Battlestar Central

Episode 37: Loose Ends

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Episode 37: Loose Ends

_________________________________ Episode 37: Loose Ends_________________________________

Battlestar Libra
Pilots' Briefing Room
Day 340 0530 Hours

"Next item," Captain Gary Rudnik, the Libra's CAG, announced. Quiet settled over the room, only the noises of shifting chairs and the creak of leather flight suits sounding as all eyes turned to the podium and the officer standing beside Captain Rudnik. There had been whispered speculation about the black-uniformed man who had stood patiently at attention throughout the pilots' briefing, but until now the morning routine had been exactly that - routine and unremarkable, assignment of the CAP rotation, discussion of Viper and Raptor maintenance, normal everyday material for the pilots of the Battlestar Libra.

Now Major David Dedrick took the podium, quietly speaking his thanks to the CAG before addressing the assembled pilots. "Good morning," he said, looking out across the group. "Lieutenant Watson, Lieutenant Mayfield, you are to report to the Flight Deck at 0700 hours to fly Falcons One and Three on a Search and Destroy mission." As a murmur passed through the room, Dedrick continued. "Prep for long-range reconnaissance, and verify your supplies personally. Your weapons loadout has been set and transmitted to the deck crew already."

In the third row of assembled pilots, Derek "Cowboy" Watson leaned forward, bumping fists with the slender pilot that sat two chairs away. "Sorry, Preacher," he whispered to the officer seated between them, "but it looks like someone decided not to let you hog all the flight time."

Preacher shot a glance at Lieutenant Mayfield, then faced Watson. "Drew can have this one, sir," he replied with an easy grin.

"Captain McPeek," Dedrick said, naming the Crusader squadron leader, "You will select three members of your squadron to accompany yourself as escort for the Ranger Scouts. As stated, prep for long-range recon and verify your own supplies. Captain, you'll have command of the mission."

"And what is our target, Major?" McPeek asked, a trace of humor showing in his eyes. Spooks, he thought, always dragging out the details for every ounce of drama...

Dedrick faced McPeek, holding his gaze for a long, silent moment. "You'll be leading your birds back to destroy the beacon satellite in the star system designated 'Haystack'. There won't be much 'search' to this mission; you were there when we located the satellite, now it is time to go back and eliminate it. The Ranger Scouts will prosecute the target and make a full record of the beacon's destruction for review by senior officers. The Crusaders will escort the mission and assure its completion. We are now over 70 light years from that infrared star system, so it's going to be a long haul." Dedrick paused, looking from McPeek to Mayfield and Watson, "Any questions?"

Lieutenant Chris Freeman, one of the Crusader pilots, raised a hand. At a nod from Dedrick, he asked, "Major, what about any other groups of survivors? Aren't we closing the door on them if we kill the beacon?"

McPeek shot Freeman a dark look, but Dedrick simply drew his lips into a thoughtful line. "A fair question, Lieutenant," the MILINT chief responded. "It is true, we will be erasing the trail to Earth, removing it so that another group would be unable to follow it. But we'll also be preventing its discovery by the Cylons, and while the presence of another group of human survivors is uncertain, our pursuit by the cylons is not. The Admiral has considered this at length, and decided not to leave any loose ends."

Major Dedrick stepped back from the podium, and Captain Rudnik replaced him. "You have your orders," Rudnik said to the assembled pilots. "Dismissed!"

Author:  RangerLord [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Fifty-seven days earlier...

Fleet Tanker Distant Sun
Mid watch, Day 283

Lieutenant Daniel Coulter, XO of the Distant Sun, stood with his hands braced against a bulkhead, breathing heavily. He was up before the morning watch and had just run the length of the tanker's spine three times, a two-kilometer distance. Having started at the forward end where crew quarters - and most everything else - were located, he was now at the aft-most compartment of the tanker, the shuttle bay. With no traffic scheduled it was unmanned and dimly lit, the small noises of the ship echoing quietly, impressing the size of the hangar upon Coulter's ears. Only the tylium tank modules were larger, and Coulter could count on one hand the number of times he'd been inside one of those.

Between his hands lay a small viewport, and beyond it several of the fleet's ships were arrayed astern the tanker. Coulter could make out the form of the Harvest Moon, its immense bulk faintly illuminated by the local star. Nearby hung one of the Cloud Nine class liners. Coulter knew it would be the Catalina, for the damaged Nimbus would be in formation nearer to the battlestars.

Some of the rush from his run faded as Coulter's thoughts turned to the other victims of the cylon attacks, the Fleet personnel who perished when the Bellerophon and Griffyn were damaged and the civilians who died aboard Pan Galactic 402. He tried to banish the pain of that knowledge with thoughts of the Order's success on Oasis. Only a dozen days earlier, nine people had stood within the tomb of Kallistos and discovered a secret. That secret had put the Libra fleet onto the trail of navigation beacons that should lead them to Earth.

It was a fragile thing to hang his hopes upon, but Daniel Coulter had to believe. The legends of the Order maintained that the path to Earth had been 'taken up', which most interpreted to mean that the navigational satellites had been removed or destroyed. Now they knew differently. The clues from the tomb had led the fleet to the infrared star, and the Chiron had activated one of the beacons - proof not only that the path had once existed, but also that at least a portion of it still remained. That transported his youthful fascination with Earth and his grandfather's beloved Order of the Dragon into the realm of fact, and though doubts circled and nipped at his faith, Daniel believed that the fleet was destined to find the beacons, one after another, until they were led to the home of the Thirteenth Tribe.

Daniel Coulter drew in a deep breath, holding it as his eyes traced the form of the Harvest Moon one more time. He let it out, closing his eyes for a moment, then turned and crossed the shadows of the hangar bay to a hatchway. Passing through it, he returned to the central passageway that ran the length of the tanker and loped off toward the bow of the ship.

Half an hour remained before the morning watch. Enough time for a shower and a cup of coffee.

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Port Upper Flight Pod
Day 283 0815 Hours

Captain Chris Pike stood by the nose of a Viper, watching as the pilots of Archangel Squadron approached. The squadron XO, Lieutenant Gloria Mendez, was leading them in a run as part of morning PT. Around them the flight deck was already a hive of activity as the repair crews continued the round-the-clock task of getting Libra's planes ready to fight again. Pike silently admired the dedication of the knuckledraggers, a slight grin creeping onto his face as Chief MacLean's voice drifted to him above the noises of a working crew.

"No, Specialist, you will get off my flight deck and get a meal and some rack time," the Chief admonished. Pike didn't need to look - he knew some well-meaning but weary mechanic had tried to stay beyond the night shift, but MacLean had caught them. "If I see you back here before twenty-hundred hours you'll be cleaning gun cameras all night." Pike chuckled quietly at the threat, knowing that MacLean wouldn't really carry it out during this critical period, but certain that the knuckledragger got the Chief's meaning.

The sound of running feet kept Pike from hearing a response, if there was any, and he turned his attention back to the Archangels. As their formation passed, Pikes eyes sought one particular pilot, and he barked out a name.


Lieutenant Tim McCue fell out, cutting aside as he ran and then quickly slowing. He then jogged a few paces until he faced his squadron commander and came to attention, saluting. "Sir, yes sir?"

"At ease, Lieutenant." Pike let the order, as well at their location, signal his intent that this discussion was serious but not formal.

"Sir," McCue repeated, acknowledging Pike's command. He placed his hands behind his back, clasped, and widened his stance, then waited for Captain Pike to speak.

Pike ran his hand through dirty-blond hair. Cropped short, it still managed to look unruly and only added to the impression that he was a decade younger than his forty years. Pike looked at McCue, fifteen years his junior and nearly three inches taller. McCue's brown hair was short on the sides, but the top was longer and threatening to fall into the pilot's blue eyes. A few days' growth of beard showed on McCue's jawline, darker than Pike's short-clipped goatee. A stranger might think the two men to be roughly the same age.

"It's been thirty days since we lost Dusty," Pike began, referring to McCue's prior wingleader. "Out here that's already more time that we can afford for mourning, Tim." McCue's head had bowed at the mention of the dead pilot, but he looked back up when Pike addressed him by his first name. "If you want to keep flying, you've got to tighten back up. You've always been one I could depend on to follow regs, to keep up protocols. Talk to your squadron while you're out there. Talk to your wingleader. If you can't do that, I can assign you to teach comms to the nuggets. Understood?"

"Yes, sir," McCue responded, grimacing at the thought of doing communications drills with the pilots-in-training.

"Now catch up with the squadron, Lieutenant. Double-time."

McCue took off at a brisk run after snapping a salute. Pike stood for a moment, watching him, his mind on a memorandum that lay on his desk. It was a list of open assignments within the Fleet, jobs for which an active combat pilot had been requested. Maybe what he needs is something beyond just the break that helping train the nuggets would allow, Pike thought. Maybe it's what the Archangels need, too.

Author:  hazend [ Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Black Crows Ready Room
Day 283

Watch… rewind… watch.

Watch… rewind… watch.

The room was dark with the exception of the projection screen behind the podium. The pilot’s briefing room for the Black Crows squadron was sparse save for a few photos on the wall, a flight roster hastily written on a dry erase board, and two flags that stood in their floor holders to each side of the screen. The flag on the left was the flag of the unified twelve colonies. On the right was the flag of the Battlestar Libra. Above the projection screen a plaque adorned the largest free area of the bulkhead. The plaque was the unit crest of the Black Crows, the 172nd intercept squadron.

Upon the floor of the room sat eighteen seats, all bolted to the floor, and in three rows of six seats each. There were three seats on either side of an open walkway that led to the hatch and the corridor beyond. Each successive row sat elevated from the row in front of it.

Quickdraw watched the retrieved gun camera footage of Draco’s viper over and over. As with the networked systems in all of the newer colonial systems, gun camera footage as well as monitoring systems were transmitted to the base ship via an encrypted wireless beam. The result was an instantaneous archive of all combat operations in a given theater. Normally it would have taken the intelligence unit weeks to get to the gun camera footage from her viper. This wasn’t a normal situation though. Within hours of QuickDraw touching down on the deck of the Libra, he'd been standing in the doorway of the intelligence unit demanding the footage of all of his Vipers. He was going to make certain he knew what happened to Draco. It was a promise he made to her, and to himself.

In the open hatchway of the Black Crow’s ready room stood a lone figure, silhouetted against the lights of the causeway behind. With the lack of lighting in the ready room, save for the flicker of the video on the screen, the person in the doorway was in complete shadow. If Quickdraw paid any attention to anything but the footage he was watching, he did not show.

“Nick?” Divot asked from the hatchway. Her voice was subdued and sounded as if it were far off. She watched intently for him to make a move, to turn and look at her, or to even acknowledge her presence. All she got in return was a continued image of the back of his head, his right arm held up with a remote control, and a continued loop of the gun camera footage on the presentation screen. She took a few tentative steps within the hatchway. “Nick, what are you doing?” Again, it was as if he didn’t even know she was there. Either he was too enthralled with what he was watching, or had chosen to ignore her completely. Perhaps it was a combination of both.

“What you want, Divot?” QuickDraw finally replied, not taking his eyes off the screen in front of them.

“What are you doing in here?" Divot began to slowly walk towards the front of the ready room. She stopped in the aisle slightly behind QuickDraw and looked up at the screen. After a few moments of watching the footage, she suddenly realized exactly what was playing before her. A wave of panic slowly began to creep up her spine. She tried her best to hide it and stayed behind him.

“Doing exactly what I told everyone I would be doing when we touched down. I want to know exactly what happened.” QuickDraw glanced slightly to his left. “Draco was too good of a pilot to have been hit like that. I’m going to find out exactly what happened and when I do the person responsible is going to pay.”

“Come on Nick, we’re at war. People die in war all the time. There’s absolutely nothing anyone could have done to save her. All you’re doing is killing yourself slowly over will probably have been her time. You’ve said it yourself many times - when it’s your time to go there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

QuickDraw paused the video and snapped his head around. “Do you really believe that? That her death was merely her time to die?” He slowly stood from his seat and turned to face her. “I think that’s bullshit. Those frakking toasters weren’t flying good enough to even beat a three-year-old in a video game. The only person that seemed to have problems was you.” QuickDraw’s eyes narrowed as he looked at Divot. He leaned in closer, his face becoming red with anger. “As I remember it, she had to fly out there and save your ass for getting blown out of the sky. Thanks to you, your wingman was vaporized! So don’t tell me it was Draco’s time to go. Something went wrong and I am going to find out what the hell happened.”

Divot wanted to say something, she wanted to put her hand out and touch his shoulder, to tell him things were all right. More so, she wanted him to stop watching the video. She knew what he would find there. She knew that he would find out the truth.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me Captain, I have some work to do.” QuickDraw turned his head back to the screen and hit the resume button on the remote. The screen began to flicker in the footage from the gun camera came back online.

Divot turned very slowly as if she was in great pain and began to walk out of the ready room. She’d only taken two steps when her worst nightmare was realized.

“What… The… Holy… Frak!” QuickDraw screamed. He bolted out of his seat staring at the screen. Suddenly, he spun around and glared at Divot. “You, it was you, Gods Dammit!” QuickDraw slowly started walking towards her.

She wanted to run, she wanted to say something. All she could do, however, was stand there frozen in place. She opened her mouth as if to speak but only a light whimper past her lips.

He couldn’t believe what he had just seen. It was as if his entire world had been flipped upside down and he had been dumped on the floor. Nothing that had happened to him to this point since the beginning of the Holocaust had affected him as greatly as this. “You, it was you. What the frak have you done?”

“I… I didn’t mean for anything like that to happen Nick, you have to believe me. I had turned on him and had lined up the best shot I thought I would ever get. How was I to know that he would bank away and she would be there. I never intended to shoot her ship. Even worse, I panicked and kept flying. I know what I’ve done is inexcusable, but I panicked.” She took a tentative step forward. “Nick, I’m so… So sorry. If I could do anything to change what happened I would. You’ve got to believe me.” Divot’s voice was weak and trembling. As she stood there, she could see the video imposed on the screen ahead. It was running in the loop and continued to show the depths of what she had done. She remembered back to what felt like an eternity ago.

Day 280

Viper combat over Oasis
The attacking cylon raiders did their absolute best to break through and destroy the colonial fleet above Oasis prior to them leaving the system. Every squadron from both Libra and Taurus were engaged in active heavy combat to provide the retreating civilians a chance at survival. While the raiders weren’t exactly adept at their attempts to destroy the humans, they had numbers. Those numbers added up to almost a five to one ratio. By itself that gave the sidelines a definite advantage.

Divot was a better-than-average pilot. She was rough on her planes and a general pain in the ass but she could fly. Her major problem was a lack of confidence at times and bad decision-making at others. With the tremendous number of enemy ships in the area, it was a target rich environment. The only problem was, however, she had a hard time choosing which target to prosecute. This problem exacerbated itself to the point that when she chose a target, more often than not she was in a bad position and had to work that much harder to take down her enemy. This is exactly what happened just before Draco was killed.

She had decided to go after a particularly agile raider, which had been able to avoid her for most of the engagement. She felt she got the better of it when it began to slowly come out of a dive and into her crosshairs. She mashed the trigger but her bullets went wide. The raider immediately noticed it and changed its flight path with a quick as turn and it dove underneath her. She gave chase, inverting her viper, yanking back on the stick, and following. At the same time, she transmitted her position and said she needed some help. Draco answered the call and said she would be there momentarily. That’s the last thing Divot actually recalled with any definite clarity. That was, until Draco was hit.

The raider had made another mistake and started to come out of another series of turns with Divot directly over top of it. She fired another burst from the guns in her viper and as the raider turned away, she yanked the stick back and followed it. She ignored everything else but the cylon fighter in front of her. She lined up the enemy in her sights and mash the trigger one last time. Just as her guns opened up the raider Brook to the right and her rounds went wide. Those rounds impacted Draco’s viper as she was coming in from the front to help Divot. Suddenly everything slowed down and Divot panicked. Instead of trying to help, she hit the afterburners and flew away to a spot far removed from what had happened.

“You have to believe me Nick, I never intended for that to happen. If I could do anything to take it back I would.” Tears ran down Divot’s face.

Consumed with rage and trying his best to control it QuickDraw turned his attention from the vid screen and stared coldly into Divot’s eyes. “All you had to do,” he said in the sneering whisper, “was simply to radio your position so someone could get there. Accidents happen Divot, what you did was negligent, and borderline traitorous.” As he spoke to her, his teeth were bared in a feral snarl. “Now gods dammit, you need to give me one good reason why I shouldn’t drag you onto the flight deck and flush you out of an airlock.”

Divot could sense his hatred now. It was a seething, living thing. Suddenly, Divot was very afraid. More afraid than any centurion ever made her. All she wanted to do was to disappear, to get away from all of this. “So… So what do we do now?”

“We?” QuickDraw clenched his fists so hard his knuckles turned white. “What is this we shit? All you’ve done, Divot, is prove to me you don’t deserve to be sitting in the cockpit of a viper. If it were up to me, the only flying you would be doing is from a navigator’s chair on the prison ship. You can’t be trusted anymore. I don’t know anybody in this squadron who would be willing to fly with you. As far as I’m concerned you might as well stay on deck.”

Despite her fear, Divot began to get angry. “You’re only saying that because you had feelings for Rayna. If it had been me none of this would be happening.”

QuickDraw’s fist lashed out and connected with Divot’s jaw. The impact was strong enough to stagger her. “Who the Frak do you think you are saying that? You’re trying to turn this around. The only thing you need to be concerned about is whether I rip your flight status from you and kick you off this ship! ”

Divot spat on the deck, a combination of blood and saliva. “You can’t do that, the only person that can do that is Captain Rudnick.” She rubbed her swelling jaw with her left hand.

“Do you want to bet your life on that? You seem to forget I’m your squadron leader. In this situation, I can do damn well what I please. Don’t you ever forget that. Now get the hell out of my face before I decide to wipe yours all over the floor.” Pushing past her QuickDraw walked away before the temptation to beat her into unconsciousness overtook him.

Battlestar Libra
Mess Hall
Day 283

“So, there he was without his rifle, his pack, and his pants, hiding in a thicket of brambles. He was definitely a sight,” Zayne laughed.

Asanus shook his head slowly and mouthed the words ‘you die’ to his friend. “True, but I did win the bet. Top that one.”

“Are you serious?” Ashley exclaimed, a smile spread across her face. She sat at the table next to Asanus and the other members of Shadow Team. Present were Riley, Zayne, Vinoli, and Barkley. It was nice for her to be able to see everyone relax after the hell they had gone through over the past several weeks. Just being with them as they made jokes and told stories was the best thing she had done in longer than she could remember.

Riley leaned back in his chair and stretched. “I’ve got to admit though, that was the most unique way I’ve seen somebody get away from a SERE school capture team in all my years with the military. I’ll never forget the look on the Commandant’s face when we pulled you out of there. I thought his head was going to explode.”

Barkley shook his head in amusement. “I don’t know what was funnier, the Commandant’s reaction or the fact our buddy Mister Asanus had to walk back the entire twenty-five miles with everything hanging out in the wind.”

Zayne was next to jump on the pile. “Yeah, everything may have been hanging out but the fifteen hundred cubits he won was worth it I’m sure. I know I had a long wait until payday after that.”

Riley smiled and his attention was drawn towards the hatchway in time to see Rodrigues enter. A young deckhand saw him enter and jumped up from the table to announce the admiral’s presence. Rodrigues held up his hand before the young crewman could say anything.

Rodrigues locked eyes with Riley and nodded. After a quick wave, he walked over towards the table where the group sat. “Mind if I join you?”

Ashley, originally at ease with everyone there began to get a bit nervous. Asanus saw this, reached over, and squeezed her hand.

Rodrigues pulled a chair from a neighboring table, turned it around and sat down, leaning his arms against the backrest. A young crewmember appeared and sat down a cup of coffee in front of Rodrigues’s place. He looked up and nodded, “thank you.”

“Finally able to get a few minutes free?” Riley asked.

Rodrigues nodded, smiling. “Seems like these days the only time I get away from CIC is when I get a few minutes for rack time. How about you guys, enjoying the downtime?”

Zayne nodded, “yes sir, I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve actually slept a full twelve hours. I could get used to this.” He raised his glass in a small salute and took a drink.

“Has there been any word about the situation on Oasis? Riley asked. He glanced over at Ashley who, although somewhat timid being in the presence of a fleet admiral was also interested in what he had to say.

Rodrigues shook his head. “Not since the last update. The only thing we can do now is to make certain the tin cans don’t follow us. I've put out an order to have any beacons we have been following destroyed in place. It means no one can follow us, including anyone from the colonies. It means the Cylons won’t be able to follow us either.”

It was one of the harder decisions he had to make recently. He understood and fully accepted the fact that he needed to do something to keep the enemy from chasing him. Unfortunately, it also meant that he had to cut off any link to earth from anyone else who happened to survive the Holocaust. He had to look at it simply as a situation in which they were the only ones left. Even though he knew the Galactica was still out there, he hadn’t heard of anything else. There were times he wondered if any other vessels survived. At one point, the unified colonial fleet consisted of several hundred warships, from battlestars, to destroyers, to cruisers. He knew the Atlantia was gone along with Admiral Nagala. Nevertheless, what about the other ships? What about the Osiris, the Agamemnon, the Valkyrie, and the Prometheus? It made him wonder about all those ships that weren’t in the system at the time of the attacks. What about the Cortina?

Having found the shuttle from the Cortina on Oasis gave him a small bit of hope at first. Maybe she was still out there somewhere. Maybe she was going back to the colonies.

At first, he felt that there was a possibility to find the Cortina. Even though the crash of the shuttle happened several years before there was always a chance. That wish was a short-lived one. The intelligence section assigned two officers to parse through all of the communications records, all of the sensor data, and all of the logs from the wrecked shuttle. It had taken close to two weeks however; a good picture of what had happened could finally be constructed. The shuttle Merton found on the far side of Oasis was the last shuttle to be launched by the Cortina everyone else on the ship was gone with the exception of the ship’s captain, Rodrigues’ wife. At the time of the launch, the Cortina was on minimal power and had been drifting. The engines had been damaged and there were no parts for repair. Life-support was intact and there were ample supplies and food however it was believed there was only a matter of time before something else would happen. Major Rodrigues ordered the evacuation of the Cortina. The shuttles were to follow the last known route she had taken, that route took the Cortina close to Oasis. According to the logs, the Cortina did not make contact with the people from Oasis but noted their location, which would have been provided to fleet headquarters upon the Cortina’s return to the colonies.
Major Rodrigues decision to remain with the Cortina was not one she chose to be a martyr but for purely practical reasons. The last ship out had room for five people which included enough food and water to survive until they could reach Oasis. To add a sixth person would have placed everyone in jeopardy. That final shuttle had no jump capability and would have had to travel at normal speed. They had been in space for ten days when they finally reached Oasis. At that point, the shuttle had run out of fuel and entered the atmosphere on fumes.

“Is everything alright sir,” Barkley asked.

Rodrigues snapped out of his contemplation. “Yeah, yeah I’m all right. I was just thinking about something.”

“So,” Riley continued. “You were saying something about the beacons?”

“Yes, I was. In order to give us the best chance to get away I have decided the chance is too great that the Cylons will find the beacons and be able to follow us. It seems like our best option at this point is to send a ship back and knock them out. That will break any link between Oasis and Earth. It’s not something I want to do,” Rodrigues glanced down at the table for a second and then back up at the group. “If there was anything else I could do to make sure we stay safe trust me I would do it. This is the only thing I can think of. We have to face facts, our homes are gone and in all reality, we are the only ones left. So instead of worrying whether or not anyone will be able to find us and join us, we need to concern ourselves with survival.”

Somberly, everyone nodded. “Admiral, may I ask a question?” Ashley looked expectantly at Rodrigues.

“By all means, what can I do you for?” Rodrigues winked and gave a slight lopsided grin as he looked at the young intelligence officer.

“If we are destroying the beacons does that mean we will never go back to Oasis?” Her voice trembled slightly.

“I would love to say that we will be going back. But we have to deal with things as they are now. The Cylon’s have invaded Oasis and I can guarantee you they are there in force. Most likely, they will have numerous ships in orbit and legions of troops on the ground. This fleet doesn’t have enough warships to be able to handle that. If we were to return now it would be suicide. I’m not saying we will never go back to Oasis but right now we can’t.”

Ashley’s face showed sadness and she looked down at the table. “You know, even though there’s nothing there for me anymore, even though I feel as if you are all more of a family to me in the few weeks I’ve known you then in my entire lifetime on that planet, I can’t help but feel sad about the chance of never going there again.”

Asanus squeezed her hand again slightly. “I know how you feel. The colonies are completely gone. We’ve all lost our homes, and our families. Many people here have absolutely no one and feel they are completely alone in the universe. The one thing that we have is each other.” He turned to her and looked in her eyes. “You have your daughter, and you have us.”

Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at the man who she felt was her savior. “And I have you,” she looked at the others at the table. “If it weren’t for you, all of you, my daughter and I would be dead. You can’t know how much I’m indebted to you. You’ve taken us from a life that had no chance, no future. Thank you, thank you all.”

“No Ashley, thank you. You’ve given this group of weary soldiers a reason to keep on fighting.” Riley replied.

“For in the darkest hour, the darkest of night, or the worst of times, fear not,” Vinoli said softly.

“For you are not alone. Be not afraid for we will protect you,” Barkley added.

“We will guide you towards the light, we will right that which is wrong, and we will stand between you and evil,” Asanus said.

“We strike down those who wish to terrorize the innocent. We are the shield, we are the sword, we are justice.” Zayne continued.

Riley looked at the man across the table from him and at Rodrigues. “Though our enemies are mighty, they are also weak. For they will not see us coming. Where evil looks in fear, we will be. We are their worst nightmare, we are ghosts, we are specters, we are shadows.”

Rodrigues looked at each of the men and slowly held up his mug. Riley, Asanus, Vinoli, Zayne, and Barkley all held their glasses up to his. “Let our enemies tremble in fear, for we will destroy them. Let those whom we protect fear not, for we will always protect them.” He touched his mug to their glasses and they all drank. It had been a long time since the members of Shadow Team had recited the team motto. It was as if they were all sitting in the barracks and colonial intelligence headquarters again.

Ashley looked at the men seated around the table and smiled. These people were truly a different breed. The people from the colonies were nothing like she had always been taught. These were caring, kind people. She and her daughter were truly blessed to be with them. She glanced down at her watch. “I think I need to go check in on the little one, she’s had a very busy few days.” She stood to leave and paused. Thinking for a second, she knelt down and kissed the top of Asanus’ head. Without saying another word, she left.

“Think I’ll hit the rack,” Barkley said. “I’ve been trying to sub in for Doctor DeValera’s people to give them a break.” He stood gave Asanus a quick pat on the shoulder and walked out.

Vinoli, Zayne, and Asanus all stood. After a quick exchange of goodbyes, the three men left, heading off to their quarters or to other areas they were needed, leaving Riley and Rodrigues alone.

“I’ve been thinking,” Rodrigues began. “You guys have been taking the brunt of every surgical strike mission we’ve had since this started. Have you considered at any point in starting up another team?”

Riley nodded. “As a matter of fact I have. I’ve been working this out for the past couple of days and I think I may have a solution that would help us achieve more of our objectives. Have you got a minute?”

“Definitely, what have you got?”

“Actually, I’m thinking of three more teams. The sizes, however, are going to vary depending on the mission. The first group that comes to mind would be a unit that handles larger scale special operations missions, such as high-risk ship boardings. I was thinking of assigning the spectres with this task. Duncan’s former special operations and he has a great resource. I can’t think of anyone better than him to run that team. Additionally he’ll have at his disposal a smaller group of personnel within the specter unit that he can assign more surgical high-risk tasks to. Kind of like a team within a team.”

Rodrigues nodded, “sounds interesting. I like it. I can see quite a few uses for a group like this. Not to mention taking over a large ship but even more so seizing ground targets as well.”

“Exactly, we could use them in the same way McAllister had his team set up to do raids on terrorist compounds located on Troy.”

“Do you see any issues with setting that group up?” Rodrigues asked.

“Not one problem, Duncan will make sure it gets done right.”

Rodrigues liked Scott Duncan. He had turned out to be a fine addition to the Mardet. “Okay, what else have you got?”

“Another team can be formed that would handle situations such as specialized interdiction, training of indigenous personnel, and high-value target suppression. They will work hand-in-hand with shadow team when we need a diversion or a secondary surgical strike team. I’m thinking of asking Dedrick if he wants this job.”

“Sounds good, we could also use them to conduct specialized training to the troops should we ever get the time. Maybe we should have him draft most of his people from the force recon element.” Rodrigues smiled. He knew Riley would be on top of this. He really liked where it was heading.

“The last group would be a specialized attachment of the force recon Marines. We’ll use them for reconnaissance, more akin to the long-range surveillance units we operated on Tauron. They’ll be inserted and will operate autonomously for days, and even weeks at a time. We’ll use them to transmit information back to command-and-control regarding troop movements, emplacements, and anything else we need to know before an operation. We can also dedicate a few sniper teams to this unit to handle any special requests.”

“Do you have anybody in mind to run this unit?”

“I have a few, although want to talk to them first before I make any decisions.” Riley looked up past Rodrigues’ shoulder to see QuickDraw enter the mess hall. QuickDraw walked up to a cabinet and grabbed a glass. Then picked up a bottle of alcohol from the cart next to it. Turning, QuickDraw walked over to an empty table in the far corner, pulled out a chair, and set. Pulled the top off the bottle and filled half the glass. He then just sat there and stared at it. Riley returned his attention back to his commander. “So what you think boss?”

“Doesn’t seem like you’re leaving yourself and the rest of shadow team with a lot of things to do.” Rodrigues chuckled. He knew shadow team had plenty to do. Hostage rescue, pinpoint strike missions, high-value target neutralization, etc. Knowing Riley the way he did Rodrigues could be sure shadow team would not be staying out of anything. “I think, Colonel, in the downtime you have, it would be best served to get this stuff in motion. You have my blessing. Now if you’ll excuse me I think I better try and get some down time while I can.”

“Aye sir,” Riley stood with Rodrigues as the admiral turned and left. He began to walk towards the door but paused. Looking over he saw QuickDraw still seated at the table, unmoving. He turned and walked towards the table where the young pilot sat. “Do you mind if I have a seat?” He said.

QuickDraw looked up from his glass and, seeing the Marine Colonel standing in front of him, began to stand.

“No need for that,” Riley said.

“Please, help yourself.” QuickDraw said. “I don’t know how much company I’ll be but you’re welcome to sit here if you want.”

Riley sat down and looked at the captain in front of him. He could tell something was troubling QuickDraw. “I wanted to personally say thank you for helping us out over Oasis. If it wasn’t for you and the rest of the squadron we probably would’ve been spread all over the atmosphere like PG402.”

QuickDraw turned his gaze to his drink. For whatever unknown reason he didn’t have the stomach to want to even drink it. Not looking up he answered, “That’s what we're here for Sir. We lost good people though.”

Riley nodded, “I heard. I’m sorry for your loss.” Riley could tell QuickDraw wasn’t in the mood to say too much more. “I just wanted to say thank you. If you need anything my door is always open.” Riley rose and began to leave.

“Does it ever get any easier? I mean, do you ever get used to losing people?” QuickDraw finally looked up from his glass.

“Easier, absolutely not.” Riley shook his head. “Not only does it not get easier, sometimes it gets even harder. The thing you need to remember is that when it begins to not matter, that’s when there’s a problem. We are all members of the military, sure, but were also people. Losing someone, no matter who that person is, isn’t meant to be easy. Take your grief, your anger, and your hatred, and put it away for a time when you need it. Don’t ever let it consume you, or you’ll be dead. You’ll make mistakes that will get you or someone else killed.”

QuickDraw nodded. “Sometimes I think being a viper pilot is a mistake.”

“You are a viper pilot for a reason. You’re there to keep us alive. I can’t handle things in the air as you can. I have to have ground under my feet.”

“I just wish sometimes all of this could end. All we do is run and the only thing we get out of it is a bullet in the back of the head.”

Riley exhaled slowly, “what we get out of this, QuickDraw, is the knowledge that we’re protecting innocent people. I don’t know about you but that’s all I know. And as long as I’m here, as long as there is an enemy trying to exterminate us, I’m going to do my job.”

That statement seemed to snap in QuickDraw’s head. He looked up at Riley. “Thank you sir, I appreciate it.” As Riley left, QuickDraw looked at the glass in front of him. He lifted it up and drained the contents. “I know what I need to do now,” he whispered.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Day 283, Early evening

Chief Alexandra MacLean stood uncertainly outside the hatch to the Libra’s sickbay. She turned to leave, then turned back. “Oh, frakkit,” she finally muttered crossly to herself, and went in.

She turned and walked down the inner passage to the medical admin offices, stopping in front of Monica Fox’s desk. She wasn’t surprised to see the tall, blonde woman there—relieved, actually, because that meant Dr. DeValera was still on duty.

“Hello, Chief,” Monica greeted Libra’s Deck Chief warmly. “How are you doing?” Monica could see that Mac was troubled, and her question held genuine concern.

Mac sighed. “I could be better, sir,” she said. “Do you think Dr. DeValera would have a little time to talk to me?”

“I think he’d just finishing up some paperwork,” Monica told the small knuckledragger, standing. “Let me check.” She went into DeValera’s office, closing the hatch behind her.

“What’s up, Monica?” DeValera asked, looking up from the medical records on his desk.

“Mac’s here, Ralph,” she told him. “And she looks… stressed. She wants to talk to you.”

“Of course,” the physician nodded, closing the folder and putting it to the side.

“Frankie…?” Monica said.

Ralph grimaced slightly. “Probably,” he said, getting up and going to her. He gave her a small smile, smoothing his hand over her pregnancy and kissing her cheek. “I’ll close up shop here when we’re done talking… see if you can round up some dinner for us and I’ll meet you in our quarters later.”

She nodded, stepping out as he opened the hatch.

“Mac, come on in,” DeValera said to mechanic.

“Thanks, sir,” Mac said to Monica, then followed DeValera into his office, hovering hesitantly.

“Have a seat, Mac,” he said, closing the hatch. He went to sit in one of the comfortable chairs at one end of his office, and Mac sat in the other. She didn’t relax, though, sitting straight, her hands on her knees.

“How’s business?” he asked her casually, sitting back in the chair and resting an elbow on the chair arm.

“Oh, it’s all right,” she said, clearly more comfortable with a safe topic. “I’ve been trying to help out with the Viper manufacturing line… we don’t have enough trained mechanics to staff it properly, and half of them are fleet civilians who’ve never worked maintenance before. They’re doing okay, but we just don’t have enough people to train them, or to get everything done quick enough.” She shrugged. “I’m used to that sort of problem, though. We’ll sort it out.”

He nodded with understanding. “I’m sure you will,” he agreed. “But you’re not here about a backlog with Viper production.”

Mac sighed again. “No, sir,” she said. “You know why I’m here.”

“Frankie,” he stated.

She nodded. “I know he’s been coming to see you, because he wasn’t happy that Gunnery Sergeant Razorski ordered him to and he bitched about that. But he…” her voice trailed off. She breathed in and out and then continued, “I know you can’t talk about his sessions with you. But I don’t think… it doesn’t seem like… he’s really trying. To get over k-- shooting Dr. Valliant.” She’s almost said ‘killing’, but that wasn’t true. The eighth cylon model known as Sarah Valliant had resurrected and returned to the Fleet.

“What has he said to you?” DeValera asked intently.

“Nothing,” she grumbled. “He has nightmares. And he’s been drinking too much. And he doesn’t want to have sex or even touch and kiss. I know it’s really bothering him, but he says everything is fine.” She looked down at her hands, clenched together between her thighs. “He doesn’t act like anything is fine, no matter what he says,” she said softly, “and most of the time it seems like he doesn’t even want to be with me. He doesn’t come home most nights and tells me he’s on duty but I know he’s not.”

DeValera waited silently.

“You know he actually shot her… that model… twice,” the Chief said abruptly, looking up. “On Pythos, too, when he was doing sniper duty. He didn’t see her face, then, but he told me about it. After he shot Dr. Valliant. He knew, then, that he’d shot her before.”

The doctor nodded.

“He’s… bitter. And depressed. And angry. He said he thinks it’s his destiny to destroy her, not just Dr. Valliant, but all of her… that model,” Mac’s voice was so low, DeValera had to listen closely to hear her. She was looking down again, a silver glint of a tear dropping from her cheek. “It’s like he’s a whole different person. It’s only been ten days since… I know it’s hard. But I don’t know what to do. To help him.”

Dr. DeValera breathed out slowly. Quietly, he said, “There’s not much any of us can do to help, until he wants to help himself.”

