And just so you know, I happen to agree with the commander. And since you’re so hard pressed to have things done your way, you’re flying with me on the first patrol.”

Ferrell looked at his commander in disbelief, as he had just started his four hours off.

“Don’t give me that look. Report to the launch deck, now.”

View
Sacrificial Lambs - 2 of 4
Episode 2 - Part 2

“Ready Vipers for launch. Weapons grid t’full power. Railgun batteries t’ target enemy vessels.” Maxwell glanced at the DRADIS. “Notify th’ Sister Josephine t’ dive, she’s in th’ firing solution.”

A chime came over Isabelle’s headset, marking an incoming transmission from the Sister Josephine. “Sister Josephine, this is Orthrus. Go ahead.”

“Hello. Miss Holden, is it?” a warm, matronly voice said. “This is Sister Marion. Please relay the following message to your commander. ‘Commander, don’t you dare fire on those civilian ships.’”

Isabelle swallowed. “Confirmed, Sister Josephine.” She looked to Commander Maxwell and got his attention. “Sir, Sister Josephine seems to think that they are civilian ships.”

“Belay both orders.” Maxwell looked at his communications officer skeptically. “Civilians? How does she kno’ tha’?”

“Sister Josephine, this is Orthrus. Orthrus Actual wishes to know how you confirmed they are civilian vessels. Please respond.”

There was a pause. “Because I am looking out a view port and can clearly see a passenger liner behind us.”

“Commander, Sister Marion has visual confirmation on one of the ships.”

Maxwell looked unconvinced. “Ms. Holden, launch a Raptor t’ verify.”

“Attention, flight deck. Scramble Raptor for launch for visual confirmation of unknown vessels.”

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
A Raptor flies out of the port flight pod and heads towards camera.

“Orthrus, this is Raptor 777. Making visual sweep.” The CIC was silent as they waited for the report.

“Bogey at 225, mark 20 confirmed civilian vessel. Gemenon Traveller class.”

The Raptor icon moved forward towards the unknown vessel located near the port bow of the Orthrus.

“Bogey at 327, mark 97 confirmed civilian vessel. Looks to be a pleasure liner of some sort.”

The Raptor then flew to the starboard side of the Orthrus. “Bogey at 88, mark 100 confirmed civilian vessel. Another Gemenon Traveller class.”

Completing its circuit, the Raptor flew to the stern of the Orthrus. “Bogey at 179, mark 99 confirmed civilian vessel. Kobol Liner class.”

Major Matthews was nonplussed at the news. “If they’re civilians, why aren’t they showing up on DRADIS as such?”

“Good question,” Maxwell replied. “Miss Holden, hail them.”

Isabelle nodded and switched over to the civilian frequencies. “Civilian vessels, this is the Battlestar Orthrus. Please respond.”

Nothing but static returned over the headset. She hailed again, but got the same response.

“Sir, they’re not responding.”

“Wireless could be out,” Matthews said.

“Or, they’re dead vessels,” Maxwell replied. “Raptor 777, d’a fly by on th’ liner. See if ye kin determin’ proof o’ life.”

“Raptor triple seven. Understood, Orthrus.”

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
Raptor 777 flies close to the cockpit and shines a light into it. The light plays over several frightened faces.

“Orthrus. This is Raptor triple seven. Confirmed. I have spotted personnel in the cockpit.”

“Relay the following message – ‘Do ye need assistance? Please respond.’” Maxwell tapped his fingers nervously on the Nav table. The situation was not adding up.

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
Raptor 777 begins flashing the message to the liner. Several moments pass before the liner responds.

The Raptor’s pilot’s voice came over the wireless. This time, he did not sound confident. “Uh, Orthrus? Received response from vessel. They’re essentially telling us to go away and I am putting it nicely, sir.”

“Go away? Why on Caprica would we do that?” Matthews asked.

“Raptor tripl’ seven. Ye giv’n me th’ spirit o’ th’ message. Wot’s th’ letter?”

“They’re telling us to frak off.”

