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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:52 pm 
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System 890-05
Sharon Valerii
Black Angels Squadron Leader

Ten Cylon Raiders and two Scout Drones fell comet-like through the empty blackness of near-interstellar space, keeping tight formation around Sharon's heavy fighter. Sharon sat in the pilot station of Gee-Gee, and carefully studied the inner star system where her lost Raider should have been. She was several light-hours away from the star, above the plane of the solar system. At this extreme distance DRADIS was useless. The two scouts were equipped with high-power optical sensors, however, and using her direct fiber optic connection to her own spacecraft's wireless she was able to see the star system in the magnified, multispectral perspective the Scout Drones were transmitting.

The primary star was an unimpressive yellow sun. It shared the system with a small brown dwarf. Between the two, and probably created by their gravitational interaction, was an extensive asteroid belt. Only one planet existed in the inner solar system, a hot, rocky ball with a wispy, poisonous atmosphere in close orbit to the yellow sun. During the night the Raider she named 'Lucky' had jumped into the system to scout for signs of human refugees. It was now four hours overdue to return.

Clustered around one of the gravitational balance points between the sun and brown dwarf was a dense cloud of debris. Most of the debris was dust and asteroids, but there was one object that flashed and glinted in a way that could only come from precision machined surfaces. It was probably a spacecraft, but the color of its reflections did not match the bright yellow of Lucky's paint scheme. More telling, it was also broadcasting an automated Colonial distress call claiming to be the human ship "Picon's Pride." Lucky had jumped into the system over twelve hours ago. He should be visible from her position, but the human derelict was the only spacecraft she could sense.

It was probably a trap, Sharon decided, and exactly the sort of trick she would expect Commander Adama to use. She guessed that Lucky had jumped into the debris field to investigate the Colonial signal and had been attacked. He was most likely already dead. Sharon listened to the transmission of the supposedly helpless human ship and wondered what she should do.

Even though she knew that Lucky was only a beast of war, she did not want to leave one of her squadron behind if there was a chance he was still alive. As a military intelligence officer, she also did not want to turn and run from a system that had such obvious hints of enemy activity without discovering what was really happening. On the other hand, if it was a trap then she did not want to stumble into it and allow the humans to prey on her and the rest of her squadron. The last thing she wanted to do was fight the Galactica's crew in a situation where they would have the advantage over her. If Sharon did take her squadron deeper into the system to investigate, then she'd have to figure out some way to do it without exposing them to an enemy ambush.

"So this is what being a squadron leader is like," Sharon said aloud to her otherwise empty spacecraft as she contemplated her first real test of combat leadership. She had begged and fought to get this chance, and now that she had it she wondered what in Creation she was supposed to do. "I wish Kara were here," Sharon thought, "Starbuck would have good advice in a situation like this." As soon as the idea crossed her mind, she felt the same sick, sinking feeling in her stomach that she experienced before her last mission. "Maybe Starbuck is here," Sharon realized. "Maybe this whole thing was her 'out of the box' idea. Maybe she's hiding somewhere in this system with her Viper fueled and armed waiting for me to make the smallest mistake so she can blow me and my squadron to pieces."

Sharon pulled her arms out of Gee-Gee's controls and wrung her hands as ideas and fears whirled through her mind. She knew she had to make a decision: go in or run away. The wrong step could bring defeat or disaster. It was her responsibility, and there was no one she could ask for help. Sharon forced herself to slow her breathing, pushed the fear to the back of her mind, and tried to focus her thoughts to see the terrain of the solar system as it must look like to her potential adversaries. She slipped her arms back into the controls, connected herself to the surveillance feed from the Scout Drones, and asked herself what she would have done if she had planned a trap like this.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8

Selene relaxed at her desk, with the fiber optic armband on her left forearm connecting her to the Security Dept. terminal. She was taking a break from the morning's work of reviewing her staff's surveillance summaries of potentially disloyal crewmembers and making recommendations on their disposition. Selene carefully studied the plate of small brown candies she had on her desk and tried to guess which one had her favorite filling in it. She took some pride in how good she had become at determining the flavor inside the treats just by the subtle differences on their exterior. She carefully picked one of the sweets from the rest with the tips of two fingers and her thumb, but before she could consume it she heard a polite knock on her door and received a wireless request from Kallias, her Loyalty Chief, wanting to have a quick meeting.

