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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:01 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Surgical Observation Gallery
Day Zero, 1415 Hours



The Surgical Observation Gallery was a diamond-shaped room positioned high on the back of the Satyr, looking down into four surgical suites. Its observation windows were broad panes of glass that angled outward, allowing a clear view of each operating room. Entrances on the port and starboard led to corridors on the top deck. Though the illumination was normally low while observing a procedure, the lights were on high for the meeting Captain Mischa Cherenko had called here.

A small group was gathered around Cherenko, who was waiting for the last individual she had called - Doctor Luther Bragg, one of the Satyr's neurosurgeons. The Chief of Surgery, Doctor Kevin Lassiter was already present, as was Anesthesiologist Doctor Marc Metzeler. Amber Beck, a Doctor of Biomedical Engineering, stood with the group as well. They were silent as they waited for Bragg, each of them still dealing with the news of the Cylon attacks, all of them but Cherenko wearing somber faces. The Captain, though she felt the impact of the news strongly, allowed her momentary annoyance at Bragg to supplant her anguish.

When Dr. Bragg stepped into the gallery, the group looked toward him as one. Bragg was slender to the point of being skinny, though that was not apparent beneath his white doctor's coat. He was just short of six feet tall, with straight dark-brown hair that he wore in an unimaginative cut. His close-cut fringe beard and round glasses gave him a distinguished look, though, and his green eyes flashed with intelligence. He looked at Captain Cherenko, and she expected to hear some cheery excuse for his tardiness, but he forewent his usual banter. His expression serious, he reported to her, "Mister Rand said to tell you he awaits your orders, Mischa."

Despite the solemn mood, looks of surprise crept onto the faces of those present when Doctor Bragg addressed the captain by her first name. Cherenko's expression changed from annoyed to steely anger. "You will address me as Captain," she said, "I'll thank you to remember that, Doctor."

Bragg stared back at Cherenko, his eyes hard, but did not acknowledge her. Instead, he asked, "What are you doing with your Cylon pets, Captain? I assume you're going to reveal our presence to the Fleet... won't they be interested that you've been harboring the enemy on board your ship for all these months?"

"That's why we're here, Doctor Bragg, to decide how to best dispose of our problem," Cherenko replied icily.

"Your problem," Bragg replied with a derisive snort. "You're responsible for this vessel, and you're the one who's been frakking all of them." Bragg emphasized his use of frakking, making it sound as though he'd accused Cherenko of treason.

"Yes, I'm responsible for this vessel," Cherenko countered. "Their presence here has advanced our research, and - your jealousy aside - I don't regret my decisions regarding them. I chose to bring them aboard when we thought they might be alien, and I chose to keep them aboard when we discovered they were Cylon."

"Fine, but let's shove them out an airlock and be done with them," Bragg proposed. He was getting nowhere with his argument, and he disliked seeing this side of the woman who was usually the focus of his ill-concealed lust. "We can celebrate with champagne afterwords, having struck a blow of revenge for the Colonies." Bragg's tone was serious. Despite his flippant suggestion of celebration, he was unequivocal in his determination to kill the Cylons.

"No." Cherenko spoke the word with such force that it was clear she was adamant. "We're going to find out what we can from them, and then we're going to conceal them aboard this ship. They are too valuable; we may need them later on."

"For what?" Bragg asked, incredulous.

"As leverage against unforeseen circumstances, Doctor Bragg," Cherenko replied. "I won't waste a hand when I've been dealt all the Princes."

Cherenko cut Bragg off with a wave of her hand. She glanced around the small group, who had remained silent during her angry exchange with Bragg. "That's why I've called you here," she explained. "I need suggestions on how we can put our Cylons on cold storage - and yes, I realize we can't actually freeze them." She grimaced slightly as she made that final sarcastic comment, then waited expectantly as the assembled doctors considered her question.

Dr. Kevin Lassiter stroked his chin thoughtfully. He looked the perfect part for a caring physician, with chiseled good looks, sympathetic eyes, and artfully tousled sandy brown hair--but his appearance belied his personality. He had, on more than one occasion, said that he became a surgeon because it was much easier to deal with patients when he had a scalpel in his hand. He was, however, always professional, and like the rest of the staff, was highly competent at his job. "It's possible to put them in a medically induced coma," he stated, and looked at Dr. Marc Metzeler.

