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The Colossus' Story

  • Member
    April 12, 2013
    This is the side story of the Battlestar Colossus, a story that runs parallel to the events of Battlestar Victorious Volume Four:

    The Colossus' Story

    Written by: Wes Imlay

    Chapter One: Game of Chance

    (Author's Note: This story begins with events from the last chapter of Battlestar Victorious Volume Three and runs concurrent with Battlestar Victorious Volume Four)

    Eight Months after the Fall of the Colonies:

    Battle of Ostarsis:

    Colossus, Flag CIC:

    "Admiral, the shuttles have landed," Mullins announced.

    "Excellent, send word to all ships to jump to the civilian fleet," Tolan ordered.

    The Colossus shook more violently as the ships along the battle line began to jump away, allowing the Cylons to focus on the Colossus.

    "Why haven't we jumped away yet?" Tolan asked Commander Dorian Mercer, the Colossus' Commanding Officer, through the wireless receiver.

    "Our FTL was knocked offline when we got hit a couple of minutes ago. The Chief Engineer is trying to get it back online."

    "Make sure he gets it done soon, there's no telling how much longer we'll be able to hold."

    "Understood, Admiral, we'll let you know as soon as it's ready."

    Tolan took a deep breath and watched, as one by one, the ships disappeared off the DRADIS screen until all that was left was the Colossus.

    "The remaining baseships are closing in," Mullins announced.

    "Issue an emergency recall on the Vipers and inform the gun captains to fire until they're either killed or out of ammo."

    The intensity of the impacts against the hull of the Colossus intensified, causing equipment to fall and crew to crash to the deck.

    Alone with an FTL, that was offline and surrounded by Cylons, not exactly the situation Tolan had wanted to find himself in…but yet there it was. The Colossus was one of the newer battlestars and being a member of the Titan class meant that it had the heavy armor to absorb quite a bit of battle damage. However, there was the possibility that the FTL would stay offline and the damage would become so severe that the ship would be lost along with everyone onboard.

    As the ship shook from the hits coming in from the Cylons Tolan found himself thinking of his friends and loved ones. He had began to wonder if the Battlestar Hermes was still out there and if Commander Artimus Bowman, a friend close enough to be considered a brother, was still alive. If Artimus were dead then he would see him on the other side if the FTL drives were not brought back online.

    Then there was Emily and their kids, and the idea of not coming back to see them again. Everything he had done since the Fall of the Colonies had been to keep them safe from the Cylons. Would they still be safe if he did not return from this mission? Had he thrown that away by carrying out this operation?

    The hits were becoming more frequent and the shuddering of the ship more violent as the Cylons began to move in closer, like a pack of wolves coming in for the kill.

    'You can kill us but we'll take some of you down with us," Tolan thought defiantly. He knew the Colossus' guns were still blazing away at the Cylons and would continue to do so until they either were out of ammunition or were silenced permanently.

    He kept his composure knowing that the personnel in the Flag CIC would probably be watching him closely to see how he would react to this situation. Truth was he did not fear death…he was simply in no hurry to make it to the afterlife.

    "Admiral, Commander Mercer says that the FTL is back online but the computer can only plot a jump to the Ragan System."

    "Tell him to make the jump!" Tolan ordered. The Ragan System was the designated system for the ships to jump to in case they had to jump to somewhere other than the civilian fleet.

    Moments later the Colossus vanished in a flash of light.

    Ragan System:

    "Jump complete," Petty Officer Tanya Mullins announced from the Tactical Station in the Flag CIC.

    "That was a close one, sir. Gods, it seemed we were going to buy it then and there," Ensign Lucien Whitfield, Tolan's Chief-of-Staff said.

    Fleet Admiral Scott Tolan steadied himself and tried to reign in his thoughts about what had just happened. On one hand, he felt relieved that the rescue mission had been completed and he was pleasantly surprised that there were still some Colonial Fleet units out there that he had not discovered yet.

    However, that was tempered by the knowledge that lives had been lost during the mission along with at least two battlestars and an untold number of personnel. He was certain that the casualties would be high; the only question was exactly how high the number would be once all of the losses had been counted.

    "Mister Whitfield, you're in charge here until I return. I'm going down to the CIC to have a word with Commander Mercer," Tolan said before turning to head out the doors of the Flag CIC.

    He stepped out onto the upper level of the CIC and saw crewmembers hard at work on trying to gauge the exact damage done to the Colossus. Down in the CIC's lower level he saw Commander Mercer and Colonel Anna Wong at Command and Control intently going over reports that were being brought to them.

    "Sitrep," Tolan said as he walked up to the two officers.

    "Sir, it looks like we took a pounding from the Cylons. The FTL is offline again and the Chief says he can't be sure how quickly he can get it running," Mercer said as he laid down the report from the Chief Engineer.

