Vengeance Of The Gods
Commander Julian Maynard of the Colonial battlestar Solaria put down the report he had been reading and sighed, before rubbing his eyes to get rid of the stinging that had begun to plague them. The report was one of the virtual mountain of paperwork on his desk; he had already been working his way through it for two hours and had barely made a dent in it. Whoever decided that the master of a battlestar should have this much paperwork to do must have been some kind of sadist, he thought before lowering his hand and glaring at the pile of reports, if I have to keep doing this today I'm sure I'm going to go blind.
The paperwork unfortunately had to be done today, he knew. They were due to jump to the massive fleet yards orbiting over Picon for a two month overhaul of their computer systems, tomorrow. But that did not mean he had to like it, he also wasn't thrilled about what the yard-dogs and system engineers would be doing to his ship.
They would be ripping out the partially networked, multi-redundant computer systems that the Solaria- like all the Guardian-class battlestars - was equipped with and replacing them with a new multi-layered, parallel processing, fully networked computer system. Supposedly it would be faster and increase efficiency but Julian didn't like it. Switching to fully networked systems was just asking for trouble, in his opinion, if the Cylons were ever to return from wherever they had disappeared off to after the armistice that had ended the Cylon/Human war. Julian had made his objections known to command to no effect, the admirals were insisting it had to be done fleet wide - on ships that could support it, bowing to the political pressure that was coming from the cabinet of that idiot President Adar.
Julian sighed again and put the thoughts of the coming upgrade, and the flawed political motivations behind it, out of his mind for now. He picked up the report again, knowing he had to get through this paperwork or the admirals would go mad. He was just about to resume reading it when the phone on the wall besides his desk buzzed for attention.
"CIC to commanding officer," a voice said from the grill beside it. A voice he recognised as belonging to his new tactical officer Lieutenant Forman.
Julian picked up the phone and brought it to his ear. "Yes, lieutenant," he asked.
"Sir, we have a situation up here. Communications is picking up a faint signal on the emergency band, it looks like a code seven sir," Foreman replied. Instantly Julian was completely attentive and alert, code seven was away of indicating they were receiving a transmission from a starship's Omega drone. "Transmission just cut off sir."
"Try to identify where it came from," Julian ordered standing up. "I'll be right there, and get Colonel Roberts back up there from her quarters."
"Yes, sir," Foreman replied. Julian returned the phone to its rest, then turned and raced out of his quarters for CIC, wondering just who was in so much trouble that they had launched an Omega drone.
Themis Ha'takThat Same Time
Commander Julia Seaford gasped as consciousness flooded back into her body, bringing with it a number of aches and pains, that made her groan softly. Slowly she opened her eyes to find that she was laid out on what felt almost like a marble floor, facing awall that appeared to be made of a golden material engraved with strange hieroglyphics almost like those that were written in the sacred scrolls, the foundation of religion across all the Colonies.
Slowly she sat up and groaned as a throbbing pain raced through her skull, the pain was especially bad in an area just behind her right temple, reaching up with one hand she felt that a small area of her hair had been cut down to the scalp. There was ascar there and beneath it she could feel something hard and unyielding. What the frak, she thought, a moment before a sound caught her attention.
Looking in the direction the sound was coming from she saw what looked like a door rising up into the ceiling, with effort she stood up as her mind realised that she was on the alien ship that had so easily bested her command. On the ship and about to meet who her captors were, hopefully they would tell her where the rest of her crew was, assuming she could understand what they were saying as it was unlikely that aliens would speak Colonial standard. She couldn't help but wonder why they had chosen to attack the Olympia and not open a dialogue with them. From what she had so far seen from the Olympia these aliens were technologically much more advanced than they were. What possible reason could they have had for attacking her ship and killing so many of the men and women whose lives she as commander was ultimately responsible for? Try as she might she couldn't think of any reason at all, unless the aliens had done it just for the sheer hell of it.
