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 Post subject: Episode 33: Oasis
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Planet Oasis
Day 255 0900 Hours (Local)
Contact Team, on a bluff east of Site 'A'



Doctor Ralph DeValera stood at the top of the high ground, sweeping his gaze across the landscape laid out before him, from the mid-morning sun shining over the vast woodlands to the east, to where distant sand dunes met a deep blue sky in the west. Sunlight flooded across the forest canopy below him, illuminating a deep green expanse of trees that surrounded his vantage point. To the north and south the forest ranged as far as the eye could see, but to the west it ended abruptly, met by the dun-colored sands of the desert. Due west from DeValera's observation point, an ancient city of tan and brown stonework stood where the forest ended and the desert sands began. A barrier wall nearly as tall as the encroaching trees stood to protect the city from some unseen enemy, but it had long ago succumbed to the green of the forest. Now a tangle of vines and scrub trees grew over and among the time-worn stone structures. From this distance the city gave no hint of its secret - that a small part of those structures were inhabited still.

DeValera's vision, though, was captured not by the expanse of stone buildings, but by what rose from the desert floor in the distance. On a plateau of rock and sand beyond the far edge of the city stood three pyramids of white stone. Climbing nearly two-hundred meters into the sky, their size and grandeur inspired the Doctor's awe, but yet failed to challenge the strange structure that arched skyward from the dunes behind them.

DeValera heard the sound of boots on the rock, and glanced aside as Commander Guynes joined him. Guynes gave a low whistle at the sight, then raised his binoculars. "Metallic structures, semi-circular, roughly 600 meters high," he stated. Lowering them, he spoke quietly while still regarding the distant scene, "They're stripped down to the support beams, but they look like the remains of a ring liner's wheel. All three appear to be connected, although the main fuselage - if it's there - is hidden in the sand beyond the pyramids."

Emerging from the shadows of the trees which ringed the hill, Duncan quietly joined them. The rest of his recon team followed at brief intervals. He stopped, standing a step back and to the side from Commander Guynes.

"Hell of a thing, isn't it?" he asked.

Commander Guynes glanced at Duncan, nodding once, and then returned his gaze to the surreal scene. "Gentleman," he said, "I think we've found the colony ship."

As he spoke, Lt. Ilithya Carlin joined the group there on the hilltop. As Guynes had, she whistled softly at the sight of the pyramids and the wreckage of the triple-ringed starship. Surveying the impressive landscape around her, she squinted against the brilliant sun but didn't even think of shielding her eyes. Until quite recently she had thought she was likely to never see sunlight again. She kept silent, at the moment, as the most junior officer in the group, and instead continued to take in the landscape, the trees, the desert, the sun and the feeling of the wind on her skin.

Duncan cast a lingering look toward the desert, then turned to Commander Guynes. "It's almost time... let's get on the RAT, sir."

The Commander looked around the area and then back at Duncan. After spending so much time in space, being back on the ground feels...different. Not strange, but different. "Agreed, Major. Lets move out."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:06 am 
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TWENTY-SEVEN HOURS EARLIER...


Conference room, Battlestar Libra
Day 254 0600 Hours
Admiral Benito Rodrigues, Major David Dedrick


MILINT chief David Dedrick handed Admiral Rodrigues a written briefing, prepared in the early hours of the morning after a few fitful hours of sleep. As Rodrigues opened the file, Dedrick began his verbal summation.

"Sir, yesterday at 1500 I interviewed our Cylon prisoner again," Dedrick began. "With his unwitting help, I've solved the Chiron puzzle, and identified the holographic plate from Python's Tomb as well. The optical plate contains a database, and the Ophiuchus computer was designed to interpret it."

Rodrigues furrowed his brow at the pages he was reading. Dedrick's report explained in detail exactly what he had uncovered - how the data from the holo-plate dovetailed with the Chiron's secret computer system. While he didn’t understand all of it, he was able to follow Dedrick rather well in his explanation.

“Okay Major, spell it out for me. What exactly did you find out?"

"Together, they form a navigational chart," David continued, "a detailed listing of the beacon satellites left by the Thirteenth Tribe."

“Wait a minute; I thought all of the satellites were gone. Isn’t that what our intelligence told us before?”

"That is true," David admitted, "and even the Order's traditions hold that the beacons were taken up to hide the path to Earth." Picking up his copy of the report, he continued, "This gives me reason to believe that some of them remain. That would explain the Chiron's FTL system going rogue - it was computing the location of one of the beacons, a point where we can pick up the trail and follow it to Earth."

Realization slowly crept into Rodrigues’ foggy mind. The events of the past several days and the lack of sleep had taken their toll on him. All the same, however, he realized the implications as they were. Did this mean that Earth was actually more than a legend, a pipe dream? He had always pushed his people to find anything they could get their hands on in regards to the fabled thirteenth tribe. The thing was, he never really believed it existed. Dedrick and his spooks were starting to change that.

"Admiral," Dedrick said, leaning forward in his chair, "I think we have a real chance now to lose our Cylon pursuers." Breaking from his usual matter-of-fact manner, he spoke with increasing fervor. "We have confounded the Cylons at every turn; we cheated them out of their last chance at finding the Thirteenth Tribe's homeworld when we nuked Pythos. We have dealt a crippling blow to what was very likely the main battlegroup pursuing Libra, possibly the only one. I think the Chiron's secret has eluded them, and if we slip away from them now, we may very well lose the Cylons for good."