    "That's our first priority; with that FTL offline we're sitting ducks," Tolan said.

    "I agree," Mercer said as he ran a hand through his hair. He was sure it had become grayer in the months since the Colonies fell.

    "DRADIS contacts!" the tactical officer yelled.

    The three officers looked up at the DRADIS screen and saw a group of at least six Cylon baseships moving in.

    "Frak me, how did they find us so fast?" Wong asked.

    "Doesn't really matter, they found us," Mercer said before turning to the tactical officer, "Get all weapons trained on those baseships."

    "I'll see if Chief Engelhart can get the FTL back up quickly," Wong said as she picked up a nearby receiver and got in touch with Engineering.

    "He'd better or else it's going to become an academic question," Tolan said. He was sure that at this moment Major Gustav Engelhart, the Colossus' Chief Engineer, was probably working feverishly to get the FTL going. That was their only chance of making it through this encounter with the Cylons.

    The Colossus began to shake once again as the shells from the Cylon guns began to find their mark. For Tolan, it was a creepy feeling of déjà vu. He looked around and had to give the crew credit, they were moving at a faster pace than they had been before the Cylons had shown up. It was as though a surge of electricity had begun to surge through an invisible wire.

    "I'll be in the Flag CIC," Tolan said as he turned away from Command and Control to head back up the stairs.

    He bounded up the stairs and was about a quarter of the way up when the massive room shook violently from the impact of a hit. Consoles sparked and electrical fires began to break out in various areas of the CIC. Tolan was thrown against the handrail and he felt a surge of pain course through his back from the impact.

    For what felt like an eternity, his senses seemed to have dulled; now everything in the CIC seemed to be moving in slow motion. It was then that another impact caused the Colossus to shake violently and his head hit the steel step hard and there was no way for him to fight the blackness.

    A voice began to intrude on the darkness and draw him back to consciousness. Shaking his head seemed to help clear out some of the cobwebs but his body seemed to be slow to respond. He felt a pair of hands grab him and pull him up onto his feet.

    "Admiral Tolan…Scott, can you hear me?" a woman's voice asked.

    Tolan blinked and realized to whom he was talking, "Bridget, thank the Gods you're alive!"

    He was going to say something else to her when she suddenly reached down and kissed him on the lips.

    "Thanks for coming back for me. It's good to still be alive but we won't be much longer if we don't get out of here."

    "I agree; let's see if Command and Control is still working," he said before asking, "How long was I out for?"

    "Not sure, to be honest with you, things were pretty frantic when we got here," she said and then turned to another figure standing at Command and Control checking Command Mercer and Colonel Wong, "Miss Rigel, how are they?"

    Ensign Angela Rigel stood up and shook her head, "Colonel Wong is still alive but unconscious but I'm afraid we lost Commander Mercer."

    "All right, I'm assuming command of the CIC," Tolan said and when he looked over to Tactical he saw the officer was laying on the deck with a gaping wound in his neck, "Miss Rigel, it's great to see that you survived, but right now I need you over at Tactical."

    Rigel nodded. "I'm on it, feels good to be back in the fight!"

    "What about me?" Woods asked.

    "I need you to keep me updated on the FTL; as soon as it is online again I want you to let me know."

    "That won't be a problem," she said as she quickly picked up a receiver to connect her to Engineering, "What are you planning on doing?"

    "I'm going to get as much distance between us and the Cylons as I can. We're in no condition for a straight-up fight, I'm going to take us across the system and by then the FTL will hopefully be online."

    "I like it," Woods said before turning her attention to the Chief Engineer, "Hey, Chief, give me an update on the FTL."

    "Helm, set a course for the opposite end of the system, squeeze every last bit of Tylium we can for the sub-light engines," Tolan ordered the Helm Officer, who quickly complied.

    "I'm turning as many guns as I can onto the Cylons, ready to fire on your order," Rigel said.

    "You may fire at will, use your judgment with where you target. Just make sure you can buy us some time."

    "Sounds good…the baseships have launched Raiders, I'm setting every available AA gun to start firing," Rigel said.

    "Good, then maybe that will buy us some time," Tolan said as he watched the swarms of Cylon Raiders appear on the DRADIS.

    "Do you want to launch Vipers?" Woods asked.

    Tolan thought about it for a moment before shaking his head, "As soon as the FTL is online we're going to jump; I'd rather not risk leaving any of the pilots stranded out there. Alert the ship to prepare to be boarded."

    "Best to be ready for that," Woods said before picking up a nearby receiver, "This is the XO; all hands prepare to repel boarders. Resistance fighters, this applies to you also."

    "Looks like we've managed to go out of the frying pan and into the fire," Tolan said with a wry smile.

