Categories > TV > Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica: Of Droughts And Grudges

by Treadstone17 0 reviews

It is the year 2042, fifteen years after the cataclysmic Earth-Cylon War. Mankind is preparing to send the two largest Battlestars ever built back to The Colonies. But the scourge of Mother Nat...

Category: Battlestar Galactica - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2017-05-29 - 55995 words - Complete

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

OF DROUGHTS AND GRUDGES


PROLOGUE

January 2042

Brendan Costanza had thought there would be far more better days than this.

The President of the small nation of New Caprica, tucked in the center of the American Midwest and Great Plains had come to office in February of 2039 with a lot of hopes and ideas for his nation, as most leaders do. He wanted to see the nation of about 300,000 souls stay prosperous and engaged in world affairs. And for most of its seventeen-year existence, New Caprica had done exactly that.

When he began his quest for the Presidency the economy of the nation was tooling along nicely. It relied highly on farming which was a simply a part of life in this area of North America. The nation had also been granted a UED Shipyard in 2034 that was putting out Raptors and Falcons aircraft for the ever-growing space fleet. The Falcons were the modern version of the venerable Viper's that Hotdog had flown in his younger days.

Then came the drought.

It had officially begun in February of 2038 during the presidential campaign. That month had been unusually dry and warm, with temperatures that had averaged about 58 degrees Fahrenheit. A normal February saw temperatures average about 35 degrees. But more than the temperature, there had been almost no precipitation. No snow had fallen in the month and the warmer temperatures had not brought more than a smattering of raindrops.

By the time of the election in October the situation had not become critical enough to play a big role in the vote, which he had won with a majority of fifty-five percent. There were indications that this could turn into a problem but years like that had happened before and no one was in a panic. By the following July all that had changed.

Rain for an average year in the Sioux City area was about thirty-two inches of liquid precipitation. There had been twelve inches between January and July of 2039. That's when the alarm bells began sounding and steps had been started to try and fend off the impending crisis.

In 2040 Sioux City had seen only twelve inches of water fall; in 2041 that had dropped to eight. The outlook for 2042 didn't look any better.

Farms had begun to shut down in both New Caprica and in the U.S. States like Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas; prices for corn and wheat had risen dramatically in the last year as the impact of the drought began to become severe. Heads of livestock began falling dramatically has farmers saw their animals die from the incessant heat and dryness.

Back in 2034 the U.S. And Caprican governments had constructed a pair of desalinization plants in Alabama and Mississippi and had built a system of water pipelines from both of those areas. The main pipeline in Alabama ran to Des Moines, and the one from Mississippi ran to just West of Sioux City. The water was welcome but had negligible effects on the drought. Without much cloud cover and with the scorching temperatures the crops and livestock continued to suffer.

He was preparing to hold a meeting with one of his predecessors, Laura Roslin. Roslin had become President on the day of the Holocaust on the Colonies many years ago and was now an "elder stateswoman" in the tiny nation as well as a goodwill ambassador for the country around the world. Roslin wanted to discuss the economic outlook for New Caprica with Costanza who had been President since 2038.

"Mr, President!", Laura smiled broadly, "It's good to see you again! I apologize for delaying our meeting. We can beat cancer, but a damn cold still can get us down."

"Maybe someday we'll beat those bugs Madam President", he offered hopefully. "I get some awful allergies her in the Springtime and that's a fact." He waved her to an overstuffed chair in the Conference room. "How can I be of service to you today?"

"Mr. President I'm always here to serve you and our nation, but I appreciate your kindness", she said generously, "Like you, I'm very alarmed at the continuing effect the drought is having on our nation. It's been officially a drought for what? Four years if I remember correctly?"

"Yes, ma'am", President Costanza confirmed, "It hasn't reached the length of 'The Dust Bowl' that hit this region about one-hundred years ago but it shows no sign of letting up."

"I understand, Mr. President", she said with sympathy, "I hear you have Gaius Baltar working with scientists and agriculturists on the problem". She still had never come to trust Doctor Baltar completely. But she had to admit the good Doctor had been a model citizen ever since. He had produced two brilliant works of subterfuge against the Cylons during the war. One was a virus that he devised and that a Cylon Number Six had planted on a Baseship. The others was a system to find and then defeat Cylon shields that had kept missiles from hitting those ships. They had quite literally turned the tide of the War.

"Yes, he is. The Americans are also following his work", the President noted, "He was raised to be a farmer on Aerilon when he was young. He hated that life but he was one of the first to volunteer when it became apparent that this was more than a passing weather change."

"I've never been able to figure that man out", Roslin said almost ruefully, "But I have to admit, he's been a model citizen since we arrived here. We may not have won the war without him", she mused.

"You'll get no argument with me on that, ma'am", he agreed, "I think getting married changed him, I really do."

"I think you're right", she added, "I don't even think of Commander Baltar as a Cylon anymore. Who would have thought that would happen? She's had a distinguished career in UED.", she paused for a moment at that thought, "I think Caprica has had a lot of the same effect on Gaius that I had on Bill Adama", she said with a smile tinged with sadness.

"He was a great man, Madam President", he said with a touch of melancholy as well, "fortunately, he left us in good hands. And to think we'll be sending a fleet back home soon", he said in wonder.

"I miss him every single day Brendan", she said breaking the formality for a moment, "but he went out the way he would have wanted", she paused for a moment and the sadness passed, "So are you still planning to raise prices on corn and wheat?"

"We have no choice President Roslin", he said with some annoyance, "Production is down another twelve percent so far this year; it's down twenty-seven percent since the drought took hold. If we don't raise prices our farmers will really start feeling the economic pinch. We think it won't spike inflation too much, but if this gets much worse..."

"If this gets much worse people could start to become restless", Laura Roslin added with some concern.

"They're already getting restless", he informed her, "we're getting indications that someone or some group has stirred up some resentment of the government. We have no clue who it is, to be honest, and right now it isn't a huge deal", he said cautiously, "but it's something we have to keep our eyes on."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

I

"CAG, XO, you're at Bingo Fuel, gonna send out the tanker bird for in-flight refueling. We need the practice"

"Copy Churchill tankers to top us off", replied Lieutenant Nicholas "Axman" Bond. The 37-year-old was the Air Boss for all the Falcons on the recently christened Terran Class Battlestar Winston Churchill. "Old Winnie" had been aloft for eleven months now and was getting close to ending her shakedown cruise. "Can you clear it with The Boss for us to run some C.B.D.R drills after the top-off?"

"Copy Axman will check with the Admiral about that. He's in his quarters doing some paperwork right now". Churchill's XO was Commander Rudi Beck, Call Sign "Reaper". He had been one of the aces flying off of Pegasus during the 2027 War under Admiral Lee Adama and had come to Churchill with Karl Agathon, who was now Admiral of the Old Winnie.

Admiral Karl Agathon hated paperwork. And unfortunately, it came in bunches when you were The Man on a Battlestar. There wasn't as much paper as there used to be for the commander of a ship of the line, but it still existed. Most things were stored on the computers that did almost everything on the Churchill. But he still had to print up copies of flight logs, and duty rosters and incident or accident reports, and even if crew members needed new uniforms. All that would go to UED in San Diego via computer but it also required that he have a hard copy of much of that information as well.

He lived to be out on the Bridge in CIC. That's where his blood got pumping. Despite the horrors of the two wars he'd been, in nothing got his blood pumping more than being in CIC during a tense situation. He felt it had always brought out the best in him. Peacetime obviously wasn't as exciting but he approached every day as if the Cylons had just jumped right on top of his ship. It was the best way to keep himself sharp.

His computerized phone system chortled and the LED displayed "XO", indicating that Rudi Beck was calling him. "This is the Admiral, what's up Reaper?"

"Sir just wanted to let you know that Axman wants to do some C.B.D.R work after the tankers finish with the Falcons."

"Tell him to go for it. Never hurts to do some extra work during CAP.", Helo turned to his computer to enter the information about the request into his long. "Tell Nick that they need to rotate out within two hours. They've been up there for five already. No need to beat them to death."

"Aye, Admiral, two more hours then rotate. Thanks, Skipper", and Beck vanished from the line.

He went into the refrigerator in the back of the kitchen to get a cold bottle of water. About the only thing he hated more than paperwork was warm water. He was just headed back to his desk when a familiar face popped out of the private living quarters.

"Hey Helo, still working to kill a few more trees?", Athena Agathon said playfully, knowing her husband's hatred for the bureaucracy.

"Gods I hate this paper-pushing!", he groaned, "but it's part of the life of being the Top Dog, Athena", he replied with his wry smile, "Fortunately I'll be back in CIC in a few minutes. Axman is doing some C.B.D.R work and I want to see how they run it this time around."

"C.B.D.R's aren't a whole lot of fun from what I remember. Fortunately, you're not training a rookie at CAG." She said with a knowing air.

"Yeah, Nick's a helluva CAG, no question about it", he paused for a chug of the ice-cold water, "Remember when I named him CAG how some people were alluding to the fact that maybe he hadn't earned it and he got the position because of his father or his sister?" He intoned with wonder, "I can't remember anyone picking a CAG for personal reasons."

"Politics is politics whether it's in the fleet, on Earth, or among Cylons. It's all basically the same. Nick earned his way, he didn't get here because his dad used to be President of the United States or that his sister is now an Admiral."

"Well that's all bullshit and we know that. Kara never called me once about Nick getting the CAG slot. Rudi recommended him and had an impeccable record coming up through the U.S. Air Force then when he signed on to UED.", he thought back with some annoyance, "The only time I heard from Starbuck is when Nick showed me her congratulations email."

"It's in the past babe", his wife smiled, "You have a great team here. We both know that."

"I know that Athena, but it still gets under my skin sometimes." But his mood lightened suddenly, "I sometimes wish you were still running the Wranglers, you know?"

Athena smiled lightly, "I miss it sometimes, but it was time for me to get out of the military. After The Old Man died, it took a lot out of me. The relationship he and I had was so complicated, but in the end we understood each other very well", she said sadly, "I enjoyed my time being CAG on the new Galactica; and Hoshi was a great Boss to work for, but it didn't feel right being on a ship named Galactica without the Old Man."

"I hear you", Helo replied, with the same sad tones, "But even now he casts a huge shadow over UED, doesn't he?"

"He will for some time, Karl."

They both paused for a moment, remembering the giant of a man who had taken the Old Girl through two wars and had saved humanity twice. Then Athena broke the silence.

"Oh frack I actually came out here to let you know I heard from Hera about an hour ago!", she beamed mentioning her daughter.

"Oh yeah?", Karl lit up as well. "Has she gotten the results?"

"She has Helo", Kara smiled broadly, "Congratulations, your daughter is now a Lieutenant in the UED. She passed her Raptor certification!" Karl got up and whirled his wife around in a big hug.

"Like mother like daughter, eh?", he said with a laugh. "She get her orders?"

"She did", Sharon let on, "She's been assigned to Offutt. She actually will be part of Kara's old wing, Charlie Squadron of the 20th UED Air Force."

"Damn, that's a big-time assignment babe!" Karl whistled in approving tones. "As good a squad as there is on Earth."

"She wanted to get assigned to a Battlestar but we know rooks don't get what they want. She told me she's thrilled to be part of Kara's old formation."

"I'll have to let Kara know about this. I think she'll get a kick out of it!" He gave his wife another bear hug.

"Well before we do that, I think we'll need to tell her brother first, don't you?" Sharon winked at him.

"Well, yeah, I guess so", he said sarcastically. "Sam will want to head down to the surface to see his big sister in action", he laughed. "Sam" was their 14-year-old son Samuel Anders Agathon. And like his parents and his sister he wanted to be part of UED in the worst way. He was already six feet tall, just a few shorter than his father, and didn't look to be in his early teens.

"OK", Sharon intoned, "when he's out of class today maybe we'll see if we can get her in a video call with all of us."

"Sounds like a plan, darlin'", Helo said, standing up, "In the meantime, I need to get back to CIC and oversee the C.D.B.R training", he kissed his wife before heading out the door, "Catch you later!"

As Helo headed back to the CIC he had that thin, wry smile of his all over his face. Hera's got her wings. Look like it runs in the family.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Doctor Gaius Baltar was in his research office on the Campus of Iowa State University in the city of Ames, Iowa. He was part of a team of scientists and agriculture experts who were desperately trying to come up with solutions for the worsening drought that had hit the American Plains and New Caprica. The drought was reaching a critical level with results for both the small Caprican nation and the United States that could be economically devastating.

And after fifteen months of investigation and research, he and his colleagues were no closer to finding a solution.

This wasn't like creating a computer program or a weapons upgrade that could be accomplished with the mind and a good computer; this was trying to defeat the ravages of nature itself. Mankind had come a long way since the Colonists had arrived 20 years ago but they still didn't have the power to hold sway over the weather.

Part of the problem was Climate Change. The Earth may be 4 billion years old but it was still changing. Forces of nature played a large role in that but so had man-made activities such as pouring pollutants into the atmosphere for the last 140 years, since the dawn of Earth's Industrial Revolution. Those toxic cocktails had done serious damage to the planet's ozone layer, which helped keep the sun's radiation from frying everything on Earth. That layer also helped keep the planet temperate in most of its regions. But it had been weakened.

The other part of the problem was simply Mother Nature herself. There were warmer and cooler cycles on the planet that man could not control even now. Nature would do what she would do regardless of what mankind was also doing. But the combination of the two was turning into a disaster not seen since The Dust Bowl in the 1930's.

Mankind was no longer using fossil fuels on a large scale. Some automobiles, especially in poorer areas of the world, still used gasoline, but the numbers of those vehicles were diminishing. Smaller vehicles like cars, buses, and motorcycles were all either run via rechargeable electric fuel cells or fuel cells powered by hydrogen. Larger vehicles like ships, military aircraft, commercial aircraft and even the UED fleet were propelled by EM Drive technology. The use of microwaves being bounced around inside a self-contained area such as engine nacelles had been in use since the mid-2020's.

So things would get better, at least in the ways humanity was affecting the climate, but Mother Nature still had a mind of her own.

"Hey, Gaius you want to get some lunch?" Doctor Ivan Verhoff announced his presence as Gaius was adding some notes into his computer, "You were in that same position 4 hours ago. Take a break."

"Hello, Ivan. You know me, when I concentrate on something, the world is lost to me", he said with a self-deprecating laugh. "I could use some sustenance now that I think about it."

The two men walked across the Campus to the Student Union which housed an excellent cafeteria for students and staff. Naturally, the two scientists talked shop on the way over.

"I agree Ivan, the pipeline from the Gulf is helping", Gaius pointed out, "But it can only do so much. Fundamentally it doesn't change the fact that the lack of natural precipitation is starting to shrivel the crops up."

"Plus the fact there's so little cloud cover most of the time and the sun's rays are countering the desalinated water that we're getting", Ivan offered pessimistically, "I'm beginning to think we're simply running against a brick wall that's about 50 feet thick."

That stopped Gaius in his tracks momentarily. He turned to look at his colleague, "And when you're up against such a wall who is the one entity that can destroy such a wall?"

"I'm not sure I get where you're going, Gaius?", his colleague said truthfully.

"When faced literally with a wall that you can't destroy on your own, what could destroy it?", he asked plaintively, "A missile would do the trick don't you think?"

The light went on for Ivan. "Wait, are you saying get the military involved with this?"

"Why not? It can't hurt, can it? Yes, I know", he raised his hand as Ivan was preparing to speak, "I've never been a huge fan of the military, God knows, but the military can bring in resources that might help us."

"So who do we bring in?"

"UED; The United States Military; the Caprican Home Guard. Anyone that is willing to help", he offered, "I know Admiral Hoshi personally, and I know that he would be eager to help."

"There's no guarantee they can solve this any more than we can, Gaius", Doctor Verhoff pointed out earnestly, "But you're right, they have more resources that we do."

"We need to talk to President Pressler", Gaius referred to the head of Iowa State University, "And I think I can arrange a meeting with both Admiral Hoshi and President Costanza."

"That's a lot of leg-work for you, my friend", Ivan said with some sympathy, "Maybe you should have someone helping you with all of that?"

"And I suppose Ian you have someone in mind", Doctor Baltar said sardonically, "You, perhaps?"

"No, not me Gaius!", his colleague laughed, "I don't have any sway, you know that."

"Then who do you have in mind for me?" Baltar had drawn a blank on this one.

"Well, when's the last time you saw your wife?"
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Commander Caprica Baltar was the Officer On Duty aboard the newest Terran Class Battlestar, the Robert E. Lee. The ship's nickname was "The Bobby Lee", which had been the name many of his troops in the Army of Northern Virginia had called the legendary General in the American Civil War. The Lee had come out of dry dock from Argentina's Pampa region West of Buenos Aires. The flat, fertile land had been ideal for one of the two dozen or so UED Fleet Shipyards that ringed the planet. She had been on duty all of three months.

Caprica had been aboard the venerable old Galactica in 2027 when the Cylons had come calling on the planet. At that time she had recently been promoted to head Tactical on "The Bucket" and had served on her through the hellish pounding that the ship had taken that lead to Galactica's ultimate death and that of Admiral William Adama. She kept that post on the new Galactica under Louis Hoshi for six years, then had moved on to the same position when the Battlestar Abraham Lincoln had been built and sent aloft in 2037. She had been tabbed to be XO on the Lee just over eighteenmonths ago.

The Lee was under command of Admiral Jonathan Bricker Fletcher. Fletcher had been the first Officer born on Earth to take command of a Battlestar. He had brought the Battlestar Victory aloft in 2033 and had commanded that vessel until two years ago when assigned to be the master of the new Robert E. Lee. He was a direct descendant of American Rear Admiral Jack Fletcher whose fame had been forged aboard the legendary American Aircraft Carrier Yorktown during the Battle of Midway during World War II in 1942, almost exactly one-hundred years earlier. Like that Fletcher, this one had commanded American Aircraft Carriers for twelve years before joining UED. Many felt that one day he would be the top person at UED.

The Lee was out close to Pluto on this day. The Falcon and Raptor crews were performing low-level strafing drills over the planet's surface. The Raptors were also working on troop landing exercises on the surface as well. It was all part of the shakedown that every Battlestar went through before being deemed fully operational.

"Raptor formation descend to Angels 3, dispersal pattern Echo", Caprica said through the built-in microphone at her station.

"Roger, headed to Angeles 3 pattern Echo to the surface", said the CAG, "OK, Wranglers, fan out for Marine deployment, let's nail this one!"

The landings went off without a hitch while the Falcons screamed overhead on their mock bombing run of forward enemy positions. Commander Baltar gave a satisfied smile. When things went this well, this job was fun.

"Admiral on the Bridge!", bawled someone in CIC. Everyone came to attention smartly.

"As you were people", said Admiral Fletcher, "I've been following the drill from the War Room, XO", he said briskly, "Excellent exercise. I didn't notice much in the way of wasted motion from anyone. That's how we do it", he smiled at his XO.

"Thank you, Admiral", Caprica beamed, "I can't take the credit. The jocks have been unbelievable during the drills."

"Remember, Commander if the person running the show is confident and knows what they're doing, so will their troops. You ran the exercise as well as I've seen", he said generously, "You know your job and the crew has confidence in you. That's why it's going so well."

"Thank you, sir, I appreciate your support", she said with satisfaction. Just then Signals broke in on their conversation.

"Admiral incoming message from Earth, Priority Two. Would you like it at station or in your quarters, sir?" The female Ensign inquired.

"It's not Priority One, so I'll take it here at station", the Admiral replied. He went to his position in CIC and raised his computer screen. He scanned over it for a few moments. His face stayed as passive as he could make it but Caprica knew he didn't like the contents.

"XO can I see you in my quarters?" He said with a business-like air.

"Aye Admiral," she said with more than a little bit of confusion on her face.

"OK then, Mr. Arnoud you have the Conn", and the two Bosses walked away.

Before they even sat down, the Admiral was addressing his XO, "Don't worry Caprica you're not in any trouble of any kind", he said as he took his seat, "but this is pretty much for you and no one else's business."

"Yes, sir", she said still quite unsure of what was going on, "I assume it has to do with the Priority Two we just received?"

"It does", he noted while pulling up the message again on the computer in his quarters, "Seems the drought conditions on Earth are getting more and more severe. I understand your husband has been working on that project?", Caprica nodded in assent, "Well seems like the American President Eliza Jackson and President Costanza of the New Caprica are asking for some military assistance and advice in trying to fight the drought", he looked at her directly.

"Gaius had told me it was getting worse", she recalled, "This could cripple both nations' economies and hurt a lot of people in the process", then she came back to the moment, "What does that have to do with me, sir?", she asked.

"Admiral Hoshi has been talking to both Presidents and their military advisers and they've agreed to assist. The Admiral is assigning you to be overall Commander of the efforts."

"ME?", she said, flabbergasted beyond belief, "Why me? I'm not an expert on agriculture. My husband was the farmer at one time, but not me", she said her eyes wide with surprise.

"I don't think Hoshi is looking for your expertise in farming, Caprica; but he knows you're a first-rate military organizer and you know how to get people moving and to get things done. That's why he wants you. The job comes with a field promotion to Rear Admiral as well", he said with a smile on his face.

"Rear-Admiral?", her eyes got wider, "good God who would ever have believed that." She knew orders were orders so her mind was rapidly adjusting to the reality, but she was still a bit off-balance.

"You're to take a Raptor at 0900 tomorrow morning and jump back to Earth. You'll report first to San Diego, then be assigned to Sioux City."

"Sioux City", she said saying the name of the New Caprican Capital, "Why not Ames where Gaius and the main research is going on sir", not sure if he knew why.

"It's Sioux City because it's a good staging area for any forces who might be needed to help. Right now, from what I gather, it's mostly technical help, not troops that are needed, but Hoshi did let on the other reason why its Sioux City", he said with traces of concern in his voice.

"What reason is that, sir?"

"An unknown person or persons have been trying to whip up resentment against the government of New Caprica. It hasn't turned violent-mostly just propaganda leaflets and the like. But the tone is getting more militant", he paused to take a sip of coffee, "Hoshi and Costanza are worried that if this gets much worse, there could be violence."

"If violence breaks out, shouldn't I be the last person running things? I am a Cylon after all, and everyone in the country knows that", she said with no real alarm in her voice.

"Commander those days are over", he said confidently, "you have nothing more to prove to anyone in that regard. You have served with distinction and honor since joining UED. I understand you thinking that, but I don't think you have anything to worry about. You're very popular in New Caprica."

"Maybe you're right, sir", she said with mild hesitancy, "but it's always been a worry for me. It took me a long time to be accepted for simply who I am and not for my bloodlines. I don't want to lose any of that."

"I understand, Caprica", he said with a smile, "but there's no doubt in my mind that UED and President Costanza wouldn't call on you unless they had full confidence in you", he added, "I hate to lose you but this is an important assignment, and I know you'll do well."

"Thank you, Admiral", she said with genuine gratitude, "I've been on Battlestars now for seventeen years in the service and it's what I know."

"You'll be back on a ship, of that I'm also very certain", he stood to dismiss his XO, "I'll let Hoshi and President Costanza know you'll be on your way tomorrow morning, Commander. Dismissed"
___________________________________________________________________________________________

II

Three Months Later, July 2042

Cherokee, New Caprica was sweltering once again. It was July which was normally the second hottest month of any year in these parts, but since the drought that had begun 30 months ago had taken hold temperatures year 'round had skyrocketed. The temperature was currently 102 degrees Fahrenheit and as dry as it was hot. In normal times Cherokee would see about 31 inches of precipitation in a given year. Since the drought broke, the average had dropped to 18 inches. And this year, the estimates were saying that they would receive about 12 inches of precipitation. The crops weren't dead, but they were on life support.

Diana Seelix lived in Cherokee. She had taken up farming after arriving on Earth. She had wanted to escape the confinement of being stuck on a Battlestar, and even more importantly, to escape the confinement of a small cell on the Prison ship Astral Queen. She had craved open spaces ever since, and a farm definitely provided that.

Lieutenant Diana Seelix, Call Sign "Hardball" had been flying Vipers off of Galactica for a year when she made the decision that changed her life. Like most in the fleet at the time on Galactica, she hated Cylons with a blinding passion and, like many, had become disillusioned with Admiral William Adama's alliance with the rebel Cylons. On top of that learning that Sam Anders and Galen Tyrol, among others, were Cylons had made her even more vengeful. She had fought side-by-side with Anders on the world New Caprica during the Cylon occupation; she had also fought next to Tyrol on both Kobol and New Caprica. And on top of that Chief Tyrol had been instrumental in getting her into Viper training.

But all of that meant nothing to Seelix after she found out they were Cylons. And those series of events led her to join the attempted Coup d'etat that Felix Gaeta and Tom Zarek had launched to overthrow and kill anyone associated with Admiral Adama or Laura Roslin. She had lured Sam Anders into a trap where he was severely beaten by two other mutineers. She was certain that the Adama's and Roslin would be taken care of and the Cylon alliance ended.

It hadn't worked that way.

She had been lucky, or so she thought. Gaeta and Zarek had both been executed for their plot; so had about 75 other people as well. Most of the conspirators had been imprisoned on the Astral Queen-numbering more than 900, all confined in single-person cells; put on menial rations with no apparent hope of parole. When Adama had come looking for volunteers for the mission to rescue the half-Human, half-Cylon child Hera from The Colony, many of those incarcerated jumped at the chance and returned to duty. Her friends Racetrack and Skulls didn't hesitate. They both lost their lives in that battle.

Hardball had refused. She had wanted nothing to do with any operation that was run in part by Cylons to rescue a half-Cylon child. Lee Adama had even visited her to beg her to reconsider but she refused. The fact that Sam Anders was a Cylon was all that mattered. She stayed in prison.

She had been released from the prison barge eighteen months after the arrival of the fleet at Earth. She was offered a position in the old ship's hangers working as a mechanic on the Vipers and Raptors. It was clear that she would never be an Officer again and would never fly any birds. That career had died the day she joined the mutiny.

She had become an outcast among the crew just like any other surviving member of the mutiny that had remained on the ship upon release from prison. Beyond the basics of her job, no one wanted to have anything to do with her. Even once-good friends shunned her. She ate alone; she drank alone; she slept alone, a persona non grata among her own people. After ten months back in the hangar she had requested a transfer and was sent to Offutt Air Force Base in the United States to do the same job.

Her treatment there was only slightly better since many from Earth didn't know her history on Galactica. But word got around and the isolation was almost just as bad. The final straw for her had been seeing Captain Kara Thrace on several occasions at Offutt. Her former CAG was flying a wing of Falcons from Offutt and it was impossible to not run into her in the hangars. But Kara had either completely ignored her or had given her icy staredowns whenever they encountered each other. What had galled her, even more, was that the Cylon-loving bitch had ended up being adopted by the American President Justin Bond and his wife and she had become the darling of the Planet. She had been an admirer of the American until that moment.

The day after the war ended she resigned from her job, moved to Cherokee and later that summer began to farm.

She was good at it and was making a decent living until the drought hit. And the drought had gotten worse and worse with each passing month. He crops were either dying or were reduced by over fifty percent. It had become a daily struggle simply to make ends meet, and there was no sign of the drought letting up.

Her anger rose each passing day. Deep down she knew no living being was responsible for the drought but that didn't register with her on a conscious level. She just knew that her world was being destroyed by forces beyond her control. Within her small circle of friends in the Cherokee area, she began taking her frustrations out on the New Caprican Government and their failure to alleviate the drought. But that is as far as her opposition had gone.

Until now.

It was about 9 pm and Diana was at her computer with a cup of Decaf and reading the latest news online from the Sioux City Journal and then on to CNN.com. She did like to keep up with events in the world. Usually, the news wasn't anything that got a big rise out of her but tonight two stories caught her eye.

The first was in the Journal. Apparently, someone or some group had been posting fliers all over Sioux City in recent days, agitating against the New Caprican government and the lack of success against the drought. The article stated that the fliers had been going up for about 45 days and were becoming more alarmist and militant in their message. No violence had erupted yet, but government leaders were voicing concern.

She then went over to CNN. The headline hit her like a bag of bricks in the stomach: UED, U.S, New Caprican Military To Become Involved In Drought Crisis. That alone didn't do it as she wasn't surprised that this could happen. It was a line in the story that sent her into a rage. UED Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Louis Hoshi has announced that he has assigned recently promoted Rear-Admiral Caprica Baltar to head up their response to the crisis. Admiral Baltar will run her command out of Caprica City. Admiral Baltar, who was a hero during the Earth-Cylon war has been....

She didn't even see the rest. "Admiral Baltar?" The hatred came surging back. "They're going to put that FUCKING Cylon in charge? A CYLON?" Seelix had always had a temper and the lid blew off of hers at that moment. It was a blinding rage. "What the FUCK are we doing to ourselves?" She hurled the half-full coffee cup into the wall, breaking it into shards.

She went back to the Journal article. There was no street or email address posted on the photograph of one of the fliers that were pictured. But she had already set her mind to work.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Admiral Kara Thrace-Bond was excited as a schoolgirl when the bell rang on the last day of school. She was waiting at the UED Airbase and Shipyard North of Alice Springs, Australia for a pair of VIP's to arrive on a Raptor. She had been to this base more than a few times to greet visitors and dignitaries but she never felt the anticipation that she felt today.

She had arrived a few months earlier to take her first look at the ship she would command in just under a year's' time. She would be taking one of the first two Colonial Class Battlestars into space for their shakedown cruise. Her ship, the Battlestar Laura Roslin would ascend into space at the same time the Battlestar William Adama did, with Lee Adama in command. After the shakedown was completed, they would land their ships, have them tinkered with and then both ships and a fleet of other UED vessels would depart for The Colonies. Their mission then would be to scout the condition of both the twelve planets and the people who remained there.

The VIP's weren't the standard-issue VIP's, at least not to her. The Raptor that was on Final to the base was occupied by the greatest people she had ever known: her parents, Justin and Judith Bond.

Back in 2027 when Justin and Judith Bond were President and First Lady of The United States they had adopted Captain Kara Thrace near the end of the Earth-Cylon War. Kara was convinced to this day that the adoption had quite literally saved her life. Since that day she had loved the two of them with a fierce devotion that had even surprised her. There was nothing she wouldn't do for them.

Her parents had decided to make the trip to Australia. Even though it was just over a year til the Roslin departed for her shakedown, Kara was inundated with work at the Shipyard. Besides, it gave her father a chance to pilot the updated version of the Raptor that UED had given him as a gift in 2035. He had been a United States Air Force pilot before being President. He had flown the venerable F-15 Strike Eagle and later the F-22 Raptor for the U.S. After his term as President had expired he had trained and became rated to fly the Raptor that he was piloting today.

The Raptor landed and taxied over to the VIP Lounge. She could see first her mother than her dad as the automatic hatch opened on the side of the bird. There was a right-seater who had flown with them as well and he would taxi the bird to the hangar. Kara ran out onto the tarmac to meet them.

"Hey guys!", she yelled like that schoolgirl on the first day of summer vacation, "Welcome to Australia!" She ran right up to her mother and embraced her in a fierce, joyous hug. As was always the case, the two of them broke into happy tears upon seeing each other. Around her crew she would be "The Boss"; around her parents, she could be a happy-go-lucky daughter, and she reveled in it.

"Isn't modern transportation wonderful, Kara", her mom said and they both laughed, "I've missed you so much, honey!" They squeezed each other even tighter.

"God mom, it's like I haven't seen you in a million years! You look fantastic!" She said not letting go of the woman she idolized.

"Why thank you, Admiral Thrace-Bond!", her mother broke the hug and said with mock formality and actually curtsied, which made Kara almost double over in laughter. They hugged once again.