The door had finished rising into the ceiling, immediately two humanoid armoured figures carrying staffs came into the room which was obviously a cell and took up station on the either side of the entrance way. A moment later a woman came into the room, a human woman, or at very least human looking.
One thing that immediately struck Julia was that the woman was beautiful, with a fine face that could have been lifted off one of the Tauronese porcelain dolls that were so highly prised by collectors all across the colonies. The woman had a full head of thick long reddish-brown hair that was styled into elegant braids, threaded through with ribbons of golden thread. The woman was wearing a simple white dress inlaid with patterns of gold, a dress that was cut in such away that it showed everything in just the right way. Around her neck she wore a necklace from which hung a pendant that touched the top of her generous cleavage. Around her right hand she wore a strange metallic device. Yet despite the woman's beauty and regal bearing, there was a coldness to her beauty, an air of evil and danger that made the hairs on the back of Julia's neck stand on end.
The woman smiled at her. "You are the commander of the Olympia," the woman said in a deep distorted voice that sounded completely inhuman.
"I have no reason to answer your questions," Julia replied. "Who are you? Why did you attack us?"
"I am your goddess," the woman answered her eyes flashing from with a golden white light. "I am Themis. And you will answer my questions one way or another."
"Really," Julia replied with an arched eyebrow. "You're Themis? You look nothing like the statues in the temples at home." For some reason that comment seemed to make Themis smile softly in a pleased fashion.
"So you still worship us, good, though many of us have changed hosts since we were forced to flee our fortress world in this area eons ago," Themis replied, "now bow down to me, Human."
"Hosts," Julia repeated softly. "You're no goddess; you sound like a parasite to me."
Instantly Themis face seemed to cloud over in anger, and she raised the hand with the metallic device on it and pointed her palm at Julia. And Julia saw that it was aseries of metal bands that cradled a crystal in the centre of the palm. The crystal glowed for a moment then arippling wave of force like a solid shimmer in the air emerged from it, smacked into her and threw her back hard against the bulkhead, ripping the wind from her lungs.
"Do not blaspheme," Themis thundered as Julia crumpled to the floor winded. "I am you're goddess and you will obey me. Tell me where your homeworld is, what are its defences? How many warships do you have? And are they all as pathetic as yours was?"
"Go frak yourself," Julia replied. "If you really were a goddess you would know."
"You will tell me,"Themis answered and pressed a small crystal control on the back of her hand device.
Instantly pain exploded through Julia's head, starting just behind her right temple to infect her nervous system with agony. It felt like a billion twisting, burning needles were being run through her nervous system and Julia screamed in agony. The pain went on and on, getting worse every second, then as abruptly as it started the pain eased, leaving behind athrobbing headache. Julia found herself on the floor painting and sweating from the effects of the pain, through her pounding head she glared up at Themis.
"That is just a sample of the pain I can inflict," Themis said in a conversational tone. "I can subject you to agonies greater than any you can possibly comprehend. And don't hope for refuge in unconsciousness, I shall not allow you to. Now tell me what I wish to know."
"Frak you," Julia snapped back defiantly.
"Foolish, Human," Themis snapped both irritated and amused by Julia's insolence. For someone who still followed the faith created eons ago by Zeus when they had ruled on Kobol, before events elsewhere in Zeus domain had forced them to abandon the planet to its own devices, this Human was very stubborn. Pressing the control on her hand device again she subjected Julia to another barrage of pain from the agonizer chip - it was the same basic technology as the control chips in the Jaffa but she didn't have any of those at this time. They were one of the technologies that Lord Zeus and Lady Hera kept as close to their chests as possible.
She took pleasure in hearing the insolent Human scream as the chip stimulated the pain receptors on every nerve in her body. The chip was such an effective means of torture, much better than traditional Goa'uld methods. After a moment she turned off the chip.
"Answer, Human,"Themis said. "Answer and I will grant you mercy, continue to resist and you will only feel my wrath. Tell me what I was to know."
"Never," Julia gasped through a throat made raw from screaming.