Mac looked at him, scrubbing the tear-track on her face with the heel of her hand. “What should I do?” she asked him, gulping. “I have to do… something.”

“Keep on caring,” he said gently. “Keep on being yourself. Don’t take his behavior personally—it’s not against you, it’s against himself.”

“Should I try to make him talk?” she asked. “Or pretend everything is fine? Should I ignore when he’s angry, or… fight back? Should I try to cheer him up, or just leave him alone?”

Slowly, DeValera shook his head. “I don’t know, Mac,” he said softly. “Right now, he doesn’t want help. Hopefully he’ll soon see that he needs it.”

“I don’t know, Doc,” she said, close to tears again. “He won’t take the medicine you gave him. He won’t listen to anyone, not even Razor or any of his friends. I’m afraid he’ll do something… bad.”

“Has he said anything about wanting to kill himself?” he asked intently.

She shook her head, swallowing hard. “No, but he wants to go back into combat, fight the cylons again. And he tried to get into a fight with Dan—Lance Corporal Wolfe. It’s like, like he’s trying to find a way to get in trouble. Trying to find a way to punish himself.”

“That’s a common reaction for what he’s been through,” DeValera said, leaning forward to put his hand on Mac’s shoulder. “It’s important that you don’t blame yourself for what he’s struggling with. The best thing you can do for him is to take care of yourself. Be yourself. Trust your instincts. Don’t give up—but don’t let him drag you down, either.”

Mac finally sat back in the chair, rubbing her face with both hands. “It’s so—frakking—hard,” she said with frustration. “And I’m not even the person it happened to. I can’t imagine what he’s feeling.”

“None of us can,” DeValera replied. “Even if we’ve been through similar circumstances, each person has their own way of dealing with it. Keep on being strong, and come talk to me any time you need to.”

She gave him a lopsided smile. “I don’t feel strong,” she told him.

“You are, though,” he smiled back.

She nodded. “We all are, to have survived the incomprehensible,” she sighed. She stood, and he got up, also. “Thanks, Doc,” she said.

“Any time,” he repeated, “come talk to me.”

“I will,” she promised, straightening her spine, and she walked out with resolution in her step.

“Let’s hope he sees reason before it’s too late,” DeValera murmured to himself. He turned off the lights in his office and left, dogging the hatch behind himself.

Author:  jdctexas [ Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Highlands Dawn
Presidential Suite
Evening of Day 283

It was finally a quiet moment for Andy Meyers, the President of the Fleet and Quorum of Twelve. The day had been all about numbers: dead, missing and new. Like most of the government, he didn't have a grasp of how many people were in the fleet. The last days over Oasis had been an insane mess, especially right before the Cylons appeared. Colonials and Oasians had been crammed into ships, shuttles and every transport that had open spaces that could go planetside.

Now, the Colonials were in the process of identifying everyone they could. Due to the hectic nature of the last day of evacuations, not everyone had documents. Some had already been moved around the fleet. Documenting and getting a good census of the fleet was much harder.

Andy next looked at the list of the dead. That list, for the most part, was easier to put together. It was filled with the names of the crew from PG-402, lost military members and the dead from the damaged Nimbus. Captain Dana Yearwood topped the list. No matter how many times he had looked at the list, seeing her name hurt him the worst. Another friend lost to this...insanity! I hope and pray the Cylons were telling the truth about this being over...but I doubt it.

Meyers couldn't take another moment of re-hashing bad news. He placed the report back in its folder, opened a desk drawer, dropped the folder in and slammed the drawer shut. It didn't make the President feel any better, but for the moment, the report was out of his sight.

These people need to be remembered, Andy thought. Civilian and military...something needs to be done or said. Meyers was about to page his personal secretary when he looked around the room: except for his cat, he was alone for the first time all day. I need a break...I'll do this myself and then contact Ben.

After reaching for a legal pad and pen, Andy started to write. He'd spend the next six hours scribbling his thoughts to paper before falling asleep on his office couch.

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Six quietly made her way down the baseship corridor. As she reached a hallway juncture, the Cylon peered around the corner. All was clear: no Centurions or biological Cylons. As quickly as possible, she continued on her journey. Almost there...almost.

After a few more minutes of travel, the Six model finally made it to the hangar bay. This is where things could become tricky. If all had gone right, the Centurions would pay her no attention. The Heavy Raider that awaited her was less than a hundred yards away. Briskly, the dirty-blonde Cylon made her way across the bay. As planned, the Centurions paid her no heed. Almost there...I’ll have to execute the jump as soon as I clear the bay doors...

The hatch to the Heavy Raider opened as she approached. Six stopped in her tracks as she watched two Centurions walked out with their hands and arms in automatic weapons mode. As the Six looked around, she noticed she was surrounded. A ‘sister’ looked at her with disdain. A Three model sneered as she made eye contact.

“I must say, it was a nice try, Six” One said as he appeared from Heavy Raider. “You almost made it out of here. Now, before I go back to what I was doing, we’ll collectively ask one more time: Where?”

“I don’t know and if I did I’d never tell you...John” the Six said defiantly.

John ‘Cavil’ glared at the Six and then looked at the others. “The next time I suggest that we box our problem and then tear the humans apart, listen to me! Our time has been wasted in this little game. There are better things to do. Time to set course to the human fleet. Centurion, finish this broken machine.”

A lone Centurion stood in front of the Six and leveled its gun at the shaking Cylon’s head. For her part, the Six closed her eyes and started to mutter a prayer...then there was a bang.


Special Holding Cell – Battlestar Taurus
Day 283

The Six known as Carolyn Warren screamed as she sat straight up in her bed. Breathing hard, she looked around the cell. Above her, she could hear the sound of a security camera moving to take a look at her.

Slowly, she placed her hand on her pregnant belly and looked down. Her breathing began to calm as she relized it was all just a dream...a bad dream.

”Prisoner, do you need any assistance? It was one of her guards on the other side of the heavily-reinforced hatch.

“No...I am fine.” Warren said after a few moments. “I’m fine.”

“Then keep it the frak down in there, Cylon,” the guard replied coldly. She could hear an audible click as the guard turned off the intercom.

I hope that dream didn’t mean anything. Carolyn looked down and touched her stomach. For all of our sakes, I hope that was just a bad dream.

Author:  hazend [ Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Twenty-three Days Earlier

Far Side of Planet
Cortina Shuttle Crash Site
Day 260 0010 HRS CUT

Rodrigues watched the flames dance in the fire pit the group had dug only a few hours before, transfixed by the flickering light. The wisps of fire danced around each other and the burning wood as carefree as small children would play joyfully in a large yard. The crackle and pop of the wood drowned out the far away sounds of the rain forest’s wildlife, muting their cries and bleats.

“Sorry to hear about your wife Admiral,” Merton said. He handed a canteen cup to Rodrigues, a small gesture of condolence from something that had happened so long ago.

Rodrigues took the offered container and drank deeply. “Thank you,” he said. I appreciate it.” He continued to stare into the flames.
Merton shifted uneasily. He looked at the others, sleeping nearby. The only other person awake was Crenna, who kept watch on the campsite from a dozen or so meters away. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Rodrigues gave a silent chuckle, sensing his comrade’s awkwardness. “Not too much more to tell. We had talked about retiring and trying to raise a family a few times but it never really seemed like a priority.” He took another sip from the cup and passed it back to Merton. “We both loved being in space, something about the freeness of it all. We knew the risks and yet it didn’t seem to matter.” He turned and looked at the Pack leader. I would suspect you are the type who feels the same way?”

Merton nodded and drank a bit from his own cup. “True, I guess I would be climbing the walls if I got stuck too long in one place.” He watched the flames for a few more minutes, also lost in the flickering light. “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?”

“When the Cortina disappeared the Admiralty went into panic mode,” Rodrigues replied. Picking up a stick, he prodded the fire. “That ship was their best hope to conduct a new type of warfare,” he turned his head and looked directly into Merton’s eyes. “We were going to begin running combat operations which relied more on the use of Special Operations troops than the regular line.” Rodrigues looked down at his Canteen cup, watching how his slight movements created ripples in the water. “I’ll admit it had merits but you can’t wage a war of this kind that way. The cylons aren’t terrorists; at least they weren’t in the way the admiralty believed. This wasn’t going to be a bunch of hit and run attacks by a guerrilla force. When they came back, they were going to come with everything they had. A belief that we all saw firsthand.”

Merton nodded absently. He took a few brief moments to carefully consider his next question. Merton liked the admiral. Hell, he even admired him in a way. The only problem was he wasn’t completely certain how the man sitting next to him would take being asked personal questions. “I’ve spent my fair share of time in the military, Admiral. What I don’t understand is why the Admiralty would have completely lost their shit over one missing vessel. I don’t mean any disrespect, Sir, but it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense."

Rodrigues chuckled silently. He took another sip of water from the canteen cup and set it down on the log next to him. Getting up, he prodded at the flames with the stick in his hand once more to get the flames moving again. He put the stick down in place his hands in the small of his back, in the area of his kidneys, and stretched. He turned back to his companion. “Yeah, well you know how the Admiralty was in the last few years. If anyone even mentioned Cylons, half of them completely come unglued while the other half thought the toasters were gone forever. They went nuts because the Cortina wasn’t a standard surveillance ship. It was a prototype to a whole new type of warfare."

Merton looked at the admiral with intense interest. “Since when does a surveillance ship. Become the answer to a war. You need heavy hitters out there, you need fighters out there. Hell Admiral, you even need a bunch of Marines to take the ground objectives and hold them. What was so damn special about the Cortina?"

“The Cortina is based off of the Valkyrie light carrier concept. She has a radome on both topside and her bottom, has one squadron of fighter craft for defense, a full contingent of Marines special operations troops, and a shitload of heavy ground equipment to include tanks and land rams. Add to that, a construction area which could keep knocking out new equipment as needed. On the surveillance side, you had state-of-the-art listening equipment and some of the most sophisticated drones I have ever heard of. They used tight beam technology to send back real-time video and still images of a target. Parked in orbit, a battlefield commander could have high resolution images of a planet’s surface down to being able to count the freckles on an Aquarian’s backside."

Merton shook his head. “So you’re telling me the Admiralty combined a surveillance platform with a troopship. And that’s what they were freaking out about?"

“That, and the fact she had enough firepower to level a good portion of the main continent on Caprica. She carried a butt load of nuclear weapons in her missile tubes.”

Merton let out a low whistle. “Holy Frak,” he looked up at the admiral. “It makes sense now. They really did put all their eggs into one basket didn’t they?”

“Yeah, what a bunch of paranoid morons. Staggers the mind to think that some of those people had so much power. The only one worth a Frak on that board was Admiral Nagala. It’s a wonder it took the toasters almost half a century to finally wipe us out.” Rodrigues replied bitterly. “It doesn’t matter though; it’s all water under the bridge. They never found her and it’s been over five years since she went missing.”

“Any chance you can get reverse telemetry from the navigation computer?”

“Hard to say,” Rodrigues replied. “Vinoli looked at the data and it looks to be corrupted. We’ll have to take it up to the Libra and have them take a look at it.”

Merton stood and held up his canteen cup in a small salute. “Here’s hoping the intelligence people can come up with something.”

Rodrigues nodded, “Thank you, unfortunately I don’t think he will be able to ever find her. The odds are just too great. She’s a drop of water in the ocean of Aquaria.”

Author:  hazend [ Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Taurus
Medical Conference Room
Day 284

"So..." Colonel Wilson began, growing serious. Admiral Rodrigues set his drink down and gave his attention to the Griffyn's commander. Wilson looked weary, and now he wore an expression of uncertainty. "...we're really going to follow this thousand-year-old chain of ghost satellites, Ben?"

Colonel Richard Cole still stood, hands clasped behind his back, but just as every other officer in the room, he turned to face the Admiral, eyes narrowing as he waited for Rodrigues' response.

Rodrigues began nodding slowly even before he began to speak, and his eyes moved around the room, alighting briefly on each of his assembled officers before returning to Wilson. "It's more like two thousand years, Dean," he commented wryly. "But the answer to your question is yes, we are going to follow them, for however long the trail remains intact."

"So you're convinced they're genuine, and not some kind of cylon trap?"

"As much hardware as the cylons threw into their efforts on Pythos, and the evidence of their forays onto the Chiron, I'm confident that it's no trap", Rodrigues responded. "And if it's not genuine, then it's the biggest gods-be-damned practical joke in the universe." The Admiral could tell Wilson was not yet convinced and continued, hoping he could get the former knuckledragger to understand. "The evidence that Dedrick and his dragon-worshippers presented is compelling, and it has all played out so far. We've verified the first beacon, and, if nothing else, we'll be following a space lane that's been traveled before. That has to be better than wandering around without any clear goal." Rodrigues got up from his chair and walked over to the table at the side of the room. He picked up a pitcher of water and poured some of the contents into two glasses. He picked them up and passed one of the glasses to Wilson. He took a drink from the other. “Think of it this way Dean, every time we’ve followed a beacon-related clue in the past we've found remnants of Colonial presence. I don’t care, at this point, how good the cylons are. They don’t know everything about us. I don’t believe they have been able to think of everything.”

For a moment, everyone was silent, thinking everything through that the Admiral had just told them. After a quick look at the faces of the other attending officers, Cole, the youngest among them, was the first to speak up. "So we follow a millennia old trail towards a planet that has always been regarded as a myth, but all evidence we have points towards it really existing? If so, I only have two questions and I think most of you are thinking the same things. Do we know what might await us there? And who should be told about Earth being our destination? Because having, as you put it, a clear goal, might give us a much needed boost in morale, especially among the civilians. Might even help with integrating the Oasis population..."

“To answer your first question, why not? Where else are we going to go, Richard?” Rodrigues moved over to his chair and sat down. He held the glass in his hands and stared at its contents for a moment, thinking carefully the words he was going to say next. “Caprica, Aquaria, Tauron, Libron, they’re all gone. Just like every other world in the colonies. Anything there is either fully occupied by the Cylons, or has been reduced to ash.” Rodrigues’s voice lowered in volume until it was almost a whisper. Despite that everyone in the room could clearly hear him. “I don’t like this anymore than any of you. But as the de facto military leadership of this fleet, we need to do the things that will best ensure the survival of what might be the entire human race. As for what awaits us? You all know as much as I did. I can tell you what I hope for, and that is another world full of people that can help us, that can take us in, and that we can live with. I want to get as far away from these machines as I can, I want to completely forget about the Cylons and everything they stand for.” Rodrigues realized he was almost preaching and sent back a bit in his chair. “Can we really afford not to try?” He waited for a reply from the men assembled in the room, anyone with a dissenting opinion. He received none. "Now, to answer your second question. I agree the fleet needs to know where we are going. The problem is, how many cylons are still here with us? I'll make a decision on what to tell everyone but the specifics of how we are getting our information will remain compartmentalized. I don't want anyone other than military command staff to have any specifics, understood?"

Wilson raised his hand. "I take it that also includes civilian leadership to include the Quorum?"

Rodrigues nodded. "Nobody but military command. If the president has an issue with being kept out of the loop he can make an appointment with me to talk about it. I'm sure I can fit him in to my schedule sometime in the next decade."

Rodrigues' statement elicited a chuckle from the officers in the room. It was no secret that Rodrigues and President Meyers were no seeing eye to eye recently and to a man, they all were happy to see some of the admiral's junkyard dog attitude return.

"It's settled then," Rodrigues said. "Now if I'm correct we all have an appointment to see the newest addition to the fleet. Let's go folks."

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu May 14, 2015 7:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Freighter Demeter
Day 284, Early

“We've had to learn on the job, Miss Carter,” Clive Brown explained to the Oasian rancher. They were in the cattle confinement in one of the Demeter's large cargo pods, discussing the methods being used to raise cows within the limitations of a space-going freighter. “None of us really knew that much about keeping cattle – or chickens, or fish for that matter,” he went on, gently shaking his head. “We were capable drovers, and we could keep our cargo healthy during a transit. But after we fled from the cylons, we had to improvise systems for keeping our cargo alive for the long term. We've had better success than I expected, to tell the truth. But we're only in our tenth month of doing this, and if we're going to make it for the long haul we still have problems to solve – like breeding another generation of cattle.”

Carly Carter nodded. It was the morning of her fourth day aboard the Demeter, and only the beginning of her second day learning the systems that supported the lives of the animals aboard the freighter. She and her nieces, Mindy and Hannah, had been touring the compartments where the crew of the ag ship raised chickens and fish, and kept the small herd of cattle. Hannah was her usual wide-eyed, inquisitive self but Mindy seemed disinterested. Carly scowled at her older niece before returning her attention to Clive.

“It's amazing what you've done, with limited experience and equipment.”

Clive acknowledged her praise with a slight smile. “Thanks. Your expertise is going to be invaluable, though, if we're going to keep these cattle alive.”

Carly's response was cut off by the appearance of Else Mueller. “Clive!” the 13-year-old called out as she approached the group, “There's a shuttle inbound from Harvest Moon with two more transfers.” Shifting her focus to Hannah Carter, Else went on, “I think one of them is your cousin!”

“Skye!” Hannah exclaimed, clutching at Carly's arm. “Can we go see her?” she asked, looking first to her aunt and then to the Demeter crewman.

“Else, take them to the shuttle bay,” Clive replied, nodding. “Miss Carter,” Clive added as she began walking away, “I know this has been a difficult time for you, but I thank the gods that you're here now.”

Carly Carter nodded solemnly, then followed Else Mueller out of the cargo pod.

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu May 14, 2015 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Ag Freighter Demeter, Shuttle Bay
Day 284, Early

Giada McCormack was still waiting for the shuttle bay to pressurize when Else arrived with Carly Carter and her nieces. Giada greeted Else with a smile, then spoke to Carly as she approached.


“Mom's the only one who calls me that...” Carly's voice trailed off and her eyes glistened with involuntary tears.

“I'm sorry,” Giada apologized, a pained look in her eyes. “It's Carly, isn't it? I'll have to remember that.” Giada brushed at her clothes, turning to face the shuttle bay hatch. Her thoughts returned briefly to the first days after the attacks, almost ten months ago, and how easy it had been to reopen fresh wounds with a few careless words. She didn't know if there was anything she could say that would make things better, so she simply remained silent.

The shuttle bay finished pressurizing and the light over the hatchway turned green. Giada released the hatch and led the Carters within. Two people debarked the shuttle, the first a teenage girl with long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. Behind her followed a lanky brown-haired boy of a similar age. The girl broke into a smile the moment she spotted Giada's group.

Among the Carters, Hannah squealed with delight at the sight of her cousin. She called out to Skye and ran across the deck to meet her. Skye stopped as Hannah wrapped her arms around her.

“Glad to see me, huh?” Skye teased.

Hannah looked up at her cousin, grinning, but did not let go. “Just a bit,” she admitted.

The rest of the group approached, and Skye looked to her other cousin and then to her aunt. “Mindy, Aunt Carly,” she acknowledged them.

Rich Baracon stood by as the Carters greeted one another, not uncomfortable but still feeling a bit left out. Giada, who had been letting the girls' reunion continue uninterrupted, noted the trace of sadness in the young man's eyes and realized that he might be his family's only survivor. Attempting to divert his thoughts, she cleared her throat and began speaking.

“Welcome to the Demeter,” she said with genuine feeling. “I'm Giada McCormack, ship's cook and de facto social director,” she went on, wearing a mischievous smile. “You must be Richard Baracon.”

“Richie,” Skye corrected. She turned to face Giada, having broken off Hannah's bear hug.

The boy gave Giada a respectful smile, then shot Skye a look of mild reproach. “I think I prefer 'Rich',” he said.

“Sorry,” Skye replied, her eyebrows knitted in momentary puzzlement. She'd always known him as Richie. This preference for a shortened moniker was new. Rich simply shook his head slightly, dismissing her concern.

“So where have you two been?” Carly asked.

Harvest Moon, ma'am,” Rich replied. “The ag station. Skye found me at the camp and ditched her shuttle to come with me. We rode up on a transport, with like a hundred folks on board.”

Skye nodded, remembering the ride on the Highlands Dawn transport. “Yeah,” she affirmed, “I was supposed to be on one of the starliners...”

Giada drew a sharp breath, then immediately regretted it. Carly turned to her, eyes questioning.

PG 402,” Giada began, explaining. “One of the starliners was destroyed during the evacuation. It was Pan Galactic Flight 402.”

Skye shivered, and her hand found Rich's. “I was supposed to be on that,” she said, eyes wide with the realization that by mere chance she'd cheated death.

“How many people?” Carly asked.

“Almost two thousand,” Giada stated apologetically. “The President mentioned it in his address to the fleet.”

“David,” Carly gasped, turning her attention to Skye. “Have you seen him, or heard from him?”

“He's okay, Aunt Carly,” Skye reassured her. “He found me yesterday. That station is huge – he'd been just one deck above me since we got there and I'd never seen him.”

Relief that her nephew was safe showed clearly on Carly's face, and the news that their brother was in the fleet touched both Hannah and Mindy. “Why didn't he come over with you?” Hannah asked.

“He wants to fly planes,” Skye replied, giving Hannah a lopsided smile. She looked to Carly, her expression turning serious. “Space fighters,” she clarified.

Carly's eyes flared for a moment at the thought of the risks that entailed. Her nephew was an adult though, twenty-two years old and responsible for determining his own future. Here in the fleet he would be in his element. He'd always loved flying, and had been fascinated by space and the Oasis colony's history – or at least the part of it that involved space travel. She knew he'd been out to the wreck of the Sextant at least once, and a hill near their ranch had been a favorite spot of his because one could see the wreck from there.

“Dad stayed behind,” Skye added, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill onto her cheeks. “G'ma too.” Her questioning look was as clear as words to Carly. Anyone else?

Carly swallowed hard at the news that her oldest brother had remained on Oasis. Though she wasn't surprised that Emmett hadn't come to the fleet, hearing Skye confirm it made it real. She drew a deep breath. “Wayne and Lily stayed with Mom” she said, referring her middle brother and his wife, Hannah and Mindy's parents. “Nobody had heard from Michael when we left.” She gave a helpless shrug.

There was a moment of silence among them, and Giada moved quietly to put a comforting hand on Carly's arm. She wished for words to say, to comfort these refugees. She did not want them to suffer such sadness, but she knew of nothing that she could say that would diminish their pain. All she could do was offer them a place in a new family aboard the freighter, but she dared not put that into words at this moment. Instead, in a hushed voice, she suggested that they leave the shuttle bay.

“Let's get you settled in, and maybe something to eat?” Giada gestured toward the hatchway.

Else Mueller, who'd been quietly absorbing every word since she'd arrived at the shuttle bay with the Carters, tugged gently on Giada's arm.

“Momma will want to meet them, too,” she said.

Author:  RangerLord [ Sat May 23, 2015 11:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Taurus
Recruitment Office
Day 284 0800 Hours

"Warren Carter?" the Specialist asked aloud, glancing between the two men standing in the passageway outside the Recruitment Office.

David Carter met her eyes, taking a half step forward. "Ensign Allen will see you now," the Specialist stated in response.

Carter stepped into the office, noting yet again how cramped everything seemed despite the immense size of the battlestar. I guess there's a lot of stuff shoe-horned into this ship, he mused silently. Carter had soaked in the atmosphere of the Taurus from the moment he'd left his shuttle on the hangar deck until he'd reached this place, near the CAG's office. The old battlestar seemed to be all greys and blacks and shadows, and it smelled of oil and sweat.

The officer seated at a desk within the compartment rose as Carter entered. He was tall, probably a full six feet, and tallow-haired with an easy smile. He appeared to be no more than a half-dozen years older than Carter. His left arm was in a sling and the bandages that covered his left hand continued up the limb, disappearing into a sleeve that had been partially split to accommodate their bulk.

"Mister Carter," the officer greeted him, "welcome to the Battlestar Taurus. Have a seat."

Carter obeyed, sitting with his back straight in the single chair. He placed his hands on his knees and gave the officer his full attention.

"I'm Ensign Anthony Allen, and that's the last time I'll rise when you enter a compartment," Allen said. He paused a moment, watching Carter, then snorted a laugh. "Unless you wash out and become a civvie again," he added with a shrug.

Carter didn't immediately say anything. In fact he wasn't sure what to say, or if he was even supposed to say anything. Ensign Allen looked directly at him, bemused. "Silent in the presence of a superior officer," he noted. "We're off to a good start."

Allen picked up a few papers from the desk, skimming across the top page. "Warren David Carter the Second," he recited with mock gravity. "So you're a Junior?"

"Uh, no sir," Carter replied, finding his voice. "Warren Carter was my grandfather. I'm not a junior, just a second."

"Ah, I see," Allen. He returned to perusing the pages before him. "Age 22. Former resident of Oasis. Rancher. College graduate. Certified single-engine aircraft pilot with 6 years experience." Ensign Allen made a face that indicated he found Carter's resume to be marginally passable.

"So Carter, why do you wanna fly Vipers?"

By now Carter had grasped that Ensign Allen had a sense of humor, so he took a risk. "I didn't figure you had anything prop-driven on board," he quipped, adding a shrug. When Allen snorted another laugh, Carter grinned and went on. "Truthfully, sir, I've always been fascinated by the idea of spacecraft. I've read everything I could find on the colony ship that settled Oasis, and its escort. Then, when you all came and I saw those space fighters... well, that did it for me. I knew I had to fly one."

Allen wore a satisfied look, and was nodding slowly. "I had toy Vipers as a kid, but when I saw my first real one at an airshow, that's when I decided I had to be a pilot. I know exactly what you felt." The Ensign flipped through the remaining papers, then slid them into a folder. He sat back in his chair and fixed Carter with his gaze. "You should know, Carter, that your life expectancy in a Viper in combat against the cylons is less than ten minutes." He paused, letting that fact sink into Carter's mind. "Now that doesn't count training, or patrols... that's actual combat time." Allen patted a log book with his good hand. "That's all our fights with the tin cans, combat time for the survivors and the casualties. Some of our better pilots have more than that in combat time logged, so as you can guess, the nuggets have the short end. And you're a nugget, Carter."

It was Carter's turn to signal his understanding with a slow nod. "I get it. It's probably the most dangerous job in the fleet." He looked around, then met Allen's gaze. "I could go work on one of your livestock ships, and that's important work - probably critical work. I get that too. But I'm a pilot. And you need pilots."

"Very well then," Ensign Allen said. He stood, gathering up a few pages from the desk. "This is your enlistment agreement. Take it back to the Harvest Moon with you, then read it through. If you still want to volunteer, sign it and send it back to me via Fleet mail. I'll assign you to a training squadron and notify you of your start date."

"Give me a pen, I'll sign it right now," Carter countered.

"No, nugget," Allen replied, his expression serious. "You'll follow orders and take it with you. Think it over before you sign." Carter nodded and accepted the papers.

Allen offered his hand, and the two men shook. "You're dismissed," Allen said, and as Carter turned to leave, Allen added, "Carter, make out your will."

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed May 27, 2015 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Deck 3, Warehousing
Day 284 Mid-morning

Scott Thorpe sat on the deck, his back against a bulkhead. His laptop computer was closed and laid across his knees; atop it was a sheet of paper. Scott held a pen above it, the side of his hand resting on the laptop. His attention was on the young man who sat beside him.

"Where you figure we'll be sent, Matt?"

Matt Volk looked up from the paper he held, regarding his friend. Thorpe was barely 20, with a shock of unkempt sandy hair above a high forehead. His friend was of a similar age, though the mop of black hair that hung into Volk's eyes did not foreshadow the balding that would befall Thorpe. Volk regarded him with a look of concentration.

"I'd be of use anywhere there's work about," Volk said. "You bein' in the gun trades, seems certain you'll go to one of the warships."

Thorpe nodded, frowning thoughtfully. "Most like they'd have me make my mark and join up," he surmised. "Mitzi won't take a shine to that."

Volk shook his head. "They need you, they'll take you as a civilian. They don't... well, you can always turn a wrench for me."

"Heh," Thorpe laughed. "Like I did when you were milling gunbarrel stock in Building Four? I missed my quota two months in a row, so much time I spent making your machine right."

Volk let out a sigh, then let his eyes rove across the expanse of the room where they sat. It had been a storeroom, its contents hastily removed and stuffed into other warehouse space so that it could be turned into temporary quarters for the immigrants. Bedrolls dotted the deck everywhere, and here and there a few Oasians had managed to set up makeshift screens that offered a minimum of privacy. The officials aboard the Harvest Moon had set a security guard at the door, but the immigrants had bombarded him with so many questions and requests that now there were two. The Oasians weren't restricted to the storeroom, but the guards had a limited number of passes for loan so only a few of the newcomers could roam the station at a time.

"Folk seem to have settled in well enough," Volk observed.

"It'll be a shock to some, but they made the right choice runnin'," Thorpe replied. "I'd have left, whether the cylons came round or no. There's those who may arrive upon the moment they question leaving, once the threat seems distant. That's when we have to remind them why they ran." He patted the folded-up laptop computer.

Volk huffed, feigning disgust. "Scott Thorpe, the voice of reason," he said, as though making an introduction. "Will the Colonials give you access to their net?"

"Mayhaps, but there are more ways to sway a man's mind than the written word." Thorpe now looked across the crowded room as Volk had. "If needs be, I can speak as well as I write."

Volk laughed aloud. "Guess you've forgot freshman year, when you ran for student council." He eyed Thorpe for a reaction and got a dark look from his friend.

"I've improved in the days since," Thorpe asserted, then acted as if he were regarding a mirror and straightening a tie. "The folk will look to me for an opinion, as they did back in the world. I'm set to give them that opinion, them that has ears to hear. Better though that I'm on the net to reach those with eyes to read - means I can reach more than just what's here aboard this ship."

Volk nodded acceptance and sat quietly for a long moment. When he spoke, his voice was subdued, his eyes bleak. "How many?" he asked his friend. "How many got away before this fleet left the world forever?"

"One in ten?" Thorpe guessed, his eyes taking on a distant look. "Less than those what settled Oasis."

"Our forebears should never have accepted Oasis," Volk stated, his mouth twisting into a scowl. "When they ended Lathrop, they ended us all."

Thorpe was silent for long moments after that, his thoughts turned to his grandfather and the elder Thorpe's unsuccessful attempt to continue the journey that his friend, Lathrop, had pioneered. When he finally spoke, he did so without inflection, his manner candid.

"We are all ended, Matt. We are not thwarted, though." Thorpe turned to look his friend in the eye, his expression brightening somewhat. "This fleet did not stumble upon Oasis. Somewhere among this throng there are those who believe as our forebears did. They were at the pyramids - they found something." He gestured about them, indicating more than just the storeroom and its occupants. "This is the Search for Earth, Matt. A desperate one, to be sure, but we are set once more upon the course of our grandparents. This is our destiny."

Gravely Thorpe added a silent coda. Their worlds had to end, and ours, to realize this journey. We must not therefore be thwarted, that we may honor those sacrifices.

Author:  jdctexas [ Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Iasoan – Conference Room
Day 284

The guarded door swung open as Commander Guynes sat at his temporary desk. Capt. Ramona Neuman entered holding a hand full of folders. “Good morning, Commander.” Ramona said cheerfully. “How are Jenny and the baby this morning?”

“Doing very well!” William said with a grin. “If all goes well, they’ll head back to the Demeter for a week or two and then return to the Bull. I’m ready to have the family all in one spot.”

“It makes for an easier commute. Here are the dailies that need your signature along with the Colonels’. I was told to tell you it was all ‘run of the mill’ type things.”

William pulled out a pen and signed after briefly reviewing each one. “All quiet? I know we still have a lot in medical that can’t be moved yet.”

“We’ve had it rougher, sir.” Ramona sighed a little. “I still think the Cans are going to show up at any time.”

“I put no stock into what they said about peace. That’s why we continue to drill and be on the lookout. I want my daughter to have a long life…preferably one where she never sees a Cylon. We’re going to do our best for all the kids in the fleet.” Will then paused, taking a sip of coffee before continuing, “Now that you are here, we need to have a little chat. How is the MarDet holding up?”

Ramona’s heart sank a little with the asking of the question. “I’m not gonna lie, sir. The grunts are taking the loss of the Major hard. They try not to show it…but it’s there. I imagine once you find someone to take over for me, things will improve.”

There was something in the way that the Captain said her last statement that threw William for a loop. “Take over for you? What if you are the one who we think is best to take over?”

“I would be honored sir and would do it…but to be honest, I think I’m more valuable in MCIT” Ramona carefully admitted. “I think that it’s a bit more my calling and with the loss of four team members, MCIT is hurting as well.”

“Well, I have to admit, you were at the top of my list.” Guynes paused for a moment. “But, I learned long ago that when one of my main officers feel right about something…they generally are. So, if not you, then who?”

“Someone who is strong and already has the respect of the people he or she works with. Someone who could step in now and get things back on track.” Ramona locked eyes with the Commander, “At this point, someone off-ship and doesn’t have a cloud over them…no matter how small, dinky and full of bullfrak…personally speaking.”

“No Lt. Masterson is what I’m hearing? Can’t say I disagree. Ticking off the Vice President and her security detail wasn’t one of the smartest moves…even if he was right.” Once again, the Commander took a sip of coffee before continuing. “I know his ‘people skills’ leave something to be desired at times, but he is a good officer. He’s also a good Intel Chief. So, off ship but already respected? Gonna have my work cut out for me.”

“Spectres may need a new home before all is said and done.” Ramona said. “Just putting that out there for consideration.”

“According to one of the last things I read, Col. Wilson is feeling good about our chances of bring the Belle back from the brink. Our nomadic warriors may still be able to call that ship home. Dean Wilson is one man I wouldn’t bet against too often. Still, something to consider…his family would all be on one ship. That would make our XO pretty happy.”

Ramona allowed herself to giggle a little, “That’s your selling point, sir!”

“I just have to convince the Admiral of that one.” William paused, “Okay, I’m going to follow what you’ve said and put the ‘help wanted’ sign out. If you have a change of heart, let me know.”

“Yes sir…”

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

With JDCTexas

Hospital Ship Chiron
Deck 3 Medical Conference Room
Day 284 1145 Hours

Doctor Nathan Santana finished speaking to an orderly and gave a nod of thanks to another who'd just arrived with bottles of water for his guests. The four doctors seated at the conference table were all refugees from Oasis, and each had been assisting the staff of the Chiron with the wounded for the last four days. Doctor Armas Lyisti, tallow-haired and fit despite his sixty-two years, held his round spectacles in one hand while he rubbed the bridge of his nose with the other. Beside him Doctor Mira Lyisti-Cora sat watching her father with concern, though her own face displayed signs of both physical and emotional fatigue. Next at the table was Doctor Nicole Praver, who seemed a bit less haggard than the others. Praver watched Santana expectantly.

The fourth Oasian, Doctor Dane Burke, took a bottle of water from the tray on the table. Opening it, he drank deeply, then looked around the assemblage. He had no particular reaction to the Lyistis but scowled slightly when he found Praver's attention on Santana. He looked then to the Chiron's commander and found Santana watching him. Burke gave Santana a cocky smile, despite his weariness.

"Lunch will be here momentarily," Santana said, taking his seat. "Thank you for joining me. Although this lunch is a bit tardy to be an official welcome, I want each of you to know that I am grateful for your invaluable contributions over these last days." Santana spoke with formality, shifting his focus to Dr. Armas Lyisti, the most senior of the Oasians. "As I am confident you can see, the talents each of you possess are sorely needed by this fleet. I believe that the best place for you to practice those talents is here, aboard Chiron. I am asking you, in my capacity as both Captain of this vessel and Chief Medical Officer of this hospital, to join my staff." Doctor Santana looked to each of the Oasians as he made his offer.

Doctor Armas Lyisti smiled at Dr. Santana, "I think I can safely speak for my daughter that she and I will be more than happy to stay on. Any contributions we can make to the people of this fleet... well, Gaea would be disappointed if we didn't use our talents here. If you have a home for us and my grandchildren... then it's a yes."

"Agreed." Mira said in a tired but hopeful tone. "If you have a spot for our family, then we'll gladly make our home here."

As everyone glanced at Dr. Praver, Dr. Burke went emotionally blank on his face. His thoughts, though, were not so neutral. Gaea... Gaea... Gaea with you two. To each their own. Lets see if the butt-kisser continues doing what she did on Oasis?

"I'll gladly stay." Dr. Nicole Praver said with a smile. "If it helps you, my brother Chris repaired medical equipment for several of the doctors and the hospital on Oasis. If you have a need, it'll keep him busy. He's done work for all three of my compatriots at some point."

"Chris did a good job of keeping our older equipment running." Mira said, nodding. "The sensors and leads to fetal heart rate monitors can be finicky... he was an ace at keeping those working well." As she finished she cast a sidelong glance at Praver. She mentioned her brother, but not her husband. That's a bit odd.