“Unfortunately, despite my sincerest wishes to believe that Major, until that happens we’ll have to keep one eye on the DRADIS. The toasters have proven time and time again if they're anything, its persistent."

Dedrick nodded his head in reluctant acceptance. "Aye, sir." He stood, giving the Admiral a crisp salute. "Shall I give the jump coordinates to the Officer of the Deck, sir?"

Rodrigues stroked the hair on his chin in contemplation. It was a big gamble to even consider this. If they even found the legendary thirteenth tribe would the fleet be dooming them as well? Would they be able to help defeat the cylons?

“Provide the new jump coordinates to the navigations officer, Major. Let’s see where this takes us.”

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:52 am 
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Battlestar Taurus – Starboard forward pod
Day 254
0630


Major, this is the Commander. We’re ready to commence with the deployment test.

Chief Engineer Lane Azmos took a deep breath, “We’re ready here in the motor and track room. I show all lights clean and green. You are ‘go’ for deployment.”

Within moments, Lane heard the deployment motors engage and felt the movement of the arm going forward into the ‘deployed’ position. Within twenty seconds, the pod was deployed. Impressive Col. Trafford…you kept your promise on the faster deployment time.

Actual to Chief: We show the pod fully deployed. Do you concur?

“Actual, I fully concur. We are successfully deployed. You are go for the retraction test.”

Again, within moments, Azmos heard the familiar sound of the motor and felt the pull of the hanger pod retracting. After twenty seconds, the test was done. And Trafford and friends kept their word on the retraction time. Note to self, never bet against him in Colors…

Actual to Chief, it looks good from here. After your inspection of the rails, we can move forward with the next test.

“Yes sir, give me and Col. Trafford’s team about ten minutes to review the track.” Azmos said with a smile.

Call us when you are ready. Actual out.

After few more tests before the jumps, the repaired track and motors worked perfectly. The Taurus was fully operational once again with the help of the staff from the Titan.

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"Times change...and so must I." - The Doctor, 'Time of the Doctor'


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:54 am 
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McCready Farm – Elsewhere in the Universe
Day 254
0635


“Good morning, dad.” Ashley McCready smiled as she handed Ryan a cup of coffee and then gave him as small hug. “Usual first day of harvest ritual…you’re going though the books, I see.”

“Your grandmother and grandfather looked through them every day, but in particular on first day of harvest. They swore it was for good luck.” Ryan looked up, “Who am I to change or challenge a perfectly fine tradition?”

“No problems at all as far as I can tell. If Uncle Tim knew you still had those…”

“Your uncle is none the wiser. Let him think they are buried with mom…like he thinks they are.” Ryan looked at his watch and then out the window as he sniffed the air. “Sun will be up in about thirty minutes, along with everyone else. Waffles and sausages for breakfast this morning?”

“Like you said…why change a tradition? Sausages are cooking on low heat as we speak.” Ashley made her way to the door, “Jessica will be here in ten minutes or so to help me out.”

“Okay and don’t worry, the books will be put up before then. I’m almost done.” Maybe one day I’ll get to see what mom and dad never got the chance to…

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:01 pm 
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Battlestar Libra - CIC
Day 254
0725


Captain Hastings watched the DRADIS intently and counted. "Colonel, jump three complete and all ships are present and accounted for."

"Excellent, Mr. Hastings. Have navigation put the fleet in orbit of the outer moon of the closest planet...the gas giant."

"Aye, Sir. Navigation, lay in a course..."

Wilson picked up a handset and pressed a button, "Admiral, we're arrived at our destination...proceeding to place the fleet in a safe orbit."

[Place the civilian ships in the shadow of the closest body. Have the combat ready ships begin sentry duties. Keep you eyes open Colonel, this is an excellent time for an ambush.]

Dean paused as he listened, "Aye Admiral, understood. CIC out"

Captain Hastings had returned to the command table, "So sir, what are we doing here?"

"Licking wounds, possibly gathering supplies and taking a look around the area." the Colonel paused. "Part of the reason I'm putting us on the edge of the system and around the orbit of the outer moon is to make for a clean jump if we need to get away."

"Makes sense. When is the Admiral coming to CIC?"

"Soon, Captain...deploy CAP and radio Perseus and Taurus to send out scouts."

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:26 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 254 Time 0800
Sergeant Trevor Roberts

Sergeant Roberts stepped into the Libra’s MarDet Orderly Room and paused. He had some paperwork to deliver, but he first caught sight of someone he’d known from before the cylons attacked.

“Tom Cody,” he said with surprise. “I didn’t know you're still alive! What're you doing here?”

"Well frak me running, Roberts! Last time I saw you... those Sergeant bars still had the fresh-from-the-manufacturer's shine on them," Tom said with a big smile. "Small universe, buddy! What the hell are you doing these days?"

"I'm assigned to Taurus' MarDet," Roberts explained. "Killin' cylons and workin' on the Military Criminal Investigation team. How come you're hangin' out here? Didn't you get enough of the Marines when you were in?"

"Yeah, but I'm back like a bad habit. I did some work on Catalina, but it's not the same as being here. My physical was pushed back, so I'm here to talk to the Gunny or Major...and from the looks of, it'll be the Gunny."

Roberts nodded; he'd noticed that the MarDet commander's office hatch was closed. "They're both pretty hard core," he commented dryly. "You ever talked to the Gunnery Sergeant before?"

"No, but her reputation proceeds her." Cody said calmly. "I worked security on Catalina and heard some Marines talking about her in a bar one night. Guess I need to watch my step, eh?"

