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 Post subject: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Helios Gamma/Delta System
Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Day Zero, Early Evening


Jormung Ammunition Reserve was a grey ghost in the darkness of deep space, the armored skin of its three rings and the tapered spindle that formed its core dimly reflecting the light from the nearby stars. The suns that lit Aquaria and Scorpia were two brilliant gems - one orange, the other yellow - that lay on opposite sides of the supply station. Those two suns were far brighter than the thousands of stars that lay beyond them, but still little more than bright points of light in Jormung's permanent night.

The gas giant Ragnar circled both suns - Helios Gamma and Helios Delta - and the Jormung Ammunition Reserve was positioned at a Lagrange point opposite the planet in its orbit. At the Lagrange point, Jormung could follow along in Ragnar's path, tucked comfortably in a place where the two distant stars' gravity was canceled out by the pull of the much nearer gas giant.

The Anchorage was a sister station to the Ragnar Ammunition Reserve, the station concealed within the nebula that shrouded the gas giant from which it took its name. A sister, but not a twin, Jormung was an active facility unlike her mothballed counterpart. A small contingent of Colonial Fleet personnel crewed the giant station, kept company by a trickle of personnel using the station as a transfer point from one assignment to the next. It was a remote and lonely posting for the crew that maintained the anchorage and its ordnance inventory, but one that was only a year long. So it had been when the news of the Cylon surprise attacks had reached Jormung Anchorage on Day Zero.

The currently assigned crew was a dozen Fleet regulars and an additional dozen SeaBees, commanded by Marine Captain Joseph D'Augustine. D'Augustine directly attacked his premature baldness by completely shaving his head; his gleaming scalp was a stark contrast to the dark stubble that grew on his face, even though he carefully shaved, sometimes twice a day. The ten months he'd been on Jormung had given him plenty of opportunity to practice his off-duty physical activities, which made him muscularly brawny. While his off-duty distractions were somewhat unorthodox, his duty performance was strictly by-the-book. He held himself, and the rest of the station crew, to high standards.

News of the cylon attacks upon the Colonies had reached Jormung Anchorage scant hours earlier, in the form of the unscheduled arrival of a lone Raptor. The craft had jumped in, arriving very near the immense station, and had immediately declared an emergency. The pilot - Lieutenant Malcom McFarland of the Battlestar Valkyrie - had told a grim tale of the return of humanity's self-made enemy. McFarland had recovered a shot-down Viper pilot, but his battlestar had been destroyed along with every other Colonial warship in the combat theater. In desperation, McFarland had jumped his damaged Raptor to refuge at Jormung. His FTL drive had failed on arrival, taking most of his systems with it, and the Raptor pilot issued a krypter. D'Augustine was still processing McFarland's story, trying to fully grasp the magnitude of the cylon assault.

Given McFarland's description, D'Augustine judged that the cylon's surprise attack and subsequent tactics had in all likelihood routed the Colonial Fleet. If any of the Fleet's ships had escaped destruction--and if Jormung was designated as their rally point--he expected that the station would soon have customers for its extensive stocks of ammunition. He was meeting with his XO, Ensign Greg Stein, and the SeaBee's commander, Chief Petty Officer Isaias, to discuss their immediate course of action.

"We need to prepare to rearm any Colonial ships that arrive," he stated to Stein and Isaias.

As he expected, Stein nodded agreement without adding any suggestions. In Captain D's estimation, his Executive Officer's only redeeming quality, besides being a pilot, was his expertise at marksmanship, a skill of Stein's which surpassed even the Captain's. D'Augustine turned his attention to CPO Isaias. "Chief?" he asked, respecting the senior SeaBee's experience and knowledge.

CPO Omar Isaias peered at D'Augustine through his wire frame glasses, tipping his head backward slightly to do so. "Agreed, Captain," he said, then added, "My question would be 'What do we do after they're gone?' We need more detailed information regarding the scale of these cylon attacks."

"I would imagine any ships that arrive to rearm should be able to provide us with more information, and hopefully a degree of protection against attack," D'Augustine replied. "What would be worrying is if no ships arrive. It's pointless to consider that possibility right now, although if any of your SeaBees have training or experience at repairing FTL drives, we may want to see if Lieutenant McFarland's Raptor is reparable."

"We don't have an FTL tech, but I'll assign Mulkey and Rasmussen to assess the extent of damage," Isaias replied.

D'Augustine nodded in response to Isaias. He gave Stein a sharp look and said, "The station's inventories are current and accurate."

"Yes, sir," Stein confirmed. Supervising inventory-taking was a boring task, but Stein had only once experienced D'Augustine's wrath when the counts were off. It was an ordeal he did not want to repeat.

D'Augustine then looked at Isaias, asking, "Are all our forklifts and spacelifts operable? Is the station prepared to transport armament? Are your personnel ready?" He expected an affirmative reply. The Chief was an exemplary non-commissioned officer.

"We stand ready, Captain."

D'Augustine rose to his feet, the other two men following suit. "Ensign, ensure that our inventory specialists are prepared," he said to Stein in dismissal.

"Yessir," Stein left at a brisk walk, glad for the chance to escape the Captain's hard gaze.

Rubbing the back of his neck with his palm, D'Augustine stared sightlessly into the distance a moment. He'd reconciled the reality of the cylon attack logically, but he'd suspended any emotional response for consideration later. "Cylons... the damned things..." he murmured, then asked Isaias, "What do you make of it, Chief?"

"I hesitate to guess, sir." Isaias grimaced tightly for a moment, then regarded D'Augustine directly. "There are passages in the Sacred Scrolls..." he began, "that some say foretell the downfall of the Colonies." He stopped, shaking his head and looking at his hands. When he looked up again, he said, "I'm ready for that first ship, sir. Ready to stop wondering if all those end-of-the-worlds stories were actually more than just tales to frighten youngsters into attending Temple."

D'Augustine regarded the Chief grimly, mentally shuttling his thoughts into two different sections in his mind: preparedness, logistics, defenses, strategy, all went into the professional compartment; home, family, colony went into the personal compartment, and he firmly closed and dogged the hatch on that one. Calmly, he responded, "My parents used those tales on me and my brothers also, Chief. Let's hope they're not true." He gave a slight shrug. "We will formulate a long-term strategy once we learn more of what's happened. For now, we have a job to do. I'm qualified on forklifts, and Ensign Stein is on spacelifts. If you need more personnel to transport supplies, please include both of us in the duty roster."

"Aye, sir," Isaias responded, then turned to leave.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:40 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Transient Personnel Quarters
Day Zero, Early Evening


Malcom McFarland dropped his clothes into a grey canvas container with the word LAUNDRY stenciled on its side in black. Turning away from the laundry cart, he tightened the towel wrapped around his waist and faced the other man in the bunkroom, the viper pilot he'd rescued just hours earlier. David Telves had also been assigned to the battlestar Valkyrie, McFarland's ship, though the two men knew each other only casually.

"What the frak happened, anyway?" McFarland's question was rhetorical, and held a great deal of frustration and anger. He was trying to find some way to make sense of the cylon attacks, but he was afraid he couldn't.