Santana nodded, adding another entry to his notepad.

Finally, all eyes turned to Dane Burke. He clasped his hands and looked around the table and then spoke in his accented Oasian / Aquarian voice, "First, I want to say a heart-felt 'thank you' to my fellow Oasian compatriots for vouching for my background and skills. Thank you to you as well, Dr. Santana, for giving me this chance. Also at some point I wish to meet the person who found my belongings on the Griffyn and had them shipped over. I now have something of my family left, other than memories. Since this place seems to be the best place for my skills... then I accept, Dr. Santana."

"Very well then," Santana said, looking around the table. "The Chiron is at roughly 20% of the staff for which the ship was designed. There are a sufficient number of crew cabins for you and your families, and for now you may make this ship not just your workplace, but your home. If you would, please let our Quartermaster know how many persons you will be bringing aboard."

"My daughter and I will discuss it." Dr. Lyisti said. "I see that it would make our lives easier, but we also want to make sure we fellowship with our fellow Gaeans when we can."

"Also, making sure our kids continue their education somehow is important. We will look into everything... but I like the idea of doing it all on one ship." Mira admitted.

"It's a little easier for me, so I'll gladly call Chiron home." Dr. Praver said with a small smile towards Dr. Santana.

"Well, if I need some night life somewhere, I guess I can always risk it and catch a shuttle." Burke said with a sly smile on his face. "I've gotten to know the Quartermaster well the last few days. Mayhaps he knows of a nice two-bedroom apartment with cheap rents?" Burke's smile grew momentarily, then he adopted a serious mien. "Truth be told, though... no commute sounds like a great idea."

Dr. Lyisti-Cora tried not to roll her eyes, "Dr. Santana, I have noticed others with children. Is there a school here or has the government even had a chance to form one yet?"

Santana nodded. "Yes, there are a few children aboard Chiron, and we do provide a classroom and instruction. I'm not certain that their situation is optimum, but the civilian government is still working out the basics of an education system."

Their discussion of living quarters lent a sort of finality to all the Oasians had lost - homes and family, indeed their entire colony - and coupled with their exhaustion it left the group subdued. Lunch had arrived as they spoke of education, and the doctors ate in relative silence. Dr. Lyisti and his daughter seemed almost comfortable with the quiet, as did Dr. Praver. Dr. Burke made several attempts to strike up a conversation, each one invariably involving some detail of his life. Dr. Santana replied briefly each time, barely concealing his disinterest in Burke's self-absorption.

When the meal concluded and everyone started to file out, Dr. Lyisti approached Dr. Santana and extended his hand. "Once again, thank you for offering us a place to stay and be of help."

Santana nodded, gripping the Oasian doctor's hand and shaking it firmly.

While an orderly cleared lunch away another arrived with several messages for Dr. Santana. As he completed his responses and prepared to return to the hospital section of the Chiron, the first orderly handed Santana a folded piece of paper. It had his name written across it. Santana unfolded it and read the brief message, noting the angular scrawl which marked the writer as male.

Let us get together and discuss a fellow compatriot. Your office, on the morrow?

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

With GoldWolf, PG-13

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Quarters of Luther Bragg
Day 284 2100 Hours

"Luuutherrr, come back!" the young girl whined from the doorway to Bragg's bedroom, drawing his name out plaintively. She stood in the portal, naked except for a pair of black high heels, holding a half-empty champagne glass. Bragg didn't answer immediately, and when a second girl grabbed her arm and pulled, the first spun around and disappeared back into the room. A chorus of giggles followed.

Bragg had remained with his back turned to the bedroom, ignoring his carnal guests. He was shirtless and barefoot, clad only in a pair of brown leather breeches that hid little of his physique. He held a champagne glass casually, its golden-tan contents still swirling. Toni Seda stood across the main compartment of his quarters, having just arrived. Though she was far more clothed than the girls in his bedroom, Bragg found her infinitely more intriguing.

Toni raised an elegantly arched eyebrow in the direction of the bedroom, her expression amused. She walked across the room to Luther, taking the glass from his hand and sipping, then she returned the glass to him. "Luuutherrr..." she mimicked the girl's intonation, but her tone was far lower and much more sultry. She chuckled, then, and said, "If you're bored with those, Luther, I can find you different ones."

Luther shrugged, the motion not reaching his arms. "They will suffice," he stated resignedly, "though if you have no further commitments tonight..." His words trailed off and he gave Toni a deferential smile, then took a sip of champagne, clearly expecting her to decline - or ignore - his insinuated suggestion.

She affected an interested expression for a moment; then, growing serious, she said, "I haven't been successful with our current project." Lowering her voice with a glance toward the bedroom, she said, "The fleeties are keeping our captured cylons under very tight control. I haven't been able to get anywhere near any of them--I haven't even been able to get a wireless interview, let alone access to one in person."

"Our lack of a military asset does present a problem here," Bragg observed.

Toni nodded agreement. "The only military assets I've been able to cultivate are on the Colonial Fueler," she sighed. "Unfortunately, none of those have led to any connections closer to the cylons." She paused and added thoughtfully, "I may have a source in Taurus' medical group. I'm sure they have done extensive blood work on the pregnant one they have in custody there."

Bragg sipped his champagne while Seda spoke, then regarded her with a thoughtful scowl. "Continue to work the Taurus angle, dear, but I have another possibility I'd like to to look into. My sources tell me that Kalrk outed himself to the President and the V. P. - as a Cylon." Bragg paused for a moment as Seda processed this new information. "Evidently he has not yet been incarcerated, leaving him much more accessible than any of the others." When Bragg finished, he was looking at her with a raised eyebrow.

The blonde absorbed Luther's news with surprise and growing understanding. "Oh, what an interesting development," she murmured, scores of possibilities flitting through her mind. She gave Bragg a look of respectful admiration. "You have some excellent sources, my dear," she told him. "Do you want me to go after him?"

Bragg regarded her intently. "Look into it, and if the opportunity presents itself, take it," he replied. "Be careful with this one, Toni. If Kalrk is actually just human, he's a remarkably intelligent one, and if he's a cylon..." If he's a cylon, he's far more intelligent and deceitful than you could know, Luther concluded silently.

"It doesn't matter if he's human or cylon," she said with a lazy smile. "If he's male, I can get what we need."

A dark look ghosted across Bragg's face, and he almost involuntarily glanced over his shoulder toward his bedroom. "We're not Gaea cultists, collecting seed to impregnate some willing acolyte. We'll need full chromosome pairs."

Oh, but to get the chance to lead a cylon around by the cock... such an intriguing possibility! "Of course, Luther," she reassured him. "If your sources can get us an idea of his schedule, I could easily bump into him somewhere."

He up-ended his glass, draining the last of the champagne, then pressed the empty vessel into Toni's hand. "I'll have it to you tomorrow," he said, then turned to the short hall that led to the bedroom.

Oh, Luther my dear boy, do my strategies dismay you? Toni thought. It's often the easiest way to get what we need. She put her lips on the rim of the champagne glass, leaving the imprint of her lipstick, then put the glass on an end table and left.

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
High Security Brig
Day 284 Approximately 2200 Hours

Though the hour was somewhat late, Major David Dedrick had no trouble gaining entry to the Libra's high-security brig where Leoben Conoy was held. He'd been there a number of times previously, enough so that the guards knew of his conversations with the cylon, whether they'd been present for the previous visits or not. This visit was recorded, and he was processed through.

As the guards departed, cylon and human stood for long moments regarding one another through a clear polymer wall. Dedrick broke the silence, clearing his throat in preparation to speak, but Leoben preempted him.

"I did not expect that I would speak with you again, David," the cylon stated, a trace of curiosity in his voice.

His intended opening words forgotten, David Dedrick looked askance at Leoben for a moment. "You thought I would not face you, given the duplicity of my statements at our last meeting?", the MILINT chief asked. Dedrick gave a soft snort, and a smile turned up just one corner of his mouth. "Duplicity is what I do, my friend. I feel no compunction for lying to you, no guilt."

Leoben nodded slightly, then focused an inquisitive look upon Dedrick. "Are we friends, David?"

"More like friendly adversaries," Dedrick replied. "A friend would have told me what I needed to know. There would have been no need for deceit. No need of even asking." He met Leoben's gaze and tipped his head slightly. "Addressing you in that way was simply a gesture of good will."

"Good will?" the cylon echoed. "My brothers and sisters attempted genocide against you humans. You will excuse me if I doubt the truth of your good will."

Dedrick paced a few steps along the clear partition, pivoted and paced back. Stopping, he looked intently at Leoben. "I do not think that you... all of you, all of your line, Leoben... I do not think that you favored the decision to eradicate humankind. I think that goes against your spiritual nature."

Leoben held Dedrick's stare for long moments without blinking, then asked, "Why are you here, David? What secret have you come to wrest from me this time?" The cylon crossed his arms briefly, though he kept his right hand raised a bit, index finger extended as though to make a point. "I know we fought recently. You and I. Human and cylon." Taking a step toward the glass wall that separated them, Leo clasped his hands. "I felt it in these bones," he said, then spread his arms wide. "In the bones of this ship, as well."

Dedrick did not reply, and his thoughts spun wildly through the events of the days since the Libra had reached Oasis. He felt defeated, crushed. In the window of his mind he saw Pan Galactic 402 as it was destroyed, watched a nuclear warhead bloom brightly against the hull of the Douglas J. Griffyn. So many had died, and it was all his fault, for placing the Search for Earth above all else.

Leoben had not spoken further, and now he stepped forward again and placed a hand upon the clear cell wall. "What have you done, David?" The cylon's brow crinkled as he tried to understand Dedrick's reticence.

"I have become like you," the human answered vehemently. "I have become death, a destroyer of worlds." With that Dedrick wheeled and strode toward the door.

Before he reached the exit the room rang with the sound of laughter. Dedrick stopped in his tracks, turning slowly to face the cylon but not stepping from his position. The cylon displayed no humor, no mirth. His laugh was deliberate, a slow derisive sound that came from the back of his throat. The sound faded and Leoben's lips parted into a smile that revealed gritted teeth. His eyes never left Dedrick's face.

"I see it now. You poor, miserable human, You think you're responsible for feeding their world to your enemies. Hah!" Leoben stood shaking his head. "You cannot take that onus from us. We are the destroyers, the bringers of genocide. We are the ones who commit sin by continuing this... this atrocity." Leoben's voice dropped, becoming barely audible. "I have warned my siblings of the cost of this."

Dedrick slowly approached the cell once more. "What was your plan, the cylon plan?" He whispered the question, watching Leoben's face as the sound system carried it beyond the wall.

"To kill you all," the cylon responded. After a moment he added, "Things did not proceed quite as Brother Cavil had envisioned."

"All the more now, I would suppose," Dedrick said, and Leoben afforded him a puzzled look. "Your connection doesn't exactly bring you the daily news does it?"

"I sense the stream, David," the cylon replied, understanding dawning on his face. "I see the intertwining of lives, the possibilities, the future, the past. I felt my brothers' and sisters' deaths..." Leoben paused, meeting Dedrick's watching eyes with a steady gaze. "I interpret what I can, such as realizing that a resurrection ship was destroyed. Similarly, I can surmise from your words that something has changed among the cylons."

"It has," Dedrick affirmed. "A Six brought a message, that cylons and humans would now go their separate ways." He paused as Leoben absorbed his statement. "She stated that the planet Oasis was under her - your - protection."

"As you know, I've been away for some time," Leoben observed, "but there has always been an undercurrent of opinion that we could coexist with humans. A return to our post-armistice separation would be the easiest way to effect that coexistence."

"Six said our war was over, but that is a difficult idea for our leadership to accept, given our history. Placing Oasis under cylon protection... that amounts to an occupation, in my eyes. It seems to me that at best we're two fighters withdrawing to our corners, but the fight could easily resume."

"Such a decision would have been reached only by a consensus of the lines," Leoben stated. "Some shift must have occurred, for One would not abandon his Plan willingly. There most certainly would have been dissension among us." Leoben met Dedrick's eyes, holding his gaze once more. "You can trust this message for now, but the currents and eddies within the stream may sweep another direction in time."

Dedrick nodded. Walking slowly toward the exit, he was halted by Leoben's voice. "David, do not blame yourself for the fate of Oasis. Our discovery of that world would have come, with your involvement or without." Leoben chuckled darkly as he continued, "So dispense with the melodrama, and stop blaming yourself. You're simply not that important."

Author:  RangerLord [ Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

With GoldWolf

Cloud Nine Class Luxury Liner Nimbus
Stateroom Suite 1C
Day 285, 0930 Hours

Toni Seda toyed with the end of a strand of blonde hair as she waited for the wireless connection to be completed. The purpose for her call was two-fold, and she smiled to herself with satisfaction, thinking of her goals.

Several minutes passed before a seemingly disinterested voice came on the line saying, "Hold one moment for Captain Kalrk." When Kalrk spoke a moment later, his voice sounded stiffly regal. [This is Kalrk,] he said simply.

“Captain Kalrk, my name is Toni Seda, and I’m a resident of the Nimbus. I run a small business here, providing natural and herbal remedies for the citizens of our Fleet.” She made her voice informal and friendly, but with just enough of a business-like tone so that the former head of K Industries would take her seriously.

[Miss Seda,] Kalrk responded, [what can I do for you?]

“I did manage to trade for some essential oils while we were at Oasis, but frankly, the demand for minor medications is much greater than the Fleet medical personnel can provide. I’m hoping that the Harvest Moon’s crops can provide a continuing source of herbs, spices, and medicinal plants to serve our fellow humans.” Inwardly, Toni was highly amused at the irony; she knew that Kalrk was a cylon, but that fact wasn’t public knowledge. None of her humor was evident in her words.

[That is a high-minded goal, Miss Seda, but one that you are not alone in pursuing.] Kalrk's voice was dismissive, and he seemed to be preparing to cut the wireless call short. [It may be possible, though, for me to provide you with a portion of what we produce,] he continued.

“If it wouldn’t be too great an imposition, I’d like to visit the Harvest Moon… perhaps you could show me some of your crops? I have a special interest in lavender, any variety of mint, cinnamon, clove, and lemongrass, if you currently grow any of those,” she told him. Her litany wasn’t fiction; she did have a small side business trading essential oils and medicinal plants, but that wasn’t, of course, her major source of income.

[A visit, Miss Seda?] A trace of surprise crept into Kalrk's reply. After a second's pause he went on, [I could arrange for a tour with one of my agriculture techs. Those specific crops may be available, either in a current planting or in the seed archive, but the answer to that is beyond my direct knowledge.]

Toni let her voice soften slightly, adding the faintest hint of feminine desire, replying, "I was hoping that I could meet you in person, Captain. You've done so much for the Fleet... it would really be quite an honor to accompany you on an informal tour." She paused and added deferentially, "Of course the details of any business specifics I would arrange with one of your technicians."

The wireless was silent for a moment, and when Kalrk's voice returned it held a hint of reluctant acceptance. [Very well, Miss Seda,] he acquiesced, [I shall make myself available briefly during your visit. I will hand you off now to my assistant, Miss Wayton. She can find you a place in my schedule.]

"Thank you very much, Captain," Toni responded with both confidence and appreciation. "I am looking forward to meeting you."

She smiled complacently to herself as she scheduled the visit with Kalrk's assistant. She'd done her research on Kalrk of K Industries, and cylon or not, he was a man.

Toni Seda was very good at manipulating men.

Author:  RangerLord [ Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Day 285

Fingernails on a chalkboard... the brakes of a well-worn bike... screeches intruded on the man's dormant consciousness, bringing him back from a dreamland where he'd been fleeing down an endless road. Light impinged upon his eyes, though he believed them to be closed. A cool breeze caressed his skin, bringing with it the scent of rain. He was hot, though, burning hot...

The man opened his eyes but the brilliance of the room forced them closed again. He squinted, opening them again though only a narrow slit. Viewing the room through a haze caused by his own eyelashes he saw off-white walls split by tall, narrow windows and a high ceiling with florescent lights suspended on chains. The entire ceiling was grey with cobwebs.

He turned his head to one side, finding that it lay upon a pillow that crinkled stiffly when he moved. He lay in a bed, his upper torso inclined slightly. Beside the bed stood a simple padded chair, its green vinyl covering cracked with age. Between the chair and his bed was a metal stand, an empty fluid bag depending from one of a cluster of hooks at its top. His eyes followed the tube that led from it down to the back of his left hand where an intravenous needle was inserted in a vein.

A surge of fear passed through him and though his other arm was much weaker than he thought it should be, he reached across and tore the tape away from the needle, then drew the needle out. The tape pulled sharply at the hairs on the back of his hand, and the removal of the needle left a dull ache. A droplet of blood welled up, marking the wound.

Now his gaze focused further out, his chin pressed to his chest. His body lay under white sheets, his feet marking two peaks at the end of the bed. A footrail rose just beyond them and he could make out the top of a clipboard hanging there. Further yet a doorway was visible across the room, looking diminutive beneath the high ceiling. The door stood open; beyond it stretched an empty hallway. Both the room and the hall were tiled in a chessboard pattern of black and white.

The man relaxed and let his head fall back onto the pillow. His arms slipped off his stomach to lie at his sides. Blood dripped from his left hand to leave a bright red stain on the sheets, nearly the only color in the room besides the dull green of the chair. He closed his eyes again, listening to the sounds around him.

He became aware of the screeching once more, against a background of wind noise. A storm is coming, he thought. He twisted his head around against the pillow, struggling to see what lay beyond the head of the bed. Another window, tall and narrow with dark metal strips that divided it, criss-cross. The panes of glass were dirty, the grout on the outer side hanging in loose curls.

The tips of a tree branch scraped against the glass, adding to a zigzag trail of marks in the grime. The branch was nearly bare, graced by only a scattering of leaf buds. Above it, a pane of glass was missing, providing the source of the breeze he felt. Beyond, thunderheads scudded across a grey-blue sky. A near-subliminal rumble sounded then, adding to his conviction of a coming storm. Spring showers, the thought came. Then he frowned in consternation. Wasn't it early winter?

He struggled to raise himself onto his elbows, only to collapse back on the bed. Still puzzled by his apparent weakness, he slid his covers off and rolled onto his right side. He bent his knees and struggled to raise his upper body, pushing as best he could with both hands against the mattress. When he was mostly upright, he shifted his legs off the bed. His left foot felt oddly heavy, and it struck the floor with a solid thump. His eyebrows knit in confusion, he leaned forward to look at his foot but a wave of nausea washed over him.

Pushing himself more upright he rolled his head back onto his neck, closing his eyes and waiting for the nausea to pass. When it did he relaxed, and that's when he noticed the table. Stainless steel, it stood on a stand that supported it from the side, apparently to allow it to be positioned across the bed. Now it stood to one side. On it was a glass of water, a medication bottle and a syringe.

He reached out and lifted the glass, his eyes narrowing as he noted the shaking in his hand. Concentrating, he brought the glass to his lips. The water was room temperature and tasted of dust, but it still slaked his thirst. He drained it in a series of gulps then returned it to the table, allowing his arm to drop onto the cold metal surface. The simple act of drinking had nearly drained him of energy.

Forcing his arm to move again, he picked up the medicine bottle. It was glass with a rubber seal held in place by a metal ring. Several puncture marks were visible on the seal, although the nature of the material had closed them up. He rotated the bottle until he could see the label. Quinolone, it read, and somewhere in the back of his mind the word evoked a response. A broad-spectrum antibiotic.

He dropped the bottle onto the table, the metallic clang seeming overly loud. He eased himself forward, placing his hands on the edge of the mattress and feeling the floor beneath his feet. No, just beneath his right foot - he still felt a sense of heaviness from his left foot, and it seemed as though it were asleep. He dipped his head forward, trying to see. Then he froze.

His right foot seemed normal enough, its nails neatly trimmed, but that was not his focus. His left foot, however, was missing... actually, his left leg was gone, replaced from just below the knee with a metal prosthesis. The replacement limb was a dull chrome color, more or less the same dimensions as his right leg, but constructed of articulated segments of metal. Unconsciously he flexed the toes of his right foot, and the chrome replicas on his left mirrored the action.

He stood, testing the response of the artificial foot. Except for the feeling that he still had a flesh and bone lower leg, and that the foot at the end of it was constantly tingling, it felt almost normal. His sense of balance seemed unaffected and he had no difficulty standing. He resolved to walk, and cast his eyes about the room for a destination.

Across the checkerboard floor a steel cabinet stood against one wall. He took a step toward it, pivoting on his false foot and stepping out with his right. He completed the first step without falling, and so he attempted a second. He immediately realized that his earlier impression was right - the prosthesis was heavier than the limb it had replaced - and he managed only to drag it forward a half step. He stooped, catching himself on the bed with his left arm, and then stood upright again. He took a deep breath and let it out, then tried again.

He accomplished a series of halting steps that brought him to the steel cabinet. Like walking with one ankle weight strapped on, he thought. Outside, the thunder rumbled again, louder this time. He opened the cabinet door to find a few clothes hung there. He glanced down at what he currently wore, realizing he'd not paid any attention to the garment thus far. A patterned hospital gown fell to just above his knees, tiny blue flowers on white cotton.

He marked the collar of an olive-drab shirt among the hangers and he reached to separate it from the rest of the items. Pulling it aside, he studied its front. It was well-worn and smelled like wet leaves. On the points of the collar were two rank insignia shaped like diamonds with an extended upper tip, overlaid with a single chevron. His mind identified them, the word coming to the forefront of his consciousness - Lieutenant. He pulled the shirt from the cabinet, lifting it before him so it hung in full view. His eyes sought the name plate, stark white letters on black.

LT MARCUS ALON, it read. Someone had scratched at it with a penknife, making the 'O' into a smiley face.

Marcus cradled his head in his left hand, his fingers pressing on both temples. His right arm dropped to his side, the shirt brushing the floor. A barrage of images flooded his mind, memories of events that had been somehow suppressed. He sank to his knees, the numb sensation from his missing left foot barely registering.

To be continued...

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Day 285

Marcus pushed against his knee with both hands, his right foot planted on the floor. He rose unsteadily, dragging his left leg upright. His uniform shirt lay on the tiles beside his feet, but he ignored it. Looking around, his eyes settled on the clipboard which hung at the foot of the hospital bed. He lurched towards it, taking several rapid steps before faltering and dropping again to his knees. He stretched out a hand, curling his fingers around the cool metal of the bed frame and managed to pull himself closer to the bed. He sagged against the frame, sweating.

After a moment he reached across his chest and fumbled with the clipboard, finally slipping it from its hook. He laid it across his thighs and looked at the top page, but the words were unfocused. He laid his head back, eyes closed, and touched his forehead with his other hand.

He was hot, and the effort of crossing the room had exhausted him. Outside the storm was building, and the air was beginning to whistle as it forced its way through the missing pane of glass behind and above him. A gust of wind sent raindrops spattering across the windows, each one leaving a trail in the patina of dust. Thunder rumbled in the distance.

Marcus opened his eyes again and struggled to focus on the clipboard. He squinted at the words scrawled there, and his head pounded with the effort. With one hand he rubbed at his eyes, then tried again. Though the image seemed to swim in his vision, he could make out some of what was written.

Marcus had basic survival training which included emergency first aid, but much of the clipboard's contents surpassed his knowledge. There were several mentions of infection, and quinilone. He flipped up the top page and scanned a second, then flipped it and discovered a third. There he found mention of injuries sustained in a crash. He pulled his gown aside, looking at his side. A long scar trailed from below his ribs to his hip, the suture marks still visible. He realized he'd been here for some time, enough time for an abdominal wound to heal.

Wherever here was.

He laid the clipboard aside, clutching the rails of the bed to help him to his feet. He was weak and feverish, and apparently had been given quinolone to fight an infection. The bottle on the metal stand beside the bed confirmed what sense he could make of the clipboard notes. He worked his way around and eased himself back into the bed. Slowly and with some difficulty he pushed the syringe into the bottle of quinolone, drawing out what he thought was an appropriate dose. He flexed his arm several times, then slapped the inside of his elbow to bring up a vein. Marcus clenched his teeth and inserted the needle, wincing at the momentary bite of pain. He pressed the plunger, then removed the needle.

He tossed the syringe aside, onto the metal stand where he'd set the vial of quinolone. Collapsing back onto the pillow, he listened to the whistle of the wind through the missing glass pane and the growing rumble of thunder.

Then he lost consciousness.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Maintenance Deck, Bay A
Day 285, Mid-morning

“There, Ollie, see?” Mac said to the knuckledragger at her side. They were looking at a maintenance display screen on the laptop computer that was hooked into the ship they stood by.

“It’s barely a blip, Mac, well within parameters for a small craft FTL,” PO1 Jorgensen replied calmly.

“Maybe so, but this is the Illustrious,” Chief Alexandra MacLean replied with emphasis. She rubbed her forehead, leaving a smear of grease. “Colonel Riley and his team depend on this ship to take care of them. I don’t want any blip at all.”

Libra’s Deck Chief and the Engineering FTL expert had the Illustrious’ engine compartment open; they were working together on the craft’s engines. Jorgensen gave Mac an amused sideways glance. “What have you checked so far?” he asked.

“All the electronics,” she listed, “the spoolers. The fermion cone/node containment crystals. The—,”

Another orange-suited mechanic came trotting up to them. “Uh, Chief,” she said hesitantly, glancing over her shoulder and coming to an abrupt halt next to MacLean.

“What is it, Nura?” Mac asked, puzzled at Morrigan’s odd behavior.

“Corporal Laffitte is looking for you,” Morrigan blurted, but her voice was quiet.

Mac blinked, then in a flat voice said, “Frak.” She sighed. “Where is he?”

“He was headed to your office,” the knuckledragger said.

“Thanks, Nura,” Mac was already moving, and said over her shoulder, “Keep working on it, Ollie!”

She hurried out of the bay, seeing Frankie just as she turned the corner. She stopped, trying to gauge his mood as he marched toward her.

“Where’s my knife?” he asked, coming to a stop in front of her.

“Your what?” Mac asked, the sudden question taking her off guard. “Your combat knife?”

“Yes,” Frankie said impatiently. “It was in our quarters and now I can’t find it. Where did you put it?”

Mac shook her head slowly. “I haven’t seen it, Frankie. I didn’t put it anywhere.”

“It was there,” he insisted. A loud bang came from across the deck and he jumped. “What the frak was that?” he demanded, swinging around and looking across the deck. It was a whirl of activity, mechanics working and rushing back and forth, Vipers and Raptors being towed, an organized chaos.

“Sounded like someone dropped a cover panel,” Mac said, trying to sound calm and reasonable.

Frankie snapped his head around to glare at her. “Don’t condescend me!” he snapped.

“I wasn’t—,” she began, but he interrupted.

“You’ve got grease on your face,” he accused.

She sighed. “Won’t be the first time,” she said, making no move to wipe it off. “Where did you last have your knife?”

“It was in our quarters this morning,” he growled. “I looked all over for it but it’s not there now.”

Mac frowned. “Umm… weren’t you on duty last night? You didn’t come home, at least not before I left to come on duty.” She wrinkled her nose slightly. She doubted he’d been on duty; he smelled of booze and his uniform was wrinkled.

“It. Was. There. This morning,” he said through gritted teeth. “Where did you put it?”

“I didn’t see it and I haven’t put it anywhere, Frankie,” she repeated. “Have you checked the armory?”

“Why the frak would it be in the armory?” he retorted.

Helplessly, she responded, “I don’t know… I’m just trying to help you figure out where it could be.”

He stared at her with narrowed eyes. “You’re lying to me,” he said in a low, hard voice. “I know you hid it somewhere.”

“Why would I hide it, Frankie?” she began to get exasperated. “I haven’t seen it at all.”

“I bet you hid it in your office,” he snarled, hands on his hips.

Wearily, she said, “Go look there, then. I have to get back to work.”

He stared at her silently a moment, his face dark with anger, then without another word turned on his heel and strode away.

Mac watched him go, not moving. Nura Morrigan came up and stopped next to her cautiously. “Are you all right, Chief?” she asked uncertainly.

“Yes,” Mac replied automatically, then, “No! I’m… angry and worried and and… I don’t know what.” She sighed. “Thanks for asking, Nura.”

Nura gazed after Frankie. “He used to be such a nice guy,” she murmured.

Mac nodded. “Yeah, he was,” she agreed with sorrow.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Refinery vessel Necromancer, Rolling Mill Maintenance Compartment
Day 285, 1000 Hours

“Still working on that, Smitty?” Abel Perazzo asked the lean, dark-haired man.

Kasan Smith glanced up from the collection of small parts he had spread out on the table’s surface, and gave his shift supervisor a calm nod. Both men were off duty, but neither cared to participate in the usual leisure time activities of card playing and drinking homemade rot-gut that most of the other steel mill workers enjoyed.

“The cleansing unit is back online,” Perazzo pulled out a chair from under the table, its steel feet scraping on the deck, and sat opposite Smith, watching as he meticulously examined and cleaned each piece.

“We only have two spare spray valves left,” Smith said. He used a small cylindrical brush to clean out a steel tube, holding the tube up to the light to inspect its interior when he was done. After a moment, he added, “We can’t exactly order up new ones.”

Perazzo snorted with amusement. “That’s for damn sure,” he commented. He watched as Smith slid a threaded collar onto the tube and made sure that it fit snugly against the flange at the end of the tube. Unsatisfied, he tipped the tube up and let the collar fall onto the table’s surface.

“You’re pretty good at fixing things,” Perazzo said. “You go to school for that?”

Smith glanced up at him, then back down at the tube, running his thumb and forefinger around the flanged end of the tube. “I went to school, but not for fixing these kinds of things,” he replied. He picked up the threaded collar and felt along the threads with a fingertip.

When Smith didn’t elaborate, Perazzo dared to ask, “What did you go to school for, then?”

Again Smith looked up at him, for a few seconds longer this time, and finally answered, “Gunsmithing.”

Perazzo gave a surprised ‘hah!’, then said, “Don’t know why I’m surprised. You’re from Scorpia, aren’t you?”

With amusement, Smith asked, “Everyone from Scorpia is a gunsmith?”

“No,” Perazzo grinned. “I just meant… ah… well, y’know, there’s alotta fighting on Scorpia. Those nomads and all.” He stopped short, suddenly realizing that he may not have chosen his words too wisely.

Smith’s dark eyes held a hint of humor and he nodded, unperturbed.

Perazzo looked as if he would ask another question, but thought better of it, and closed his mouth with a snap.

“I went to gunsmithing school on Caprica,” Smith said. He didn’t look up from his work, but he sensed Perazzo’s relief. The man was rough and uneducated, but he knew steel, worked alongside the people he supervised, and was a fair leader. Smith had known worse… and better. He had no complaints about the man. The job was hard, dangerous, and dirty, but Smith had known worse… and better. He was patient. If he did his work, stayed anonymous, his time would come. He knew how to lay wait in the sand until his prey was close.

He was patient.

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Hospital Ship Chiron
Crew Quarters, Stateroom 314
Day 285 1138 Hours

David Dedrick laid his duffel bag on the bed and then put his hands on his hips, surveying the compartment. It was modest in size, which was to say it was one of the smaller quarters aboard the hospital ship. Perhaps that explained why it was empty. Only a limited number of staterooms were occupied by current crew, but many of the compartments still contained the effects of personnel that had been on shore leave when the Chiron left Scorpia, only hours before the cylon attacks. It seemed to David the right thing to do, to respect the dead and the things they had left behind. He did not expect to spend a great deal of time aboard Chiron, and little of that in his quarters. This small, empty room would suffice.

He was interrupted by a knock on the bulkhead behind him and he turned to face the open door. "Ah, Lieutenant Nara," David said, recognizing the Chiron's Executive Officer from when he'd initiated the Ophiuchus computer - the day the Chiron's FTL drives went runaway. He'd worked with her, too, during Operation Haystack when the Chiron had located the first of the beacons toward Earth. Nara was an Islander, a native of Aquaria - slender, dark-haired and pretty.

"Major Dedrick," Nara replied, smiling. "I thought I'd stop by and welcome you aboard." Nara stepped into the compartment. skipping the courtesy of asking if she might come in. Her smile persisted, and she watched David intently. "Are you here to inject more excitement into my day?"

David regarded her for a moment with one eyebrow raised, then gave a soft snort. "I suppose my earlier visits were a bit out of the ordinary. Sorry about that."

"I'm not complaining," she said, stepping closer to stand beside him. Nara glanced at the small duffel that lay on the bed, then looked back to Dedrick. "You didn't bring much gear," she observed.

"I'm not staying long," he replied. Her expression hinted at trace of disappointment, and he began to view her behavior in a different light. He canted his head slightly to one side and stated, "I'll be back, though, each time we encounter a beacon."

Nara brightened at that news. Dedrick smiled in return, but it was tinged with embarrassment. He quickly looked away, picking the duffel up and setting it back down on another part of the bed. He seemed to no longer know what to do with his hands. He glanced at them and dropped them to his sides, gave Nara a perfunctory smile and turned to exit the room. "I need to see the captain," he said as he stepped into the passageway. "I need to arrange for some office space."

Nara laughed, the sound light and feminine. "I've seen to that already, David." When he turned back to face her, she explained, "I have a steward stowing the Chief Engineer's personal things. His office is forward on this deck, and just a quick trip up a ladderwell to CIC."

"I'd have preferred an empty office." Dedrick stood in the passageway, Nara remained in his quarters. He regarded her from under a furrowed brow, a bit vexed by her solicitousness.

"There were none close to the bridge," she explained. "Lieutenant Wilkinson spent all his time in Engineering - he hardly used the office. It probably still smells new." As she spoke, Nara stepped to the doorway and placed one hand on the frame.

Dedrick knew very little about Wilkinson, though he recalled that the Chief Engineer had been executed by Black Jack Mayer. He realized that he was facing someone who had actually known the man. Nara had been one of the fifty or so junior officers that had been aboard the Chiron when Mayer had taken over the hospital ship's escort, the Bellerophon. DesChamps had interviewed her aboard the Tauranian Titan before she had returned to the hospital ship.

"You're Scorpian, aren't you?" Nara observed, still standing in the doorway. Dedrick was not expecting their conversation to take this turn, and so he remained silent so she would continue. "The Colonels didn't like Scorpians, especially Colonel Bisby. That made it bad for us, since we had all those mercenaries on board."

Dedrick stepped back closer to the doorway, his attention captured by Nara's mention of the Belle's history. On some level he recognized this was probably her goal - to engage him in conversation - but his interest in the matter overrode his earlier embarrassment. "Bisby was Aquarian," Dedrick noted. "There's a history of distrust between the two Colonies." Dedrick raised an eyebrow, certain that Nara knew he'd marked her as Aquarian.

Again her lilting laugh came. "Those relations have softened," she said, smiling. "Though perhaps we can improve upon them further?" Her eyes held his, but he looked away after a moment. "Bisby was vile and cross," Nara continued, shedding some of her flirtatious demeanor when she sensed Dedrick becoming uncomfortable again. "Major Davenport didn't like having them aboard, but at least he acknowledged that they were people. Bisby, and Mast too, treated them like dogs."

Dedrick's curiosity was rising further. "There were incidents, though, with the mercenaries and the Chiron crew," he said.

Nara laughed softly. "To be sure," she admitted. "They were a salacious lot, men and women alike, and there were those in the crew that found that fascinating." As she spoke, Dedrick wondered if she'd been among the fascinated crew members. "Rough sex wasn't the issue, though," she added, seeming unabashed at the reference. "The mercs were always threatening to take over the ship. Major Davenport didn't think they could fly her if they did, but he wasn't inclined to find out for certain."

At that moment a repeating chirp began sounding from the breast pocket of Dedrick's uniform jacket. Frowning slightly he withdrew his PDA and silenced the alarm. "Lieutenant Nara," he said formally, inclining his head toward her, "I'm due in a meeting. If you would excuse me?"

She smiled, taking a more formal tone. "Of course, Major. I look forward to continuing our conversation."

"Um, yes," Dedrick replied, faltering for a moment. Then he turned away and strode forward on the deck, toward the ladderwell. Already he was wondering how he was going to work with Nara, given her apparent interest. Or had he misread her? He shook his head as he began to climb toward the top deck, and Chiron's bridge.

I'll have to call Ferdie tonight, he thought. That should clear my head.

Author:  RangerLord [ Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra CIC
Day 285 1300 Hours

"Captain DesChamps, thank you for joining us," Admiral Rodrigues said.

The black-haired MILINT officer saluted, then stood at ease. "Admiral Rodrigues, Colonel Wilson," DesChamps greeted them, his dark eyes intent and curious.