"Come in," Selene said as sat the candy back on the tray and sent the command to unlock her office door.

Kallias walked in with a grin, and as soon as the door had closed behind him he announced, "I got a complete copy of Sharon Valerii's dossier from the Fifth Fleet."

"How did you manage that?" Selene asked.

"You don't want to know," Kallias assured her. "It's thick, too. I put it in the restricted folder on the Security Dept. core." Kallias wirelessed the file address to Selene while he spoke. As she began uploading the file, Kallias continued, "And there is a large portion of the file that is classified at level eight!"

"That must be her role in the invasion," Selene said casually, "All the invasion plan details had the highest security classification."

"No," Kallias replied, "I already decrypted her invasion plan orders and reports using the appropriate operation access codes. This is something else entirely."

Selene sat upright in her chair as she found the section Kallias had referred to. "I see what you mean," she said. "Even the file headers are encrypted. Other than the invasion, what could possibly merit this level of security restriction? What else has she done?"

"I was hoping that you might know," Kallias answered, "The invasion orders were the only thing I have ever seen with that high of a classification. I thought you might know of other projects that secret."

Selene did not respond to Kallias's prompting, and instead sat quietly studying the file. Finally she looked up at Kallias and announced, "We have to crack the encryption on these files and see what is in them."

"But, those are Cylon Military Intelligence Department encryptions," Kallias stated. "And cracking them would tie up our computer system for days. It would severely impair our other monitoring abilities. Are you sure?"

"We have one of the most highly decorated intelligence officers in Creation aboard this ship. She has the commander wrapped around her finger. She has usurped authority from other departments. She is meeting secretly with the human captives aboard this ship, and cleverly arranged to discredit our objections in the process so that she can continue to do so with command approval. And now she has independent control of her own personal combat unit, too. Can you think of anything on this ship that is a bigger potential security threat than Sharon Valerii?"

"No," Kallias admitted.

"Then put the computer to work cracking those dossier files of hers immediately," Selene ordered, "and report to me as soon as you have any success."

"By your command," Kallias responded.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:55 pm 
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System 890-05

Sharon's Heavy Raider and four Cylon Raiders jumped into the outer edge of the suspicious debris cloud, dangerously close to a large asteroid. Two of her Raiders had to maneuver violently to avoid the rock they suddenly appeared next to. Sharon held her breath and anxiously studied Gee-Gee's sensor readings, afraid that the sudden engine activity might have given away their location. The rest of her squadron jumped in beside another large asteroid nearby. There were no indications that anyone had detected them. The mysterious human ship was visible in the center of the asteroid field, still transmitting its automated distress call. There were no signs of other spacecraft within her sensor range, but some form of elaborate electronic signal was obscuring the pulsar readings Gee-Gee's navigational computer based its hyperlight jump calculations on. Without those readings Sharon and the Black Angels squadron were trapped, unable to FTL away. "Frack me," Sharon whispered.

One of her Scout Drones was jumping back to the Depot Ship to report what she had discovered so far. The other Scout had jumped to what Sharon expected was the edge of the Colonial's DRADIS range and begun transmitting. From her hidden position Sharon listened to the Scout's signal. "Picon's Pride, this is Prospector Seven," came a human sounding voice from the Scout, "Thank God we found other humans!" Sharon cringed as she heard the word 'God' in the recording instead of 'gods.' It was a rook mistake for her to make. For a moment she held out hope that in the static of the wireless the error might be missed, but then DRADIS blossomed with new contacts.

