Categories > TV > Battlestar Galactica > Battlestar Galactica: Homecomings

Chapter Two

by Treadstone17 0 reviews

Chapter Two

Category: Battlestar Galactica - Rating: R - Genres: Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2017-06-22 - 6558 words - Complete


He awoke a full day afterward. It took him a while to start getting his faculties working again, not knowing how much time had passed, and not even knowing what the hell had happened to him. He lay still, waiting for his senses to catch up so he could function properly.

That took about thirty minutes.

By then, his head was clearing; his memory was returning and his body was coming back to life. When his memory caught up with the head-clearing, he instantly jolted up a bit, remembering why he was here. When he sat up, his right side hurt like hell. He looked behind him and saw a piece of composite metal sticking out the side of his left buttock, and he silently swore in pain. He forgot the shrapnel for a moment. He was able to stand, that's all that mattered.

He was on his feet, still wobbly, but regaining his equilibrium. When he was stable, the first thing he did was look around him. He heard only birds, nothing else, not even a breeze. He quietly called out, almost sotto voce, "Rick...Annabel...Pirate...Puerperal?" And got no reply. He turned in another direction and saw the remains of his Raptor.

"Aw, Christ", he swore again and made the painful walk over to the bird. He had been thrown clear perhaps fifteen yards from the wreckage. The side hatch was partly closed, and he went to raise it with both his arms.

"Shiiit!", he silently screamed. He looked down at his right arm. He knew immediately it was broken. He could find some wood out here, and some supplies in the bird to do a crude set of his break later. He eventually got the door up and looked inside...

"Goddammit", he said quietly, entering the Raptor. He looked at the carnage in front of him. "Christ, Rick, Annabel..." He lost his composure for a moment. Rick Londhal had been slammed into the windshield of the Raptor and had mercifully died instantly. He looked over at Annabel Marisio. He could tell she hadn't died right away. He could see blood marks where she had tried to drag herself forward, probably to see if the radio worked. She hadn't gotten far. Both her legs had obviously been broken, and he was sure she had broken her pelvis. Her eyes were still open. Nicholas Bond walked over to what remained of his Communications Officer, yanked her tags off, kissed her on the forehead, then closed her eyes forever.

Going over to Rick wasn't any easier. There wasn't much left of the front of his skull, as it had obviously been crushed on impact. He had no eyes to even close. Axman patted the shoulder of his Right-Seater, then snatched his dog tags from his remains. He said a quick prayer for both of their souls, then left the Raptor, painfully closing the hatch behind him.

It was late in the afternoon, and he knew that the Sun stayed up quite a long time on the mountain. His first order of business was to find some shelter until dark ascended. He could wait to eat. He needed some water. He had pulled a Marine backpack together that contained some food and about three days of water, if he conserved it, which he had been trained to do. He began searching for cover.

Well, dad, I always wanted to be just like you, he said in grim sarcasm, but this is taking things just a little too far. But he continued on.

After about forty minutes, he found a boulder within the forest, and he eyed it closely. He approached it and noticed that some roots from the tree above it and also from some grass covered an entrance to a cave. He had brought his military-grade flashlight, with replacement batteries along in the knapsack, and turned on the powerful light to make sure no critters that could eat him were inside. He saw none. He turned off the light. He tried to camouflage the cave entrance as best he could then crawl inside.

He also had with him the sidearms from his dead comrades, as well as enough ammo to last a long time. The backpack probably weighed one-hundred pounds, but he had done combat drills with up to one-sixty on his back. Then again, Bond, you didn't have a busted arm or a piece of metal in your ass. He took out the water and drank a hefty first swig, just to get some fluids into him. He would eat later.

He fell back asleep within a few minutes.