In contrast to Lassiter, Metzeler appeared as if he had been awakened too early from trying to sleep off a hangover. His bloodshot eyes had bags under them, and it looked like he'd used a weed whacker to cut his hair, not bothering to comb it since. The medical scrubs he wore seemed as if he'd slept in them, and the athletic shoes on his feet were missing the laces. "They are physiologically similar enough to humans for it to be done," he agreed, "although they'd need a higher dose. Various negative side effects can occur, of course, not that we care." He ticked them off on his fingers. "Depressive effect on the cardiovascular system, impaired gastrointestinal motility, impaired immune response, infection, fevers, deep vein blood clots." He shrugged dismissively. "Is that cold storage enough for you, Captain?"

Cherenko gave the two physicians her full attention as they spoke. This was why she liked doctors so much more than corporate bureaucrats - throw the medical experts a problem and you often got a single solution tossed right back at you, with no hand-wringing or attempts to deflect responsibility. She turned to her late arrival, wanting his opinion not just because of his medical specialty, but because in her experience Luther Bragg was a consummate con artist.

"Dr. Bragg?" Cherenko responded to Metzeler's question, turning to face the young neurosurgeon. The action earned her an irritated stare from Dr. Lassiter.

"Captain," Bragg replied, scowling at Cherenko. He knew she was seeking his opinion on whether the charade could be effective, but he gave his neurologic prognosis first. "I agree, Cylon physiology should be more resistant to the psychotropic effects of the barbiturate used to induce coma," he pronounced, "as with the other secondary effects Dr. Metzeler mentioned." Bragg paused for a moment, his scowl transforming into a grin, savoring the fact that Cherenko needed his advice on making this look legit. "We can close off part of the Long Term Care ward and set up an ersatz coma study," he said, clearing his throat. "I'll work up the patient backgrounds, study parameters... the necessary paper trail." He looked Cherenko in the eye, his expression saying the rest: You will owe me.

Cherenko defiantly held Bragg's stare, then turned back to Dr. Lassiter. "Do it," she said, affording him his authority as Chief Medical Officer. "Mr. Rand can provide any assistance you need." Her meaning was clear - use Rand and his security officers as muscle, and don't offer the Cylons the option to refuse.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:50 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Mechanical Engineering Lab
Day Zero, 1435 Hours


In the back of the Satyr's Mechanical Engineering Lab, the head and torso of a Cylon centurion stood, suspended in a machined steel bracket attached to its shoulders and waist. On benches to either side lay its arms and legs, in various states of disassembly. Two technicians stood behind the partial robot; a computer terminal on an adjustable arm hung within reach. The back panel of the centurion's armor lay on the floor at the technicians' feet.

Doctor of Engineering Amber Beck monitored the procedure, taking notes on a tablet computer as the work progressed. Despite the simplicity of Captain Cherenko's order to 'neutralize' the Cylon warrior, Beck intended to perform an orderly shutdown of its systems and then remove its advanced power pack intact.

The entrance doors to the lab slid open, and Beck looked across the intervening jumble of equipment to see Aaron Doral stand for a moment, looking into the lab before he entered. She looked away, back to the centurion, then down to her tablet. A few taps of the stylus brought up the ship's messaging system, and Beck sent a quick message to Robert Rand's pager - DORAL M E LAB. She sent the note, closing the message application just as Doral arrived at her side. She gave the Cylon an uncertain smile and said nothing.

"What's going on?" Doral asked, his gaze narrowing as he took in the centurion and the two techs.

"Removing the fuel cell," Beck said, her eyes on the centurion.

"Why?" Doral looked sideways, scrutinizing Beck.

Beck turned to face Doral full on. She felt a mixture of hatred as well as fear as she faced the biological Cylon. "Don't act stupid," she said vehemently, putting more courage into her words than she felt. Doral's eyes widened, and he looked toward the lab door.

"You knew," Beck said. "You knew all along, didn't you?" Her voice quavered, and tears began to form in her eyes. "You helped me, helped with my research. You lived here on the ship, made friends with us..." Beck's expression was uncomprehending. "Why didn't you warn us?"

Doral didn't answer. Instead he bolted for the door, Beck calling plaintively after him, "Where are you going?"

At the exit, Aaron Doral passed his hand over the sensor, activating the double doors. They slid open and he darted into the corridor only to be brought up short by the bulky form of Robert Rand, the Satyr's security chief. He spun around, but found another security officer blocking his way.