"Might be a good idea," Roberts advised with a smile. "She's got some moves in the boxing ring..." He winked. “We’ll have to talk more, later,” he added. “I needta deliver these reports.” He indicated the envelope he was carrying.

"I'll be around... who knows, maybe on Taurus?" Cody said. "Keep in touch."

"I sure will," Roberts agreed. He turned to the Orderly Room clerk. “Is the Gunnery Sergeant in?”

“Yes, she is, Sergeant,” PFC March replied, “her hatch is open—go on in.”

Roberts paused in Razorski’s hatch and she looked up from the papers on her desk. “Don’t tell me you’re bringing me more paperwork, Roberts,” she growled.

I think I’d rather face Centurions than The Razor, Roberts thought, but with humor. “Ah, reports from Major Storm, Gunnery Sergeant,” he said, stepping forward and handing her the sealed envelope.

“Thanks, Sergeant,” Razorski accepted it with resignation.

Roberts hesitated for a moment. Wonder if I should tell her about Cody?

She sensed his indecision, and leaned back in her chair. “Close the hatch, Roberts, and have a seat,” she said calmly.

Well, that settles that. “Yes, Gunnery Sergeant,” he nodded, doing as she said.

“So what’s on your mind?” she asked once he’d sat.

“Tom Cody, sir,” Roberts said.

She gave a short nod. “Yes, he was a Marine sniper, before, and did security on the Catalina here in the fleet.” She regarded the Sergeant, waiting.

“I knew him from when we were stationed on Sagittaron together, sir,” Roberts explained. “I dunno what files you have on him, but he was, ah, well, he kinda had a problem with his mouth.”

Razorski raised an impassive eyebrow.

“He was ace at his job, Gunnery Sergeant, but he didn’t always get along with the higher ups,” Roberts went on to explain. “And he spoke his mind, that’s for sure.”

She nodded. “Thank you, Sergeant, that’s good to know.”

“Also,” Roberts said, and paused. “He’s… he was a champ at bare-knuckle fighting. He used to rake in the cubits on wagers. I dunno if he's still doing it...”

“Oh, really,” there was a hint of interest in the Gunnery Sergeant’s voice. Her lips twitched and she asked, “Did you win or lose, Roberts?”

“Oh, I knew who to bet on, sir,” Roberts said innocently. “Won me a packet!”

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:28 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 254 Time 0810
Dr David “Trap” Moreland IV

Trap Moreland sat… almost reclined… in the chair at a console in Libra’s Research and Development department. He was in the communications area of R&D, where he, along with several others, monitored wireless frequencies in an attempt to detect other colonial—or cylon—transmissions. The room was kept dim, and he leaned back as far as the task chair would let him, resting his feet up on the edge of the console’s writing surface.

Monitoring the wireless waves wasn’t his full-time job; he was a civilian mathematician assigned to Libra’s R&D department, and spent most of his time working on physics projects such as the controlled singularity drive, a type of advanced—and unpredictable—FTL drive. He was good at listening, though, and on occasion he helped monitor the wireless, finding it a soothing occupation that left his mind free for calculations.

And sometimes he heard something useful.

They’d just jumped into a new system, and he was adding his ears to the others that were hoping to find friendly transmissions. Or at least get an early warning of cylons in the area.

Trap had one ear of his headphones plugged into one scanning receiver, and the other ear plugged into a second receiver. The receivers automatically searched for anything that was more than random static, stopping when the programming detected non-random noise. Almost always it was just noise, even when it wasn’t random. Pulsars were common, and their transmissions were very rhythmic, as were other natural space phenomenon.

The receiver that Trap was listening to with his right ear was programmed to scan the frequencies that were commonly used on the Colonies; military and civil defense channels, police frequencies, emergency broadcast channels, and so on. No one had heard anything transmitted on those frequencies from anywhere outside the fleet since the Intrepid’s ships had joined Libra’s.

So when the scanner stopped and the words “…rdous weather is currently forecast for the broadcast area. Stay tuned on the hour for the next broadcast.”, sounded quietly in his ear, he nearly fell out of his chair.

Quickly he recovered his balance, leaning forward and putting his elbows on the console. His fingers danced over the keyboard, changing the scanning he was listening to with his left ear to monitor colonial frequencies, also.

The others were also alert, now, seeing Trap’s sudden movement, and the mathematician gestured to the Navy specialist who sat at the next console. “I’ve got something, Ronnie!” he exclaimed, “go get David Dedrick RFN!”

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:40 pm 
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Battlestar Taurus – MarDet
Day 253
0815


Lt. Ramona Neuman stood at hatch entering Maj. Daniel Storm’s office. “You wanted to see me, sir?”

“Close the hatch and have a seat.” Storm said in a business tone. “There is change coming that I’ve known about for a few days and part of it affects you, Ramona.”

I haven’t frakked up lately…so it’s nothing bad. “What’re the changes, sir?”

“Before our last engagement, Col. Riley and the Admiral had planned some changes…Marine departmental changes.” Storm paused for a moment, “There are some changes in duties, but I see it as a streamlining and making life a bit easier.”

Neuman raised an eyebrow, “Dan, cut to the chase…it’s not nice to make a lady wait.”

“Don’t worry, I’m nearly there.” Storm smiled. “For a while, I’ve been the head of MCIT, MarDet CO, dealt with the old Martial Law detachments…I could go on and that has been true of all the MarDet COs.”

“You wear lots of hats.” Ramona smiled.

“Exactly…and I’m getting some relief. How it affects me is that I will be focusing more on the Taurus MarDet. I’m out of the day-to-day world of being a crime fighter and running MCIT.”