As dark fell West of the Caprican Mountain Range, just North of Granite Peak, the Special Ops teams began their quiet ascent at the precise coordinates that Command had set out in the Op Plan. All in all, about a Regiment and a half, would go up either just to the North of the camouflage, or about a mile South of that position, closer to Granite Peak. They were trained to be as silent as the night. Equipped with what was the latest in Night Vision when they had left Earth, and with soft-soled shoes that wouldn't make a lot of noise, they began the SAR.

It was about 0330, Fleet Standard when the trek began. Back near the ruins of Caprica, several large tents spanned the area. One was the Command Center. Admiral Lee Adama was currently back on his ship. Kara was sleeping on the Adama, as she would take station in a Raptor about an hour after dawn. Judith Bond and Abby Creider-Bond were bedded down in VIP Quarters on the Flagship.

Governor Bond stayed behind, in a tent exclusively for him, not far from the Command Tent. But he couldn't sleep. He had wandered around the area, talking to some Marines and MP's, and even a few Caprican's who had suddenly appeared. Even in a world torn asunder by nuclear war, word traveled fast. General Grayson had had the three women that had talked to the Command Authority earlier in the day, taken back to their homes near Delphi. This wasn't a place for non-combatants. The MP's tried to get the natives to head away from the area of operation, with varying amounts of success.

Justin Bond didn't want to bother the military commanders, but he had wandered just about everywhere else, except there, so he sheepishly headed towards the ground CIC.

"Ten-Hut!" said an MP, "Governor Of The Fleet On Deck!" and everyone came to rigid attention.

Justin Bond smiled, and as was his way, made straight for a deadpan reply, "Jesus, how can any of you be this spry at 0330?", he snickered, which made most of those in the tent laugh as well.

General Grayson smiled and walked towards his Commander-In-Chief. "Sir, it certainly isn't how I like it, but this is what they pay me for."

"Kendrick, you have any fresh coffee around here?", and like Magic, a female staff member handed him a steaming cup of Joe. He took a whiff of the wonderful scent, and it perked him up.

"Thank you young lady", the Governor lifted the cup in salute, "this'll hit the spot."

"Anytime, sir", she said with a smile and saluted him again.

After a healthy sip, the Governor got to business, "So General, how is the insertion going?" And he took another sip.

"Sir, the Spec. Ops teams began ascending about ninety minutes ago. As I said earlier, their orders are to be cautious and quiet as the breeze."

"I don't want it any other way, Kendrick", he had made it clear that this wasn't to be a rush job because it involved his son. Nick wasn't the only one missing, and he suspected the other two had family aboard the William Adama who were being looked after, just as his was. "Trust me, General, if I were a little younger, I'd get in a Raptor and do recon myself. I am rated you know, and I have flown combat in another lifetime."

"I know the feeling sir. Believe me, I feel like charging up the hill and popping any son-of-a-bitch who shows his face that isn't in uniform", he said grimly, "but we're trained not to go off half-cocked...literally if you get my drift, Sir", which made Justin Bond laugh out loud, careful not to spill the coffee in his mug.

"I gave orders like that a long time ago to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, my friend."

"I know this is a tough time for you, Sir, and meaning no disrespect, but I was very young when you were shot down in Afghanistan. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of our three people up there, but it's not my ballpark. And I know we train for survival in these circumstances, but how did you go about it?"

"I don't mind you asking at all, Kendrick", he said graciously, "Believe it or not, it's a bit cathartic for me to talk about it. It helps me deal with worrying about my son."

The Governor went on for about fifteen minutes, detailing a lot of what had happened. He'd been shot down by an Anti-Aircraft Missile that The Taliban had received from Iran. He had been at Angels Fifteen when he got the warning. An F-15 could accelerate quickly, but those missiles could also get to Mach three faster than he could. His single-engine aircraft had been hit, but somehow he was able to control his descent for a while. When he got to about two-thousand feet up, he ejected from his aircraft, landing on the precipice of a forested area. He had broken his ankle but was able to get around.

"A lot of it is training, Ken", he said seriously, "but most of it was dumb-ass luck." He shivered slightly at the thought, knowing his son was...might be doing that same thing.