"Suit yourself,"Themis answered activating the chip again and listening carefully with evil pleasure as the insolent Colonial commander began screaming again.
Colonial Battlestar SolariaA Few Minutes Later
Commander Julian Maynard walked into the Combat Information Centre, acutely conscious of the fact that he could be taking the Solaria into a very dangerous situation. Assuming of course they could determine who had sent the Omega drone and why.
"Sit-rep," he ordered as he reached the dradis console/map table. Lieutenant Foreman turned to look at him, just as Colonel Roberts - still straightening her uniform - arrived in the CIC.
"Sir, we have been able to identify the omega transmission as belonging to a Vigilance-class heavy cruiser called the Olympia, Commander Julia Seaford commanding. The transmission is to brief to give any detailed information on the condition of the ship or why they launched an omega drone," Foreman replied. "But my guess would be it was a battle, the way the transmission breaks up before going silent is consistent with the drone being destroyed."
"Pirates probably," Roberts said thoughtfully. "Though would have to be a very brazen lot to challenge a cruiser. Brazen or stupid"
"Where is the Olympia?"Julian asked.
"According to our records, she's patrolling the outer reaches between Scorpia and Aerilon. From her patrol schedule she should be in open space near the asteroid belt several light hours out from Aerilon."
"We have to find out what's happened to her," Roberts said. "If she's been hit by a pack of pirate's history shows they will be looting the ship for weapons and spare parts. We also know what they would do to the crew."
Julian nodded, they had both seen it far to many times, decks awash with blood from crews who'd had their throats cut, if they were lucky, some like female crewmembers would be tortured or raped before being murdered. The latest generation of pirate bands that had appeared were bold, vicious and sadistic, they had been known to be bold enough to strike smaller warships like frigates and destroyers but they had never been known to attack something as big as a cruiser before. The latest generation of pirate bands that had appeared were bold, vicious and sadistic, they had been known to be bold enough to strike smaller warships like frigates and destroyers but they had never been known to attack something as big as a cruiser before. If pirates have hit the Olympia then maybe they are still there as it would take them awhile to strip a Vigilance-class heavy cruiser, Julian thought, if they are still there then we can catch the bastards red handed, see how brazen they are when confronted with aGuardian-class battlestar.
"Do we have coordinates for origin point of the omega signal," Julian asked.
"Yes sir, we do," Foreman replied.
Julian smiled. "Excellent,"he replied, "specialist."
One of the navigational specialists came over from the bank of consoles from which the ships course, speed and propulsion systems both the nuclear ion and hyperlight drives were controlled.
"Yes, sir," the specialist asked.
"Work with Lieutenant Foreman to plot an immediate hyperlight jump to the Olympia's coordinates," Julian ordered.
"Yes, sir," the specialist replied and moved to join Lieutenant Foreman so he could get the coordinates for their jump. Leaving the two men to it, Julian turned his attention to the dradis display, which was completely empty of targets. But he imagined that he could look beyond it to where a fellow warship was in desperate trouble, presumably having been ambushed by pirates or someone else equally undesirable.
"Colonel Roberts," he ordered. "Sound action stations, we had better be ready for anything. If these pirates or whoever they are, are bold enough to attack a cruiser then they might be stupid enough to challenge us."
"Yes, sir," Roberts replied.
Pilots Rec RoomBattlestar Solaria, That Same Time
Newly promoted Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama eyed his opponent carefully across the card table, trying to determine the strength of his opponent's hand. The entire proceeds of three hours of gaming sat on the table between him and Lieutenant Peter 'Sword Smith'Hawks, the other players in the game having long since packed it in. They were now all gathered around the table watching the showdown, waiting with baited breath to see who would win and who would loose.
For a few more moments neither of them said a word, just stared at each other trying to get a feel for what cards the other had, but not getting anywhere as both had expressionless masks on their faces.