All around the CIC, confused looks were in abundance.

“You’d think they’d be jumping for joy,” Matthews said, shaking his head.

“Orthrus, this is Raptor triple seven. They’re sending a message. Standby.” Several moments passed and the pilot came back on. “Sir, they’re asking if we’re going to finish what the Pegasus started.”

“Wot in th’ Hell d’they mean by tha’?” Maxwell asked, stunned. “Raptor tripl’ seven, ask them t’explain last message.”

“Orthrus, understood.” There was a long pause, then the pilot responded again. “A week ago the Pegasus encountered them. Took all spare parts, including FTL and communications.” Another pause. “Also, they took provisions and any passengers with pertinent skills. Marines killed family of those who resisted.”

The color in the XO’s face drained away. “My Gods.”

The commander rubbed the bottom half of his face. “Nae wonder they tol’ us t’go t’Hell.” He turned to Isabelle. “Miss Holden, order four Raptors on standby. For each one, I wan’ a Marine contingent, an EMT for any injured, an’ a qualified deckhand to assess damage t’ each ship.” Holden nodded and contacted the flight deck. “Raptor tripl’ seven, notify each vessel tha’ we wish t’board with th’ intention t’ give assistance and t’ determin’ if we can get them up n’ runnin’ again.”

“Understood. Notifying liner now,” the pilot responded.

INT. SHOTSTARBOARD FLIGHT PODCLOSE UP
Corporal Hayes and Private Stine stand on guard on the starboard flight deck, discussing the Triad game.

“Bet you under the table, she got lucky,” Hayes said as he watched deckhands go about their business.

“She got lucky?” Stine scoffed. “I’ll be sure to let her know.”

The PA came alive, and Holden’s voice was heard. “Attention flight deck. Prep four Raptors for emergency assistance to civilian vessels. ETL ten minutes. Repair crews, EMT, and Watch Marine squads on standby.”

Chief Stans walked past the marines with the giddiness of a schoolgirl. “Oooh, I get to see old school birds.” She got to the middle of the deck and then raised her hands. “All right, boys and girls, it’s huddle time.” As ordered, her subordinates crowded around her. “We have four civilian vessels in need of our help. So, I want our best hands available. Who thinks they fall in that qualification?”

A dozen hands shot up. Stans smirked.

“Think highly of ourselves, do we?” She scanned the faces around her. “Miller, Dawnie, Albertson, and Dearlock. Get ready to launch, I want your butts in those Raptors pronto.”

INT. SHOTORTHRUS CIC
The crew await a response from Raptor 777.

“Orthrus, Raptor triple seven. Sir, they’re denying our request and they say any Fleet vessels trying to board will be met with armed resistance.”

Maxwell let out a resigned sigh. “I was afraid o’ tha’.”

View
Sacrificial Lambs
Episode 2 - Part 1

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
We see the Orthrus moving silently through the void, the Sister Josephine close by. Vipers on patrol zip by the camera. On screen, the following appears:

SENECA SECTOR
14 DAYS AFTER FALL OF THE COLONIES

INT. SHOTORTHRUS RECREATION ROOM

Holden, Stine, Ferrell and Hayes sat at a small table in the rec room; giving each other veiled looks. The pile of cubits in the center of the table had grown considerably, mostly at the expense of Stine’s wallet. With the changing of the Watch coming soon, this was going to be the last hand of Triad.

Stine shuffled through his cards with disgust, as he had less than frak to play with to try and win back his money. Fingering the last of the rectangular coins in front of him, he scooped them up and tossed them into the pot. “I’ve lost 99% of my money, might as well throw in the rest.”

“I like his attitude, actually,” Ferrell said to the others, half smiling.

“I’m all in,” Stine said to everyone.

“To which his date replied, ‘Are you sure?’” Hayes chuckled, noting the truculent countenance on Stine’s face. He picked up several cubits and threw them in. “All right, rick. That covers your bet.” He picked up a gold cubit and threw it after the first coins. “And I raise you ten.”

Stine let out a nettled exhalation of breath and tossed in his hand.