    "For what it's worth I'd rather we get away from the Cylons long enough to catch our breath," Woods said and she was glad to see a look in Tolan's eyes that suggested he thought the same.

    Hangar Deck:

    The Vipers had been pushed to the sides to make room for the Raptors and shuttles that had ferried prisoners from Ostarsis. A mix of military and civilian personnel had disembarked and was milling about waiting for the word to pass down on what to do next.

    "Did you see where Commander Woods went?" Cadet Sophia Tolen asked the woman standing next to her.

    "She went with that other officer to go to the CIC; no word of when they'll return," Neveah Ratliff said.

    It was at this time that Woods' call to repel boarders had come over loudspeakers. For some of the escapees it was an added mental stress to go along with what they had already endured with both the preparation for rescue and the rescue itself. The deck crew tried to keep the necessary calm, but it appeared to be to no avail.

    Major Darren Clay saw the chaos forming around him and immediately realized he needed to take control before things spiraled too far out of control. He saw his men standing near him seemingly waiting for his next move.

    "Blue Bombers, form ranks!" he bellowed in his best 'drill sergeant voice' and was rewarded with the eighty-five men who made up his special forces unit to come to attention and form ranks.

    With that done, he promptly climbed up to the top of a nearby ladder and removed one of his pistols from its holster. He aimed it towards the ceiling and pulled the trigger while silently praying there would be no injuries from a ricochet. The last thing he wanted was for his troops to be injured by a stray bullet. He waited as the crowd, stunned into silence by the weapon's discharge, focused its attention on him.

    "That is about all I want of that," he began before continuing, "You heard Commander Woods, we need to be ready to repel borders. I know you have been through a lot but look at how far you have made it. We escaped from Ostarsis and now we're in a fight for our survival. Put your training to use once again and fight the Cylons if they manage to board this ship. So say we all!"

    Clay slid down the rails of the ladder and his feet hit the deck with a hard thud. He looked and saw one of the Marines coming toward him.

    "Are you the officer in charge?" Clay asked.

    "Lieutenant Tyron Lyons, I'm in charge of the Marines on this deck," the Marine said as he made his way toward a table where a communications set had been placed.

    "Major Darren Clay, Colonial Army, I'm the leader of Delta Force Squadron Five – the Blue Bombers," Clay said with no attempt to hide the pride of being a Special Forces soldier.

    "Special Forces, that's impressive," Lyons agreed.

    "Not to start an inter-service war but it's more impressive than being a Marine…no offense. Who's in overall command of the Marines?" Clay asked as he kept pace with Lyons.

    "Major Esteban Torero, he's in the Marine Combat Center coordinating our defense of the ship," Lyons said as he pushed past a group of civilians a bit more brusquely than normal. Clay's comment had gotten underneath his skin but now was not the time to start over a fight over being insulted.

    "How strong is your detachment?"

    "We have a full complement of fifteen hundred Marines, if the Cylons board there's a chance that number will go down."

    "Here's to hoping that doesn't happen," Clay said. He silently walked with Lyons until the two reached the table where the communications set was located.

    "You wait here, when the Major is ready to talk I'll let you know," Lyons said as he picked up the receiver and pressed a series of buttons that connected him to the Combat Center.

    Moments later Lyons handed Clay the phone. "He's ready to speak with you."

    Wordlessly Clay took the receiver from him. He put it to his ear unsure of what was going to be said, "This is Major Clay."

    "Hello, Major, I'm Major Torero; I'm in charge of the Marines on the Colossus. Lieutenant Lyons tells me that you are Special Forces. Is that true?"

    "That's correct, I have eighty-five soldiers ready to help repel the Cylons if they board," Clay said.

    "Are there any other of your escapees who could be of use to us?" Torero asked in his distinctively Tauron-accented voice.

    "I don't know exactly how many are on the Colossus but there's enough to put up resistance if needed. I helped train them as best I could. The Cylons didn't make a distinction between military and civilian, so neither did I."

    "I understand where you're coming from. Disperse your people to where my people need them, I'll get back to you and let you know where the Cylons might board if they land one of their heavy raiders on the ship."

    "I'll be waiting, Clay out."

    He put the receiver in its place and turned to Lyons. "We'll wait for him to let us know where we're needed and then we'll join in the fray."

    "Sounds like a plan to me, should be interesting to see you Special Forces guys in action," Lyons said.

    "You may learn something from watching us; might actually make you a better Marine because of it," Clay said and then he saw two of his lieutenants coming towards him, "Excuse me, Lieutenant."

    "What's the word, sir?" Second Lieutenant Adan Ismael asked.

    "We're going to reinforce the Marines and repel the Cylons if they try to board, how's the rest of the team?"

    "They're ready to go wherever they're needed," First Lieutenant Demarcus Hayes said.