Finally Lee spoke up. "Okay, call it," he said. Peter grinned back almost smugly and slowly laid down his cards, and as the last card came down gasps ran around the table. Peter had a three/two spread, one of the strongest hands possible in the game.
"Three/two spread," Peter replied, "let see what you got, Lee. Or are you going to concede defeat this time."
"Why would I when I'm not beat," Lee answered allowing himself to grin before starting to put his cards down. The disbelief of everyone standing around grew as each card was placed on the table. "Full colours," Lee said. It was the toughest hand in the game, and one of the rarest possible. After a moment stunned disbelief from the onlookers gave way to all round applause.
Peter stared at the cards for a moment then grinned at Lee. "Well played," he said offering his hand across the table to his recently promoted, recently returned from war college friend. Lee took the hand and they shook, a moment before the wail of the alert klaxons abruptly split the air.
"Action stations, action stations, set condition one throughout the ship this is not a drill," Colonel Roberts's voice came over the intercom system. "Repeat, action stations, action stations, set condition one throughout the ship, this is not adrill."
"Okay, people you heard her lets go," Major Keith 'Maverick'Matterson, the CAG for all the squadrons on the Solaria, said from the back of the crowd of pilots. Immediately everyone started moving, Lee leaping to his feet and spinning around in one smooth motion before racing with the other pilots out of the room into the ships corridors. Corridors that had been quite moments ago but now were a hive of activity as crew piled out of their births to race to their stations, getting the mighty battlestar ready for possible combat action.
"I wonder what's going on," Peter said as he ran besides Lee towards where their particular squadron of the brand new Mark VII Vipers was based in the ships starboard flight pod.
"You got me," Lee replied, expertly dodging a crewmen with agunners gear on running the other way, obviously heading for one of the ships many railgun batteries. "But my guess would be its pirates."
"Probably is, it's not likely that the Cylons would pick right now to reappear after forty years of silence and start a fight."
"The pirates can be just as bad as the Cylons," Lee pointed out. "You know how brazen and how brutal they've been getting recently."
"Yeah well if it's them I hope we get to wherever they are in time to stop them and give their tails some serious kicking."
"So say we all," Lee answered with a grin, making Peter laugh as they rounded a bend in the corridor and the entrance to the hanger deck came into view. Without speaking further the two pilots raced inside, eager to get into their fighters and out into space.
Combat Information CentreA Few Moments Later
"All stations report ready for combat, sir," Colonel Roberts reported. "Vipers are being primed ready for immediate launch upon completion of jump."
"Very good," Commander Julian Maynard replied, with a smile pleased at how quickly they had been able to make the ship ready for battle, though he hoped to avoid one, but with pirates you never knew these days what they were going to do. "Specialist, how long until we can jump to the Olympia'slocation?" he asked.
"Just completing final calculations now sir," the navigational specialist replied. "Navigational computer confirms they are correct."
"Excellent. Spool up FTL drives one and two, ready to start jump countdown on my command."
"Yes, sir. Spooling up FTL drives."
Julian picked up a microphone on the side of the map table and pressed the control that would pipe his voice throughout the ship. "This is the commander," he said. "We're going to the assistance of a cruiser in trouble; we believe they have been attacked by hostile forces. All hands brace for immediate FTL jump." He returned the microphone to its place on the side of the map table, before turning to glance at the navigation stations.
"FTL drives ready, sir," the navigational specialist reported.
"Commence jump countdown."
The navigational specialist took a deep breath and let it out slowly before using his key to open the compartment that contained the jump control key. Carefully he extracted the large metallic device - that ended in four glowing blue rods. The key was the delicate, final critical component of the FTL system, without it the spinners would not initiate the spatial fold that would instantaneously transport the battlestar to another point in space. Carefully he slotted the device into the control system and turned it clockwise. Instantly a digital clock lit up and began an automatic countdown.
"Clock is running," the specialist called out. "Ten seconds, nine...eight...seven...six."