“Mr. Hot Shit thinks he’s got something over there,” Holden said.

“Oh, I know I have something,” Hayes replied.

Ferrell puckered his lips, covering his bet silently.

“I call,” Holden said, covering her bet.

With a wolfish grin, Hayes said, “Okay, little lady, show me what you got.”

Isabelle put her cards down and fanned it out with her hand. “Full Colors.”

The grin vanished from Hayes’ face. “Come the frak on!”

“You were right, Joker. You nearly had something,” Ferrell said, neatly stacking his losing hand in front of him.

“Of course he had something,” Stine said, the frustration in Hayes’ face seemed to make his complete washout worthwhile.

“Probably something nice,” Holden said, returning the same wolfish grin back to Joker. Before he had a chance to respond, the PA came to life.

“Watch change imminent. Set Condition Two throughout the ship. Jump preparation underway.”

“They’re playing our song, rick,” Joker said, slapping the table closest to Stine.

“You know, Joker. I don’t play to win. I just play to watch you lose,” Stine said as he got up from the table.

“Shaddup,” Hayes replied, punching the private in the arm good-naturedly. They walked out of the rec room as Captain Spansel entered.

“There you are,” the CAG said. “Come on, we’re on patrol once we finish the jump.”

“Hello, ‘Heaving Bosoms’. How are we today?” Ferrell said, turning in his seat to greet his commander with a grin.

Spansel ran his tongue underneath his lips before spitting it out in a trite gesture. “At least I should be thankful. For the last couple of jumps, you’ve been mostly quiet.”

“’Cos I had things to do,” Ferrell replied. Spansel’s face scrunched into familiar incredulity.

“Sitting your ass in a cockpit for thirty minutes and not having anything to do except to annoy me on the comm.”

Holden bit her lip to suppress a giggle as she collected the largesse of cubits on the table. Deep down, she knew that the currency was worthless now, but a small, stubborn part of her refused to believe that her way of life, the way of life for the human race, had really changed. Part of her rationalized that the strikes couldn’t have been that bad. That they’d be able to return to the Colonies one day, and deliver a most righteous payback to the Cylons that only the Lords of Kobol could give them.

“At least I wasn’t singing 99 Bottles of Ambrosia again,” Ferrell said, standing up from the table.

Spansel held up a hand in a warding gesture. “Please don’t,” he said, waving to the exit. Ferrell headed out with his CO.

Holden couldn’t resist. “Do him a favor and start from 75.” Spansel’s head snapped to Leslie as they walked out.

“So help me, Gods. If you do it in spoken word format again, I’m going to get out of my Viper and frakking kill you.”

“Is that a promise?”

“You really want to push it?” Spansel said as they both disappeared from Holden’s sight. Shoving cubits into every spare pocket she had, she cleared the table and dashed to CIC with a clinking gait.

INT. SHOTORTHRUS CICLONG SHOT
In CIC, we see that the commander, the XO, and the Senior Officer of the Watch are already at their respective stations. The doors open and Holden heads to her station, with Maxwell making an acknowledging nod to her appearance.

“Lieutenant Lang?” Matthews asked expectantly. The lieutenant ran his fingers over the astrogation module. Typing in the last coordinates, he transmitted them to the FTL computer and forwarded the information to Holden.

“Jump prep complete, sir. Coordinates will be transmitted to the Sister Josephine shortly. FTL is spun up. Awaiting acknowledgment from civilian vessel.” He glanced at Holden, who nodded.

“Sister Josephine acknowledges receipt of coordinates and are on standby. Vipers all accounted for.”

“Ex’cute jump,” Maxwell ordered. The lieutenant turned the FTL key as commanded.

EXT. SHOTBATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
The battlestar is enveloped by a warp bubble and vanishes, followed by the Sister Josephine.

INT. SHOTORTHRUS CICCLOSE UP
Klaxon alarms are going off and we see over the shoulder of a specialist that is watching DRADIS. On the screen, we see icons for the Orthrus and the Sister Josephine, the civilian vessel is aft of the battlestar. However, there are four icons surrounding them both, all marked UNKNOWN.