    "I know we're ready, I just hope the civilians and the rest of the resistance group is ready for this. You saw how they were when the ship was attacked, they may break and run like a bunch of amateurs," Ismael said.

    "I can't blame them too much if they crack under pressure, we didn't exactly treat them with kid gloves in the bunker. We'll just have to do enough damage so that if they run away it won't be noticed," Clay said and in the background, he heard the receiver begin to buzz.

    Lyons picked it up and moments later passed it on to Clay.

    "What can I do for you, Major?" he asked.

    "A heavy raider got through the flak screen and landed on the port flight pod, it looks like they are going to try to enter the ship near the hangar," Torero said with a surprising calm.

    "Where do you need us?" Clay asked, his voice had changed now that he knew the Cylons were there. Instead of sounding like some cocksure officer, he now had the voice of a calm professional determined to do his job.

    "I need you to take your people over to the Supply Department's Shipping and Receiving Area aft Hangar Bay Three. There are several passageways that lead to that area and it provides the least impeded access to the hangar."

    "My people are on it, we'll talk when this is over," Clay said.

    "We make it through this I have a bottle of Becknell's Aerilon Whiskey; I promise it's some of the good stuff."

    "Have two glasses waiting and we'll toast to kicking these tin-heads off of our ship," Clay said before hanging up the receiver.

    "I'm coming with you," Lyons said.

    "No you're not," Clay said before adding, "You're needed here on the hangar deck, I want you to have these people ready for to defend themselves against the Cylons if they get past us."

    Wordlessly Lyons fell behind and Clay began the process of getting his eighty-five soldiers together so they could defend against the Cylons.


    "Admiral, the Cylons have boarded the ship," Rigel called out from Tactical.

    "Damn it, how many got through the flak screen?" Tolan asked, doing his best to hide his irritation.

    "Only one Heavy Raider got through and it landed on the port flight pod, the Marines are gathering in strength to repel them," Rigel said.

    "That's at least a small consolation," Tolan said and he turned to see Woods on the phone, "What's going on?"

    "The Marines aren't the only ones ready to attack the Cylons, we have a Special Forces group that is onboard also and their leader is on the phone with me."

    "Wish him luck and see how the repairs are on the FTL."

    "Yes, sir," Woods said as she wished Major Clay luck and then got Engineering on the line.

    "We can make a jump but it could be risky," Woods said after a few minutes.

    "I'd rather risk a jump than stay here and get pounded into oblivion by the Cylons," Tolan said before adding, "Have Rigel to get the jump ready."

    Woods nodded and walked over to Tactical to relay the orders.

    "I can plot us a jump to the Denebol System," Rigel said.

    "Then make it happen," Tolan said sharply, as the impact of an enemy shell caused him to momentarily lose his balance.

    Woods returned to Command and Control and looked at Tolan. "Jumping away with the Cylons having boarded us; remind you of a certain ship?"

    Tolan allowed a smile to come to his face, "We're not going to be the Achilles; we'll have a much happier ending!"

    Moments later the Colossus vanished in a flash of light from the Ragan System.

    Viper Supply Storage:

    Clay and his troops had done their best to use the room to their advantage. The containers of parts for the Vipers had been moved around in order to provide cover when the Cylons advanced into the room.

    "They're getting closer," Hayes commented.

    "Sounds like the Marines are putting up a fight," Ismael said.

    "If they break through their line then they fall back here and join with us; then we show them how real fighting is done," Clay said.

    "Perhaps the Marines should go ahead and fall back so we could take care of the toasters," Corporal Conner Leeds said.

    "That may not be such a bad idea," Clay said as he pondered the idea before coming to a conclusion as to what they would do. "Pass me the wireless!"

    Second Lieutenant Luther Keenan ran up to Clay and handed him a wireless device.

    "Back to your location," Clay said to Keenan before he activated the wireless and got in touch with the Marine in charge of the group defending the passageway, "Lieutenant Lyons, I want you and your troops to fall back and let the Cylons come to us…I promise they won't get past us."

    "What's going on?" Ismael asked.

    "The Marine decided it was in his best interest to do what I suggested, let's just leave it at that," Clay said.

    There was the sound of footsteps coming down the passageway the Marines came through the hatch and made their way to the other side of the room.

    "We're going to be on the other side of the far hatch in case things go south for you," Lyons said when he saw Clay.

    "I appreciate the concern but I think we'll be fine without you," Clay said in response.

    "I'd rather stay and provide back up if it's all the same to you," Lyons countered.

    Clay shot him a sympathetic smile," All right, if it will help you make it through the night and keep your self-esteem from being damaged, then you do that."

    Lyons did not say another word to Clay as he led the Marines through the far hatch on the other side of the compartment and closed it perhaps a bit harder than most would have.