Telves was stripping off his uniform shirts as McFarland spoke. He had his back to the Raptor pilot, and on the bunk in front of him lay his flight suit, neatly folded according to regulations. Atop it was his helmet, his callsign - 'Decker' - stenciled above the visor. As he turned to face McFarland, he tossed his shirts into the laundry cart, making the shot easily.

"They caught us with our pants down," Telves said, his movements becoming sharp as he yanked off the rest of his uniform. "Forty years they've been gone - probably plotting those attacks the whole time - while we let our politicians numb us into thinking those machines had a change of heart."

"Jima’ia politicians," McFarland growled, his derision clearly a long-held opinion. He pulled on a just-issued generic olive drab uniform, his mind clearly on other things. "They better let us get back in the fight," he said.

"Yeah," Telves growled. "I'm itchin' for another shot at those tin cans." Unconsciously, Telves flexed his pectoral muscles, causing a three dimensional tattoo of a red heart to dance with the motion. It was pierced by an arrow, and the name 'Darla' appeared below it on an unfurled ribbon. "What're the chances a battlestar will show up here to re-arm?"

The Raptor pilot paused thoughtfully. "Pretty good, I'd think," McFarland finally declared. "Jormung's got the ordnance." He looked at Telves, unsure how long the Viper jock had been assigned to the Valkyrie. "We've re-armed here before. And maybe the SeaBees here can put that old Raptor of mine back together."

"Eh, get yourself something with some teeth, Nomad," Telves scoffed amiably. "That patched-up Raptor is only gonna get you dead."

"It got us here alive, Decker," McFarland responded with just a hint of ire, "but I'll take anything with guns. Hell, give me a civvie shuttle and a six-shooter and I'm good to go."

Telves laughed at the mental image, then turned back to the fresh clothes stacked neatly on his bunk. Pulling on a pair of fatigue pants, he looked aside at McFarland. "Let's go get some chow," he said intently. "I'm starved. Then we can go find the CO and see if he's got any news."

McFarland nodded agreement as Telves shrugged into his shirt, and the two headed for the mess hall.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Transient Personnel Quarters
Day Zero, Early Evening


Lieutenant Ilithya Carlin checked her rack one last time, then picked up her duffel bag and cover. Settling the cap on her head, she left the bunkroom, pulling the hatch closed behind her. In the corridor she immediately turned left, toward the nearest elevator, recalling the direction accurately despite having only been aboard Jormung Anchorage for two days.

Carlin was 26, dark-haired and slender. She hailed from Aquaria Colony, though during her 'military brat' childhood she'd lived on practically every one of the Twelve Worlds. The shape of her dark eyes gently betrayed the presence of some Islander blood in her heritage, but otherwise she looked like a typical Aquarian... or Caprican. She wore her hair up, clipped at the back of her head, her garrison cap perched jauntily above it. Her dress blue uniform was in perfect order, and her boots sported a high shine. She was prepared, as she had often been before, to report to a new assignment - Public Affairs Officer on board the battlestar Tyche.

In her heart, though, she feared that she would never make that posting.

She'd been informed of the cylon attacks by the Jormung's commander. She had just started to pack her few belongings at the time, and she had stoically finished gathering her gear. Now she was headed to one of Jormung's flight bays; the Tyche was due within the quarter hour and Carlin intended to be ready when it arrived. If it arrives, she thought, because I doubt picking up the new PAO is on their priority list anymore.

With Telves next to him, McFarland turned the corner and immediately slowed. For just a moment, the catastrophic events of the day were forgotten when he saw Carlin. He swept his eyes over her, taking in her trim form, pretty face, and her rank. Her uniform was an easy clue that she wasn't part of the Anchorage's personnel, and McFarland wondered what she was doing on the station.

She turned her head to regard the two pilots, dressed in anonymous olive drab uniforms. McFarland halted and greeted her, "Lieutenant... I'm Lieutenant Malcom McFarland." He stopped short, uncharacteristically at a loss for words, and belatedly added, "This is Ensign," he'd forgotten Telves' first name, but continued after barely a pause, "Ensign Decker Telves."

"David," Telves corrected McFarland in a surly tone, but with a smile for Carlin. "Decker is my callsign."

Carlin looked from McFarland to Telves, her expression still dark, then she glanced down at her wristwatch. "PAO Carlin," she introduced herself, looking back up. She realized these must be the two pilots who had brought news of the cylon attacks to the Anchorage. "You busy?" she asked them. "I'm headed for Flight Deck Bravo - my new ship is due to arrive. Can you walk with me? I'd like to hear about what you've seen."

McFarland didn't move, glancing at Telves then looking back at Carlin. Soberly, he asked, "What ship is it? It... probably won't arrive."

Carlin's eyes flashed. "Don't treat me like I'm fragile, just because I'm a media officer," she snapped. "I can handle myself. Now, what the frak have you seen?"

Telves swallowed hard, his natural bravado tempered by the emotions he saw in Carlin's features. Anger, fear, doubt... all played across her face, but behind that she maintained a steely reserve. "I saw baseships and raiders," he began, "hundreds of raiders... new designs, ones we've never seen before." He shook his head, reflecting the surprise he'd felt at that first engagement with the returning cylons. "Like nothing Fleet teaches you in the manuals. And they just shut us down, like flipping a switch. Whole squadrons of Vipers adrift with no power, no weapons... battlestars reduced to defenseless targets. It was a bloodbath, a complete clusterfrak. They took out everybody and we never even got off a shot..."

McFarland nodded, adding in a matter-of-fact tone, "We're from the Valkyrie, and she was lost. Completely destroyed. Ensign Telves was the only pilot I saw who survived, besides me. From what I heard on the wireless, it was the same everywhere else. Battlestars, destroyers, Vipers, Raptors, totally helpless. The cylons shot us like fish in a barrel. Aten only knows why my Raptor wasn't shut down." He regarded Carlin dispassionately. "I don't know where your ship is supposed to be coming from, but if she survived, she'll only be coming here to rearm. Not to pick up a public affairs officer."

"I went through Basic, same as you!" Carlin snapped. "I haven't forgotten how to fight." She shouldered her way past McFarland, leaving him and Telves standing in the corridor as she made for the elevators at a brisk walk. Speaking loudly, Carlin's voice rang through the passageway. "If the Tyche shows up to re-arm, she damn well won't be leaving without me."

McFarland stared after her a moment, then shrugged and looked at Telves. "Maybe she knows how to fly a Viper," he said with a touch of sarcasm.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Operations Center
Day Zero, 1728 Hours


Captain D'Augustine stood at the back of the Operations Center, standing motionless at parade rest. The only other person in the dimly lit circular room was the Communications/DRADIS/Traffic Control Specialist, Petty Officer First Class Norma Getty. Getty was a thin, dark-skinned Libran who prided herself on her mastery of her duties. She hadn't been sure what it would be like to serve under a Marine commander, but found that his dedication to duty matched hers. At his request, she'd taught him all the systems on which she herself was qualified, officially certifying his proficiency. She'd been in the Colonial Navy for nine years, and never before had an officer wanted to learn her job.