“Sir, we have multiple contacts! 327, mark 97. 88, mark 100. 79, mark 66 and 275, mark 20!” the specialist reported.

View
Zero Hour
Episode 1

Meanwhile, a lone Mercury class battlestar named the Orthrus is on deep space patrol along the furthest edge of the Armistice Line. Every six months for the past five years, the Orthrus stood guard on the Colonial side of the Line, deterring any Cylon incursion.

As nothing has happened before in the previous five years, nothing has happened again for this patrol. Marines have taken to sparring when not on duty. The CAP have gotten complacent, so much so that one of their “colorful” pilots, Lt. Leslie “Sunshine” Ferrell, has gotten into the habit of putting his Mark VII on autopilot while he reads romance novels over the wireless; much to the chagrin of the CAG, Captain Jayson “Ajax” Spansel. Disciplinary action against the disruptive pilot has only solidified his little habit. Even the commander, Calum Maxwell, has somewhat tacitly agreed to the pilot’s little foible.

However, the patrol’s long years of inactivity have finally put the commander into a pique. He only accepted the commission to command the Orthrus simply to forestall being mustered out of the military, as he is no longer physically able to be a Viper pilot. Through the years, he secretly hoped for some provocative act by the Cylons, anything to break the monotony, but nothing ever did.

Not until today.

The Sagittaron axiom, “Be careful what you wish for” has become suddenly fitting, unbeknownst to the commander.

Commander Calum Maxwell stood at the observation window located at the forward bow of the Orthrus, lost in thought. His eyes trailed after the Vipers on CAP flying by. He blinked when he heard a familiar voice call to him.

“Commander?”

Maxwell turned and glanced slightly to his right. He saw his Executive Officer, Kellan Matthews, coming up a small flight of stairs to meet him.

“I thought I’d find you here, sir.”

Maxwell returned to looking out the window. “Matthews, d’ye evr tire o’ th’ honorifics? I think ye kin drop the ‘sir’ bit. My Gods, ye bin wit’ me for nerly five years.” His Libran accent remaining unchanged since the time he entered the Colonial Fleet.

Unseen by the commander, his XO blanched at the question. “I didn’t think it wise to-”

“You. Call me ‘Calum’ or ‘Maxwell’. Anythin’ but ‘sir’. Tha’s an order.”

Recovering quickly, Matthews automatically replied, “Yes, suh-” He cut his sentence short when he received a venomous glance from his superior officer. “Yes, Calum.”

The commander resumed his gaze on the distant Vipers on patrol. “So, wot brings ye?”

“Changing of the Watch.”

“I kno’ when it occurs.”

“Well, we’re up,” Matthews said.

“I kno’ tha’ as well.”

Matthews paused. “You’re running late, for the first time in five years.”

“I was thinkin’.”

“About what?”

“About retirin’,” Maxwell said, turning fully to face his shocked XO. “Ye kin pick up ye jaw while we head t’ CIC.” The commander calmly walked past Matthews and took the steps down with a practiced ease. He was well into the main corridor when Matthews caught up with him.

“May I ask why?”

Maxwell gave his subordinate his full attention while he deftly maneuvered around crew also traveling in the passage. “Sure. We’ve been doin’ this little dance every six months for five years. Six months of deep space patrols. An’ nae once hav’ we had a sightin’, a provactive act, or evn a smoke signal from th’ Cylons. I only took this position t’keep from bein’ mustered out. Now, I think I should jumped at it five years ago.”

“When do you plan to formally retire?”

“When we get back. As soon as m’feet touch ground.”

Matthews raised his eyebrows in acceptance to his commander’s words. “Then that leaves only one thing unaddressed.”

That statement brought Maxwell to a full stop. “Which is wot?”

“Are you going to tell her?”

The commander knew full well of who Matthews was speaking about, Dr. Lara Kale. She was the Chief Medical Officer of the Orthrus, and Maxwell’s object of silent adoration, for as long as Maxwell held his command. He gave his XO a hard stare.