The Admiral stood at the tactical plot table in the center of Libra's Combat Information Center, Colonel Wilson beside him. The Libra's CIC was large, with its operational stations arrayed in an arc around the plot table. It was a design drawn from the older battlestar classes, a design that had been replaced by a much smaller CIC on ships like the Pegasus.

"We have a task for you, Captain," Colonel WIlson began. "One that must be completed quickly, since it affects our next FTL jump."

DesChamps took on a questioning expression. "Major Dedrick is aboard Chiron, verifying our jump vector toward the next Earth beacon."

Wilson nodded. "Yes, Captain. This matter is shorter range, though. We need to resolve it so that we can combine this nearby target with our long-range goal."

"Understood, sir," DesChamps replied.

Admiral Rodrigues placed a finger on the plot table, over the representation of the planet Oasis. "We found a third Colonial vessel on Oasis, Captain," the Admiral said, eliciting a raised eyebrow from DesChamps. "On the far side of the planet from Oasis City there is a crash site, a Colonial shuttle. There were no survivors."

Now DesChamps nodded, understanding his task without the need for explanation. "You want to find the mother ship," he stated.

"Yes, Captain," Admiral Rodrigues affirmed. He withdrew a data card from a pocket and held it out to DesChamps. "Here you will find everything I have on the Cortina, the ship to which the shuttle belonged. Also on that card is every bit of data we could salvage from the crash site. Full specs on the shuttle as well, including range and an estimate of remaining fuel when she crashed."

DesChamps accepted the data card, his mind already cataloging the factors he'd have to take into account to determine a likely search range. "How long do I have, Admiral?"

"Our current jump is on hold while we assess damage and begin repairs. Have a preliminary report for me by 0800 tomorrow. I would be good if we could conduct the physical search before the Griffyn has been prepared to jump."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Day 285 Early Evening

Theron Kyklades had met Toni Seda a week before, and he’d gone looking for her every night since. Well, except for a couple nights right after the Nimbus had gotten hit by the cylons. Things had been really crazy, then, and a lot of people had gotten hurt and killed. He was sure that Toni hadn’t been killed. She was too smart for that.

Toni Seda was a survivor, Theron was certain, and he was determined to be a survivor, too. The chaos after the ship had been damaged had given him the opportunity to… collect some things he needed. He’d staked out the crew’s quarters, taking note of several that weren’t visited for several days, and then with careful, casual-seeming questions, had learned who had lived in them. “Had” being the operational word, because he’d discovered that the crewmember who’d lived in one of those quarters was dead, killed in the attack.

He’d then traded some personal services for a crew access card, and moved right in. The quarters were tiny, not much more than a bunk, an all-in-one bathroom, and just enough room to walk from the bunk to the bathroom. It suited him just fine, though, and was lots better than finding a corner somewhere to sleep.

He sat cross-legged on the bunk and contemplated the nature of the personal services that had gotten him this cabin. One of his older brothers had done all kinds of things to him, plenty of times, and his father had that “hidden” collection of porno vids, so he knew exactly what people wanted. Trying to find the right customer had been a bit of a problem, though, and the first person he’d approached had threatened to turn him in to security. He definitely needed Toni Seda to help him out. He was sure that they could work out a deal that would benefit them both.

With that thought in mind, he went into the cramped bathroom and regarded himself in the mirror. He was fourteen, and thought maybe he looked younger than that, but he wasn’t sure. He didn’t care. He knew there were people who preferred young boys. He practiced a few I’m-young-and-innocent expressions, then nodded to himself and went looking for Toni again. He wouldn’t be able to fool her, but that wasn’t the point.

He went to the Solar Flare club first, the place he’d met Toni. Since he’d met Toni there, he’d discovered that the club had a lot of private booths, tables behind frosted glass or curtains, so he knew to shift around where he sat in the club, and he watched everywhere. He could see feet underneath curtains, and indistinct blobs behind frosted glass, and he was certain he could recognize Toni by the shoes she wore or the way she moved.

He knew to move around, not sit in the same place the whole time, because when he’d been looking for Toni before, one of the servers had told him to order up or get out. So he’d put a cap on and then take it off; change where he sat; he’d take off his jacket and put it back on; he’d sit at tables that hadn’t been cleared yet and get the added benefit of eating some of the leftovers from previous customers.

When he saw Toni come in, every nerve in his body vibrated. He didn’t move, though, just casually watched her as she chatted with a couple customers, then went to talk with the bartender. He thought maybe she’d seen him, but he wasn’t sure.

Toni had seen Theron. She’d actually come to the Solar Flare specifically to see if he was there. Antoly, the bartender, had told her about the blonde-headed kid that had been hanging around, and Antoly knew that Toni employed a diverse group of workers. And Antoly knew that Toni would reward him, if she had a use for the kid.

“He’s pretty slick,” Antoly told Toni, serving her a soda water with the good whiskey in it. “Moves around, changes how he looks, without making it obvious.” He polished a glass, his eyes roving the dimly lit room and sliding past Theron. “Young, but I expect you can use all types.” He gave Toni a slight leer.

Toni smiled slightly, looking down into her drink. She stirred it with a perfectly manicured pink fingernail. “Everyone in the fleet has certain needs,” she said. “I just find the right fulfillment for each need.” She had already learned much about Theron… where he’d come from, where he was quartered and how he’d gotten the cabin. She looked up from her drink and told Antoly, “If the young man turns out to be a fulfillment I can supply for others, you’ll get the appropriate thanks from me.”

Antoly nodded with satisfaction. “Know you will,” he grunted, and went to serve another customer.

Toni sat quietly at the bar for a moment, enjoying her drink and the sights and sounds of the club. The band wasn’t bad, and the flashing lights from the dance floor made the place look a bit festive. The booze was flowing faster than usual, the atmosphere one of desperate forced enjoyment. The result, Toni knew, of the ship’s near-brush with destruction, death just a heartbeat away. She didn’t mind—she’d faced death herself in other varied circumstances, and her philosophy was to enjoy the present moment without worry because you never knew if it would be your last. Besides, that forced enjoyment was good for business.

She picked up her glass and made her way toward Theron, her knee-length blue silk skirt gleaming in the subdued lighting. She didn’t go directly to Theron, stopping at a table to sit a minute and chat with the two women sitting there; then she side-tracked to speak with a man sitting alone.

When she appeared at Theron’s table, it seemed unplanned, but Theron had been watching her the whole time. She sat facing him with the greeting, “Good evening, Tony.”

With an inner jolt, he remembered that he’d given her a fake name. He was Tony Keller. He kept his expression calmly pleasant, though, replying, “Hello, Toni. It’s nice to see you again.” Toni was much higher class than the actors he’d seen in his father’s porno vids, so he was careful with his words. He had to proceed cautiously with Toni Seda.

“Aren’t you a bit young for this crowd?” Toni asked him, making it sound like the others there was doddering ancients.

Theron flashed her a grin that was part boyish mischief and part age-old wisdom. “Well, the playground got shot up by the cylons, so I figured this was second best.”

Toni chuckled. “You do seem a bit mature for playgrounds,” she responded.

He gave her a knowing look devoid of young innocence. “It does depend on the… type of playground.”

The elegant blonde looked down with hooded eyes, her smile one of private amusement. “Indeed it does,” she agreed. “Did you see the two girls I was talking to before I came to your table?”

Theron nodded. “A thin dark-haired woman in a purple shirt, and a redhead wearing a green dress.”

Toni’s smile at him was one of a pleased teacher at a bright student. “Lizzy, the redhead, is feeling bored tonight. Do you think you could amuse her?”

“I can try,” Theron offered with confidence.

“Good,” Toni nodded with satisfaction and stood. “I’ll talk to you later, then.”

Theron gave her a bright smile. “Sure thing, Toni.”

He waited until Toni disappeared around the frosted glass wall, then got up and went to talk to Lizzy. He wasn’t experienced, but he knew that whatever sort of amusement she wanted, he could supply it.

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Compartment 7075-M
Day 285 Evening

A single light burned within the room, a vertical florescent bar just to one side of the hatchway. It cast an antiseptic blue glow that mostly failed to penetrate the shadows of the storage compartment. To the room's lone occupant, it made the space seem like a night-wrapped street painted by the neon sign of a bar or a pawn shop.

Luther Bragg's face was illuminated by a blue glow as well, but the source was not the single lamp by the hatch. He held a tablet computer in one hand as he paced deliberately around the compartment. A tangle of cables surrounded him, some snaking across the deck while others depended from the ceiling. Bragg's slow pace was dictated by this web of wires and tubes which in the half light threatened to ensnare him.

"Doctor Ekstrom, good evening," Bragg spoke toward the tablet, addressing the man whose image was displayed on the portable computer. "We need to discuss the biofeedback gel."

"You picked an interesting time to call." Ekstrom replied. "I just got my boss and the last of the assistants out of my office. The door is locked... let's talk now that Dr. Dunnivan is gone."

On board the Discovery, David Ekstrom's office could best be described as an 'organized' mess. There were several folders on his desk and even more inside an open drawer. The walls were unadorned and off-white, like most offices on the science ship. Dr. Ekstrom's lab jacket was draped across an empty chair in front of his desk. Blindly, Ekstrom opened another drawer and grabbed a file entitled 'OPTOELECTRONICS'. He paused and looked back into the tablet computer, waiting for Bragg to speak.

"Fortunate timing, then, on my part," Bragg said, his face expressionless on Ekstrom's display. "Have you reviewed the parameters I sent you?"

Ekstrom looked for yet another folder on his desk, "Yes, yes... I have some preliminary results. I've been able to work through most issues. There is the challenge we discussed earlier and I'm working on that."

"You are confident that your design will overcome the problem of epidermal impedance?" Bragg asked.

"I had to step out of the box to make it... easier and faster, especially considering our circumstances." The doctor rubbed his eyes for a moment, "The electronic interface and time are the biggest problems. When we go from theory to actual operation, we have to be fast. I have found a very suitable way to get around this problem: I've redesigned the electronics to include an optical interface. It'll be almost real time... many times faster that the old design. I'm confident that you will find this far more than acceptable."

"Interesting, Doctor Ekstrom," Bragg drawled, as one eyebrow crept upward. "I don't recall you discussing such a radical design change with me..."

"Well remember, the Discovery is a government ship. To make our continued contact possible I've had to bury this link. And I have conducted this entire project on my downtime." Dr. Ekstrom paused and looked directly into the camera, "Also, there are those who will not like what we are doing. I would imagine neither one of us wants to take a long walk out a short airlock. Don't worry, this major redesign will work better than planned. Trust me on this one."

Bragg was silent for a long moment, regarding Ekstrom with a measuring look. "Very well then," he replied finally, "We will see how this works out. Send your design to the secure e-note account."

"You will have it within the hour." David said plainly. "I need to go before the folks in Comms get bored and do a bandwidth check. I'll call you in a few days."

With that, the screen at Dr. Ekstroms' desk went black. He leaned back in his chair with a slight smile, In the end, this will all be worth it. My prize will be well worth the time and energy spent.

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cylon-occupied Picon
Day 285

Marcus awoke to the sound of wind. He was on a boat, fighting a storm at night, spray striking his face as waves broke over the bow.

He wasn't on a boat, though. That had been a dream.

Outside the wind howled. Tree limbs whipped against the dirty glass windows, thrashing branches that were illuminated by irregular flashes of lightning. Rain drummed on the roof overhead and beat against the tall narrow windows, a scattering of cold droplets finding their way through the broken pane. Marcus put a hand to his face, his fingers coming away wet.

The room was dark, a deep jet-black darkness that seemed unnatural. Marcus sat upright in the bed where he'd passed out. With the next lightning flash he began getting his bearings, but he realized he really had nowhere to go. Beyond this room and the stretch of hallway he'd observed this morning through the door, he had no knowledge of where he was. It was too dark to wander about, dragging his heavy prosthetic foot. Also, he had no light other than the storm.

He was also exhausted and weak. His mouth was dry, and his stomach was an aching pit that seemed intent upon consuming itself. He was so hungry that it hurt. He lay there on his side and drew his knees up toward his chest. Putting his hands up, he interlaced his fingers behind his head. A few rain drops still hit him. He focused on the sound of the rain on the roof, on the wind in the trees, and tried to forget his hunger.

Sleep seemed far away, but there was little else he could do in this strange place, in the dark.

Author:  RangerLord [ Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Hospital Ship Chiron
CMO's Office
Day 286 Early

Nate Santana stood in the office of the Chief Medical Officer, reviewing e-notes and requisitions from his staff. Beside him, atop a filing cabinet, sat a steaming cup of coffee. This was a part of his daily routine that Santana wished he could do without. He was serving as both the commander of the Chiron and it's CMO and so paperwork was a fact of life. Nate scowled as he signed another page on the tablet computer, then swiped it aside to review the next.

Doctor Armas Lyisti smiled as he entered the office, "Good morning, Dr. Santana... I see you found my note. Do you have a moment or two to spare?"

"Good morning, Dr. Lyisti," he replied. Santana remained standing, telegraphing his intent to be brief. For a moment his gaze wandered across the desk between them, its contents seeming foreign to him. This was Bertrand Lemonde's office, and though Lemonde had been relieved of his position as CMO of the Chiron and was currently serving aboard the Libra, Santana still felt this was the other man's office. Santana hoped to secure Doctor Lemonde's return to the Chiron, eventually.

Returning his attention to Doctor Lyisti, Santana afforded him a questioning look. "Yes, I have a few moments."

"Sorry it took me a bit to find your of the guards pointed this one out to me. I passed by it twice looking for your name, Dr. Santana." Lyisti paused for a moment, "I wanted to talk to you about Dane Burke., and perhaps pass on my experiences with him. He can be rather, ahem, interesting as a medical comrade."

"Interesting is a topic for another time, Doctor," Santana replied. "If there's a reason for me to be concerned, immediately, then I would expect you to be forthcoming."

Detecting his need to get to the point, Lyisti moved forward, "Although he is a great doctor, Dane can be arrogant and at times a bit brutish. He can be a handful to work with. When he's in the O.R., he's the best you have ever seen. Out of it he can be cocky. He'll do things your way, but if he has a better idea, he'll fight for it. One other thing...."

As Doctor Lyisti spoke, Santana found himself nodding as the Oasian made his points. Arrogant and cocky, Santana mused. That agrees with my assessment of Burke. When Lyisti paused, Santana met his gaze with a questioning look. "Go on," he said simply.

"When he has that idea, listen to him. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Dane is right."

Santana looked at Lyisti silently for a long moment, then placed his tablet computer on the desk. "That may be, Doctor," he said evenly, "and I would like to think I'm a good enough physician to recognize when an associate is right. It remains, though, that this is a military hospital and I am an officer... and though you and Doctor Burke and Doctor Praver are civilians you are still under my command. If... If Burke ever disagrees with me I'll allow him one shot at convincing me otherwise." Santana shook his head, continuing, "After that, I expect my orders to be followed."

Santana watched for the older man's reaction, knowing that while he'd made reference specifically to Doctor Burke, Doctor Lyisti would realize that Santana's expectations applied to all the Oasians.

Dr. Lyisiti raised an eyebrow. "Understood," he said, then after a moment's pause added, "Generally, he only needs one chance to convince you."

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cylon-occupied Picon
Day 286, Dawn

Marcus Alon awoke at first light. Outside the wind was still and the tree branch did not squeak against the window. Its leaves glistened wetly when his eyes sought it, remnants of the overnight rain shining in the first rays of sunlight. Bird songs carried faintly though the missing pane of glass.

He was ravenous. His hunger added to his weakness, but he seemed to longer burn with fever. He fought his way to his feet, then struggled across the room once more to the place where his uniform hung. He found that he did not have the strength to raise his prosthetic foot off the floor so he dragged it along, the step-scrape step-scrape sound seeming unnaturally loud in the near-quiet of early morning.

He shrugged out of the hospital gown and cast it aside, then began to dress. A stark wooden chair had stood beside the cabinet where his clothes were and he worked it away from the wall to face the cabinet. He pulled on a t-shirt, then sat to pull on his boxers, slipping them easily over his right foot. He could not raise his left, though, and he reached down to lift it with his hand.

The metal was cool, the sensation a jolt to his awareness. Yesterday, feverish, he had not connected the few facts he knew. Now it struck him like a hammer blow. The artificial foot wasn't Colonial technology, it was cylon. He let go, the artificial limb dropping to thunk solidly against the tile floor.

Revolted, Marcus felt as though he would be sick, though there was nothing in his stomach. He slumped forward, off the chair and onto his knees. Reaching forward, he rummaged frantically among the items in the bottom of the cabinet, tossing his boots aside. He'd had a knife, hadn't he? He thought so, desperately, though he was not certain. He'd find the knife and hack the cylon atrocity from his leg before it tainted him. Before he became like them, one of them.

Fool, his father said. Marcus looked around, his head twitching from one direction to the next. Fool, his father's voice repeated. You'll bleed to death.

“You're not here,” he ground out between clenched teeth. “You're dead.” Marcus looked again at the cabinet, but could not find a knife. He slammed a hand against the metal door. The noise was loud, and the door swung away, vibrating.

Tool, his father said. Use it, it's a tool. Marcus squeezed his eyes shut, trying to shut out the dead man's voice. Use it. Walk.

“Shut UP!” Marcus raged.

He pushed back from the cabinet, rocking back onto his heels. When his butt cheek contacted the smooth coolness of the prosthetic foot he startled. Twisting, he rolled sideways into a seated position, still on the floor. The black-and-white checkered tiles were cool as well, but with a familiar gritty sensation, unlike the smooth metal of his foot and lower leg. Cylon metal.

His boxers were still looped around his right ankle. The real one, he thought. He pulled the garment over his left foot, watching as the cylon construct moved exactly as his mind willed. Assisted by the wooden chair he struggled once more to his feet, drawing the boxers to his waist as he did. It was something of an accomplishment in his weakened state.

He put on the rest of his uniform, sitting and then standing again to don the trousers, then taking a seat again to put on his boots. Once the cylon prosthetic was hidden from sight, covered by sock, boot and trousers, Marcus felt relieved. His hunger demanded his attention. He stood, unsteadily, and with a step-slide gait he walked out of the room.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Production Line
Day 286, Morning

The production line on the Libra was like that of any Mercury class battlestar. The final assembly of Viper Mark VIIs and Raptors was done in a large central compartment, with manufacturing and construction of various sub-assemblies completed in smaller adjoining compartments. The central compartment was called a hangar; and harking back to planet-side manufacturing, the smaller compartments were called back shops. The back shops also performed more intensive repairs on components that couldn’t be completed on the flight deck.

Under normal circumstances, military personnel specifically trained to make and build Colonial planes staffed the production line, and the manufacturing process was supervised by a fleet officer. These were far from normal times, though, and Chief MacLean found herself called on more and more often to help resolve problems on the line. Many of the personnel who used to work the line had been pulled to work as flight deck mechanics, or engineering specialists… and military personnel in both areas had been killed. Now, 286 days after the attacks on the Colonies, the majority of production workers were civilians from passenger ships who’d volunteered to live and work aboard the Libra.

Admiral Rodrigues hadn’t liked the idea of having any civilians work on his ship. Mac understood that, and agreed; civilians didn’t belong aboard a warship. But normal circumstances no longer existed. The only way to replace the Vipers and Raptors lost in combat was to use civilian workers to build them.

Mac looked at the three civilians who grouped around her. Two younger women, kids she thought to herself, although they were probably about the same age she was; and an older man.

“Look at the illustrated parts breakdown from the tech manual,” she patiently explained to the new workers, pointing to the precisely-drawn plan tacked up on a board above the work surface. “It shows exactly how to put together this part of the landing gear.” She hefted a tubular rod. “Here’s the oleo strut, see there on the IPB? And this is the scissor cap. They fit together just like it shows on the drawing.” She demonstrated. “All the parts you need at this station you can find in the bins behind us.”

The group turned to look at the components on the neatly labeled bins and shelves. “We need to put together everything that shows on the… IPB?” one of the women asked.

“Yes,” Mac confirmed. “It’s the basic structure of a Viper’s landing skids. After you’ve got it put together, take it down to the next station. If you get stuck, see if the people on the next station can help you, they worked here before they moved down the line. If you get really stuck, find one of the production leads and they can help, too.”

All three nodded.

“Any questions?” Mac asked.

“Uh…” one of the women said.

“We’ll probably figure out questions as we go,” the man shrugged.

The other woman nodded concurrence and added, “I used to work on air handling equipment, so I’m used to following schematics. I think we can figure it out.”

“Thanks for volunteering to help out here,” Mac said to all three of them, knowing they could as easily have stayed on their passenger ships and done little, if any, work.

“I’m just glad to have something to do,” the first woman said, and got agreement from the other two.

“There’s plenty of work here,” Mac sighed, and left them to their first assignment.

In her office two decks above, Mac composed a short message and sent it off to the civilian ships in the fleet. The Libra needed at least two dozen more production line workers… more, if she couldn’t find any people with manufacturing or maintenance experience. She appreciated any help they could get, but one trained mechanic was worth three untrained workers.

At least I’m so busy here, I don’t have to spend much time with Frankie in our quarters, she thought, then felt a twinge of guilt. She rested her elbow on her desk, putting her forehead into her palm. After a moment she sighed, and got up and went back out to the deck.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Main Gym
Day 286, Mid-morning

Cpl. Tom Cody stepped into the boxing ring, geared up for sparing. He smiled at his opponent in the other corner, "So buddy, are we ready to take our frustrations on each other?"

Frankie Laffitte stared at Cody a moment, then growled quietly to himself, "You got no idea, buddy." He slipped his mouthguard between his teeth, biting into it savagely.

Gunnery Sergeant Razorski was close enough to Laffitte to hear what he'd said, even if Cody hadn't heard it. She gave Laffitte a level expressionless look and stepped into the center of the ring. "You know the rules, boys. Keep it clean." Her last remark was aimed mostly at Laffitte, but she included Cody in her gaze and then gestured for them to begin.

"Nothin' to worry about from me, sir," Cody said as he started to put in his mouthpiece. "Just boys being boys in the ring. Lets dance..."

At Razor's gesture, Frankie charged into the center of the ring, his fists up, starting to swing even before Cody was in arm's length. Cody saw it coming, and the punch barely grazed the side of his face as he paused for a split second to let it go by. Frankie stepped in closer, aiming for Cody's body.

It was at this moment Tom landed a well-placed shot across the chin. He could tell something was amiss, so Tom gave a friendly piece of advice, "Keep your guard up, made that too easy."

Frankie growled something and danced back, keeping his hands up, then he moved in closer again, feinting with his left, then jabbing with his right. When Cody blocked the jab, Laffitte landed an uppercut under Cody's jaw.

Tom stumbled a little from the well placed punch. It was far from putting Cody on the mat, but he was impressed with the move. Tom smiled at his opponent, "That's the way to do it. Nice shot to my face, bud!"

"I'm not your buddy!" Frankie snapped, swinging again but missing as Cody dodged.

Cody was surprised by the mood-change of his partner. Still, Cody sent a shot into Frankie's ribs and continued the verbal joust. "Don't lose focus, Frankie...that was sloppy and we both know it. Just focus...everyone in the room knows you have better aim that that. You know half the room would love to see my ass on the mat because they lost cubits due to me in the old days."

Cody's words ignited Laffitte's fury. He charged in close to his opponent, fists pummeling. He didn't feel Cody's return punches as he wildly swung and made contact with any part of Cody's body. "I'll... show... you... aim," he panted. His head down, he got Cody in a clinch and pounded on him.

"Laffitte!" Razorski had been watching the match closely, and hadn't liked Frankie's attitude from the beginning. She stepped closer, her voice loud and hard, snapping, "Break it up! Back off, Laffitte, back off!"

The infuriated man seemed not to hear, continuing his assault. There was nothing of a skilled boxing match left, except on Cody's part. He was adeptly blocking Laffitte's swinging fists, returning punches the best he could, but he realized that this had turned into more than a friendly sparring session.

"Hey, we're on the same team here and this is sparring." Cody said as Laffitte went out of control. "Back off before you get in trouble."

Tom could tell his words were having no effect. He tried to think of ways to get his friend to calm down, but knew he was running out of options. If Frankie keeps this up, I'm going to have to do something that will hurt him more than me...and we both might be in the brig because of it.

When Laffitte started hitting at Cody's kidneys, the Gunnery Sergeant had had enough. She stepped in and hooked her arm under Laffitte's and threw him back and down to the mats. She stood over him and said, "Don't get up, Laffitte."

He didn't listen, scrambling to his feet, and he drew his right fist back. Before he could unleash the punch, Razorski hit him bare-handed with the flat of her fist in the center of his chest, knocking him on his back. He laid there gasping for breath.

Razorski looked over at Cody. "You better get lost, Corporal," she said calmly.

Although Tom Cody was fighting every ounce of his instincts to rip off his gloves and lay into Laffitte, he did as he was told. As he left the gym, Cody verbally popped off as his gloves hit the floor near the door. "Really?! That playground banter made you flip? People are're losing it!"

Tom left the room, shaking his head in anger...and disappointment in Frankie. They're all right...something is going wrong with him.

As Cody left the ring, Laffitte got to his feet. Razorski faced him and said in a steely voice, "It's over, Laffitte."

Laffitte's eyes followed Cody a moment, then he looked back at the Gunnery Sergeant. She could tell by his expression that it wasn't over for him, and when he heard Cody's final words, he started to charge after him. Razorski was expecting it, and locked one arm across his chest, her other forearm at his throat. "It's over, Laffitte," she repeated in a flat voice, "and you're going to the brig."

For a moment it looked as if Frankie Laffitte was going to challenge Razorski, but then he stepped back, looking down. He spat out his mouthpiece and said expressionlessly, "Yes Gunnery Sergeant."

Author:  RangerLord [ Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Commander's Office
Day 286 0759

DesChamps stood for a moment outside Admiral Rodrigues' office. In the breast pocket of his uniform was the data card the Admiral had given him the previous day. In his hand he held a single sheet of paper, the report he'd prepared on the likely whereabouts of the vessel Cortina. It was handwritten. He took a deep breath, then met the expectant eyes of the Marine guard.

"Captain Alain DesChamps, MILINT, here to see the Admiral," he said. "He is expecting me."

Moments later DesChamps was standing before the Admiral. "Reporting as ordered, sir," he said, laying the sheet of paper before Rodrigues. He reached into his pocket and withdrew the data card, laying it atop the report.

"At ease, Captain." Rodrigues set the data card aside and picked up the report, scanning the page quickly. "You prepared this by hand?"

"Yes, sir. I felt it appropriate to keep mention of the Cortina out of the official record."

Rodrigues' only reaction was to momentarily raise one eyebrow, then dip his head in a nod of acceptance. "Please make your report, then, Captain."

"Sir," DesChamps replied. "Loss of contact with the Cortina occurred three weeks into a planned six-month sweep of the Armistice Line. That gives us her last known location, but that was four-and-a-half years ago." DesChamps was aware he was repeating information the Admiral knew well, but it was necessary to establish the basis for his assumptions. The Admiral was giving him his full attention, so DesChamps continued.

"As we were attempting to evade the cylons, our initial vector away from the Colonies was also away from the Armistice Line. With no knowledge as to why the Cortina disappeared, or why she would be this far from her original patrol area, we are left to assume that she followed a direct course from her last known position, toward the Oasis system. Following standard Fleet jump protocols, she would have jumped system to system. There are two star systems within jump distance of Oasis, lying back along this projected course."

Rodrigues nodded. "Do you have any reason, Captain, to suspect one over the other as the Cortina's location?"

"Actually, Admiral, I don't think she's in either system. I think she's at Oasis."

Rodrigues regarded DesChamps thoughtfully. "Explain."

"Sir, it would have taken years for a non-FTL shuttle to traverse the distance from the nearest system to Oasis. There were thirteen sets of remains in that wreckage, but no sign of the supplies that would have been necessary for an extended trip. The amount of fuel that remained aboard also argues against an extended trip." DesChamps paused, watching the Admiral. "I cannot rule it out," he admitted, "but I find it very unlikely."

"That, Captain, is essentially the same conclusion I had reached," Rodrigues said. It was DesChamps turn to raise an eyebrow. Rodrigues took no note of DesChamps reaction. "Now, where in the Oasis system do you expect we'll find her?" the Admiral continued.

"I would defer to your judgment, and that of your ship commanders, on that matter," DesChamps stated.

"Yet you have suggested a location here," Rodrigues countered, lifting DesChamps' report.

"Yes, sir." DesChamps swallowed, then began speaking with measured words. "A solar system is a very large place to hide a comparatively tiny ship, especially one designed not to be found. The Cortina could have been in the asteroid field next to the Hades Horn and we would not have detected her."

"We don't know if she was concealing herself from the Oasis colony, or hiding from cylons... or if she was hiding at all." DesChamps scowled for a moment. "In my opinion, though, her most likely location is in the cometary halo, beyond the orbits of the outer planets. There she would be far from the EM interference of the star, with little risk of collision with an asteroid, yet with a great number of moving targets to mask her presence."

Author:  jdctexas [ Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
MARDET Offices
Day 286, Late morning

(with Goldwolf)

She knew who it was in the hatch to her office before she looked up. "Yes, Corporal Cody, what can I do for you?" Gunnery Sergeant Razorski asked, looking up from the report she was working on.

"Before you give me the dress down I fully expect is coming and more than likely deserve, permission to speak freely, sir?"

Razorski raised an eyebrow and nodded, gesturing Cody to the seat in front of her desk.

"You've heard the talk, sir...a lot of us are wondering what the hell is going on with Frankie, sir. He hasn't been himself at all. We all know this war has taken a lot out of all of us. To a lot of us, he's diving off the deep end."

The Razor leaned back in her chair and sighed. "Yes, Corporal, you're right. He's having problems dealing with some things that have to do with his sniper duties. Dr. DeValera has been seeing him, but it may take some time before Laffitte will be able to work things out."

"Hmm...sniper duty coming back to haunt him. I wish I could say I didn't relate, but then I'd be lying. Still, back to the reason I'm here." Tom paused for a second and composed his thoughts. "There something you might not know, sir. Some have heard or seen where he's gone off on MacLean, sir. Now, I only know her from reputation and eating with her and Frankie at a mess table. She seems like a good kid in my book. If she needed help of some sort, I'd be there. Others are a bit more protective of her...and we both know that could be bad for Frankie."

The Gunnery Sergeant absorbed what Corporal Cody told her. "If Chief MacLean needs help, I'm sure she'll ask for it," she finally said. "But I would expect any of my Marines would defend someone who needs assistance."

"Some have suggested going to the Chief and seeing what's going on. There are those who want to nominate me to do it."

"You?" Razorski asked. "You just told me that you don't know her very well. Why you?"

"Apparently, to those who think I'm the guy for the job, I know her well enough and have the personality to pull this off. Some in that big room outside this hatch seem to think if Frankie goes nuts, I won't have any gloves on. They figure that I'll put his ass on the deck...only in self defense, of course. By the way, Cpl. Fry's words, not mine, sir."

"Corporal Laffitte is currently in the brig," Razorski pointed out. "At any rate, 'putting him on the deck' will not solve the problem, and might just get you a trip to the brig."

"I happen to agree with you that it resolves nothing and ends in brig time. Like I said, she doesn't really know me except from meal time. Now call me crazy, I'm willing to go...but I want someone with me. Someone Mac knows and well as Frankie." Cody paused for a moment. "In short, 99.99% of the MarDet want to send you in as well. Can't say I disagree."

"What makes you think that the Chief wants or needs to explain what's going on with Laffitte? And why do you think I should go with you?" Razorski's tone held the hint of a warning.

"Like I said, she knows and respects you. Also, as Fry put it, it's like she's wanted to say something to someone but is a little too scared to. If she really wants to talk, you're one of the safe and good people to go to...I know I would. On another note, it's just not us in the MarDet seeing things. Mac's knuckle draggers and flyboys have noticed as well. Folks are starting to compare notes and come to the same conclusions. That's not good for Frankie."

Tom paused for a brief moment to let his words soak in. "Also sir, you are the only one Frankie really listens to the others figure that you're the only other person besides me who can take him down if he flips again. Sgt Dugan's words, not mine, sir. In the end, it couldn't hurt for someone to ask Mac 'hey, we can tell something's up and we're here if you need to talk', could it?"

The Gunnery Sergeant considered Corporal Cody's words for a moment. Finally, she said, "I'm not sure that going to the Chief is the best thing to do, but... if she's willing to talk to us, it could help." She gave Cody a level look. "But if she tells us to frak off, then we frak off and mind our own business."

"She tells us to frak off, I'm right behind you out the door."

Author:  RangerLord [ Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cylon-occupied Picon
Day 286

Marcus Alon walked down the last checkerboard-floor hall. Ahead, sunlight speared in through a double doorway, the doors themselves hanging askance from broken hinges. The final meters of the hall were littered with green leaves torn free by last night's storm, the black and white tiles wearing a sheen of rainwater. Beyond, the world seemed wet and bright and fresh.

For the last several hours he'd searched the facility, taking whatever he'd considered useful. There had been a modicum of food, though he avoided any that had been refrigerated - power had been off for several days, he estimated. He had no wish to subject his weakened body to food poisoning. Still, he'd found enough dry goods, assuaging his hunger with cereal from what had been a break room. He'd washed it down with distilled water from a cleaning closet, the liquid bland and distasteful but still satisfying his body's need for fluids.

On the lowest level he'd discovered a generator room. Footprints in the dust on the floor spoke of recent attention, and the smell of exhaust lingered faintly. The genny's fuel tank rang hollow when Marcus rapped his knuckles against it. Beside the door was a drum of diesel fuel, topped with a hand-cranked transfer pump. He'd considered refueling the generator, but after a few moments' reflection he'd decided he had no pressing need for electricity.

Now, as he walked out into the sunlit world, he hitched a canvas laundry bag higher onto his shoulder. He had stuffed the bag with whatever he'd found useful - a blanket, bags of dried beans, a plastic bowl, some silverware. Medical supplies had been in abundance within the building, and Marcus had fashioned a capable emergency kit . A pair of gallon water jugs hung from a length of canvas strapping across his other shoulder, their weight bumping against him as he left the facility.

Outside he found a paved drive, sided by what had once been well-kept grounds. The spring grass was now dark green and deep, neglect only just becoming evident where weeds rose up from wind-borne seeds. A low brick wall bordered the yard, and beyond that were scattered trees and a road. A bird scolded him from one of the pillars that marked where the drive split the brick wall, finally flying off a short distance as he approached. When he reached the road, he considered for a moment - left or right? He chose the direction that seemed a bit more downhill. He was walking better now, lifting his false foot off the ground with each step, but it was still tiring.

As he set off down the tree-lined road, behind him was an etched concrete sign set into the wall. It read: PERKINSTON HOSPITAL SYSTEM - CHAMBLESS MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY. Marcus took no note of it, and never looked back.

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Mess Hall
Day 286, Lunchtime

(with Goldwolf)

It was the usual mystery meat and maybe the whitish stuff was pretend potatoes, but Mac was used to it. She ate out of habit, sitting at a table near the hatch, not particularly enjoying the meal, but not hating it, either. It had already been a long morning with a lot of frustrating maintenance problems... and other problems, too. She was glad to sit and just eat and not think about anything in particular.

Cpl. Cody looked at Razor as they entered the Mess Hall, "Well, I wasn't fully expecting to see her here now. Shall we grab a tray of gruel and join her? At least no one can say we were secretive."

Razorski and Cody each got a lunch plate and headed to the table Mac was sitting at.

"Can we join you?" the Gunnery Sergeant asked.

"Oh, sure," the Deck Chief agreed. She knew Razorski pretty well, and knew who Corporal Cody was. She was sure they'd at least exchanged casual comments in the comings-and-goings on the deck. "Ski, I heard that Brad has some coffee bean plants..." she took a sip of the black liquid that was referred to as 'coffee', and continued, "Do you know when we might get real coffee again?"

Razorski snorted. "Not soon enough," she said sardonically.

"Real coffee would be a good thing. Until then, we continue to hold our noses and drink." Cody said with a small smile.

"I've actually had worse," Mac told him. "Oh... wait... that wasn't coffee, it was transmission fluid." She made an ick face, then glanced from Cody to Razor, sensing... tension? Something. She gave a mental sigh. "So, what's up? Something about Frankie?" The Gunnery Sergeant had tracked her down on the deck earlier, to tell her that she'd thrown Frankie in the brig. Mac had a hunch this visit was related to that.

Tom knew he could not hold off any longer and he put his coffee down. "In a way yes, but it's more about you. It's been making the rounds that things haven't been great between you and Frankie and it has us and some others wondering if you're okay? Also, if you need to talk to someone, you have friends on the deck and in the MarDet that would be happy to listen should you need them."