Ben Smith held his handgun down but ready. He'd served as a Colonial Fleet Marine for six years and had been a civilian security officer for ABR Corp for the past two years; he had the muscle and strength necessary for the job. He knew, though, that these biological cylons were far stronger than they looked. Although he didn't want to shoot Doral, he was prepared to if it was necessary.

Doral spun back around, facing Rand. Now the Cylon saw that Rand, too, held an automatic pistol. Without raising the weapon, Rand said evenly, "Mr. Doral, do not be foolish. Place your hands on top your head and interlace your fingers."

Doral stood unmoving for a moment, then slowly complied with Rand's direction.

Smith holstered his pistol, taking his handcuffs from his belt. He stepped closer behind Doral cautiously, keeping an eye on the cylon's feet. He grabbed Doral's left wrist, twisting his arm down and around behind his back, pulling him slightly off balance while he snapped the cuff around his wrist.

Before Smith could react, Doral spun to his left inhumanly fast, wrenching out of Smith's grip and charging him. Smith had been standing sideways, his legs braced, but the cylon moved so quickly and strongly, Smith went down with Doral on top of him.

Doral jammed his fingers in behind Smith's head, pushing his thumbs hard into the soft spots between the hinge of Smith's jaw and his ears. Smith gave a low grunt as pain stabbed through his jaw and skull. Rand took several rushed steps forward, hooking one hand into Doral's flesh between the neck and right shoulder, the other grabbing a fistful of Doral's pants at the opposite hip. In one motion, Rand picked up the Cylon and threw him against the corridor wall.

Rand then stepped back from the fallen Cylon, pulling his pistol out of the holster into which he'd thrust it when the Cylon attacked Smith. He aimed it at Doral, tracking his center of mass as the Cylon stood. Smith rolled to his feet, automatically drawing his weapon, and advanced a step toward the cylon. He saw, then, that Rand had Doral covered, and he stopped short.

"Don't turn around," Rand said, his words forceful. "Put your hands on the bulkhead, wide apart. Separate your legs."

Smith holstered his pistol, taking out the auto-injector that Dr. Metzeler had given him. Left-handedly he gripped the cylindrical device, flipping open the safety cap with his thumb. Pressing and holding the arming button under the cap, he stepped to the cylon and rammed the needle end of the injector against Doral's back, below his left shoulder blade. Then Smith stepped back, his right hand on the butt of his pistol, although he kept it holstered. His eyes were watering from pain still throbbing in his head.

Doral jerked from the unexpected blow, starting to stand straight, but a snapped command from Rand stopped his motion. In less than a minute, the cylon's knees started to buckle. He fought the effect of the ADIQ compound with which Smith had injected him, but the dosage of the neuromuscular drug was high enough that he collapsed twenty seconds later.

"Dr. Metzeler isn't sure how long it'll last, sir," Smith rasped, and rubbed the side of his neck, wincing. With Rand still training his handgun on the cylon, Smith approached cautiously, but it was clear that Doral was completely incapacitated. At a nod from Rand, Smith retrieved Doral's arm with his handcuffs still attached, then grasped the Cylon's other arm. Pulling them together, he finished cuffing Doral, then turned him on his back.

"It seems we would have been wise to have brought a gurney," Rand stated flatly. Then the two men picked up the unconscious Cylon and began carrying him to the Satyr's surgical ward.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:11 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Surgical Suite
Day Zero, 1500 Hours


The surgical suites aboard the Satyr gleamed with polished stainless steel, detailed in pristine white ceramics and plastics. They were spacious despite the collection of life-sustaining equipment with which they were outfitted. A silvery operating table was the centerpiece of each, setting upon a floor of seamless white. A wide observation window looked down into the room, its sloping glass cutting an angle across the suite's upper reaches. Three of this cluster of four operating rooms were now occupied by the humanoid Cylons the Satyr had 'entertained' as its unwilling guests these past twenty-one months.

Image

Aaron Doral was strapped to the hard surgical table with restraints designed to confine someone undergoing seizures. The padded cuffs fastened snugly around the cylon's wrists, ankles and across his waist were more than strong enough to keep him confined, but he still attempted to break free.

Security Officer Ben Smith watched Doral closely, halfway hoping for an excuse to draw his weapon and shoot the cylon. His neck was stiff and he had a pounding headache from Doral's attack on him, and he also felt chagrined that he'd been overcome by the smaller man. Smith also felt a simmering anger that bordered on hatred for cylons in general. He understood why Captain Cherenko would want to question the cylons, but if it had been up to him, he would have just killed them all outright.