A group had gathered around him without him really noticing. When he finished, those that were listening came up to shake his hand and clap him on the back, not only because he was The Fleet Governor, but that he had been in combat, and seen the elephant in the room the way most of them never would, and they wanted to show their respect and support for him as their leader and as a father.

"You've got good people here, Ken", the Governor said quietly, looking down at his half-empty cup of coffee. "A credit to the uniform."

"If you don't mind me saying, sir, I think all of them have a pretty good role model for being a good person", and he looked directly at Justin Bond and raised his eyebrows.

"Thanks, Kendrick", he said, still quiet, "I'm going to get some more coffee."


Ensign Natalia Schrevrenko had gone about her duties on board the Adama, just like everyone else. And like everyone else, she had been stunned and angered by the events over the last few days, that had put the fleet on a War Footing.

But for her, the anger and hurt were deeply personal.

She had met Nicholas Bond just over ten months ago. They got along instantly, and now she knew she was deeply in love with the American. She had had boyfriends before, but never anyone who made her feel the way Nick did. He was a gentleman; he was fun to be around; he treated everyone, without exception with respect and dignity. She had found that lacking in the Russian military, which is one reason she had joined UED. She had fallen very much in love with the CAG and hoped they would get married some day in the not-too-distant future.

But now, she had no idea if he was dead or alive.

She had tried to conceal her anguish while on duty and had done a pretty good job, or so she thought. But she was about to find out, she hadn't done as good a job as she thought.

She had gone to the mess to eat dinner and tried to be social with her friends. She still had an appetite, but it did little to make her feel better. Her friends didn't notice that she was hiding something.

But her Chief had.

Captain Kamala Wimbusi, a native of Nigeria, had been watching all her charges after the incident on the surface. She could tell everyone was hurt, and angry, and on edge. She was forty-five, but thirty years ago, in Nigeria, she had lost her father to the armed militia that had a tendency to roam throughout Africa at that time. Her mother didn't try to let on that it was bothering her, but she had seen almost the identical look in her mother's eyes that she saw now in Natalia's.

She let the Ensign go back to her quarters after dinner, and not long after she knocked on Natalia's door.

Natalia was a bit startled by the knock. Without Nick around, she didn't expect any company this late, "Come in?"

Captain Wimbusi walked into the room. The Ensign came immediately to attention and saluted, "Chief Wimbusi", she said, still at attention.

"As you were, Ensign Schrevrenko, I'm not here for anything work-related", then she corrected herself, "well, not officially work-related."

"What can I do for you, Captain?", the young Russian said earnestly.

"Natalia, I've been watching everyone under my supervision the last forty-eight hours. I know that the events down on Caprica have hurt and angered many of us. It's my job to watch for signs that someone is taking too much stress."

"I assure you, Captain, I have not slackened in my work since the...incident", she had paused slightly when saying that, "I'm angry like everyone else, but I have a job to do."

"Natalia, let me tell you a story", and the Captain began the story about her father all those years ago, and how her mother had dealt with it, "And, Ensign, I see the same look in your eyes that I saw in hers so long ago. I haven't seen it again until all of this unfolded. But I see it in your eyes."

Russians, by nature, were a stoic people. The Nazi soldiers during World War II had been told they were sub-human by their leaders, but their penchant for deflecting pain and sorrow had astonished even the most hardened of SS Officers then. But she had to tell someone, and she knew it.

"Sir, I don't quite know how to let this out, but I have to let it out in some way", she said, with tears forming in her eyes.

Kamala went over to her Ensign, and put her arm around her, "Then you need to confide in me. What is bothering you?"

Fifteen minutes, Admiral Adama had been wakened and was asked to meet with both Captain Wimbusi and Ensign Schrevrenko.