The Operations Center was located at the top of the station. Tiny in comparison to the massive depot, it was a flattened hemisphere with windows that were spaced along the OpsCenter bulkheads, giving a view of space in all directions. Above the windows, rectangular DRADIS screens gave a more complete depiction of any ships that were located in the vicinity. Three identical control consoles were set in a triangular pattern, leaving the center of the room empty.

PO1 Getty swiveled on her chair, her gaze resting on each of the DRADIS screens in turn. She sat in the middle of her console, a nearly-complete circle with redundant controls so that she could access the various functions of her workstation no matter which direction she was facing. She didn't have to visually check each of the DRADIS screens; automated alerts would sound whenever a new object registered on the DRADIS. Still, she looked as she turned, giving the Captain a silent nod. He returned it gravely.

The musical chime of the DRADIS alert sounded at the same time as Getty said, "Ships incoming... I have five ships on DRADIS, IFF..." she paused, her manner calm as she waited for the ship's identification transponders to register. "One is a civilian craft, four are Colonial Navy--a frigate, a destroyer escort, a tanker, and a--" she stopped, frowning, and then said, "A superheavy vessel retriever, Captain." She looked from her console to the DRADIS screen, then at D'Augustine, her expression showing surprise.

His eyes were also on the DRADIS, and he nodded. "A new type of ship, Petty Officer. I hadn't realized it was operational yet."

Getty touched the earpiece of her headset with her fingertips and stated, "Incoming comms, sir. From Patrocles Actual."

"Put it on speaker," D'Augustine said.

A low, gravelly voice sounded from overhead. [Jormung Anchorage, Patrocles Actual. Has BSG-62 flagship Pegasus made contact?]

"Jormung Anchorage; negative, Pegasus has not made contact," D'Augustine replied. He raised an eyebrow thoughtfully, finding Patrocles Actual refreshingly brief and straightforward.

The Patrocles commander's voice sounded again from the Op Center's speakers. [Request permission to dock Patrocles and DDE Bellerophon to resupply and fully arm.]

"Granted Patrocles, proceed to Port One," the Captain responded. "Bellerophon to Port Two in sequence." He looked at Getty, seeing that she was already alerting the station's Docking Specialist that he was called to duty.

[Wilco. Patrocles Actual out.]

The Petty Officer closed the channel and looked at D'Augustine. It was clear from her expression that she had expected something different than that brief exchange. "Sir..." she said slowly.

Without emphasis, D'Augustine told her, "In times of war, it's wise to limit any communications that could be intercepted by an enemy."

Her eyes widened. "Yes, sir," she murmured thoughtfully.

D'Augustine sat at an empty console, accessing the Anchorage's database. His eyes swiftly scanned the screen, and he said, "Colonel Wallace Bisby commands the Patrocles, and Colonel Lawrence Mast commands the Bellerophon." He stood again, saying to Getty, "Please find out who's commanding the other ships, Petty Officer, and contact me at Port One."

"Yessir," she said, turning back to her console.

Captain D'Augustine left the OpsCenter with a measured pace, knowing he would arrive at Port One long before the Patrocles was fully docked.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Advanced BioResearch Cruiser Satyr
Approaching Jormung Anchorage
Day Zero 1735 Hours


Captain Misha Cherenko took a few steps across the command deck to stand with Gabriel Kyros at her shoulder. She instinctively felt more secure with the tall executive officer beside her. Though a part of her chafed at the idea, she still took advantage of that comfort - it was one of the guilty behaviors she indulged in as captain.

The Satyr had arrived at Jormung Anchorage with the four military vessels which had comprised the salvage mission for the Herodotus, the five ships emerging from jump at the maximum range of military DRADIS. Finding the immediate area clear of cylons, they commenced their approach to the ammunition depot. When Jormung Anchorage became visible as a small grey profile in the dim starlight, Kyros glanced at the ranging information on the DRADIS monitor and raised an eyebrow.

"Mr. Jaeger," Kyros called out, addressing the officer at the Communications and DRADIS console. "What is the vital data on our destination?"

"Sir," Jaeger acknowledged, making a minor adjustment to his controls. "Jormung Ammunition Reserve is 4.2 kilometers tall, with a diameter of 2.8 kilometers, sir. Station's mass is approximately 17.4 million megatonnes."

Cherenko had turned aside to watch Kyros as the DRADIS technician recited his scanned data. The XO's face remained impassive despite the considerable numbers. "I thought it would look larger," he commented, seemingly disappointed.

"We are still closing on the Anchorage, sir," Jaeger volunteered, "Range is now 8500 klicks". His tone was clear - their distance explained the small size of Jormung's image.

Cherenko smiled devilishly. "I'm sure it will appear sufficiently huge once you get closer, Gabriel."

"Thank you, Captain," Kyros replied. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, but failed to manifest itself.

The bridge crew of the Satyr watched more or less in silence from that point, until the cruiser had reached its assigned holding position near the Anchorage. Jormung now dwarfed the research vessel, only a small stripe of its bulk visible from the command deck's windows. Gabriel Kyros paced close to the viewing ports, taking in the immense structure of the space station.

"The Quorum certainly did not hold back on their spending when this was built," he commented. "You couldn't squeeze that kind of funding out of them at gunpoint..." His voice trailed off as he remembered that the Quorum very likely was no more, possibly dead on the point of cylon guns, or missiles.

Cherenko regarded Kyros sympathetically. Cylons, she knew, had been constructing Ragnar Anchorage when their susceptibility to the radiation from the planetary nebula had forced officials to withdraw the worker robots. Ragnar had never been completed. Jormung, however, was whole... and likely built by cylon labor. She wondered, silently, how long it would be before the workers returned to destroy it.

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Model by Ice Dragon.
Used with the artist's permission.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:24 am 
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Superheavy Vessel Retriever Tauranian Titan
Jormung Anchorage Staging Area
Day Zero 1735 Hours


The Titan had come to a full stop 4000 meters from Jormung Anchorage - just two and a half times its own length - and was showing its port side to the station. In the CIC, Captain Marc LeFleur watched as the helmsman assumed station-keeping. Like many of the supertug's night shift crew, LeFleur had not returned to sleep since Colonel Trafford had made the announcement of the cylon attacks. LeFleur was known around the ship for the lopsided grin he usually wore, but today his expression was grim.

From across the compartment, Bill Trafford watched his night shift commander. LeFleur was an Aquarian mainlander, and had only been assigned to the Tauranian Titan for a short time. Trafford didn't feel as though he knew the man yet, but LeFleur's jacket was filled with commendation letters and above-average FITREPs. Fleet had slotted him as third watch commander and Admiral Cain had signed off on it, so Trafford had accepted LeFleur's assignment. Trafford had greeted him when he reported to the Titan and saw him at watch changes, but seldom encountered LeFleur otherwise.

Trafford broke off his study of LeFleur and let his eyes roam through CIC, noting the faces of his other bridge crew. Everyone seemed to mirror the night commander's aspect, though with varying intensity. Trafford was surprised, a bit, by the number of them who were already watching him, and he felt the weight of his responsibility to them settle more firmly onto his shoulders. The world had changed - the Twelve Worlds were gone - and now the Tauranian Titan and her companion ships were perhaps the sum total of surviving humanity.