    Soon they heard the metallic footfalls of the Cylons getting closer.

    "Ready weapons," Clay quietly said into the mouthpiece of his helmet.

    The Centurions began to enter the room and their red eyes began to survey it to see if there were any targets.

    "Fire!" Clay yelled as he emerged from his hiding spot and began firing his high-explosive rounds at the Centurions. The rest of the eighty-plus Blue Bombers also came out of their hiding spaces with their guns blazing. The small force of Centurions did not try to retreat but stood their ground until they had all fallen to the Special Forces soldiers.

    "That's why nobody kicks *** like we do," Clay said as he walked over and kicked the inert body of one of the Centurions.

    What he could not have known was that this small group of Centurions was a sacrificial group sent to divert their attention from the real goal. When the Heavy Raider had landed on the flight pod, a heavy metal device was attached to one of the access panels. This device would not only be able to hack into the ship's computer systems but it would also serve as a tracking device. When the ship found its way to the hidden Colonial base, the Cylons would be able to pounce and eliminate it and the surviving ships with one battle.


    "I'm receiving word that the Cylon boarding party has been stopped," Woods said and she and Tolan exchanged a relieved smile.

    "One problem solved, now what's the status of the FTL?" Tolan said and he braced himself as another impact shook the Colossus. He was honestly not sure how much damage the ship could take. The Titan class had been designed to be massive ships that could take plenty of damage before they were lost. As far as Tolan was concerned, he would prefer not to find out just what the magic number was.

    "Still working on it, but the Chief says it should be working soon," Woods said.

    "Well if he doesn't get it up and running soon we won't have worry about it before long," Tolan said as he looked up at where the FTL Status screen was located and in red block letters saw the word OFFLINE.

    "Perhaps we should launch our Vipers and see if that can take some of the pressure off of us," Woods suggested.

    Tolan shook his head. "As soon as we have the FTL drive ready we jump and I cannot afford to leave the pilots behind or take the time to land them before jumping."

    "Sir, the FTL is back online. Where do you want to jump to?" Rigel asked.

    "Anywhere," Tolan said.

    "Are you sure that's going to work?" Woods asked.

    "Get us on the far end of the Armistice Line, I doubt the Cylons are too concerned about that area of space anymore," Tolan said and he hoped he was making the right decision.

    Moments later the Colossus vanished in a flash of light to a destination where the Cylons would not be likely tofind them.

    "Jump complete," Rigel said.

    "Good job," Tolan said and he let out a deep breath to calm his nerves.

    "That was tense for a moment," Woods said as a relieved smile came over her face.

    "Where exactly are we?" Tolan asked Rigel.

    "We're in the Malta System," Rigel reported.

    "Get me whatever information you have on this system. When that's done I want all reports on our status delivered to my quarters," Tolan said and Rigel nodded her understanding of his orders.

    "If you don't mind my saying," Woods began before, "I think it may do you some good to get some rest."

    Tolan wanted to argue but thought better of it, "I think a couple of hours would do me some good. Okay but I want to be alerted if something comes up. Before that, I'm going to head to Sickbay for a checkup; I'm not sure just how hard I hit my head on that step earlier."

    "Won't be a problem and you're probably right about having the doc check you out," Woods said and when he had left the CIC she turned to Rigel, "I want all communication lines to his quarters deactivated."

    "Are you sure that's a good idea?" Rigel asked.

    Woods nodded, "I'm sure between planning the attack on Ostarsis, carrying out the attack on Ostarsis, and now having barely escaped from the Cylons, I think it's safe to say that he might be bordering on exhaustion."

    "Consider it done," Rigel said as she deactivated the communication lines.

    "What do we have here in this system?" Woods asked.

    "We have two gas giants, and according to these documents, there is a station located here as well," Rigel said as she examined the information on her console.

    Woods walked over and glanced at the data. She saw the display for the gas giants Valletta and Ella along with a brief mention of Malta Station…

    "I want us to get in orbit around Valletta, it looks like it's similar to Ragnar and that could be used to our advantage," Woods said as she headed back to Command and Control.

    "Communications, send word to division heads that I want reports ready within an hour. Also get me in touch Lieutenant Lamont Evans; he should be on the hangar deck with the rest of the Ostarsis group.

    The officer nodded his acknowledgement and went to work carrying out the orders.

    Woods looked over the data and was lost in her thoughts when word had come through that Lieutenant Evans was available.

    She picked up the receiver out of its cradle and put it to her ear, "Lieutenant Evans, how are things down there on the hangar deck?"

    "Things have calmed down but that attack unnerved some of the people, it was getting tense there near the end," he said.