Her dad was about a minute behind as he had to hand the Raptor off to the right-seater. Kara ran quickly towards him and he picked her up in a big bear-hug.

"Well look what the Raptor blew in!", Kara said playfully to her father, "I bet mom had white knuckles the whole way, dad", as she kissed him on the cheek as he whirled her around in the hug that didn't seem would ever end. They both laughed happily.

"Kara, I'd rather have your dad drive this thing than the car we own", Judith Bond said deadpan which elicited another round of laughter.

"Oh everyone's a critic", the former President said sardonically, "I'm just glad we could make it out here."

"God, so am I. I would have come home to Richmond if I could have broken away, but there's just too much to do right now."

"When you're 'The Boss' my dear daughter, the work never ends." Kara had been President Bond's UED Military Attache before he and Judith had adopted her.

"You're telling me, dad", she agreed with some exasperation, "And fortunately I learned that from a good boss", she hugged her father tightly again. Hugging her parents even after all these years was still the most secure and loving thing she had ever known.

"I do wish you could have made it home, honey", Judy Bond sighed, "I'm not complaining about coming out here. I just wish you could get home more often."

"I wish I could too, mom. Unfortunately, I think it'll be a long time before I ever see Richmond again." There was more than a little sadness in her voice. She loved Richmond. It was home for her even though she didn't spend a lot of time there.

It was a short ride to the Admiral's quarters near the Shipyard. Kara didn't take a driver with her and drove the Jeep herself. They started catching up on the drive over and continued the catching-up when the arrived at her quarters. She made sure the conversation wasn't all about her ship. She wanted to hear everything her parents had been up to. They were no longer in the glare of the limelight since her father had left the Presidency but they were the most important two people in her life.

Kara had always made sure to keep up with events around the world as well. After working for a U.S. President who had made sure that she was informed she had kept the habit. The conversation turned to the situation in the American Plains and in New Caprica.

"You know it's damn serious when the military gets involved", Kara said emphatically to her parents. "I just don't know what the military can do that Doctor Baltar and his team isn't doing." She had no overt love for Gaius Baltar but there's no doubt that he had bailed out Earth when the Cylons had shown up, and she also knew he was perhaps the smarter Human Being alive.

"Well if you ask me I think it is more for keeping morale up at this point", the President said evenly, "I agree with you Kara, I don't know what can be brought to the table but it can't hurt."

"Kara what do you think of Admiral Hoshi putting Caparica in charge of the military effort Sioux City?", her mother inquired.

"Caprica and I have a long and interesting history together", she said with a half smile, "I hated her for the longest time, obviously. But I would trust my life with her now. She stood by us when we were fighting Cavil before we got here and she is one of the best Officers at UED." That was no small praise coming from someone like Kara who wasn't easily impressed.

"It's amazing how things have changed", her father said wistfully, "I can remember the grilling I gave Bill Adama before the war when he decided to put Caprica in at Tactical. I had my worries simply from all I'd read and see about your trip to Earth." The President had been extremely concerned at the time, but now? Now he simply thought of Caprica as another fine Officer.

"Does anyone even give a second thought any longer to the Cylons that are here", her mom asked, and then immediately answered her own question, "Tigh is an Elder Statesman; Tyrol and Caprica are both Admirals; Athena got as high as XO. And none have ever wavered in their loyalty to Earth."

"You've got a point, honey", said her husband, "And I agree with you. I simply think of all of them as just another person trying to live their lives. I don't think their Cylon heritage matters one bit now."

"I don't either, dad", Kara agreed, "but it is amazing how fast we adjust and adapt to the new reality. Hell, it took me years to accept Athena Agathon, but now? Now I'm the Godmother of her youngest child", she took a sip of her ice tea then turned the conversation, "but I still wonder why the military is getting so deep into the drought business?"

"This hasn't been made public, mind you", the former President said, knowing his wife and daughter wouldn't take it beyond their own ears, "but you've read that there is a person or group who is starting to agitate against the New Caprican Government?", both women nodded in reply. "It hasn't turned violent but the rhetoric is heating up. No one has a clue who's behind it but I hear President Costanza and UED want to keep an eye on it as well."

"That doesn't sound good. But it isn't Hotdog's fault that the rain isn't falling.", his daughter said with a hint of exasperation in her voice. "I trust Hotdog and Hoshi don't get me wrong. But I wonder if calling on the military might not make matters worse."

"I don't think it can hurt at this point, babe", her dad countered, "Maybe a military presence can come up with something. I do wonder who might behind this crap, however."

"It could be anyone, Justin", Judy Bond noted, "Could be farmers struggling; it could be simply politics of some kind", the former First Lady's political acumen was just as good as her husband's and nothing about politics surprised her.

"It could be some former malcontents from Galactica for all we know", Kara added, "Remember we let about a thousand people out of prison after getting here. Perhaps someone's pissed that Caprica has been given a role in helping the government."

"Whoever it is, I'm getting worried about it", the Forty-Sixth American President lamented, "If the damn drought back home gets much worse it could give Brendan some major headaches."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Doctor Baltar, Admiral Baltar, and New Caprican President Brendan Costanza were at The Presidential Mansion in Richmond, the current Capital of The United States. It would be another two years before Washington, D.C would be ready to re-assume that role after being rebuilt from its leveling during the Earth-Cylon War. They were to meet shortly with President Eliza Jackson to discuss the continuing drought conditions in the Great Plains which included New Caprica. The drought was now three years and running with no end in sight.

Despite the continuing efforts of the best scientific and agricultural minds on the planet, and the added efforts of the U.S. Military, UED, and the New Caprican Home Guard the crisis was worsening. Farms were dying off every week as crops shriveled up and livestock couldn't be fed adequately.

While the crisis could be minimized somewhat in the United States, it could completely destroy the New Caprican economy which was based significantly on agriculture and farming. The United States was doing what it could to help the tiny nation in its midst but with the problem impacting farming in the states, the help was limited.

There were rumblings in and around New Caprica. For months fliers had been appearing in Sioux City and other cities and towns in New Caprica criticizing the government and even posting mild threats. Calm had remained but there was an uneasiness not seen since the inception of this nation in 2024. A crisis was brewing and the leaders were meeting to discuss it.

"Madam President, thank you for meeting with us today", the New Caprican President said to his colleague, "I wish it were under more favorable circumstances, but your hospitality is appreciated."

"I'm honored to be here in Sioux City, President Costanza", the American Chief replied cordially, "and I appreciate the work all of you have been doing to try and alleviate this situation."

Drinks were passed around among the participants to relax everyone. After a few minutes of small talk, they got down to business.

"President Jackson, unfortunately, the pipeline is only doing so much good", Gaius Baltar lamented after he had summarized the latest efforts, "With so little cloud cover and with temperatures so mild most of the water being piped in is simply drying up too fast to sustain the crops or livestock."

"So you're saying that another pipeline from the Gulf of Mexico wouldn't do much good, Doctor?", the American President said intently.

"It certainly won't hurt matters, Madam President. Again the ground and the air are so dry that it's simply not able to keep the crops going. Simply adding more water to the equation won't help appreciably until and unless some real precipitation from the skies occurs. The lack of cloud cover is alarming. There's simply very little shade to be had. It's withering everything that's under the sun."

"About the only thing the pipeline is really helping with right now is allowing the population in New Caprica, Iowa, Nebraska and other places have plenty of drinking water", President Costanza added, "We have enough of that right now."

"But it isn't going to save the crops or bring down the price of food either, Mr. President", Admiral Baltar pointed out, "I'm not criticizing, Brendan, but just pointing out that it is only one thing less we have to worry about."

"No offense taken, Caprica", said Hotdog generously, "I absolutely understand, believe me."

Gaius led a discussion on what science might be able to do in the future. There was nothing in their current arsenal that could combat the drought. Cloud Seeding had never shown to work in an attempt to bring precipitation. There was theoretical talk about an advance system for Cloud Seeding involving the use of Terran Class Battlestars but as he said, it was still only theoretical.

"What's your biggest worry at this time, Brendan?", said the American President, "we're doing what we can to lessen the impact in the American Plains and in New Caprica but beyond that what concerns you?"

"The increase in this covert campaign in trying to stir up the population in and around New Caprica still worries me. Again there hasn't been violence yet but I'm sensing something in the wind, for lack of a better term. My military instincts are warning me that something is afoot."

"Mine too", Caprica said immediately after President Costanza, "being in military command for so many years has sharpened my instincts. Cylon instincts were always pretty good but adding that military training to it...I agree with President Costanza. I feel like we're in the calm before a storm."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

III

September 2042

Her farm was beyond saving.

Diana Seelix sat in her living room weeping uncontrollably. She had sold what remained of her labors to another farmer in Cherokee. The man had been gracious enough to offer her to stay in the house for as long as she needed to until she got back on her feet. But it was too close and too painful to stay.

Twice now in her life, she had worked for something bigger than herself and twice it had been ripped away from her by forces beyond her control. At the Earth age of forty-eight, she was at a crossroads and every way she looked the roads seemed like dead ends. She was emotionally beaten from the fight with the drought. She didn't remember feeling this hopeless even when sitting in a prison cell on the Astral Queen.

Yet everywhere she looked beyond Cherokee she saw and read about old shipmates from Galactica who had gone on to greater Glory. Lee Adama and Kara Thrace-Bond were getting ready to take the biggest Battlestars ever into space; Louis Hoshi owned UED; Admiral Karl Agathon, another name from the past that was married to a hated Cylon was flying his own Battlestar; that Cylon Admiral Galen Tyrol was still The Boss of building the UED Fleet; Brendan "Hotdog" Costanza was President of New Caprica; and that Cylon bitch Caprica Baltar was now military adviser to both the New Caprican and American leaders in dealing with the drought.

The success and the glory they had earned during the war in 2027 ate at her. The success of the humanity had filled her with pride. But the fact that Cylons like Saul Tigh, Galen Tyrol, and Athena Agathon were seen as heroes after the war was beyond her comprehension. Why should those THINGS that tried to destroy humanity be considered heroes on Earth? She simply couldn't understand it. But then again she couldn't differentiate between a Galen Tyrol or Saul Tigh-men who had never wavered in their devotion to the Fleet- and someone like Cavil or Doral. She simply didn't see any individual differences.

She slept fitfully that last night in her farmhouse. The next morning about 7 am, she had packed what little she wanted to take with her in her hydrogen-powered SUV and headed toward New Caprica. Maybe she could find something there. Right now she had no plan except to get to Sioux City. From there, she'd let the gods do as they would with her.

She had curiously never been to the Capitol so she wanted to scout it out for a while. She walked around the downtown district seeing all the shops, businesses, restaurants and government buildings that peppered the area. It wasn't a bad looking town she thought with some surprise. It was actually quite nice. She thought it would actually be much bigger.

She had stopped for lunch at a mom and pop cafe and ate some wonderful original Caprican cuisine that took her back to much simpler and happier times. The meal energized her and she left feeling better about the world.

She had been window shopping for about twenty minutes and was starting to head towards the Capitol Building that housed the New Caprican Senate when she noticed the piece of paper on a nearby light pole.

PEOPLE OF NEW CAPRICA: No one can blame the government for the weather. But they are betraying humanity by allowing a CYLON to order Human Beings around in trying to beat this drought. Humanity has fought four wars against the Cylons. WHY are we letting one of them tell Humans what to do?

Seeing the word "CYLON" in that fashion enraged her once again. Why ARE we letting a Cylon tell us what to do?, she fumed in her mind. But that was the reason why she was in the Capitol city: she wanted to see if she could somehow make contact with whoever was putting out the fliers.

She had enough money to last her at least a short time, so she rented a hotel room near the Capitol and spent her days canvassing the city. The leaflets were all over the city and several times a day she would stop at a busy intersection or crosswalk to read one. Her hope that someone or THE someone who was putting out the propaganda would notice her while reading.

Ten days or so had gone by with no luck. It was early evening on a Thursday when she was just Southeast of downtown at the corner of Pearl Street and 5th Street near the Hard Rock Hotel and Restaurant, again casually reading over one of the pronouncements. Suddenly a voice startled her from behind.

"I've been watching you for five days, lady", the man said in casual tones. Diana had nearly jumped out of her clothes on hearing his voice but she recovered quickly.

"I'm not doing anything illegal or that would hurt anyone pal", she said as evenly as she could, "It's not nice to spy on people."

"That's my job sister, so it doesn't matter if it's nice or not." She turned to look at him. He was holding a biodegradable bottle of water.

"Don't play games with me, buddy", she said sharply, "I was in the military once and I can take care of myself, thank you very much."

"Good!" he said surprisingly, "We're always looking for people who have military experience to help us."

"Exactly who is 'us' if you don't mind me inquiring?" Bingo!

The man pointed to the leaflet on the light pole. "That is us, lady." He said taking another chug of water. "You've been reading these for days. That means either you're working for the government or you're looking to work against the government. We can find out easily enough if we need to."

"Maybe. Maybe I just like wandering the streets?", she said innocently.

"Look, lady, it's dangerous for me to be out here talking to anyone like this. If you're really interested in what we're doing, be at this address Sunday night at 7:30 pm. We'll have scouts out so if you're working for Costanza, we'll know before you arrive." He handed her a blank business card with an address on it and walked away.

She pocketed the address and left the area herself.

That Sunday night she left her hotel room about 6:30 pm and slowly made her way towards the address which was about twelve blocks away. She acted as casual as she could and tried to ascertain if anyone was watching her. But that guy was right: if someone was scouting her she couldn't tell. She stopped on the way to get a small snack and a Mountain Dew and then continued on her trek.

She arrived at the address just before 7:30 and tentatively knocked on the door. To her surprise, the man who had given her the business card answered. "Well, I wasn't sure if you'd show up, lady!", but he smiled as he said that. It still wasn't a friendly smile but it was better than a gun at her head.

The inside was dimly lit. It was a clean, spartan room with some chairs, a table with several pitchers of ice water on it...and not much else.

"Follow me, please", the man said to her, "The Boss is this way. By the way, when I talked to you the other day we also got a few photographs of you. The Boss was very interested when we showed him the photos."

"Why? I'm a nobody around here", she countered as they walked through a door. Three men and two women were standing in the room facing away from her when the man on the left began to turn around. He spoke before he was looking at her.

"You're a nobody to them but not to me...Seelix", saying her name as he whipped his head around to stare her full in the face.

Diana gasped at the sudden realization of who it was, "My gods...Narcho."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

November 2042

The man once known as Lieutenant Noel Alison, Call Sign "Narcho" went by the name of Xander Ukith these days.

Xander Ukith dropped his given name about eight months earlier. The man who had been Noel Allison had joined Felix Gaeta and Tom Zarek in their failed coup attempt years before on the Galactica. Unlike them, he hadn't been executed and had ended up doing solitary on the Astral Queen until eighteen months after the arrival of the fleet at Earth.

He hadn't been offered a position with Galactica upon his parole but had been Dishonorably Discharged and unceremoniously dumped on the outskirts of Sioux City after it had been established as the Capital of New Caprica. He had made something of his life in the years since, working in a factory that built large farming equipment. It wasn't glamorous but it had given him a steady and decent income with a nice apartment that he lived in and a decent circle of friends. It wasn't like flying a Viper or a Raptor but it was better than wasting away.

Then came the drought that began four years ago.

Despite being with the company for almost fifteen years he had been laid off about eighteen months ago as the severity of the drought had dried up not only the crops and livestock but the orders for the equipment that he and his co-workers built. And as the economy grew tighter because of the drought jobs had become scarce. He had looked for new work for ten months with nothing to show for it.

After he stopped looking for a job, Xander had been living in a homeless shelter ever since. It was degrading in many ways but at least it gave him meals when he was hungry, a bed to sleep in and a place to take a shower.

As he watched he and others around him falling further and further behind in life while at the same time reading and viewing daily about former crew mates in the Fleet riding high, his depression had turned into anger. He was especially infuriated that Cylons like Galen Tyrol, Athena Agathon, and Caprica Baltar had become not just accepted but heroes after the war in 2027. Saul Tigh had retired as a Vice-Admiral and been given commendations worldwide. It galled Narcho to no end. He had begun writing down his feelings towards what he saw and heard around him to simply vent at that time. He hadn't had any thoughts of violence in his head when he began what he hoped would be a cathartic effort.

It hadn't been cathartic; it made him angrier and angrier with each passing day.

He had used the computers at the Public Library to author the fliers that were now famous in the small nation and its Capital. Again he was looking more for a way to vent than anything else. And for a while, it had made him feel better.

He had wakened at the shelter about three months ago and after breakfast went to the Library. He always read the news of the day before putting his thoughts down. This day the news changed his outlook on his writing and who he was forever.

That was the day that New Caprican President Brendan Costanza had announced that to help combat the crisis that he had appointed a military adviser from UED who would help organize assistance for the civilians trying to alleviate the drought. The fact that Hotdog had done that didn't faze him. Whom he had selected had sent him into a rage.

Rear-Admiral Caprica Baltar. Simply reading her name and the fact that another Cylon was an Admiral now had transported him back to the days that he had desperately fought to rid the Fleet of a Cylon presence. And those overwhelming feelings of hatred towards those things had flooded back to him in a wave of rage. He recalled bitterly how President Brendan Costanza had helped to thwart the coup when Felix Gaeta had ordered them to kill Laura Roslin and Athena Agathon by blocking his shot at the Raptor they had escaped in. That had allowed the fugitive President to board the Cylon Rebel Baseship.

The news about Caprica was the news that broke his back. He could almost picture that Cylon at the head of Human troops, painfully reminiscent of those Humans who had joined the Cylon police force on the world of New Caprican, betraying their own kind. It was no different in his mind. And it had to be stopped

Back then it was just himself. He had enough money to purchase a secondhand copy machine and enough paper to last a few months. Xander would stop by his favorite watering hole a few times a week and realized there were others that were feeling the same way has he had. Some were out of work like he was. Others were still steadily employed. Slowly he had gained the trust of about ten people who wanted to do more than gripe about what they saw on the news but who wanted to hit back at the government.

His diminutive group had been on the lookout for people not only in bars who raised a stink about the government but also people who would be seen reading the fliers they would leave around town. Xander also would lurk on certain web pages where he might find like-minded individuals that he could possible recruit.

One afternoon his operatives had observed a woman who seemed to be canvassing the city looking at the fliers for days on end and standing near them for long intervals They had reported back to Xander about this person and Xander had told them to get photographs of the woman if she showed up again.

Sure enough the next day, there she was. They took about a dozen photographs and took them back to their boss. He had recognized the face immediately and ordered one of them to make contact with the woman. He wouldn't tell any of them about her but wanted her brought in.

Thus had Diana Seelix joined his group. Like Narcho she had changed her identity and even colored her copper red hair and was a brunette now. Like Narcho, Seelix had also changed her name.

She went by Tera Chance now.

Xander didn't want more than perhaps thirty people in his unit. The fewer hands in the cookie jar, the better. But he had plans

And Narcho had finally settled on a name for the outfit, one that would get the attention of the very people whose attention he wanted to grab: The Cain Mutiny.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Early January 2043

"Admiral Baltar; Gaius, thank you for coming to see me on such short notice", President Costanza bade them take seats with unusual urgency

"I'm here to serve you, sir", Caprica said correctly. She and Gaius had been in Ames going over the latest efforts to combat the worsening drought in the American Plains, which included the nation of New Caprica. Everything they had tried or proposed had come to naught. The drought was deepening. They weren't sure what the President had summoned them for but they knew it wasn't going to be good news.

"I've asked you here for two reasons: first off is that NASA and the American Climate Prediction Center just released their outlook for the next twelve months." He said glumly.

"I gather by your expression, Mr. President that the news isn't good?" Gaius had already come to that conclusion but he needed to say the words anyway.

"You could say that. The long-term forecast shows the drought only worsening. The Canadian Plains are forecast to do a little better than we are, but for the States and us the prediction is for even drier and warmer conditions over the next year."

"God", Caprica said with almost desperation, "our economy and the American economy can't take much more of this. I talked to President Jackson and she's considering declaring an economic and an environmental emergency. She's even thinking of freezing wages nationwide."

"I can sympathize with her, I assure you", the President noted, "I talked to her last week and while she didn't go quite that far I had the feeling she was considering it. They have one of many advantages over us, the big one being for the moment that they are not entirely dependent on the Breadbasket for survival. They have the resources to combat this more effectively than we can."

"You are going to declare an emergency Mr. President, aren't you?" Gaius saw it coming when Caprica had mentioned the possible American response. "You're not going to wait for the U.S to move first?"

"I don't see any other choice, guys", he said sadly. "Dozens of small farms are closing up shop each week. Our food prices are going through the roof. The only reason they haven't gone higher is the fact the U.S has other areas that can produce food and they're selling us-at a large discount I might add-as much as they can", he informed them, "bearing in mind they're trying to make up for their own huge losses in the Plains and Midwest. And I'm going to put the Home Guard on a higher alert level."

Both the Baltar's froze on hearing that last sentence.

"I suspect that news is the second reason why you've called us in here?", Gaius could feel the tension in the room.

"You know those fliers that have been popping up for the last six months or so?", he asked them both. They both nodded in the affirmative.

"As you've noticed the language is getting more militant. This latest one is especially ominous", he read it back to both of them.

"Good God!", Caprica exclaimed, "They're threatening ME?" She was aghast, a little worried by that thought.

"Seems whoever this group is Caprica, they don't like Cylons. They've gone off on Admiral Tyrol; on Helo and Athena; on Kara because she was married at one time to a Cylon, and after her dad because of guilt by association, I guess." He looked a little worried himself.

"That's crazy! What the frack does Justin Bond have to do with any of this?", Gaius said with amazement, "He and Kara aren't even blood relatives, for God's sake."

"Everyone knows that Gaius", Caprica mentioned looking right at her husband, "It's what the President said-guilt by association. And it's threat by association if I read all of this right."

"Correct", Hotdog said to his guests, "They're alluding to unspecified action against anyone who supports the remaining Cylons in any way, shape, or form. Sound familiar?"

"It sounds like the uprising that Gaeta and Zarek started on Galactica", Gaius said bitterly.

"It gets worse, Doctor", the President said gravely, "Home Guard reports that a UED warehouse full of weapons and ammunition was sacked three days ago. We haven't made that public yet, but three people on duty there to guard the facility were killed by whoever did this. And we're certain that it must be this group."

"This sounds like Gaeta's coup all over again", Gaius said with a headache coming to him.

"Doctor, you're more right than you know", finally handing over the fliers to each of them for their inspection.

"The Cain Mutiny", Admiral Baltar said in almost a whisper. She and Gaius both looked stunned, "That sure as hell isn't subtle, is it?"

"No it's not, Admiral", the President shook his head, "In fact it's damn provocative, picking a name like that." It was an implicit threat against any Cylon. The name was in honor of Admiral Helena Cain, the legendary-or as others might say, the notorious-late commander of the old Battlestar Pegasus. She had held a blinding hatred of Cylons that made those who joined the Gaeta-Zarek coup look like choir boys.

And it had been personal for her.

A Cylon Six named Gina had been assigned to Pegasus, and she and the Admiral had become lovers. After it was discovered Gina was a Cylon, Cain had Gina shackled and tortured for months. Eventually, with the help of Gaius Baltar, Gina escaped and murdered the Admiral.

"So if I guess right, the emergency also is in response to this, Mr. President?" Doctor Baltar inquired delicately.

"You win the Tom Zarek action figure, Gaius."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

IV

The worst drought since the 1930's continued to punish the middle of the North American Continent. The American Midwest and Great Plains were as dry as kindling wood. Crops had withered away; Livestock had died from lack of food. The economic crisis had forced both the United States and New Caprica into states of emergency.

The United States had always been quite protective of the fledgling Republic in their midst. New Caprica didn't exactly have a true military but instead relied on a Home Guard, a quasi-military force of about ten thousand that could be activated for an emergency. It was highly unlikely that anyone would ever attack New Caprica so the need for a full-fledged military had been seen as a waste. The U.S provided the tiny nation with the equipment for this force but everything else about it was home-grown.

Despite the deepening crisis, the U.S was still trying to provide foodstuffs to help offset the devastation within the borders of New Caprica. However, the severity of the drought was becoming so acute that the United States was needing more and more from other regions of their country simply to make up for the collapse of the agricultural hub of the nation, which stretched from Texas to the Dakotas and from Colorado to Ohio. They would not let New Caprica starve, but they couldn't give it unlimited support.

As the crisis had deepened so had the vitriol from the group known as The Cain Mutiny. They were now openly talking about replacing the government; they had directly threatened Admiral Baltar. But they still had not acted on any threats.

Xander Ukith now had twenty-seven people who felt as he did and who would not accept any Cylon or Cylon enabler running this or any other nation. With one or two exceptions, most were former military from either the original Pegasus or Galactica. Most of them had backed Felix Gaeta and Tom Zarek years ago. Some even brought their adult children into the fold, having raised them with that same hatred of Cylons. A few had been civilians in the Fleet, and a few even were natives of Earth.

They weren't angry so much that the drought persisted. For most of them that had just been a convenient pretext to find each other; more than anything, they detested any Cylon influence on Human affairs even if it was in support of helping people. Even twenty years after arriving on Earth they could not square the fact that the Cylons that were on Earth had helped humanity in their fight against their own kind in 2027 and even now worked to better Humanity. It didn't matter. They wanted them gone.

And now they would start working for that goal.

Their first overt act had to been to pilfer U.S. issued M4A1 Assault Rifles a few months before that the New Caprican Home Guard used, along with ammunition for the weapons. Through their website and their casual encounters in bars in Sioux City, they had also made contact with former Colonial Officers and enlisted personnel who were working for UED or the U.S. Air Force at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha who were like-minded souls and were eager to contribute. And with those contacts there soon came bullet-proof vests and even some grenades.

The members of The Cain Mutiny were happy to get these weapons but they also reasoned that they weren't ideal for anonymous attacks on their foes. What they really needed was plastic explosives, timers, and blasting caps so they could plant a device and be long-gone before the boom was heard. That had proved to be more difficult.

Tera Chance was sitting in the abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the Capitol that was the headquarters for Xander's group. Everyone involved was getting tired of not doing anything although they weren't angry at Xander or anyone else in the group. They had simply not been able to acquire more lethal weapons for the beginning of their "active opposition" as they termed it against the government. They weren't quite ready to commit to suicide attacks of the kind that had run the Cylons off the New Caprica planet years ago.

It was late morning and quite a few of the members did still have day jobs so the building was relatively empty. Xander had left her a note informing her that he and four others in the group had left the compound at 0700 for reasons that he did not elaborate on. They had taken the group's aging Ford Transit van on their errand. Tera was wrestling with the copy machine for the fliers since that frackin' thing was ancient and always wanted to stop working.

She was just about to kick the damn thing and give up when she heard the sounds of a truck or a van towards the rear of the building. Being an abandoned warehouse there were doors large enough to let such a vehicle in the building.

Sure enough, Xander flashed his headlight as the Transit came through the opening. The surprise was how quickly another member of the group got out and slammed the door closed behind them.

"Tera! Get the hell over here!", Xander said excitedly, "We're gonna need your help."

"What the frack?", she exclaimed, "slow the hell down will you?", she thought it almost comical the way the five who had just arrived were scrambling around like ants going down the hole.

"Come on over here, Chance", he said coming around from the back of the truck where he had just opened the rear doors, "Take a look."

Tera moved to the rear doors of the truck, and her eyes widened as she looked inside, "Holy frack, Xander, where did we get this stuff?" She said looking gleefully at the item before her eyes.

"That I can't tell you, but it doesn't matter, does it?", he grinned. In fact, Xander had recruited a disgruntled Lieutenant at Offutt who couldn't stand the thought of any Cylon still being alive. This had been the first fruits of Xander's labor.

"Gods. C-4; Semtex; timers; blasting caps!" She ran over to hug Xander. "I guess this means we are in business, doesn't it?"

"Call everyone in for 2000 tonight for a meeting. We need to hide this thing in the lower level of this building for safe keeping. We have an active mole at Offutt and we need to make plans."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

LATE JANUARY 2043

Brendan Costanza was meeting with his Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Home Guard as well as the Baltar's on the worsening crisis. The State of Emergency that he had instituted had led to food rationing as more and more farms went under. Prices on everything from milk to pork had doubled in the last twelve months. Inflation was nearing twelve percent and showed no indication of slowing down. So far there had been some unrest with civilized protests against the government and the crisis but with the exception of the incident at the Home Guard Armory no violence had taken place.

The President first turned to his Secretary of State, "Mariana, how was your meeting with President Jackson last night", Mariana Ware had spoken to the American President concerning the crisis and if there was a chance that imports from the U.S could be increased.

"Mr. President, President Jackson informed me they're giving us more than they can probably spare", she said sullenly, "She has told me they've even juggled some of their export schedules to other nations' in an attempt to accommodate the crisis here."

"She's been a great friend to us Mr. President", added Admiral Baltar, "I can't imagine she's holding anything back on us. After all, we sit right in the middle of the U.S and the effects here are being felt there and visa-versa."

"I have to agree with that", noted the President, "Eliza has always been very forthright with us. She certainly doesn't want to see our economy collapse. Even though they're a lot bigger than we are, that would have serious consequences for them as well. Gaius, I imagine you came here because you have those new forecast models that we asked for?"

"The U.S. Climate Prediction Center, as well as NASA and their National Weather Service, were more than cooperative in taking a second look at the numbers they came out with a few months ago, but unfortunately the results were almost identical. No long-term changes are forecast."

President Costanza had expected that but was disappointed nonetheless. "I'll personally call each of those departments in the States and thank them."

They were continuing their conversation when they heard three loud booms in succession. Without exception, everyone in the room instinctively came to their feet. "What the hell was that?", Gaius said before anyone else could utter the same thing.

"Gaius, having been in the military for as long as I was, that sounded like explosions to me", the President said with a sudden alarm, "I could be wrong-I hope to the gods I'm wrong but that's what it sounded like."

The President excused himself for a few moments while he and the Home Guard Secretary left the room to make an inquiry as to what was happening. Gaius, Caprica, and Carmen all slowly paced the room nervously waiting for their return.

It took about fifteen minutes for the President and head of the Home Guard to return. When they entered the room both of them looked ashen-faced.

"I just talked to the Chief of Police", the President began grimly, "Explosives were detonated at the Holiday Inn, the Ramada Inn, and the Sioux City Arts Center. There are casualties, although no numbers are available this soon after."

"My God, Brendan", Caprica exclaimed, dropping his formal title for a moment, "it's started, hasn't it?"

"It looks that way, Admiral", he paused for a moment, "Caprica I need you, Mariana and Reece to head over to City Hall and meet with the Police Chief", he said referring to Reece Kindred the Home Guard Secretary, "We need to coordinate with them. I'm going to order the Home Guard to Condition Red at this time. I'm also going to call President Jackson and the U.N. Secretary-General and let them know that we've had an apparent terrorist attack here", he turned to head out the door and then stopped, "Gaius, do you think you can put in a call to Admiral Hoshi at UED to inform him. I know you're not a government official but the quicker we can contact everyone the better."

"However I can help, Mr. President", Gaius excused himself and went to call the Admiral.

"OK, let's move people", the President dismissed the others.

It took about five hours to get a preliminary cause and casualty numbers. It had definitely been plastic explosions of some kind. So far there were five deaths and 45 injured. The explosions hadn't been very large but they had been placed where they attackers knew there would be people.

An hour later a call was made to the Presidential Residence. The Cain Mutiny had claimed responsibility for the attack.