It had been about two hours since the Special Ops team had begun to climb into hostile territory, to begin the search for their fallen comrades. Behind them, the "regular" Marines were itching to head up for the main thrust of the ground portion of the SAR. One of those waiting was a thirty-six-year-old Marine named Captain Thomas Dalbott.

Dalbott was from New Zealand, a nation that most people didn't know had a proud history of warfare dating back centuries. They had even fought in Afghanistan and Iraq during the push against Islamic Terrorists earlier in the Century. They were tough and meant business in combat. Thomas Dalbott was no different.

He had become friends with the CAG just before they had set sail from Earth. They were of the same rank and often ran into each other in the Officers Lounge on the Adama. While not in the same branch of the service, they had a lot in common, especially the off-beat sense of humor. Thomas had grown up a great admirer of the CAG's father. He had been a teenager when the Earth-Cylon War took place, and Justin Bond was a hero to him, as was his adopted daughter Kara. When he first met Nick, he was kind of star-struck, but Nick Bond had put him at ease immediately.

Now, like everyone else, he was pissed. But like everyone else except for maybe Nick and his shipmates the two-day gathering of forces had allowed them to think with their heads again, not with their nuts. Like everyone else, he had wanted to simply run up the Mountain and kill anyone who showed up who wasn't in uniform. The concentration of forces had allowed everyone to calm down some, and let their training guide them, not bravado.

Just before dawn, his Company was checking their weapons one final time and making sure they had all their gear for the march up the slopes. As the Company he led was finishing those tasks, there was a commotion off to his right. He soon realized that in the middle of a scrum of soldiers was none other than Governor Justin Bond.

He didn't scramble over himself but waited for Justin Bond to get to him, as he didn't like to be pushy. After a few minutes, the Governor was near his Company, and Thomas, being The Boss of The Company, stepped forward and saluted.

"Governor Bond, Sir!", the Kiwi said in the unmistakable English of his land, "It's an honor to have you hear, sir!"

He gave the Governor a smart salute, then the Governor stepped forward to shake his hand, "What's you name, Captain?"

"Thomas Dalbott, Governor, from New Zealand, sir." The Governor had always loved the Kiwi accent, but he didn't mention that.

"It's my honor, Captain Dalbott", he said warmly. "How's your Company doing, son?"

"Sir we're ready as hell, locked and cocked", sounding more like a Yank than a Kiwi.

"That's what I like to hear. You take care of your men out there, Captain", the Governor said earnestly.

"I will sir", then he paused for a moment, "Sir, may I share something with you briefly?"

"Yes, of course, Captain."

"Your son, Captain Bond, and I have become good friends onboard the Adama, sir. He and I are much alike, and I wanted you to know what a fine man I think he is."

Justin Bond had to control his emotions for a moment, then went on, "Thank you, Captain, that means a lot to me."

"One more thing, sir", he hoped he wasn't rambling, "If I have to, when I find them, I'll carry all three of them on my back", and he paused again, "Well, now that I think of it, maybe I'll make Nick help me", and he smiled.

Governor Bond laughed heartily, "I can see why you two get along, Captain!", he said still smiling, "you sound just like him, and to be fair, just like me as well."

"Thank you, Sir, I guess I'm in good company", then he finished, "Sir, we are going to bring all three of them home, you have my word on that", and he snapped off another salute. Justin Bond approached him again. He went to shake the young man's had, and also clasped him on the other shoulder.

"You honor them with your courage, Captain Dalbott. Good hunting, son."


The sun was just beginning to crack in the South over Caprica City. Admiral Thrace-Bond was sitting in the cockpit of a Raptor aboard the William Adama. She had discarded her Admiral's bars and put on those of a Captain. It didn't fool anyone, but it did impress the other Jocks. She wasn't trying to impress anyone, and they understood that as well. They were as honored by her service as she was by theirs.

Her right-seater for this flight was Lieutenant Ito Genda. call sign Sunshine. He was a very distant relative of the famous Japanese World War Two pilot and strategist Minoru Genda, who had devised the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He had read a lot about this distant relative, and while he abhorred what that Genda had fought for, he respected the courage the man had.