Julian braced himself on the edge of the map table; one of the flaws with hyperlight was that the very act of folding space could produce momentary disorientation even in people who like himself were used to it. He listened as his navigation specialist completed the ten second countdown, and there was a faint humming of power through the ship, for a moment everything stretched and sounds became distorted and muted, there was a momentary feeling of stress, nothing uncomfortable just a faint tension. Then with breathtaking suddenness everything snapped back to normal as the ship materialised at its destination.
"Jump completed," the specialist announced, removing the jump key and returning it to its normal secure location. "Checking coordinates, we're on target sir."
"Dradis contact," Lieutenant Foreman announced from tactical. "Single large contact, picking up Colonial IFF signals. It's the Olympia."
"Communications send a transmission to the Olympia, ask them their status and the reason why they launched an omega drone," Julian ordered as he looked up at the dradis display, he couldn't quite put his finger on it but something about the way the icon that represented the Olympiawas just sitting there was screaming at him that something was wrong, very wrong.
"Yes, sir," Chief Petty Officer Denison replied and manipulated his console. "Colonial cruiser Olympia, this is the battlestar Solaria respond please." Silence was his only reply; there wasn't even the buzz of a carrier signal. "Repeating cruiser Olympiathis is the battlestar Solaria, if you can hear us please respond." Again the only answer from the heavy cruiser was ominous silence.
"No response," Julian asked.
"No, sir. Not even a carrier signal, there comms must be out."
"Maybe," Julian said thoughtfully. "Launch three Vipers; instruct them to approach the Olympiain a mutual support formation, something's wrong here."
"Yes, sir," one of the crew answered and relayed the order to the CAG down in the hanger pods, leaving the choice of fighters launched to Maverick.
Themis Ha'takThat Same Time
Themis glared down at the stubborn Human woman who consistently refused to divulge any information about her people, despite being repeatedly subjected to the tender mercies of the agonizer chip.
"Why continue to resist, Human," she asked. "Resisting my will is pointless, tell me what I wish to know and the pain will stop."
Julia Seaford glared up at the supposed goddess through eyes that were swollen and puffy from the tears of agony that were falling down her cheeks. Her whole body was burning with pain from the repeated assaults of whatever this devil woman had had put in her skull, but despite the pain she would never give in, she would not betray her people that way. If protecting them meant she died at Themis' hands then so be it.
"Never," she said barely recognising her own voice; her throat was so raw now that her voice barely sounded human at all. "I'll never give into you. You might as well kill me now and be done with it."
Themis laughed evilly. "Do not hope for the luxury of death," she said, "I can always revive you and start all over again. But tell me what I want to know and I will grant you a painless death, and speed your soul on to the honoured afterlife."
Julia glared and was about to give a blistering, defiant retort when the door to the cell opened again. Themis instantly spun around and Julia got the distinct impression that she was not pleased by the interruption. With a heavy metallic clanking sound a tall figure in armour came into the room, it looked like one of the things that had stormed her ship. Only this time the helmet was missing and she saw that it was another Human-looking alien with some sort of tattoo on his forehead and a terrible blank expression on his face.
"What is the meaning of this interruption, Jaffa,"Themis thundered her voice thick with anger at the disturbance. She had made it perfectly clear that she wanted no interruptions while she carried out the interrogations of the prisoners.
"Forgive me for the interruption, milady but our sensors just detected another ship approaching the derelict we left behind as per your orders," the Jaffareplied. "A moment before it appeared the sensors reported an unidentified spatial distortion. The new ship is considerably larger and more heavily armed than the Olympiawas. We are currently under cloak observing them."
"I see. Return to the pel'tac I will join you there shortly," Themis said.
"Yes, milady," the Jaffaanswered before standing and marching out of the room. Themis turned to look back at Julia who'd heard every word and couldn't help but grin, weakly. She guessed that the new arrival was probably a battlestar that had picked up their partial omega drone transmission and immediately responded as regulations demanded. Let's see how this so called goddess handles a battlestar, she thought, but what did that other alien - the Jaffa - mean when he said observing under cloak?