After the call from Gaius Baltar and a follow-up a little later from the New Caprican President, Admiral Hoshi had sent a scrambled Priority One message to the Battlestar Winston Churchill.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Admiral Agathon was in one of the ship's gyms lifting some weights and pounding on the boxing bag as he did every afternoon. He may not be flying anymore but he had always been in great shape and just because he had become The Boss didn't mean he wanted to get soft.

He had just finished some moves on the bag that would have made Muhammad Ali proud when a phone panel squawked at him. He immediately went over and depressed the phone tab on the computer terminal.

"This is the Admiral", he said with heavy breaths from his workout.

"Sir there's an "eyes only" message from UED Priority One for you that just came in", his XO Rudi Beck informed him, "Do want there or in your quarters?"

"Rudi patch it through to my quarters, I'll head over there now and see what's up". He hit the LED "end call" button and headed to his Ready Room.

It took him about five minutes to get there. He would have to take a shower before heading back to the CIC, but that could wait to see what Louis was wanting. He sat down at his desk, flipped on the computer and went to his encrypted email server and opened up Hoshi's message.

"Son of a BITCH", he said hoarsely to the screen, jumped up and trotted towards The Bridge. The Churchill was currently orbiting on the far side of Saturn on a routine patrol. That would change in a few moments. When he arrived no one even had time to announce his presence. He got a few strange looks in still being in his boxing shorts and a tank top, with a towel around his neck and still sweating profusely.

"XO, set Condition Two throughout the ship, begin Jump Prep." The UED Fleet had Warp capability, but within the Solar System, only jumping was permitted.

Rudi Beck hadn't been expecting that but like the professional he was he recovered smoothly, "Attention all hands, Set Condition Two throughout the ship, General Quarters" Helo was looking at his plot board in front of him, and his XO came up to him, "Admiral if I read that right we're heading back home?"

"You got it XO, let me talk to the ship", and his XO set the system for the Admiral, "Attention crew of the Churchill, you probably want to know why we have set Condition Two. I have just received a message from Admiral Hoshi that a series of explosions have occurred in several locations throughout Sioux City, the Capital of New Caprica. Indications are that this is a terrorist attack. There are deaths reported and damage to property in the city.

"Admiral Hoshi has asked that we head back to Earth Orbit in case we need to assist the New Caprican Government and Home Guard in any way.", he paused for a brief moment, "There is the possibility that we could be called on to loan some Raptors to help patrol the Capitol but no orders have been cut for that yet. Right now, this move is precautionary only. Agathon out."

He turned towards his XO, "Rudi, I'm going back to my quarters for just a few minutes. We have to wait a while before we depart so keep the CAP out training for now."

"Aye, Admiral", the German said crisply.

Athena had been visiting some old colleagues and on the Battlestar Mikhail Gorbachev which was on station in the vicinity. He didn't want to use the Bridge phone to make a personal call, but he needed to get his wife back on the Churchill.

He got through to the Watch Officer on the Gorbachev who put out a call to have Athena get to a phone. While waiting he talked with Gorbachev's Boss, Admiral Amal Bisharra. She had been a Fighter Jock with the Egyptian Air Force in her younger days. He had to make sure that he informed her why he hadn't called her direct. When he told the Admiral of the situation she assured Helo they would have Athena on the line ASAP.

"Helo I'm hearing I have to come home early. What's going on?", his wife inquired without much alarm.

"Honey there's been a terrorist attack in Sioux City and Hoshi wants us to come back in case some of our birds need to support the Caprican Home Guard.", he said as evenly as he could.

"Dear God", she said with alarm entering her voice, "Any casualties?"

"The latest is three dead and about 80 injured. Hotdog had Gaius called Hoshi and inform him on what was happening", he was reading his computer screen to see if there were any updates, "I think Brendan has got his hands full right now."

"I'll bet", she said in agreement, "OK, it'll take me about ten to get my Raptor prepped and then I'll be back. Shouldn't be more than twenty minutes after take off that I'll be back on deck."

"OK, Athena have a safe flight." and the line went dead.

A few moments after he hung up a follow-up from Hoshi had arrived. When he saw the name of the group that was claiming responsibility, he went white as a sheet.

"God Almighty", he whispered almost to himself, "The Cain Mutiny." He knew what that was inferring and he knew immediately that former crew members from the old Galactica and Pegasus had to be involved. He finished his thought, "This is going to get damn ugly."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"XO, disengage simulated battle, advise all birds to return to Adama for review and debrief", Admiral Lee Adama turned to Commander Hideki Torojo, call sign "Tornado". The Battlestar William Adama was gaming fighter-on-fighter drills as part of their shakedown cruise. The simulation had a large unit of Falcons acting as Cylon Raiders facing off against the another slightly smaller unit who was defending the Battlestar. Having every pilot act as an Opposing Force in a simulated battle helped all the pilots train for the real thing.

"Aye, Admiral", Hideki Torojo responded crisply, "All battle sim forces, XO, disengage and begin landing procedures. Report to your Ready Rooms for review and debrief at 1745. Admiral landing cycles initiated."

"Thank you, Dick. What's your take on how it went?", Lee said as he was entering information into his computer at his station.

"Could have been better, Boss", his XO replied honestly, "It wasn't bad but I think we got a little sloppy on interdiction when the second wave moved in towards us. I don't think it's anything we can't fix but we can't let the second wave of Toasters in that close."

"Agreed, Tornado", Lee said without much rancor. His Wing Commanders would get a mild chewing out, and they would chew out the pilots as well, but that was par for the course on a Battlestar, "That's what all this is about anyway: making sure we get the kinks out now instead of if we have to ever face anyone."

Lee was just finishing up his preliminary analysis of the report a few minutes later when the Signals Officer spoke up. "Sir, Priority One Message from Admiral Hoshi. In your quarters, sir?"

"Yes Ensign Cabrerra, thanks. Dick, you have the Conn for a few minutes, I'll check this out."

Lee entered his quarters and fired up his personal computer. He didn't get Priority One messages very often, but in wartime or during peace when The Boss sent you a P-1, you read it immediately. He got back for a moment to get a glass of ice water then opened the message from Hoshi.

"Holy frackin' shit!", he exclaimed in the mixture of Caprican and English vernacular, and called Signals, "Floria, raise Admiral Thrace-Bond on the Roslin immediately. Patch her to my quarters when you have her."

It didn't take long, and Kara knew what the subject would be about.

"Jesus Christ, Lee, what the hell is going on back home?", having converted to the Lutheran faith, Kara had to swear like a good Christian now.

"You got me Starbuck", he replied honestly, "I know there's been unrest because of the drought and I had heard about those fliers being put around the Capitol, but I didn't expect anything like this."

"Helo has the Churchill back in orbit?"

"Yes, She arrived in geosynchronous about seven hours ago", he checked his screen to make sure he had been correct, "I don't know if moving a ship in orbit will help, but it sure as hell gives Hotdog some backup in case things really get ugly."

"The name of that group just pisses me off to no end, Lee", she said, still in a fit of anger, "It has to be people we served with on the old Battlestars. But I'm wondering who could it be?"

"From what Hoshi says they don't have the first clue. Hell, over nine-hundred were incarcerated after Gaeta's coup failed. It could be anyone; it could even be family members, maybe even their kids."

"I hadn't thought of having the next-in-line getting involved in old Fleet politics, but that's possible", she remarked as the anger started to subside somewhat, "I just came back from flying with the Raptors on a training jaunt so I haven't gotten to look at the intel, but do we still have the records in the UED computers about who was released after we got to Earth?"

"As of matter of fact we do, Kara", he said with the first piece of good news in the conversation, "Hoshi will be sending us the official files on that later this evening. It'll tell us who was released; when they were released and where they were released", Lee said rubbing his chin, "Of course all that took place 20 years ago and those people could be anywhere by now, including six-feet under."

"True", Kara conceded, "but we can get a handle on most of them through government records-New Caprican, U.S, Canada, just about anywhere. We can track down most of them."

"Maybe. I'm sure a lot ditched their names long ago. I'm sure Hoshi and Hotdog have got the Caprican Justice Department, UED Intelligence and probably even the CIA shaking the bushes to see what they can come up with."

"I hope they find whoever it is as soon as they can. This could get really ugly, Lee, and real fast."

"You won't get an argument with me on that", he said evenly, "We don't need this crap again."

"Another thing I'm worried about is kind of personal", she stopped when she realized it, "Hera's based at Offutt with my old wing. There's a good chance if it got that far, her unit could be used to help out the New Caprican Home Guard."

Lee hadn't thought about the fact that Helo and Athena's daughter was based in Omaha. "Frack, you're right Starbuck. I didn't even think of that. And from the sounds of these bastards and their talk about the Cylons who stayed loyal to us I sure as hell wouldn't want her to fall into their hands. But Hera knows the risks, just like we did."

The silence from Kara indicated that such a scenario had never crossed her mind.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

V

February 2043

The Battlestar Winston Churchill had been back to Earth for almost one month since being recalled by UED due to bombings in Sioux City by terrorists. Helo's ship hadn't been called to action because of the unrest to this point but Admiral Hoshi had wanted a ship on patrol in case some extra air power was ever called for. There had been six other minor attacks since that first attack that had shaken the New Caprican nation but nothing that approached that level. Those attacks had only cost three people their lives which were three too many, but better than the alternative.

One of those taking advantage of the Shore Leave was Lieutenant Tiana Morilio who served primarily as a Raptor pilot onboard the "Old Winnie", but who was also more than proficient in the Falcons. She had been in UED for seven years now and at age thirty-five was right in her prime for flying. Tiana's Call Sign was "Fantasma" which translated to English means "Ghost".

When the Churchill arrived back at Earth a month ago she had requested a Transfer to an Earth-bound assignment. Her mother, Carmen, lived in St. Joseph, Missouri and she wanted to be closer to her as she was pushing seventy years old as counted on Earth. And the best place for her to transfer to if it was approved was to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. It was only a hop, skip and a jump from St. Joe. And Offutt was looking to beef up with the unrest down next door in New Caprica.

Tia had put in the request the year before and hadn't heard anything in that whole time period. In fact, she hadn't even thought of it for months. She wasn't big with staying up on the new back on Earth but when the order came in for her ship to head back to Earth she started to read up on what had caused the sudden change in their assignment. She came from a family that was political, but what she read and what she thought, she kept to herself.

Tia wasn't the first member of her family in the service, either the Colonial military or now it's intergalactic follow-up the UED. The military had always been a major part of her family history. He paternal grandfather had been a Marine on Picon fighting against the organized crime syndicates, and her late father had served as a Marine on several Battlestars. It was simply luck of the current billet that had put him on Pegasus when the Cylons had attacked the Colonies. She had only been a teenager then living on Picon when the attack began. She and her mother had escaped aboard the Thera Sita. Her brother Ossi, who was 15 years older than her and had been a Raptor pilot was killed along with all hands aboard the Battlestar Atlantia in the first hours of the Cylon attack. They were reunited with her father when Pegasus rendezvoused with Galactica. He had died before the fleet arrived at Earth.

She had just finished a routine exercise consisting of both Raptors and Falcons and was just getting out of her cockpit when an Ensign approached her, holding an envelope in his hands, "Sir, this came in a short time ago from UED", handing her the folded paper.

"Thank you, Ensign, I appreciate it, have a good day." She started to casually walk toward the showers and opening the letter at the same time. Get got it open and unfolded the letter and...her transfer to Offutt had come through! She let out a small yip of glee. Her transfer was immediate and her orders were to report to Offutt no later three days hence. She quickly showered and requested that ship scheduling assign her a Raptor as soon as possible to take her to St. Joseph to visit her mother before heading to Offutt.

Two hours later, she was strapped into the passenger section and an 85 minutes after that, she landed at Rosecrans Memorial Airport. She flagged a taxi down for the 10 minutes it would take to get to her mother's apartment. She hadn't told her mother she was coming.

She was ready to burst when she knocked on the door. She heard her mother as she headed towards the door to open it, "For god's sake, it's almost 9 o'clock, whoever you are. It's later and shouldn't you be getting..."

"Hello Mama!", Tia said with a smile on her face, "Surprise!"

"Tia!", her mother fell into her daughter's arms, with instant tears of happiness, "What are you doing here?", she paused for a moment at the door, "Oh what are we doing hanging out here in the hallway, come inside honey!"

Once inside Tia let her in on the news, "I've been transferred to Offutt permanently! I'll be just a short Raptor flight away from you now!"

"Oh, the gods be praised! Didn't you tell me you had put in for the transfer some time ago?"

"Yes Mama but with us coming back to orbit I guess they felt it was a good time to transfer me." She was now seated on a couch next to her mother. "They need some more jocks what with the unrest in New Caprica."

Her mother instantly went sullen when her daughter mentioned that, "Things are getting ugly in New Caprica these days, girl", closing the door behind them both.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Lieutenant Hera "Mutt" Agathon's CAG was a forty-three-year-old Russian named Captain Oksana Yarkova. A former member of the Russian Air Force, she was just what Russians were thought to be: no-nonsense when it came to her military calling. Unlike most Russians, Vodka or any alcohol wasn't part of her makeup, although she wasn't a prude when it came to her pilot's imbibing when off-duty. As long as they were not hung over when they strapped into their bird, she thought it was all good.

She was holding the usual 0700 briefing in the pilot's ready room to go over the day's assignments and other assorted information that might be of note. The Charlie Squadron of the 20th UED Air Force was one of the premier units based on earth. The famous Kara Thrace-Bond had been CAG of the outfit during the Earth-Cylon war. What she had gone through here at Offutt was legendary.

"OK boys and girls here's the day's business", she said in her heavily Russian-accented English, "We don't have any of the squad flying up by Sioux City today; the 47th is handling those duties."

Flying Sioux City wasn't particularly dangerous duty even with the unrest and the occasional bombing attacks that scattered there and also other parts of the tiny landlocked nation. But you had to be on your toes when winging that way. A few sorties had needed to return to Offutt and load UED Marines on the Raptors and dispatch them for ground searches after an attack. So far the insurgents were being very circumspect in their attacks and not allowing themselves to be anywhere near when an explosion went off.

"As was mentioned yesterday we will be making a training run into the Gulf of Mexico at 1400 local to practice water rescue with UED, American and Mexican forces. Those will be lifted from Pensacola Naval Air Station and taken to the training area from there. Your flight plans and the practice coordinates will be ready for you in approximately one hour." The Air Boss said turning to her next item of business.

"As some of you may have noticed, we have a new member of the 20th that just arrived yesterday evening. Her name is Lieutenant Tiana Morilio. Call Sign "Fantasma". She just transferred from the Churchill. I know you will all make her feel at home here." Applause and smiles broke out and Tia blushed slightly at all the fuss.

The briefing broke up about thirty minutes later and many of the jocks went up and introduced themselves to the new member of the Squadron. Hera had been talking to the CAG about some issues and was one of the last ones to approach the newbie.

"Hi Tia! Welcome to Offutt!", she said extending her hand to the Lieutenant.

"Thank you very much! I'm excited to be here. My mom lives down in St. Joe and it's nice to be close to her."

"I'll bet! I wish you and I had been trading places", she said with a grin.

"Why's that?"

"My name is Lieutenant Hera Agathon, Call Sign Mutt", she said proudly, "that give you a hint?"

"You're the Old Man's daughter?", she said in surprise. "I heard him mention that you just got your wings not too long ago. Congratulations."

"Thanks, Tia. This is a good outfit and great base to work at. I'm sure you know of its history." Hera was proud that her "Aunt" Kara had been the first CAG of her Squadron. It had made her feel connected to the unit before she had ever even set foot on the concrete at the base.

"I don't think there's a jock that doesn't know about this place and its history. You'd be shocked how many people want to get into this place and this squadron", Fantasma said without exaggeration.

"I know. I got lucky. I pretty much aced my proving flight or else I wouldn't be here myself."

"C'mon, couldn't have Starbuck or your Old Man gotten you here?", she said with a touch of surprise.

"I didn't want them to. I wanted to earn my way in, and I did. I'm more proud of that than anything that I've done in my life", she said with a genuine sincerity.

"Good for you!", Tia said slapping her on the back, "that's what I like to hear!"

"Hey Tia I hate to run but we better get set to get our flight packages for this afternoon. Time to impress the boss! I'll talk to you later."

"Thanks, Hera it's been nice meeting you!", and she headed off to take a quick shower.

Not once did Tia let her true, dark feelings anywhere near the surface during the conversation. Godsdamn Cylon she said angrily to herself.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"Are we EVER gonna stop this nickel-and-dime stuff, Xander?", Tera Chance said in exasperated tones to the boss of The Cain Mutiny. "We've been doing these pinpricks for months and nothing has changed."

"Relax Tera, they're coming. I've got the crew that I want, and we will be able to start to do more serious stuff before too long", he said plaintively. The insurgents were actually at twenty-seven as of that morning, spread out among seven locations in New Caprica. The largest was still in Sioux City, but they had branched out to bring the word to other areas of the country. "Besides, our supplies should grow a little bigger in a few days."

"Are you going to tell us where those supplies are coming from, Xander", Tomas Sands, his second-in-command asked delicately.

"Not in this lifetime, my friend", he said with a smile, "I know, human nature makes us curious, but it's better that any of this remains confidential."

Xander Ukith's second-in-command, a former Marine from Pegasus, Tomas Sands decided to join the fun. "Tera just ease off a bit. Xander is right. Our time is coming."

"Have you two geniuses even thought of where we can hit that's bigger? I mean seriously thought about it?", she demanded.

"Yes, Chance, I have", Xander said with a hefty dose of annoyance, "I've been thinking about it a lot in fact. I just don't think the time is right."

"Hotdog is more popular than ever", she began to tick off some facts for them, "even though the drought is getting even worse; Caprica is everywhere trying to reassure people that a frackin' Toaster could have their best interests at heart. We aren't making so much as a dent."

Sands reply was immediate, "We're making a huge fuckin' dent, Chance! We have people on edge; we have them looking over their shoulders. They're scared shitless and they're only gonna get more scared."

"Words, Sands, that's all. We need to take this up a level or two.", she was just going to continue her thoughts when one of their lieutenants came into the room.

Just then one of their members, Lance McCourt came out of one of the inner offices, "Hey Xander, phone call for you, they wouldn't say who they are."

Ukith went into the office and took the call. He re-emerged within five minutes, with a serious look on his face. "Bad news guys, we won't be getting those supplies after all", and they all swore.

"Why the hell not", Lance spoke up for all of them.

"My supplier was killed yesterday, that's all I can say." In fact, the Lieutenant he had recruited from Offutt had died over the Gulf Of Mexico in a training exercise. Xander had taken months to recruit him. This put a big dent in his plans. He looked back over at Tera Chance, "Still want to rush into something bigger now, Chance?"

"Not without those supplies. We just can't", she pointed out glumly, "It's going to take us a while to recruit someone new."

"The gods never seem to be on our side, do they?", Xander sighed and went on with the day's work around the compound.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Lieutenant Caprica Baltar was in her office at the Capitol Building with the head of the New Caprican Home Guard and the Chief of Police for Sioux City. UED and the other two agencies were trying to find out anything they could about the group that had been carrying out attacks in the country. So far, even after months of probing, the results were negligible.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a group conceal themselves this well in quite a while", said Police Chief Lawrence Sullivan noted. A Sioux City native, he was pushing sixty now and had been a cop since the ripe young age of twenty-seven, "No fingerprints on the explosives; nobody in the area that we've been able to identify. They know their business. They gotta be military or ex-military from somewhere."

"Which makes our job damn near impossible right now", Caprica said with a sigh, "We know they're using C-4 and Semtex. That stuff gets carted all over the planet like it's no big deal."

"We know it has to be coming from some type of military source", offered Home Guard Colonel Candace Roth. Another Earth-born member of UED, she had started with the FBI and had moved over to UED about five years ago. "But like you said, Admiral, it's damned difficult to pin down to anyone or anywhere."

"We still have people casing Offutt, Grand Forks, Minot, and a few other U.S. Bases to see if they can locate any contraband leaving the base, but again, these guys are good. There's just damn few traces."

Caprica was going through her latest set of notes from the field which were devoid of any positive news.

"Has the database on those who were in prison when Galactica arrived here turned up anything?", Colonel Roth inquired.

"You think it would with only something like a thousand names on the manifest but many are dead; many have moved God knows where, and quite a few changed their names after they got released. From one standpoint I understand that", she said evenly, "they wanted a new start when they got down here. I imagine most just wanted to live a quiet life. I'm sure others still held grudges against Adama. But the data on most people after they left the Astral Queen is thin."

"It's still our best bet. Colonel Roth, I appreciate UED and the Home Guard giving us that manifest to try and bounce it off law enforcement systems here, in the U.S and elsewhere. Hopefully, somewhere, we get a lead." the Police Chief said graciously.

"It's our pleasure, Chief. Remember Admiral Hoshi has a personal interest in this for obvious reasons. He had the FBI in to see him in San Diego last week and like us, they've turned up a big fat nothing."

"If the Bureau can't get a break, how fracked are we", Caprica said with annoyance, "They're the best in the world."

"They are, Admiral Baltar", Chief Sullivan confirmed, "I've worked with them for years and they're no dummies. It's just that these guys know what the hell they're doing."

A few minutes later while discussing the issues further another "BOOM!" could be heard off in the distance. By the sound-which they had all gotten dreadfully used to-it wasn't near Downtown or the Capitol.

"Well ladies, if you'll excuse me", the Chief rose as his cell phone went off, "I guess that means duty calls. I will forward you our information ASAP. Admiral. Colonel", and the Chief briskly walked out of the room.

"Candy, I'm just so tired of this. I wish the damn drought would end and make everyone happy", Caprica said with sadness.

"I know Admiral", Roth said with just as much sadness, "But I'm convinced we will get a break sooner than later", she said with a small smile on her face, "Keep at it Admiral, we'll get there."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

VI

Late May 2043

Towards the end of Spring, it seemed as if the drought was going to miraculously break. Four straight days of blessed rain had fallen on most of the American Plains and New Caprica. Never had President Costanza seen people celebrate as much over water coming down on them. He had even gone outside to feel its coolness.

But it was almost as bad as a mirage.

The fifth day the rain stopped. It had perked up some crops and plants temporarily but the crops, plants, and hopes soon withered after that. That brief euphoria was replaced by spirit's that were swooning even lower when it was realized that it had only been a passing thing.

Hotdog was out in San Diego meeting with Admiral Hoshi on the situation. Caprica and Gaius had come along and actually drove the Raptor from Sioux City to Southern California. His security detail wouldn't allow him to pilot the bird as if they crashed the Raptor instead of him would assuage their conscience, he thought wryly.

The meeting, like most, wasn't pleasant. Hoshi felt somewhat guilty living in this virtual Paradise and his office in the UED Headquarters on Point Loma overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He knew how it must look to his three visitors.

"I talked with President Jackson last week", Caprica informed Hoshi, "as well as Governor Parmalee of Mississippi and they assure me that both the U.S Congress and the Mississippi Legislature will approve the second water pipeline and desalination plants from West of Gulfport to Sioux City and another one to Topeka." He knew it wouldn't break the drought but he hoped the news would buoy his visitors at least a little.

"I'll send my thanks to the President and Governor when I get back to Sioux City", President Costanza offered, "I know it's more of a gesture right now but it will create some jobs and it will at least show people that we and the U.S are trying to find anything to alleviate this mess."

"Hope is a powerful thing, Mr. President", Gaius Baltar intoned with more sureness than he felt, "It can't end the drought as you said but it can help people see that there might be light at the end of the tunnel."

"A light or a freight train", mused Caprica, "Again, I'm not complaining, to be honest, Admiral Hoshi. But this along with the attacks going at you day after day can fray your nerves and your soul."

"I'm not going to give you grief for saying that, Caprica. I was thinking how guilty I feel looking out every day and seeing all this water. I'm a Caprican; I'm hurting for our people. I want both these plagues to end."

"That will require water, Louis, in great quantities", Hotdog said looking out over the Pacific Ocean. "What's the old Earth saying? 'Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink'? They got that one right."

"At least the bombings have slowed to a trickle. Wonder what caused that?", Gaius said with genuine puzzlement.

"Probably supply problems", his wife offered, "Maybe their flow of weapons was slowed down or somehow cut off. Again, without knowing who the hell these people are we can't be sure."

"Let's hope it stays that way, guys", Hoshi mused. "I wouldn't be upset. But I'm not counting on that happening."

"Neither am I, Louis", said the President. "But it can't hurt to pray in that direction."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Lieutenant Tia "Fantasma" Morilio had become a well-respected, well-liked member of the 20th in the short time she had been there. She had gained a reputation for being a great instinctive pilot and was trusted by her fellow jocks. She had earned high praise not long ago for her rescue of two pilots from the 37th and five Marines in a training exercise in the Gulf Of Mexico. That Raptor had encountered a catastrophic engine failure and had crashed into the sea. Tia's Raptor was the first one on the scene, and they were able to rescue four of the seven aboard that bird. Unfortunately, the pilot and two Marines had perished. It had shaken her but she had kept her cool.

She was finally getting some vacation. She had been going more than three years without any more than a few weekends off. Now she had two weeks of R&R. She had decided to spend the first week with her mother in St. Joe. She actually brought her up to Offutt to show her around to meet some of her friends and bosses. It was the most time they had spent together since she had finished flight training 12 years ago.

The second week she wanted to head up to Sioux City. She had a few close friends from her days on Galactica that lived up there. She wasn't worried about the violence that had broken out there. It had subsided somewhat and she felt safe in going. She had read a lot about the unrest in New Caprica and had grown concerned in her own way about events.

She had bought a new laptop a few weeks before her vacation and brought it along with her. She was a computer rat like most people her age and liked to keep abreast of the world around her. And like everyone else it seemed, she frequented her favorite websites quite often and even would participate in chats about events, whether it be politics, sports or any variety of subjects. She had even made some friends and acquaintances simply through the Web. One or two were in Sioux City and she hoped she could meet them.

She arrived in the city and immediately liked it. It wasn't a little hick town, but it also wasn't New York City which had been overwhelming to her. She got together the first night she was there with old friends that she had grown up with and lived in the Sioux City area. They had gone out to dinner and had some drinks and enjoyed each other's' company. She was never a social butterfly but she enjoyed seeing this group of friends from a more simple time in her life.

She had rented a car and had driven around the city and also part of the New Caprican countryside. As was the case in Missouri, the devastation in the farming areas broke her heart. She would see the occasional farmer still working in his or her fields, desperately trying to get something out of the dry land; she also saw many abandoned farms, some with either emaciated or dead livestock on the property. It was brutal to look at.

An acquaintance that she had made on the internet asked if they could have lunch the fourth day she was there. The woman at the other end had apparently taken an interest in her anonymous views of the current events in New Caprica, and she had even told the unknown person that her father had served in The Fleet.

Tera had talked about their conversations with Xander, and her boss advised her to set up the meeting to see if this woman would fit into their group.

"It's been nice to finally meet you, Tia", and the other woman reciprocated the handshake, "My name is Tera. Tera Chance."

The meeting had lasted about two hours. They had met just South of the New Caprican Capital and had lunch at a seafood place. They promised they would get back together in the near future.

The conversation had jolted her for a reason that she couldn't let the younger woman see for the moment. It was all she could do not to go twice the speed limit getting back to the compound. She parked the vehicle and literally ran into the building to talk to Xander.

"Hey Chance, how did the meeting go?", he said, greeting his colleague.

"Xander, we have to get this kid into our group", she said breathlessly.

"Wait, after one meeting, you want to bring her inside?", he snorted derisively, "why the hell would I want to do that."

"Maybe because of where she works and who her father was." By the time she had finished, Xander was almost sold. He'd have to meet this kid himself and do some checking, but if it was true, they had struck gold.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Admiral Louis Hoshi had a decision to make. The Boss at UED it was his responsibility to recommend to the United Nations the person who would head the Fleet Civilian Government when the Adama and the Roslin headed out for their mission to the Colonies. The members of the Quorum had been named by the U.N, but it was his duty to recommend the name of the person who would be Governor of the fleet.

He was down to four names; all incredibly qualified individuals with long years' of service to mankind in one form or another. Every one of them would represent humanity well on this first sojourn back to The Colonies. And he wanted to make a final recommendation before Adama and Roslin went aloft for their shakedown next month.

But one name stood out.

He kept going over the qualifications of each candidate, but always went back to the one dossier on his desk. He couldn't think of anyone more qualified. But he also knew he could catch hell for his recommendation.

But he was paid nicely to catch hell and with that, he made his decision. He touched the LED screen on his phone, "Eva, please make a call to the Secretary-General"
___________________________________________________________________________________________

One Month Later, June 2044

Admiral Lee Adama could have sworn the population of Australia had doubled in the last few days. He knew that was nonsense but looking around the UED Australian Shipyard it seemed that way. Twenty-thousand VIP's and descended on the remote base to witness the launch of the two monstrous Colonial Class Battlestars as they went up for their shakedown cruise. Another few million had made the trek and would watch the ships go off from a distance away from the Shipyard.

Among the attendees were the Agathon's, all in tow, as well as the Bond clan. Admiral Kara Thrace-Bond insisted her family visit Lee onboard the Adama before heading over to her ship.

"Congratulations, Admiral", the former American President extended his hand, "Your father would be proud of his namesake. You've got one helluva ship here, Lee."

"Thank you very much, Mr. President", Lee replied warmly, taking the extended hand. "She is something, isn't she? First time I saw her when flying in here I couldn't believe how massive both these ships are. It took my breath away. Still does, in fact."

"Lee, it's so good to see you!", Judith Bond went up and gave a hug and a kiss on the cheek to the Admiral. He was as close to being a family member without being one, "It's been way too long since we have gotten together."

"Thank you, Mrs. Bond", Judith Bond had helped turn Kara into the woman she was today and there weren't two people on the planet he respected any more than Justin and Judith Bond. "I would have liked some of that Southern Sweet Tea you like to make before getting out of here", he said with a smile.

"I'll make sure I bring the recipe next year when you head to the colonies, Lee", she said with a laugh.

The family then went on a tour of the ship. It WAS massive and it was an astounding piece of engineering. The crew that greeted them was definitely ready for the launch the next day.

They had made their way down to one of the flight hangars and, sure enough, Admiral Tyrol was on hand greeting people and talking shop with the visitors. He saw the Bond's headed toward him and greeted them warmly and started his spiel all over again for his long-time friends. Of course Lieutenant Nick Bond and the Chief got deep into shop talk which made his father and mother roll their eyes.

Doctor Abby Bond-Crieder, her husband Brett, and their young daughter Katraine were up the ladder attached to a Falcon, with the four-year-old girl sitting in the cockpit, pretending to be off on a mission to save the world.

After that, the family headed over to Kara's ship the Laura Roslin. The crew on that vessel rolled out the proverbial red carpet for the family of their Admiral. Everywhere they went throughout the gigantic ship, applause greeted them and everyone wanted to shake hands with members of the family. Little Katraine was quite overwhelmed by the whole thing and all the noise made her burst out and cry on a few occasions.

They were currently headed to the engine room when Justin Bond noticed Kara's XO, Commander Chase Carrico approaching them at a brisk pace. The former President had a healthy respect for his daughter's XO; not simply because he was her XO but because he was one of the better pilots he had ever seen. He was sure before too long Chase would have his own command.

"Mr. President, sir", he saluted crisply. Technically, since Justin Bond was no longer a head-of-state, Commander Carrico didn't have to salute, but with everything the former President had done to build up the fleet, Carrico couldn't imagine not saluting him.