At least three dozen fighters emerged from asteroids scattered around the edge of the field and swarmed toward her Scout. "Opportunity to excel," Sharon told herself as she targeted the rearmost enemy squadron. The Black Angels fired up their engines and slipped away from cover to pounce on the enemy from behind. Just before Sharon transmitted orders to begin their attack run, the contacts on her DRADIS all began turning green as their IFF codes cleared. She laughed out loud as she realized that they were all Cylons, and transmitted her identification code for verification. Her heart skipped a beat for a moment when she thought she had accidentally sent the Colonial identification code instead, but was relieved to discover that she had transmitted the right one.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:56 pm 
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Sharon stepped out of her Heavy Raider onto the deck of a cramped hanger hidden in a large asteroid. She ran over to the nearby Cylon Raider with yellow stylized bird wings painted on its own wings. "Lucky," she broadcast to it, "Request status report." While she listened to Lucky's flight log, she watched another Heavy Raider park on the hanger deck. An old Model 0005 Cylon emerged from its rear hatch. Most of his exterior showed considerable signs of wear and pitting, but his left arm, shoulder, and upper chest were new and shiny.

"You must be Sharon Valerii," he said as he swaggered up to her.

"Yes," she replied, "I am."

"I'm Nimrod, commander of the 12th Aerospace Combat Group, God's Wrath. It is an honor to meet you."

"Well, thank you," Sharon replied, while shaking Nimrod's outstretched hand. "I've heard a lot of good things about the 12th. I see your reputation is not exaggerated. What's going on here? I thought God's Wrath was assigned to the Fifth Fleet, trailing Galactica. Why are you back here trapping Raiders instead?"

"I'm sorry about the mix up," Nimrod said. "We didn't intend to catch other Cylons. The trap is for Galactica. The human refugee fleet has doubled back, and we think they'll scout this system soon. When they contact our fake human ship, it will claim to have hundreds of survivors onboard and be in need of immediate assistance. We expect that they will bring the Galactica in system just outside the debris cloud and send a rescue party with Viper escorts to the ship. Once they have committed we will ambush the escorts and attempt to capture Apollo or Starbuck alive so we can extract the location of Earth from them. The jamming signals that prevented your squadron from jumping are to insure that the humans cannot retreat once they discover they are outmatched."

"The jamming system is very effective; I didn't detect any large power source for it when I scouted the area from the outer solar system. I didn't even know it was there until I was in it. How did you manage that?"

"We don't have a conventional power source," Nimrod answered. "We have a pair of asteroids in orbit of the brown dwarf that are tethered together. We pull power from its magnetic field as their orbits decay and modulate it to obscure the frequencies that nav systems use to search for pulsars. Of course it has to be a disposable system, but by the time the asteroids' orbits decay completely the operation will be over."

"You know that as soon as the humans figure out they can't get a navigational reading automatically they will try to take star sightings manually," Sharon pointed out.

"Yes, either that or they will eventually figure out how to cut through the interference. We don't need to keep them here forever, just long enough to capture someone who knows where Earth is."

"Tactically it is a sound plan," Sharon opined. "It is a shame that the humans won't fall for it."

"The Fifth Fleet's intelligence officers are confident they will." Nimrod stated. "There are less than fifty-thousand humans in the refugee fleet. They are desperate for more people; surely they wouldn't risk letting hundreds of their own kind die."

"They would and they will," Sharon assured him. "They are not nearly as desperate for more humans as they are terrified of Cylon infiltrators. I personally watched Apollo murder over a thousand people on the Olympic Carrier just because we suspected that there might have been Cylon infiltrators onboard. The last thing you need to be using to bait them with is a ship full of mysterious survivors claiming to be human and begging to join their fleet. Believe me, I lived and worked with these people for years."

"What do you suggest we do?" Nimrod asked.

Sharon bit her lower lip and massaged her forehead with her left hand for a few seconds as she weighed their options. "Get rid of the distress call," she advised. "Hole the ship and completely power it down. Make it look dead. We need something for bait that they can't pass up... Do you have specifications for the human's Salamander class cargo shuttle?"

"Yes," answered Nimrod after checking the local knowledgebase.

"Fabricate some of them," Sharon stated. "Just mockups are good enough. Pack the hanger with them and leave the hanger doors open. Put the ship in a slow roll so that no matter where the Raptors appear they'll be able to see them. Maybe you could even park one on the outside of the hull like they had been trying to make emergency repairs."