Mac gave Cody a level look. "I appreciate that you're worried about me... but what about Frankie?" She was both appreciative and annoyed. "If you're wondering about anyone being okay, you should be trying to talk to Frankie."

She stopped, working to keep anger out of her voice. "He's the one who's having a really hard time. I thought you guys were all supposed to be looking out for each other." She gave Razorski a glance. "I know you've done what you can, Ski, but Frankie needs his peers--" she turned her glare back to Cody. "He needs you guys to help him." She breathed in and out slowly. "I have my own problems, but I know who I can talk to. There's no way I can understand what Frankie has gone through, but you guys who have been in combat with him, you know what it's like. You're the best ones who can take this whole rotten thing and try to make it better. You should be worried about Frankie, not me."

Mac stood and picked up her tray, then paused and sighed. "I really appreciate the concern, Corporal, please don't get me wrong," she said quietly. "But there's nothing I can do to help Frankie. There might be things you and his MarDet friends can do to help him deal with what's in his head." She looked at Razorski. "Maybe the best thing for Frankie now is a total change. Give him a different job, put him in a different platoon, maybe then he can get out of his nightmares and into something new."

The Gunnery Sergeant nodded calmly. "It's a possibility that Dr. DeValera and I have discussed. I'm sorry we've upset you."

Mac sighed again. "I'm more sad than upset," she said, and then walked off without another word.

To Cody, Razorski said, "Have any of you tried getting through to Frankie? Because I am seriously considering assigning him to a different ship."

Tom took a deep breath, "Three of us tried to talk to him after he was placed in the brig. He told us to frak off. I don't know what else to do at this have any ideas left? Hell, most of the MarDet is afraid to approach him...that's how we ended up here. Grunts would rather take on a column of super-armed Cans than deal with him at this point. What gets me is I know he's a good guy. Damn this war."

"Sorry about dragging you into this, sir." Tom dejectedly looked at his coffee for a moment and then back at Razor, "I'd love to help Frankie out, I'm just out of ideas. Hell, the folks back in the MarDet are blank on what to do next. Maybe...I don't know...Gods, this sucks."

Razorski nodded agreement. "Dr. DeValera and I go back a lot of years, and at this point, we both agree that getting him in a new environment might be the best bet. I'll talk to Laffitte, although I don't trust his judgement right now... but I'm also going to talk to the other MarDets and see if there's a better fit for him." She regarded Cody silently a moment. "I think it might be better for Mac, too, as much as she cares for him. She's got enough things of her own to handle."

"It may be for the best." Tom looked down at his tray and then back to Razor with a half-hearted smile, "New scenery, new gruel. I hope it works out for Frankie...and Mac, too. Gods know they've both gone through a lot."

Author:  jdctexas [ Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Highlands Dawn - Presidential Office
Day 286
Early Afternoon

For the first time in what seemed an eternity, President Andy Meyers had a moment of 'peace'. All the paperwork had been signed. He had no visitors in front of him. He wasn't on the wireless having in-depth discussions about population movements, numbers or a myriad of other things that had swallowed his time over the last few weeks.

It was just him, his office and a sleeping cat in the corner. Silence had arrived at the Presidential Suite...and it lasted for all of fifteen seconds.

The 'ding' of an e-note broke the silence of the room. It was a sound that Andy had heard in his dreams and nightmares as of late. Sometimes, the President would think he heard the message, but it was just his imagination running away with him.

Nope, not losing my marbles this time, Andy sighed. It's the real deal...

To: President Meyers
From: Eleni Kyriake
CC: Vice President Liala, Admiral Rodrigues, Quorum President Greene
Subject: Final Population Numbers

President Meyers,

The initial population count will be ready for your review tomorrow morning at 0900, per your orders. My staff is compiling over all numbers per ship and demographical breakdowns by Colonial and Oasisan. Those will be ready in two days. I can e-note these to you or present them personally.

Eleni Kyrike
Secretary of State

Andy was quick to reply and he included Liza.

Please come to my office at 0930 tomorrow and we will discuss the report. Liza, I would like for you to be in attendance of well.

-President Meyers

After sending the e-note, there was another 'long' silence in the office. Andy had just started to recline back in his chair when the dreaded 'ding' echoed throughout the office.

Dear Secretary Kyrike,

There will be an open meeting of the Quorum tomorrow at 1500. We ask for your attendance to present and discuss your findings. Please e-note the report when you have completed it.

You will be scheduled after the President's general report.

Patrick Greene
Quorum President

Andy looked at the signature on the e-note for several long moments. Is this really Patrick or is it his Chief of Staff? Patrick still seemed rather broken up over the loss of Tia when I talked to him yesterday. If it is Pat...maybe this is his way of working though everything?

Not two seconds after completing his thoughts, there were several dings coming from the computer. Andy turned off the monitor, which killed the speakers automatically. He then pressed a button on the handset that went to his secretary. "Laura, inform my bodyguards that I'd like to finally have lunch. We'll leave in five minutes."

"Yes, Mr. President..."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Sick Bay
Day 286

“What the frak are you doing?” DeValera asked; not accusingly, but with concern.

Joe McCloud set down the stack of boxes he’d been carrying and turned to the physician, retorting, “R-restocking, what does it look like?”

“I’ve got orderlies whose job it is to restock,” Ralph said calmly, regarding the former commander of Oasis’ Civil Defense force.

“No one will give me a job,” McCloud’s tone held both anger and frustration.

“Joe, you were seriously injured a week ago,” DeValera said with patience.

“I’m fine, ph-physically!” Even as he spoke, Joe’s anger faded to moroseness. “Except for my frakking brain,” he muttered.

“Come on, let’s go sit down and talk,” DeValera replied with sympathy.

They sat in the comfortable chairs in DeValera’s office, Joe stretching out his long legs and looking down at his hands as he gripped them together in his lap. “I know, you’ve told me it takes, takes time,” he sighed. “But I feel… like…” he hunted for words, shaking his head with irritation when he couldn’t express his thoughts.

“Relax, Joe,” Ralph said. “You’ve improved a lot already.”

“I need something to do,” he said in a low voice, glancing up at the doctor, then down again. “Here, I’ve just been… uh, like, chewing on myself, on my thinking. It makes me… mad.” He glared at DeValera. “And, and, de…”

“Depressed,” the physician supplied the word. “Normal reactions, Joe, both of them.” He gave a wry smile. “Knowing it’s ‘normal’ doesn’t make it much easier, though, does it.”

McCloud shook his head. “Even if it’s easy work, I need to feel…” he turned his head, looking off in the distance. After a moment, he looked back at DeValera, “I, I need to feel useful. At least a little bit.”

Ralph nodded thoughtfully. “Let me ask around,” he told McCloud. “We can probably find something useful for you to do.”

McCloud. “Thanks, Doc,” he said in a low voice. “I don’t even… know… who I am. Anymore.”

DeValera sighed. “Frakking cylons,” he said.

“Frakking cylons,” Joe agreed.

Author:  jdctexas [ Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Day 286
Early 'Afternoon'

(Several writers)

There had been a lot of unhappy days since the start of the exodus. Everyone on Demeter had been touched by the sorrows of war and running for dear life. It was not very often that there was a happy moment.

Today was one of those rare moments.

As the door to the shuttle bay opened, William and Jenni Guynes emerged...along with a pilot and two Marine escorts. The soldiers had rifles slung on their backs...but bags with baby supplies in hand. William held the most precious 'bundle' of all: Anna Xenthais Guynes. She was bundled up, but the infant girl was smiling.

"Ah, Miss Anna Xenthais Guynes!" Karl Mueller greeted the group enthusiastically. "How is the future President of the Twelve Colonies?" Mueller hugged Jenni Guynes and then shook William's hand, prying it away from the baby.

Jenni laughed a little as William looked and smiled at Karl to reply, "I'd prefer she makes Admiral, but I'll take a President," he said.

Ashley McCready gazed upon Anna and then looked at Jenni. "She looks like her momma... good job, you two!"

With that, Jenni blushed and took Anna carefully from her husband, "Aw, thank you!"

"Thank the Gods she got your good looks." William quipped.

Jenni giggled, "She did get your eyes... so I can't take all the credit."

Carly Carter stood back, taking in the scene. She didn't know the new parents, or most of the Demeter's long-time residents. Carly watched Ashley McCready, struck by the way the young woman seemed at ease in these surroundings, with these people. She wondered if she would ever reach that level of comfort. Already she felt closed in, claustrophobic. Carly hungered to be outside, riding her horse or driving the scout truck. Will I ever feel the wind on my face again? The sun on my shoulders, warming me? Grass under my feet? The feeling of being trapped built within her and she took a step back from the knot of people. The only reason she did not turn and flee was that there was nowhere to which she could run.

The gathering continued for a few more minutes until someone suggested that everyone head for the main lounge. Along the way, Putz and Joe Heaton emerged from engineering. Inga took notice of the two and made her way over to them, "So boys, what's the news?"

Putz took a deep breath, "We're fine for right now, but we're overdue for an FTL overhaul. To speed up the spool, we need to rebuild some things."

"I was afraid you were going to say that." Inga frowned. "So, we're stuck at a 20-minute spool? Longest in the fleet..."

"And I would say over the next fifteen to twenty jumps, that's going to increase to 22 to 23 minutes." Joe added. "It's just taking longer and longer to build up the needed energy to execute."

As the three talked, Cmdr. Guynes couldn't help but overhear the conversation. " there any way I can help? Sorry, I don't mean to seem like I'm listening in. You've all been so good to me and Jenni and Demeter is like a second home. "

Inga smiled, "Thank you Will...but it's okay. I'm sure we'll get our turn on one of the tugs or Titan."

Putz, almost uncharacteristically, openly disagreed with Inga, "Boss, if I were you, I'd take the offer...even if it's small."

"I just don't want to take away from anyone else" Inga sighed. "The military has a lot going on right now."

"I imagine if I talked to Lane...Maj. Azmos or Col. Trafford, they'd be able to spare an engineer or three for a few hours." William said with a smile. "Besides, there's one thing you haven't thought of, Inga."

"And that is, Will?"

"If Xen finds out about this, she'll show up with a dozen engineers and techs in tow. You'll also get an earful of static from her about not saying something earlier."

Joe Heaton took a deep breath and added, "And then she'll be on mine and Putz's backsides for not telling her."

"They've got a point, boss." Putz added.

Inga looked at all three and shook her head in agreement, "Just don't put anyone with bigger issues ahead of us. Let me know when they can come and thank you, Will."

"Any time, Inga."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Day 286

Major DeValera met Gunnery Sergeant Razorski as she was coming out the MarDet admin offices. It only took him a quick glance to see that she wasn’t headed for an urgent duty.

“Hey, Doc,” she greeted him. “Going in?” She held the hatch door open.

“Actually, I was looking for you,” he grinned. “Are you doing the rounds? We can walk and talk.”

“Sure,” she agreed, closing the hatch. Together they headed down the passageway. “How’s Monica and the babies?” she asked.

“Doing great on all counts,” he replied, smiling. “I think she was born to be pregnant.”

Razorski snorted. “Some of us think she was born to be a worlds-class rugby player,” she said, but DeValera knew that her comment was in jest.

“She’s got a start on a team,” the doctor responded with amusement. With a gleam in his eye, he added, “We’ll call you when we need a babysitter.”

“Piece of cake,” she answered without a pause. “If I can keep a Marine det in line, triplets will be no problem.”

DeValera laughed. “You’ll have them doing pushups in their cribs.”

“Frakkin-A,” she agreed.

They walked in silence a moment, pausing outside Engineering to chat a moment with the Marine on guard duty there. When they continued, Razorski queried, “So what’s up, Doc? I don’t think you came by just to walk rounds with me.” She knew, though, that he often ‘walked the rounds’, checking in with the on-duty troops—Marines and Navy alike.

“What’s up is Joe McCloud,” Ralph replied pensively. “He wants a job.”

“How’s he doing?” Ski asked. She liked McCloud, and knew he hadn’t planned on leaving Oasis. He’d come to the aid of a Marine squad—Major Duncan and a few of his Spectres, and had been injured in the last battle before the Librans had left Oasis. McCloud was injured, unconscious, and Duncan had no choice but to evac McCloud along with his squad.

“Pretty good, considering,” the doctor answered. He sighed. “The usual that goes with brain trauma… anger, frustration, difficulty expressing himself at times. Headaches, sometimes sudden and severe.”

She nodded understanding. “How’s his concentration?” she asked.

“Not bad, for what he’s gone through.” He paused, thinking, and went on, “I wouldn’t recommend a job that involves difficult analysis or intricate dexterity, not yet. I thought you might have some ideas, you know him better than I do.”

The Gunnery Sergeant pondered a moment, then said, “Well, I know that Mac needs people to work the production line.”

“That’s right, she mentioned that to me,” DeValera murmured.

Razorski nodded. “Joe’s a gun guy, and they’ve got a subassembly line for the Viper and Raptor guns. It’s not hard work, but not easy, either. He’d have repetitive stuff, but the kind that needs some attention. He’d be on his feet, moving around, and other people there doing the same thing to help keep him on track.”

Even as she spoke, DeValera was nodding. “And that’s not just ‘busy work’, either,” he said. “He wants to do something useful, and that certainly is.” He smiled. “Thanks, Ski. I knew there had to be something better than restocking supplies or folding laundry for him to do. I’ll go talk to Mac.”

“I’m sure Mac would be glad to have him,” Ski agreed. “She’s been trying to take some of my Marines from me to run the lines.”

“Has she succeeded?” DeValera asked with humor, picturing the pixie-like Chief of the Deck facing off the formidable Gunnery Sergeant.

“Almost, until they found out she’s as tough a task-master as I am,” Razorski replied dryly.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Ralph chuckled.

After a pause, Razorski asked, “Has she talked to you, Ralph? She’s been going through some tough shit with Laffitte.”

Serious, DeValera nodded. “Yes, she has,” he said, and sighed. “She’s handling it as well as can be expected, given the trauma she’s been through herself, lately.”

“You and I have talked about assigning Laffitte to another ship,” Ski said to him thoughtfully. “For his own sake, but I was also thinking… maybe it would make things easier for her if I do this now. What do you think? I can have him off Libra in twenty-four hours.”

“I think that sounds like an excellent idea,” DeValera replied at once. “Frankie isn’t working with me at all—oh, he’s showing up for his appointments,” he added hastily, seeing Razorski’s expression. “But I could just as well talk to a brick wall. Or get a brick wall to talk to me. He won’t get a handle on this until he wants to. If he’s working with a different det, new people, he might start straightening out.”

“Or dig himself a deeper hole,” Ski said darkly, “but at least he won’t pull Mac in the hole with him.”

DeValera nodded grimly. “Let’s hope that a change will do him good,” he responded soberly.

Ra’iten,” Ski said.

“As Aten wills,” Ralph murmured. He quirked an inquiring eyebrow at the Marine. “Been hanging out with our nomads much lately?”

She gave him a quick sideways glance and said, “Sometimes I think they have the right idea. A god that just stands judgment, without intervening, makes more sense than what our gods have put on us.”

“Either way, we do the best we can,” Ralph smiled. “Thanks for your help, Ski.”

“Any time, Ralph,” she answered.

Author:  Raider X [ Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Day 286,
late afternoon,
Colonial Destroyer Perseus
Commander Karl Vansen commanding,
Commanders office
(jdctexas&RaiderX collaborating)

Cmdr. Karl Vansen sat at his desk and allowed himself a small smile. If there was ever a bane for any commanding officer, it was paperwork. No matter how much of it was delegated or streamlined, there would always be a pile of it to sign-off.

For the commanding officer of the Perseus, it was always good to see everything in the 'completed' bin on his desk. As Karl relaxed, his desk intercom crackled to life.

"Commander, this is Private Jordan. Capt. Palmisano is here to see you."

"Send him in, Private." Karl said as he sat up straight. As Eric entered the room, the Commander could tell something was on his mind. "Eric, have a seat. You picked a good time to come in."

Captain Eric Palmisano, the commanding officer of the ships Marine Detachment seemed to be unusally nervous. At the older officers offer, the dark-haired young man folded his muscular frame into the chair in front of the commanders desk, collecting himself for a moment before looking up at Vansen.

"Permission to speak freely, Sir?“

"Always. What's on your mind, Eric?"

"I’m not sure about how to address this, Sir…I heard about a new position being opened somewhere in the fleet that sounds like a challenge that I’d love to tackle and I guess I just wanted to ask you, off the record, for your opinion and maybe even your support."

Without talking any further, the olive-skinned Captain handed Vansen a slip of paper out of a Folder he had brought with him, obviously a printout.

Fleet Command is offering a posting for a commanding officer a yet-to-be-assembled Marine Unit aboard the Battlestar Taurus. Applicants should hold the Rank of First Lieutenant or Captain and have experience with both Command positions and Special Operations. Any further qualifications are optional. Applications are to be sent to Commander Guynes, Battlestar Taurus

"Well, I shouldn't be surprised and I don't blame you for wanting to make the jump." Karl admitted. "I think you would be a good fit there...and I'd hate to lose you here. Still, far be it for me to hold anyone back. You do understand what your getting into over there? The loss of Maj. Storm was a blow to the entire MarDet."

Palmisano nodded. As MarDet CO himself, he had known the other Marine COs in the fleet pretty good and Major Storm had been something of a friend as well. "I heard, yes. We all lost friends on Oasis, but we have to keep going now...In a way, the new unit might be just the distraction the Taurus Marines need right now, a fresh start for some and a friendly rival for others, Sir."

"If you get the spot, see what it's like before you make any changes. I think you'll have a good team to work with there." Karl too a deep breath and continued, "If you go ahead with this, get your application done quickly. I'll advance it to Commander Guynes with my positive recommendation."

"Thank you Sir," Palmisano smiled, his nervousness suddenly disappearing, "and I've already prepared the application...just in case, you know? Something else, Sir, do you have any candidates for the Perseus MarDet CO should I get the spot?"

"I have some ideas...but seeing that we're just minutes into the process, we have a ways to go." Karl said with a slight laugh. "Who would you select, if you were me?"

Still grinning, Palmisano reached for his Folder again. "First Lieutenant Marian Grey, Sir. She's the XO of Griffyn's MarDet, has been there for almost two years. She has leadership experience and the fitreps to prove it and she's tough enough for our jarheads. She'd be a good fit over here, but I have no idea if she's even interested. Of course, I'd have to get the Position on Taurus first..."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Chief of the Deck’s Office
Day 286

After searching high and low, Dr. DeValera found Chief MacLean in—of all places—her office. “Hi, Mac,” he greeted her, standing in the hatchway. “Do you have a minute?”

Mac looked up from the duty roster she’d been working on and replied, “Doc, you saved my sanity… at least temporarily… paperwork drives me nuts!”

The physician chuckled, going to sit in a chair near her desk. He checked it before he sat, knowing that in this office the seat of a chair could be put to use as a work surface.

“It’s clean,” Mac assured him with irony. “I had to clear it off to chew out one of my people earlier today. What’s up?”

DeValera sat back and said, “Well, I think I might have a piece of the solution to your staffing problem on the production line.”

She perked up at that, leaning forward. “Really?” she asked.

“One of my Oasis patients is itching for something useful to do,” DeValera explained. He paused, then asked, “Did you ever get to meet Joe McCloud?”

“I know the name,” Mac replied thoughtfully, frowning with concentration. “Isn’t he—that is, wasn’t he the commander of Oasis’ defense force? I heard something about how he saved Major Duncan’s life, then the Major returned the favor. Cylons on Oasis…”

The physician nodded affirmation. “He’s had some brain trauma, luckily not too severe, and he’s capable of working. It would definitely improve his morale to have a job.”

“Wouldn’t working the production line be a bit of a… er, demotion? For him?” she asked dubiously.

“In normal circumstances, yes,” Ralph concurred, “but he still has some recovering to do, and that will take time. I talked to Ski about it, and we both think he’d do well in the gun shop.”

“Oh, if you and Ski think that’s best, we sure could use people in the gun shop,” Mac agreed at once. “I’m about four people down, there. Necromancer is sending me a couple workers and I think one of them has some gun experience.”

“Ski said that Joe’s a ‘gun guy’,” DeValera nodded. “I’m hoping there will be someone, ah, understanding to work with him. He gets severe headaches on occasion, although those are decreasing. He also sometimes has difficulty expressing himself—finding the right words.”

Mac told him, “The gun shop supervisor is one of my best. If the guy from Nec really does have gun experience, I can put him and McCloud together for training.” She nodded slowly to herself. “And I can always shift people around if I need to.” She shrugged with one shoulder. “Sometimes it’s who someone works with that makes the difference, not the job itself. Send McCloud here to my office, and I'll take him down to the line and introduce him around.”

“I knew I could count on you, Mac,” DeValera smiled, getting to his feet.

“I think we’re helping each other out!” she responded. “Especially as you got me away from paperwork for a little while!”

“Can’t you delegate that?” DeValera asked.

“I tried,” she said with a sigh. “That’s why I had to chew out one of my folks, earlier.” She gave a wry smile. “Sometimes it’s who someone works with… and I know my people the best.”

"That you do," DeValera agreed.

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Hospital Ship Chiron
Captain's Quarters
Day 286, Evening

"David," Nathan Santana greeted Dedrick as the door to the doctor's quarters slid open.

Dedrick brushed past him. "Nathan," he returned the greeting as he collapsed into a chair. "Your Exec is nothing if not persistent."

Santana gave Dedrick a quizzical look, then stepped to a cabinet and withdrew a bottle and two glasses. He spoke as he poured, "Lieutenant Nara is a capable officer, I'll allow you that. But you don't seem as though you appreciate her persistence."

Dedrick accepted a glass from Santana, draining half of it immediately. "Nate, it's just that..." Dedrick made a helpless gesture. "I appreciate her attention to duty, but I could do without all the attention she gives to me."

"Ah," Santana breathed, a smile creeping onto his face. "David, just bed her and be done with it. She clearly wants it, and you look like you could use the stress relief."

Dedrick tossed down the remains of his glass, then held it out to Santana. Shaking his head, he replied, "I just got engaged three weeks ago."

Santana shrugged, his smile diminished only slightly. "Bring Fernanda over for a visit, and bed them together," he suggested.

"I don't think Ferdie would go for that."

Santana finished refilling Dedrick's glass, then narrowed his gaze at his friend. "You haven't bedded Fernanda yet," he observed as he held the glass out.

"Give me that," Dedrick said with a scowl, then admitted, "No." Santana was silent in response, and after a moment Dedrick continued. "Her parents were Ascetics. She's not, but... I've been careful not to tread on their memory."

Santana shook his head in mock pity. "Well, frak Nara and just don't tell Fernanda. You sure as the hells look like you could use the release."

Dedrick drank deeply from his glass. "I wish it was that simple. I don't think I can lie to her, and I don't think she'd accept me being with someone else." He sighed deeply, then drank from his glass. "And I don't think sex is the cure for what's got me down."

Santana chuckled and eased back in his chair. "It's always worked for me," he said. "And scuttlebutt says Nara is quite a ride."

"I'm serious, Nate," Dedrick scolded, frowning.

"Okay, okay." Santana made a gesture as if to stop Dedrick. "You wanna talk, that's fine. But if you want counseling, you need to see DeValera."

Dedrick shook his head slightly, scowling again. "I don't know what I want. Well, yes, actually I do. I want to be free of the cylons. I want to feel like I didn't just kill fifty thousand people by leading those metal motherfrakkers to their colony. I want to find a world where I can build a house with Ferdie, like I promised her, without fearing that the cylons will find us."

Santana was nodding silently, but stopped when Dedrick stopped speaking. He found the Marine looking intently at him, as though weighing his next words carefully. Santana gave him his full attention.

"Nate, I want to sense the stream like Leoben does. I want to figure out how to do that, to see the future."

Author:  Raider X [ Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Taurus
Day 287
0645 CUT

Cmdr. Guynes heard the intercom buzzer and instinctively reached over and tapped the 'on' button for the speaker. "This is the Commander."

"Col. Merconi and Capt. Palmisano are here to see you, sir."

"Show them in and then do not disturb us unless it's an emergency."

"Aye, Commander."

As the hatch opened, William stood up and glanced at Capt. Neuman, "Ramona, thanks for sitting in with us."

"No problem, sir." Neuman said as she followed Guynes example. "I hope this is a quick process."

"Agreed." William quietly replied as the hatch fully swung open. Col. Merconi approched the two Taurus officers with the broad-shouldered Marine Captain from Perseus in tow.

The XO was all business in her introduction, "Commander, this is Capt. Eric Palmisano."

The Marine smartly saluted Guynes. The Commander quickly returned the salute and this offered the Captain a handshake, "Eric, it's been a while. Good to see you again. Are you keeping Karl out of trouble these days?"

"I'm doing what I can, Sir" Palmisano shook the offered hand with a slight smile, "Thankfully, things have been calm lately."

"Wait until your first born comes along." Guynes said with a smile. "You've already met the Colonel, I'm not sure if you have met Capt. Neuman, the head of MCIT?"

Neuman held her hand out, "We've talked over ship-to-ship, but this is our first time to meet face-to-face, Commander. Captain, nice to finally put a face to the voice."

"It's my pleasure, Captain" Palmisano smiled as he took the offered hand, "even though I have to admit that I am somewhat relieved that we haven't needed the MCITs services yet back on the Perseus for the last few months."

"That makes two of us, Captain."

Cmdr. Guynes motioned everyone to take a seat. "So Captain, tell us about Eric Palmisano...and tell me about you, not something I can just look up in a report."

The Marine Captain started for a moment before answering. "I was born and raised on Canceron, Prommos to be exact, my family wasn't exactly rich but we had enough my sisters to go to Prommos College...I only got in on something of a fluke, one of the guys from College Administration saw me at a public pool when I was doing a few laps and before I knew what was happening they gave me a scholarship and entered me in swimming contests. One thing led to another and last I heard, I still held two canceron records."

Eric smiled sadly, lost in his memories for a moment before returning to the present.

"After I graduated, I found a job as a teacher at my own old high school...physical education, as you know from my file. When I joined the Marines two years later, it wasn't just because I was bored by argueing with rich parents about making their obese kids breaking a sweat or that I felt that I could serve society better by keeping our Marines at their peak performance or something...I took the job because it paid better and allowed me to foot my parents medical bills back home. Success meant higher pay grades, more pay meant better medical care for my sick parents."

"Then, the cylons came, and I discovered that even though I have lost my family during the attacks, I feel like I somehow gained a new family with my brothers-in-arms. And like I always did for my old one, I want to take care of my new family now. And right now, it feels like the best way for me to do that is on your ship, Sir."

"Very well." Guynes said in a neutral tone. He looked over at Col. Merconi with slight nod. She quickly asked her question.

"You know what the current MarDet situation is. We lost a very respected leader and several Marines...some in NCO leadership rolls. How would you shape your leadership team and get morale up?"

For a moment, Eric looked down at the carpet. "What the MarDet needs right now is a sense of permanence, of stability, the loss of Major Storm is hard enough on them. For that reason, bringing in NCOs from other MarDets seems not advisable to me right now, at least not in permanent positions. I was rather thinking of promoting some of the Taurus Marines to NCO positions, if possible with NCOs loaned from the other MarDets to advise them...maybe for a two week period to allow things to settle?"

"That could be one way to do it." the Colonel said without emotion. "But, if you had to put out a call for additional officers or NCOs, what would be looking for?"

"To be honest, I'd prefer experienced NCOs to inexperienced officers, Sir" Eric answered, his voice as emotionless as the Colonels. "I've seen units suffering from inexperienced officers and right now, that's exactly what the Taurus MarDet does not need. If I would really need to fill officer postings, I'd try to negotiate for one or two of our most experienced NCOs to be field promoted. They're already in leadership positions, Transition would be easier on them than training a wet-behind-the ears Lieutenant not to kill his men through inexperience."

"I can't say I disagree." Capt. Neuman said to the others.

The meeting went on for another forty minutes. Commander Guynes at Capt. Neuman and then over at Capt. Palmisano , "Well, I think we're covered just about everything. Is there anything you'd like to add, Captain?"

"Just one thing Sir, there's no need to worry about your MarDet. They're a bunch of great guys from what I heard and even though they may be somewhat down for the count right now they'll bounce back no matter who gets the CO post. They're Marines." Palmisano grinned as if that explained everything because for him, it did.

Guynes glanced at Col. Merconi and then back to Neuman and Palmisano. "Captain Neuman will give you a tour of the MarDet. If you two will excuse us, the Colonel and I have some things to discuss."

With a nod and a "Yes Sir", Palmisano rose and after shaking Hands with both the Commander and the Colonel, the two Marine Captains left the Commanders Office. Only after the hatch had slammed shut again, Palmisano let out a shaky breath before turning to his fellow officer Ramona Neuman.

"At least I know those two take things seriously now. Was your job interview just as intense, Captain?"

"Mine was a bit...rushed back in the Intrepid days for MCIT" Ramona said reflectively. "It was along the lines of 'you have experience, so you're it' type of moment."

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

After Captains Palmisano and Neuman cleared the room and the hatch was closed, Cmdr. Guynes looked at Col. Merconi, "So, what do you think?"

Xen raised an eyebrow, "I think you were right when you said that he would be the likely choice."

"We still have a few more interviews." Guynes paused as he took a sip off coffee, "More than likely, he'll be taking over and he's the only one that has experience running a MarDet."

"With the current our overall situation, the candidate pool isn't that deep to start with, Will. Damn Cylons."

"No debating that...and one person really couldn't put himself in the running with a black cloud hanging over his head."

"Lt. Masterson would have been an excellent choice." Xen sighed, "Damn civilian official getting his feelings hurt. He was doing his job limiting who sees our...'good' Cylon."

"I agree, but until Major Bays findings come out, he's got a cloud hanging over him." William took a deep breath, "Jon's a good Marine and Intel Chief. He's also a pro and will keep doing his job."

"Yeah, but it's going to leave a damn sour taste in his mouth."

"It would mine." The Commander was about to continue his thought when buzzing came from the intercom. It was Marine Cpl. Binder.

"Commander, Captain Butler is here with Lt. Moore."

William looked at Xen and then pressed the comm button, "Allow them in, Corporal. The Colonel and I are ready for the next interview."

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Highlands Dawn - Presidential Office
Day 287

As the door swung open, Vice President Liza Liala smiled at President Meyers and entered the room, “Good morning, Andy. Are ready for the day?”

“Is anyone ever ready for an afternoon with the Quorum?” Andy returned the smile and motioned Liza to have a seat. “Glad you could make it this morning to discuss a few things before Eleni arrives.”

As Liza opened a notebook, she looked at Andy, “Okay and I have a few things as well.”

Andy took a deep breath and clasped his hands together, “Lets start off with a touchy subject first: You, me, the military and Kalrk.”

As her notebook suddenly closed, Liza took a breath and tried not to frown, “I had a feeling we would discuss this at some point. I have to admit; although I am appreciative of everything Kalrk’s done…I’m uncomfortable with him now. The revelation on his background is…unsettling, to say the least.”

“You’re not the only one who is unsettled by Kalrk. He’s an enigma…he’s a question mark to me now: Hero of the fleet. Kalrk the brilliant business man in the Colonies. He’s a friend and convinced me to run for President…and he’s also a Cylon.”

“And yet, our Admiral trusts him. That has to carry some weight.” The Vice President drew a deep breath and sighed, “There is one other thing that Kalrk has done.”

“And that is?”

“He’s caused a rift between us and the military. Gods, I hate saying that but it’s true. I wish you and the Admiral could have seen each other staring the other down.”

“You had some stare-down glares with the Admiral as well.” Andy paused, searching for his next words. “This gets out in the fleet, there’s going to be hell to pay.”

“Paying Hell may be cheaper. I’m expecting this to all end badly…should it ever happen.” Liza looked upwards for a moment and continued, “So, what is the plan?”

“On the surface, we continue as normal…no choice in that. Still, he has been loyal to humanity. Lets think for a moment…think back to the Pythos operation: If Kalrk had wanted us all dead, he could have turned and joined his fellow Cylons…attacked the fleet while the military was away. More than likely, even with the Lycanthrope, we would have been killed. He’s had the chance to turn against us, but he turned on his own kind. It matches what he’s done in the past.”

Liza considered the Presidents’ thought before replying, “True enough and he’s done everything that he can for us. He’s earned his place and trust, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep an eye on him Andy. I can’t fully trust a Cylon.”

“I don’t blame you. Still, he’s proven trustworthy until he shows us otherwise.” Andy forced himself to give a half-hearted smile. “For now, his secret is ours to keep, along with the military. I want to have a meeting at some point: you, me, Kalrk and Ben…get us all on the same page and heal any wounds.”

“That might be a good thing.” Liza locked eyes with Andy and continued, “And if the people of the fleet find out?”

“I have two letters in the safe under the desk. One is pointing out everything we’ve said about the good Kalrk had done. It will grant him ‘a pardon’ for being a Cylon, ‘protection’ for his safety and confirms his ‘citizenship’.”

“And what does the second letter say?”

“Let’s just say the moment I issue it is the moment you’ll get an immediate promotion. It’s my resignation letter.”

Liza looked at Andy with some shock, surprised with the revelation. “I have to ask you to reconsider that last letter, Andy. If this gets out, I’ll be in the same trouble as you. “

“Someone will have to take the fall, it’s as simple as that. If this gets out, I plan to take the blame…right along with the Admiral. He’ll be the other person getting blowback on this affair, but his position is secure. It’ll be ugly if it gets out, that’s for certain.”

Meyers took a sip of water and continued, “As of this moment Liza, you know nothing of Karlk’s background. That will be made clear in the eventual meeting. No one on your staff or mine will know his full story. If you have written or typed anything about this, destroy it. Just look at me and agree…my mind is made up.”

“Reconsider that second letter is all I ask…there must be other options,” Liza said and then reopened her notebook. “Are we ready to move on to the next item?”

“Agreed, let’s talk about the future of Secretary of State Kyriake…”

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Production Line Gun Shop
Day 287, 0800 Hours

Kasan Smith had reported to the Libra the evening before, been assigned a bunk, and been given the rules about where civilians on the ship were allowed to go—and where was off-limits. There had been similar limitations on the Necromancer even though the refinery ship was a civilian ship, and he took careful note of Libra’s restricted areas. He’d quickly memorized the maps of the frames he was allowed in, and had no problem finding the Gun Shop production line supervisor’s office at 0800.

As he reached the office, he was joined by a tall, muscled man who was obviously heading the same place. They exchanged nods, then Smith went in first.

“I am Kasan Smith,” he said to the small woman there.

“Joe McCloud,” the other man said.

The two men nodded at each other again, introductions to each other accomplished.

“I’m Chief MacLean, chief of Libra’s deck,” the woman told them. “Normally your civilian supervisor, Jason Wright, would be here, but we’re short staffed and he had to get some emergency work done on night shift. I’ll get you started here today.”

“I thought that the production lines were all civilian,” McCloud commented with interest.

Mac nodded. “Usually,” she agreed with a slight grimace, “but thanks to the cylons, every section is spread thin. I’m doing double duty, helping here on the production lines as well as taking care of all my planes on the deck. I understand you both have weapons experience?”

McCloud shot a glance at Smith, then told Mac, “Yessir, I was rai, raised with hand and long guns, and I wasn’t allowed to shoot them until I could p-prove I could take them apart and put them back together.”

“You’ll be doing a lot of putting together here,” she replied dryly.

She glanced at Smith, and he said, “I have Colonial gunsmithing certification.”

“Oh, excellent,” she nodded, and asked him, “You’re a Scorpian nomad?”

He gave an impassive nod, wondering how she knew.

“Good,” she said with satisfaction, as if his being a nomad counted for more than the gunsmithing certification. He wondered if she’d feel the same if she knew his real purpose for volunteering to work here.

“Come on, I’ll show you what your jobs are,” she led them out of the office and around the corner to the gun shop workstations.

It was an atmosphere vastly different than the noisy, dirty steel rolling mill that Smith was used to on the Necromancer. Here, the workstations were long work tables under gleaming lights, with stools, tool boxes, carts and bins holding parts, all sparkling clean. He and McCloud followed Mac to a station labeled “22B”.

“This is where the guns for the Vipers and Raptors are assembled,” Mac said. “We get the steel from the Necromancer, then it’s machined into parts in Libra’s manufacturing plant. The parts come up here where fine adjustments are made if needed, then the guns are assembled.” She gestured to a monitor above the work table, where an expanded diagram of a gun was displayed. “Some of the assembly can be done by one person, but parts of it need two people, so folks work in teams here.”

Both Smith and McCloud looked around, seeing that other workstations had two people working at each. “Keeps you from… getting bored,” McCloud remarked.