Again Doral strained against his bindings, and Smith exchanged a quick glance with the other security staff member in the surgical room. There was no indication that the cylon was having any success, but both security officers were alert.

In an adjacent surgical room, Dr. Lassiter looked on dispassionately as Captain Cherenko and Security Chief Robert Rand questioned the cylon John Cavil. Privately, Lassiter had felt it was a waste of time from the beginning. Cavil hadn't been the most cordial of persons even before the perfidy of the cylon "reappearance" had been revealed. Under interrogation, Cavil hadn't said anything that would be the least bit helpful. Lassiter crossed his arms patiently, but he thought, Even words like "the" and "is" are probably lies, coming from him.

"I don't think you've fully realized how the attacks upon the Colonies have altered your status here, Mr. Cavil," Cherenko was saying, the human salutation feeling odd as she spoke it. Cherenko stood at the side of the surgical table just beyond where Cavil could reach if his arms were free. She exuded a sense of restrained anger, though truly she felt frightened. The individual before her - or an identical copy of his model, according to his own words - was responsible for engineering the military operation that had nearly wiped out the human race in a single day.

"My usefulness here has ended," Cavil responded with a sneer. "So kill me, and be done with it."

Cherenko raised an eyebrow at Cavil's statement, finding his cavalier attitude toward death odd. She shot a look across the table at Robert Rand. His face read that he, too, had registered the Cylon's lack of fear over the possibility of his own demise.

"You may be of no more use to us," Rand said, "but that does not mean we are done with you." Rand reached out a hand, the mechanical prosthesis deftly grasping the small finger of Cavil's hand. He lifted the finger steadily, leveraging it backwards. Cavil grimaced in pain. "Your physiological similarity to the human body tells me there is much we can do to make you suffer, Mr. Cavil." Rand smiled menacingly. Watching, Cherenko was struck by how much Rand resembled a grinning Death's head when he smiled.

Through gritted teeth, Cavil replied, "More proof of human barbarism, and our righteousness in destroying your kind." With a quick movement Rand broke the finger, and Cavil clipped off a scream. "Is that all you have?" the Cylon asked, derision in his voice.

Rand twisted the broken finger, eliciting another yelp of pain from Cavil. "I've hardly even begun," said Rand.

"Enough," Cherenko said quietly. There was no admonition in her voice, simply a statement that she was finished with Cavil. She turned to leave the surgery suite, knowing without looking that Rand followed. The Satyr's Security Chief nodded acknowledgement to the two security officers who stood guard. As Cherenko and Rand exited the room, she said to him, "When the time comes, Robert, I'll allow you to visit all the suffering you wish upon him. For now, though, do not unnecessarily harm them. Injuries will only complicate the induced coma process."

"Yes, ma'am," Rand responded as they entered the next surgery room.

Lassiter paused a moment, finding the cylon's reaction to pain interesting. As he followed Cherenko and Rand, he made a mental note to see if he could discern any neurological differences between cylons and humans.

When he stepped through the automatic door after Rand, Lassiter's eyes fell on Smith. He'd heard how Doral had attacked the security officer, and he studied the young man with clinical detachment. Aside from the almost imperceptible tension in the way Smith held his head, there was no outward sign of the assault, and Lassiter diagnosed soft-tissue injury and associated pain, but nothing that would require treatment any further than prescribing an analgesic.

Dismissing Smith from his thoughts, Lassiter gazed at Doral. The cylon was glaring at Rand with unconcealed animosity.To Lassiter's eyes, Rand appeared unaffected by the overt hostility, although he had obviously enjoyed hurting Cavil. I wonder if I could convince the Captain to allow me to perform an autopsy on one of these cylons? he thought idly. Let Rand kill one, and I'll see what makes them tick. He clasped his hands behind his back and waited for the questioning to begin.

Cherenko took up a position beside the surgical table much like she had with Cavil, beyond Doral's reach if he were to break an arm free. She regarded the Cylon with a cool stare, but Doral's attention was fully upon Robert Rand. Cherenko observed quietly for a moment, then cleared her throat - managing to convey a sense of irritation with the sound. Doral turned his head to look at her.

"Aaron Doral," the Satyr's commander began, "As you have no doubt surmised, the full extent of your deception has become known to us." Cherenko frowned, recalling how intent Doral had seemed, before, at pleasing her. She narrowed her eyes, studying his face. "I have some questions, before I dispose of you," she stated evenly. As with Cavil, Doral lacked any fear reaction to the threat of death. Instead he wore a smug grin, as though enjoying some inside joke at her expense. That expression faded at her next words, though.