“Okay sir…then the question is who is in charge of MCIT?”

“Simply, you are…Captain.” The Major tried not to smile as he said the word ‘captain’.

“I am…wait…did you say Captain?”

“Yes, unless you want to stay at Lieutenant and handle Intel?”

“No sir…I mean…” Ramona paused to gather her thoughts. “I accept, Major.”

“Congratulations. With this duty, you will be moved out of Intel duties…but you will also stay second in command of the MarDet. Also, you will retain MCIT staff that you have…and have a chance to take on ten to twelve more members. They can be comprised of Marines or Naval staff. MCIT will remain based on Taurus…but you will have your own offices somewhere else on the ship.”

“Good…I can keep Sgt. Roberts, if he wants to stay on. He has a good knack for the job.” Neuman said quickly. “As for office space…there are some openings on the deck below us. The Bull is an old battlestar and used to house a crew of four to five thousand. I think we can find somewhere to work out of.”

“There is also the issue of our ‘special guests’ in solitary. MCIT will be responsible for them. Roberts may be your best bet to handle their security.”

Ramona thought for a moment, “Okay…we can handle them and the criminal investigations. My question is to you is have you thought about a replacement for me in Intel?”

“I have several candidates in mind. Some on ship, some on other ships…the field is wide open.”

“Okay…any leading candidates from Taurus?”

“2nd Lt. Abair, Ensign Havit and 2nd Lt. Masterson…no decisions made yet. Someone suggested 2nd Lt. Merrit, but he is needed to run the prison on Colonial Fueler” Storm said. “I know you and Masterson don’t exactly see eye-to-eye…but he does a good job and he did Intel on the Athena before the Cylons attacked.”

“I will give you that he’s good at his job as a Marine and if you feel he is a good fit running our Intel, then who am I to say no.” Neuman took a deep breath, “I just don’t like him on a personal level…and he is a bit of a hot-head.”

“As long as you two keep it on a business level, there will be no problems…and if I promote him. The field is wide open. We could get someone off of one of the other ships to take on the duties…we’ll know in the next day or two.”

“So my last question is when do I start running MCIT?” Ramona smiled.

“As of this second, MCIT is all yours.” Storm paused. “By the way, 1000, the Commander, XO or I will be putting Captain’s pins on you in front of the other Marines and the Gods. Don’t be late to your own promotion ceremony…”

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:49 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 254 Time 0900
Main Conference Room

The sound came clearly from the speakers, a carefully modulated male voice: “Public comment on the proposed city budget will be permitted until 10 tomorrow morning.”

Trap touched the computer keyboard, and the broadcast changed to a frenetic tone; “These special prices are good only as long as supplies last! Walk, drive, run, draaag yourself down to Smith and Edward’s NOW for the deal of a lifetime!

With a wince, Trap again touched the keyboard, and he turned to the screen at the front of the room. A video began playing, the scene that of a newsroom, and the single newswoman was saying… “…the new solar power facility is slated to open tomorrow morning. In other news, authorities are asking for your help in their search…” Then the screen went blank.

Trap looked around at those gathered in the room. “All these broadcasts are from this morning,” he said, his eyes dancing. One more time he made an entry into the computer, and a final voice-only transmission began:

“Air Patrol two-three, I have you on final approach.”

“Roger, control, on approach runway niner-four.”

Trap stopped the broadcast, and with barely concealed excitement said, “Sirs, these are people from the Colonies!”

"How? How did they get here?" President Meyers said in shock. "This is...amazing!"

Major David Dedrick placed a hand on Trap's shoulder, as much a gesture of appreciation for the young man's work as it was a signal that he would answer the President's question. Trap looked up at his friend, and former civilian coworker, and nodded, grateful that David was there to field questions.

"Mr. President, Admiral," David began, "I believe I can shed some light on this." The Major met Rodrigues' gaze momentarily - Dedrick had given the Admiral a whispered briefing in the corridor just moments earlier - and the fleet commander responded with a nod.

"We followed a trail of clues to Pythos - a trail of prophecies and legends, but supported by data taken from a physical artifact - and that trail was validated by what we discovered there, the Tomb of Python. The trail didn't end there, however. It was simply one leg of a journey that will, we hope, ultimately lead us to the Thirteenth Tribe and their homeworld."

"Analysis of what we found on Pythos has resulted in some further... discoveries... and based upon those discoveries we have traveled to this star system seeking the route to Earth." David paused, his eyes sweeping the room. "We are not, however, the first to leave the Colonies in search of our lost brothers. These signals may have come from an outpost or way-station left by those who came this way before us."

"So, what you are saying, in short, is that there is a group that went ahead of us sometime in the past." Col. Wilson scratched his chin, "It would be interesting to find out if they are still looking for Earth...or why they may have stopped."

"Indeed, Colonel...it would be interesting to see what they know." The President said. "I'd like everyone's thoughts of possibly making contact...including those who are listening in on wireless."

Rodrigues spoke first. “I can only speak in regards to the defense of this fleet Mr. President. While this may seem like the answer to all of our prayers at first we must remain cognizant of the fact there is an entire civilization of tin cans out to annihilate the human race. This could be another of their ambushes,” he looked into the eyes of all those present in the room. “I would suggest we keep our distance until we can verify exactly where those signals are coming from… and who is sending them."

After waiting for an objection from the persons present in the room and receiving none Rodrigues continued. "I suggest you allow me to run a recon of the system first. Once we are assured this isn’t a trap then we’ll send a team in to make contact. That way we can keep the danger to the fleet at a minimum."