“Oh, yes,” Mac agreed. “Everyone who’s worked here for a while has learned how to put a whole gun together, even if it does need two people to do it.”

Smith studied the diagram on the monitor, and Mac said to him, “Keyboard is under the work surface.” She pulled the monitor controls out on a sliding tray and demonstrated how the diagram could be rotated and the view zoomed in and out.

“It doesn’t seem that difficult,” Smith said.

“It’s difficult enough,” she responded. “It’s not like… cooking a meal. Here you have to get everything exact, follow the tech order, and sometimes the parts don’t fit exactly right.”

For some reason, Smith felt he had to explain, “I meant, it’s not like trying to find out why the weapon isn’t working, and then repair it.”

Mac met his gaze calmly, and she nodded. “We’ll get you moved up to repair after you know how to put them together.” She glanced at McCloud, including him. Both men nodded.

“I can pair you two up with a different team, to start out with, if you want,” Mac said.

Smith looked at McCloud. McCloud shrugged, and said to him, “Whatever you think b-best.”

Smith turned his eyes back to Mac. “We will follow the tech order,” he told her. “If we need help, we’ll ask.”

Mac nodded, unsurprised. “I’ll be around,” she made a vague gesture. “Sam and Colton, on the next station, have been here awhile and they can help, too.”

“Thanks,” McCloud said.

She nodded and strode away.

“That’s one tough wo-woman,” McCloud commented.

“Yes,” Smith agreed. He looked at McCloud thoughtfully. “You have been injured in battle?” he asked.

McCloud grimaced. “Yes,” he said. He rubbed the back of his head gingerly. “I’m from… was… an Oasian. Cylons showed up as the fleet was leave… leaving and I got in the middle of a fight. Got knocked out. Duncan saved my ass, and… here I am.” He regarded Smith. “You’ve been in battle,” he observed.

Smith nodded, but he attention was on McCloud’s earlier words. “Duncan? Major Scott Duncan? You know him?”

“Yes,” McCloud affirmed. “Do y, you know him?”

Smith shook his head. “I have heard of him,” he said, his manner indifferent.

“Let’s get to work,” Joe studied the monitor.

Smith nodded calmly, but his thoughts were far from calm. He knows Scott Duncan. That can be to my advantage.

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Secretary of State Office
End of report
Day 287 - 0901

"...our military reports a preliminary loss of nearly 500 personnel and more than 900 injured from combat operations against the Cylons. A final report will come today from the office of the Admiralty on a full break down of the dead and injured per ship and per department.

As of this time, we have over 6,500 people from Oasis that we were able to save before the Cylon attack / invasion. This accounts for nearly ten-percent of their population. They are currently spread out over several ships in the fleet.

Some of the smaller ships of the fleet are carrying more people than they were originally built to handle. This has caused some strain on life support and supplies. Along with the Captain's Union, the Office of the President and the Quorum of Twelve are working together to relocate some citizens to other ships.

Additional issues like providing permanent identification, medical assistance, education and other needs are being addressed, as they have been since the start of the Exodus. It is our hope that as we address these issues, this allows the new citizens to more easily adapt to day to day life in the fleet."

Eleni Kyriake
Secretary of State,
Twelve Colonies of Kobol

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Somewhere in the fleet
Day 287

…1041 8401 4522 6768 9055
2401 1071 3458 8159 3277
9999 9999 9999 9999 9999…

"One-time pad message complete, Warlord." Mikayla Winston said as she shut off the small transmitter. "What do you want me to do with this?"

David Bern, leader of what was left of the People Liberation Army, looked at the young woman. "We still have three spare machines spread out in the fleet, correct?"

"All working and well hidden. Also, as long as we have transmitters, I can use a computer via a data port to send pads."

"Hide it well, as you usual do. The military has not spotted us using this method of communications." Bern paused, "Our people still know when to listen for a possible message and are supposed to do so once a day. My message made that apparent."

As he turned to leave the room, Mikayla started to pack the micro-transmitter. "So, we're standing by to fight again, if needed?"

"Yes." The Warlord turned around and looked at his operative, "I ordered everyone to stand down and accept the new orders, not surrender all hope and walk away. The struggle is going into a new phase. If that phase fails, we must always be ready to fight for the struggle."

Ms. Winston shook her head in agreement, "May we succeed, no matter the way...for the revolution."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cargo Shuttle en route from Harvest Moon
to Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Day 287, Morning

Theron Kyklades was supremely uncomfortable, but he didn’t really care. He’d successfully accomplished the mission that Toni had sent him on. He’d met with her over a day ago, and done exactly what she’d set him to do: get to the big farm ship, Harvest Moon without being detected, learn how to get around the ship, and return to Nimbus without anyone knowing.

He’d stowed aboard this very cargo shuttle twenty-four hours ago. The crates and containers had been mostly empty on the trip to the Harvest Moon, because the shuttle’s job was to get food from the farm ship and bring it back to Nimbus. Now, on the return trip, he was jammed in the narrow space between tied-down crates because there wasn’t room inside any of them. It wasn’t a long journey, though, and he’d survived many more painful things in his life. At least this time the pain was of his own choosing, for a purpose that would give him personal benefit.

He’d told Toni his real name when she gave him this mission. He hadn’t felt right, not being truthful with her, because she was giving him a job—an important job. He knew his name wasn’t on anyone’s list, not on any passenger manifest, and if by slight chance he did run into someone from Oasis who knew him, he now had a protector. She really cared about him and trusted him.

So he’d gone to the Harvest Moon and spent his twenty-two hours there wisely. He’d learned the layout of the ship, how to get around quickly, and where all the important compartments were. He’d found out where the ship’s captain lived, and where the command center was, and he’d even gotten a glimpse of Captain Kalrk himself. He’d hung out with a couple groups of kids his own age, pretending that he lived there, too, and made some “friends”. He’d eaten a couple of great meals, helped the kitchen crew clean up, and left no lasting impression on anyone.

It had been one of the best things he’d ever done in his life. And as an added bonus, he had four lemons and two limes in his jacket pockets. Citrus fruit was worth more than cubits on the Nimbus!

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Pilot Training Classroom
Day 287 0600 Hours

As the red numerals of the clock ticked over from 5:59 the hatch to the Libra's pilot training classroom banged open. The first person to enter, a Lieutenant by the collar pips on her dress uniform, wore a scowl as she paused to scan the assembled trainees. Immediately behind her was a tall, light-haired Ensign. His uniform jacket was open, the left sleeve hanging empty where the jacket's shoulder was draped over the sling which held his bandaged left arm.

David Carter jumped to his feet as the two officers appeared and the rest of the trainees followed suit with varying speed. Carter recognized the Ensign as Anthony Allen, the recruiter from Taurus with whom he'd met just three days prior. The sour-faced LT he didn't know, but he'd seen her name on his paperwork. She was the Flight Instructor, Mira Koldeski.

Koldeski strode to the front of the classroom, eyes still boring into the now-standing trainees. For long moments she did not speak. Carter's breath seemed overly loud in the silence, and he began to hold it.

"Ensign Allen," Koldeski growled, "where did you find this sorry collection of pukes?"

"They found us, sir," Allen responded. "They volunteered." Carter glanced aside, catching a hint of amusement on Allen's face.

Koldeski's scowl deepened into a disgusted frown. "Pukes with a death wish, then," she assessed. "I am Lieutenant Koldeski, and the Admiral has charged me with the impossible task of forging you into pilots. Before the cylons came I would have told you that most of you will wash out, but we no longer have that luxury. I will make you into pilots, or I will kill you in the attempt. Now sit your asses down."

David Carter sank into his seat, his attention riveted to Koldeski. He found it hard to judge her age, though he felt certain she was under thirty. She had a round face with a blunt nose and wide-set eyes, her red-brown hair wound into a tight bun atop her head. Describe her in a word, David thought. Harsh.

"You are now in the Combined Fleet of the Twelve Colonies," Koldeski continued. "You have the rank of Midshipman. You are both Pilot Trainees and Officer Candidates. If by some miracle of the gods you survive training, you will be commissioned as Ensigns. From now on you will stand at attention and render a salute to every officer that breathes, for they all out-rank you. You will give respect to all enlisted personnel, for they have earned it. Address them by their rank and stand at parade rest while in their presence."

"You will address me as Lieutenant Koldeski, or as Flight Instructor. You will answer to your name, so long as you can still remember it. You will also answer to Midshipman, trainee, candidate, nugget, puke, magpie, jaybird and any other term of derision with which I may happen to address you."

A stocky trainee in the front row raised his hand. Koldeski responded with a withering stare. "What is it, Herron?" The trainee glanced downward at his utility uniform, at the name tape above his right breast pocket.

"Flight Instructor, when do we get to pick our callsigns?"

"You don't, you mewling little puke. I do. Or your squadron mates will, after you're assigned. Call signs are for pilots, and you're not a pilot yet, not by a long shot." Herron seemed to shrink in his seat, and Carter noticed Koldeski shooting a glance at Ensign Allen. When he followed her gaze he saw that Allen was openly grinning, mouthing a single word at the Lieutenant.

Koldeski grimaced, but there was a trace of humor in the expression. "As Ensign Allen would like to point out, my call sign is 'Divot'. My flight instructor gave me that name because he swore my landing skids were tearing divots out of the steel deck." Koldeski paused, then went on. "Ensign Allen is known as 'Slow Poke', because he's always the last one down in a combat landing. You frak up like that during training, and you'll get tagged with a call sign that won't let you forget it" Again she paused. "You will not address any pilot by their call sign, until you've earned your own."

Koldeski turned, stepping behind the podium at the front of the classroom. "From this point forward, you belong to me. Every moment of your miserable lives will be spent training, both mental and physical. You will not have time to sleep, you will not have time to eat, you will not have time for anything beyond the flight manual and the simulators."

"Carter." David was already focused on Koldeski, but when she spoke his name and focused her gaze onto him he swallowed hard. "I know what you're thinking, nugget. You're wrong, you don't know how to fly. Those six years you spent in that wind-up toy you called a plane are going to be a handicap here. You have a lot to unlearn, so consider yourself behind all of your classmates, already."

"Yes, Flight Instructor," Carter responded, nodding. He didn't believe her, though. How could being an experienced pilot count against him here? Hell, he'd even seen combat, of a sort, going up against a dragon with the wing-mounted gun on his light plane. Once, he reminded himself. That was only once, and probably doesn't count for anything. He sat up straighter in his seat, realizing he'd missed something Koldeski had said. She was passing out manuals, and Allen was laughing as he assisted her with his good arm.

When she finished, Koldeski returned to the front of the classroom. She regarded the trainees for a moment, her expression not a smile but yet not the scowl she'd worn thus far. "Take a deep breath, nuggets," she said, her voice softening slightly. "Welcome to pilot training aboard the Battlestar Libra."

Author:  jdctexas [ Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agroship Demeter
Day 287

Captain Inga Mueller walked into the shuttle bay to welcome the visiting Raptor from Taurus. As she strode across the bay, a half dozen engineering techs made their way out of the cramped craft. The last to exit was Major Lane Azmos. He quickly made eye contact with Inga and smiled, "Good morning, Captain. Are you ready for us to crawl around your ship?"

"Demeter is ready for your review. My lead engineer is waiting for you in the forward FTL drive collar." Inga smiled. "We're also readying some extra places for your team for lunch."

"Well, then... I guess we need to make sure this takes as long as possible then and maybe stay for dinner?" Azmos laughed. "It's not often we get to eat something that has flavor and quality."

"We do aim to make things as comfortable as possible, Major."

As the two talked, the other engineers made their way towards the hatch. Azmos looked at the officer leading the way, "This is LT Galway, she's my assistant for this inspection."

"Abi Galway, ma'am," Azmos' assistant greeted Inga. "I was FTL maintenance department head on Intrepid, before transferring to the Bull."

"It's nice to meet you." Inga said, nodding. "My engineering specialist is eager for you to start. Please follow me."

After making their way into engineering and getting a rundown of issues from Rosa Thorne-Schmidt, Maj. Azmos looked at his team, "Specialist Morgan and I will go over the controllers and everything up to the transmission inversion unit. LT Galway, you take everyone else and check the FTL systems downstream from the TIU."

"Major, I'd like Thorne-Schmidt to accompany my group, sir." Galway nodded to Rosa, then returned her gaze to Major Azmos.

"No problem at all" Azmos said. "If we have any question, we'll call you or ask one of the other engineers here. Lets get to work."

Author:  RangerLord [ Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Thorny led LT Galway and two other Taurus engineers aft via the Demeter's dorsal accessway, a square tube that ran the length of the freighter with pressure doors at each end as well as amidships, where it intersected the ship's communications rig. Piping adorned both sides and a wire raceway ran overhead, but the passage was still large enough for two people to walk abreast. When the group emerged from the pressure door into the aft drive collar, Thorny gestured to a small platform across a short catwalk. LT Galway noted a large open space below, reached via a ladderwell just beside them.

"Monitoring station for the aft torus is there," Thorny explained, gesturing to the platform. "The auxiliary drive control station is below, on the main deck."

Galway motioned one of the engineers across the catwalk, then descended the ladder. Thorny and the other engineer followed. LT Galway was standing at the control station when Thorny joined her. Galway's eyes roamed the compartment, taking in everything. Arching overhead was what appeared to be a pipe more than two-feet in diameter and ringed with dozens of electromagnetic coils. Flanges ran along its perimeter, inner and outer, and encircled it at two points forty-five degrees up from the deck. Every flange was populated by a closely spaced series of bolts. This was the aft drive torus, and Galway knew that beneath the deck upon which they stood the circle was completed. Within the torus, hanging in magnetic suspension and in total vacuum, were two superconducting alloy rings. The drive accelerated these, counter-rotating, until their difference in velocity reached light speed. Then an electric charge was applied to the fore and aft tori simultaneously, creating the FTL jump envelope.

"All the FTL controls from the bridge are duplicated here," Thorny stated, receiving a nod from Galway. The Lieutenant ran her fingertips across a tarnished plaque riveted to the control station. It read 'SANGER CARAVEL MODEL TWO'.

"She's a beauty, Rosa."

"Can we fix her, though?" the Demeter engineer asked.

"Up to a point," Galway replied. "We can't open up a torus..." The Lieutenant grimaced, then corrected herself. "Well, of course we could open one, but we couldn't reassemble it. There's no equipment in the fleet that could recreate the vacuum, even if we reassembled it outside, in space. And anything less than a perfect vacuum would be catastrophic."

Thorne-Schmidt nodded acceptance. "Beyond that, though?"

"We can improve your spin-up time, for certain," Galway said, her smile sympathetic. "What other issues have you experienced?"

Author:  jdctexas [ Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agroship Demeter
Day 287

Maj. Azmos, Lt. Galway and Rosa made their way from engineering to the bridge. When they entered, Inga felt the uneasiness of the group, "What's wrong... what did you find?"

The Major looked at Inga trying not to show too much concern, "Demeter may have a bigger issue than its spool time, Captain. Lt. Galway, please?"

"She's a fine ship, ma'am," Galway began, her tone apologetic. "I reviewed her registry entry before coming over. Demeter has been in service almost thirty-five years, and her life-expectancy would be at least forty... under normal circumstances. Since the cylon attacks, though, circumstances have hardly been normal."

"Nothing has been normal since we started running. What's the prognosis?" Inga glanced over to Rosa as she spoke with heightened concern in her voice.

Rosa Thorne-Schmidt met her commander's gaze with sympathetic eyes. "The Lieutenant says we can improve the spooling time by improving conductivity in the angular accelerator. We'll have to custom build new induction coils, and it will take at least a month, but it's within the fleet's capabilities."

LT Galway nodded, then glanced at Major Azmos. Returning her focus to Inga Mueller, she said, "I'm more concerned, though, about the condition of the ship as a whole. FTL jumps stress the entire vessel - hull, spaceframe and field generators alike. Running from the cylons, we've been jumping far more frequently than this ship's designers ever imagined we would. Given Demeter's age... I'm concerned about the possibility of a catastrophic structural failure."

Inga didn't want to believe what she was hearing as she looked at the trio, "Are you sure?"

"When I looked at everything as a whole, what I saw raised questions in my mind. When Lt. Galway was going through things, it raised red flags... several red flags. I trust her implicitly and her training, ma'am... she specializes in this."

Inga looked at Rosa and saw that she was in agreement with the Taurus engineers without a word being said. "So Major, what is next?"

"I'd like to get a team from Titan in here to take a look." Azmos said. "They have the equipment and a process they can go through."

"We need to scan the containment torus in each drive collar to check for metal fatigue. The same should be done for the hull and spaceframe." LT Galway fixed Inga's gaze with her own, conveying the gravity of her next words. "There's no way for us to scan everything, and a lot of the critical areas will have to be done EVA, so something could still slip by us."

Inga drew a deep breath, "Okay, how long will that take?"

"Once they get here and can go through their process... half a day to a day to go in-depth." The Major said. He glanced at Galway to make sure he hadn't missed anything before continuing. "There is one other thing: I want to hook you up to the fleet tug until that check is done... as a precaution, of course."

Rosa bunched her eyebrows, then voiced a question. "How will that help? We wouldn't be using our jump engines, but we'd still be jumping."

"It would still stress the ship, you're right," LT Galway admitted. "But the stress of riding in another vessel's FTL envelope is lower."

"It makes sense... this lets the tug take most of the strain. I can get my folks to start their pre-docking routine." Inga said with a hint of resignation.

"If I can borrow your wireless for a few minutes, I'd like to call over to Titan and let Col. Trafford and his team know about what's going on and get the clearance to get you docked."

"Of course, Major..."

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Sub-Level C
Day 287 1145 Hours

Dexter Coburn stood in the containment room for the Harvest Moon's power reactor, and he felt small. He was shorter than most men, and a bit on the stocky side, but the 50-meter depth of the station's sub-levels and the towering cylindrical reactor vessel heightened his awareness of his size. The Harvest Moon had four power reactors known as LiFTR's - Liquid Fluoride Tylium Reactors. They used a molten tylium salt as both fuel and primary coolant. A secondary coolant loop of pressurized water drove the station's generators as well as providing heated air.

Coburn had zero experience with closed reactor systems when he'd transferred from the Grandeur, where he'd been the Second Assistant Chief Engineer. The ring liner used reactive liquid tylium as fuel, as did most of the ships in the fleet, but propulsion was achieved by an open chamber that vented reaction mass. Coburn had come to the Harvest Moon nearly nine months ago, as Kalrk assembled a crew for the derelict station, and he'd been studying the reactors ever since. The technology still daunted him.

Vibration in the deck plating was the first signal to Dex that something was wrong. The machinery of the power reactor always hummed - there were coolant pumps and electrical generators and huge air fans that all lent their particular frequencies to the background noise of the sub-level. But this vibration was violent, off-key and building to a crescendo. A warning light began pulsing on the control board, and Dex sprinted across the intervening open space as the reactor technician called out a warning.

"Primary coolant pump failure!"

Dex scanned the status board, standing just behind and to one side from the technician. Indicator lights shifted as the molten tylium salt flow was diverted to a brace of secondary pumps, but then the board lit up red as two of the pumps failed to initialize. "Secondaries one and three are no-starts," the technician called out. On the status board a monitor displayed the reactor core, color coded by temperature gradients. The center was already blazing red, and the hot spot was growing rapidly.

The technician turned to look at Dex, his expression grave. "She should have scrammed," he said. "The moderator rods are gonna warp."

Dex looked across the board. A matrix of graphite rods within the reactor were used to absorb neutrons and thereby control the reaction rate. They had been ramping up the reactor output today, pulling the control rods back to increase power production. A SCRAM - setting control rods at maximum - would have rapidly inserted the rods all the way into the core, absorbing nearly all the free neutrons and idling the reactor. The SCRAM light was on, but beside it the rod position indicator still read 15%.

Dex slammed his hand down on the big red button beside the light and the position indicator rapidly dialed up to read 100%. On the monitor the hot spot began to slowly fade. The technician gave Dex a relieved look, an expression that the Chief Engineer reflected.

Pulling out the slim wireless transmitter he carried on his belt, Dex checked his channel and then keyed the mic. "Operations, this is Coburn. We just lost the Number Four reactor."

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Deck 3 - Operations Center
Day 287 1205 Hours

Captain Matthew Leon Williams stood at the power distribution control station in the Harvest Moon's operations center, frowning at the gauges and indicator lights. The ag station was a power-hungry beast and her appetite had recently surged with the addition of Oasian refugees. Twenty minutes ago his chief engineer had reported that the Moon's number four power reactor had been shut down, just as it was throttled up to handle the increased load.

Under normal circumstances that might not have been a problem. But on the run from the cylons, with few spare parts and limited fabrication capability, it could prove to be a crippling blow. When the Harvest Moon was found eight-and-a-half months back, it had been a derelict station with no crew. Three of its power reactors had been idled, but the number one reactor had been left to operate at 25% capacity. Without technicians to monitor the fission process the reactor had become "poisoned", producing too much of a xenon isotope which absorbed neutrons. That had two deleterious effects: it curtailed the nuclear reaction, and as the xenon underwent decay there was a build up of cesium in the core. When the Moon was found, reactor number one had been reduced to less than 5% output. The cesium, a long-lived fission product, prevented the reactor from being restarted.

Dex Coburn entered the operations center, his eyes immediately seeking out Captain Williams. As he crossed the room, Dex noted the glances from the crew who monitored every facet of the station's condition. Each face told the same tale. They fear the bad news I bring, he thought.

"Captain." Dex greeted the grizzled Harvest Moon commander, who had noted his approach. Williams nodded acknowledgement and the chief engineer promptly continued. "We're running number two at 90% and number three at 95%, and that is meeting our demand."

"So we can get another 15% output from the two remaining reactors, if we need it?" Williams asked.

Dex shook his head. "The number two reactor has dropped below the break-even point as a breeder. The concentration of fissionable material in its fuel is now decreasing. The current output level is all we're gonna get out of her, and that level is going to continue to decrease." Dex paused for a moment as Captain Williams took in this information, nodding his head slowly. "Design specs say we can run number three at up to 105%," Dex went on. "I don't want to, though," he added.

"What is the status of number four?"

"The primary coolant pump is fubar," Dex said, scowling. "The secondaries were only meant to allow a controlled shut-down. We might be able to operate at about 20%, short term, once we get all four secondaries operating. When I say short-term, I mean 30 days, tops."

Captain Williams gave an audible sigh. "Can we repair the primary?" he prompted Coburn.

Dex shook his head again. "We don't know the extent of the damage yet, but it's unlikely we could make repairs - the impeller and pump housing are contaminated with fission products." The engineer paused for a moment, clearly pursuing his thoughts. "Whether we could manufacture a replacement is an unknown," he admitted after a moment. "I'm fairly certain that machining an identical unit is beyond the fleet's capabilities. Designing and building a workable alternate... " Dex shrugged. "That's a question we'd have to put to the military."

"We wrote off cleaning and refueling number one during the salvage," Williams said, thinking aloud. "Perhaps we need to reconsider that, for the long term. Meanwhile, I'll contact Libra and ask about the pump."

Author:  RangerLord [ Thu May 05, 2016 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Kalrk's outer office
Day 287 1300 Hours

Captain Williams had notified Kalrk's office immediately after his discussion with Coburn and then contacted the Libra. He'd spoken to Lieutenant Ilithya Carlin, who among her other duties served as liaison officer to the civilian ships. Carlin has assured him that the Harvest Moon's troubles would be assigned a high priority, but Williams had only managed to get a commitment that one of the command officers would contact him in return. He sensed that Carlin's handling of his situation was laced with more than the usual sophistry he'd become accustomed to from the military, and he pressed the matter - until he became convinced that the public affairs officer was not going to yield.

After that he had sought an audience with Kalrk. He'd planned to do so anyway, to apprise Kalrk of the reactor situation as was his duty. Williams shared Kalrk's skepticism regarding the military, and was certain that the Harvest Moon's keeper would want to know of his suspicions regarding Carlin's evasiveness as well. Not wanting to overplay his hand with the sometimes testy businessman, Williams had related the situation as urgent but not dire. The result was an appointment right after Kalrk's lunch.

Williams brought the Chief Engineer with him, knowing that it would be better to have Coburn answer Kalrk's technical questions. As he stood in the passageway and allowed the clock to tick down to 1300 hours, Rebekah Wayton arrived. Though many thought of her as Kalrk's "assistant", harkening back to the Quorum of Twelve campaign, Wayton was actually much more. A well-educated and experienced businesswoman, Wayton served as the Department Coordinator of the Harvest Moon. She was Kalrk's strong right hand, and Williams often mused that she had more power and much more to do than he.

Williams and Coburn followed Wayton into the office. There they found Kalrk standing in front of a wide wall monitor on which he had a number of documents displayed, as well as a cloned readout of the power distribution board in Operations and a schematic of the LiFTR reactor. Kalrk looked over his shoulder upon hearing the trio enter, then resumed reviewing the monitor. When they stopped a short way behind him, he turned to face them. Brief pleasantries were exchanged, after which Karlk requested that the reactor events be recounted. Coburn did the majority of the talking, then Williams related the details of his contact with Carlin. Kalrk frowned at Coburn's assessment of the reactor damage, but the frown grew to a scowl as Williams spoke.

"I will contact Colonel Wilson directly," Kalrk stated, locking his gaze on Williams. "Of all the command officers, he has the most engineering experience. I assure you he will hear us. Meanwhile we must ascertain what we can do for ourselves. We have no spare pumps, I understand, but what of the primary coolant pump on the mothballed Number One reactor?"

Williams deferred to Coburn, nodding to the engineer. Coburn gave a quick nod in return and then faced Kalrk. "The same fission product contaminants that made us decide not to restart the reactor would be present in the pump assembly. Clearing the tylium fluoride fuel from the coolant loop - a hazmat operation in itself - would just be the start. The fission product deposits would have to be removed, and the internal workings of the pump are complex. It might be doable, but it would be dangerous and I can't give you a time estimate beyond saying it wouldn't be quick." Coburn shrugged and shook his head as he finished.

"And you are certain that Number Four's primary coolant pump cannot be repaired?"

"Not absolute, sir, but certain enough. The same people who can tell us if a new pump can be built, can tell us if this one can be fixed."

"Where do we stand on repairing the secondary pumps on Number Four?" Kalrk asked.

"Dex has our best reactor techs working on that right now," Williams replied.

"That will only give us 20% output, and only for a month at most. Plus we'd be operating without a backup," Coburn cautioned.

Rebekah Wayton turned toward the engineer. "What would it take to bring Number Two back to full capacity, Mr. Coburn?"

"Replacing the fuel," the engineer answered. "Necromancer can provide us with that, but the normal refueling procedure involves shutting down the reactor. In our current situation, we don't have another reactor available to assume the load. We'd fall short of our demand by almost 50%."

"Is there another option?" Kalrk asked.

Coburn looked doubtful as he spoke, "We could swap out fuel while we run the reactor, using the pyroprocessor - it removes some of the fission contaminants from the tylium salt on a daily basis. We could drain and replace fuel as it cycled, but it would be a slow process - and the longer we do it the less effective it would become due to the mixing of old and new fuel."

"Clearly there's not going to be a fast fix to this," Captain Williams noted.

"Agreed." Kalrk was silent for a moment while the others watched him intently. When he spoke again, he did so with conviction. "Rebekah, meet with your department heads and see where we can cut power usage. Then prioritize the suggested cuts by the amount of energy saved. See if, for instance, we can reduce the artificial lighting without detriment to our crops."

Wayton nodded, then turned to go.

"Captain Williams, it will be your duty to see where we might add production. Can the refinery provide any waste heat that would drive a generator? Can we draw any power from one of the tugs, or another ship?"

"Aye, sir," Williams responded, giving Kalrk a crisp salute.

"Mr. Coburn, I believe you have a full plate. See to the repairs on those secondary pumps. By then I will have spoken with Colonel Wilson, and I will let you know which course of action we will be taking."

Coburn duplicated Williams salute, then followed the Captain out of the office. Kalrk returned to his perusal of the reactor schematic.

Author:  jdctexas [ Sun May 08, 2016 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Catalina - 'The Beach'
Day 287

Russ Ryan, the Executive Producer of My Side, Your Side, sat on the ‘beach’ next to the ‘ocean’ in the huge dome section of the ship. He was trying to enjoy his one day off from the show for the week, but he found he really couldn’t relax the way he wanted to.

Swimming was no longer allowed and the beach area was about to become even more restricted than it already was. It was all in the name of agriculture and feeding the citizens of the fleet.

After Oasis was found, the fleet government ordered that the water filtration system be modified so it would be a good environment for farmable aquatic life. Midway though the fleets’ layover, the filtration and chemical system had been heavily modified. Scientists found a way to get a compatible biome to quickly blossom in the waters. Algee and plant life had been transplanted from the planet as well.

Over the last few days in orbit, the fish started to arrive. Some took well to their new home. Others did not handle the transition so well. About half of the stock had died due to the stress of moving and the differences between their old and new homes.

And when there was a die-off the day before leaving Oasis, it made the entire Catalina stink of dead fish.

Still, what few marine biologists that were left in the universe seemed to be happy with their self-made world and its inhabitants. For them, everything was going ‘swimmingly’ well. Russ didn’t overly care though: he hated the taste of fish and he was losing one of his favorite places to relax in the fleet. Beer was far more to the liking of his palette.

Also, several sections of the beach had been ripped out and replaced with regular soil. Various seeds were beginning to sprout. Once again, the scientists from Discovery had found a way to modify the lighting of the dome to make it more conducive to raise crops.

Access for the general public was going to be restricted at midnight to finish all of the modifications. Eventually, a small section would reopen to the public. There would be no water access and the area that would be open would be cordoned off from the rest of the new farm.

Russ sighed after finish his beer while lounging in one of the few beach chairs that was left. As he looked around, he noticed a young lady approaching. Nice looking babe...maybe I'm about to get lucky?

She stopped at the foot of his lounging chair. She was in a t-shirt, jeans that were rolled up above the ankles and sandals. The lady also wore very dark sunglasses. “Are you Russ Ryan of that ridiculous wireless show?”

“Yeah.” Russ responded flatly. “Overdressed for the beach on its last day…or are you in mourning since you’re wearing all black?”

The woman showed no emotion, “My boss has a letter for you and your blowhards. There is a letter also addressed to the President and Admiral. See that it is delivered to them. My boss will be by to be on your show tomorrow. You’ll know its him after everything in those letters…come to fruition.”

Russ slowly sat up in his chair, “You and your boss don’t produce my show. Who the frak do you think you are and why would I want your…boss…to appear?”

The woman rolled up her sleeve to nearly her elbow. She revealed a black tattoo that Russ knew on sight:


“Now, be a good boy Mr. Ryan and go back to work. You have a lot to do.” The woman rolled down her sleeve. “My boss will be there tomorrow…I’d suggest you block off a lot of time for him. He’ll provide you the proof who he is when he arrives. One last thing.”

Russ was still in shock that there was an actual PLA operative in front of him. His answer came slowly, “Yes?”

“Don’t try to follow me and don’t look at my ass as I walk away. My boyfriend and his buddies are watching you. Do either and you’ll be spending quality time on a hospital ship. Read your letter ONLY and just deliver the others. Good day.”

Russ didn’t even notice the woman walk away as he tore open the letter and read it’s content. Quickly, he stood from his chair and ran towards the archway that lead into the grand hall of the ship.

His next stop would be his suite. The woman was right: Russ had a lot of work to do.

Author:  RangerLord [ Tue May 17, 2016 9:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cylon-occupied Picon
Day 287

When the highway he'd been following crested a small hill, Marcus spotted the first traces of the city. In the distance stood a gas station and convenience store, with what might be a few mobile homes visible just beyond. This road was a minor route, and he'd seen little besides farmland since he'd left the facility where he'd awakened two days before. There had been a scattering of houses which Marcus had considered searching - primarily in hopes of finding a firearm - but each had been far enough from the roadway that he'd skipped them.

The previous night had been spent in an abandoned van. The vehicle had been left on the side of the road, headed opposite Marcus' path. He would have taken it, but the doors had been left open and the interior light had drained the battery. Besides, Marcus had thought, the driver had probably run it out of gas. Still, it had provided shelter and once the doors were closed, a bit of security in the dark. Marcus had slept in the back, stretched out on the cargo space floor.

It was at night that Marcus noticed how dead the world was. In the day, on the country highway, the lack of traffic didn't seem that unusual. At night, though, the lack of lights emphasized that he was alone. No lights burned in the windows of the distant farmhouses, no streetlights blazed at the occasional intersection. No glow rose from the city to dim the stars, instead they shone stark and brilliant, unchallenged by man. In the days before - before the crash, before the hospital - Marcus had experienced the same nights, only in the wilderness they had not seemed so foreign. Now as he drew closer to what had been civilization, the darkness was becoming more and more alien.

Marcus shifted his load on his shoulders. He hoped to reach the city before dark, leaving enough time to seek out a safe place to spend the night. The gas station might have a few things he needed, perhaps some canned food in its store section. He had doubts about whether he'd be willing to sleep in one of the trailers, but given the sort of folk who tended to live in such housing perhaps he could find a gun.

And he wanted a map. He still didn't know precisely where he was, though he had an idea. The few signs he'd seen beside the roadway had been speed limits and curve warnings. He didn't even know its route number. The intersection ahead might provide that information, and the gas station should have a map.

Marcus picked up his pace a bit. He had miles to go, and darkness was coming.

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Pilot Training Classroom
Day 287 1315 Hours

The nuggets had spent an hour listening to Koldeski outline the weeks of training ahead, liberally interspersed with her continued assessment that none of them would survive to earn their wings. After that had come five long hours of reading manuals. Ensign Allen would enter the classroom at the top of each hour and inform them of what page they should have reached - he called them checkpoints - and then verbally quiz them on the key ideas. David Carter had found the pace demanding but doable, and thus far hadn't missed any questions.

He was hungry, though. His 5:00 am breakfast had been far too long ago, so when a couple of non-coms arrived from the mess deck with trays of food he was relieved. Carter wasn't sure if the odor emanating from the cart was actually appealing, but his stomach reacted with an immediate growl that he was certain was heard three decks up. The growl became a knot when Flight Instructor Koldeski strode in.

"Alright, jaybirds," she began immediately, "we don't have time to go to mess but the Admiral insists I still have to let you eat, so here it is." Several of the trainees began to rise as she spoke, and Koldeski quickly scolded them back. "You'll get a tray when I say to get one, nuggets," she barked. She looked around the compartment, her eyes settling on David Carter.

"Carter!" Koldeski called out, and David stood, coming to attention. "What are the five C's of a missed approach?"

"Lieutenant Koldeski," Carter acknowledged, then proceeded with a reasonable amount of confidence. "Cram the throttle, clear the flight pod, clean up your flight profile, cool down to pattern speed and call Flight Control." Carter was sure his answer was right, but still he waited for Koldeski's response.

"You talk too much, Carter," Koldeski assessed. "Cram it, clear it, clean it up, cool it and call it in. Go get yourself something to eat." Carter scowled inwardly at the criticism, despite his correct answer, but he hid it and scrambled to get his food. Meanwhile Koldeski had selected her next target.

"Golightly! What does I'M SAFE mean?"

The nugget which Koldeski had questioned was a slender woman with sandy blonde, short-cropped hair. Carter met her eyes as he returned with his tray and gave her a nod of encouragement. "Those are the six personal factors which may ground a pilot, Flight Instructor," Golightly began. "Illness, medication, stress..." she continued, ticking each one off on her fingers. "...alcohol, fatigue and emotion."

Koldeski grimaced. "You can count on your fingers, Golightly. That's encouraging," Koldeski said, her tone heavy with sarcasm. "Go eat, nugget," she added, her eyes already seeking her next victim.

As the next nugget struggled to recall the final check items for a catapult launch, Golightly set her tray down across from Carter and began to eat. Between bites she managed to speak. "You think she's always that cross?"

"An act mostly, I figure," Carter replied, then frowned as he concentrated on Golightly's face. "You from the world?"

Golightly nodded, her lips pursed for a moment as a look of regret crossed her features. "Town, North Street," she explained. "My folk were Academics." She seemed about to say more, but took a bite instead as she struggled to keep her emotions in check.

"My folk are Ranchers." David was careful not to emphasize his choice of tense - he assumed that since she had chosen to say "were", that her family had been left behind or killed. It was really all the same, now. "Golightly," he said, reading the name tape from her uniform shirt. "Your father was a professor at University?"

"He taught physics and mathematics," she said, nodding. Pausing for a moment while David drank, she asked, "Did your folk flee the world too?"

Carter gave a wan smile as he set his cup down. "Some of them," he answered. "My sisters, my cousin, my aunt... the rest stayed behind."