    "Right now, we're in the Malta System and we should be safe for the time being, I need you to take a count of people who came up with us so I can give a list to Admiral Tolan. Have Cadet Tolen assist you, it should give her something to do with her free time."

    "Copy that, we'll get to work on putting a list together for you. Just so you know, Major Clay and his people have returned from aiding the Marines against the Cylons."

    Woods could not help but ask, "How did that go?"

    "They destroyed the Cylons, did not lose a man, and are now even more insufferable than they were on Ostarsis. Truth be told, I didn't even think that would be possible."

    Woods stifled a laugh. "We'll just have to grin and bear it; at least they're fighting on our side. Let me know when you have that list ready for me."

    "Aye, aye," Evans said as the line went dead.

    Hangar Deck:

    Evans put the receiver away and looked towards the mass of people who had come with them from Ostarsis. Some of them were from the resistance cell but others had been liberated from the various prison camps.

    "Tolen!" he called out and hoped his voice was loud enough.

    "Lieutenant Evans," Cadet Sophia Tolen called out as she made her way towards him.

    "I just spoke with Commander Woods; she has a job for us."

    Tolen looked at him inquisitively. "What exactly does she want us to do?"

    "Make a complete list of the prisoners who came with us from Ostarsis. We can account for the people from the resistance but these prisoners are complete unknowns. A list of the people we have will go a long way in helping both Commander Woods and Admiral Tolan."

    Tolen's face flushed. "My family would disown me if they knew I was on the same ship as him."

    For her this was a cruel twist of fate. The superior officer of the ship she had escaped Ostarsis on was a part of a long-running family feud. The Tolen/Tolan conflict had its history in the Basileus Crime Syndicate on Canceron. Carl Tolan had originally been born Carl Tolen and when he founded the Basileus he was disowned by the family and thus the family feud had started. The change of the 'e' to an 'a' had only served to cement the outsider status of Carl Tolan and his part of the family.

    "I know you're not going to be happy about it but we can't change the situation, are you going to be okay with this or am I going to have to put you in the corner for a timeout until you can play nice?" Evans asked.

    Tolen shook her head. "I'll be fine, right now surviving is more important than any hard feelings towards relatives of mine."

    "I was hoping you'd see things my way. Let's get started on this. The sooner we start it the sooner we can finish it," Evans said as he walked towards the group with Tolen keeping up behind him.

    Crew Berthing Compartment 0-9-4:

    "Well, boys, welcome to our new home," Clay said as he entered the berthing compartment.

    With the various reassignments that had taken place since the Colossus had joined up with the Victorious and its fleet, a portion of its personnel had been transferred to other ships to make up for losses. As a result, several of the ship's berthing compartments were now empty.

    "Are you sure we're going to be allowed in here?" Lieutenant Jay Brewer asked as he sat down on one of the racks.

    "I'm sure the Major will make sure we don't get evicted," Captain William Story said.

    "This is one of those cases where I'd rather ask for forgiveness than permission. Besides, we did them a favor by eliminating the Cylons that boarded the ship," Clay said as he took a seat at the table in the middle of the compartment and put his feet up in a clear attempt to make himself at home.

    "You heard the major; go make yourselves at home!" Story called out and the rest of the Blue Bombers began to do just that.

    "We did well out there today, not that I'm all that surprised," Clay said.

    Story took a seat at the table. "It's not like the Cylons were that much of a threat. We just hit them with the high explosive rounds and they went down without much of a fight."

    "That was an interesting thing," Clay said, "The ones we encountered on Ostarsis were more aggressive and they damn sure had more numbers than what we saw in that compartment."

    "I take it your famed gut instinct is trying to tell you something," Story said.

    Clay nodded, "I'm all for scoring an easy kill, especially when you look at how hard we trained when Ostarsis was occupied. There is something about a kill being too easy that doesn't sit right with me."

    "Are you sure you're not over thinking the whole thing?"

    Clay thought it over and shook his head. "I've replayed whole thing in my mind and it doesn't sit well. I'm starting to wonder if perhaps the Cylons intentionally sent those Centurions to be gunned down as a sort of diversion."

    Story laughed. "You think the Cylons would sacrifice their own Centurions?"

    "It's almost like a game of strategy; you throw a token force out there to be killed and it serves as a diversion for a bigger part of your plan."

    "All right, what do you think would this bigger plan be?" Story asked.

    "Damned if I know right now, but it's something I want to figure out," Clay admitted.

    "Are you going to go talk to Commander What's-Her-Name?" Story asked.

    Clay chuckled. "That would be Commander Woods and I will have a word with her once things have settled down a bit. Right now the Cylons aren't trying to blow us up so I think some time to breathe is in order."