"I don't understand," Nimrod said, "Why would they try to rescue a few shuttlecraft if they'll risk letting hundreds of people die?"

"Well, a dead ship looks like less of a trap," Sharon explained, "and Salamanders aren't just any shuttlecraft. They were built by Hermes Engineering, the same company that made the Vipers. The four engines on them are de-tuned versions of Viper engines. Practically all of the engine and avionics parts are drop-in replacements for Viper components. If there is anything they are more desperate for than people it would be replacement parts. There is no way they will pass up a dozen good Viper engines without trying to salvage them."

"I have to admit, Sharon, you are the leading expert on human behavior," Nimrod responded. "If that's what you think will work I'll implement the changes immediately."

"I'm happy to help, now what do I need to do to jump out of here?"

"If you have permission to unlock the avionics access on these Raiders, I'll have my maintenance staff upload some computer code to them that should allow them to jump you out with no problems."

"Sure," Sharon answered as she transmitted coded orders to her Black Angels squadron to permit outside access to their computer systems. "If you don't mind I'd like to monitor the process. I like to keep a close watch on the maintenance of my unit."

"Your unit?" Nimrod asked as he tilted his head and examined Sharon carefully with his oscillating red eye, "Your IFF says you're still with Military Intelligence. What are you doing with a Raider squadron?"

"I'm gathering military intelligence with them," Sharon said defensively, "It is an experimental unit."

"Fighter operations is the purview of Ops, not Intel," Nimrod replied quickly. Despite his synthesized voice, Sharon was sure she could sense the emotion behind his words. "I was wondering why someone ruined these fighters' thrust-to-weight ratio with useless paint... and they made a soft biologic model squadron leader too? Putting fighters under the command of Intel officers is a waste of good units. Aviators should only be under the command of other aviators. Naval ops is not going to accept anything else."

"I agree completely," Sharon said as she flipped her ponytail from her shoulder to behind her head and smiled at Nimrod. "In case you aren't familiar with my background, I am an aviator. I graduated in the top ten percent of my class from the best air combat training in Creation, and have over two years experience in a front line Colonial squadron. I am completely qualified to be a squadron leader, and the Black Angels are my personal pet project so you don't have to worry about Intel suddenly trying to step on Op's bureaucratic turf."

"Second-best air combat training, maybe," Nimrod replied, "And how many gees can you pull in that meatbag you inhabit? Eight? Nine? A real aviator wouldn't waste mass on having a pretty paint scheme on their fighters."

"The paint is part of my air combat studies," Sharon explained, "For now I have them painted in different colors so I can keep track of them more easily during training. Once the squadron is operational I'll paint them flat black to make them harder for human fighter pilots to see. I don't think other Cylon's appreciate how much Colonial pilots rely on the old Mark 1 eyeball to keep themselves oriented during combat... or in my case, the Mark 2." Sharon smiled and pointed to her temple with her right index finger to emphasize her point. "The small weight penalty of the paint will be more than offset by the distraction it causes the Viper pilot as they have to switch between DRADIS and visual flight."

"Does naming your spacecraft distract enemy pilots, too?" Nimrod asked as he pointed to the two words painted down the nose of Sharon's Heavy Raider in half-meter high, baby-blue, flowing script.

"Uh... no," Sharon admitted, "That's just for esprit-de-corps."

"I'd rather have the thrust-to-weight ratio a clean fighter gives you," Nimrod answered. "I guess being a Hero of the Cylon Race lets you get a few perks, but take my advice and don't fool yourself into thinking that you can be as good a pilot as us mechanicals. You don't have the body for it, and you'll just wind up hurt... or worse."

Sharon stepped closer to Nimrod and looked hard into his eyeslit. "First of all," She said angrily, "Fleet Academy is the best, period. And from what I hear our bodies are good enough to get better than one-to-one kills on even your top squadron. But if you don't think so, then perhaps we could settle this disagreement with a little one-on-one mock combat."

"Don't waste my time," Nimrod stated. "I don't need to prove anything to you."