"I concur with the Admiral, Mr. President" Commander Guynes chimed in over the wireless. "Scouting out the system to make sure it is not a trap is the best course of action."

"I'd have to agree with the Admiral and the Commander, sir." came Liza's voice through the speakers. "Additionally, when and if we do make contact afterwards...We need to make sure to be cautious at that stage, as well, and have people with the right skills to evaluate their intentions. Because even if it turns out to be fellow humans...We can't afford to assume they will welcome us with open arms."

Meyers looked across the table, "Major Dedrick and Dr. Moreland?"

Dedrick glanced at Trap, who gave a small shake of his head. Turning his attention back to Meyers, Major Dedrick said, "Thank you, Mr. President. That's all we have, unless you have further questions."

_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Battlestar Libra
Day 254 Time 0920
Main Conference Room


After the meeting had broken up Rodrigues had kept Guynes on the wireless for a few minutes longer. Once everyone had left the room
Guynes, sensing there was something bothering his commander, spoke first. “What’s on your mind Ben?”

“Either I’ve been doing this job too long or I’m just paranoid but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

“How so,” Guynes’ tone betrayed his concern.

“I’m not certain,” Rodrigues rubbed the back of his neck in order to massage away the stiffness. “I just have a feeling is all… which necessitates what I’m about to ask you. Seeing as I should be here I want you to take control of the preliminary operations on the planet.”

The answer came almost immediately. “You’ve got it Ben. I’ll keep things straight.”

“I have no doubt you will,” Rodrigues terminated the link.

Something was wrong. Rodrigues couldn’t put his finger on it but the little itch in the back of his mind had him uneasy. Whatever was going to happen he was certain it wouldn’t be good.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:34 pm 
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0930, Day 254
Civilian Vessel Grandeur
Captain's Office


"How about some breakfast, Gabriel?" The ship's Hotel Director asked the ship's master.

"Let me finish this message first. Have a seat. Michael." Keramidas gestured to one of the chairs on the other side of his desk, then he finished typing, and hit send

-------

To: ALL SHIP'S CAPTAIN, CIVILIAN
From: Grandeur, Captain Keramidas

re: Captain's meeting tomorrow

Hello, fellow captains.

Now that we are safe, for now, in this new system, let us meet aboard Grandeur tomorrow at 0900 hours.

We must discuss our current situation:
* the cylons have been defeated
* WE MUST CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITIES.

And any issues any of you wish to discuss.

Sincerely,

Gabriel Keramidas
Master, Grandeur


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:53 pm 
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0930, Day 254
Catalina

"Tell me that again.' Kalrk said into the handset calmly.

[We have picked up communication from within this system; and it's not Cylon or Colonial."] Joe Mitchell, of the People's Council said into his handset on Harvest Moon, to the Quorum representative.

"Keep that to yourself, Joe. I imagine Dr. Moreland, and who knows who else, did the same. Let's wait and see how the president and the military are going to handle this. Business as usual, Joe."

['Business as usua'l? Kalrk, come on! We're talking about First Contact with..well... somebody.]

'I'm going to head back, Joe. Just keep it under wraps. Okay?"

Mitchell sighed. [Alright. I trust your judgement, Kalrk.]


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Captain Alicia “Mad Dog” Barker
D254 T0900
-aboard Stealthstar Two, Oasis flyover-

In a flash of brilliant color, space folded in on itself, and returned to normal. But not completely normal, for something was there… something almost ghostly in its invisibility.

Mad Dog viewed her instruments, and watched the first DRADIS readings. Thank the gods there’s no Cylons. As she said this, her instruments flickered slightly, she barely noticed it as she saw the planet far below her.

For a moment, she remembered the stories of Cylon hacking during the Holocaust, and the reports she had read in the following days afterwards. Frak me, they’re here and they know I am too!

When the Stealthstar did not have a catastrophic shutdown, she rechecked her instruments, and noticed a readout she didn’t really think of or expect. The Electromagnetic Field sensors (normally used to aid in detection of enemy ships in case of DRADIS failure) were spiking. After confirming that DRADIS was clear, she decided to ignore the EM spikes and continue with the mission.

“Okay Stealthstar, let’s see what the big deal about this place is. As she banked to bring herself into a lower orbit, she finally noticed the planet. My gods, it’s beautiful, was her only thought. It reminded her of Caprica itself! It was as if there was a great blue and green marble had came to rest just outside the cockpit of the Stealthstar.

“Commencing orbital flyover ”, Mad Dog said as she turned on the ship’s cameras and myriad of sensors. The readouts from sensors were almost immediate. “Radiation is minimal, not getting anything from the surface, will scan again on surface flyover”, she said, recording every word. Then it struck her…the reason for the EM spikes… a geology lesson from long ago when she was a child. This planet must be relatively young in the celestial sense. The spikes were being caused by the still unstable, yet formidable Electromagnetic Field enveloping the world.

“Note, EM spikes on my instruments possibly due to planet’s EM field”, Mad Dog said, feeling scholastic. She shook off the feeling deciding to leave it to the eggheads on Libra, and continued with the orbital flyover. This world could have passed for one of the Colonies to an untrained eye. There were plains, forests, oceans, ice caps, deserts, and more interestingly… civilization!

For the next ten minutes she orbited, using the cameras to breathe in every bit of this gorgeous world. She zoomed in on the manmade structures on this world, and what caught her eye made her heart skip a beat. She spoke into the microphone in her helmet “signs of life are confirmed"!