"Commander it's good to see you again", Justin Bond shook the younger man's hand. "Congratulations on your posting. I think you'll be fantastic as XO."

"Thank you, sir, I appreciate it", he said gratefully, "It seems like forever since you and Mrs. Bond came out here", he paused for a moment then remembered the reason why he was here. "Sir, Admiral Hoshi is requesting your presence in Kara's quarters."

He let his family know that he had been summoned and promised them he would catch up with them soon. "Any idea what this is about, Chase?" President Bond inquired.

"Not a clue, sir." He said with full honesty. "I thought when I got to higher command I wouldn't have to do gofer duties, sir. Did I miss something in Officer's school?" That line made Justin Bond laugh loudly.

"No, son, you didn't", he clapped the XO on his back, "It's just that the number of people who can order you to be a gofer goes down exponentially."

"Then watch out when I command UED", the Commander grinned and they both laughed.

In a few minutes, they walked into Kara's quarters. The President was surprised to see that both Kara and Lee were also in the room. Something was definitely afoot.

"Mr. President!", Admiral Hoshi rose and extended a handshake, "It's wonderful to see you again. Welcome aboard the Roslin."

"I appreciate it Admiral Hoshi", it's an incredible ship", he said as they took their seats. "How can I be of service today, Admiral."

"I've asked you here for a reason that Lee and Kara aren't even briefed on yet. As you know we will have a civilian government with every Fleet that is gone for more than eighteen months from Earth. We set the parameters quite a while ago with your help sir."

"I'm aware of that, Admiral. I have heard the twenty Quorum members have been selected?"

"Yes, sir, they have", he paused for a moment, "But under the parameters laid out by both UED and the U.N. I have the task of recommending the name of the people who will be Governor on the respective fleets. I am making my recommendation to the U.N. Formally tomorrow."

"Without consulting us, Admiral?", Kara said with a sharp tone. Justin Bond allowed himself a very brief smile to cross his face. His daughter was feisty. It's one thing he had always loved about her.

"Admiral Thrace-Bond, the decision of who is recommended to U.N is solely my responsibility. Trust me, both of you", he said looking first at Kara and then Lee, "I don't take this duty lightly."

"Sir I meant no disrespect but wouldn't have it been better to at least consult with us about who you were considering?", she looked over at Lee, hoping for some support, "after all, we're going to be the ones to deal with whoever you chose?"

Lee had to back his Commander-In-Chief, "Kara, I think we'll have to trust Admiral Hoshi here. He's got a lot on his plate and if he felt he didn't need to consult with us, we have to go with his call."

The Kara of years ago would have been angry at Lee for not backing her. But she had grown as an Officer and a person and she simply nodded her assent. When your Boss made a decision, you had to go with it. She would expect nothing less of her own people on this voyage.

"Thank you, both," Hoshi said without any rancor.

"So, Louis", Lee delicately inquired, "are you going to tell us, or do we have to guess?"

President Bond was thinking the same thing. He thought that the Admiral would want to run by him the name of the person he had selected to see what the former Chief Executive thought.

"Of course", he said with a small smile, "I've considered this for months now", and he turned toward Justin Bond, "Sir I am going to recommend you for the position of Governor of the fleet that will sail to The Colonies in about eighteen months. I'm convinced that there isn't a finer representative of the people of Earth than you, sir."

Lee glanced over at Kara and, sure enough, she looked like she was ready to explode with glee on hearing those words. He couldn't help but grin.

"Jesus, Louis", the former President muttered, genuinely stunned, "Are you sure about this? I mean, I'm no spring chicken anymore, Admiral. I'll be almost seventy-two when the fleet sets sail."

"I understand that, sir. I was able to obtain your last physical examination results. You're in excellent shape; you've had both military and civilian command experience. And with medicine and science, as it is today, you should be around for many more years to come."

"It would be an honor, Admiral, to represent humanity and Earth on this mission", he said humbly, "but I can't make this decision without consulting with my wife."

"Mr. President if you didn't consult with Judy, I might have her kick your butt", which made all of them laugh out loud. Kara still looked like she might burst.

"Thank you, sir. Then let me talk to Judy and see what she says", he looked over at her daughter, "Honey, I don't think you'll mind if mom and I use your quarters to discuss this?"

Kara couldn't do anything but shake her head with a goofy grin on her face. Lee snickered, and Kara shot him a stare.

"Very well. Admiral, let me talk to Judy, and I'll have my decision soon."

"Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be around both ships obviously. When you make a decision you can have Kara contact me."

The Admiral left the room while the other three sat around Kara's desk with dazed looks on their faces. They slowly got up. Kara straightened her top and looked like she had regained her composure. After a few seconds, however, that changed.

"OH MY GOD!" she said running into her father's arms. Lee burst out in approving laughter.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Judy Bond had been as stunned as her husband on hearing the news. "Jesus, Justin that's the last thing I ever expected", she said from her seat. If she stood up she was afraid she would faint. "We're talking a twelve-year mission. We can't just turn around and go home if we get tired of it."

"I know honey", he agreed with her, "but can we REALLY turn down the opportunity like this? We'd be part of the first group of Human Beings from Earth to go to The Colonies. And you know that since just before the war in '27, I've made it my goal for us to get back there."

"I understand that Justin...but what about Nick and Abby? Katraine would be in her late teens when we got back, and who knows if we'd have other grandkids by then", she said as only a mother would, "This is a lot to take in."

"I know Judy, it is", he offered, "I can't make this decision without you."

Judith Bond was quiet for a few moments lost in thought, allowing her extremely intelligent mind to work through the news. She had been a college American History teacher before the Earth-Cylon war, and the former President had always felt she was far smarter than he was, which is one of the reasons he had married her. Finally, she looked up at her husband.

"You're right, Justin. We have to accept this, for several reasons. One, you are the person that has pushed this mission since the War; secondly, Hoshi's right-there isn't a better person to send to represent Earth, and lastly, it's the chance to do something no one from Earth has ever done."

"OK, babe. We need to talk to Nick, Abby, and Brett this evening and let them know" He said, wondering how his other children would take the news. He shouldn't have worried: all three were ecstatic at the news.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

After years of planning the day had finally arrived in Australia. The Colonial Class Battlestars William Adama and Laura Roslin were preparing to depart on their proving voyages in preparation for a return to The Twelve Colonies.

Admiral Kara Thrace-Bond was in a private lounge about a mile from her ship. The launch would take place in three hours. All the dignitaries had left the two ships, save for Admiral Hoshi who was doing last-minute footwork around his ships.

It was time for her to say goodbye to the most important thing in her life: her family.

"I'm glad you're gonna stay CAG for Helo, Nick", Kara said with her arm around her brother, "Lord knows I need someone to keep an eye on you, young man", she intoned playfully. Her brother had contemplated moving to San Diego or Honolulu to join Research and Development but for now, he couldn't give up flying.

"I figured I'm still in my prime flying years right now. I can go into R&D later in my career", he said looking at the sister whom he admired and loved so much, "Besides maybe I'll get to go to the Colonies one day on my OWN ship?" He winked at her and looked around at the rest of his family.

"God help us", Kara deadpanned. She stopped for a moment and looked at the "little" brother who had become such a wonderful man, "I don't get to see you as much as I'd like to Nick, but you're always in my heart. I love you more than you'll ever know, little brother", he kissed her on the cheek and they both teared up and embraced warmly.

Kara then turned to her younger sister, Abby. When together the two were inseparable. Abby had idolized Kara from the first day they had met. For her part, Kara adored the woman that her sister had become. "Munchkin set up a date for when I come back. We'll have to do some movies and shopping then", Kara said with a smile on her face that was belied by the tears in her eyes, "I can't imagine not seeing you for a whole year."

"I'll miss you Starbuck", her sister was already crying, "I know you'll be back in a year but not having you around to even talk to is going to be hard." She embraced her sister with a fierceness that was overwhelming for both of them, "I love you, Kara. Please be safe." She kissed her older sister on the cheek.

"I will Abby. I love you, my dear sister", giving her a fierce embrace. The Admiral was openly crying now, "I'll be back soon enough."

She looked down at her niece Katraine "You know when I get back next year you'll be in school!" she kneeled down next to the little girl. "Maybe you'll have a nice drawing from school for me when I get back".

"Bye Aunt Ka! Come back soon!", and she hugged her Aunt for all she was worth.

She finally turned to her parents. Her mom had lost her composure quite a while ago. She was very protective of her children and she hated having to let them go, whether it had been when they moved out to go to college or when they had moved away to live their lives. Now one of them would be out of her reach for a year. It was almost too hard to take.

"Mom...", Kara looked at the woman who had made her the woman she was today, "I hate this part!", she said and they laughed through their tears. "I wish you were coming along."

Judith Bond smiled at her, "Well in just over a year I will be, remember that Kara." She wrapped her daughter in another ferocious hug that seemed to last forever. "Take care of yourself my dear", she said, breaking the embrace.

"I will mom. I love you more than I can ever say."

Then she turned to her father. They smiled at each other without tears for a few moments. Judith Bond had always been in awe of the relationship between her husband and adopted daughter. They had both been pilots and both had fought in wars. But their bond was something beyond anything she could grasp. Judy Bond felt no jealousy, just an incredible feeling of wonder at their incredible relationship.

"So this is what it takes to get rid of you, eh Admiral?", he said dryly, whereupon the whole family laughed, "What happened to just having your kids move across town?", he quipped, the deadpan now fully applied.

"Yeah Old Man", she said playfully, "I'll finally get out of the neighborhood", she laughed again. Then she took two slow steps toward him and slowly hugged the man that would always be her hero. "I hope you're proud if me dad", she whispered to him within the embrace, her eyes pooling with tears.

"Kara, I've always been proud of you", he whispered back with tears in his eyes, "You're our daughter and that's all I've ever needed to be proud of you." To this day, even after all these years, hugging her father meant more to her than life itself.

"Well, I'll make you prouder, dad." She said releasing him and giving him a kiss on the cheek.

By this time everyone was an emotional mess which, as always seemed to be the case with the Bond's made them all laugh after looking at each other. She beckoned them for a family hug.

"I love you so much. Nothing is more important in the entire Universe than the four of you! You'll be with me every single day."

Reluctantly she let them go. She turned to walk away. After a few steps, she needed to turn back one more time. "I love you guys!" she smiled and waved with tears still streaming down her cheeks. "I'll be back before you know it!"

Around her family, she could just be Kara and openly cry when leaving the ones she loved. As she got into the jeep that she would drive by herself back to her ship, she was "The Admiral". She hadn't looked back. She wiped the tears from her eyes and put her game face on.

It was time to lead.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

VII

August 2043

Lieutenant Tia Morilio had just landed her Raptor back at Offutt. She had been sent to Richmond to bring an American Air Force General to see the Base's commander. She didn't get those assignments often but did enjoy spending a day in that beautiful city.

She went back to the officer's area and took a shower then went to her quarters and changed. It was about 3 pm when she left her quarters. She had the next three days off so she left the base and drove her SUV to Omaha. She had been to the city on numerous occasions, mostly with her fellow jocks who had days off. They would go into town and blow off steam and have a good time.

She parked her car in a multi-level garage on South 8th street and then walked East to Kenefick Park. She enjoyed relaxing here on days like today. For once the heat wasn't stifling, even though the drought still had not let go it's grip on the region. She went to a park bench near the Lauritzen Gardens and sat down, closing her eyes for a few minutes. It was the middle of a Wednesday afternoon so not many people were around. She enjoyed the quiet for about a half hour, then got up and walked away.

She went back to her car, started it, and began to drive. Within the hour, she was in Loveland, New Caprica at the junction of Interstates 29 and 680. There was a truck stop there that served great food and also had a full-service shop for both cars and 18-Wheelers. There was an Express Oil Change at the truck stop and she asked to have her oil changed while she ate lunch. There were three garages for the oil changes and she didn't have to wait.

She had a tasty fish sandwich and a root beer, along with some curly fries. Not exactly a healthy meal but she would allow herself a treat once in awhile. After about thirty minutes she was finished, paid for the oil change and drove off. Within another hour she was in Sioux City where she ate dinner and stopped after dark to visit some friends for a short time. Then she left Sioux City and headed back to Offutt.

No one had seen her at the park in Omaha reach below the bench and pick up an envelope that was taped to the underside; no one had seen her read the instructions on the letter in the garage; no one had noticed that when she arrived she had dropped her SUV off in the far left garage but had exited in an identical SUV from the center garage, or that her license plate had been moved to the vehicle she was now driving.

No one at Offutt knew that her later father didn't just "die" on Galactica all those years ago, but he had been executed for taking part in the mutiny against Admiral Adama; no one knew that her mother Carmen had never taken the last name of her father; no one knew his name, or how he had died; and no one on Offutt knew of her blinding hatred of the people who had sent her father to his death.

And no one had known that that vehicle was full of weapons, plastic explosives, and ammo.

She had just made her first dead-drop and delivery for The Cain Mutiny.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

September 2043

Justin Bond was sitting in his study at his residence in Virginia, going over the pile of information that he needed to study in preparation to become Governor of the first UED Fleet to head back to The Colonies in about sixteen months. The office was a mini-presidency for what would be for a "society" of about seventy-thousand that would be on the fifty-six ships to sail. The law was a mixture of Colonial, New Caprican, UED and even some semblance of the American Constitution. And surprisingly, it all meshed together quite well. But studying all this, he knew why he never wanted to be a lawyer.

He not only had to study a lot but one part of his life didn't change-talking to people. He had to find time to go to Russia, China, Japan and a host of other nations as a pre-voyage Goodwill Ambassador. He would much rather have all of them come to the U.N but that wasn't going to happen. He was going to make sure to pencil in a month or so of R&R right before the fleet left.

He had been pouring over the Fleet government and law binders that had been put together over the last decade by the UED when he just had to take a break. He left his study and went downstairs into the kitchen to grab a lemonade. His wife had been out volunteering her time at the Red Cross and he knew she'd be home shortly. He brought his laptop downstairs with him to go over the latest news.

From all accounts, Kara's proving run commanding the Laura Roslin was going quite well. Every day he'd get a quick email from her going over a little bit of her news and sending her love to him. It had only been two months since she left but part of his heart felt empty. He knew he didn't see her as much as he'd like when she was Earth-bound, but the fact that he could go see her before her ship sailed was what made him miss her the most. He was immensely proud of her and wanted her to excel commanding a Battlestar.

There was breaking news out of Sioux City, and it was far less enjoyable.

Two major explosions had rocked the solar generator grid that supplied energy to about forty percent of New Caprica. As was always the case the culprits had left little if anything behind to identify themselves. And as always was the case, The Cain Mutiny had claimed responsibility for the attack. The New Caprican Home Guard was out in force, especially in Sioux City, helping to restore power and try to make sure looting was kept to a minimum. He called Signals at the Gray House and asked that President Jackson call him when she had a moment to give her any information. He also sent the same message to New Caprican President Brendan Costanza and to Admiral Hoshi at UED.

Goddamn terrorists, he angrily thought to himself. And that's all they were. Like most people in North America, he wanted this group stopped and the violence ended. New Caprica was, in large part his creation and he was heartsick enough over the drought that had befallen his country and that one. The terrorism just deepened his hurt.

He had decided when reading that article that he wanted to help close ranks with President Costanza and the New Caprican people. He decided he would arrange a visit with President Costanza in the near future.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"That's more like it!, Tera Chance said happily as she returned to The Cain Mutiny compound. "That'll put the fear of the gods into them."

"Good job everyone!", praised Xander Ukith, "we've got some momentum now. It's uphill from here."

"Whoever your new contact is, Xander, they're coming through big-time for us", Tomas Sands, who was a native of Earth intoned with satisfaction, "How did we get so lucky?", he chuckled.

Xander's temper could flare at the strangest of times, and this was one of them, "Luck had nothing to do with this, Sand", he said sharply, "our contact lost her father aboard Galactica before we arrived here at Earth. He was a patriot and a good man, as far as I'm concerned. The person has earned a spot doing this."

The room went silent for a moment.

"Her family was torn apart by Adama and the other Cylon-lovers on the ship and in the fleet. And she's remembered", he said as he took a seat behind his desk, "She kept it in all these years and like the rest of us, the Cylon presence just ate away at her."

"So where do we go from here, Xander?", Tera quietly asked.

"We start taking it up several notches, that's what." He said darkly. "We hit the country harder; we maybe even go for targets outside of New Caprica; we have an asset in place to do something about one particular Cylon."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Late November 2043

Lieutenant Hera Agathon had spent a lot of time over and in Sioux City lately. She had not had to fire her weapons when on patrols but the thought that someone might blow up she and her comrades didn't exactly make her feel warm and fuzzy. But she did her duty and tried not to think about the risks.

Back at Offutt she had just finished taking a shower and was headed down to the mess for dinner. Her right-seater. Lieutenant Anthony "Rapman" Rapp had arrived a few minutes before she had and she took a seat across from him. They had actually spent most of their time on patrol duty on the ground, not in the sky. Like her parents, she preferred the latter.

"Good work today, Tony", Hera said, the tension of the mission bleeding away, "I don't like these ground-pounder missions you know?"

"I hear you Mutt", he said calling his commander by her Call Sign. Hera had picked it out herself as she thought it aptly described her half-Cylon, half-Human heritage. "I'd rather be a Angels 10 watching what's going on below. But when the brass says 'jump', we just have to yell "how high!', and do what we're told."

"I know, and I don't begrudge any of that. But this stuff is starting to get really ugly. A lot of people are going to get hurt and killed if this keeps up."

"Don't remind me. My Granddad has told me a lot of times about when he was a teenager in Los Angeles back in the 1990's and a huge race riot broke out there that lasted for days. He said it's the most scared he ever was living out there."

"Violence doesn't solve anything, Tony." She said soberly.

"Hera you picked a helluva career for someone who is a pacifist", he said with a wink to let her know he was pulling her leg. It did make her laugh.

"I'm not a pacifist, Rapman, but there was a lot of violence around me when I was very young. I don't remember most of it but obviously, it was pretty cataclysmic, if you get my drift."

"You've got a point there. Having gone through what you and your folks have gone through, I'd be saying the same things, believe me. Fact is, I happen to agree with you."

Just then someone sat down next to Tony, "What are you two going on about now?", inquired Tia Morilio, "Talking shop again?"

"Hey Fantasma, what's up?", Hera said with a smile. She and Tia hadn't become close but they seemed to get along well enough. You couldn't be best pals with everyone. But she was a good pilot and she had never shirked her duties. But for some reason, Hera felt something just wasn't quite right with Tia. It didn't raise any real suspicions, but it was a feeling she got every now and again.

"Nah, Tia, we're just talking how pacifists like the two of us joined the military", Anthony Rapp said with a big grin,

"Please", Tia rolled her eyes, "You two are the furthest things from being pacifists. You're both good pilots and you both believe in what you're doing. You can't ask for more than that."

"So what's your take on the latest up North?" Hera inquired.

"I think it's appalling what's going on. Until they're broken into a million pieces I can't see this ending" she said and they took her at face value. Yes, you can take me at face value, because I am telling the truth, just not a truth you believe in.

"Amen to that, Tia", Hera said with approval, not having a clue about the double meaning, "I just don't think violence solves any of this. I have no problem going to combat for what I believe in, but I hope it's always a last resort."

"Well we agree on that, Hera", Fantasma said with a nod, "I want this crap to end just as much as you do", and there was no lie in that.

The next morning Hera saw Tia again. Hera was going to head up to the Churchill to see her parents and brother. Tia had a few days off and was going to visit her mother in St. Joe. Tia was struggling with a large suitcase and Hera went over to help her.

"What the heck do you have in there, Tia?" Hera giggled, "a body?"

"Nooooo, you silly jock. Actually, it's some new clothes for my mama and some books that she's been wanting to read. I bought them online at Amazon and wanted to surprise her.", she unzipped the bag and there were clothes with the tags still on and a bunch of hardcover books on an assortment of subjects.

"Wow, that's pretty cool. I'm gonna visit my folks today as well", she said with a smile on her face.

"You're gonna see the Admiral? Tell him I said hi! He was always a good Boss." She didn't mind the Admiral personally, as he was a fair and honest Boss to everyone on his ship. But she had no use for his Cylon wife.

"I will, Tia. You drive safe to St. Joe, OK?"

"Thanks, Mutt. Have a good flight up there!"

The books and clothes WERE going to her mother, but not today. The suitcase with the books and clothes had been a ruse in case anyone wondered where she was going. She headed back up to Loveland and the truck stop she had frequented Then she headed up to Sioux City.

If that Cylon only knew...
___________________________________________________________________________________________

President Costanza simply had run out of ideas as to how to combat the double whammy of the drought and the violence that was gripping his nation. The drought had eased slightly in the last two months as about four inches of rain had fallen, but it was hardly enough to quench the starving land.

The terrorism and the lack of success against it was what gave him the sleepless nights.

He had actually thought about resigning the office since he felt he had failed the people of his nation. They elected him to try and make their lives better but the last five years had been nothing but misery. But his belief in honor and duty had ended such thoughts quickly.

They just needed a break against these bastards who had begun this crap.

One positive piece of news is that he had heard from former American President Justin Bond. Kara's father had called him to show support for both him personally and his nation. Hotdog was grateful for the show of solidarity from a man he genuinely admired.

In fact, President Bond had arranged with the New Caprican State Department to visit Sioux City just after the first of the year and to publicly show his support for the government and for the New Caprican President. The former U.S leader was still wildly popular in New Caprica and the hope was that he could shore up the resolve of the people.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

VIII

"Here's the latest from CNN: The New Caprican State Department has announced that former United States President Justin Bond will make a formal visit to Sioux City on January 9th to show support for the tiny nation and its embattled President, Brendan Costanza..."

Tera Chance used her latest burner phone to call Xander. "Xander, I think we have a golden opportunity coming up." And she told him of the news on CNN. An hour later he and the top 6 lieutenants within The Cain Mutiny were huddled together.

"Damn", Tomas Sands mused, "Bond is coming here. And you can bet he and Costanza and Admiral Caprica will make at least one public appearance."

"Xander, this is what we've been hoping for-a real chance to maybe bring frack up the government and pop that Cylon", Tera said excitedly. "We can't pass this up."

"You're right, we can't. But we need to do more than just hit them in the Capitol. We need to hit them in a bunch of tender spots all around the same time. We need to make the people of New Caprica give up on the government for good."

"What do you have in mind, Boss", Sands asked delicately.

Xander Ukith simply smiled.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

December 30th, 2043

The message that Tia Morilio had received at her latest dead-drop was unusual. She was actually to meet someone at the truck stop in Loveland on her next jaunt towards Sioux City. That was unusual and it was also dangerous. She had never known who taped the messages on whatever bench was used in whatever park she was supposed to go to in Omaha. She didn't know who had the loaded, identical SUV waiting for her each time. Whoever was wanting to meet with her was taking a risk. The meeting was set up for late at night on her next full day off to try and make things a little more covert.

She sat at one of the booths and ordered a fried chicken sandwich and a root beer and waited. About ten minutes after she had ordered, someone sat down at her booth.

"Hello Ginger, it's been a while", she said with a smile to make it look like a normal conversation.

"It sure has my dear", Tera said in kind.

The waitress came by and Tera ordered a cheeseburger and a Doctor Pepper.

"So what can I do for you, Ginger?" Tia said delicately.

"You know our friend with the Mutt?" she said matter-of-factly.

"Yes, I remember her. What about her?"

"I'm afraid she's been in a bad accident, and indications are she won't make it", she said as if discussing the latest forecast, "A shame isn't it?"

Tia instantly knew what that meant and her eyes widened slightly at the magnitude of the message. "That's terrible. Do you want me to visit her?"

"Yes, that would be nice", the former Diana Seelix intoned, "Her doctor says she may not have beyond the 9th. I think she would love to see a friend."

"I do too. I'll have to stop by and see her then", Tia had a good poker face but her heart was racing at a million miles an hour.

"Please do. Your father would be grateful." At that moment their food came and they ate in relative silence with a little meaningless banter thrown in.

They got and left together. They got to Tia's SUV and drove about two miles south on a deserted road. Tia dropped Tera off at the designated spot. Another vehicle was sitting nearby that would take Tera back to her home.

"Remember, my dear, no later than the 9th?" and "Ginger" walked away.

Tia began to drive back towards Offutt, her hands visibly shaking on the wheel. The message had been clear:

Kill Hera Agathon by or on January 9th.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Two days later, Xander Ukith met with Lance McCourt in private. Lance had grown up on Tauron, and his family had a long, proud history in the military. He had participated in sharpshooting competitions back on The Colonies all those years ago and was an avid hunter even to this day. He was going to Florida for a short vacation.

"You have everything you need, Lance? Xander asked evenly.

"Yep, the trip's good to go." he nodded, "I think the hunting will be good down there."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 6th, 2044

The New Year had come in no better than the old one, President Costanza thought. It did seem the drought had moderated but wasn't near ending. They wouldn't be able to tell until Springtime when it was normally wet for a good two months to have a better idea.

He was preparing for a formal visit from the Forty-Sixth President of the United States, Justin Bond. The former president had asked to come to Sioux City to publicly show his support for Costanza's nation and for Hotdog himself. The two, along with the Mayor of Sioux City and Admiral Baltar, would hold a rally at the Tyson Event Center right off of I-29 near the Missouri River. The center held then thousand, and every seat was expected to be taken.

Security in the Capitol was extremely tight for the visit in three days. The Home Guard was being augmented by UED Marines and would be guarded overhead by UED Raptors out of Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. The Home Guard, with an assist from the FBI and even the U.S. Secret Service, had gone over Tyson Center and the five-block area on the three sides of it with a fine-tooth comb. They had come away satisfied with the security setup.

He had talked to the Chief of Police as well as Admiral Baltar and the New Caprican Home Guard to go over the security arrangements himself. He didn't want to leave anything to chance. He knew as every politician knew deep down, that anyone who wanted to do harm to him would find a way to do it. He could deal with someone going after just himself, but he didn't want any of his citizens or his guests to be targeted as well. As a former pilot and soldier, he knew there were risks in such situations.

By the time he turned in at 10:30 pm, he was exhausted and fell asleep in under ten minutes.

He didn't get to hear his 6:30 am alarm the next morning.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 7th, 2044

The town of New Madrid, Missouri had once seen some important history. New Madrid was nestled on the North bank of the Mississippi River at what is known as "The Kentucky Bend" of that meandering, monstrous river. 180 years earlier during the American Civil War, a series of battles had taken place between Union and Confederate forces in that area. One of the key battles was the Battle of Island Number Ten, a small Island that the Mississippi had long since swallowed up. The battle had been a key that had allowed the Union Army to control the Mississippi all the way to Vicksburg, Mississippi, setting up the capture of that River fortress that helped break the back of the Confederacy.

It hadn't seen much history since.

Just South and West of the city lay four large pipelines that moved South to North. At the Southern end in Alabama and Mississippi, were large desalination plants where water was fed into the pipeline. At the other end of the main lines sat Des Moines, Iowa and Sioux City, New Caprica. New lines were being built that would head to Topeka, Kansas and just due east of Sioux City but they were at least two years away from completion.

It was around 3 am and the only sounds were the usual around the Mississippi: frogs, crickets and the birds of the night chirping away. Occasionally if one was lucky they could hear a coyote howl in the night. But the normal tranquility had been putting babies and their parents to sleep for generations.

The tranquility was broken with four thunderous explosions that broke glass up to seven or eight miles away. The sky was lit up with bright yellow and orange balls of flames that went several hundred feet in the air at their zenith. The entire New Madrid was wide awake and almost everyone was in the streets five minutes later. Fire departments from New Madrid and a few surrounding communities were called in response to the explosions. The biggest fear was that the flames would set the tinder-like grass, shrubs, and trees in the area on fire.

The Chief of Police and the County Sheriff were on the scene within ten minutes. The fire departments had responded swiftly and were busy hosing down the trees and the verge. Within fifteen minutes of their arrival, the Sheriff called the Governor of Missouri and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Twenty minutes later, President Costanza was wakened from a dead sleep. Usually, anyone waking a president would do so gently but not this time. Like every government, New Caprica had a "Situation Room" that was manned 24/7/365 to keep abreast of any emergencies within the country and outside its borders as well. In case of a crisis, the Command center needed to be able to inform the Chief of State.

Now was such a moment.

The door flew open to his bedroom and light from the hallway temporarily blinded him. Before he could speak whoever at the door was already ahead of him.

"Mr. President!", the Home Guard Officer On Duty blurted breathlessly, "We've just received reports from the U.S that both water pipelines have been sabotaged on the Missouri-Kentucky border!"

"Those frackin' terrorists!", the President was instantly and fully awake and in a fit of rage. "Colonel do we know anything else?"

"Yes sir", he said gaining his composure and looking down at a piece of teletype that he had brought along with him, "apparently four explosions took place just West of New Madrid, Missouri and took out both main pipelines. Initial reports are that about two thousand feet of both pipelines were destroyed."

"Anything else?" He asked, already knowing the answer.

"Yes, Mr. President. The Cain Mutiny has claimed responsibility", he said as evenly as he could.

"Of course they have", the President said with a strange streak of sarcasm.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

The computerized phone in Helo and Athena's bedroom started ringing. It was on Helo's side for obvious reasons. He looked over at the clock and saw the time. This had better be good or someone's ass is in the brig he thought without humor.

"This is the Admiral", he said as Athena started to wake up.

"Sir, Mitchell at Signals. We just received a Code Red message from Admiral Hoshi."

Admiral Agathon sat bolt upright in his bed, "Ensign Mitchell, can you repeat that? Did you-you say Code Red?" At this hour it had to be critical.

"Aye Admiral. We checked it twice. Code Red, sir", the young woman said with concern.

"OK, thanks, Mitchell, send it to my quarters right now."

"Already on the way sir", and the line went dead.

"Code Red?", Athena was also fully awake, "What the hell is going on?"

"I'm about to find out. I'm going to my office and see what Hoshi has to say", he said, knowing the thought of any more sleep had just vanished for the night.

"OK, I'll get some coffee for both of us", and she headed toward the kitchen.

Karl lit up his secured laptop and opened the Code Red from Hoshi. The words hit him like an electric shot. "Holy shit!", he said in alarm, then ran into the kitchen, "Honey, forget the coffee for me, I need to get to CIC right now!"

Athena followed him out to the office, "Karl you're scaring me, what is going on?"

"The Cain Mutiny just blew the water pipelines in Missouri." He said putting his shoes on.

"Oh my God, Karl", she said with more than a little fear in her voice. "That's no small target."

"You got that right. Honey, I'll see you later", and he rushed out the door.

"ADMIRAL ON DECK!" shouted the night duty officer, and everyone came to attention. The Night Squad rarely saw the Admiral or the XO and they also knew a Code Red had been issued so they were wide awake.

"As you were, everyone. Mr. Berry, wake the XO and get him up here", he said as he arrived at his normal station, "Sound general quarters. Set Condition One throughout the ship. This is not, I repeat not a drill."

He knew the klaxon for General Quarters at 0400 would be a cruel way to wake the ship up but now wasn't the time for subtlety. He needs everyone awake and on the job ASAP.

The klaxons went off, followed by the voice of Mr. Berry, "General Quarters, General Quarters, all crew to your stations; Set Condition One throughout the ship. This is no drill. Repeat, this is no drill", which continued for five minutes. Rudi Beck was in CIC in under four minutes.

"What the hell is going on Boss?" he said with sleepy eyes.

"Read", Helo said with no preamble.

"Mein Gott," the XO said, momentarily slipping into his native tongue. "Those bastards", he breathed.