"Oh, I understand," Sharon said as she slid her thumb across the new metal plating on Nimrod's shoulder. Sharon turned her back on him as she continued talking and took a few steps to Lucky's wing. "Some Colonial pilot gave you a scratch and now you're afraid of us." Sharon turned back around and leaned against Lucky's leading edge as she did her best to strike an arrogant and dismissive Starbuck-like pose. "You don't want to fly against me because you don't want to have to admit that you lost to a flesh and blood Colonial pilot... again."

"Okay," Nimrod responded in his monotone synthetic voice, "I'm really going to enjoy wiping that smirk off your face. What did you have in mind?"

"You can start on my six in a firing position," Sharon proposed, "I'll wager that within forty seconds I can lose you, get on your six, and have a firing solution. When I win you'll agree to give the Black Angels a fly-off against your group so I can demonstrate to Naval Operations how much better my new combat tactics are than current doctrine."

"What do I get if I win?" Nimrod asked.

"It doesn't matter," Sharon answered with a grin, "because you won't."




Some quick notes: Firstly, now that we don't have BSG to look forward to on Fridays, I think I'll change my OTS posting day to Friday every week. Secondly, I am going to start going back and reposting old comments. I'll do it by editing the appropriate chapter and pasting the comments at the end. I'll use a different style and/or color to keep the comments separate from the story. If anyone has a better idea on how to import the old comments please suggest it.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Great tactical discussion and the bravado banter was really fun, especially the last sentence.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 4:13 am 
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Nimrod throttled back on his Heavy Raider and settled in behind Sharon's fighter as they flew through the wispy atmosphere of the inner planet. He was amazed that she was stupid enough to agree to hold the mock combat in atmosphere. In space the turning radius of their Heavy Raiders would have been determined by their thrust-to-weight ratio, which would be practically equal. Here in the atmosphere, they could use the aerodynamic forces on the fighters to turn much tighter. His turning radius would be limited by the structural strength of his fighter, but Sharon's would be limited by the weakness of her flesh. She would never be able to out-turn him, and since he was starting behind her she would never be able to get on his six. Soon, Nimrod knew, Sharon would be humiliated and have to clean that useless paint off 'her' squadron.

"I'm in position," Nimrod broadcast to his Colonial-trained opponent.

"Begin," he heard over the wireless as Sharon's fighter banked right and pulled into a six gee turn. He followed immediately, remaining right on her tail. The speedbrakes popped out on Sharon's fighter, but Nimrod had already anticipated that she would give up on out-maneuvering him and just try to brake quickly enough for him to over-run her. He immediately extended his own speedbrakes and pulled his throttle down to minimum thrust. That was when he noticed that Sharon's engines were still burning with a heavy blue flame. Sharon's speedbrakes quickly retracted and her engines went to full afterburner. Nimrod slammed the throttle full open on his own fighter to keep from losing her and felt the entire frame shudder as one of his engines choked and then flamed out from the too-rapid throttle changes she had tricked him into. The warning alarms for all his other engines went off at once as the wide and sudden pressure swing in the fuel lines confused the engine-health sensors.

Nimrod fought to roll his fighter hard left to match Sharon's own hard ess turn while also purging his engine for restart, retracting his speedbrakes, and resetting all the engine alarms. He had allowed the task and information overload to distract him only for a moment, but when he focused his attention on his opponent's fighter again the situation had radically changed. He was no longer looking at the rear of her fighter, he was looking at its roof... and it was coming rapidly towards him. During his moment of inattention Sharon had flipped her Heavy Raider up so that instead of sailing smoothly through the air nose-first, it was now moving bottom-first like a flat plate pushing through the air. The entire vehicle had become a massive speedbrake. It was decelerating rapidly, and he was headed right for it.

Only his inhuman computer reflexes allowed Nimrod to sideslip his fighter quickly enough to avoid slamming into Sharon's. Even as he passed it he saw that she was bringing its nose down just as rapidly as she had pitched it up. Knowing that she was a fraction of a second from bringing her guns to bear, Nimrod banked his craft onto its left side and pulled into a high gee left turn to try and shake her off his six.