Mad Dog had to choke down her excitement, fearing an enemy trick. “Beginning descent for low level flyover”. She aimed the Stealthstar into a purposefully decaying orbit, which would bring her to the planet’s main continent within two minutes time.

She had almost forgotten the feeling of descending through actual, breathable air. The flames of re-entry… the black void of space overhead turning into that genuine blue… the puffs of cloud streaming by seamlessly.

She descended slowly over the coastline, since there were no manmade structures nearby, the sonic boom of re-entry would not be heard. DRADIS was clean, so no incoming missiles, maybe it’s not a Cylon trick. As she zoomed over the forests, which eventually turned into plains, small signs of wildlife here and there suddenly grew much larger.

The first thing she noticed was a fairly familiar figure… and it was gone in a second. Thankfully, the camera followed it for a bit longer. What Mad Dog saw amazed her! The familiar figure was that of a cat, but much larger and more muscular than the gentle creature nestled on her bed back on Griffyn. Large teeth protruded downward from its powerful upper jaws. But as quickly as the image came, it was lost to the incredible speeds of the Stealthstar.

“Note to landing parties, we have very large mammals down here, I have no idea what kinds but I’m sure our eggheads can tell us something”, she spoke into the microphone. “Be advised, I’m no expert but they look carnivorous, we will need to assess before landings”, she continued.
As ordered, she avoided flyovers of the populated areas. After another hour of exploring the planet’s beautiful landscape, which was so reminiscent of home, she increased speed, and headed for the freedom of space.

Her heart half-sank as the blue sky darkened into the void that she was so accustomed. She focused once more on the mission, and the fleet waiting on her, “spooling FTL, jump in thirty seconds”. Clive’s face flashed into her mind, be home soon babe.

Shortly thereafter, space folded in on itself, and truly returned to normal. This time there were no new surprises, only empty space where a ghost of a ship had once been.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Battlestar Libra - Medical
Day 254 Time 1000
(Goldwolf & JDCTexas)

Tom Cody sat in the exam room for the results of his physical. As he went to put his shirt back on, he looked down at his shoulder.

Image

This doc didn't seem like an idiot...he knew what it meant. Poked and prodded me in a few old sore spots.

"We're almost done here, Cody," Dr DeValera said, walking in. "Sorry you had to wait so long--an emergency came up." He gave a wry smile. "I'm sure you've heard that from the medical department, before."

"A time or two and once I was the emergency." Cody slightly smiled, "So, sir, am I fit enough for the military and is everything where it mostly should be?"

Dr DeValera looked at the test results he had on the chart in his hand, shuffling through the paperwork. He nodded, smiling. "More than fit enough," he agreed, "and with Gunnery Sergeant Razorski's PT program, you'll end up in even better shape." He paused, then asked, "Your tattoo, that's from 121st Special Tactics, isn't it?"

"Yes sir, spent most of my time as a Skull...earned the tat the usual way." Cody paused...he could still see the face of the target from his first mission for just a moment. "I guess you've worked on a few of us, sir?"

Ralph nodded. "Luckily, only a few," he said, "but still more than I would have liked." He indicated the chart in his hand. "All your blood work is fine, but there are a few interesting things that I noticed, supported by what shows up on your x-rays." He put his thumb and forefinger on either side of the bridge of his nose and wiggled it a little. "For starters, you've broken your nose, more than once."

More than I care to admit, buddy. If Roberts said something...eh, that's okay. Tom cracked a small smirk, "You are correct."

"And your x-rays show more broken ribs than I'd usually see in a combat troop," the physician went on dryly. "But what's most... interesting... is this." He took a computer data disk and put it in the med computer, bringing up an x-ray on the screen. It showed the ghostly-looking bones of both Cody's hands.

"Here, and here, especially the little finger," DeValera pointed to places at the base of the phalanges just above the knuckles on both of the hands. "You've broken those bones several times... some of them not long ago, either." He gave the man a calm, straight look. "I'd say you're a pretty experienced fist fighter."

"For the record, four of those ribs were broken by a big guy who decided to bear hug me three and a half years ago." Tom shook his head in agreement, "Guilty as charged, Doc. My last fight was about five or six days before the Cylons decided to come along. Had a scrape or two breaking up fights on Catalina. I'm a good boy now sir...only fight when duty calls and not for the cubits."

"You obviously didn't break those fingers while you were wearing gloves," Ralph commented, "And bare-knuckle fighting has been illegal in all the colonies for a long time because it's such a brutal sport. Not that I have to tell you that." He chuckled, then grew serious. "We've got a long, hard fight against the cylons ahead of us, son. We can't afford to have one of our Marines out of action from fighting our own people." He gave Cody a level look.

"Only in self defense, sir." Cody paused, "Nothing to worry about on that front. My fighting days are behind me...at least that kind of fighting."

"Good to hear it," DeValera nodded. "All right, Corporal, you're medically cleared for duty. Go report back to the Gunnery Sergeant, I'll send the official okay to her though the system." He paused, then added, "If you feel the need to let off steam, wear gloves and headgear... I'm sure the Razor will be happy to oblige you."

_________________
"Times change...and so must I." - The Doctor, 'Time of the Doctor'


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:48 pm 
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Oasis City
Day 254 Time 1015

Joe McCloud pinched the bridge of his nose and read the numbers on the page for a third time. He’d been putting off reviewing the proposed budget for the Civil Defense department for as long as he could, but it had been sitting on his desk since the previous day.