She read the question in his eyes, but paused a moment before answering. "We planned to stay, but after the hospital was destroyed Father sent me to the camp. He was going to get Mother. I don't think they made it - it's been a week. I've asked, and the Colonials are checking..." She shrugged helplessly.

"Is that why you're doing this?" Carter asked, casting his eyes about the compartment to show he meant flight training.

Golightly responded with a look of consternation. "Heavens, no, if you're asking if I have a death wish. But I have to do something, and I've only completed my second year toward a teaching degree." She shrugged, adding, "Plus I have good reflexes."

Author:  RangerLord [ Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Wireless transmission
Libra / Harvest Moon
Day 287 1311 Hours

In the Battlestar Libra's CIC the communications officer announced an incoming transmission. "Representative Kalrk for you, Colonel Wilson. Encrypted channel, sir."

Wilson raised an eyebrow at what he considered to be the Quorum member's overcautious nature. "At the plot table," he directed. When the comms officer nodded, Wilson picked up a handset. "Kalrk," he began, "You're calling about your busted reactor pump?"

[I am, Colonel. You have been briefed, following Captain William's earlier contact?]

"Lieutenant Carlin brought it to my attention as a priority item about an hour ago. I have Colonel Trafford looking into the possibility of repairing the damaged pump or fabricating another. He will likely be in contact with you shortly."

[Thank you, Colonel. In the meantime we should discuss other possible alternatives.]

"Agreed." Wilson nodded slightly as he spoke, though the wireless call was audio-only. He had been considering the Harvest Moon's troubles since the briefing from Carlin, but the reactor pump replacement wasn't the only priority item demanding his attention currently. "A fuel pump from one of the smaller vessels, say one of the InterSun liners, might be able to be mated to your reactor. Reactive liquid tylium fuel has properties similar the the LiFT salt reactor fuel. What I am concerned about, though, is the operating temperature. The pumps for a tylium thrust-mass engine weren't designed to operate at the extreme temperatures found in a reactor primary coolant loop."

[Understood, Colonel. I thought that might be the case.]

"You should understand this, too, Captain Kalrk," Wilson continued. "Colonel Trafford wants to confer with his fabrication people before saying for certain, but both he and I are doubtful about repairing that pump or fabricating a new one - aboard the Titan or anywhere else in the fleet."

[I see,] Kalrk replied, and Wilson thought he could hear a trace of frustration creeping into Kalrk's voice. [That leaves us with cannibalizing the poisoned Number One reactor.]

"It would seem that is our best option," Wilson agreed, reluctance clear in his voice. "I will contact Captain Ekkers and have him bring the Necromancer alongside Harvest Moon. "

[Thank you, Colonel.]

"Aye," Wilson responded, his mind already turning to other problems. "Oh, Captain Kalrk, I know it will be slow going, but keep me informed."

[I will. Kalrk out.]

Author:  GoldWolf [ Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Compartment 7076B
Day 287 Time 1400

Tarran Brown began the careful preparation for her work in the next compartment. This area in Nimbus was drab and Spartan, the ‘backstage’ area of the luxury liner—compartments for supplies and various mechanical workings to keep the ship running. Tarran was glad to be back here, though, after spending long hours and long days helping to clean up and do repairs to the ship after the cylon attack.

This small compartment was little more than a prep room, its function similar to the scrub room next to surgical suites. Here, Tarran drew a one-piece coverall on over her clothing, fastening the front and pushing the sleeves up her arms so she could scrub them in the deep sink. She took her time with the small brush, following the procedure that Dr. Bragg had schooled her on. As she scrubbed, her thoughts went to the time she’d met the doctor and been recruited for this project…

Day 221 2011 Hours

Security Officer Brown left the security office after signing out at the end of her shift. She turned along the passage and stepped through a hatch marked Crew Members Only, continuing along in a part of the ship that the passengers never saw: crew space, bare and lit with long fluorescent bulbs, a stark contrast to the opulence of the passenger areas.

When she turned down to the berthing compartments where the security personnel lived, she was surprised to see someone waiting in the passage. She approached him and stopped, assuming he was a lost passenger, and asked, “Can I help you, sir?”

Luther Bragg gave the security officer an appraising look, coupled with an easy smile that was almost a leer. Though it was evident that Brown did nothing to enhance her appearance, it was still clear that she was female and Bragg held a certain appreciation for a woman in uniform.

"Officer Brown," he greeted her. "Tarran, if I may?" Bragg watched her reaction closely, seeing that she was both guarded and curious. "Former MP, Colonial Army, with the commensurate paramedic training. I have need of an individual with access, determination, and basic medical knowledge. Might that be you?"

"I am Tarran Brown, sir," she acknowledged. She'd seen him on the Nimbus before, but didn't know who he was or how he knew about her. "What is your name?"

"Luther Bragg. Your boss, Mr. Epperson, knows of me," Bragg stated evenly. He paused a moment, clearing his throat. "Tarran, I am offering you the opportunity to spend your off-duty hours doing something far more valuable than re-watching the same movies repeatedly in the crew lounge. Are you interested, or must I seek the next name on my list?"

Intrigued, Tarran replied, "I'd like to know more of what you're talking about before I commit." If Epperson knows him, though, this probably isn't about making cheap hooch or black market drugs, she mused. Anything would be better than those same stupid movies.

"How much do you know about our cylon enemies?"

She reflected a moment. "What the brass wants us to know... or rather, what the brass wished hadn't gotten leaked." She paused. "Not a hell of a lot, really. Now they look human, but are made somehow--not born. There are, ah, copies of them but a limited number of originals... like clones, I guess. There are still metal ones, but those just take directions from the flesh ones. And they want to totally wipe us out."

"Those are the essentials," Bragg said, nodding, "with one twist - dead cylons are resurrected. The military is treating the cylons like a conventional enemy, but the ability to resurrect deceased units makes the cylons anything but conventional. And while that ability seems to be an immense advantage, I believe it may also be an Achille's heel. I have a plan in mind to exploit that weakness, but it is too far 'out of the box' for our leaders so I have no choice but to proceed on my own. Thus, I need a few capable and trustworthy assistants." As Bragg finished, he fixed Brown with an expectant look.

Resurrect! she thought with a jolt. So they come back with a new body but still have all the knowledge and experience of the killed one... holy godsdamned hell! "Exploit a weakness..." she said slowly. That's good military strategy. He must really be working on something weird, or even not entirely legal, if the brass won't touch it. "All right, I'm interested," she said, "but my medical experience is limited to the emergency stuff I learned in the Army."

"It will be sufficient," declared Bragg. "There are individuals involved that have the requisite medical knowledge to guide you. Be ready, and I will contact you when you are needed."

Dr. Bragg had contacted her, and now she was here, continuing to work on his plan to exploit the enemy's weakness. It wasn't very exciting work, but it was a lot better than watching movies she'd memorized months ago. Carefully she dried her hands and arms with disposable toweling, prepared for her shift.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Compartment 7077
Day 287 Time 1405

It was a combination of drab cargo compartment and sterile lab. Bright overhead lights shone down onto medical equipment, glinting off polished metal and glass but leaving the edges and corners of the room in gloomy dimness. The glaring light illuminated the nearest tank like sunlight on a hot tub with an atmosphere that was vaguely malevolent yet scientifically precise, leaving the further tank in murky shadows.

Tarran Brown wore a medical loupe around her head and over her eyes, the instrument greatly magnifying whatever was in the center of her vision. Her attire was the coverall that a scientific researcher would wear, its whiteness accentuated by her dark skin and the contrast of the light and dark in the compartment. Under that coverall she wore a uniform that identified her as a security officer on the Nimbus, but her duties in the unusual laboratory weren’t related to her security job. Tarran was determined to survive whatever life—or the cylons—dealt her, and this project was added insurance.

She stood at the electrospinner, her sterile gloved hands held out from her body to prevent contamination. The machine made a nearly imperceptible whirring noise that gradually died away and then a light on its surface blinked from red to green. Tarran waited another moment and the panel on top slid to the side, revealing a fifteen-centimeter long rectangle of collagen latticework gleaming white in the cloudy nutrient solution. Carefully she lifted the rectangle and let it drip for a few seconds, then turned and took two efficient steps to the nearby tank. Partly dried drops shone on the deck, showing that she’d traveled this same path numerous times already.

Already in the tank was the result of her previous work. The object there vaguely resembled a human head and torso with the beginning nubs of arms and legs; a collagen skeleton covered with pale pinkish-tan tissue, in places covered with additional latticework like a loosely woven skin. The latticework ‘skin’ across the chest had been partly absorbed by the underlying tissues, leaving a smooth surface gleaming in the nutrient solution-filled tank.

Tarran lowered the rectangle of lattice into the tank and gently curled it lengthwise, fashioning a tube-like structure. She reached overhead and grasped the handle of the micro-joiner with one hand while cradling the lattice tube with her other and pulled the instrument lower. It moved easily, held in the grip of an articulated arm mounted on an overhead beam. The micro-joiner’s long, thin needle extended fifteen centimeters from the handle, the wire that supplied power to the instrument protruding from the other end of the handle and coiling around the articulating arm and beam, disappearing into the darkness where it was hooked into the ship’s power.

She pressed the ‘on’ button on the handle and then touched the tip of the micro-joiner needle to the end threads of the lattice tube where they met, the medical instrument making tiny bubbles as it performed its function to link the ends together. Tarran worked like a master craftsman would solder tiny connections on a computer chip, her movements meticulous and exact. In less than a minute, her lattice tube was completely connected lengthwise. She then repeated her actions with the micro-joiner, connecting the tube to another protruding from the shoulder area of the form in the tank.

As she worked, the tissue bioreactor next to the microspinner beeped softly, but she ignored it. Only when she was satisfied with the joining on the beginnings of a humerus-like lattice ‘bone’ did she lift the micro-joiner up out of the way and move to the bioreactor. The bioreactor’s function was to generate undifferentiated tissue, usually used for burn patients to cover and regenerate damaged and destroyed skin. She’d programed the machine to manufacture a section of tissue similar in size to the lattice she’d just used as the basis for bone, although the tissue was several centimeters thick, rather than the millimeter-thickness of the latticework.

She curved the tissue around the exposed lattice ‘bone’, then linked the unjoined ends of the tissue with the micro-joiner as she had for the lattice. Once the length was linked, she joined the top of the tissue to tissue already growing on the ‘shoulder’. This stage of the process was slower than joining collagen lattice, but she’d timed it so that she was nearly done when the bioreactor beeped again. It had produced another section of tissue, and she layered that over the tissue with which she’d just covered the lattice ‘bone’. She only needed to connect the unjoined ends to each other in spots—where tissue touched tissue, it would grow together without the electro-enzymatic encouragement of the micro-joiner.

Satisfied, she paused to program the microspinner for the next latticework segment as she continued to add tissue to the form in the tank. It was a slow, careful process, but Tarran was used to repetitive, boring work. At least this would produce an end product more satisfying than bouncing drunks out of the bars on the Nimbus.

Author:  jdctexas [ Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Catalina - Pressurized Cargo Area #15
Day 287 1456 Hours

The reaction from the President and the Military to the letters Russ Ryan had delivered was swift. Marines from Libra and a team from Taurus' Military Criminal Investigations Team (MCIT) arrived on the giant space liner within an hour.

Pressurized Cargo Area #15 was in the belly of the Catalina, aft of the shuttle bay. It was the largest of the liner's cargo bays, located at the end of a wide internal passageway. Access was via a set of large pressure doors. While a Catalina crew member moved a propane-powered fork truck away from the door, the combined MCIT/Marine team took positions. Major Dedrick conferred with MCIT's Corporal James in the Catalina's security office. When the security cameras inside the cargo area showed no movement, Major Dedrick directed Corporal James to open the pressure doors.

Sergeant Warndorf quickly deployed her people within the cargo compartment, first verifying that it was clear of personnel then locating the container in which the PLA had cached their weapons. Ryan's letter had specified the intermodal container's markings down to the ID number, and the team found it easily.

CPL Devlin Reed, the EOD expert, approached the doors leading to the storage container, dressed fully in his explosives safety suit. He examined the large metal doors for any hints of explosives and trip wires. Satisfied that there were none, he tapped a button to a wireless transmitter on his belt, "Container is clear, sir. Request permission to install ordinance."

[Acknowledged, Corporal Reed. Seizure team, fall back to the passageway.] As the search-and-seizure team withdrew beyond the pressure doors, Major Dedrick continued, [You are cleared to place breaching charges.]

Reed acknowledged and went to work. Working quickly but cautiously, the EOD specialist finished in just under twenty minutes. Reed turned on the remote detonator and then contacted Dedrick. "Ordnance in place and armed. Falling back to the safety zone, sir. I'll await your order to execute detonation."

[Acknowledged, Reed. Stand by for evacuation of atmosphere.]

"Copy that and out".

Once Cpl. Reed had reached the safety of the other side of the cargo hatch, Catalina's captain, Marc Cota-Robles, closed the cargo area's pressure doors and decompressed the entire bay on the orders of the military. Once the 'go ahead' from the bridge came, Dedrick informed the Catalina's captain that the charges were about to be set off. Cota-Robles confirmed that Catalina's damage control crew was standing by as a precaution. When Dedrick finished on the wireless, he met CPL Reed's expectant gaze. Dedrick simply nodded.

"Aye, sir." Devin produced the remote control that would detonate the explosives. "Executing detonation in 5...4...3...2...1...EXECUTE".

With no atmosphere remaining in the cargo bay the explosion made no sound, though Devlin and his team felt the blast reverberate through the Catalina's deck. Once the bay was re-pressurized, Devlin entered. After a few seconds, he confirmed the explosion had happened as planned and turned off his remote detonator.

"Breach complete, sir. Area is secured from any explosive threats. You are go for entry."

Over the next two hours, MCIT and Colonial Marines carefully examined and reviewed the contents of the storage container against the list they had been provided. Everything checked out: every gun, every knife, every bullet... everything.

"Sir, it's all here." Cpt. Ramona Neuman said to Maj. Dedrick. "Well, the PLA folks were truthful. Makes me wonder what else they are hiding."

Dedrick nodded, his face grim. "What worries me more, Captain Neuman, is the PLA folks themselves... hiding in plain sight."

Author:  GoldWolf [ Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural ship Demeter
Day 287, afternoon

Brad Carnes knew that a posse of engineering types from the Taurus were going to be on the Demeter today, so he’d made a point of staying out of the way. He had a suspicion that the news about the ship’s engines wasn’t going to be good, and he was equally worried about the ship’s crew and his crops. He knew next to nothing about engines, so he turned his attention to his crops.

The coffee plants were growing nicely under the ship’s artificial lighting—it was the lighting that was partially responsible for the accelerated growth schedule of the plant. Still, it would be about another hundred days or so until any beans would be ripe enough to harvest. He walked up and down the paths between the meter-and-a-half tall bushes, the leaves brushing against his legs. He inhaled the green loamy aroma and stopped to examine one of the bushes. Dusty, the Golden Retriever who’d decided that he was her human, stretched out her neck and sniffed the leaves.

“What do you think, Dusty?” he asked the young dog. “Smells good?”

The dog looked up at him, seeming to grin with her tongue hanging out of her mouth, wagging her tail.

“Yeah, that’s what I think, too,” Brad agreed.

Just then, the overhead sprinklers came on, spraying warm mist over the crop—and over the human and the dog. Dusty began racing back and forth on the narrow path, nose down, tail still wagging, and happily she snatched up a small twig, prancing back to present it to Brad.

“Here you go, girl, I think you’ll like this better,” he told her, taking a worn ball from his pants pocket. He lobbed it down the path and the dog raced after it.

“It’s a good thing I don’t mind getting wet,” Brad murmured to himself, wiping water from his face.

Dusty returned with the ball but didn’t want to give it up, backing away when Brad reached down to take it. “I’m not going to chase you,” he said. She wagged her tail but followed him as he finished his tour, stepping out of the ag compartment to the adjacent workroom.

He took an only slightly dirty towel and wiped his face and hair, then he pulled off his wet t-shirt and rubbed his shoulders and chest dry. Dusty watched intently, the ball still in her mouth, and when he was done, she shook herself vigorously. Water droplets flew everywhere, along with fine gold hairs.

“Thanks, Dusty,” Brad grumbled, but he smiled, wiping his face again. “Your turn!” he dropped the towel on the dog’s head and then rubbed it over her back. She kept the ball in her mouth the whole time, wagging her tail.

Author:  hazend [ Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

CAG’s Office
Battlestar Libra
Day 287; 1524 hrs. CUT

“It’s an unfortunate situation were in QuickDraw, but we need her right now. You can’t expect me to make a decision to remove her completely from flight status and not have some type of repercussion,” Captain Rudnik said in a sparsely decorated office with his fingers intertwined. Across the desk from him QuickDraw was seated in the only other chair in the room. The office was small, with nothing adorning the walls. The only furniture were the two chairs and the desk. A locker set next to the hatch and held Rudnik’s flight suit. His flight helmet sat neatly on top of the locker.

“Come on CAG, I hate to admit it but she was a marginal pilot at best from the beginning. I overlooked a lot because I thought she was something she actually wasn’t. Hell, she even got up one of our own pilots killed in the last engagement with the cylons.” QuickDraw fought hard to hold down his temper. Upon finding out that Divot had been assigned as a flight instructor to the new set of pilot trainees it made his blood boil. They should’ve stripped her of her flight status and assigned her to the refueling ship as a bilge pump maintenance tech or better yet flushed her out of the nearest airlock, he thought.

Rudnik stared at the young Captain seated in front of him. He could sense QuickDraw’s anger and the fact that he was doing his hardest to hold it down. “So that’s what this is about? The fact that Divot was involved in Draco’s death? I understand that losing Draco was hard on you, hell it was hard on everyone. But what happened out there was not an act of premeditation. It was an accident and you know that.”

“Just because it was an accident doesn’t mean that she should be forgiven. Her stupidity got one of my best pilots killed. Draco was my friend and Divot killed her. How long is it going to be until she makes another mistake and someone else gets killed?”

“Are you more concerned about someone else getting hurt, or is this some type of revenge kick you have going on QuickDraw?” Rudnik was growing tired of the conversation. He had watched QuickDraw, over the last days since they left Oasis, brooding like a 12-year-old school boy. Despite his growing irritation Rudnik’s voice softened. “Come on QuickDraw, you know it as well as I do. Everybody on this ship has lost someone close to them.” QuickDraw opened his mouth to speak but Rudnik raised his hand to silence the squadron leader. “Admit it. You know this is true.”

QuickDraw wanted to stay angry, he wanted to stand up and scream to anyone that would hear him, but the CAG’s words gave him a slight shiver. He was right. But he was damned if he wanted to admit it. “I understand Sir but mark my words, she’s going to get someone else killed. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.”

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of pulling a pilot off of the flight line and assign them somewhere else. We need pilots and she has an instructor rating. It was a twist of fate that her rating had not expired,” Rudnik placed his thumb and forefinger at the bridge of his nose, squeezing. “If I had the ability to take her off of flight status I would but until we get people trained to fly we can’t do it. You’re down five people in the Black Crows. The other squadrons aren’t faring much better.”

“So that’s it then,” QuickDraw slowly stood. “There’s nothing we can do?”

“Until she does something that’s going to change my mind, no. I’m sorry QuickDraw. I really am.”

QuickDraw came to attention. “Request permission to be dismissed Sir.”

“Permission granted, go get some rest. The Gods know you deserve it,” as QuickDraw turned and opened the door to the hatch Rudnik spoke. “QuickDraw, take my advice. Continuing down this path will only tear you apart.”

As he exited the CAG’s office QuickDraw began to involuntarily clench his fists. Tear me apart? It already has.

Author:  hazend [ Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Location: Unknown
Date and Time: Unknown




The figure on the floor laid as still as possible, fearful of the pain that would return if the body moved. The ringing in the ears had subsided somewhat and was replaced by the deep rhythmic throbbing of heavy engines. They were on a ship, a big one.

A wetness was felt on the lips, causing the right arm to move. A sharp pain shot through the body like an electrical current.

The arm… broken.

The sound of a door opening caused the eyes to open. A silhouette entered the room and came to stand a mere few inches away.

“Ahh, I see we are awake now,” Cavil said. He displayed no hint of emotion. “That is very promising indeed. I have many questions for you my friend… many questions indeed.”

Another sound and the figure could see two centurions enter the room.

The only sounds the figure could hear, were screams…

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Civilian Refinery Vessel Necromancer
Day 287 1600 Hours

"Sergeant Ryan reports that repair teams are secure from EVA," the communications officer stated. "Ryan is continuing work on FTL drive number one."

"Helm, sublight engine status?" Bill Ekkers, the Necromancer's commander, watched as one of the helmsmen consulted his system readouts.

"Sublights ignited and idling, sir. Maneuvering thrusters at the ready. We are go for throttle-up."

"Confirm ARM system is offline."

"Confirmed sir, Augmented Reaction Mass system is offline."

Executive Officer Anthony Kinkade had been standing aside, carrying on an unheard conversation over his headset. He now turned toward Ekkers. "Libra Flight Control has cleared us to approach the Harvest Moon."

Ekkers nodded, then faced the helmsman again. "Sublights at two percent. Turn us toward the Harvest Moon."

"Aye sir, sublights at two." The second helmsman grasped a joystick, adding, "RCS maneuvering now, sir."

"Comms, alert Harvest Moon," Ekkers ordered. "We'll be alongside in about five minutes."

When the Necromancer began to slip beneath the Harvest Moon, Ekkers studied the hardware on the exposed underbelly of the great station. He spotted the four armored hull panels that marked the location of the reactors. Nearby were emergency heat exchangers - idle now, since the Moon was using every bit of heat its reactors could produce. Here and there he picked out other features - maintenance hatches, antennas, viewports, waste vents - the mundane necessities of a space-going habitat. With his background as a security officer, Ekkers grimaced at the challenges the station would present to someone who needed to prevent a hostile infiltration.

The refinery ship was now completely beneath the Harvest Moon. There were easier points where the Necromancer could dock, but Ekkers needed the refinery ship as close to the reactors as possible. The molten tylium salt they used as fuel wasn't something that could simply be pumped aboard the station. It would be transferred in pressurized tanks built to withstand the heat and radiation. Ekkers didn't want to move such material far, or through civilian areas.

The Harvest Moon's traffic controller had cleared them to approach and marked their target with external lights. Though the station was roughly five times as wide as the Necromancer was long, it was still a painstaking task to position the refinery at the docking point. As the minutes stretched on, the voices of the command crew remained subdued.

"Clearance 10 meters starboard, 15 overhead."

"RCS braking starboard."

"Spotter requests 5 meters aft, 1 meter up."

"Frak me," one of the helmsmen muttered as he nudged the million-tonne-plus ship backwards.

"Patience," Ekkers cautioned. "We're too big for the docking clamps to square us up. Just take it easy and do it right, so we don't have to do it over."

"Aye sir."

It took nearly thirty minutes to get the Necromancer mated to the docking port. The first attempt at hard seal failed, despite the appearance that everything aligned. When the spotter had no suggestion for tweaking their position, Ekkers simply waited briefly and then tried again. The second attempt held, and a brief cheer sounded in the control room.

The Exec, Kinkade commented, "We sure could have used a couple of Trafford's one-man shuttle things to fine tune our position."

"True," Ekkers replied, "but it would have taken this long to get construction shuttles over here." Ekkers punctuated his observation with a shrug. "In any case, we're tied on now, so let's get the nuke boys over there. And Exec," he continued, pausing a beat for Kinkade to look at him. "Make sure our RSO tags along."
RSO: Radiation Safety Officer

Author:  GoldWolf [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Libra
Starboard Flight Pod
Day 287 1632 Hours

Robert Rand watched as an electric fork truck delivered a pallet of small parts to the maintenance bay. The driver had skimmed the wooden pallet just inches off the deck, dropping it with a metallic thud when he arrived. He'd backed the truck until the forks were clear and then stood at the controls while Specialist Pasco Milan signed for the delivery. As the fork truck whirred away, Rand looked at the assortment. There were metal bins with angled sides - those would be from the Necromancer and would contain small items like springs, nuts and bolts. The bins would be nested, stacked for return to the refinery ship when they were empty. There were cardboard cases, banded with reinforced plastic to prevent bursting - those would be from the fabrication shops on the Tauranian Titan and might hold anything from a single RCS control nozzle to hundreds of identical precision small parts. Uncased but bundled in twos and threes by metal straps, there were cast metal parts like Raptor landing struts and autocannon barrels for the Vipers.

Milan grimaced at the paperwork and then tossed it aside, then pulled a partially loaded freight cart closer to the pallet. Fatigue evident on his face, Milan still managed a mischievous smile as he looked at Rand, asking, "You are watching, or helping?"

Rand huffed in reply but said nothing, moving to the pallet and picking up a pair of flat, elongated metal pieces. "Landing skids, Viper Mark VII" he read from a label.

"Those are for the production line," Milan answered Rand's unvoiced question, gesturing toward the gun barrels on the bottom of the pallet. Rand laid the skids aside, to be set back on the pallet once the rest of the parts had been gone through. He grabbed the first of the bins, rattling its contents as he picked it up. "Patch panels," he read.

"Keep those here," Milan directed.

Rand nodded. "Patch panel rivets," he read from another bin. "Here, too," he added, cutting off Milan's response.

"One hundred forty four self-sealing stem bolts," Rand said flatly, then shot Milan a look that clearly said what the frak?

"We'll send those to Quark's bar," the specialist stated, deadpan.

Chief MacLean had seen the arrival of the pallet, and heard Milan's last comment as she quick-stepped over. "Those are needed to make the reverse-ratcheting routing planers," she said without hesitation. "Don't send them to Quark's bar, put them in my office." She gave Milan a level look; he raised his eyebrows, then nodded wordlessly.

Mac picked up the paperwork that the specialist had put aside, scanning the inventory list quickly. She glanced up from the list at Milan and Rand and said, "The gun barrels, rails, and armatures are needed on the production line as soon as you can get everything sorted out... let me know and I'll take them over there myself."

"Chief," Rand said, acknowledging Mac with a nod. "There is much heavy material here - more skids, landing struts, dampeners... you will need a fork truck."

She nodded and straight-faced said, "I know how to drive a fork truck." When Milan guffawed, she gave Rand a slight quirky smile. "Are you volunteering to help, Mr. Rand?"

"Am I not already helping?" Rand asked, emphasizing the last word. His brow gathered slightly in evident confusion.

Mac chuckled, used to Rand's tendency to take things literally. "Oh, you're helping a lot, Robert," she said, "I thought maybe you were hinting that you wanted to drive a fork truck."

Rand bent to pick up another bin of parts, saying as he did, "It is for small people to drive the fork trucks." As he set the bin aside he cast a surreptitious glance at Mac to gauge her reaction.

She laughed outright at his comment and responded, "You got me that time, Robert! How about I drive the fork truck and you and Milan load?" He's a lot more capable than doing this sort of work, Mac thought contemplatively. I wonder if he'd want to work on the production line...

Author:  GoldWolf [ Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Luxury Starliner Nimbus
Day 287 Evening

The blonde listened carefully, her expression attentive. Theron wasn’t used to anyone actually paying attention to him, and it made him feel important. Made him feel needed, so he related his new knowledge of the Harvest Moon in as much detail as he could while still trying not to take up too much of Toni’s time.

They were meeting in a small passenger lounge, an alcove with just two chairs with a small table between them. From where Toni Seda sat, she could see anyone coming down the passage in either direction, but she couldn’t be easily seen. From size of the area and the arrangement of the furniture, it was clear that there had once been a short couch or another chair in the alcove. The cylon damage to the ship hadn’t been just to the dome.

Or maybe someone had transferred the extra seating to a private cabin. It didn’t matter to Toni—this was just a quiet, out-of-the-way place for a meeting.

When Theron was done with his briefing, he put a lime and two lemons on the table between them. He’d saved half his supply to use in trading, but he felt he owed her part of his profits. It was Toni, after all, who’d believed in him and given him a job to do.

Toni looked at the citrus fruit with amusement, letting only respect show on her face. She touched a lemon with one elegant finger and gave an approving nod. “Did you see Captain Kalrk when you were there?” she asked him.

“Only a glimpse,” he said honestly. “I didn’t want him to see me, but I did see his back and the side of his face when he went around a corner.”

“Very good,” Toni told the boy. She’d specifically told Theron not to let Kalrk see him. She wanted no connection between herself and what she planned for Theron to do on the agricultural ship. She re-crossed her legs, the rich fabric of her trousers gleaming in the light. “Did you find out where his office is, though?” she questioned.

He nodded confidently. “It’s down a passage that looks kind of boring and doesn’t really go anywhere—it’s not like a normal route to get from one place to another. There weren’t any guards that I saw, but the hatch does have a security lock.”

“Did you see anyone go in or out?” she asked.

He started to nod, but then hesitated. “Not exactly see,” he explained. “That’s when I saw Captain Kalrk. I was inside the stairwell, er, ladderwell, a little down the passage, and I had the hatch opened just a crack so I could hear what was going on. I heard the hatch to his office open and close, and I waited a few seconds… to make sure he wasn’t going to walk past me… then I looked out. And I saw him when he went around the corner at the other end of the passage. So I didn’t actually see him, but I heard him go out.”

She nodded. “And you understand how the ship is laid out?”

“Yes,” he said with confidence. “The decks are all pretty similar with where the crops are, and the work compartments, and where people live. I could hide out there for months and no one would know I wasn’t supposed to be there.” Then he added, “They don’t let anyone in the engine areas. The security was really tight there.”

“Well done,” she said to him, seeing his almost-private smile of pride. “What was the security like on the hangar deck?”

“There’s lots of places for shuttles to land,” Theron said, “and there were shuttles going in and out almost all the time. Everything was busy, and they did have security guards there, but… I think, not enough of them.” He paused, and amended, “Probably enough if there was, like, an attack or something, but not enough to notice every single person who looked like they were doing a job.” Which was exactly what Theron had done; found a box light enough that he could carry but large enough to conceal his face.

“You’ll be able to get back on board without getting caught, then,” she commented.

“Oh, yes, even easier now that I’ve seen what it’s like,” he assured her.

“Good,” she said, smoothly standing. “Stay alert, I may need you to go back there with little warning.”

Theron leapt to his feet, and shook Toni’s hand when she offered it. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, flustering him, and she said, “Keep the fruit, you earned it!”

He nodded, breathing in deeply, and watched her as she walked away. A part of him knew that she was using him, but he was using her, too. Isn’t that how life works? I do something for you, you do something for me. He collected the lemons and lime and strode buoyantly down the passage.

Author:  RangerLord [ Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Sub-Level C
Day 287 1945 Hours

Dex Coburn stood in the cavernous compartment which housed Harvest Moon's number four reactor, flanked by two men from the Necromancer. One was Byron Ford, the chief nuclear engineer from the refinery vessel, the other was the radiation safety officer, Vincent Beck. Both men had been aboard the Moon before, when the station had been returned to service after its discovery by Kalrk and Xenthais Merconi.

"Number four is operating at 10% now that we have all the secondary fuel pumps working," Coburn noted as he watched two reactor tech's monitoring the control board. "I don't like running on the back-ups, but we need the output."

Vincent Beck checked a handheld rad-meter, nodding acknowledgement to Coburn, though his eyes were busy taking in every detail of the reactor compartment. "And numbers two and three?" he prompted.

"Ninety and ninety-five percent," Coburn responded.

Byron Ford focused his attention on the Harvest Moon engineer. "LiFT salt production is already underway aboard the Nec. We'll start hot-swapping fuel on number two in the morning, so we can bring its output ceiling back up while we work out your problem here."

"Is there anything I can do?" Coburn asked Ford.

Ford nodded, saying "Let's go to reactor one's compartment. I want to review that reactor's status."

Author:  jdctexas [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Battlestar Taurus
Day 287

Major Lia Davis had started her day in physical therapy. The medical staff were happy and somewhat surprised by her continuing recovery and quick mastery of the use of her prosthetic leg. For someone who had been in a coma for several months, her quick 'reestablishment' to life, duty and routine was surprising to them.

After a quick meal in the galley, Lia returned to her quarters to shower and get ready fo duty. With time to spare, the Major made her way to the recently opened ship's library. It had been filled with donated books, magazines and other media from various crew members. There were also items there that were acquired from small businesses on Oasis.

Some joked the library was little more than an overgrown closet, but it was used heavily enough that about a half-a-dozen crew members served as 'librarians' during their down time. Some did it more as a way to relax and read...a chance to get away from the day-to-day life on the run.

After fifteen minutes, Davis checked out two books and started to make her way back to her quarters. The halls were mostly empty because she preferred to take long routes back to her bunk. This allowed her to build up more stamina and strength. Every stride she made was another stride to normalcy in Lia's mind.

But she came to a sudden dead stop after rounding a corner. Her heart skipped a beat and eyes widened. "What the frak?!"

At the other end of the corridor was something that made the Major stop in shock and surprise. It was something she had never physically seen before...only in the dreams of her coma.

It was an individual in a blue robe. The hood was pulled down over their face and no features could be seen. Davis could tell this person was looking at her...and it felt like they were looking at her soul.

Lia looked down the corridor with a cold stare. Her heart and mind were racing. She searched for words to say, but nothing would come out of the Major's mouth. As her muscles tensed up, there came a force that propelled her forward. Davis fell to the floor after losing balance...her books going airborne and then falling to the floor with a resounding, echoing thud.

As she quickly turned to look and get up, she saw the look of a terrified naval recruit that had bumped into her. The young man looked at Davis, "Oh frak, I didm't see you standing there, sir! Are you okay?"

Major Davis took a long look at the young man and then down the corridor. The robed figure was nowhere to be seen. After a moment, she accepted the outstretched hand of the trainee and got up. After picking up the two books, the young man handed them back to her. His voice was full of nervousness because he had just accidentally ran over a well-known senior officer.

"Sorry sir...I just rounded the corner and there you were. I didn't have time to stop..."

"Don't worry about it." Lia paused for a moment, noticing the nervousness of the man. "I had gotten wrapped up in this book and stopped. I should of known better. Whats your name, trainee?"

"Harvey, sir...Dak Harvey."

"Thank you for helping me up and picking up my book" she said in reassuring voice. "Lets both be a little more careful down these corridors. Carry on and have a good evening."

Trainee Harvey let out a sigh of relief and then saluted, "Yes sir! I will most certainly be more careful. Have a good evening, Major."

Lia returned the salute and then the Dak quickly returned to what he was doing. After he turned down the corridor, the Major took a long look and slowly stepped forward. When she reached the junction where the robed figure had been, she slowly looked around. All was quiet...the only sounds that could be heard were distant steps and the hum of the ship. The only soul around was her.

What the hell did I see?! Maybe I should, no one would believe me. Maybe I'm pushing to hard?

After a few more moments, Lia started to move back down the corridor in deep thought. Maybe a daydream? That was all too real though...

Author:  RangerLord [ Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Cylon-occupied Picon

Marcus Alon awoke to the sounds of animals, canine growls counterpointed by something else, cat-like but deeper. He lay on the second story balcony of a blocky stucco house, on cushions he'd pulled from a couch and covered by a light blanket. The spring night was cool, but inside the closed-up home it had been humid and stifling.

He rolled onto his side, grasping a vertical bar of the balcony's railing and peering toward the starlit ground below. Shapes circled and shifted in the near-darkness, dogs that had once been companion animals. Concentrating, Marcus searched for their prey. He found it when it moved, padding silently back and forth across the hood of the car parked in the short driveway. At first he thought it was a domestic cat, a large one, but when it growled in frustration at being surrounded he decided otherwise. The sound was throaty and harsher than anything he'd heard from a pet. When the shadowy form bounded to the roof of the vehicle and then leapt away, he cemented his opinion that it was a lynx. The dogs scrambled around the fence toward the street, their barks and yips fading as they continued their pursuit.

As quiet returned, Marcus rose to his feet. He was unsure of the hour. He couldn't see the horizon, but there was no trace of dawn in what sky wasn't obscured by the surrounding trees. He felt rested though, and so it seemed likely that only a short time remained until morning. He considered gathering his things and leaving, but sunset had cut short his search of this home and he intended to finish once light returned. Unlike the trailers and shanties that had marked the edge of Perkinston, this neighborhood seemed more affluent. The trees that shaded the streets, the cars parked beneath them, the pools and balconies and patios - it all spoke of cubits. Marcus wanted to find a weapon, something with which he could hunt as well as defend himself, and his food reserves were low. Those things were nearby, it was simply a matter of picking the right house.

Marcus collected the blanket and stepped through the open sliding-glass door into the bedroom. Night had rendered the air within the house more agreeable and he lay upon the bed, relishing its comfort. He turned so that his heavy prosthetic foot was beneath the other and gathered a pillow under his head. Closing his eyes he listened as insect sounds returned, and waited for morning light.