"I wouldn't count on your reinforcements being able to help you," Themis said mockingly, "they will only give me more prisoners. We will continue this discussion later."
With that Themis turned and marched imperiously out of the room, followed by the two other Jaffathat had come in with her and stood as silent, emotionless sentries on either side of the entrance. The door closed and Julia slumped on the floor in relief, and closed her eyes. Instantly surrendering to the blackness of unconsciousness that reached up to claim her.
Major Matterson's Viper
A Few Moments Later
Major Keith 'Maverick' Matterson scowled as with Sword Smith and Apollo on his wings he guided his Viper closer to the ominously silent Olympia. The heavy cruiser was dark, almost all of her running lights had gone out, and the twin nuclear ion drives at the back of the ship were dark and giving off no heat emissions at all, clearly having been shut down for sometime. The ship was clearly drifting, and had a pronounced list over onto her port side.
As they got closer he began noticing evidence of damage to the Olympia, especially concentrated on her dorsal surface and port side. Deep gashes, whose edges had a curious bubbly, runny look to them - like the metal had been literally melted through -, had been ripped in the hull. Almost all of her weapons arrays were gone, some just vanished all together others looking like they had been melted by something extremely hot and powerful. Yet Maverick knew of no weapon besides a nuke that could inflict anywhere near this kind of damage, and a nuke salvo sufficient to overwhelm the Olympia's armour would have completely ripped her apart, not inflicted such selective and unusual damage.
"Maverick, Apollo," Lee's voice came over Maverick's helmet speakers. "Take a look at the damage on the centre line topside, forward of the heat exchangers. It looks like someone has cut through the hull in a very specific pattern."
Maverick followed Apollo's instructions and sure enough forward of the heat exchangers for the ships engines was a curious, perfectly circular hole. Moving as close as he dared he shone his Vipers planetary landing lights into the hole and found it went right down to the decks below. There was also a slight depression in the metal around the hole, as if something heavy had been pressing down on the weakened hull armour.
"Lords of Kobol what happened here," Sword Smith said. "This ships in a hell of a mess but I've never seen damage like this before."
"I don't know," Maverick answered. "Whoever it was must be packing some serious firepower that's for sure. I don't think this is the work of pirates; this damage couldn't have been inflicted by any method we know. Someone else hit this ship."
"Cylons?" Apollo asked.
"Possible," Maverick conceded. "But I doubt it. Solaria,Maverick. The Olympia appears to be completely derelict and heavily damaged, however the damage appears no standard."
"Maverick, Solariaactual," Commander Maynard's said. "Please explain what you mean by non-standard damage."
"Sir, the damage to the Olympia has a melted look to it; the hull hasn't been ripped open like it would be from railgun or missile fire. Instead it looks like the multiple breaches are result of the hull either being melted of disintegrated somehow. I also believe she was boarded, Apollo noticed a circular hole in the hull forward of the dorsal heat exchangers that cuts right down to the decks beneath."
"I see. Any sign of survivors?"
"None so far, sir. Sir might a recommend that we send a marine detachment in spacesuits over to the Olympiato examine the ship from within."
For a moment there was silence. "Agreed," the commander said at last. "Bring your bird's home for now, Maverick. I want you to personally lead the boarding party."
"Yes, sir. Returning now," Maverick replied. With a click the connection with the Solaria went dead. "Apollo, Sword Smith you heard the old man, back to the barn," he said on his squadron command frequency.
"Roger, that," Apollo answered, echoed a moment later by Sword Smith.
Maverick smiled and brought his Viper around and hit full throttle back towards the Solaria, in a display of perfect synchronisation Apollo and Sword Smith also turned their Vipers and opened their own engines up on full throttle. As silent as ghosts the three Vipers headed back towards the battlestar, leaving the seemingly lifeless hulk of the Olympia drifting behind them. We will be back, Maverick thought, we'll find out exactly what happened to the Olympia,and the six hundred odd people aboard her. We must.
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