Communications and electronics were being handled by Lieutenant Kelsey Graham, Call Sign Blondie. Her call sign had been given to her the first day of flight training in UED. It no coincidence that she had a natural head of platinum-blonde hair. Kara thought Caprica might be jealous, but kept that thought to herself.

Sunshine was going through final checks, with Blondie in the back getting her systems ready. At that moment, Starbuck boarded the Raptor. They had all met the day before and had run some sims together. It wasn't ideal taking a team not familiar with each other into a possible combat situation, but both seemed to know their business.

When Kara came aboard, Genda sprang to his feet, "Admiral, sir!", which caused Lieutenant Graham to turn around and salute.

"As you were, guys. First order of business: on our missions, I am Captain Thrace-Bond, not Admiral. It still puts me above you, but I don't want you to think of me as being that high above you", she said with a smile, that broke the tension.

"We are honored to have you aboard...uh, Captain", Ito Genda said sheepishly, which made Kara laugh.

"Second order of business: If you can't call me 'Captain', try Starbuck. I think that might work better."

Kelsey smiled, "that might be easier, sir", she said and laughed despite herself.

"I think we'll do just fine together, guys", and then she put her game face on, "OK, Lieutenants, it's showtime."

Fifteen minutes later, they were airborne and headed towards their assigned patrol zone, which was just to the West of the Summit, and just slightly South of the camouflage demarcation. Kara didn't think they'd find Nick there, but she had demanded Captain Abdullah treat her like one of his jocks, and he had put her where he thought she should be.

He had insisted that she be that Second-In-Command.


"All Units, this is the CAG", Abdullah announced as they headed towards the surface, "Combat protocol now in effect, stay sharp people."

Kara, Kelsey, and Ito all took deep breaths, dug into their seats for a moment, and they became quite.

"OK, Blondie, Sunshine," she said with a deadly seriousness on her face, "time to dance."



Lee was still aboard his ship. He didn't need to be on the ground bothering General Grayson, and he didn't need to be bothering Abdullah at this time. His XO currently had the bridge. Lee had needed to awaken Judith Bond and Abby, and tell them some unexpected news.

Abby and her mother were getting dressed, not knowing really why Lee had summoned them. They know it couldn't be about the SAR already, as someone wouldn't have told them to come to Lee's office for such news.

"Do you have any idea why Lee needs to see us, mom?"

"Honey, not the first clue. If they had found Nick already, Lee would have come here, I suspect, so it's not about that", her daughter had gotten dressed in her quarters, while not trying to wake Brett and Katraine, and her mom was trying to finish up.

"Men", Abby thought she had said it to herself, but realized she hadn't when her mother laughed.

"You finally caught on, Abby?", as Judith Bond came out with a smile on her face, despite the present situation.

"I figured it out a long time ago mom, probably when I was dating Jared Branch my Junior year in High School."

"Oh, he was a piece of work, babe", she laughed again, "I think Nick wanted to kill him on several occasions."

"If Nick hadn't, Kara or dad would have", and she laughed.

The looked at each other, coming back to the moment, "OK, my dear daughter, let's see what The Admiral Of The Fleet wants."


A few minutes later, they were in Lee's quarters. Lee rose from his desk and gave each of the ladies a hug and a kiss. "How are you two doing?", he said earnestly to his almost-mother and sister.

"We're coping, Lee", Judith said honestly, still holding his hand. "Thank you again for your hospitality for letting us stay for a while."

"The honor's mine, Ma'am", he said with a smile.

He had them head into his living room, seated them and got each of them an Orange Juice, then he got to business.

"I asked for you to meet me this morning because something was brought to my attention last night that I think you need to be aware of."

For the life of them, neither woman could figure out what that might be, so Lee continued.