He started the day with his usual routine; worked out for an hour and a half and showered before he came into the station at 0700. He reviewed the night log, seeing what had happened in the city while he’d been sleeping.

It was the usual list of events; a couple of drunk-and-disorderlies; a fight at one of the bars over on K Avenue; a report of a break-in at a warehouse… a heart attack victim transported to the hospital; an unlicensed teenager crashed a truck into a ditch, getting minor injuries, also transported to the hospital… Joe made a mental note to talk to the teen’s parents and find out if they wanted to punish the kid themselves, or have public charges pressed.

He sat in as Carol Heber, the dayshift leader, briefed the patrolmen before they went out on their rounds, then he flirted with Carol for a few minutes before she, too, went to her duties.

With the knowledge of the budget weighing down his desk, Joe avoided it for a bit longer, going out to the practice range behind the station and using up a couple boxes of ammo on paper targets. He cleaned his handgun meticulously when he was done, but after that he couldn’t put it off any longer—the budget was still in his office, like a passed-out drunk in one of the cells. Obnoxious, immovable, and unintelligible, Joe brooded, glaring at the page.

“You want me to freshen up that cup, Joe?”

Amber Bigsby, the day’s front desk sergeant, was standing in his open office doorway. She had a pot of fresh coffee in her hand and a wry look on her face.

“Sure, thanks, Amber,” Joe agreed, pushing his mug to the edge of the desk and leaning back, stretching.

“Budget time, hm?” she asked, giving him an admiring glance as she poured coffee into his empty mug.

“It’s penance for my sins,” he sighed, nodding thanks.

She chuckled. “As if you had any sins,” she scoffed.

He ran a hand over his head. “Plenty, I’m sure,” he replied. “Just ask my dad.”

She snorted. “I’d rather have you in this office than him,” she said with good nature. “He was a good commander, but I’d rather have someone here we can talk to.”

Joe shook his head. “I’m sure that’s one of my sins,” he said, “especially as we’re talking when I should be reviewing the budget. Now get out of here and let me get through this!” His easy grin softened his words.

“Yessir, Commander!” Amber gave him a crisp salute, returning the grin.

He chuckled, then forced himself to go back to the budget numbers, sipping the hot coffee with appreciation.

He was interrupted again a short time later, this time by Harry Mett, one of the communications dispatchers who worked the wireless channels for civil defense. “Hey, Joe, we just got a call in from Paul over on the airfield,” he said without preamble, referring to the air traffic controller on duty.

“What’s up, Harry?” Joe asked, knowing that if it was just a routine dragon sight-and-fight, they wouldn’t bother to notify him—unless something had gone wrong.

“Gabby’s up flying and she spotted someone over by the pyramids,” Harry said. “There’s nothing on the books about an authorized site visit today. You want me to dispatch someone, or do you want to handle it yourself?”

“I’ll go,” Joe said, getting up instantly. Frak the budget for now… this is legit… He put his pistol in his holster, striding out of the office. Okay, well, anyone else could handle it, too, but they’re busy. “I’m taking the truck, Amber,” he said as he went by the front desk.

“Sure, boss,” she said with an understanding smile, watching him as he crossed the hall and went out the side door.

“Aren’t you married, Amber?” Harry asked, teasing the sergeant.

“Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the scenery,” she responded with humor.

“You and every other woman under the age of a hundred,” Harry said sardonically, going back to his wireless console.

I’ll finish up the budget when I get back, Joe promised himself grimly as he slid into the four-wheel drive truck.

The drive from the city out into the desert to the pyramids didn’t take long, and Joe stopped the truck short of the huge structures, finishing the trip on foot. He walked quietly, listening, but all he heard was the faraway drone of the single-engine aircraft, patrolling, and the almost-human sounding lament of the wind over the sand. During the drive Joe’d had Harry, then Paul, patch him through the wireless channels to Gabby, who’d reported that she’d seen just one person, near the northwest corner of the middle pyramid.

Still in the shade, this time of the morning, Joe thought, circling around the pyramid from the south. He paused at the southwest corner, looking northward, but saw no one, and slowly went along the west side of the pyramid. As he reached the northwest corner he slowed more, going to one knee to look around the corner.

The intruder spotted Joe at the same instant Joe saw him; he bolted, but with reflexes sharpened by amateur Pyramid games, and natural athletic ability—and superior size and strength—Joe caught up in just a few meters, tackling him from behind and bringing him down hard on the sand.

At 6’ 2” and 195 pounds Joe was a good deal larger than his quarry, and he had almost all of his weight on him, but that didn’t deter his captive. He struggled, gasping for breath, his desperate attempts to get free seeming like panic.

“Hold still!” Joe growled through gritted teeth. “I won’t hurt you, but I’m not going to let go!”

Still his captive tried to resist, without success. Joe had him in a bear hug from behind, pinning his arms to his sides, and with a grunt, Joe got to his knees, then stood. He realized at once whom he’d captured. “Dammit, Kyklades!” he exclaimed, releasing the boy.

Theron started to bolt again, but Joe grabbed the boy’s upper arm in one large hand, swinging him around.

There was panic in Theron’s eyes as he came face-to-face with Joe, but the civil defense commander didn’t release his grip. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d be in my office reviewing budget numbers,” Joe snapped. “The least you can do is stick around for a few minutes so I don’t have to go back to them right away!”

The sharp humor took Theron aback, his panic fading, replaced by wariness. “What do you want?” he asked suspiciously.

“What do I want?!” Joe replied. “Well, I’d like to know what you’re doing in a restricted area without authorization, for starters.”