Oddly, he was reminded of a plaque from his office on Scorpia Shipyards, during his short tenure there as the top Traffic Control Officer. The Buck Doesn't Even Slow Down Here it had read, and though the statement did not reflect his own ethic, Trafford had kept it because it amused him. Now he chuckled darkly at the memory, because responsibility for his crew absolutely stopped with him, except perhaps for Colonel Bisby and maybe the gods themselves.

Colonel Trafford looked up, taking in the monitor that displayed the view to port. Jormung Anchorage had escaped the cylon's attention so far, and thus the count of surviving humans was increased by twenty-four. Colonel Bisby had hoped to find Battlestar Group 62's flagship here, Trafford knew, but the Pegasus was conspicuously absent. Did it yet survive, though? Trafford wondered as he regarded the ammunition depot.

Trafford's eye narrowed, focusing on the form of the Patrocles - now on final approach to Jormung. How many ships still lived, as the frigate did? How many commanders remained, and like Bisby were determined to take the fight to the cylons.

And if they did, how many would live to see tomorrow?


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:26 am 
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The Patrocles commander's voice sounded from the Op Center's speakers. [Request permission to dock Patrocles and DDE Bellerophon to resupply and fully arm.]

"Granted Patrocles, proceed to Port One," the D'Augustine responded. "Bellerophon to Port Two in sequence." He looked at Getty, seeing that she was already alerting the station's Docking Specialist that he was called to duty.

[Wilco. Patrocles Actual out.]


The predatory form of the frigate Patrocles slipped toward Jormung Anchorage, carried forward by momentum. Her main engines were dark; the helmsmen guiding her toward the ammunition depot with only small adjustments from her maneuvering thrusters. Aft and to starboard from the guided missile frigate the Bellerophon glided in formation. Their goals were two docking ports on Jormung's topmost ring.

The rings of he Anchorage were toroids, their radial shape roughly a flattened oval. The axial gap of each centered on the station's core, connected by six shafts that gave the appearance of spokes on a giant wheel. The two approaching ships could each have fit within a cross-section of the ring on which they converged.

As they neared their assigned docking points, the Patrocles maintained constant contact with Jormung's docking specialist while the Bellerophon simply monitored the wireless traffic. The destroyer's turn would come once the frigate was docked. Behind them lay the Tauranian Titan and the Distant Sun, holding in the Anchorage's staging area with their new civilian companion. Lit only by the faraway suns of Scorpia and Aquaria, the ships were barely more than grey shadows in the blackness of space.

Their dance with the station did not last long. When the Patrocles came to a stop, its nose hard against the rim of Jormung's top ring, the Bellerophon was already making its final approach. Shortly it too was mated to the Anchorage, the bow of the sleek destroyer locked tight to the station.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:26 am 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Docking Port One
Day Zero, 1820 Hours


Captain Joseph D'Augustine stood at parade rest, waiting as the spaceway passage was being pressurized by the docking specialist. The Jormung end of the passage was an airlock that opened into a large, bare staging area, its harshness emphasized by the industrial lighting. At one side were rows of hard metal benches; opposite, against the far bulkhead was heavy wire shelving designed to store the various luggage and equipment cases that transiting personnel might have.

The area was empty except for D'Augustine himself, the mechanical sounds of the dock echoing off the hard surfaces. The Marine Captain was accustomed to the hissing, grinding, and rhythmic clanking noises, and to the slightly oily and metallic taste of the station air. He'd met plenty of rearming ships in the past, but this was the first time that the arms his station supplied would be used in earnest.

The pressure indicator lights flashed green, and D'Augustine moved to the hatch, opening it. An almost imperceptible hiss showed that the pressure in the spaceway passage had been nearly identical to the station's. D'Augustine nodded to himself in appreciation of the docking specialist's skill, and waited for Colonel Bisby to arrive.

At the other end of the passage SSgt Lynden opened the pressure door, then stepped aside to allow his commander through. Colonel Bisby stepped onto Jormung Anchorage, his pace brisk, his eyes already assessing the station commander who stood at the open hatchway ahead of him. Bisby was followed by the Patrocles' supply officer, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Barbara Kraemer. SSgt Lynden dogged the hatch behind them and quick-stepped to fall in behind Bisby as well.

Colonel Bisby halted just a pace or so from the end of the passage as Captain D'Augustine saluted. Bisby returned the salute, then cleared his throat. "Permission to come aboard, Captain D'Augustine?" Bisby gave the traditional request the full effect of his gruff voice, conveying the sense that though he fully expected an affirmative response, the custom was somehow necessary even so.

"Permission granted, sir," D'Augustine replied, giving Bisby a respectful nod.

Bisby stepped forward immediately, crossing the threshold of the hatchway and turning about to face D'Augustine again. The fact that the Jormung CO was alone prompted Bisby to raise one eyebrow briefly, but he said nothing. CPO Kraemer took up a position just behind Bisby, while SSgt Lynden closed and dogged the hatch.

"Captain D'Augustine, Petty Officer Kraemer is my Chief of Logistics," Bisby said, nodding toward her.

"Chief," D'Augustine greeted Kraemer. "Chief Turner is our Supply Officer; she'll be here in just a moment." He acknowledged SSgt Lynden with a quick glance before turning back to Bisby. "The Bellerophon will be finished docking shortly, sir. Would you like to observe? If you'd prefer, I'll show you to visitor's quarters, or the wardroom."

Bisby looked toward Kraemer but did not turn, speaking toward his shoulder, "Chief, see to our arms. Campaign level."

"Yessir," Kraemer responded crisply.

Turning his attention back to D'Augustine, Bisby responded to his question. "Your hospitality is noted, Captain, but unnecessary. Have you had any contact with Battlestar Group 62, or any other?"

"No, sir," the Marine Captain replied. "We got word of the cylon attacks from Lt. McFarland, who jumped his damaged Raptor here after rescuing a Viper pilot, Ens. Telves. They report that their ship, the Valkyrie, was destroyed by the cylons. All they know is that the attacks were colony-wide." He paused, already getting a measure of the kind of man Bisby was. With a careful balance of deference and assertive confidence, he stated, "I'd appreciate anything more you can tell us."

"I can tell you a lot," Bisby stated, his eyes hard, "but it's a bitter pill to swallow." Bisby glanced aside, noting the approach of a Petty Officer he assumed was Chief Turner. "Ensure the resupply of my ship is started, and then I'll show you everything I have."

D'Augustine quickly introduced Kraemer and Turner, explaining to Turner what Colonel Bisby required in a succinct sentence. Accustomed to D'Augustine's manner, Turner merely nodded understanding with a quiet 'yessir', and the two Chief Petty Officers went to the Inventory Control Center to begin the rearming process.

Bisby acknowledged the action with a curt nod. "Let us collect Colonel Mast, and then I would see the two Valkyrie survivors." As a hint of a questioning expression crossed D'Augustine's face, Bisby added, "Mast and I will brief you fully, Captain, and I will send for our scouting reports as well." With a gesture toward Port Two, Bisby said, "Now, shall we?"