He got up for a moment, and turned to the MP who was at the door between the living quarters and his office, "Sargent, have our two other guests join us?"

Moments after that came two ladies that neither of them had ever seen. One was African with Captains bars, and the others was a Caucasian, who was an Ensign.

They stopped just short of their chairs, and Lee continued. "Judith, Abby, I'd like you to meet Captain Kamala Wimbusi, Chief Of The Ship, and Ensign Natalia Schrevrenko, Engine Specialist, First Class."

Judith answered for both she and Abby, "Captain, Ensign", she said politely, still trying to figure this out. Lee bade the other two ladies be seated.

Lee let the Captain start first.

"Mrs. Bond, Abby, it is an honor to meet you, although I wish it was under better circumstances."

"Thank you, Captain", Judith said generously, still wondering what this was about, "How can I be of service to you today?"

"Part of my job, ma'am, isn't to just order my people around to do their tasks, but also to watch them, especially in times of stress like this, to see how they're doing as both a crew member and as a person. Both are equally important."

"I agree completely, Captain", Judith said evenly.

"Well after the attack on the CAG, I was obviously watching my people very closely, and Natalia here caught my eye. I could tell something was deeply bothering her. I went to her quarters and talked to her last night, and with your permission, I'd like her to take the story from here." She looked warmly at her Ensign.

"Mrs. Bond, Abby, I'm honored that you're here. I really don't know quite how to do this, so please be patient with me for a moment?"

"Take as much time as you need, Ensign", Abby spoke up for the first time, "We don't bite", she said with a smile, that made Natalia relax some.

"It is true, I've been struggling since the attack, and there's a reason for that." Neither of the Bond women had caught on yet.

"What is that Natalia", Judith Bond asked with genuine concern.

"Well, you see, we hadn't told anyone, but your son, Nicholas, and I, have been dating, if you will, for about the last ten months. We didn't tell anyone yet, as we wanted to wait, but now..." Natalia began to sob.

Judith was floored by the young woman's confession. Being the person she was, she went over to the couch where Natalia was, and wrapped the girl in her arms, breaking down in tears.

"Oh, Ensign, I'm so sorry that you've gone through this alone!" Abby was almost in tears but took a moment to reflect on what an incredible woman her mother was.

Natalie was openly crying now, as Judith Bond rocked her back and forth in her arms. Lee had tears in his eyes, as did Kamala.

"I'm so sorry, Mrs. Bond, that we hadn't told you, I feel so guilty now", she felt relieved to finally let this pent-up grief escape her.

"My dear, it's alright, it's going to be alright", Judy Bond continued to cry, comforting Natalia. Abby went over the chair next to where her mother and Natalia were sitting.

For about five minutes, Judith Bond cradled the frightened, confused Ensign, and realized, suddenly, that she had another daughter. When they both finally regained some composure, they both sat up straight on the couch.

"I apologize, ma'am, Captain, Admiral, for my childish behavior."

Lee spoke up this time, "Ensign Schrevrenko, you have nothing to apologize for", he said respectfully to the young woman, "Being human isn't a disease, it's who we are."

At that point, Captain Wimbusi rose from her seat, "If you'll excuse me, everyone, I have other duties to perform", she smiled at Judith Bond, who wordlessly said "thank you", to the Captain, who smiled and nodded.

Finally, Judith Bond looked into the face of this young woman, really for the first time. She realized from the accent that she was from Russia, and also through the tears and mottled cheeks could also see she was a beautiful young lady. Natalia was still looking down, almost embarrassed to eye contact with the other two women. Russians by nature were not emotional people, and she felt the centuries of that tradition in the shame she felt now.

"Natalia? Natalia-look at me", Judith Bond commanded her. Reluctantly, Ensign Schrevrenko looked up.

"I'm so sorry for your family, Mrs. Bond, I know you love Nicholas very dearly", she said painfully.