“Matthews, do I interfere wit ye love life?”

The XO was deadpan with his response. “No. But then again, you don’t need to. I’m married.” Finishing his sentence, a slow smile spread across his face. His commander’s demeanor remained unchanged. After a moment, Maxwell resumed his walk to CIC, with Matthews following after him. It was several strides before the commander spoke.

“Wot d’ye suggest?”

“A nice dinner would do, I think.”

“’N where would this dinner be held?” Maxwell asked as he approached the glass doors to CIC. With a low hiss, they opened and he walked into the nerve center of the battlestar. Returning salutes of the Marines on duty, he made his way to the Nav table.

“Why not here?” Matthews asked as he stopped beside the commander.

Maxwell’s brow furrowed together and he looked Matthews in the eye. “Here?” he repeated.

“Yes.”

There was a pregnant pause before Maxwell responded. “Are ye drunk? Th’ food here is barely edible!”

Matthews was undaunted at the accusatory remark. “I’m sure I can find a chef that can work wonders with what we have. Now, picture this. A romantic dinner in the commander’s quarters. Just you and her. I’m sure something will fly.”

“Prolly a plate o’ food at me head,” Maxwell retorted, diverting his attention to his communications officer, Isabelle Holden, approaching them. In her hand, she held the communiques from the previous Watch. “Ah, Izzy. Wot d’ye hav’ for me?”

Knowing when to withdraw, Matthews removed himself to speak with another serviceman about status reports.

Holden gave the commander a small smile. “More of the same, sir.” She handed over the communiques in a ritual that was repeated countless times over the past three years.

The commander shuffled through the papers with disinterest. “So, wot’s Sunshine readin’ this time?”

Holden’s smile grew and she suppressed a giggle. “Wicked Loving Lies.”

Maxwell chuckled and his lopsided smirk appeared. Shaking his head, he said, “Saucy. Wot part is he at?”

Holden brought a hand to her headset to activate the CAP general channel. She listened intently and then involuntarily giggled. “He’s getting to the part of ’Jayson’s heaving bosom’.”

The commander rolled his eyes heavenward. “Ach. Why does tha’ boy always hav’ t’provoke th’ CAG? I’m nevr gunna hear th’ end of it from Spansel.” Returning a composed gaze to his comm officer, he said, “Thank ye, Izzy.” She nodded and returned to her station. Maxwell cycled through the inter-DSP communications until he got to one from Picon.

PRIORITY THREE MESSAGE FROM FLEET HEADQUARTERS

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS IN THE VICINITY OF THE ARMISTICE STATIONQUADRA SECTOR. CONTACT HAS BEEN LOST WITH STATION AND ATTEMPTS TO RAISE ATTACHE’S SHUTTLE HAVE LIKEWISE FAILED.

ANY UNITS FREE TO CHECK, PLEASE RESPOND TO HEADQUARTERS.

Making eye contact with his XO, Maxwell waved the paper at him. “Speakin’ o’ waste o’ time, headquarters reports loss o’ contact with th’ Armistice Station. Forty years, we send a representative and they sen’ no one. HQ wants any nearby ships to assist. Luckily, tha’ isn’t us.” He crumpled the message into a ball and tossed it onto the Nav table. Matthews watched his commander’s face turn into a pained scowl as he read the next message.

PRIORITY TWO MESSAGE FROM FLEET HEADQUARTERS

ATTENTION BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS. YOU ARE ONE WEEK OVERDUE FOR DRYDOCK. HEADQUARTERS HEREBY ORDERS YOU TO RETURN TO THE COLONIES AND REPORT TO SCORPION SHIP YARDS FOR RESUPPLY AND UPDATING OF NAVIGATION SYSTEMS WITH DR. BALTAR’S CNP.

“Ooo. But this on is for us. Fleet Headquarters wishes t’know why we have nae reported back t’ th’ Colonies for drydock. We are ordered back immediately.”

