“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. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS
We see several shuttles launch from the Sister Josephine, then head to each of the civilian ships.
INT. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS – SICKBAY
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. SHOT – BATTLESTAR ORTHRUS – CONFERENCE 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.
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.”