Author:  RangerLord [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends/Derelict

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Shuttle Pylon 2
Day 287 2150 Hours

David Dedrick stepped off the Libra shuttle onto the Harvest Moon. He was dressed in dungarees and a flannel shirt, a wool slacker cap pulled down over his military haircut. As the half-dozen or so fleet personnel who'd shared his ride headed toward the security checkpoint, Dedrick stepped aside. After a moment he found the display listing the inbound and outbound shuttles and noted the arrival time of a particular flight. He settled his duffel bag on his shoulder and looked around, seeking somewhere he could remain inconspicuous while he waited.

He stood with one group until their shuttle arrived, then drifted off to join another. When their ship docked, he slipped away to join a knot of people from an incoming transport. When another group threaded their way through the impatient crowd, he joined them briefly. He'd been in the shuttle bay for nearly an hour, but a casual observer would never have noted him.

When the flight he sought arrived, David waited at the pressure door with the cargo handlers. Most were dressed similarly to him - the air was chill here since the Harvest Moon lost heat to space during docking procedures. Once at the civilian shuttle, David sought out the flight crew. He spoke to the woman whose cap bore scrambled eggs on the brim.

"The Nimbus is on your flight plan?" David asked without preamble.

The pilot looked at him for a moment, noting his confident manner. "You have transport papers?" she countered.

"No," David replied, then slid the sleeve of his shirt up, revealing his quill-and-lens tatoo. "I have this..." He paused, watching her eyes. When he assessed that she was waiting for him to continue, he added "...and I'll make it worth your while." He slipped a hand into his pocked and withdrew a glass tube, bigger around than his thumb and nearly eight inches long.

"Is that an Imperial Red?" the pilot asked, cocking her head slightly. Dedrick nodded. When he gauged that she was interested but still uncertain, he handed her the glass-encased cigar. "I have another."

She held out an open hand. When David surrendered the second cigar, she nodded toward the shuttle. "Climb aboard."

Twenty minutes later the inner pressure doors closed again and the atmosphere was evacuated from the bay. Then the outer doors opened and David was on his way to the luxury liner Nimbus, just one more face among a dozen nameless civilians.

Nimbus, 2249 Hours

Dedrick drifted through the passages of Down Town, the informal name given to the lower decks of the Nimbus' dome section by its inhabitants. He'd spent some time in one of the makeshift bars, its name spray-painted on the bulkhead by the entrance, just one more bit of graffiti staining the once-proud luxury liner. A band had been grinding out hard rock with lyrics about death and loss and getting frakked up a dozen different ways. The drink fare was limited, a few varieties of alcohol made from unidentifiable sources, any of it a liquid lobotomy.

He'd ordered a coffee spiked with something the bartender called Viper Fuel. The quality of the coffee clearly marked it as Oasian, but beneath the coffee's rich flavor the rotgut tasted as though it could peel paint. Dedrick choked it down as he watched faces in the crowd, searching for someone who seemed lucid enough to answer a question but lubricated enough not to care.

"I need to find the Badger," he had stated to a man in crew coveralls, settling his gaze onto the scene the man was watching - several women gyrating unsteadily in front of the band.

"Huh?" the man responded, looking aside at Dedrick.

"This kid." Dedrick held out a photo of Kristofer Brock, an associate of Ron Harper's who had used the BBS handle "BadBadBadger". It was a surveillance photo collected after the Nimbus takeover. Brock had not been charged with any crime, though he had been detained for questioning. The crewman glanced at the photo.

"Yeah," the man had said, returning his attention to the groupies. "Prob'ly fine him down a deck, dicin' in th' halls or maybe scrappin' in th' pit."

Dedrick merely nodded then, and tossed back the remainder of his drink. Grimacing, he had ambled toward the door.

Now he entered a ladderwell, the guitar-heavy music fading as the access door closed behind him. When he came out in the passageway a deck below he was facing two guys seated on the deck, a chessboard between them. They didn't recognize him and their faces telegraphed their distrust. Dedrick simply said "Badger?" in a voice he hoped sounded as though he just wanted to talk to the kid. It was the truth.

One guy just shrugged, but the other motioned down the passageway with his head while he afforded Dedrick a disapproving frown. Dedrick shrugged in return and walked off.

When Dedrick found Badger, he wasn't dicing or fighting - he was in the passageway with a young blonde girl backed up against a bulkhead. Dedrick heard their voices before he saw them, and their tone did not seem friendly. He was close enough to understand their words before they noticed him. Badger had his arms planted against the bulkhead on either side of the girl and it appeared he was trying to kiss her.

"I don't have to do anything for you, Kristo-FERR," the girl said defiantly, drawing Badger's name out in singsong mockery, then scrunching up her face in a look of disgust. "You're not one of Luther's guys. You can't do anything he needs."

Badger seemed about to contradict her, but at that moment a black-haired girl appeared from a nearby hatchway. "There you are, Katie," Dedrick heard her say. "Is this asshole bothering you?"

When the other girl began speaking, Badger shifted his attention to her. Katie used the distraction to slide down the wall and out from between his arms, popping back up next to her rescuer. "Nah, Lena, I was just telling him to shove off." By that moment, Lena had noticed Dedrick and was watching him approach; Katie saw her friend's shift of focus and turned to regard Dedrick as well. When Badger saw that the girls were looking past him, he turned to see what had garnered their attention. Katie and Lena took that opportunity to disappear through the nearby hatch.

Badger looked away from Dedrick towards where the girls had gone, then turned back to face him, scowling. "Aww, man! Look what you did, you made 'em leave."

Dedrick snorted, relieved that he hadn't needed to intervene on the young women's behalf. Truth was he would have, but it would have earned him Badger's enmity and Dedrick needed the kid to at least remain neutral toward him. He also didn't want the young man to scrutinize him too closely - Dedrick hadn't interviewed Badger while he'd been in custody, but he had been present on board the Nimbus during the investigation. Dedrick didn't want Badger to remember him.

"Next time, maybe," Dedrick said, taking a disinterested tone. He didn't want to get bogged down discussing the girls. "You Badger?" he queried.

"Yeah, who are you?"

"Just some guy," Dedrick dissembled. "There's something I need, and word is you're a man who knows where things are."

"Maybe. But I don't recognize you, and I know everyone."

"I caught a ride over from Harvest Moon," Dedrick replied, which was true to a point. "I'll be gone by morning." Also true.

"Awright," Badger relented. "Whaddaya need?"

Dedrick explained to the teen what he was seeking. Its unusual nature drew questions from the young man, but Dedrick had prepared for that and had readied a plausible story, short but with enough basis in truth to be believable. Badger had an answer almost before Dedrick finished.

"You need to talk to Silk," he stated confidently. "Toni Seda. She'll know where to get that."

"What about Luther?" Dedrick queried. He remembered the Satyr survivor from the aftermath of the Chiron salvage.

"Yeah, maybe. But Silk's price... well, you're more likely to be willing to pay. Luther's bad news."

"Okay," Dedrick said, lending the word a sense of finality. "Where do I find Ms. Seda?"

Author:  hazend [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Commander's Quarters
Battlestar Libra
Day 288
0500 hrs. CUT

“So, what’s the latest report Captain,” Rodrigues asked. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, willing the exhaustion away. He pressed the handset closer to his ear so he was certain he didn’t miss anything.

[I’m sorry Admiral but it isn’t good news,] the disembodied voice of Captain DesChamps replied. [We were able to drop two Ranger scouts in for a quick sneak and peek. They were able to drop several sensor buoys along the projected path and within the most likely areas where she would be sitting. Anywhere else in that field and she would been splattered all over the surface of the rocks.]

Rodrigues let out a long breath. why did I think I would be able to find her that easily? He shook his head and glanced at a photo hanging on the bulkhead.

The photo was of a much younger Benito Rodrigues standing arm in arm with a striking female officer. Her shoulder length blonde hair was pulled into a ponytail and the tail was draped over her right shoulder. The rank on her collar indicated she was a major, the same as the man standing beside her.

Rodrigues smiled sadly at the picture of he and his wife at their promotion ceremony. They were married within six months of the picture they were madly in love during the time they were together. I can’t even find you to give you a proper burial ceremony.

[Do you want the scouts to refuel and give it another try sir?]

“No thank you Captain,” Rodrigues answered softly. “We need to focus on the here and now. Please thank the scouts for me and then send them to their racks. They deserve the rest.”

[Understood Sir, I’ll take care of it myself] and the line disconnected. Rodrigues replaced the handset on its cradle and walked over the water decanter next to his bunk. He poured a glass and drank it quickly. Well, he thought. I might as well see what’s happening in the CIC. he opened the hatch as he secured the last two buttons on his tunic, smiling and nodding to the Marine standing guard at his door. As he and his escort began to head towards Libra’s CIC the admiral mused, sleeps overrated anyway.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Battlestar Libra
Sick Bay
Day 288, Morning

The most recent brain scan was worrisome. DeValera sighed internally, murmuring, “Acute subdural hematoma with subarachnoid hemorrhage.” He knew he didn’t need to explain the medical jargon to the man who stood at his side. The physician had done surgery shortly after Herald had been injured to remove the blood clots on the Commander’s brain, but the ruptured blood vessels had continued leaking blood. He glanced at the Marine, who was also examining the scan.

Barkley frowned at the scan. The image he saw worried him. In all of the time he had spent in the medical field it was very rare that anyone recovered from this type of injury. And even then, the patient was in a full-fledged hospital with the best equipment, and medical specialists around-the-clock. The commander was lying in a bed aboard a warship. While Doctor DeValera was among the absolute best he had ever worked with, things were still tough. "That was about a one-in-a-million shot," Barkley stated. "Unless things have changed this is a very rare type of injury. Are there any indications of ruptured bridging veins?"

"Yes," DeValera said grimly, "Along the superior sagittal sinus. That's what caused the blood clots I removed earlier, and probably what's causing continued hemorrhaging."

Barkley nodded, continuing to look at the chart. According to the doctors notes, there were definitive signs of cerebral vasospasm, another byproduct of the clots that had formed and that the doctor had to remove.

The clotting was both good and bad. Good that it slowed the bleeding through decreased blood flow but it was also bad that it constricted the blood flow in such a vital area of the body. Deprived of oxygen the human brain generally only had about six minutes before irreparable damage was done after that, irreparable damage was most often death.

"With all of this damage it's a miracle he's lasted this long," Barkley looked over at DeValera, "I've only seen this about a handful of times in my experience doc. Of those, only about 15% made it. The problem was that was in a hospital with a lot more equipment than we've got here. What do you think?"

"If we had the facilities of a first class trauma center... and if he'd been able to get care right away... with a dedicated neurosurgeon... and no other complications... I would give him a slim chance," DeValera said heavily. He shook his head slowly. "With the other trauma he's had, and the spinal cord injury, at this point I think if he survives it would be a true miracle from the gods." He rubbed his forehead with rigid fingers. In a weary voice, he murmured, "Gods know I've done all I can."

Barkley looked at DeValera from the corner of his eye and then back at the chart in front of him. "And if it was anyone but you that worked on him I would have given him about a 2% chance to make it through the surgery. Doc, what you've done here is a miracle. But as you've said before, the will of the gods supersede even the best advances of technology."

"The will of the gods," the physician repeated with a sigh. "Thanks for your help, Jared. I appreciate everything you've done to help out here." I wish I could put more faith in benevolent gods...

Author:  GoldWolf [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
Day 288, Morning

“Sir?” Corporal Garvin, the Belle’s MarDet clerk, came to Major Duncan’s office hatch.

Duncan paused with a throwing knife in his hand. Several knives were already bristling from the target on the bulkhead near the hatch, but Garvin was long used to the Major's knife throwing and ignored them. “Yes, Corporal?”

“Specialist Ronovy from Supply is here…” Garvin moved back and Ronovy appeared in the hatchway.

The supply specialist had a crate in his arms, and he gave the target board a nervous glance. “Aah, sir, we were clearing out a supply locker and found this.” He stepped in at the Major’s gesture, setting the crate on the corner of Duncan’s desk; it thumped then rattled slightly as he put it down. “We thought it might be yours,” the specialist finished.

Ronovy's Aquarian accent reminded Duncan of Benoit, Laffitte, and DesChamps, and he gave the supply specialist a smile. He got up from behind his desk and circled around to regard the crate, the knife in his hand vanishing. The case was a reinforced wooden shipping box, about half a meter square, with the words ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ stenciled on it, the label repeated in flowing Iri'shèè script under it. “It’s not mine,” he said with curiosity. The crate looked as if it had been opened and hastily re-sealed, the cover screwed firmly in place.

“There were other crates stuck in there, too, sir, but this was the only one with the clan words on it,” Ronovy explained.

Scott ran his fingers over the Iri'shèè script. “It says the same as this,” he told Ronovy, tapping the Colonial stencil. “Scorpia Mining Company. What’s on the other crates?”

“Nothing, sir, they are unmarked,” he replied. He frowned. “It is a bit odd, oui?” he ventured. "There is not even a stock number on them."

Duncan nodded agreement. “Show me?” he asked.

Ronovy led the Marine Major to the passage outside the command berthing compartments, stopping at a storage locker just down from Colonel Cole’s cabin. Another supply specialist was there and had dragged two other crates from the locker. One was the same size as the ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ crate still on Duncan’s desk, one was larger—and the largest one was still in the locker.

“That frakker weighs a ton,” the other specialist said to Ronovy, pointing to the crate still in the locker, then she noticed Duncan and added, “Er, sir.”

Duncan stepped up to look into the locker, and the two specialists scooted the other crates further out into the passage. The Major crouched, studying the crate still in the locker for a moment.

“We did not think it was anything dangerous, sir,” Ronovy explained. “This is just a locker for laundry supplies.” Evidence of that was the collection of cardboard boxes a few paces down the passage, marked Detergent, Laundry, 6bx 7930-01-418-1436, Paper, Toilet, 1case 8540-17-117-5850 and Towel, Paper, 12pkg 7920-01-389-2271.

Duncan put one knee on the deck, twisting to look at the two crates already in the passage. They were also wooden and looked as if they’d seen rough handling, but there were no suspicious odors or stains on the wood. Like the one sitting on Duncan’s desk, their lids were firmly screwed in place. Duncan turned his attention back to the crate in the locker and shrugged, thinking If it was anything dangerous, it would have blown up long before now. He grasped the sides of the crate and with an effort slid it out into the passage. His sharp hearing caught a soft clanking sound, but it wasn’t the sound of munitions.

He stood and frowned at it. “Weighs a ton is right, Specialist,” he said mildly. “How about those two?”

“They are as heavy as the Scorpia Mining Company one, sir, each of them,” Ronovy explained.

Duncan surveyed the three wood packing boxes thoughtfully. “How long has it been since this locker was inventoried?” he asked calmly.

“No idea, sir,” Ronovy answered frankly, hearing no sign of censure in the Major’s voice.

“I didn’t even know we had a locker here,” the other specialist offered.

With the history this ship has, who knows how long these have been here… or what’s in them. The Marine nodded and bent to pick up the two lighter crates, standing and shifting them in his arms to hold them comfortably. “Could you please get a hand truck and bring that other crate down to my office?” he asked the specialists. “I’ll figure out where they belong.”

“Yessir,” they said in unison.

Scott put the two lighter crates on his desk, sweeping aside paperwork, then rummaged in his desk drawers for a screwdriver. He didn’t find one, though, and went to the hatch, asking, “Garvin, would you have a screwdriver out here?”

“Yessir,” the clerk nodded, getting one from the top drawer of a file cabinet.

Duncan waited to open any of the crates until the supply specialists brought the heavy one, asking them to leave the hand truck, as well. Once he was alone in his office, he unscrewed the lid on the ‘Scorpia Mining Company’ crate, pulling it off and gazing at the contents.

It was long moments before he could do anything but stare; then he breathed, "Wàtenahì!"

Author:  GoldWolf [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Day 288, Morning

Theron Kyklades used a different tactic to get on board the Harvest Moon, this time. The shuttle from Nimbus had several families with kids on it, and he'd made a point of befriending a couple of the younger ones while they were all waiting to get on the shuttle; and then he'd continued to joke and play with them during the flight. Once they landed on Harvest Moon, he just followed along with the group through the security checkpoint and no one even looked at him twice.

He tagged along with one of the families as they followed the posted directions to the "Recreation Deck". He'd been on that deck, although the recreation area was just a small part of it, with fruit trees and grass, benches and playground equipment. The path to that deck was up a wide ladderwell, the elevators reserved for movement of crops, equipment, and supplies. People visiting Captain Kalrk's vessel would not be permitted to interfere with the duties of the crew and agricultural workers.

As the parents with children continued on up the ladderwell, Theron ducked out a lower hatch, pausing a moment to get his bearings. He'd also been on this deck during his earlier visit, and this one was wholly devoted to raising crops, with swaths of trees that both sheltered birds and provided nuts, and the deck also had banks of beehives. He paused to inhale the aroma of plants and dirt, looking around to see if any of his "friends" were in the area. He didn't see anyone, and the muted voices he heard in the distance were adults, not kids his age.

Theron wasn't worried. He knew that a school schedule of sorts had begun, but he'd also learned that the traditional form of classroom instruction he was used to on Oasis was different here. On the Harvest Moon, many of the lessons were done hands-on; and with kids his age, according to their interests and abilities. Theron wasn't interested in farming or ranching--I was forced to do way more than my share of that--he thought. What did interest him on this deck was the bees... and the snakes and other insects and reptiles, especially the venomous ones kept in reinforced glass tanks along a bulkhead wall. He had time before his mission here began, and he knew what he wanted to do.

Armed with a notebook and pencil, he made his way to the beehives, watching intently as the bees flew back and forth, crawling in and out of the hives, then he walked down to the big reptile tanks. The first tank held a large snake, but the snake was sleeping... or else just not moving, so Theron walked on.

The next tank had several lizards in it, darting around on the sandy soil in the bottom of the tank, crawling and climbing on the twigs of a dried bush. The lizards were a mottled brown color, blending in so well with their surroundings that Theron had to look closely to see the ones posed motionless. He flipped open his notebook and made a rough sketch of one of the reptiles, then counted how many he could spot.

"Six," he murmured to himself, then a voice at his shoulder startled him.

"Six, you say," the man chuckled. "There's nine of them in there, son! Look more carefully!"

Theron gazed at the man a moment; he was old, the teen guessed, Maybe even forty! He had sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a creased face, as if he'd spent a lot of time outdoors. He was dressed in worn work clothes but it was a ship's uniform, his name 'J. Miller' over his shirt pocket; and he had dirt on his knees and hands. He seemed harmless, and Theron didn't recognize him or his accent, so he hoped the man wasn't also from Oasis.

"Nine?" Theron played along. "Are you sure? I can only see six!"

J. Miller pointed each one out, counting, and sure enough--there were nine, but the three Theron had missed were very small. "Are they venomous?" Theron asked, hoping they were.

"Nope," Miller said, shaking his head with a grin. "But I heard the place they came from was pretty poisonous! One of our military folks got them from some planet they'd been on, a nasty smelly place." He made a gesture, out to the crops. "There's a few of 'em loose out there that'll probably end up as bird food!"

"Hm," Theron said, writing under his sketched lizard: 'not venomous'.

"You like the venomous ones?" Miller asked. "I can show you venomous!" He led Theron to the next tank, one that was over three meters long.

The boy was nodding even as the man said, "These are scorpions from Oasis... ah, so you're from Oasis, too?"

"Yessir," Theron agreed. "I've seen these before. I didn't know they brought any here, though."

Together the two regarded the scorpions. Like the lizards, their tank had been outfitted to replicate their natural environment, and they blended in well with the sand and smooth rocks. There were fourteen that Theron could count in the large tank, and he confirmed the number with Miller.

"One of the Fleet's Marines brought these up from Oasis," Miller explained to Theron. "They're like the scorpions that are... were... well, probably still are on Scorpia. These bad boys are bigger, though, and even more venomous than the Scorpia ones."

Slowly, the boy said, "I know that a couple people... on Oasis... were killed by scorpion stings."

Miller nodded confirmation. "I'm not surprised," he said. He gave Theron an interested look. "You working on a school project?"

"Yessir," the teen lied easily, showing Miller his notebook. "There aren't a whole lot of reptiles here to study, though."

Miller smiled. "We've got more--what's your name, son?"

"Thad Kyler," again the lie came easily to Theron.

"I'm Dr. Jason Miller," the man shook Theron's hand solemnly. "I'm a herpetologist, that means I study reptiles. From Tauron originally. I was on the Catalina and transferred over here to take care of these critters. "

"So I ran into the right person," Theron grinned, some truth in his words. "Tell me more about the scorpions?"

"Sure," Miller agreed, happy to pass on knowledge. "You see those spikes on their backs?"

Theron nodded, sketching a scorpion in his notebook. "Twelve spikes," he said.

"Yep," the herpetologist confirmed. "Each one of those spikes is more venomous than the ones in their tails; and they have four spikes in their tails, see 'em all clustered together there? Each one has its own pouch of venom."

Theron looked closely, fascinated in spite of himself, and added more detail to his sketch.

"You've studied reptiles before, knowing the difference between venomous and poisonous," Miller commented with approval.

"Oh, yessir," Theron said, slightly self-consciously. "If I touch or eat one and I get sick or die, it's poisonous. If one stings me and I get sick or die, it's venomous."

"Smart lad," Miller said, nodding. "I heard that some of our Marines did cook and eat these critters and lived to tell the tale!"

Startled, Theron replied, "I never thought of eating them." He gazed into the tank. "We had plenty of other things to eat on Oasis."

"Those nomads from Scorpia, they eat all sorts of things, I've heard," Miller confided. "Myself, I wouldn't want to even try and catch one of these without thick gloves!" He tapped the steel lid on the tank; for the first time, Theron noticed that the lid was secured on the tank with hinged steel bands on each end, padlocked. "We need to be sure none get out, or folks that don't know how venomous they are try to let 'em loose," Miller added.

Theron told the herpetologist, "They were only out in the desert, on Oasis, and they're pretty skittish, so I didn't see them often. But I knew to stay away from them." He looked back into the tank. "What else can you tell me? What do they eat?"

Dr. Jason Miller, Herpetologist, was happy to entertain the teen until the boy had to 'get back to class'. And Theron was happy to have part of his morning spent doing something he wanted.

Author:  GoldWolf [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Battlestar Libra
Day 288, Morning

The scene on the port lower deck of the Libra was perhaps not quite as chaotic as usual. The ship's mechanics and engineers had been working non-stop to get repairs done to the combat planes, damaged in battle against the cylons just a week earlier. Many of the repairs were ongoing, but there was a cadence to the confusion now. The Raptors and Vipers were parked in neat parallel lines, the movement of knuckledraggers an intricate dance on the deck.

The purposeful activity gave Gunnery Sergeant Razorski a sense of satisfaction as she waited for a shuttle to arrive. Waiting with her was SSgt Ryan McCaughn, one of the Training Detachment drill instructors. They both stood motionless at parade rest against the bulkhead, rocks in the stream of workers flowing past them.

"Sir," McCaughn said in an awed voice, "What the frak is that?"

Razorski followed his gaze and internally smiled; outwardly, her expression remained impassive. "That," she replied calmly, "Is one of two Cobras we have in the Fleet. I imagine that's the Bellerophon's Cobra, based here while the Belle is being repaired." She gave the Staff Sergeant a sidelong glance. "It's a strike fighter, made for air-to-air fighting and close air cover for ground operations. The pilot and weapons officer are Marines, of course."

He snorted with humor. "Of course," he agreed.

"The crew of that Cobra has pulled my ass out of the fire," the Gunnery Sergeant remarked, thinking back to the action on Pythos. "I'll have to stop by the Officer's Mess and buy them a drink."

Their attention was drawn to a newly arrived civilian shuttle. "There are our dirtbags," McCaughn commented, striding smartly out to the shuttle while Razorski waited unmoving.

McCaughn's voice was clear even above the constant noise on the deck, but his tone was more volume than deprecation. He saved that for Gunnery Sergeant Razorski. There were eight Navy and Marine recruits that the drill instructor herded toward Razorski, reciting safety rules as he did so. Several of them looked scared; a few were listening closely to McCaughn's lecture; and two were walking side-by-side at the back of the group, gazing from side to side, carefully observing everything around them as they made their way across the deck.

Very quietly, one of them said to the other, "Make of note of all you see… the smallest detail may prove important later on."

The other nodded. "For the cause," she murmured.

"For the cause," he echoed.

Author:  RangerLord [ Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Agricultural Research Station Harvest Moon
Sub-level C, #2 Reactor Containment

The Necromancer's "nuke boys" were hard at work, preparing to swap out the LiFT fuel on Harvest Moon's number two reactor. One of their number carefully maneuvered a bright orange fuel tank into place. The 10-meter long cylinder was mounted on rubber crawler treads, powered by high-torque electric motors. Four workers monitored its progress as it was driven past the compartment's pipes and control systems. Another group followed, escorting another tank, though this one was labeled clearly: WASTE. Each worker was clad in a dark grey radiation suit, including a mask, gloves and an air tank and crowned with an orange hardhat. The suits bore the emblem of the Cardelli Corporation on the back, two capital-C's mirrored about a vertical bar.

One man watched the fuel tank closely, occasionally taking a reading with a handheld device or making a notation on the clipboard he carried. He wore a red hardhat over his radiation suit's hood, the letters RSO emblazoned in white on each side. A strip of tape crossed the front with the name BECK written in marker. As he monitored the transport of the LiFT fuel, he was interrupted by a transmission on his wireless.

[RSO, we're set to open the pyro.]

Vincent Beck signaled the fuel tank crew to halt and crossed over to the pyroprocessor. [Catch basin and containment dam look good,] he assessed. [You're cleared to proceed.]

Out of the way of the activity another grey-suited figure stood, accompanied by several members of the Harvest Moon's crew, also in radiation safety gear. This man's hardhat was white, though streaked with dirt, and stenciled on it in red paint were the words NUKE BOSS. He was Byron Ford, the chief nuclear engineer from the Necromancer. [Mister Coburn,] Ford said on the voice-activated wireless, [inform your captain we're taking Number Two off the grid. He may want to start rolling brownouts to adjust for the lost capacity.]

Coburn switched wireless channels and contacted his Operations Center. The Harvest Moon crew had been briefed that they would temporarily lose about 50% of their electricity generating capacity while changes were made to the pipes that fed the pyroprocessor, allowing the nuke boys to inject fresh fuel into the reactor while removing some of the old. [Stand by for one-half loss of power,] he informed them. [Expect two hours until we can throttle back up.]

Ford whistled into the wireless, while he raised one hand and circled it rapidly in the air. [Let's go!]

At the reactor control station, Coburn signaled for the control rods to be inserted to their maximum depth, absorbing the free neutrons that kept the nuclear reaction going, effectively idling the reactor. [Reactor idled. Still cycling fuel to remove residual heat. Pyroprocessor is offline.]

The nuke crew isolated the pyroprocessor by manually closing two valves on the large pipes the fed through it. They then removed the steel cap plates that were bolted onto the processor's access points. [Draining pyro supply and return lines,] one of them announced on the wireless. Other crew stood by, ready to attach the waste and fuel tanks.

[Let's move it, nukes!] Ford called across the wireless. [We just cut the power, and folks' ice cream is melting!] he added, his dark chuckle carrying clearly to everyone on the channel.

Author:  hazend [ Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Battlestar Libra MILINT
Day 288, morning

Major Duncan had called over to the Libra, asking for Major Dedrick, but he hadn't been available. Captain DesChamps was there, though, and although somewhat puzzled, had agreed to meet Duncan there on the Libra in the Ship's Purser's office. As Dedrick's second-in-command, Duncan knew that DesChamps was aware of the Bellerophon's checkered past, so he had skipped the details and said only that he was transporting "items of value".

When Duncan arrived, wheeling a hand truck with the four crates strapped to it, DesChamps was waiting with two Marine guards. DesChamps saluted Duncan, then proceeded to unlock the Purser's office. "No one's been in here in months," he commented as he pushed through the hatchway.

"No need for anyone to be in here, now that no one is getting paid," Duncan replied dryly.

The inside of Purser's office vaguely resembled a bank - there were a pair of teller windows, and beyond them was visible the door of a small vault. DesChamps instructed the two Marine guards to remain in the outer office, then unlocked the inner door and assisted Duncan with moving the hand truck through. Inside, he moved a payroll journal off a heavy table, leaving a rectangular void in the thin layer of dust.

The Marine Major had reattached the lids on all the crates, and now he unstrapped and removed the top three crates, setting them in a line on the table while leaving the largest heavy one on the deck, still on the hand truck's forks. He took the screwdriver from his pants pocket and told DesChamps, "These were found in a supply locker on the Bellerophon; I'm guessing that one of Rattler's Fiddà must have hidden them there before we re-took the ship." His tone made it clear that he considered "Rattler's Fiddà" to be completely different people than his own Spectres.

One-by-one he unscrewed and removed the lids on the crates, leaning each lid against the side of its crate. The Scorpia Mining Company crate held uncut texa gems, at least a hundred fifty of the Scorpian jewels. They glinted gold and amber, even in the indirect light in the office. The second crate, the same size as the first, held an equal number of gems--rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds, some cut, some uncut. They were so numerous, they almost looked like a collection of children's marbles.The third crate was packed with script, Colonial paper currency, untidily stacked to the lid. The fourth crate, the largest one, was filled with cubits of all denominations. The gleam of the gold almost make it look like the cubits were lit from within.

Captain DesChamps gave a low whistle at sight of the first crate, but by the time the fourth was open he was regarding Major Duncan with a raised eyebrow.

"That was my reaction, too," the Major nodded, again amazed by the small fortune contained in the four crates. "Mayer and Rattler undoubtedly got all this illegally. And maybe some of the former crew of the Bellerophon and the Patrocles... and maybe the Chiron, too, were in on it. If word gets out that we have all this--" his sweeping gaze took in the crates "--people in the fleet would flip out." He regarded DesChamps soberly.

"If I may, sir," DesChamps began, "I'm not so certain of that. We've been operating without money for a while... I can see some people having a reaction, out of long habit, but if they consider our reality..." DesChamps shrugged, "what's any of this really worth, now?"

Duncan pondered the Aquarian's words. Finally, he said, "You may be right. I could just be pessimistic, thinking of people's tendency to be greedy, or that they may think these could have value in the future." He picked up one of the texa gems with thumb and forefinger, turning it to catch the light, then dropped it back in with the others. "Among the clans, texa gems are more of a cultural symbol. Each family has some that are passed on from parents to children, through the generations. I have several, myself, that I got from my parents, but I'd never trade or sell them." He gave DesChamps a quirky smile. "We can't eat or drink them." Each of a nomad's gems had stories associated with them, but Duncan didn't see the need to explain that to the Aquarian.

"They are beautiful," DesChamps observed, "whether or not one measures their value against these." He stirred his hand through the top layer of gold cubits.

Duncan nodded agreement. "Could you see to getting these locked in the vault? I need to find out when Colonel Riley and the Admiral have time to take my report."

Author:  hazend [ Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Battlestar Libra
Day 288, Morning

The four men stood regarding the open crates in Libra's purser's vault silently a moment. Captain DesChamps had moved the packing boxes into the vault at Duncan's request, securing them there until Duncan needed him to re-open the vault for Admiral Rodrigues and Colonel Riley. Earlier, the Marine Major had reported to Riley and Rodrigues, telling them his hypothesis on where the currency and gems had come from. Unspeaking, Duncan waited for his superiors' assessment.

The Admiral slowly shook his head in disbelief. "Of all the frakking insanity we've gone through over the course of the past year now we're dealing with a pirate's plunder?"

Riley smiled, saying nothing. He reached down into one of the crates and picked up one of the texa gems. Rolling it around between his fingers he whistled softly. He tossed the gem back in the box and turned to Duncan. "Leave it to you to find this. Scott, you must have a golden horseshoe stuffed up your ass." Riley clapped his second in command on the shoulder. He then turned to the Admiral. "So, what you think we should do about this?"

"If it were up to me I would flush it out the nearest airlock. All we need is for the entire fleet to turn into a real-time map for a treasure hunt. To be honest though, I'm not exactly sure what we need to do with it. My guess is we just leave it locked up for now."

Duncan thought back to the conversation he'd had with Xen, about voting and political choice. "Maybe should President Meyers be notified?" he wondered hesitantly.

Rodrigues frowned. The last thing he needed... no, the last thing he wanted was to have to bring the president in on something that mattered so little in the grand scheme of things. Their survival was what was really important, not a box full of gems. You couldn't eat them, you couldn't drink them, and you damned sure couldn't power the fleet with them. Still though, the admiral knew what they represented. These boxes represented civilization. They gave the people of the fleet the slimmest reminder of how their lives once were.

But they also had the potential of tearing everything apart for the people in the fleet were, after all, only human. And humans were sometimes the most evil of living creatures.

"As much as I don't want to allow anyone to know about this I don't really have a choice," he regarded Riley as he continued. "Take care of the notifications, Eric. If he wants to examine them he can come aboard and do so." Rodrigues leveled his eyes on all of the people standing with him. Under no circumstances, however, is anyone allowed to remove this from this vault. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yessir," Duncan responded. With relief, he thought, Leave this to someone else to worry about.

As Rodrigues turned to leave Riley paused and faced his second in command. "I think," he said with a smirk, "it's time for you to play politician Scott. You get to talk to the president."

Duncan felt a rock settle in his stomach. Here it comes, he thought. "Sir?"

"You started this, Scott," Riley chuckled softly and slapped Duncan on the back between his shoulder blades. "You get to clean it up."

Author:  jdctexas [ Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Episode 37: Loose Ends

Nimbus - broadcast studio
My Side, Your Side
Day 288 Late Morning

As promised, David Berns, the leader of the People's Liberation Army walked into the station. There were stares of shock and concern when it dawned on people who this man was. Russ Ryan, the executive producer of 'My Side, Your Side' looked at Berns and his three escorts. "I presume your are the guest I heard about?"

"Yes, David Berns of the People's Party." David offered his hand out for a friendly handshake.

"You mean the Warlord of the PLA" Russ said sharply, ignoring the friendly offer to shake hands.

"There is no more warlords or army, Mr. Ryan." Berns raised an eyebrow while retracting his hand, "I see your security team is here to check us out. They'll find nothing." As he was being frisked and having a metal detector waved around him, Berns saw some people in another room.

"Oh, I see the CBI and Fleet Intelligence has sent their representatives as well." He said in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear him. He smiled as he looked at Capt. Helen Goodland, Chief Intel Officer from the Perseus. "Good to see that you have recovered from that Cylon bombing of the old Intrepid political convention. Nice to see that you're not drinking so much these days, Captain."

It was as if everyone the main room stopped and looked towards the open door. Capt. Goodland, for her part, remained composed and politely responded after entering the main room. "Yes...and CBI Director Jack Fraiser and I would like to have a chat with you and your friends."

It was at this moment a member of the Berns' group stepped forward, "And we were expecting this. I'm Meredith Sinclair..."

"Let me guess, your his attorney." Director Fraiser stated as he frowned a little while joining the Captain. "It's amazing who you represent these days, Ms. Sinclair...didn't know you were taking on terrorists now."

"He has rights, just like everyone else Director Fraiser: Freedom of speech and due process, if you have anything on him. Do you or Capt. Goodland have a warrant or a court order of appearance for my client?"

Goodland looked at the attorney, continuing to show no emotion, "No, but we would like to ask him..."

"So, my client and his assistants don't have to speak to you since they are not under arrest or a court mandate." Sinclair folded her arms, "You can either go an get a warrant or you can leave and make arrangements to speak with my clients at a later time...and of their own free will."

Russ Ryan then interrupted, "Ms. Sinclair, Director Fraiser is also a guest in the segment after Mr. Berns. He is here to do an interview in the 'Ten Good Minutes' portion of the show."

"Okay, but the military goons will need to go, if you still want the interview. We're not under martial law, so they have no jurisdiction on my client...unless they can prove otherwise. There are other media outlets Mr. Berns can talk with. This is non-negotiable...and by the way, did security find anything on my clients?"

"" Russ admitted unhappily. If the truth was told, he wanted the PLA, or now People's Party members to go away.

"No need to make a scene" Captain Goodland knew the attorney had them beat for the moment. As she walked up to David Berns, she locked eyes with him, "But you'll be talking with me and MCIT...and your attorney will hear from us 'goons' soon enough. You can count on it, Warlord."

Berns smiled, "I look forward to matching wits with you, Captain. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an interview to give. Good day, Helen."

Russ Ryan quickly spoke up, "Mr. Berns, if you will come and wait in this side room? You'll be on in fifteen minutes..."

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