"And it's obvious that you do too, Ensign", as a smile crossed her face, which momentarily confused the Ensign, "I'm so sorry for you as well, Natalia. May I ask you something, Ensign, that's personal?"

"Of course, Mrs. Bond", still in a state of emotional turmoil.

"Do you have any family onboard The Fleet?"

"No, ma'am", she said without rancor, "I was an only child, and my parents died in a private plane crash about ten years ago. They were my only family."

Abby Bond immediately jumped in, "Not anymore, Natalia", she said with a smile on her face, looking right at the Ensign.

"I..I don't understand, Abby?" Judith Bond picked up from there.

"Natalia", she began, and the Ensign momentarily interrupted her.

"Call me Natalie, as Nick does", she actually gave a wan smile for the first time.

Judith's smile got even brighter, "Natalie, you obviously love Nick very much, am I right?", and the young Russian nodded, "All of us-the Governor, the Admiral, Abby and I, love Nick with all our hearts, too."

"But of course, he always speaks with such pride of your family, Mrs. Bond."

"Natalie, you are part of this family now. No matter what the outcome of this situation, you are now, and always will be, a member of this family. And I mean that with all my heart.", Judith Bond began crying in much the same way as when she and Justin had adopted Kara.

"But...But how can I be family? We weren't married, we weren't even engaged!", she protested mildly.

"Natalie, a family isn't counted by a ring on a finger or wedding anniversaries. It's counted by how much we love and cherish each other. You love Nick; we love Nick. That binds us together, it makes it so we don't have to face things on our own, that we find strength in each other. That is what defines family, my dear."

Natalie considered this for a moment, and was floored by the conclusion, "You say, that I am a member of the Bond family?"

"Yes, honey, I am" she beamed at the young lady, "You have the love, support, and strength of this family behind you now. We won't let you face this by yourself. We are here to help you get through this."

The young woman collapsed again into Judith's arms. A few minutes later, Natalia had regained control and had regained some strength in herself.

"I can never repay you for this kindness, Mrs. Bond", she said gratefully, "I couldn't even begin to try."

"Family means never have to repay, only to give in kind.", Judith kissed the young woman on the cheek.

Abby looked over at Natalia, "You have us now, Natalie. You're not alone any longer."

Natalia wiped away the last of the tears, thought for a moment, then blurted out, "The Governor and Admiral will be quite surprised to find out their family has grown since this morning." Judith and Abby laughed at the remark.

"Natalie, you sound just like Nicholas. See? You fit right in", and Judith Bond hugged her again.


It was about six hours into the ground SAR. Captain Thomas Dalbott's Company had tracked about a mile-and-a-half in that time span. As the sun came up, their movements slowed or stopped. The best defense they had was not to be noticed in the daylight and to move more swiftly under the cover of darkness. Because the days on Caprica were so long, they were forced to move during daylight, but they did so at a very slow, very deliberate pace.

They had heard only the sound of birds so far. Not even a hint of a human voice, or the sound of an animal that might attack them, they were told such creatures were on these hills. But the less they were noticed, the better off they were.

They had gone a few hundred feet further, when Dalbott, taking point, held his right elbow out, raised his forearm, and clenched his fist. That meant "stop". He had his helmet on, and all their helmets had radios built into them, and mics that let them communicate.

"Company", he said in almost a whisper, but the internal headsets were state-of-the-art, and his men and women had no trouble hearing him, "I have movement at my One-o'clock, about eight-hundred meters ahead. Stay still."

At this distance, he couldn't quite tell if it was man or beast, but he thought it was human. He got out his hi-res binoculars, and slowly brought them was a man, no doubt, just kind of wandering around the area. He had a weapon slung over his back and was facing away from them, "OK, people, it is a man, facing in the other direction, slow movement forward."

Their cammo uniforms blended in nicely with the scenery, as did their cammo helmets, and the green and some gray painted on their faces. If they moved slowly, and stopped when this ignoramus turned, he shouldn't see them. Even their assault rifles were painted in cammo, and had twigs and leaves taped across the muzzle of the weapon.