"Couldn't have said it better, Reaper. Let me talk to the ship."

"Yes, Admiral", and Beck put him on ship-wide.

"Attention all hands, this is Admiral. I'm sorry to wake all of you up from your beauty sleep, but we have a serious situation developing. Approximately ninety minutes ago, four explosions took out about 2000 yards of the water pipelines running from the Gulf of Mexico to the American Midwest and New Caprica. The Cain Mutiny has taken responsibility. New Caprican President Costanza has issued a State of Emergency for the nation. American President Eliza Walker has also put the U.S. Military on a higher state of readiness.

"Admiral Hoshi has ordered us to send our Raptors down to augment a beefed up Patrol in New Caprica and other areas of the American Midwest and to also patrol along the route of the pipeline to keep an eye out for any further signs of sabotage", he paused for a moment to collect his breath, "I also want all Falcons on a ten-minute ready alert in case we get any orders of increased terrorist activity. As more information comes in, I'll let you know, Agathon out."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Justin Bond was wakened by Signals at The Gray House at 0500. He was briefed on the events in Missouri and was told that President Jackson would call him when she could.

"Justin you need to cancel your trip to Sioux City", his wife said with some alarm. A law passed in the U.S. About three decades earlier had mandated that former U.S. President's lose their Secret Service protection ten years after leaving office, so he didn't have their expertise anymore.

"Honey, I can't do that. That will send the signal that terrorism can change who and what we are, and I refuse to let them do that.", he said with his stubborn streak of duty kicking in. "I'll be all right, babe, I promise."

"Damn it, Justin I don't like the idea of you going in there!." She rarely got mad at her husband but she had every right to be nervous and he knew it.

"Honey, I get it. But the New Caprican Home Guard, UED, and even some U.S. Special Forces will be there. We'll be fine."

Her husband was as stubborn as she was. She wasn't going to argue with him further about it, but she had needed to put her thoughts on the record. She could never doubt his courage. She wondered about his common sense on occasion.

They weren't big arguers with each other and never had been, but this was as lively as they had ever gotten. There was no swearing at each other or any such nonsense, just two people fiercely devoted to each other talking out a serious issue.

After going back and forth for about a half hour, Judith gave her blessing to him going to Sioux City.

"I've made my point, Justin, but I know I can't change your mind. And I understand why you feel you need to go, but for God's sake if you do go through with this just be as careful as you can-for my sake?" She said stoically.

He went over and wrapped his arms around his wife, "You know I will, babe. There are times when you need to stand up against evil and this is one of them."

"I'll bet you say that to all your women", she said with mock sternness, trying to lighten the mood a little.

"How'd you know?", he said, winking at her. She half-playfully slugged him on his arm.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Tera Chance made a brief trip to visit a friend of hers in Ames, Iowa that evening. She had visited Ames on a number of occasions and always liked the college atmosphere that Iowa State brought to the area. Chance had dropped off some items that he had requested she bring with her for the visit, and she was happy to do so.

She had dinner at her friend's apartment. They had met about seven months ago in Sioux City and had hit it off immediately. He was two years younger than she was, and they got together whenever they could.

After dinner, they had walked around the campus, enjoying the crisp night air and each others' company. Taking that after-dinner stroll had invigorated both of them, and when they returned to the apartment, they took advantage of their new-found energy.

Tera spent the night in the warmth of his bed. From the time she had been imprisoned on the Astral Queen until she had met this man, she had slept alone for all those years. She reveled in the feeling of a warm, male body next to her.

Around 7 am, she woke. He was already up and had gone into the kitchen for a cup of morning Joe. She clamored out of the bed and walked into the dining area where he was reading the news on his laptop.

He looked up as she came into the room, and had to do a double-take, as she was standing naked before him, "Uh, you forget something, Tera?", he said with an interested grin on his face.

"Nope, didn't forget a thing, Roger", she smiled back at him, walking right up to him. Roger forgot about the coffee for the next hour or so.

By noon she was heading back to Sioux City, feeling happy and satisfied for more than one reason.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

IX

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8TH 2043

9:00 AM, Presidential Mansion, Sioux City.

"So President Bond's visit is still on?", Admiral Baltar asked Brendan Costanza. She and the Sioux City Chief of Police were meeting with the New Caprican President less than 24 hours after the bombings had ripped apart huge sections of the water pipeline in Missouri. Even though the pipeline had only marginal effect against the drought, it was a symbol of the resolve of two nations to fight the five-year-old plague. It had shaken people in both countries.

"Yes it is, Caprica", the New Caprican President replied, "He's a man that isn't intimidated by the bad guys, that much is certain."

"He's been in combat, Admiral", Chief Lawrence Sullivan offered, "just like the three of us. Once you've seen the elephant in the room it doesn't scare you as much. I know", he held his hand up, "I would rather never have to deal with any of that crap again but running away from it won't help either. He understands that."

"The American FBI has been combing through the old Galactica prison files from after the coup attempt", Admiral Baltar said, looking down at the latest information she had. "Of the almost one thousand people that were released after arriving on Earth, three hundred and twenty-seven are deceased; another five hundred have been accounted for, and the rest have fallen off the grid."

"In other words, they could be dead or alive", the President noted, "or they changed their identities at some point. A lot of people did that simply to start life over again, but I bet there are more than a few who wanted to get rid of their names for good reason."

"Has The Bureau sorted out names of people who may have fallen off the grid recently-say in the last year or eighteen months?", the Chief asked.

"No, Larry, I didn't see any information as to when someone's name disappeared", Caprica informed him, "But I'm sure it's possible to have it broken down like that. Want me to call Richmond right now and see if they can break it down for us?"

"That might be helpful', Hotdog contemplated, "It may not mean anything. Some people obviously changed their name right after arriving and it wouldn't be a definite sign of anything suspicious, but right now we need to find that needle in a haystack."

Caprica left the room to call The Bureau in Richmond. She was advised that it wouldn't take more than thirty minutes for the information to be chronologically laid out. She asked them to send the information to her immediately after they were finished.

President Costanza delayed the meeting until the FBI could send over the information. It ended up taking about forty-five minutes to arrive. Caprica went into her office in the Presidential Mansion and made a scan of the list. A majority of the people listed had changed their names shortly after arriving on Earth and about forty percent of those had informed the New Caprican government of the name change. That pretty much eliminated those people.

From there she decided to a reverse chronological check to see if any names of interest had dropped off the grid in the last year. It wasn't hard to tell. People that had been paying bills, who had jobs and who paid taxes and suddenly the trail on them went cold meant that they either changed their identity covertly or they had simply decided to disappear.

She scrolled down to the bottom of the list, showing the names of people who had apparently had vanished in one form or another within the last 18 months. Most of the names didn't mean anything to her. Two names showed up fairly close together that caught her attention. She didn't place the name at first as they simply sounded familiar. Then she pulled up the last known driver's license image for both.

"Oh my God", the Admiral whispered.

She printed a copy of the names and the photographs and raced over to the President's office.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:40 PM, Offutt Air Force Base

Lieutenant Hera Agathon and her Raptor partner Anthony Rapp had both had the day off and had gone into Omaha for lunch. They were good friends and spent a lot of time together when "off the clock". It wasn't a romantic relationship but they greatly enjoyed each other's company. Anthony had a Metallic Red 2040 Chevy Camaro and always got looks when Tony drove around in it.

They were just returning when they say Tia Morilio getting ready to depart the base in her black 2042 Toyota Creseda SUV. They both knew that every chance Tia had she went to visit her mother in Northwest Missouri. They pulled up next to her.

"Hey, Fantasma! What's cookin'?" Yelled Tony. "Another trip to St. Joe?"

"Hey, guys. Yeah, still trying to make up for all that lost time with mom for all these years", she said with a smile. "Where were you guys?"

"We grabbed a bite to eat in Omaha. Beats base food", Hera said with a big grin.

"Yeah, no shit!", and they all laughed.

"How long you going for, girl?", Rapman inquired.

"I should be back tomorrow afternoon", she informed them, "I hear we're all on duty for Tuesday when Justin Bond visits Sioux City."

"Yeah, nothing like a bunch of politicians getting together to keep you from relaxing", Tony winked at both of them.

"Hey Tia", Hera asked, changing the subject momentarily, "I've always liked your SUV. How's it handle?"

"I love it, Mutt", she said honestly, "it's quiet, smooth and I haven't had any problems with it since I got it."

"I was just curious", Hera replied, "maybe I'll get something like that some day."

"You won't regret it, kid", Tia smiled, "Hey guys I have to hit the road. I'll see ya tomorrow evening." and she began to pull away.

Hera did a double-take as the back end of Tia's SUV went by. She had seen it go by plenty of times, but...

"Funny, Tony", she said watching the rear of Tia's SUV as it pulled away, "I thought there was a decal with the dealership logo on the back of her vehicle? You know, that Toyota dealership in Omaha that has the really long name"?

"Yeah, I can't quite remember it either? I see their ads all the time on the tube."

"I swear she said that's where she bought it, and I swear it had the decal on the back."

"I've never noticed one way or another Hera, to be honest", he admitted, "maybe it's one of those things that were there and just seemed part of the car."

"Yeah I guess you're right, Rapman", she said, wondering why she had even brought it up. Tony was right. Very seldom did she pay attention to such things, and she put it out of her mind.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"Diana Seelix and Noel Allison?", Admiral Louis Hoshi said with stunned alarm. President Costanza had just told him of the results in finding who among those that had been imprisoned on the Astral Queen had simply dropped off public record roles recently.

"You got it, Louis", confirmed Hotdog, "both within the last eighteen months it seems. Coincidence?"

"It could be, Brendan", the Admiral offered, "but it would be a helluva coincidence. What do we know about them before they fell off the grid?"

He could hear the President rustle a few pieces of paper, "Let me see...OK, Narcho had been living in an apartment in Sergeant Bluff up until about sixteen months ago. Around that time he was laid off by Sutherland Heavy Equipment; they manufactured farm equipment. Obviously, the drought hit the business hard. We called the apartment complex and they confirmed he moved out right around that time. He had been using two different credit cards at the time but they went silent right around the same time as well."

"Seelix?"

"Seelix had been living over in Cherokee, which is due East of Sioux City. She had owned a farm, apparently. She lived at the address in Cherokee since right after the War in '27. She sold the farm last September. Three credit cards that were used on a regular basis have also not been used since."

"Those two were in deep with Felix and Zarek during the coup attempt. Narcho never forgave me for blocking him from shooting down Roslin and Athena when they fled to the Baseship", Hotdog recalled, "Last time I saw him was just before he was taken to the Astral Queen and he verbally let loose on me for that incident."

"I've got Diana's military file in front of me, Brendan", Hoshi rustled some more papers, "she was one of the few who refused to go back into the cockpit for the mission against The Colony; she worked as a Mechanic on The Bucket for a while after she was released from prison; she then got a transfer to Offutt and resigned there the day after the war ended."

"I remember when she worked back in the hangars on Galactica. She was pretty much shunned by everyone else back then. No one that was left wanted anything to do with her", the former Viper pilot mentioned, "I also remember talking to Starbuck shortly after the war and she mentioned Seelix had worked at Offutt but never talked to her when she saw her."

"Has the Home Guard begun searching for them?", UED's Boss inquired. Police in Sioux City and law enforcement throughout New Caprica, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas had been given old Colonial Fleet photographs of the two former jocks.

"They have, but it is like finding a needle in a haystack."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

2:00 PM, Sioux City.

Lieutenant Morilio made her usual detour to the truck stop in Loveland. She had lunch then got back into a black Toyota Creseda and headed to Sioux City. It was the last run she would make before her deadline in two days. Her SUV this day was full of rounds for the M4A1's that the mutineers had acquired.

She had changed her plans and decided to get back to Offutt that night if she could. It was 2 pm when she arrived in Sioux City and wanted to get back to the base before dark. She really didn't want even the slightest hint of any impropriety that anyone like Captain Yarkova could point to after the shit hit the fan in a few days. Since the drive to St. Joe from Omaha was roughly the same as that to Sioux City she could simply tell someone that her when she arrived her mom wasn't feeling good and had asked her to come back next week.

It was about 4:15 pm when she arrived back in the Officers parking area at Offutt.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

4:15 PM, Offutt Air Force Base

"Hey Mutt", Anthony Rapp knocked on Hera's door and stuck his head inside, "Can you do me a quick favor?"

"Sure Rapman, what's up?" She said, looking up from her computer screen.

"The Colonel wants to see me about something, and I just realized that I left my cell phone in my car. Can you run out and get it for me?", he asked politely, "I don't want to keep the Colonel waiting, you know?"

Hera smiled at that remark, "Not unless you have a death with, Tony. Sure, I'll run out there for you."

"Great!", he flipped her the key fob to the Camaro. "You remember where I parked?"

"Yeah, I got it, Rapp. Go see the Colonel you bum!", she said with a laugh.

Hera put on her shoes and headed out to the parking lot. It wouldn't take her long to finish the errand. As she got out towards Anthony's car, she saw Tia coming back into the parking lot. Didn't she say she was coming back tomorrow? She waved at the other Raptor jock to stop.

"I thought you weren't coming back till tomorrow?", she inquired.

"That was the plan but when I got to mom's she had a bad migraine and asked me if I could come back next weekend. She was fine when I called her this morning but she said it hit her suddenly earlier this afternoon."

"She all right?", Hera said with some concern.

"Yeah, she's good", replied Lieutenant Morilio with assurance, "I stayed for about thirty minutes to make sure it wasn't anything more. She's OK, thanks for asking."

"OK, sorry you had to cut it short. I know how much you love visiting your mom." Hera said genuinely.

"Thank, kid, I appreciate it. I'll see you on the flight line in the morning", she waved and began to drive off.

Hera looking at the SUV as it again drove away from her. It WAS a nice vehicle. I wouldn't mind having one of those...

She stopped in mid-thought. As the SUV was pulling away...

"There's a goddamn decal's on the back!", she said out loud, quietly startled. "There wasn't one on there this morning, I know it!"

She had an odd feeling when she didn't see the decal that morning because and was sure that Tia's SUV had one. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up on end. Something was definitely not right about all this. She needed to confide in someone about this.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

X

Admiral Agathon was just finishing dinner with his wife in their quarters and was preparing to head out to CIC for a few hours before the end of the evening. "Another excellent dinner, Athena", he said, washing the last of it down with an ice water, "Chicken Parmesan. Gods you gotta love Italian food!", he said with a satisfied smile.

"Judith Bond gave me the recipe a few years back. The kicker is how she seasons it.", Athena said in reply. Right then the phone terminal lit up. The LED screen stated the incoming call was from Offutt Air Force Base. That piqued Helo's interest.

"Admiral Agathon.", he said formally.

"Dad?" It was Hera and she sounded a little unsettled.

"Hey, Hera, something wrong honey?, the Admiral said. The mention of their daughter's name instantly turned Athena's head.

"I'm not sure, to be honest. But something doesn't seem right to me and I need some advice."

"What can I help you with, sweetie?" He could hear a touch of fear in her voice.

"Not over the phone. Is there any way you can contact General Moran and request permission that would let me head up there ASAP? " Cloak and Dagger wasn't his daughter's game and Helo knew it. This had to be serious.

He replied slowly, "Sure, honey, I can do that." Think can be up here by 1900 your time?" He looked quickly at his watch. That was in two hours.

"If you get the OK, yeah, I can do that", she said with some relief, "I'll head back to my quarters and wait for them to call me. Thanks, dad", and the line went dead.

"Karl, something's wrong. What's going on with Hera?", she asked with alarm in her voice.

"I don't know babe, to be honest. She wants me to get a hold of Moran at Offutt and get her up here ASAP", he said, "other than that, I have no idea", and he filled her in on what their daughter had told him, "Let me call the General."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Twenty minutes later the phone rang in her quarters, "Lieutenant Agathon", she said as evenly as she could.

"Lieutenant, Signals", came a formal reply back, "Apparently your father has requested you head up to the Churchill. The Boss got a call from him a few minutes ago and cleared it. Your father didn't say if there was a family problem or anything", the Officer on the line added, "and he promised the General you would be back no later than the morning."

"Thank you, Captain, I appreciate it. Can you have the hangar get my bird ready?"

"I can do that, no problem, Lieutenant, have a good evening", and the line went dead.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"Churchill, Raptor 1171, requesting landing instructions", Hera was about five minutes out from landing.

"Raptor 1171 turn left course 136 mark 190 to starboard landing pod, checkers are green." Said the voice on the other end.

"Roger, 136 mark 190 Starboard, I've got green." And she lined up her vessel. It was a perfect landing and within a few moment, she was heading to her parents' quarters.

Both of them were waiting for her and, naturally, her mother got to her first, "Hey honey, your call worried us, how are you?"

"Personally? I'm fine mom, but something weird is going on", she turned and gave her dad a hug and a kiss.

"So what's going on?" They all sat down and Helo inclined his head for her to talk.

"Dad, what do you know about Tia Morilio?", she asked directly.

"Fantasma?", he said with mild surprise. "Excellent pilot; never had any problems up here. I've heard she's done well down there. Why do you ask?"

She began to tell her folks about Tia's trips to St. Joe just about every weekend. For most of her litany, there was nothing unusual until she got to the events of the day.

"When she left this morning and drove ahead of Tony and I, I told Tony that I thought there was a dealership decal on the rear of the SUV, and there wasn't on this one...you know the ones I'm talking about?"

"Yeah, I know of them. What's so unusual about that?", her mother spoke up ahead of her husband.

"Just after four Tony had asked me to retrieve his phone from his car. As I got out to the lot, Tia was pulling in. She said her mom was sick and had to come back early. I didn't think anything of it. Until she drove off after we were done talking."

What happened then, Hera?", her dad moved forward in his chair.

"When she went by...there was a dealership decal on the back." Her eyes went a little wider.

"Wait a minute, you think she was driving a different SUV?" Now Helo started to feel the hairs on the back of his neck.

"I don't know. But even Tony said he didn't see the logo this morning. I even asked him just before I left on the Raptor to confirm he hadn't seen it", she said with some trepidation, "I didn't go any further in telling him what was up."

"Karl that sounds very strange", his wife said looking over at him.

"Dad, do you know anything about her other than what you told me? Maybe her family background?" She again asked a point-blank question.

"I never bothered to look, to be honest, anyone who is with UED has to clear a background check. Give me a few I can make a search in the UED files about her and see if there's anything in there", he offered, "the two of you can't view what I pull up, as you know personal records are for eyes-only. Give me a couple minutes on this."

The ladies went into the living room while Karl did the search. He pulled up her files and began scanning them. Thirty-five years old...born on Picon...mother Carmen Morilio...mom currently living in St. Joseph, Missouri...

He thought it was strange that there was no mention of her father. "Could mean he died before the war, or when the war started", he said softly, almost to himself, "Let me look at mom's information." It didn't happen a lot, but sometimes a mother would keep the father's name off the certificate if they didn't have a good relationship.

He requested the files on one Carmen Morilio and began reading those. OK, mom...also from Picon...left on the Thera Sita during the Holocaust ... her father was in the Picon then the Colonial Marines...complained to her Quorum rep about the Cylons in the fleet, hell everyone did that...never married but had two kids...only the mother signed the birth certificate...

"Hmpf", Helo said in a whisper. There had to be a way to find out who the father was. Then an idea struck him. He called Hoshi who was at Gateway Sioux Airport at the UED Station in that city, where the rally would take place tomorrow.

"Louis, can I ask a question of you?", he said hoping for an answer in the affirmative.

"Ask away, Karl", the UED Boss leaned back in his chair.

"Correct me if I'm wrong", he began, working his idea in his mind, "But we have DNA samples of everyone currently with UED, don't we?"

"Yes, we have DNA for everyone who serves in the Fleet. The biggest reason that if...well, if someone is killed and is beyond recognition, we can still identify them."

"That's what I thought", he took it a step further, "Any chance we have DNA for everyone that served on Galactica or Pegasus after the Holocaust?" Come through for me, Louis...

"We do, Helo", Hoshi confirmed, "Everyone one who sailed with either ship or who were in the civilian fleet had DNA samples taken, for the same reason", he paused for a moment, wondering what this was about.

"I know this takes high clearance, and you're as high as things go at UED, but can you check the DNA of an Officer serving at Offutt? Her mother was the only parent who signed the birth certificate when she was born twenty-seven years ago, and it's imperative that we find out who the father is?"

"Why do you need this information, Karl?, Hoshi asked, genuinely perplexed.

Helo went through the story of Tia Morilio and the SUV and the fact that her mother had not put the father's name on the certificate of birth.

"That's asking a lot, Karl, but that is damned odd if you ask me.", he mused, "With all the crap that's been going on in that area with that frackin' Cain Mutiny, it couldn't hurt to see what turns up", but he put a condition on what he was going to do. "If the test turns up anything that might be suspicious, I will contact you. If not, you won't hear about this again. Fair enough."

"Yes, Admiral, I understand", he sighed, "How long for the tests to be completed?"

"We have to take the mother's DNA and the child's and then we can determine the DNA of the father. From there the computer can get a match within minutes. I can have one of our people start the test in a few minutes."

"Thank you, Admiral, I appreciate your efforts." He gave that thin smile as Louis hung up.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

It actually took Hoshi about a half hour to get back to Helo. Karl had felt like it had been an eternity. When his phone chirped and he saw it was Hoshi, he made sure the door to the living quarters was shut.

"Admiral Agathon", Karl said formally.

"Karl, I apologize for taking a little longer.", he said, and then continued, "I won't beat around the Bush, Helo: I called the FBI, the New Caprican Home Guard and Caprica, and then General Pembers at Offutt and informed them they need to pick up Lieutenant Morilio."

That turned Karl another shade of pale, "What the hell did your find, Louis?", he said in general astonishment.

"You're not going to believe this, Helo..."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XI

Athena, Hera, and Samuel were in the family quarters, waiting to hear something from Karl in his Admiral's office. They were trying to keep the atmosphere as light as they could, which under the circumstances, wasn't very effective. Karl had taken Athena aside and updated her on what was going on and the request he had made to Hoshi.

Suddenly, all three of them heard Helo scream at the top of his lungs, "GAGE YOU SON ON A BITCH!"

The other three Agathon's jumped in their seats. Hearing the name "Gage", had instantly brought that thug's face into her mind; when he had beaten Karl and Galen on Pegasus; when he had again beaten Karl during the coup attempt. The second she heard the name, she raced into Karl's office.

"Gage? That perverted bastard?", she said, almost as pale as her husband was. She almost never cursed in front of her children, but the mention of that maniac had shaken her, "Why are you screaming his name like that!"

He filled her in on the request he had made to Hoshi, and how the DNA match had turned up the information on Emil Gage.

"Karl", Athena said with some urgency, "Hera can't go back to Offutt tonight, you know that?"

Hera had watched her parents go back and forth as if watching a tennis match and couldn't take it anymore. "What are you two talking about?", she said with more than a little fear in her voice.

They filled her in on Gage's sordid history. Hera began having a really bad feeling about of this.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

10:00 PM, Downtown Sioux City

Tomas Sands was driving a truck in downtown Sioux City at around 10 pm. He had finagled a fake ID under an alias and had landed this job with a trucking delivery company a few weeks before. A friend of his had been working for the company for years and was easily able to get him the job.

His friend, who was going by the name Josiah Fleming these days was the Assistant Manager at the trucking company. He had been with the company since 2031 and had an impeccable record with his employer. He was also a former Marine from Galactica who had been imprisoned for joining the uprising against Bill Adama and like Xander and Tera, had changed his name upon being released.

They were delivering some additional floodlights to The Tyson Events Center, which were to be affixed to the rafters of the facility, just forward of the stage that had been constructed. TV Crews from New Caprican and American news outlets had done a stage check about 5 pm and had advised security that they would need more lighting. Not many people realized how bright TV lights were, even in this day and age, and the experts had determined that there wasn't enough lighting forward of the stage, so the call had gone out for more flood lights.

They arrived shortly after 10 pm, and the New Caprican Home Guard inspected their vehicle from front to back, under the entire chassis and every area where explosives might be found. The security guards had asked them to turn on the dome light in the storage compartment of the vehicle, but it didn't work. Tomas even offered to have the security person try it himself. It definitely was burnt out. Nothing was found except floodlights in the back of the box truck and a pair of Pepsi's in the cab. They passed into the receiving dock with the lights and the necessary equipment that went with them.

They were able to drive directly out to the floor of the arena. With the call for more lighting, the fifteen rows of folding chairs had been pushed out of the way to accommodate the work that needed to be done. The truck was backed to within about 10 feet of the stage where a set of pulleys had been rigged to lift the lighting to the rafters to be fitted into place.

The boxes for the lights weren't necessarily heavy, but they were bulky, so one man stayed in the truck to move the boxes to the rear edge of the vehicle, where another man would then take the box, unpack the light, then attach the fixture to the pulley system where a worker above would set the lights into the appropriate places.

It was harder with the dome light in the back out, but the man inside the truck didn't mind. In fact, it was a dome light but had been disconnected weeks ago. The fixture could be removed with simply a twist, and there were handles that had been installed from the dome light area to either end of the vehicle. A simple pull brought the ceiling of the vehicle down. In the top of the vehicle, in that false ceiling contraption, was eighty pounds of Semtex, each of them in four-pound pound blocks. Twenty floodlights had been ordered, so one block of Semtex was put in each of the boxes that contained the floodlights. Once on the floor, the worker assigned to that area would take the light out of the box, affix it to the pulley and away it would go.

He would move each box directly in front of the center of the stage. At the bottom of the stage was a 10 x 6 ventilator grill, on of twelve such grills that had been constructed in the stage so the structure wouldn't overheat. The box would be tilted on its side, open-side toward the grill.

Xander Ukith had entered the arena earlier that day with the help of his friend Josiah. He had carefully made his way that afternoon to the rear of the stage. The men and women who had constructed the stage had put swinging openings in six spots in the back, where they would deposit boxes and other leftovers from the construction, to be safely out of the way, and easily cleaned up after the rally had concluded.

He could remove the grill with a simple tug, and he did so when the first box was laid in front of him. He would pull the block of Semtex out, lay it behind him, and put the grill back in place. His accomplice outside by the truck would then slide that box away after the light had been sent aloft, and they would repeat the process twenty times. After all of the lights had been hoisted, Xander had stayed underneath, where he attached each block of explosives to a pre-planned position under the stage. From there he would attach blasting caps to each block of the plastique, and hooked up a sensor that was itself wired into a remote detonator. It took him about forty minutes to accomplish that task.

The rest of the crew had remained near the stage for that amount of time. Xander lightly tapped on the wood stage which was the signal that he was done. Another plant of his was stationed by the back of the stage and they were able to make their way innocuously around toward the truck when the vehicle was ready to depart.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

10:15 PM, Offutt Air Force Base

Within minutes of Hoshi's call, things began to move in and around the Air Base.

Admiral Hoshi filled in The Bureau about Hera's story and requested that they investigate the possible use of more than one SUV by Morilio. With even the slightest possibility of a connection to terrorist activity, and on the eve of Justin Bond's visit to Sioux City, the Bureau moved swiftly. They had the MP's at Offutt quietly go out to the SUV in question and get the VIN number from under the front windshield. The FBI would then run that VIN and see who the vehicle belonged to.

It didn't take long for the VIN to turn up results: the SUV was registered to a Tomas Sands in Sioux City. Records on Mr. Sands indicate that he had pretty much vanished off the grid about a year before after losing his job due to the drought. He had two credit cards that had been used regularly, but activity had suddenly stopped about the time he became unemployed. No other information was available.

They had also roused the owner of the Toyota dealer and escorted him to his place of work to determine if Tia Morilio had bought a similar SUV there.

She had. But it wasn't the one she had been driving that evening.

The Bureau couldn't arrest the Lieutenant for any crime: for all they knew none had been committed, but the fact that the possibility of more than one black Toyota Creseda was being driven by the subject, and the fact that it had been positively concluded that her father had been a known conspirator in Felix Gaeta's coup attempt aboard Galactica and had been executed for his crimes, had sent alarm bells ringing.

At about 11:30 pm, the Bureau asked General Pembers if his MP's could detain Lieutenant Morilio on the base until the FBI Field Office Director could gather the information he had and head to Offutt. They were ordered that if she resisted to NOT use lethal force if at all possible.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XII

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9TH, 2044

12:05 AM, Offutt Air Force Base

Tia Morilio had been watching some TV and wasn't quite ready to go to bed. In fact, she felt her stomach grumbling a bit and wanted to head down to the 24/7 mess to grab a late-night snack before turning in. She had a busy morning planned.

She headed out into the hallway and turned right out of her quarters for the 2-minute walk to the mess. She was dressed in khaki pants and a sleeved green t-shirt, apparently without a care in the world. She was calmly going over in her mind how she would carry out her mission against Hera Agathon and also try to escape at the same time. She had pretty much worked that out.

As she turned left around the next corner, she saw two MP's headed her way, their M4A1's in front of them in the muzzle down position as was standard practice. She saw the MP's all the time, all over the compound and paid them no real notice. Then their weapons tilted up towards a neutral position and they were both looking straight at her.

Her military training kicked in at that moment as reflexively as simply breathing. She had a new-issue Warrior Pistol in its holster on her right side. She had thought of whipping the weapon out when they had moved more aggressively toward her, but that would only create suspicion. That's the last thing they wanted.

"Lieutenant Morilio, will you come to us to General Pember's office, please?", the female MP said politely.

"Why? What is this about?", she asked, really not knowing what was afoot.

"The General will explain when we get there", the male MP added, "For now, can you surrender your weapon?"

She knew the drill, and without any further protest, she gave them the holster and they led her to The Boss's office.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

2:00 AM Eastern Time, Aboard the Battlestar Winston Churchill.

Admiral Agathon was in his quarters with his family when the computerized phone chirped at him. He picked up after the first ring.

"Admiral Agathon", he said with tense formality in his voice.

"Admiral, this is General Pembers at Offutt", the man said urgently. "I'm calling to let you know that a short while ago, our MP's arrested Lieutenant Morilio. Two MP's brought her to my office and I had someone from The Bureau in there with me. They informed her they had some questions for her and nothing else."

Karl breathed a small sigh of relief, "Find out anything about the SUV?"

The General rustled a few papers in front of him, "Found out this vehicle is owned by one Tomas Sands, who was last on the grid in Sioux City about a year ago and fell off. He's from Earth, which is all we really have right now. No other information yet."

"So by all accounts, it's not Fantasma's car, is it?"

"It definitely isn't her vehicle. The VIN's don't match up, Admiral."

"With your permission, General, I'd like to keep Lieutenant Agathon here until morning. It's been a long day for her, and I'd rather her try to get a good night's sleep instead of flying down this late."

"Permission granted, Admiral", feeling slightly awkward granting permission to an officer of higher rank, but understanding why the Admiral had asked, "I think it might be safer for her at the moment. We'll be interrogating her all night long and when I have more info, I'll call, oh, around 7 am if that's OK with you, sir."

"That sounds fine, General. Thank your MP's for me, and I thank you for the courtesy of letting Hera spend the night with her family."

"It's my pleasure, Admiral", Pembers said cordially, "Tell her to rest up. Tomorrow could be a busy day."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

5:00 AM, Sioux City.

"OK, everyone is in place", Xander Ukith informed the top members of The Cain Mutiny, "We have several attacks scheduled for the next few hours. Most of you don't know what they are, that way if somehow you get captured, you'll have plausible deniability.

Tomas Sands spoke up next, "The event with Costanza, Bond, and Admiral Baltar is slated for 11 am inside the Tyson Events Center."