Matthews shook his head and muttered. “And this is the first time in five years that we’re overdue.” Glancing toward the commander, Matthews found that his earlier venomous stare had returned and was bearing down on him once more. Holding up his hand in an acquiescent gesture, he backed away from the table.

Maxwell turned to Holden and called, “Ms. Holden, can ye put me on the CAP’s channel? I need t’make an’ announcement.”

As not to antagonize HQ further, Maxwell orders the Vipers on CAP to return to the ship and notifies Lt. Lang to begin jump prep for the battlestar’s first of four jumps back to the Colonies. The Orthrus jumps successfully.

Fresh out of the first jump, the Orthrus receives the following message:

PRIORITY ONE MESSAGE FROM FLEET HEADQUARTERS

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS. CYLON ATTACK UNDERWAY.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

With no time to waste, the commander calls for Condition One throughout the ship and puts two squadrons of Vipers on alert sixty. Just as he finishes his orders, another message comes in:

PRIORITY ONE MESSAGE FROM ADM. NAGALABSG ATLANTIA

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS. HAVE TAKEN COMMAND OF COLONIAL FLEET. PICON FLEET HQ LOST TO CYLON ORBITAL STRIKES.

SIZE OF ENEMY: UNKNOWN.

WILL UPDATE WITH FURTHER INTELLIGENCE.

Maxwell relays the information provided by Admiral Nagala to the rest of his crew and orders preparations for the next jump. The jump occurs without complication and the Orthrus is now located in the Gibraltar Straits, a narrow space lane between two large asteroid fields. As the Orthrus prepares for the next plotted jump, another message comes in from Admiral Nagala:

PRIORITY ONE MESSAGE FROM ADM. NAGALABSG ATLANTIA

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS. PRELIMINARY REPORTS INDICATE A 50 MT THERMONUCLEAR DEVICE WAS DETONATED ABOVE CAPRICA CITY TWO HOURS AGO. ADDITIONAL NUCLEAR STRIKES WERE MADE AGAINST MAJOR METROPLEXES ON SAGITTARON, PICON, AERELON, AND GEMINON.

FURTHERMORE, THE COLONIAL FLEET HAS LOST APPROXIMATELY THIRTY BATTLESTARS. REPORTS INDICATE PECULIAR SYSTEM MALFUNCTIONS ON BOTH BATTLESTARS AND VIPER MARK VIIs. BATTLESTAR MINOS LOST COMPLETE POWER PRIOR TO ENGAGING THE ENEMY. ALL HANDS LOST.

SCORPION SHIP YARDS LOST.

ANY BATTLESTARS STILL FUNCTIONING ARE TO REGROUP AT VIRGON WITH ADMIRAL NAGALA AND THE REMAINDER OF THE FLEET FOR COUNTERATTACK.

After reading the message, it causes Commander Maxwell to emotionally pause as he tries to regain his composure prior to addressing his crew. He informs them that a nuclear device was detonated over Caprica City and cities on the other colonies. He also informs them that they will be rendezvousing with Admiral Nagala for counterattack. The commander does not mention the loss of nearly quarter of the fleet and the ship yards, or the system malfunctions occurring on other Colonial vessels.

Before the Orthrus is able to make its next jump, it is ambushed in a pincer move by two squadrons of Cylon Raiders that were hiding amongst the asteroids. Maxwell orders the Vipers to launch and the battle is joined.

Sunshine and Ajax, along with their respective squadrons, inflict heavy casualties on the Raiders. During the dogfight, they fail to notice a solitary Raider breaking formation and heads straight to the Orthrus. Once in range, the Raider fires off its payload: a trio of nuclear missiles. Two of the missiles are destroyed by the battlestar’s point defense system, but the last one gets through, striking the arms of the starboard flight pod.

Three minutes into the battle, a basestar jumps in. Maxwell orders for expedited jump prep, but is informed by damage control that the structural integrity of the starboard arms is compromised because of the missile strike. A jump with the arms in their current state would mean that they would be ripped off the fuselage if the battlestar tried to jump. Unable to retreat, Maxwell orders the Orthrus to come about and attack the basestar with the forward batteries.