Whoever this clown was, he wasn't in any hurry. They were within five-hundred meters of him. He slowly turned around, and Dalbott raised his fist again. Everyone was motionless. The man was literally looking at them, but it was obvious that he didn't see a human shape anywhere in sight. He turned back around.

"OK, lads and lasses, once again, slow and easy." After about forty seconds, the guy turned around again, and again they froze. He began to walk slowly in their general direction, but wasn't looking where they were all on frozen mode. "Don't breath, people".

After about a hundred meters, he stopped and looked to the South. He then looked around in all directions, almost confused, but then Dalbott figured out what was going on, "Well, people", he whispered again, "I think Mother Nature is going to call on our friend." The Company wanted to laugh at that, but they all held back.

The man was now within three-hundred yards of their position, and off to the Southeast. "Rogers, Kwan, Boucher, slowly move to our rear to cover the North, I think we might have something here."

The three Marines slowly, silently moved around to The North, to cover the rear of the Company, while they concentrated on this man to the South. They made no noise as they moved.

Dalbott had been a sniper when with the Kiwi Army. He had never fired a shot in anger, but knew he could hit a stone with his sniper rifle from two thousand yards. This guy was almost next door. His German-made rifle could be used for such shots, but also could be dialed back to travel at slower velocities. Such velocities were useful when one didn't want to merely kill his target. Dalbott had two clips of tranquilizer bullets with him. He also had a silencer on the end of his weapons. A silencer could hurt hitting a target at very long range, but wouldn't affect such an easy shot.

The man in front of him had looked around again, then behind himself, then squatted down like a baseball catcher.

Despite the tenseness of the situation, one of his Company had to be a smart-ass, "Cap'n, at least let him finish his business before putting him to sleep." Dalbott knew who had said that, and knew where the man was. Since the target was facing away, he allowed a slow turn of his head to stick his tongue out at the Marine.

That apparently gave the man enough time to finish his business. He stood up, belted and zipped his pants, then began to walk away from him. When he took the second step, Dalbott fired for the mans rear-end.

Not a sound was made, and the Captain could see he had put the tranquilizer round right in the guys rump. The man fell immediately. He trotted towards the prone target, while his Company formed a semi-circle facing North. The man was deep in sleep by the time Dalbott got there.

He secured the rifle from the man, and also found a sidearm similar to a Sig Saur in his back belt buckle. He found two plastic restraints, and put them on the man's feet, and secured his hands behind him.

He was pretty sure that no one else was in the area, but he still didn't want to raise his voice. He could make out a Raptor just to his West, about two thousand yards away, "Command, Tenth Delta, we have a prisoner that has been tranquilized and secured, requesting Raptor retrieval", and he gave the coordinates.

Back in the command post, a Colonel plotted the coordinates and looked on his Dradis for the nearest Raptor. "Raptor 89, Ground Command, secured prisoner needs pick up", and he repeated the coordinates.

Starbuck heard their Raptor Call Sign, and immediately responded, "Copy Ground, heading to the rendezvous, be there in thirty seconds."

"Maybe we can get some information out of this fucker, Adm...uh, Captain", Kelsey Graham caught herself. Starbuck smiled.

"Couldn't have said it better myself, Blondie", and she headed her bird into the clearing.

Thirty seconds, she had her Raptor facing to the West, to keep the hatch door away from any unfriendly eyes that might be lurking to the North. She opened the hatch and saw a Colonel standing in front of him. The Colonel recognized her immediately.

"Admiral Thrace-Bond?" he said in wonder, "If I may ask, what in the bloody hell are you doing here.", that made Kara grin.

"For now, Colonel, I'm only a Captain, and I'm here to help us get my little brother and his mates home." The smiled faded.

"Well get him, sir", he saluted, and Starbuck returned the favor, and closed the hatch behind her.
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