"I'm issuing everyone who is part of this new burner phones that we've bought over the last month. None of them have been used. The phone numbers that are important if you need to contact anyone has been loaded", Tera Chance informed all of them, "Please make sure you don't have any personal cell's with you?", she said with a wry smile.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

5:00 AM, FBI Field Office, Omaha, Nebraska

It was nearing 5 am in Omaha. Tia Morilio had been awake all night, constantly under surveillance and constantly being questioned by the FBI. They had found out quite a bit from her. She had no idea how they had found out enough to haul her in for this interrogation.

Around 1:30 am, The Bureau began the grilling. They knew by her actions at Offutt that she was probably guilty of something: you just didn't shoot MP's for no reason. With all the information that they had gleaned from Hera, Helo, Hoshi and even President Costanza, they immediately played some serious hunches.

"Lieutenant, I'm Agent Cheryl Porter, FBI. I want to start with a few questions about your vehicle", she said formally. "You purchased a 2042 black Toyota Creseda SUV about a year or so ago, is that correct?

"Yes, that's correct", she said. She was a little frightened by the sudden turn of events but would be damned if she showed her fright to the damn Bureau.

"Where did you purchase that vehicle?", the next question followed.

"Midtown Omaha Toyota", just East of the University of Nebraska Medical Center". She said calmly again.

That matched up with the information they had received from the Toyota dealership. "The vehicle that we impounded tonight, is that your Creseda?"

"Of course it is, for god's sake. I bought it, I drive it. Who else would be driving it?", she said in genuine displeasure.

Agent Porter allowed a thin smile to cross her face. "That's interesting, Lieutenant because the Vehicle Identification Number says it belongs to a Mr. Tomas Sands in Sioux City.", she said in as flat a voice as she could manage. That had unsettled Tia, although she tried to hide it. Agent Porter had been doing this long enough to see the instant shock.

"I haven't a clue what you're talking about. That's my vehicle." Tia kept up the defense as defiantly as she could.

Agent Porter paused for a moment, then continued.

"Lieutenant, right now you're facing possible theft charges in driving a vehicle that is clearly not yours; we also are actively investigating you for charges of possible terrorism and complicity to terrorism."

Tia had gone pale with that sentence. How the hell did they find about any of this?

Agent Porter continued as if discussing what she had for dinner that night, "By the way, it came to our attention that the name of your father was not listed on your birth certificate. I'm told that on Picon a mother could do that if she so chose. Why she chose that, we don't know, but we now know your father was Specialist Emil Gage, and we know that he was part of the coup attempt against Admiral Adama and President Roslin."

Tia turned several more shades of pale. Her mother had left her father's name off the birth certificate because they had fought throughout their long, stormy relationship. Her father, she knew, had a terrible temper, and he had physically accosted her mother on more than one occasion, hence the reason his name wasn't on the birth certificate.

Once Gage had ended up onGalactica after the destruction of Pegasus, he had learned that she and her mother had been on the Thera Sita and went looking for them. He had left her mother alone, and he asked Carmen Morilio for permission to see Tia. Carmen had agreed, but only if Gage was on his best behavior around the girl.

Gage had kept a low profile in seeing his daughter. He didn't want anyone to know about his past physical altercations with Carmen and wanted his daughter to not have the stigma about that fall on her. When the coup began she was eleven as counted on Earth, and she had come to idolize her father, who had not once even raised his voice to her.

When he was executed, she felt her world had ended. She had to hide her bitterness and agony for all these years. She had decided the day he was shot that she would somehow avenge him and clear his name.

It hadn't worked out that way.

Agent Porter pulled out a manila folder and removed a piece of paper from it, "Specialist Emil Gage; assigned to the Battlestar Pegasus five months before the Cylon attack on The Colonies; Was reprimanded several years later for assaulting two Officers from the Battlestar Galactica; became a member of the Galactica crew after Pegasus was destroyed during the rescue of Colonists from the New Caprican settlement; served as a Marine Specialist on that ship as well; joined the attempted coup against Admiral William Adama and President Laura Roslin, serving at communications in CIC during the uprising; multiple witnesses reported he shot and killed approximately 11 members of the military, and also assaulted, again, the same officer that he had assaulted on Pegasus a few years earlier", the litany ended there, but she had one more point to drive home, "The Officer that your father assaulted twice was Karl Agathon, currently the Admiral on the Battlestar Winston Churchill."

The last sentence had been like a kick in the gut. Yes, she knew Agathon's daughter was half-Cylon, one reason she had agreed to help The Cain Mutiny in the first place. But the Admiral had never treated her bad, and to find out her father had done that to her former Boss overwhelmed her senses.

The effect of that litany against her father had completely taken the fight away from Tia.

"Lieutenant", Agent Porter brought her out of the brief trance she was in, "I want to show you a few photographs. I want you to be honest with me if you can. Do you recognize any of these faces?"

Tia regained her composure after a few minutes. The FBI agent had about 85 photographs in front of her; some from driver's licenses, some old military photos from the days of the Fleet. She went through them, with very few she recognized, but a few faces looked familiar.

She paused at a photograph. "This looks like someone I know", she said cautiously, not one hundred percent sure. It was an old Colonial Fleet ID photo of Noel Alison. "I think that is Xander Ukith", she had known that this interrogation would get rougher if she tried to hold out. But the dossier they had quickly gathered on her had stunned her into submission.

"Where do you know him from?", Porter said with a real show of interest for the first time, writing down the information she was hearing. The conversation was being recorded, of course, but Porter wanted to be thorough.

"He lives up in Sioux City. I met him twice when I was there. I'm not one hundred percent sure, but the eyes, the mouth...yes, I believe that's him."

"Who is he?", Porter followed up.

"I don't know exactly who he is, but I know he works for The Cain Mutiny.", she said dejectedly.

That made Porter's eyes go wide. "The Cain Mutiny?", she said with urgency.

"Yes. I don't know his exact role, but he's a part of it, I'm sure", she said with surrender in her voice.

"How did you become acquainted with The Cain Mutiny, may I ask?"

Tia confessed about her feelings after her father had been executed; and how, when finding out that Hera Agathon was on the same base as her, she had joined the terrorists if they would allow her to kill Hera.

Porter had been an Agent for years. The excitement she felt with The Bureau getting their first break against these bastards was masked beneath years of training. "Any others you recognize?", she said while hitting a hidden buzzer on the bottom of her desk to call in another agent.

After a minute or two she saw the picture of a red-haired Diana Seelix, "This looks like a lady I know named Tera, Tera Chance."

"Where did you meet her", Porter asked as Agent Brett Franklin entered the room.

"I met her first on an internet chat site where people discussed current events,", she gave the agent the name of the website, "She went by the handle Ginger on there. That's the first contact I had with her."

"Did you ever actually meet her?", the other Agent, Brett Franklin chimed in.

"Yes, I met her a few times in Sioux City, and alone twice", she said, not holding back, feeling as though she would throw up at any moment.

"Where did you meet her, exactly?", Brett Franklin asked.

"I met her twice at a truck stop in Loveland, right at I-29 and I-680", she gave them the name of the joint and the two dates they had met.

Porter turned to her colleague, "Brett, get some agents up to Loveland ASAP. Once they're there and determine if any cameras are in place, call Chicago and have them find and pull the recordings for those dates and times." Brett left quickly without a word.

By 6 am the FBI field agents had swarmed the truck stop. The owner was highly cooperative, unsure of what was going on. The agents cased the maintenance garage and to no one's surprise, found another 2042 black Toyota Creseda safely hidden away from view. They ran the VIN number and found out that it was owned by a Tia Morilio. It was purchased at the Toyota dealership in Omaha that she had mentioned.

And it had the dealership sticker on the back of the vehicle.

Tia had been able to nod off in the cell she was in. At 7:30 am, Agent Porter returned, "Lieutenant, I'm sorry to wake you", she said, even though she wasn't sorry in the least, "but we found the vehicle that belongs to you."

Tia didn't answer.

"It was there, hidden so no one could easily see it", Porter said with no small satisfaction.

"Agent Porter", Tia inquired, "how did you find out I wasn't driving my vehicle?"

"That's an interesting story", she said with a smile, "someone on the base saw you yesterday morning driving your vehicle off the base, and that evening, saw you return. Whoever set up the vehicle switch wasn't very smart."

"What do you mean?", she said, not really wanting to know.

"Your vehicle has the dealership decal on the back; the other one doesn't."

The Lieutenant almost laughed at the stupidity of that, but she held back, "And...and may I ask who noticed that?"

Porter got up to terminate the brief interview. When she got to the door, she turned back towards Tia, "The person who noticed was Lieutenant Hera Agathon", she said with a sweet smile, knowing full well that the woman in front of her, like her father before her, hated Cylons.

Tia couldn't speak; she began to tremble and her eyes began to bulge, her body gripped in a monumental rage. That...frackin' machine turned me in? That...thing?

Porter turned and walked out the door with satisfaction.

Tia trembling became an earthquake of rage, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Agent Parsons stopped just outside the door and heard the Lieutenant, who up til that point had been as cool as a Nebraska October night fly into hysterics. She simply smiled and continued to walk.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XIII

7:00 AM. Port Salerno, Florida

Saul Tigh was approaching eighty Earth years and still enjoying a retirement that he felt had been well earned. For the most part, he had stayed away from the events of the last fifteen years since coming through the Earth-Cylon War. He kept up with events but he simply wanted to stay away from the limelight and the politics of UED. He had watched on TV as Lee and Kara had taken their two new gargantuan Battlestars aloft in Australia.

He was sitting on the patio in the back of his home in on the Western outskirts of Port Salerno, Florida. Helen had tried to convince him into buying a beach house, but Saul didn't want all the frackin' noise that would come with life near the beach in Southeast Florida. They were almost due West of the town, in a far less crowded area, in a large home that UED had bought for him after he retired.

He liked the area because it wasn't far from West Palm Beach; it wasn't far from the beaches when he wanted to go it was surrounded by trees, and you had a comfortable distance between you and your neighbors. He and Ellen had a wonderful group of friends.

Despite his self-induced detachment from those events, he felt a great pride in watching two of his former underlings now becoming leaders of humanity. Those two gave me enough frackin' grief over the years, God knows, he thought to himself. They were kids then, though, about frackin' time they grew up.

He and Ellen were each having a mid-evening glass of wine, enjoying the beautiful evening that was lit by large kerosene torches that were laced with citronella to keep any bugs away.

"I tell you, Ellen,", he said after a hefty sip of the Burgundy, "I'm glad I'm not going to be in New Caprica tomorrow", he had visited several times to pay his respects to both Laura Roslin and Brendan Costanza, "With these frackin' Cain Mutiny thugs around, I'm a little concerned for Hot Dog, Caprica and President Bond."

"They'll be under heavy protection, Saul", she countered, "I wouldn't worry too much about them. They all know how to take care of themselves", she said with no hesitation.

Saul still thought of Caprica quite often. He was proud of what she had become in UED. Any lingering love for her may have lingered, but it was in the recesses of his mind and didn't want to bring up those emotions again if he could help it.

"I would like to visit Hoshi in San Diego one of these days", he said, reminiscing a bit about the old days before arriving at Earth, "I think he's done a helluva job getting this fleet going."

"You'll never get those ships out of your mind, will you, Saul?", Ellen said with a touch of jealousy. She had always had a streak of being jealous about Bill Adama and the Battlestars Saul had journeyed on. She always wanted to be the only thing he cared about, but after years she had finally learned to live with the fact that she and Battlestar's were co-equals. "Can you excuse me for a few minutes, Saul? I need to head up to the restroom. I'll be back in just a few."

"Take your time, honey, I'm just enjoying the sunrise", he said pleasantly. He had become an early riser in his later years, especially this time of year when the mornings were crisp and cool. Come May, he wouldn't enjoy it as much as the Summer heat, even early in the day, would engulf most of Florida...

Ellen got up, smiled and walked into the house. Saul turned back around and took another healthy sip of his wine. He didn't seem to have a care in the world.

There was no noise of any kind when suddenly Saul was lifted straight back off his chair, hit the patio table, and fell to one side. He never would hear any noise again.

"Saul, the Romano's say they want to get together this weekend for a cookout and...", she had just come through the door to the patio and looked down to see Saul laid out by the table, a pool of blood running from a huge wound in his skull.

"SAUL!", she wailed and ran the few steps toward him. Moments later she fell straight down like a sack of concrete, a bullet through her forehead as well.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

8:40 AM, Presidential Mansion, Sioux City.

President Brendan Costanza and Admiral Caprica Baltar stood on the front Portico of the Presidential Mansion in Sioux City. When New Caprica had been established in 2024, Sioux City was the logical choice for the National Capitol. To keep from crowding the downtown area, even more, the buildings that made up the National Government were built North and East of Downtown, just a little Northwest of Bacon Creek Park and on either side of the New Caprican National Freeway, which had once been U.S. Route 75.

A shiny black limousine had just pulled up on the ellipse and the doors to the vehicle were opening, a U.S. Marine holding the door open, at rigid attention and snapping off a smart salute. Justin Bond, the 46th President Of The United State emerged with a spring in his step and nearly bounded up the steps, extending his hand to the New Caprican Chief-Of-State.

"President Costanza, it's a pleasure to see you again!", he said with sincere affection in his voice, "I can't remember the last time I was in your home. Had to be about 3 or 4 years ago."

"You honor us with your presence here today, President Bond", he said with a broad smile on his face, "and I think your right, I think it was in October of '39 when you were last inside the Mansion."

With the protocol of acknowledging the New Caprican President out of the way, Justin Bond turned to Admiral Baltar, who saluted neatly.

"Caprica, you think I'm gonna fall for that military formality?", he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Admiral Baltar laughed, "I should know better around you, sir. But protocol is protocol."

"Well, to hell with the protocol, Admiral", and he leaned forward to embrace Caprica and give her a kiss on the cheek, "Judy sends her regards, my dear", he said with generosity, "and she wanted me to tell you how proud she is on your elevation to Admiral."

Caprica slightly blushed, "I've got to get together with Judy one of these days, I really do.", she said fondly of the woman who had been one of her first friends on Earth, "I really miss her."

The three of them were escorted into the residence by the New Caprican Home Guard. They would have a breakfast and then relax before the motorcade left at 10:00 am for the fifteen-minute ride to the arena.

As they were being seated, the New Caprican President looked over at Justin Bond, "I'm going to have to reciprocate this and visit you in Richmond for a round of golf when this is done, Mr. President,", he said wistfully, thinking of something enjoyable.

"Sounds good to me, Brendan", Justin Bond said approvingly, "By the way, do you know why they call it golf, Mr. President?"

Justin Bond was a historian in many things and Hotdog was expecting another tidbit if history, "I have no idea, sir", he said, taking a sip of his Orange Juice.

"Because 'shit' was already taken", the former American President said matter-of-factly.

President Costanza turned and spat his juice out of his mouth.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XIV

9:00 AM, Offutt Air Force Base

"Offutt Approach, Raptor 1171, request landing instructions", Admiral Karl Agathon was driving the bird, with his daughter as his second-in-command. Athena was in the rear of the passenger area. General Pembers had requested that all three of them come to Offutt. Hera had to go on her flight duty for the day, but Pembers wanted to brief her parents' on the latest in the investigation.

"Raptor 1171, Offutt Approach, turn right course 163 mark 045, descend to Angels Three and follow beacon to Landing Port Fourteen."

"Offutt Approach, 1171, right to course 163 mark 045, down to Angels three and follow the beacon, Port Fourteen." He could still drive a Raptor with the best of them.

After touchdown, all three were jeeped to Pembers' office. Hera had to leave them to grab her flight plan for the day, while the two of them sat down with the General.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

9:05 AM, Sioux City

Xander Ukith and his top lieutenants with The Cain Mutiny were going over the plan for the rally one last time before departing their hideaway. There were about six key people that he trusted more than anyone, and they had been his inner circle as they ramped up their campaign against the New Caprican Government.

"I've just received word that our first operation of the day has been carried out successfully", which was met with nods around the table, "This one I didn't let anyone in on because it happened on American soil, and the fewer people who know what it is, the better. You'll all find out about it later today, I promise you."

"Everyone have their weapons with them? Tera. Each had been given a new M4A1 rifle as well as a Sig Sauer P320 Compact Pistol. They all nodded in the affirmative. Tera and Xander had different weapons that they would use, which were in a secure location. "OK, that's good. We know where each of us will be once all hell breaks loose in the arena. We'll have every possible exit observed. If any of them get out alive from the arena, our job is to make sure they don't get much further."

"Fortunately for us, this is the coldest day we've had in a few years around here. Only supposed to be about fifteen degrees when the rally begins, so we won't look out of the ordinary wearing these fuckin' huge overcoats", Tomas Sands said with a chuckle.

"All of you know your mission; you know our rendezvous point after the attack." Xander said, concluding the meeting, "may the gods go with you."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

9:55 AM, Sioux City.

President Costanza, President Bond, and Admiral Baltar climbed into the spacious 2042 Cadillac Limo that was almost identical to the Limousine that the President of The United States used. It was nearly indestructible; there were two of the Limos-one to carry the VIP's and the other as a decoy. The decoy would leave in a motorcade of the exact same size as the real motorcade but on a different route to the city. This was intended to throw off any would-be troublemakers.

They headed South on the National Freeway, formerly U.S. Route 75, then turned West on New Caprican Highway 1, which had once been U.S. Route 20, and headed towards Downtown Sioux City. Highway 1 would then run astride of Interstate 29 as they approached Downtown. The U.S. And New Caprican governments had agreed to allow the U.S. To keep its Interstates running through the small nation, and even continued to pay for their maintenance.

Once downtown, they turned right onto Pierce Street which ran right by the back of the arena. A cordon of Sioux City Police, New Caprican Home Guard, UED Marines and even some U.S. Marines were lined throughout the motorcade route in the downtown area. The public was kept away from the grounds of the arena unless they had a valid ticket for the event. But along Highway 1, under the watchful eye of police and military, citizens of New Caprica and also the United States lined the road to cheer for the three dignitaries.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

10:20 AM, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Doctor Gaius Baltar and Doctor Ivan Verhoff were both busy at their dedicated lab on the campus of Iowa State. The two had been working for three years on trying to stem the drought in the Great Plains, which included New Caprica.

The two of them had worked until 11 pm the night before, and instead of going to their respective residences off campus, they both had sacked out on couches in the faculty lounge, both too exhausted to drive home. Gaius had awakened around 6 am and had gone back the lab. Verhoff followed an hour later.

It did seem that the drought was easing at least somewhat. October and November had been seasonable, not downright warm as they had been the previous four years. Precipitation was up, but just slightly for those two months; the numbers for December were still being finalized, but they looked closer to normal than anything recorded since 2037. In fact, there hadn't been a day above 35 degrees Fahrenheit in over twenty-five days.

"Ivan, looking at the latest data, I'd say the crucial month will be May", Gaius said, looking up from his computer and the forecast models that he had been studying, "If March and April are as seasonal as the last three months have been, I think we may see more appreciable precipitation then. It looks like a more normal weather pattern for this area for this time of year", he said with a ray of hope.

"I concur, Gaius", he colleague nodded, "Of course it'll be some time before we can say this nonsense is over, but I'm crossing my fingers and toes"

"Superstitious, are we?", Baltar chuckled, "Why am I not surprised?"

"Gaius, I'd do a rain dance with a rabbit's foot in my hand if I thought it would help", he said with a guffaw of his own, "but I'm really encouraged by what we're seeing."

Gaius let out a fantastically long yawn, remembering he had quite literally been in the building since 9 am the day before. Ivan saw him yawn, and instantly a yawn escaped his lips.

"Thanks a million, Gaius", he said with a groan.

"We've been in here for over a day now. I may work til about noon and take the rest of the day off, just to get some decent sleep", he said, stifling another yawn.

"Yeah, me, too", he said, feeling his eyes getting a little heavy. "Hey you want to go over to the student Union and get us some coffee and maybe some pastries?", he said, suddenly needing sustenance.

"Why not get the coffee from the lounge?", Gaius protested.

"You wanna drink that shit?", Verhoff said, rolling his eyes, "that crap tastes like tar. The Union has REAL coffee over there, Gaius. Hell, if we're gonna work like dogs, we should at least have some decent coffee."

"You've got a point, Ivan", he said, surrendering to common sense, as he got up from his chair and headed towards the door. "I'll be back in about fifteen minutes, Ivan", Gaius informed him, "If you fall asleep in that time, I'm drinking both coffees", he said with a wry grin.

"Bastard", Ivan chuckled, waving Baltar away.

The hallways were crowded as the heart of the school day was in full swing. It was about a four-minute walk to the Union. The day was sunny but seasonably cold, which made Gaius actually smile. He was about halfway to the Union when from behind him her heard a thunderous explosion. The heat from the blast instantly reaching his back. It had almost knocked him over.

He turned around and saw the building that he was...didn't seem to be there anymore.

"Ivan!", Gaius sprinted toward the flames that had engulfed his friend and his work, and God knew how many other people in the four-story structure. Others were running in that direction, but the heat was just too intense to get to the building.

"Ivan", he said, almost to himself.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

10:30 AM, Downtown Sioux City

Xander Ukith was standing with a shivering crowd of people at Pearl and 4th Street, just two blocks North of the arena. He looked like just about everyone else there: cold, stocking cap on and buttoned up under a heavy coat. Tera Chance was at 3rd and Nebraska with another group of cold people; and Tomas Sands was Southwest of the Arena, sitting on a bench near the United Airlines Flight 232 Memorial. The three of them glanced casually around from time to time.

Two days before, each of them had rented hotel rooms near the arena, on the highest floor they could acquire. They had each acquired different fake ID's under completely different names to rent the rooms with. Xander's room was in the Stony Creek Hotel and Conference Center, just North of the venue; Tera had checked in at the Ramada Sioux City on the second floor of a West-facing room that was about six hundred feet from the arena parking lot. Tomas Sands would not be in his room but would be out on the street as a spotter for the other two. The three of them would be plugged into Bluetooth just after the attack to keep in contact. Both had made sure to put the "Do Not Disturb" signs on their respective doors last night.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

11:00 AM, Tyson Events Center, Sioux City

At exactly 11 am, the Mayor of Sioux City, The Honorable Nelson J Chase came on stage to introduce the guests of honor at the rally. As expected, there wasn't an empty seat in the house.

"And so, ladies and gentlemen, may I first introduce to you, from United Earth Defense, Admiral Caprica Baltar!", and thunderous applause and cheers greeted Caprica. Despite her Cylon heritage, she was immensely popular in the small nation for standing with humanity during its darkest hours in the war against the Cylons in 2027. She had worked hard on gaining the trust of the New Caprican people in her many visits. She was humbled by the reception.

After the audience had quieted down somewhat, the Mayor continued. "This next person needs no introduction. He was The Voice of Humanity before and during the Earth-Cylon War, and he's the reason why our fleet of Battlestars are protecting us today. I present to you the Forty-Sixth President of The United States, the Honorable Justin Bond!" And, if possible, the applause and cheers got even louder than before. Bond was still extremely popular all around the planet, and the people of New Caprica were fiercely supportive of him for his efforts in securing nationhood for them. They quite literally considered him one of their own.

This time, the Mayor gave way to the former American President, as he would introduce Hotdog.

"I've known Brendan Costanza for twenty years now. I would have liked to have been his wingman if I could have been", he said to general laughter, "he's as fine a pilot as I have ever known, and his devotion to the people of New Caprican nation is limitless. I prefer to call him 'Hotdog', which was his call sign", which elicited more laughter, "but today, I have the high honor of introducing to you my friend, the President of New Caprica, Brendan Costanza!"

The arena went berserk. Despite the drought, he had been seen almost daily among his people, listening to their concerns; trying to lift their spirits as the drought and the attacks had increased. Despite the violent opposition to him, the people of his nation still stood squarely in his corner.

After about ten minutes of madness from the audience, the President finally got to speak, "Ladies and Gentlemen. I'm deeply humbled by the reception you have given me today. It is a reminder that I work for you, and everything I do in this office is solely for your benefit..."
__________________________________________________________________________________________

11:11 AM, Over Sioux City

Hera "Mutt" Agathon and Tony "Rapman" Rapp were on patrol with about a dozen other Raptors from Offutt in the vicinity of Sioux City. She had arrived back at Offutt after spending the night onboard the Churchill with her family. She had slept fitfully the night before, but she was so keyed up by events that her adrenaline had kept her wide awake for her patrol.

Their Patrol area was not actually over the city itself, but on an oval South of the Capitol above the city of South Sioux City, Nebraska, which lay just across the Missouri River from the New Caprican Capitol. It gave them a birds-eye view of the arena where the rally was currently taking place.

Hera still felt a little of the emotion from the night before, when Tia Morilio had been arrested and hauled into the FBI Office in Omaha. From all account, she had spilled her guts to authorities. Hera had been flabbergasted to learn that Tia had been targeting her for The Cain Mutiny and that Tia's father had twice assaulted her father.

But like a professional pilot, she was all business at the moment. Rapman was observing the Capitol City, looking for anything that seemed unusual. Hera was on the stick at the moment.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

11:12 AM, Tyson Events Center, Sioux City

Admiral Louis Hoshi was backstage at the rally in the Tyson Events Center. Hotdog was into his address. It wasn't very formal, with both Justin Bond and Caprica joining the President in a discussion of the present situation in the tiny nation and their desire to see things through.

His phone rang in his pocket, and he fished it out. He didn't recognize the phone number. The area code was 772. Searching his memory, he thought it was somewhere in the American Southeast but couldn't quite pinpoint it beyond that. He moved away from the stage to find a space that was a bit quieter.

"Admiral Hoshi speaking", he said with professional courtesy.

"Admiral Hoshi, this is Sheriff Rachel Echeverria of the Martin County, Florida Sheriff's Department", she said with equal courtesy.

"What can I help you with today, Sheriff?", he asked, wondering why a Sheriff in Florida was calling him.

"Admiral, earlier this morning we received reports of gunshots in a neighborhood near the city of Port Salerno. City police were dispatched to the area, and we found two people dead on the back patio of their property."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Sheriff, but what does that have to do with me?", he said, mentally scratching his head.

"Sir, the victims were identified by neighbors on the scene as UED Retired Admiral Saul Tigh and Ellen Tigh", she informed him.

Hoshi stopped for a second, looking up from his computer console where his phone was built into. For a moment he couldn't speak, but he quickly recovered his composure, at least outwardly.

"Saul and Ellen?", he said still a little dazed, "Sheriff is there any idea as to what happened?"

"Sir, it seemed they were both shot with a high-caliber rifle from quite a distance", she continued, "they lived on a lot of land and it was surrounded by trees on all three sides in the back, and that tree line goes back a good two hundred yards on all three sides, Admiral. And they were both hit right in the center of the forehead. From the looks of things, this was no accident."

Hoshi had been through many a crisis, going all the way back to his days under Admiral Cain on Pegasus. He didn't get rattled, and he never jumped to instant conclusions, but he felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck, "Sheriff, I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I'm in Sioux City right now and not at UED Headquarters. I am going to give you the number of the Command Center in San Diego. Please pass any other information you receive for the time being on to them. I will advise them of the situation", and he terminated the call.

He had just finished informing the Sit Room when his phone rang again. He had no problem figuring out this call-it was Gaius Baltar.

"Gaius, this is Hoshi, what can I do for you?", he asked as evenly as he could.

"Admiral...Admiral...", Gaius began, but couldn't get beyond that for a few moments. He could tell Gaius was extremely distraught. Maybe he heard about Tigh and Ellen?

"Gaius, what is it? You sound like hell?", he said with growing concern.

Hoshi could hear Gaius trying to regain his composure on the other end, "Admiral, about an hour ago, the facility where I work here at ISU was destroyed by a massive explosion.", he said in a shaky, uneven voice.

Gods, what a day, he thought to himself, not connecting things yet, first Saul and Ellen and now...

Suddenly Gaius' words hit him, and a rare panic swept over Louis Hoshi at that moment, "Gaius, get off the campus as fast as you can", he said, thinking quickly, "I want you to head to Offutt."

"Admiral, I don't..."

"Gaius, just before you called I received another call from Florida. Saul and Ellen Tigh were killed in what looked like a professional hit", he needed to get off the phone, "just go!"

Hoshi was about five hundred feet from the stage when he turned to race towards it.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

11:16 am, Pearl and 4th Street, Sioux City

The crowd was milling about, listening to the rally on loudspeakers that had been set up at various locations in the city so that those who could not attend could hear the event. Xander Ukith was milling, just like everyone else, looking as nonchalant as he could.

In his pocket was a small transmitter. It was small, but the device had a range of about a mile. He was only about a thousand feet away from the front of the Tyson Events Center. He reached into his pocket and handled the device, finding the button on the face of it.

"This is for you, Felix..."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XV

The signal went out to the blasting caps under the stage where the eighty pounds of Semtex had been set up. They were all programmed to detonate at the exact same moment.

But something was wrong with eight of the twenty blasting caps. The caps had not come from the same production batch, and these eight had suffered microscopic fractures in the wiring after they were encased in the rubber that surrounded them. When the signal came, it was halted by these fractures.

But the other twelve were working perfectly.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Louis Hoshi had just turned to run towards the stage. He knew now that a coordinated attack was underway. And while he didn't know if this venue was at risk, he needed to clear the stage and the arena as soon as he could.
___________________________________________________________________________________________


11:16 AM, Tyson Events Center

"We have endured so much together", the New Caprican President said, looking fondly out at his citizens that had gathered, "We've weathered together the drought and the acts of violence that have been carried out by the cowards who would do us harm. We will get through this together", as more cheers and applause rang out in the arena.

Just as the President was getting ready to continue, he, Justin Bond, Admiral Caprica and the other dignitaries on stage were lifted in the air and a great, blinding explosion obliterated the stage and a fireball spread out inside the arena...
___________________________________________________________________________________________

11:17 AM

Holy shit!", screamed Tony Rapman, in the Raptor South of the City, "Explosion at the venue, Hera, a big ass explosion!"

Hera knew other Raptors would see the same thing, but her training kicked in. She got on her radio to inform Offutt, "Krypter, krypter, krypter! Command, Raptor 1171, we have a massive explosion at the venue in the Capitol, send more units immediately!"
__________________________________________________________________________________________

11:18, Offutt Air Force Base

General Pembers was meeting again with Karl and Athena Agathon. He was just going over the latest on the search for Narcho and Hardball when his Aide stormed into the building.

"Sir, an explosion at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City!", the young woman said in near panic.

"Goddammit, no!", the General swore. He called the Command Center which was fifty feet away, "Rogers, put the base on full alert; get the Ready Reserve of Raptors in the air headed towards Sioux, we've had a major explosion at the Tyson Center!"

The General and the Agathon's then ran toward the Command Center.
______________________________________________________________________________________

11:18 AM, 3rd and Nebraska Street, Sioux City

The explosion sounded almost like a sonic boom to Tera Chance, and she had even blanched at what she saw before her. She regained her composure quickly and headed towards her assigned post in the hotel room she had rented. Fortunately for that structure, the explosion had taken place at the West end of the Events Center and had blown most everything West instead of East

At the same moment, Tomas Sands witnessed debris being flung onto Interstate 29, directly in front of him at the Flight 232 Memorial. Like Tera, he had been momentarily stunned by the blast. Some debris had come very close to where he was. Traffic on the Interstate came to a screeching halt as debris and flames ascended onto the roadway. Motorists were getting out of their vehicles and moving towards the conflagration with the instinct to help whoever might be inside the damaged structure. Sands moved across the Interstate to the Walgreens Drug Store, about a hundred yards South of where Tera was now moving to.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

11:22, Inside The Tyson Events Center

Justin Bond was coming to his senses. He had no real inkling of what had just happened to him and his mind was still in a fog. He could see blurs of movement in front of him; there was debris everywhere; he could see the sky when he looked up; there were flames in different areas throughout what was left of the building.