"I can't pretend to understand Leoben's rambling mysticism," Cherenko went on, "but there was no mistaking Cavil's apathy when threatened with death. I don't intend to kill you, Mr. Doral, but I will be rid of you. How painful - or not - that experience is will depend greatly upon your cooperation in answering my questions."

"My cooperation won't make a difference in the end," Doral replied defiantly, but with fear in his voice. "We will find you. And kill you. All of you."

"I doubt it," Cherenko countered, carefully hiding the trepidation she felt at Doral's threat. "Let's move on though, I want some answers...."

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:12 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Surgical Suite
Day Zero, 1645 Hours


Unperturbed by close proximity to the cylon, Dr. Metzeler stood at the head of the surgical table, pulling a rubber cap over Leoben Conoy's head and fastening it under his chin. Embedded in the cap was a matrix of electrodes, and Metzeler began attaching wires to the contact points on the exterior of the cap.

While he was doing that, Lassiter was preparing a set of surgical tools. One resembled a small, battery powered handheld drill--which it was. Lassiter had changed into surgical scrubs, and he carefully fitted a bit onto the drill, testing it. The small tool made a high pitched whine, and Lassiter nodded with satisfaction.

"Dr. Lassiter, just what do you intend to do with that?" Leoben Conoy asked, his easy smile incongruous with his situation - restrained on a surgical table, at the mercy of a race his kind had just attempted to exterminate.

"Not to worry," Lassiter assured the cylon. "You won't feel a thing."

Metzeler looked up from what he was doing to give Lassiter an amused glance.

Lassiter debated whether or not he should tell the cylon anything, but decided it wouldn't make a difference. "We will need to monitor your intracranial pressure while you're unconscious," he said calmly to Conoy. "Once Marc puts you under, I'll be drilling a small hole in your skull and inserting an epidural sensor."

Leoben's eyes narrowed just slightly, obviously processing Lassiter's words and filling in the details. After a brief moment, he said, "Skip the anesthesia and I can send you all my vital sign data through that cable." As he finished speaking his smile turned to one of mischief, or perhaps something darker.

The surgeon gazed at Conoy thoughtfully. "And," he replied, "while you're at it, link into the ship's computers and navigate it into the clutches of your scheming associates." He shook his head, returning the cylon's smile with a cold one of his own. "I think not."

Metzeler had finished hooking up the wiring harness to the electrodes, and he snapped the harness connector into the receptacle on the back of the EEG monitor, pausing a moment to watch the cylon's brain waves trace across the screen. He nodded to himself with satisfaction, then turned his attention to the IV he'd established earlier. The saline solution in the larger bag was dripping slowly into the drip-chamber, and now he connected the tube from a smaller bag. "You know, Kevin," he remarked to Lassiter, "the unconscious mind is still active, even during an induced coma." He looked down at Leoben. "Patients who are awakened after an induced coma often relate horrible nightmares that seemed endless while they were unconscious." He opened the valve from the smaller bag, adjusting the drip rate. "Good night," he added with a smile.

Leoben's easy grin returned. "Unconscious mind, active?" the Cylon queried, tracking Metzeler's face, but his focus stretched outward until Dr. Metzeler felt Leoben was looking right through him. "Vascular pressure decreasing..." the Cylon mumbled, his words growing gradually incoherent. "Cardiac rhythm decreasing... the stream is clouded... Four is online, concerned... fading oxygen... fires that bloom eternal... biting... consuming itself...." Leoben's lips moved for several moments longer, but no sound escaped his mouth.

"Frakker is out there," Metzeler said to Lassiter.

"They all are, Marc," Lassiter responded soberly. "They all are."

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:12 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Day Zero, Late Afternoon


The technician pushed the surgical bed through the wide doorway into the intensive care room, carefully lining it up with the two other beds already there. A second technician guided the life support cart, positioning it at the side of the bed. Efficiently the two technicians reconnected the various leads and lines and tubes, standing side-by-side to study the readouts on the display.

The room was stark and sterile, so brightly lit that the only shadows cast were those directly under the beds and larger pieces of medical equipment. The darkness of the shadows only intensified the gleaming white of the floor and bulkheads. The technicians, clad in white, seemed to blend into the surroundings, their heads floating apparitions on ghostly bodies.