Sharon's Heavy Raider followed him into the turn, but keeping slightly higher than his. Nimrod had his fighter rolled full onto its side so he could use all its aerodynamic lift to tighten his turn as much as possible. With neither lift nor thrust available to keep him in the air the fighter dropped, losing altitude as he struggled to turn inside his opponent. The gee forces began to pile up on them both: six, seven, eight gees. Sharon could not out-turn him but she stayed right behind and above him, using her position to force him into an ever steepening downward spiral. As Nimrod was trying to turn his opponent past her tolerance for gee-forces, she was trying to run him out of altitude. Nine gees, then ten. Nimrod knew he had to be at the limit of what Sharon could stand. Any moment he knew she would black out from the extreme forces, but the ground was rapidly approaching. Eleven gees. Nimrod's fighter broke through the bottom cloud layer and he could see on optical sensors the scorching hot ground and rivers of molten metal that he was rapidly hurtling towards. Twelve gees. "How can she take twelve gees?" The unforgiving ground filled Nimrod's optical sensors. Twelve and a half gees. He dropped below 1000 meters and continued his rapid downward acceleration. Nimrod rolled upright and punched his afterburner in a desperate attempt to pull his fighter up while he still had atmosphere under him.

"Guns, guns, guns," Sharon's voice rang in his ears as she slipped into her firing position on his tail, "Eighteen seconds."

"You are insane," Nimrod complained, as he leveled his Heavy Raider out with less than a hundred meters between him and boiling lake of liquid sulfur on the planet's surface.

"And you owe me a fly-off," she added.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 2:37 pm 
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Yep, get these posted now before Charlie comes home ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 10:22 am 
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So, I read the last ones finally. Great combinaison of WW1-fight (maybe the beginning) and Jet-fight à la Top-Gun (the "spinning" part).
Some "hanger" alerts on the penultimate one. ;)

I know this is "old" discussion, but: no antigravs in Heavy Raiders?

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 10:58 am 
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Pierre wrote:
So, I read the last ones finally. Great combinaison of WW1-fight (maybe the beginning) and Jet-fight à la Top-Gun (the "spinning" part).
Some "hanger" alerts on the penultimate one. ;)

I know this is "old" discussion, but: no antigravs in Heavy Raiders?


Nope. It's a decision I made mostly for artistic reasons. You can see why in both the previous and next chapters. References to high g-forces on the fighter pilots actually go all the way back to the beginning of Part 1, when Tigh admonishes Boomer that he knows which pilots are hanging out in the rec room playing cards and which ones are in the gym doing gee-tolerance exersizes. An author's note on the fighter scenes will follow as soon as I get some free time.

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 10:59 am 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8

Sharon Valerii
42nd Day Onboard

Sharon swung her Heavy Raider toward its docking port in Depot Ship #8, flipped it end over end, and slipped the craft backwards into its docking port. "Perfect," she said the craft edged into the docking clamps with just enough force to lock them tightly. "This is so obviously the right way to recover spacecraft, why couldn't the Colonials have enough sense to build landing systems like this?" she wondered to herself. She carefully unharnessed her body from the fighter, wincing as her sore muscles complained when she slipped out of the pilot station.

Sharon slid her hand along the wall of the hallway as she staggered from her fighter's docking port to the 'farm' research area. She smiled at a tall, thin, black Cylon who stared at her as she walked by. She stumbled around the corner to find three number-Six models chatting outside the door to their gymnasium. Two of the Sixes just stared at Sharon in shock, while the third approached her.

"Sharon... are you alright?" the Cylon asked. Sharon now recognized the Six as Thea, her SIGINT chief.

"I'm terrific," Sharon said with a strained smile, "I haven't felt this good in a long time."

Thea looked as though she thought Sharon was deranged, and added, "You're... you look like you've been beaten. You can barely walk. Let me help you to the lifestation."

"I'm fine," Sharon assured her with a dismissive wave. "I'm just a little wobbly from pulling high gees in my fighter." Sharon leaned against the wall with her right hand and pointed at her ear with her left. "The forces mess with your inner ear. I've had it happen before and there's nothing the doctors can do to help. I just need a minute to get my balance back is all."