He had been hurled about 70 feet behind and to the right of the stage, which no longer existed. He had landed face down on the pavement and had been knocked unconscious for a few brief moments.

He couldn't hear squat at the moment as he regained his equilibrium. His eyes began to clear and the scene came into sharper focus. It was absolute mayhem. He suddenly realized there was blood coming down his face, a large gash on the right side of his forehead being opened. When he went to stand up, he felt a shooting pain in his left arm and looked down to see a small piece of jagged metal had lodged in his left shoulder. He instinctively pulled at it. It hurt like hell and he swore in agony, but he had got it out.

Caprica Baltar had never lost consciousness; she had been blown about fifty feet behind the stage and had landed face as well. She had small cuts on both her arms from shards of metal that had been propelled from the explosion. Like Justin Bond, she couldn't hear much of anything, and also had a cut on her head but it wasn't bad and she was alive. It took her also a few moments to come to her senses, but when she did, the years of military training with UED kicked in. She headed towards where the stage had been.

It was ghastly.

The first fifteen rows on the floor of the arena had been blown to bits, with many of its occupants suffering the same fate; she looked around to see if she could find the President, the Mayor, Justin Bond or any of the other dignitaries. She had just moved to a point where the center of the stage had been when he felt a hand on her shoulder from behind.

"Caprica!", Justin Bond screamed, knowing the woman probably couldn't hear much at the moment, "Are you alright?"

She could barely make out the words, which was an improvement from a few minutes ago when she could hear absolutely nothing. "Yes, Mr. President, I think I'm fine. I've got cuts on my arm and my left leg hurts like hell, but I'm in one piece."

Bond's hearing was slowly returning as he had been able to decipher what the Admiral had said, "I think my left shoulder is busted, but I think I'll make it."

Caprica noticed the gash on his forehead, and she looked around for something to press on it to help stop the bleeding. A piece of the blue bunting that had skirted the state was nearby. She grabbed it, got as much debris off of it as she could and pressed it to his forehead, where he then held it there himself.

There was utter chaos around them. Both had military training, and their instincts to head towards the destruction kicked in. A large crowd had gathered on the left side of the stage, people shrieking and in obvious shock. The two of the moved towards that gathering to see what was going on.

They made a hole in the crowd and stepped forward: the Mayor of Sioux City and President Costanza were lying face down on the floor.

Caprica turned away in horror. Neither one were alive, that much was certain. The only comfort that went through her mind is that they probably never knew what hit them.

The former American Commander-In-Chief grabbed Caprica by the arm and led her away momentarily from the scene, where he could converse with her away from the crowds, "Your cell phone still on you, Caprica?"

Caprica hadn't even thought of that. She fished in her pants pocket and sure enough, the phone was there, completely undamaged.

"How's your hearing, Admiral?", Bond said, still pressing the cloth to his forehead.

"It's coming around, Justin", she said noticing the noise level rising every few moments, "I may need a few more minutes, but I need to call UED, the Home Guard, and Offutt."

Just then a bloodied Louis Hoshi stumbled towards them. He had small cuts over the front of his face as he had been facing towards the blast, some five hundred feet or so away. He had burns on his face and arms as well. But he was a soldier: he was alive and was functioning and he had work to do.

Justin and Caprica moved towards him to give him a once-over on his condition, "Admiral Hoshi", Caprica asked, "are you OK, sir?"

"I'll survive, Caprica", he said still shaken "I was running towards the stage when the explosion went off. I was going to try and clear the stage."

"You knew something was up, Louis", Mr. Bond said with some surprise.

"No, but just before the explosion, I had received back-to-back phone calls. The first was a Sheriff in Florida. Saul and Ellen Tigh were apparently assassinated this morning at their home", and then he turned towards Caprica, "And Gaius called me to inform me that his research building at Iowa State had been bombed."

Caprica felt her legs weaken at that news, but Justin Bond steadied her, "Is Gaius alright, sir?"

"Yes, I believe he is. I told him to get to Offutt ASAP", he recounted, "I hung up the phone, turned to run this way and, well..."

President Bond also realized his phone was still in once piece. "Guys, we have work to do. Hoshi, you need to call Offutt; Caprica, you need to coordinate the Home Guard and the other security forces here, and I need to call Richmond." The three of them moved to find an area in the structure where they could make their calls. Miraculously, a few offices still remained intact.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

11:35 AM. Offutt Air Force Base

"General, Admiral", his Aide saluted both the officers present, "The base is on full alert. Alert Raptors are airborne and moving towards Sioux City.".

"Thank you, Colonel", the General said as business-like as he could manage. "I'm going to call Washington and get permission to scramble the 22's and 35's out of here, Minot and Grand Forks for high air cover, just in case. Also, put our Falcons on ten-minute readiness immediately."

"General, do you have any spare Raptors down here?", Karl asked, "I'm still rated, and so is Athena. We're not under your command, but we're both willing to head that way to help out."

"That's very kind of you, Admiral", he said gratefully, "The only spares I have are the Raptors from the War. They're reserve birds but are kept in excellent condition. Mind driving a classic?", he said with a grin, despite the situation.

"Not at all sir", he said in reply, "Athena, I'm activating you immediately from the Reserves to the position of Lieutenant", he turned to his wife, "General, can you get her the flight plan and get her to the bird? I need to call the Churchill."

Yes, sir, I will do that", he saluted Helo, "Lieutenant, follow me if you will", Athena looked back at Karl as she was lead away.

Karl went to the communications system that could contact his ship and was just getting ready to hail them when his phone rang. It was Hoshi.

"Admiral Hoshi, what the hell is going on?" he said calmly but with great concern.

"Karl, it was definitely a terrorist attack", he said, "Hotdog is dead; the Mayor of the city was also killed, and probably at least one hundred others have been killed. I'm with Justin Bond and Caprica at the moment. They're both wounded but in the fight."

Helo sat in the chair behind him, absorbing the news of the death of three people whom he had fought with in two wars. "I was just getting ready to call Rudi on the ship when you phoned, sir"

"I called up there, and Rudi filled me in on why you're at Offutt", he explained, "Rudi is scrambling Raptors as we speak. He has his Falcons on standby as well."

"I just got permission from General Pembers to borrow an old Raptor to head to Sioux City; I've commissioned Athena so she can fly with me. Unless you object, sir, we're going to Sioux City to see if we can help."

"I appreciate that Helo", Hoshi said, "that's fine by me. In fact, I want you to come down and meet with Caprica, Justin Bond and myself. I'll give you the location once you're airborne. By the way", he remembered his other news, "this wasn't the only attack. Saul and Ellen were murdered this morning, and Gaius reports that there was a bombing at his research facility in Ames as well."

That news staggered Helo, "Jesus, sir, they're really trying to knock the government sideways, aren't they?"

"That seems to be the case.", Hoshi admitted, "By the way, with all the crap going on, I don't think that I told you that we think that Noel Allison and Diana Seelix may be involved with this group."

"Frack, this just gets worse and worse, Louis", he said, more anger building inside him, "I guess once wasn't enough for those two assholes."

"You said it, Helo", and then he finished the conversation, "OK, you two get up here as fast as you can, and we'll meet somewhere in the city."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XVI

11:41. Outside of the Tyson Events Center

Seelix and Alison had moved back to their hotel rooms and took position at their respective windows. They had the curtains closed almost all the way, to conceal the sniper rifles that they carried. Their muzzles were actually still inside the window, and their sights had a clear line to the arena parking lot. Both weapons had silencers on them, which would cut down the distance they could reach, but since these weapons were accurate to more than over six thousand feet, that wouldn't matter.

Seelix, Alison, and Sands had turned on their burner phones that were connected to the blue tooth devices. "OK, check in", Narcho said to the other two.

"Loud and clear, Boss", Seelix said quietly.

"Reading you five by five, Xander", echoed Sands.

Now, all they had to do was wait for quarry.

At the same time, Bond, Baltar, and Hoshi were emerging from the offices inside the Tyson Center. Sioux City Police was now swarming the building, as was the New Caprican Home Guard. Home Guard members saw them in the hallway, and after a brief conversation began to take them out of the building. Hoshi decided they would gather across the street in the Burger King parking lot, where a UED Humvee was currently parked. The Home Guard began hustling their new charges out of the building and toward the Humvee.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

11:43 AM

Sands suddenly saw a bevy of Home Guard surrounding someone or someones, he couldn't tell. "Guys, movement at my One O'clock. Whoever is in that gaggle are heading toward the Burger King parking lot, it seems."

"Tally ho, Sands", whispered Seelix, "I see them, looking to ID."

As the Home Guard was hustling Hoshi, Baltar, and Bond across the street, an old Raptor began settling into the restaurant Parking Lot. Hoshi looked up and could see Karl and Athena Agathon at the controls of the obsolete bird.

"Frack, no joy!", exclaimed Noel Allison, "Raptor just blocked my line of sight", he said disgustedly.

"I still have a clear line", Diana whispered, "still no ID...wait a second", she turned her scope a fraction to her right, "Gods, Xander, it's Helo and Athena coming out of the Raptor!", she exclaimed with an air of wonder that the gods would send her such manna.

"Any ID from the Home Guard group?", Sands inquired.

"Not yet...wait...holy shit, I have Bonds, Caprica and Hoshi in front of me!", as her eyes widened.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Louis Hoshi was the senior officer present among the mixed bag of UED, Home Guard, and Sioux City Police. He asked for a map, which was given to him from inside the Hummer. He then glanced over at Caprica, "Admiral, you know this city better than I do, I think we need to put together a game plan for patrolling this area." Athena and Karl were just joining the group as the map was handed to Caprica.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"I've got Admiral Baltar in my sights", Seelix said with anticipation.

"Take the shot, Tera!", Alison ordered unnecessarily.

She fired her weapon.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

11:46 AM

Caprica was just starting to outline her plan when the map suddenly blew out of her hands and to her right. She reached over to grab it before the wind swept it away. At that moment, a bullet smashed through the windshield of the Hummer directly next to her and shattered it into hundreds of pieces. Everyone looked up, startled.

A Home Guard Sergeant grabbed and swung her around to get her out of the way when another round struck the soldier in his neck,killing him instantly, then passed through and hit Caprica in her right shoulder. She was tossed to the ground.

"Caprica!", Justin Bond yelled, as they all instinctively started to move around to the other side of the Hummer.

The Admiral looked up at President Bond, "I think I'm alright, Justin. I think it missed the lungs and didn't hit anything major", she began slipping into shock. Moments later another Hummer arrived in and placed Caprica flat on the seat, Admiral Hoshi urging them to get the Admiral to the closest hospital.

Justin Bond grabbed the pistol from the dead Home Guard Sergeant and placed it in the back of his trousers. He, Hoshi, the Agathon's and a few UED and Home Guard troops moved toward the hotel and where they thought the shot might have come from.

Diana Seelix swore gleefully to herself. She had hit Caprica but was sure it wasn't fatal. But now she had a world of hurt headed her way. She couldn't take all of them out with this sniper rifle, so she reached for her Sig Sauer and opened the curtains. The party was within seventy-five feet of her.

A crack of weapons fire and a bullet skipped off the pavement about three inches from Justin Bond's feet. At the same moment, Admiral Hoshi looked up in the direction of the shot and his eyes locked with a female on the second floor.

"Jesus Christ", said the man who certainly wasn't a Christian. His eyes locked with the eyes of the person holding a pistol on the second floor of the hotel, "That's Diana Seelix!"

Fire erupted from the soldiers near Justin Bond, but Seelix had crouched down and headed out the door in a sprint, downstairs and quickly headed towards the back of the building.

Hoshi climbed into the Hummer parked in the Burger King lot, and switched to the Guard Channel that his pilots would be monitoring, "UED Raptors, this is Admiral Hoshi, shot fired in the Burger King parking lot on Pierce street; Admiral Baltar is down; shots were fired from the Ramada Sioux City on Nebraska Street."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Hera and Tony were still on the Nebraska side of the river and heard their boss, "Admiral, Raptor 1171, sir this is Lieutenant Agathon, I am just across the river due south of your location, will keep eyes peeled for any suspect."

Hoshi, Karl, and Athena swung their heads to the right and they could clearly see Hera's bird about a half-mile away on the other side of the river. Athena felt a mother's pang of concern, but the soldier in her understanding that Hera had a job to do.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Tony Rapp had his eyes peeled, looking for any suspicious movements from the hotel. He had his binoculars out, and Hera had lowered the bird by about one hundred feet.

Tony saw someone exit the rear of the hotel, running at full tilt. He hit his mic, "Command, possible suspect exiting the rear of the hotel at a full sprint headed Eastbound! Seems to be a female, armed!", and Hera swung her Raptor towards that direction.

By this time, just about everyone was dialed into the Guard channel, "This is Chief Sullivan, Sioux City PD, any and all units, I want downtown sealed off. Units needed on I 29 from the arena East to the river, then from Dace Avenue Eastbound to South Steuben North, then West on 4th Street, North on Hoeven Drive, then West on 6th to Pearl, South to the arena!"

Forces of all kinds had been heading into the area-UED, Home Guard, SCPD, and even a detachment of American Marines. Anyone that was within striking distance of those roads was there in a matter of seconds, trying to pin Diana Seelix in.

Hoshi and Justin Bond raced through the front of the hotel and out the back, with UED and Home Guard troops in tow. They were able to glance at Diana Seelix as she headed into the parking lot of the Chevy dealership just East of the arena.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Seelix saw a brand new Chevy Tahoe parked by the side of the Chevy dealership. A car salesman was just getting out of the vehicle when she ran up to him, pistol drawn and yelled, "Give me the fuckin' keys before I blow your head off!" That convinced the man to throw the keys to her and run into the dealership. It was a push-button start, and with the key fob secured, the truck started right up. She put the vehicle into Drive and exited the parking lot then headed North on Virginia Street.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"Tally ho, Command, Raptor 1171", Hera shouted into her mic and looking at the heads-up display that had a street map with the name of every street on it, "suspect in a red Chevy Tahoe, headed North on Virginia, am in pursuit of suspect".

Chief Sullivan answered first, "Raptor 1171, Chief Sullivan, observe only at this time, we're trying to corral them on the ground."

"Roger, Chief, follow and observe only", Hera said, as she and Tony followed the woman below.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Karl and Athena had climbed back into their old Raptor and headed North up above 7th Street to help the troops below and Hera keep the person of interest in sight.

"If it's Seelix, she's dyed her hair", Athena said with rage in her voice to her husband.

"Easy, Lieutenant, we've got a job to do. I'm gonna swing South once over 7th and see if I can see the truck headed towards us", Karl was as angry as his wife but he needed to concentrate now, "Raptor 1171, Raptor 544. Hera we're North of 7th and Jennings, we see the subject headed this way."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Hera had no trouble recognizing her father's voice but kept it business-like, "Copy Admiral, trying to box her in. Heading North and a little East of your location."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Seelix got to 7th and saw the old-fashioned Raptor that had landed at the Burger King directly in front of her, knowing that Karl and Athena were in that bird. As they approached, she took a hard right onto 6th street, accelerating to about 80 miles per hours. She knew the city well enough that she had her plan for escape set up, but she didn't have any time to spare.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XVII

11:55 AM

Hoshi and Justin Bond, along with two UED troopers had appropriated a Chevy Malibu from the dealership and headed out onto the streets. Hoshi had also grabbed a hand-held radio from the Hummer back at the parking lot so they could follow the chase. A UED Ensign named Joby Price, who was from Sioux City was at the wheel, and Hoshi knew he could get them where they needed to go.

"Sirs, I'm going to head East on Highway One and then wait at the intersection with the National Freeway. I think I know what she might be doing", he said as he accelerated the vehicle.

"For now, Ensign, you're in charge, so we're trusting you", Hoshi said evenly.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Just before 6th Street turned into Fairmount St and turned South, Seelix turned South on The Business District spur of the New Caprican National Highway and gunned the accelerator again.

"Admiral, here she comes!", the Ensign said looking North and spying the red Chevy truck headed South. "Even money she turns onto Highway 1 and then tries to get to the National Highway."

The Ensign was right; Seelix took the exit onto Highway 1 and headed Eastbound. The only question for the Ensign now was which way she would go once she reached the National Highway.

Karl and Athena were about a half mile in the rear of the red Chevy, as they had drifted a little North up by 11th Street. Two other Raptors were East of their Position, and Hera's bird was about a mile South of them astride the National Highway. At least a dozen police and military vehicles were trying to converge on the area as well.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:06 PM

Noel Alison had fled the area when he lost contact with Seelix. He had stashed the rifle that had been under his coat in a large trash container at the hotel where he had been stationed. He then headed North, his vehicle parked at the Sioux City Public Library. By listening to the wail of sirens, it sounded like the law was moving towards the East, in almost the opposite direction in which he was headed. He nodded slightly in approval.

He had put his cap back on when he went outside but was still sweating mightily from the tension that had gripped him inside the hotel. He had been furious when the Raptor had blocked his line of sight, but nothing could be done about that. He had walked about five-hundred feet when he briefly took his cap off to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He put it back on and continued towards the Library.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

That morning, the police and military had been issued faxes showing the old photographs of Diana Seelix and Noel Alison, along with the aliases they were believed to be using. An SCPD Officer was at 4th and Douglas Street, helping to usher frightened citizens out of the area. He happened to look to his right and saw a man take his cap off and wipe his forehead, which he thought was quite unusual in this 15-degree weather. He instantly stopped. That face looks damned familiar, the officer said to himself, but couldn't place it right away. After a few seconds, as the man continued North on Douglas, it hit him: The goddamn APB!

The man was obviously older but the officer had studied the face that morning and now concentrated on his features: eyes, mouth, face, height. Yeah, he fit the description, or at least in the ballpark enough to warrant attention. The officer depressed the button that activated his microphone and called it in.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

As the car carrying Hoshi and Justin Bond waited for the oncoming truck to reach their position, a new voice came over the Guard Channel, "Attention all units, Officer David Sanchez, SCPD, subject fitting the description of one Noel Alison, aka Xander Ukith, spotted at 4th and Douglas, headed North on Douglas; he's wearing khaki jeans, black overcoat, and a green cap; suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous, approach with caution."

Athena jumped on the radio before Karl did in their Raptor, "Officer Sanchez, Raptor 554, responding to your call, headed in your direction. Admiral Hoshi, we're peeling away to help interdict that subject."

"Affirmative, Lieutenant Agathon, permission granted", her Boss said.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Tony Rapman looked over at Hera, "Lieutenant Agathon?" he said with a jolt, "What the hell?"

Hera was a bit stunned, "Holy shit, Rapman, my mother's in that Raptor North of us!" She hadn't had the first clue her mother was down here. She was scared for a moment but turned back to the business at hand.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

1:10 PM, Eastern Time, Richmond Virginia.

Former First Lady Judith Bond had heard the first reports of the attack in Sioux City, as MSNBC had cut into their live programming when the event broke. She had gone through her husband being shot down in war and lost behind enemy lines for nine days back in 2005; she had gone through the days in Omaha in 2027 with the sounds of War over her own head. She didn't spook easily.

Now, she was almost in hysterics with the news from the New Caprican Capital. She had called the State Department to see if they had any news, but they had none. That was understandable, since such a crisis always started with confusion, but frustrated her nonetheless.

After about twenty minutes of trying to find out more, President Jackson had phoned her and asked her if she wanted to head over to The Gray House as information came in. She was grateful for the offer, as it beat being alone at a time like this. She first put a call into Abby in Cleveland, who had also heard the news. Nick was onboard the Churchill and had probably heard the news. Kara was about nine billion miles away training on the Laura Roslin.

At that moment, she felt utterly alone.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:10 PM, Central Time

Diana Seelix was headed East on Highway 1. She saw two Raptors in front of her and one off to the South. The one that had been North of her had disappeared but she couldn't worry about that. She had broken through the developing attempt to pin her inside the city, and she was going on nothing but adrenaline at the moment. Her next decision would be which way she should head when she reached the New Caprican Freeway. She thought she knew, but nothing was set in stone.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Ensign Price was about a half mile, maybe less, behind Diana Seelix. The Tahoe could outrun his Malibu but he thought he knew the area better than the crazy woman ahead of her. "Sirs, I think she's gonna head to the Freeway and then South towards I-29. That or she'll head West into Nebraska onto I-129."

"Just keep on her, Ensign", Justin Bond gritted through the pain in his shoulder. In for a penny, in for a pound, he thought, wondering why the hell he hadn't gone to the hospital.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:13 PM

Noel Allison heard a bevy of sirens headed in his direction. He didn't see any police cars or military vehicles at that moment, so he crossed the street at 5th and Douglas and made his way into the U.S. Bank branch just next to the Library. He hoped that they weren't looking for him, and if he could lay low for a few moments, they might just race by his current location.

Just as he made his detour, Helo was heading West above 6th street, and slowed his Raptor to a crawl, "Athena, if that was Narcho he couldn't be very far. You can't go very far on foot in two minutes."

"He could be in any one of these buildings, Karl." She could see lights from police cars converging in the area, along with what were clearly military vehicles.

Karl got on the radio, "Attention all law enforcement and military, Raptor 554, I'm at 6th and Pierce, landing by Security National Bank. No sign of subject will begin search on foot."

"Karl, what the hell are you doing!", his wife barked at him, "We don't know where he is!"

"Athena he's right in this area, he has to be", he looked west out of the windshield of the Raptor, "there are five police cars coming right at us, this guy is trapped."

She simply shook her head and rolled her eyes. Men... They both got out and ran West towards 6th and Douglas.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:14, Near Highway 1

Hera Agathon and Tony Rapp were directly over Morningside Avenue and the New Caprican National Freeway, with the red Chevy in their sights directly in front of them. She kept an eye to her East for the two Raptors in that direction. They were still a safe distance from her bird. They saw the truck commit to the Freeway.

"All units, Raptor 1171. Suspect just turned South on the National Freeway!", Hera announced a little louder than she had intended.

"Raptor 1171, South Sioux PD, we're across the Missouri and into New Caprica. Have blocked the Westbound lane headed into Nebraska!", a female officer from the Nebraska city said urgently. "Freeway is closed in both directions heading into Nebraska!"

Here accelerated the Raptor and descended towards the point the SSPD Officer had mentioned, "South Sioux PD, all units, Raptor 1171 landing on the Eastbound side of the National Freeway to block it in case she tries to jump sides!", she started to ease the Raptor across both lanes of the Freeway.

"Christ, we need a scorecard for everyone who's in this game!", Tony exclaimed, then added wryly, "The shit's really gonna hit the fan now."
__________________________________________________________________________________________

XVIII

Ensign Price now floored the accelerator on the Malibu. He figured after the Freeway turned Westward towards Nebraska, the subject would slow, and he felt this was his chance to gain ground. He looked out of his rear-view and could see two SCPD cruisers about a quarter mile behind him.

The National Highway was turning West and Seelix wanted to get across the Missouri, Just another minute or two, and then she hoped she could somehow outrun everyone in the more open spaces of Nebraska. The car was now due West and...

"Holy shit!", she breathed. There were at least four police cars directly in front of her in her lanes, and a Raptor parked across both ways on the Eastbound side. She had slowed down, and now a black Chevy Sedan was racing in behind her, and two more police cruisers on the tail of that car.

She had nowhere to go.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"Draw weapons, gentlemen", Louis Hoshi commanded from the front passenger seat of the Malibu. The other three in the vehicle did just that. Justin Bond's left shoulder was in agony, but the bleeding had subsided and he pulled the Sig Sauer that he had taken from the dead Home Guard Sergeant out. He had been a pilot, but had been trained in ground combat, all those years ago in the Air Force. He knew the drill.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Hera and Tony were out of their Raptor, each behind a missile pod on either side of their ship for cover. Mutt Agathon looked to her left and saw a phalanx of South Sioux City police officer behind the doors of their cruisers, weapons at the ready.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

"All units in the vicinity of the Red Pickup", Hoshi broadcast, "take her alive if you can, but use deadly force if necessary!", he looked back at Justin Bond who was behind the driver. The former President nodded.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

12:17, U.S. Bank, 5th Street

Narcho could see his car out to his right, in the parking lot in front of the Library. No police were yet on the scene, but he could hear they were getting closer. Godsdammit, you idiot, you should have gone straight for your car! He was dead if he stayed where he was, he could sense that now, and he was probably dead if he headed for his car. Well, might as well die on the move.

He went back out of the front entrance of the bank and headed at a sprint to his vehicle in the Library parking lot. He had just gotten to the driver's side door and opened it when he heard a very familiar voice shout at him.

"FREEZE, ALISON!"

He glanced to the right corner of the Library by 6th street. My God, it's Helo and his Cylon bitch of a wife! Narcho squatted down behind the door of his pickup, "Frack you, Agathon! We should have killed you and your Cylon wife during the coup!"

"You've got nowhere to go, Noel", Helo said in that choir boy voice of his, "you can still live through this."

"Why the hell should I want to live in a world where we make heroes of Cylons, for god's sake! You never learned that Karl; they're all liars and murderers!"

"Says the guy who has helped kill dozens of Human Beings today!", Athena yelled back at a man who was once her colleague.

"You shut the frack up, skin job! You don't deserve to live!"
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Office David Sanchez, who had called in the first ID on Narcho had slowly made his way North, waiting for back-up. He wanted to keep an eye on the subject, but as a well-trained officer didn't want to approach the scene without support. He was on 5th street, behind a vacant building that looked out on Douglas, and had seen the subject go into the bank; he saw the Raptor coming down 6th and heard the pilot say he was landing. When the suspect exited the bank and headed toward the Library parking lot, he came around the corner and witnessed the two Raptor pilots and the suspect shouting at each other.

He caught the eye of the female pilot, and even from that distance, the intentions of one became known to the other. The male pilot had also made eye contact with him. The plan was set: they'd distract him, and he'd approach from the rear.

"You never could tell the difference between someone like Cavil and someone like Caprica, or Tyrol or Sam, could you!", Karl egged on the former Viper pilot.

Not wanting to expose his flank to either of the jocks, Narcho squatted, went around the back of his car, then opened up the passenger door. Now he had the vehicle and the door between him and his enemies. His vehicle was facing West, and he felt a little safer on that side.

Officer Sanchez had crossed the street and taken his first position behind a pair of trees in the bank parking lot. He froze as the suspect went around the back of his car, but now the man was facing the far corner of the library and the two UED pilots. He headed in an angle to his right behind a car in the first parking space closest to the bank, crouching the entire time.

He had a clear line of sight to the subject.

The sirens were almost on top of them now. Narcho knew he was pretty much fracked either way. But at least if he could take out Athena...

He squatted down again and went around the passenger door to the front side of the car. He knew right where Athena was. He stayed on in the spring of his knees and pivoted around the corner and brought his weapon up.

"BANG!"

A weapon did go off, but it wasn't Narcho's.

Officer Sanchez had seen the suspect maneuvering, and knew what was coming when the man pivoted towards the pilots, he dropped to one knee and loosed a perfect round that struck the suspect under his right arm. The man fell over.

Sanchez raced forward, his weapon still out and ready to fire. The man was slumped against the front passenger tire, and three police cruisers arrived at that moment. He could see that sidearm the man had carried was now in front of the vehicle, and the wounded man clearly couldn't get to it. He ran up to the front of the vehicle and kicked the weapon even further away.

Karl and Athena ran forward, guns still drawn. They came around the front of the car...Narcho was still alive.

Karl bent down directly in front of his old colleague, Narcho's eyes following him all the way down. "It should never have been like this, Noel", Helo said quietly, with pity in his voice, "you were a great pilot, but you chose the wrong path."

"Too frackin' late for those words now, Karl", the man said, resigned to the fate that was but minutes away, "I made my choice; you made yours. It's over now", as his breathing became more labored.

Athena moved in front of Alison, "Narcho, you won't believe this, but I take no pleasure in any of this", she said with heavy sadness. "We were once comrades, and you fought well on many occasions."

"You won, Cylon", he said with a wry grimace.

"Do you still believe in the old Scriptures of Kobol?", she asked the dying man.

"Yes, I do", he nodded.

"Then give me your hand", she said sadly.

Noel looked surprised, even with death approaching, "Why the frack for?"

She grabbed his hand, and shut her eyes, "May the Lords of Kobol and the god's that guide our souls forgive you of your sins, and help you find the peace in death that you could not find in life." Athena was a Christian now, but she still respected the ways of The Colonies and their faiths. And she felt even a condemned person deserved a prayer at death.

At that moment, perhaps Narcho understood what he had missed all those years. He looked up at Athena, and softly nodded, "Thank you", he said. Then his eyes closed and his breathing stopped.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

12:20 pm, New Caprican National Freeway and I-29 Interchange.

Diana Seelix had slowed to a crawl; she was about a five hundred feet from the police blockade directly to her front, and the black Chevy was no more than a hundred yards behind her, with two more police cars pulling alongside it.

She realized if she fired, her life was probably over. But she had surrendered meekly once after the coup all those years ago, and she was damned if she was going to do that again. If I can take out Hoshi, or Bond, or one of those Raptor Jocks... But none of the choices were an easy shot.

She stopped her vehicle.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Ensign Price eased the Malibu to a stop within one hundred feet behind the pickup. All four doors of the Malibu opened, and each occupant took shielding behind the doors, weapons drawn. Hera and Tony had their weapons drawn under the weapons pods of their Raptor; the SSPD had theirs at the ready as well. The SCPD cruisers were backing almost even with the Malibu.

Seelix sat there for a moment; contemplating her existence, and all the hardship she had seen. Like anyone else, she didn't want her life to end, despite everything, but she had a stubborn pride in her that was typical of most military people, and would rather go out with a gun in her hand than having her hands over her head.

Hardball pressed the door lock button on the center of her console to unlock the doors. She closed her eyes for a quick prayer to the gods, then threw the door open, crawled along the side of the car, popped up and fired in the direction of Louis Hoshi on the passenger side of the Malibu.

The bullet hit the door frame, and an instant later Ensign Price had fired his weapon, hitting Seelix in her right shoulder, her wepon flying about feet to her right.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

The four men in the Malibu swung out from behind their doors, crouched, with weapons ready to fire and approached Seelix, who wasn't moving much. All four of them could see the weapon clearly visible away from the subject.

Justin Bond was to the right of Ensign Price, with his right hand on Price's shoulder as he came around him.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Diana Seelix lay bleeding, but conscious, and she heard footstep approaching her. If I could just get to the fracking gun! She found the adrenaline to roll on her stomach and grab the weapons. With years of training, she brought it up in one smooth motion and fired.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

The movement had been so sudden that neither of the four men approaching her had time to react. Justin Bond felt his body literally being lifted off the ground and then spun around. The bullet had struck him just below his right clavicle. Had it found the mark on the left side, it would have ruptured the arteries to his heart...

The other three fired at once as the SSPD and the Raptor pilots approached at a sprint. One of the bullets struck her on her right clavicle, shattering it into pieces and she dropped the weapons. Price had finally reached her and kicked the weapon about 20 feet away, "All clear!", he screamed at the top of his lungs.

Louis Hoshi had turned back after he fired to check on Justin Bond. A pool of blood lay underneath his right shoulder, and he was breathing erratically due to the damage near his lung. "Hold on, Mr. President", he said to his longtime friend, "We'll get you help ASAP."