The room would have seemed crowded with three beds and the accompanying equipment, but the stillness of the bodies on the beds diminished the impact of their presence. The rise and fall of their chests was barely discernible underneath the white blankets that had been laid over each of them. The life support monitors showed those machine-enhanced respirations and other data with numbers and lines in a rainbow of color. That display of vital signs was the only color in the room other than white, the soft gleam of matte stainless steel, and the black of the shadows.

The technicians silently left, one pausing to turn down the lights in the room, the flickering numbers and shifting lines on the monitors the only movement now visible in the darkness. Light from the passageway passed only dimly through the tinted glass that fronted the room, a trapezoid of light advancing at an angle through the open glass door. The room became a volume of shadow pushing against the light outside.

Aside from the subliminal hum of the life support machines, the only sound in the room was from the ventilators.

Hissss-hisssss.

Hissss-hisssss...

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:50 pm 
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ABR Cruiser Satyr
Command Deck
Day Zero 1657 Hours


Captain Mischa Aleksandra Cherenko strode onto the bridge of the Satyr, immediately looking to her XO Gabriel Kyros for a situation report. She was dressed in khaki slacks and a collared black shirt with the ABR logo over the left breast pocket. She brushed self-consciously at her left shoulder as Kyros began speaking.

"The military vessels have not shown significant reaction to news of the Cylon attack, Captain." Kyros glanced toward the forward windows, where the Tauranian Titan could just be seen as a slender needle of grey against the black background of space. The Titan's companion ships were too small to be seen from this distance. "The two warships have ceased their patrols and closed position with the salvage vessel, but there has been no other activity to indicate their intentions."

"Thank you, Mr. Kyros," Cherenko replied. With a serious expression on her face, she looked around the deck. "It's time to reveal ourselves, and seek protection from these warships. The Colonies are gone, and I have no idea what lies ahead, but we cannot continue alone and unarmed." Cherenko looked at her XO and nodded.

Gabriel Kyros turned to the communications officer. "Mr. Jaeger, set IFF transmitter to Low-power, Coded."

"Aye, sir," the officer replied. "IFF set to Low-power, Coded."

"Give our friends a ten second peek, Mr. Jaeger," Kyros ordered, "and repeat at fifty-second intervals."

"Aye, sir. Beginning IFF broadcast now."

Cherenko stepped toward the communications console, counting off ten seconds in her head. She picked up a headset but did not put it on, instead she held it to one ear. Looking at the comms officer, she said, "Mr. Jaeger, Emergency Channel Two, please." Jaeger adjusted a few controls, then nodded to her. Checking the position of the headset microphone, Cherenko began to speak.

"Civilian research vessel Satyr to any Colonial Fleet vessels, please respond." Cherenko paused a handful of seconds, and then repeated herself.

The response came almost the moment she let off the microphone key.

[Colonial Frigate Patrocles to research vessel Satyr,] a male voice stated calmly. [IFF signal verified. Hold your position and stand by for Patrocles Actual.]

Cherenko stood quietly and waited for the commander of the frigate. Less than two minutes later, a gruff voice sounded through the Satyr's overhead speakers. [Patrocles Actual for R/V Satyr,] the voice said. [Please state the nature of your emergency.]

Cherenko shot Kyros a dark look, then replied into the headset microphone. "Patrocles Actual, this is Captain Mischa Cherenko of the Advanced BioResearch Corporation vessel Satyr, Aquarian registry. Due to the Cylon attacks on our Colonies, I am requesting your protection for my vessel."

A long moment of silence followed, and when the voice returned it carried a tone of irritation. [Satyr Actual, maintain wireless silence, full EmCon if you can. A Raptor has been dispatched to your location. Follow the pilot's instructions explicitly. Patrocles Actual out.]

"Cheery fellow," Kyros observed as the transmission terminated.

Cherenko allowed a sigh to escape, her shoulders rising and falling with the deep breath. "Let's hope our first impression was not equally unsettling. That man, whoever he is, will be the architect of our immediate future, Gabriel."

Kyros grimaced, then turned to the DRADIS display, watching the unmarked blip that must be the Raptor approach his ship.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:04 am 
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Recon Carrier Herodotus
IHC Space
Day Zero, 1701 Hours


SeaBee Sergeant Vance Ryan stood in a corridor near the Herodotus' CIC, taking a verbal report from a computer technician. The doors to the carrier's CIC had been pried apart, and beyond them Ryan could see into open space. The command center had taken a direct hit from an IHC corvette, and much of the compartment's equipment had been destroyed. Beyond the hole created by the KEW round were visible some of the cables that secured the carrier to the Tauranian Titan, as well as a portion of the supertug's dorsal docking arm.