"Of course, sir," the Captain nodded, and they headed for the port where the Bellerophon was being docked, SSgt Lynden following silently.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:10 pm 
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Raptor 775
Enroute to civilian ship Satyr
Day Zero, 1855 Hours


Private Nikol S'Jahar sat at attention in the Raptor, trying to get a glimpse of both the Jormung station and the Satyr without being obvious about it. SSgt Lynden had assigned him as Captain Thompson's "assistant" on this inspection trip to the civilian vessel, although what she might need assistance with was unknown to him. Thompson sat next to him in the Raptor, with Captain Ames from the Distant Sun, opposite.

The Patrocles' XO saw the direction of Nik's gaze, and also turned her head to look out the Raptor's canopy. "It's quite a sight, isn't it, Private S'Jahar?" she asked, making it obvious that she was also fascinated by the anchorage's appearance.

"Yes, sir," Nik agreed, surveying the view more openly. He could see the Patrocles docked there, giving an idea of the scale of the station. He wished that the Tauranian Titan was also visible--he'd seen it when he'd gone to do SAR on the Herodotus--but he couldn't see the vessel retriever from where he sat.

Captain Jason Ames sat in the cramped rear cabin of the Raptor watching the interplay between Thompson and S'Jahar. He'd met the Patrocles' XO on a handful of previous occasions, so he focused more on the young Marine. Ames pegged him as a desert-born Scorpian immediately, from his pattern of speech as well as from subtle clues in his appearance. Twenty years, perhaps younger, Ames quietly surmised, recalling that the clanspeople of Scorpia became adults early. Ames' law enforcement instinct added a few other details. Clean and sober, trustworthy but not without his own secrets, Ames thought as he watched S'Jahar's eyes and his body language. Don't underestimate this one in a fight, either.

S'Jahar fell silent when he sensed Ames studying him, and Ames took the opportunity to speak to Thompson. "This vessel does not appear in the Fleet database," he commented, referring to the Satyr. "Have they provided us with any advance details?"

Thompson shook her head. "No, Captain Ames, aside from the fact that they are a 'medical research ship'. Jormung's communications specialist relayed that there is no record of the Satyr in their database, either." She regarded Ames thoughtfully. "What do you make of it?" she asked, knowing of his law enforcement background.

"An off-the-books research ship?" Ames gave Thompson a perceptive look. "Whatever they're into, it's grey at a minimum, perhaps even outright black."

The Patrocles' XO pinched the bridge of her nose tiredly. "But what does that mean now, Jason?" she asked softly. She gazed at her hands, clasped loosely in her lap, for a long moment. Still looking at her hands, she went on, "What agency is left to collect evidence against them? What courts still exist to try a case?" The images that the survey Raptors had brought back were burned into her mind. Finally she looked up at Ames, and added with irony, "Maybe their research could be useful to what's left of humankind."

"Perhaps," Ames reponded, regarding Thompson with a slightly raised eyebrow. "You have a point, though - how much should we be concerned with the legality of their operation? Frankly, unless their work somehow presents a threat to our task group, I'm not sure I care what they're doing."

"I'm not sure I care, either," Thompson replied. "But we do have a duty to find out 'what' that may be, if only to ensure that they aren't a threat to us. Somehow I don't think they're going to be very forthcoming, regardless of what's happened to our home worlds. We're going to have to keep our eyes open and read between the lines during this inspection." She turned her head to regard S'Jahar. "That goes for you, too, Private," she said.

"Of course, sir," Nik nodded calmly. I joined the Colonial Marines so I could observe military tactics and strategy. I no longer have a clan to bring those lessons to, but I can still watch and learn. He gave a mental shrug. Nomads do that all the time, anyway. It's automatic.

_________________
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: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:56 am 
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Advanced BioResearch Cruiser Satyr
Shuttle Bay
Day Zero 1905 Hours


Nikol S'Jahar hadn't been assigned as a bodyguard before, and hadn't been trained on the protocol for accompanying a senior officer onto a civilian ship. He'd listened to Captain Ames' and Captain Thompson's exchange about the Satyr's 'black' mission with a sense of grim irony. One of the few ships still surviving after an apocalyptic attack, and it was involved in illegal activities--Nik wasn't going to take any chances.

Which was why, as Captain Thompson was asking permission to board the vessel, Nik quietly said, "Excuse me, sir," to Captain Ames. Ames turned slightly with a raised eyebrow, and Nik slid silently past him, stepping down out of the Raptor even as the Satyr's commander was granting them permission to board. Nik had his rifle at port arms, diagonally across his chest, but the safety was off, and he took one step away from the Raptor.

Still standing in the Raptor's hatch, Captain Ames at her shoulder, Thompson turned her head to look at Nik expressionlessly. He knew she was looking, but his attention was to the shuttle bay and the people there. The bay itself was unremarkable; not large, but a reasonable size, easily accommodating the civilian shuttle there as well as the Patrocles' Raptor. Besides the two civilian officers who stood facing the Raptor, the only other person present was the crew member who had directed the Raptor in. Nik dismissed him as harmless in a split second.

The two ship's officers were another matter. The woman, Nik knew from the sparse information they'd gotten, was Captain Mischa Cherenko. She had eyes and hair as dark as any nomad's, but her resemblance to Scorpia's natives ended there. Her white uniform accented her curvy body and her expression was just as enticing, but Nik wasn't fooled. Like a sandcat's kitten, he thought, reading her eyes and her pose. Makes you want to cuddle, but there's sharp teeth and poisoned claws under that soft surface.

The Marine took in the measure of Cherenko's companion just as quickly. He was nearly as opposite Cherenko as possible. Tall and hard with eyes as cold and flinty as shale rock, he was clearly as dangerous as Cherenko, but his danger was as physical as it was mental. There was something incongruous about his appearance, but Nik couldn't tell what. I don't trust either one of them, he thought. Rand wore a sidearm, which Nik found a little surprising on a civilian ship; but he had his assault rifle, and at any rate, didn't think they'd run into trouble here.

Nik's assessment had taken no more than a heartbeat, and he turned his head to meet Thompson's gaze. "Sir," he said to her calmly.

She nodded, and stepped down onto the Satyr's deck.

Robert Rand stood calmly beside Captain Cherenko, watching as a lone Marine exited the Raptor. Rand correctly read caution in the young man's action and surmised that the inspection team had researched the Satyr and found little, if anything. Rand's attention moved on to the female officer who seemed to be leading the small party. He appreciated Thompson's smart appearance; she not only looked damned good in her uniform, but intelligence was obvious in her eyes and the way she handled her Marine escort.

As Thompson's colleague appeared from the shadows within the Raptor, the hairs on the back of Rand's neck stood on end. Robert Rand was intimidated by no man, but years of conducting corporate espionage had given him a near-faultless eye for spotting law enforcement officers. Rand knew that Ames was a ship's commander, but he had no doubt that the now-captain had once carried a badge and a gun. Clearly the Fleet commander is serious about this inspection, Rand decided. Ames' presence will make this much more delicate.

"Captain," Thompson greeted Cherenko, stepping forward with a respectful nod. "I'm Captain Thompson, Executive Officer of the Patrocles, and this is Captain Jason Ames, commander of the Distant Sun. Thank you for allowing us to look over your ship."