Before the Orthrus can get the batteries into range, the basestar fires off multiple nukes.

Again, the alarm blared and warning lights flashed on Holden’s console. “Radiological alarm! Gods, how many nukes did they bring?” she asked. Over the comm, she received an answer.

“All of them,” Lieutenant Ferrell responded.

The point defense system destroys all of them, with only one warhead landing a glancing blow to the battlestar’s bow. Now through the nuclear fire, the Orthrus closes and opens fire on the basestar, causing tremendous damage to its support core and arms. The basestar flees, leaving a dwindling number of Raiders to their fate.

In the end, Colonial forces completely annihilate the enemy squadrons.

The klaxon alarms blaring in Chief Stans’ ears while she struggled with rerouting power to the starboard flight pod suddenly cut off. The dull thrumming of the battlestar’s mass accelerator weapons spewing flak at the Raiders slowly died down and then dissipated.

Power restored, Stans picked up a nearby handset and called CIC. “CIC, this is the chief. Um, are we dead? Because it just got real quiet.”

Unfortunately, the fighter squadrons did not walk away unscathed, with the Orthrus losing seven pilots and fifteen Vipers heavily damaged. Post battle damage assessment for the battlestar is not good, as damage control estimate the time for repairs just to get the Orthrus to be able to jump safely at two hours. The XO orders a renewed CAP while Chief Stans and her crew go to work.

Two tense hours later, with no enemy in sight, the Orthrus makes its third jump. They are now on the outskirts of the Colonies. Wasting no time, Maxwell orders the next jump prep.

While Lt. Lang prepares the jump calculations and the FTL spools up, Holden receives what is the final message from the Atlantia:

PRIORITY ONE MESSAGE FROM BSG ATLANTIA

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS. FINAL MESSAGEATLANTIA LOSING POWER. ADMIRAL NAGALA KILLED DURING BATTLE WITH CYLON FORCES OVER VIRGON. ALSO DESTROYED IN THE FIGHTING WERE THE BATTLESTARS TRITON, SOLARIA, AND THE COLUMBIA. NO KNOWN COLONIAL MILITARY FORCES REMAIN.

COLONIES LOST.

Maxwell informs his crew about the plight of the Colonies with a heavy heart. Realizing they have few options, the commander muses on a hit and run campaign against the Cylons with his XO. Ten minutes after Atlantia’s final message, Holden receives another. This time, it is from another battlestar:

PRIORITY ONE MESSAGE FROM BSG GALACTICA

ATTENTION ALL COLONIAL UNITS. AM TAKING COMMAND OF FLEET. ALL UNITS ORDERED TO RAGNAR ANCHORAGE FOR REGROUP AND COUNTERATTACK. ACKNOWLEDGE BY SAME ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL.

ADAMA

Buoyed by this development, the commander orders his comm. officer to respond to Adama and asks for a jump estimate from Lt. Lang. Lang informs the commander that from the Orthrus’ current position, it will take two plotted jumps. Maxwell orders the recalculation to commence. Just before the calculations are complete, a basestar jumps in and deploys several Cylon Raider squadrons. Before the enemy is able to close, the Orthrus jumps away.

Once arriving at their new position, Lang quickly calculates the final jump to Ragnar. The Orthrus is unmolested as it spools up the FTL and makes the last jump. However, after coming out of the jump, DRADIS begins picking up sizable areas of detritus. Matthews orders a Raptor out to make visual identification of the debris.

The Raptor reports that they have found wreckage and fragments of Colonial Vipers and Cylon Raiders alike. The debris is closest to the entrance to the gas giant’s turbulent upper atmosphere, where the Anchorage resides.

Undaunted, Maxwell orders the Orthrus into the eye in order to make contact with the Galactica. When they reach the center, large chunks of wreckage show up on DRADIS. After making visual contact, the Raptor confirms that the wreckage is not that of the Galactica, but the Ragnar Anchorage station itself. No other ships are in the vicinity.