"Your eye... can you see alright like that?" Thea asked.

"I can see fine," Sharon assured her, "It's only cosmetic damage. This is all just typical occupational hazards of being a fighter pilot. If I were going to have a heart attack, I'd have done so by now. Now if you Sixes will excuse me, I am late for work." Sharon smiled to herself as she left the unnerved Sixes behind and continued down the hall.

Sharon paused at an intersection and watched a nearly identical copy of herself running towards her. She wore dark blue, conservative clothes with her hair pulled back into a pony tail. As she approached, Sharon could see the light traces of scars still visible on her face.

"Amy," Sharon said as the other Cylon neared her, "I'm glad you could meet me. I could use little help walking to the 'farm.'"

"Maybe we should get you to the hospital instead." Amy suggested.

"There's no need. It's just a headache and a little bit of the wobblies from pulling so many gees, I'll get my legs back under me in a minute."

"Are you sure?" Amy asked, "Have you seen yourself? Your face is puffy and covered in red splotches. Your right eye is completely blood red. Not bloodshot... I mean there's no white left." Amy transmitted an image of what she was seeing to Sharon over their low-bandwidth wireless and offered her a small white handkerchief from her pocket.

"I just burst a few capillaries is all," Sharon said as she dabbed under her nose with the handkerchief. She looked at the red stain on the lacy white cloth and then peered carefully into Amy's eyes while pulling her right eyelid up with one finger. "Yeah... Starbuck had it happen to both eyes the day they upgraded the engines on her Mark 3."

"You can keep the handkerchief," Amy suggested as she helped Sharon down the hall. "At least you managed to get Lucky," Amy said. Sharon snorted, and then started giggling uncontrollably. Amy began laughing, too, as she realized what she had said. By the time they entered the lower level medical bay of the 'farm' Sharon was able to walk straight without support.

"I'm fine. It looks a lot worse than it is," Sharon said to Cecil as soon as they walked into the research area.

"If you say so," he said looking at her carefully "What can I do for you?"

"I just came by to check on Doris," Sharon replied as she walked toward the central work area. "I told her I would sit with her during the insertion process last night, but I had to leave halfway through to fly a search and rescue mission. I wanted to stop in and see how she was doing."
"I'm afraid that experiment was a complete failure," Cecil said as they arrived at an empty bed.

"What do you mean?" Sharon asked. "What happened?"

"There were some serious complications shortly after you left last night," Cecil answered. "We called in a surgical team to try and salvage it, but there was too much internal damage to the subject."

"She's dead?"

"Yes," Cecil admitted, "but her womb was too scarred to use again anyway."

Sharon leaned against the side-railing of the empty bed for support and looked at the rumpled, bloodstained sheets. Her chest felt tight and she struggled to breathe.

Amy put her hand on Sharon's shoulder and asked quietly, "Are you okay, Sharon?"

"Do I frackin' look okay to you?!" Sharon yelled. The entire work area fell silent at Sharon's outburst as technicians and patients alike stared at her. "Everyone get back to work!" Sharon responded angrily after a few seconds of being stared at. She turned to Amy and said, "Go back to the Intel offices. Pull the recon footage I just shot on System 890-05 and find me a place where we can sneak a Scout Drone in close without the 12th Aerospace Combat Group detecting it."

"If we put a Scout in System 890-05, then I will have to reduce our search program for the humans in Convoy 18," Amy protested.

Sharon stared coldly at her subordinate.

"By your command." Amy responded crisply before turning on her heel and leaving.

After Amy left, Sharon stared down into the empty bed and asked Cecil, "Where's her body?"

"We put it in the storage room."

"That will be all, Cecil," Sharon said without looking up, "Carry on." After standing quietly for a few seconds, Sharon walked to the storage room and locked the door behind her.

Doris's body lay in a bodybag on a hard, sturdy table at the far end of the storage room. Sharon walked slowly across the room to it, and put her left hand lightly on the head-end of the bag. "I'm sorry," she whispered sadly. "God, I just wish I knew why," she added as she wiped a tear away from her cheek.