Bond looked up at him, "Well, Louis, this hasn't been my day, has it?", and tried to get a laugh out.

"No, sir, it hasn't been a good day for anyone."

The South Sioux Police had already called for a pair of ambulances for the two prone individuals. Hoshi kneeled down and looked at his former colleague, who was conscious but in considerable pain, "Diana Seelix", he whispered sadly.

"Hoshi", she grimaced through the wounds.

"You never could pick the right side of a fight, could you?", he said with no rancor. Seelix didn't answer.

At that moment, Hera and Tony approached the Admiral who was kneeling over the suspect. Hoshi turned to her, "Hera, can the two of you get President Bond to a hospital?"

Ensign Price chimed in, "Take him to St. Luke's Regional Medical Center North of downtown. They can handle this."

Hearing the name "Hera", Seelix looked toward the female Lieutenant. Sure enough, the name sewn on her jacket said Agathon.

"Another frackin' Cylon", she breathed angrily, "you tried to destroy the human race, and you're treated like heroes!", she said, choking between rage and pain.

"I don't know who you are", Hera spoke up evenly, "But I'm half Cylon and half Human. And another thing: I wear this uniform to protect humanity, not to harm it, which is more than I can say for you."

Hera and Tony headed towards Justin Bond without another word for Diana Seelix. They put the President in the back of the Malibu and Ensign Price transported him the short distance to the waiting Raptor. Three minutes they were airborne. Five minutes after that, Diana Seelix was also transported away in an ambulance.

Hoshi made a call on his Cell to UED Headquarters in San Diego.

The time was 12:41 PM, Central Time. It was over.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

XIX

1:30 PM Central Time, Battlestar William Adama

Admiral Lee Adama had his Raptors and Falcons running space rescue drills at that moment. He didn't have fond memories from years back, floating in space after ejecting from his mortally wounded Viper and nearly dying alone in The Void. He took such drills very seriously, even though they weren't a mandatory part of his proving run.

"Adama Actual, Raptor 2383, we have the simulated pilot aboard our ship, and returning to base."

"Good work, Snicker, you captured the target well withing the allocated time frame, come on home", The Admiral smiled at his XO, Hideki Torojo, who grinned back.

"The jocks were right on the money today, Boss", the XO said with satisfaction, "every one of 'em beat the clock."

"And that's how we do it, ladies and gentlemen", he smiled while looking around CIC.

He was getting ready to log in the time the drill ended when communications spoke up, "Admiral, I'm receiving a Priority One, Code Red from UED."

That silenced the room quickly. "Code Red", Dick Torojo whistled, "something's up, Lee."

"In your ready room, sir?", communications asked.

"No, let me open it here", and the information came up on his computer terminal in a matter of seconds. It was from Galen Tyrol. Galen had talked to Hoshi immediately after Seelix had been apprehended and taken to the hospital. He had expected such a high-priority communication to be from Hoshi.

He scanned the message: Major terrorists attack in North America today, Lee. Saul and Ellen Tigh assassinated in Florida; Dr. Baltar's research facility at Iowa State blown up, bombing in Sioux City at the Tyson Events Center. Many dead, including President Costanza; Admiral Caprica in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound; Justin Bond in critical condition with a broken left shoulder and a gunshot wound below his right collarbone. Hoshi on the scene in Sioux City. Did not want to tell Kara about her father in this manner. Hoshi orders rendezvous with the Roslin to inform her. Galen.

Lee wasted no time, "Dick, where's the Roslin?"

His XO called up the coordinates of the Roslin at his computer terminal.

"OK, begin Jump Prep, Dick, we need to rendezvous with Kara."

"What's going on, boss?" He said with concern.

"Let me talk to the ship, and I'll explain it to everyone." A moment later he tapped the LED tab on his screen connecting him to every part of the ship.

"Attention crew of the Adama. This is the Admiral. I have just received word from Earth of a major terrorist attack in North America. The main attack was in Sioux City where President Costanza, President Bond, and Admiral Baltar were attending a unity rally. The arena was hit with multiple explosions. Reports are that there are dozens dead. I regret to inform you that New Caprican President Costanza died in the attack", that elicited some gasps in CIC, "We have orders to jump over to the Roslin where I will meet with Admiral Thrace-Bond. After I return from the Roslin, I will make more information available as we receive it. Adama out."

"We both being ordered home, Admiral?", Tornado inquired of his boss.

"No such orders at the moment. The Churchill is in orbit above the planet, and the Anwar Sadat is scheduled to rotate back this week to swap out for new crew members."

"Why are we headed over to Kara, then?"

Lee looked at him and pivoted his computer screen towards his XO, with a look that clearly said keep your mouth shut for a while about this.

Dick's eyes widened when he reached the part about Justin Bond, "Holy fuckin' shit", he said in disbelief, "yeah, that's a good reason", he looked back up at The Boss, "The last of the Raptors are being recovered right now, beginning jump prep."
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Admiral Kara Thrace-Bond in the pilot training room, going over some video of some recent training missions as well as old video from the days of fleeing the Cylons. As The Boss, she didn't get interact with her jocks in this manner very often, but she had made it a point to make sure she saw serious face-to-face with all her crew, in every department. It kept them sharp, and it kept up to date on what was happening with her ship.

"The two pilots that bought it this day weren't low enough to the moon's surface to avoid the anti-aircraft fire. You have to get your belly as close to the surface as you can when strafing any kind of installation on a planet or moon. As you can see in the simulation, Apollo and Kat were only about twenty feet off the ground when they approached the Cylon Tylium plant and the triple-A couldn't get to them. It still took Lee some maneuvering to neutralize the facility, but again, they made it because they were almost crawling across the surface". She loved telling that story because that had been her plan, the first one she had ever conceived by herself. To this day, she remained proud of that success.

"Moving on...", and she was going to switch topics when a female Ensign appeared at the door.

"Admiral, you're needed in the port side hangar. The Adama has just jumped next to us, and Admiral Adama is on his way over. He says it's urgent."

"Thank you, Ensign Mittal", and then turned back to her jocks, "OK guys I guess we'll continue this some other time", and she headed toward the hangar.

Why the frack would Lee be jumping over here? Most of their training was solo, with a few combined sessions, but the next one wasn't scheduled for about two weeks from now.

Five minutes later, she was in the hangar as Lee skidded his Falcon to a stop, and he immediately went to where Kara was.

"Admiral", Lee said without preamble, "I need to see you immediately in your quarters", he said brusquely, and the two of them left, Lee setting a fast clip to their strides.

"You haven't asked to see me in my private quarters in years, Lee", she said with an impish smile.

"Not today, Kara, this is damned serious", he said as the senior officer present, and not as her long time friend.

They got to her quarters and Kara fetched two cold bottles of water from her fridge. "OK, Admiral Adama, what's so frackin' important that you have to sneak up on me like this?", she said only half-jokingly.

"Kara, there's been a series of terrorist attacks in North America today", which changed Starbuck's demeanor instantly.

"What kind of attacks?", she said, all pretense of fun gone in an instant.

"Saul and Ellen Tigh were murdered in Florida this morning. Police there say it was a professional hit". Kara gasped and Lee continued, "Shortly after that, Gaius' research facility at Iowa State University was blown up. Gaius had left the building a few minutes before, but reports are that 26 were killed".

Kara now stared as if looking through her superior Officer, but Lee wasn't finished yet.

"And late this morning in Sioux City, there was a massive explosion at the arena in the downtown area. Reports are so far 160 have been confirmed killed." He looked at her, waiting for her to make the connection.

"Wait", she said, suddenly feeling a cold ball in the pit of her stomach, "Today's the 9th, isn't it?", and Lee nodded in the affirmative, It suddenly hit her, "Holy God, dad was supposed to be at that rally today in Sioux City with Hotdog and Caprica..." A wave of panic came over her. "Lee! What about my father! Is he alive, is he alright?"

"Slow down, Kara", he said putting his hand on her arm, "Your dad survived the explosion. He tore up his right shoulder in the blast. But later, he was with Hoshi, chasing down one of the conspirators and when they surrounded them he was shot just under his right collarbone. Galen sent me the message and reports he's in Critical Condition."

Kara's eyes went desperately wide, as the most horrible feeling that she had ever experienced swept over her. To be this far from home with her dad critically wounded... "Lee, I have to get home to dad! I can't be out here if...if!" She began to pace the room, terror in her eyes, "What about mom, Abby, and Nick? I need to be there for them!". Lee got up and hugged his longtime friend.

"Kara, that's why I'm here. I'm ordering you to take your Raptor and jump back to Earth. Right now, your place is with your family. Commander Carrico can take over your duties for a while."

"Lee, he can't die on me!", she said in despair, "he means everything to me!", she said taking a seat again.

"I know that Kara, which is why you're heading home", he paused for a second, "By the way, Caprica was shot and is in serious condition. And President Costanza didn't survive the bombing."

An even darker pall settled over both of them. "The Cain Mutiny?", she said, not looking up at Lee.

"From all accounts. Tyrol sent me a follow-up informing me that two of the suspects were Noel Alison and Diana Seelix."

Kara looked up with rage in her eyes, "Narcho and Hardball? They were behind this? What, doing this once wasn't enough for them!"

"Take it easy, Starbuck. The attacks are over. Apparently, Narcho was killed by a Sioux City Police Officer, and Seelix was critically wounded. She's the one who shot your father."

Kara knew she needed to get it together, despite the rage she felt. She had to fly a Raptor to Earth and then help her family get through this. She sat silent for a few moments, eyes closed then looked up at Lee.

"Admiral, with your permission, I'd like to have Nav set my jump prep. I need to get home.", she said with a controlled quietness.

"Permission Granted, Admiral", Lee saluted her and it was returned. Then he wrapped his arms around Starbuck, "Kara", he said softly, "your dad is a tough SOB. He'll pull through."

"God, I hope so, Lee. I can't imagine not having him around", and she put her hand on his cheek, "Thanks for being here for me."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 10th, 2044

The rest of The Cain Mutiny seemed to have melted away. The rank-and-file had been ready to assist Alison if needed. When no sign of complete success materialized, they simply vanished like sugar on a person's tongue. Tomas Sands had quietly slipped away and was nowhere to be found.

Diana Seelix was in serious but stable condition at the same hospital where Justin Bond had been taken. She had two guards outside her door, and two in her room at all times. Even though she was in no condition to even get out of her bed, let alone fight, no one was taking any chances. The Sioux City PD had an Officer come to her room, where he ticked off the charges against her. And at the end, he told her that Narcho was dead.

Gaius Baltar had arrived at Offutt, and almost immediately, General Pembers had a Raptor take him to Sioux City. Like Seelix and President Bond, Caprica was also at St. Luke's. Her injuries were serious, but not life-threatening. Gaius didn't leave her side for three days.

Justin Bond had gone through surgery that evening. His right lung had been punctured and had collapsed; a few larger blood vessels had been ripped up, and his collarbone broken in half. The wound on his left shoulder was also cleaned and repaired.

Kara arrived at 9 am the next morning, having been informed that her dad had undergone surgery and was sedated. She had taken a little extra time to go over ship business with Commander Carrico and then departed. She had landed her Raptor at Offutt, where another Raptor took her directly to the hospital in Sioux City.

Sioux City Police had been alerted to her arrival at the hospital and escorted her to the fifth floor ICU. She rounded the corner with her escort and stopped, as her mother, sister, and brother turned in her direction. They hadn't been told by anyone that she was coming, what with all the confusion.

She locked eyes with her mother, and ran full speed to her, and wrapped her mother in a hug as her mother cried in anguish. Kara didn't want to let go, and the tears streamed down her face. The hug lasted for a good five minutes, as her mom slowly regained her composure.

"Oh my God, Kara, we didn't know you were coming!", her mom said, not letting go of her daughter's hand.

"They didn't?", Starbuck responded with a touch of annoyance, then remembered it had been a little nuts around here, "Nothing could keep me away mom. " And they hugged again and Kara kissed her mom reassuringly on her cheek.

She turned to her brother and sister who were still pale with shock from what had taken place yesterday. She hugged them both simultaneously and kissed them both, "We gotta be strong, guys, for mom and dad", she said wiping tears off both of their faces.

Nick spoke up first, "Kara, the city is an absolute shambles. UED didn't release the Falcons, and I was going crazy up on the Churchill."

"You're here now, Nick, that's all that matters." Kara turned to her younger sister. Abby had talked to the surgeons around 1 am and got an update from them, "Abby, what are the doctors saying?"

"He's in bad shape, Kara, I won't lie, but from everything I can gather, I think he'll make it. Had the bullet struck under his left clavicle, he'd be dead", she said in a moment of stark terror, "His clavicle broke cleanly; the biggest problem is the lung and the damage to the smaller arteries and blood vessels to the right of his heart. He also has a gash in his left shoulder and a nice one on his forehead from pieces of shrapnel from the explosion."

Kara wanted to break down at that moment, but she felt such an overwhelming responsibility to her family, who had stood by and accepted her so many years ago when she was at a crossroads in her life. Now, they were at a crossroads, and she needed to hold it all in for them.

She turned back towards her mother, "Is he conscious yet, mom?"

"He's kind of here on and off, but they have him pretty drugged up at the moment. The doctors are going to decrease the painkillers in a few hours so he can talk to them and to us."

She finally looked into the window of the ICU room and saw her father there, with a breathing tube down his throat, and several IV's hooked up to him. She audibly gasped a small cry before gaining her composure. "Can I go in?"

"Of course you can, honey", and Kara signaled all three of them to go with her. The human mind can adapt quickly, and her mother and siblings had already adjusted, in a macabre sort of way, in seeing the former President prone and unconscious. Kara hadn't seen it yet, and she sat down and broke into an audible cry.

She slipped her hand over the bed rail and grabbed his hand. "Dad", she sobbed, "I should have been there for you!", as her family cried behind her, "I'd trade my life this moment if none of this had happened to you." The only response was the consistent rhythm from the breathing device and the whir from the IV's.

She stayed there for two hours, while her family quietly withdrew to give her some time to come to grips with her father's condition. She never let go of his hand.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

One floor up, Diana Seelix was recovering nicely from her wounds, which had not been quite as serious as Caprica's or Justin Bond's. It was about five in the afternoon when her door squeaked open. The police had assured her that when she was in a little better shape, they would have a lawyer in there for her. No company was expected at this time of the day.

As the door slid open, and older, familiar face from the past came into the room. The face was not friendly.

"Chief", she breathed in sudden astonishment. "What the hell are you doing here", she said in a tone that wasn't exactly friendly, either.

Admiral Galen Tyrol had flown from Arizona to Sioux City after receiving word of the attack. He and Hotdog had had some rough patches over the years, especially when Galen found out that Hotdog was Nicki's real father. He had stayed in Nicki's life as an "uncle" all those years, and had patched things up with Costanza. Now, he was here to bury his comrade.

Galen Tyrol closed the door behind him without saying a word. He grabbed the chair at the foot of Diana's bed and brought it around to her left. He sat down, still without a word, and looked out the window. He hadn't even looked in her direction to that point.

"Why don't you say what you have to say, Cylon, and get the hell out of here", her voice shook with bitterness. Tyrol remained quiet for another minute or so, then finally started speaking.

"You know", he began with a deadly quietness, still not looking at her, "I can remember a long time ago, you, Sam and I fighting like the devil to throw the Cylons off of New Caprica", he said and paused. "I remember rescuing Cally, and you holding your fire while I got to her; I can remember the pain and agony of that existence, day after day after day as if we were in prison and no one had a key."

Seelix started to speak, but Galen finally turned those dark eyes towards her with a look that clearly said don't you say one frackin' thing, lady.

"I remember when Sam, Tigh, Tory and I suddenly realized we were Cylons. I remember us making the decision right then and there that we were Officers of the Colonial fleet, and our job was to defend her from attack. With the exception of Tory, none of us ever wavered in that dedication."

He paused and took a controlling breath, obviously trying to keep his own internal rage in check, "And most of all, I remember a mechanic who worked for me who wanted to become a Viper pilot. Because she wasn't born on the right planet, to the right people, she kept getting passed over to join flight training. And I remember going to the President and demanding changes in the fleet that would get us past the caste system that existed. I remember Starbuck coming in looking for a Nugget that was 20 minutes late to her first day of pilot training. And I remember putting Lieutenant bars on her and saluting her."

He paused one more time, "I wonder whatever happened to her", he said as he started to get up and leave.

"I remember all of that too, Chief", she said with anger in her voice, "but I..." Tyrol cut her off.

"When I went to Roslin, I told her that none of us should be judged because we were Picon, or Virgon, or Saggitaron, or Aerilon, or whatever. We should all be given an equal chance to not just be what our people were on our respective planets, but to become more; to reach for new horizons. I went to bat for you. A Gemenon like yourself was never going to be a pilot unless things changed. And they did", he paused to take another breath, "and you became a first-rate jock."

Diana couldn't say much at that moment, so Galen continued.

"And what did I get for all my work on your behalf? You tried to kill me, Sam, Tory, Tigh, Athena...because of the same reasons why you couldn't be a pilot before-you were too worried about our frackin' bloodline than who we continued to be with the fleet." He looked at her with an anger he hadn't felt since he snapped Tory's neck. "Well, no one is going to be in your corner now, Seelix", he said with blazing eyes, "No one will be there to fight for you. Twice you've turned your back, first on the Fleet, then on the nation of New Caprica, because you couldn't distinguish between a maniac like Cavil and someone like Saul Tigh who never wavered in his loyalty to Galactica."

Diana Seelix stared straight ahead as if somehow a light had come on much too late, "I never quite thought of it that way, Chief", she said softly.

"That's your problem, Hardball", he said, again getting out of his chair, "your failure to understand means that as soon as you're healed, you'll be executed. And I have not one shred of sympathy for you", he had said the last words after turning away, not taking a backward glance at his one-time friend.

Seelix was silent, but pools of tears welled up in her beautiful brown eyes. She realized she couldn't argue with anything that the Cylon had said.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 11th, 2044

Justin Bond was finally coming to after his brush with death. The doctors were guardedly optimistic that he was going to make a full recovery. He was still on the "Critical" list but he was stabilizing and seemed to be headed in the right direction.

Around noon, Nick, Abby, and Judy all entered the room together. His two children approached first.

"Thanks for scaring the hell out of us, dad", Nick said sardonically. It was his way of handling stressful situations, "It's been fun." They all quietly laughed.

"What can I say, Nick. I didn't have a really good day. I think I deserve a mulligan for that, don't you?", he smiled, grabbing his son's hand.

"Only one, dad", the younger man said with tears in his eyes, "but after that, it goes on your scorecard."

"It's a deal. When do you have to go back?"

"Well the Admiral is down here as well, so when he returns I'll return. I think I have a few days to bother you, though." He kissed his father on the forehead and stepped back.

"Dad, I talked to Doctor Evers a few minutes ago. If your vitals hold steady, they're going to upgrade you to 'Serious but Guarded'. That doesn't sound like much, but I think you're trending in the right direction."

"You make me sound like a hot stock on the Market", he said arching his eyes. That was the best sign he was going the right direction. Then he became serious, "Thanks, honey, I appreciate you meeting with the doctors. It helps your mom a lot."

"Katraine colored you a picture", she said, showing him the little stick figure girl that was clearly his Granddaughter, with a bright rainbow above her.

"That goes on the wall, and right now", he said lighting up thinking about the little girl.

Finally, Judy came up to him. "I hate to tell you I told you so, Mr. Bond, but, well, 'I told you so'", she said trying not to lose her composure again. "I was so frightened when I first got the news."

"Believe me, babe, so was I", he winked at her, "I'm just sick that Brendan was killed in the attack. I do hear Caprica is going to be OK, so that makes me feel better."

"I know I shouldn't bring it up, but the area down by the arena looks like a war zone, Justin", she paused, "so many good people were lost that day", she said squeezing his hand.

"I know honey. It'll stick with us for a long time", he paused, "but I have you, and that will get me through this." Judith leaned over to kiss him on his lips.

"I think the worst is over, gang", he said, sounding a little more like his positive self, and then he paused with a hint of sadness on his face, "I really wish Kara was here as well", and he sighed.

The other three smiled and turned to look behind them, and then parted.

"Hi dad", Kara Thrace-Bond said softly, moving towards him, with the contrast of a huge smile on her face and tears pooling in her eyes as she slowly approached her father.

"Well, I'll be damned", Justin Bond his breath suddenly taken from him, trying to be lighthearted but with emotion belying his words, "Kara", he said, reaching for her hand.

"I'm gone for seven months and you're getting into all kinds of trouble, young man", she laughed, wiping the tears from her eyes, "What am I going to do with you?" She leaned over to embrace him in the way that meant so much to her, but he stopped her short.

"Whoa, Admiral", he chuckled, "I love to get hugs from all of you, but right now, that might be just a bit painful?", he said winking at his family, and on cue, they laughed.

Instead, she leaned over and kissed him gently on the forehead. "Tough week?", she said, with worry still etched on her face.

"I've had better, babe", he said, with a sudden wave of sadness. "Brendan didn't deserve his fate. He loved his nation and his people. I know he was heartsick over all of this", his voice trailing away.

"He was a lot like you, dad", Nick spoke up, "he believed in what was good and right about this world, and he wasn't going to let a drought or terror make him change for the worse."

"Nick's right", Kara turned to her brother and smiled, "you have to stand up against the evil that's around us. Whether it's a drought or terrorism. Running doesn't help. You have to face it. You taught me that a long time ago", she said, still clutching his hand.

"I think all of you have taught me that", he said graciously, "but it still shows how far we have to come."

"I'm going to be home for about a week, then I have to head back", Kara informed them all, "I don't want to go back and leave all of you again, but this is the life I've chosen."

"We're glad you came back, Kara," her mom said, putting a hand on her daughter's shoulder, "it's been such a huge boost for us to have you here."

"My heart's always here, no matter how far I go, mom", she said looking at each of them, "Right now, we need to take care of dad, and that's what I plan to do." She kissed him again and leaned back in her chair, but still holding her father's hand.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 15th, 2044

Four days later a service was held at the Sioux City Convention, in remembrance of President Costanza and the 137 others who had perished in the attack. Eight-five heads of state, including American President Eliza Jackson, were in attendance to pay their respects. The President's body had lain in repose in the National Capitol for two days.

The streets along the route of the motorcade had been lined every fifteen feet with first a New Caprican Home Guard soldier, then a United Earth Defense soldier, marine or airman. They stood at attention, their parade rifles snapping directly in front of their face, bayonet aloft, as the President's flag-draped casket silently went by. The Vice President of the small nation spoke first, followed by the Sioux City Police Chief, the American President, and, finally, Admiral Hoshi. The route was lined in some placed ten-deep with citizens of the tiny Nation.

At each of the four corners of his casket stood a UED Honor Guard. It was comprised of Admiral Karl Agathon, Admiral Kara Thrace-Bond, Admiral Galen Tyrol and Admiral Lee Adama. They all stood erect, feet apart at shoulder width, right arm stretched out with a parade rifle in their hand, resting the butt of the rifle on the floor. They hadn't flinched in the two-hour-long ceremony. The presence of a Cylon Officer from UED was not lost on anyone, and it made a powerful symbol of rebuke against those who had tried to bring a nation to its knees.

Hoshi gave the Eulogy, but didn't speak for very long. He wasn't a politician in the classic sense, although he had to play the political game in the position he held, but he was a plain-spoken man of great dignity. But the end of his eulogy was what would be remembered.

"In about a year's time, we begin the journey back to The Colonies, from where Brendan Costanza was born. We go back to try to raise humanity there from the ashes of a Holocaust that wiped out most of known humanity. And yet as we build this marvelous fleet of starships and looked to the day when we will head into deep space to look for other life and other possible homes for humanity, we're reminded today that we still have much to accomplish here on Earth. Our technological wonders still can't overcome the smallness in spirit that still can permeate humanity.

"The events of the past week remind us how fragile the human heart is, but also how strong the human spirit is when faced with adversity. And it also shows that despite all the progress mankind has made since the Colonial Fleet arrived at Earth just over twenty years ago, we still have not stamped out ignorance and bigotry that still afflicts us.

"Brandon Costanza lived, and, ultimately died, fighting for his people. Whether they were Colonial or from Earth, he felt a visceral love for all of humanity, and this beautiful world we inhabit. His death has hurt us all, but it makes us more determined, not less, to move humanity forward.

"Rest in Peace, my friend."
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Epilogue

July 2044, New Caprican State Maximum Security Prison Facility, Fort Dodge, New Caprica

Former Lieutenant Tia Morilio sat in solitary. She sat in solitary for 20 hours a day, every day, seven days a week. She had been convicted in April on twenty-eight counts related to the various terrorist attacks, including terrorism, accessory to terrorism, accessory to murder, accessory to the assassination of the New Caprican President, and a host of others. In June, the Federal Court sentence her to Life with the possibility of parole in 30 years.

This would be her life until she died, no doubt.

Rarely did she get visitors. Her mother came every few weeks. Carmen's health had suffered when she found out the depth of her daughter's involvement with The Cain Mutiny. She was declining fast. Her son was long dead; the father of her children also long dead, and her daughter imprisoned for life. Tia wondered if she'd last til the New Year.

But today, the guard approached her and informed he she had a visitor. Usually, an inmate had to talk to a visitor via a phone hookup with thick, bullet-proof glass separating the visitor from the prisoner. This time, however, she was taken beyond the normal visitor room, and down the main hall of the facility. The guard in front of her stopped at a door to their right and opened it. The guard gestured for Tia to enter. Both guards took up stations on either side of the door.

She came entered the room, and...

"Hi Tia", said the diminutive voice.

"Agathon?" She was so flabbergasted that she couldn't get angry. Hera Agathon was the last person she expected to see come calling on her. After a moment, bitterness did enter her voice, "You hear to gloat over me, Cylon?"

Hera shook her head and sat forward in the chair she was occupying, "No, I wanted to see how you're being treated." Tia snorted in derision at that remark.

"Oh, it's great here; food is slop; smells like an outhouse; locked in this room for twenty hours each day. What's not to love about it, kid?"

"I'm not here to gloat, Hera countered, "and I'm not trying to piss you off. But you need to come to terms with the fact that you did this to yourself. No one did it to you."

"Just why the hell are you here, then?"

"I wanted to let you know that before your sentencing, Pembers let me know that the judge was going to have you executed", she said with more than a little sadness in her voice.

"Yes, I had heard that too. My lawyer said it was a done deal", she said in a normal tone, as if discussing the weather, "I wonder what changed his mind?"

"I changed his mind, Tia", she informed the woman who wanted to kill her.

Tia was at a loss for words, confusion sluicing through her mind. Hera continued.

"I went to the Judge and pleaded with him not to sentence you to death, and to give you the possibility of parole"

"Why in the name of the gods would you do that, Mutt?", Tia used Hera's call sign derisively.

"Because there's been enough killing, that's why!", she said with tears welling in her eye ducts. "Over one hundred and fifty people died in the three attacks that day, Tia. Most of them were Human Beings, just like you. And your group killed two whole Cylons."

"What's your point", she inquired with curiosity.

"My point is that is it worth killing hundreds of Humans to take out the few Cylons that are left?", she paused, then plodded on, "The ones that are left are my mother; Admiral Baltar, Chief Tyrol, and Leoben. That's it! We're going to die off. It's a matter of a relatively short time."

"You act like that doesn't bother you?", she said with an air of incredulity, "in your place I'd be doing what I could to continue my race."

"Those of us that are left, Tia, don't want the Cylon race to continue, don't you understand that?", she said with exasperation, "The Cavil's of our race tried to destroy the human race, and they were so blinded by such hatred that they destroyed my race. They couldn't find common ground with humanity, so they perished", she said getting up and walking around, "that's the lesson you and Diana Seelix and Noel Alison and, I'd hate to say it, and your father, never learned."

"What lesson is that?", Tia said, not sure she understood it yet.

"That our bloodline isn't what makes us who we are. It is a part of who we are, but it shouldn't define us. Read about Earth's history, of racism and bigotry and hatred because someone had a different skin tone; or prayed to a different god, or spoke a different language. That's where warfare starts. Most of us on this planet have learned to look past that, but people like Felix Gaeta, Tom Zarek, Seelix and Alison never could. What did it get them? Where are they now in the scheme of things?"

Tia paused to contemplate the words of this young woman she had sworn to kill only a few months before. And she had to admit, the half-Cylon had a point. Noel Alison, whom she had known as Xander Ukith, was killed shortly after the bombing; Diana Seelix had been sent aloft to the Anwar Sadat just two weeks earlier and flushed out an airlock. And the same had happened to her father.

"Why are you doing this, Hera", she said, still not fully realizing what was going on.

"Because unless we realize that there's more to us than what blood is in our veins, we're doomed, that's why." She said earnestly, looking directly at the former jock, "The Cylon race will be all but extinct soon enough, unless, God forbid, another Cavil is out there. But what's to stop humanity from someday reverting back to hating others because they don't look, sound, act or pray like the majority?

"I bleed, just like you do; I have emotions, just like you; my bones and my heart can be broken, just like you. And like you, I chose to fight for humanity, and for Earth, and so that we can return to the Colonies and lift those people up out of what happened to them. I can't change the world, Tia, but I won't work to destroy it, either."

They were both silent for a few minutes. Both contemplating what had been said, the beginning, possibly, of understanding, emerges.

"I'll admit, Mutt, I'd never quite thought about it that way", Tia admitted in a moment of stark honesty, "I've been so angry for so long about what happened to my dad. Can I tell you something?", she asked.

"Sure, Tia."

"I had no knowledge of the fact my father had assaulted your father twice. When I heard that from the FBI, I was horrified. I really was. My dad had a temper, and I know that. He and mom were the kind that couldn't live with each other, but couldn't live without each other", and she paused in further contemplation, "but after he found us on the Thera Sita, he never treated me with anything but kindness. I've had trouble since finding out about what your dad went through in squaring that with the man I knew."

"I believe you, Tia", Hera said, astonishing the disgraced pilot, "All of us are capable of good and bad. We're not mindless machines, despite what people think about anyone who is even part Cylon. If we were, My mom doesn't get in that Raptor last week and defend New Caprica."

Another point that struck home.

Just then a guard peeked into the room, "Times up ladies", he said apologetically.

"Tia, I can't undo what has been done. I wish I could", Hera said standing up, "Deep down, I don't believe you are a bad person, but you made some bad choices."

"You've given me something to think about, Mutt", she laughed despite herself, "I didn't think that was possible when you walked in here. And I have plenty of time to ponder what we've talked about today."

"Remember, Tia, the sentence currently says you aren't eligible for parole for 30 years, but that can change if you're on good behavior here. Even her in a Max cell, you can improve your chances to get out earlier."

"I'm not counting on that, kid", she said, resigned to her fate.

"The first hearing on whether your parole could be reduced is in ten years", she reminded Fantasma, "Again, it isn't hopeless."

"I don't see anyone standing up for me when that day comes", she said with despair.

"If you behave and your keep your nose clean, if I'm around in ten years, I will speak in favor of your sentence being modified."

Again, Tia was floored. I was going to kill this Cylon, but she would stand up for me? "Why would you want to do that? I was tasked to kill you, for god's sake."

"I know that Tia", she said with a small smile on her face, "but like I said, unless we don't overcome our differences and prejudices, our people won't survive."

The guard again opened the door, and Hera went to step out. As she was almost out the door, Tia called to her.

"Hey Mutt?", Tia said.

"Yeah, Tia?"

"Come back and visit me some time. Maybe we can talk more?", Tia was looking in the other direction, with no emotion on her face.

Hera returned the smile, "I will, I promise."

THE END
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