This report is disappointing news to Commander Maxwell, as it appears that they have missed the rendezvous with the Galactica. Without any further information from Adama on where they went, they will have as much luck finding them as throwing a dart at an astrogation chart and hoping for the best. While trying to decide on what to do next, DRADIS picks up a large vessel moving through the storm clouds towards them.

Maxwell orders the main guns to train on the incoming vessel and to open fire if it is not friendly. Fortunately, as the vessel gets closer, its IFF transmits a Colonial signal. The ship identifies itself as the Sister Josephine, a Gemenese medical vessel. Aboard the ship, the Josephine houses 1,240 souls. Sister Marion, the matriarch of the ship, makes contact with the Orthrus and requests protection from the battlestar, a request that is readily agreed to. But before any additional information can be exchanged, multiple contacts show up on DRADIS. This time, the contacts are not friendly.

A squadron of Cylon Raiders descend through the gloom to attack, along with a half squadron of new combat vessels: Heavy Raiders.

Maxwell orders the alert Vipers away, while simultaneously ordering the Sister Josephine to maneuver to the ventral side of the battlestar, thereby shielding it from attack. After a rather quick engagement, the Heavy Raiders are destroyed while the few remaining Raiders flee. No casualties are suffered by the Colonials.

Sensing that the attack was a probative maneuver by the Cylons, Capt. Spansel orders Sunshine to stick his nose out of the storm and see if any more toasters are hanging about. Lt. Ferrell complies and finds a damaged basestar, presumably the one they encountered at the Gibraltar Straits, sitting on their doorstep. After relaying the information, he returns back to the Orthrus.

Meanwhile, Maxwell orders Lt. Lang to find them an out of the way place to jump to. Mere minutes later, Lang finds the best spot and transmits the coordinates to the Sister Josephine. To ensure a safe FTL jump, the Orthrus exits the storm to provide covering fire for the medical vessel. Vipers are launched and engage the closing Raiders.

Once the Josephine is away, Matthews recalls the Vipers while Maxwell orders them to close with the basestar. Before jumping away itself, the Orthrus fires off a parting volley from the forward batteries. This proves to be more than enough to critically damage the basestar. Chain explosions ripple down its trunk and through the arms of the enemy vessel, breaking it into pieces.

Joining with the Sister Josephine, the Orthrus crew plot their next move and determine the cost of fleeing from Ragnar. All told, another eight Viper pilots were lost; along with seventeen heavily damaged Vipers. Sister Marion accepts a request for her services as a priestess to perform a eulogy for the fallen pilots.

Safe for now, the Orthrus and the Sister Josephine begin the coordination of jumps and to answer questions about the civilians’ future welfare.

Only the Lords of Kobol know what fate lies ahead of them.

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Prologue
All of this has happened before, and will happen again.

The story begins with the Colonial diplomatic officer arriving at the Armistice Station, as he has done many times before. He believes that this year’s meeting will end like the previous thirty nine: with no appearance of the Cylons.

However, he is in for a shock.

Awakened from a nap by docking sounds, he waits and watches the double doors leading to the Cylon airlock with trepidation. Moments later, they open.

Metallic footfalls echo through the empty hall, becoming louder as they approach the conference room, and two Cylon Centurions appear with arm mounted weapons ready. These centurions are not like the ones encountered during the First Cylon War. These models are taller, sleeker, and eerily silent. After a moment, they bracket the door and their built in weapons are put away, revealing long, spidery fingers.

The officer breaks his mesmerized eyes from the newcomers as he hears another set of footfalls, also metallic sounding, coming from the hallway. This time, an older model Cylon comes into view and enters the conference room. It stops midway from the table and stands there silently for several moments. Before the officer stammers out a greeting, the Cylon speaks in a familiar metallic timbre.

“The Cylon Empire brings a message,” it says.

Licking his lips, the officer timorously asks, “What is it?”

“The armistice is over,” it replies as the two centurions behind it remount their weapons and open fire on the hapless officer, killing him instantly.

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