    Two Hours and Sixteen Minutes Later:

    Commanding Officer's Office:

    Woods looked around the office that had once belonged to Commander Dorian Mercer and she was unable to hold back at shudder. The report had come in from Sickbay thirteen minutes ago that Commander Mercer had still in surgery getting much needed medical attention for his injuries. The prognosis for him was grim but there was a chance he would recover. His XO, Colonel Wong, was in ICU and there no telling when she would regain consciousness. She had just finished her meeting with the department heads and she saw the reactions on their faces when she had announced that disheartening piece of news at the end. It seemed that after eight months there was still a place for the loss of their superior officers to have an effect on them.

    She thought back to the status of both Commander Mercer and Colonel Wong and whether or not the doctor was being overly optimistic about the odds of the two officers recovering.

    'Is it a question of 'When' or 'If' she regains consciousness…' she thought bitterly.

    She looked around the office and saw that Mercer had decorated it with a bit of Colonial Fleet history and his own personal touches. Mixed with photos from previous ships that had borne the name Colossus were pictures of people who Woods believed were either members of the Mercer family or close friends.

    How many of them had survived the attacks? She could not help but ask herself if there were any still alive who would mourn the death of Commander Mercer if he didn't make it. She was sure the crew would be upset over the loss of the commanding officer but on a personal level who would be hit hard by his loss.

    She also thought of her quarters of the Kios, and she wondered what the fate was of her ship and her personal belongings. The Cylons had shut down the ship's power and then boarded it. She was taken prisoner along with other members of her crew but she was not sure what the ultimate fate was for the Kios and the rest of her crew.

    "You look like you're deep in thought," a man's familiar voice said from the hatch.

    "You look as smug and self-assured as ever," Woods said to Clay when he entered the room.

    "There are so many words I thought you'd use to describe me but 'smug' was not one of them," he said as he took a seat and leafed through a stack of reports.

    "Considering what happened in the last day, you'll forgive me if I ask you exactly why it is you came here to see me. The last thing I need is to deal with your Special Forces brand of arrogance," she said a bit more testily than she had intended.

    "I know you've had a long day and because of our previous working relationship I'll let that one slide," Clay said before continuing, "I've had that engagement with the Cylon boarding party running through my mind. Afterwards I lay in my rack in our new berthing compartment; you do intend to let us keep that right?"

    She shot him a quizzical look. "Think about the way you've acted towards me since we first met and then decide if I will honestly do that for you."

    "Well my troops and I did repel a Cylon boarding party."

    Woods shook her head before saying, "I suppose it won't harm the ship if you and your people take over a berthing compartment."

    Clay slapped his hand against the table's surface, "I knew you were a woman who could be reasoned with! Besides before your friend Admiral Tolan called it a night I went by his quarters and had a word with him. Believe it or not, he's a very likeable person in my opinion. The point is that he approved my request, asking you was simply a formality."

    "Uh-huh, now why did you come here?"

    "That boarding party I mentioned was light compared to what we encountered on Ostarsis, something tells me that those Centurions did not make up a realistic boarding party."

    "So you think that the Cylons sent the Centurions as a decoy force of some kind and hoped we wouldn't notice in the fog of war?"

    Clay nodded his head, "You see, I knew being around me in that bunker would make you smarter!"

    "Make me smarter?" Woods asked with thinly-veiled sarcasm.

    "What I meant was that you gained some tactical expertise from working with me. Enough about that, I think the Cylons were up to something and sent those Centurions to take our eyes off of it."

    Woods was willing to concede that he had a point. "I have the ship being scoured for any signs of Cylon tampering. I'll have extra attention focused on the areas where they landed and boarded the ship."

    "That should be a decent start, but I'd also have the computer systems checked as well," Clay added.

    "I remember something about a person telling me in uncertain terms that I had no business dictating operations on land because I trained to serve in space."

    "Commander, I honestly didn't think you would remember that conversation. Are you telling me to mind my own business and let you work?"

    "Not exactly; just remember that I know my way around a battlestar. While I appreciate your input, I don't want you to act as if I have no idea what I'm doing. After all we're on a battlestar and not on Ostarsis."

    "Point made, I suppose I can't order you around like I did before. I promise to try to give your ideas and plans a little more credibility than I did before…fair enough?

    Woods allowed herself to smile, "That's fair enough, Clay, and for the record I was glad that you were able to stop those Cylons."

    "It was all in a day's work for me and my men. So…what do the reports say?"

    "We took a pounding from the Cylons, no doubt about that, but as for how many people we lost all together…there's no exact count just yet. They hurt us but we're far from being finished."

    "At least there's a silver lining to this cloud, I'm going to go tell my guys that we can stay in our new lodging," Clay said as he turned to leave the room.

    "Major Clay," Woods called out. When he turned around she said, "Thank you for all you did, I know I'll never forget what all you did for us."

    Clay smiled. "A pleasure to be of assistance, Commander Woods."