Theron tried to pull free from Joe’s grip, but Joe didn’t let go. “I, uh,” Theron said, “I just like it out here. It’s quiet.”

Slowly, Joe nodded. What the hell spooked this kid so bad? He gave himself a mental shake. Like me catching him out here wasn’t enough. He sighed. “This is, what, the third time I’ve caught you out here, isn’t it.”

Sullenly, Theron nodded. “So why don’t you just lock me up,” he retorted defiantly.

Again Joe sighed. “I bet you’d like that, with harvest just starting,” he said calmly, watching the teen’s expression.

Theron shrugged, not meeting Joe’s gaze. “So what are you gonna do?” he demanded.

Joe studied the boy thoughtfully. Theron was tense, his arm in Joe’s grip like taut cables, but he no longer looked afraid. “What if I did lock you up?” he asked.

Theron glanced at Joe’s face, surprised to see it was a serious question. “My dad would be totally pissed,” he said.

“What would he do to you?” Joe questioned.

Again Theron shrugged, looking away. “He can’t do much more than he already does,” he muttered.

“Does he hit you?” Joe asked on a hunch.

Theron looked down, but shook his head. “He usually doesn’t. Only when I deserve it. Mostly just works me like a slave,” he grumbled.

The way Theron said “He” alerted Joe. So maybe it’s someone else in the family… most kids complain about being treated like slaves, though, he mused to himself. Wonder how much is him, and how much is real?

“What if I just take you right to your dad?” Joe questioned.

“Wouldn’t make any difference,” Theron muttered. Again he tried to pull free from Joe’s grasp, and Joe released him this time, watching closely to see if he’d run again.

Theron didn’t run, but he was as apprehensive and poised for flight as a wild colt.

Joe breathed in and out slowly. “You’ve been in some fights at school, too, haven’t you,” he commented.

“What of it?” Theron retorted rebelliously. “Everybody gets in fights.”

I never did, Joe thought. He sighed. “Get out of here,” he said abruptly. “Don’t let me catch you out here again.”

Theron eyed him distrustfully, not moving.

“Go on,” Joe said.

“You’re not going to tell my dad?” Theron asked disbelievingly.

“No,” Joe shook his head. “Just…” He thought about how he’d phrased it the first time, and repeated it: “Don’t let me catch you out here again.”

Theron stared at him for another moment, then turned and ran, a swift lope that showed his long experience at running.

“Godsdamned kid,” Joe growled to himself. From habit, he walked slowly back and forth, scrutinizing the area where Theron had been. He stopped suddenly, then crouched, looking more closely at something on the ground. He frowned, carefully visually examining it, but he didn’t touch it.

After a long moment he stood, and stared in the direction Theron had gone. The boy was still running, almost out of sight. Damn, Joe pondered. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him go… what the hell do I do with something like this? He rubbed the side of his face, again looking at the object on the ground. Moodily, he said aloud, “Frakking hell, Joe, did you screw up again?”

He paced the area one more time, sweeping his eyes across the ground, but finally gave up and drove back into the city. Amber watched him as he strode into his office, his distraction… and the dust on his clothing… apparent. After a minute, she got up and followed him in the office.

He was sitting in his chair, swiveled around to look out the window, his back to the door, and although he heard Amber come in, he didn’t turn around. She waited, used to his moods.

Finally, he asked, talking to the window, “Have you ever known a kid to torture animals?”

She blinked. “Well… I’ve heard of it happening, but I’ve never known a kid who did it. Is that what you found out there?”

He nodded.

“Who was it?” she questioned.

He shook his head.

What was it?” she asked.

“A lizard,” Joe said. “A good sized one, about eight, ten inches long. He had it staked out on the sand… belly up.” Still he didn’t turn. “He’d cut the tail off. Stretched out the legs. It looked like… kind of like… a person.”

“Gods,” Amber breathed, swallowing hard.

“I found it after I let him go,” Joe went on tonelessly. “I know the kid… know of him. He’s a troublemaker.” He swiveled the chair back around to look at Amber. “Why would a kid do something like that?”

Slowly, she shook her head. “I’d wonder if he didn’t have that sort of thing done to him,” she said quietly.

He gave a short nod. He didn’t tell her what else Theron had done to the lizard. “So would I,” he said, “but… how can you know for sure? What if he’s just a bad kid?”

“Talk to him, I guess,” Amber said slowly. “But… would he admit to anything?”

Joe shook his head pensively. “I asked him if his dad hit him, and he said only when he deserved it. But… what does that really mean?” There were plenty of times I deserved to be hit… or at least punished… but they never touched me. Only used words. He sighed. “What should I do? If I go to his father… and he is being abused… that would probably make things worse.” Because I think it’s worse than just abuse. And I don’t think anyone in the family would say anything, including the kid.

Troubled, she said, “Keep an eye on things, I suppose. Maybe talk to Dr Morrison about it? See what she thinks?”

He nodded, his expression dark. His eyes fell on the budget report. “I’ll call, find out when she has time,” he said. “And I need to finish going through the budget.”

Amber nodded.

Joe gave her a straight look. “Don’t say anything about this to anyone, Amber,” he said grimly.

She nodded again, and silently left the room.

Joe didn’t move for a long moment, remembering the feeling of the panic in Theron’s wiry body. It was awhile before he could force his eyes to the pages of the budget on his desk.



Joe McCloud:

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_________________
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, about budget cuts for the US’s intelligence agencies: "We're not going to do more with less and all these other clichés. . . . We will just simply have less capability."


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