Vance listened attentively as the technician gave her report. She was Fleet, but not a SeaBee, and clad in a pressure suit that only barely betrayed her feminine form. Ryan wore a SeaBee exo-suit, but with a visored helmet like the Fleet tech's.

"Sergeant, Wildfire protocol has been launched throughout the carrier's surviving computer network - all classified computer materials have been expunged," she reported. "Computer function in CIC and on the upper Engineering decks could not be reestablished, but SeaBee crews have confirmed that all sensitive computer equipment on those decks has been destroyed. Thank you for your assistance, Sergeant."

Ryan nodded. "You're welcome, Ensign. I will relay to Titan that all computers are secure." Ryan was an FTL mechanic by training, but was not needed in that capacity aboard the Herodotus. His technical background qualified him for a number of other duties, and the Master Chief had assigned him oversight of the Fleet techs who were 'sanitizing' the recon carrier's computer systems.

Aboard the fleet tanker Distant Sun Petty Officer 1st class Harrison Lee Grainger monitored the final moments of the defueling operation from the control station for the fueling boom. In light of the Cylon attacks, Captain Ames had made the decision to continue defueling until the last possible moment in order to recover as much tylium as possible. Grainger stood at the control room's observation port, watching the few working exterior lights on the Herodotus. When the Titan cut external power those lights would go out, as would artificial gravity aboard the wreck of the carrier. The Distant Sun would be unable to recover any more of the Herodotus' fuel at that point, and Grainger stood by to order the boom disconnected.

"Fuel flow is still erratic," the specialist monitoring the status panel reported, as he had been every few minutes. "Effective transfer rate is down to zero point nine megatonnes per hour."

Grainger nodded, having ceased verbally acknowledging the reports some minutes earlier. "It won't be long 'til disconnect," he commented. "Trafford's people are swarming around the carrier like ants."

"Aye, Petty Officer," the specialist replied.

In the narrow space between the Titan's ventral docking arm and the lower surface of the carrier, Master Chief Petty Officer Ty Samuels threaded his construction shuttle through the rigging, life support and power cables. His craft was little more than a bubble canopy and a set of thruster motors, equipped with grappling arms. The small metal hull below the canopy was fitted with mag-lock clamps for those times the operator might wish to anchor the shuttle to a hull. Samuels was headed to do just that, in preparation to disconnect life support and power cables from the Herodotus' hull.

Two other construction shuttles moved across the lower surface of the carrier, executing the same job as Samuels. The SeaBees were pushing hard to complete the disconnection and un-docking as quickly as possible. As the Master Chief locked his shuttle onto the hull to disconnect another power cable, he could see two SeaBees walking across the battle-scarred hull plates, arming the explosive charges that would disconnect the anchoring cables from the carrier, all at once. Samuels listened to the wireless traffic on the SeaBees operating channel - under the time pressure, it was terse and all business. Samuels tolerated friendly banter during most operations; his men's conduct during this operation made him proud.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:23 am 
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Frigate Patrocles
IHC Space
Day Zero, 1729 Hours


The marker for the carrier Herodotus stood alone on the Patrocles' DRADIS display. The Bellerophon was keeping station alongside the frigate, while the Tauranian Titan and Distant Sun had withdrawn to a short distance behind the two warships. The civilian vessel Satyr shared their position.

"Captain Thompson," Colonel Bisby addressed his XO without looking in her direction.

"Yes, sir," she responded evenly.

"Captain, we will leave nothing for the enemy," Bisby stated for all to hear. "Destroy the Herodotus."

"Yes, sir," Thompson said again. "Ensign Brown, load two HEAP flechette missiles into the forward tubes."

Brown stared at her for a second, then nodded and set to the task.

The High Explosive Armor Piercing flechette warheads were designed to pulverize hardened space targets. Used mainly against asteroids, the missiles were also highly effective against armored ships and space stations. The flechettes contained in the warheads were of an alloy designed to vaporize at the temperatures produced by the high explosive, providing the necessary gasses to cause a significant blast in the vacuum of space.

After a moment, Brown reported in a wooden voice, "Sir, missiles are loaded."

Captain Thompson looked at the Ensign and nodded to herself. I'll be damned if I put this on anyone else. She strode to the weapons station, standing next to where Brown sat, leaning one hand on the console. With her other hand, she activated the weapons' target acquisition mode, making sure that both missiles were correctly aimed.