"My pleasure," Cherenko replied graciously. She then nodded toward Rand, adding, "This gentleman is Robert Rand, my Chief of Security." Neither of the Satyr officers had offered their hands as Thompson and Ames were introduced. Rand stood at attention when Cherenko identified him, though he maintained eye contact with the two Fleet officers, facing them as peers. "Shall we proceed to the command deck?" Cherenko asked.

"Please," Thompson said, her voice and face calmly neutral. "Could you tell us what your ship's mission is, Captain Cherenko?"

Cherenko met her gaze and held it, clearly considering the question. Affording Thompson a slight smile, Cherenko spoke, her voice lowered. "No doubt you have checked your databases and found little..." Cherenko paused, but Thompson did not contradict her statement. "That in itself has likely led you to the conclusion that our research treads into areas that the Colonial government proscribed. I would rather admit that to you, than to have you ferret it out at gunpoint."

S'Jahar was watching both Cherenko and Rand closely, and he noted the slightest tightening of the muscles around Rand's eyes at Cherenko's mention of their research. Nik glanced at Ames, guessing that the sharp-eyed ship's commander had observed Rand's reaction as well.

With no outward display of emotion, Thompson replied, "Exactly what is the nature of your research, Captain?"

"The advancement of prosthetic technology, Captain," Cherenko replied, her manner revealing a hint of pride. With a quick glance toward Rand, she continued, "We are seeking to improve not only the quality of our replacement limbs, but to also improve the level of control the recipient is able to exert over the devices. We have experts in neuroscience, biomechanics, robotics... a dozen other disciplines... all aboard this ship, all working as a team." When Cherenko ceased speaking, she held Thompson's gaze, smiling genuinely.

"And what part of that is proscribed?" Captain Thompson asked with a touch of curiosity.

"Even if you simply walk near the border, you garner the attention of the guards." Cherenko made a small shake of her head, moving her dark hair back behind her shoulders again. "Operating far from the prying eyes of government inspectors avoids a lot of paperwork. Our research now touches upon the discipline of bioengineering, which some object to on religious grounds. Many of the laws put in place after the Cylon War are open to a substantial degree of interpretation, and those who would hobble science in those areas often gravitate to the job of inspector." Cherenko now wore a look of vexation, and she regarded Thompson with a raised eyebrow. "You can see how that would present us with difficulties."

Bioengineering... interesting... Thompson nodded. "Yes," she agreed. "Religious beliefs can influence people's attitudes about a wide variety of topics."

Nik had been following the conversation with concentration, watching to see if Cherenko's body language was congruent with her words. In spite of his focus, he was able to appreciate the XO's irony.

Cherenko gestured to her side, down the corridor, her palms open and upward. "Shall we proceed to the bridge? We can continue this discussion as we walk."

Thompson nodded agreement, clasping her hands behind her back as they walked, Captain Ames at her side, Private S'Jahar a pace behind. "What is the current status of your research?" she asked, still showing calm interest. "That is to say, what kinds of prostheses have you developed... how functional are they?" And who have your test subjects been?

Cherenko had looked back at Thompson as she spoke. When the Captain finished, Cherenko shifted her attention to Rand, saying, "Mr. Rand, if you would indulge us with a demonstration of your left arm?"

Rand dipped his head once, but did not speak, and with his eyes still forward continued on toward the Satyr's CIC. With his right hand he drew his sidearm, holding it out before him. He released the magazine and caught it smartly with his left hand, then slipped it seamlessly into a pouch on his belt. He then angled the sidearm down and pulled back the slide with his left hand, visually checking that the chamber was clear. He then reached for the magazine, retrieving it from the pouch where he had just placed it, and slipped it back into his sidearm until it locked. He then holstered the weapon. The entire display was marked with precision.

Rand then raised his left arm, reaching to his shirt sleeve with the right and unbuttoning the cuff. He turned the cuff back and slid the sleeve up his arm, revealing a forearm that - though close in color to human skin - was clearly artificial. Then, tugging at his fingers, Rand removed a supple leather glove from his hand. Beneath it the appendage was a maze of mechanical and electrical elements, partly hidden by a thin soft layer of what appeared to be latex. Rand raised his left hand a bit, flexing his fingers, then glanced back at Thomson and Ames. He wore a pleased look.

S'Jahar hadn't found the demonstration particularly noteworthy--until Rand displayed his prosthesis. By Aten! Nik thought, inwardly jolted although his astonishment was well hidden. I thought there was something different about him!

"Impressive," Thompson said to Rand, including Cherenko with a nod. She had a multitude of questions, but merely gave Cherenko an inquisitive look.

"We're working on a number of biomechanical replacement organs: heart, lungs, liver," Cherenko stated, "but these latest replacement limbs are the pinnacle of our research. After all, a heart is just a pump, a liver just a filter... but to allow someone to walk again, or give them back the use of their arms..." Cherenko looked again at Thompson, satisfaction evident in her expression. "We expect the military to be our first customer."

Thoughts went through Thompson's mind at light speed. To give someone the chance for a normal life, to be whole, productive, independent... in the war we are now fighting, we might need this. But then it struck her; We fight a war against machines. Must we become machines to defeat them? Her tone guarded, she said, "I fear that not everyone will share your enthusiasm, Captain."

Cherenko continued to stride forward, toward the Satyr's bridge, but her smile was evident in the glimpse of her cheek that Thompson caught as they walked. "That, my dear Captain Thompson, leads us precisely back to the reason why Satyr lurks at the edge of patrolled space."

"In these circumstances, the impediment may come from individuals much closer than the Colonial government," Thompson said in a voice carefully neutral.

"Yourself among them?" Cherenko queried, stopping in the passageway to face Thompson, her expression challenging. Within a pace, Rand had stopped as well, facing the three Colonials, his face impassive.

Thompson carefully considered her reply, thinking of Bisby's and Mast's religious views and their hatred of cylons. She guessed that they wouldn't be open to the idea of bioengineered adaptations such as Rand had just demonstrated. Finally, she said, "It may be that I won't agree with my superiors' views, but I must follow their lawful orders."

Cherenko studied Thompson for a moment, gently biting one side of her lower lip. Then she gave a small nod of her head, the movement slow and deliberate. "Understood," she said quietly, then turned back toward the Satyr's command deck, Rand following behind.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:58 am 
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Advanced BioResearch Cruiser Satyr
Command Deck
Day Zero 1915 Hours


Captain Jason Paul Ames sat at the Damage Control console at the rear of the Satyr's bridge, reviewing the cruiser's flight logs. Beside him, Captain Lauren Thompson stood, leaning with one hand braced on the console, reading the logs in concert with Ames. Captain Cherenko had opened the log files, then excused herself to proceed through a set of doors off to one side - the glimpse Ames had caught of the interior spoke of an executive office. Robert Rand had left the command deck through the same doors by which the group had entered, passing Private S'Jahar where he stood watch. They had not seen Rand since.

When the four had entered the bridge they had been scrutinized briefly by a tall officer who was evidently in command in Cherenko's absence. Though he was not introduced, both Ames and Thompson took him for the Satyr's Executive Officer. Gabriel Kyros had taken in the measure of the two Colonial officers, noting the way each had scanned the Satyr's bridge as they entered. Kyros accepted Cherenko's oversight of polite etiquette as typical, and returned his attention to the view of Jormung Anchorage. The Colonials would know to approach him if they required something.