    When he left the room, she closed the hatch and sat down to read the reports again. Copies were being sent to Admiral Tolan's quarters for him to read. Their situation was far from ideal but they could survive it with a little skill and luck.

    Nine Hours Later:

    Admiral's Quarters:

    The Colossus was safe for the time being. Hopefully, that the Cylons would not be able to find them while they made further repairs to their damaged FTL drive. If they were to survive, then it was important that it be in optimal condition.

    He had awaken from his slumber not too long ago and he checked the time and saw he had slept for nine hours

    A buzzing sound signaled that someone wanted to enter. He walked over to the hatch and pressed the button that opened the hatch.

    The hatch swung opened and Woods entered the room,. "I see you've awakened. Did the sleep help? Ensign Whitfield came to me with the idea. We agreed that you could use some rest. When I knew you were going to rest I had all communication lines to your quarters deactivated."

    Tolan took a seat at his table and ran a hand over his head. "I understand why you did it, and truthfully, I needed the rest. Not the first time I've found myself dealing with post-combat fatigue."

    She took a seat on the opposite side of the table, "I guess that's something you've had a lot of experience with the last eight months."

    "True enough, and looking at the reports that were delivered here the news isn't looking any brighter for us," Tolan said as he gestured to a set of reports that had been delivered to his quarters while he was asleep.

    "Did I come at a bad time?" Woods asked. She was not sure if he would want to speak to her or go over the reports on the Cylons tracking device that had been discovered attached to the flight pod where the Cylon Heavy Raider had landed.

    Tolan let out a deep breath. "I suppose there aren't many good times these days."

    "It's not completely bad; we're still alive."

    Tolan smiled at her. "Perhaps that is a positive but right now we're one ship out here fighting with no support, trying to keep the Cylons from finding us. We have a device attached to our hull that we don't know the first thing about except that it is probably bad news for us somehow. I don't know Bridget; it seems about as hopeless as your situation on Ostarsis. Weren't there times when you felt like you were done? Truth of the matter is that sometimes you're just done."

    She took a moment before asking, "What's going on with you Scott?"

    "I've been fighting a lop-sided battle for survival for eight long months. I'm sure many would say I've sacrificed more than most should have to in order to accomplish my goals. I look at what happened at Ostarsis and I have to wonder if I sacrificed too much," Tolan said as he thought about all the ships and personnel that had been lost in the recent battle.

    She was quiet but the look on her face suggested that she was holding back on what she wanted to say to him.

    Finally, Tolan said, "We've been friends too long to mince words. What are you not telling me?"

    Woods talked as though the floodgates had been opened, "Don't lecture me on sacrifice. I've given so much of myself since this war started that I'm not even sure who I am anymore! As for the situation we're in, keep in mind that you have an entire crew that's just as angry and worried as you are. You are as human as they come, Scott, but right now, you are shutting out everyone who can help you. I can tell it's having an effect on the crew. If you want these people to fight for you against these odds then you have to make them believe you are worth following. This isn't as it would have been on the Victorious where you'd already established yourself among the crew. This is new territory for you and the last thing you need is for your crew to give up on you because if that happens then we're as good as dead."

    "Good to know that I have you here to keep me from losing focus," Tolan said before adding, "You really didn't hold back just now."

    Woods shrugged. "I suppose I can't help but worry about you."

    Tolan nodded. "We're up against some steep odds this time. What happens if we don't make it?"

    Woods got out of her chair and walked over to him. "Then we don't win, but we at least go down fighting."

    "I've been carrying the weight of all twelve worlds on my shoulders; it's been some time since I actually had a chance to do something normal."

    "You just need a little reminding every now and then. Come on, the reports can wait," she said as she took his hands and led him from the table to a spot in middle of the room.

    "What are you doing?" he asked.

    "There are not exactly a lot of places on a battlestar suited for relaxation so I thought I'd improvise," she said as she walked over to a nearby radio and selected a slow song.

    "You realize we haven't danced since the night we first met," he said to her.

    "Now what you need to do is let me really remind you of how it feels to relax and enjoy life," she said as she put her arms around his shoulders, "Thank you for keeping your word to me."

    "I meant it when I said I would come for you," Tolan replied as he began to feel the pent-up stress that he had been carrying inside start to dissipate.

    "All those months on Ostarsis and I wondered if I would get off that miserable rock," Woods said and the two began to slow dance to the music.

    It was at that time that his mind registered exactly what they were heading towards and he pulled away from her, "Sorry, Bridget, this is really not the time or place for any of this. Thank you for coming by to talk to me, I'm going to read over these reports before it's time for my watch in the CIC."

    "All right," she said as she turned and left the room.
  • Leader
    April 23, 2013
    Awesome story Wes!