She looked over at Lt. Davisson on comms and said crisply, "Lieutenant, please confirm with Colonel Trafford that all personnel are clear of the Herodotus."

The Titan's commander had already reported that everyone was clear, but in less than a minute Davisson received confirmation.

"Firing now," Thompson stated without emotion, and launched the missiles.

Two vapor trails raced away from the Patrocles, left by two dark missiles unseen against the blackness of space. They angled to the frigate's starboard, then as they neared the carrier their course arched toward its bow. Seconds later the trails disappeared into the Herodotus' flight deck. For an instant, the carrier appeared to swell as the twin explosions buckled the vessel's hull. Then it erupted in a bright bloom of light as hundreds of pieces of superheated wreckage were propelled outward from the center of the ship. At the same moment, the lower decks of the carrier flashed fiery orange as the remaining tylium fuel detonated. The fireball died away quickly in the vacuum of space, but the starburst of incandescent metal continued for several moments, fading slowly to black.

In the aftermath of the dual explosion only ragged sections of wreckage remained, spinning outward from the point where the Herodotus died. On the command deck of the Frigate Patrocles Captain Thompson held Specialist Tere's eyes for a long moment, and the DRADIS operator understood it was not necessary to confirm the destruction of their target. Then Thompson turned to face her commanding officer.

"As you ordered, sir," she said. "The Herodotus is destroyed."

"FTL," Bisby called out, "calculate a hyperlight jump to Jormung Anchorage. Plot arrival point at maximum DRADIS range from the station." Bisby maintained his hard manner, but some of the weight of failure seemed to fall away as he set himself to this new task. He turned to Lt. Davisson, speaking briskly.

"Lieutenant, transmit jump vector to all task group vessels." Bisby paused, his eyes set on the DRADIS display, "Copy the FTL jump data to that civilian vessel," he added with a scowl.

In the minutes that followed, silence reigned on the command deck as the jump clock counted down. With ten seconds left, Lt. Davisson's voice rang out over the PA, "All hands, secure for hyperlight jump."

As the last seconds ticked away, Colonel Bisby gave the order, "Execute jump." The FTL technician turned the jump key, and the Patrocles disappeared. In rapid succession, the Bellerophon, the Tauranian Titan and the Distant Sun vanished as well, followed a second later by the research cruiser Satyr.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 1: Descent Into Darkness
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:53 am 
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Location: The Dark Side
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Frigate Patrocles
Day Zero, 1729 Hours


At his guard post by the entrance to CIC, Private Nikol S’Jahar could easily see everything that happened there. He’d managed to stay under Bisby’s DRADIS, drawing no attention to his nomad blood, and he wondered if Bisby would feel any different about Scorpians now, with most of the Colony’s population slaughtered by the cylons. Not likely, he thought without rancor, knowing that ingrained prejudices seldom were changed.

As the crew in CIC prepared to fire on the Herodotus, Nik thought back to his time on the Patrocles. Eighty-seven days of mostly uneventful training, a few exciting moments during SAR, and one day of horror and despair… and now a future that was completely unpredictable.

Clan Jahari’s leader and the clan’s warleader had chosen Nik to join the Marines to learn Colonial military combat tactics and strategy so that he could return to the clan and train others. I have the perfect chance to learn now, he mused with bitter irony, but no clan to teach.

Still, though, he watched as Captain Thompson conducted the destruction of the unsalvageable ship, noting how she fired the missiles herself when Ensign Brown showed distress at the prospect. Good leadership, he thought. In the brief moments as the missiles arched toward the Herodotus, he considered how Colonel Bisby had delegated the duty to the ship’s XO. He decided that delegating the task to Thompson had also been good leadership. It gave Thompson a chance to practice choosing the appropriate ordnance and also reinforced her competence with the rest of the crew.

S’Jahar’s thoughts scattered as he watched the Herodotus explode with a blinding fireball. By Aten! He was jolted by the blaze of the blast, white and orange, and as the starburst faded in the aftermath, he contemplated if Aten, god of the sun, also lived in the brief brilliance of such tremendous explosions.

Even as he pondered the thought, the Patrocles and her small fleet jumped with a much briefer flash, arriving at a distance from Jormung Anchorage.

Nik S’Jahar wondered, Does Aten live in the light of jump?
____________________

END OF EPISODE 1
____________________

_________________
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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