Thompson scanned the log entries as Ames paged through them, starting from the most current and going back in time. "They were observing our salvage operations," she murmured softly to Ames.

The Distant Sun's commander nodded pensively as he read. "They were using the IHC presence to keep clear of civilian traffic..."

"...and using us to provide a degree of protection for them," Thompson replied. "A wise tactic," she added. Reading further, she said quietly, "I wonder what they were doing when they jumped near Ragnar and met the Atraeus?"

Ames scanned the entry that Thompson had just questioned. "There's a link to the cargo manifest," he noted, opening the document in another window. "Huh," he grunted as he began skimming the document, "that's a lot of crap." After a moment he tapped the screen with a finger. "This is interesting, though," he said. "Two passengers came aboard at that meeting. Now, who catches a ride on a company freighter to meet an illegal research ship in an active combat zone?"

"What does the ship's roster look like?" Thompson asked. "Does it list crew and passengers?"

"Yeah, looks like one hundred seventy eight souls aboard, all crew," Ames replied. "Evidently their test subjects are also employees... although that's likely just a cover. I would be interested to ask Captain Cherenko about the passengers, though."

"We'll have to ask her," Thompson responded. "Is there anything else noteworthy in the log?"

"Not that pops out immediately," Ames conceded, "though I'd like to look these over in more detail, later. Let's get Captain Cherenko and inspect the rest of the ship." Ames stood, nodding once to S'Jahar to indicate the young Marine should join them. He then returned his attention to Thompson, affording her a raised eyebrow. "Shall we?", he asked, gesturing towards Cherenko's door.

Thompson nodded agreement, and they went to talk to the Satyr's Captain.


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Ring Two, Deck 14 - Battlestar docks
Day Zero 1915 Hours


Lieutenant Ilithya Carlin stood silently at an observation window, staring out into the darkness of space. Beyond the heavy glass was one of the great notches in Jormung's second ring, a dock built specifically to mate to a battlestar. Reflected faintly in that same glass was the room behind her, a huge waiting area for ship's personnel. The only sounds in the room were the noises of the station, odd mechanical sounds to which Carlin had not yet become accustomed. Above her head a clock with glowing red digits silently ticked away the minutes, though Carlin did not observe it. The chronograph on her wrist had already buzzed, alerting her that the appointed hour for the Tyche to arrive had come... and gone.

She stood, staring sightlessly at the distant stars, her only movement the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. In her mind she clung to the idea that the Tyche would arrive to take her away from the emptiness of the station. She would have a new home and a fresh purpose aboard the battlestar, would have her feet solidly back on familiar ground.

But the battlestar Tyche did not come.

Can it really be that bad? Carlin wondered. Is this station all that is left? She knew the answer to that - the evidence was all around her - the two pilots from the escaped Raptor, the frigate Patrocles and its accompanying ships. If the cylons had intended to exterminate the human species, their plan had fallen short. Perhaps the Tyche had survived and was simply delayed - the ship bore the name of the goddess of luck, after all.

So Carlin stood at the window, watching, her chronograph vibrating for a few seconds every minute.

After eating a quick meal, McFarland had gone to find the station's gym, but Ensign David Telves still had their brief encounter with Carlin in his mind. He had a hunch where to find her--waiting for the Tyche to show up. After consulting a station map, he headed for the deck where battlestars would dock. He got turned around once trying to find the waiting area on the second ring, but soon set himself right.

He paused after stepping into the cavernous waiting area, seeing the Public Affairs Lieutenant standing at the far end of the room, looking out the observation window. His own emotions were still chaotic, reconciling the recent battle, and he wasn't sure if he was worried about Carlin or hoping to share some of her misguided optimism. He could see by the tightening of her neck muscles that she was aware she now had company, but she didn't acknowledge him.

Slowly, his steps echoing softly, he walked over to stand beside her, also looking out the window.

Carlin's gaze did not break from the distant stars, but she closed her eyes for a moment, then slowly reopened them. She worked her jaw, but only after several attempts did any words come forth. "They're not coming, are they?"

"Probably not," he said quietly. Then, knowing it was closer to the truth, "No."

Carlin stared harder at the stars. "The Valkyrie - your ship - she was lost with all hands?"

"Yes," he affirmed, the loss still raw in his mind.

"And you think it was like that everywhere? All throughout the Colonies, the Fleet routed?"

Telves hesitated a moment, then said, "A few ships escaped, like the two ships that are docked on the other side of the station. Neither is a battlestar, though... they're a frigate and a destroyer, I heard. Plus a couple support ships. I think someone said they were out on long range patrol when the cylons attacked."

Carlin picked up her duffel bag from the deck beside her feet, then looked at Telves, breaking her distant gaze. "Frigate or destroyer... it's still a place to serve. I'm not staying here on this station, waiting for it to come up on the cylon's list of priority targets." Carlin turned to leave, then stopped. She regarded Telves intently. "What about you? What are you going to do?"

Telves shrugged. "Whatever the ranking officer on either of those ships orders me to do," he said simply.

"I'm not waiting for orders," Carlin replied, a hint of derision in her voice. Settling the strap of the duffel onto her shoulder, she strode off. "I'm volunteering, now."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:54 pm 
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Jormung Ammunition Reserve
Ring One/Deck 9 - Wardroom
Day Zero 1920 Hours


Colonel Wallace Bisby entered the compartment with Colonel Lawrence Mast close behind him. He took in the spartan compartment in a single sweeping glance - a meeting table and chairs, a side table with a scattering of items on it, the walls adorned with plaques honoring a number of historic Colonial Fleet vessels and squadrons. He stopped at the side table, his gaze focused on a single object - a model of a Titan class frigate, the same as the Patrocles, mounted on a pedestal for use on a tactical operations table. Bisby felt his anger rising, his chest tightening with the building rage. He reached down, sweeping the model aside with a swift stroke of his arm. It struck the bulkhead with a metallic clang, then clattered to the deck.

Colonel Mast regarded Bisby's back with a raised eyebrow, but said nothing. Bisby stared at the Titan model, then wheeled to face Mast. "Gods-damned frakking cylons!" The gaunt Colonel spat out the words, not directly meeting Mast's eyes; instead he looked randomly about the compartment, as though the cylon-built structure would come alive to assault him.

"We're going to find them, Lawrence," Bisby swore. "We're going to find them and shove a gods-damned nuke up the ass of every frakking one of them!" Bisby's jaw was set hard, and anger seethed in his eyes. Mast had seen the man angry before, but it had always been a contained rage, not this raw fury that had taken hold of Bisby's countenance.

Mast carefully considered his response. He shared Bisby's sentiments, but his anger was tempered by their immediate reality. "When the Pegasus shows up, that's exactly what we'll do," he said, the hard edge in his voice a quieter echo of Bisby's rage.

Bisby focused on Mast, his eyes narrowed, and shook his head. He seemed to rein in his anger as he spoke. "Cain's not coming - we're on our own."