She reached her right hand toward the zipper that would open the bag, but hesitated before she touched it. She balled her hand into a fist, and stood there for a moment gathering her courage. Finally Sharon took a deep breath, slid the zipper open, and pulled the bag away from Doris's face. "Oh God," Sharon exclaimed quietly as she jerked back from the table and turned her back on the body. "No. No. No," she repeated as she clenched her eyes shut and held her right hand to the side of her head. "It's not true. It isn't me." She looked again at the lifeless body on the table. Sharon covered her mouth and cried quietly as she stared down at the dead human woman, but saw her own corpse instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 11:20 am 
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will read & comment very soon ...

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 11:29 am 
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Chris Taylor wrote:
Nope. It's a decision I made mostly for artistic reasons. You can see why in both the previous and next chapters. References to high g-forces on the fighter pilots actually go all the way back to the beginning of Part 1, when Tigh admonishes Boomer that he knows which pilots are hanging out in the rec room playing cards and which ones are in the gym doing gee-tolerance exersizes. An author's note on the fighter scenes will follow as soon as I get some free time.


And there is the Adama-Starbuck scene in the gym-room, regarding the power needed to operate the pedal/maneuvers of the Viper... (Kara's knee was busted at this time)
Right.
But, still, it bothers me somewhere. (maybe I'm too picky. or maybe I've read too many good science/coherent SF books. I mean: if there is NO antigrav in the BSG universe, fine. In this case ships can only accelerate very moderately, and - IF this exists - the FTL process doesn't require a near-to-c speed. But we know the Raptors - and every big ship - are equipped with anti-g technology)

Nothing wrong with OTS, Chris. It's the BSG universe that isn't 100% coherent.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 1:02 pm 
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Pierre wrote:
But, still, it bothers me somewhere. (maybe I'm too picky. or maybe I've read too many good science/coherent SF books. I mean: if there is NO antigrav in the BSG universe, fine. In this case ships can only accelerate very moderately, and - IF this exists - the FTL process doesn't require a near-to-c speed. But we know the Raptors - and every big ship - are equipped with anti-g technology)

Nothing wrong with OTS, Chris. It's the BSG universe that isn't 100% coherent.


Just because they have gravitics that can generate 1g doesn't mean they necessarily would have gravitics with a quick enough response time to be useful in damping ineria during manuevers.

Author's Notes for day 42 part 1: Nimrod? American readers may be wondering why I gave the Cylon ace such a goofy name. Foriegn readers may wonder why American readers would think it goofy. Nimrod is the name of the legendary greatest hunter of ancient Greece, seemingly an appropriate name for a fighter ace. In the classic Warner Bros. Cartoons Bugs Bunny sometimes referred to the inept hunter Elmer Fudd sarcastically as 'Nimrod.' As a child I didn't know what Nimrod meant, but if Elmer Fudd was one then I assumed it must be bad. Apparently many other American kids assumed the same, and 'Nimrod' became a slang term for dork despite it's noble entymology. Which Nimrod is the Cylon? He's more of a noble hunter than a Fudd. Interestingly Theron's name also implies he's a hunter (which I will revisit later) but he's more of a nimrod. Perhaps their names should have been reversed.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Another nice chapter. The fact that the physical damage from pulling so many gees doesn't phase her, but losing Doris is what truly causes her pain is really nice. And of course, the frightening image of seeing herself in the body bag.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Chris Taylor wrote:
Just because they have gravitics that can generate 1g doesn't mean they necessarily would have gravitics with a quick enough response time to be useful in damping inertia during maneuvers.

You got a point, there. (sure, if you "play" with let's say 5000 g accelerations, your system'd better be quickly responsive...)
off-topic: I'm reading right now Nancy Kress' novel Crossfire (2003) ... just excellent. mentioning it because she describes a ship with a way to compensate high accelerations without having "real" anti-g technology, among other things.

Gripping chapter, especially the end.
"It's not true" : little allusion to Six Degrees... ?

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