"For gods' sake, Wallace, the attacks are only hours old!" Mast replied with irritation. "Cain is probably in the thick of things even now! She'll need a little time to regroup and get here. We can't go running off half-cocked--we need to devise a plan, consider our strategy."

"This is our regroup point!" Bisby exclaimed, stabbing a finger toward the deck at his feet. "I will devise a plan, but one that doesn't depend upon Cain."

"We need to plan both ways--if Cain arrives, or if she doesn't," Mast said, trying for a more reasonable tone. "We need to give her time to show up--if she does. Then, either way, we can we put our plan into effect. But we must be prudent."

"If Admiral Cain shows up, there will be only one plan - hers," Bisby countered. "Until then, frak prudence... there is no place in war for prudence. We must be violent. We must do violence unto the cylons in the full measure they have done it to us."

Mast gazed at Bisby silently a moment. From long practice, his expression revealed nothing of his thoughts. I seriously doubt that a frigate and a destroyer can do violence unto the cylons in the full measure they have done to us. However, he merely said, "Very well, let us devise a plan."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:10 am 
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Advanced BioResearch Cruiser Satyr
Mechanical Engineering Lab
Day Zero 1925 Hours


Thompson and Ames followed Captain Cherenko into what Cherenko had referred to as the "mechanical engineering lab". Security Officer Rand followed, S'Jahar a step behind. Once the hatch closed behind them, Thompson looked around with interest. The area looked more like a computer manufacturing clean room than a "laboratory", although she conceded that a workshop for artificial limbs wouldn't necessarily have test tubes and petrie dishes.

It was so sterile, in fact, that Thompson wondered if it had been purposely sanitized to conceal the nature of the experimentation that was being done.

The sound of footfalls on the metal deck alerted the two officers to someone's approach. A dark-haired woman appeared from the back recesses of the lab. She wore a cautious smile as she approached, and glanced several times at Captain Cherenko. She resembled the Satyr's captain in height and build, but was dressed conservatively. As she reached the group, Captain Cherenko introduced her. "Captain Thompson, Captain Ames, this is our Chief of Mechanical Engineering, Doctor Amber Beck."

Beck's smile grew a bit, becoming more genuine. She dipped her head to the officers and offered her hand, extending it first to Captain Ames.

Ames accepted the handshake and attempted to smile affably, but Beck reminded him intensely of his wife. The pain and uncertainty of that loss showed in Ames' eyes, and Beck's smile faltered, her eyebrows gathering in an unvoiced question.

Cherenko failed to notice, or elected to ignore Ames' reaction, and spoke aloud to no one in particular. "This is where many of our prosthetics first take form, under Doctor Beck's guidance, from her designs."

Ames tore his gaze away from Beck, shaking off his personal thoughts and turning an analytical eye to the lab. As he observed a vacant alcove, it's equipment pushed against the bulkheads as if from disuse, he voiced a question to Beck and Cherenko. "Is there no one working today?"

"No," Cherenko answered. "After we received word of the attacks, I suspended all operations beyond those required to conduct the ship."

"What do you plan to do now and for the immediate future, Captain?" Thompson asked with curiosity.

A look of shock briefly took hold of Cherenko's visage. "I had thought to remain with your ships, Captain Thompson," she said, her inflection making it clear that she had thought the matter decided but now found her assumption in doubt. Cherenko continued, holding Thompson's gaze after she finished, "We can function as a hospital ship. While we may lack combat experience, we have both valuable skill and technology."

Thompson's general question had done what she'd hoped it would: reveal what Cherenko's real goals were--or, at least, the goals she currently had. Smiling apologetically, the Colonial officer said, "I'm sorry, I was wondering if you planned on resuming your bioengineering research." Whether or not you stay with our ships will be Bisby's decision.

Cherenko replied without hesitation, "Oh, definitely." The Satyr captain glanced at Beck, who nodded energetically. "The crew all need a bit of time to assimilate what has happened, but in the long term the best therapy is to get back to our work."

"I can't even begin to predict the course of our war with the cylons," Thompson said slowly, "but your efforts here, if... allowed... may be useful."

"If allowed," Cherenko echoed quietly. She drew a slow, deep breath and let it back out silently. "Let us continue the inspection, then, in the surgical suites. I believe that will better arm you to argue our value with your commander."


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 Post subject: Re: TDI Episode 2: Thieves in the Night
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:50 am 
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Destroyer Escort Bellerophon
Flight Deck
Day Zero 1945 Hours


A pyramid ball speared the opening in the goal, the impact with the metallic back-plate echoing across the Bellerophon's flight deck. The ball rattled down through the goal stand, exiting from a chute at the base and rolling across the deck back toward the shooter. Lieutenant Jack Mayer intercepted the returning ball with the toe of his boot, popping it upward and catching it smartly with one hand. That's four, he thought, let's see if I can make it five...

Across the flight deck a knuckledragger hauled a pair of trash cans toward a hatch in one of the bulkheads. There were caution stripes around the hatch and a sign proclaiming DANGER above it; though Mayer could not read any of the smaller print at this distance he knew the hatch opened onto the ship's incinerator. The bright red color of the trash cans marked them as containing sensitive documents, although at this point in the procedure they had been reduced to paper confetti by the shredders. Mayer watched as the knuckledragger unlocked the incinerator cover with a key, then proceeded to dump the shredded paper. No flames were visible, though the shaft beyond the hatch danced with a flickering orange glow. Moments later a light scent of smoke reached Mayer's nose.

As the knuckledragger closed and locked the cover, Mayer harrumphed softly and shot the pyramid ball. It banged loudly off the rim of the goal and bounced across the deck. Missed! As Mayer trotted after the ball, he scowled in thought. Can't use the incinerator directly since it's locked, and getting a key would be a tricky proposition, he mused sourly. Not that the feat was beyond him, for Jack Mayer felt sure he could accomplish it if necessary. He had already decided there was a better way: the shredders themselves.

Mayer had a problem, and it was not by accident he was shooting pyramid balls on the goal the knuckledraggers had built on the flight deck. His problem was a collection of stolen documents, all of a classified nature, that he had 'obtained' to use in a trade with the IHC. Now the Colonial military - the owner of those documents, was gone. The IHC too, in all likelihood, if the cylons were still as single-minded in their pursuit of genocide as they had been in conducting war. So Mayer's thoughts were dedicated to securing himself a place in this world after the Colonies, and being discovered in possession of classified materiel - regardless of how superfluous the actual material may have become - would be a setback Jack Mayer could not endure.

So he had to dispose of them, and he had considered nearly every available option from laying them in a Raptor's exhaust to be burned on takeoff (too risky) to planting them in the possession of another to frame them (too uncertain). Making them disappear along with shredded wireless dispatches and other sensitive documents seemed to be his best bet, but his recce of the incinerator had proved that route unfeasible. His best bet, it seemed, was to shred them himself and leave the remains to be burned with all the normal shredded docs. The problem would be accessing one of the shredders in secret, and that was going to require another recce. One that would be more difficult to screen.

Mayer picked up the pyramid ball where it had stopped rolling, pivoted and fired a long-range shot on the goal. The ball pierced its target without touching an edge, then banged around inside the metal goal until it rolled out the chute at the bottom. Mayer grinned, and left the flight deck.


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